Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: The Acacia Strain

The Acacia Strain (TAS) is an American metalcore band originally from Chicopee, Massachusetts, that formed in 2001. They are currently signed to Rise Records and have 10 full-length albums. The band first started with high school friends Vincent Bennett, Christopher Daniele, and Ben Abert. They were in a band called Septic Orgasm and they wanted to take their band to the next level and make the music more technical. Their friend, Daniel “DL” Laskiewics was to play both bass and guitar, but he received a shoulder injury playing football, so the band got their friend Daniel Daponde from Blood Has Been Shed to play guitar for them. Daponde brought a heavier and technical sound to the band, so when DL returned, they asked Daponde to stay, thus creating a three-guitar lineup.

TAS has been categorized as metalcore, but I think they are predominately deathcore due to their heavy tuned guitars, their technicality, and the vocals that are used. The band has been noted to include influences from sludge metal, doom metal, death metal, and some punk rock style aesthetic. By having three guitar players, it gave a signature blend of hardcore punk, death metal, and doom metal to develop a bone crushing sound. The band sees their sound as “hardcore-influenced metal” which I can hear when listening to their music. They have some absolute skull crushing riffs and vocals, but when mixing in some 2 step riffs and other hardcore contributions, it makes for a very unique style of music. Also, when seeing TAS live, the majority of the crowd are hardcore kids. They love them some TAS!!!

When looking at the lyrics of TAS songs, they are written by their lead vocalist, Vincent Bennett, and they are generally centered around misanthropy, nihilism, misogynistic and sexually deviant imagery. He usually uses metaphors to help get his points across while keeping the songs’ overall meaning open for interpretation.


…And Life Is Very Long (2002)

3750 (2004)

The Dead Walk (2006)

Continent (2008)

Wormwood (2010)

Death Is the Only Mortal (2012)

Coma Witch (2014)

Gravebloom (2017)

It Comes In Waves (2019)

Slow Decay (2020)

Current Lineup:

Vincent Bennett (vocalist)

Kevin Boutot (drums)

Devin Shidaker (guitarist)

Griffin Landa (bass)

Tom “The Hammer” Smith, Jr. (guitarist)

Stay Metal,


Band/Artist Profile

Artist Spotlight: Cheap Time

Cheap Time Album Cover

Hey guys, I wanted to put a little bit of a spotlight on a band that I don’t believe many people have heard, although they more than deserve the recognition. Cheap Time, a punk garage rock band that started all the way back in 2006, is most likely not around anymore. In fact, they haven’t released anything since they were featured in the 2014 video game “Sunset Overdrive.” However, their music is timeless. With songs such as “Ginger Snap” and “Too Late,” it almost feels like you’re a teenager in some dry, dingy garage listening to your buddy’s band as they’re just getting started. Even though their music was made in the late 2000s, Cheap Time has a sound that belongs to the late 80s and early 90s, when garage punk first started picking up speed. 

I would have to say that my favorite album of theirs is, without a doubt, the self-titled “Cheap Time.” With short, fast paced songs like Back to School, Glitter and Gold, and Permanent Damage, the album fits right in in any playlist. However, Exit Smiles is a close second. Made in 2013, it is their last full album, not counting the work they did with Sunset Overdrive. The two best songs from here are 8:05 and Same Surprise. While “Exit Smiles” bears a sound that shows the growth of the band over its seven-year exhibition, it still holds that same teen angst, garage band feel that makes Cheap Time’s music so unique. Their ability to create a mental image with such ease is why I still listen to them today, and why I think you will too. 

Hope you guys enjoy the music, 


Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Kublai Khan

You wanna talk about ass beating music? Kublai Khan is THE band for me when I need a pick me up. This is what I call my “bad bitch” music. Any song by Kublai Khan will for sure make you bop your head and groove to the riffs. You would totally lose a try not to headbang, mosh, or dance, etc. if Kublai Khan is on there. Kublai Khan has the perfect blend of grooves and anger. You can hear the intensity and violence in Matt Honeycutt’s vocals. But mixed with a bouncy rhythm and chunky riffs, the overall essence of Kublai Khan is absolute (HA! See what I did there? Because of their new album? No? Okay). I just wanna dance when Kublai Khan comes on, it just makes me so happy!

