TROUBLE have announced that former EXHORDER singer Kyle Thomas is their new frontman. Thomas previously fronted Trouble for four live shows between 1997 and 1999, including the Stoner Hands Of Doom festival in Maryland and Expo Of The Extreme in Chicago.
“We are really excited to be working with Kyle again,” Trouble co-founder/guitarist Rick Wartell stated. “The shows we played with him in the past were very well-received by the fans and now we’ll have an opportunity to work with him in the studio on our new record. His vocals are amazing and a perfect fit for the band.”
Trouble co-founder/guitarist Bruce Franklin added: “The history with Kyle and Trouble really goes back to his teenage years as he told me that he and Jimmy Bower (of DOWN) would drive around in his old Pinto and listen to Trouble. He’s an excellent, highly energetic singer and it’s great to have him be an official member of the band now.”
Trouble is currently working on its ninth studio album with Thomas on vocals, with plans to release this spring.
Trouble 2012 features:
Kyle Thomas – vocals
Rick Wartell – guitar
Bruce Franklin - guitar
Shane Pasqualla – bass
Mark Lira - drums
For more TROUBLE click here.
From Kory‘s Facebook page:
After 4 years, and a minimal amount of Touring and no Record deal or Album release date in sight, frontman/ singer Kory Clarke leaves “Trouble” to start a new project with guitarist Russ Strahan (Pentagram, Land Of Doom) ‘The Bones of Children‘.
“This Metal Album will be high energy, with a fresh artistic approach to the genre without the limitations of the over “50 something religious crowd” Kory laughs, “it will be so nice to be working without the shackles that a previous singer has left behind of a band that is over 30 years old and acts and sounds like it. I like to do progressive, pushing the boundary lyrics in an individualistic style, I don’t want to sound like OZZY like their old singer tried to do. I am also glad when I look to my left on stage from now on, I will not be seeing ‘Derek Smalls’ in my peripheral vision. LOL. I just cannot play with people who are fundamentalist Christians, or too family oriented to the point that they can’t tour, do records or knock down a few margaritas with me at the bar. This is rock n roll guys not the family channel.”
“The Bones Of Children” will be released this fall 2012.
For more KORY CLARKE click here.
Songs from the Small Machine Live in L.A.
10 out of 10
Lindsey Buckingham is the most underrated guitarist ever. Here, let me share that with you again…. Lindsey Buckingham is the MOST underrated guitarist ever. From his beginnings with Buckingham Nicks (the guitar work on their debut album still sounds amazing 38 years later), to his Fleetwood Mac body of work, to his seven solo albums from 1981 to 2011. He has released or been a part of 13 studio albums, numerous live albums and seven movie soundtracks. The man’s body of work speaks for itself.
Whenever I get into a discussion about guitarists I always bring up Lindsey Buckingham. When I’m poo-pooed about my choice for the best and most underrated guitarist ever, I simply put on Fleetwood Mac’s The Dance, and the track Big Love. During that song Lindsey is on stage alone, playing 2 guitar parts at once (he uses a picking and strumming method simultaneously) and make them watch him at work. That song alone usually shuts them up. Then I mention the fact that when he left Fleetwood Mac in the 90’s it took two guitarists to do what he did by himself live.
Well its 2011 now, he is still in Fleetwood Mac, though as usual they aren’t releasing albums in any great rush, so he has plenty of time to put out more solo work, this time in the form of Seeds We So which shows Lindsey to be once again at his best. The man is a maniacal machine when it comes to his solo work. It can be very eclectic and sometimes takes a bit to get into, but once you are there, the music simply envelopes you and takes you on a journey unlike any other artist.
Lindsey has spent the last few months touring theaters bringing Seeds We Sow and his amazing prolific body of work to those special enough to have gotten tickets to this amazing show.
The set begins as it should, with just Lindsey and a guitar. In fact he mentions this about three songs in that he chose to start the set as he started in music, just a man and his guitar, just a voice, and guitar. And really, there is no better way to see or experience Lindsey Buckingham, than to have it be just him and a guitar.
One of the most powerful songs that Lindsey now does acoustically is Go Insane, it is a haunting ballad of loss and despair that ever so slowly builds to climax and a single vocal note held longer and cleaner than any 62 year old should be able to hold a note.
The acoustic opening set covers solo material as well as some reworked Fleetwood Mac favorites such as Never Going Back Again. But again, on Big Love the man shows the world why I’m right and why he is the most underrated guitarist ever. Again I can’t stress enough, sit down watch that song alone, and you’ll realize that it is a 62 year old man playing two guitar parts at once and never using a pic. It is just his fingers and nails the whole time.
