Interview with GIVEN FREE REIN

Given Free Rein is a post-punk power trio from Athens in Greece who earlier this year released their debut album “In-Eart Trip.” I talked with the mainman behind the project Andrew Kouretas

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Cool in general terms! I am good and I feel really lucky that I live in a country where I am free to express myself the way I want and create the things I like. At the same time, I live in a country where the economy sucks and we all have big problems.

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “In-Ear Trip“?

The “In-Ear Trip” is the journey of the mind through the dark city streets towards the light of the future. The inner voice that someone hears only when the music triggers his imagination and his soul,when the headphones are plugged into his ears and then into his brain and take him away. It is an album made with passion and devotion and the songs cover a big range of music style influences, from punk to electronic and post rock.


What was it like working on the album?

It was the coolest thing I have ever done, and the most rewarding process I ‘ve been into. It was quite a challenge for me to to work in such high technical and musical level with very talented musicians. It was the first time I was doing that so I was thrilled and filled with enthusiasm from the very beginning until the release of the album. I have to admit that all this process changed me as musician but also as a person and definitely I am not the same guy as when I started.

Are there any touring plans in support to “In-Ear Trip”?

At the moment, no.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

England for sure! But any country would be real fun.

Who and what inspires you the most?

The difficulties I have to face in everyday life is the biggest inspiration of all as they kind of put me in the process of writing music. For me inspiration has to do with a certain atmosphere I want to create in every song and this has to do with the sounds I use each time. I don’t know if the gear leads me to the idea or the idea leads me to the gear but maybe it’s both. I believe that the sound itself has a profound impact on the idea and I like grasping the vibe of the sound frequencies.


What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

It was always difficult for me to distinguish the musical genres. For me, music is not so a stylistic matter as it is an atmospheric field where various sounds combine with each other and form a work of art. Maybe I could say that electronic music has been a big influence for me along with rock, punk and metal music. Surely, I have been influenced by everything I ‘ve listened to. Lately, I listen to trap music among other things.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Support Given Free Rein band. It would be an honour for us to have our music spread worldwide and be able to continue our trip!





Review: Given Free Rein – In-Ear Trip

For many new bands, the desire to sound like another more successful band is strong enough to keep them from walking their own path and creating something truly unique. However for Greece-based rockers Given Free Rein, walking their own path is the only obvious road they know. Releasing their inspired, progressive and anthem filled debut full-length titled In-Ear Trip, Given Free Rein is wasting no time with a powerful delivery.

Since every song on this album is worth listening to, I will highlight a few of the very notables that you must listen to as soon as you can; starting with the opening “Magnetic Fields.” This song has an intro for the books. The vocals and lyrics are emotionally charged with both honesty and vulnerability, and for many, this is going to become their instant favorite track from the album.


Another powerful track is the anthem-like title track. This song is less punk, but there are some heavier vocals woven within that help add an edge to an otherwise soft ballad of a song. Everyone on this song plays from the heart, from the vocals to the guitars to the drums, every instrument is played loud and aggressively, and the vocals are made more haunting because of this. A great track through and through.

“Day In The Dark” is a bit ambient, a bit psychedelia; it doesn’t take long to sink its awesome teeth in to the listener. The breaks in the tempo and layering of the tracks are exciting, and by the end of the song you simply hit repeat and turn it up.

Every song on In-Ear Trip is well thought out, well played, and well mixed. Every song stands alone on its own, and the vocals are never the same as before. The diversity and inspiration placed within this album should show many new artists how it is supposed to be done if you want to turn some heads. I wouldn’t waste any time picking up this album if you want something new and worthwhile to listen to.





Review: Azmaroth – Death Crowned King

Looking at the album art of a debut album from Norwegian metal outfit Azmaroth you would think that it has something to do with European Power Metal. But, that’s not the case. With “Death Crowned King,” this Oslo-based quintet serves a melodeath release that is both crushing and catchy.

Azmaroth play hook-oriented melodic death metal in the vein of commercial era In Flames with nods to Dark Tranquility and Soilwork. They also veer into a groove territory now and again. Big guitar-based hooks pop up like, and vocals that alternate between screams and growls is the biggest highlights of this record.


