Vans Warped Tour is a yearly staple in the American touring circuit. Sure, the amount of relevant heaviness fluctuates with each year, but the 2013 iteration saw a handful of bands worth caring about. Photographer Maclyn Bean attended the Camden, NJ date of the tour, and with as many bands as he shot, we’re splitting his photos into two posts! This time, we have photos of Big Chocolate, Crossfaith, Oh Sleeper, August Burns Red, Defeater, The Story So Far, and Glass Cloud‘s Chad Hasty performing fill-in drum duties for The Amity Affliction!
While we at Heavy Blog are eagerly awaiting the followup to 2011′s Children of Fire by Oh, Sleeper, we’ll have to wait a little bit longer, as the band have just announced a short run of tour dates to take place in the Southern United States alongside Fit For A King and InDirections. Unfortunately the band are not coming to Oklahoma so I’m out of luck on this tour, but here’s hoping they stop by on their next round of dates. If you’re in the area for this tour, hit it up. While I’m inclined to believe that Oh, Sleeper are leagues ahead of the other bands on this bill, it should still be a fun show for those who attend. Here are the dates:
03/07 Springfield, MO – Transformation Gallery
03/08 Little Rock, AR – Downtown Music Venue
03/09 Tupelo, MS – Goodtime Charlie’s
03/10 Baton Rouge, LA – Mud & Water Bar And Venue
03/11 Houston, TX – Walters
03/13 Mission, TX – Las Palmas Race Park (‘Never Say Never Festival)
03/14 Corpus Christi, TX – Texas House Of Rock
03/15 Tyler, TX – Crossroads Music Venue
03/16 Grand Prairie, TX – Quicktrip Park (‘South By So What‘)
In other Oh, Sleeper news, their new video for ‘Hush Yael’ has been posted online, which you can see below:
It’s a live video so for the most part you know what to expect. I’m just glad they keep the footage matched with the actual music being played.
Ever since its humble beginnings, metal has demonstrated a blatant line between music and religion. Whether a band was singing about the devil, using an inverted cross of bones as a microphone stand, “sacrificing” women on stage, or even burning down the faithful’s houses of worship in the forests of Norway, there’s fair reason metal is looked down upon. At least that’s how it used to be. Fast-forward to present day and you’ll see the view on metal has gone from being the Devil’s spawn to viewed simply as noise. Why? Because bands have become popular that share religious values. From the old school Extol to upcoming crop of Betraying the Martyrs, 7 Horns 7 Eyes, and Impending Doom, the list is filled with many bands that make metal for a living but sing about their religion and that openly identify with their beliefs. More and more pop up every day, and you’ll even see entire tours filled with religious-affiliated bands; even Christian music festivals like Icthus and Cornerstone dedicate much of their lineup to heavier groups with a positive spiritual message. More often than not though, these bands will sometimes share stages with ones that are either openly non-religious or that don’t think religion is positive in any way. So why do we like bands such as these that have values that metal was really designed to go against?
For one, religious metal music is really for a specific, automatic, built-in audience. For someone raised in a conservative, religious household, metal music may not be what the parents find the “ideal” music for their child to listen to. However, if you say “Oh, they’re singing about God and Jesus, and here are their lyrics to prove it”, parents would let their children listen to it and the kids could still feel they get to experience metal like we do because it is religious. Ever read the lyrics to a 7 Horns 7 Eyes song? They go something along the lines of this: “To what end will our foolish ways lead? Shall we be consumed by your Holy wrath and reap our deserved fate? O my God, come down in power engulf this man in cleansing winds of Your unceasing mercy. Let adoration rise within me; liberate Your creation.” Those lyrics were taken from their song ‘Divine Amnesty’ from their debut album Throes Of Absolution, and it’s pretty black and white that these lyrics are about God. It doesn’t sound like on the surface, though, which is why kids love it; their parents let them listen, but it’s still heavy metal.
