Tag Archives: New Album

INTERVIEW: My Immortal Enemy Singer Discusses Impending Debut Album — ‘Akuma’

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Rock and punk fans should keep an ear out for the band My Immortal Enemy, especially if some of your favorite bands include Beartooth, Avenged Sevenfold, My Chemical Romance, and AFI.  Steven Juliano is their vocalist, Joel Chandler is bassist, Ryan Loomis is on drums, and Ryan Heggum is the guitarist.

My Immortal Enemy
Photography:
Cats Eye View Photography

If Juliano’s name sounds familiar, then perhaps you’ve heard of the band I Am Ghost from Epitaph records. Juliano is hitting the ground running with My Immortal Enemy, and their new duet album Akuma, featuring 12 head-banging rock songs, is coming out soon on January 10th, 2020. Their album was recorded at Indigital Studios in Santa Cruz, CA. It was mixed/mastered by Zack Ohren who has previously worked with Machine Head, All Shall Perish, and Set Your Goals.

Most of the members are still in their early 20’s and are excited to hear what music lovers think of their new record. They can’t wait to hit the road and meet their fans on tour, hopefully sometime in 2020.

Juliano generously gave Burning Hot Events some of his time to discuss the album concept, choices behind its development, and band evolution:

Interview with Steven Juliano, Singer of My Immortal Enemy

Q & A with music journalist Brittney Coon

The word “akuma” is Japanese for “demon” or “devil”, and Akuma is also the name of a character from Street Fighter. What is the inspiration for your album title?

Juliano: From the very beginning, before we had even written a song, I had a concept for this record. With my last band (I Am Ghost), rock-opera-albums was our thing, but after the band disbanded I started a few other music projects and kind of steered away from all that. The reason being concept albums are a lot of work. Mentally hard work. I wasn’t ready to wrap my head around such a large endeavor then.

This time I felt I was ready again, knowing all too well I was making a lot more work for myself lyrically. But I like challenges, I guess. I’m a glutton for punishment as they say. So, I created this detailed story; a semi-fictional tale with me as the protagonist, the devil (Akuma) the main antagonist. It’s a life journey story in a sense, something I believe we can all relate to.  

On your website and on SoundCloud, the track “Paradise” shows an image of Baphomet, a Satanic deity. Lyrically, does your album contain a lot of occult elements? If so, does this reflect your personal beliefs, or is it more of a stylistic choice?

Juliano: It’s all about the concept of the album, honestly, and has nothing to do with our religious beliefs. None of us in My Immortal Enemy are Satanist. None of us are very religious to begin with. I’ve been asked by a lot by people on what the artwork means, why all the dark/religious undertones, etc… and it’s hard to explain since the album isn’t out yet. Once you hear it all in context, it makes sense. 

What drew you to having Zack Ohren produce your debut album?

Juliano: The band actually wrote/produced the album ourselves and Zack did the entire mixing/mastering. Before he came on board we had another guy, a semi-famous gentleman whose band had sold millions and millions of albums in the past. So we thought it was a no brainer to have him mix our album. Well, his mixes were turning out… terrible. And not only terrible, he was taking months to get mixes back. There was a definite low period in the band. I had never gone through anything like that before in my career. We all felt helpless, like our album had been hijacked. Finally, I just called up the guy and fired him.

Soon after the search was on for a new mixing-engineer. My bass player told me about a guy he’d worked with in the past, a guy whose discography of bands was perfect for what we’re trying to convey. At the time, Zack was working on the new Machine Head album but graciously took on our project. 

Out of all the tracks on your new album, why did you choose “The Laughing Heart” as your first single?

Juliano:  Figuring out the first song to release is always difficult. Especially from a new band no one’s heard of yet. You have all these questions swirling in your head: “Do we release an aggressive song? A “radio song”? What if no one likes it? Blah blah blah.” All artists are insecure in a way. If they say they’re not they are lying. We decided it was best to release something that had a little bit of everything.

What I’ve learned from doing this for so long is that not everyone is going to like your music. It took me quite some time to realize that. Easier said than done… I know. But in the end you just have to put out songs you dig and keep moving forward. Second thing I’ve learned (mostly by trial and error) is that if you’re writing honest music with honest lyrics, people tend to lean towards that more often than not.   

Currently showing four men as your band members, who is the female vocalist on tracks such as “Into the Blue”?

Juliano:  At the early conception of the band we had a female guitarist who played and sang on the album. But, as in life, shit happened… shit that was completely out of our control. One minute she’s all about that tour life… the next minute she’s like “I’m going to get married and I don’t want to be in a band anymore.” Ultimately she moved away and gave up.

That’s the hardest part of being in a serious band; finding people who are all on the same page. Some would think finding great, seasoned musicians is the hardest part, but that’s not true at all. That’s the easy part actually. Finding musicians who you get along with and are willing to put in the long hours is definitely the hardest part. 

We know how difficult it can be to retain band members in a new band. With six members listed on your Facebook page, have you gained and lost many members over the past year? If so, how were you able to recover?

Juliano: We’ve been lucky enough to keep the four main members, all of whom are the main song writers of the group. So in retrospect it’s been rather painless. Most touring bands have members who are really just hired guns anyways, so the fact we’ve kept our core unit in tact is a blessing. 

How is this band different, in sound or otherwise, than I Am Ghost?

I Am Ghost’s Those We Leave Behind Album Cover

Juliano: The biggest difference with My Immortal Enemy and I Am Ghost is that I Am Ghost had a strong, almost ungodly major label push from day one. I Am Ghost was signed by Epitaph Records very early in our career. We signed a three album deal after only a couple of shows under our belts. And when I say couple, I mean only like three of four shows… ever.  After that we became another monster. We had real management and agents and a team of publicists… big dogs that would never even return my emails in any of my previous bands… and all this happened literally overnight.

My Immortal Enemy’s Akuma Album Artwork
By:
Steven Juliano

My Immortal Enemy, on the other hand, is all DIY. We do everything ourselves. We paid for the recording and mixing of our album ourselves… which was very expensive. Our upcoming music video we paid ourselves. We book all our own shows. I design all the artwork in the band. The negative in all that is its financially draining. The positive, and you have to always look at the positive being in a band, is that there is zero outside influence regarding our music, and for the moment, we rather enjoy the freedom. As to the actual musical styles between the two, My Immortal Enemy is definitely very similar, although I wasn’t trying for that to happen at all. It just kind of happened, I guess. 

Your website currently shows a “coming soon” message under the “Tour” section. Are tour plans currently in the works to support the album release?

Juliano: We wanted to take off a few months and get the album release in order. All that takes a lot of work since we are doing it ourselves. Also, being that it’s winter, there really is no reason to hop into a van and travel the US battling all that darn rain and snow. Again, I’ve been touring since I was 19 years old, so subsequently I know how it goes. Winter dates more likely than not get canceled because of bad weather, and most importantly it’s too dangerous traveling. We will be back early 2020 with tour dates, so rest assured. We hope to play as many shows and in as many different places as we possibly can. 

What headlining bands would you love to tour with?

Juliano: The cool thing about our band is I feel we could tour with anyone and do ok. We have that definite metal vibe but I’m a punk kid at heart and I think we’d do well on a punk tour, or a hard rock tour. I think we’d fit in well on a pop punk tour… hell, throw us on a ska tour we’d survive. But bands that would be fun to tour with would be bands like Beartooth or Avenged Sevenfold, or even My Chemical Romance now that they have gotten back together. 

How are you going to celebrate the release of your new album?

Juliano: This might sound stupid but it feels as though we’ve gone to war in some far off country and have finally returned home… like years later.  There’s definitely this “Holy shit man, we did it. We made it home alive…” type mentality with the four of us, which in the end has only brought us closer together. Ultimately, bad things happen in life… things completely out of your control and you can either be resilient or just give up.

But we honestly believe in this album. We think it’s not just good, but rather exceptional. Especially if you know all the history surrounding its inception… of how many times we were knocked down but kept getting back up. My Immortal Enemy are fighters, that’s for damn sure.

Order Akuma:

Arrives in stores everywhere January 10th, 2020. You can now pre-order your physical copy of My Immortal Enemy’s debut 12 song album, “Akuma” HERE. Signed by entire band. Includes two stickers and 1.5 inch button. Bundle pack includes Black Skull/Coffin T-Shirt. FREE shipping (if in the USA). Album ships world-wide.

Also Available for Pre-Order at:

Amazon | Apple Music

Track Listing:

  1. Dangerous
  2. I Devil’lyn
  3. Into The Blue
  4. The Laughing Heart
  5. Atlas
  6. Paradise
  7. Blood On My Hands
  8. Chances Are
  9. After the Funeral
  10. Shiver
  11. Dearly Departed
  12. Hellos Are Harder Than Goodbyes

Stream My Immortal Enemy:

Spotify | SoundCloud | Deezer
YouTube | Play Music | iHeartRadio

Connect with My Immortal Enemy

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



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Celtic Vocalist Leah to Release “Ancient Winter” Winter-Themed Album on November 15

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After a crowdfunding campaign that far exceeded the goal, symphonic/Celtic vocal goddess Leah has revealed that her upcoming winter-themed album, Ancient Winter, will officially see release on November 15.

Says Leah, “Now that the crowdfunding campaign is complete, I’m really excited to focus on the release of this album in November. My closest colleagues have told me this album might be some of my best work yet. Regardless, I hope this new music will make the coming winter season much more magical.”

Ancient Winter features eight tracks – five of which are originals and three traditional century medieval songs that Leah puts her own unique touch on. The album offers a slight departure from Leah‘s traditional symphonic metal into a more atmospheric, ethereal sound. It is a more earthy sounding album filled with new instrumentation such as fiddles and uilleann pipes, which give it a beautiful harmony of middle eastern feeling and Celtic folk and fantasy. Ancient Winter proves Leah‘s ability to venture into musical realms beyond metal.

Ancient Winter represents a new approach to holiday music as it celebrates winter themes in a way that is sure to give it a wider appeal. This is not simply a “Christmas album” but rather an emotional journey into transcendent ideals that will inspire any listener from anywhere.

Ancient Winter Tracklisting:

The Whole World Summons
Light of the World
Upon Your Destiny
Redemption
The Messenger
Gaudete
Puer Natus
Noël Nouvelet

For Ancient Winter, Leah tapped a top-notch talent cast of musicians, including Troy Donockley (Nightwish), Anna Murphy (Cellar Darling), Shir-Ran Yinon (Eluveitie), Oliver Philipps (Everon, Phantasma) and renowned string musician Rupert Gillett. This diverse lineup adds an international flavor to the album alongside Leah‘s beautiful vocals.

A variety of bundle packages will be available soon HERE. Watch the lyric video for “Redemption,” the first single from Ancient Winter, HERE:

About Leah:

Leah has amassed a generous and dedicated fanbase that has allowed her to crowdfund three of her five recordings without the assistance of a record label. Leah‘s first four albums, Of Earth and Angels (2012), Otherworld (2013), Kings & Queens (2015), and The Quest (2018) are a rapturous blend of a symphonic metal style carefully spiced with Celtic, folk and fantasy. Her emotive vocals are often compared to Loreena McKennitt, Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan.

Leah – described affectionately by her fans as “the metal Enya” – hails from the coast of British Columbia, Canada, and is inspired by Celtic and world music influences such as Clannad and Enya to European symphonic and progressive metal influences. Her debut self-released album Of Earth & Angels received international critical acclaim, including landing the “The Best Symphonic Metal AlbumMetalstorm Award for 2012. Her 2013 release, Otherworld, is a five-song Celtic-metal masterpiece, mixed by ChristianMoschusMoos at SPACELAB in Germany (Delain, Everon, Imperia) and features the vocals of guitar legend Eric Peterson (Testament/Dragonlord) on the ethereal metal track “Dreamland.” 2014 was very successful year for Leah as she raised over $27,000 through Indiegogo via her fans to record and produce her heaviest album, Kings & Queens, which was eventually released in early 2015 through Inner Wound Recordings. The album received dozens of four and five-star reviews, and helped her gain thousands of new fans around the world. Leah raised over $87,000 in 30 days via Indiegogo and her shop to launch last year’s The Quest, again released via her own independent record label, Ex Cathedra Records, along with Inner Wound Recordings. The Quest received 5-star reviews and critical acclaim.

