OF TYRANTS BRING “DUDECORE” TO THE VIRGINIA MUSIC SCENE

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY FESTY SHOTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Spawned from the badlands of Virginia Beach, OF TYRANTS sound like a deathcore band that should have been part of the late 90’s to early 2000’s metalcore scene. This, however, is a blessing for kids going to metal shows in the Hampton Roads today as their music hearkens back to bands such as WE WERE GENTLEMEN and ABACABB. However, with their debut EP, the band is quickly building a reputation of their own.

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VIRGINIA BEACH METAL BAND LIFEWALKER WINS BATTLE OF THE BANDS TO PERFORM AT FM99 LUNATIC LUAU 15 AND PROVIDE DETAILS ABOUT THEIR DEBUT ALBUM

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS AND VIDEO BY DIGITAL THUNDERDOME AND PROVIDED BY WNOR FM99

Once known as WITNESS FOR HOPE, which was formerly led by vocalist Benjamin Green, LIFEWALKER has risen from the metaphorical ashes of that band and given the remaining members a new voice and the opportunity to pursue a heavier musical direction. Since discovering vocalist Stephen Dodge, the band has quickly regained momentum.

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COMBINING ELEMENTS OF BLACK, DOOM AND MELODIC METAL, GRETHOR RELEASE NEW EP, CLOAKED IN DECAY, WITH SUPPORT FROM MEMBERS OF THE DMV MUSIC SCENES

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INTERVIEW BY IAN WOODS

PHOTOS BY AMBERLEY EDINGTON AND TIGRAN KAPINOS

With nearly eight years and several releases under their collective belts, the Northern Virginia-based band GRETHOR has long been a staple of the local metal scene. Combining the bleak atmosphere of black metal with a grave-bound death metal aesthetic, GRETHOR’s sound is a breath of fresh, or rather decaying, air. As of April 21, 2015, the band will be releasing their fourth EP, Cloaked in Decay, which combines their many influences of both dissonant and melodic metal bands. We spoke with vocalist Marcus Lawrence and drummer Anthony Rouse about their songwriting process, diverse musical influences, and their views on the current metal scene in Northern Virginia and the surrounding areas.

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ALBUM REVIEW: CLOAKED IN DECAY BY GRETHOR

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Cloaked in Decay by GRETHOR

https://grethor.bandcamp.com/album/cloaked-in-decay

ALBUM REVIEW BY IAN WOODS

Since 2007, GRETHOR have been a part of the Northern Virginia metal scene, and with their latest offering, this five-piece band will be painting the region, let alone the town, red. Dripping with malevolence and careening out of control, their latest EP, Cloaked in Decay, is a brutal exercise in death metal with a blackened soul.

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RISING THROUGH THE RANKS OF RICHMOND METAL BANDS, HERE AFTER RELEASE DEBUT SINGLE “HOME” AND ARE SET TO PLAY SERPENT FEST ON MARCH 7 AT EMPIRE

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INTERVIEW BY KNIAL SAUNDERS

PHOTOS BY THROUGH IT ALL PHOTOGRAPHY

Since their inception in 2014, Richmond-born metal band HERE AFTER has been honing their skills to rival the talents of Richmond’s best. It’s safe to say that after playing with acts like MOTIONLESS IN WHITE and CHIODOS, they are hungry for more and ready to make a name for themselves. The release of their new single, “Home,” has fans excited for their debut EP slated for a summer release. The band took some time to tell us a little about their history, their highly anticipated EP, and the upcoming shows they have scheduled.

Who is HERE AFTER, and how did this band come together?

Our guitar player, Joe Johnson, and our vocalist, Danny Oughton, met when Danny tried out for [Joe’s] old band, AZRIELLE, about a year ago. They decided to take their talents elsewhere because they connected so well. They started looking for other people to join, and after several tryouts and headaches, we found our bassist, Brent Freeman, guitarist James Nicholson, and drummer, Josh Miller. We became HERE AFTER early in the summer, and we established ourselves in October after our first show with MOTIONLESS IN WHITE. We couldn’t be happier with our lineup.

here after 2Your debut EP Trials is slated for an early summer release. What events inspired its creation?  

