Witch Mountain was formed in 1997 and became a household name in the city that keeps it weird, Portland, Oregon. The doom crew had just released mostly likely the best album thus far since the formation of the band in the 2014 release “Mobile of Angels”. Singer Uta Plotkin was belting out all the vocals on the most recent albums. Her voice became the definition of doom to most within the scene. Uta announced she would be leaving the band prior to the release of Mobile of Angels in September of 2014. If that wasn’t already enough bassist Charles Thomas was leaving the band as well. This left only drummer Nathan Carson and guitarist Rob Wrong. Uta left some huge shoes to fill for whoever would eventually take her place. The band had a few months to look around for a singer prior to Uta leaving the band. They were in no immediate hurry to fill the spot and just wanting to ensure they had the right person. Less than a week after receiving a video audition from Kayla Dixon she was to become the new singer of Witch Mountain. Dixon spent some time with the Cleveland based band Demons Within, but the majority of her career was in theatre acting. The 19 year old Dixon was flown out to join the band and newly added bass player Justin Brown from the Portland band Lamprey. Once again the band was complete. A tour was soon announced and Witch Mountain would be opening for the doom power house YOB.
Photo Credit: Wilbur Kilb Hunter
Photo Credit: Wilbur Kilb Hunter
Metal Nexus was lucky enough to catch Witch Mountain in Johnson City, Tennessee on March 27th. Just 5 days into that tour. The show was at The Hideaway which is one of the most intimate settings anyone could see a show. The stage is close quarters, up close and personal with very good sound. Kayla seemed very composed and eager to take stage. The whole crowd had yet to hear her sing as nothing had been released, so we were all going into this deaf and blind not knowing what to expect out of the new singer. Once the show started she seemed in her own world, the left handed shredder Rob started in on guitar and she began to sing. Immediately she had everyone in the room’s attention. Her vocals stand out, much different than anything we have heard in some time. Her singing would go from hitting these very high notes in perfect fashion to these deathly growls. After the first song the crowd was more than ready for more of the new Witch Mountain. Her stage presence made it seem like she had been the leader of the band for decades. Not one person in the room could look away. New bassist Justin and Kayla were showing that they belonged in this band. The great partnership of Rob Wrong and drummer Nathan Carson had correctly added an amazing new element to the band in Kayla Dixon. They began to play one of our favorites in the song “Beekeeper”. The song sealed the deal for us. Of course we love the old Witch Mountain stuff, but this new era is here and we love it. We went into this show not knowing what to expect and by the time it was over we were begging for more. Chemistry is hard to build within a band and sometimes takes a long time. The band looked like they had been playing with this lineup for years. For 45 minutes they captured the attention of every soul in the room, and may have even kept a few souls for themselves. Sometimes doom has a beautiful voice…
*This is part of our State Of The Arts series, showcasing bands every Monday from the state of the month*
This month’s state is Ohio.
Cleveland, Ohio is home of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, and Lebron James, but most importantly it’s home to one of Ohio’s best rock bands in The Great Iron Snake. The band is a trio of hard rocking guys that have some chemistry when it comes to being in a band together. The comradery and stage presence they have may seem like déjà vu, but that’s only because they are ¾’s of the band Red Giant. The guys have been together sporting this new band name since 2012. You have Damien Perry at the helm on vocals and rocking out his Gretsch White Falcon guitar that sounds absolutely amazing. Brian Skinner is setting the low tones on bass, and behind the kit is Eric Matthews on the sticks. The band recently released a single in February entitled “Pungent Porcelain”. Like a trucker in a roadside brothel, the song gets right to business. The guitar work leads the song through its paces, from start to finish it’s an uphill to downhill rhythm. Playing off every up tempo and downtempo change the song perfectly showcases the talents of the band. They have been playing live shows in and around the Cleveland area with some other bands we enjoy like Trouble, and Black Pussy. Presently The Great Iron Snake is unsigned to a label, which we don’t think will last very long. With a unique sound and with as much chemistry Damien, Eric and Brian have together it won’t be long before they are fighting away offers. Other than the one song “Pungent Porcelain” that has been recorded and is streaming on Bandcamp there are a few good quality live videos available of the band as well. The song “Elipsis” (which we will link below) has this great little bluesy groove to it that just has this amazing energy to it. We always say that the best way to see a band is live and in person. We look forward to catching these guys on the road soon.