When he shifts into the full band mode I think a little bit is lost, only because it takes away from just his voice and a guitar. Not that it doesn’t sound great and the band does a great job on cuts like Second Hand News and Tusk not to mention his new and older solo works, but I think Lindsey is at his best when it is just him. I don’t think enough people have been exposed to him as a guitarist and an artist in a solo environment and the best way to showcase it is just that.
If you are a Lindsey Buckingham fan then you’ll love this concert because it has everything you could want in it, Go Insane, Trouble, Under The Skin, All My Sorrows, In Our Own Time, Stars Are Crazy, and more are featured here.
If you are a Fleetwood Mac fan, then you’ll love being exposed to his vast solo catalog not to mention FM favorites like Big Love, I’m So Afraid, Go Your Own Way, and Tusk.
Second Hand News sounds great as just a Lindsey piece without Stevie and Christine’s backing vocals.
I think maybe the one song that really needs a backing band to make it more ethereal and let you get the full impact of a man lost amongst his own feelings of loss a betrayal, is I’m So Afraid. And the desolation washes over you wave after wave as Lindsey and Neal Heywood’s dual guitar solo explodes into Lindsey’s signature Afraid guitar crying solo that should erase any doubt that the man is a guitar legend and should be mentioned up there with Clapton, Hendrix, etc, but because his ‘band’s’ music was more California Rock ‘pop’ than Clapton, Hendrix, or Vaughn, his guitar playing was somehow less impressive than theirs.
You can purchase Lindsey Buckingham Songs from the Small Machine Live in L.A. right here.
For more Lindsey Buckingham click here.
A Brand New Solo Album from notorious Warrior Soul/Trouble Frontman Kory Clarke is the first follow up to the Opium Hotel Album that was released to critical acclaim in 2003, and continues the series. The New York Vocalist/Lyricist has rediscovered his most (dis)trusted lyrical muse – Corporate America – and thrown up a 21st-century psychedelic spew of dense sound collages, lo-fi beats and mangled guitars to vent some serious spleen.
Musically, it’s a loose-fitting departure from Clarke’s WS recordings, but the cocksure swagger and snot-punk attitude is 100% intact…
Order now and you will receive FREE (Selected) Tracks From Opium Hotel 1, as an introduction to the Opium Hotel series sent as mp3′s straight to your email once your order is received and an 8×10 Painting!
Canadian progressive metal icons VOIVOD are the latest acts confirmed for confirmed For 70000 Tons Of Metal, “The World’s Biggest Floating Heavy Metal Festival.”
Thus far, 35 out of 40 bands are confirmed: AGENT STEEL, AMON AMARTH, BLACKGUARD, BLIND GUARDIAN, CRIPPER, DARK TRANQUILLITY, DEATH ANGEL, ENSIFERUM, EPICA, EXODUS, FEAR FACTORY, FINNTROLL, FORBIDDEN, GAMMA RAY, ICED EARTH, KORPIKLAANI, MARDUK, MOONSPELL, NEVERMORE, OBITUARY, RAGE, RAVEN, ULI JON ROTH, SABATON, SANCTUARY, SAXON, SODOM, SONATA ARCTICA, SWASHBUCKLE, TESTAMENT, TROUBLE, TÝR, UNLEASHED, VOIVOD, WITCHBURNER.
70000 Tons Of Metal will sail Monday, January 24, 2011 aboard the Royal Caribbean Majesty Of The Seas from Miami, FL to Cozumel, Mexico and will not return you to the real world for four days until Friday, January 28, 2011.
Make no mistake, 70000 Tons Of Metal is not your grandma’s cruise. It’s also not one of the cruises that share the ship with normal cruise guests. This is an all heavy metal cruise! Can you imagine that? A whole luxury cruise ship full of metalheads? And since there is no backstage area you will have the opportunity to mingle side-by-side with the artists in this incredibly fan-friendly scenario that has no comparison. It’s like everyone has a backstage pass!
Ticket prices start at US$666 plus US$249 taxes and fees per person and include all on-board entertainment, all meals, non-alcoholic and non-carbonated beverages at the dining rooms, most on-board restaurants and 24 hour room service!
What are you waiting for? You might even need a vacation from this vacation when all is said and done! Check out 70000tons.com for more information and book your cabin now!
