Getting To Know Byzantine’s Matt Bowles!

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The last month or so has been a very exciting time for West Virginia metal legends Byzantine. The band was auditioning for a new drummer, finishing up recording 2 cover songs, and on the verge of signing a worldwide deal with one of the best labels in the business; Metal Blade. In steps West Virginia native Matt Bowles formerly of the band Our Malignant Beloved. He is the newest addition to Byzantine. The band will soon begin the task of writing and recording a follow up to their highly successful album “To Release Is To Resolve”, which made several top 10 lists including ours. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Matt and get to know him a little better.  Continue reading

An Interview With HATEBREED’s Frank Novinec

HATEBREED

HATEBREED

Introduction by Dragon:

Hatebreed is an institution when it comes to both the U.S. and global Hardcore/Metal/Crossover scenes as the band itself is closing in on it’s 25th anniversary come 2019. They have championed those scenes constantly while reinforcing notions about the strength of the individual, the power of self-reliance, and the inevitable victory that is achieved by one’s actions through their pureness of heart and durability of will. “Strength” in every sense of the word is always the take-away from Hatebreed as this iconic band prepares to release their seventh album “The Concrete Confessional” via Nuclear Blast on May 13th. The band is also preparing to hit the road across the U.S. with DevilDriver, Act Of Defiance, and Devil You Know soon and with all of that in mind, Metal Nexus reached out to Hatebreed guitarist Frank Novinec to ply us with a bit of his time and experience in the following interview. For those of that don’t know, Frank Novinec is an icon himself since his earlier work in bands such as Integrity, Ringworm, and Terror which, alongside his tenure in Hatebreed, all testify to what an expressive artist and figure he is so without further ado, let’s breakdown and break loose with Hatebreed guitarist Frank Novinec. Continue reading

International Guitar Month: Generation Axe (Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi)

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I was fortunate enough to cover a huge number of guitar heavy hitters in one fall swoop this week: Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi; all currently on the Generation Axe Tour. Five very different guitarists that cover Heavy Rock and Blues, to Neo-Classical Metal and Experiment Progressive. One thing is for damned sure: each man is at the top of their game and love playing the highest quantity of notes in the shortest period of time possible. As Bettencourt put it so succinctly: The promoters could not figure out how to pay all of these slingers and decided to pay each per note. No doubt, these gentlemen would come out on the winning end of that deal!

I think it is safe to say that everyone came to the show to see one or two of their favorite artists. That certainly holds true for me. I have seen Steve Vai quite a few times over the years and loved every show, Zakk Wylde with Black Label Society a couple of times which, of course, is always ear-splitting and fun, Nuno Bettencourt years and years ago with Extreme, Yngwie Malmsteen once in the mid-80’s (he was one of my primary motivators), but I have never seen Tosin Abasi or Animals As Leaders live, so I was especially excited to see this 8 string wonder shred the wood off of his fretboard. When it was all said and done, favorites mean nothing because the bar for this show was off the scale. It would become nit-picking or simply a matter of a subjective style and taste. Personally, I sat in the third row, center stage (Thank you so much, Scott!) and was moved, highly entertained and awed for three and a half hours. I love it all…

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Armored Saint Announce West Coast Co-Headlining Tour With Metal Church

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It’s only a few months away until the mighty Armored Saint will head back out on the road, playing to fans across the world this summer! Before they head abroad to conquer stages the band will first tour the U.S. with another iconic band Metal Church for a special west coast trek. Armored Saint’s Joey Vera (bass) comments: “We’re super excited to go back out for some select dates this summer. The June dates with Metal Church are a fan-made match that is sure to be an amazing time!” Continue reading

ZZ TOP Cancels Appearance at Welcome To Rockville and Carolina Rebellion!

Photo by: Ross Halfin

Photo by: Ross Halfin

Welcome To Rockville has announced a schedule change to the May 1 festival lineup at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Legendary Texas rockers ZZ Top has canceled their spring tour–including their expected May 1st performance at Welcome To Rockville, due to Bassist Dusty Hill being injured. The injury will also cause the band to cancel their set at Carolina Rebellion on May 6th at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Continue reading

State of the Art: Khemmis

 *This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*

This month’s State is Colorado!

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Named after an ancient, Egyptian city comes Khemmis from Denver, CO. Doom, while admittedly not my usual cup of tea, this band had me hooked from my first listen. So much more than just slow, ominous, sludge that I normally find boring after about two or three songs. Hell, Khemmis has a number of songs that are over six minutes each that never approach being monotonous and demand to be listened to again and again. I have literally worn out their debut album “Absolution” trying to codify their sound and musical direction in my head. *Please note that I am not “bashing” Doom and am attempting to broaden my Metal horizons here. Music is purely subjective and I have just never found a Doom band that has spoken to me like Khemmis has.

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International Guitar Month: JIMMY BOWER

Photo by: by Ronan Thenadey

Photo by: by Ronan Thenadey

If you are a fan of any New Orleans band you should be thanking Jimmy Bower. Jimmy has been one of the forefathers of metal in Louisiana. You may know him from Eye Hate God, Down or Superjoint Ritual. Jimmy is one of the most celebrated guitar players in heavy metal, and while he is a legend on that instrument he is also a well accomplished drummer as well (as you may have seen in Down). Jimmy has often been called “The Godfather of Southern Metal.” If the iconic bands mentioned above wasn’t enough he also had brief stints in the bands Corrosion of Conformity, and Crowbar. Another band that Jimmy has shredded for was The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight. It was an instrumental project so it allowed our ears to consume even more of Jimmy’s sacred sound. Continue reading

International Guitar Month: RICHIE KOTZEN

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Richie Kotzen Photo Courtesy of TRB Photography

In the world of under-appreciated and often overlooked guitarist, RICHIE KOTZEN is at the top of my list. Born February 3rd 1970 Richie started playing piano at the early age of 5. He was only 7 when he started playing guitar. Richie was discovered by MIKE VANEY of SHRAPNEL RECORDS at age 19. He went on to record his first solo album in that same year. Even though still in his teens Richie also created an instructional video called “ROCK CHOPS”, that detailed his formative techniques. Continue reading