The New American Standards

With us today we have something a little different than usual. We have Brandon Kellum the vocalist of American Standards a chaos driven noise punk band. I certainly welcome his company at Abusement Park. American Standards have been hard at work on new music so continue reading to find out a bit more…

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American Standards have been hard at work on a full length for a little while now, what details can you give us about that?

Ya, I’m actually responding to this email while on the road back home from the studio in California. At this point, tracking and mixing is done and we’ll be sending the album to get mastered with Brad Boatright at Audiosiege here in the next week or so. We did 8 tracks at Kingsize Soundlabs (Mars Volta, OFF, Bad Religion) then mixed with Andy Marshall of The Residency. Hoping to have the first single out in December 2016.

The last we heard from you was the 3 song EP Hungry Hands, how does the new material compare to that?

It feels like the new stuff is a bigger jump in the progression of the band then past releases. We’ve never been a band to compete with others to be the heaviest or most technical, rather just really focused on writing solid songs that resonate with us and that push our own dynamics. With these songs we explored a lot more of what I think makes us American Standards who we are as a band like the complex drum rhythms, prominent bass lines and attention to both Corey and my vocal hand offs. We also had the opportunity to put some time into the recording whereas in the past we were running up against recording hours and other deadlines. 

 

It seems like you have influences from all over, what major musical influences can be heard on the new material?

Ah, that’s always a tough question. I feel like some of the common comparisons we get are bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Chariot, Refused and Every Time I Die. I’d like to think with the new material we took those but also blended in a more varied mix ranging from bands like Rage Against The Machine and System Of A Down to Cancer Bats and Deftones.

We talked about the inspirations to the sound of the album but what about lyrically? Are there any overall themes to this? 

It’s always interesting to me to hear about how other vocalists approach lyrics. For some, I think the first word isn’t written until the instruments are at close to 100%. For me, I’m constantly jotting down ideas daily as they come. By the time it comes to record, I’ll typically have a few notepads full of lines then I just get a feel for what song has a mood that correlates to what I’m trying to express. Makes it easier for me in a lot of ways but also sometimes paints me into a hole where I need to make what I’m trying to say fit the constraints of the song.

For this record we had a lot of time between Hungry Hands and now. Not to get too political but we’ve had one of the most insane presidential elections I think the US has ever seen. Adjacent to it; movements, protests, riots…. you name it. All of this magnified by this new world of social media that we live in. A world where simultaneously everyone has a voice but are lost in the noise. A world where algorithms dictate what the mass public accepts as fact and headlines are the only ideas that are shared. If there’s a theme of the record, it’s that the same things that bring us together, the same categories we create and tribes that we build- those also divide us. Make it easier to point the blame at someone with opposing views or paint a group of people with a broad stroke based on an arbitrary title we’ve assigned to them. So with the new record we really dive into that across multiple songs. 

There are also songs a little more personal to me. For example one about the loss of my father to cancer last year. He worked till the day of his diagnosis. Stage 4 and was given weeks to live but still wanted to go on with his life exactly as he was living it. He passed within the month. 

Another about our late guitarist who took his life earlier in the year. Someone we spent several years with writing, recording and touring. Depression got the best of him and everyone he’s touched has been forever changed.

It’s great to see you guys continue on and must be seriously awesome to have an outlet like this band to get past the darker sides of life.

Does any of this translate to future cover art?

Good question. We’re just about at the point. We’ve been lucky to have someone like Corey in our band with a real knack for stuff like that. He’s design all our past albums and merch. I’m excited to see what he’ll come up with for this.

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This new one was recorded in California, why go out of state? 

Yeah, we really bit off a little more then I think we realized at the time by choosing to do a full length out of town. It’s been a great experience and there are definitely some benefits to it outside of the obvious caliber of the studio itself. One being it forces the entire band to be present and interact in the entire process from beginning to end. When you record in town, it’s too easy for the guys to show up for their parts and leave for the others. Downside of it all though is the timeline. Every time we have a new idea that we want to track, it’s a 6 hour drive back to Los Angeles. In total, I believe we’ve done 5 trips over the course of 3 months. 

