12/29/2016

Interview with Corners Of Sanctuary (2016)

We started the year 2016 with a article about a video of the New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal band Corners Of Sanctuary. By that time they released a face expressive video for the track "Left Scarred" of the album "Metal Machine". In the last 12 months the band released more videos as well as a best of record and toured extensively. We shared many of that stuff here on the blog but who's standing behind the band anyway? What's their motivation to push on with so enormous power? Read about it in our little interview with guitarist Mick Michaels.

How did the band come together?
Mick Michaels: Corners of Sanctuary formed in 2011 after a brief reunion project with the 80’s band Seeker that took place in 2010. Several of us were involved in that project.  During that time we talked about working on material that reflected more of our music roots. Out of that Corners of Sanctuary was born.

A shot of the band Corners Of Sanctuary taken in fall 2016, (c) by Corners Of Sanctuary

Which sources do you use as inspiration for writing new songs?
MM: Everything seems to be an inspiration: family, friends, music, nature, history… It really is an infinite source of material to draw from. We just need to be open and aware that it exists. When we draw and write from experiences and the like, we find that the music has more of an honest quality to it – meaning we’re not trying to be or do something we are not. Songs always seem to flow better that way and I feel it is evident to the listener.

Do you feel that writing and performing music helps you to push on further with your own personal lives?
MM: Absolutely.  For me, music is an extension of myself. It is an opportunity for me to explore thoughts and ideas, so be creative, as well as a way for me to explore my own existence. I find great peace in writing.  I often learn something new about myself or am reminded of something I forgot.

Social media surely plays a big role in the communication between a band and their fans. Do you feel that fans contact with you more or less personally at gigs these days?
MM: There is no denying that social media has opened many doors to the band/fan relationship. If embraced properly and respectfully it can have great benefits. So it is not at all uncommon for us to meet fans at shows whose initial contact or introduction to us was through a social media channel. Communication today is worldwide and limitless – there is so much opportunity to meet new people.

Do you still prefer releasing music on traditional media like LPs, CDs and the like or do you feel the same satisfaction when putting out music digitally?
MM: We are definitely old school in that we enjoy releasing material that can be held and looked at by the listeners.  The album’s artwork and design along with all the liner notes, the music itself and its song order are all part of the total package.  Even the smell has an effect. There is something very special there.  However, we do understand the need and the demand to have material released digitally whether as an option to the album or as the only choice.  It is important that artists stay with the times and offer the fans diversity without losing integrity.

Have you ever experimented with other styles over the years and thought about changing?
MM: I think as a song writer, experimenting with other forms and genres of music is natural and very enlightening.  Trying different things gives us new perspectives… it can be very beneficial in the long run.  Over the years I have written a handful of rock, acoustic and country-esque songs as well as some instrumental and experimental type compositions that were used in some independent films a few years back. I also worked as a producer on a Rap EP back in 2008. But Metal has always been my primary focus.

The logo of the band Corners Of Sanctuary, (c) by Corners Of Sancturay, used with kind permission

Did you come along points where you thought about leaving it all behind? If you reached that point: how did you keep the motivation up to move on?
MM: Who hasn’t?   Being a musician is a non-stop roller coaster ride. Every day I ask myself “Are you sure you want to do this?”  And every day the answer is yes!  I guess when the day comes when yes is not the answer it will be time to do something different… maybe a circus clown!

What was the funniest story that came along your way when you performed live? Or did things happen that you would have never thought of to occur (not only at gigs but maybe anywhere else as well)?
MM: There are things happening all the time – big and small. Funny could be a relative term depending on the situation. Frankie has taken a few trips, slips and falls during some shows. But to tell you the truth we never really notice until after when he says something.  We are so used to him jumping around during the set, that even we think it is part of the show.

