Asking Alexandria

Asking Alexandria

ASKING ALEXANDRIA are poised for worldwide domination in 2013 as they have a lengthy, headlining European tour in Jan/Feb, a new full-length album in the spring and a mainstage Download Festival performance. To say that 2012 was a breakout year for the UK's ASKING ALEXANDRIA would be a massive understatement as the group headlined massive, six-week long sold-out European and North American tours, which was capped off with a slot on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival emerging as one of the fest's most talked about artists. Amidst a slew of recent speculation regarding their stability, ASKING ALEXANDRIA, undoubtedly proved to all naysayers that they are one of the genre's most exciting, ground-breaking and heralded artists as their critically acclaimed new album, Reckless and Relentless, debuted at #9 on the Billboard Top 200 charts scanning an impressive 31,449 units. This monumental accomplishment also simultaneously marked the biggest first week sales for any artist in the history of Sumerian Records. The album's stunning debut quickly caught the attention of mainstream media across the globe resulting in their national television debut on the ABC late-night talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" They spent the summer of 2011 on the Warped Tour mainstage and emerged as one of the festival's most talk about performers. Throughout this timeframe they also graced the covers of such major publications as Alternative Press, Guitar World and Kerrang! This is controversial, unapologetic hard rock at its very finest and you ain't seen nothing yet.

Having spent several years lauded as one of the frontrunners in their genre, in 2012 Whitechapel stand as a defining force in contemporary heavy music. Building dramatically on the trademarked bludgeon of their first three releases, with Whitechapel the Tennessean sextet have inarguably delivered their most intense, dynamic, and downright hostile record to date. Drenched in atmospheric darkness, the record is also rife with gripping melodies that drag the listener in to the tumult, willing or otherwise, and across its ten tracks it is infused with an emotional depth that pointedly separates the band from the plethora of two-dimensional mosh-starters that have sprung up in their wake. "These songs are some of the best material we have released to date, and the whole vibe of the record compelled us to self-title it," states guitarist Alex Wade. "With every record we strive for something different – we're always going to stay true to what Whitechapel is, but we want to evolve and do something that is fresh and engaging both for ourselves and for the people who support us."

Setting the scene with the brooding piano that prefaces the storm of frantic riffs and pulverizing drums of opener "Make It Bleed", it is clear that Whitechapel are coming from a place of pure darkness this time out. At times teetering on the brink of despair while always primed to fight anything and everything that gets in their way, every track has its own personality, fitting perfectly alongside each other to form a breathtaking whole. From the heads down attack of "Section 8" or the merciless "(Cult)uralist" to the apocalyptic drama of "Dead Silence" or the loping grooves of "Possibilities Of An Impossible Existence" the band put it all on the line, creating something that is as honest as it is devastating. "There's a lot of variety on this record – it has the fastest songs we've ever written on it, but it also has the slowest songs we've ever written, so whether you like the slower grooves of A New Era Of Corruption (2010) or the really fast riffs of This Is Exile (2008) there is something for everyone on this album," explains Wade. "It also has a much stronger sense of dynamics, because if you're just smashing someone over the head one hundred percent of the time it can get monotonous, and there's more melody to it too. Some of the choruses are really dark but have so much melody you could almost sing over them – which is something we would never do, but having that dynamic there is exciting to us." Having grown displeased over time with A New Era Of Corruption, primarily due to the fact it was comprised of songs written by individual members rather than as a shared effort, the band rectified this with Whitechapel, and Wade believes this collaboration plays a large part in what sets the record apart from its predecessor. "In the credits of the last record it was like this guy wrote this song, and then this guy wrote that song, whereas there's so much collaboration on this record it wasn't worth going through it to try and list it in the credits, it is the product of our efforts. I think that's cool, and it's good to know that when we work together we're at our finest."

A further contributing factor to the record's power is the addition of drummer Ben Harclerode (ex-Knights Of The Abyss), who joins Wade and guitarists Ben Savage and Zach Householder, bassist Gabe Crisp, and vocalist Phil Bozeman. "Most drummers that we had seen play our songs would kinda have to dumb it down rather than play it exactly the way it was on the record, but Ben sent us a video of him playing "Reprogrammed To Hate" and every single note, every little cymbal accent was there, so we were extremely blown away by how he had replicated what Kevin Lane had played on previous albums," Wade states. "He sent us another video playing the much faster "Father Of Lies" and after that we knew we had to get him down to jam with us. He learned an eleven-song setlist, turned up, sat down behind the kit, and we ran through the whole set without stopping, it was like he had been in the band for years. The power and precision he brings to Whitechapel is just amazing, and having him in with us writing the new record definitely took that side of things to the next level."

While frontman Phil Bozeman has proven himself one of the most formidable vocalists and lyricists in metal of the last few years, his previous efforts pale in comparison to his contributions to Whitechapel. "While it's definitely brutal I would say that first and foremost it's a dark and depressing record," he states. "I didn't go for one big concept that unites all the songs this time out, I just wrote about whatever I was feeling. I like that it's kind of scattered and covers a lot of topics, and I think that's an important part of the record's power." Whether ruminating on his general disillusionment with humanity ("Faces"), decrying the sheep-like nature of society as people allow themselves to be led rather than standing up as leaders themselves ("(Cult)uralist"), or giving in to the belief that there is no hope for the future ("Possibilities Of An Impossible Existence"), Bozeman never pulls a punch, and his vocal performance is equally unflinching. "I didn't want to just have the same monotone kind of screaming, I wanted to branch out and really get the emotion behind it across. This was about getting so angry you just had to let it all out. You're not even worrying about how good it sounds, you're just yelling out of pure spite and rage, and I think that really comes across. I didn't want anyone listening to it thinking it's just the same old bullshit. We're better than that."

