Written, produced, shot, and edited by vocalist Annamaria Pinna and bassist David Sussman, “the video for “Wavering” is the third chapter of a larger film inspired by the Sumerian classic hero myth, ‘Descent of Inanna,’” explains Pinna. The pair just received three Official Selection distinctions from the Montreal Independent Film Festival 2021, the 2021 ARFF Paris and the New York Independent Cinema Awards for their video “Maya”, which was released last year.
On the release of “Wavering”, Pinna reveals, “this song is a very different format from the last three singles we’ve released. It’s more of a meditative piece rather than a full-on Alt-Metal song. In ‘Irkalla’, our objective was to weave a tapestry of melodic Alt-Metal with dark ambient experimental pieces that create an esoteric space to explore the dark night of our souls. ‘Irkalla’ is meant to be listened to in its entirety, and ‘Wavering’ is a part of that experience. What is important is that the music may provide a portal to go on a journey. The journey will be different for each individual. My musical heroes have done this for me. ‘Wavering’ may surprise some of our fans and we are excited to introduce this song as a bridge to our dark ambient musical side.”
In connection with the release, Vajra will be holding a contest to give away the handmade coffin featured in the “Wavering” music video to one lucky fan, along with a full Irkalla gift pack including: Irkalla vinyl, CD, T-shirt, ritual pack, mask and stickers. Yes, Vajra is actually giving away a coffin; a hand-constructed pine box made by an Upstate New York casket artisan, and perfectly suitable for burial. For contest rules, check out the band’s website and socials. The winner will be announced at midnight on Devil’s night into Halloween, and will be personally hand-delivered by the band within 99.9 miles of NYC. The contest is free to enter. Contest rules and details are on Vajra’s website and social media pages.
Irkalla is available both digitally and physically on CD/vinyl. Physical copies include an additional dark ambient EP dubbed the “Shadow Queen Ritual Music” which is not available anywhere else.
Today’s announcement follows the band’s previous release this past August for the single “Crown or Crucify” which exclusively premiered with Revolver Magazine. Revolver explains, “Musically, the track oscillates between tender verses that explode outward during the choruses with crunchy guitars and frontwoman Annamaria Pinna’s robust vocal delivery. It’s powerful, catchy and sentimental all at once, and its video captures all of those elements visually.”
Their single for “Sever the Tie ” exclusively premiered on Metal Injection last December. They describe Vajra as “a band that mixes sorta djenty prog with epic melodic rock. They’re sort of like if Jinjer and In this Moment collaborated.”
The band’s single “Maya”, released last year, charted on Billboard at #2 Mainstream Rock Indicator Most Added, and #26 Mainstream Rock Indicator.
Vajra was formed by the esoteric femme fatale Annamaria Pinna during her self-imposed exile in India, where she wrote the band’s cult debut album Pleroma. The band has been championed by Loudwire, with the heavy music outlet featuring Vajra on their Loudwire Music Festival and Rolling Stone proclaiming them a “must see act.” AXS said, “Vajra is really something special and have managed to come up with a completely new sound of metal. They bring mystical, moody and haunting melodies to the stage that are completely entrancing.” Vajra is Annamaria Pinna (vocals), Dave Sussman (bass), Al Javier (guitar) and Jimmy DeMarco (drums/percussion). Blake Fleming (ex-Mars Volta) played drums on both Pleroma and Irkalla.
Named after a ritual weapon symbolizing the properties of a diamond (indestructibility) and a thunderbolt (irresistible force), Pinna explains, “I see us as travelers who go outside the bounds of a sense-based perception to catch a musical or lyrical idea and then translate it to the material realm. When we get out of our own ways, we are translators or conduits for energies that move through us. Honoring what comes through is important for us.”
Annamaria Pinna – vocals, flute, keys Al Javier – guitars Jimmy DeMarco – drums Dave Sussman – bass
For Fans of Elliott Smith, Father John Misty, Sufjan Stevens
“With his cello playing bringing the required atmosphere, “Kinds Of Light” is the new single from Seattle-based Jeremiah Moon. A stylistic meeting place between Elliott Smith and Sufjan Stevens, there’s both sophistication and songcraft here.”– Songwriting Magazine
Seattle-based singer/songwriter/classically-trained cellist and illustrator Jeremiah Moon has released a companion music video for his latest single “Kinds Of Light,” off his forthcoming debut EP ‘Sputnik‘ to be released via Enci Records (The Joy Formidable, Beach Goons, Fences). After making its premiere yesterday on Week In Pop, the gorgeous clip is now streaming here.
“…serene, sacred and solemn.. carefully crafted mix of restrained rhythms and chamber pop string progressions deliver a subtle baroque arrangement that conjures a sense of cabin essence, setting the tone for a reflective work on the meaningfulness of others that reaches outward from the confines of home.”– Week In Pop
Jeremiah says, “(Kinds of Light) is about opposing selves, the way relationships with other people compel us to reckon with our own identity, the way our stories gradually become histories, and the things we choose – or don’t choose – to carry with us. The underlying thread, like all 5 songs on the EP, is connection between people – the ways that we try to understand each other, and the ways we change each others’ orbits.”
