ARSIS – Interview with guitarist/vocalist James Malone
By Peter Atkinson
Photos from facebook.com/arsis
Arsis mainman and lone original member James Malone has had to deal with quite a bit over the Virginia Beach, Va.-based melodic/technical death metal band’s decade-plus career. Frequent lineup changes and Malone’s own well-chronicled health problems — notably a 2008 recurrence of the anorexia he’d dealt with as a teenager that was brought on, ironically, when he quit drinking alcohol after becoming what he described as a “fat, bloated drunk” — have presented significant obstacles for the band, who have had to refute rumors of a break-up on more than one occasion.
Arsis dropped off of tours with Faceless and Carcass, missed dates on others, played shows without a bassist and did a tour with Firewind in 2011 that Malone himself was forced to sit out. Over the last year or so the band lost drummer and Malone’s long-time cohort Mike Van Dyke for a second time and guitarist Nick Cordle left to join Arch Enemy – following in the footsteps of ex-guitarist Ryan Knight, who’d left to join The Black Dahlia Murder and live drummer David Kinkade who moved onto Soulfly.
Yet here they remain, a testament to — unfortunately quite literally — what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Arsis issued the six-track EP, Lepers Caress, through Scion A/V, late last year and have followed up with their fifth full-length Unwelcome, due April 30 on Nuclear Blast, both packed with the band’s unique mish-mash of death metal brutality, classic metal catchiness and classical dexterity and elegance. And they are jumping right out on the road that originally had them opening for Swedish heavyweights Hypocrisy, however Hypocrisy announced April 26 – after this interview was conducted – that they would not be able to take part in the tour because of visa issues, leaving Arsis to headline the shows with Krisiun as well as some scheduled dates on their own. After that, Arsis were looking forward to a busy, productive year ahead.
As the band readied to hit the road, Malone took a few moments to answer a batch of questions via e-mail and sounded pretty upbeat about where things with Arsis stand right now and what lies ahead.
Boston power/thrash veterans MELIAH RAGE have recently announced Marc Lopes joining their ranks as the new vocalist. This marks the end of the nearly 2 years of downtime for the band: they are currently working on a new album, “Warrior”, to be released this July through Metal on Metal Records, and getting ready to play some shows, including Warriors of Metal VI festival in June in Ohio (with ATTACKER, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, STEEL ASSASSIN, TWISTED TOWER DIRE and many others). The previous vocalist, Paul Souza, sang on “Dead to the World” (released in July 2011), but he was not a real band member, therefore the group hasn’t played a single show in support of their last album.
Commented the band’s founder and guitarist Anthony Nichols: “We knew a lot of the same people and decided to have Marc come in and work with producer Rich Spillberg. We are all very excited to work with Marc. He is a talented vocalist and highly motivated to write, tour and record with MELIAH RAGE.”
Old school metal label Metal on Metal Records release their annual compilation CD “Compendium of Metal” as always for the Keep It True festival in April. The label prepared a trailer with about 1-minute excerpt from every song – it can be watched and listened to on YouTube.
“Compendium of Metal Vol. 6″ contains 14 songs of 13 bands, clocks at 70 minutes, and comes with 8 pages informative booklet. Most of the tracks have not been released before. MELIAH RAGE and METAL LAW present exclusive new songs, SKELATOR, BATTLERAGE, NOMAD SON and ARKHAM WITCH are featured with previously unreleased versions of their older songs, MORTALICUM and STONEGRIFF tracks had been previously only self-released by the bands on limited EPs, while ATTACKER and SACRED GATE songs come off their just released albums. Only 3 tracks are taken from Metal on Metal Records‘ 2011 and 2012 releases (of OUTRAGE, HERETIC and AFTER OBLIVION).
The label offers “Compendium of Metal Vol. 6″ not only for half of the regular CD price, but also with a bigger discount when purchased in addition to other CDs available from their online store. Digital version of the album in lossless formats is available for downloading from Bandcamp. Read the rest of this entry »
Due to continuous demand, Metal on Metal Records re-released the sold-out second CD of traditional heavy metal band from Berlin, METAL LAW. Originally recorded and released in 2008, the album is now entitled “Lawbreaker” Second Edition, and, apart from remastered sound, offers three bonus tracks dug up from the band’s vaults – demo songs recorded still under the group’s original name REUDIG:
• “Mirrors” (2001) – previously unreleased track.
• “Metal or Die” (2002) – taken from “Hunter & Prey” demo (2004).
