“We Chill in a Weird Niche”: An Interview with The Black Dahlia Murder vocalist Trevor Strnad

By Andrew Bansal

tbdm

Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, melodic death metal group The Black Dahlia Murder have established themselves as one of the genre’s modern-day mainstays in the 15 years since their 2001 inception. They found a stable home at Metal Blade Records very early on in their career, and all seven of their full-length albums released till date have been on the same label. Touring extensively with other extreme metal bands across North America, Europe and beyond, The Black Dahlia Murder initially often found themselves slightly out of place, owing to genre elitism on the part of the audiences. But on the strength of technically skilled musicians and an entertaining frontman, The Black Dahlia Murder kept releasing solid albums and putting on high-energy shows to win over the harshest of critics, and succeeded in creating their own niche. Most recently, they completed a co-headline North American tour with Napalm Death last fall, and during that run, vocalist Trevor Strnad spoke to Metal Assault about all things TBDM. Enjoy the candid conversation below. Continue reading ““We Chill in a Weird Niche”: An Interview with The Black Dahlia Murder vocalist Trevor Strnad”

“Playing On Stage is Our Lifeline”: In Conversation with Children Of Bodom Bassist Henkka Blacksmith

Interview by Jason Williams

childrenofbodom2015a

Finnish melodic death metal group Children Of Bodom, even with all members still in their mid to late 30s, are veterans of this genre, having started out in 1993 as teenagers. Through these past 23 years, they’ve marched non-stop in their quest, consistently releasing studio albums and touring the world relentlessly. Their ninth and latest album ‘I Worship Chaos’ was released in 2015 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment, and on their second North American tour in support of it, Children Of Bodom embarked on a headline run with opening acts Abbath, Exmortus and Oni in November 2016. The tour arrived in Southern California for a gig at the Observatory in Santa Ana, and our writer Jason Williams sat down with bassist Henkka T. Blacksmith to discuss the ongoing tour, the latest album, musical direction, his longstanding relationship with the rest of the band, future plans and more. Enjoy the conversation below. Continue reading ““Playing On Stage is Our Lifeline”: In Conversation with Children Of Bodom Bassist Henkka Blacksmith”

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

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

By Andrew Bansal

epica2016h

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

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

By Andrew Bansal

hb_band2

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

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

By Andrew Bansal

dream-theater-2016

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