The tracks that make up the ‘Sputnik‘ EP were recorded with friend and producer Adam Black in a remote cabin in Florence, OR. He says, “We laid down the main tracks during this time and pieced together the rest of the EP and arrangements over the next couple of years.”
Moon’s music bears the mark of the musicians that inspired it, channeling the energy of a diverse list of influences that range from Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Thom Yorke, Blake Mills, Sufjan Stevens, Claude Debussy, and Nick Cave, to Mahler, Dvorak, Stravinsky, Ravel, and the poetry of Christian Wiman, all while simultaneously carving its own path.
The son of a classically trained violinist mother, Moon would start taking cello lessons at age 7, playing music (solo, chamber music, and orchestra) all through high school.
After graduating, Moon studied cello performance at Boston University. He recalls, “I started writing my first songs when I was home on summer vacations.”
In 2013, Jeremiah moved to Seattle and started accompanying guitarists for live shows and recording sessions, as well as working on his illustration skills and building a portfolio of his work. He says, “I started seriously working on songwriting in 2018 after being challenged by a friend to take myself more seriously as an artist. The 5 songs on my EP were a direct result of the momentum from this burst of inspiration.”
LOS ANGELES – TOOL have announced a mammoth 2022 tour, with the Los Angeles-based band spending 3 months traversing the U.S. followed by a month of European dates.
TOOL elected to kick off the highly-anticipated trek in Eugene, Ore. as a nod to the abrupt halt to their 2020 Fear Inoculum tour. Slated to play the Matthew Knight Arena on March 12, 2020, the show, along with the band’s remaining tour dates, was canceled as nationwide lockdowns began to take effect that evening.
“It is with great pleasure I get to announce our return to the road,” said Danny Carey. “These past 18 months have been trying to say the least but from great trials come great lessons and great rewards. We are genuinely looking forward to sharing them with you.”
Tickets for all dates are on-sale this Friday, Oct. 1 at 10 am local time (UK and Irish dates are on-sale at 9 am local time). TOOL Army members can purchase pre-sale tickets for European dates on Sept. 28 at 10 am local time (24 hour pre-sale window), while U.S. pre-sale tickets are available on Sept. 29 at 10 am local time (36 hour pre-sale window). A selection of exclusive packages, which include a pre-sale ticket, will also be made available to TOOL Army members on Sept. 29 at 10 am local time.
TOOL’s 2022 U.S. & European Tour Dates
January 10 Eugene, OR Matthew Knight Arena
January 11 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
January 13 Boise, ID Ford Idaho Center
January 15 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center
January 16 San Francisco, CA Chase Center
January 18 Anaheim, CA Honda Center
January 19 San Diego, CA Viejas Arena
January 21 Phoenix, AZ Footprint Center
January 22 Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena
January 25 Salt Lake City, UT Maverik Center
January 27 Denver, CO Ball Arena
January 30 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
January 31 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
February 2 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
February 4 Houston, TX Toyota Center
February 5 New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center
February 8 Orlando, FL Amway Center
February 9 Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
February 10 Miami, FL FTX Arena
February 19 Boston, MA TD Garden
February 20 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
February 22 Washington, DC Capital One Arena
February 23 Belmont Park, NY UBS Arena
February 26 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
February 27 Buffalo, NY KeyBank Center
March 1 Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena
March 3 Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena
March 4 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center
March 6 Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena
March 8 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
March 10 Chicago, IL United Center
March 12 Omaha, NE CHI Health Center Arena
March 13 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
March 15 Kansas City, MO T-Mobile Center
March 17 Moline, IL TaxSlayer Center
March 18 St. Louis, MO Enterprise Center
March 20 Cleveland, OH Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
April 23 Copenhagen, DK Royal Arena
April 25 Oslo, NO Spektrum
April 26 Stockholm, SE Avicii Arena
April 28 Hamburg, DE Barclaycard Arena
April 29 Frankfurt, DE Festhalle
May 2 Manchester, UK AO Arena Manchester
May 4 Birmingham, UK Resorts World Arena
May 6 Dublin, IE 3Arena
May 9 London, UK The O2 Arena
May 12 Paris, FR AccorHotels Arena
May 13 Antwerp, BE Sportpaleis
May 15 Berlin, DE Mercedes-Benz Arena
May 17 Cologne, DE Lanxess Arena
May 19 Amsterdam, NL Ziggo Dome
May 21 Krakow, PL Tauron Arena
May 23 Prague, CZ O2 Arena
May 24 Budapest, HU SportAréna
Blonde Redhead opens on dates from Jan. 10 to Feb. 10. The Acid Helps opens from Feb. 19 to March 20.
Fear Inoculumarrived in August of 2019, following years of anticipation. The album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200, shattering sales and radio records while also earning widespread critical praise. NPR said, “Fear Inoculum was worth the 13-year wait,” The Atlantic declared the release “precise and devastating,” Revolver dubbed the 10-track album “a masterpiece that will be dissected for years to come” and Consequence of Sound said Fear Inoculum finds “TOOL in peak performance.”
