The Catalyst

In Flames

In Flames

Demon Hunter, All Shall Perish, Battlecross

Thu, February 14, 2013

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

The Catalyst

Santa Cruz, CA

$29 in advance / $34 at the door

Off Sale

This event is 16 and over

In Flames
In Flames
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Perhaps one of the big clichés, but unusually evident when it comes to In Flames and their new album “Siren Charms”. To lose one of the musical engines of a band usually means a ticket to the graveyard of bands for an eternal rest among abandoned careers and reasonably forgotten last albums. Sure, history has proven the opposite once or twice - but one could question if anyone has risen from the ashes with such strength and power as In Flames? When guitarist Jesper Strömblad left the band following 2008’s “A Sense of Purpose”, the harbingers of doom were very vocal on the imminent collapse of the Gothenburg band. That never happened. In what must be described as a pure backlash, the band delivered it’s strongest album to date – “Sounds of a Playground Fading” - which was both awarded for gold-level sales and topped charts in both Sweden and Germany. “Siren Charms”, the first album with Niclas Engelin as permanent guitarist in the band, cements the greatness hinted at with the previous album; this is a band taking it’s game several steps forward, leaving both imitators and nay-sayers far behind. The first sign that the band have taken a different route is the choice of studio. Where they previously have recorded at home in Gothenburg, the whole operation was now moved to Berlin and the legendary Hansa Ton Studios. At the Köthener Strasse-location, artists like Iggy Pop, David Bowie, U2 and Killing Joke have all recorded some of rock history’s most spoken of classics, and it is no
exaggeration to say that history can be felt in the walls. Here, the band settled in with producer Roberto Laghi and vocal producer Daniel Bergstrand. Based at Hansa since a few years is also swedish mix-engineer Michael Ilbert, who was appointed to mix the album after keyboard-wizard Örjan Örnkloo once again contributed with his characteristic programming and synthesizers. Both guitars Björn Gelotte and vocalist Anders Fridén are convinced that the choice of environment has had an influence on the final results. All details, big and small, interconnect and have given the eleven newsongs a darker sound and tone. A darkness and sadness in the music’s atmosphere that anyone who has wandered home drunk through a rainy Kreuzberg at four in the morning can recognize. If “Sounds of a Playground fading” took more than three months to complete, the band gave themselves six weeks to record “Siren Charms”. They brought ”a bag of riffs” and a hand full of song structures to start off. The method meant a self-inflicted pressure to feed creativity and was a daring move. It also meant that Anders Fridén and Björn Gelotte got to collaborate in a new way as song-writers. Previously, Björns love of classic rock and Fridéns wish to experiment resulted in clashes with both parties claiming ”You ought to think like this... No, YOU ought to think like THIS!”. With the limited time in the studio, they instead had to embrace each others different approaches and turn them to strengths. Daniel Svensson, drummer of In Flames, got demos of the songs with simple programmed drums, and could then add his personal touch to the sessions. Given the intricate and highly intense drumming on the album, one would easily guess that he’d been playing the songs for months, but it is often first-take recordings delivered with laser-sharp precision. Fridén and Gelotte can’t give him enough praise, claiming him to be one of the world’s best drummers who doesn’t make too much fuss around his drumming (”He doesn’t go around doing drum-glove endorsements really”), but always delivers flawless takes in the studio and on stage. Together with bass player Peter Iwers, they create a foundation for the music so solid you could build Burj Khalifa on it. Fridén had to pay a high price for the heavy time pressure and creative stress. On his return to Sweden, his body caved in and he found himself physically and mentally exhausted. Straight after the album sessions were finished, work at his own label Razzia Notes started without any chance of recuperation and recharging of the batteries. His attitude of ”I’ve always done this - toured and recorded” finally took it’s toll and he found himself knocked out at home. When Anders talks about thecrash today with some distance, he can see the experience as healthy; the insight that one has to listen to the bodies signals and shut down for a while. Above all, he’s content with the knowledge that he’s taken the new recordings as far as is physically possible. The result being an album showcasing exactly where In Flames are 2014. One of the biggest differences from previous albums comes from Fridén as well. Where he used to mix his vocals with both screaming and growls, “Siren Charms” is more or less completely fragile and delicate when it comes to the vocal delivery. It is the result of a vocalist with no holds barred, bearing his throat and letting the listener come closer than ever before. It’s intimate, emotional and powerful.
The album title refers to the female creatures from the Greek mythology who lured sailors with their singing, only to watch their ships crush against the cliffs and sink. A story that is told in different ways over the albums lyrics and is applicable to the many aspects of the human need to intoxicate ourselves, and submit to seduction. They are fascinating tales of what we are prepared to sacrifice toachieve those states of mind. “Siren Charms” secures In Flames position as a metal band that never stands still, and it is doubtlessly a band that continues to take risks, push boundaries and challenge themselves as much as their audience. That the adversities haven’t killed the band is quite obvious - but the question is if In Flames have ever been this strong?
Demon Hunter
Demon Hunter
Demon Hunter has grown beyond the boundaries of a traditional rock band to become something of incalculable value, profound meaning, and steadfast purpose to the people worldwide whose dedication to their music, artwork and vision is beyond compare.

