For the Love of Rock and Metal is a blog dedicated to music articles, concert reviews, CD reviews, interviews and all other things related to rock and metal. There is an emphasis on local or semi-local music in the Madison, WI area.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Apocalyptic Nightmare Journey by M. Shawn Crahan

Calling all Maggots! Great news on the Slipknot front. First, Shawn Crahan's (Clown) book The Apocalyptic Nightmare is being released next Tuesday, June 19th 2012. And for all of you Madisonians, he will be at Barnes and Noble West on Thursday, June 21st 2012 for a meet and greet and book signing. Check out the B&N Event here.
In addition to Clown's new book, the first annual Knotfest is coming up in August. They will start in Council Bluffs, IA on August 17th and be in Minneapolis, MN (actually, Somerset, WI) on August 18th. I have my tickets already, do you? Knotfest will feature Slipknot, Deftones, Lamb of God, Dethklok, Serj Tankian, Cannibal Corpse and more.
The Knotfest website describes it as:

"This day of reckoning will be the darkest and the most brutally sinister awakening in heavy music performance history!
An apocalyptic world of fire and madness awaits you as you enter the gates to sinister surprises emanating from around every corner! Be very aware upon entering the grounds that no one is considered safe.
Featuring two heavy hitting stages of hard music, this day and night of Knotfest is guaranteed to make your blood pump and your ears bleed.
The big top will be filled with SLIPKNOT memorabilia, interactive art installations and other surprises.
At nightfall, all bets are off! The PAGAN world WILL go off in a riotous mindfuck!
Fire and light WILL blur your senses. You WILL feel and smell the sickness. The smell of KNOTFEST alone WILL cling to your attire for months to come.
Go ahead, take your chances on the RING OF FIRE carnival ride. Destroy your life's aggression in drum circles with members of Slipknot taking place on mangled frames of forgotten metal.
Leave your official mark on graffiti walls and take your chances walking through the slipknot museum.
An event that will attack all five senses is awaiting you at KNOTFEST 2012."

Check out the website here.

Of course, it will be sad to see Slipknot without The Pig (Paul Gray/#2), but the best way to carry on his memory is to carry on the music. I hope to see everyone both at the book signing and at Knotfest.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Featured Video: Seven Signs at the High Noon Saloon

Can you tell I'm in love? Because I am. I don't think I could ever get sick of this band. Amazing to listen to, awesome to watch and all very friendly. This is definitely the next Lamb of God. Check out the video of Seven Signs at the High Noon Saloon. Also show them some love on Facebook and Reverbnation.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Interview with Art of the Flesh Vocalist Dan Schulz

Art of the Flesh Interview with Vocalist Dan Schulz

By Nicki Stapleton
(Originally posted on The Blacktooth - follow the link by clicking above)

Sometimes it is hard to find new and distinctive metal bands, but sometimes they just fall into your lap. This is what happened when I heard an up-and-coming metal band at a show which had a unique combination of sounds including technical and death metal.

Art of the Flesh, a group from northern Illinois, was formed in 2004 by drummer Brian Leh, guitar player Scott Tomaselli and bass player Travis Jurs. The lineup now includes guitarist “Mega” Mark Harrison and vocalist Dan Schulz, who gave me the opportunity to ask him some questions about the band and himself, get to know Art of the Flesh better and learn more about their new EP to be released in spring of 2012 along with new merchandise.

Nicki: Where did the name “Art of the Flesh” come from?
Dan Schulz: We play the art. We are the flesh.

Nicki: Can you give me a little history about the band?
Dan: The style was just straight up thrash [when the band was formed] and we’ve evolved into a melodic technical death metal. We’ve gone through a good amount of member changes in the years, but finally have established our ideal sound and musicians. I’ve been in the band for 3 years now and can say the passion, drive and dedication of each individual of this band is uncanny, not to mention the talent. We’ve become more structured and ever since our new guitar player, “Mega” Mark Harrison joined, our style is getting heavier.

Nicki: Why did you choose metal?
Dan: Well, to be honest, it’s the only music that ever gave me a drive or a feeling after listening to it. The music, the lyrics and the feeling just grabbed ahold of me and never let go. The first metal band I ever heard that pushed me in the direction of where I am at is Children of Bodom. Their song “Bed of Razors” got me to where I am today.

