Pearls Of Wisdom From Raven / Ex-Pentagram Drummer Joe Hasselvander

By Andrew Bansal

Known primarily as longtime Raven and former Pentagram drummer, Joe Hasselvander has sat behind the drum kit in various capacities for over 50 years, including some outside of Raven and Pentagram, and has also been venturing more and more into playing other instruments. As I’ve traveled North America with Night Demon who’ve been on an extensive run supporting Raven through October-November 2014, I’ve had a chance to get acquainted with Joe Hasselvander and he’s turned out to be quite the character. On November 24th at the Strange Matter in Richmond, Virginia, I sat down with him for a detailed, insightful interview. Enjoy the conversation below as I discuss with him all things Raven, Pentagram, doom and future plans. Continue reading

The Raven Interview: Catching Up With The Gallagher Brothers

By Andrew Bansal

Veterans of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement of the 70s, Raven have always stuck to their guns and stayed true to their self-created ‘rock until you drop’ philosophy. This year they are celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band, but not relying on mere nostalgia, they have completed work on a new studio album called ‘Extermination’ and at the time of posting this interview, they are in the final week of a Kickstarter campaign to help fund it. They’ve been on an extensive North American tour since early October, and I’ve had the pleasure of sharing this journey with them as the non-playing fourth member of their touring support act Night Demon. On November 23rd, I sat down for dinner with them in Baltimore at a great science fiction themed restaurant called Lost City Diner down the street from the Metro Gallery where the show took place later on. I spoke to brothers John and Mark Gallagher about all things Raven. Enjoy the conversation below. Continue reading

In Conversation With The Metal God: Rob Halford Delves Into All Things Judas Priest

By Andrew Bansal

Undisputed metal gods for over four decades, Judas Priest released their 17th studio album ‘Redeemer Of Souls’ last July and are currently on a North American headline tour with Los Angeles based comedy/parody metal group Steel Panther as support act. Recently, I had a detailed chat with singer Rob Halford about the making of the new album, the tour, Steel Panther, the early days and lots more. Continue reading

Skeletonwitch Vocalist Talks Touring, Guilty Pleasures & More

By Andrew Bansal

Hailing from Athens, Ohio, blackened thrash metal quintet Skeletonwitch are on fire as a group at the moment, riding on the success of their 2013 Prosthetic Records release ‘Serpents Unleashed’. Having just ended a North American headline run, they’ve joined forces with Swedish metal bands Amon Amarth and Sabaton for another tour which begins today September 25th in Riverside CA (buy tickets). Skeletonwitch headlined the Roxy in West Hollywood last Tuesday September 23rd, more than four years after they last played this venue, and a few hours before they scorched the stage, I sat down with vocalist Chance Garnette for a candid chat about touring, the Johan Hegg inspiration, headline shows, guilty pleasures and the possibility of recording covers. Enjoy the conversation below and catch Skeletonwitch on tour with Amon Amarth. Continue reading

Interview With LA Prog Death Metal Band Syrebris

Interview by Jason Williams

Based out of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, Syrebris is a progressive/technical death metal quartet that started out in 2006 and through compelling music and impressive live shows over the years they’ve garnered a solid local following. Most recently they put out a 7-song EP called ‘Aetheric Dynamics’ and participated in the OC Death Fest at the Music Hall in Anaheim CA on September 13th. Before their set, our man Jason Williams sat down with guitarist/vocalist Victoria Villarreal and her husband Manuel for an interview. Check out the conversation below and catch Syrebris at their next OC show on October 24th at the OC Music Hall, where they’ll be opening for Deicide, Septicflesh, Inquisition, Abysmal Dawn and Carach Angren.  Continue reading

Exumer Vocalist Talks About Los Angeles Show & Next Album

By Andrew Bansal

German thrash metal band Exumer started out in 1985, released two albums in two years and broke up soon after, but reunited in 2008 and put out their long awaited third album ‘Fire & Damnation’ via Metal Blade Records. They’ve very rarely ventured to play shows in North America in these last three decades, and are about to descend to Los Angeles for a one-off gig at the Avalon in Hollywood on Sunday September 28th with support acts Merciless Death, Sadistic Intent, Morbid Saint, Sakrificer and Social Overload, prior to which Exumer will be doing an in-store meet-n-greet at Dark Realm Records in Downey on the 27th between 5-6 PM, and tickets to the Avalon show will also be sold at the store. I spoke to vocalist Mem V. Stein a few days ago to discuss this LA show, his thoughts on the whole throwback fad, and plans for the next Exumer album. Read the interview below and purchase tickets for the show here.  Continue reading