Cancer is a disease that seems to have touched every family in America. Over 20 bands are donating their time by putting on an amazing show in Louisville, KY at Diamonds Pub Concert Hall to help raise money to fight cancer. Horns Up Against Cancer is an all day music festival and the money raised goes to the F*uck Cancer Foundation. The foundation uses proceeds to raise awareness, educate about early childhood cancer detection, and help victims and their families deal with the ongoing epidemic through the Dyin 2 Live Program.
The bands honoring the stage are some great national touring acts. Headlining the show is Primer 55 who have rootd on Kentucky and were formed in 1997 and are a household name with any rock or metal fan. They will be giving “The Big F*uck You” to cancer. They are by no means the only well known band there. X Factor 1 will also be rocking out at the benefit as well. Coming down from Columbus the band has been a regional favorite around Kentucky, West Virginia and their home state of Ohio. Just a few other bands showcasing their talent to help fight cancer are In Virgo, 8lb Pressure, Eye Ov The Storm. There are far too many more bands to name. Remember that these bands are not being paid and are playing this show simply to help in the fight against this horrible disease. Other than the bands there are a lot of people behind the scenes that helped this all day music fest happen and they deserve your praise as well. Barring jail or death anyone able should attend this show, Saturday September 19th. It kicks off at 10 a.m. and you can pick up at ticket for $25 bucks. How often can you help out a good cause and enjoy some amazing metal bands at the same time? You can help make a difference! Be there!
Rising out of the country music capital of the world, All Them Witches formed in 2012 and quickly became one of our favorite bands. They released their second album entitled “Lightning at the Door” in 2014 and it’s an album that never grows old. They can be called anything from desert rock, stoner rock, to psychedelic. The sound they create is like a potluck, where everyone in the band brings something to the table. Last year’s release is going to be hard to compete with in regards to a follow up, but they announced they have been working on their 3rd release. Unlike “Lightning at the Door” the 3rd All Them Witches album will not be self-released, as they recently signed with New West Records. They have been making the festival rounds this year as they just played Bonnaroo on June 13th and have been added to the Louder Than Life festival taking the stage on October 3rd in Louisville, Kentucky. They are by far one of the best bands on the bill that is filled with other big names. Not only is the music they play different from some of the rest that will be playing at the festival, but you can expect them to have a breakthrough live performance that will leave you wanting more. They are a raw talent that has a beautiful and unpolished sound that is sure to create fans by the masses. Festival goers who aren’t familiar with the band will be pleasantly surprised and we think All Them Witches will be leaving Kentucky with a much larger fan base. They are just one of many reasons to attend the festival this year as we will continue to showcase the bands appearing at Louder Than Life.
Iron Maiden are set to release their 16th studio album on September 4th worldwide. The new album titled “The Book of Souls” will be a double album and was produced by Kevin Shirley and recorded in Paris, France. He has worked with other well-known bands in the past such as Aerosmith, Dream Theater, Black Country Communion, Journey, The Black Crowes, Silverchair and Rush. Finishing touches on the highly anticipated album from the metal stalwarts was just recently completed, and in many ways answers the questions that were posed when Bruce Dickinson had shockingly released news he had a tumor on the back of his tongue back in 2014. Chemotherapy and radiation have helped and Bruce has been given the all clear from his medical staff, although most recently it has been said the band may have to postpone a full scale tour until next year. The new album contains 11 tracks, and is a whopping 92 minutes long. This will be the first double studio album that Iron Maiden has released. The cover art was completed by 62 year old British artist Mark Wilkinson who is well known for his work on Judas Priest albums Ram It Down, Painkiller, Jugulator, Nostradamus and Redeemer of Souls. Eddie is looking as fierce as ever I might add as well.
