Disarm The Descent Tour
Miss May I, Darkest Hour, affiance
166 Wyndham Street
Guelph, ON, N1H 4E8
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
Sometimes, a much-loved and highly successful band needs to shake things up a bit to keep things fresh and interesting for their fans and for themselves, all the while retaining the signature sonic hallmarks that have defined their sound.
For their upcoming sixth album, Massachusetts metal pioneers Killswitch Engage reunited with original singer Jesse Leach, whose vocals and lyrics on 2002's landmark Alive or Just Breathing are fan-favorite qualities and part of what helped put KsE on the map as one of the most important bands of the '00s metal revival. Poll KsE fans and ask which album they like best and Alive or Just Breathing is usually right at the top of the list.
Call it coming full circle, returning to their roots or coming home again. Whatever the case and no matter what you choose to label it, Leach's return to the fold is welcomed and anticipated by all involved, from the band members themselves to the fans. Leach is a fitting piece of the KsE puzzle. KsE enjoyed a decade of success with Leach's replacement Howard Jones, who has moved on amicably.
"This change is very exciting," the band said upon announcing Leach's triumphant return. "We know you're going to love it. This is truly a new era in KsE history and it is ready to shred your face off. So, please help us in welcoming Jesse back into the KsE family; he is a rare and great talent, a fact that older KsE fans have known for years. Here is to a killer new record and a bright future. The five of us cannot wait to write this record and play shows together and bring that feeling to our fans. It's been far too long."
KsE burst onto the scene with the genre-defining Alive or Just Breathing, notching a Grammy nomination in 2005 for the title track from 2004's gold-certified The End of Heartache and following up that landmark album with the Gold-selling As Daylight Dies and an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live along with gracing the covers of countless metal and rock magazines around the world.
Through the '00s, KsE adopted a versatile, non-stop touring schedule. The band's road history includes two treks on Ozzfest, stints on Warped Tour and Taste of Chaos, as they have that rare ability to straddle the line between the metal and alternative scenes by touring with Slayer and Mastodon as easily as My Chemical Romance and Underoath
The band's DVD Set This World Ablaze also enjoyed Gold-selling status, proving that KsE have the metallic Midas touch.
However, KsE have never coasted on the wave of prior successes, which saw them become one of the premier, most successful bands to emerge from the so-called New Wave of American metal. With Leach back at the vocal helm and behind the mic and a renewed sense of what they want to accomplish, what once was is brand new again and 2012 (and beyond) looks to be another exciting year (and decade) for Killswitch Engage.
Miss May I
Album titles can be quite a dicey proposition. In a perfect world, the title should tell you something about what kind of action awaits inside the jewel box (or the album jacket). There's not much room for error when you pick up Slayer's Reign In Blood or Katy Perry's Teenage Dream; you pretty much know what you're getting into, either way. Which is why you should pay close attention to the title of the new album from modern metal mavericks Miss May I. The band may have recorded in a studio, but the title At Heart tells you everything you need to know about where those songs actually came from.
"I feel like there are a lot of ways for a metal band to sound played-out," offers Miss May I frontman Levi Benton. "One of the biggest ways is the whole 'hate' thing. It bums me out when I'm listening to a band I like and the lyrics are along the lines of 'I hate you.' They're doing what every other metal band in the world are doing by cheesing it up like that. On At Heart, we wrote about things personal to us. It wasn't like I was trying to write something that sounded 'cool' and ended up spending days on it. On these songs, I thought, 'This is something I've been through,' and could put the lyrics down in two hours. We're really proud of what we've done on At Heart—and we're proud of the trip we went through to get here."
Don't make the egregious mistake of thinking the boys of Miss May I turned into soft prima donnas. The band—Benton, guitarists Justin Aufdemkampe and B. J. Stead, bassist Ryan Neff and drummer Jerod Boyd—have been playing it lean and mean since their inception in Troy Ohio, four years ago. Since aligning themselves with respected underground label Rise Records for their 2009 debut, Apologies Are For The Week and 2010's head-swiveling Monument, MMI have always approached their creative process with light-speed. The band usually spent two weeks in the studio with producer Joey Sturgis to hammer out their pummeling metal, thanks to a grueling tour schedule that has them on the road 10 months out of the year. So while harried touring life made them a tight, furious unit, the band felt the itch to go even further as both players and people.
Enter Machine, the acclaimed producer who's worked with everyone from Lamb Of God (one of Benton's all-time faves) to Mindless Self Indulgence. The band holed up in his New Jersey studio for two months to make At Heart. While that time frame might sound positively luxurious, the producer spent a lot of time putting the band through their paces. Miss May I were ready to start laying down tracks immediately, but Machine demanded they spend two weeks on pre-production where he could listen to the songs they wrote and tear them apart as needed. Forget the computer enhancement prevalent in today's music scene: If the band members couldn't play the parts live, it wasn't going on the record. Not only did Machine make the band change their way of thinking regarding their instruments, he made a lot of non-negotiable demands on Benton.
"Sometimes he was really brutal with our songs, but it was worth it," the singer remembers. "We did the vocals on a hand-held mic to get that live-show feeling. His whole thing is feeling the song. 'What are the lyrics? I want to feel the lyrics!' He's all about selling the lyrics and that's all I concentrate on when I'm playing live. With Sturgis, he'd be like, 'Your voice is cracking, we're done for the day.' With Machine, he'd say, 'Go get a drink.' I'd be using the hand-held, and he'd be in his space, moshing around to what I was doing! 'Come on, it's like a show,' he'd say. And I think you can hear that on the record."