Nicki: Tell me about the new EP you’re recording.
Dan: We’re currently recording at Botawerks Studios in Downers Grove, IL with our good friends engineering the project; Don Byczynski, and Chuck Macak. We currently have 4 songs tracked and are wrapping it all up hopefully by the end of February. We have brand new tracks on there and also some of our oldest songs we’ve revamped. So we’re very excited to see the outcome of this EP, especially with our new guitar player Mark.
Nicki: Can you give me some insight into the band’s writing process?
Dan: Our writing process is the motto “bring it to the table.” All three guitarists in the band bring new tunes and we go from there. We never shut down an idea, we always collaborate on a song . There is no ego, which is one of the reasons I love this band.

Nicki: What is your favorite song to perform live?
Dan: Personally, my favorite song to perform live is “If These Walls Could Talk.” I love the song because of its structure and how powerful it is. This is one of the songs we’re recording and I’m really excited to release it and see the feedback.

Nicki: What are some of your influences?
Dan: Some of my top influences are Lamb of God, Kalmah, Children of Bodom, In Flames, Scar Symmetry, Solution .45, Pantera, Slayer, Opeth and Into Eternity. These are the bands I grew up as a musician listening to and forming my style to.

Nicki: What else do you have in the works?
Dan: I just recently started a metal side project with Don Byczynski called “Summon the Rapture” in Chicago. We’re currently in the studio recording our 4 song EP that’s almost finished. The style is hard to explain, but a technical progressive death metal is our basic influence with European sound. I’m really excited to finish up and release the songs.
I also just graduated from Madison Media Institute from their recording and music technology program. I have plans to be working as a freelance engineer and hope to one day open my own studio and production company.

Nicki: Other than becoming the next great metal band, what aspirations do you have in life?
Dan:  I really hope to one day have my own studio and production company, helping local bands with proper studio recording, marketing and  networking. I want nothing more than to be involved with music or audio engineering. It’s the only thing that makes sense in my world.

Nicki: If you could describe the band in one word, what would it be and why?
Dan: Underdogs. The reason is we’ve been through a lot together, been around for a while and will never quit. No one really knows us, but when we are heard we get great feedback. A lot of our fans can’t put an exact label on us. We pride ourselves on not sounding like everyone else in the metal scene.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Introduction to the Local Metal Scene by Jody Thomas

I mentioned before that I'm kind of disappointed in the local music scene recently - not the bands, but the lack of people showing up. I know the economy sucks and bars are expensive and some cover charges are getting out of control, but it still makes me sad. So, I asked my good friend Jody to write a little something about being introduced to the local metal scene. I drag her with me to a lot of shows (now she even comes willingly!) and we always have a great time. If you know someone who might enjoy a show, then bring them out next time. If everyone going to a show brings one friend, we could pack most of the local venues quickly. Anyway... on to Jody's column.

My Introduction to the Local Metal Scene
By Jody Thomas

Before my adventures with Nicki, my knowledge and exposure to local metal bands was almost non-existent.  In fact, I didn’t even know the different genres of metal music.  I basically thought there was only loud and louder.  Don’t get me wrong, loud is good.

Besides the music, one of my favorite things about going to local shows is seeing the bands appreciation of their fans.  In all of the shows that I’ve been to after a band finished a set they would stick around and listen to the other bands and interact with their fans.

One of my favorite shows was Taproot, Silence is Broken, Vintage Burning and 2211.
Although the venue wasn’t that friendly the music was great.
With the exception of 2211, who looked like they would rather be home in bed than playing music, the bands put their heart and soul into their music.

I must say it’s quite easy to get “star struck” at these shows.  Especially with the bands that really enjoy what they’re doing.

I’m very happy that Nicki has opened my eyes and ears into the local metal scene.  I am also happy to say that I haven’t suffered any hearing loss.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Art of the Flesh, Murdercore, Crackhammer and Seven Signs – Friday, June 1 2012 – High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI

Art of the Flesh, Murdercore, Crackhammer and Seven Signs – Friday, June 1 2012 – High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI

I know I've been out of the scene a little bit. I’ve been attending shows, but not reviewing them. Either I've been too lazy or it has been mostly national bands or I find other excuses, but I’m back and ready to go. Over the weekend, I had the chance to attend two amazing shows. The first was with Art of the Flesh, Murdercore, Crackhammer and Seven Signs at the High Noon Saloon in Madison WI and the other was with Seven Signs and Seven Signs and Acridore.  Because I’m already going to be repetitious in this post, I’ll only discuss the first show.

