Artist Interview | Page 20 | Revolver

Artist Interview

Press-001-Credit-Alison-Webster_0.jpg, Alison Webster
photograph by Alison Webster

Tampa, Florida-based death metal act Dark Sermon recently released their album, 'The Oracle,' via eOne/ Good Fight. Today, the band has teamed up with Revolver to premiere their new music video, "The Eyeless Needle." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!

To get 'The Oracle,' visit iTunes. For more on Dark Sermon, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


Austin-based political-hardcore act Insvrgence recently released their new album, 'Every Living Creature Dies Alone,' via Inner Strength. Here, vocalist James Wendt and guitarist Rafe Holmes talk about why they tackle politics on the new album what's up with the "v" in their name. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!

For more on Insvrgence, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

REVOLVER Your guys sing about politics quite a bit. What are some of the most important societal issues that you have chosen to address and why? How do you decide what topics to tackle?
JAMES WENDT The demonisation of the poor in America, indoctrinated racism, police brutality, and media manipulation through propaganda to name a few. I speak on these things because these issues affect everyone and because these situations are in many cases increasingly dire. I can't claim to have all of the answers, but I hope this band can somehow help get the ball rolling. I can get so worked up and heated about these things that if I don't express what I'm feeling I might explode. It's very cathartic in that I can purge these feelings in a constructive way.

Let's talk about the specific themes of two songs on 'Every Living Creature Dies Alone.' You pick the songs and give us the inside scoop!
WENDT One of my favorites on the album is called "Afterlife." This song is about the dangers of a fundamentalist approach to religious belief. There's something inherently scary about a loud and driven group of people anxiously awaiting the end of the world. As is commonly said, be careful what you wish for.

Another interesting one is called "Superiority Complex." This song is about self-importance and how rampant it has become in our society. People seem to think that they are so important and all-knowing that they can discredit and refute cold hard facts simply because they have the right to their unsubstantiated opinions. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but everyone else has a right to object to that opinion when what is being said is ignorant, dangerous, or just plain wrong.

In 2015, message-driven hardcore and metal have taken a backseat. Why do you think that is?
WENDT I can't speak on behalf of other bands for certain, but I know from my perspective that sitting on the fence and making catchy, non-confrontational music is the path of least resistance when it comes to being noticed by some of the bigger players in the industry. It's not to say that labels and fans don't care about content; just that it seems people would prefer to escape issues via music, rather than confront them head on for the most part. Ignoring the problem isn't really working though. We've got to start the discussion.

How do you think your music can effect change?
WENDT Inspiration. That is the weapon that music wields, and sometimes that's enough to move mountains.

RAFE HOLMES I didn't start getting involved in politics until I was shown bands that talked about social/political issues in their content. The medium of metal/hardcore made the topics relatable to me and really inspired me to research topics that I'd never previously considered on my own. It's what made the light finally click on in my head. I would hope our music will have a positive influence to listeners as the bands that influenced me did.


Returning to the title, it's a heavy sentiment... can you further expand on it?
WENDT It means that in death we are all the same. We all die and that experience is ours and ours alone. Our life could end in the blink of an eye and we should treat each other accordingly. Live your life with respect for others because there's no coming back from death.

For our readers that may not have heard of the band before, what's the one key reason they'd need to check out the album or come to a show?
WENDT 'Every Living Creature Dies Alone' is fast, dramatic, angry, and darkly melodic. It's both political and emotional. We think this is a sound not heard in heavy music for quite sometime. Our live sets have intensity and unbridled passion. Whether there's five or 5,000 people in front of us, we will give it 150 percent each and every single time we do a show.

Hey one last question—why the "v" in your band name? Was it a copyright thing?
WENDT It's spelled with the "v" solely for aesthetics' sake. Our prior release has a hermetic tarot theme and the "v" was added in to fit the album's cover. We love how it looked and chose to run with it.