Reformed heavy metal legends ACCEPT will record their October 8, 2010 concert in Cleveland, Ohio for a possible future live release. The show at the Agora will also include performances by KING’S X and Cleveland’s own SHOK PARIS.
“If there is any American city being essential in engraving our love for America, it has been Cleveland,” says ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffmann. “That is where we had the first impression of being ‘KINGS IN AMERICA!’ I believe any rock band knows if you make it in Cleveland, you make it anywhere. And so we did. We can’t wait to be back!”
“I sure believe that Cleveland will be a historic night,” adds ACCEPT manager (and Wolf‘s wife) Gaby Hoffmann. “Thank you to all of our Cleveland fans who have supported the band over the years. We are looking forward to seeing you again.”
The live recording will be done by Cleveland-based Spectrum Sound, with Tony Alberts engineering. Alberts has engineered live recordings from STARZ, ANVIL, TROUBLE, TRIVIUM, RAVEN, PILEDRIVER and JAG PANZER, to name a few.
ACCEPT, in the midst of its “Blood Of The Nations” world tour, will spend two days in Cleveland. The band will make a visit to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during the afternoon of October 7 for a private tour and then host a retail in-store signing session on October 8 at The Exchange in Parma Heights, Ohio (6271 Pearl Road) from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Nuclear Blast will provide free ACCEPT posters, pizza and soft drinks. No purchase is necessary to attend. Fans are encouraged to bring their ACCEPT collectibles for the band to sign. Cameras and video are permitted as well.
For more ACCEPT click here.
As it turns out, the levees broke long before Katrina. In the ’80s and ’90s, New Orleans birthed musical lineages that would haunt the underground and rule the world. Detuned and devastating, they rose from the swamps and from the amplifiers of men who knelt at the altar of The Almighty Riff. Who toiled in their Iommic studies and learned those lessons as if their lives depended upon them. They populated and propagated the pedigrees that brought you the dope-sick sludge of Eyehategod, the cinder-block doom of Crowbar, the brash Southern crossover of Corrosion of Conformity (via North Carolina) and the platinum power-grooves of Pantera (via Dallas, Texas). That’d be Jimmy Bower, Kirk Windstein, Pepper Keenan, Rex Brown and Philip Anselmo, more or less. But mostly more.
For the members of DOWN, it’s home. Sweet home. It’s ground zero. For a state of mind beset on all sides by too much tepid water, too many pills, barely enough weed and never enough Black Sabbath. Yeah, it might seem like the only way you could draw a straight line between the industrial wasteland of Birmingham, England—birthplace of Sabbath (and Judas Priest) to the festering cultural bouillabaisse of the Big Easy would be with a pencil and a ruler, but that ain’t necessarily the case. At least not since DOWN have been around, which by all accounts dates back to 1991, when then-Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo and Corrosion of Conformity frontman Pepper Keenan would trade tapes and listen to the doom-ridden prophecies of certified Sabbath heads like Saint Vitus and Trouble as well as Pentagram. Therein lies the genesis of DOWN, the eternal brotherhood into which Bower, Windstein and (eventually) Brown were later initiated.
Which is to say Sabbath is pretty much the key here, the origin of the bloodline, as it were. As loud and heavy and stoned and powerful as you can handle it. The coda to the film in this very package tells the tale: “Bust Up, Tune Down, Sabb Off.” And as DOWN’s 2004 Ozzfest appearance indicated, the Drab Four smile upon DOWN like DOWN smiles upon their own many and misbegotten spawn: the fans getting their faces ruled at the shows on this DVD, the kids who started bands after being inspired by what they heard; the kids who aren’t kids anymore but grown-ass men with highly respected (and respectable) musical outfits of their own. The names are many—too many to mention here, perhaps—but they wear their DOWN t-shirts (and DOWN tattoos) with pride.
But we were talking about New Orleans, where the wards teem with secrets and crawl with ghosts. You can see ’em in the Clarence John Laughlin photographs that grace the inner sleeve of DOWN’s unstoppable 1995 debut, NOLA. The product of floods, sweat and beers, it was an album of wall-to-wall motherfuckers without a filler cut in the bunch. From the towering Vitus-inspired doom of “Temptation’s Wings” and thundering power-grooves of “Lifer” and “Underneath Everything” to the haunting thickly muscled swamp-swing of “Stone the Crow” and the ultimate reefer death-dirge that is “Bury Me In Smoke,” the album chiseled a template in granite like a headstone in a potter’s field.
