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Metal Monday: More New OurStage Metal Releases!

Not that OurStage metal acts are dormant during any particular time of year, but summer seems to be especially lively for new releases. Metalcore seems to be the hot style of metal midway through 2012 with new music from OurStage veterans Danforth, A Wanted Awakening, and Hearts Alive. I’ve heard all three of these albums, each of them are a different style of metalcore.

Hearts Alive’s latest full length album, He Who Has the Gold Makes All the Rules came out at the end of April and, unfortunately, I’m just now getting around to hearing it (sorry, everyone). The good news is that this album is both rad and a solid effort. Mixing the heard-hitting onslaught of Disfear with the triumphant guitar work of At The Gates, fellow Swedes Hearts Alive create one fantastically aggressive metalcore album with a slight lean toward the more hardcore side of things. Fun fact: Disfear and At The Gates have the same vocalist, Tomas Lindberg, who is also featured on He Who Has the Gold Makes All the Rules. From front to back, He Who Has the Gold Makes All the Rules is a great listen, one that will surely get your limbs moving in the pit. You can buy it here, or just check it out on Spotify if you like.

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Metal Monday: This Year In Metal…So Far

Perhaps more so than the last handful of years in metal music, 2012 has been pretty crazy, especially when considering the density of phenomenal albums released so far. In typical music fashion, there have been blockbusters, surprises, let downs, newcomers, and game-changers. Thankfully, most of the surprises (for me anyway) have been good ones. Many of the albums and bands covered below have already been featured in Metal Monday this year—if you’re following along, then you’ll be familiar with most of these acts already.

Both Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus released strong albums that largely feature more of the same from the two bands. Fear Factory‘s follow-up to Mechanize further cements their comeback, of sorts, and shows that they’re still the same old Fear Factory. Shadows Fall dropped an album that doesn’t particularly change their mold either, but is good none-the less. The real surprise from a more high-profile act was High On Fire, whose De Vermis Mysteriis was a huge step up from their last album, Snakes For The Divine. Job For A Cowboy‘s Demonocracy also featured more of the same, but a bit better this time around (not surprising, given the quality of the Gloom EP from a few months prior).

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Metal Monday: The Supreme Reign Of Dying Fetus

When it comes to metal, it’s hard to argue against tried and true traditions. Heck, there are still bands emulating the godfathers of metal, Black Sabbath. Though some bands may be treated as pariahs for being unoriginal, many bands are given the exact opposite treatment, being ostracized for changing from their beloved ways (Morbid Angel, anyone?). Dying Fetus don’t really have to worry about that. For about 20 years, Dying Fetus have been putting out strong metal albums, and the metal world has been moshing right along with them. The band’s latest release, Reign Supreme, isn’t looking to change that mold in any way, but does that matter?

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Metal Monday: Baroness Staying Colorful

“We’re not talking about art at some point. We’re talking about the product, you know. Some people want consistent products, some people want innovative products.” Or, at least, that’s how John Baizley, guitarist and vocalist of Baroness, sees it. Amidst a tour with metal juggernauts Meshuggah and Decapitated, they’re leading up to the release of their third full-length release, Green & Yellow, on July 17 through Relapse Records. Before their show at the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts, I sat down to have a conversation with John about the state of affairs with Baroness and got a massive amount of insight about where the band’s minds were throughout the creative process of Green & Yellow.

Baroness, as a band, are no strangers to change. Longtime fans will certainly remember their first two EPs, aptly titled First and Second, as well as their split LP with Unpersons, A Grey Sigh in a Flower Husk. If there was ever any doubts that the members of Baroness are aware of the changes they’ve gone through over the years and how their fans see it, those doubts can be squelched. “I’m aware that they expect one thing, and I think that there will be some surprises. I’m not an idiot, I’m well aware that there are some things on this record that the orthodox heavy music fan is going to turn their back on” says Baizley. “The song is more important than we are, so we sort of supplicated ourselves to the mercy of the song. You know, expose our soft, pink underbelly a bit. I anticipate that there are going to be new people out there who listen to and like it who don’t have an appreciation for our old music. This has been true since ‘Red Album’, but there are people out there who think the first EP we put out is our best material…I’ve got perspective on it, I know what we’re doing. I know the inherent risks, I know the other side of the blade.”

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Metal Monday: Royal Thunder Interview

On May 9, 2012, Josh Weaver was just about two weeks out from the release of CVI, the first full-length with his band Royal Thunder on Relapse Records. That evening he took some time out of his day to have a chat with OurStage to answer questions about the new album and summer touring plans. Royal Thunder are one of many doomy, sludgy, heavy rock ‘n’ roll bands hailing from the south, and they have already received some great press from the likes of NPR, Paste Magazine and BrooklynVegan. Going on their first full national tour this summer with Holy Grail and Valient Thorr, the band faces an eventful season.