All that's missing is the stage diving and the moshing: Upon first listen, At Heart is the hallmark for a positively rejuvenated band. First single "Ballad Of A Broken Man" rip-saws any doubts Miss May I would go soft, crossover to the pop charts or (shudder) embrace dubstep. "Hey Mister" details life without a father figure, buttressed by clean melodic vocal verses, the six-stringed bite and Boyd's piston-pulsing drumming. "Hey, You Are Not Alone" offers a roaring sense of empowerment for youth who feel disenfranchised, replacing that sense of hopelessness with life-affirming rage. "We Lost Our Way" is as close to a power ballad the quintet ever get, starting with anthemic verses and acoustic guitars, only to finish off in high gear. "What A World It Is" sums up the whole Miss May I experience succinctly, where the power manifests itself with Aufdemkampe and Stead's dual-guitar dynamics, Neff's nimble figures entwined around Boyd's wicked kick-drums and Benton's acumen in delivering death-growls and vocals that practically guarantee the next stop on this journey is the stratosphere. Simply put, At Heart is a bona fide quantum leap for Miss May I.
"Working with Machine made us a better band," Benton readily acknowledges. "I just want to be in a long-haired, denim-jacket-wearing thrash band. We want to bring back denim jackets with no sleeves and back patches! Nobody is doing that anymore. We'll go on tour and everybody's got keyboards and dubstep parts in their music. I don't want to be one of those 'blueprint' bands that get stuck doing the same thing—the same breakdowns, touring with the same three bands—that works for everyone else."
Benton speaks with the confidence of a man whose convictions are carrying him through life. But you have to wonder why anybody would willingly put themselves through the kind of regimen Miss May I insist on giving audiences. In a world where listeners with a sense of entitlement routinely download music, and another bunch of pretenders with a quarter of the experience are willing to play the same old breakdowns Benton rails against, you have to wonder what is their motivation. Or you could refer back to the album title.
"It's not about a cash payoff as much as it is a sentimental one," says Benton, unflinchingly. "All of the things we dreamt about as little metalheads in the basement are coming true. We get to travel the world. Every day is a blessing. Material things like fast cars, big houses and expensive leather boots mean nothing. If there are a thousand kids that know my songs and I get to see them go nuts at a metal show? That's my reward."
Miss May I's At Heart. Because whether you're at the center of your emotional being or stepping lively in the biggest mosh pit you've ever entered, one thing is certain: There will be blood.
Some metal bands barely last 10 years, much less 15 years. If a band does get to the decade-and-a-half mark, they're usually sputtering out or are teetering on their last, diseased and ready-to-give out legs. Rare is the case where an aggressive band mutates, growing stronger, more unstoppable and more menacing with every passing riff, scream and album. Darkest Hour are such a case.
Darkest Hour are notorious for on-stage ferocity, taut guitar interplay and enraged vocals that outline the hypocrisy and casual brutality of politics and society. Their prior releases on Victory Records set benchmarks in the genre as the band embraced the DIY ethics of the hardcore scene and the technical skill of metal, galvanizing their own path and earning fans from both sides of the fence. While Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation (2003) attacked the duplicity of government, So Sedated, So Secure (2001) skewered organized religion and rampant commercialism. On Undoing Ruin, the latest chapter in the Darkest Hour story, themes of healing and moving forward are prevalent. "It's our fi rst album that isn't overtly political, though we did record "District Divided" which deals with the rapid gentrification in our hometown, Washington, D.C.," commented guitarist Mike Schleibaum, "The album is about change, personal and musical. The name, Undoing Ruin, fit the concept – it's about making life worth living again."
Bullet Tooth is excited to announce the signing of Affiance from Cleveland, OH. "Affiance", meaning to betroth in trust and confidence, is a name that can be taken to heart as these guys have banded together and endured every trial a new band faces. Affiance kicked down doors, shattering expectations, and broke the mold of how metal "should" sound. Affiance is confident that they present a new
breed of metal that is intense, with vocals that soar, and live performances that leave the harshest critics in awe.
Affiance is preparing for the release of their first full length album, "No Secrets Revealed" on Bullet Tooth this Fall. "We are very excited and we believe, with the help of Bullet Tooth, we will be able to work harder, push further, and accomplish more than we ever have before," says Brett Wondrak (Guitar). The album is 10 songs of intricately written metal fused with harmonies and vocals that will leave the listener humming along after the first listen. Lyrically Affiance touch on political and religious themes, and lyricist and vocalist Dennis Tvrdik commented, "We are a band that strongly believes in the pursuit of truth and happiness. In order to achieve these ideals we must delve into concepts and that we often don't want to think about. We hope that through our music we can inspire people to think for themselves and be pro-active in society".
The band wrapped up a recent full US tour with their friends in Across The Sun (Metal Blade) and No Bragging Rights (Blk Heart Group) and gained tons of new fans in the process. Most importantly, scoring a record deal. When Bullet Tooth Pres. Josh Grabelle saw the band on this tour, he said, "These guys were one of the best live bands I had ever seen. I truly needed to see them play live to make sure Dennis' vocals weren't studio magic, and they certainly weren't! I was blown away. The whole band was incredible, and the songs on this album are gonna knock people's socks off." It should also be noted that the night Affiance played in NJ there was a hurricane with 60+ MPH winds and rain... proving nothing will stop Bullet Tooth from seeking out the best new music!