Recently, though, while we were on tour in the Midwest, we were traveling from Ohio to Chicago going through Indianapolis.  We had all but sold out of T-shirts at the previous night’s show and we still had a handful of dates to go.  So, while driving, James and I were on the phone trying to find someone who would do a rush order of shirt within 24 hours.  We were trying our best to have it done locally to our next show to make it easier.  During this a state trooper pulls alongside us and begins to give us the once over.  Within seconds the lights go on and he is pulling us over.  At this point James is still on the phone and placing an order for T-shirts.  The officer comes up to the passenger side window, where James is sitting, James rolls down the window and says to the officer “Sorry officer I am trying to order some band T-shirts for the next show.”  The officer looks at him and then me and asks for my “driver’s license and registration,” which I provide.  James is still talking on the phone.  The officer asks me to “step out of the car.”  I step out onto a massively busy Indianapolis highway and walk behind the truck and trailer to meet the officer who proceeds to ask me if I am “armed or carrying any knives or weapons of any kind?”  I said “no.” He said “are you sure?” I said “yes.”  He asks to pat me down and I comply.  He then tells me to get into the patrol car at which point “Deliverance” starts playing in my head.  I ask if there is a problem and he say no and tells me to get into the vehicle. I get into the car to find a giant K9 Sheppard sitting in the back seat which is now sniffing me down and breathing heavily over my shoulder. At this point I figured I wouldn’t be making it to tonight’s gig. All the while the rest of the band is casually sitting in the truck and James still on the phone placing a T-shirt order.  After the in-vehicle interrogation the officer tells me there is not an issue but warned me about driving too close to other vehicles.  He then asked me “who’s the guy on the cell phone?” I went on to explain he was our bass player and business manager. It turned out he was not a fan of Heavy Metal, unfortunately. But I was sent on my merry way and the high point of the story is, the T-shirts were ordered and arrived the next morning at our hotel!

Not sure how funny that was – but I will say it was not at all funny while it was happening. 

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me and sharing with your readers a little bit about Corners of Sanctuary. COSnROLL! \m/\m/

Remember to download your free copy of the track "That feeling we know" until January 1st 2017 from the band's homepage and to tune in to the band's Facebook page to keep up to date about the recording process of the new album and upcoming tourdates.

12/24/2016

Santa Claus comes along with free 40 track compilation

Finally Santa Claus knocks on your door! It's time for a little present to all of my readers for following the Underdogs so constantly. Thanks to Asher Media Relations we can hand a great free download compilation to all of you.

The cover of Asher Media's 2016 holiday season free download sampler, (c) by Asher Media Relations, used with kind permission

It holds a mixture of 40 great new and upcoming bands of various styles of the heavy genre that are all well worth to be checked out. Enjoy and have happy holidays! You can pick up your free package at Bandcamp.

About Asher Media Relations:

For nearly a decade, Montreal, QC based PR firm Asher Media Relations & staff have followed one rule and one rule only, that is getting artists the media attention that they deserve. Developing pr campaigns for image awareness and media support, AMR showcases & represents talented artists to all media outlets ranging from Print, Radio, Online & Television across Canada to around the world.

For more info, please visit the following links:

Website: www.AsherMediaRelations.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AsherMedia
Twitter: @AsherMedia

12/21/2016

CD Review: Third Voice - A Day Like Today (Progmetal/2016)

Classic prog rock for fans of the genre. The tunes are kept in a sound format like in the early 90s.

Introduction

Prog rock can be a satisfying music if you can relate to the music and the way the songs are written. I had a period in my life when Dream Theater dominated my CD player and few other bands had the chance to be heard at that time. Like ever so often this time passed me by. But the thougts of back in the day are still there so it was a pleasure when this Third Voice album arrived at my inbox.

The cover of the "A Day Like Today" album by Third Voice, (c) by Third Voice, used with kind permission

Summary

This band surely doesn't have much in common with today's trends soundwise and songwriting like.The album feels like a expedition back to the feel of times long ago. This starts already when you listen to the music. It's kept in a softer production than today's majority of output. That means the guitars are much less rough, synths shine through and the drums are kept in a natural sound without all the soundstyling that is possible these days. The vocals follow the concept and keep it in a similar form, his voice is very present and constant yet there are highs and lows in it.

The songwriting also comes out as a one piece record. All the songs can easily be imagined to be written in one period of time with a certain focus. It feels like a puzzle - all tiles fit to each other to form one big picture. Most of the time the album has a midtempo rhythm with it, so it's enjoyable at a longer time. Few pieces come along faster or slower, it's all very one style.

Preview Track / Purchase-Link

Here's one song example to add some music to the words.

If you like progressive tunes in the way described above the album will give you a good time. Most fans of Fates Warning should find this something to share their time with.

You can purchase the tracks over at the homepage of the band (US only) or buy a copy at CDBaby.

Contact data
 
You can contact the band through their homepage.

12/17/2016

Rock out with Santa Claus on free Incendia Music Compilation

So Santa Claus comes early this year and since you all out there were so kind to follow my blog so regulary and support me with music and information, here's a early present I can hand to you thanks to the nice people of Incendia Music Management and PR company.