Danny developed the concept of the EP a while ago; he wanted to make something that reflected his own struggles that he had dealt with in the past. He wanted to make something that people could be inspired by and use in their own life.

You just released a single that was met with much excitement from fans. How are you feeling about their reaction? What can fans expect to hear from your debut?

We couldn’t believe the responses that we received from people who heard our single, “Home.” This song was incredibly personal for all of us, and to hear all the positive feedback that we received is insane. We have been playing some of the songs that are going to be on the EP live already, and we’ve received very positive responses. We are hoping to put out the most mature, honest, and sincere music that we can possibly make. We love our fans, and we want to give them only the best that we have to offer.

Coming out of Richmond, one can imagine that you meet some really talented bands. Is there anyone you have enjoyed playing with in particular?

There are some very talented bands [from] Richmond, and we are always glad to share the stage with our friends. While we love everyone we have met so far, we have a few that we have built a strong connection with. GREATER IS HE, BRIDGES WILL BURN, and CAPTIVE EYES are definitely our favorites to play with. We do want to give a shout out to our non-Richmond friends in ATTACKING EUTOPIA and ENCASING EMBRACE. They are all awesome guys, and we really love playing with them.

Speaking of Richmond, you’ll be sharing the stage with A SKYLIT here after 4DRIVE, RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS, and WOLVES AT THE GATE on April 16 at Richmond’s CANAL CLUB. How excited are you for the opportunity to open for established acts like these?

We are absolutely pumped, we’ve played with big acts before like CHIODOS and MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, and to play another huge show at [Canal Club] is an amazing opportunity. These bands have had a huge impact on us as musicians, and we are very humbled to play with them.

Who are your strongest musical influences right now?

The bands that have had the biggest impact on us are THE PLOT IN YOU, FIT FOR A KING, ERRA, SILENT PLANET, and LIKE MOTHS TO FLAMES. All though these bands have influenced us greatly, but we don’t want to sound exactly like them. We always want to put something out that sounds like HERE AFTER and give people something new. Each band has had separate impacts on us, and we owe so much to them for inspiring us.

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Aside from your show on April 16, is there anything else in the works?

We have Serpent Fest with IMMORTALIST coming up, and of course the A SKYLIT DRIVE [show], but we’re taking some [time] to finish the EP. Right now, certain things are in the works, so be sure to keep an ear out, but information won’t be released until it has been set in stone. Just expect huge things to happen in the very near future. Lastly, we want to thank our fans, friends, and everyone who has put us on a show. We are ever so grateful, and we owe everything to them for helping us get to where we are so far. We love you guys.

For more updates on HERE AFTER, please like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and listen to “Home” on Bandcamp.

PERMAFROST EXPERIENCE CATHARTIC RELEASE OF EMOTIONS FROM OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS ON DEBUT EP, TRANSITORY

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INTERVIEW BY KNIAL SAUNDERS

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY ETHAN GRIFFITHS

Black metal band PERMAFROST is bringing their brand of music to Northern Virginia with the release of their debut album, Transitory. The three-piece group has firmly entrenched themselves into the local music scene, having recently played alongside their peers at The Pinch in Washington, D.C. Drummer Ethan Griffiths sat down to give us an inside look at their song writing process, what the album means to them individually, and what fans can expect from PERMAFROST in 2015.

Who is PERMAFROST? How did this band come together?

PERMAFROST is comprised of three people: Justin [Woodward, vocalist], Andy [Nees, bassist], and [I]. It started as a two piece, which eventually grew into a three [piece]. The core of the band has always been Justin and I, but Andy has been in this for a little while, and we consider him part of that as well. If I remember right, it’s been years. Justin was a mutual friend of another guy whom I used to play in a band with previously. He had been asking on Facebook about drummers being able to play a certain tempo, and I figured I’d inquire about it. [I] worked on early stuff he wrote back then, and everything has kind of just evolved into what it is now.

You describe your sound as “Blacken’d Death Doom.” How does that distinction guide your song writing process?

