*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Mississippi.*
Clawhammer is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Mississippi formed by Paul Hill and Paul Craig. The outfit is rounded out by Stephen McNeer on rhythm guitar, Pete Lindsey on drums and Brad Litton on bass. Normally, there would be more detail about the group, but I can’t find any! However, I can speak to the music and it really is classic metal, forged from the steel of the South and the artistic ethic of the doom/goth scene.
For a band with not much biog detail, they have released five thundering albums/EP’s of rocking goodness. In 2015, they released their self-titled debut, which introduced the band’s grave sincerity. This was followed by the more polished ‘In Space’ in 2016. 2017 found the band releasing the awesome sounding ‘Diabolical’. The six track ‘Delta Mud’ (2018) added depth to Clawhammer‘s catalogue with greater use of keyboards and sound effects. And that brings us to the fire-powder keg that is 2018’s ‘Sons Of Sabbath’.
The latest long player powers out the tunes with a touch of sludge and a side of classic metal. The riffs flash through the molten grooves and the vocals of Paul Craig growl and soar with aggression. Songs such as ‘The Fire Burns On” and “Beat The Beast” drill into your core, but the band aren’t done. Clawhammer find a way to add finesse into their palette with the unforgettable battering that “Crazy Again” gives you. Best song on the whole freakin’ album bro!
There is a laid back urgency (an oxymoron eh?) to the whole catalogue, but the more you listen, the better it all sounds! It makes for a real gem of a find and I look forward to more from these prolific rockers.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Oklahoma.*
Outside the Shadows was formed originally as a Praise and Worship band, but that band split up and in 2013.
They sweated blood and released the first album ‘Forgiveness’ in October of 2013. They then released their second album ‘Ignite’ in October 2015. They have played with some amazing bands such as Screaming for Silence, Sons of Texas, Sleep Signals, and so many more!
The band name means to shine a light from the outside into the darkness and share Jesus with every individual possible. Outside The Shadows is made up of Preston Bell (vocals/guitar), Randy Stroud(drums)and Sam Krempl (bass/vocals).
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Kansas.*
The clouds clear after a devastating hurricane has hit. Life has changed beyond recognition. You are left with with vivid recollections. Assuming that this scenario is played out, the band Stories Through Storms from Kansas City has a vivid name and certainly are lodged in my brain as being a band telling stories in the storm of Metalcore. They bring the thunder, the power and the freshness that follows. On the melodic end of Metalcore, they are very welcome.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is New Mexico.*
Aurora Under Water is a mixture of Metalcore, Ska, Punk, and Reggae that formed in Las Cruces, New Mexico in March of 2017. The band doesn’t look to have a solidified sound, but to just create what they like. It is a potent mixture, with a fresh edge in a croweded market. The talented musicians in the group are vocalist Mark Dragone, lead guitarist Andrew Adonis, rhythm guitarist/clean vocalist Chris Greeno, drummer James Puff and bassist Ryan Lauterbach.
From Michigan, HEART OF JORDAN are a new band and they blew the doors off the Metalcore scene with their self-titled debut, which was released last year. The band are made up of Preston Mailand on vocals, Eric TenEyck on guitar, Elijah White on guitar, Daniel Ray Fell Jr. on bass and Andrew Everett on drums. I rated their debut as one of my top ten albums of 2018 and they have received praise from many rock journalists with their melodic take on the genre. I was therefore excited to interview guitarist Elijah White, who is one of the most personable musicians I have had the pleasure of communicating with.
As the group were only formed in 2017, I was anxious to let Elijah explain how the band came together.
“Heart of Jordan began its formation in early 2017 with Eric TenEyck (Guitar), and Andrew Everett (Drums). Andrew was filling in on drum duties for Eric’s now defunct band. After the band dissolved, Eric and Andrew decided to carry on with a new project. Preston Mailand (Vocals) was called in by Andrew and soon joined the fold after returning to Michigan from a stint in Florida playing in a small handful of gulf coast bands.
Preston and Eric combined some song ideas to create the beginning framework for the first four Heart of Jordan songs: “Enslaved”, “Deny”, “No Escape” and “Throne Alone.” Soon after, Eric reached out to me to fill out guitars. Eric and I have known one another since the early 2000’s, playing in bands together. I had been out of the scene for a while, focusing on work and family.
After a few jam sessions as a foursome, it became clear that something special was there. We currently have Alfonso Civile on full time bass duties.“
I asked Elijah who was the driving force behind Heart Of Jordan‘s inception.
