Hiran Deraniyagala Of BATTLECROSS: “Phil Anselmo Is A Big Inspiration To Me”

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Last week on Talk Toomey, our friend Josh Toomey had a chance to interview Battlecross guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala. Josh and Hiran discussed what it was like to be out on the road with Phil Anselmo of Superjoint, including a running joke of creating a A Flock of Seagulls cover band. They also talk about Slayer’s ‘Seasons in the Abyss’, GWAR, who they might cover next, and the future plans of Battlecross. You can stream the full interview below. It begins around the 25 minute mark. Continue reading

Blind Haven

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

This month’s state is Michigan!

In 2014 one of Michigan’s best up and coming bands was formed. Blind Haven was formed a year ago, by four guys who swore an oath to creating and maintaining a sound that holds no boundaries by simply obeying the riff. Just by that sentiment alone it should make most anyone a fan. They released their debut “Obey.Worship.Decay” in January at Lakebotttom Recording House. The same place State Of The Art alums Wizard Union also recorded theirs. Blind Haven is Dustin Bourns – Vocals, Heath LaTour – Guitar, Drew Rogers – Bass, Andrew Owen – Drums. If you are a fan of slow drawn out riffs with thick bass lines this is what you have been searching for your whole life. The riffs ring out like a sloth creeping up a tree. Slow doomy doom is what you are in store for. It may be as slow as moss growing on a grave, and let me tell you right now, when it slows down to this pace it kicks more ass than an 8 legged billy goat. I’m not exactly sure if we should thank the drinking water in Michigan or if I should personally thank the mothers who spawned these four guys for bringing them into this shit hole we call earth.

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With the exception of “Burning Ritual” the majority of the songs on the album are 9 minutes long. Songs of this length can usually get boring after a while, this is not the case here. “Stagnant Memories” creeps into my speakers and what comes out should be pleasant to any ear. Vocalist Dustin Bourns has that great median where he doesn’t over do anything, and doesn’t under do it either. It’s simple in the most perfect way. The same really goes for everything with the sound they create. Guitarist Heath LaTour brings simplicity back with his riffing. He does it in a way that helps showcase everything else going on in each song. The simplicity in everything makes each member shine even more. What these guys have is some of the best chemistry in a band I have seen in a long time. I’m hopeful I will be able to see them tour the south soon. After listening to this on repeat for a few days I’m anxious to hear what they will bring to the table next. Give these guys a chance, especially if you are a fan of doom. If you even remotely like Crowbar you will love these guys. Buy “Obey.Worship.Decay”, you will not be disappointed.

Follow them at the following links:

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Wizard Union

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

This month’s state is Michigan!

Get ready to have a 3 piece doom groove band fill the void in your soul with spectacular riffs and hooks.  Wizard Union are from the Great Lakes state of Michigan (Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti). If you haven’t heard of these guys you aren’t trying hard enough to find good music. Their release Smoking Coffins is a kick ass groove filled escapade. Listen to the track “Into the Wizard’s Sleeve” and you will forever be a fan of these guys. Sometimes a three piece leaves room for improvement in the sound where something is lacking, this is not the case here. They showcase how a trio can bring you everything you want and need in a bands sound and more. Vocalist and guitarist Samir pulls double duty with his howls on the mic and riffing on his six string. The bass throughout the song sets this low vibrating tone that makes every vein in your body shake. The groove is created by bassist Aaron and the skin slaying drummer Larry who is also in another awesome band called Lizerrd. The songs aren’t overwhelming you with vocals, it’s the perfect amount. The vocals shriek through rattle through your head and linger throughout the day. The melodies created are so catchy you find yourself rhythmically humming and headbanging. The band was founded in 2012 and comprising this type of sound in such a short time. Normal bands spend years and years honing their sound, but Wizard Union is anything but normal. The album has been out over a year, it was released in January 2014. The album was recorded at Lakebottom Recording House where some other great bands have recorded like Lord Centipede, Serpent Speech, Blind Haven, Cloud Rat.

