Epicenter Festival Spotlight: HIGH ON FIRE [Official Videos]

*This is part of the Epicenter Festival Spotlight segment where we help you get to know some of the non-headlining bands performing at the festival. This week we introduce you to High On Fire!*

If you are familiar with High On Fire you will be in agreement that it’s hard to believe they are billed earlier in the day on the inaugural Epicenter Festival lineup. The mastermind behind the band is of course Matt Pike known famously as one of the best doom guitarists ever from his work with his other band Sleep. He formed High On Fire in 1998. Pike is a talented musician that has a huge discography between his bands. With Sleep he has released 5 albums and one EP, and with High On Fire he has released 8 studio albums and 1 live album. He was also a part of the bands Asbestosdeath (which was was an early incarnation of Sleep) and Kalas who combined have released 2 EPs and 2 albums. The one area where High On Fire differs is that Matt Pike in addition to playing guitar also is the vocalist as well. His vocal style is gritty, raw, aggressive and it’s impossible to not thoroughly enjoy. The bands most recent album is ‘Electric Messiah’ which released in October via Eone Music and the album has been on nearly everyone’s best albums of the year list. In addition to that successful album High On Fire has also been nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. With the nomination they are joining some legendary past nominees like Metallica, Motörhead, Faith No More and TOOL, this is the first time the band has been nominated in their twenty-year career. In regards to their nomination the band had this to say: “We are so honored to be appreciated by our peers,” says vocalist and guitarist Matt Pike. “We love and live our art.” “It doesn’t matter whether we win or not,” says drummer Des Kensel. “It’s just an honor to be recognized for our hard work and sacrifice after devoting our whole lives to music.” Finally, bassist Jeff Matz adds, “This is pretty mind-blowing. We’re beyond thrilled about the nomination. We all put a lot of sweat and sleepless nights into writing and recording this album. It’s amazing that our efforts are being recognized in this way.” On February 10th High On Fire won that Best Metal Performance Grammy for  their album ‘Electric Messiah’ beating out other metal powerhouses Between The Buried And Me, Trivium, Deafheaven and Underoath. With that much talent in one category it certainly shows you the talent that High On Fire will bring to the Epicenter stage. Continue reading

State Of The Art: Hawaii’s THE GRANITE SAINTS [Album Stream]

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Hawaii.*

From Honolulu, Hawaii, The Granite Saints are, according to their biog, “a three chord homage to the bands of their youth.”  They are snotty-nosed punks with the attitude of them against the world.  They talk and walk their way and anyone who doesn’t like it can just get out of their way.

Forged in the fires of 2013, they are made up of Lonesome James on rhythm guitar/lead vocals, Brian on bass/backup vocals, Shane Taylor on lead/rhythm guitars and Chad Taylor on drums.  They released a self titled EP in 2017, with some awesome beefy riffing on tunes like “Juju Mama” and “Run The Night.”  However, 2018 saw them really open up the Pandora’s Box of punk rocking music with ‘Red, White & Screwed.’

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Epicenter Festival Spotlight: HO99O9 [Official Video]

Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) is one of the up and coming band performing at the inaugural Epicenter Festival in Rockingham, North Carolina. This band is like nothing you have ever seen or heard before. Their sound is a mixture of punk, industrial and rap. The band finished up 2018 on tour with The Prodigy in the U.K.. Their sound is somewhat similar to The Prodigy mixed with Nine Inch NailsDead Kennedys and a touch of rap. Ho99o9’s sound changes somewhat drastically from song to song and they can’t really be pigeon holed to one specific sound or style. The New Jersey duo explains that they weren’t exposed to rock, punk or metal growing up and all they really heard was hip hop. Now days you will see the band members repping such bands as the Misfits, Cro-Mags, and even Eye Hate God Continue reading

State Of The Art: Hawaii’s NESTA [Track Stream]

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Hawaii.*

In the land of tropical paradise with its picturesque beaches, near perfect weather, and aloha vibes, it may be hard to imagine heavy music coming from the Hawaiian Islands. It was certainly no easy task finding metal amidst the vast sea of island reggae and ukuleles for this month’s SOTA, but this pick from the Honolulu underground is one I’m sure metal fans will enjoy. Hailing from Waianae, Hawaii, Nesta proves that their volcanic brand of metal can not only compete with its mainland contemporaries, but also push the envelope in some unexpected and highly innovative ways. Continue reading

Epicenter Festival Spotlight: BLACK COFFEE

*This is part of the Epicenter Festival Spotlight segment where we help you get to know some of the non-headlining bands performing at the festival. This week we introduce you to Black Coffee!*