Honestly, not much at all. I think it’s fair to say that we went through various “stages,” in our sound, until we found a way to kind of blend them together. Even if they aren’t as extreme in one particular direction or another. I’d say we started off as a death metal band kind of trying to do the whole earlier DECREPIT BIRTH [and] NILE sort of sound. And then went through a doom phase akin to bands like WORSHIP, ASUNDER, and the like. And as we spoke more, I introduced him more to what I was most fond of: black metal. I don’t personally feel it defines anything though since we’re definitely not an orthodox band in the whole spectrum of “black metal,” I don’t think. Sometimes I even disagree with saying that much, but I figure it’s an easy title that people generally associate with us, and that’s fine. I always want to do something black metal like in nature, or at least have some sense of familiarity with that particular idea or sound. But that isn’t to say we let that shape the overall sound. I think it can be done in a lot of ways. Though, obviously we’re fans and not opposed to labels or going further in that direction stylistically either.

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CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO PERMAFROST

Your debut album Transitory was digitally released in December. What events inspired its creation? What does “transitory” mean to you?

It was difficult because we have been sitting on this material for a very long time. Maybe three years? We just wanted to get the material out there, and playing music for everyone in the band has always served as a sort of release. I can speak directly for the lyrics and say that there are statements within the songs that we felt obligated to say. I wrote the lyrics for “Oak” and “Collapse,” while Justin wrote the lyrics to “Nausea.” Being specific, “Oak” is about the idea of us as people lacking a real experience with the Earth. We try to place meaning to natural order so often, creating customs, religions, a lot of things. And despite this, we’re still inexperienced with the seasons, and understanding what they actually mean. That whole song just kind of personifies people with a fondness of the natural order of things as “Oaks,” and showing that even though there will often be a lack of interest in such things, there will always be others who tend to the trees keeping them youthful. “Collapse,” on the other hand, is more personal. The whole idea behind it is a conversation between [my] current self and a younger me. It has a lot more to do with perception as a younger adult and dealing with severe depression, suicide, [and] things of that nature. You eventually have to come to terms with the idea of living to do it. So it’s a conversation between part of me that does and another half that didn’t. But it’s also showing that there will always be a fondness for that old self, like an old friend, or family member. “Nausea” was written by Justin, so I can’t speak fully on this, but I know he wrote it addressing issues of severe anxiety to the point of sickness and inability to get out of bed. The song is written with the idea of struggling through it, but trying to overcome it as well. Transitory just serves as a means for release. This whole project is cathartic, and I think that’s always going to be the main release for us, outside of just a creative vessel.

Were you expecting the response from fans to be as overwhelmingly positive as it has been?

Personally, no. I feel like when you craft something for yourself, you really don’t even have the sense of perspective to even think about that. The fact that anyone was even interested at all was just nice; considering the whole thing was done with ourselves in mind, you know? If they align with that sentiment and what we do, what we say, then it’s always going to be great, but I don’t think that will ever stop surprising me in some way.

You just played at The Pinch in D.C. with OCCULTIST, ILSA, and CLADONIA RANGIRFERINA. How do you think it went? What made this show special? permafrost 3

It was great. We’re all fans of the bands on the bill, and the turnout itself was really good in a smaller place too. It [felt] intimate. It’s also kind of cool that everything has come full circle in a way. CLADONIA RANGIRFERINA has two  guys I used to play in a band with years ago, [called] WOLVES GUARD MY COFFIN. I have a lot of support for them and the WOLVES OF VINLAND. They’re great guys and put out good material, so it felt like family. We had CDs for the first time that we were able to hand out. The whole show just felt complete. ILSA and OCCULTIST being on the bill made it one we were just so stoked to watch too.

Do you have any tour plans in the works to continue promoting Transitory?

It’s not off the table, but we all have jobs like anyone else, so if something works out, we can do a weekend here and there. As far as a bigger stretch of dates, it’ll depend on what comes our way and if there’s anything available that won’t leave us in complete debt.

What can fans expect from PERMAFROST in 2015?

This one is harder to project. Definitely some shows being announced soon. Beyond that, maybe another recording before the years end. We’re working on new material and [have] already been playing one of the newer songs [in] the past few shows we’ve done. So [you can] expect some new material and, if the writing comes together quickly enough, possibly a release.

For more updates on PERMAFROST, please “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and check out their debut album Transitory via Bandcamp.

