Savannah, Georgia’s Kylesa are a down-tuned psychedelic sludgy metal band who, like their friends in Mastodon, have managed to attract an audience outside of the usual heavy sphere. The band evokes the sensibilities of The Melvins and Sonic Youth, processing their eclectic rock tendencies through the needle-head of extreme metal. Describing their show as loud would be an understatement (they have two drummers by the way).
They’ve just released their sixth album Ultraviolet, and I had a chance to sit down with guitarists / vocalists Philip Cope and Laura Pleasants to talk about the progression of their sound, possible divisions in their audience, and their faithfulness to the heavy music scene.
George Fisher is a monster. Well ok he’s not really. Except that he is. It just depends on what you’re talking about. As the vocalist for the world’s biggest death metal band Cannibal Corpse, he has a bit of a reputation. Physically speaking, everyone in the band is huge. They’re all tall as hell with varying degrees of muscular prowess. Combine that with the band’s horror-themed lyrics and ultra-gory album and merch art, and you have a recipe for intimidation.
The truth is far less exciting. The members of Cannibal Corpse are some of the most normal musicians you’ll ever meet. Originating from Buffalo, NY the band transplanted themselves to Florida and became stalwarts of the death metal scene along with bands like Deicide and Morbid Angel. The band endured censorship around the world, but their popularity has only continued to grow. They’ve sold over a million albums worldwide and Brendon Small copied their onstage stances for the live appearance of his faux-metal cartoon Dethklok.
But back to the whole monster thing. The band’s first four albums with original vocalist Chris Barnes are still hailed as genre defining, but since he joined in 1995 the band has become far more associated with George, not only vocally but in image as well. His pitch-perfect guttural vocals cut through his bandmates’ groove-laden heaviness like a machete through a zombie’s skull. Then there’s the headbanging. There’s no other way to put it but bluntly: George has a massive neck. Probably the biggest in all music (I’d bet), and it makes for incredible displays onstage. Every night he proclaims to the crowd: “try to keep up with me, you will fail”.
So yeah, when it comes to death metal vocals and headbanging supremacy, George Fisher is a bit of a monster. I had a chance to sit down with George before the band’s recent performance in Toronto to speak about his neck muscles, his time in the band, and the stigma against extreme vocalists.
Italy’s Lacuna Coil has certainly stuck it out. Since their debut EP was released in 1998 the band has become known for their signature sound of dark, melodic hard rock and heavy metal. They garnered legions of fans and perhaps just as many imitators, some of whom achieved even larger commercial success.
Lacuna kept touring and releasing new albums, refining their sound into a sharp focussed point that kept the distinguishable elements that they had pioneered, while attracting the attention of mainstream press and radio. It’s a difficult balancing act. Despite maintaining their essential sound, much of their underground metal fan-base cried foul at their increased popularity, viewing their success as tantamount to selling-out their original credibility.
But the band continued on the path they had chosen, playing in front of every possible audience they could find, attracting new fans from all over the world. They’re currently promoting their latest album “Dark Adrenaline”, a more sombre affair than their last hit record, the ironically-titled “Shallow Life”. I had a chance to sit down with the always-lovely vocalist Cristina Scabbia before their most recent set in Toronto opening for the reformed Coal Chamber.
Recently I got a chance to sit down with vocalist Corey Glover of Living Colour on the Toronto stop of the 25th Anniversary Tour for their debut album “Vivid”. To this day the album remains passionate and political, focussed through the sound of youthful optimism. But the band’s following albums got funkier and heavier, with a distinctly palatable sense of anger. Record sales declined until only the die-hard fans remained. After an aborted attempt at a fourth album in late 1994, the band went their separate ways. The break-up would last five years.
Fan support for the band has always been strong. The last time I met up with Corey was in 2009 when the band performed a headline show at Toronto’s Lee’s Palace. The place was probably over-capacity and the band delivered a two and a half-hour set. This was with almost no promotion or press coverage that I had seen.
All of a sudden things are different. The press coverage for this tour has been immense. They even performed at Wrestlemania, as their biggest hit “Cult of Personality”, has become the entrance theme for wrestler CM Punk. While their other pre-break-up albums are now out of print, “Vivid” continues to be a strong seller. This recent attention seems strangely out of place for a band who continues to extol fierce societal messages. So a tour where they play their most commercially successful release front to back comes as a bit of a surprise. Corey is extremely candid as always, and provides a lot of insight into their recent coverage and where he is now as an individual as opposed to when “Vivid” was released 25 years ago.