An Interview With KILL RITUAL’s David Reed Watson & Steven Rice

I love an underdog, especially one of the metallic kind. Perhaps you may be asking yourself what do I mean by that exactly? Well, I’m about to tell you and in this case, the underdog story begins back in 2010 when former members of Imagika, Dark Angel and Eldritch formed Kill Ritual. The band was one that took its traditional Heavy Metal influences and then blended and molded them into a very powerful, modernized machine. The music of Kill Ritual has always been very guitar-oriented and that’s surely due to the presence of axe-slinger Steven Rice. He has been the one singular, constant presence in the band since the very beginning. In 2012 Kill Ritual issued their debut album The Serpentine Ritual (Scarlet Records) to much critical acclaim and positive acceptance. That was followed by the 2014 effort The Eyes Of Medusa (Golden Core/ZYX) which one again garnered the band increased attention and accolades.

In 2015, changes came to the Kill Ritual camp, the inevitable types that usually become most bands at some point or another. So enter vocalist David Reed Watson (Rage Of Angels, Electric Messiah, D.N.A.) who brought his wide spectrum of emotion-infused banshee vocals to the band. Watson and Rice became the heart and soul of Kill Ritual that fueled the phenomenal 2015 album Karma Machine, an album produced by Steve and mixed/mastered by the legendary Andy LaRocque (King Diamond). The album propelled the band’s status further into the metallic community where increased awareness of Kill Ritual‘s awesomeness grew exponentially with all the right people. That brings us up to now, May of 2017 where incredible things are happening with Kill Ritual yet again. First off is they have a new album in the can titled ‘All Man Shall Fall‘, details of it will be forthcoming soon but you can read my review of it now here. The second bit of news, and it is nothing minor or of any small feat itself, is Kill Ritual are preparing to head to Europe for a tour. But this is not just any European tour as the band will be providing direct support to the lethal duo of Raven and Hirax across the Old Country. The trek launches on June 7th and the guys are in need of some financial assistance so they’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign that you can donate to at this location.

So, now that we’re all caught up, let’s get to the business at hand, shall we? Of course that business is Kill Ritual vocalist David Reed Watson and guitarist Steve Rice and trust me, business is good! The pair have just wrapped up recording the incredible ‘All Men Shall Fall‘, Kill Ritual‘s fourth studio full-length. That alone would be excitement a’plenty for any band, and of course it is with them, but they’ve also just amassed an incredible touring line up for Kill Ritual to ravage Europe with little over a week from now. Being a big fan of the band’s right from the start, I went full-tilt over their last outing, Karma Machine, and now the new record too. Therefore it was a no-brainer to drop a line and get the guys on the wire for some conversation. The following is that conversation, The Taste Nation LLC Interview With Kill Ritual’s David Reed Watson And Steven Rice!

David Reed Watson (L) & Steve Rice (R)
David Reed Watson (L) & Steve Rice (R)

Pat Riot – Let’s start with current events: Kill Ritual are on the verge of releasing your fourth studio album, ‘All Men Shall Fall’. What can longtime fans of the band expect with this latest album? And what about the average music fan that’s never heard Kill Ritual before?

David – Our last album, Karma Machine, was an introduction to me and my style of singing. By no means am I a thrash singer, and Steve knew this but he had faith in me, which I appreciate. It’s nice working with somebody that lets me just go for it. Anyway, I consider myself more along the lines of Jon Bush from Armored Saint or Joey Belladonna from Anthrax. We’re more Hard Rock/Metal Singers. Mixing my voice with Steve’s thrash roots for the last album (Karma Machine) was a true test to what we could create. Some of the hardcore fans, the ones that went back to Steve’s Imagika days didn’t know how to take me (laughs). Seriously, it was a big change from the last singer, who had done The Serpentine Ritual and The Eyes of Medusa. This next album, All Men Shall Fall, was written for me, for my voice. Steve got an idea of what I could do vocally and put the music around me.

The writing process this time around was much smoother and I got to do what I do instead of trying to form myself into what the old singer had done. We are two different animals… and to answer your question about the fans again — some didn’t like it, but WAY more did than didn’t. I think with this next album we’re going to hit a much broader audience while still maintaining a good amount of the San Francisco Thrash roots.

Pat Riot – What was the recording line-up of the band for the new record? Please share a little of the songwriting process of Kill Ritual with us…who does what? Assuming you’re the main lyricist, where do you find lyrical inspiration?