Leah Online:

Website | Facebook | YouTube
Instagram | Twitter



Tool Releases First Album in 13 Years, Fear Inoculum; Announces North American Tour

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Los Angeles – Fear Inoculum, Tool’s fifth studio album, and 2019’s most anticipated release, is available now. Listen HERE.

Tool’s Fear Inoculum is a masterpiece to be dissected for years to come.” – Revolver

The news arrives as the band announces a six-week North American tour, launching the trek on Oct. 13 at the Aftershock Festival. Tickets are on-sale Sept. 6 at 10 am local time, with a limited number of tickets will be available to Tool Army members on Sept. 4. Tool Army information, as well as VIP package details, can be found HERE.

Fear Inoculum is a beast of an album” – Consequence of Sound

Fear Inoculum’s release caps off over a decade of speculation and anticipation, with confirmation of the release arriving in May as the band flashed “August 30” from the stage as they performed two new songs: “Descending” and “Invincible.”

absolutely gobsmacking” – Kerrang!

As August arrived, Tool released their back catalog via digital service providers, seeing Opiate, Undertow, Ænima, Lateralus and 10,000 Days rack up in excess of 20 million streams in the subsequent 48 hours and occupy the top five spots on iTunes’ Top 10 Album Charts. 23 years after its initial release, Ænima re-entered Billboard’s Top 200, arriving at #10, with Lateralus (#16), 10,000 Days (#18) and Undertow (#19) landing in the Top 20. Tool’s debut release, 1992’s Opiate EP, made its Billboard chart premiere, arrived at #59. The band also broke records that week: taking four of the top five spots on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums chart (the first act to achieve that feat upon digital release) and claiming 15 (of 25) spots on Billboard’s Rock Digital Song Sales chart.

A languid and blissful work.5 Stars NME

The title track arrived as details surrounding the collection surfaced, including a limited-edition CD version of Fear Inoculum. The collectible offering, which was conceived by and directed by Adam Jones, features a 4” HD rechargeable screen with exclusive video footage, charging cable, 2 watt speaker, a 36-page booklet and a digital download card. A list of retailers who have remaining stock of the groundbreaking package can be found HERE. A vinyl release will be announced soon.

TOOL’s Fear Inoculum is a transcendent return” – SPIN

Tool Fear Inoculum Cover
Fear Inoculum Cover

Tool North American Tour Dates:

October 13 Sacramento, CA Aftershock Festival
October 15 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
October 18 Salt Lake City, UT Vivint Smart Home Arena
October 20 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
October 21 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
October 23 Glendale, AZ Gila River Arena
October 25 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
October 27 Houston, TX Toyota Center
October 29 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
October 31 Milwaukee, WI Fiserv Forum
November 2 Indianapolis, IN Banker’s Life Fieldhouse
November 3 Chicago, IL United Center
November 5 Cincinnati, OH US Bank Arena
November 6 Cleveland, OH Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
November 8 Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena
November 9 Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena
November 11 Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena
November 12 Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena
November 14 Boston, MA TD Garden
November 16 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
November 18 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
November 19 Brooklyn, NY Barclay’s Center
November 21 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Casino Arena
November 22 Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk Hall
November 24 Raleigh, NC PNC Arena
November 25 Washington, DC Capitol One Arena

Tool formed in 1990, releasing four multi-platinum studio albums: Undertow (1993), Ænima (1996), Lateralus (2001) and 10,000 Days (2006); two EPs: 72826 (1991) and Opiate (1992) and the limited-edition boxset Salival (2000). The band has won three GRAMMY Awards®: Best Metal Performance (1998, “Ænima”), Best Metal Performance (2002, “Schism”) and Best Recording Package (2007, 10,000 Days).

Tool Is:

Danny Carey (drums)
Justin Chancellor (bass)
Adam Jones (guitar)
Maynard James Keenan (vocals)

Tool Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Featured photo (top) by Travis Shinn



Tool Stream Fear Inoculum Title Track; Pre-orders Available

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Los Angeles — Fear Inoculum, the fifth studio album from Tool, arrives on Aug. 30 via RCA Records. Stream the album’s title track HERE.

Continuing their affinity for pushing the boundaries of physical packaging, the GRAMMY Award® winning outfit has created a deluxe, limited-edition CD version of Fear Inoculum. The collectible offering, which was conceived by and directed by Adam Jones, features a 4” HD rechargeable screen with exclusive video footage, charging cable, 2 watt speaker, a 36-page booklet and a digital download card. Pre-orders for both the special package and digital downloads are available HERE. A vinyl release will be announced soon.

Tool Fear Inoculum Cover

The 85-minute collection was produced by Tool, with Joe Barresi engineering and mixing the release. Barresi also worked with the band on 10,000 Days.

The song stream and pre-order news arrives as the Los Angeles band recently made several of their previous releases, Opiate, Undertow, Ænima, Lateralus and 10,000 Days, available for the first time on digital service providers. The releases racked up over 20 million streams in the first 48 hours of release, as well as quickly claiming five spots on iTunesTop 10 Albums chart.

Tool formed in 1990, releasing four multi-platinum studio albums: Undertow (1993), Ænima (1996), Lateralus (2001) and 10,000 Days (2006); two EPs: 72826 (1991) and Opiate (1992) and the limited-edition boxset Salival (2000). The band has won three GRAMMY Awards®: Best Metal Performance (1998, “Ænima”), Best Metal Performance (2002, “Schism”) and Best Recording Package (2007, 10,000 Days).