I have seen Kublai Khan several times and seeing them live never gets old. Honeycutt is great with the crowd and that crowd… is something else. Everyone loses their minds when Kublai Khan hits the stage. It’s so hard not to! They make it so easy to jam. My first few times seeing Kublai Khan, they were touring with predominately metalcore bands, but later they started touring with more hardcore-esque and deathcore bands. I think this is because of their sound. At first, Kublai Khan had more of a metalcore feel, but soon transitioned to incorporating more hardcore and deathcore type riffs and vocals. I love their evolution because they have mastered their sound. Now, I know there is some debates about what qualifies as metalcore, hardcore, and deathcore, etc. but this is simply my opinion and how I hear the music. Music is subjective and can be interpreted differently by others. Even though some of the songs sound redundant because of the usual riffs and sound, they make their songs so groovy that I can’t help but play them all the time.


Youth War (2010)

Balancing Survival & Happiness (2014)

New Strength (2015)

Nomad (2017)

Absolute (2019)

Favorite songs:

The Hammer, No Kin, High Hopes, Boomslang, Antpile, 8 Years, Beligerent, and Us & Them.

What are some of your favorite Kublai Khan songs?

Stay Metal,


Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Jinjer

Y’all don’t even understand how ~~shook~~ I was when I first heard Jinjer. I came home from school and my mom tells me that I have to listen to this band called Jinjer. She showed me their song Pisces, which I thought was a really cool name for a song because I am a Pisces!! Where are all my Pisces at?! When the song first starts, the vocals are clean and beautiful. Their vocalist has a pretty singing voice, and when she started growling? OH MY GOD. I was in awe and shocked that she can transition so seamlessly between the two vocal styles. I love watching reaction videos of people listening to this song because the looks on their faces are hilarious!

Jinjer is a Ukrainian heavy metal band from Donetsk, Ukraine that formed in 2009. The band considers 2010 their official formation when Tatiana Shmailyuk replaced Maksym Fatullaiev on vocals and Roman Ibramkhalilov was picked up for lead guitarist. The band was still trying to create and develop their sound until bassist Eugene Abdukhanov joined the summer of 2011. Their first EP, Inhale, Do Not Breathe, gained significant attention within the metal community, and Jinjer began touring constantly throughout the year with their own money. The band gained more attention after winning the “Best Ukrainian Metal Act” in 2013 and again in 2016. Jinjer was gaining a lot of recognition after the release of their EP, so the band quickly wrote another album and self-released their 2014 album, Cloud Factory. This album would later gain the attention of Napalm Records, which is the current label the band is signed to. The band has mentioned that many of their influences for their music are Slayer, Death, Pantera, Lamb of God, Gojira, and Opeth. Hip-Hop acts such as Cypress Hill and House of Pain has also influenced their sound.

Current Members:

Tatiana Shmailyuk (vocalist)

Roman Ibramkhalilov (guitarist)

Eugene Abdukhanov (bassist)

Vladislav Ulasevich (drummer)


Inhale, Do Not Breathe (EP) (2012)

Cloud Factory (2014)

King of Everything (2016)

Micro (EP) (2019)

Macro (2019)

Stay Metal,


Band/Artist Profile

Artist of the Week: City and Colour

The first time I heard of City and Colour was on an episode of One Tree Hill where he played. It was the episode where Clay took Quinn out on a date and surprised her with a private show by City and Colour. How romantic!! I would love to have a private show by Dying Fetus, that would give me butterflies. Now, One Tree Hill is one of my favorite TV shows and I really enjoyed the sound of City and Colour because it was very soothing and I love music that is created with an acoustic guitar. It gives the music an authentic and pure sound to me. His songs are very emotional, passionate, and calming. I feel relaxed when I listen to his music. Simply put, City and Colour is a breath of fresh air.