DOWN played roughly 25 shows between ’91 and ’02, with Crowbar bassist Todd Strange holding down the low end with all 400 or so pounds of his substantial girth. But soon Anselmo, Keenan, Windstein, and Bower were crisscrossing the globe in their other bands, and Down was necessarily placed on the proverbial back burner, a “side project” that looked increasingly like a one-off as the years passed and the individual members soldiered through the hard-won triumphs and squalid tribulations of the lifer experience. And yet in 2002, DOWN emerged from their self-enforced slumber with DOWN II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow—and with Anselmo’s Pantera bandmate Rex Brown now on bass. Not unlike its predecessor, the album unleashed gargantuan bolts of detuned lightning like “Lysergick Funeral Procession,” “Ghosts Along The Mississippi” and “New Orleans Is A Dying Whore.” DOWN, it would seem, were back, edging ever closer to something like full-time status. But it was not to be. Not yet, anyway.
The day of reckoning came in 2005, when DOWN reunited in the wake of Pantera’s permanent and untimely demise. The following year—that’s The Year Of VI in Down-speak—the band stomped all over Europe for six straight weeks while a crack camera crew shot the concert film you currently hold in your sweaty paws with a certain sense of anticipation that can only be satisfied by pressing PLAY. Performing sold-out shows across the Old World with no promotion, no record label and no opening band, DOWN tore new ones from Hamburg to Stockholm and back again, culminating in an unannounced set in front of untold tens of thousands on the main stage at the Download Festival in Leicestershire, England. What you’ll witness on the enclosed audio-visual extravaganza is the unvarnished (“sour notes and screw-ups included,” Anselmo tells us) deliverance of the fucking goods from that six-week excursion, the merciless reaming of an entire continent, and the true grit of five lifers in the Brotherhood Of Eternal Sleep.
In Cologne, Germany, Anselmo sends “Lifer” out to fallen Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was gunned down onstage in Ohio in 2004, “and all our other brothers we lost along the goddamn way.” There’s Keenan, a close-up of his grizzled mug. And that fucking riff. The one from “Lifer” gets us every goddamn time.
Nottingham’s Rock City gets a face-full of “New Orleans Is A Dying Whore.” Keenan and Windstein churn out the opening salvo like it owes them money, on twin SGs, no less. In Copenhagen, the lighters come out for “Jail.” Backstage, the living legends of Europe’s metal underground turn out in force. There’s Cronos from Venom in Manchester, England. The dudes from Witchcraft in Stockholm. The black metal trifecta of Fenriz (Darkthrone), Satyr (Satyricon) and Frost (Satyricon, Gorgoroth, 1349) in Oslo.
At Download, Bower’s drums sound like fucking cannons and Rex’s bass, bulldozing. It’s “Bury Me In Smoke,” the grand finale to end all grand finales—and a sea of thousands to match a riff a thousand years wide. It’s before noon and the sun is blazing, cooking all that tender British flesh to an angry pink crisp. There’s a pit … make that several pits. There’s a false start, followed by threats and allegations. But the riff rides out, steamrolling everything, transcending all. And then the band’s performance and purpose is cemented as Anselmo tells the swirling masses, “Live long, live legendary.”
These are the precise words DOWN lives by.
Los Angeles, 2010
Diary of a Mad Band hits stores on October 5th, and features a 2 CD full concert, live in London! The DVD highlights documented footage marking the 2006 return of DOWN from the practice room through their first European tour, and a bonus behind-the-scenes featurette entitled ‘Tyrades and Shananigans’. The DVD closes in at a blistering 130 minutes!
DVD: Diary of a Mad Band
w/ BONUS DVD FEATURETTE ‘Tyrades and Shananigans’
1. Lysergic Funeral Procession
3. Losing All
5. New Orleans Is A Dying Whore
6. Ghosts Along The Mississippi
7. Learn From This Mistake
8. Underneath Everything
9. Temptation’s Wings
10. There’s Something On My Side
11. Hail The Leaf
13. The Seed
14. Eyes Of The South
16. Stone The Crows
17. Bury Me In Smoke
2 CD: LIVE IN EUROPE
1. Losing All
3. Lysergic Funeral Procession
5. Temptations Wings
6. Ghosts Along The Mississippi
7. Learn From This Mistake
8. Hail The Leaf
9. New Orleans Is A Dying Whore
10. Lies, I Don’t Know What They Say But…
11. Underneath Everything
12. The Seed
13. Eyes Of The South
15. Stone The Crows
16. Bury Me In Smoke
The Bay Area Thrash Scene of the early 80’s has been well documented. The most successful metal band of all time, Metallica, helped define it’s sound, and give San Francisco it’s second major music ‘scene’ (the first being the flower power, hippy, acid rock scene of the 60’s). Bands like Testament, Exodus, Death Angel, Possessed, Heathen, and Vio-lence where at the forefront of the new scene.