ENDEAVOR DISCUSS THE RELEASE OF THEIR UPCOMING 7″ VINYL AND FULL LENGTH, AS WELL AS TOURS PLANNED FOR THIS YEAR

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INTERVIEW BY STEPHANIE MCKENDRICK

We spoke with ENDEAVOR about the meaning behind their name and how it relates to their musical influences, the upcoming release of their 7″ vinyl due out March 1 through Cognitive Dissonance, which will be available for preorder on www.untiethemind.com, as well as their full-length record due out later this year.

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FORMER MEMBERS OF VIRGINIA BEACH METALCORE BAND CALL IT COURAGE REUNITE TO FORM INHERITOR AND RELEASE DEBUT EP, IN // ANIMATE

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY TREVOR SORIANO

Following the breakup of CALL IT COURAGE, a Virginia Beach based metalcore band, the members reunited to form INHERITOR to create a raw sound with a positive message. Currently, the band lineup includes vocalist Sam LaPine, guitarist Jonah Bedford, and bassist Talae Rergyamdee, and they are in the process of expanding their membership. We spoke with LaPine and Bedford about their new EP In // Animate, which was produced by Will Beasley, as well as their relationship with former members of HONOUR CREST and their thoughts on the local music scene.

Are you guys a three- or four-piece band?

Jonah: We’re supposed to be a five-piece, but we currently only have three permanent members and a fill-in drummer. We’re searching for a guitar player.

What was the inspiration for your most recent promo photos, which feature your band on your knees looking like you are about to be executed with farm tools?

Sam: We basically got the idea through a friend. We were out in the woods just trying to take some [photos], in general, and  he came up with the idea after listening to one of the songs. In “The Barrier,” it says we’re on our knees. So he tried some extra shots where we were on the ground, and it was meant to look like we were kind of beat up. The general thought behind it was that we, as a band, used to be in the band CALL IT COURAGE, which I started when I was 17, and, as far as that goes, we’ve gone through the ringer. We’ve been beat up going around the local music scene, and it’s just the overall image I wanted to depict. The photographer that we picked wanted to put out a picture that [illustrated how] we’re still gonna keep going and keep putting out music regardless of what anyone says.

Why did you guys choose to work with Will Beasley  on your debut album In // Animate?

Jonah: Will was just a really good friend before I joined CALL IT COURAGE, which was basically the original band that INHERITOR became after I joined. We worked with Will Beasley before, and he’s just a good guy. He’s young, and he knows his stuff. Just having that relationship and having a good time, [as well as] not wanting to make it too serious, as far as the actual recording process goes, [we wanted to] just be relaxed, and working with a good friend was important to us.

As far as the actual production goes, our music is pretty technical and pretty standard metalcore ideas in general. But Will provided a really raw sound for us as far as the tones and stuff, as opposed to a more polished sound that you hear in a lot of the music that we do, like standard metalcore, which kind of made it sound a little bit different than what has been coming out, which was cool for us.

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Is his studio based in Virginia?

Jonah: His studio is in Baltimore. He shares a studio space with Paul Leavitt.

Sam: [Paul Leavitt] has done the bass tracking for EMAROSA. He did another for a band that just got signed to Hopeless Records. He does a very wide array. He’s also working with another band from around here [called] LIFEWALKER, which has members from WITNESS FOR HOPE and a couple other bands.

Jonah: He did a band called HAUNT too. Paul Leavitt is a really big producer, so that’s helped [Will] out.

Does the title of your EP relate to an overall theme you were going for on this record?

Sam: When we write, Jonah will record rough demos on his computer and will do all of the instruments himself, and then he will give it to me. Then I’ll listen to it over and over, track-by-track until I get a general phrase for a part of a song stuck in my mind. From that one phrase, I [work] around that. It’s [usually about] stuff that is happening in my life and stuff that is important to me, stuff that people can relate to.

Jonah: In // Animate is just a cool sounding name we came across, which is usually the case for most of the stuff we do. Then we tried to tie in the meaning after that, but we didn’t come up with a distinct idea of what In // Animate means.