City and Colour is the Canadian musician Dallas Michael John Albert Green. He is also known as a singer and rhythm guitarist for post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. In 2005, he dubuted his first full-length album, Sometimes, which became platinum in 2006. The name City and Colour comes from Green’s own name: Dallas (a city) and Green (a color). Green first got started with City and Colour by releasing songs on the internet for listeners to download and then compiled some songs in order to make his first album. Green has stated that the best type of music for him is sad music, he believes that this is the type of music he can escape to and the idea of sad music that people can identify with. A lot of the songs that Green writes about are from his own experiences and writing music is how he copes with it.


Sometimes (2005)

Bring Me Your Love (2008)

Little Hell (2011)

The Hurry and the Harm (2013)

If I Should Go Before You (2015)

A Pill for Loneliness (2019)

Favorite Songs:

Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, Northern Wind, Sensible Heart, Sleeping Sickness and Hello, Im Delaware.

What are some of your favorite City and Colour songs?

Stay Metal,


Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Bolt Thrower

When I was first in search of some groovy death metal, the band that came up the most (besides Obituary, of course) was Bolt Thrower! Right when I heard Bolt Thrower, I fell in love with their sound. They are so damn groovy I can’t even. The first song I heard by them was “The Killchain” and I LOVED IT!!! It begins with a fade into the song and then the opening riff with them grooves…. Iconic. I was walking around campus like I was strutting the runway when that groove kicked in.

Bolt Thrower was an English death metal band from Coventry, England, that formed in 1986. Over the course of their 30-year career, Bolt Thrower has toured Europe, the United States, and Australia. They have also released 8 studio albums. On September 14, 2016, the band announced that they were breaking up following the death of their drummer Martin Kearns… big sad.

When Bolt Thrower first developed, they were a grindcore band, influenced by Slayer, Cras, and Discharge. The band was founded by bassists Gavin Ward and guitarist Barry Thomson. Now this is a funny story, they first got the idea of the band while on the toilet during a hardcore show. Bolt Thrower has a very flexible sound. They incorporate death metal with hardcore and doom metal making their songs heavy, groovy, and doomy (ha, did you see what I did there?)

Martin Kearns, who had been their drummer from 1994-1997 and again since 2000, died unexpectedly at the age of 38 on September 14, 2015. As a result, Bolt Thrower went on hiatus and cancelled their upcoming Australia tour, which would have been their first tour since 1993. Exactly one year later on the anniversary of Kearns’ death, Bolt Thrower announced that they would not continue as a band. They say that Kearns’ was much more than just a drummer to them, so when they carried his coffin to his final resting place, the Bolt Thrower drummer position was buried with him.

Final Lineup:

Barry “Baz” Thomson (guitar)

Gavin Ward (guitar)

Jo Bench (bass)

Karl Willetts (vocals)

Martin Kearns (drums)


In Battle There Is No Law! (1988)

Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1989)

War Master (1991)

The IVth Crusade (1992)

…For Victory (1994)

Mercenary (1998)

Honour – Valour – Pride (2002)

Those Once Loyal (2005)

Favorite Songs:

The Killchain, For Victory, Through the Eye of Terror, Cenotaph, Forever Fallen, and To the Last…

What are some of your favorite Bolt Thrower songs?

Stay Metal,


Band/Artist Profile

Artist Spotlight: Greta Van Fleet

Jake Kiska by Nicolas Padovani / CC BY (

I was introduced to Greta Van Fleet by a close friend right before Christmas of 2019. We were both in awe of the (gorgeous) boys and their power on stage. Strangely enough, their music was what brought me to love classic rock as much as I do now.

Since their debut album, “From the Fires,” was released in 2017, they have captured the hearts of young and old audiences alike by reviving the spirit of 60’s rock. Originally from Frankenmuth, Michigan, the band is comprised of three brothers; Jake, Josh, and Samuel Kiska, as well as their childhood friend Daniel Wagner.