This FREE sampler holds 15 bands that Incendia was working with over the last year, and bands they're excited to be working with in early 2017.

Examples include Agent, Brutai, Defences, Elbrano, Empire, Voyager and more....

The cover of the Incendia Music Christmas Compilation '16, (c) by Incendia Music

Some of those bands have been featured here on the blog as well but it should be mentioned that the compilation also includes tracks of bands that have not been mentioned yet.

I think of The Dreamer Within for example who created a exciting mixture of metalcore with synth-elements in their sounds. Very powerfull and unique music. There are The New Device up for listening, a hard rock act reminding of classic rock in the style of the 90s. Music that keeps you going through the day. In short this sampler features great music for all that would like to discover new music. You can check it out in the stream below or go straight on over to Bandcamp to download your copy.

If you'd like to get in touch with Incendia Music Management check out their homepage or see their Facebook account.

12/14/2016

Realms Of Odoric share preview track on upcoming music & artbook collaboration

It has been a great experience for me to leave musical boundaries behind. Ever since I opened up my mind about other musical styles I found out that there's such a huge and wonderfull world outside of metal to explore. I can only encourage everyone out there to listen to things not-metal every here and there. It will expand your joy for music.

The new release of Realms Of Odoric draws near. It can be described as sort of musical journey to a land far away. It's not metal but music that is kept in a darker orchestral style. Musician and composer Arkadius Antonik (SuidAkra) as well as artist and illustrator Kris Verwimp (Marduk, Manegarm, Thyrfing) have added a further chapter of the fantasy epic with the unique combination of music and illustration.

The cover of the album "Second Age" from Realms Of Odoric, (c) by Realms Of Odoric, used with kind permission

The album "Second age" will be available in several formats. One of them will include a 80-page book in A4 format which features awsome illustrations of Kris Verwimp. It tells the story of the second age of Odoric in epic paintings - it's like having a artbook to accompany the musical experience with a optical component. With "The Last Embrace" you can check out one track in advance for yourselves along with the performance of the orchestra.

The song was recorded and produced in Budapest on 25th October together with the Budapest Film Orchestra. For the first time in the history of the project an album with guest musicians from around the world and two orchestras was implemented.

The album "Second Age" contains 18 compositions with a playing time of 44 minutes and will be released this week.
The album is not available in the regular stores, but only in the MDD shop in different editions. Make sure to follow this project further via Facebook.

12/09/2016

Live Review: Purple Rhino - Rock am Pferdemarkt Lingen 16.09.2016

Not all the young bands are into modern styles of the hard genre - this one in fact goes more back to the days of classic Hard Rock and Blues Rock of the 70s.

Introduction

I've heard of Purple Rhino several times before I saw them first live. The local newspaper here had some show announcements of the band in their news section and I knew it was one of the bands that could be worth it. But in fact it never happened due to several circumstances that it took until this years Open Air season that I could check them out.

Purple Rhino live at Rock am Pferdemarkt Lingen 2016, (c) by Jörg Everding Fotografie

Summary

To make things a bit more exciting I didn't look up the band on the internet before. I knew of several other live shows that it was more fun if you know nothing about them beforehand and have all the surprise at the gig. I didn't regret my decision since they put on a great set. This band reminds me of classic Rock and Metal bands in the style of Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple.

Especially the first named influence shown through many times at their set at Rock am Pferdemarkt. Guitar player Chris put's on a good signature on the band's sound while the rhythm section keeps it more in a basic tonality and style staying mostly in the background. It should be mentioned that vocalist / bassist Felix also adds a lot to the music and gives it a fresh drive everytime things seem to get a bit in far too deep with instrumental solos. They had this one slow song on their set whose name I don't know of (that's the downside of not listening to a band's music in advance of a show :-). It had a distressing and calming effect on me while I had some sort of thrill all the while - thank you for this special moment!

Purple Rhino live at Rock am Pferdemarkt Lingen 2016, (c)  by Jörg Everding Fotografie

Purple Rhino offer a good mixture of entertaining rock and metal music that goes straight into the heart of the listener combined with sections that will satisfy the fans that love the technical aspects, precision and timing of progressive music. The signature move toward the end when vocalist Felix and guitar player Chris got down on their knees to drive towards each other rounded out a impressive performance which is a good reason for me to keep a eye upon the further band's activities. As for me Purple Rhino were by far the best band on this year's edition of Rock am Pferdemarkt. Here is their current official video to give you a idea of the band's sound and performance.