TOOL formed in 1990, releasing five studio albums:
The band has won four GRAMMY Awards®: Best Metal Performance (1998, “Ænima”), Best Metal Performance (2002, “Schism”), Best Recording Package (2007, 10,000 Days) and Best Metal Performance (2020, “7empest”).
LA alternative metal band Gemini Syndrome have just announced dates for their first headline tour in support of their long-awaited new studio album 3RD Degree – The Raising. The band will be joined on the first leg of the tour by Ovtlier, and on the second leg by Oh! The Horror. Also joining the tour are Pushing Veronica and Them Damn Kings. All tour dates are listed below.
Gemini Syndromeare offering special VIP packages for the tour. These packages include a special private acoustic performance, a VIP ‘Synner’ laminate, autographed poster, and meet & greet session with the band. (*VIP Packages must be purchased in addition to a regular concert ticket.)
The band’s new studio album 3rd Degree – The Raising will be released worldwide on October 15, 2021 via Century Media. Special pre-order album configurations (limited edition vinyl, deluxe CD sets, etc) along with special merchandise are available now via the band’s official website: www.GeminiSyndrome.com Save, or pre-order the album digitally HERE.Save or pre-order the album digitally HERE.
“We’re very excited to be back out in the road again this fall. It’s a time of transformation on our planet and our lives in preparation for the rebirth of the approaching solstice. We’re grateful to share this INITIATION with all you Spiritual Soldiers on the frontline helping to bring music back to this fucked up world,” says Gemini Syndrome vocalist Aaron Nordstrom.
Drummer Brian Steele Medina continues, “We love nothing more than performing and creating a sacred space for transmutation with our brothers and sisters. Now more than ever, it feels like everything is trying to pull us apart and perpetuate the illusion that we are separate. That we are not ONE. It’s all bullshit. Give us your pandemics, your Pentagon UFO videos, and your barriers… It’s all fucking noise, but we’re louder and we will rise above it all.”
Direct support on the tour will be split between Rochester, New York’s Ovtlier, who will be on the first half of the tour (Oct. 28 – Nov. 13), and Sacramento, California’s Oh! The Horror, who will join the run for the second half of the dates (Nov. 14 – 27). Additional support comes from pop-punk rock powerhouse Pushing Veronica, and New Jersey hard rock wrecking machine Them Damn Kings.
Gemini Syndrome ‘Initiation’ USA Fall 2021 tour dates:
10/28 – Chippewa Falls, WI – Joel’s 4Corners *
10/29 – Green Bay, WI – EPIC Event Center *
10/30 – Racine, WI – Rt 20 (WIIL Rock Halloween Bash) *
10/31 – Battle Creek, MI – The Music Factory *
11/02 – Lakewood, OH – The Winchester Music Tavern *
11/04 – Flint, MI – The Machine Shop *
11/05 – Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Iron Works *
11/06 – Liverpool, NY – Sharkey’s *
11/07 – Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance *
11/08 – New York City, NY – Mercury Lounge ****
11/09 – Albany, NY – Empire Underground *
11/10 – Reading, PA – Reverb *
11/12 – Johnson City, TN – Capones *
11/13 – Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger *
11/14 – Huntsville, AL – Sidetracks ***
11/16 – San Antonio, TX – The Rock Box **
11/17 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey **
11/20 – Houston, TX – Scout Bar
11/22 – El Paso, TX – Rockhouse **
11/23 – Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock **
11/24 – West Hollywood, CA – Whiskey a Go Go **
11/26 – Las Vegas, NV – Backstage Bar **
11/27 – Reno, NV – Reno Brewhouse **
* Direct support is Ovtlier ** Direct support is Oh! The Horror *** Show with Smile Empty Soul, Ovtlier, Sunflower Dead, Pushing V, Tommy Gibbons **** Gemini Syndrome and Ovtlier only
3rd Degree – The Raising is the long awaited, mind bending final chapter of Gemini Syndrome’s debut trilogy of albums; the first being 2013’s Lux, and the second being 2016’s Memento Mori (which hit #1 on Billboard Heatseakers Album Chart and spawned five singles). But whereas those first two albums dealt with the painful struggles of life and death, 3rd Degree – The Raising celebrates the extreme rituals of rebirth. Produced by Matt Good (Asking Alexandria, Memphis May Fire, Hollywood Undead) this is undeniably the heaviest, and darkest album of the band’s career; featuring the singles “Die With Me,” “IDK,” “Abandoned,” “Broken Reflection” and “Reintegration.”
“The album is about death and rebirth. Finding your true self and fostering its growth so as to help build the world better than we inherited it,” says Nordstrom. “In the process of this record I made some major life choices. Mainly to stop killing myself slowly with alcohol. Two years without a drink, and a couple near death experiences later, I think I have ample experience to talk about a subject as elusive as death.”
Drummer Brian Steele Medina adds, “The twist to the 3rd and ‘final’ degree, is that it’s not the end at all. Rather, it’s a rebirth contingent upon our growth and lessons learned from the suffering of our past mistakes. A spiritual growth that can only be attained through baptism by fire. A metaphorical, yet very real resurrection — THE RAISING.”