Tool Is:

Danny Carey (drums)
Justin Chancellor (bass)
Adam Jones (guitar)
Maynard James Keenan (vocals)

Tool Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Featured photo (top) by Travis Shinn



Emerging Modern Metal Outfit Absence of Despair to Release New Album, “Desolate”, on 9-13-19

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Providence, Rhode Island-based modern metalcore upstarts Absence of Despair have made waves in the scene since their formation in 2008, but are set for national acclaim with their brand new album, Desolate, scheduled for release on September 13, 2019. The album features 12 brand new, heavy-hitting anthems that showcase this hard working up-and-coming band’s undeniable raw talent. Ripping, intense metal grooves blended with addictive hooks poise Absence of Despair‘s Desolate as an undeniable metalcore favorite of 2019.

Desolate pre-orders are available here via the band’s website, and will be available via all digital retailers very soon.

Desolate album artwork

Today, Absence of Despair are thrilled to reveal the first single cut from their upcoming album, entitled “Bite My Tongue”. Fans can witness the brand new, high octane music video for the headbang-inducing track now:

Watch New Music Video for “Bite My Tongue”

The “Bite My Tongue” video was shot by Matty LaBonte of Crown Media Collective.

Bassist Rob Bryant says:“The main concept of the video is to not be taken over by anxiety, but to overcome, and breakthrough it. Crown Media Collective did a fantastic job on the video. They were able to purge the anxiety concept well with the static televisions placed around us.”

Desolate immediately bursts into a brutal assault of fast-paced grooves on the album’s opener, “ESC”, and continues to traverse a melodic-yet-darkened metalcore landscape on tracks like “Bite My Tongue” and “Godkiller”. Anthemic tracks such as “Fearless” and “This Reckoning” solidify the band’s keen ability to write unforgettable hooks without sacrificing sinister riffage, while “Lost & Hopeless” provides an example of Absence of Despair‘s more extreme side. Beyond these tracks, there’s even more to love on Desolate.

Vocalist Joe Reynolds says: Desolate is focused on gaining the strength to look at obstacles in your life and overcome them. Each song represents a different side or emotion of a person and tells the story of what’s going through their head. At the end of the day, we want the listener to find meaning in themselves and the world around them.”

Desolate was recorded, mixed and mastered by Josh Schroeder (For The Fallen Dreams, King 810, The Color Morale) at Random Awesome Studios in Midland, Michigan.

Bassist Rob Bryant says:“Josh Schroeder really brought possibilities to light for us musically, helped shape the songs the way we needed them to be, and brought us out of our comfort zone. He pushed us, and helped us push ourselves into creating what we feel is our most dynamic and heavy hitting project yet.”

Desolate Track Listing:

1) ESC
2) Bite My Tongue
3) Wild
4) Godkiller
5) Fearless
6) Lost & Hopeless
7) This Reckoning
8) Die Primitive
9) Shadowbreaker
10) I Am Catastrophe
11) The Skin We Live In
12) Pathwalker

Absence of Despair will perform at the Providence, Rhode Island date of the Summer Slaughter tour, taking place on August 2 at Fete Music Hall. For more information, visit this link. The band is currently booking fall tour dates in support of Desolate.

Absence of Despair endorses Fishman, GHS Strings, Empire Ears, Coldcock Whiskey, InTune Guitar Picks and Sennheiser.

Stay tuned for more tracks and videos coming from Absence of Despair soon!

Absence of Despair Is:

Joe Reynolds: Vocals
Tyler Caruso: Guitar/Vocals
Dillon DeSimone: Guitar/Vocals
Rob Bryant: Bass
Mike Perrotta: Drums

Absence of Despair Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter
Instagram | YouTube

Featured photo (top) by Eric Hooker (Hook U Photography)

Torche Stream “Admission” Via Billboard; North American Tour Begins July 8

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Miami, FL – Torche reveal a third track “Admission” (July 12, Relapse Records), debuting the album’s title track via Billboard HERE.

“This is a song where the music and the lyrics are a perfect match,” explains guitar player Jon Nunez in the accompanying article. “It’s as if they were meant to go together. What I was going through at the time really came through in the song, and the music I gave Steve definitely brought out some rather painful emotions for him [regarding] losing loved ones and the process you go through after. You could even hear a quiver in Steve’s voice, and it was like, ‘Wow, this is something we haven’t done before.’ Steve tends to be really secretive with his lyrics. He needed a little bit of a push, but I think deep down inside he wanted to get this off his chest.”

The band has given two previous previews of music from the 11-song album with streams of the songs “Slide” and “Times Missing”. The trio of tracks are available as instant downloads with digital pre-orders. Admission is available in various formats (CD/LP/CS/Digital) with several limited edition vinyl versions already sold out. More information can be found via Relapse’s webstore. Admission’s cover art was created by Richard Vergez, a Cuban-American visual artist, whose work has been shown at No Romance Galleries (TriBeCa), Urban Arts Society (Chicago) and Kids of Dada (London).

Torche released their fourth album, and Relapse Records’ debut, Restarter in 2015. The collection found the band on most year-end best of lists with Entertainment Weekly describing the album as “gloriously fuzzy, sludgy, hard-hitting” and calling the band members “four of loud rock’s most adroit genre-benders.” The Washington Post called Restarterotherworldly” and the Chicago Tribune saying “Torche’s music connects muscle, songcraft and drive in a way that few bands of recent vintage can match.