True Defiance represents a rallying call to arms, both spiritually and artistically, to the legion of "hunters" the world over who cling to core principles and only the most authentic music against the tide of a materialist world that builds castles on shifting sands. We all stumble and fall, nobody on earth is perfect, but Demon Hunter will not apologize for who they aspire to be and their fans continue to be invigorated by each new anthem that seeks to empower us to conquer self-doubt and emptiness. This attitude of True Defiance against the obstacles of the world persists throughout every aspect of the band's songwriting and overall presentation.

"This record is without a doubt our most aggressive," promises vocalist, songwriter and band co-founder Ryan Clark. "Every Demon Hunter record must be a step-up from the last. I know that's a goal for every band, but it seldom works that way -- especially today, especially in metal. It seems like most bands' prime years are long behind them. I refuse to let that be the case of us."

An artist whose consumption and creation of music and illustration remains massive, Ryan Clark's appetite for art ensures he has the widest palette of inspiration from the past and present to draw upon with each successive release. As much a student of darker avante garde rock as classic thrash metal and noisy / critically acclaimed underground acts, Clark's dialed-in Demon Hunter sound represents something refreshingly broadminded for a generation of metalheads raised with iPods whose "shuffle" mode offer much variety.

Arriving exactly ten years after the group's inception, Demon Hunter's True Defiance emphasizes a variety of elements that have long been their strengths (particularly the juxtaposition of aggressive metal with intensely melodic flourishes) while ramping up various aspects beyond the point of previous acceleration. The band recorded the album at Compound Studios in Seattle with longtime collaborator Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, Emery) producing. Mixing duties were handled by Jason Suecof (All That Remains, Trivium), who worked with Demon Hunter on 2009's The World is a Thorn, which included fan-favorite singles "Collapsing" and "LifeWar."

"My Destiny," "Crucifix," "God Forsaken," "Dead Flowers" and the rest of the songs that comprise True Defiance represent the strongest writing of Ryan Clark's career and most ambitious, most aggressive performances from Demon Hunter.

"We've been extremely underwhelmed with metal for the last few years and that was the fuel to create this record," Clark explains. "With an extreme over-saturation of false, fleeting, trend-hopping noise in today's metal scene, we had to make something we've been longing to hear: something truly meaningful and artistic, something our fans would love and something that will turn the heads of those who have ignored us for the past decade."

Black metal, thrash metal and speed metal of all stripes are present as lead guitarist Patrick Judge solos throughout with absolute abandon combined with precision technique. Longtime drummer Tim "Yogi" Watts continues to serve the song first, constantly driving the proceedings with taste, while reminding the metal community that his skills rival that of some of the genre's top performers. Clark delves deeply into the well of his own psyche to summon forth vocals worthy of the intense dedication he puts into the lyrics, with bassist Jonathan Dunn ever remaining a consistent anchor for Demon Hunter. New guitarist Jeremiah Scott rounds out the lineup. An accomplished producer (Living Sacrifice) as well as player (The Showdown), Scott is a longtime member of the band's family.

True Defiance features dual covers conceived by Clark, co-owner of Grammy nominated design firm Invisible Creature with his brother (and former Demon Hunter guitarist) Don Clark, and illustrated by Angryblue (Korn, Bleeding Through, Acacia Strain). Artwork and imagery has been paramount ever since the now iconic Demon Hunter symbol first appeared on t-shirts and stickers in 2002. A mysterious demon skull with a bullet hole through its forehead, representing the idea that it's been destroyed, the Demon Hunter symbol has been tattooed; sculpted from wood, clay and metal; painted on the side of helmets and tanks by members of the military and of course, appeared on every Demon Hunter release, including the 45 Days documentary and Live in Nashville album.

Ryan and Don Clark conceived the concept behind Demon Hunter together in Seattle, where they both work and reside. The first Demon Hunter album (featuring both Clarks backed by a still shadowy and enigmatic lineup) was unleashed in 2002, featuring tracks like "Through the Black" and "Infected" that have remained important songs to their fans. Summer of Darkness blew the doors open, placing the band on Christian Rock Radio, on the soundtrack for a "Resident Evil" movie and on MTV2 with "Not Ready to Die." Many couples count "My Heartstrings Come Undone," which Ryan wrote for his wife, as a landmark song in their own relationships.