David –  This time around we kept it simple. Matt Thompson did all of the drums. Matt, as you well know, is the drummer for King Diamond. Everything he sent to us fit incredibly well to what Steve had written. And, like the last record, Steve did all of the music; Keyboards, Bass, and Guitars, AND he even wrote the lyrics to one of the songs, Dead Man On The Water.

As far as inspiration for lyrics… let’s just say, there is a LOT to write about today. When Steve and I started All Men Shall Fall, we based it on Man’s shortcomings, be it, sex, drugs, politics, religion or spirituality, etc… I tried to touch on as many of these subjects as I could. It might piss off a few people with some of the subject matter, and if it does, good. It gets them thinking. Anything I write I try to get people to think. I’ve never been the boy loves girl, girl loves boy, type of writer. I’ll leave that to Bon Jovi (laughs). I laugh, but in fact the last song on the album [‘Kage‘] I wrote for my Fiancé, Taylor… so I retract that statement (smiles).



Pat Riot – Speaking of inspiration, who are some of your biggest… who would you cite as being your own influences? How did you get started upon the path as a musician (i.e. specific event, album, etc. that opened to door for you so to speak)? Are you a “self-taught” vocalist or no?

David – How long do we have (laughing)? I’ve had a lot of influences in my life. My Dad was a Banjo player and a singer in a band called the Tikis. They toured around New England a bit… record deal, etc. so I guess that is pretty much where it started. Probably my first influences, other than family, would have been, Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Ian Gillian (Deep Purple) and David Bowie… that was until I saw Ronnie James Dio live with Black Sabbath. That blew me away, I was like, sign me up! I am basically a self-taught singer, although I did sing in the choir, theater… stuff like that. So I got to see other people’s techniques and pick up on them.

Steven – For me, it started with Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road. First album I ever bought and what a great choice. Brilliant stuff. Then it was Kiss, Cheap Trick, Steve Miller and got heavier with Rainbow and UFO. Thin Lizzy was a big influence. But as soon as I heard Priest live as I was at a UFO concert and they opened I was completely hooked and they’re still my favorite Metal band.  Two big albums that blew my mind were Priest’s Unleashed In The East and Maiden’s Killers. I was done for after that!

Pat Riot – Each of you mentioned my favorites there too as Ronnie James Dio is/was my favorite vocalist of all time, ever and Judas Priest are my favorite classic metal band as well. Nice!

You (David) joined Kill Ritual prior to the 3rd album ‘Karma Machine’ being recorded…how did you land the gig? Were there any challenges in performing the earlier material in any way? What do you feel that you brought to the table by joining the band (feel free to brag, LOL)?

David – You’re asking a singer to brag (laughs)? Ok, the 3rd album, Karma Machine, was already done, in the can and ready to go out the door when the singer quit. Steve literally deleted all of his vocals then sent me the album. To this day I have no clue what he wrote about, how it sounded… nothing. I commend Steve for doing that because I’ve been down this path before. It’s very hard to write new lyrics and melodies after hearing what somebody else had written. I was fortunate enough never to hear a word. Now, Steve, that’s another story. He got the material back with me singing and I’ll have to let him explain how he wrapped his head around that… I know I would have had a hard time. So to answer your question… there wasn’t a challenge because I never heard anything. Everything you hear on Karma Machine now is me. My lyrics, my melody lines, everything. I remember sitting down with Taylor, listening to it, looking at her, looking back at the music and going. Huh. I think this can work. I like to believe that I took a thrash band to the next level, into more of a progressive metal band. I’ll never knock the old singer… he did what he did, and he did it well, I might add… and I do what I do, hopefully as well. I guess that’s for the fans to decide.

Steven – Like Dave mentioned…I just had to let it go and move forward. I’ve been there and done that many times through the years with singers, etc., so I can get past it pretty quick. It was time for a fresh start and direction so it was great the way it all came together. I’d like to also mention that even though we get associated with Thrash, Kill Ritual isn’t really a Thrash band. To me, it’s just Classic Metal with some Thrash elements. I never want to be pigeonholed into one style of music or metal sub-genre, so Kill Ritual will always bring elements of whatever we feel like bringing in.



Pat Riot – I know Kill Ritual are headed to Europe soon on an amazing tour with Raven & Hirax… how excited about this trek are you all? How exactly did this opportunity come about?