Revolver caught up with Danzig at his recent New York City show to talk about his new covers record—'Skeletons'—love of Elvis, how he ended up on 'Portlandia,' why he will stop touring, and more. Check out the video below and let us know what you think in the comments!

For more on Danzig, follow him on Facebook.

deafheaven_couch_credit-Kristen-Coffer_1.jpg, Kristen Coffer
photograph by Kristen Coffer

The following is an excerpt from the Deafheaven feature in the December issue of Revolver. Here, Deafheaven masterminds George Clarke and Kerry McCoy talk the pressure of following-up the critically-acclaimed 'Sunbather' and stress dreams they had while recording 'New Bermuda.'

To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or get your copy here. Story by Dan Epstein.

"'New Bermuda' is the place where you think everything is going be good," George Clarke explains. "You keep swimming, and you're trying to get there; but ultimately, you don't make it...

"It's sort of the woes of adulthood," he continues. "I really appreciate our success, but now I have these adult responsibilities, and these stresses that I've never dealt with before—just all this reality coming down at once."

For Deafheaven, whose lineup also includes drummer Dan Tracy, bassist Stephen Lee Clark, and guitarist Shiv Mehra, one of the unfortunate adult realities that reared its head in the wake of 'Sunbather''s success was that the band would have to crank out a new album in just a fraction of the time that it took to write and record their previous full-length. After a year and a half of touring, McCoy had only written two of the five sprawling songs that would eventually comprise 'New Bermuda,' and had only a few months to come up with the others before the band was due to enter the studio in the spring of 2015.

"The thing that sucks is, you're aware that you're rushing something that should not be being rushed," Kerry McCoy laughs. "We pretty much just spent all of the end of February through all of March writing and rehearsing the songs, and then all of April just going to the studio every day."

Deafheaven recorded 'New Bermuda' at Palo Alto's Atomic Garden Recording and 25th Street Recording in California with producer Jack Shirley, who'd also helmed their two previous albums. The intense pressures of the recording deadline caused McCoy to constantly second-guess his progress—"It was like, 'Does this really work, or are we just rushing to get it done?'"—before finally putting his trust in Clarke and Tracy's assurances that the new music was indeed on the right track.

"It really helps to have people like George and Dan in the band," says McCoy. "I don't think Dan has ever second-guessed anything in his life! We'll get done with a song, and he'll be like, 'Killer, dude! Awesome song!' And I'm like, 'Are you sure? I feel like this is kind of phoned in.' 'Nah, man! Not at all!' Dan kind of balances me out that way; he's like the blind 'We rule! People are gonna love this!' guy. While George is the guy who, if he's stoked off of it, I know he knows enough about what he's talking about that it's gonna be good. It's only when George gets kind of worried that I'm like, 'Oh, shit!'"

"When we were writing the record, Kerry and I were having these conversations about how we were both waking up in the middle of the night, really stressed," Clarke admits. "I would have stress dreams about the record! But I think it really just goes to show how much we care, I mean, like, to a really terrible degree," he laughs. "I feel like, if you don't approach what you're doing in that way, you just don't care enough."

To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or get your copy here.


The following article is from Revolver's December 2015 issue. It is on newsstands now and available for purchase in our webstore.

by Chris Krovatin

Brutal death metal and opera are two genres that require significant discipline to master. So if you're Italy's Fleshgod Apocalypse, combining both in clinical blasts of sonic mayhem, you've got your work cut out for you.

"We lock ourselves in the studio about eight to 10 hours a day," says guitarist/lead vocalist Tommaso Riccardi, "and I couldn't say that the process is relaxed at all...I guess it's just that we are extreme perfectionists, so we always end up spending a lot of time on details that actually make the difference."

Though just beginning the process of recording 'King,' the follow-up to 2013's successful 'Labyrinth,' Fleshgod have been hard at work for some time. Riccardi says the band has been doing pre-production for approximately nine months, and that they aren't leaving anything up to last-minute chance. "We always enter the studio with 95 percent done. We usually leave some space for vocals, since it's very hard to have a complete idea of the final results during the pre-production."