Torche Tour 2019

Touche Tour Dates:

July 8 Tampa, FL Crowbar
July 9 Jacksonville, FL The Justice Pub
July 10 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
July 11 Lancaster, PA The Chameleon *
July 12 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance *
July 13 Huntington, NY The Paramount *
July 14 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre *
July 15 Winooski, VT Monkey House *
July 16 Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom *
July 17 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls *
July 18 Cleveland, OH Now That’s Class
July 19 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
July 20 Detroit, MI The Majestic *
July 21 Indianapolis, IN Deluxe *
July 22 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme
July 23 Palatine, IL Durty Nellies *
July 24 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s *
July 25 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line
July 26 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room *
July 27 Lawrence, KS Granada Theater *
July 28 St. Louis, MO The Ready Room *
July 31 Washington, DC Black Cat ^
August 1 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts ^
August 2 Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Bazaar ^
August 3 Allston, MA Great Scott ^
August 4 Providence, RI The Met ^
August 5 Asbury Park, NJ Asbury Lane ^
August 6 Harrisonburg, VA Golden Pony #
August 7 Wilmington, NC Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern #
August 8 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade #
August 9 Orlando, FL The Plaza &
August 10 Miami, FL Las Rosa’s (FREE SHOW) #
September 21 Asheville, NC Heavy Mountain
November 1-3 Gainesville, FL The Fest
November 9 Austin, TX Levitation

^ (w/ Wear Your Wounds)
# (w/ Whores.)
* (w/ Baroness)
& (w/ Baroness & War On Women)

Touche Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Featured photo (top) by Dan Almasy


Baroness Unveil Gold & Grey Via NPR

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Baroness’ highly-anticipated album, Gold & Grey, is streaming now via NPR HERE.

Baroness Gold & Grey Album Cover
Baroness Gold & Grey Album Cover

The 17-track release which arrives this Friday is described by NPR as “…Baroness has redigested every sound of the band’s career thus far and synthesized it into something greater. Gold & Grey is the sound of a band becoming a universe unto itself.” Mojo dubbed the album “an epic beast,” Stereogum referred to it as “anthemic” and MetalSucks said the collection “perfectly encapsulates how Baroness excel at reaching shining peaks and descending into gloomy valleys.” Baroness have recently been featured on the covers of Decibel Magazine, Kerrang! and Loud!, while Revolver will debut a series of collectible covers later this month.

“This is the most clear representation of the artistic vision I have for the band that we’ve ever done,” explains singer/guitar player John Baizley. “Where Purple was me lyrically trying to work out how to adjust to a new normal, I think Gold & Grey is a more grown-up and more subtle collection of words that reflect how I am trying to deal with the longer term effects of having experienced so many terrible things. I choose to use the band as a place where I can take all of this stress, pain, anxiety, all these realities, and make them something good.”

Baroness is in the midst of a tour of Northeastern U.S. independent record stores, performing acoustically this evening at Philadelphia’s Creep Records, with a full band performance slated for Brooklyn’s Rough Trade on release date. A South American tour is slated for later this month, followed by both North American and European treks.

Baroness Tour Dates:

June 10 Philadelphia, PA Creep Records
June 11 Fords, NJ Vintage Vinyl
June 12 Babylon, NY Looney Tunes
June 14 Brooklyn, NY Rough Trade
June 15 Poughkeepsie, NY Darkside Records
June 16 Boston, MA ONCE/Newbury Comics
June 19 Mexico City, Mexico MX at Lunario
June 21 Santiago, Chile Blondie
June 22 Buenos Aires, Argentina Uniclub
June 23 São Paulo, Brazil Fabrique Club
July 11 Lancaster, PA The Chameleon
July 12 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance
July 13 Huntington, NY The Paramount
July 14 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre
July 16 Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom
July 17 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls Theatre
July 19 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
July 20 Detroit, MI The Majestic
July 21 Indianapolis, IN Deluxe at Old National Centre
July 23 Palatine, IL Durty Nellie’s
July 24 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
July 26 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
July 27 Lawrence, KS The Granada
July 28 St. Louis MO The Ready Room
July 30 Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom
July 31 Birmingham, AL Saturn
August 4 Baton Rouge, LA The Varsity Theatre
August 5 Atlanta, GA Buckhead Theatre
August 6 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
August 7 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
August 9 Orlando, FL Plaza Live
August 10 Jacksonville, FL 1904 Music Hall
August 11 Charleston, SC The Music Farm
August 13 Charlotte, NC The Underground
August 14 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
August 16 Richmond, VA The National
August 17 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Sound Stage
September 23 Newcastle, UK O2 Academy
September 24 Glasgow, UK O2 Academy
September 26 London, UK O2 Academy Brixton
September 28 Bristol, UK O2 Academy
September 30 Birmingham, UK O2 Academy
October 1 Manchester, UK O2 Apollo
October 3 Belfast, UK Ulster Hall
October 4 Dublin, IE Olympia Theatre
October 6 Paris, FR L’Olympia
October 7 Luxembourg, LU Rockhal
October 9 Madrid, ES La Riviera
October 10 Lisbon, PT Coliseum
October 12 Barcelona, ES Razzmatazz
October 14 Milan, IT Fabrique
October 29 Warsaw, PL Torwar Arena
October 31 Prague, CZ O2 Universum
November 1 Berlin, DE Mercedes-Benz Arena
November 3 Stuttgart, DE Schleyerhalle
November 5 Zurich, CH Hallenstadion
November 7 Frankfurt, DE Festhalle
November 8 Munich, DE Olympiahalle
November 10 Leipzig, DE Arena Leipzig
November 11 Hamburg, DE Barclaycard Arena
November 14 Cologne, DE Lanxess Arena
November 17 Vienna, AT Stadhalle
November 19 Amsterdam, NL Ziggo Dome
November 21 Antwerp, BE Lotto Arena
November 27 Helsinki, FI Hartwall Arena
November 29 Stockholm, SE Tele2 Arena

Baroness received a GRAMMY® Award nomination for the song “Shock Me” (from the 2015 album, Purple) in the “Best Metal Performance” category. Purple saw worldwide praise with Pitchfork saying it features “some of the biggest, strongest songs Baroness has ever written” and Mojo proclaimingBaroness have delivered their masterpiece.” The album received numerous year end accolades including “Shock Me” at #10 on Entertainment Weekly’s Top 40 Songs of 2015, #6 on Pitchfork’s Best Metal Albums of 2015 and #7 on Rolling Stone’s 20 Best Metal Albums of 2015. The band’s catalog of studio recordings is: Gold & Grey (2019), Purple (2015), Yellow & Green (2012), Blue Record (2009), Red Album (2007), A Grey Sigh in a Flower Husk (Split LP, 2007), Second (EP, 2004) and First (EP, 2004).