Black Coffee formed in early 2017 after drummer Tommy McCullough introduced singer/bassist, Ehab Omran, to guitarist Justin Young. Within the first few days, these artists began songwriting and the chemistry was overwhelmingly apparent. With the release of Black Coffee’s debut album, ‘Take One’, on April 21st, the Columbus, Ohio rockers definitely possess the sound, style, confidence and work ethic that created legends in music in the previous few decades. The bands style is slightly retro rock and with the recent success of bands like Greta Van Fleet, The Struts and Rival Sons they have timed the formation of the band perfectly. Black Coffee are a band that certainly appreciates a good riff and you will easily notice how they flaunt their guitarists talents within their music. Ehab Omran’s vocals pack immense power into such a small frame. He sings in a melodic manner but also at times can wail with an aggressive grit to his voice as well. The band unveiled a music video for “I Barely Know Her”. The song and accompanying video was the first taste of Black Coffee that we would receive and it sent music fans into a whirlwind. The video was filmed at the Johnstown Opera House in Johnstown, Ohio. “I Barely Know Her” was filmed, directed and produced by the extremely talented John Payne of Payne Productions, who is one of the most talented photographers in and around Columbus, Ohio. With the attitude of the years gone by and the sound of a new resurgence of the classic rock, Black Coffee parts the proverbial sea for the next generation of artists. Continue reading

State Of The Art: Hawaii’s KINGS OF SPADE [Official Videos]

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Hawaii.*

Today we are leaving mainland U.S.A to talk about one of Hawaii’s best kept secrets Kings Of Spade! The band founded back in 2008 in  Honolulu, Hawaii. They were previously named X Factor but later changed their name to Kings Of Spade. The band was built around the bluesy vocal prowess of KC and the rest of the band is equally as impressive creating a psychedelic rock sound that will have you re-living the heyday of rock n roll. Kings Of Spade is filled out with Jesse Savio on guitar, Matt Kato on drums, Tim Corker and on bass, auxiliary members include  Ken Lykes  on the keys and DJ Packo. The band has played the mainland on several occasions including SXSW. I personally became familiar with the band after speaking with former Headbangers Ball host Riki Rachtman when he mentioned how impressed he was with the band during a conversation at Carolina Rebellion in 2017. The band since has became even more well known to fans even outside of the island state of Hawaii. On December 8th they were tapped to be the opening band for Guns N Roses first ever performance in Hawaii. So prior to Guns N Roses kicking off their 3 hour set Kings Of Spade got the packed crowd at Aloha stadium pumped up.  Continue reading

State Of The Art: Missouri’s SORRY, SCOUT [Album Stream]

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Missouri.*

Sorry, Scout describe themselves as an “Indie rock/pop punk/ Americana” hybrid out of St. Louis that write songs about “love, gentrification, police brutality, bigotry and survival in an increasingly oppressive reality.

The band is made up of Randi Whitaker (vocals), Nate Jones (guitar), David Anson (bass) and Zack Schultz (drums).  They are fresh, melodic, powerful and driven. They hammer home their ideas about society with the charm of a well versed poet, armed with a supreme sense of purpose.  Their one release to dste is the anthemic artistically authentic EP ‘Never Asked For It’, which was issued in August 2018. Continue reading

State Of The Art: Missouri’s THE STROPPERS [Track Stream]

Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, The Stroppers serves you a great combination of blues and garage rock. The two-piece band, consisting of Joel Monroe riffing on guitar and screaming vocals, and Jasmina Bonilla creating the thunder on drums, has recently gone under some major changes: A name change, new image, and rebranding of their debut album. Recently known as Play Pretend, they released their debut album in the spring of 2018 on CD and major streaming sites. The band has been on a rocket ride to success ever since. Continue reading

State of the Art – Missouri’s SAVAGELAND [EP Stream]

Hungry and visceral with a hint of southern edge. SavageLand is a beautiful sip of aged bourbon, followed by a punch in the face. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri they sound more like they are straight from the heart of New Orleans. The band was formed in 2016 and has since released one six song, self-titled EP, with tremendously impressive production value.

Picture groove riffs with guttural stoner vocals. Fans of Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity meet fans of Baroness and also meet a calloused hard working slide guitar player by a campfire. The EP opens with said slide guitar, and a Mastodon quality riffs. SavageLand crafts these pseudo-stoner anthems with such ease. Down and Pantera influences, too, leak into the blueprints of their songwriting. “Animal Kingdom” has a wiry riff strung through the verses, swelling behind the chorus. The kind of jams to smoke a joint and enjoy a beer to. It’s aggressive but not disruptive.

SavageLand teased the early stages of new material mid 2018, after stating in 2017 they are inactive. Fingers crossed that 2019 will be the year the band gets in gear and releases some new music because this stuff is really something.  

 

State Of The Art: Missouri’s ECHOES FROM ASHES [Track Stream]

Photo Credit: Money Shotz Photography

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Missouri.*

Hailing from Saint Louis, Missouri, Echoes From Ashes delivers their soulful hard rock tinged with early 2000s post-grunge sensibility. The four-piece, consisting of Matt Kelly (guitar/vocals), Michael Wallis (guitar/vocals), Dan Stefl (bass/vocals), and Derek Keller (drums/percussion) formed the band in 2017 and have just recently released their debut self-titled EP in 2018. With the help of Michael Bivens as engineer and producer, along with Stefl, the five-track EP was recorded at Redwood Studios and released to solid local airplay and rotation on major streaming platforms. One of the more powerful singles from the release is “Victim (In Your Hands)” that starts off with a Pantera “5 Minutes Alone”-influenced opening riff and progresses into a melodically heartfelt verse and chorus, reminiscent of genre veterans Chevelle and Breaking Benjamin. Continue reading