David –  I’m very excited! I’ve been to Europe quite a few times but never with a band on tour. I’m a virgin! After our last tour here in the US; 7000 miles, 30 days and 28 shows, this will be a breeze! Some of these places in Europe I’ve never been to so I’m excited to meet the fans and see their beautiful cities.

Pat Riot – Kill Ritual sure has amassed an amazing ensemble of players for the European Tour…how was each selected or decided upon for this upcoming run?

Steven – The guys brought in for the tour are people that I’ve toured with or been in bands with or have known awhile. Jim Pegram from Mudface / Angerhead, Chris Lotesto from Ion Vein, and Dave Chedrick from Ruthless / Ed Force One. It’s always a challenge rounding up guys that want to do these type of things and are willing to make the effort to tour. So it’s been a good turn of events that it’s all worked out and we can pull off the tour with this lineup. Will these guys be here for the long run? I don’t really know, but we’ll keep moving straight ahead and hope for the best.


Pat Riot – Kill Ritual albums always have such fantastic images/artwork…how involved is the band in bringing those images about (i.e. Is there an idea or rough outline presented to the artist or is it entirely up to them, etc.)?

David – You can attribute that to a long time Kill Ritual confidant, Jobert Mello. Steve’s been using this guy for years.

Steven – Yeah, he was recommended by my friend Chris Boltendahl, who sings for Grave Digger.

Pat Riot – In the current, ever-changing music environment… what are, or has been, some of the biggest challenges / obstacles for you all as a band?

David –  It’s tough for ANY band, even the successful ones. I’ve got some close friends that have been in major Rock Bands with HUGE budgets through their labels. The challenge for them back then was not blowing all of their cash, pay back the labels and hopefully have something left over. We don’t have that today. Today there is no money up front. You take it out of your own pocket and hope for a good return.

So, I’ll speak for myself here. Money! It’s tough telling your boss that you’re taking off on tour for a couple weeks to a month and having them hang onto your job. I ran into this problem back in 2013 when I was heading to Europe with Rage of Angels. My boss just couldn’t afford to hold my job for me. It was a tough decision and one that a lot of musicians have to face. Do I stick with my day job or do I follow my dream? Well, suffice to say, I’ve got support from Taylor… but it’s a struggle. By the way… Rage Of Angels decided after I left my job that they couldn’t afford to have me come over because a major venue fell through. That was tough because I had a lot of people supporting me through a GoFundMe. I felt foolish telling them that it was canceled.

All in all, the best thing I can say about today, being in a band, is this…  it weeds out the ones that just want to become ‘Rock Stars’. You’ve got to love what you do or you’re in the wrong business. If you want that Million Dollar contract… well, those are few and far between.

Pat Riot – What type of non-musical things do you both enjoy doing in your personal life (hobbies, passions, etc.)?

David – I’m an avid Cyclist and have been for years. I used to race Mt. Bikes, now it’s predominantly my road bike (Blue RC-6). I’m also an energy worker… a Reiki Master. I’ve been doing energy work on people for several years now. I used to be a life coach as well! I think that is why I love writing. I want people to know that they matter. Too many people today don’t think they matter. They delve into drugs, alcohol or other addictions. I live in Sin City… If you’ve got an addiction, this is not the place to be.

Steven – For me, it’s cooking. I love to eat so I better be able to cook!

Pat Riot – What are your own expectations with the upcoming album release, EU. tour, etc.? Are there any other Kill Ritual-related items on the horizon we should know about?

David – I’m excited to release it. We’ve got a buzz around us at the moment and we’re seeing the momentum pick up. I think people are actually taking us seriously now. After this tour we’ll be working on some other tours this year which Steve can elaborate on. We’ve also got a video in the works for one of the songs. Shit… Steve’s already got the next album written for me to start working on, so I’ll be tackling that soon enough.

My hope is that we can get a solid crew together and not have it just be Steve and I. I like collaborating as a complete band. That’s my personal feeling. But if it ends up just being us…so be it. We’re writing great stuff.

Steven – Yeah, unfortunately for Dave I write all the time and have already put together a good 8-9 songs for the future. No rest for the wicked and since we have our own fairly decent studio to use at home why not. Better then bowling and trying to fuck the bartender! HA!

