An Interview With Tristan Shone, The Man Behind Author & Punisher

By Andrew Bansal

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San Diego-based Tristan Shone, better known as Author & Punisher, is a one-man industrial doom project and a true musical innovator that redefines the implications behind the word ‘industrial’, composing music through his self-created set of drone/dub machines. Although clearly portraying an eclectic blend of heavy music, Author & Punisher has garnered a fan-following in heavy metal circles, as evident from his newfound association with Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records, and the subsequent Housecore release of his latest album ‘Melk En Honing’, which was produced by Anselmo. Author & Punisher toured the US West Coast in September 2015 and played a show at Complex in Glendale that was exceptional even by his typically spellbinding standards in live performance. I recently spoke to Tristan Shone to discuss all things A&P. Enjoy the conversation below, and catch him on the second leg of his US headline tour this November. Continue reading

In Conversation With ‘InstruMetal’ Guitarist Extraordinaire Angel Vivaldi

By Andrew Bansal

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New Jersey-based instrumental progressive rock/metal guitar virtuoso Angel Vivaldi’s solo career has already lasted more than ten years, and on the strength of albums such as ‘Universal Language’ (2011) and ‘Away With Words: Part 1′ (2014), Vivaldi has earned several accolades in the realms of prog music and guitar playing. In October 2015, he embarked on his first full North American tour, wherein his band was promoted to the headline spot after co-headliners The Algorithm bowed out due to visa issues. Vivaldi and his band arrived in Los Angeles for a gig at the Mystery Box in the Arts District on October 27th, and enthralled a crowd of dedicated, enthusiastic fans with a sparkling exhibition of musicianship. Before the show, I spoke to him about the tour, his demographic, the live show, songwriting and future plans. Enjoy the conversation below. Continue reading

In-depth Interview With Queensrÿche Singer Todd La Torre

By Andrew Bansal

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In the last three years, classic metal veterans Queensrÿche have enjoyed a resurgence like no other, rekindling the energy and exuberance with which they started out in the early ’80s and recreating that same impact on audiences worldwide all over again. The introduction of Todd La Torre as the singer has been one of main reasons for the metamorphosis of Queensrÿche, specially as a live band. But they are equally motivated as a creative force as well, following up the 2013 self-titled effort, the first to feature La Torre, with their 15th full-length studio album ‘Condition Hüman’ which was released on October 2nd 2015 via Century Media Records. The band also wrapped up a successful US arena tour as Scorpions’ sole support act, and have now announced the onset of the ‘Condition Hüman’ touring cycle with the first run of US headline dates set for January-February 2016. I recently spoke to Todd La Torre to discuss his journey with the band so far, the new album, the Scorpions tour, his opinion on shows versus festivals, the acoustic set they played at the Rainbow, and the possibility of him giving vocal lessons. Enjoy the conversation below, along with a taste of the new material. Continue reading

Alcest Mainman Neige Discusses Touring, ‘Shelter’ & More

By Andrew Bansal

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French atmospheric post-metal band Alcest released their latest full-length album ‘Shelter’ in 2014, and nearing the end of the touring cycle for it, they recently concluded a September-October 2015 North American headline tour with support act Emma Ruth Rundle, a run of dates that started in Mexico and included a Los Angeles stop at the Regent on October 7th. Before the show and straight after soundcheck, I sat down with Alcest mastermind Neige to discuss his first impressions of the Regent, the tour, the band’s experience in Mexico, the support act, his love of the sea, and the status of the next album. Enjoy the conversation below. Continue reading

In Conversation With Monolith Guitarist Doug Walker

By Andrew Bansal

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San Diego-based classic heavy metal band Monolith formed in 2013 and first caught Metal Assault’s attention with an incredible live performance in 2014, which they followed up with a stellar debut full-length album ‘Against The Wall Of Forever’ in 2015. The album deemed Monolith one of the most promising young clean-singing metal bands. Now with the introduction of new singer Keith McIntosh, Monolith are ready to take the next step. A few days ago, I had a detailed conversation with guitarist and principal songwriter Doug Walker, to talk about the lineup change, and lots more. Check out the interview below, along with a glimpse of the new singer talents through his cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘Purgatory’. Continue reading

In-depth Interview With Mike Portnoy

By Andrew Bansal

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In 2015, hard rock power trio The Winery Dogs have proved themselves to be far above and beyond just another spur-of-the-moment supergroup, and have shown that their 2013 self-titled effort was by no means a one-off. The release of their chart-conquering second full-length album ‘Hot Streak’ solidifies The Winery Dogs as a real band, and they are currently out touring North America in support of the album. The trio of Mike Portnoy (drums), Billy Sheehan (bass) and Richie Kotzen (guitar and vocals) are all set to rock California this week, with shows in San Jose, Anaheim, Agoura Hills, San Diego, and a return to the lovely Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on Friday November 6th, which is where Metal Assault will see them on this tour. I spoke to Mike Portnoy last week to discuss the tour, the new album, the status and future of The Winery Dogs, his other projects, and more. Enjoy the conversation below: Continue reading