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Today I am proud to bring you a review of the Killswitch Engage concert I attended at the Hawthorne Theater. I am really excited because this is our first guest review! Dylan DePriest kindly asked me along to the show and even more kindly agreed to write up the review! Oh, and when he talks about “the Reverend” that’s me and here’s why (<–follow link).


Killswitch Engage

Killswitch Engage concert review
28 November 2012
Portland, OR
It was a typical cold Wednesday night in Portland. For many it was the milestone marking the middle of the work week, but for metalheads it was the night that Acaro, Shadows Fall, and Killswitch Engage were performing in our great city. This show’s placement in the middle of the work week refined the crowd from people finding something to do on their day off to people who would risk their sleep schedules to see three amazing bands.
I’ve always found that waiting in line outside of the venue is a great start to a show because you get to hear what people say about the bands. The Reverend and I stood right next to someone who was less than affectionate for Shadows Fall; we noted this because her choice to use derogatory terms in her description of the band rather than her choosing to use a more logical and fact-based argument that other people would use. (editor’s note: she called Brian Fair, Shadows Fall’s lead singer “gay” and she didn’t mean he was homosexual, so clearly she is font of taste and discernment, or you know someone who needs to be made aware that is not cool) This conversation continued until we had finally passed Hawthorne Theatre’s security.
Acaro were the opening act for the night and they sounded great and performed great as well. Unfortunately the crowd was pretty weak at this point in the show because that the place wasn’t full and people weren’t warmed up yet. Two guys along with the Reverend and I were the only ones moshing which was fun, but it wasn’t super intense in terms of overall crowd intensity. Acaro’s set was great in terms of performance, but they only played about half an hour.
By the time Shadows Fall came on, the crowd had filled in significantly which brought along the 300 lb. moshers, which pretty much ruled my participation out. Shadows Fall were amazing performers, excelling significantly in their manipulation of the stage lighting and their ability to excite the crowd. Also, Brian Fair’s dreads were a great addition in terms of the visual aspect of the set. The crowd was great as well, people had started to stagedive and be more involved in the metal experience. (editor’s note: DD did plenty of stagediving his own self)
After two great acts, Killswitch Engage performed and did a damn good job of it too. Killswitch Engage started with some Howard Jones-era songs, which was really quite great to experience since Jesse Leach is the band’s vocalist again. The band then performed their entire “Alive or Just Breathing” record. I’ve listened to that record many times from start to finish and it never gets old, so having the live experience was absolutely amazing and, based upon the way the crowd acted, they felt largely the same too. After performing the entire record, Killswitch ended with two more Howard Jones-era songs, ultimately bringing their set to around two hours in length.
This concert was one of the greatest shows I have ever been to. After the opening, the crowd was intense, responsive, and fully engaged in the metal experience. While the show was at a small venue, which is a complaint from many people but not from me, the show was amazing and the music was loud. All three of these bands were great performers and even though I wasn’t completely familiar with all of the songs by the first two bands, they made an environment that was great for new fans and diehards alike. This will be a show that I will remember for many years to come.


I can’t thank Dylan enough for inviting me along and for writing this review.

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Last night I got to see Ion Storm‘s inaugural show! They were amazing from the first song to the last. For those unaware I interviewed  them here. Go get acquainted with them and then come right back. It’s OK. I’ll wait.

Everything I’ve heard from them so far has impressed me, but those were only recordings. One really must see them live to get the full impact. First, amazing guitar tone and a pretty tight outfit. I know these guys practice up to 12 hours at a go and it shows. Their current bass player is a recent addition and it showed a bit, but overall he brought the low end. Drummer Tim was solid, fast, and interesting. I thought there was a moment when he was losing the beat, but it was just a part of a tempo change that was written into the song. Grady and Chris had some great harmonized riffage going on that seemed to focus around 4ths and it sounded great. My main complaint was the vocal levels. This show was at the Red Room and their vocals always seem low, but Grady represented growl well.

Oh, did I mention they have a Minotaur? His name is Drew. Look at him.

Do you have a Minotaur? No, you do not. I played bullfighter with Drew for a bit. It was good times.