One of the most common things you’ll hear when listening to interviews with the group of four is how they deal with being compared to Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest rock bands of all time. It is impossible not to see the similarities. Josh, their lead singer, has the same powerful screech as Robert Plant. Jimmy Page’s prowess on guitar is reborn through Jake Kiska. Even their fringe vests, tight pants, and feathers mirror the Zeppelin era. However, Greta Van Fleet definitely injects a more contemporary feel in their music. Taking inspiration from both classic and modern rock, the blues, and soul, their sound is a mixture of upbeat tones and heavy rock.

Their on-stage performances are fantastic to watch. Instead of definitive breaks between songs like most bands, their set usually just comprises of one incredibly long ballad, made up of bits of their own songs and pieces of covers. A true standout is their 30-minute-long performance of “Lover, Leaver” that can be found on YouTube and Apple Music. Though it begins and ends like the original “Lover, Leaver,” in between you can also hear some of their other songs like “Safari Song” and “Brave New World,” as well as a cover of “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” by Muddy Waters. A great part about their live performances is how you can really see how intuitively connected and synced they are. Maybe it’s because three out of the four are brothers, but I’ve never seen a stronger bond between bandmates. Their guitarist, Jake Kiska, is especially a force to be reckon with when he commands the stage with his insane riffs.

Above all, Greta Van Fleet has made clear that their mission is to promote peace, love, and unity through their music. Their newest album, “Anthem of the Peaceful Army,” is a testimony to these ideals.


  • From the Fires (2017)
  • Anthem of the Peaceful Army (2018)


  • Josh Kiska (Vocals)
  • Jake Kiska (Guitar)
  • Samuel Kiska (Bass & Organ)
  • Daniel Wagner (Drums)

My Favorite Songs:

  • Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer) [Live]
  • Brave New World
  • A Change is Gonna Come
  • Mountain of the Sun
  • Edge of Darkness

-DJ butter 

Band/Artist Profile

Artist of the Week: Jimi Hendrix

We’re going back to the ‘60s in this blog post! The ‘60s have always fascinated me because this was a time of a huge paradigm shift, aka, the hippie culture. It’s crazy to think that this decade challenged the norms already in place and rebelled against society. During this time, one of my favorite artists emerged, Jimi Hendrix. In my opinion, Jimi Hendrix did play a role in metal because of his techniques on the guitar, and you will never guess who his roadie was. It was Lemmy (Ian Kilmister from Motörhead)! How cool is that?!

James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 and was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His mainstream career only lasted for four years, but he is widely known as one of the most influential guitarists in history (he played a right handed guitar, left-handed)! Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington and started playing guitar at the age of 15. He enlisted into the US Army and trained as a paratrooper but was discharged the following year.

He soon moved to Clarksville, Tennessee and began playing gigs. He later played with Little Richard in the mid ‘60s and he moved to England in late 1966 after he was discovered by Linda Keith. Within months upon arriving in England, Hendrix had several songs hit the UK top ten charts: Hey Joe, Purple Haze, and The Wind Cries Mary. He started to get fame in the US after he performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and his album, Electric Ladyland, hit number one in the US in 1968. Hendrix died at the age of 27 on September 18, 1970 from barbiturate-related asphyxia.

Hendrix was inspired by American rock and roll and electric blues. He was one of the first guitarists to use a tone-altering effects unit in mainstream rock. This is where he began to influence the guitarists after him because he pioneered the use of the instrument as an electronic sound source. He expanded the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar and mastered it beautifully. The artists that interested him and influenced him the most were Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry.  The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005.


Are You Experienced (1967)

Axis: Bold as Love (1967)

Electric Landlady (1968)

Favorite Songs:

Little Wings, Foxy Lady, Hey Joe, All Along the Watchtower, Red House, and Castles Made of Sand.

