Artist Interview | Page 7 | Revolver

Artist Interview

volbeat 2016 GETTY, Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns
photograph by Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns

It's no accident that Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen often delivers his lyrics in a trademark bellow that recalls the bass-heavy, authoritative tone of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley — they're two of his formative idols. To that end, early on in Volbeat's career Poulsen actually had the opportunity to "play" Elvis for an evening, when he fronted a band made up of some of the musicians who had performed and recorded with Presley in the '50s and '70s.

"That happened after our first record," Poulsen recalls. "A few of Elvis' old musicians were touring around Europe together, and I knew the guy who made the arrangement for the show in Denmark. He asked me if I wanted to go onstage and sing a couple songs with the band, and, honestly, I thought he was joking. I said, 'Fuck you, man! I don't touch the King's work!'" He laughs. "And I turned the offer down. But later on I called him up because I said, 'I have to do it or else I will regret it for the rest of my life!' I ended up singing a few Elvis songs, like 'Suspicious Minds' and 'Don't Be Cruel.' And I was an emotional wreck — after the show I went straight to the toilet and cried like a fucking baby! Because being there onstage with Elvis' musicians, it was too much."

And yet, the King's men saw something in him. "After the show, Bob Moore, who was Elvis' bass player, came up to me and he said, 'You know, Michael, you're a really good singer. I'm not kidding you — you could make it big in America!'" At the time, however, Volbeat had yet to ever tour in the U.S. "But I guess he knew what he was talking about because now we're doing very good there!"

These days, Volbeat are doing "very good" not only in America, but, it seems, pretty much everywhere else in the Western world. "You know, when we were trying to get a record deal in the beginning, nobody seemed to want to touch Volbeat," Poulsen remarks. "It was like, 'What the fuck is this?' And of course, later on all those labels were knocking on our door, like, 'OK, now we get it!' And now we tour all around the world as headliners, and do what we love to do. This is not something we could have ever  foreseen, but it's something to always remember, how we got here. We pretty much left all doors open, and we never painted ourselves into any corners. And it became what it is now. And what it is now, is just Volbeat."

HellyeahArticle.jpg, David Jackson
photograph by David Jackson

The following is an excerpt from the Hellyeah feature in the August/September issue of Revolver. Here, frontman Chad Gray discusses reunion rumors and the inclusion of a cover on the group's latest, 'Unden!able,' of Phil Collins' 1983 Grammy-nominated single "I Don't Care Anymore," featuring a guitar track recorded by Paul's brother, former Pantera/Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell, shortly before Dimebag's death.

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

REVOLVER Why 'Unden!able'?
CHAD GRAY As an artist—or whatever you do—you wanna be respected for your work. But even after all the records we've done, there's still the stigma of Pantera and Mudvayne and everyone wanting the reunions and all this shit, so it was like, "Is what we're doing not good enough?" I think it was this unspoken headspace that we had going into this new record, and when I was writing the song "Be Unden!able," I came up with the line, "If you're tired of being denied, be undeniable and dot your I's on the bottom." And dotting your I's on the bottom is an exclamation point. So I think the name 'Unden!able' kind of validates what Hellyeah does.

Is it also meant to discourage all the calls for reunions?
Tragically, even if Vinnie [Paul, drummer] wanted to, Pantera can never do a reunion. You can't do a reunion without a member of a band. I think that people forget the emotional aspect of this: Vinnie watched his brother get tragically murdered in front of him, and what's on their mind? They wanna see a Pantera reunion. I'm not trying to call people out as assholes, but people are kind of assholes. They forget that he had to live this.

What about Mudvayne?
With Mudvayne, it is what it is. I'm tired of stringing people along. I still talk to the guys; we're cool. But for many reasons, Mudvayne doesn't exist anymore. Someone posted that "Mudvayne 201?" thing online [hinting at a possible Mudvayne reunion] and they shouldn't have done that because it's fucking with Mudvayne fans emotionally, which isn't fair. I don't want to wind people up, but who am I to say that can never happen again? But I'm certainly not gonna say that it can.