Baroness Is:

John Baizley (vocals/guitar)
Gina Gleason (guitar)
Nick Jost (bass)
Sebastian Thomson (drums)

Baroness Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter
YouTube | Instagram



REVIEW: Bradley Palermo’s Debut Album, “Volume 1” Honestly Depicts the Bitter Sweetness of Life

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Bradley Palermo Volume 1 Album Art

Pre-Order

iTunes | Amazon Music

Bradley Palermo, a solo folk/punk artist in Los Angeles, is debuting his first full length album, Volume 1, on Friday, April 19. The record is a result of a successful crowdfunding campaign late last year, followed by a recently completed international tour. Comprised of previously released singles, the songs were reworked and remastered to create the cohesive Volume 1. Being no stranger to life on the road and the various trials of life, Volume 1 captures an autobiographical letter written to anyone who has experienced life, death, love, and loss.

Before setting out on his solo folk career, Palermo spent 15 years fronting the bands The Sudden Passion and Femme Fatality. He grew up in St. Louis, MO playing in local indie bands. All the while he was developing an affinity for the alt-country bands that were emerging from the region at the time. Palermo draws inspiration from Americana acts like Son Volt and The Bottle Rockets, and folk-punk troubadours such as Chuck Ragan and David Dondero (both of whom he’s now shared the stage with). His influences and past come together in the raw and honest Volume 1.

Stream

Tracklist:

Tombstones
I Like things That Kill
All My Friends (Have Died)
2nd Wind
The Long Way
Deep Valley Blues
Lost In August
The High Cost of Free Living
Trouble To Find
Hollywood, Hollywood

Tombstones

As the first track on Volume 1, “Tombstones” starts with a synth riff that would make Femme Fatality fans grin with a sense of familiarity. The track is driven by a powerful, classic acoustic guitar rhythm that instantly tells you that you’re in for a catchy song. Palermo sings of living as an artist on the road, away from the draining and lifeless corporate existence. Palermo sings in the chorus, “I’ve done the 9 to 6, pulling out my hair, carving up my wrist… I think it’s safe to say I’ve done gone and made my escape.” Displaying Americana at it’s finest, Tombstones would make the perfect bonfire summer sing-along about free living.

I Like Things That Kill

Following “Tombstones” is another catchy acoustic rhythm along with a steel guitar carrying the melody. Palermo sings the song title to implant into your head, “I like things that kill”. This song turns out to be a country/folk love song with a hint of a punk chorus. Reminiscing, he starts the first verse and ends the song with the same lines, “All the things I loved are all the things I’ve quit. I miss you like I miss whiskey, cocaine and cigarettes…”, driving the listener into the building chorus with, “I like things that waste me, eradicate me, honey, I like things that kill… I like things that kill”. Building a scene of a love addiction for a lover long gone, the track pings familiar emotions and imagery that nearly any listener can relate and sing to, making it a brilliantly written piece.

All My Friends (Have Died)

As the song title alludes to, this track is a somber reminder of all the people who have left this earth. In this country/Americana track, Palermo describes the things his friends supposedly used to do, along with specific names and situations of unfortunate fates. This track brings the pain and haunting hole that is created when someone you know passes: “My friends don’t pick up the phone or text me back when I say ‘What’s up?’… Even though I’m up here singing, I feel a little dead inside, cause all of my friends have died.” After the second chorus, Palermo wistfully yells, “And I fucking miss ’em, man!”, followed by a perfectly placed electric guitar solo to represent those memories in a celebration of what once was. He finished out the song by repeating the first verse and ending it all with a cymbal tap fading out.

2nd Wind

“2nd Wind” comes in to perk you up from “All My Friends (Have Died)”. The addition of harmonica in the instrument arsenal is introduced in a tale of a refreshing new romance in the time of personal turmoil. Palermo sings, “There ain’t no use in hiding it, I was out running all common sense. No one gets that drunk on accident.” He continues to tell the tale of meeting a woman that saved him: “And in this City of Angels, she was the only one I’ve met. Call me a holy roller cause I am born again.” “2nd Wind” ends leaving the listener ready for a new emotional start, which is exactly what we all need from time to time.

The Long Way

“The Long Way” describes Palermo’s painful first marriage, his move to LA, and other catalyzing events that brought him to where he is now. The track introduces a grittier tone, and has breathy falsetto backing vocals that bring out strong emotional ties to the lyrical content. The bridge absolutely shines, bringing a climax of both emotion and unexpected production value, turning the featured lower frequency instruments that are too often ignored or omitted in the genre into stars. The bass and a low-programmed synth add another depth of seriousness that speaks volumes along Palermo’s raspy cries. “The Long Way” is a unique turn in the album that keeps the listener’s engagement.

Deep Valley Blues

Ever the catchy writer, Palermo’s “Deep Valley Blues” would be a successful radio single. Short and fun, it captures the feeling of old folk/country/blues that is the heart of Volume 1. Touching on the differences between Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley area) and his hometown of St. Louis, Palermo paints a picture of homesickness in the most concise way. “Deep Valley Blues” is destined to be a popular live show sing-along. “I’ve got them… deep valley blues. It’s gonna take me too much time to make my way home you, and you know it ain’t the distance, honey, it’s the altitude… I’ve got them… deep valley blues…

Lost In August

In a track that could easily be sung by Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie/The Postal Service), the album takes another turn in a light and romantic way. In true indie/folk fashion, “Lost In August” kicks off with a ukulele and accordion-driven rhythm. The composition creates a dreamy and nostalgic backdrop to Palermo’s toned-down vocals. The lyrics and tone show the versatility of Palermo’s songwriting skills, as he lets atmosphere take the place of country-harsh vocals and to-the-point lyrics. A delightful change of pace that’s sure to grasp listeners of overlapping rock/indie/folk genres.

The High Cost of Free Living

The synth makes another appearance in the folk piece, “The High Cost of Free Living”. A straightforward song with a country baseline. Palermo makes use of multiple instruments and harmonies to keep the listener engaged through lyrics of alcoholism and the drawbacks of trying to live as an artist. Although it’s not the strongest song lyrically on the album, it keeps on par with being a catchy sing-along like earlier tracks.