Pat Riot –  I have a tradition of ending interviews with an open floor… feel free to say, share, rant, etc. about anything you’d like:

David – Support local music! Buy CDs! Buy shirts! Go to concerts! We are not self-sustaining entities with money falling out of our pockets. I think a big misconception of being in a band, of being a musician, is that someday we’ll grow up and get a REAL job. I’ve HAD a real job. I did what I was told to do by society and I was fucking miserable. Seriously… if you’re an accountant and you love accounting… then by all means, follow your passion. But, if you hate it and you do it until your dying day… are you going to say, “I wish I would have (fill in the blank)” or are you going to say, “Fuck! That was one hell of a ride!” (Mic drop)

Put me down for the latter life option, please! But in all seriousness, David is absolutely on point with his comment there and no one can make you happy but yourself. Life truly is what you make it and we each determine our own destinies, I fully believe that. Both David and Steven seem clearly in tune with their own passions as well as they prepare to undertake the next incredible series of events in the Kill Ritual legacy. The imminent release of their new album ‘All Men Shall Fall‘ is coming soon and even sooner than it, Kill Ritual will deliver their metallic goods to the masses of Europe starting next week. Can things possibly get any better at this time?

I want to thank my guests David Reed Watson and Steven Rice of the magnificently kick-ass heavy metal machine that is Kill Ritual! They’re part of a band that more than deserves your attention and support and I urge you to accept that challenge immediately.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

KR EU Tour

Matt Chanway “Self Titled” – Album Review & Stream…

Matt Chanway

Self Titled – DD only 

Self Released:  December 25, 2016

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

For some people listening to Instrumental musicians can be difficult. After all most stories are told with words or pictures. Trying to convey a story through music alone alone is no easy feat. It seems to me Matt Chanway of the Canadian black metal band Assimilation was up for the challenge when he wrote his “Self Titled” debut album.  This solo project sounds like an army of musicians when it’s Matt pulling out all the stops.  Layers and Layers of wicked hooks and riffs that have a purpose and sense of direction that many instrumental musicians / bands often times lack.  Not the case with Matt Chanway!!



From beginning to end Matt plays at a furious pace taking the listener on a unearthly ride through the Wyrd. With soaring and diving guitar leads, technical leads, its easy to get lost in this album. But that’s okay I love to get lost in music. Listeners of his past work with band Assimilation will get to hear Matt unchained from the conventions of black metal.

‘Evidence of the Arcane’ is the first track on Matt’s debut album and seems aptly named. Exploding in my head like an epiphany the album’s 5 other tracks: ‘The Receiver of Wisdom’, ‘Harbinger 2.1’, ‘271114’,  ‘Eyes in the Sky’, and  ‘Lucidity’ all felt like chapters in a tale of Metal discovery to me. This is definitely an album worth owning.  For fans of Isis the Band and Karma to Burn to name two.


MUTOID MAN Premiere ‘Kiss Of Death’ Official Video; New Album Details & Upcoming Tour Dates

Mutoid Man have premiered a new track from their upcoming album release, ‘War Moans‘. The revelation comes via a new official video for the song ‘Kiss Of Death‘ filmed at Kurt Ballou’s (Converge) God City Studio. The new album was also recorded their under the producing auspice of Ballou as well. It will be released on June 2nd through Sargent House and features guest spots from Chelsea Wolfe and ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman.

The latest track release follows the previously shared ‘Melt Your Mind‘ from Mutoid Man and is also streaming below. Also included here are the band’s upcoming U.S. tour dates with Helms Alee.

Mutoid Man War Moans

01 – “Melt Your Mind” (feat. Marty Friedman)
02 – “Bone Chain”
03 – “Micro Aggression”
04 – “Kiss Of Death”
05 – “Date With The Devil”
06 – “Headrush”
07 – “Irons In The Fire” (feat. Adam McGrath of Cave In, etc.)
08 – “War Moans”
09 – “Wreck And Survive” (feat. Chelsea Wolfe & Ben Chisholm)
10 – “Afterlife”
11 – “Open Flame”
12 – “Bandages” (feat. Chelsea Wolfe & Ben Chisholm)


June 4 Boston, MA @ Great Scott
June 5 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
June 6 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus – SOLD OUT
June 7 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
June 8 Detroit, MI @ El Club
June 9 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
June 10 Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewing
June 12 Dallas, TX @ Curtain Club
June 13 Austin, TX @ Barracuda
June 14 Houston, TX @ The Studio at Warehouse Live
June 15 Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
June 16 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (Hell)
June 17 Orlando, FL @ The Social
June 19 Raleigh, NC @ King’s
June 20 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts – Black Box
July 06 Seattle, WA @ Neumos
July 07 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
July 08 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
July 10 Los Angeles, CA @ Resident
July 11 Santa Ana, CA @ The Constellation Room
July 12 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
July 13 Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
July 14 Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
July 15 Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall
July 16 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker


In Rock We Trust: Y&T / TEMPTATIONS WINGS Play The Grey Eagle In Asheville, North Carolina

The past and the present, the old and the new, the hard and the heavy. A juxtaposition of variances would be embodied on the night of Friday, April 21st as the legendary Y&T, with support from Temptations Wings, came to Asheville, North Carolina. The setting would be The Grey Eagle and the broad spectrum of rock music to be presented would be impressive to say the least. So would merely making it to the show as I, and shotgun rider Tomm Huff, departed our home in Kentucky amid a battering hailstorm and torrential downpours. Three nerve-wracking hours of travel through non-stop inclement weather would not deter us though and eventually we arrived safe if not a little soaked.

My first trip to The Grey Eagle revealed a nice, well maintained older building of good size with a cool music hall, bar and kitchen/dining area. I had been eagerly awaiting this show for months now since learning that the current incarnation of the iconic Y&T were coming to the region. Not just that alone either as regional band Temptations Wings, who are riding high on their recently released album, ‘Skulthor Ebonblade‘, were on the bill as well. In fact, I conducted an A/V interview with those guys prior to the show, in the rain somewhat, that will be coming soon.


When it came time for Temptations Wings, aka Micah Nix (gtr./vox), Jason Gardner (drums) and Chad Barnwell (bass), to take the stage, the venue was quite packed. Guesstimating somewhere near 400 – 450 people had filed in to see these AVL hometowners unleash their heaviness. The trio recently released their critically-acclaimed conceptual album, the aforementioned ‘Skulthor Ebonblade‘, and have been in high demand ever since. The album weaves the tale of a mythical warrior who returns home to find his family slain and and village destroyed by an evil witch. To reap vengeance, he journeys to obtain a mystical sword and once acquired, goes to slay the witch herself. Quite an intriguing storyline, is it not? Truth is, the story is only but a small part of what makes this band so solidly kick-ass is really more about the music.

The music of Temptations Wings can only be described as Appalachian Power Doom for that does suit it rather well. Comprised of chunky, thick riffs, pulsating rhythms and thunderous drumming, the music is heavy and engaging. And it was clear the guys have a large, loyal support base here in their home region. After a taped intro segment, they delivered the barrage of songs that included ‘I, Destroyer‘, ‘Treachery Of The Blind Raven‘, ‘Lair Of The Gorgon Queen‘, ‘Into The Maelstrom‘ and ‘Crush The Weak‘. Each was well received and it was clear that many of those in attendance were already familiar with the tracks. The guys provided a fantastic set that went over really well with such a diversified crowd, one where all ages from the younger to the elder, were well represented.


An interlude and then the stage was commandeered by the legendary Y&TY&T 2017 sees the only surviving band founder, guitarist/vocalist Dave Meniketti, joined currently by guitarist John Nymann, bassist Aaron Leigh and drummer Mike Vanderhule. Many of the bands that got their start several decades ago, and are still around, exist solely to relive their glory days by rehashing their earlier material. Such is not the case with this band as they continue to record and release new material, like they did with 2010’s Facemelter album. The repertoire of material that Y&T has available in their discography to select from was well plundered on this night too.

The origins of Y&T date back as early as 1974 and the band began officially releasing studio albums in 1976. Some of their albums have achieved both commercial notoriety as well as cult status amid massive reverence. One of their most beloved records, In Rock We Trust (1984), would provide the one-two punch to start their set this night with the fantastic ‘Lipstick And Leather‘ and ‘Don’t Stop Runnin’‘. The place was roaring with excitement as the band followed up with another classic, ‘Hurricane‘, before visiting material from another landmark album, 1981’s Earthshaker. ‘Shine On‘ and clear crowd favorite ‘Dirty Girl‘ had the place erupting with sing-along choruses and crowd enthusiasm. Then Meniketti & Co. unleashed one of their most well known songs, the scorching title cut from 1983’s Mean Streak and the audience went haywire. In case you don’t know it, Dave is one hell of a damn good guitarist too and he himself scorched the frets on the song’s solo while Nymann too delivered his own axe wizardry.