• “Raise Your Fist” (2003) – previously unreleased version of the song later re-recorded for METAL LAW’s debut album “Night of the Wolf”.
“Tides of War”, the second full-length of the German traditional heavy metal act SACRED GATE, was released on April 19th through Metal on Metal Records. The band created a captivating and epic concept album about the Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans and their allies fought for freedom against invading Persians. Not a surprising choice of subject, considering that 2 founding members (vocalist Jim Over and guitarist Nicko Nikolaidis) have Greek origins. According to the label, “The new album is undoubtedly a more mature, more epic and more confident effort that shows the band moving a few steps away from their main influence (IRON MAIDEN), and crystallizing their own style, with strong, melodic but rough vocals, outstanding guitar work and rock solid rhythm section.”
Three songs off the album, “Defenders (Valour Is in Our Blood)”, “Gates of Fire” and “Spartan Killing Machine” are available for streaming from Metal on Metal Records website. And a short promo clip can be watched on YouTube.
STONEGRIFF, traditional doom metal band from Scania, southern Sweden, has joined Metal on Metal Records roster. Their debut album (following 3 self-released demos/EPs), entitled “Prologus Magicus”, is scheduled for a July release.
Jowita Kaminska-Peruzzi, Metal on Metal Records CEO, stated: “We love doom metal, but unfortunately more often than not we come across bands that label their music as doom (or are labeled as such by record companies and media), but are either completely unlistenable or “only” boring for us (like all drone, sludge and most stoner bands). We dig death/doom in many cases, but most of all, when we say “doom”, we mean traditional and epic doom METAL. And in our opinion, there are rather few bands that play this purest style of the heaviest music and do it with real class and with balls, so when we come across one, there’s a big smile plastered on our faces as we hit the “play” button over and over again. Such was the case with STONEGRIFF. When they contacted us and we checked the songs from their MySpace page, it didn’t end on just one or two listens. We were coming back to the songs from their 2012 EP “III” and playing them repeatedly many more times. What grabbed our attention and eventually won us over were not only the crushing riffs and organic sound, but mostly the vocals with so much charisma that is really rare to find nowadays. We’ve just received all songs for their debut album and we know it was the right decision. They could probably be best compared to KRUX, while it’s rather obvious that their main influence are the forefathers of the genre, BLACK SABBATH. And we can bet the fans of TROUBLE, PENTAGRAM, CANDLEMASS, NOMAD SON, SPIRITUS MORTIS and LAS CRUCES will dig them just like we do.”
STONEGRIFF‘s biography, info and links can be found on the band’s page on Metal on Metal Records website.
Rock influenced black/doom metal masters FORGOTTEN TOMB are due to kick off a headlining European tour on the 24th of April (Wednesday) at United Club in Torino (Italy). The tour will play in cities across Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, UK, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Austria. The final list of dates has now been confirmed.
During the event FORGOTTEN TOMB will celebrate a significant occasion as well as promote the latest album “And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil“ (the album that finally “hit their groove” – Pitchfork). The celebration in turn is connected with the 10 years anniversary of “Springtime Depression” - selected shows will feature a special set, on which this particular record will be performed in its entirety. “Springtime Depression” has been lately reissued and remastered on Digipack and Vinyl on Agonia Records.
The Heavy Metal Music Association of Canada (H.M.M.A.C) and Dungeonworks Productions are hails horns high to share with the Montreal metal community and its musicians another great informative and networking event as part of the H.M.M.A.C. music education series ‘Climbing The Metal Ladder’.
Chilean band SILVERJACK have released its third album “Apostando A Ganador” via Digmetalworld Records in the US. With this 3rd full length album the band is working its way out of getting to a different venue and get to know more fans all over the world. The band have announced a music video in the next few weeks.
Evilution, the debut from Sacramento, California-based power metal act DEADLANDS is out now on Massacre Records. Boasting killer hooks, dynamic vocals, aggressive riffing, epic solos, catchy lyrics, driving drums and intricate bass lines that combine heavy, thrash, power, groove, and speed metal with shredding hard rock overtones, this band of seasoned performers delivers a heavy and energetic yet commercial musical approach in its songwriting and execution.