Oh, Sleeper is one of my favorite metalcore band, though they have been off my radar for a while. Their last record Children of Fire was astounding, and I gave it a perfect score, and I still hold true to my opinion. A while ago, Oh, Sleeper announced rhythm guitarist James Erwin would be leaving the band. In response, Oh, Sleeper has moved Nate Grady, their old bassist, to guitar duties. Here is an official statement from the band:
We wish our brother James Erwin all the best in his future endeavors and we are very excited to announce our new guitarist. Nate Grady, will be moving from bass to guitar. For those of you who don’t know, Nate was a student of Shane‘s for quite some time and is an absolute beast on guitar.
His switch to guitar opens up a whole new world of playing for us, a world of shredtacular riffs never before played in Oh, Sleeper. We are very excited to have him as we begin the writing process for the NEW OH SLEEPER ABLUM TO BE RELEASED NEXT YEAR!
Get excited, because this next Oh,Sleeper album will be unlike anything you have ever heard from us before.
Now, without further ado, we introduce Nate Grady.”
So yeah, Oh, Sleeper is going to be just fine. Some spectacular news is that Oh, Sleeper will be releasing a new album next year, and the band is promising something new. I can’t wait.
“‘I like food/ Food tastes good.’ In 1981 the Descendents unknowingly wrote a lyrical masterpiece and, unwittingly, my mantra. Yeah, that’s right, I like food… a fuckin’ lot. It’s a miracle that I’m not morbidly obese, or haven’t died of a heart attack or diabetes because I love to stuff comestibles in my face hole so goddamn much.”
On my daily rounds across the internet, I stumbled across a peculiar tweet from ambitious truth seeking documentarians Vice. It was a collaboration that had me doing a double take. Converge’s Nate Newton had written an article for Vice about touring food. To make things a bit more interesting, I also learned Nate had endure the vegan lifestyle for a time. This certainly threw a curveball in my preconception of bands being able to recite the dollar menu for all fast food chains in America and really got me thinking, “How does a band eat on the road?” So I did some research and I’d like to present to you a compendium of information entailing tips on how to eat on the road, some touring food history and general experiences musicians have had at the expense of the touring lifestyle.
I’ve never experience touring myself aside from some school trips with jazz band and choir, and while lavish, we were still expected to feed ourselves. It’s different as a kid going from town to town with $200 dollars in his pocket to feed himself over the course of 2 weeks and buy knick-knacks than it is for a group of 6 or so guys travelling on a much more restricted budget. There is a certain novelty for Canadians going to the states because we are subjected to American advertising and having access to all of the franchises that haven’t had the opportunity to cross the border is like being a kid in a candy store. (Taco Bell to a Canadian is amazing for the record. Our Taco Bells average $8 per meal so I feel like a thief in the States) This didn’t last long though. After the third day of these trips, I was usually clamoring for a home cooked meal. I can only imagine that the experience gets a lot worse a lot quicker as an American.
Now during my research, the industry standard for a touring musician’s food money is ten dollars a day. So let’s hear about what musicians think of this kind of budget.
It’s no secret that being in a band is a tough job, especially in this day and age, but it’s rare for us to get a real look at what really goes into being a touring musician in the states. Luckily for us, Shane Blay of Oh, Sleeper recently took to his Facebook to outline a few of the reasons why ‘mid-level bands’ like Oh, Sleeper make so little money, and are finding it increasingly difficult to do what they love doing. You can read Mr. Blay’s account below. It’s a fairly interesting read, and maybe it’ll sway some readers away from solely pirating music. These bands really need the money.
For the past 5 years my brothers in Oh, Sleeper and myself have sacrificed our lives, our time, relationships, birthdays, holidays, health(haha) to travel around and play shows for our fans. Not to say that isn’t been a fun ride!
I would just like to bring a few things to our fans attention:
02. For The Wicked
03. Chaos: Reborn
05. Falling Away
06. Absolute Horror
07. Angry Letters To God
08. Baptized In Filth
09. My Light Unseen
10. Death. Ascension. Resurrection.
Deathcore is a very touchy subject this side of Heavy Blog Is Heavy. The name is infamous in the metal community, especially with so called “metal purists” who think that breakdowns and 808 bass drops don’t belong in metal. Personally, I like deathcore. I think everyone needs some good music just to vibe to. You don’t always need to have a super technical guitar solo over a 21/8 riff while going 220 BPM. Sometimes, the standard 4/4 chug is a breath of fresh air after consuming ample amounts of tech metal or death metal. Impending Doom do deliver some of the sickest chugs I have heard in a while. However, I can’t help but feel dissatisfied with Baptized in Filth.
Well, this is odd. So apparently the Texas metalcore outfit Oh, Sleeper is gearing up to release their first video game on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The game is said to be a side-scrolling adventure game where the player controls and guides the character Gage Ryan through the war-like story of their latest album Children of Fire. It certainly sounds like a cool idea. I wouldn’t say I’m terribly excited by it, but I am intrigued, and will definitely be giving it a shot when the time comes around. The game is out March 20th, and you can read the full press release below.
“The side-scrolling arcade-style game focuses on the character of Gage Ryan, a warrior dispatched to lead an army against the forces of savage darkness in a barren post-apocalyptic Earth. Players will fight through multiple levels of challenging enemy forces and strongholds, earning resources along the way which can be used to summon allies and more.
And what game would be complete without power ups? “Stand Your Ground” has plenty that can be used to obliterate all the enemies on the screen. Complete with a deep storyline and a rich cast of characters, “Stand Your Ground” will appeal to fans of games like Swords and Soldiers, Plants vs Zombies, Patapon, and even Golden Axe.
“We are so pumped to release this project to the masses,” explains OH, SLEEPER frontman Micah Kinard. “This adventure allows the gamer to step into the boots of a warrior, pick up his axe, and traverse through the storyline of our latest album, Children of Fire. We are always looking for ways to allow our listeners to delve deeper into our concepts and we think ‘Stand Your Ground‘ is the perfect way to do this. Plus, who doesn’t love video games!?”
The game’s soundtrack will sound familiar to current OH, SLEEPER fans, with “retro” midi versions of 10 of the band’s songs providing the soundscapes as player do battle. In addition to the immersive gameplay and storyline, multiple game modes provide re-playability even for those who have conquered the main game itself.”
I love The Devil Wears Prada. I’m not going to deny that. They take a lot of flak for being a “scene” band and their use of breakdowns take a lot of criticism, but I just don’t buy it. They have a really unique and heavy sound and an unprecedented atmosphere with songs full of emotion. I also have a high regard for Chris Rubey’s minimalist approach to guitar. I idolize every aspect of their music and I don’t think they deserve a lot of the criticism they receive. It’s well orchestrated and composed and despite the odd break down, TDWP are one of those bands that use breakdowns as compositional tools and not derivative drivel. /endrant
Anyways, TDWP have an upcoming live album which I am quite excited for. Having witnessed them in a live setting, I can tell you that their energy is an essential component to their music. They released footage from the DVD of their song “Vengeance” from last years stellar Dead Throne and it looks fantastic. The crane shots are really epic and it looks like they captured the essence of their shows really well, without sacrificing the intimacy of the performance. Check it out!
There are also some other updates that have been overlooked. Better late then never though! TDWP’s Keyboard player and sample programmer James Baney recently announced that he is leaving his band to focus on his marriage. A real shame since his stage presence was unmatched as far as keyboardist’s are concerned. Oh well. Here is the official statement.
With all the hustle and bustle about Sweden’s returned punk heroes Refused it’s apt that, on their recent European tour supporting Enter Shikari with Your Demise, American post-hardcore band letlive. saw fit to cover Refused’s track ‘The Deadly Rhythm‘ from The Shape Of Punk To Come when they passed through the Swedish stops of Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö, and the ever-vigilant Rock Sound were there to film it! I like, even though it misses some of the nuances of the original — but that’s punk for you; you’re not supposed to do it ‘properly’!
More importantly, frontman Jason Butler cites Refused as one of the reasons they exist, which given the quality of their most recent release Fake History, is something for which to be thankful.
In related news, letlive. will be heading out on the Dead Throne Tour in support of The Devil Wears Prada with Every Time I Die and Oh, Sleeper at the beginning of March, and despite the meh headliner, this is definitely a tour worth turning up for. Details after the jump!