Things would wind down to the lighter side of the band’s music as they delivered a great version of ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark‘ from 1990’s Ten. What came next was the most touching period of the night as Dave spoke about the now deceased longrunning Y&T members Phil Kennemore, Leonard Haze and Joey Alves. He dedicated the next song, ‘Winds Of Change‘, to them and then delivered a powerfully stirring delivery of the song which clearly moved all present. Before anyone could dwell on the touching significance of that moment the guys launched into the high energy of ‘Blind Patriot‘ from their most recent studio effort, Facemelter. The uptempo track is a hard rocking number that rolls out at a frenetic pace from the start and it sure got everyone’s blood pumping again including Y&T‘s. Not to mention some fiery guitar pyrotechnics from Dave and John both throughout the song.

The next block of cuts would touch upon all the bases, i.e. hit albums, first with the stellar rendition of the melodic rocker ‘I’ll Keep On Believin’ (Do You Know)‘. Then came the lively title track of one of my personal faves, ‘Black Tiger‘, and they toned things down again with ‘Midnight In Tokyo‘. Keeping the formula going of tapping into some of their best, well-known albums, Meniketti and the mob delivered up rousing cuts like ‘Let Me Go‘, ‘Hang’em High‘ and ‘I Believe You‘. Then came the inevitable title track of the band’s 1987 album, one of their most well known records and songs both, ‘Contagious‘. Needless to say, the packed house clearly knew the song by heart, inside and out, upside and down as they involved themselves in some way or another. Women of all ages, makes and models were dancing around the auditorium and before the song was finished, Mike Vanderhule delivered a jaw-dropping drum solo. It was the perfect segue into one of Y&T‘s most upbeat, metallic-tinged tracks ever, ‘Open Fire‘, and that is exactly what the quartet did with the track. Now had come the time that everyone knew was inevitable, the delivery of Y&T‘s most well known, biggest commercial hit song of their legacy, ‘Summertime Girls‘. The beloved MTV / Billboard Hot 100 hit song that hails from the ’85 LP Down For The Count is the sole song that many people know Y&T for. That’s really a shame too because the band truly has such a remarkable body of work built up throughout the years that some people are tragically missing out on. A trip back to 2010’s Facemelter record came in the form of the anthemic set-ending “I’m Coming Home‘, another song that elicited sing along choruses and intensified audience participation.

To be honest, things could have just ended at this point and I would have been more than satisfied with what I had just experienced. Seriously, I had just seen a band truly perform their very heart and souls out for the house attendance and it was utterly incredible to put it mildly. Yet the show was not quite over as the quartet returned and served up two more remarkably rousing renditions of great older songs: ‘Rescue Me‘ and ‘Forever‘. The latter was quite the appropriate finale for the night too because rock ‘n roll is forever and for me, the experience of seeing Y&T will remain with me forever as well. But not just Y&T of course as I got to see my good friends in Temptations Wings open for the legendary act and thus share their own killer music with a wider audience. Between the two bands they had the spectrum well covered, just as I eluded to at the start of this recap. The Grey Eagle in the mountains of Asheville, N.C. served as ground zero for this spectacular night of Rock ‘N Roll where both the Old School and the New were well represented.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

*All Photos Courtesy Of Tammy Buckner Photography

SEASON OF ARROWS Premieres ‘The Bridge’ Official Video

Nashville’s critically-acclaimed heavy psyche rock/doom band Season Of Arrows are premiering a new Official Video for their song ‘The Bridge‘. The track hails from the band’s recent Argonauta Records-released sophomore album, ‘Give It To The Mountain‘. The band recently commented on the cut over at Decibel Magazine saying:

“It’s the dark place in all of us. There are times in life where you are consumed with emptiness and despair and seems like there isn’t anything to grab a hold of. Within that deepest of darkness you can sometimes find a small beacon of hope, thus the bridge. It’s the unmistakable will that lives inside all of us, when exercised keeps us alive and brings us to a new outlook on life.”