“The concept for the name “Heart of Jordan” was introduced by Preston Mailand, during the bands first months, prior to me coming on board. Musically, Eric, Preston, and I all contributed near equally to the ideas that became the songs that you hear on the album.“
I was interested in Elijah came to be a guitarist and his influences.
“Since I can remember, I’ve always gravitated toward music of all genres. Melodies are constantly playing in my head from wake to sleep. My mother bought me my first guitar at age twelve. I spent hours upon hours in my bedroom playing along to bands like Metallica, Slayer, Alice in Chains, Helmet, Soundgarden, etc. I’ve had a guitar in my hand ever since.”
Leading on from finding out how he started playing guitar, I asked who Elijah rated amongst current guitarists.
“Man, that’s a tough one. There are so many shredders and riffers today. Some of my favorites today are: Adam Dutkiewicz, Michael Padget, Brent Hinds, Tosin Abasi, Benjamin Weinman, and Stephen Carpenter.”
I wondered if there was a specific set of themes the band wanted to explore.
“Preston writes almost all of the lyrics. During the recording of the album, some of those lyrics changed to fit new song structures, while still holding the same themes and ideas. Our primary theme on the album is the universal struggle of the human condition.”
Having explored Elijah’s influences, I asked him whether there were any specific influences that came through on the debut album.
“We hear quite often that we have a Killswitch Engage sound to us. There are also some 80’s metal, grunge, nu metal, and hard rock elements that push through on most of the material.”
The songs on the album seem very well structured. I asked Elijah about how the band wrote songs, whether they jam together or send files to each other.
“Primarily, we send files to each other. We also try to capture ideas during rehearsal as they arise.”
The band’s fanbase seem to be growing rapidly with over 45,000 streams on Spotify. I was therefore interested in what the group had planned for 2019.
“We plan on releasing at least one new single and two new music videos. We currently have a mini tour set up with our Michigan comrades in Heartsick. As well, we are are performing at Rocklahoma at the Darkside Stage. Aside form that, we are making plans for more regional touring and direct support shows for touring national acts.”
Following this up, I wondered if there was a dream tour Elijah would like to go out on and where would he would like to tour in the world.
“Our album is doing really well on Spotify in Europe. That would be a first choice for me, strategically. I also think it would be pretty awesome to tour South America.”
I asked him about his favorite gig to date and the reasons why.
“I think I can speak for the band when I say that our most recent hometown show is our favorite show to date. Nothing beats a hometown show.“
Finally, I wrapped up by asking whether the band have set any goals for themselves or whether it all happen organically.
“Although we tend to be pretty spontaneous and aren’t the best with organizational skills, most of our current success has come from setting goals and general timelines to achieve those goals. It also helps to have an album that people really like!”
With that, I wished Elijah and the band all the best for the future. If you haven’t checked out Heart Of Jordan yet, you really should. The band are the heartbeat of a new musical generation.
*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.’
*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 →
My memories of 2018 are inextricably linked to amazing music. Life has been fairly unremarkable, but for the sonic highways I have followed which led to me writing for the great Metal Nexus site. Thank you Fist, for taking me on and for the whole team being like family. I am blessed that I can creatively vent through this fantastic site.
This year has seen my love for Metal music being well and truly filled. It has been another bumper year and I hope my top album picks make for interesting reading and lead to people listening to the albums. Whatever you do, please support the artists and I look forward to even more great music in 2019.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Iowa.*
Space Burial formed in 2015. They are a psychedelic/stoner/prog rock band from Dubuque, Iowa. Created as an outlet by singer/guitarist Pinky, Space Burial became, in their own words, “an excuse to stay out late and buy vintage instruments and recording gear.“
Space Burial‘s self titled EP, along with their sophomore release ‘Celestial Seed’ is available on BandCamp.
The band eat heavy musical food, with a mind-altering content. They have successfully fused modern sounds with Seventies prog influences. In addition, they write tunes that matter and have urgency. They pepper spray the listener with spoken word parts in songs and know when to put the hammer to the floor and drive off into the stratosphere.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Wisconsin.*
My Memory Remains formed in June of 2015. The band consists of Nicole Steinmetz on vocals, Aaron Aull and Justin Perry on guitar, Kyle Miller pn drums and CJ Schmidt on bass.
They are based in Eau Claire, WI and have appeared on the same bill as killer bands such as The Devil Wears Prada, All That Remains and Otep.
From their biography, the band “write music in a way that everyone can relate to and can feel a connection with.” They are a hard rock band with Metal leanings and a singer with an incredible voice and range.