While individual songs fare generally well, the album as a whole shows that Azmaroth know exactly what direction they’d like to head in. That said, there’s good material throughout Death Crowned King and Azmaroth definitely know their way around some sharp hooks. The production of the album definitely deserves to be paised.

Death Crowned King is entertaining but more importantly a focused release, making for an overall interesting ride through melo-death’s Swedish district.





Album Review: Glory of the Supervenient – S/T

There are times in every music lover’s life where a record’s concept, ambition, and execution is understood and loved immediately. Not just by the heart and how it makes you feel but on an intellectual level as well. These moments are when one truly appreciates an artist’s creation. Glory of the Supervenient has all the essential ingredients to conjure up this feeling in anyone who listens to it with no fluff added.

More focused than the meandering nature of Trioscapes and more immediate than the sometimes glacial pace of TesseracT, Glory of the Supervenient has the project, led by composer and drummer Andrea Bruzzone, striking a balance seldom can attain, much less in the realm of progressive jazz/fusion. The sheer number of ideas as to where to go and what to do with the medium has resulted in many albums either going too far with the wall of noise or holding back too much in fear of doing so. Glory of the Supervenient doesn’t experiment with the plethora of soundscapes and instruments available to those subscribing to the jazz/fusion moniker but instead chooses to hone its more contemporary musicianship to a razor sheen. Every instrument is clearly differentiated and contributes to the different cascades of mood every song portrays. The guitars in particular showcase a perfect mix of distorted riffage and technical fret play which play through and off each other artfully. The noodling all has a clear focus in each song, and never seems to just fill space. In fact, the entirety of the record gives a definite sense of progression, carrying the listener from one section to the next seamlessly and gives off a welcome cohesiveness.


At the heart of Glory of the Supervenient is its concept, which is that of stripping away the superfluous qualities of emotion, situation, and inspiration and leaving behind only its essence. This is the “concept” in terms of following certain vibe and structures, and perfectly describes the band’s direction with the absence of a variety of instruments and the sharp focus of the songs. That is not to say Glory of the Supervenient drags on at any point, in fact the pacing is beautifully crafted. Musically, the record achieves everything it was made to do.

Glory of the Supervenient may be a new kid in the block, but they bestow upon the masses a genre-defining album, displaying a marvellous blend of experimentation, songwriting expertise (not using that word lightly), and the feeling of plain rocking. The strange juxtaposition of using a concept of stripped-down instrumentation, conveying feeling and moods at their most basic level using a framework as frequently ostentatious and gaudy as progressive jazz-fusion is not lost on this reviewer and the fact that it’s pulled off so well by one man only releasing a debut album is quite a feat. Those who want thrills without frills in their music cannot go wrong by giving this a listen.





Make Way For Man

Interview with MAKE WAY FOR MAN

Looking at the name of the Perth progressive metalcore six-piece, Make Way For Man, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when their debut EP “Evolve & Repair” was sent to me through the PR wire. But two listens later, these guys made way for themselves and I’ve been listening to the EP a lot recently.

Singer John Kelly answered my questions about the EP, and then some more.

Hey folks. How are you doing?

Good thanks!

You released “Evolve & Repair” recently. How do you feel about the release?

We are really excited with the reception so far, the feedback has been amazing. This band was just a concept for so long that it’s been so good to get out and play shows and have the crowd sing the words back at us! It’s really been a great ride that we hope we can keep pushing for a long time to come.

How much of a challenge was to work on the EP?

10/10 Bullsh*t hard haha! Considering we are 6 guys with full time jobs, not to mention a few of us have other musical endeavors that take our time up, it was definitely a struggle to even get the 6 of us in the same room some times! But nothing worth doing is ever easy is it? So I think that makes it so much more rewarding.

Make Way For Man - Evolve & Repair

What other artists similar to your genre that are coming from Perth are you friends with?

Our friends in Iconoclast, At Depths, Shangrila and Havoc are doing some really great things for the Perth scene and people should definitely check them all out.

What is your opinion about the current progressive metal(core) scene?

The scene is great and only getting better! I know that personally growing up that the choice for progressive heavy music was a lot more sparce than it is today. We only really had the virtuoso musicians that were really doing complex timings and outside the box genre blends so it’s really good to see how much new prog can be found nowadays. Not to mention non prog bands incorporating prog elements. It’s a brave and exciting new world folks haha! This isn’t your dad’s scene!

Can you tell me something about your influences?

What makes us unique as a collection of musicians is that we are really diverse in our influences whilst still having an overlap of the same sort of stuff. For example we all love bands like Meshuggah, Periphery and Sikth but then I personally am influenced greatly by artists like Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and bands such as Issues, Beartooth, Incubus and Pierce the Veil!


What are you listening to these days?

My current playlist includes Periphery III – Select Difficulty, Beartooth – Aggressive, Issues – Headspace and BMTH – That’s The Spirit.

Your 5 favourite records of all the time?
Wow okay that is really tough and I’m sure mine would differ greatly from the rest of the band but here goes nothing and in no particular order;

ISSUES – Issues
PERIPHERY – II (This Time It’s Personal)
PIERCE THE VEIL – Collide The Sky
(I feel like I left way too many out but that will have to do!)

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “Evolve & Repair”?

Sure! Jordan our drummer uses Mapex drums, Soultone cymbals and Evans drumheads and he tracked the drums at one of Perths premiere studios, Crank. All of the guitars were tracked in Drews home studio using Pro Tools and Axe FX. Drew used a Schecter 8 string and Josh used his custom Equilibrium giutar. Adam used his Dingwall 6 string to track bass and all of mine and Sean’s vocals were tracked at Sumo Sound Studios in Perth. The mix was then sent to Nashville to be mixed and mastered by audio guru Brian Hood.

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

We would love to tour Europe and the U.S.A. as soon as we can and get our music to as many people as possible! We love playing shows and being able to travel the world with some of our best friends whilst playing to and meeting amazing people sounds like some of the best plans you could get.

Any words for the potential new fans?

Welcome and thank you! You are the reason we do this and we hope that you can find something you can relate to in our music and our words.

FFO Periphery, Meshuggah, Killswitch Engage, Sikth.

Get a copy of “Evolve & Repair” on Bandcamp.



Crossing The Rubicon returned recently with the new EP titled “Bloom” which includes three tracks. The self-title song from the release is an epic which sees the project founder, Alejandro Licano, collaborating with other guitarists. This track in short is a masterpiece.

I recently had an opportunity to ask Alejandro some questions about the new material, but we also talked about the inspiration, influences, his guitar setup, and more. Alejandro was very talkative and it was a pleasure talking with him.

Hey Alejandro. How are you doing?

The music life could not be better, thanks! Thank you for having me in on this interview, how are you?

I’m pretty good, thanks for asking. You released some new music recently. How do you feel about the “Bloom” release?

The Bloom release has been undeniably successful. There is an obvious growth in the community and I’m still getting a very positive response to the new music and finally some response all around such that I’m even making some back catalogue sales and getting more followers on social media.


How much of a challenge was it to work on the EP, especially on the song “Bloom”? I am asking this questions from the obvious reasons, and these are that the song is a collaborative work. Tell me more about it.

The work on the E.P. was ellaborate. The E.P. includes three tracks, two of which were rerecordings from the previous discography and some past work and of course the new self-titled track “Bloom”. Working on the older tracks was very quick, even some what minimalist.

For instance, “And He Built A Crooked House…” was simply a matter or re-recording the guitars, and getting some of the mix to stand out more, remastering the track and allowing for Tomas Racklavsky’s solo to fit the mix better.

Bloom was the real opus of this composition as I actually spent a lot of time with music production, song writing, alligning the guest guitarists spots, finding a bass player and drafting demo after demo after demo.

The idea I originally has was to feature a few amazing guitar players and it slowly morphed into a larger volume of performances and collaborations.

You are from Quito in Ecuador, but you live in Ohio. What other artists similar to your genre that are coming from Ohio are you friends with? Also, are there any Ecuadorian bands that we should know of?

Ohio’s scene is very special to me. The music in this state is so alive and versatile. You can’t go to a local show without seeing some form of extreme talent. You can say I have a lot of connections to many musicians coming out or who have already built a career for themselves from Ohio. Miss May I and Hawthorne Heights were some of the original bands that had some impact of whom I knew some original band members. You know? You grow up jamming with some of those guys in used-guitar-stores and one day you look and say “Hey those guys finally made it.” Right now some of the more active bands I’ve seen come out of my area are Denihilist (formerly “Hail to the King”), Eternal Void, Grim State, The Paramedic, Under the Combine, Denounce Your Martyr, Zuel, From Another Planet, A Sense of Purpose, Sentients, Novallo I mean the list goes on. Some of these bands are class acts that are going on to do big things, are in talks with labels, have tours scheduled. A lot of the groups are progressive in some way, or instrumental metal, or extremely dynamic and we’re all a family in one way or another. There’s a lot of support and big-heartedness in this greater Ohio metal community. It’s a Midwest thing. This is a tradition that goes back to the early 2000′s, something that undeniably had an impact on the formation of bands such as Veil of Maya, Born of Osiris, After the Burial and more. We are a connection of bands that are lifting each other.

As far as Ecuadorian bands coming up, it’s funny you would ask. I think Ecuadorian metal has been growing steadily for years. A lot of the community there is greatly inspired by the late 90′s waves of power and speed metal that brought about bands like Angra, Helloween and Mago de Oz. Naturally the emulation is there. You can hear a lot of trash and powermetal in the likes of the top metal bands from Ecuador. The biggest name drop would have to be Basca, followed by Falc who all share in the same vein of metal. Of course studying the music you will find elements that you can’t find anywhere else in the world and that is in the folkloric and Andean elements that Ecuadorian metal brings to the table. If you look at the way that In Flames, Katatonia, Soilwork and Opeth brought their own flavors of Scandinavian metal and Goteborg style folklore music to the branch of metal they adhered themselves to you can make a correlation. Ecuadorian’s are proud of their heritage and of course these metal bands are no exception. I suggest Basca, there is nothing as ear piercing and fierce from that region. In the vein of guitar gods search for Hittar Cuesta. This guitar legend from Ecuador found himself extremely inspired by the works of Joe Satriani and you can hear it clearly in the work he’s done over the years.


What is your opinion about the current progressive metal scene?

What is there not to love about the progressive metal scene? Plainly put; it’s colorful and versatile at this point and there’s too much, in fact, to take from it. Take a look back 20 years ago to 1996. The progressive metal world was blooming in the underground. Just look at the label mates for bands like OSI, and Cynic. There is a plethora of music that has grown and acoompanied some of these bands that grew out of the early 1990s. Dream Theater, to me, has always been the spear head of the industry standard for progmetal and more than likely always will be. In fact even after making my discoveries of King Crimson and the work that Frank Zappa potentially offered Prog-Metal, there is nothing like Dream Theater. You have to think; you have the likes of Tool, Opeth, Meshuggah and Devin Townsend who all have had their respective influence and touch on a plethora of bands in the scene and how they have shaped the colors for what all consider to be Progressive Metal. At the moment what artists like David Maxim Micic, Animals As Leaders, Periphery, The Contortionist, Between The Buried and Me and the likes are doing is a demonstration of both talents and influence but also the opening of doorways to the future of metal. It’s not about gimmics in Prog-metal, it’s about the truth and the texture of sound.

Can you tell me something about your influences?

I’m influenced by bands that appeal to me for a variety of reasons and recently I’ve discovered that this is based more and more off their ability to create texture with a visual palette and present that as a package. I think I based a lot of my influence on the ability to be engage within my imagination. I love the groove oriented patterns of AAL, and the surreal ambiance of The Contortionist but it is also in some of the textural depth in works such as Ocean Machine: Biomech, or Bilo 3.0. These works elaborately demonstrate comprehension of sound as it relates to the human senses. I mean who doesn’t relate to some basic emotions though. I have found myself influenced recently by some Steely Dan, Four Play, Michael Jackson, SRV and even just classical music. I’m all over the place. My influences are vast. I think that as early as 4 years of age I was playing cassettes with The Beatles, Tchaikovsky, all the way to Bobby McFerrin and a mix tape of Metallica so: No wonder I’m kind of messed up. I think my first Progressive Metal experience was listening to New Millennium Cyanide Christ by Meshuggah for the first at age 10 and around the same time I also heard In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson and both scared me to death.

What are you listening to these days?

I have Fourplay, Periphery’s new album “Periphery III”, ALLSEITS, Ludivico Technique, the most recent works by Plini, Joe Satriani and Dream Theater all in my playlists. Sometimes random music hits me too though. I enjoy Arabic and Chinese traditional folk music.


Your 5 favourite records of all the time?

