Archive for February 2012
Veil of Maya is an American deathcore band, formed in Oak Park, Illinois in 2004. They are currently signed with Sumerian Records and have recorded and released three full-length albums, All Things Set Aside (their debut and self-produced album out on Corrosive Recordings), The Common Man’s Collapse and [id], released through the label. Their third full length album, [id], was released on April 6, 2010, and reached #107 on the Billboard 200. The band worked again with producer Michael Keene from The Faceless for this album, who previously produced The Common Man’s Collapse.
Veil of Maya’s name comes from the George William Russell poem of the same name.
It’s a statement about writing their own rules about what it means to be a contemporary metal band. It’s a statement that encompasses boundary-defying music, moods, movement, and visuals. It’s a statement that’s emblematic of their evolution. It’s a statement that’s going to impact anyone open to it.
While on the road in 2009, the first rumblings of In Waves began. Trivium vocalist and guitarist Matt Heafy had already started pondering the direction the band would take for their fifth offering. So far, they’d excelled at the standard hallmarks of the genre, and he wanted to do something new.
Each one of their albums—Ascendancy (2005), The Crusade (2006), and Shogun (2008)—garnered unanimous critical and fan acclaim. Ascendancy cemented the band’s place in the metal-verse, selling over half-a-million copies worldwide.
Shogun debuted at #23 on the Billboard Top 200 and in the top 100 in 18 other countries. All over the globe, they rose to the ranks of metal elite, sharing the stage with everyone from Iron Maiden and Slipknot and dominating festivals such as Download, Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and OZZfest. They’d done everything the way that a metal band is supposed to. However, even with all of this success, Heafy and his cohorts guitarist Corey Beaulieu, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and drummer Nick Augusto had gotten frustrated with the state of metal and yearned to break out.
“In my opinion, this album really was a response to what we’ve ever done as a band and everything we’re seeing in contemporary music,” declares Heafy. ” We want to take metal a step further. We’re not going to tell anyone what In Waves means. We want to put imagination and creativity back in the mind of the listener.”
Trivium let the music do the talking this time around. The title track and first single hinges on a pummeling polyrhythmic guitar groove that breaks into one of the band’s most infectious choruses just before a haunting guitar melody sails off into the distance. Rather than simply modifying their sound, they expanded it with elegant sonic textures and crushingly calculated chaos. The technical prowess is tempered by a melodic sensibility often unexplored by bands in this genre.
About the song, Gregoletto explains, “To me, the ‘In Waves’ riff is what anger and hopelessness I felt would sound like if emoted musically. It was the first riff I wrote after we got off the road for Shogun, and it’s inspirationally somewhere in between the technicality of Meshuggah and the straightforward groove of Sepultura, but it channels a new intensity. After that song, we weren’t afraid to push ourselves out of familiar territory anymore.”
“It was the turning point for the music,” Heafy reveals. “It’s got the simplest chorus we’ve ever had, and it meant something different to each of us. There’s minimalist spin.”
However, that simplicity breeds complexity as each song takes on a life of its own. “Inception of the End” drops from a speedy thrash air raid into an anthemic arena-filling refrain, while vocal harmonies climb alongside schizophrenic screams on “Watch the World Burn.” “Of All These Yesterdays” takes flight on a propulsive hum and an off-kilter solo. Everything culminates during “Leaving This World Behind,” which pairs a classically influenced acoustic guitar with a chilling scream and an orchestral, electronic undercurrent. “Built to Fall” shatters an off-time riff with a hyper-charged hook that sees Heafy channeling a new charisma.
The entire album moves and shifts like one fluid entity. Heafy adds, “There was a conscious effort to tie everything together. Since we pulled back on so much of the musical complexity, it was about the song and we were able to connect on a basic level. It wasn’t about trying to insert another big word in the lyrics or another solo. We weren’t worried about showing how technical or brutal we could sound. It was about making something great. When I simplified the lyrics, they were able to be translated into multiple definitions, expanding the album to a multi-purposed work of art.”
In order to paint this aural pastiche, the band retreated to Paint It Black Studios in Altamonte Springs, FL with production triumvirate Colin Richardson [Machine Head, Bullet for My Valentine], Martyn “Ginge” Ford and Carl Bown in early 2011. The band had already conceived the vision for the album over two years of writing and volleying visual concepts around, so recording allowed the band to continue to experiment. Surprisingly, Heafy didn’t turn to his iPod for inspiration though.
“On this record, my influences weren’t music,” he explains. “My influences were film and directors like David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Christopher Nolan. It was also the idea of modern art. I used to not get modern art and museums. I went to The Louvre four years ago and it got me into classical art. Then I started getting into modern art. I like modern art because it completely disregards all of the pre-set rules. Contemporary art can be anything. There is no right or wrong. That encouraged me on In Waves. We made the music we wanted to make.”
In order to keep pushing the envelope, Trivium experimented with a myriad of sounds and textures, employing everything from cardboard tubes, fire extinguishers, napkins, and out-of-tune pianos to make sounds. Working with new drummer Nick Augusto in the studio also helped facilitate the process. Beaulieu exclaims, “Nick’s a fantastic drummer, and he soaked everything up really quickly. We moved at such a fast pace together and we were able to accomplish a lot more in a short amount of time. It was a very creative, fast-moving, and enjoyable experience. Having that positive environment with Nick made it a lot more fun and it made the songs better.”
However, the songs will ultimately continue to get better as their vision comes into clearer focus. Heafy sums it up best. “If a CD is like the soundtrack to a movie, In Waves is the entire film. It’s everything. It’s the soundtrack, the visuals, and the packaging. It’s a full-on visual experience rather than being the standard format. The whole purpose of art is to inspire creativity and other art. No one made the album we wanted to hear yet so we made it ourselves. It’s time to take metal to another place and bring in new people.”
In Flames was formed by Jesper Strömblad back in 1990. The band as it was at the time consisted of Jesper, Johan Larsson and Glenn Ljungström. A demo was recorded and soon after the band got a record deal and released “Lunar Strain” and it did not take long before the album was a classic in the fast growing Scandinavian death metal scene.
With a new line up consisting of Jesper, Johan & Glenn along with two new additions: Anders Fridén on vocals and Björn Gelotte on drums, In Flames signed a license deal with Nuclear Blast Records and soon started recording the follow up: “The Jester Race”.
“The Jester Race” quickly became a big hit all across Europe and Japan.
After the recording of “Whoracle” in 1997 Johan and Glenn decided to leave the band and Peter Iwers (bass) joined. Niclas Engelin (Gardenian, Engel) was temporarily in the band filling in on guitars. With a fresh line up the band set sails and headed out on tour. Short after a very successful European tour Niclas had to focus on his other projects, and Björn switched from drums to guitar and Daniel Svensson joined the band, and this is the In Flames as we know it today. With the completion of the line up “Colony” was recorded and released in 1999.
“Colony” took In Flames to a new level and the band sold out venues across Europe, USA and Japan and quickly became one of the biggest and most popular Melodic Death Metal acts around.
“Clayman” which was released in 2000 even topped its predecessor and the awards started pouring in and the band kept growing in popularity. In 2001 “The Tokyo Showdown”, In Flames first live album was released, and gave the public and insight to the band’s live competence.
Modern and more mature “Reroute To Remain” (2002) again confirmed the status of In Flames and marked another milestone in their career. Two years later and it was time to take In Flames to a new level. “Soundtrack To Your Escape” did just that and was the logical continuation after “Reroute To Remain”.
In Flames continued to tour the world and documented these escapades, which resulted in the release of the phenomenal DVD/CD package “Used And Abused – In Live We Trust” in 2005. With an incredibly successful world tour behind them, In Flames recorded the masterpiece “Come Clarity” which was released in March 2006. The song “Take This Life” from the album is featured on the “Guitar Hero III” game. A game which has been deemed the bestselling video game of all times.