Sam: Most of the songs on the EP were written in a certain time frame, so they are cohesive as far as the time goes. I think the songs flow well together, but each song doesn’t necessarily have the same emotion behind it. There are some that start angry and end positive, and there are some that are talking about people that I know … and who have passed on. It’s pretty broad.

Your music reminds me a lot of HONOUR CREST, who are also from Virginia Beach and broke up last year. Do you think there are many similarities musically between your bands?

Jonah: Yeah, I definitely see that. I see where that comes from, as they had a very epic sound, and we’re actually really good friends with [them]. I don’t think that was a direct relation. As a writer, I felt like I really connected with Chad [Orange, guitarist of HONOUR CREST] in a way, and [he and I] wrote similar music. [Chad and I] actually wrote music together before a couple times on some songs. I wouldn’t say we don’t sound like HONOUR CREST, but we definitely have some more raw elements that we like to bring to the table. It’s just a more diverse element across all of our songs. We try to have some general themes of the ambient piano stuff, but overall, some songs sound more thrashy and other songs sound more gentle.

Sam: Me and Jonah are the same age, and we’re all around 21. When HONOUR CREST started, we were all pretty young. HONOUR CREST started playing when I first started going to shows, and overtime, I became friends with Lucas [Borza, vocalist of HONOUR CREST], and he recorded a couple of demo tracks for CALL IT COURAGE. He’s always been a real cool dude, and he always supported us. … I would say the influence is definitely there. … Hearing their music evolve over time has definitely had an effect on me. Listening to their old EP and their song “Prison Break.” I always liked the way Lucas wrote, and when I write,  I try to stay away from certain things but I, as a whole, will always think that HONOUR CREST is a pretty good base on how I started to write.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO INHERITOR

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO INHERITOR

 

What is your song “Firmament” about?

Sam: I wrote it during a period in my life a couple years ago when CALL IT COURAGE was sort of falling apart. I was around 19, and it always sucks when you try to make something that you feel is good for everyone and over time, it just kind of fell apart. I felt kind of alone and lost in general , and I felt like everything I put into it was wasted. … As the song goes on, it starts off pretty angry and pretty confused, … and by the end of the song, it starts into the part where I scream and Jonah sings, “As far as I’m concerned, the sky is my only limit.” It goes from being pretty negative to being positive about the future.

Jonah: Lyrically, that song connected with the band as a whole. That’s a really important song for us, and that song, pretty much, is the general vibe of the entire EP.

Do you guys plan to do a music video for any of the songs on this record?

Jonah: We’re kind of waiting on that because, like I said, we have a fill-in drummer right now, who is actually Cory Beaver [formerly] of HONOUR CREST. He’s gonna be filling in with us for a while. As far as the music video goes, we have some options because [Cory and I] work at [Michael Copon Studios], and we’re trying to keep that option open of possibly working with our boss. A music video will definitely be coming this year; it’s in the works. We’re just trying to figure out the best way to do it.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Virginia metal scene?

Sam: Since I was a kid, I’ve watched bands pop up and die, and it’s kind of given me a really big perspective on life in general. I watched HONOUR CREST go from a bunch of teenagers playing music to growing up, getting signed [to Rise Records], and then breaking up, and now they have a bunch of adult jobs.

Jonah: They were very successful; we’re not downplaying that.

Sam: They were amazing, but … the community is hard to break into. There’s a lot of resistance to change in some places, and it’s basically whoever you are friends with are gonna be at your show. … Personally, I like playing shows out of town. … Some people are so apathetic, and if you are not friends with a person in the band, [some people] will just sit in the back and kind of scoff.

Jonah: It’s become more of a social thing, but not in a good way. Our music scene has become a thing where people are bored so they just go to a show. There’s also a lack of venues. Right now, we have in the Virginia Beach area, Club Relevant and Shaka’s are the bigger venues, and then there’s a lot of bar shows popping up. Every bar is hosting hardcore and metal shows, so we’re in a weird place right now. I don’t think it’s as good as it used to be, but I think things are coming around. We got bands like RVNT, who just got signed [to We Are Triumphant], and OUR VOICE THE VESSEL is doing cool things. I want anybody to come out to shows, and I want other bands to have that vibe where they want all kinds of people to come out and have a good time. It’s not exclusive, and it shouldn’t be this counter culture thing where only hardcore kids can come out to a show. People need to be [more] inviting.