'Unden!able' includes a cover of Phil Collins' "I Don't Care Anymore" with a guitar track that Dimebag originally recorded for a potential Damageplan cover not long before he was killed in 2004. How did that come together?
Dude, this is crazy. We were in the studio when Christian Brady [guitarist] suggested we do that cover and Vinnie goes, "Me and my brother did a recording of that 14 years ago!" And we were like, "What?" It took a while to dig up the track and convert it to a usable format because it was recorded on a system that was made by a company that went out of business. The day we recorded vocals I was sick, but once we got through the first few lines, Kevin [Churko, producer] said, "Dude, this is gonna be insane. You're gonna be singing this song for the rest of your life."

How did it feel singing over a long lost Dimebag track?
For me and Vinnie, to play on this track with his brother 10 years after Dimebag's death…I can't even describe to you the magnitude of the magic and beauty and overwhelmingness of it. Dimebag was somebody that I looked up to as a god of music—not only the way that he played and approached music but the way that he approached life and the way he treated people and was humble and had humility. Dimebag for me was a hero, and I'm not even a guitar player.

For the rest of the story, pick up the August/September issue

TestamentStudio.jpg, Raymond Ahner
photograph by Raymond Ahner

The following article is from Revolver's August/September 2016 issue. It is on newsstands August 9 and available for purchase in our webstore.

by Jon Wiederhorn

Four years have passed since Testament released its tenth studio album, 'Dark Roots of the Earth,' and it's easy to see how. The band toured relentlessly on the record and when they weren't hitting the pavement, the members were busy with other projects. Guitarist Alex Skolnick recorded and played shows with supergroup Metal Allegiance, bassist Steve DiGiorgio and drummer Gene Hoglan toured with the Death revival outfit Death to All, and vocalist Chuck Billy co-formed the management company Breaking Bands, LLC. "We'd start working on something and then a tour would come up or someone would get locked into another project so we'd have to stop," said guitarist and main songwriter Eric Peterson. "It has been stop-go-stop-go process, which has been really frustrating. Finally, I put my foot down and set a recording date of April 27."

With the blessings of his bandmates, Peterson, who is also producing the album, demoed 15 songs at his home studio, then whittled the music down to the 11 tracks that will comprise Testament's next album, 'The Brotherhood of the Snake,' which is scheduled for an October release. According to Peterson, the autonomy allowed him to create some of the group's fastest, heaviest material to date (with the exclusion of the 1997 death metal outing 'Demonic').

While he has always been partial to thrash, in the past Peterson always wanted to make sure Testament's albums contained a strong balance of rippers, anthems, mid-paced groove-rockers, and the occasional ballad. However, everything he wrote for 'The Brotherhood of the Snake' roared with rapid-fire ferocity, so he kept going.

"When I was six songs in I went, 'Holy crap, these are all thrash!'" Peterson says. "But when I listened back I went, 'Well, they all sound different and they're all killer.'"

The fastest songs on 'The Brotherhood of the Snake' include "The Number Game," "The Pale King" and "Neptune's Star." The song "Black Mass" is sludgier and more doom-laden, but it also includes fleet guitar picking Peterson compares to melodic black metal band Old Man's Child.

When Peterson finished demoing, Hoglan flew from his home in Los Angeles to Trident Studios in Martinez, California (35 miles outside of San Francisco), where he spent two weeks tracking drums. Then, Peterson recorded the final rhythm guitar tracks back at home. Once they were done, he sent the tracks to Skolnick, who laid down leads in his studio in Brooklyn, New York. Finally, the songs went to DiGiorgio and Billy, who recorded their parts at Trident. While Billy performed what Peterson calls "some of his best vocals," the singer often needed some prodding.

"Chuck wants everything he does to be final," Peterson says. "If he records something I don't vibe with, I try to convince him to change it. He'll be like, 'Nope, this is it.' And I'll go, 'No it's not.' I don't want to be that guy, but if something's wrong it has be redone. But in the end it always works out."


The following article is from Revolver's August/September 2016 issue. It is on newsstands August 9 and available for purchase in our webstore.

by Chris Krovatin

Most bands look for studios and producers who work within their genre; if you're in a thrash band, you pick a thrash producer. So how do Amaranthe, a band with influences from electro-pop to death metal, choose where and with whom to record? "We look for someone who's pretty well-rounded," says guitarist/keyboardist Olof Mörck from Top Floor Studio in Gothenburg, Sweden. "We really need somebody who understands us on a musical level, so we don't lose them in the process. There are a lot of harmonies and different keyboards to keep track of. I think Jacob Hansen, who records the vocals, is a genius, not just in production but in terms of composing, and understanding."

