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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.


Discography:

…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,

THE SAW

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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.

Discography:

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,

THE SAW

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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)


Discography:

Inhale, Do Not Breathe (EP) (2012)

Cloud Factory (2014)

King of Everything (2016)

Micro (EP) (2019)

Macro (2019)

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

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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)


Discography:

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,

THE SAW  

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Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Cryptopsy

The first time I saw Cryptopsy was a few years ago at Ziggy’s in Wilmington when they played with Cannibal Corpse and Obituary on Valentine’s Day! What a great bloody Valentine! They sound so good live and the crowd loved them. I kept laughing during their set because when the singer would growl into the mic, I could see his tongue wiggling around and I have never seen that style of vocals before. I have been listening to Cryptopsy for years, all thanks to my dad! The OG metalhead knows what’s good within death metal.

Cryptopsy is a Canadian technical death metal band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, that formed in 1988. At first, the band was named Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and was created by drummer Mike Atkin, guitarist Steve Thibault, and vocalist Dan Greening. The band released several demos, but when Atkin left to continue his musical career in speed/thrash metal, the band changed their name to Cryptopsy.

In 1993, they released their debut demo, Ungentle Exhumation and it caught the attention of a local label, Gore Records. With the release of their debut demo, Cryptopsy gained attention in the Canadian death metal underground scene and also received attention from Invasion Records, a German label. After several lineup changes, the band signed to Invasion Records, but due to financial problems (thanks to the label), Cryptopsy was soon left without a label to support their tour. But have no fear!!! Their album gained attention of Dutch label, Displeased Records and were picked up!

They released one of their most popular albums, None So Vile, on Swedish label Wrong Again Records, and this album became a staple piece of brutal death metal. This is not surprising because if you have ever heard this record, then you know it is a absolute MASTERPIECE!!! The album cover is sick, too. 10/10 album cover.

Cryptopsy has had SO MANY lineup changes throughout the years, but the current lineup is:

Flo Mounier (drums)

Christian Donaldson (guitar)

Matt McCachy (vocals)

Oliver Pinard (bass)


Discography:

Blasphemy Made Flesh (1994)

None So Vile (1996)

Whisper Supremacy (1998)

And Then You’ll Beg (2000)

Once Was Not (2005)

The Unspoken King (2008)

Cryptopsy (2012)


Favorite Songs:

Sire of Sin, Graves of the Fathers, Crown of Thorns, and Dead and Dripping

What are some of your favorite songs? Have you seen Cryptopsy live?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

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Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Suffocation

Ahhh, Suffocation. One of the OG’s of death metal. Unfortunately, I have never seen them, even though I had the chance to my senior year of high school! So, what had happened was (queue Kevin Hart voice) prom night was the same night of the Suffocation show, and I was trying to convince my dad to let me go to the show instead of prom… I was going to wear my prom dress and everything!! But, I did end up going to prom and it was LAME!!! I left 20 minutes in. Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve but I do think it’s a funny story and that’s all that matters.

Suffocation is an American death metal band formed in 1988 in Centereach, New York. Suffocation received fame and attention with their 1991 debut album, Effigy of the Forgotten, which became the staple piece of death metal in the ‘90s. The band was formed by vocalist Frank Mullen, guitarists Guy Marchais and Todd German, bassist Josh Barohn, and an unknown drummer.

Suffocation’s death metal style is influenced by grindcore. The band uses outrageously guttural vocals with a bottom-heavy guitar foundation, blistering speed, and unmatched brutality, with intricate songwriting. This band is a solid member of the Technical/Math Metal segment, with various time signatures, blast beats, and pure grooves in every single song!


Current Members:

Terrance Hobbs (lead guitar)

Derek Boyer (bass)

Ricky Myers (vocals)

Charlie Errigo (rhythm guitar)

Eric Morotti (drums)


Discography:

Human Waste (1991)

Effigy of the Forgotten (1991)

Breeding the Spawn (1993)

Pierced from Within (1995)

Souls To Deny (2004)

Suffocation (2006)

Blood Oath (2009)

Pinnacle of Bedlam (2013)

… Of the Dark Light (2017)


Favorite Songs

Pierced from Within

Funeral Inception

Bind Torture Kill

Have you seen Suffocation? What are some of your favorite songs?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

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Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Arch Enemy

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I first heard of Arch Enemy when my dad showed me the music videos for My Apocalypse and Nemesis. We were both in awe of the talent that this band had (and still has). They have melodic death metal down and create beautiful songs that have amazing harmonies by the guitars and vocals. The first time I saw Arch Enemy was at the Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia. My dad and I traveled down there just to see Arch Enemy! We got VIP tickets and were able to meet the band! They are so nice and down to earth and are very thankful for their fans supporting them through the years.

Arch Enemy is a Swedish melodic death metal band that formed in 1995. The band was originally a supergroup with members from Carcass, Armageddon, Carnage, Mercyful Fate, Spiritual Beggars, The Agonist, Nevermore, and Eucharist. The mastermind behind Arch Enemy is Michael Ammot, (Carcass, Carnage, and Spiritual Beggers) who created Arch Enemy once he left Carcass. This band is known for having some of the best female vocalists and has really influenced women in the metal scene to get more involved. I know as a young girl watching Arch Enemy, seeing a badass female perform high screams and deep low gutterals was great to see and influenced me to do more within my metal community. The band was originally fronted by Johan Liiva, but was replaced by Angela Gossow (a German vocalist) in 2000. Gossow left the band in 2014 to become the band’s manager and was replaced by Alissa White-Gluz (a Canadian vocalist).

Arch Enemy’s musical style has been classified as melodic death metal, but their sound has a unique blend of progressive and death metal influences. Their influences are cited as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Manowar, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Testament, Pantera, Death, Obituary, Carcass, Mercyful Fate, and King Diamond. You can hear these influences in their songs when listening to the melodies and harmonies of the guitars. They have mastered their own sound and I love the progression that Arch Enemy has taken.

Current Members:

Michael Amott (guitarist)

Daniel Erlandsson (drums)

Sharlee D’angelo (bassist)

Jeff Loomis (guitarist)

Alissa White-Gluz (vocalist)


Discography:

Black Earth (1996)

Stigmata (1998)

Burning Bridges (1999)

Wages of Sin (2001)

Anthems of Rebellion (2003)

Doomsday Machine (2005)

Rise of the Tyrant (2007)

Khoas Legion (2011)

War Eternal (2014)

Will to Power (2017)


Favorite Songs:

My Apocalypse, Nemesis, Bloodstained Cross, The World Is Yours, First Day in Hell, The Eagle Flies Alone, As the Pages Burn, War Eternal, and You Will Know My Name.

Have you seen Arch Enemy live? What are some of your favorite songs?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

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Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Death

Ahhh… Death, the OG’s of death metal. Death was one of the first American bands to play (what would come to be called), Death Metal. They are known as one of the most influential bands that pioneered the genre. Today, they would be classified as the “old school,” traditional type of death metal, but when Death hit the scene back in 1987 with their debut release, Scream Bloody Gore, this sound was new, heavy, and groovy. This record is regarded to be the first death metal record. My dad used to play Death all the time when I was a little girl, he loves Death and always plays air drums, air guitar, and vocals when they come on. We love a one man show!! By listening to Death at a young age, it influenced me to lean more towards death metal and the heavier style of metal. And I’m not complaining about it!

Death was an American death metal band from Altamonte Springs, Florida, that formed in 1983 by guitarist and vocalist, Chuck Schuldiner (RIP). The original name of the band was Mantas but a year later, Schuldiner changed the name to Death. In an interview in 2010, Tim Aymar states that the renaming of the band happened because it allowed Schuldiner to turn his brother’s death into “something positive” (Aymar, Tim Speaks Out) Rehearsal tapes circulated around quickly and established the band’s entrance into the realm of heavy music. Death’s albums were very popular amongst the metal crowd and received positive criticism. Their 1991 release, Human is their best-selling album.

In 1994, Death left Relativity and signed with Roadrunner Records. They released Symbolic in 1995. After the release of Symbolic, Schuldiner broke up Death after tension with Roadrunner Records and focused on his other band, Control Denied. The seventh (and final) Death release, The Sound of Perseverance (1998), was released on Nuclear Blast.

After Schuldiner finished Control Denied’s debut album, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. His condition improved during the process of recoding on Control Denied second release, but the tumor impacted him negatively, leaving him in a vulnerable state. He contracted pneumonia and an hour after being released from the hospital on December 13, 2001, he passed away.  

Perseverance Holdings Ltd. Partnered with Relapse Records to re-master and re-issue the Death and Control Denied releases, along with Schuldiner’s earlier work in Mantas. Symbolic was the only record not a part of Relapse’s deal because the rights are still retained by Roadrunner Records as of 2008 (Sobti, K. Navjot, Relapse Records To Reissue All Chuck Schuldiner Material).

The lineup of Death has changed many, many, many, many times throughout the years, and it is hard to keep track. Chuck Schuldiner has remained the sole original member of Death throughout their album releases.


Discography:

Scream Bloody Gore (1987)

Leprosy (1988)

Spiritual Healing (1990)

Human (1991)

Individual Thought Patterns (1993)

Symbolic (1995)

The Sound of Perseverance (1998)


Favorite Songs:

Low Life, Pull the Plug, Symbolic, Voice of the Soul, The Philosopher, Scream Bloody Gore, and Living Monstrosity.

What are some of your favorite Death songs?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

Sources: 

Tim Aymar Speaks Out 

Relapse Records To Reissue All Chuck Schuldiner Material 

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Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Debauchery

I first started listening to Debauchery probably about 2 years ago when I was looking for groovy death metal to listen to. As you all have probably guessed, and are not surprised, is that I love groovy death metal; it’s my all time favorite. The first song I heard by them was Murder Squad and I LOVED it!!! The riffs are groovy and smashing and the vocals are very deep with some raspy gutturals, it reminds me of Chris Barnes!

Debauchery is from Stuttgart, Germany and are a death metal and death ‘n’ roll band. I have never heard of death ‘n’ roll but it definitely suites Debauchery! They were founded in 2000 as Maggotc**t before changing their name to Debauchery in 2002. The band was founded by vocalist and guitarist Thomas Gurrath. Gurrath was a high school philosophy teacher until he was discovered to be a part of Debauchery in 2010. He was given the option to either keep his teaching job or his band. Obviously, he chose his band.

The band’s lyrical content involves themes such as war and death. They also involve the science fiction Warhammer 40,000 fictional god, Khorne. This band is hella groovy and is sure to make you bang your head and bounce around. If you want some groovy ass death metal, then Debauchery is for you!


Discography:

Kill Maim Burn (2003)

Rage of the Bloodbeast (2004)

Torture Pit (2005)

Back in Blood (2007)

Continue to Kill (2008)

Rockers & War (2009)

Germany’s Next Death Metal (2011)

Kings of Carnage (2013)

F**k Humanity (2015)

Thunderbeast (2016)

In der Hölle spricht man Deutsch (2018)

Blood for the Blood God (2016)


Current Members:

Thomas Gurrath (vocalist and guitarist)

Dennis Ward (bassist)

Oliver Zellmann (drummer)


Favorite Songs:

Murder Squad

King of the Killing Zone

Storm of Iron

Death Metal War Machine

What are your favorite songs by Debauchery?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

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Band/Artist Profile

Band of the Week: Citizen

I was with one of my friends, heading to Taco Bell when she started playing Jet by Citizen. I loved the vibe of the song and the soothing, but raspy vocals. When I got home, I looked up Citizen and quickly started listening to them more and more. Now, their music is sad. You can hear the vulnerability and sadness in the lyrics and vocals, but complimented with the musicianship, it makes for a beautiful song.

Citizen is a rock band from Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio. Some have considered Citizen to be indie rock, grunge, or post-hardcore. Citizen is currently signed to Run For Cover Records. The formation of Citizen started in 2009 when Mat Kerekes departed as the drummer from his previous band, Sound of Glory, a metalcore band. The early material of Citizen was characterized as melodic hardcore which is unlike their most recent work.

After signing to Run For Cover Records in 2012, Citizen recorded a Split EP with labelmates, Turnover. This Split EP marks the growth and maturity of both bands as helped them evolve from local bands to national artists. My favorite album by Citizen is Youth (2013). Every song on this album is so good and you can feel the emotions that the song is projecting. People have described this album to be emo, grunge, or post-hardcore and I get those vibes from the album. I am a big fan of grunge and the grunge I listen to, for the most part, is sad. Citizen gives me that impression, and I never get tired of listening to it.

Discography:

Youth (2013)

Everybody Is Going to Heaven (2015)

As You Please (2017)


Current Members:

Mat Kerekes (vocals)

Nick Hamm (lead guitar)

Ryland Oehlers (rhythm guitar)

Eric Hamm (bass)  


Favorite Songs:

Jet, Roam The Room, Sick And Impatient, The Night I Drove Alone, The Summer

What are your favorite songs by Citizen?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW