103.3 The Edge Presents: From Death To Destiny Tour
All That Remains, Sevendust (Acoustic), FOR TODAY, Emmure
1711 Main Street
Niagara Falls, NY, 14305
Doors 5:30 PM / Show 6:30 PM
This event is all ages
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.
All That Remains
"People have a certain idea of what this band is, and when they hear the new stuff...it's a new approach to our style," vocalist Phil Labonte says. "It's almost like a new way to look at an old friend."
With a desire to continually evolve, yet retain the trademark heavy and technically-skilled sound that
All That Remains has established with the band's breakthrough album, 2004's This Darkened Heart,
Labonte and company have done just that with The Fall of Ideals. Where the last record found the band intertwining heavy music, virtuoso solos, and unmatchable melody, All That Remains' current collective goal is to build on elements that the last album only hinted at. "Everything we did on This Darkened Heart, we are turning up a notch," Labonte says. "This disc will have some of the most aggressive, and some of the most friendly, pieces of music All That Remains has ever written."
After initially forming in 1998 as a side project for Labonte and guitarist Oli Herbert, the band left a stamp on the underground metal scene with its debut album, 2002's Behind Silence and Solitude. After bringing in guitarist Mike Martin and releasing This Darkened Heart to rave reviews in 2004, All That Remains landed high-profile tours and shows alongside the likes of Gwar, The Crown, Arch Enemy, Darkest Hour, Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, and Slipknot and toured virtually non-stop, only
taking a break in late 2005 to write new material.
The Fall of Ideals is the culmination of the original ideals, ideas, and elements that All That Remains was initially founded upon.
Combining the grinding riffs and unrelenting rhythms of death metal legends and the tandem fluidity of Martin and Herbert's shredding, alongside Labonte's everexpanding
vocal repertoire of soaring notes and guttural growls, the band has now become everything it has been striving for since its inception. "We're now at the point where we're the band I always wanted to us to be," Labonte says.
"Musically, we're capable of doing what I originally wanted to do. As musicians, we can all live up to that goal."
With producer Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage) and engineer Peter Wichers (ex-Soilwork) in tow, and artwork by Travis Smith (Iced Earth, Opeth, Soilwork), All That Remains doesn't simply possess flashy production, engaging artwork, or memorable songs. Instead, All That Remains has all three integral elements wrapped up in an undeniably heavy and aggressive, yet irrefutably memorable, package.
All That Remains has an already busy 2009.
Lajon Witherspoon – vocals
Clint Lowery – guitar
John Connolly – guitar
Vincent Hornsby – bass
Morgan Rose – drums
There’s something almost intangible about a band with strong chemistry. When the guitarists vibe off each other just right, the bassist is lock in step with the drummer, the music almost transcends the musicians. And when the vocalist is feeding off the power of the other players, almost anything is possible. It’s something Sevendust learned early in their career when guitarist Clint Lowery joined forces with the eclectic Atlanta group.
“I knew once I got him in there that he could definitely change the band fully,” says drummer Morgan Rose. “His background vocals and his writing style and guitar playing were the final ingredients for us to become the band that we needed to be.”
With Lowery as a major contributor, Sevendust released four albums that stretched the limits of hard rock and metal, combining elements of thrash, classic metal, southern rock and soul into songs that were both sinfully tuneful and ruthlessly aggressive. Then in 2003, after the release of Seasons, the guitarist quit to focus on his other band Dark New Day. Sevendust continued for three more albums, and enjoyed considerable success, but something was clearly missing. So, when the band reunited with Lowery in early 2008, it was like the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle was finally reinserted and the picture was again complete.
“It was really cool having Clint back in the band,” vocalist Lajon Witherspoon says. “That energy was great and it was really exciting to be able to work together to really hone in on what we had before and make it even better.”
The band’s new record, Cold Day Memory, capitalizes on all of Sevendust’s chemistry and potential. While the band’s last few efforts were mainly heavy and rhythmic, the new songs balance brutality with textural passages and infectious counter-melodies. There are even fleet-fingered guitar solos. But whether confronting the listener with double-bass drums and staccato power chords or using melodic arpeggios and soft brush strokes to sweeten the sound of Witherspoon’s multi-faceted vocals, Sevendust sound excited, energized and ready to take on the world.
“We wanted to change the template completely from what we did with our last album Hope and Sorrow, Rose explains. “We were going, ‘Let’s bring back those other elements Clint brought in that made us what we were. So we sort of made a silent agreement that we were going to let Clint run wild. We said we’ll jump in when it’s time, but if you’ve got an idea let’s go with it.”