Death Angel released three albums to much critical acclaim and built a very strong following. With the release of ACT III the band seemed poised to jump from a well known underground band to commercial success, but a bus accident at the beginning of the tour cycle sidelined the band with injuries, and they eventually separated in 1991. Fast forward ten years to Thrash Of The Titans a benefit for Chuck Billy, the singer of Testament, who was diagnosed with throat cancer. Many of the ‘old school’ Bay Area Thrash bands united and reunited for this epic event and cause. Death Angel was reborn with a new guitarist and due in part to the crowd response, and the persistence of a record label, Nuclear Blast, the band decided to hit the road and actually record an album. The last 9 years has seen three new albums, several successful tours, and a resurgence of the Bay Area old school Thrash Scene.
Ted Aguilar has been with Death Angel now since the Thrash Of The Titans show in 2001. And while the band was on tour with Soilwork this summer, I chatted with Ted Aguilar after their Raleigh, North Carolina show (and heated Galaga video game match!) about Death Angel, a proposed tour of China, the first ever ‘metal’ themed cruise ship, the soon to be released Relentless Retribution (September 14th on Nuclear Blast), what it feels like to be starring three years of non stop touring straight in the face, and how he was able to take the stage at Thrash of the Titans after only two rehearsals with the band (‘fuckin’ nervous man, fuckin’ nervous!’ was his response)
AWAY TEAM: This is ‘Slim’ Jim Keller with Awayteam.com and I’m sitting here with Ted Aguilar from Death Angel. I want to thank you very much for taking time out again for this interview. Congratulations on the soon to be released 6th studio album from Death Angel entitled Relentless Retribution.
TED AGUILAR: Yes!
AWAY TEAM: So how long have you been with Death Angel?
TED AGUILAR: Nine years now this is my 3rd album with them.
AWAY TEAM: Ok so when they reformed…
TED AGUILAR: Yeah I’ve been with them since Thrash of the Titans.
AWAY TEAM: What brought you on board to Death Angel? They reformed for the benefit for Chuck Billy called the Thrash of the Titans and it was the first time that they’d gotten together in eleven years to perform and so how did you end up in the band?
TED AGUILAR: Actually, I’ve known the guys for a long time even back in the 80’s. I’d been to majority of all their hometown shows from Ultra-Violence until Act III. And when the band started to reform I guess everyone was into it except Gus (Pepa) the other rhythm guitar player. And I mean he just wasn’t into it, he was in the Philippines at the time he just basically checked out of music, well heavy music in general. I’d known Rob (Cavestany), and Rob gave me a call and said, ‘Hey man you want to do it? Gus can’t do it.’ and at first I was like, ‘Are you SURE?’ I don’t wanna step on anybody’s toes since Death Angel was more of a family unit. He goes, ‘Nope Gus can’t do it.’ So in 2 rehearsals I had to learn all the songs on my own and you know I jammed out with some individuals just to kinda get some ideas of the structures of the song. We did 2 rehearsals like 2 days before Thrash of the Titans and boom did the show. It was fun man. I was nervous as a motherfucker though I’ll tell you! But it was fun.
AWAY TEAM: Kind of a big stage to take on for your first with only 2 rehearsals under your belt
TED AGUILAR: Two rehearsals and its Death Angel’s first gig in 11 years! You gotta be on your game! I was nervous as a motherfucker. These guys know the songs inside out I mean they grew up writing it so it was like second nature to them.
AWAY TEAM: So what were you doing before you got the call?
TED AGUILAR: I just played in a couple local bands nothing really big, just jamming around with friends and local bands just played around the Bay Area. And my band played with Rob and Mark’s (Osegueda) band Swarm at the time. We did a few local gigs together and that’s how I guess I got the gig. They never actually told me I was in the band they go ‘You wanna jam?’ and 9 years later here I am today man!
AWAY TEAM: Still waiting to sign the contract right!
TED AGUILAR: I’m still waiting! I didn’t even get a handshake! Put it that way.
AWAY TEAM: So your first album with Death Angel was Art of Dying. What was it at that show or shortly after that they decided or you all decided you should reform properly and actually do something with this?