“el cielo” by dredg

“Viva Emptiness” by Katatonia

“Blackwater Park” by Opeth

“Bilo 3.0″ by David Maxim Micic

Tie between “Momentary Lapse of Reason” (The Pink Floyd Sound), and “Master of Puppets” (Metallica)

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “Bloom”?

The gear I performed on was:

Ibanez S8, 8-string guitar. I have modded it with (2) 500k volume and tone pots, along with a Bareknuckle Aftermath (bridge) pick up and a Seymour Duncan Sentient (neck) pick up.

The other eight string is my Schecter Elite 8, bolstered with two D Activator, DiMarzio pickups. I added a Kahler floating trem and some 250k volume and tone pots.

The sound on both of these guitars is phenomenal but I honestly prefer the range and feel of the S8.

For guitar processors and signal I’m using a Line 6 HD PRO, through my Flextone III with a D.I. box for in-studio sound, I rarely but sometimes used a BBE Sonic Maximizer mostly for clean and effects boost from wet/dry output signals.

In-studio my tools were all solidly Reaper Audio DAW, with Omnisphere Midi/Synth control, Superior Drummer 2.0 and Steven Slate Drum along with iZotope and Waves. The mix and master however were done at Compass Audio by the very talented producer Steve Perrino who has a massive and very elaborate VST and Plug-in collection. He is a wizard of sound. I also should mention I proudly use Sting-joy strings and Dunlop Primetone jazz IIIs

Besides the release of the EP, are there any other plans for the future?

Right now the biggest and most ambitious effort is to take Crossing the Rubicon to the road and make it a live band. And it’s happening now!

Any words for the potential new fans?

The music is for fans of The Contortionist, Steve Vai, T.R.A.M. and is a wonderfully crafted array of styles from all around the sphere of Prog-Metal influence. Currently, I’m in the process of filming the playthrough for the single “Bloom” and really wish everyone enjoys that. And yes, I hope you truly enjoy the new E.P. and come stick with this band and follow our growth as it truly seems to be shaping up to something promising in the next year or so. Hope to see you on the road!









Review: Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side – Pathfinder

Jonas Lindberg has been active with his project Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side for a few years now. On September 1st, this seven-piece group from Sweden’s capital Stockholm released their full-length debut titled “Pathfinder.”

The album is placed deep into the amotspheric, melodic side of progressive rock with influences from the ‘70s, the ‘80s and some contemporary ones. The band adds plethora experimental, pop-rock, and ambient elements to their music. They will surely bring some of the big progressive rock bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s on your mind that is not a bad thing at all.


One can feel that Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side play it safe, and that in the end their music is not “forward thinking” or “progressive.” But that’s because the group as an entity is an apt craftsman, and they know how well to make a song sounds catchy, but still complex enough. There are tons of great moments on the album that contribute to the final outcome, which brings nostalgia and innovation together. This prog rock music is easy to digest, but hard to predict

The musicianship is very strong and the production is warm. “Pathfinder” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it is more than a decent album. There is a lot to explore here, and it’s waiting for you.




Interview with JONAS LINDBERG

Jonas Lindbert & The Other Side is a progressive rock project, led by (guess who?) Jonas Lindberg. The seven-piece band based out of Sweden’s capital Stockholm released their debut full-length album “Pathfinder” on September 1st, after two EP’s: “In Secret Place” (2012) and “The Other Side” (2013).

In the interview below, Lindberg talks about the project.

How do you usually describe your music?

It’s progressive rock, sometimes with a little more commersial and easy listening vibe to it. I think it’s hard to describe your own music and put a label on it, usually I want to leave that to the listener. Besides that I describe it as progressive, some people have said it sounds like Pink Floyd mixed up with Sting, others have said it sounds like Genesis. Most people seem to compare it to all kinds of various artists and I believe that is a good thing. There is something for everyone in it.

What is your writing process like?

Usually it starts with an idea of some kind, could be a riff, chordstructure or melody in my head. Then I sit down at my computer in the studio, record all ideas and try to build a song around it. Most of the time I never know where it will go or what will happen next. I just go for it and try to let the music flow and “build itself”. It’s kind of a puzzle, getting all pieces of music to fit in the right context. Sometimes there can be several sessions before a good idea comes along that glues a song together. When I have a finished piece of music and I know wether or not it will feature vocals, I write lyrics. That to me is the most difficult part, to figure out what to write about. But mostly the source is stuff that happens around me on a daily basis.