“I just wanted us to do what we do best,” Lowery says. “We have a lot of melody that’s a cool contrast to the heavy music that we play. So, you’ll have a melodic chorus that comes out of nowhere, but we still have aggressive vocals there. And I did a lot with the harmonies, but I also did a lot of the heavy vocal stuff as well. So it was a challenge for me to really dig in and find a voice that was aggressive enough to where it sounded sincere enough to put on the record. We’re a very heavy, but melodic band and I wanted to maintain that.”
Throughout, Cold Day Memory is inventive, immediate and infectious. “Unraveling,” the first single is vintage Dust, a dynamic radio rocker that combines Witherspoon’s pained, melodic vocals with angry bursts of distorted guitar, peaking with a chorus made for driving with the pedal to the floor. “Splinter,” which opens with galactic sound effects, showcases the band’s heavier side with an opening guitar line reminiscent of Iron Maiden and a chugging riff that feeds into surging verse that bristles with animosity. Yet no matter how loud it gets, Witherspoon’s acrobatic vocals – which see-saw from an enraged howl to a vibrato-laden croon – keeps the song from flying off the rails. Other tunes are more experimental. “Karma” features jazzy, twanging guitars, a tumbling tribal beat, chiming guitar harmonics and vocals that build from a whisper to a scream. And “The End is Coming” incorporates electronic effects and string samples into an apocalyptic, harmony-laden amalgam of doom and dreams.
While Cold Day Memory is easily Sevendust’s most accomplished release in at least seven years, it wasn’t an easy album to create, especially for Lowery, who went above and beyond to prove himself. “I was second-guessing the hell out of myself and driving everyone else in the band crazy,” he says. “I was questioning whether everything I did was good enough. So, it was the hardest record for me because I was putting a lot of pressure on myself.”
Sevendust started working on Cold Day Memory at Room 56, their practice space in Atlanta in May 2009. With the help of Lowery’s brother Corey (Stereomud Dark New Day) who engineered and produced, Sevendust wrote a batch of high quality demos, including one, from which they procured the title of the album.
“It’s kind of funny because we were writing a song and I couldn’t come up with lyrics for the chorus,” says Lowery. “So I just threw in a bunch of words that sounded cool, and one of the phrases was ‘Cold Day Memory.’ We didn’t end up using the lyric, but when I came up with it I thought, ‘That sounds like a cool title for a record.’ So I put that back in my mental Rolodex. Then, when we were up in Chicago in the dead of winter, and it was such a dismal scene every day with the clouds, the snow and the rain, I started thinking back to that title, and I was like, ‘Man, that pretty much explains this whole experience.’”
In October 2009, Sevendust flew to Chicago to work on Cold Day Memory with producer Johnny K (Disturbed, Three Doors Down, Staind) at his Groovemaster Recording Studios. There, they spent three months reconfiguring their arrangements and fine-tuning their playing until the songs were tight and powerful.
“The schedule was brutal,” Witherspoon says. “We worked from 12 to 12 every day. We went through the works, but it went down really well. We did the vocals in this big booth that we built upstairs that overlooked the whole city, and along the way it became known as The Zone. And The Zone had rules. You weren’t allowed in there if you were too rambunctious. You couldn’t talk too much. It almost made me feel like when I was a wrestler in high school and you were going on deck. You were getting ready to go to The Zone to do your magic.”
More often than not, the vocal melodies and harmonies on the demos were different than those on the final takes. And the final takes were rarely the same as the 10 or 15 that preceded them. In the studio, Johnny K worked quickly, but he liked to examine multiple options from different angles.
“I tried a lot of different singing styles because we wanted to make sure we had a lot of things to choose from,” Witherspoon says. “But that was fun for me, man, and it felt like incredible conditioning because I was able to not only do vocals with Corey [Lowery], but then turn around and go back over those songs with Johnny K to tweak different things that he wanted to hear.”
All five band members contributed to the lyrics on Cold Day Memory, and the songs were works in progress up until the moment they were recorded. In the end, the band crafted songs that encapsulated their experiences with the world and one another. Witherspoon, who recently became a father, penned some lines about commitment and responsibility, while Rose, who was going through a painful divorce, wrote lyrics about heartbreak and disillusionment. “Unraveling,” which was co-written in Malibu, California by Lowery and Dave Bassett, is about the collapse of a relationship and “Confession” indirectly addresses Lowery quitting and returning to the band.
“Since we all write, it’s hard to tell exactly what each song is about, but we like to leave it up to the listeners to decide for themselves,” Rose says. “It’s funny because in the end you almost don’t know what you wrote. I remember telling [guitarist] John [Connolly] one time, ‘Dude, that was an amazing line you wrote,’ and he went, ‘What are you talking about? You wrote that.’”
Despite its unconventional creation, in the end, Cold Day Memory is a cohesive return to form that restores everything Sevendust pioneered and excelled at in the late ‘90s with the writing and playing chops the members have developed since then. Moreover, it’s a modern sounding disc that uses the latest technology to create timeless tunes.