Contact Data

Make sure to see the band's Facebook page to stay in touch or head on to the webshop where you can purchase their record for a fair price that could make a nice gift for christmas to rock and metal fans. They are regulary playing shows so a look at the homepage is also a good idea. Here are the next dates:

23.12.2016 - Gaststätte Stock, Hagen - Germany
29.12.2016 - Lagerhalle, Osnabrück - Germany
21.01.2017 - Truck Stop, Wildeshausen - Germany
02.03.2017 - Fernsehkonzert Kanal 21, Bielefeld - Germany

12/05/2016

Jupiter Hollow reveal tourdates and send us Deep in Space

The release of the debut EP of the progressive duo Jupiter Hollow is drawing near. And as much as you (hopefully) are excited about the release as much I am looking forward to hear the final product.

As of today I can at least share one more video of the EP with you. It reveals one more track and shows how much diversity and feeling the two guys are able to transport with thir music to the listener. This time around it comes more to the rough and cutting side of the band but don't worry: there is still enough space for the melodies and big riffs to shine through the harder parts of the sound. Besides that it is also a perfect demonstration of how good the guys are when it comes to playing shows.

Shows is a good word: the band was able to confirm more dates in the meantime. Just check the column underneath the video to read all the details about the new tour dates.


Show Dates:
December 9 - Barrie, ON - Foxx Lounge
December 10 - Montreal, QC - Club Lambi
January 14 - Toronto, ON - Smiling Buddha (CD Release Show) - info

In the meantime pick up a free download of their track 'Ascending' available at http://www.grantmackenzie.ca/jupiterhollow

The prog duo Jupiter Hollow,
L-R- Grant MacKenzie (guitar, bass, synth), Kenny Parry (vocals, drums, synth/keys). Photo by Sandra Beatty 

The EP 'Odyssey' will drop on January 13th. The concept record will feature 5 tracks to introduce their ambient experimental progressive songwriting plus will act as a prelude to their planned full length 'AHDOMN'. Their sound is referred to as spacey, experimental and refreshing, reminding listeners of bands like Tool, Pink Floyd, A Perfect Circle, Tesseract, The Contortionists and Rush.

For more info make sure to see the band's homepage.

12/01/2016

SpiteFuel release slightly dark-toned single

Sometimes snippets circulate early letting you guess about the quality of a upcoming release. SpiteFuel did the same for the "Sleeping with wolves" release and combined it with a show announcement at the Live Factory in Adelsheim, Germany that will take place on the upcoming weekend (03. December 2016).

The cool thing is that the trailer only gave few cuts out to the listener so not much was given out too soon. Anyway I liked it this way and the fact that the band not only invited to their upcoming performance but also mentioned the other bands on the billing, too. Such a treat is not to be found often these days.

Anyway right now we're given the full title track of the "Sleeping with wolves" single. I can only recommend to listen to this one, it's a burner for all those loving melodic but also heavy and slightly dark metal music. It's great to hear the band kept the focus on developing a unique style with a positive basic tone but not forgetting the real world and working parts of how it's like to live on today's planet earth in with the sound. Just listen to the heavier and slower riffing in the verses and the massive variations on the vocals to find out what I'm talking about.


The 3 track Single contains with the title track for the first time a taste for their new album, which will be titled "Second To None" and will be released in spring.

As a bonus, this 3-song single contains a bombastic, orchestral soundtrack version of the titletrack, arranged exclusively by Arkadius Antonik (SuidAkra, Realms Of Odoric), as well a re-recording of "Never Surrender“.

The cover of the "Sleeping with wolves" single. Cover artwork by Fabian Schwarz with additional work by Travis Smith, (c) by SpiteFuel, used with kind permission

The single is available as a fine tradtional packed Compact Disc in the MDD mailorder and at the liveshows of the band. In addition you can get it as download with some bonus content (Cover, booklet and CD tray graphics as well as the "Never surrender" videoclip in MP4 format) for only 2 Euro on the Bandcamp page of SpiteFuel.to shorten the waiting time on the album . No matter which format you prefer, tracks 2 and 3 are always single exclusive songs.

Maybe this is also a nice idea as a christmas or St. Nicholas gift? Remember that Bandcamp offers the gift option directly at each product page - it's easy to find directly underneath the "Buy now" button.

Make sure to check SpiteFuels Facebook page to keep track of upcoming shows and the next steps 'till the album release in spring 2017.