Photo by Thor Broedreskift
The Norwegian black metal band Enslaved have always had a progressive element to their sound. Although their earlier material is raw and primal, the music has distinct sonic elements that set them apart from others in the genre. Beginning with the 2001 album Monumension these element began to become far more pronounced. With the help of some lengthy melodic jams and ethereal keyboard passages, Enslaved began to be perceived as the sort-of “Pink Floyd of black metal.”
Their latest album In Times brings them closer to this idea than ever before. The album is comprised of six epic tracks that use equal amounts of extreme abrasiveness and delicate melodies. During their last pass through Toronto (the first since they were waylaid by a blizzard in late 2013) I sat down with Ivar Bjørnson (guitar/vocals) and Grutle Kjellson (vocals/bass) for an in-depth interview about how they have arrived at their current sound, the role Norse culture plays in their music, and how the post-nineties perception of black metal in Norway has helped their profile at home.
Enslaved are currently on tour in North America with Between the Buried and Me with two dates in Canada: December 10th in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall, and December 11th in Ottawa at the Bronson Centre. In Times is available now on Nuclear Blast Records, and you can listen to the track “One Thousand Years of Rain” here.
Photo by Stephanie Cabral
Guitarist Chris Broderick is known primarily by many for his time with thrash icons Megadeth between 2008 and 2014. It’s a bit of an odd thing, because the band’s album output from that time took an intense drubbing from both critics and fans. However most tend to agree that Broderick’s performances were pretty stellar. This came as no surprise to those who were already familiar with his skills from his decade with Jag Panzer and frequent appearances with Nevermore.
Broderick’s first post-Megadeth band is Act of Defiance, a modern melodic thrash outfit featuring fellow ex-dether Shawn Drover on drums, vocalist Henry Derek (Scar The Martyr), and bassist Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall). I sat down with Broderick pre-show in a strange white room at Toronto’s Mod Club for a rather candid and humorous interview that featured some unexpected romantic backing tracks (Broderick remained a gentleman).
The band’s debut album is called Birth and the Burial, and although one could interpret that as an open dig at his former employer, Broderick says that the title and lyrics are supposed to be vague and are not directed at anyone personally. However it seems that ultimately Act of Defiance is a direct result of his limited creative freedom during his time with Megadeth.
Act of Defiance have three more dates left on their North American tour with Allegaeon and their debut album Birth and the Burial is available now on Metal Blade Records. Check out their video for the track “Legion of Lies” here.
Photo by Matthew Zinke
Colorado metal outfit Allegaeon (pronounced “a-legion”) are currently on tour in North America with supergroup Act of Defiance, and I caught up with guitarist Greg Burgess before their set at Toronto’s Mod Club. Despite their varied sound they’re constantly getting labeled as a technical death metal band, so we talked about their various influences, as well as how their often silly behavior on stage and in their videos seems to contradict their heady science-based lyrics.
Allegeaon have a few more U.S. dates on their current tour in Texas, Arizona, and California. Their latest album, 2014’s Elements of the Infinite, is available on Metal Blade Records, and you can watch their ridiculous video for “Threshold of Perception” here.
Photos by Andrew Epstein
While gothic industrial music icons like Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, KMFDM, and Laibach remain active, the genre has largely returned to the underground. The music is incredibly varied, ranging from Depeche Mode-flavoured pop to Ministry-level intensity. Live guitar and drums do make appearances but electronic elements dominate, with stage setups often consisting of a few consoles and a vocalist.
There are few acts that represent the current incarnation of industrial and dark techno music better than Seattle’s God Module, who sit at the head of a wave of American acts that dominate the scene. Led by vocalist and main composer Jasyn Bangert, they’ve attracted an international cult of fans with catchy horror-themed lyrics and intense beat-driven sample-heavy compositions.
God Module have just wrapped up their North American tour in support of their seventh album Prophecy, a trek that began with the robbery of all of their equipment, and an incredibly successful crowdfunding effort that kept them on the road. I spoke to Bangert before his set at Toronto’s Coalition to get a first-hand account of what happened. We also talked about his sound and why he prefers to play his more danceable tracks in concert, as well as what his ideal live version of the band would be.
God Module have one more date this year on November 28th in Mexico City, and they’ve got some Europe and U.K. dates lined up in the Spring. Their new album Prophecy is available now on Metropolis Records and you can listen to the track “We Are Legend” here.