TED AGUILAR: Well that show was supposed to be a one-off. I mean from what the guys told me Death Angel wasn’t meant to reform, they were just done. They went out on a high note of Act III and they started doing other various projects as The Organization, Swarm, Silver Circus and Big Shrimp and all that stuff. Right after we did Thrash of the Titans… I loved it, and the rest of the guys just felt the overwhelmingness of the crowd. Just very into the band. We didn’t realize how much Death Angel was missed. So after that show there was other offers coming about and I guess we decided let’s just do one more round of touring put out a live album and that’s it, call it a day. But as soon as we went to Europe the crowd was just amazing! The first time we went there we headlined the F&R in 2002 July of 2002 I believe then we did the Dynamo Festival and those shows are just like, ‘Holy Shit!’ I mean metal is big in Europe and again we didn’t realize how much fans around the world missed Death Angel. And we did that and went back out on the road again we got this offer to do two weeks in Europe on a festival with Testament. Nuclear Blast started coming around offering us you know… they wanted to sign us without even hearing new songs! They just loved the band, loved the legacy, ‘we’ll sign you!’ So from there on we just said well let’s give it a shot we did and we released Art Of Dying, we released Killing Season, now we’re going to release Relentless Retribution and it’s been a great ride and we still got more to conquer! More to conquer!
AWAY TEAM: Well you’re currently on tour with Soilwork, Swashbuckle and Mutiny Within; I saw maybe 5 dates left after tonight, what’s next?
TED AGUILAR: After this we’re going to go home and kinda hang out with family real quick. Just hang out and chill, then the album comes out as you know September 14th, everyone go out and get it!
AWAY TEAM: On Nuclear Blast. Find it on Nuclear Blast; pre-order it now you get a T-shirt with it…
TED AGUILAR: There you go! And there’s gonna be there’s a limited DVD too. It’s the making of the record which I kinda filmed, directed, and produced the whole thing. I had someone else edit it. It’s the making of the record from the first riff all the way until the last riff and into the recording studio and whatnot. And September we’re going to do the Mezcal Metalfest the last week of September with Twisted Sister, Destruction, God Forbid, and Obituary. Then in October we’re going to South America for the first time which we’re really excited about then we come back in November. December we’re going out to Europe with Kreator, Exodus, and Suicidal Angels and that’s going to be a thrash fest festival across Europe! Come back for the holidays then in the new year we pick up at that 70,000 ton metal cruise we’re doing with Testament, Forbidden, Exodus, Fear Factory, Uli Roth, Trouble, Swashbuckle, so many bands! Then right after that we start our headlining U.S. tour and who knows what’s going to come after that. I know next summer we still have to do the major European festivals so relentless touring, relentless touring.
AWAY TEAM: So springtime we should see you back in the States then on the road…
TED AGUILAR: Around springtime yeah around there.
AWAY TEAM: Early summer before the European festivals kick in?
TED AGUILAR: Yeah then go back to Europe for the summer festivals then maybe come back in the fall too. Relentless touring! Who knows? But that’s the plan.
AWAY TEAM: On this album you have two new musicians (Damien Sissom – bass, Will Carroll – drums) on it, has that changed how you guys write?
TED AGUILAR: Well it definitely changed this time around because we have a new rhythm section. Andy Galeon and Dennis Pepa are no longer with the band due to personal and family obligations. They couldn’t go out on tour basically so we got a new rhythm section and when we got them, before we even started writing a record, we went out on tour with them. Just played the old songs and we noticed they have a thrashier element. So it was kinda good to go out on the road with them and play some of the old songs and get a feel of what’s going on. I’ve known Damien and Will for awhile, I’ve played with them, so I know what their vibe is about. But it was good in a sense for Rob and Mark because it’s probably the first time in Death Angel history they got to jam with somebody who are not family, somebody totally new. So when we came to writing the album Rob kinda knew what styles Will played, he knew Will’s a thrash drummer, basically like full on thrash drummer, Damien’s a thrash bass player but with a sense of like, ala Cliff Burton, Steve Harris, all those great players. So Rob wrote accordingly to that. The band’s been through a lot of ups and downs in the past couple of years losing members and a lot of personal things going on internally and externally. So all that influence and jamming with new people helped create this record which is the most aggressive and thrashiest record since Ultra-Violence. You know a lot of double bass a lot of fast parts and it feels like a new band. When you listen to the record, for us, it seemed like a new band getting its first record deal, excited! Just going out there again you know? It’s kinda like they helped bring that excitement back which was kinda tapering off with Dan and Andy because they just weren’t into it any more. You can’t really force anybody to be into something when they’re not. And it was really hard for the band because those guys had been with the band since the inception and a lot of fans are like, ‘Oh man! What’re they gonna do?’ But this album’s going to really prove that Death Angel can go on and we’re happy about that.
