102.9 The Buzz Presents
The Divinity of Prupose Tour 2013Pop/Rock
New Haven CT | Rock
Legacies become forged through consistency.
Relentless reliability is intrinsic to longevity in the music business—or any other business for that matter. No giving up is allowed. No promise can go unfulfilled. If people can depend on you, they'll believe in you and stick with you until death. Since forming in 1994, Grammy award-nominated hardcore and metal stalwarts Hatebreed have constantly crushed with every subsequent album. Their six full-length effort and first for Razor & Tie, The Divinity of Purpose, proudly upholds that tradition cast in almost two decades of blood, tears, and flames. It's everything fans have come to expect from the Connecticut-based quintet—Jamey Jasta [vocals], Chris Beattie [bass], Wayne Lozinak [guitar], Frank Novinec [guitar], and Matthew Byrne [drums]—and more.
Be prepared to witness their flame rise high once again…
The Divinity of Purpose began to take shape in 2010. The band had welcomed back original guitarist Lozinak for 2009's covers set, For the Lions, and their self-titled fifth effort the same year. During a two-year tour cycle, they expanded their global stamp through performing to rabid crowds in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America. In addition, they ravaged the U.S. and Europe alongside the likes of Five Finger Death Punch and Lamb of God as well as on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival twice. However, they collectively decided to amp everything up for album number six.
"We were going for a bigger sound," affirms Jasta. "We reintroduced Wayne on the last album. He'd never been on a full-length record with us, and it felt like we had to prove ourselves again. We also tried to do things outside of our comfort zone musically on Hatebreed. This time around, we played to our strengths as a band and gelled incredibly. The riffs had to be really heavy, memorable, and catchy. The rhythms needed to be pounding. I went back into drill sergeant mode vocally. I focused on saying what I had to say and got in and out. The music makes its point and leaves its mark. It's a tight snapshot of the last two years."
In order to capture that snapshot, the group focused its assault during an intense and rigorous period of pre-production at home. Maintaining an impressive work ethic, they spent time honing their patented sound into an even more uncompromising and unbreakable beast. Co-produced by the band, Zeuss [Suicide Silence, All That Remains], and Josh Wilbur [Lamb of God, Avenge Sevenfold], The Divinity of Purpose sees Hatebeed at their most fierce and fiery.
Take the first single "Put it to the Torch." An avalanche of guitars pummels alongside staggering rhythms and a distinct bass wallop. Jasta roars with uncontainable intensity proclaiming, "Here's your apology. Here's to burning out and here's to fading away. Fuck you both. I just put it to the torch."
About the song, he divulges, "We didn't want to reinvent the wheel, but we wanted to make something heavy and aggressive with an old school vibe. We've faced an unusual amount of toxic energy over the past couple of years. It's important that you turn that negativity into a positive. That's always been the message of the band from day one. We can bottle that negative energy and use it as fuel. Sometimes, it gives you that push."
Speaking of a "push," "Honor Never Dies" steamrolls ahead with a propulsive riff and inspirational reflection on those who have served America. With a massive hook and deep meaning, it's also a fitting tribute to any fallen hero.
"Those lyrics came about right after my grandfather passed away," Jasta explains. "When I visited him in Veterans Administrative Hospital back in Connecticut, I'd see all of these vets & war heroes with purple hearts and other commendations hospitalized. The nurses told me a lot of those guys never get visitors. Some die alone in a hospital bed with no family or anyone else around. I'd spoken to some of them before my grandfather died. Luckily I got to be with him before he passed. I had to put that feeling into a song and now some of what I’ve taken away from that experience lives on through this. It’s not just about our vets or my gramp but anyone who does something in service of others, they may not get the glory but their honorable actions live on through the people they help."
The title track also encapsulates something very crucial to the Hatebreed ethos within the framework of another explosive anthem.
The frontman confesses, "Music has always been my purpose. When I became a father, my life had new purpose. Sometimes, you find an initial purpose, and then you find a new purpose as you grow as a person. When you find something you love that gives you fulfillment, it can be an almost divine experience. That's where we are going with this."
In 2012, they also found the perfect partner to release the album in Razor & Tie. Hatebreed instantly felt home on their roster. "Heavy music is in a great place right now. There's a groundswell coming, and Razor & Tie understands that and is on the cusp of it. They're all people we've been friends with too. It's onward and upward for us right now."
It's been a long road to The Divinity of Purpose. Along the way, the band racked up sales of over 1.1 million records worldwide. They garnered a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Metal Performance" for "Live for This", and they've appeared at prestigious festivals including OZZfest, Download, and Wacken Open Air multiple times. Among numerous chart successes, their first-ever live DVD, Live Dominance, debuted at #1 on the Billboard DVD chart, while Hatebreed hit #4 on the Billboard Indie chart.