When Revolver reaches him, Mörck says the band has laid down guitars, drums and keyboards for Amaranthe's fourth full-length album, with vocals to record and mixing left. But first, the band is heading out for a month-long circuit of festival shows, which he thinks will help the recording process. "It's an idea that we've been toying around with before, and now we actually have the opportunity to try that out. I'm excited about it, because usually, when we record, we have to very quickly add the vocals into the mix, which leaves not a whole lot of time for contemplating."

Another change in Amaranthe's usual studio process is the location—rather than record entirely in Denmark as they have in the past, the band has spent the first half of the process in its hometown of Gothenburg. "It's been pretty chill," says Mörck. "Take a five minute walk to the studio, get ready. Sure, it's good to isolate yourself and focus, but at the end of the day it's hard to really stomach that, especially when you've done it a bunch of times before."

Still, as hard as Mörck has worked to make studio time the most relaxed Amaranthe has had, some band members will find it frustrating regardless.

"Our bass player, Joe [Andreassen], would happily admit that he hates recording," laughs Mörck. "As soon as the red light goes on, he wants to throw up."

SpencerArticle.jpg, Josefa Torres
photograph by Josefa Torres

The following is an excerpt from the Periphery feature in the August/September issue of Revolver. Here, frontman Spencer Sotelo discusses the more personal meanings behind songs on 'Periphery III: Select Difficulty' compared to the 'Juggernaut' double-album's fictional concept.  

To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands August 9 or get your copy here. Story by Jon Wiederhorn.

"It was a pretty rough patch," the singer admits. "I was doing stuff I don't want to mention, and it definitely left a scar on my mind."

Sotelo wrote about his struggles in "The Way the News Goes...," a proggy, melodic song about escaping through substances; "Catch Fire," a more straightforward alt- rocker about casual sex; and "Prayer Position," an angular, rhythmically complex screamer about the aftermath of binging. "It's basically an angry hangover song," the vocalist explains. "It's about paying for the fun you've had and dealing with the effects of it."

While many musicians are unable to escape the party lifestyle once they dive in, Sotelo was able to back out and sober up on his own. "Luckily, I don't have a super-addictive personality, so I was able to get my act together," he says. "I just went, 'Dude, what the hell are you doing to yourself?' Now, I'm back to working out and eating healthy and I feel so much better."

In addition to writing about his struggles with rock and roll excess, the front- man also addresses other personal subjects including his goal not to take life so seriously ("Remain Indoors"), the danger of depression ("Flatline") and his feelings for his new girlfriend, who lives in Germany ("Lune").

"I really wanted this album to be more about the heartfelt emotions I've been having," he reveals. "The 'Juggernaut' records formed a concept that had nothing to do with real life. This time I wanted to do something that was the exact opposite of that."

For the rest of the story, pick up the August/September issue.

Corey621.jpg, Shaun Vaughn
photograph by Shaun Vaughn

In honor of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne and Slipknot's Corey Taylor appear on the cover of Revolver's August/September issue, which will hit newsstands on August 9 and is available for purchase online right now! You can view the cover below.

Below, you can also read an excerpt from the issue's cover story, written by Dan Epstein. In this section, Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor explains how his neck injury ironically has its roots in 1999's Ozzfest.

Unfortunately, Taylor may be the only person at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest who won't be banging his head, thanks to the emergency spinal surgery he was forced to undergo in early June, when it was discovered in the course of a routine physical that he'd been walking around for years with a broken neck.

"I was describing these symptoms that I was having to my doctor," he recalls. "I was losing strength on my right side, my balance was screwed. Seriously, the last two or three years have been weird for me, physically. But you get to a certain point where you think it's just because you're getting older...

"My doctor sent me to a specialist, and he was like, 'Oooh, yeah—we need to do surgery right now.' Me being me, I was like, 'Is there any way we can reschedule this for after the tour?' And he's like, 'No.' [Laughs] He said my spinal cord injury was 20 times worse that what he's seen with UFC fighters; he pulled up the MRI, and he goes, 'You see that? That's really, really bad! That shouldn't even be growing like that.' And I was like, 'Oh, shit. You could have been paralyzed, dumbass!'"