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Have you made any tour plans yet for later this year?

Jonah: We got a couple bands who are interested in touring [with us]. In our position, we’re not ready to tour. We need to start practicing more and earching for a new guitar player. We want to bring our A-game when we do tour. When we do things, we want to do them well. … In the meantime, I’m writing new music, and we are gonna get a full-length [record] going here soon. … We wanna get out there and do some weekend tours soon, but we want to make sure that we put on a good show when we do.

For more updates on INHERITOR, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, and check out their debut EP In // Animate on Bandcamp.

NAUTILUS BUILD UP “BEATDOWN” IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA WITH THE SKILL OF SEASONED VETERANS DESPITE BEING ON THE CUSP OF RELEASING THEIR DEBUT EP

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INTERVIEW BY KNIAL SAUNDERS

PHOTOS BY BRYAN KIRKS

Virginia-born heavy metal outfit NAUTILUS has accomplished more than most bands have in the short time that they have been together. The band’s current lineup includes guitarist Clark Leeuwrik, vocalist Michael Kearney, drummer Matt Mckessor, and bassist Danny Pergament. After sharpening their teeth and honing their talents with some of the biggest bands in the metal scene, they are on the cusp of releasing their debut EP Burden. Kearney, NAUTILUS’ frontman, sat down with us to share with us the details of their humble beginnings, musical style, and when fans can expect to own their debut release.

 You’ve burst onto the metal scene as an up and coming band to be reckoned with. How did this band get started and hit the ground running?

I started the band because I had always lived in a place where I wasn’t able to express my musical ambition for the longest time — Zürich, Switzerland to be exact. I moved to the U.S. for my freshman year of high school and immediately discovered how much more opportunity I had here. I started the band originally with the drummer from BEYOND THE AFTERMATH, Lucas Shackleford, but as he lived more than two hours away, it wasn’t something that would work out. I found Matt Mckessor, our current drummer, and we branched out from there, finding artists to create our logo, and working hard to get us off the ground and our name in people’s mouths as quickly as possible. Fun fact: We booked the AS BLOOD RUNS BLACK show with two members. We had two months to get a band together, write a 20 minute set, and sell tickets. And we actually managed to pull it off.

Band names are fairly unique to the group of people forming to create their respective sound. As far as metal band names go, there are literally thousands of different names ranging from the very lighthearted to the grotesque. What led NAUTILUS to choose this name?

Our name actually was inspired by a song from THE ACACIA STRAIN entitled, “The Chambered Nautilus.” It’s always been one of my favorite songs after looking into what a chambered nautilus actually was, and the animal looked so cool to me, with a name to match.

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Your band has already shared the stage with some of the biggest names in heavy metal, including AS BLOOD RUNS BLACK, UPON THIS DAWNING, and ELITIST. Not many new bands can say they’ve done something like that. How have those experiences helped shape you as a collective and as individuals?

We can definitely say that that show helped us out a lot. It was our first major show, our first one at a venue, and there was an amazing amount of people. It was really humbling to see the reaction to our music.

You’ve also done guest vocals for notable bands such as RINGS OF SATURN. What is the story behind how that came to pass?

I’ve actually had quite a few people ask me that question, and it’s pretty fun to tell the story. I literally wrote to Ian Bearer, their vocalist, on Facebook and said “Hey, I’m playing the November 14th show with you guys. Could I do guest vocals for “Seized and Devoured,” and he was totally fine with it.

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You released a snippet of “Kalina” from your upcoming EP, and it was met with much excitement and anticipation for the full release. Were you expecting the response to be as positive as it was?

The clip we released was all pre-pro, and we actually aren’t even using those guitars or vocals for the official release. We had something solid and heavy, and we felt as though we needed to release at least something for everyone waiting. Because of the subpar quality, we weren’t really expecting such an awesome response, but it was definitely still so cool to see.

NAUTILUS describes itself as a down-tempo/beat down band for fans of “stupid heavy breakdowns.” How does that distinction set NAUTILUS apart from your peers and among metal bands in general?