Working with producer Mark Lewis (Deicide, Devildriver), according to Wade it was not until they were in the studio and the songs started coming together that the band realized just how good a record they were making. "Honestly, everyone at the beginning of this record was kind of iffy about it," he laughs wryly. "As we were putting the demos together we were like yeah, this stuff's pretty cool but we were a little worried about it. But then when we got in there with Mark, every time we added a layer it just got better and better." Blown away by Harclerode's razor sharp performance and the huge drum sound engineered by Lewis, a killer guitar tone infusing the wealth of punishing riffs with life, and a monstrous bass sound kicking things in the ass, at every turn the band's enthusiasm grew. "It was all just coming together amazingly, and as soon as Phil did his vocals it was like oh my God! This is our favorite record!"

Returning to their rightful place on the road, the band are enthused to take these new songs to their rabid fan base. They stand confident in their belief that their followers will hungrily devour the latest evolution of their sound, and having dramatically bolstered their fan base through blowing away the unsuspecting crowds on 2010's Warped Tour they are sure to draw in new adherents anywhere they play. While Wade firmly believes that the band are still growing and striving to improve, for now he could not be happier with the fruits of their labor. "Every band at some point plateaus, it's inevitable, but we're not there yet, we're still growing, and I think this record proves that. Looking at the finished thing – the music, the vocals, the overall vibe behind it, all the way down to the mix and the master – it's almost like a perfect storm where everything came together just right and resulted in the record that we needed to put out."

Motionless in White

From underground heroes to internationally acclaimed act, hotly-tipped rockers Motionless In White have slayed audiences worldwide. With the release of their highly-anticipated second album Infamous, the scintillating sextet defiantly strides into a new era, ready to take the spotlight --- and truly make their mark. In the two years since the release of acclaimed debut 'Creatures', Motionless In White has constantly challenged the concept of "playing it safe". Unafraid to make music as intense as it is intricate, their ability to interweave powerful lyrics and strong musicianship with striking imagery that has captivated both fans and media around the globe. Infamous sees the band embracing the hype and stepping up to the plate, delivering a collection of 13 tracks that has refined, defined and intensified the band's sound. Stepping off a successful full summer on Vans Warped Tour, the band storm into sold out runs in the UK and Japan, before wowing fans this fall on their first North American headline tour. Matching the musical elements with equally creative marketing and visual concepts, Motionless In White are coming out swinging --- and won't stop until they make jaws drop!

There's an obscure Chinese proverb that roughly translates as "There is one thing greater than money and power: Enthusiasm." While some of the more cynical bastards in the world would dismiss that statement as some kind of hollow fortune-cookie philosophy, that lesson is something the Cleveland-based metal outfit Chimaira have taken to heart. With four records and a decade of service in the trenches behind them, the band—singer Mark Hunter, guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries, bassist Jim LaMarca, drummer Andols Herrick and keyboardist Chris Spicuzza—have created The Infection, their second release for Ferret Music and their most ambitious recording yet.

Sounds like typical record-company bio nonsense, right? Doesn't every band tell you that their latest release surpasses everything they've done up to this point? How many times have you heard the words "maturing" or "progressing" as a rationale to deliver a crap album? For their fifth album, Chimaira didn't have any brushes with death, rehab memories or dalliances in musical genres that have nothing to do with "the rock" as we know it. Sounds crazy, but the truth is that the band have come around full circle, returning to the headspace that brought them together in the first place.

"Every album we've ever made has a back-story that made the creation of that album a pain in the ass," says Mark Hunter about his band's evolution. "When we made our first album [2001's Pass Out Of Existence], we were thrown into the studio for two months with a huge budget, a big producer and no songs. We just rushed through it. When we got the record back, we thought, 'this is not what we signed up for.' When it came to do the next record [2003's The Impossibility Of Reason], we felt like we had something to prove, so we were purposely writing songs that just put up a huge middle finger to everybody that steered us in the wrong direction. Andols had quit, and for the third album [2005's Chimaira], I hardly showed up to work on it. I'm usually working 12 hours a day in the studio; I went in, and did all my songs in four days and left. We got off of Roadrunner, got our old drummer back and signed to Ferret. Now people are questioning our stability and we're thinking we have to make the best record we've ever done because it could be the last one. The touring cycle for [our fourth album] Resurrection went well and we made tons of new fans.

I Killed the Prom Queen

I Killed the Prom Queen is an Australian melodic metalcore band which formed in 2000 with mainstays JJ Peters on drums and Jona Weinhofen on guitar. The band featured prominently on the Australian live music scene and toured the USA, Japan and parts of Europe several times. They issued two studio albums, When Goodbye Means Forever... (2003) and Music for the Recently Deceased (2006) – the latter reached the top 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The group split up in April 2007 when Weinhofen joined United States band Bleeding Through and Peters founded Australian hardcore punk group Deez Nuts. I Killed the Prom Queen reformed to play a farewell tour in mid-2008 and released a live album and DVD, Sleepless Nights and City Lights, which peaked in the top 50. In May 2011, the band reformed for the Destroy Music Tour and indicated plans to work on a third studio album.

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Asking Alexandria with Whitechapel, Motionless in White, Chimaira, I Killed the Prom Queen

Tuesday, April 30 · 6:00 PM at Bessemer Civic Center