Vocals have a very special place in music for Fleshgod Apocalypse, with bassist Paolo Rossi's clean singing better suited to a symphony hall than a metal club. But rather than write the death metal and add the opera later, the band records with every piece of a song in mind. "We always treat our music considering all the elements in it, and we work on different sections depending on what the music itself requires. I think that is the only mature way to do it."

Maturity is a recurring theme for Fleshgod Apocalypse. When asked about in-studio rituals or traditions, Riccardi blows off the idea entirely. "We are very rational people, so we just work very hard and try to do our best. I guess we really believe in this project and in our skills, so we don't feel the need of any superstition."

That said, the growler still maintains a classically excited and extreme opinion of his music. "'King' is extremely heavy, sharp and dark and it still is a synthesis of all our experience," he says. "It's just an album with no compromise."


Revolver's own Derek Soto was on hand to catch all the action for Prong, Superjoint Ritual and Veil of Maya's show on October 21 at The PlayStation Theater. Check out the photos he captured for us below–you can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram.


The following article is from Revolver's December 2015 issue. It is on newsstands now and available for purchase in our webstore.

by Richard Bienstock

On their 2013 album, 'The Blackest Beautiful,' Los Angeles-based post-hardcore agitators Letlive expanded on their hard-hitting approach by adding elements of funk, soul and hip-hop to their already frenetic sound. Now, with the upcoming 'If I'm the Devil...,' their just-completed fourth album, the band is taking things even further.

"We got into a bunch of fucking arguments when we were writing this record," says frontman Jason Butler. "Some of us wanted to do our punk songs and some of us wanted to do our more rock songs." He laughs. "Me, I wanted to do some shit that sounded like Kanye [West] meets Royal Blood or some- thing. But then we started to let go and just said, 'Fuck it, let's write the song and see how we feel about it when it's done.'"

The result, he says, is that If I'm the Devil... "is like a more advanced version of the sort of rock and soul approach that we've been trying to follow. We finally got to really explore using all these other instruments and sounds in our music—there are acoustic elements, there are electronic elements like Radiohead or A Tribe Called Quest might have used, there's things like the sound of us slapping desks and walls... we just tried everything."

The new album also shows the notoriously aggressive band embracing melody to a greater degree. "A lot of it is essentially the most punk rock shit we've ever written, but with the most accessible melodies," Butler says. "But not accessible in a way that we were like, 'We want to get on the radio.' Because that's not an approach that would work for Letlive. We just wrote some music that has a lot groove in it, and some of it is just plain catchy. And I'm okay with that. I'm actually really excited about it."

As a frontman, Butler also found it necessary to step up his own game this time around. On the new songs, he says, "I'm singing a lot more than I'm screaming— which I'm very excited about because it's something I've wanted to do for the past few years." Lyrically, meanwhile, he calls 'If I'm the Devil...' "easily the most politically- and socially-minded record we've done."

To that end, on the album's first track, tentatively titled "Reluctantly Dead," Butler focuses his attack on authority figures that abuse their power. "In the song I put myself in the eyes and the heart of that type of per- son and I try to understand that they're still human at their core," he says. "I think if I can realize that these people are human beings, too, then maybe I can work toward creating some sort of change.

"But let me just say, as a disclaimer, I don't think I'm going to go out and write a record and change the world. I don't actually think that." Butler pauses. "But if that were to happen? That would be fantastic."


Iron Maiden appear on the cover of the next issue of Revolver, which hits newsstands today and is available for purchase online right now. You can view the cover below, which was illustrated by Mark Wilkinson.

MORE IRON MAIDEN: Read an excerpt from the cover story


The following is an excerpt from the Children of Bodom feature in the December issue of Revolver. Here, frontman and wild child Alexi Laiho talks his chaotic past and the desire to change.

To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands November 3 or get your copy here. Story by Jon Wiederhorn.