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The band just wrapped up a performance at Back To The Field 3 festival in Ypsilanti where they were heralded as one of the tops bands to grace the stage. We certainly hope these goes can slow things down enough to make it down south to play some shows. Think of them as a slower groovier grunge version of Electric Wizard. In all honestly though, they create this sound that become all their own. Once you hear these guys you will be wanting to add a new patch to your denim vest, so make some room. Check out “Smoking Coffins” on their bandcamp and show these guys some love for making some amazing metal.

Follow Wizard Union:

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and check out Lakebottom Recording House as well.

Bonehawk!

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

This month’s state is Michigan!

The newly discovered beast called Bonehawk has escaped the confinement of the zoo. By zoo I mean Kalamazoo, Michigan. They are somewhat of a new band releasing their debut album in October of last year (2014) called “Albino Rhino”. One thing albino indicates is a rarity and that is what Bonehawk is. Every song has this simple yet complex arrangement. The first song I heard was ” Desert Sun” and I was hooked. I listened to it maybe 3 times before I moved on to another song. Vocalist Matt Helt sings with this overwhelming authority. It demands your attention but he makes it seem so natural at the same time. This is one of those bands that makes you want to kick your own ass for not knowing about them sooner. They released the debut album through Hornacious Wax Records, and it was recorded with Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit, Michigan. You may be familiar with Jim Diamond as he worked with The White Stripes on their first two albums.

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Bonehawk is a band that everyone should give a chance, I promise you will not be let down. They have this vibe and sound that crosses barriers from rock to metal to psychedelic and blues. The guitar harmonies just bring everything together. The vocal style has this sense of calmness to it that is hard to explain. Songs like “Sexy Beast” are perfect examples of how everything can come together in a song. I am not normally a fan of instrumental songs. However, the title track “Albino Rhino” may have changed my mind. When you don’t include vocals in a song you really have to bring something special and they have done just that. The song immediately grabs your attention with these Sabbath like bass licks leading into the song.  Then the riffs kick in. The song is able to stand alone without lyrics, and that is a hard thing to do. We are hoping to catch these guys on the road soon if they come within a three state radius of us we will be there. We can’t wait to hear more of what they have to offer and I’m sure once you listen to them you will feel the same way.

Follow these guys on Facebook here! You can check them out on Bandcamp and buy the album here!

Blue Snaggletooth [Video]

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*This is part of our State Of The Arts series, showcasing bands every Monday from the state of the month*

The month’s state is Michigan!

Everyone has memories of the old days. The band Blue Snaggletooth reminds me of the last day of high school. They are that band that makes you want to roll your windows down and crank that shit as loud as possible. They are from present day Michigan, but sound more like they are from the 70’s. They are this big mesh of psychedelic classic rock and fuzzed out heavy metal. Most of the lyrical content of the band is “far out”. They have quite the sci-fi theme, even down to their name. The band is named after an obscure character in the Star Wars universe. Lead singer and guitarist Chris Taylor was previously in the bands Mazinga, and Powertrane. Chris formed the band in 2009 and he is the sole original member of the band. They currently have two albums out. The debut album “Dimension Thule” that was released in 2011. They then spent some time playing shows around Michigan and quickly built a fan base. They have this sound that makes listeners both young and old love them. Songs like “Star Flight” from the debut album are throwbacks to the early 70’s. The songs are so clean and classic, but it still has that grunge and grit that makes it stand out. The second and most recent release is entitled “Beyond Thule”. It came out in November 2014. There has been some progression from the rookie release, but it’s still that mash up of great sounds that they have truly honed and made their own. Its bands like this that prove continuously over and over that rock and roll is still alive and kicking ass. Gene Simmons (Kiss) famously said months ago that rock n roll was dead, if he would take the time to listen to bands like this he would be eating his words. Music is no longer the lazy man’s game, you have to search for the really good stuff. The harder they are to find the greater the reward. Blue Snaggletooth is currently in the process of booking an upcoming tour. Tell your local venue they need to book these guys… Give these guys a listen and bang your head to the sweet reward!

Keep up with Blue Snaggletooth!

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http://www.bluesnaggletoothmusic.com/