Trouble to Find

“Trouble to Find” starts out with an interesting bass riff seemingly taken from the brainwaves of Brian Ritchie (The Violent Femmes). Palermo brings us through a folk song about dealing with toxic personalities and mental illness. This track circles us back around to the tone of the first half of the album. He paints the imagery of an adversary and tries to rationalize the situation, familiar to what many people might think and say in that kind of situation. However, the song ends right when the listener feels like there might be more waiting to be told. It feels a little incomplete, despite the great storytelling.

Hollywood, Hollywood

The last track on Volume 1, “Hollywood, Hollywood” completes the journey of Palermo’s folk tale, reiterating how Hollywood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but you just make the best of it. It gives the feeling that everyone is trying to be someone, trying to act busy, having superficial relationships, etc. Although it is also a short track, it ends the album saying that the journey is over and he is here now, trying to find his way. It’s a perfect ending to his story.

Final Thoughts

Bradley Palermo’s Volume 1 is nearly a perfect folk album. Featuring a variety of influences, emotions, and incredibly candid lyrics, the album is easy to listen to and connect with, especially for artists. None of the tracks are boring, and they display incredibly strong songwriting ability. The album plays like a story Palermo might tell you himself at a bar over some drinks. Engaging, intimate, and memorable, Volume 1 would be a great introductory piece to new listeners of the folk genre.

Bradley Palermo Volume 1 Album Art

Pre-Order

iTunes | Amazon Music

Tour Dates

4/24 Los Angeles, CA @ Satellite (album release show) #
4/30 Victorville, CA @ Kennedy’s Pub *
5/01 Las Vegas, NV @ The Dive Bar *
5/02 Reno, NV @ Pignic Pub *
5/03 Willits, CA @ Shanachie Pub *
5/04 San Francisco, CA @ The Plough & The Stars *
5/05 Bakersfield, CA @ El Conquistador Music Experience  (album release show) *
5/07 Canoga Park, CA @ Scotland Yard Pub * %
5/08 Santa Ana, CA @ Beatnik Bandito Music Emporium (album release show) *
5/09 Lancaster, CA @ The Britisher *
5/10 San Diego, CA @ Rosie O’Grady’s (album release show) *
5/11 Tucson, AZ @ Saint Charles Tavern *
5/12 Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap *
5/13 Yuma, AZ @ Littlewood Art Co-Op *
5/14 Flagstaff, AZ @ The Hive *
5/24 Las Vegas, NV @ Citrus ^
7/24 Cottage Grove, OR @ Brewstation %
7/25 Seattle, WA @ Skylark %
7/26 Tacoma, WA @ The Valley %
7/27 Bremerton, WA @ Hi-Fidelity Lounge %
7/28 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Hideaway %

^= Punk Rock Bowling club show with Amigo The Devil, Bridge City Sinners, and Pinata Protest
#= supporting Typesetter
*= w/ Tim Holehosue
%= w/ Sim Williams

Watch Live Performances:

2nd Wind | Deep Valley Blues
I Like Things That Kill | Tombstones

Bradley Palermo Online:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Featured photo (top) by Marisa Palermo

Chase Atlantic Announce Summer North American Headline Tour

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Los Angeles, CA — Emerging alt-pop trio, Chase Atlantic, have announced a massive headline tour across North America this summer. Presented by Live Nation’s Ones To Watch and The Noise, the 29-date trek launches in Philadelphia on Friday, June 14 and hits major cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, and New York before wrapping in Silver Spring, MD on Thursday, July 25. Lauren Sanderson will also provide direct support on all shows. The fan pre-sale commences on Tuesday, April 9 at 10am local time and will conclude on Thursday, April 11 at 10pm local. More information can be found on the band’s website and social media platforms. The general public on-sale begins on Friday, April 12 at 10am local, with tickets available to purchase HERE. The full touring itinerary can be found below as well. 

Sophomore Album, Phases, out June 28 via BMG/MDDN

Chase Atlantic is also pleased to announce the release of their highly-anticipated sophomore album, Phases, out Friday, June 28 via BMG/MDDN. The record serves as a follow up to their latest EP, DON’T TRY THIS (Jan. 2019), and their self-titled debut effort (2017).

“We made this album because we wanted to drastically pivot the angle in which pop culture is viewed and ultimately digested,” says lead vocalist, Mitchel Cave.“Throughout our career so far, Chase Atlantic has always been represented as a ‘go to’ for unique and complex music with high sonic value. We’ve been able to fuse genres and aesthetic together to create a defined nocturnal bliss of our own, blending dreamy melodies with moody progressions, all the while touching on subjects from drug abuse to romantic pieces.” 

“This album feels as though it is truly a work of astronomical measures,” he adds. “It’s the first time we were able to honestly and openly hone into something so monumentally special and raw without compromising even an inch of our integrity as artists. We’ve developed a completely new sound within a matter of months that has never been tapped into before. Chase Atlantic is now dwelling within a realm of its own; it’s both scarily isolating and blissfully euphoric at the same time. Welcome to a whole new era.” 

The official track listing and more details about Chase Atlantic’s forthcoming album will be revealed soon. Stay tuned for more news to come.    

Chase Atlantic Headline Tour Dates:

6/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
6/15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
6/17 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts
6/18 – Nashville, TN @ Exit / In
6/19 – Charlotte, NC @ The Underground
6/21 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
6/22 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
6/24 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
6/25 – Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn
6/27 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
6/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ Regent Theater
6/29 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades 
7/01 – San Francisco, CA @ August Hall
7/02 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
7/03 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre
7/05 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
7/06 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
7/08 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
7/09 – Lawrence, KS @ The Granada
7/11 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
7/13 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
7/15 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
7/16 – Indianapolis, IN @ Deluxe at Old National Centre
7/18 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
7/19 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
7/20 – Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
7/22 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
7/23 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
7/25 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore

About Chase Atlantic:

Chase Atlantic personally write and produce all of their own music, which helped the three-piece build a strong following in Australia during their teenage years. Their stylish, distinctive sound, along with their viral single, “Friends,” captured the attention of Good Charlotte’s Joel and Benji Madden, who subsequently signed them to their esteemed music company, MDDN, in 2015. Since then, the three-piece has seen rapid success – headlining and selling out shows globally, including tours with Blackbear, Sleeping With Sirens, and Lights. Their explosive live performances have also landed slots at notable festivals including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Firefly, Reading & Leeds, and the final run of Vans Warped Tour. 