What are some of your favorite Jimi Hendrix songs?

Stay Metal,



Band/Artist Profile

Slept On: Hiatus Kaiyote

Genre designations of Hiatus Kaiyote’s music such as “neo-soul”, “future soul” and “jazz funk” can be summed up in one self-described word: wondercore. To the Australian-based quartet, this term describes their sound better than any critic’s cut-and-dry characterization of their music ever could.

So, what does their music sound like? In one breath, their sound is steeped in the traditions of Erykah Badu and D’Angelo –  evidenced by the watery Rhodes pianos and laid back grooves present in many of their records (see “Fingerprints” and “Nakamarra”). In another breath – even in the same track, at times – their sound veers into uncharted territory, employing futuristic synths, jarring starts and stops and asymmetrical time signatures (see “Atari” and “By Fire”). Their music embodies both the familiar and the otherworldly – in a word, Hiatus Kaiyote’s sound is multidimensional.

After the release of their debut album, Tawk Tomahawk, Hiatus Kaiyote received endorsements from artists like Questlove and Prince, and the group began building an international following. They have since become a favorite for hip-hop producers, with their music sampled in tracks by Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lamar,  Beyoncé and Jay-Z. My first exposure to their music was through Drake, whose track “Free Smoke” sampled the beautiful “Building a Ladder”.

Since the release of Choose Your Weapon in 2015, the group has been pretty quiet. With the band’s members focusing on side projects and solo material, not much is known about the status of their third studio album. Whether it is released tomorrow or five years from now, my ears are ready.

Favorite Tracks: Jekyll, Building a Ladder, Borderline with My Atoms

 – DJ Mango

Band/Artist Profile

Artist Spotlight: Allah-Las

Photo By: Tore Sætre / CC BY-SA (

My Discover Weekly playlist has done it again. Allah-Las has become my new favorite band after hours of pursuing Spotify. Call me lazy for relying on the ~algorithm~ instead of my own manual searching, but it works. The last time Allah-Las played in North Carolina was at the Cat’s Cradle in November of 2019. I remember a friend inviting me to their show but having no idea who they were. I ended up not being able to go, but I regret that so much now, especially since there will be no concerts for the foreseeable future (sad).

Being a lover of 60s rock and blues, I love to hear new artists mimicking that sound with their own spin. The California-based surf rockers that make up Allah-Las do just that. Though they definitely reflect the beachy Los Angeles vibe where they call home, they also have a touch of vintage flair that I really enjoy. The sunny yet gritty feeling of their music is similar to bands like The Growlers and The Mystic Braves if you enjoy that kind of sound.

They’ve been on the scene since 2008 but didn’t release their debut album “Allah-Las” until 2012. Before coming together, three out of the four members were working at the Amoeba Record Store in L.A. While their first few albums, “Allah-Las,” “Worship the Sun,” and “Calico Review,” are all very consistent with their garage band sound, their newest album, “LAHS” has a fascinating global appeal from their travels abroad. Instead of imitating sunny California through their music, they instead turn to the deserts of Mexico for inspiration. By mixing Spanish lyrics, electric guitar, and playful rhythms, “LAHS” is a truly unique album. Though I was first drawn to Allah-Las because of their original surf rock style, I find their recent work more interesting to listen to.

If you’re thinking of taking a listen, here are some of my favorite songs and notable info about the band:

• Lahs (2019)
• Calico Review (2016)
• Worship the Sun (2014)
• Allah-Las (2012)

• Miles Michaud (guitarist & vocals)
• Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitarist)
• Spencer Dunham (bassist)
• Matthew Correia (drummer)

Favorite Songs:
• Star – LAHS
• Raspberry Jam – Self Discovery for Social Survival Soundtrack
• De Vida Voz – Worship the Sun
• Catamaran – Allah-Las
• Holding Pattern – LAHS
• Long Journey – Allah-Las

Here is a link to their website.

Stay tuned in!

– DJ butter