This band has a lot to offer and brought the heat, which leads me to the title of this post. Look up there ↑ and read it again. At most there were three people up off their butts rocking out, including me and Drew. I wish that this was the exception rather than the rule. I know people want to blame smart phones etc, but it’s not that. In my estimation it’s our self reflective, self conscious society. To put it another way: we are afraid of having fun and looking like fools(Well, not me clearly. I played bullfighter with a Minotaur). It needs to stop now. Do it for yourself. Get up!! Dance! Bang your head!! Visibly enjoy yourself!!!

But also do it for that band up there on the stage or the one on the floor where the pool tables had to be moved to make room. They don’t spend 12 hours at a go writing and rehearsing so you can sit there drinking your PBR and golf clapping after every song. And I can guarantee you they didn’t do it for the money, because bands rarely get paid much if anything just starting out. This is a two way street. They are there for you and you need to be there for them.

Some pics from the show:

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Forget about subgenres. Put your preconceptions aside and just accept. This is heavy metal, my friends. Ion Storm is steeped in myths and lore of its own creation standing on the shoulders of giants. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ion Storm!


Could each of you give me a little on your musical background and how you joined Ion Storm?

Chris “Killgrinder” NewmanI formed it. As far as background I come from the school of “Crank the amp/Hit strings and raise hell!” Thats all I’ve ever done, I hate click tracks and theory and even giving a shit about what the bpm(beats per minute) is and it’s allways been like that for me.

Grady: I haven’t had any musical training at all really. I just ended up getting a guitar for my birthday one year and I started teaching myself songs from bands that I was into. The first band I was in was “Mirus Malum” which is a project that me, Tim, and our friend Drew originally started. If you like middle eastern scales and Egyptian themes in metal then you should like it. The way I ended up joining Ion Storm was a strange process. To shorten it up, Ion Storm’s old drummer knew my grandma and was shown a homemade music video me and my friend made which led to her recommending me to Chris.

How did Ion Storm start?

Tim “Bullet” Martin: If I told you, I would have to kill you.

“Killgrinder”: “Ion Storm” started as “Kill” when i was around 13, After years of writing down ideas and riffs in my bed room, i looked at the towering pile of notebooks and cassettes and said “OK its time to do something with all this.” I spent two months puzzle-piecing it all together and came out with 100 songs. Picked out 20 to fill a “Debut” record and then picked 10 of those to fill an hour live set.

Spent months whoring for a practice space. After that was done I put out an ad to bring in other musicians. Spent 4 months practicing/hiring and firing till getting our current lineup together which is pretty solid and we all have the same sense of humor which is a plus \m/.

Grady: Chris. Simple as that. haha

Do you have an overall philosophy for the band and if so what is it?

“Killgrinder”: Yeah, We don’t and will not ever write about “Real” life. We write our own myths and stories 100% of the time. You will never hear us crying about an ex girlfriend or politics in our music…..Ever!

“Bullet”: We definitely have our own personal philosophical perspectives on things, and I think it all comes together to make a pretty great and unique sound once we can focus it into one cohesive musical presence. We’re all pretty creative guys.

Grady: Our philosophy involves the belief that every emo should be killed with fire.

What is the song writing process?

“Killgrinder”: Well  so far all the music is mine. Tim and I write the lyrics and Grady helps with arrangements and vocal melodies.

“Bullet”After 30 minutes of jamming: “Ah dude that was fuckin great! How did it go? I don’t know! Did anyone record that? No. SHIT!”

Grady: It’s a pretty standard process. It begins with us lighting candles and making a pentagram in the center of the room. We then chant sacred unholy phrases in latin as a means to appease the Metal Gods. After that the possessions occur and we channel the dark energy into what you perceive as music.

“Bullet”-drums, Grady-vocals, “Killrinder”-guitars

What’s the story behind the name of the band?

“Killgrinder”: I had a lawyer write to me to change the name of the band and the same day I was watching star trek and they were on this planet and a giant storm came and destroyed everything and somebody yelled “It’s an Ion Storm!” It was a no brainer.  hahaha!

“Bullet” The name literally means “eternal storm” if you go back to the original greek. It represents the sound we are going for well I think.

How would you describe your sound?