AWAY TEAM: That’s one thing I’d noticed with the Art of Dying and Killing Season. Act III to most fans out there was the ‘be all end all’ Death Angel album and it was probably the most diverse out of the three original albums, very funky, a lot of different styles woven through the basic Bay Area Thrash sound and with the Art of Dying & Killing Season and what little bit I’ve heard of Relentless Retribution it’s like you have gone more towards the straightforward thrash. Is that more angry or just…
TED AGUILAR: It’s a combination of things. I mean it was intentionally to do that and two it was like I said we’d gone through a lot in the past couple of years so all that vibe went into that, and Rob being the sole the chief writer on this one. Art of Dying was good you know it got our feet wet with the band discovering themselves again because it’d been a long time. Killing Season was a great record where everyone like pretty much honed in, but then again, like I’d said in the past couple of years there was tension within the band of collaborating. I mean collaboration is good sometimes you know and it works well when it works well and the past couple of years with everyone it was hard in a sense. And when everyone collaborated it made Death Angel, but this one was more Rob wrote everything. I mean he had the ideas, he had the thing, there was no fighting, there was no pushing and pulling. It wasn’t like, ‘No this has to be that way!’ ‘No this is that way!’ Rob had so much ideas, and so much to let out, that with our new rhythm section and we heard what Rob was writing and we’d go, ‘that’s it!’ You know he was feeling it, he had all this vibe and ideas, we just ran with it. It was easier for Rob to write. There was no pushing and pulling, he had everything, we just added to what he did. It’s like I said being a band, being in a first band, someone forms a band, ‘I got all these songs let’s do it, let’s do it, let’s do it!’ And when it came to the lyrics, Mark wrote the majority of the lyrics. There’s 12 songs on the record. Mark wrote 9 of them and Rob wrote the other 3 and it’s a heartfelt record. Mark finally got to release. Mark had a lot… you know we all went through a lot of stuff. We were all able to release, and that’s why the record’s more thrashy, more aggressive. It was purposely done that way. Along with the fact of what we went through, so we’re stoked about it. We’re just stoked. And it still has Death Angel elements in there. It doesn’t have the sing-along’s like some stuff on Act III, but there’s melody. It’s just aggressive melody. Who knows how well this album does. We could go on the road even longer. That’s something we want to do. It’s something a proper band should do. And that’s something we never got to do with Art of Dying and Killing Season. Due to the fact that a couple of the guys in the band either didn’t want to tour… we get booked a tour and go ‘I can do that first half but not the second half’ it’s like we gotta do it all! But now that those roadblocks are not there we are able to just tour and we need to tour to promote the record and to get in people’s faces. A lot of people want to see us live and they don’t want to wait 4 years for us to come by. So we want to keep comin’ and coming around.
AWAY TEAM: Yeah I’m getting tired of driving 5 hours to see you guys!
TED AGUILAR: Yes yes yes! We want to keep touring a lot so we can hit other markets where people don’t have to travel to. We’re hitting these markets where people have to travel because we haven’t come around a lot. The more we come around we can hit other territories. The word gets out ‘hey come over here instead of over there’. Cool. You know maybe hit your town so you don’t have to drive!
AWAY TEAM: So you’re doing South America and with the European festivals you’re hitting a lot of Europe, what is probably like the one market or the one place you guys haven’t played that you want to?
TED AGUILAR: Oh South America, one. Central America, probably want to go to Africa. I’ve heard they have shows in Africa. Morocco, Sepultura just did Morocco, they had a couple festivals in like Dubai. We’ve done the Philippines which is great awesome and …
AWAY TEAM: How are you guys accepted there?
TED AGUILAR: Great!
AWAY TEAM: I think you and Journey ‘cuz of their new lead singer…
TED AGUILAR: Yeah yeah!
AWAY TEAM: You guys are pretty much the favored children of the Philippines.
TED AGUILAR: Pretty much yeah! Well Journey more than us! We were accepted really well and the fans were awesome the people there were awesome. We want to go back to Japan, we’ve been to Japan, but I know there’s other territories. There’s talks of Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and you know Hawaii… There’s so many places, it’s just trying to get out there. It is hard but we’ll play everywhere where it’s feasible. If we can get out there without losing it, losing our asses, we’ll play! We’ll definitely play.