Nordstrom continues, “Our hope is that through sharing our experiences, lessons learned, and battles overcome, that we can help others to examine their own consciousness. Their role in the world in its almost infinite capacity, and to help remind each other that we are ALL in this together. We are a family, and when we are United in our commonality, we can achieve things worthy of the attention of the GODS. If you want to change the world, quietly go to work on yourself.”
Gemini Syndromespent the better part of 2018-2019 writing 3rd Degree – The Raising, the final installment of their long planned three album trilogy. They retreated to Brian Steele Medina’s Las Vegas home studio, where they meticulously crafted song after song, r Gemini Syndrome relocated to Good Sounds Studio in Tempe, AZ, where producer Matt Good would help realize the collection of songs.
Medina recalls, “We absolutely loved working with Matt and he completely understood where we wanted to take this album creatively and what it was going to take to bring the third chapter of this trilogy to light. Our actual collective blood, sweat and tears went into its creation.”
“It was a long, treacherous road to get here,” continues Nordstrom. “First working out an insane amount of songs before arriving in Arizona to record with Matt Good, and then writing a slew more while in the actual recording process, we approached this album with high intentions to evolve musically and internally as people. But then, once we had finally finished everything, and were ready to start releasing new music… everything was put on hold due to the global pandemic.”
Medina adds, “These past few years have definitely been an exercise in patience and acceptance. We had everything mixed and mastered and ready to go in early 2020 before everything shut down. We’re just stoked to FINALLY put this album out and get this post plague show on the road.”
3rd Degree – The Raising is the first album to feature guitarist “Meegs” Rascón (formerly of Coal Chamber).
To date, five singles have been released from 3rd Degree – The Raising: “Abandoned,” “Reintegration,” “IDK,” “Broken Reflection” and the currently Top 30 Active Rock Radio hit “Die With Me.” Currently four of the five singles feature visually stunning videos created by director Brian Cox (Bring Me The Horizon, The Struts, Starset).
3rd Degree – The Raising will be available in CD, Limited Edition vinyl, and digital download formats.
3rd Degree – The Raising Tracklist:
Die With Me
Baptized In Fire
Children of the Sun
Sum Quod Eris
Best of Me
Hold the Line
Where We Started From
Gemini Syndromeis: Aaron Nordstrom (vocals, keyboards), Brian Steele Medina (drums, programming), Alessandro “AP” Paveri (bass), Meegs Rascón (guitar) and Nicholas Paul Arnold (touring guitar).
Murder Mountain,CA – Mr. Bungle have released “Loss of Control”, a Van Halen cover that the band debuted during their Halloween 2020 streaming special, “The Night They Came Home” (June 11, Ipecac Recordings). The single is available now, while a live performance video of the song was unveiled earlier today via Guitar World.
“Mr. Bungle tried to play this song in the ’90s and we scrapped it because we sucked at it,” explains Trey Spruance. “I think it worked this time for a lot of reasons. My own is that, thanks to the newRaging Wrathera, I’ve had to re-approach the guitar like I did when I was 13 and 14. It was all about Eddie Van Halen for me back then, so circling back at this moment felt really natural. Those riffs and lead parts at least are super fun! I’m just glad Scott took the palm-mute breaks. Jesus!“
Scott Ian adds, “I generally don’t get nervous about learning someone else’s riffs. When it’s an EVH riff it’s a whole different story! I was terrified! With ‘Loss of Control’ I did my best to just hold on and go for the ride. What a riff!!! As a fan I’d have to say it’s a PERFECT SONG for Mr. Bungle to cover. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did getting to play it.“
“The Night They Came Home” Concert Experience Arrives Physically & Digitally on June 11 via Ipecac Recordings
The two-hour film is available on CD + Blu-Ray, CD + DVD, VHS, and digitally. The film portion features Bungle’s performance, Neil Hamburger’s opening set, three official music videos (“Raping Your Mind,” “Eracist,” and “Sudden Death”), as well as extended behind-the-scenes footage including several surprise cameos. The VHS release, limited to 1000 collectible copies, is an edited, performance-only portion of the film.
News of The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo arrival, the band’s first new music in over 20 years, was met with great fanfare. The album news followed a spate of sold out 2020 live performances, which saw Mr. Bungle playing to some of its biggest audiences ever.
The album, which is a proper recording of Mr. Bungle’s much traded, yet unreleased, 1986 demo cassette of the same name, was declared “one of the best thrash albums of the year” by Decibel, Rolling Stone said “their reboot is a feast of ingenious riffs, unexpected tempo shifts, and pure manic energy…,” and Stereogum offered “…Mr. Bungle are reliving their very earliest days and kicking a whole lot of ass in the process.”
Revolver featured Mike Patton on their Fall cover, saying “After 15 years of inactivity and 21 since their last album, avant-metal weirdos Mr. Bungle reappeared from the mists of time to re-record their 1986 demo. Not content to merely rehash their high school days, core trio Mike Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn enlisted help from Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. The result is — in the words of super fan Eric Andre — pure, awesome ‘carve 666 into your desk and get in detention’ metal.“
Mr. Bungle Confirmed for Riot Fest
Mr. Bungle have also confirmed their first live outing of 2021, performing at Riot Fest (Chicago) in September. The festival marks the first time Mike Patton has performed on the same bill with both Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, and marks the band’s first tour date since the Fall album release.
About Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle was formed in an impoverished lumber and fishing town by a trio of curious, volatile teenagers. Trey Spruance, Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn beget the amorphous “band” in 1985 up in Humboldt County, Calif., sifting through a variety of members until around 1989 when they settled on a lineup that managed to get signed to Warner Bros. Records. No one really knows how this happened and it remains a complete mystery that even the algorithms of the internet can’t decode. Up until 2000 they released three albums (Mr. Bungle in 1991, Disco Volante in 1995 and California in 1999), toured a good portion of the Western hemisphere and avoided any sort of critical acclaim. Some argue that the band subsequently broke up but there is also no proof of this. What is true is that they took 20 years off from performing under said moniker while they pursued various other music that, in contrast, paid the rent.
For fans of Epica, Within Temptation, Sonata Arctica, Lacuna Coil, Evanescence
Rockshots Records is proud to announce their latest signing of Italian symphonic metallers Eternal Silence for the release of their next album Timegate Anathema due out in October 2021.
The band comments: “We hope fans will be excited as we are for this new record. It is the most complete and refined album we made so far, and we think that the introduction of new elements and musical inspirations will attract new ones. We plan for it to be a heavy and romantic experience.”
Recorded at The Groove Factory (Udine, Italy) and Line/Out Studio (Milano, Italy) with mixing and mastering by Michele Guaitoli (Visions of Atlantis, Temperance, Kaledon), Timegate Anathema will feature ten tracks of symphonic and power prog metal plus will see the band introduce new elements and experimentation into their sound. The album goes from power metal songs like “The Way Of Time” and “My Soul Sad Until Death” to heavy and dark ones like “Rain and Red Death Masquerade“, passing through the catchy melodies of tracks like “Glide In The Air” and acoustic moments on “Lonely and Firefly“. The main theme that inspired the album is the concept of Time.
Bassist Alessio Sessa adds: “Time as the pace of life, time that gives a rhythm to the music, time as the nerve of existence, the ticking of a clock that brings back distant memories. The future developing through uncertainty and hope that flies on the wings of time. Time giving life to seasons, during which we struggle to give a sense to our hurry. The album’s image is of time represented by the two-faces god Janus, the divinity that looks backward and forward, guardian of thresholds, passages, chances, and who holds the keys of the flow of events. Musically the album puts together a solid metal rhythmic section with real strings orchestra and a choir, which accompany the melodies by the duo vocalists.“
Formed in Varese, Italy in 2008, Eternal Silence combines powerful guitar riffs, a thunderous rhythmic section, catchy melodies, and bombastic orchestral tracks with the support of two vocalists, Marika Vanni and guitarist Alberto Cassina sharing the front stage. The band’s current line-up is completed by Alessio Sessa (bass), Andrea Zannin (drums) and Enzo Criscuolo (guitarist).
Over the years, the band has been a consistent touring presence in Europe, performing in Germany, Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, and Hungary along with being support for bands such as Temperance, Therion, Haggard, Sound Storm, Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius) and Jani Liimatainen (Insomnium) Blackoustic.
Chthonic has revealed a second clip, “Oceanquake,” from symphonic extreme metal masters’ upcoming live album and video, Chthonic Megaport 2021, scheduled for release on May 19.
“Oceanquake” features an appearance by Audrey Tang, a longtime Chthonicfan who currently holds the seat of Digital Minister in Taiwan’s cabinet.
“Audrey’s voice has been added with Machine Effect,” explains frontman Freddy Lim. “I’ve never known anybody’s voice that fit in so well with this kind of effect. It makes this CHTHONIC DrumNBass remix so unique!”
Chthonic Megaport 2021 Out May 19 + Limited “Anti-Epidemic Bundle” Including CD and Pandemic Gear Available ForPre-Order
Chthonic Megaport 2021 documents Chthonic‘s return to the stage to headline Taiwan’s massive Megaport Festival. The release will be available digitally and as a special limited “anti-epidemic bundle” including a physical CD, Chthonic medical-quality mask, a Chthonic mask lanyard, large and small Chthonic mask containers and a small Chthonic spray can for sanitizer will be available.
After making history by successfully managing the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan was able to move forward with the Megaport Festival, the first large-scale rock festival since the unprecedented global lockdown. Taking place March 27-28 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the festival featured more than 100 artists on 10 stages. Founded in 2006 by Chthonic‘s Freddy Lim, who left the organizing team after being elected as a member of Taiwanese Parliament in 2016, Megaport Festival attracts tens of thousands of people every year, with this year’s festival selling out its 20,000 tickets within five minutes.