Well, when Matt and I started the band, we knew right off the bat we didn’t want to be a technical band. We weren’t in it to show off at all, but rather to create the most disgusting and brutal music we could think of. Beatdown is a fun genre, [and] not necessarily a genre that excels in technicality. That’s why it gets so much hate. It’s a running joke in our band that the NoVA scene consists entirely of pop punk bands, deathcore bands, and Christian metalcore bands who write “Metal/Hardcore” as their genre. We’ve noticed that there’s been quite an interest in our style of music as of late. Beatdown is on the rise because of acts like BEYOND THE AFTERMATH, IMMORTALIST, I, LEVIATHAN, and GOD OF NOTHING.

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In addition to performing at Empire’s Melt Your Face Metal Show on January 16 with A DARK DESCENT, you are supporting another Virginia-native band, VILIFIED, for their EP release on January 31. Do you feel a lot of pride in helping build the reputation of your hometown music scene?

Definitely. Without support, all bands go nowhere, so supporting other local bands is something we’re more than keen on doing. Because as a band, and individually, we take every opportunity [to do so].

Before we wrap up, I know there are fans, myself included, who are wondering when your EP “Burden” will be released. Are you able to shed any light on where the band is with their debut recording?

We just released the album art and track list with guest vocal spots on our Facebook page. Everything’s tracked, and we’re in the final steps of production. Soon we’ll be able to announce a release date.

[Update: NAUTILUS will be releasing their debut EP Burden at their show with OCEANO at Empire in West Springfield, Va. on March 29, 2015. Come out to show your support.]

For more updates on NAUTILUS and to join the “Deep Sea Hate Crew,” be sure to “like” their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.

IRON REAGAN BRING RICHMOND THRASH METAL TO THE MASSES, AND PLAN TO TOUR EUROPE IN PROMOTION OF NEW ALBUM, THE TYRANNY OF WILL

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY RELAPSE RECORDS AND ROBERT ESCUE

What do you get when you combine the punk and metal influences of vocalist Tony Foresta and guitarist Phil “Landphil” Hall of MUNICIPAL WASTE, as well as drummer Ryan Parrish, bassist Rob Skotis, and guitarist Mark Bronzino? You get the best thing to happen to thrash metal since ANTHRAX — IRON REAGAN. Formed in the sludge of Richmond, Va., Foresta and company have always had a passion for rebelling against the system, and their aggressive, in-your-face tunes are a reflection of that mentality. Currently they are on tour in promotion of their new album The Tyranny of Will, which has been released on Relapse Records. The album was recorded with Hall at Blaze of Torment Studios in Richmond and was self-produced. It was mixed by CONVERGE’s Kurt Ballou. We spoke with Foresta while the band was at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moine, Iowa for their show with GOATWHORE as part of their current tour, which will end at The Broadberry in Richmond on November 21.

I really love your video for your song “Miserable Failure” that you just put out. Was it shot in Richmond?

That was actually shot in Portland, Ore. That’s where the director is from. He had a vision, and he had the whole thing planned out. We finished a tour in Harrisonburg the night before, and we had to fly all the way across the country to do that video. When we got there, we were going on two days of no sleep. So in the video, we were all sleep deprived (laughs). It was pretty funny. It was crazy and exhausting, and it was three 12 hour days of that video shoot. We were just so exhausted by the end of it.

I bet. What exactly is that song about?

One of my friends was complaining about getting old, and I was like, what’s so fucking bad about that? If you hate “getting old,” you are just doing it wrong. I don’t mind getting older, but that’s kind of what that song is about. I guess people see you a certain way because you’re getting old, but it’s not that bad.

How old are you guys now?

It’s all across the board. We’re all in our 30s. One dude is 32; one dude is 34; I’m turning 38. But yeah, we’re all around our mid-30s (laughs).

In addition to playing in IRON REAGAN, your lineup includes members from MUNICIPAL WASTE, CANNABIS CORPSE, and ex-members of DARKEST HOUR. How do you all manage your time between each band?

Just a lot of planning, ya know? It also helps that me and Phil are in the same band. We both do [MUNICIPAL WASTE]. Ryan doesn’t do DARKEST HOUR anymore. He quit a few years ago. All the other guys are in other bands too, but we just plan shit out six months ahead of time. We put two months aside to do this band, and we knew that the new [IRON] REAGAN album was gonna be really important. We really love that album, so we took a big chuck of mostly this year to just do IRON REAGAN shows, but we got a lot of tours planned coming up.

