*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.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Rhode Island.*
There is not a great deal I know about Rhode Island’s Public Policy, but their Facebook page gives a colorful overview – “Public Policy is a sinewy, brash, and beautiful rock ‘n roll band from Providence, RI. Complex, tightly-crafted rock songs churn and boil under dense and plaintive lyrics. It’s not jangular, and there’s no saxophone in sight.“
The band is comprised of Dean Gardner (vocals, guitar), Nick Cooper (guitar, vocals), Dan Moriarty (drums, backing vocals) and Dan Sliwinski (bass guitar, backing vocals).
Public Policy – Human Resource
Their sophomore release ‘Human Resource’ was recorded by Daryl Rabidoux at The Radar Studio, Clinton, CT and Axion Media Lab, Pawtucket, RI. It was mixed by Daryl Rabidoux at Axion Media Lab, Pawtucket, RI.
This is five tracks of steaming emotion, a stream of consciousness that brings back Grunge and Emo in one post-hardcore package. The vocals veer between sneers and tears and the guitars rip away right in your face.
The band are artists, first and foremost. Nothing on this release cries out any rock star pretentions. They are a ball of concentrated acidic chords and some bitter gospel songs for the new generation. The concerns of the young are howled out on tunes such as “Ice Age“, with its eco-sermon “burn down together” refrain.
Other fine numbers include “Insulin“, with its chopping chords and grinding punk verses. Make no assumptions, these guys can play and have melodies weaving their way around this release. They know they want to talk to you and they know their message needs to get through.
They also have the same alternative vibes as the early Eighties indie bands, but they have the power that eludes those artists. They sound as if the struggle has been all too real…
Check out Public Policy and see if you can get behind their human resourcing.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Florida.*
“A country divided
A smeared reputation
The veil pulled back
To reveal the death machine” – All Is Dust
This month, I take a look at Leviathan Cross, the three piece band based out of Tampa, Florida who have “a fascination with the occult and the macabre.“
The band were formed in 2015 and have released two EPs to date, a self-titled in 2016 and ‘All Is Dust’ in August of this year. The band is comprised of James Herrholz on guitar/vocals, Kyle Weidner on bass/vocals and Brandon Thrift on drums. They have a dark sound, which stretches beyond the three piece format. There is an errie sense of menace in their grooves that would neatly fit into the soundtrack of a horror film.
The music, whilst distorted to some white noise limit on their self-titled EP, has evolved into a riffing maelstrom of monstrous proportion on ‘All Is Dust‘. They have cleaned the production and swabbed the sonic decks with the now crystal clear sound taking them into the stratosphere of Doom Metal.
The latest release really does bite at your ears from the off. It has a nasty claustrophobic vibe that also tingles your senses with aggressive distain. The band are tight and have more hooks than a butcher’s shop. They stretch muscles of music and infuse with spices beyond imagination.
The songs on ‘All Is Dust’ leap out and pull you into the weird layer of pain. sweetened by guitar nuggets and drums that paralyse with an urgency unknown by many who play in this dark arena.
“Ava” ushers in the EP with a choppy piece of alternative guitar and then smashes you with a riff that is a classic. The singing is clean, but emotional. This may be one thing that sets Leviathan Cross apart from many others in the genre. It is a unique sound, full of unexpected melodies and power. The voice should be slightly higher in the mix, but it still sounds fantastic. The fuzzbox distortion solo is great as well.
A bumping bass and drums opener sets off the NWOBHM inspired “Static Regime“. It is another killer riff and I can see these guys playing arenas with this tune.
“Beyond The Veil” sparkles with grinding diamonds in its life. “The Well” has some thundering bass drumming and a razor sharp riffing wall. The song speeds along, breaking into territory that was reserved for Speed Metal bands back in the day. This is not your standard Doom fare.
The penultimate track is “K Webster“, which is less of a success for me, as it hasn’t the tunefulness of the other compositions.
The EP finishes with the title track and this is a pretty political song, opening with some of President Trump’s soundbites. It is a call for greater unity and a discovery of division. It is also the only time when Death Metal vocals are used, to great effect. Awesome!
There you have it – Florida produces yet another top band, destined to be remembered in years to come as a serious player. Check them out!
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is West Virginia.*
“I’m tired of tugging my hair
And scratching my neck ’til it’s red
And I’m wired from all of the coffee
I’m funneling into my head
My legs are jelly at night
From boogiein’ straight into bed
And I try to straighten it out
And get tangled all over again” – “Boomerang”
RozwellKid are an unusual landmark band, breathing life into the saturated market of pop punk. They take a quirky look inside the body politic of American society much the same way that David Lynch does with his vignettes of life in his movies. Continue reading →