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.
Photo Courtesy of Strut Entertainment
Music fandom is strange sometimes. When an artist experiences health issues we want them to get better, but mostly because we want more music and performances from them. It’s our way of emotionally relating to them because we don’t know them personally. Glass Tiger frontman Alan Frew knows this better than most. Many were shocked when Frew announced in late August that he had suffered a stroke. Turns out that when it was happening, and Frew feared that he might die, he not only thought of his family but of the new solo album that people may not get to hear. Looking at Frew across a table upstairs at Toronto’s Hard Rock Cafe it’s hard to tell that he recently had a health scare. But as he would tell me he’s still not 100%, but he’s determined to return to the stage.
The album in question is his brand new collection of eighties covers called 80290 Rewind. With many artists releasing albums of standards it’s refreshing to hear someone perform songs from their own era. The track selection is more eclectic than one might think with one-hit-wonders appearing alongside giant songs like Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” and Madonna’s “Live to Tell.” Frew (who just turned 59 on Sunday) interprets each song individually and delivers unique and passionate performances. The final product is ridiculously fun and really easy to listen to.
In addition to getting an update on his health and we also talked about how he approached covering these songs, and his realization about the depth and timelessness of the material. We also get a bit deeper into his amazingly deconstructed cover of Yes’ most classically cheesy track “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”
Alan Frew’s 80290 Rewind is available now from Amazon and iTunes, and you can listen to it on Spotify. Have a listen to his take on Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” here.
Photos by Travis Shinn
The British heavy metal titans Judas Priest are back on the road promoting their latest album Redeemer of Souls. Their previous tour entitled Epitaph, was supposed to be their last major jaunt around the world, but in the time since it’s seems as if Priest has not slowed down one bit. I was lucky enough to get guitarist Glenn Tipton on the phone to talk about the current tour and if in fact they actually have lightened their load.
Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton
We also talked about the new album and how I feel that it’s the most prog-inspired release of their career. Finally I asked Tipton about working with new Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, who has taken on a bigger role in the band with this album.
Judas Priest have a few more North American dates on their Redeemer of Souls Tour, including stops in Halifax and Toronto, followed by shows in Europe and the U.K. Redeemer of Souls is available now and here’s Tipton introducing the track “March of the Damned.”
Photos by Andrew Epstein
Performing in malls is mostly associated with eighties pop star Tiffany. But when I make the reference to Arkells vocalist/guitarist Max Kerman, he thinks I’m talking about the jewelry store. His confusion is understandable though, as he and his band were about to take to the stage in the middle of Sherway Gardens. It was the culmination of a special event put on by Samsung Canada who were promoting a number of new items including an at-home virtual reality unit that features a collaboration with filmmaker David Cronenberg.
Their set would go off without a hitch, attracting a diverse crowd who ate up their brand of soulful indie rock and energetic Motown covers. Given the circumstances I thought it would be good to ask Kerman about his view of how music and technology work together. We also talked about the subtle sonic changes that characterize the Arkells’ catalogue, if winning awards has helped their career, and whether wearing their home on their sleeve makes things more difficult for Canadian bands.
Arkells have upcoming shows in Germany and the U.K, with some Canadian dates lined up for next year. Their latest album is 2014’s High Noon, and you can watch their new video for the track “11:11” here.