What are some of the tours you have planned?

I can’t say just yet because they haven’t been announced, but we’re definitely planning on going to Europe. We also have an Australian tour that’s getting announced in a couple days. 2015 we plan on going overseas more and doing more Europe stuff, getting our name more known in that part of the world.

Where in Richmond does each of you call home?

I live in Carver. Phil is in the Carytown/Museum District area. Ryan, Rob, and Phil all live in the same area actually near Carytown, kind of, and Mark, our guitar player, lives in New Jersey.

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When you aren’t on tour, where are your main hang out spots in Richmond?

I like Don’t Look Back. Rob, our bassist, bartends there. So that’s kind of the IRON REAGAN hang out. I also like Portrait House because my friends work there. I like Mojo’s a lot (laughs). Strange Matter is a really cool place to see shows. En Su Boca is also one of my favorite hang outs. It’s a nice little Mexican joint.

One thing that I really like about thrash bands is that the metalheads, punk rockers, and hardcore kids seem to all love it. Is that something you would agree with?

Definitely! It’s got a lot of crossover to different styles. It’s got a punk attitude and heavier guitars. I think it just kind of appeals [to everyone] just because it’s kind of more in your face.

Were there any local bands that inspired you growing up to pursue the thrash direction?

I was really influenced by AVAIL and shit. AVAIL was a big influence, but they weren’t really a thrash band though, obviously. One of the local bands that was a big influence on me, as far as heavy stuff goes, was CHOLERA. They were really awesome, and this band LYCOSA. I used to play shows with them. They’re really weird band names, but they used to do a lot of really cool house shows. Through meeting those guys introduced me to the metal scene in Richmond and the house show scene and all the cool stuff going on there. That was around in the 90s when I first moved here. I grew up in Florida until I was 18, and after that I moved to Richmond. That was when I first started getting into music and discovering all the great bands in Richmond.

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Are there any other bands from Virginia or the DC area that your fans should check out you guys are really into?

SATAN’S SATYRS is really cool. They’re from DC. There’s a lot of Richmond bands. There’s a band called MERCY KILLINGS that’s really awesome. COKE BUST is really cool. I can think of a million Richmond bands. There is a band called PRISONER that’s really cool. ASYLUM, you should check them out.  There is this band called HUMUNGUS. if people are into trash metal, they should definitely check them out. They have a lot of fun stuff going on in their shows (laughs).

How is your current tour going so far?

I was just thinking how much fun I’m having. It’s one of the [most fun] tours I’ve done in a long time. The drives have been pretty awful, like seven or eight hours a day, but the shows have been really strong. We played with PENTAGRAM last night, and we played with ONLY CRIME in New York the first night. Then we played a house show the next day. It’s been like playing these huge shows and then playing a house show basement, and all of them have been really good and super fun. We’re still meeting a lot of new people on the road, and it’s a good time. I’m interested to see what Des Moines is going to be like tonight.

Do you prefer playing bigger shows or smaller house shows?

It just depends. Sometimes those big shows can have just as much intimacy as a house show if the crowd is in the right place. If everybody is giving off a good vibe, it could be really, really fun. Mostly I enjoy house shows more just because I like getting in people’s faces and falling all over the place (laughs). That’s fun for me. But it really just depends on the scenario, ya know?

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE TYRANNY OF WILL

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE TYRANNY OF WILL

 

Yeah I understand. Do you guys ever play house shows in Richmond?

We’re talking about it. I think we’re gonna play one soon. That’s another thing I can’t really announce yet because it’s gonna be like a benefit thing. We played at this place called The Lost Bowl in Southside. It’s our buddy Pat’s house, and they drain their pool so people can skate it. They have skate ramps and fuckin’ concrete stuff. It’s really awesome. So we set up and did an IRON REAGAN SHOW there, and that was a benefit show too for our friend Todd. We raised a bunch of money for him, and it was a really fun time.

For more updates on IRON REAGAN, be sure to visit their website, “like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and check out their music on Bandcamp.