While Taiwan is considered home of Austronesian peoples and a mystic island nation in the Orient, advanced technologies, modern cities, and upholding human rights and progressive values are also part of the image of Taiwan, and Chthonic gives the best interpretation of the contrasting images of the country. Chthonic‘s lyrics are inspired by Taiwanese mythology, folk stories and history, and the music incorporates elements of traditional Taiwanese folk music, enka and sorrowful melody from Taiwanese opera, accompanied by traditional Taiwanese musical instruments, such as hena, zheng – also known as “box zither”- and pgaku flute. Contemporary symphonic black metal, melodic death metal, blood-boiling riffs and solos are also integral parts of Chthonic‘s music.
Several of Chthonic‘s albums have entered the In Taiwanese pop-music charts, and the band has been awarded the Golden Melody Award, the Taiwanese version of the Grammy Award. With exception of its earlier works, Chthonic‘s albums include Seediq Bale (2007), Mirror of Retribution (2009), Takasago Army (2011) and Bú-Tik (2013) were all released worldwide, with positive feedback from music critics. The band took on a lower profile with a reduced number of performances after Lim’s election into the Parliament in 2016, but they still released the album Battlefields of Asura in 2018, which won the Golden Melody Award for Best Band, as well as a number of other nominations. In 2019, Chthonic held a concert with a symphony orchestra in the square in front of Taiwan’s Presidential Office. It attracted 50,000 people, and its live video and audio was digitally released in 2020.
From Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic in Japan to Ozzfest in the US, Download in the UK and WOA in Germany, Chthonic has performed at major music festivals around the world, and has had toured hundreds of shows in Europe, North America and Asia. The group has also worked with many internationally renowned artists, including Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe, Trivium’s Matt Heafy, guitarist Marty Friedman, Japanese folk singer Hajime Chitose, and Hong Kong diva Dennise Ho.
Yesterday, the second Twitch Goes Emo musician streamer festival was held on the Twitch platform. In celebration of primarily early 2000’s emo and pop punk music, the line-up included artists from all over the world: Kintsuku, SabySpark, Sayanoe (dropped out), TylerLevsMusic, GabiStreams, JordinLaine, CERIANmusic, JulienBelhumeur, Andrewcore, AnnaCarmela, ClosureClub, and JonLiMusic.
The first Twitch Goes Emo took place on December 5th, 2020 and featured many of the same artists, as well as MattWaldenAC and Annelle:
Ellie, who goes by the alias Kintsuku, is a musician based in Manchester, Northern England. She writes, produces and performs atmospheric / experimental pop, playing guitar, keys and vocals. Kisuku has been streaming on Twitch since December 2019. Hoping for a release later this year, she is currently writing her debut album.
Saby is a singer-songwriter from Slovenia, “trying to spark some joy in the world”, who has played the guitar for 10 years, ukulele for 3, and is slowly learning piano. By starting to stream last year, she is conquering shyness and self-consciousness, and following her deepest dreams.
Budapest-based singer-songwriter Mimi – stage name Saya Noé (pronounced: sigh – ah – no – ay) – was unable to make the event (for reasons outside of her control). She plays the guitar and keyboard, and performs originals and covers, with acoustic, live production, and looping.
Tyler Levs is a singer/songwriter from Maine USA. With a taste for multiple genres and a passion for music, he performs live loop tracks as well as unplugged. Tyler has streamed live on Twitch.tv since 2017, and has been featured on the Twitch front page for approximately 23,000 people. He has performed for various causes through Saving Music Live (a Twitch charity stream) as well as talent shows (The Austin Talent Show and “Gamers Got Talent” Luminosity gaming). Twitch helped enable his transition to full-time musicianship in February of 2019.
Gabi Belle is from the East Coast of the US, and she has been streaming since February 2020. Not only does she produce her own music, sing, and play the keyboard and guitar, she also directs and edits her music videos. She was vocally trained for theatre, and she has experience playing the flute, trumpet, and saxophone. Gabistreams is also a gamer who loves Nintendo games – her favorite being The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Singer-songwriter JordinLaine has been focusing heavily on writing music, creating content, and live streaming since 2018. Through the universal language of music, she has shared that she found the power to express herself in the most open and authentic form.
Cerian is a singer-songwriter from London that plays harp, piano, and guitar. She plays a mixture of originals and covers, switching it up between instruments. Cerian(a Welsh name, pronounced: Kerry-Anne) released her debut EP in April 2020. She has worked as a musician for many years with an impressive resume, singing backing vocals and playing harp for lots of incredible artists, like Radiohead, U2, Sam Smith, Imogen Heap, Thom Yorke, David Attenborough, Neneh Cherry, Charlotte Church and games like The Sims, Guitar Hero Live and Those Who Remain. Although she has been streaming for a while on other platforms, she is new to Twitch.
Andrew has, in his humble words, ‘been faking his way through playing drums for about 20 years’ – beginning with learning completely by ear, and focusing on learning more basic principles and improving overall now that he’s streaming. He is a member of the band Fable Cry, which includes another popular music streamer, joplaysviolin. He began touring in 2006 and has hit the road and recorded with a number of metal, rock and hip hop artists.
Anna Carmela is a self-described “hyper-active singer/songwriter” and music student with musical theatre training as a youth in her background. She has toured in the US and Canada. A bit of an autodidact, Carmela is self-taught on guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, kazoo, and mouth trumpet. She certainly does have energy to be contended with, and with a voice well-suited for it, loves performing blues, rock, and soul music.