Music Videos

Numb To The Feeling | SWIM | Okay | Keep It Up | Why Stop Now | Cassie | Triggered | Into It | Church | Obsessive | Like A Rockstar

DON’T TRY THIS EP – Stream and Download:

Spotify | Apple Music | Google Play | Amazon | Deezer | TIDAL

Chase Atlantic Is:

Mitchel Cave / vocals, bass guitar
Clinton Cave / lead guitar, saxophone, programming
Christian Anthony / rhythm guitar, vocals

Chase Atlantic Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter 
Instagram | YouTube

Featured photo (top) by Ryan Watanabe

Progressive Metal Quartet Valence Reveals Jam-Influenced, Eclectic New Track, “Walrus”

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New York-based progressive metal fusion quartet Valence recently announced the release of their upcoming album, Cognitive Dissidents, out April 12, 2019. Expertly fusing genres like metal, rock, jam, classical, jazz, and more, Valence‘s varied, yet cohesive, influences offer every listener a passport to a new state of mind that is cerebral and emotive, while not sacrificing accessibility.

Today, Valence have revealed a third new track from Cognitive Dissidents, entitled “Walrus“, which is available to stream via New Noise Magazine HERE.

Guitarist Geoffrey Schaefer says about the track: “‘Walrus‘ is one of the more eclectic songs on Cognitive Dissidents that really highlights the way we incorporate jam band influences in with the progressive metal. You can really hear this about two and a half minutes into the song, as well as with the section that comes about five minutes in. It’s also one of the longer songs on the album, but one that we don’t think feels long.”

Check out other videos featuring tracks from Cognitive Dissidents :

“Damnit, Lana!” Music Video
“Preferred Nomenclature” Full Band Playthrough

Cognitive Dissidents, the ambitious follow up to their Independent Music Award-winning 2014 EP, Laser Baron, was recorded and produced at Westfall Studios in Long Island, NY.

Valence wastes no time in launching Cognitive Dissidents intro the stratosphere with lead single “Damnit, Lana!” (linked above), setting the course for what is about to be one hell of a ride. Rock technicality blends into a seductive Latin fusion-inspiredsection driven by multi-talented percussionist Chris Romano, only to finish as an unrelenting metal opus. “II. Calmer Than You Are” shows the softer side of Valence, illustrating a synth-laden soundscape led by bassist Wilhelmus Sapanaro. The band continue to flex their tech-muscles on tracks like “III. Preferred Nomenclature“, in which guitarists Michael Buonanno and Geoffrey Schaefer burn through over five minutes of deft ebb and flow – fluxing between absolute mano-a-mano, battle-like shreddery, deep grooves and classically-influenced passages. “Walrus“, amid its journey, provides an unexpected mid-track jam trip before the album closes with “Red Sky at Morning” – a 14+ minute sonic escapade that can only be described as positively monumental.

Rather than utilizing samples, bassist Wilhelmus Sapanaro performed upright bass and cello and guitarist Michael Buonanno performed violin and viola on Cognitive Dissidents to maintain an organic sound.

Pre order Cognitive Dissidents via Bandcamp, iTunes, and Spotify Pre-Save

Valence Cognitive Dissidents Album Art

Cognitive Dissidents track listing:

1. Damnit, Lana!
2. Prelude: Parlance of Our Time
3. I. If You’re Not into the Whole Brevity Thing
4. II. Calmer Than You Are
5. III. Preferred Nomenclature
6. Walrus
7. Red Sky at Morning

Valence has performed across the eastern United States and Canada with artists like Scale The Summit, Sarah Longfield, Consider The Source, Felix Martin and more, and will soon expand their national footprint later in 2019. In the meantime, Valence has several U.S. performances booked this winter and spring. See below for all confirmed tour dates:

Valence Tour Dates:

4/13 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ Darkside Records – Record Store Day
4/26 – Holbrook, NY @ Rams American Pub
4/28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Milkboy
4/29 – Orange, VA @ 3 B’s Bar & Grille
5/1 – Raleigh, NC @ Slims
5/2 – Atlanta, GA @ Smith’s Olde Bar
5/3 – Asheville, NC @ Odditorium
5/24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus w/ Black Crown Initiate // Album Release Show

Visit this Facebook event for a listing of these shows.

“…Valence is a style unto themselves, and listening to them is more about a direct connection to the moment than a study of any genre.”
William Berger, Author, Wagner Without Fear et al.;
Producer and Commentator, the Metropolitan Opera

“Ever watch a band enjoy themselves so much while playing live, that their mood becomes Infectious? It’s literally impossible not to smile while these dudes are having the best time on stage. It also helps that they can all super shred on their instruments too.”
Metal Injection

“If you love some of the acrobatic, complex, and heavy material of current acts like Scale the Summit, Between the Buried and Me and Animals as Leaders, this is a band you need to check out.”
Sea of Tranquility

“When we hear prog, we actually expect the music to suck hard like a mouthful of coarse-grade sandpaper, because we know it’s a clever ruse. It’s a way for many failed musicians to pretend they have relevance. Valence, however, have given us more to expect out of this “prog” thing…”
Deaf Sparrow

Valence Is:

Michael Buonanno – Guitar, Violin, Viola
Geoffrey Schaefer – Guitar
Wilhelmus Sapanaro – Bass, Upright Bass, Cello
Chris Romano – Drums

Valence Online:

Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube

Featured photo (top) by Marissa Rodriguez of Scryer Photo