Right now, Hatebreed's heart is beating stronger than ever, but that's nothing new. "Hatebreed has always meant the same thing to me," he concludes. "We maintain that anger and frustration, but it's not aimless. There's positivity to releasing that energy. It has a cyclical power. The fans that really vibe off it created everything we have. We’ve done things we dreamt of as kids because of our hard work and because the fans have gotten us to this global level. They give us purpose to make the most impact with our records that we can."
It's another chapter of Hatebreed's legacy.
Jamey Jasta - Vocals
Frank Novinec - Guitar
Chris Beattie - Bass
Wayne Lozinak - Guitar
Matt Byrne - Drums
Indianapolis IN | Rock
Warped time signatures, percussive mathematics, spider-fingered fretwork, dazzlingly atmospheric keyboards and immediately arresting vocals collide within THE CONTORTIONIST, who have achieved a career defining milestone with a “sophomore slump” defying feat of agility dubbed Intrinsic. The Indiana based prog-metal alchemists conjure the kinetic texture of RUSH, the cinematic musicality of DREAM THEATER, the heavy but heady metallic might of jazzy death wizards CYNIC and the studied experimental precision of BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME while simultaneously fashioning an overall sound uniquely their own.
In a short amount of time, THE CONTORTIONIST has enveloped audiences and nearly swallowed them whole. They’ve toured with a wide-ranging number of acts including PERIPHERY, ALL SHALL PERISH and THE ACACIA STRAIN. The band headlined the inaugural edition of the Summer Slaughter Survivors Tour, as well.
With their earliest self-released work, THE CONTORTIONIST remade the rules within emerging genres like “deathcore” and “djent” as they evolved beyond scenes and categories, even as they were integral enough to be instrumental in defining them. The band teamed with Ken Susi of UNEARTH for their marvelously refreshing, conceptually driven debut, Exoplanet. With album number two, THE CONTORTIONIST entrusted Eyal Levi (DAATH, JOB FOR A COWBOY) and Jason Suecof (TRIVIUM, DEVILDRIVER) to help them capture their at once complex yet defiantly easy-to-connect-with esoteric material, which shatters the boundaries of conventional heavy music note-by-virtuosic-note.
In popular culture we often hear space referred to as “The Final Frontier.” And while it’s true that the vast majority of our universe remains unknown and deserving of further study, much of the inner workings of human beings beg further contemplation and discovery. How wonderfully appropriate, then, that having delved into deep space with their expansive sound and contemplative narrative on the genre-challenging and wholly impressive Exoplanet, THE CONTORTIONIST turns inward with the stunningly mind-bending follow-up, Intrinsic.
Whereas the first album explored the idea of earth’s destruction following the inevitable collapse of our star and the ensuing search for an inhabitable planet to call home, Intrinsic dives deep inside the mind. Moving across several operatic sections, the record transports listeners on a journey through the apparent holographic reality we call “experience,” through our very consciousness and metaphysical archetypes. Toward the album’s conclusion the band ultimately imagines advancements in neuroscience that would broaden and challenge who we are. All of the music, of course, captures these themes.
Canadian thrash architects VOIVOD would surely be proud of the band’s science based subjects. Like IRON MAIDEN before them, THE CONTORTIONIST is the kind of band that can be enjoyed for the basest of reasons but can also send astute listeners running to the library, like all of the generations of people who wanted to read more about the origins of “The Flight of Icarus” or “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Lyrical inspiration and reference points came from a stack of research, which included books like Antonio Damasio's The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness and Simon Young's Designer Evolution: A Transhumanist Manifesto. Immediate standout cuts “Holomovement,” “Causality” (about a person having a near death experience brought on by an obsession with lucidity in dreaming and astral movement) and “Dreaming Schematics” (where scientific minds develop procedures to strengthen and multiply synaptic networks) are epics. These songs and the rest of the album’s material inspire food for thought and aesthetic pleasure in equal measure.
THE CONTORTIONIST continues to be a study in contrast. In their quietest, most ambient moments, the band is intimately melodic. Alternately their heavy parts are as alarmingly bombastic as possible. An emphasis on songwriting and structure has resulted in a series of musical journeys that are constantly climbing new summits. There is only one song on the album with anything like a “repeating chorus.”
At the same time, the band is always ever careful to tastefully balance technique with purpose. They aren’t shredding for shredding’s sake. Each section of every song is rooted in logic, meaning and reason.
THE CONTORTIONIST has succeeded at creating intelligently tasteful metal that is as memorable and melodic as it is creative and dynamic. Within their formula, a listener paying close attention is as likely to discover elements akin to MINUS THE BEAR as MESHUGGAH.