Full-time artist, songwriter, and musician Heathy goes by ClosureClub, and is referred to by many more names (ex. j, lostcause, jarebear, red, clo) as he has streamed across multiple platforms for several years. His experience shows through his performance, and his music is “inspired by 80’s tones, dreamy lo-fi aesthetics, and melodic intervals drawn from the moody years of never escaping ‘the punk phase’.”
Jon Li, arguably the headliner – if not co-headliner – of Twitch Goes Emo 2021, closed out the night with a respectable 4 hour and 40 minute stream, despite having performed a bachelor party gig prior. The expanse of his catalogue is impressive, to say the least, and what he doesn’t know, he can offer quite a decent Live Learn performance.
Li started performing by ear in high school after many years of studying and performing classical piano. While in the process of earning his math and music degrees in college, he was introduced to the world of Dueling Pianos that set him on a career path that led him to travel the world and play with hundreds of talented musicians. Li released Finding February in 2010. In 2020, COVID-19 began his live streaming journey on Facebook, followed by Twitch.
Don’t let the name fool you – anyone familiar with legendary South Texas metalcore act SCARLETT O’HARA knows that their name may be dainty but that’s where any trace of delicacy disappears, as evidenced by the band’s first single in three years, “Friction.”
“Growth is commonly seen as a good thing, but oftentimes, the road to get there is harder than we expect,” says guitarist Logan Burns. “‘Friction’ is about that road. It’s about the difficult path to your goals, the constant obstacles in your way, and the incredible people that you meet along the way. We hope that ‘Friction’ will help people with identifying their unique struggles associated with growth and inspire them to endure.”
Formed in 2008, SCARLETT O’HARA has pushed the metalcore genre further with a high-paced signature style, now known as South Texas Metalcore, an unrelenting barrage of sound that evokes images of being kicked in the face by an angry bull.
After the release of their highly praised 2010 Rise Records debut Lost in Existence, the McAllen, TX-based band went on hiatus, finally regrouping for the 2018 release of their sophomore album, Welcome Back To The Brodeo. The critically acclaimed album debuted on several US Billboard charts including: #19 Hard Rock Album Sales, #20 HeaterSeeker Albums and #1 Heatseeker (South Central), as well as #25 on the iTunes Metal chart for its release week.
The band has most recently teamed up with Grammy nominated producer Erik Ron (Godsmack, Panic! at the Disco, New Years Day) to deliver another molten slab of pure platinum rock in “Friction.” Stay tuned for more new music from SCARLETT O’HARA!
March, 2020 – in just a few short months, the world went from whispers about a mysterious new virus overseas to a growing buzz around the virus and some signs of concerns. In mid-March, the unthinkable happened: the bars, concert halls, stadiums, and every other live music venue went dark as the virus took root and started to spread quickly worldwide.
As the music world reeled from the sudden and shocking shutdown – and as it became painfully apparent that we would likely be throwing a birthday party for the “two weeks to flatten the curve” promise – bands started looking into different ways to stay relevant during the shutdown.
During the past year, we have seen releases of coffee, graphic novels, and wine from the likes of Lamb of God, Jimmy Eat World, and Incubus.
Jimmy Eat World recently made their 555 graphic novel with z2 Comics, conceptualized from the uncharacteristically sci-fi music video for “555”, available for pre-orders with an expected release date of May 21, 2021.
Incubus’Make Yourself Foundation has a long history of partnering with various organizations over the years – at least 47 since 2003 – and is partnering with Rebellium Wines on the limited stock “Our Love” Rosé. The label was designed by artists at Secure the Arts, an organization whose ethos is described simply as: “Rebels, trouble makers, the round pegs in the square holes.“
One might think it is possible that Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria with The Amory Wars comic series, and Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) with Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards, largely paved the way for such releases from musicians. Each of Coheed and Cambria’s studio albums (except The Color Before the Sun) tell a chapter of The Amory Wars, beginning with the release of the album Second Stage Turbine Blade in 2002. As a descendant of northern Italian winemakers, Keenan’s passion for winemaking is in his blood: the aptly titled 2010 documentary Blood Into Wine offers insight into his journey, creativity, and personal growth involved in this fruitful endeavor.
This begs the question as to whether these were aspirations of other artists prior to the pandemic.
Comics & Graphic Novels
Long before becoming frontman of the legendary My Chemical Romance, a young Gerard Way found his passion in comics. Pursuing a career in comics, in 1999 Way graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He created Eisner-award winning The Umbrella Academy series (2007) – which went on to become a wildly popular series on Netflix that has a third season in the works – followed by comic mini-series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2013) and co-founded DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint (2016).
Canadian electropop artist Lights wrote and illustrated her own comic Skin&Earth – a story of a girl looking for hope in a hopeless world – along with her album by the same name in 2017. Following suit, dancing electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling, well known for editing her own music videos, creating the costumes she wears, and having a huge hand in the choreography of her videos and shows, released her own comic book Artemis in 2019. In it, the story of her album of the same name comes to life, adding another layer of complexity to the already fantastic album.