"For many years my life was pretty much a combination of Mötley Crüe's 'Behind the Music' and [the 2002 film] 'Jackass,'" Laiho explains at Revolver HQ in New York City. "But even then I practiced guitar a lot and took the band very seriously. I was sober when we played and then after the show I would lose my fucking mind."

Between 1997, when he formed Children of Bodom in Espoo, Finland and 2003, when the band started to gain international acclaim, Laiho went from self-inflicted pain to accidental injuries. After binging on vodka one night in 2004, he fell off the top of a car and broke three bones in his wrist and cut himself up badly enough to require stitches, prompting Children of Bodom to name their fifth studio album 'Are You Dead Yet?' In January of 2007, he cracked his shoulder blade in a drunken bowling accident, and in 2009 he snapped his shoulder and two ribs when he fell out of his bus bunk while on tour with Lamb of God. The damage he did to his bones was equaled by the corrosion that took place internally.

"I didn't eat, all I did was drink," he says, gazing with eyes rimmed in black eyeliner. "I got stomach ulcers. I was vomiting blood right before I went onstage and sometimes during the show. It wasn't fun anymore. I was like, 'Fuck man, this is dark shit. It's time to change.'"

Change didn't happen right away. In August of 2013, Laiho was rushed to the hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, causing the band to cancel two shows. But over the past few years Laiho has stopped drinking on tour, and he imbibes in moderation when he's at home. Yet he still thrives on unpredictability, which explains why Children of Bodom called their ninth album 'I Worship Chaos.' "I'm a very restless person," Laiho says in a calm, confident voice. "I don't do well with silence. It freaks the shit out of me. There's just too much crazy going on in my head, so I need chaos to feel comfortable. I don't like calm."

To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands November 3 or get your copy here.

20150508_0765bw_f_2.jpg, LeAnn Mueller
photograph by LeAnn Mueller

The following is an excerpt from the Coheed and Cambria feature in the December issue of Revolver. Here, frontman Claudio Sanchez discusses what happened to his old home in upstate New York after moving to New York City and why the prog-rock act ditched the concept album for 'The Color Before the Sun.'

To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands November 3 or get your copy here. Story by Jon Wiederhorn.

REVOLVER You also seem to have a sentimental fondness for your country home.
CLAUDIO SANCHEZ I tend to romanticize inanimate objects. I deemed the house the Big Beige in homage to the band, and Coheed has written multiple albums there. While I was stressing out about being in Brooklyn I found out that the Big Beige had been broken into, which felt like a personal invasion.

How did you find out about the break-in?
Around the time we were supposed to do our yearly walk through of the property with the tenants, they texted my wife and said the house had been broken into and they weren't going back to it. My wife called the police and when they arrived they saw that the floors had been jigsawed apart and the house smelled like marijuana. The place had been turned into a grow house. It wasn't deemed a crime scene because there wasn't enough substantial evidence, but from the residue in the basement, the police estimated that probably about a $300,000 operation had been going on there. We went out to assess the damage and then contacted the insurance company and they thought we might have been involved. They questioned us like we were criminals, which was very unnerving.

On "Island" you sing about feeling trapped and wanting to "get off of the island" of the city block where you were living. Why did you want out of Brooklyn?
When I was working on 'The Color Before the Sun' I wasn't doing anything that seemed like it could be a part of the Coheed world, so I felt like I was just wasting time and that I needed to get out of the city to really be productive the way Coheed requires.

What triggered the identity crisis?
I think it was just the stress I was under as the deadline for the album got closer and as the birth of the baby approached. "Colors" addresses that. In the wee hours I would wander over to Prospect Park as the sun would come up. And it would remind me of the river town I grew up in, Nyack [New York], right on the Hudson. That created this sort of closure where I got to meet my younger self. I remembered all these moments of taking peyote or acid and hanging out with friends until the early morning. Thinking about the younger me made go, "OK, but who am I now and who do I want to be?" As much as I've always tried to keep Coheed limitless I realized I had created a limit for myself with the band by doing all the sci-fi stuff.

To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands November 3 or get your copy here.