The Louder Than Life festival is the event that no one wants to miss. Thousands of people have been anxiously awaiting the release of bands that will be taking stage on October 3rd and 4th in Louisville, Kentucky. This is year two for the festival which had an amazing turn out for its inaugural festival last October. Anyone that visited the festival in 2014 would probably purchase a ticket prior to even knowing the bands playing. Louder Than Life is a collaboration of everything a festival should be, as well as the perfect time of year. Gourmet man food, need we say more? This festival isn’t home to that overpriced hot dog and nachos. You want sushi? A lobster roll? Jack Daniels ribs? Noodles? Or maybe even a doughnut? All of this and more will be there, and I might add that it is also top quality food at an affordable price. Rock and metal festivals have always taken place during the hottest months of the summer. October is by far the best month to have such an event. Not too hot, and not too cold, it’s perfect. Louder Than Life is happens to take place in the bourbon capital of the world, so you can bet there will bourbon available at the show as well. Buffalo Trace, Bulleit, Eagle Rare, Jim Beam, Makers Mark, and Town Branch are just to name a few. They will have the perfect bourbon for whatever your palate desires. If you aren’t a fan of liquor there is also craft beer. Some of Kentucky’s finest breweries will be there pouring pints. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a favorite of ours. I’m sure by this point you already have your shoes on and are ready to make your way to Champions Park, but remember there is music too!
Louder Than Life 2015
Just like with the food and beverage when it comes to music there is also something for everyone. Rob Zombie, Godsmack, ZZ Top, Shinedown, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Slash w/ Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators are just some of the headlining bands to grace the stage at the sophomore outing of Louder Than Life. There are 47 total bands rocking out through the 2 day festival. The headliners will close out the show but the other bands on the bill are some of our favorites. We urge everyone to get there early so they won’t miss one of our personal favorites All Them Witches. They released the album “Lightning At The Door” in 2014 and quickly became one of our favorite albums of the past couple years. Another band not as well known to some is London, England based band The Temperance Movement, they have a 70’s influenced rock sound and they bring this energy to the stage that is unparalleled. Anyone seeking a retro sounding band would be thrilled to hear the music they create. Nothing More is a repeat band from last year’s festival, and they definitely earned their spot. The 4 piece put on one of the most interesting stage shows that we have seen in recent years. If you haven’t seen them before you are in for a treat. Newly formed supergroup Saint Asonia is also gracing the Louder Than Life stage after making a surprise performance at Rock On The Range. The band consists of rock veterans Adam Gontier vocalist of Three Days Grace, Mike Mushok guitarist of Staind, bass player Corey Lowery from Eye Empire and Finger Eleven drummer Rich Beddoe. The lineup could not be better.
We were fortunate enough to attend the show last year and it is one of the best festivals we have attended. Louder Than Life brings everything a person could want to one place and the ticket prices remain affordable. If you like to camp there is camping packages available as they have a campground directly beside the Louder Than Life festival grounds. Weekend tickets and single day tickets are available. We will see you there!
Sons of Huns are from the Pacific Northwest. The trio are currently set to release the upcoming album “While Sleeping Stay Awake.” The album will release on July 21st . Pack your bags and get ready for a trip, this album is going to take you places. I’ve heard two songs from the album and both are straight up retro psychedelic rock and does not disappoint. The song “An Evil Unseen” is already up for streaming on their website and is just a small tease of how great this album is. The song “Philosopher’s Stone” is packed with an extra helping of riffs. At times it almost has a Saint Vitus feel going on, bringing a little bit of doom into the acid washed sound they have. The album is the follow up to their previous album release “Banishment Ritual.” The combination of riffage and vocals make them a stoner’s paradise. Imagine sitting in a carpeted VW van and turning on the radio, that is Sons of Huns that would be blasting from those speakers. Listening to them will put you in a time machine and send you right back to the 70’s, so spark up and put on your best leather jacket. If you are a fan of psychedelic inspired stoner rock then this album is a must for you.