OS: You’re quickly approaching the release of your first full-length with Royal Thunder, how are you feeling about it?

JW: I’m super excited to get it out, man. We worked really hard on it so from the time we got done with it ‘til now we’ve been anticipating it. We’re all really excited.
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Metal Monday: The White Trash Metal Brigade Are Back In Full Effect

Norway’s Shot At Dawn have been shredding up and down the OurStage metal charts for a handful of years now. From the release of their 2008 EP Pre Bellum to 2010′s Seize The Night EP and now White Trash Metal Brigade, Shot At Dawn have stayed true to the things that helped them become a band in the first place: high fives and good times. Don’t believe them? Well, the band’s “about” section on Facebook simply reads “Stage dives and high fives! We rule!” That enough evidence for you?

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Metal Monday: What If Bruce Dickinson Never Joined Iron Maiden?

Many years ago in a galaxy known as metal, some stuff happened that would change the course of the genre forever (but you probably knew that already). We’re here to ponder things like “what if that never happened” in regard to some of metal’s most momentous events and happenings—What might the metal world be like today?

Metal vocalist, professional pilot, author and even part-time actor—Bruce Dickinson is a man of huge talent and even larger personality. Anyone with a serious passion for metal probably already knows that Mr. Dickinson was not the original vocalist for legendary metal band Iron Maiden, but what if Bruce never joined the band at all, and the vocalist remained Paul Di’Anno, who performed on the first two Iron Maiden albums?
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Metal Monday: What If The Church Burnings In Norway Never Happened?

Many years ago in a galaxy known as metal, some stuff happened that would change the course of the genre forever (but you probably knew that already). We’re here to ponder things like “what if that never happened” in regard to some of metal’s most momentous events and happenings—What might the metal world be like today?

Most people seem to know that there were a string of church burnings attributed to some members of Norway’s black metal scene in the early nineties (and if you’re reading this you probably have already seen my article that mentioned it from a few weeks prior). As you also likely know, the incidents were sort of a big deal for a lot of reasons. But, what if Varg and company had never gotten the itch to watch some churches burn?
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Metal Monday: What If Rage Against The Machine Never Had A Hit?

Think of any nu metal or rap metal band from the late 90s or early 2000s. Limp Bizkit, Hed PE, Linkin Park, Crazy Town, P.O.D., just for examples. I would almost bet that each and every artist you could think of would list Rage Against The Machine as one of their main influences. What if, however, Rage Against The Machine never actually had any success as a band? Would the influence from bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, Living Colour and Biohazard be enough to leave the rap metal and nu metal landscapes unchanged? Hard to imagine it would—RATM really had their own style that kicked it up a notch from their musical colleagues.

RATM really only lasted for about a decade, but their impact on the music world was pretty huge. Would the world be able to laugh at Limp Bizkit and Fred Durst year after year without RATM’s influence? Probably not. Would anyone have been Crazy Town’s butterfly, baby? Let’s hope not. Somewhat unfortunately, bands that followed RATM musically didn’t so much follow them lyrically, nor did they pick up on their fashion sense. Backwards caps, tripp pants, spiked hair, etc. would probably all still have existed—Rage Against The Machine didn’t roll with that.

Lyrically, however, there is a major disconnect between Rage Against The Machine and other bands who would be a logical musical descendants. These bands, like Korn for example, had a different approach. Instead of raging about the government and how messed up the world was (the United States especially), they mostly connected with family life, being an outcast, etc. Perhaps it was the lack of major political movements or the fact that life was pretty great for the US in the mid to late ’90s (comparatively). Maybe it was just another rebellion by the youth. After all, who wants to be just like their predecessors? Seems to be the way of the world, generation after generation.

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Metal Monday: What If Ozzy Never Left Sabbath?

Many years ago in a galaxy known as metal, some stuff happened that would change the course of the genre forever (but you probably knew that already). We’re here to ponder things like “what if that never happened” in regard to some of metal’s most momentous events and happenings – What might the metal world be like today?

1979. What a year, right? Metal was really starting to gain some traction with breakout bands like Judas Priest, Motörhead, etc. and all seemed well, except over in the Black Sabbath camp. For lack of a better description, the Sabbath camp was a drunken, dysfunctional mess by 1979, and that atmosphere ultimately led to Ozzy Osbourne being kicked out of the band. Ten years into the band’s legendary career, they cut ties with their vocalist. End of the road, right? WRONG. Instead, Sabbath hooked up with equally legendary voice Ronnie James Dio, and cranked out one of the most legendary metal albums of all time: Heaven & Hell.

The rest, as they say, is history. But what if Ozzy never left? Just imagine how different things from 1979 through 1980 could have been!
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