The Bridge‘ is a bleakly hypnotic number that emits massively ethereal qualities amid the torrent of doomened hopelessness. It provide a nice glimpse at what sonic greatness is contained upon Season Of Arrows Give It To The Mountain..available now from Argonauta Records.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker


Duel “Witchbanger” – Album Review & Stream & Summer Tour Schedule…


Witchbanger – Vinyl // CD // DD

Heavy Psych Sounds – released April 30, 2017

Reviewed by Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez


Duel comes to you from Austin, arguably the musical capital of Texas, and produce straight ahead rock and roll that is also a throwback to those super heavy 70s bands like Captain Beyond, Thin Lizzy, and early Judas Priest.  Yet with their very own Texan flavor added for good measure. Rock and roll is the base of their sound, yet they also throw in some tripped out psychedelic metal. The band consists of Tom Frank on guitar/vocals and Shaun Avants on bass/vocals (both ex-Scorpion Child) along with guitarist Jeff Henson and drummer J.D.Shadowz. They have created quite a satisfying assortment of tunes. Witchbanger is their second effort and it is safe to say that this album did not suffer from a sophomore slump. This album is cohesive and shows considerable growth from their already proficient debut, Fears of the Dead. Having the luxury of self-producing and recording at Henson’s Red Nova Ranch created the freedom needed to produce a very laid back yet focused record.


Pro Band Pic


The album opens notably with ‘Devil’, an apt introduction to what this band and this record is about. With telling lyrics such as “well this evil world and its lust for blood, well it keeps me hanging around”, you know what you are in for the rest of the way. Profound grooves abound on tracks like ‘Witchbanger’, ‘Bed of Nails’, and “Cat’s Eye”. Frank and Henson trading leads much like Gorham and Robertson did on classic Thin Lizzy albums. ‘The Snake Queen’, ‘Astro Gypsy’, ‘Heart of the Sun’, and ‘Tigers and Rainbows’ provide enough variety to keep the album enthralling, yet focused. ‘Heart of the Sun’ being the best example of how they can deviate from their signature sound, yet still maintain a stable and cohesive focal point.

The band was going for a 70s Italian horror movie and Conan the Barbarian vibe with “dark themes and menacing characters and pagan/occult subject matter.” I am sure the likes of Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and Robert E. Howard would be pleased with the results, as all these tracks capture those themes rather proficiently.

Duel know how to play downright memorable rock and roll. This is music you can get lost in; not only musically, but lyrically a well. And they can also bring the goods in a live setting. Here’s hoping they continue in their musical journey for many more years to come. Now where did I leave my Conan the Barbarian collection, time to catch up on some reading.


Tour Schedule


Sammy Hagar & The Circle Announce Tour With Collective Soul

The Circle, featuring singer Sammy Hagar, bassist Michael Anthony (Chickenfoot, ex-Van Halen), drummer Jason Bonham (Foreigner, Led Zeppelin Experience) and guitarist Vic Johnson, will embark on a U.S. tour this fall with Collective Soul and singer/songwriter Andrew Hagar (Sammy’s son). This pairing of acts promises to provide some amazing rock and roll from both the past and the present.

The trek launches on September 10th at the Glen Helen Amphitheatre in San Bernardino, CA. Dates are listed below.

10 – San Bernardino, CA – Glen Helen Amphitheater
12 – Englewood, CO – Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre *
14 – Irving, TX – Irving Music Factory
15 – Sugarland, TX – Smart Financial Centre *
17 – Clearwater, FL – Coachman Park
19 – Pompano Beach, FL – Pompano Beach Amphitheater
20 – St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
22 – Mashantucket, CT – Foxwoods Resort Casino – Grand Theater
23 – Wantagh, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
25 – Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center for the Performing Arts
27 – Toledo, OH – Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre
28 – Clarkson, MI – DTE Energy Theatre
30 – Maryland Heights, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

* – no Collective Soul 

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

Sam Circle Tour

BISON MACHINE Sign To Small Stone For New Album; Playing Burnin’ Turf II Fest In June

Michigan’s retro-infused heavy rockers Bison Machine have shared the news that they have signed with their home state-based Small Stone Records. The band is currently preparing a new album for release later this year and will enter Rustbelt Studios (Five Horse Johnson, Halfway To Gone, Novadriver) later this Summer to record it. Bison Machine bassist Anthony Franchina commented on the news saying:

“It’s amazing! Small Stone has released some of my favorite records, from Sasquatch to Greenleaf to Lo-Pan, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Scott [Hamilton] on our next record, which is going to completely blow away everything we’ve done before. We’ll be hitting the road too, so keep an eye out!”