Just as different genre-pushing bands broadened their own minds, the men in THE CONTORTIONIST are happy to lead fans through the gateway of heavy music down pathways of new music and self-discovery. With fervent attention to every detail of their composition and presentation, the band’s future in the pantheon of heavy music is assured. Intrinsic is the next step in what will become a landmark catalog. THE CONTORTIONIST opens minds from within and without.
Robby Baca - Guitar
Jonathan Carpenter - Vocals, Keyboards
Joey Baca - Percussion
Cameron Maynard - Guitar
Christopher Tilley - Bass Guitar
MD | Metal
One of the most infamous and influential death metal bands of the past 10 years, DYING FETUS pummel and pound their signature-style brutality into the worldwide landscape with the subtlety of full-fledged war. Descend into Depravity takes DYING FETUS to new sonic levels, and is easily the bands finest hour.
John Gallagher - Guitar,Vocals
Sean Beasley - Bass,Vocals
Trey Williams - Drums
Boston MA | Rock
Having released six albums over a 14 year period and climbed to the top of what was respectfully termed the New Wave of American Metal hierarchy, Massachusetts-based quintet Shadows Fall made a deliberate decision. Instead of writing between tours and then quickly recording in order to make a tight deadline, as they’ve done in the past, the band chose to stay off the road for a full year and intently focus on their next album. Their reasons were simple; they wanted to create a full album that not only satisfied all of the band members artistically, but one that would capture Shadows Fall at their best in all their styles and forms… without compromise.
“I always want to step our game up, and that’s the hardest thing to do when you’ve been around for 10 years -- really pushing yourself and coming up with new ideas after so long,” says vocalist Brian Fair. “We didn’t want to keep it safe and stay in the comfort zone.”
“We wanted to write the best songs we could and weren’t concerned with keeping them down to a certain length to increase their chances of getting played on the radio,” adds guitarist Matt Bachand. “We put death metal vocals everywhere and double-bass all over the place. There’s a lot of melody as well because we love finding new ways to mix really heavy stuff with really melodic parts. Our only real goals were to have fun and make the record all of us wanted to hear.”
The approach paid off, and then some. Shadows Fall’s seventh full studio album, Fire From the Sky is a multifaceted gem – a razor-honed offering that ranges from dark and despairing to positive and euphoric, embracing numerous subgenres along the way, including thrash, Swedish death metal, hardcore, ’80s commercial metal, neo-classical and classic rock. The songs are rhythmically complex and hardly predictable, but they’re still cohesive and always catchy. Even when Shadows Fall are grinding away, they always find the sweet spot, creating songs that are both brutal and instantly accessible.
From track to track, Fire From the Sky is incredibly diverse. “The Unknown,” starts the disc with guitar harmonies over a lunging beat, and evolves into a thundering thrash number driven by growled melodic vocals that peak with a crossover pre-chorus and a stunning chorus fueled by a steady beat, rapidly picked guitars and aching, hook-laden vocals. The title track is slower and more apocalyptic, blending trudging double-bass drums with layered minor-key guitar melodies, and overlapping voracious vocal screams atop a crushing, doom-laden riff. Then, at the half-way point, the track kicks into an angry caffeine high, doubling in speed and intensity before crashing back down to a mid-paced stomp again. “Save Your Soul,” arguably the catchiest track on the album, features a blend of clean, classic metal vocals and hardcore barking that accompanies a volley of fist-to-the-sky riffs and a shredding guitar solo. And “Nothing Remains” combines melodic thrash redolent of Testament with uplifting guitar arpeggios and a schizophrenic hybrid of sweet, soaring vocals and larynx-shredding roars.
We like to create a lot of contrasts within the song and from one track to another,” Bachand says. “We don’t want every song to be the same tempo. An album should have ups and downs, peaks and valleys. It should be an adventure like a rollercoaster, not a drive down a flat stretch of road in Kansas.”
“From a vocal standpoint, there was a lot of room to work within these songs right from the early demo stages,” adds Fair. “These guys don’t just write one or two riffs per song. There’s a lot of intricacy, so it gives you a lot of vibes to put into each tune.”
When the time came to find a producer to fine-tune their sound, there was only one choice – their good friend and Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz. Their history with Adam D dates back to the early ’90s when he and Shadows Fall lead guitarist Jon Donais played together in the groundbreaking Massachusetts metalcore band Aftershock. At the time, Fair and Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D’Antonio were making the ground shake in the similarly-minded Overcast. Despite touring together and hanging out over the years, Shadows Fall were never able to secure Dutkiewicz to produce an album.
“We’ve always wanted to work with Adam but either Killswitch was on tour or he had someone else in the studio,” Bachand says. “This time we actually made a solid effort to make sure that it happened. After we made the demos, we spent a lot of time going over everything with Adam and trimming the fat. He’s really good with arrangements and getting songs to make sense. He didn’t write entire parts or riffs, but helped with adding layers.”