“Killgrinder”: Its a 50/50 mix of 70’s stoner doom and 80’s thrash with modern Viking/Thrash vocals and myth based lyrics. I call it “sci-fi metal,” Tim calls it “Myth Metal” \m/.

“Bullet”: I could give a long creative description involving way too many adjectives here, but instead I will just say that its aggressive, melodic, dark, and you should listen to it to find out for yourself!

Grady: It sounds like the beautiful screams of agony that would be echoing from a planet being devoured by an ion storm.

What song of yours best represents what Ion Storm is about? 

“Killgrinder”: “The Craft” Covers it all. It has doom parts, thrash parts, really dark lyrics and it’s super heavy and catchy.

“Bullet”We are all about making good music that you can really feel, bang your head, and beat the crap our of your friends to. “God VS Minotaur” is a pretty good representation of what we are about.

Grady: Not sure what song best fits Chris’ vision of Ion Storm but my favorite so far is probably “Rise ov the Centaur”

Any plans for live shows? If so, why should people come see you live?

“Killgrinder”: October 2012!, I have all the gear ready and a backdrop in the mail. We have a few offers lingering and really it’s just crunch time to practice, practice, practice!

“Bullet”We absolutely have plans for live shows. People should come to our shows because we will rock the hell out of them, and possibly initiate the Apocalypse.

Grady: Yes. We have some stuff lined up in October. If you like whiplash and blown out eardrums then you’ll love us.

Any plans to record?

“Killgrinder”: Yes. We start tracking drums early October with a producer and then I will be recording all the bass and guitars except for a few solo sections, Grady has to keep it tight. Then late October I will be producing Grady’s vocals.

General plans for the future?

“Killgrinder”:  We are going to do a few local gigs to warm up and then start on the California and Seattle markets.

“Bullet”Write music, play the hell out of our setlist locally, hopefully go on tour before long.

Grady: Fuck shit up.

What is your favorite robot?

“Killgrinder”: ROBOCOP!

“Bullet”The Terminator. I guess that’s a cyborg, but he’s mostly a machine so that counts.

Grady: Quickstrike from Beast Wars.


Thank you so much Ion Storm. And, dear reader, here is a little teaser of what they sound like. No vocals, but you can get a feel for the music and lyrics.

Follow Ion Storm: https://www.facebook.com/IonStormOfficial
Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/IonStormOfficial/

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I’m sad to say I don’t remember these guys, but you can bet I’m going to see this movie. It’s in theaters right now. More info here: http://www.anvilmovie.com/

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Why 7? Because this is filler. Plus, haven’t lists rounded to the nearest 5 or 10 been overdone? In the meantime, if you want a top 10 list, post a comment with 3 more movies to round this list out and you will get my eternal gratitude and a cookie!

Dig!

Wonderful movie about the mutual admiration of The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre and how it all goes wrong, for one band. Best line in a movie EVER, “You fucking broke my sitar, mother fucker!”

The Flaming Lips: Fearless Freaks

Made me really appreciate what they’e about by learning more about their process. It’s all about the process.

Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster

Band loses bass player, band finds bass player, band loses bass player, band loses singer, singer comes back, band finds bass player, and Bob Rock is adorable. I should know. I watch this movie 40 times a year.

Les Paul: Chasing Sound

Just amazing. See why every recording artist, regardless of genre, owes this man just about everything.

Shut Up & Sing

Or Why Country Music Fans Hate America No Matter How Patriotic They Sound. In all seriousness this is a must see. The Dixie Chicks kick ass.

History of Rock ‘N’ Roll

Want to learn how every major genre of rock music started and be entertained? No? Oh. Well watch this anyway.

LoudQUIETloud: A Film About The Pixies

Find out that indie cred doesn’t make you cool in real life. Oh, and Frank Black’s man boobs!

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Or even heard of, until this post. Psychotic Waltz was one of the best progressive metal bands of the 80s and 90s. The band formed in San Diego in 1986. Originally they had gone under the name of Aslan, yes that Aslan, but had to change their name as there was already an Aslan, and that Aslan was punk. Hmmm, punk….Aslan, hmmmm. The name Psychotic Waltz came from a song of theirs by the same name which features a wonderful rant from a band members crazy relative. The rumor is they actually went to visit him at a mental health facility and asked him to expound on the term psychotic waltz. Anyway, Psychotic Waltz had an amazing sound. They were not afraid to push the limits, at least not in the beginning, but more on that later.