 

Tell us about the recording process. It sounds like you tried some new things with Hungry Hands is there any more of that?

We definitely kept the experimentation going on this one. It’s always been important for us to have a more natural recording though, so a lot of the production tricks people maybe use to from other bands in our genre just isn’t our thing. No triggered drums, all real equipment going through mic’d cabs. Nothing that we can’t recreate live for the most part. The only exception to that are the very minor things we did to add texture to the songs. Some grand piano, harmonica, minimal strings and strangely enough- crunching of potato chips into a mic. That’s the fun stuff that I think listeners may not catch all of on the first few listens but it’ll keep it interesting to discover.  

 

You were said to be too DIY for your own good, what does that mean to you?

When we decided to leave the label back in 2012, we were already doing the bulk of the work that any independent band would be doing. We were planning and funding our own recording, merch, touring and being 100% present on any social media or press outlet that we could find. Over the years as the band has continued to grow, so has the time invested into maintaining all that. Becomes almost another full time job responding to everything, making trips to the post office to mail out merch, promoting and just doing what’s needed to be as engaged as we need and want to be.

 

You mentioned that you guys straddle the line of being hardcore/metal so you get put on a weird mix of shows. Who are your favorite bands to have played with? 

It seems that way. We’ve been asked to do shows with bands ranging from GWAR and Danzig to Atreyu and Emery. Some of our favorite that come to mind from this year were definitely Every Time I Die, Norma Jean and Stray From The Path. All bands that we’ve done multiple shows with in the past but are always stand up dudes that bring a great crowd.

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Also how was the album release show for the Ned Flanders inspired band Okilly Dokilly?

It was awesome. Okilly Dokilly are truly some of the nicest guys and really talented musicians. I think they know what they’re doing when it comes to the gimmick and they pull it off well. Above everything, they have this cool opportunity to play for a unique crowd of people both in and out of the punk or metal community. That warrants an environment where the crowd is in on the joke and even though it’s heavy music, everyone’s there to have fun. Kind of strips out the attitudes and tough guy mentalities when you’re watching a band screaming Ned Flanders quotes.

 

I also saw you played with Glitterbomb recently. I loved their split with Woundvac, who are your current favorite bands from Arizona?

Yeah, Glitterbomb are definitely the homies and Woundvac are gnarly. Brennen from Glitterbomb was actually our original guitarist and their drummer (Mike Cook), recorded drums for our Hungry Hands EP. Outside of them, highly recommend the AZ locals; Coma Prevail, Prize Fight, Spoiled, Strelitza and Lifelink. So many good things coming out of Arizona.

I love Spoiled!

How would you describe American Standards in the live setting? The pictures you sent me look like it gets pretty intense!

The live show is everything for us. If it were up to me, that’d be the first way that someone discovers American Standards because it really is something we put a lot of passion into. When you come to our show, we know your spending your time and money and we want to make it worth it.

What formats are you guys planning to release this on?

For formats, we did CD, vinyl, cassette and digital on the Hungry Hands EP. For the new one, it’s still up in the air but we’re hoping to do something similar. 

 

If American Standards were offered a chance to have an extravagant WWE entrance before a show, how crazy would it get, what all would go down, and what would the entrance music be?

Ah man, that’s tough. I’ve personally always been a fan of guys like The Undertaker, Mankind and Sting. I’m not sure a band of 4 dudes coming down from the rafters makes sense though. It may be more fun to go the route of DX. Get Rage Against The Machine to write a theme song for us and just be belligerent and cause havoc.

 

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Catch American Standards live at these upcoming shows:

Nov. 19th – Frogees – Apple Valley, CA

Nov. 20th – The Aging Room – Long Beach, CA

Dec. 3rd – Metro Bar – Salt Lake City, UT

Dec. 4th – TBA – Henderson, NV

Dec. 9th – The Rebel Lounge – Phoenix, AZ

Treat yourself to some pay what you want music at the American Standards bandcamp!