In September 2007 In Flames entered IF STUDIOS, in Gothenburg, Sweden, to record A Sense Of Purpose. The album was Recorded and produced by the band together with Daniel Bergstrand (vocals) and Roberto Laghi (Bass, guitar & drums) and mixed by Toby Wright in LA (Metallica, Slayer, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Motley Crue etc) and mastered by Stephen Marcussen at Marcussen mastering studios in LA. In April 2008 A Sense Of Purpose entered charts all over the world incl # 1 in Sweden and the band’s highest ever entry on the American Billboard top 200 with an amazing #28. In Canada In Flames achieved the very same thing with a #7 on the Canadian Billboard top 200. “A Sense Of Purpose” was at the time of release the 7th most sold album in the whole of Europe!
2008 was spent touring, starting with a main support slot to Megadeth in North America, followed by breaking the attendance record at the famous Swedish Gröna Lund with 15.500 people in the audience. NO other Swedish artist has ever had that many people at a single show there. Moving on to 18 European summer festivals, in front of a total of 300 000 people. After that the band finished what became In Flames biggest ever European headline tour at the time attended by over 60 000 people ending with 4 completely sold out Swedish shows attracting 13 000 people. 2008 ended in style with the most successful North American Headline tour to date for the band.
2009 started off with IN FLAMES performing live at the Swedish Grammi Awards, the most prestigious of all Swedish awards. The band also won a Grammi for best metal band.
Award #2 for 2009 – P3 Gold award (Swedish National radio) for best Rock/Metal Other awards won to reflect on the amazing 2008 and the greatness of IN FLAMES are:
P4 Dist Award
P3 Rock – Album of the year
Swedish Metal Awards – Best Death metal Band
Swedish Metal Awards – Best Video (Alias)
Bandit Rock Awards – Best Swedish Band
Bandit Rock Awards – Best Swedish Album
Bandit Rock Awards – Best Swedish Live Band
Metal Hammer Awards – Golden God Award – Best International Act.
Russian Ramp Award – Best International Band
2009 continued where 2008 left off, with heavy touring: South America, Australia, Japan, Eastern Europe.
On May 21st 2009 “Disconnected” was released on Guitar Hero World Tour as a downloadable track. This is the second In Flames track featured on Guitar Hero. In Flames have previously been featured on Guitar Hero III – Legends Of Rock
The summer of 2009 saw In Flames conquer some of the biggest European festivals leading right into the third Canada/USA tour on this album (2nd Headline tour).
2009 ended in style with the hugely successful Rockstar Taste Of Chaos Tour, which the band headlined. In Sweden the band played their biggest ever headline gigs so far in their career. Over three shows more than 19 000 people attended and established In Flames as one of the biggest bands in Sweden, all categories.
In the beginning of 2010 the band took some well-deserved time off. Only three shows played over the summer. One of them was Metal Town in Gothenburg where over 25 000 people saw one of the biggest productions in the band’s career. It was well liked. In fact when all 50 000 feet jumped the pier on which the festival is set was set in motion and in its turn it set off the “earthquake alarm” to the nearby bridge because it was moving too much. Now THAT’S a crowd!
In September 2010 In Flames once again entered their own IF Studios together with Roberto Laghi, Daniel Bergstrand and Örjan Örnkloo to start the recording of the new album. The album “Sounds Of A Playground Fading” is planned for release sometime in the first half of 2011.
Tours, shows and festivals for 2011 has already been booked and confirmed.
This is how the first half of 2011 looks like:
June 2010 3 – Rock Im Park – Germany
4 – Rock Am Ring – Germany
11 – Sonisphere Festival – Czech Republic
13 – Nova Rock festival – Austriav 17 – Hellfest – France
19 – Sonisphere Festival – Turkey
24 – Sonisphere Festival – Switzerland
July 2 – Sonisphere Festival – Finland
7 – Norway Rock Festival – Finland
9 – Sonisphere Festival – Sweden
10 – Sonisphere Festival – UK
July 12th – August 14th – Rockstar Mayhem Tour 2011
In 2010 founding member Jesper Strömblad left the band. Jesper who before officially leaving the band took some time off touring and was at the time replaced live by Niclas Engeling (the same Niclas who was temporarily in the band back in 1997). Now it’s 2011 and Niclas has become a full member of In Flames.