In 2004, Courtney Love co-wrote the manga series Princess Ai about a female rock star that Love described as, “like my alter ego, bust in a fantasy setting.” The manga was illustrated by Ai Yazawa, the acclaimed artist behind the award-winning music-based manga NANA(2000-2009), which focuses on the pursuits, rise, relationships, and mentality of members of the fictional bands Black Stones (aka BLAST) and Trapnest.
z2 Comics actually specializes in helping musicians tell stories through graphic novels. In addition to Jimmy Eat World, they have worked with Poppy, Gorillaz, Machine Gun Kelly, Dance Gavin Dance, and Ice Nine Kills, to name a few.
In May of 2017, MentalFloss.com offered “10 Musicians Who Have Also Written Comic Books”, detailing some interesting releases from Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), Rob Zombie, Tyrese, Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s), and more. Interestingly, many of the musicians mentioned explore post-apocalyptic themes in their comics in their pre-pandemic releases.
Touring is a grind in and of itself, and many bands turn to coffee to wake themselves up in the morning and keep themselves going throughout the day. Indeed, DrinksFeed.com posted “Metal bands with coffee brands” in February 2020, confirming that many bands have offered their own branded brews, including Korn, Metallica, and Judas Priest. Separate from their bands’ branding, David Ellefson of Megadeth owns the coffee business Ellefson Coffee Co., and Joey Kramer of Aerosmith offers a subscription for his coffee brand Rockin’ & Roastin’.
Lamb of God’s second signature coffee, the Overlord dark roast, was revealed in December of 2020. Frontman Randy Blythe mused, “I like my coffee strong, dark, and BLACK like my soul.” Both blends’ beans were grown in El Salvador. In collaboration with J Gursey Coffee, Korn first offered nu metal fans the chance to “Wake the F Up” with some fair trade Korn Koffee in 2018.
Wines that Rock boasts the production of wines for many artists, such as All Time Low, Pearl Jam, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, KISS, and for Graceland and Elvis Presley’s estate. Made for The King of Rock ‘N Roll’s 86th birthday, the limited-edition wine is quite reasonably priced at only $24 a bottle.
Slayer’sReign in Blood red wine comes in tantalizing packaging consisting of blood-like red wax dripped from the cap, Slayer branding, an inverted typographical cross, a limited edition coffin-shaped box, and other features, resulting in quite a work of art inside and out that appeals to both wine aficionados and music memorabilia collectors.
Over the last two decades, craft beer has enjoyed an explosion in popularity. Unlike wine and many other alcoholic drinks, many beers take two weeks or less to go from the raw materials to a cold, refreshing beer. As the turnaround time is much shorter, it is far easier to set up a collaboration that is still relevant when it comes out. A great example of this is the ongoing collaboration between the Deftones and San Diego-based Belching Beaver. By far, the most popular of the six beers to come out of this is the “Phantom Bride,” first brewed in 2016.
Dogfish Head created “American Beauty,” a Grateful Dead-inspired beer with granola and wildflower honey which was first released in 2013. Less Than Jake offered a limited edition beer by JDub’s Brewing Co. in 2018. Last, but certainly not least, is the Queen creation appropriately named Bohemian Lager. Brewed in Pilsen – the Bohemian now-Czech Republic city where the Pilsner style originated from – the limited edition beer was brewed in 2015 for the 40th anniversary of “Bohemian Rhapsody“.
Finally, we have liquor. First is theMotorhead vödka made in Malmköping in Sweden since 2019. Motorhead also partnered with Hillrock to make some very limited bourbon, retailing for a whopping $275 per bottle.
Bob Dylan unveiled a line of whiskeys called Heaven’s Door in 2018. Multiple artists have their own tequila brands, such as Justin Timberlake, Rita Ora, Sammy Hagar, and Nick Jonas. Timberlake entered the tequila business in 2009, co-founding 901 Tequila – which was rebranded as Sauza 901 when Beam Inc acquired a stake in 2014. With hopes to push boundaries in the industry as a female-founded brand, Ora launched Próspero Tequila in the US in 2019.
Hagar has been in the tequila business for almost 30 years, having launched the award-winning Cabo Wabo brand in 1991. In contrast to the once-Van Halen frontman, Jonas is the most green of the listed musicians, having joined the game in 2019 with Vanilla One.
These are just a few of the many types of alcoholic beverages that musicians have owned, made, or collaborated on. Ultimate Classic Rock shared an impressive list of “73 Rock Star Beer, Wine and Booze Brands.”
While the pandemic has indubitably unleashed a tsunami of projects that fall outside the typical domain of the music industry, the question one must ask when examining said projects for originality is: are these artists trailblazers, going down a path none have tread before, or are they innovators in their own right who take a path others have cut before them to bring a product to market that the world might not have expected from the source? The overwhelming body of evidence is that in the decade or so before the pandemic began, the trends in the industry were increasingly leaning toward this path. As such, releasing coffees, graphic novels, and wines during the pandemic may not be a unique course of action, but it does allow for creative release in a different medium, and perhaps an opportunity for many of them to manifest a once-dormant dream into a delectable reality.