To keep up with the progress of the new LP and future shows like them on Facebook

 

The New American Standards

Unspeakable Axe Records Showcase

Unspeakable Axe Records have been without a doubt my favorite label of 2016. They have put out excellent releases such as Ripper – Experiment of Existence, Nucleus – Sentient, Scorched – Echoes of Dismemberment, 4 Doors to Death, Sewercide – Immortalized in Suffering, And Voidspawn – Pyrrhic. Those are all just from this year Unspeakable Axe Records have been putting out great releases since 2013 and their releases just keep getting better.

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Hemotoxin – Biological Enslavement

Biological Enslavement is one of those great releases from earlier this year that I haven’t been able to get until now. Hemotoxin have a brand of technical Death/Thrash metal that tends to teeter back and forth between the two genres. I think I hear just a bit more Death metal in the music at times but that may just be me. Either way this album can be and should be enjoyed by both. The riffs pack a punch and when I mentioned the band being technical earlier, I do not mean senseless guitar wankery. The musicians in Hemotoxin are incredibly talented especially the two guitarist, Michael Chavez and Michael Rohwer share the lead work and create some very impressive solos on this album. I really enjoy the third track “Minus Human”, it has a very interesting jazzy intro that totally caught me off guard after the aggressiveness of the first two tracks. There is  sweet fretless bass in that one as well. I would have to recommend this band to fans of Atheist and the Spiritual Healing/Human era of Death. The vocal delivery of Chavez really reminds me of Chuck Schuldiner. I think this is a very solid release. If you are a human or just a recreation I think you should Hemotoxin’s Biological Enslavement.

Give it a listen here

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Mortal Scepter – As Time Sharpens the Sentence

This Mortal Scepter EP takes us back a bit further into the Unspeakable Axe catalogue. As Time Sharpens the Sentence came out in 2015, and is a French thrash release that I definitely missed out on last year. I think I would go ahead and include this one in the blackened thrash category. The vocal delivery is very raw in the production which just gives me that vibe. The production itself is pretty raw to begin with but the guitars sound great and the riffs are relentless right from the starting gates with “As Time Sharpens the Sentence” it even has one of those crazy old school Megadeth sounding guitar solos. I think I would compare Mortal Scepter overall with early Kreator though. I will say that people who really like their production might have issues with the drum sound on this release at times, but I think the sound fits the vibe of the EP very well. It’s an incredibly raw and relentless blackened thrash metal EP that might be a bit different than what people are used to currently, even though it takes plenty of influence from the old school.

Give it a listen here

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Omnivore – Omnivore

To cap off this Unspeakable Axe Records showcase we go back just a little bit further to 2014 with the Self-titled album by Omnivore. This album goes fast and does it well. It sounds like it’s heavily inspired by Sepultura. After an intro track we hear the voice of everybody’s favorite vigilante Rorschach and then blistering riffs of “Dead” straight to the point song title. Omnivore really do have the Ricky Bobby mentality of “I wanna go fast” for most of this release which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They slow down a little bit on two occasions, “I hope the war comes” has one of the head nodding mid-tempo riffs before going back to tearing things up. The second occasion is in the track “Nothing More than Dust” which is the longest song on the album the slower section is towards the end with an interesting acoustic section. The Sepultura comparison must be a good one because the album closes with a true to form cover of “Arise”.    This album is a very solid debut that thrashes from start to finish with some real percussive riffs.

check it out here

I hope this inspires you guys to check out Unspeakable Axe Records. They have had an amazing year of releases and have an amazing back catalogue. I look forward to 2017 from them. (Hint: the Maligner is going to be really good)

-REH

Unspeakable Axe Records:

Bandcamp: https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/

Store: http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/purchase/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableAxeRecords/?fref=ts

 

 

 

 

 

Unspeakable Axe Records Showcase

Doomed Planet

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Goya – Doomed Planet

Goya are a band that I have been quietly admiring from afar for a while now. I have been a big fan of the incredible Arizona heavy music scene that they are a part of, and Goya bring their own sound to that scene. They are hot off of two EP’s from earlier this year, The Enemy and another one featuring Nirvana covers. This new EP Doomed Planet goes back to the forlorn doom metal sound. It could be closely compared to my favorite Goya release Satan’s Fire.

Doomed Planet is four songs two long, loud, slow, and heavy songs. An ambient instrumental track and a cover of Marilyn Manson’s “Dogma”. The first track is the title track of the EP “Doomed Planet” which seems to be a very fitting title for current events. It’s a track with a sweet droning riff full of fuzz. It clocks in at nine minutes long and it’s a riff worthy of being heard for nine minutes. The vocals add a nice compliment to the punch of the riff as well.

The second track is one of pummeling heaviness. The riffs pack a punch that’s almost akin to doom metal act Conan. “Hoof and Bone” is Goya at their best in my opinion. The song was meant to be used for a film but didn’t quite make the cut. I think that’s a shame because such an epic song would fit well in a film, especially a scene calling for music that speaks and sounds of desolation.  At the very least the song is still being released for all of our enjoyment, and I definitely enjoy this one.

The Manson cover shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise. Goya have just released two Nirvana covers for the anniversary of Nevermind earlier this year. Goya kept with the 90’s theme and covered “Dogma” from Portrait of an American Family. When listening to this I can tell they had fun recording this one, and it’s a really good cover. Doomed Planet is a well done EP by Goya that fans of slow Sabbath styled doom metal should check out.

-REH

Listen to Doomed Planet here

Limited CD’s will be available through Opoponax Records  

Doomed Planet

Scorched Park Policy: an interview with Scorched

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Scorched of Delaware have been making head way for a while now in the death metal underground. They have released of a Demo in 2015, a split with Putrisect, and a 4-way split with Gatecreeper, Homewrecker, and Outer Heaven. They have even garnered the approval of Trevor Strnad of the Black Dahlia Murder. With the new full length Echoes of Dismemberment coming out on November 25th, we knew we had to invite them to the Abusement Park. With us today we have guitarist Steve Fuchs and vocalist Matt Kapa.

 

What are your backgrounds in heavy music and what lead to the creation of Scorched?

Steve: I’ve loved playing heavy music for as long as I can remember. The creation of Scorched was a long time coming me and Kapa had wanted to start a death metal band for forever. What finally got me going with making a death metal band was one year’s Festivus at Kapa’s. He got to me and said “Steve when are you gonna write some riffs you poser?” and I was like “man, he’s right.”

 

What are the major influences on the sound of Scorched? Your music sounds and feels like a horror movie that we’re all okay with being a part of.

Steve: Morbid Angel and Suffocation. Matt can better explain the horror side of the band.

Matt: I honestly heard death metal on a local college radio station on a late Saturday show when I was about 12 haha

So many influences… all the classics of course as steve said like morbid angel, cannibal corpse…but also bands like Burial, Incantation, first few Unleashed albums, Autopsy…and some newer bands like Disma and Funebrarum.

Yes, we love horror and horror soundtracks. Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, John Carpenter, all great. We love all the classic series like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th…but tons of other like The Burning, Driller Killer, the Toolbox Murders…we could go on and on haha (This also doubles as a recommendation list).

You guys single handedly got me into Unspeakable Axe Records, who I think we can all agree are killing it this year. How did you guys get hooked up with them?

Matt: Yeah Eric [Musall] kills it! All amazing bands. A good buddy of mine heard us and was super impressed and put in a good word for us. He got us in contact and here we are.

Steve: We owe a lot to Eric and Unspeakable Axe that dude has been very good to us

Okay so you guys are based out of Delaware, how did you end up with drummer Matt Izzi who is (if I’m not mistaken) from Ohio?

Matt: We had seen Homewrecker a ton of times and hung out with him and just hit it off. He was staying in PA for a while, only about a half hour from us and we had already been talking about forming the band and needed a drummer. He was all about it!

Steve: I met Izzi back in 2012 in Ohio playing with a hardcore band and we chilled and talked death metal a bit, after that I wanted to start a band with him. Here in Delaware, there’s really not too many drummers. Matt presented Scorched and Izzi was about to move to Philly, so I was like let’s get him on this shit. He used to love scrapple.

My friend and I secretly eat scrapple in Arkansas. It’s pretty good I’m not gonna lie.

Steve: It tastes really good the ingredients are pretty fucked though haha. We gotta include Mary’s country kitchen and that amazing scrapple sandwich in this interview. That’s good stuff.