The original lineup Was as follows: Buddy Lackey-vocals; Dan Rock-guitar; Brian McAlpin-guitar; Norm Leggio-drums; Ward Evans-Bass. This was, in my opinion the best and only real PW lineup. Leggio and Evans had a wonderful rhythm section interplay were sometimes they were synchronized and sometimes offset. The guitar team of McAlpin and Rock was unbelievable. Amazing, intricate rhythms and soaring, blistering, emotional harmonized leads.

PW’s debut album A Social Grace is a wonderful mix of everything the band had to offer. You get the Ballad I Remember and the creepy sounding Spiral Tower. Lyrically Lackey has always worn his influences on his sleeve. From the name of the album (nod to Jethro Tull) to track 3 Another Prophet Song (Nod to Queen).Psychotic Waltz peaked rather early artistically and it is my opinion that their second effort, 1992’s Into the Everflow is the best PW album. The opening is ethereal and engaging and fades right on into a full blown mental and emotional experience that carries the listener on through to the last track Butterfly in which Lackey gives lyrical nods to almost everyone whoever influenced him musically.

The following two albums, Mosquito and Bleeding, are solid efforts and would be impressive from any other progressive metal or rock band. As follow ups to Into the Everflow, however, they fall a little flat. By the time of Mosquito Psychotic Waltz had seen their chance for major success come and go and slightly watered down their approach to be more accessible and yes, they were kind of selling out. Even with this Mosquito and Bleeding are enjoyable and PW does stretch itself a little with the psychedelic regae number Mindsong.

Ward Evans left the band prior to Mosquito and Brian McAlpin had to leave prior to the tour in support of Bleeding. PW also faced legal matters due to a blinded crew member on the video shoot for Faded. Pile all of this on top of increasingly disparate musical tastes and you get the end of Psychotic Waltz by 1996. Buddy Lackey had released a solo album around the time of Into the Everflow and continues to make music to this day, though now under the moniker of Devon Graves with his band Dead Soul Tribe, a rock/metal act and lives in Austria (Yes PW WAS huge in Germany). Dan Rock had the band Darkstar for awhile which served up progressive instrumental rock. Norm Leggio appears to be in the heavy metal band Cage, but I was unable to find more info on Ward Evans or Brian McAlpin. Whatever they are doing now, for a short time, the members of Psychotic Waltz made some of the best progressive metal around and inspired me personally to push myself musically.

I was lucky enough to see Psychotic Waltz live many times and even briefly took vocal lessons from Buddy Lackey. You can actually find them and the various side and post projects on Amazon.com. I highly recommend them for any metal, progressive, or rock fans.

Video for Faded


 

 

 

 

Psychotic Waltz (Demo) (1988)
1. …And the Dev
il Cried
2. Sucessor
3. Halo of Thorns
4. I of the Storm

 
 

 

 
 

 

 

A Social Grace (1990)
1. …And the Devil Cried
2. Halo of Thorns
3. Another Prophet’s Song
4. Sucessor
5. In this Place
6. I Remember
7. Sleeping Dogs
8. I of the Storm
9. A Psychotic Waltz
10. Only in a Dream
11. Spiral Tower
12. Strange
13. Nothing


 

 

 
 

 

 
Into the Everflow (1992)
1. Ashes
2. Out of Mind
3. Tiny Streams
4. Into the Everflow
5. Little People
6. Hanging on a String
7. Freakshow
8. Butterfly
9. Disturbing the Priest (Bonus Track)


 
 

 

 

 

 
Mosquito (1994)
1. Mosquito
2. Lovestone Blind
3. Haze One
4. Shattered Sky
5. Cold
6. All the Voices
7. Dancing in the Ashes
8. Only Time
9. Locked Down
10. Mindsong
(Hidden Track: Darkness)

 
 

 

 
 

 

 

Bleeding (1996)
1. Faded
2. Locust
3. Morbid
4. Bleeding
5. Need
6. Drift
7. Northern Lights
8. Sleep
9. My Grave
10. Skeleton
11. Freedom?

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