AWAY TEAM: In the age of downloading, you guys unfortunately don’t make a lot money anymore on the actual album sales. Labels and no offense to Nuclear Blast and some other great labels out there but the big labels we’ll say are slowly but surely crumbling. And if they don’t change their business model then they’re not going to exist in the next few years. Can you still exist and can you make a good living doing this full time?
TED AGUILAR: If you play your cards right!
AWAY TEAM: It’s about being in your blood and wanting to play. That’s one thing. But being able to survive in today’s market…
TED AGUILAR: A lot of bands seem to do it, I mean a lot of younger bands. Thing is to tour one, merchandise of course, you can download music but you can’t download a shirt. And we get people go ‘oh I’ve seen your YouTube performances’ great! And they come out to see us. Yeah you can see it on YouTube, but it’s not the same as going to a live show. Downloading does hurt and I’ve talked to people in bands and labels, it hurts but you gotta embrace the internet. I see it as touring, your merchandise, and just playing your cards right, and just embracing the internet. Don’t kind of shun it, it’s there, it’s not going away. The days of making money off platinum records seems to be over. Not even pop artists sell as much as they used to but…
AWAY TEAM: Which is good actually!
TED AGUILAR: Well in a sense, but for bands like us we gotta go out and tour. And the live show’s where people really see us. And the more we tour the more merch you sell or whatever and just gotta keep going. Putting out records cause the diehards will buy the records and in this day and age you got people like me and you who still buy records. The newer generations don’t seem to, a lot of the hardcore scene people kinda like download, but a lot of metal kids that I talk to, that I meet, have bought CDs and vinyl and want to sign it. So that’s good that they’re buying it. But it’s just touring and word of mouth the old school way.
AWAY TEAM: Well, used to be when you’re starting out you lived on the road. You lived in the back of a van and you toured incessantly just to get your name out there. Now you have to tour incessantly to put money in your pocket! As you get older it really starts to wear on you more, how do you keep up the intensity? Because you guys put on a phenomenal show! Like I was telling Mark (Osegueda – singer) before we started the interview, I’ve been following this band since ’87. I’m from the Bay Area originally and there was a high school radio station KVHS that played metal, and that’s all they played! That was my introduction to Death Angel in ’87. They played the Ultra-Violence and I was hooked instantly. I’ve seen you guys live, since you got back together, I’ve seen you probably 5, 6 times. And they are just amazing shows! And the intensity on that stage whether it’s a huge room or a very small room, you guys just slay. How do you keep up that level of intensity and that energy night after night being on the road for say another 2 years now?
TED AGUILAR: One we try to stay healthy eat right on the road a lot of us exercise a lot you know
AWAY TEAM: And a lot of Galaga!
TED AGUILAR: And a lot of Galaga!! We exercise a lot, we watch what we eat basically, and we’re not excessive drinkers. We don’t do drugs, an occasional puff here and there with the guys. Who doesn’t? It’s basically just really taking care of yourself. Plus when we play the songs that we play we’re just so into it, it just makes us go crazy night after night whether it’s a small crowd or a big crowd. We throw out the energy and the crowd throws it back at us. We love to do it, we love to go out there and perform. People come to see a show we’re going to give you a show! Plus we’re from the old school, where we go to a show and fuckin’ Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, old Metallica, all those bands they put on a show. KISS for example! So we kinda like are influenced by that, but how do we do it? We just rest, exercise, and try to work out and be cautious of intake.
AWAY TEAM: Well I thank you very much it’s been a pleasure again thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule
TED AGUILAR: No problem man thank you
AWAY TEAM: Good luck with Relentless Retribution and the next 16 months on the road and hopefully we’ll see you again in Raleigh in the spring.
TED AGUILAR: Raleigh or wherever you live! Hopefully you know the more we tour, and if the record gets pretty successful which we hope… Countin’ on you guys to buy it so we can hit more than just one city per state you know? So everyone can come out, we’re into it! Hope you’re into it too. Relentless Retribution September 14th via Nuclear Blast GO BUY IT! Come see the shows!
Thank you to Ted Aguilar for the time he took out of his Galaga match to sit and talk with me, Francois for ensuring the interview happened, Charles at Nuclear Blast for setting it up, and Melissa for her great transcription services as always.
Relentless Retribution can be pre-ordered here.
For more DEATH ANGEL click here.
Photos courtesy of Barry Knain