“Adam worked my ass off, but I’ve known him for so long and we’re such good friends that I knew that would happen going in,” adds Fair. “He’s going to push you to get the most out of yourself, to make the most for the songs and to make the record as good as it can be. And he’s not afraid to let you know when whatever you’re dong isn’t working. He’d say to me, ’That’s not even bad, that’s just wrong.’ I’d go, ’What do you mean wrong? It’s what I’m feeling.’ And he’d say, ’Well, what you’re feeling is wrong.’ It’s good to have someone with great ears, and who isn’t as close to the music as you are put down the iron fist from time to time. He’s definitely not afraid to take that role.”
In addition to helping Fair find the best vocal style for each musical part, Dutkiewicz encouraged the singer to experiment with new techniques and employ styles he either hadn’t performed in years or didn’t know he could do. “He brought a lot of vocal characteristics out in me because he wouldn’t let me overthink what I was doing,” says Fair. “I even ended up singing in a little of the rock style I did in Overcast and for me, a lot of moments were influenced by early ’90s melodic hardcore bands like Split Lip and Endpoint. I just threw everything against the wall and we used whatever stuck. We definitely infuse melody over heavy parts, like we’ve always done, but I wanted to have all these steps in between as well.”
Shadows Fall recorded drums for Fire From the Sky at Zing Studio in Westfield, Massachusetts, then they moved to Dutkiewicz’s home studio. In total, the tracking took six weeks. Since the band did so much of the legwork long before they entered the studio, they were able to work quickly and efficiently. Even so, they were pulling long hours and writing new parts right up until the last minute.
“We were working on the song ’Divide and Conquer’ for a while but we just couldn’t get it right, so we put it on the backburner,” recalls Bachand. “At the end of the recording session, we were like, ’Ah shit, don’t have enough stuff.’ We needed one more song and we needed it fast. I was working on it with a laptop in a side room at Zing, trying to pull this thing out of my head while Jason [Bittner] was already tracking the drums. I work best under pressure, so it was coming along and I had most of it down. Then Jason finished the drums, so we said, ’Okay, let’s go in and try it.’ We jammed on it for about 20 minutes and couldn’t figure out what to do for the chorus. Then Jon comes into the door, listens for a second, grabs his guitar and goes, ’I got your fuckin’ chorus,’ and plays this riff out of nowhere. And, boom, it’s done. In one hour, this song literally went from a couple riffs and barely an idea to being a complete track.”
Appropriately, the lyrics for “Divide and Conquer” are some of the most triumphant on the record. Fair penned them last year in reaction to the polarization that’s going on between opposing factions all over the world. “It’s kind of my posi-youth unity song,” he says. “The more people get divided, whether it’s bipartisan politics or social standings, the harder it’s going to be to regain control. This song is about getting together to fight for a better future instead of sitting around and complaining and watching everything pass you by.”
“Blind Faith,” another political song, addresses similar ideas of society giving up too much control to the ruling elite. Many tracks on Fire From the Sky deal with a darker reality. “The Unknown” is about the temptation to give in to depression instead of fighting it, the title track is about a star going supernova and devouring worlds and “Walk the Edge” and “Nothing Remains” are about opiate addiction. “We’ve lost some great people in the metal community way too early because they got caught up in the demons of addiction,” Fair says. “That story usually ends up the same way and we’ve heard it far too often recently. It’s not specifically about anyone, but [Slipknot bassist] Paul Gray and [Avenged Sevenfold drummer] The Rev are the people that were on my mind. I knew them very well and had great nights out and about with them. And I think about those good times, but it’s scary when you think that it can all be taken away in a second. As much of a good time as you want to have, you don’t ever want to lose that much control.”
As the music industry sinks deeper into a period of transition and new paradigms are being created to replace the old brick and mortar system of old, the metal scene needs more forward-thinking bands like Shadows Fall. Seventeen years in the business have taught them to follow their instincts and defy convention, perfecting their music in the studio when everyone else is touring, writing from the heart instead of aiming for the radio and relying on their strong work ethic and their love for playing music to ride out the sometimes oppressive wave.
“It’s safe to say that the state of the business we’re in contributed to apocalyptic vibe of the record,” Fair says. “We wanted to reflect that as a microcosm for the whole world being in a state of chaos, whether its political strife or climate change. The end of the Mayan calendar is creeping up on us and there are all these ideas about the end of days. But for all the darkness, there’s also light. When you get pushed into the corner you realize you have to either fight your way out or give up and give in to the darkness. I think we’ve proven repeatedly that we’re fighters.”
Nashville TN | Metal