There was some noticeable progression from the demo to the two splits, can we expect a continuation of that to the full length? Is there anything new that was tried on Echoes of Dismemberment?

Steve: I’d have to only say that every band changes over time hopefully for the good with all the new stuff we have a ton of room to do whatever we want because we do what we want to do.

That’s what’s cool about unspeakable axe.

Matt: So with Echoes we definitely kept the demo in mind while trying to push our creative boundaries. We try never to get stuck in some specific mold, but we also want to always stay true to who we are. Each track I feel we tried something we hadn’t before.

Steve: Plus just life in general as well. We all naturally pull music from what’s going on in life. But hell yeah to what Matt said we are always trying to do something we’ve never done before.

I absolutely agree that progression is important. I think you guys are heading in a great direction so far. I definitely see that the demo was kept in mind with the re-recording of “Scorched” from the Demo as well as “Autopsy Incomplete” from the 4-way split. What called for those two songs in particular to be re-recorded?

Steve: We have changed our guitar tunings a lot over the course of our recordings. The first stuff was in D whereas now we tune to B. The two songs we re-recorded just seemed to be the best with the new low tuning. We also added stuff to them. I have always thought a re-recording should have different things about it compared to the first recording

 

Since this is your first full length, how was the preparation and recording process different for this one when compared to the demo and the splits?

 Also the album cover looks like a movie poster. Could it be considered a concept album of sorts?

Steve: For the full length it went different than every other time because Izzi wasn’t in Delaware until like the last week before recording. We demoed our riffs and sent them to him. Izzi is a machine.

That’s the cover of the album, movie poster is what we were gonna for. It’s fitting for us.

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You guys have had some notable guest stars in the past such as Tyler Carnes from Noisem. This time around it’s Matt Kilpatrick of Cemetery Filth and a familiar name from the demo Bethany Short. What did they contribute to the album?

And what is it with people named Matt being good making heavy music? Haha (there are Matt’s in Homewrecker, Scorched, Cemetery Filth, Gatecreeper, and etc.)

Matt: They did guest vocal spots

Haha that’s flattering!

Steve: I have a cousin named Matt, he can’t play any instruments

Are we keeping which songs they’re featured on a secret?

Matt: Sure, that’s more fun

Steve: Yeah like a movie, people ask questions about what’s gonna happen but all you have to do is pay attention to figure it out on your own.

What about after album release plans? Are there any plans for shows or cool merch?

Matt: No shows planned as of now. There will be at least one shirt released with the full length.

What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Also what will Scorched be handing out for tricks and/or treats?

Steve: I don’t really eat sweets man. I’ll dress up as Buckethead or braveheart or some shit, and hand out candy at my place though. Beer for the adults (AKA Steveweisers).

 

The new Scorched LP Echoes of Dismemberment will be out on Unspeakable Axe Records November 25th. All fans of death metal need to have this release on their want list.

-REH

Order the Echoes of Dismemberment here from Unspeakable Axe Records, vinyl out on Dark Descent Records early 2017.

Give the new song “Rot in Confinement” a listen here  Digital pre-orders also available at that link.

Stream “Dealings of a Gruesome Kind” here

All the cool kids https://www.facebook.com/scorchedde/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf&qsefr=1

 

 

Scorched Park Policy: an interview with Scorched

Night Work Begins

take over self titleTake Over And Destroy – Self titled (Prosthetic Records 2016)

I guess first thing to say about this album is if you think all heavy music should fit perfectly into a little box, then stop right here and use your time for something better. Take Over And Destroy draw influences from all over the spectrum. I have heard them referred to as sludge and “black n roll”.  The point is with this new self-titled full length, it’s hard to pin down one easy way to describe it. I for one find this to be a good thing. It is always great to see bands pushing boundaries, as well as themselves musically. For those familiar with Take Over And Destroy this is undeniably them.

The album starts out with “By Knife” which is also the first single released for this album. It was a good choice for first song as well as single. For a band with such diverse sound this is a track that has a bit of it all. It has the heavy riffs and vocals as well as some softer diabolical crooning vocals by vocalist Andrew Leemont. There is also an excellent guitar solo shared by both guitarist on this album Alex Bank Rollins and Nate Garrett. The next song we want to talk about is “Let Me Grieve” which also happens to be my personal favorite. It just has the catchiest opening guitar licks I have heard in a long time. The vocal performance in this is fantastic. This album is without a doubt the best vocal performance on any TOAD album in my opinion. The harsh vocals are excellent as well as the cleaner ones. I find there to be a perfect balance between the two. The one thing I can guarantee on this album is you have not heard an album like this, this year, or most likely ever. Take Over And Destroy isn’t without its hooks songs like “Separate from the Shadows”, “Job Coffins”, and “Bring me the Rope” will demand repeat listens as well as work their way inside of your brain. The song “Out of Frame” is also quite interesting with keyboard parts that sound like they were taken straight out of John Carpenters Christine. The last two tracks have incredible instrumental sections. The track “Love Among The Ruins” has some riff worship with nods to doom metal. Then of course one thing that can always be expected out of TOAD is a good album closer. The final track “Night Work Begins” continues this trend.

This is heavy music with hooks, riffs, guitar harmonies, and catchy choruses. The bands intentions were to release an album that was a collection of singles and I think they achieved it. Fans of this release are bound to have differing favorite songs that may change like the weather. Take Over And Destroy are one of a kind and I hope they continue to stay that way.

-REH

Give it a listen here

Order here

Night Work Begins

Cruz – Culto Abismol

cruz_culto_abismal_cover_1500x1500Cruz – Culto Abismol (Sentient Ruin Laboratories 2016)

Cruz are a Barcelonan death metal band with a style that urges for the attention  of old school death metal fans. Culto Abismol starts out with “Mundos Disformes” which if I’m correct roughly translates to “Shapeless Worlds”.  This may be important to those who speak the language, but I am personally focused on the riffs. “Mundo Disformes” just takes off, which is something Cruz does well. This entire album goes at a fast pace and doesn’t let up much at all. The second track “A Cops De Destral” continues this trend of aggressive death metal.

As much as Cruz  like to go at a severe pace, the album isn’t lacking its moments of groove. I find the tracks later on in the album showcase this best. Tracks such as “La Caza”, “La Pitjor De Les Plagues“, and “Pesanta.” The latter of those is one of the few moments where Cruz  slow down for just a bit on Culto Abismol, however don’t let that fool you, they will pick things up again shortly. These three track all in a row are absolute bangers. For those who are looking to fill the gaping hole left by the retirement of Bolt Thrower, these tracks might help ease the pain. The final track “Tumbas Ciclopeas” is a very fitting end to such an aggressive album. It is full of groove as well as blistering riffs and abrasive drumming. This final track is also one of more groove with a middle section that might have some inspiration from Entombed.

Cruz deliver a ripper of an album, consisting of 8 tracks,  that is capable of breaking your neck. This is an album perfect for blowing off steam after a rough day. There might be a language barrier to some people with this band, but there will be no riff barrier. If crust punk influenced death metal is your thing than look no further. Give Cruz – Culto Abismol a listen on October 7th.

Give a track a listen here as well as pre-order the tape or vinyl. This will be a co-release through Sentient Ruin Laborartories, and To The Death Records (Sweden).

-REH

Keep up with us here

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Cruz – Culto Abismol

Take Over And Destroy at the Park

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I would like to welcome Alex Bank Rollins and Andrew Leemont of Take Over And Destroy to Abusement Park. In 2014 they released our personal album of the year Vacant Face. They are currently on the cusp of the release of their self-titled full length album. Which is due out on Prosthetic Records October 7th. Let’s get this thing started!

 

The first thing I want to ask about is the history of Take Over And Destroy. I have been listening to you guys for a while and do not know a whole lot about how you started. How did it go from Drone Throne to TOAD? 

 Alex – They were two separate projects that started around the same time. In 2006 Andy and I were playing in a band together. I started playing drums in Drone Throne as a side project. Andy wanted to branch out from the band we were currently doing, and started recording his own material in his bedroom under the moniker TOAD. It started out as a gloomy punk band. Once he recruited members for live performances, the sound changed and morphed into something different.

 What are your major influences musically or even non-musically? 

Alex – We are influenced by people who create their own sound. We want to be a band that when you hear us, you immediately know it’s us. Bands that have their own identity are inspiring to us. From Queen, to Queens of the Stone Age. From The Ramones to Rocket from the Crypt. From Nirvana to Nick Cave. From Danzig to Devo. 

It’s inevitable that we’re always inspired by the films that we watch.

Not too long ago you guys announced the new LP was going to be self-titled, what made you guys decide that this one was going to be self-titled?

Andy – The concept of the album is that it’s a collection of singles. We thought it would be appropriate to play the self-titled card at this point in our discography.

 

Before the new material was even recorded you guys hit the road with Lament Cityscape to get the songs ready, did the songs change at all from road to studio? 

Alex – Not really. We just got tighter as a band playing these songs. The structure of the songs never changed.

Andy – It’s a perfect thing for a band to tour right before recording. Especially since we recorded it live.

 

Are there any songs on the album that were not played on the road? 

Alex – No, we played every song on tour at least once before we returned home and entered the studio.

Andy – We always switch the sets up live from night to night. We’ve always done that, but we made sure to integrate every song from the new album.

 

When I saw you guys, y’all played a cover of “Tired of Being Alive” by Danzig, which was awesome. At any point did you think about recording a version of that?

Alex – Thanks! It’s always fun to play, and having CT from Rwake join us on stage for the cover in Little Rock was a real pleasure.

Andy – We planned on recording it for a 7″, but those plans fell through.

Check out the cover

 

Once again you guys recorded with Bob Hoag, how would you describe y’alls relationship?

Alex – Andy and I have known Bob since 2006. We’ve been working with him ever since. We all have similar interests, so we’re always talking about current and past pop culture stuff. While working in the studio together, we can easily get distracted and go down the rabbit hole, but we try and stay on schedule. There’s been plenty of overnight shifts where we’re making up for time and finish up while the sun is rising.

 

Andy – He’s like an older brother, and another member. He’s very generous with his creativity. We love Bob.

 

On Vacant Face he wrote and performed “The Fly Is Awake” did he contribute in any similar ways for the new LP?

Alex – He played virtually all of the organ and keyboard on the new album. Aside from myself playing the keys on Out of Frame, Bob played the rest. Andy wrote keyboard parts for the album and presented them to Bob, who then enhanced, altered, and executed them. Getting the right sound and tone for each keyboard part was a joint effort.

Andy – We hope to take him on tour with us one day.

 bob-twin-peaks-toad

This is the third time you have worked with Branca Studios, first being a t-shirt and then the cover for the split with Gatecreeper. What is it like working with him? How did the album cover for this one come about, especially the reversible cover? I think it’s a very cool idea and looks freaking sweet.  

Alex – Thanks Eli! It’s great working with him. We speak the same language (well, not really… he’s from Barcelona and English is his second language.) But he gets where we’re coming from. Working with him is easy because we can reference something and he immediately gets it. We’re happy to see him getting the recognition he deserves.

While discussing ideas and concepts for imagery to represent the new album, we were in our practice space. I have a framed poster of The Shining hanging up, and it hit me; we need an album cover that when flipped upside down, new images emerge. Much like the album you see certain things at first glance, then when looking closer more is revealed. While discussing it with him we referenced the collage style of The Beatles “Revolver” and Roky Erickson “The Evil One.”  The back side of the album is another reversible collage.

Andy – We gave him the pitch that this album is a collection of singles. We wanted it to look like a collage with the color scheme of the Misfits “Earth AD”

take over self title

 

Did you guys try anything crazy new on this one? The last album Vacant Face was insane. It had the gothic vibe as well as a song featuring a literal axe.

Also specifically for Andy, did you do anything different vocally? Because the “cleans” in “By Knife” sound gnarly.

Alex – We still have the same mindset that we’ve always had. We still believe that song structure is the most important thing. When we write it’s crucial for us that everything is fluid and flows as one. If it sounds good, and feels good to us, we hope that it will translate to the listener.

 

Andy – I did more crooning, weirdo clean vocals. I was more comfortable doing that on this album. It’s easy for me to scream and growl, I feel like our listeners deserve more than that. We implemented more rock and roll vocal harmonies on this album. Our producer Bob, and guitarist Nate [Garrett] did some layered harmonies on a few of the singing parts I wrote.