“It just brings a more musical side back to us, but at a more seasoned level,” Witherspoon concludes. “I’m just glad we’re all back together like this. I feel like this is a great album, and it’s only the beginning of a lot more stuff to come.”
"We don't do this band because it's fun or to become popular, we do it because we have to. This is all about sharing our beliefs and our devotion through our music. That's one hundred % why this band exists." says For Today frontman Mattie Montgomery.
That kind of conviction has served him and the band well. Formed in 2005, the Christian group from Sioux City, Iowa is one of the metalcore movement's most popular acts. They have found a passionate audience with their blend of face-ripping vocals, tech-heavy guitar parts, towering choruses and fervent lyrics. Sure, other groups are trying to pull off a similar formula, but no one is doing it better than For Today.
"We joke around about this, but most metalcore bands play something that is in between metal and hardcore, but we play songs that are half metal and half hardcore," Montgomery offers. "We have songs that are straight-up metal, with Cradle of Filth-type vocals, and then the next part will just be this slowed-down, Terror-inspired part. We just love playing both styles of music, and try our best to mesh those two worlds."
You won't find better evidence of For Today's dynamic songwriting than on Immortal, the band's new album. The 11-song collection finds the quintet pushing their sound into a new direction with a fresher sense of melodicism creeping into their music. But Montgomery explains that they also stayed true to what For Today's legion of fans have come to know and love about the group's sound: "Musically, the album's title track has some stuff going on in it that is definitely new for us. It's got a melodic thing happening that reminds me of Thrice and Shelter a bit. But when it comes down to it, our fans want the heavy stuff. They want that low end driving pulse and rhythmic thing that For Today is known for, and we deliver that on this record."
Anyone who has ever been to a For Today show knows the special connection the band's fans have with their lyrics. Whether they're performing at a huge theater or a club, the entire room is singing – no – screaming along with every single word. On Immortal, Montgomery delivers more of life-affirming lyrics that For Today are known for. "Fearless," the album's first single, drives the group's message home more than any other moment on the record, offering the line, "We are fearless ones/we will not be afraid."
When asked which song on Immortal he thinks will surprise For Today fans the most, Montgomery hesitates for a moment, "That's a tough question, but I'll have to say a song called "Foundation." That track actually features the most clean-singing we've ever had in one song. The song has a really anthemic feel that comes alive with Ryan's [Leitru, also lead guitarist] vocal parts. "Foundation" is just a big-sounding song. I can't wait for people to hear it!"
Immortal, For Today's fourth album and first for Razor & Tie, was produced by Will Putney (Lamb of God, Suicide Silence) who also manned the boards on their 2010 Breaker album. "At this point, Will is almost like another member of the band. He knows our sound better than anyone else out there and doesn't take any crap from us," laughs Montgomery. The album also features three guest artists: Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D. on "The Only Name," Jake Luhrs from August Burns Red on "Set Apart," and Tommy Green from Sleeping Giant on "Under God." For Today's three previous albums – Ekklesia (2008), Portraits (2009) and the aforementioned Breaker – have sold more than 75,000 copies, combined.
Montgomery feels that For Today's music needs to be more meaningful to their fans than just an outlet for teen angst. "I meet a lot of the kids that come to For Today shows and I've realized that a lot of them don't have strong father figures in their lives," says the singer, who is also a married father. "Whether it's through divorce, death, or their fathers just being emotionally detached, they need someone to enter their lives and tell them, "I love you and I'm proud of you." That's something that is really important for me right now. I want to be someone in these kids' lives that is an example worth following, and more importantly, let them know that I see the value in them and what they do."
For Today has delivered their positive message to the masses, playing over 1,000 shows on five continents, since their formation in 2005. The band has shared the stage with everyone from The Devil Wears Prada and We Came As Romans to Emmure and August Burns Red. But as popular as For Today is poised to become, Montgomery's heart remains in one place: "No matter how popular we become, we'll never downplay our faith and relationship with God."
"Across the earth, we stand as one. We are not dismayed by the darkness that surrounds us here, because we know that when all hell closes in, if we stand and fight, we are not alone. Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil for you are near." For Today
It's a respect issue and growing up in Queens, NY you either have to kill or be killed. EMMURE have embraced this ideology and have grown stronger as a result. However, instead of taking out their aggressions in negative ways they channeled their collective angst into their music to create a propulsive blend of unabashed aggression and intensity that the youth across the world embrace with open arms.
EMMURE keep it simple and straight-forward, but this coupled with vocalist Frankie Palmeri's brutal openness and honesty connects to people on a level that few others can. Everyone has demons and dark sides to their lives, but this group shows that everyone deals with these types of issues and that there are productive ways to let it all out. EMMURE have gained the loyalty of the metal community and legions of rabid fans, but make no mistake if you disrespect them you will be left sleeping with the fishes.