First of all, I am so sad to see the degradation of the Madison music scene. The last few local shows I’ve attended have been extremely disappointing as far as crowd turnout. On the positive side, it seems like the bands do amazingly well dealing with nearly empty venues. They have fun and put on a great show for the people who are there. From discussions with a musician, I have been told that sometimes the empty shows are the best because it gives them the freedom to experiment and have more fun, like a larger practice. It is still a little disheartening, but I’m always happy to be there and see these amazing bands.

Speaking of amazing bands, the first to go on at the High Noon on Friday was one of my new favorite bands. I have seen them and reviewed them before and didn’t hold anything back. Art of the Flesh is amazing and has a unique sound. Dan Schulz is one of the best metal vocalists I have ever heard. I have said it before and I’ll say it again – Art of the Flesh will go far. I expect one day that they will be a household name and I will to go to a large venue with thousands of people and see them on stage. On Friday, they did not disappoint. They were a pleasure to watch (and listen to). They have great stage presence without being too flashy and obviously enjoy what they are doing.   I hope to see more of them in Madison soon.

Photo from this link
Next up on stage was Murdercore, a metal band from Poynette, WI. On stage were vocalist Desiree Shaka and guitarist and programmer Chad Elliot along with a laptop rounding out the rest of the sound including the drums. As far as Murdercore goes, I am still not sure how I feel. Normally I am not a huge fan of female metal singers, but have tried to expand my horizons. At times during the show, I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed her vocals but thinking back I did like it. She didn’t have as much distinction and variation as I’d like to hear, but it was not all identical either. She was a beautiful girl, but did not rely on selling sex in order to make it work and was able to carry her own.

The guitarist was very good and extremely fast and as the programmer for the rest of the instrumental, did an excellent job. He was fast and accurate, with his hands often moving so fast they were just a blur. Despite all of the excellent points, I was a little distracted by the distinctive configuration that almost seemed like metal karaoke (metal-oke?) with original songs and a guitarist. But, they were obviously much more than that and I am likely to see them again.

Crackhammer came on stage following Murdercore. They were a 5-piece band that sounded like a great cross between Metallica, Disturbed, and Avenged Sevenfold.  The Madison, WI band made up of Jason Felland and Don Swangstu on guitar, Shawn Alt on bass and Jeff Grieshammer on drums were led by charismatic Bill Faris, with gravelly and well developed vocals.

Faris had an excellent vocal talent, but there was a lot of focus on the guitarists – and for good reason. They were enjoyable to watch and were amazing and staying with each other. The band was a ton of fun to watch, the drums were fast and crisp and overall it was the total package of musicians who were experienced and comfortable on stage. 

Last up on stage was Seven Signs from Madison, WI.   I have reviewed them before (see the link above), when they played with Art of the Flesh and loved them then. On Friday, I enjoyed it even more than the first time I saw them. They ambitiously played two shows back to back, but it didn’t show in their performance. They delivered on their music and their interactions with each other were so entertaining to watch. The vocalist has an amazing range and can go from beautiful slower singing to the guttural growls and screams characteristic of metal. In addition to the brilliant vocals, he can draw your attention and hold it captive.
Photo from this link

Right along with Art of the Flesh, I expect Seven Signs to be a household name in the metal world. Because of the smaller crowds both Friday night and Saturday, we had the chance to hear some of the new music the band has been working on; however, my favorites are still Fuck and Fade Away. I don’t want to repeat the previous review word for word, but as well as the great vocals, their guitarists and bassists are great and have a lot of fun on stage and their drummer is fast with the double bass, but doesn’t overuse it. I can’t wait until the next Seven Signs show.

You may notice that I say that I would recommend bands and seek them out off a lot, but honestly I have found so many great bands while attending these shows. The few shows I have gone into blind, not knowing any of the bands at all, I haven’t enjoyed all of the bands and am honest about it. I know that all of the musicians work really hard, so there have been times when I have chosen not to review them at all, but overall I can enjoy many different bands and sounds.

Overall, I had a lot of fun at this show and I left with ringing ears, a new Art of the Flesh sweatshirt (which, over the last few days, has become a staple in my wardrobe), an Art of the Flesh DVD and a big smile.

Check out the bands online: