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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with Travis Everett (Witchgrinder)

Mitch recently had a chat with Travis from Witchgrinder to talk about their upcoming Queensland show “OUR PARTY”

(MC) Long time no chat! The last time we caught up was Aftershock Festival in 2021. How has everyone been since then?

(TE) Since we came out of lockdown and things opened we have been really great. Just getting together to rehearse and go check out other bands and clubs. It’s just been awesome to hang out together again.

Has there been much live playing?

Yes, as soon as restrictions lifted we booked a couple of local Melbourne shows and one in Sydney. With it being a year since we had a played live show we booked these pretty quickly just to get out there and on a stage again. We missed it so much.

I did hear there was a mishap at the Evelyn show a while back?

Yes unfortunately our first show back in Melbourne we had to cut it short. We were about halfway into our set when we noticed something was not right in the mosh pit. One of our fans somehow managed to dislocate his knee while rocking out to the band.

The venue was so packed and short-staffed. There was no way to safely move him until the paramedics arrived so we had no choice but to finish up.

Care to share some background on the setting up of the next big thing, “Our Party” up in QLD?

Vamp Barbie (aka Vee) has been hard-working interviewing hundreds of bands for years. We first met her at a festival in Brisbane back in 2010. When she interviewed us and has continued to support us ever since. Vee and her team have now put all focus on their site/channel Vampedup.tv . and now are ready to move on to running festivals. This is the first festival they are putting together, so when we got the offer we were very excited to be a part of it. They have an awesome mixed bunch of bands on the bill it’s going to be so much fun. Vamped up festivals look like they are going to be an ongoing thing as they have also just announced a boat cruise festival next year.

Have you gigged with or do you know most of the bands on the line-up?

Yes, there are a few bands from Brisbane and a few from Sydney we have either toured with or played with while in their state. It’s going to be great to catch up. Also very excited to meet and play with the bands we haven’t.

Keen for anyone in particular?

Yes, heaps of bands. Very excited to see Dept. of Gloom as they have just dropped a new single. Our Last Enemy will be amazing as they have said they will be playing new music from their latest ep. There are heaps of bands we have never seen live so we will be making a huge effort to check out as much as we can on the day.

It’s been a little while between releases, are you guys working on any new material?

There are heaps of new material. Over the last few years, there has been so many setbacks that has made it impossible for us to finish writing and hit the studio. We have managed to get a few singles out but the big ones we have saved for the full album. We are just finishing up pre-production and are booking recording dates soon. We were never going to rush this. It has to be right for us and also our fans.

Is there somewhere or someone you would like to record with in the future?

We record a lot of our music with Chris Themelco at Monolith studios and also at our home studio setups. Adrian Windsor has always been a key part when recording keys and extra samples. They both have a great understanding of our sound. I think what we have at the moment is very special and captures what and where we are at at the moment.

I did have a chat with Peter Tägtgren when we toured with his band Pain a few years ago about possibly one-day recording together if we were ever to make it over to Sweden. That would be amazing.

The last thing released was the Through The Never cover, how was that received? Did you guys have fun recording that?

Yes, we released that as it was the 30th anniversary of Metallica's black album. A band that has continued to be a huge inspiration to us. We had so much fun recording it. The tracking was done mostly at home so we had the freedom to take our time with it. We added a bunch of ideas to give it that Witchgrinder feel without straying to much from the original. Which I think is why it worked so well. We received great feedback from both our fans and Metallica fans.

What are next year's plans for Witchgrinder?

Album release, Tours, and more! Don’t want to give too much away

If Witchgrinder was going on tour, what are the essentials?

A phone and charger! A few examples…

  • Using it as a distraction. On tour, you can be stuck in a van for hours and hours, and sometimes it’s good to have a break from talking to each other before you end up killing each other haha.
  • We all like to listen to different music. So good to plug into your phone and listen to what you want at times 
  • We can keep Witchgrinder's social media platforms up to date. Keep people in the loop. Posting photos and stories etc.
  • All the information about the tour is easy to access on your phone. Where to be and what times. Things like that.
  • It’s very important that we can always get in contact with each other. It can be easy to stray off at times. After parties can get pretty wild!

Our Party Festival is fast approaching! 😁🎉

July 30 at The Back Room Brisbane !

Huge Double Headliner! 🤘

Artists from VIC, NSW, & QLD! ⚡️Jelly Wrestling & Jelly Pit After party! ~ VIP tickets Limited & General tickets selling fast!
Doors open 11:45 am til 12am ~ Get your VIP & General tickets now!

http://www.vampedup.tv/party

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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Bad Moon Born @ Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne 03/06/2022

It’s been a fair while for me to be down at the Bendigo Hotel or to a local gig in general, I miss it! The crowd, the people, the music, and especially the technical difficulties when playing or setting up! This night had it all and a flood of memories just came back like an old man reliving the golden years!

I was on the way to the gig, and saw a post from Fight The Sun, Melbourne alternative rock band who were meant to be opening up tonight and these guys are unreal at what they do! It’s been ages since I’ve seen them play and I was really looking forward to seeing them again, “We are no longer playing due to illness” SHATTERED! That line is starting to come up a lot more these days and I see it as a good and a bad thing. It’s bad because people don’t want to be around illness/sickness and given the current social climate anyone with a cough becomes a leper *insert Monty Python quote*. The good side is that bands are actually giving themselves some self-care and not pushing themselves or risking a shitshow on a member’s health! Either way, they were sorely missed.

Hitting the Bendigo Hotel at 8 pm when doors open there is a steady flow of people, for about 30mins and then that’s pretty much it, the venue hits about a third to half full and doesn’t grow anymore. It’s a bit of a shame given that there are some pretty damn good bands playing tonight and each band put on a good set, even given their troubles, but more on that point later.

First is Cicadastone, a bluesy, southern rock-sounding band with a singer that dances around the Layne Staley vocal style. Compared to the other bands on the bill tonight, what Cicadastone lacked in speed or technicality, they owned the night on feel and groove, with an absolute tight set, showing off some new material from an upcoming release, and apparently, the singer’s son was playing the drums, which he nailed. It was a great way to start off the night, warming up the crowd for the things to come.

Coming up next was Live Like Animals. Starting a little late from a slower setup, understandably after hearing their set, I'm guessing with a complete electro/synth backing track that lasted the entire set, that could take a bit of setting up. 3 Piece Alt Metal band from Syndey with no bassist… it's always the bassist missing… These guys played an incredibly tight set for having a backing track go the entire time, they must really know their cues. They stepped up the energy to another level and got some more crowd involvement. With taking a little time to set up, you would think that sets would be adjusted to make sure that everything still runs smooth, around about the time they should have finished. The background music was put on, over the band, who was playing through inner ear monitors and had no idea that something else was being played over them. I didn’t hear or see any interaction between the sound guy and the stage but there was no communication, and that sort of thing can kill a mood in an instant. It was a shame that it ended a great set that way.

Now what happened next, I have no idea but I’ve seen Ironstone set up before, they are a younger modern metal or “djenty” as the kids call it, style band but they are yet again, a completely digital band, running through guitar pedal boards. They have always been quick to set up and tonight it looked like everything that could go wrong, went wrong. The band hit the stage and start setting up. Singer, Drummer, and Parent are setting up drums, guitarists and bassist are doing their thing. One guitarist finished setting up, “Cool, play something for me” sound comes through FOH and Foldback, thumbs up, Move on! The other guitarist finishes just after, the same thing DONE! The drummer lets the sound guy know about a backing track that is to be played. No Sound. Sound guy comes up, changes some leads, goes back, nope nothing. Let the back and forth begin, once this is complete, Bassist has no sound. Lead change. Seems to fix it. RIGHT! Band gives a test run; one guitar isn’t coming through anymore. “What?” changes a few settings, starts up, guitar back on, THE OTHER GUITARIST STOPS COMING THROUGH NOW! “What the hell is going on!?” Mind you this is now 20mins into Ironstones set and tension is rising. What looks like a complete rewire of the stage, Ironstone who was meant to come on at 10:10 pm starts at 10:45 pm. Ironstone came on for a 4 song set, they hit their 3rd and said “We’ve been Ironstone, Cheers!” but that was then met with “One more song guys!” from one of the members of the headlining act, good on them for being understanding. The shortened set was tight, but the mix wasn’t great on them, they didn’t really get to break into a rhythm and find their spot sonically. The long changeover and muck around killed the flow of the night, unfortunately. I’m not 100% sure on what happened here but whether leads or something wasn’t connected properly but one thing would work and then something else would stop, it was insane to watch.

Ironstone, jump off the stage, thanking/apologizing to the headliners as they change places. Bad Moon Born start setting up and yet again, some leads were working and others weren’t, it didn’t look like it was just an Ironstone problem. Mics were changed, a bit more movement from the sound guy, definitely earning his money tonight, but given a reasonable changeover, lights are dimmed and Bad Moon Born shows us the reason they are headliners for tonight! They come on with looks that fit the name, all in black, jackets on, the singer is even wearing aviator sunnies, how much more rockstar can you get? After their first song, they thank the bands beforehand then get everyone to give it up for the sound guy, every band should make that a thing, it’s always appreciated by them, and they always try and make sure every show runs smooth. The crowd instantly get into it, mind you, it still never grew than about half, which is a shame cause these guys were good! They played covers of Billie Eilish's Bad Guy and NSYNC’s It’s Gotta Be Me, which the whole place was singing and dancing along to. The Bad Guy cover was great, it's already a darker track and they made it even darker again, and then who doesn’t love a good NSYNC cover song, it’s pretty clear they had fun working on them and everyone listening to it had a blast. The set ended with a feature from the singer of Future Static for duet, which everyone got into and was singing back.

Overall, with the mishaps of technical difficulties and the ups and downs of shortened sets, all bands played great sets. These things happen and it should be reminded to anyone that reads this who is in a band, make sure you thank the sound guy, they put up with so much shit, and having friends who do live sound cop it or just go un-thanked, you don’t know how much it's appreciated and the band is remembered by them when it does happen. Now we just need more people to remember that live music is coming back and start attending local shows, but one thing at a time I guess.

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Album ReviewReviews

Meshuggah – Immutable

Review by Mitch Charlton

The lords of the polyrhythm are back with their ninth studio album Immutable and even after 30 years, Meshuggah is still killing it and showing the world they can write some incredible music. Straight off the bat, from the opening track Broken Cog, you know you’ve put on a Meshuggah album, it's their sound, their riff style, you know it’s going to be good, and you know you’ll get what you want out of it.

This album blends amazingly, the song progression from track 1 to track 13, over 60-Minutes of riffing, flows like a river, Immutable is incredibly well written and produced, which you’ve come to expect from this band. This is the kind of album you should have on and listen to in its entirety. Whether the album lyrically is conceptual or not, I am unsure, but the music definitely sounds like it is or at least produced in a way to be cinematic or soundtrack-esque and even has a 9:30 minute instrumental, They Move Below, about halfway through the album. This song breaks up and revitalizes the album, flow, its starts slow and builds all over again to then bring you into Kaleidoscope which brings it straight back into the single string chugginess. On my first play-through of the album, I put it on and just listened without really taking note of a track change and then realised I was halfway through the album, it's just ebbs and flows in the right places.

One thing I have always loved about this band, regardless of what they are playing, you are always able to find the beat and headband along. These songs aren’t riddled with changing riffs, crazy interludes, or bridges, they are generally a couple of different riffs per song and then fleshed out with some lead work here and there. It really gives you time to enjoy the riff and get into the flow of the song, sometimes I find in prog metal that bands try and cram as many riffs into a song as they can and you get “Oh that’s a killer riff….. and it's gone” you don’t find that with Immutable.