Who or what is your inspiration, if you have any?

I get inspired my many things. Everything from other music to a cool picture or feeling or a sunset or a cool keyboard sound. Those things are usually what gets the creativity going. Musically my inspiration varies a lot depending on what I listen to at the moment. I have been much inspired by Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Deep Purple, Spock’s Beard and Genesis among others. But of course as always there are many other things that finds their way into the music too. Irish folk music and bluegrass is something I listen to a lot as well as pop, jazz and theatrical film music.


What is your favourite piece on the “Pathfinder” album?

I would have to say “Closer To The Sun” which is the album closer. It starts off in one way and then grows into something completely different. It’s kind of a 9 minute mini-epic in three parts. I really enjoyed writing that one and I’m very happy with the lyrics. It’s one of those songs I can listen to without feeling I could have done something different or better in any way.

What makes “Pathfinder” different?

With this album I wanted to go for a little dirtier and less slick sound than the previous ones. The songs are more rock and guitarbased and there are more analog keyboard sounds. On “The Other Side” I played most instruments myself, so this time I wanted to feature the same lineup that played live, and make it feel more like a band playing together. It’s also the first time that all the songs are completely new and written specifically for this album.

What should music lovers expect from “Pathfinder”?

They should expect big sonic soundscapes with lots of guitars and keyboards. Big pieces of music with many instrumental parts, solos and intriguing lyrics. Something that is great for sitting back with a glass of wine and just listen to. (It sounds awesome in the car too by the way.)

What kind of emotions would you like your audience to feel when they listen to your music?

I like to make people happy. Make them feel excited, relaxed, maybe inspired in some way. Kind of the same way I feel when listening to really good music!

Which do you like most, life in the studio or on tour?

I like being on tour a lot, seing new places and meet new people. But there is nothing like a great creative day in the studio. The joyful and proud feeling when you have written a new song that you are very happy with.

Pick your three favourite albums that you would take on a desert island with you.

There are so many great albums out there, but here are three that frequently turns up in my playlist: Pink Floyd – Pulse, Sting – The Soul Cages, Roxette – Crash! Boom! Bang!

Get a copy of “Pathfinder” on Bandcamp.

Make Way For Man

EP Review: Make Way For Man – Evolve & Repair

One of the most striking aspects of this debut EP from Make Way For Man is a rather majestic flow, which takes a run of six songs and turns them into something with much grander allusions. Taken at surface level you may think that there is not an awful lot of new going on, but taken as a full on narrative, a whole new world opens up.

Evolve & Repair starts with a gallop with the self-titled song which is full of rolling vistas of bass and drum rolls, and portentous riffs. Full on metal with one foot in prog and the other in djent, Make Way For Man have done their homework and know what makes each sub-genre tick. By the time the inevitable whinny of a horse leads into a clatter of hooves on second song “We Will Surely Drown,” all reservations have been cast to the wind and you will be fully on board.

Make Way For Man - Evolve & Repair

The great thing about Evolve & Repair is that the quality level not only stays the same, but actually rises up a notch and on arguably the best song here, “The Other Side of Fear,” they move on to another level as the pace slows down, but the music gets heavier. Following this with two last pieces on the record “If You’re Going Through Hell Keep Going” (instrumental) and “The End is Up to Me” serve to make an unbeatable part of the record that more than matches anything else released in 2016 so far.




Dusks Embrace

Interview with DUSKS EMBRACE

Progressive metal-oriented bands from Oregon, USA has been on the rise for me lately. One of the bands that I was recently introduced to, thanks to the PR wire, is a quartet from Salem, who are about to launch their fourth studio album “ReAwakening” later this fall.

Guitarist Josh Brewer sat down to answer my question about the new music, influences, favorite records.

You will release your new album “ReAwakening” this fall. How do you feel about the release?

This release is probably the most excited I have been about releasing an album since the first record. The process of recording a record is time consuming and takes a lot of effort when you approach it DIY. I also feel that makes it considerably more exciting when you finally get to release it. When the first record was finished it was a strong sense of accomplishment and I am feeling that way again as we are finishing this record.

How much of a challenge was to work on the album?

