First Fleet Concerts presents
Whitechapel, Motionless in White
I Killed the Prom Queen, The Curse of Hail, Buster Casey
211 Iowa Avenue
Iowa City, IA, 52242
Doors 5:00 PM / Show 5:30 PM
This event is all ages
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
A new breed of dark rockers is subtly taking over, stealing the hearts of a dedicated legion of fans, with a blend of intense melodic metal and a penchant for the macabre. Already fan favorites in the scene, Pennsylvania sextet Motionless In White is set to rise to the front of the pack, with the release of debut full-length Creatures.
The tale of Motionless In White's conception begins in 2005. ...Forming in Scranton, PA while still in high school, six friends – singer Chris "Motionless" Cerulli, guitarist/vocalist TJ Bell, guitarist Ryan Sitkowski, bassist Frank Polumbo, keyboardist Josh Balz, and drummer Angelo Parente - joined forces to form a band, originally playing popular rock cover songs. By 2006, they had developed their own sound, blending heavier, darker elements into melodic tracks, and gaining inspiration from the likes of The Misfits, Bleeding Through, Cradle Of Filth, Marilyn Manson and Eighteen Visions to form Motionless In White. With the release of debut EP "The Whorror", and two summers of wowing crowds with their high-octane show on dates of Vans Warped Tour, the band gained the attention of both independent and major record labels, including Fearless Records. The band signed to Fearless in December 2008, and set about recording their acclaimed second EP When Love Met Destruction, which was released in spring 2009.
Now ready to unleash their debut album Creatures, Motionless In White is poised to take centre stage in their twisted audio carnival. Creatures is a writhing behemoth of an album. Mixing gothic and industrial influences with brutal breakdowns, intense riffs and soaring choruses, the album interweaves themes of lust and revenge with the band's passion for horror movies, myths and vampire culture. From gut-punching opener "Immaculate Misconception", to Tim Burton-inspired closing track "Scissorhands (The Last Snow)", every note on Creatures has been explored to create an audio landscape that Motionless In White are thrilled to call their own. "I think we did a really good job at making this record interesting in a lot of aspects," singer Chris Motionless notes. "The last thing I wanted to do was write another band's record and call it ours. We pulled from so many different musical influences, especially with the lyrics. We put everything we had into making this record."
One of the strongest parts of Motionless In White's success story is their dedication to their fans. The band doesn't take their following's dedication lightly. The band named their full-length after their devoted fan base, which they affectionately call "Creatures", to remind their supporters that despite their differences, they are bonded by music. "I only ever wanted to be in a band because music changed my life so much, and all I wanted to be able to do the same for someone else in my own way," Chris adds. "To see all these people that are interested in this band and see them singing the words to our songs, like I used to dream would happen while I would be in a pit, screaming along to my favorite bands, is seriously mind-blowing." The band even allowed their "Creatures" to contribute to the album, creating the title track entirely of fan lyrics. "I really couldn't think of a better way to say thank you than to have our fans literally be part of this album, and to name our record after the people that are keeping us alive."
Gaining early support from all corners of the media has also been a key element in aiding Motionless In White's ascension through the ranks of the new wave of dark rock bands. The band was named as one of Alternative Press' Bands You Need To Know, is one of Revolver Magazine's Bands To Watch in the November/December 2010 issue, and has upcoming features in U.S. and international music press outlets including AOL Noisecreep, Ultimate-Guitar, AMP, Substream, Rock Sound and Kerrang!, plus horror publications Rue Morgue, Fangoria, Bloody-Disgusting and FEARnet.
The band has already toured the U.S. with the likes of Asking Alexandria, Bleeding Through, In This Moment and Drop Dead, Gorgeous, and looks forward to taking their show on the road this fall, including tours with Black Veil Brides and A Skylit Drive. "Expect to see a very honest and passionate performance every day," notes Chris. "We put a lot of time in trying to make our live show express the intensity and energy that we posses across to the crowd. I've bled, and I've screamed till my last breath, and our future shows will be no exception."
With an incredible work ethic and a dedication to practicing their craft, Motionless In White has completed their line up with the addition of new bassist Ricky Horror, and emerged as a group of stunning musicians, with a firm hold on what they want to achieve. "This band is 100% bullshit free and we want to inspire kids to stand up for themselves and not be afraid to look the way they do or say the things that they want. If I can do for one person what my favorite bands and heroes have done for me then mission accomplished."
Armed with their jaw-dropping debut album, support from the media and an impressive live show ready to take to the masses, Motionless In White is poised at the center of a perfect storm, and ready to take fans by the throat this fall. Miss them at your peril!
Creatures is out now on Fearless Records.
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.
The Curse of Hail
Blue Moose Tap House
Fri, January 30
Sat, January 31
Tue, February 17
Fri, February 20
Mon, February 23
Tue, February 24
Wed, February 25
Thu, February 26
Sat, February 28
Sun, March 1