Ironically, Taylor believes that the root of the problem can be traced back to the fall he took off the Ozzfest second stage in 1999. "My foot slipped off a monitor, and I fell four or five feet off the stage and landed on my head," he recalls. "I think that was what caused my two vertebrae to compact around the discs. Of course, being 25 and stupid, I didn't do anything about it. 'I can move my head, I'm fine!'" he laughs.

"The funny thing was, I had staples in the top of my head at the time, from an earlier accident where I'd walked into a cherry picker. And after I fell off the stage, I went to the EMT to have them check on the staples, and not my neck. I was such a fucking idiot, it's just not even funny! And then I just kind of forgot about it; but over the years, the headbanging and everything else I've done just exacerbated it to the point where the disc was crushed into my spinal cord."

Taylor's surgery, which involved replacing the disc and shaving back the vertebrae that had compacted around it, forced Slipknot to delay its summer tour with Marilyn Manson and Of Mice & Men by three weeks. Though he's been given the all-clear to perform, he'll have to keep his head immobilized while he's onstage—which will admittedly be something of a challenge for such a dynamic performer.

"I'm not going to be able to go as crazy as I'd like," he admits, "but the band has been fantastically supportive. They all hit me up, like, 'We're thinking about you, and we just want to make sure you're OK. Don't worry about any- thing; just get better, and let us do the heavy work for this tour.' It was good to feel that kind of respect. You know how this band is sometimes—it gets a little crazy, so that meant a lot to me.

"My doctor says that, if I follow my regimen, I'll be back to 90 percent recovered by the end of the year. Until then, I've just gotta make sure I can sing great, hit the parts and work the crowd—and make sure they're having a great fucking time!"

For the rest of the story, pick up the August/September issue.



Welcome to Revolver Magazine's "World's Loudest Podcast." Tune in every other week to hear the latest news, music and interviews with special guests from the world of hard rock and heavy metal.

Episode 26 which is presented by eOne Music, Equal Vision Records, Metal Blade Records, DW Drums, and Zoom Audio, is hosted by Zeena Koda (formerly of Sirius XM's Liquid Metal, currently of and Revolver's Chris Enriquez. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!

First, we catch up with Converge's Jacob Bannon to talk about the 'You Fail Me' re-release, where the hardcore group is at with its new album, Muay Thai, and more. Then we sit down with Poison the Well's Chris Hornbrook to discuss heritage of where the band came from, how he uses DW hardware, what its plans are for the the upcoming year, and more. Plus, we play new tunes from Dope, Black Crown Initiate, Night Verses, Amon Amarth, and more!



Avatar's Johannes Eckerström dropped by Revolver HQ to talk about the Swedish metal act's new album, 'Feathers & Flesh,' the 'South Park' cover of "I've Got Something in My Front Pocket for You," the fan reaction to him performing dressed as a clown, and much more! Check out our video chat below and lets us know what you think in the comments!

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


Welcome to Revolver Magazine's "World's Loudest Podcast." Tune in every other week to hear the latest news, music and interviews with special guests from the world of hard rock and heavy metal.

Episode 25 which is presented by Metal Blade Records, Spinefarm Records, DW Drums, and Zoom, is hosted by Zeena Koda (formerly of Sirius XM's Liquid Metal, currently of and Revolver's Chris Enriquez. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!

First, we catch up with Nonpoint to talk about member changes, crazy tour stories and more! Then we sit down with Whitechapel's Phil Bozeman to discuss incorporating clean vocals and new influences to the current material, Warped Tour and more. Plus, we play new tunes from Toothgrinder, The Browning, Necromancing the Stone, and many more!






Welcome to Revolver Magazine's "World's Loudest Podcast." Tune in every other week to hear the latest news, music and interviews with special guests from the world of hard rock and heavy metal.

Episode 24 which is presented by Century Media Records, Relapse Records, DW Drums, and Zoom, is hosted by Zeena Koda (formerly of Sirius XM's Liquid Metal, currently of and Revolver's Chris Enriquez. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!

First, we catch up with The Melvins' Buzz Osborne to talk about baseball and how his fandom influenced the name of its new record, 'Basses Loaded,' touring with Napalm Death and Melt Banana, and more. Then we sit down with Intronaut's Danny Walker to discuss tips for drummers, DW Drums equipment, and much more. Plus, we play new tunes from Lacuna Coil, Aeges and more!