It was a considerable challenge to work on this record. It took a long time for me to find the right musicians to really bring this to life. In the past I have always worked in a pretty solitary fashion and I think that really showed with the music. For the majority of time writing and recording this record I lived very far away from the rest of the band. It made it important that we all spent time working on our own. I also got very adept at using the internet for online collaboration. We pretty much all mixed the record together using remote connections over the internet which gave this record a pretty unique experience.

ReAwakening by Dusks Embrace (album art)

Where does this new album stand comparing with your previous efforts?

I think this is by far the best work we have done yet. If you listen through the records there is a clear progression. Over time more keyboards were introduced as well as more varied styles. This is the first record that I feel does not have a genre I can attach to it. Part of that comes from being able to collaborate with strong musicians and part of it comes from my musical tastes diverging considerable in the past few years. I feel the world of metal, in all forms, has become a little stale and so I felt a need to move away from it. I think this is our “growing up” record.

What other artists similar to your genre that are coming from Portland are you friends with?

One of my favorite bands from our area is City. They are a progressive metal band in the vein of Opeth, Devin Townsend, etc. They have been friends of mine for a long time and just released their debut record. I also really like Ireshine. The scene here in Portland doesn’t have that many people so most of these bands are made of people we used to play live with all the time. We have a pretty tight knit scene.

What is your opinion about the current progressive metal scene?

That is a question that would be far better answered by our bassist Myke haha. I am not personally a fan of progressive metal. I feel modern production techniques have really taken away from metal. The use of sample replacement and Axe FX has really brought about a homogeny to the genre. Most releases tend to have the same feel and sound to me and so I haven’t been able to find a way into it for a few years now. But I am pretty jaded so definitely take that with a grain of salt.

Dusks Embrace

Can you tell me something about your influences?

My influences have become a bit of odd bedfellows lately. I grew up on punk records. I listened to a lot of bay area punk bands as well as a lot of bands out of NYC and the DC scenes. Minor Threat had a particular influence when I was younger. I tend to like a lot music that I feel I can hear passion in. I really like well-produced and polished records but only with certain genres. I really like a great sounding Michael Buble record but if it is more aggressive music I tend to like the grittier nature of less expensive recordings. I think the DIY ethic involved with a lot of early punk bands probably has influenced me the most. It gave every artist their own unique flair.

What are you listening to these days?

These days my listening is pretty varied. Jethro Tull, Plini, Run the Jewels, Thrice, Journey (before Steve Perry), Camel, more Michael Buble than I care to admit, Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox 20, Kendrick Lamar and The Backstreet Boys are all on pretty heavy rotation. I also love anything Motown. I listen to a lot of Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, and pretty much any great Motown compilation I can get my hands on. As far as metal goes I may throw on an old In Flames or Opeth record from time to time. I still really like Enslaved as well.

Your 5 favorite records of all the time?

The Jester Race – In Flames

Mirage – Camel

Traced in Air – Cynic

It’s Time – Michael Buble

All Hallows/The Art of Drowning – AFI (Can’t choose between the two)

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “ReAwakening”?

We did the drums with Focusrite interfaces and my UA pres. Liam had a DW kit that we recorded with. For guitars I used the Marshall head I have been using since the first record for some of the heavier stuff as well as my Egnator head for pretty much everything else. I used an old 2×12 Mitchell cab from the 70’s that weighs a ton. For bass we recorded direct with the UA pre and a Neve DI box. We used Amplitube and a few other plugins for the tone in the software. And then vocals we used an SM7B and the UA pre. I use Reaper for my DAW and then tons of software synths for all the keyboards, of which there is a lot on this record.

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

Next on the agenda is playing some shows to support this record and then beginning to write new material. I am thinking we may take a new step with the next record and try something different. I have been writing pretty dense music for a while now that has a lot of orchestration and layering. I am kind of interested in stripping things down and maybe going for something a little bit less intense. But we will see how the next year goes.

Any words for the potential new fans?

We are a band that is decided on evolution. I am not interested in any shape or form of repeating a record or even a song if at all possible. I would say that they should keep their eyes open since we will have a lot of stuff coming as a band and individually. We all have outlets where we release music, videos, art and other media and will continue to do so in addition to working on this record. Also come check out our site or various other media outlets and say hi.






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