Slayer has released the cover of the new upcoming album “Repentless” which is due out September 11, 2015 from Nuclear Blast. The art work was created by Brazilian native Marcelo Vasco who worked from ideas given to him by Tom Araya and Kerry King. Slayer has always been carefree when it comes to offending people, as I’m sure most of us recall “God Hates Us All.” There is bound to be a firestorm of arguments and media surrounding the artwork in conjunction with the date of the release as well being 9/11. We personally like the art work and think it is very tasteful and a classic Slayer move.
Imagery has always been a key ingredient when it comes to Slayer. The art work, stage show, symbols and everything shocking that goes with the band is just as important as the sound. All those things combined make Slayer what they are. We can’t wait to hear the album!
Pitch Black Forecast…ever heard of them? If your answer is “No” then allow me to inform you to what you’ve been missing. You’ve been missing a savagely abrasive, leaden groove-laden Metal band from Cleveland, Ohio that could actually be described as a “supergroup”. Really, an honest-to-god supergroup and that term fits the bill in this case because Pitch Black Forecast resulted as a band after Jason Popson (A.K.A. singer J-Mann of masked act Mushroomhead got lined up with the drum deity we call “The Atomic Clock” Gene Hoglan of such great bands like Dark Angel, Death, Testament, Meldrum, Strapping Young Lad among others. The duo soon recruited former Integrity bassist Steve Rauckhorst (after recording their 2008 debut album “Absentee” with earlier bassist Craig Martini) and guitarists Rob Reinard and Tom Shaffner of local Cleveland faves NDE and Keratoma.
Working originally under the moniker of Absentee, the band did manage to record a debut album during 2007 that became titled “Absentee” as the band underwent a name change. That debut album featured manic, aggro-metal harshness benefited with the inhuman drumming assault provided by Hoglan and capped off by the ultra pissed off vocal stylings of Popson. It also featured guest appearances by Devin Townsend, Ringworm’s Human Furnace, Lamb of God’s Randall Blythe, and Avenged Sevenfold‘s M. Shadows. 2012 brought yet another release in the form of the 5 song EP “Burning In Water…Drowning In Flame” and then summer of 2014 brought news that Pitch Black Forecast would be releasing a compilation of previously-released songs remixed and re-tracked to become “closer” to the vision Popson desired from the start. The title of the album was revealed to be “As The World Burns” and was released on Oct. 21st of that same year and as an added bonus it includes a 4 song EP from Jason Popson’s post-industrial project Bitch Wrangler titled “Spitefuck”.
If you like harmfully face-ripping and outright angry as all hell metal then you should definitely get out from under the radar and take heed to Pitch Black Forecast.
Foul Spirits are based out of Kent, Ohio and they have this evolving sound from song to song that turns every listener into a junkie wanting more. Has amazing elements of thrash, punk and metal. The vocals have these deep gutturals and then to a more thrash based vocal. The quick pace of each song keeps your head banging almost instinctively. They carry with them this amazing sludge like vibe. At times it brings to mind many a great NOLA based bands, but then they throw a wrench into the machine and come out with a sound all their own. The album “Volatile Versatile” released in December of 2014 is worthy of a trophy case. The album is one of those that will get you pumped and ready to raise all out hell. The song “Devil in Me” hits every possible tempo change it could. Starts with a racing guitar and drum beat, then the vocals run through like a bull in a china shop. The end of the song comes together and brings with it this sound that would remind you of Louisiana cult legends Acid Bath. By no means are these guys fucking around. Each song has a fierce and raw sound that just grabs you by the throat. Check these guys out. – Fist