There’s a part in our song “Love Among the Ruins” where we did group vocals and we all shouted in key. That was a new thing for us, and is definitely a favorite moment on the album for everyone. Looking back, we wish we did more of that.

 

I remember hearing some pretty sweet guitar work in the new songs live. I also love the final result in the solo for “By Knife”. Are there any solos that you’re extra proud of, and what was your approach to them?

 

Alex -Thank you very much. The solo in By Knife is a double header. I play the first half, and Nate plays the second half. I tend to play more bluesy, melodic solos. At a really early age my Dad showed me Black Sabbath, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Moody Blues, Iron Butterfly, and the list goes on. For me it was never about how many notes you can cram into a solo, it’s more about the feel and emotion of it. In my opinion playing less notes, and the spaces in between notes can be more effective than shredding scales up and down the neck.

It’s not exactly a solo, but my favorite moment of guitar playing comes at the finale of the album. We close everything out with our song “Night Work Begins.” There’s an instrumental section at the end that has a real magic to it. I remember playing it in the studio and having chills sent down my spine. All the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, and afterwards it was hard for me to talk. I was just kind of silent, shaking my head.

 

I have to say these boys know how to close an album.

 

So as mentioned above you guys toured before the album was recorded, what are the plans for after the album releases?

Along with that I have to ask, will there be a new guitarist to replace Nate Garrett who has quietly departed the band?

Alex – We are doing a few out of town dates in November. A double feature showcase in California. We’re playing in Los Angeles on November 19th, and San Diego November 20th. There will be more to come.

This is a transitional phase, and we will be playing with a new guitarist.

 

Take Over And Destroy are recent signees to Prosthetic Records. I have to know how that came about because you’ve been basically DIY for so long.

 Alex – We were approached by Steve Joh who is currently working A&R for Prosthetic Records. Steve is well respected in the music industry and we hit it off with him right away. We were in talks with him for some time and decided it was the right move.

 

Fellow Arizona heavy hitters Gatecreeper are also releasing an album on October 7th but through Relapse Records, the same day the new Take Over album drops, was that planned?

 Seriously though the Arizona heavy scene has to be one of my favorites. Who are some other bands you guys think needed to be signed pronto?

 

Alex- It was not planned. Complete coincidence. After we announced the release date for our new album we received a text from one of the Gatecreeper guys saying theirs was coming out the same day.

Woundvac is a great band playing in Arizona right now. They play heavy and tight grind that has brutally catchy riffs.

Our friends in Spoiled play some wild tunes that are punk in nature. It’s fast, short, and to the point. They have the attitude of the 90’s. Arizona is a better place with Spoiled.

Warhead are a bunch of speed punks that will punch you in the face with their fast riffing. They’re young guys that are tight and determined. They rehearse at our space a few units down from us in Tempe and we like hanging out and headbanging with them in between jams

 

And finally you guys have been described as “An American rock & roll band from the 1970’s trapped inside of a Scandinavian metal band from the early 1990’s, scoring a John Carpenter film.” If you were going to be cast in a John Carpenter movie what role would you want in which movie?

 

Alex – I’ve always had an affinity for Kurt Russell’s character R.J. MacReady in The Thing. Cold, isolated, self sufficient, and lacking trust with an unsure fate.

Andy – I’d want to be Arnie Cunningham in Christine. Harry Dean Stanton breathing down my neck about a car that I love more than anything in my life. Love has a veracious appetite.  …or Jeff Bridges in Starman. Being an alien in a dead man’s body, and ultimately ending up in Arizona.

I would definitely be Nada in They Live. I am always in need of bubblegum.

Once again the new Take Over And Destroy LP arrives on October 7th out on Prosthetic Records. It’s going to be one groovy album for fans of catchy riffs and interesting songs. Do not sleep on it!

-REH

Pre-order CD and Vinyl here on Prosthetic Records!

Give the new songs a listen here! The nightwork officially begins October 7th!

Brought to you by Take Over And Destroy and Abusement Park

Take Over And Destroy at the Park