The Triptych achieved the band's highest commercial success to that point. While the record sold close to 150,000 copies in the United States and saw major airplay for songs like "Undying" and "One Thousand Apologies," Demon Hunter has steadfastly remained a part of the fabric of subculture. A staple at major festivals whose relevance continues despite various trends in metal both above ground and beneath, Demon Hunter remains tightly protected by a loyal group of fans who will always be a part of the extended family. Storm the Gates of Hell included "Fading Away" and "Carry Me Down" and continued the band's tradition of handpicking support bands on their headlining tours, which have included August Burns Red, Haste The Day, Sleeping Giant and Living Sacrifice.

The World is a Thorn marked a number of firsts in Demon Hunter's career. It was the first album to officially feature Judge on lead guitar. "Collapsing" was their highest charting song at Christian Rock Radio. Demon Hunter went to Europe for the first time, playing festivals and clubs as a headlining act. The group also supported the album on a nationwide US tour with As I Lay Dying.

The men who comprise the band honor and respect the responsibility bestowed on them by placing the utmost value on the finest details of what Demon Hunter has come to represent: as musicians, as artists and as brothers on the road. They recognize that Demon Hunter is as much their own as it belongs to a diverse group of supporters around the globe who have connected with the execution of their sound, their overall aesthetic and the myriad array of deeply personal topics covered by the lyrics. There are over 300 (and counting) Demon Hunter related tattoos on the band's websites and an arsenal of fan created imagery inspired by the group's work.

Whether that landscape is the spiritual battle for the souls of humankind, or as simple as the mediocrity of much of modern music, Demon Hunter defies. True Defiance stands proudly as a flag of hope and perseverance planted above the fires of a world in turmoil.

To stay up-to-date on Demon Hunter activities, please visit:

DemonHunter.net
BlessedResistance.com
Twitter.com/DemonHunterBand
Facebook.com/DemonHunter
Myspace.com/DemonHunter
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All Shall Perish
All Shall Perish
Death metal and technical grind have an interesting way of co-existing. While each genre shares characteristics with the other it would seem that many bands would rather stay narrow in scope and keep the two as oil and water. However some outstanding young acts in the last few years have managed to rejuvenate the underground by encompassing more of extreme metal's tangents and delivering some very impacting and fresh ideas into a seemingly over-cooked stew. Despised Icon, Beneath The Massacre, Leng Tch'e and others have thrown all caution (and rules) into the wind and are re-defining the death and grind genres with vibrant ideas and unrelenting delivery. Oakland's ALL SHALL PERISH are cut from that same jib; delivering brutal music that possesses a natural need to experiment and push the boundaries of the extreme underground. Their second offering, The Price Of Existence, will turn the death metal and underground hordes on their collective ear, and when all is said and done the band is sure to be touted as one of the best young extreme acts from the West Coast in this new millennium.

Finding common ground with a taste for such bands as Dying Fetus, Opeth, Cannibal Corpse, Hatebreed, Blood Has Been Shed and At The Gates, ALL SHALL PERISH formed with the intent of not being labeled with the restricting monikers of "death metal", "hardcore" or "metalcore", rather they simply wanted to brutalize audiences and get people moving. The band's 2005 Nuclear Blast debut Hate, Malice, Revenge proved that they were capable of blending various styles while delivering memorable and intelligent songs to all fans of metal and hardcore. Their live show brought the band's vicious attack from coast to coast with such known acts like Six Feet Under, Agnostic Front, As I Lay Dying, Bleeding Through, Brujeria, Dying Fetus, Diecast and Hate Eternal, and before anyone knew it ALL SHALL PERISH had racked up almost 10,000 units via Soundscan.

Change is inevitable, and when you're 100% committed to your art it's imperative that only the best people be involved. ASP took the necessary steps to outfit themselves with the best line-up available for The Price Of Existence. New vocalist Hernan "Eddie" Hermida's delivery adds more depth and clarity to the band's overall impact, while the technical skills of guitarist Ben Orum and new axesmith Chris Storey are as top-notch as those of the most seasoned players in underground metal ("Prisoner Of War" and "There Is No Business To Be Done On A Dead Planet" are perfect examples). Powerhouse drummer Matt Kuykendall gives a heart stopping performance, immediately ranking him just under such elite players as Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy) and Derek Roddy (Hate Eternal). Tracks like "Eradication", "We Hold These Truths" and the ever-so-catchy "Wage Slaves" are brutal and would knock a gorilla on its backside, while "The Last Relapse" and the moody instrumental "Interlude" show a melodic side to the band which proves that ALL SHALL PERISH have forged ahead light years and have delivered a regal metal gem. The Price Of Existence is demanding indeed!
Battlecross
Battlecross
Venue Information:
The Catalyst
1011 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
http://www.catalystclub.com/