Formed in the summer of 2010 by lead vocalist Brian O’Connor (Consfearacy, ex-Vicious Rumors), lead guitarist Michael J. Gardner (The Council), lead guitarist Kevin Rohr (Spectre), bassist Steve “Dedbass” Northam and drummer Danny Sablan (HateFX, The Council), these longtime friends and experienced musicians had a clear vision of creating a powerful and unique heavy metal group. DEADLANDS is quickly establishing a large fan base, being nominated for a 2012 Sacramento Area Music Award (SAMMIES), playing live, and sharing the stage with artists such as Exodus, Anvil, Y&T, Great White, Death Angel and more. They have received great reviews and high praise for their music and live performances from fans, concert promoters and media sources.
After months of searching and reviewing literally hundreds of applicants from around the world, Pentagram is excited to announce Matt Goldborough as their new guitarist. Matt is a Philadelphia based musician, composer and riff aficionado. Versed in many genres of music, Matt’s experience outside of the heavy metal world brings a fresh yet classic approach to this genre-defining band. His style hearkens back to the very origins of “heavy metal” itself when heavy blues and psychedelic rock guitarists pioneered the genre in an attempt to harden rock and roll. This of course is exactly what Bobby Liebling and the original Pentagram line up did back in 1971.
Having played in a bevy of bands on the East coast, Goldsborough is most recently known as part of the acclaimed Philadelphia rock band, THE GREAT UNKNOWN.
Finland’s ENSIFERUM have spent the past 18 years honing the steel of their folk-infused battle metal auditory attack. Their albums are further bolstered by a live show that has become one of the most entertaining in all of metal. Proof of ENSIFERUM’s status as one of the most vital bands in modern metal was made apparent through their headlining slot on this year’s Paganfest USA tour. To further spread the band’s music to a worldwide audience, ENSIFERUM has forged a deal with Metal Blade Records! The band inked the deal with Metal Blade CEO Brian Slagel during the Paganfest USA tour, and all parties are enthusiastic about new music and new possibilities.
Bassist/backing vocalist Sami Hinkka comments: “We are really looking forward to our co-operation with such a great and legendary label as Metal Blade. The next full length album should be out in early 2015. We have already started working with the new songs and it’s obvious that the next album will be another step ahead for Ensiferum. And now that we have united forces with mighty Metal Blade nothing can stop us! The next album is going to be something that will rock the very foundations of folk metal genre.
“We also would like to thank Spinefarm Records for all these 13 years, it’s been as blast but now it is time for us to move on and head bravely towards new challenges.
Deadline Music/Cleopatra Records are offering new and improved mixes of the Geoff Tate-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE’s new album, Frequency Unknown.Customers who purchased the original mix version and are dissatisfied with the audio can e-mail the label a scan of your actual receipt for the physical CD to Queensryche@cleorecs.com and they will send you a replacement disc at no charge. No questions asked. Read the rest of this entry »
IMAX Corporation and Picturehouse today announced that Metallica Through the Never, filmmaker Nimród Antal’s captivating 3D movie featuring one of music’s most enduring and iconic bands, will be digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX 3D format and released wide in North America exclusively into IMAX®theatres for a one-week engagement starting Friday, September 27th. The film will expand into additional theatres on October 4th.
Starring Metallica, a cast of thousands of their fans and breakout star Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Metallica Through the Never is written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Nimród Antal (Predators, Kontroll) and produced by former IMAX film producer Charlotte Huggins (Journey to the Center of the Earth). The film marries groundbreaking footage and editing techniques with a compelling narrative, in which a band crew member (played by DeHaan) is sent out on a mission during Metallica’s roaring live set in front of a sold-out arena. While on this mission, he unexpectedly has his life turned completely upside down.
“IMAX! It doesn’t get bigger or cooler than that!” said Lars Ulrich who formed Metallica in 1981 together with James Hetfield. “For four guys in a rock band of average height, to get a chance to unleash their 3D film on IMAX screens the size of buildings across the country is a mind-blowing thought. ‘Hey look, Mom, I’m 50 feet tall (finally!)’ There is no better way to experience film and when you throw in the spectacle of music and sound this should amount to an unprecedented, unique and truly next level experience.”
“The totally immersive experience of IMAX 3D is the perfect complement to Metallica’s in-your-face, big and loud performance style,” said Bob Berney, CEO of Picturehouse. “The combination of the band’s music and a strong storyline create a unique cinematic experience for die-hard fans and general moviegoers alike.”
“Nimród Antal and Metallica have done a tremendous job capturing the essence of the band’s commanding live performances and have created a visual and aural cinematic spectacle,” said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Entertainment. “We believe the power of The IMAX Experience will deliver for Metallica fans and ensure they feel every part of this journey.”
The IMAX 3D release of Metallica Through the Never will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.