The three singles released from this album, The Abysmal Eye, Lighting the Shortening Fuse and I Am The Thirst will give you a slight taster of the album, pretty good choices from Immutable to show off. The Abysmal Eye has a film clip that is visually stimulating as there is a ton of imagery flowing across the screen, vast deserts and of course, eyes everywhere. My favourite track off the album is Ligature Marks, this is ridiculously heavy and ambient. The repeating rhythm just hypnotizes you into head banging, you can’t help it.

Hearing this album, you can hear how Meshuggah have really paved the way for Modern Metal and their influence on the scene, whether the current bands are conscious of it or not. They are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to their craft and this album just further cements that in. I hope that by the time they get to tour this and even get to Australia, they are all fit and fighting, the drummer, and goddamn WHAT a drummer, Tomas Haake has been suffering from a skin condition that has caused issues playing but you wouldn’t even notice from listening to this. Meshuggah are unstoppable and Immutable.

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Album ReviewReviews

The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain

Review by Mitch Charlton

For me, Watain are the epitome of Black Metal, they are pure aggression, ambient, and moody but above all else, there has always been conviction in their music. You know they believe in what they write about. I enjoy music a lot more if a band can make me as a listener, believe that they believe or stand behind what they are writing about, and with Watain, there is no second-guessing. You know they mean business.

Watain are back with The Agony & Ecstasy of.. their 7th studio album and this is a punch in the face or the petrol on the fire that the Black Metal world needs. This album is aggressive and intense, just as their fans expect, and throughout their endeavor to create brutal and threatening music, there is no clarity lost in their sound. Everything is crystal clear but, on each listen, I find more layering in the music, little guitar or bass melodies like in the doom-laden We Remain, there is always more to find and take from their music. Where the music may slow down in pace, it makes up for in mood or atmosphere, it never feels or sounds less intense regardless of what they are playing.

The two singles released for this album are The Howling and Serimosa, good choices that show off the two moods of the album. The Howling reminds me of Lawless Darkness sort of riffing, a good Black N Roll vibe, whereas Serimosa has a more ambient reverb sound, and the Bassline and Kick pattern really drives home that rhythm at the heart of the song. This album has made incredible use of reverb, the drums sound massive! It is a classic Watain sound, I’ve always enjoyed how their drums sound on an album. The mixing of the guitar and bass is a classic Black Metal sound with the use of tremolo guitars and colder sounding bass holding it all together and providing you ample chance to get into a Black N Roll mood to headbang along from start to finish.

My personal favourites off this album are We Remain and Septentrion. These two stood out just for the epic sounds the tracks provide. We remain is a slower doomier piece featuring guest vocals from Farida Lemouchi, who is the voice of The Devil’s Blood, a band that influences Watain, also another band that practices what they preach, definitely check them out! It reminded me of how They Rode On fit into Wild Hunt, it has a completely different sound to other tracks, a complete darkened affair. Where it lacks the pace and ferocity of other tracks on this album, the intensity and atmosphere are kept evident. Septentrion, the album ender brings it home amazingly, this epic track should be played loud for you to fully immerse yourself in the music. I hope this one makes the live set; it would be incredible on the stage.

Watain live shows are just as dangerous as their music sounds, not in a physical sense but from the gigs that I’ve been to see them, they do incredibly well at proving their conviction and message in their music, it’s animalistic, the feeling they provoke in the audience. The Agony and Ecstasy of.. is quite a fitting name given that these guys most likely went through both of these stages whilst writing this album and they will bring this energy to their live performance and the crowd will have the same feelings. With an already incredible catalogue of material, this album only adds fuel to the fire!

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Album ReviewReviews

Warning Order – With Me … With You

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