Welcome to the second part in our ongoing series of Heavy Blog Is Heavy’s “Best Of” selections where we explore a genre of music and each of our dedicated authors pick a favorite album to share a personal experience with. For our second round, we have chosen a genre that is somewhat controversial—Progressive Metalcore. It’s controversial in that its boundaries are somewhat unclear and therefore host a slew of different bands under their wings. In addition, the word metalcore itself is enough to set many a mouth foaming.
Harnessing the aggression inherent in metalcore, the progressive end of things seeks to give it a more subtle or varied expression. Taking the normal tools of the trade; breakdowns, harsh vocals and chuggy bass to name a few, the genre further expands on them in many different ways. Sampling, peculiar structures or the introduction of unexpected genres (like jazz for example) seek to modify the basic metalcore formula. The bands on this list excel in fusing the two halves together to create an intriguing, yet still aggressive, whole.
Music born from strife is often some of the most powerful, impactful music ever created. When that raw emotional element is the main driving force behind the creation of the art, the outcome is usually something very pure and potent, and is something that could not have been created in any other way. This is how Wovenwar was born. On May 7, 2013, As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis was arrested for attempting to hire a hitman to murder his ex-wife. In an instant, As I Lay Dying went from one of the biggest metal bands in the world to a band with an uncertain future.
Wovenwar, the new group featuring members of As I Lay Dying with Oh, Sleeper‘s Shane Blay, have finally come forth with a full song for streaming. The possibly Lambesis-written update on As I Lay Dying’s website was correct; this new project is much more radio-friendly! That doesn’t have to be a bad thing so long as the songs are great, and their first single ‘All Rise’ shows plenty of promise in that regard.
When Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying and Austrian Death Machineplead guilty to the attempted murder of his ex-wife, the future of said bands was immediately cast into shadow. Further complications abounded as issues were raised about original ownership of the band and how band members should proceed with making music. Now, the remaining band members have announced their step: leaving their past behind, they will form Wovenwar with the addition of Oh, Sleeper‘s Shane Blay.
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.