“I Tried To Push Myself Out Of My Comfort Zones”: Testament Vocalist Discusses New Album

By Andrew Bansal

Through the past eight years, San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal giants Testament have gone from strength to strength, in a manner perhaps no other band has. The 2008 release ‘The Formation Of Damnation’ was by all means a triumphant comeback album, and they followed it up with the stellar ‘Dark Roots Of Earth’ in 2012, the two albums and their respective touring cycles re-establishing Testament’s stronghold on the genre they’ve now pursued for more than three decades. On October 28th 2016, they released their eleventh full-length ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake’ on Nuclear Blast, an album that well and truly crowns them kings of thrash, with every song a winner on its own and the album on the whole standing out far and above all other new releases, including those by Testament’s ’80s thrash contemporaries. Currently nearing the end of a European headline run, Testament are plotting worldwide domination all over again as they ready themselves for the ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake’ touring cycle. Vocalist Chuck Billy recently spoke to Metal Assault to talk about the album and future plans. Enjoy the conversation below, bask in the glory of the new album, and keep your eyes pealed for a show near you. Continue reading

“We Surprise People In A Positive Way”: An Interview With Epica Guitarist Mark Jansen

By Andrew Bansal

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Dutch symphonic metal band Epica have been prolific in their increasingly illustrious career that has spawned 14 years thus far, and seems like only the beginning of greater things. Their 2016 Nuclear Blast release ‘The Holographic Principle’ is already their seventh full-length effort, and is a meticulous creation centered around eye-opening, thought-provoking scientific themes. Soon after the September release of the album, Epica embarked on a North American tour, headlining packed shows in what has become a very favorable market for them in the past few years. The ‘North American Principle’ tour also features Fleshgod Apocalypse, Arkona and The Agonist, and will visit the Los Angeles area for a gig at the Regent on Saturday November 19th. Metal Assault recently spoke to guitarist Mark Jansen to discuss the album, the tour and more. Enjoy the conversation below, and catch Epica on the remainder of the tour while you still can. Continue reading

Invigorating The Metal Movement: In Conversation With LA Group Heaven Below

By Andrew Bansal

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Los Angeles based heavy metal band Heaven Below has been circling local clubs as well as and the national touring circuit since 2008. In 2014, guitarist/vocalist Patrick Kennison got the call-up to join Lita Ford’s band, but instead of falling by the wayside, Heaven Below carried on, got signed to the EMP label group and released their third full-length album, a concept-based creation called ‘Good Morning Apocalypse’, on October 14th 2016. Everything about Heaven Below’s musical style is quintessentially heavy metal, and they excel in every aspect. On November 6th, they played a splendid record release show at the Viper Room, and before they hit the stage all guns blazing, Patrick Kennison, along with bassist John Younger and guitarist Lucas Kanopa spoke to Metal Assault to discuss all things Heaven Below. Enjoy the conversation below: Continue reading

“A Cross Between a Rock Concert, a Movie and a Musical”: John Petrucci Discusses Dream Theater’s ‘The Astonishing’ Live Experience

By Andrew Bansal

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Prog titans Dream Theater have inspired countless aspiring musicians over the years, but while bands influenced by them continue to present varying, oftentimes wildly experimental interpretations of this genre, Dream Theater never strayed from their path, and everything they ever released has a clearly recognizable DT stamp over it, with sweeing guitar solos, prominent keyboard segments, rich harmonies, busy rhythm section and soaring vocals all orchestrated together with a melody-driven approach. Musically, the band progressed naturally from the 2013 self-titled album for the next batch of material, but thematically and lyrically ventured towards their biggest undertaking in their career thus far, and the result was the massive concept-based double album ‘The Astonishing’, released in January 2016 on Roadrunner Records. Since then, the band has been touring extensively to present the entire album live as a concert experience. Dream Theater is currently on the second US leg, and will be bringing this epic show to the Grove of Anaheim on November 16th. Last Wednesday November 9th, guitarist John Petrucci spoke to Metal Assault in detail about the album and its corresponding touring cycle. Enjoy the chat below. Continue reading

Rock N’ Roll Frankenstein: Chuck Garric Talks Touring With Alice Cooper, New Beasto Blanco Album

By Andrew Bansal

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Aside from his longstanding role as the bass player in Alice Cooper’s traveling musical circus for the past nearly 15 years, Chuck Garric also sings and plays guitar in Beasto Blanco, a band he formed with guitarist Chris Latham in 2012, along with Alice Cooper’s daughter Calico. Beasto Blanco released their debut album ‘Live Fast, Die Loud’ in 2013, filled to the brim with fist-pumping, rip-roaring rock n’ roll, and took it to even greater heights with their stage-scorching, face-melting live performances which carried a similar ethos to the live entertainment aspect of a typical Alice Cooper show, but presented music with a decidedly more modern touch. On their second self-titled LP, slated for release on November 25th 2016 via Rat Pak Records, Beasto Blanco have continued from where they left off, coming up with another power-packed set of songs that feature Calico Cooper in a more prominent singing role. The band is playing a hometown record release show at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in West Hollywood on Thursday November 10th. Last Friday November 4th, Chuck Garric spoke to Metal Assault about his recent travels with Alice Cooper, the new Beasto Blanco album, the formation of the band, and more. Enjoy the chat below. Continue reading

“It’s Not Easy On The Human Psyche”: Napalm Death Vocalist Discusses Life On Tour

By Andrew Bansal

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British grindcore legends Napalm Death are currently bulldozing their way through North America on the ‘Abysmal Predator’ co-headline tour with The Black Dahlia Murder, also featuring Abnormality as openers on the entire run and Misery Index, Power Trip and Pig Destroyer on select dates. The tour served Los Angeles a great show last Friday November 4th 2016, and before the show, Metal Assault sat down with the ever-articulate Napalm Death vocalist Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway to discuss his thoughts on this lineup and various aspects of tour life. Enjoy the conversation below and catch them on the ‘Abysmal Predator’ tour this November. Continue reading