In addition to this latest news about Bison Machine, the band are involved in organizing the Burnin’ Turf II festival, which is set for June 3rd at the Parisville Saloon in Ruth, Michigan. Bands set to perform include Bison MachineWild Savages, Dead Feathers, BoneHawk, Red Stone Souls, Rip VanRipper, and Gear Jammer. There will also be chopper games, raffle prizes, van and tank lettering by Zak Warmann of Detroit Sign Painters, camping, DJ Smoak (Loy Smoak Jr.), bonfires and plenty of beer according to the PR release.

Bison Machine released their latest single, “Cloak And Bones” last year. A video for the track is playing below.


BLACKTOP MOJO ‘Burn The Ships’ Review & Stream + Official Video

Burn The Ships – Vinyl//CD//DD
Cuhmon Records – Released March 10th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

Blacktop Mojo are a Texas-based band that are in their fifth year of sharing their heavily Southern-infused rock ‘n roll. That is despite their starting out on the music road that was trying to lead them into the country music realm originally. See, when the band first began gigging around their Tyler, TX. regional home, they were playing in mostly country music-themed venues and bars. By their own admission the band has revealed that they felt out of place, weren’t fitting in quite right and needed to make a change. Before long though opportunity came a’ knocking as it often does and soon Blacktop Mojo were sharing stages and tours with Sammy Hagar, Candlebox, Drowning Pool, Puddle Of Mudd, Smile Empty Soul, Audiotopsy and other similar bands.

Fast forward to now, in 2017 where Blacktop Mojo released their current full-length album, ‘Burn The Ships‘, back in March. The hype for the guys, singer Matt James, drummer Nathan Gillis, guitarist Ryan Kiefer, guitarist Kenneth Irwin and bassist Matt Curtis, has spilled over into the national spotlight and things are happening. One of those things is the fantastic hard Southern Rock heaviness of the aforementioned album, ‘Burn The Ships‘. With a thick backwoods groove anchoring things down, the music on the album is beyond incredible to say the least. Not to mention that producer Phillip Mosley (who also contributes a variety of instruments to select tracks) had assistance from the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound studios’ wizard, Jimmy Johnson and his right hand man, Steve Melton.

The ships ain’t the only thing burning here for ‘Burn The Ships‘ delivers thirteen tracks of boogie and blues-fused rock. With incendiary guitars permeating the airwaves along with super tight-knit rhythms, crafty drumming and abundant swagger, this is flat-out impressive music. From the swampy start to the first song ‘Where The Wind Blows‘, things explode in a flurry of heavy guitars and whiskey-drenched vocals. It is easy to understand why Blacktop Mojo were sticking out like a sore thumb at the country music spots, hell, just listen to the metallic edges of ‘End Of Days‘, title track ‘Burn The Ships‘ or the bruising intensity of ‘Sweat‘.

There’s a definite broad spectrum of styles and sounds explored on the album, ones where the band are as just as powerfully visceral albeit with melodic or lighter fare. Cuts like ‘Prodigal‘, ‘Shadows On The Wall‘, or the intriguing cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On‘ allow the guys to stretch their musical legs and show us what all they can actually do. There is so much diversity present, such an inferno of creativity and talent that something is bound to appeal to almost anyone on some level or another. Don’t just take my word for it either because you can stream Blacktop Mojo‘s ‘Burn The Ships‘ in full via the Bandcamp embed below…I suggest you do so now.

Recommended If You Like: Black Stone Cherry, Monster Truck, Saving Abel

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker


AYREON Streams Prog Rock Masterpiece ‘The Source’ In Its Entirety

It has now been a full three days since Ayreon and its brilliant musical mastermind, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, released the new album ‘The Source‘ (Music Theories Recordings). The album is the ninth opus from the brilliant Lucassen who once again enlisted an all-star cast of guest contributors, including singers James LaBrie (Dream Theater). Simone Simons (Epica), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia) and Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob) among others. Today we present The Source in all of its sonic glory via the full stream in its entirety below.

Once again like previous Ayreon albums, The Source is another conceptual double album, one set six billion years in the past, according to Earth time. Taking place on Planet Alpha, a world where computer intelligence has extended beyond human kind’s, ecological and political catastrophe threaten to exterminate all of humanity. The planet’s inhabitants, the Alphans, leave their fate in the hands of the ‘Frame,’ a global computer mainframe that ultimately discovers humans are the problem and must be eradicated. The Alphans plot escape and the story full unfolds outward over the duration of the album.

 Words by Pat “Riot” Whitaker