CD Review: “Five” by The Agonist

The Agonist stay on the deathcore path with its newest release, Five. The band’s brand of melodic deathcore is contrived at this point with the group opting to play by the numbers. The opening song “The Moment” is equal parts deathcore with a slight symphonic influence. Frontwoman Viky Psarakis’s vocals shift from growling and guttural to clean. “The Anchor and the Sail” is thrashy before breaking down in to conventional hardcore territory. The guitar work on this track is impressive, but we have heard it before. There are some solid tracks though like “The Ocean” with its tribal drumbeat that sounds like a hunting party running through a jungle. The haunting acoustic guitar and piano on “The Raven Eyes” complement Vicky’s jazzy singing. There is also the short orchestral instrumental “The Wake” with its weeping strings and tranquil flute. The displaced black metal on “The Resurrection” is notable for its cold dissonant riffs and blast beats. Unfortunately, the band regresses in to metalcore territory, thus ruining what could have been a brutal track.

 Five’s main flaw is the band either does too much or not enough. The band seems confused as to whether to play brutal metal or take a more commercial route with its songs. A track will start off heavy but then becomes poppy or soft. There is nothing wrong with accessible heavy music if it is played right. However, The Agonist is too ambitious on Five and the music suffers as a result.

The Agonist does not his its mark on Five. This is unfortunate as one can tell the quintet wanted to create an epic record. Still, the lack of focus on a 55 minute long album makes this a tedious listen. Fans of The Agonist may appreciate this record. However, fans of deathcore or melodic death metal may want to look elsewhere.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s website

Home

CD Review: ‘Watchers of Rule’ by Unearth

In 2014, we saw the demise of several bands that comprised the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Bleeding Through, Chimaira, God Forbid and Shadows Fall were at the top of the heap over the past decade. However, musical differences, line-up changes and waning popularity caused these bands to call it quits. One band that continues to forge along is Unearth, who have only gotten heavier in the past few years. The group’s newest album, Watchers of Rule, is the heaviest record the Massachusetts quintet has released.

The band’s new drummer, Nick Pierce, brings a more technical element to the band. On Watchers, the group shows a more progressive edge on tracks like “The Swarm” and “From the Tombs of Five Below.” Both tracks have a technical death metal edge, but retain the breakdowns and hardcore vocals Unearth is known for. Therefore, old school fans can rest assured it is the Unearth they know. However, the downside is that this band has the tools to play more than metalcore or deathcore. There is a sense of hesitancy on this record. Unearth stays confined to the metalcore genre, but knows it can play heavier. Take for instance “Trail to Fire” which shows a strong Gothenburg influence, but is mired in breakdowns. There is nothing wrong with breakdowns, however they should not be used as a go to in every song. Still, Watchers has several great tracks like the vicious “To The Ground” and majestic “Guards of Contagion.”

Unearth is all business on Watchers of Rule, and look to capture the metalcore throne. The group is poised to succeed as much of its competition has fallen by the wayside. Unearth could rule the American metal scene as well, if it expands beyond kingdom.

Visit Unearth’s Facebook page here.

Hernan ‘Eddie’ Hermida of Suicide Silence Talks ‘You Can’t Stop Me’ and Mayhem Festival

 

‘Eddie’ Hermida of Suicide Silence

By Alex Moore

 

Eddie Hermida of Suicide SilenceThe metal world suffered a tremendous loss with the untimely death of Suicide Silence vocalist Mitch Lucker. With Lucker fronting the band, the group garnered thousands of fans throughout its career thanks to a seemingly endless tour schedule, and Suicide Silence helped popularize the deathcore genre. Now, after nearly two years, Suicide Silence is set to rise from the ashes with the July 15 release of its new album, You Can’t Stop Me, and a spot on this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.

The group enlisted former All Shall Perish vocalist Hernan ‘Eddie’ Hermida for vocal duties, and Target Audience Magazine recently had the opportunity to catch up with Hermida to discuss a variety of topics including fan reactions to news of Suicide Silence’s return, the recording process for You Can’t Stop Me, which group he’s most excited to see at this year’s Mayhem Fest, and more.

According to Hermida, the decision to join Suicide Silence full-time was one that required months of contemplation and reflection, as he still had prior commitments with All Shall Perish, and Hermida said he feared fan backlash.

“There were all sorts of inhibitions,” Hermida quietly mused. “I immediately knew of all the hatred I was going to get, and I didn’t know if I was prepared to deal with it or not.”

Hermida remained steadfast that he didn’t want to quit All Shall Perish, and that he told the Suicide Silence camp that he would flat-out refuse the offer if it required him to resign. But in the end, Hermida stuck by his decision, remarking, “I think that we all made the right choice.”

“When we first put out that I was going to be doing it [You Can’t Stop Me], there was some hatred,” Hermida said. Yet, when the first single, “Cease To Exist,” was released online, the tide seemed to turn, with skepticism turning to excitement.

“A lot of people really understood right away…the band is still the band, and what are these four dudes going to do, just fall apart?” Hermida said. It seems that enthusiasm only multiplied, much to Hermida’s delight. “When I read my first apology on Twitter, I threw my hands in the sky and just said ‘I win dude!’”

Hermida said that much of his chemistry with Suicide Silence was pre-existing, stemming from early All Shall Perish/Suicide Silence tours.

“They were some of our best friends in the industry; they were some of the first guys I ever did anything with as far as touring-wise,” he said before stressing the importance of camaraderie on the road. “Once you go on tour with people, you develop a friendship – a brotherhood – that never gets broken.”

Once the dust settled, the writing and recording process of You Can’t Stop Me took a remarkably short four months to complete, thanks in part to inspiration in the form of some posthumous lyrics left by Lucker. Those partially completed lyrics would later go on to be the album’s title track. “What better fit for the title and the record?” Hermida asked.

Ultimately, You Can’t Stop Me serves as equal parts tribute and mission statement, Hermida said.

“We looked at it as if Mitch were writing with us in the studio,” he said, making it clear that Suicide Silence is looking forward, not back. “We all worked together to make, honestly, the best thing I’ve ever heard out of them or me.”

YouCantStopMe

One of Suicide Silence’s most discernable traits was Lucker’s vocal versatility. The front man was known for his ability to switch between deep growls and higher-frequency squeals at a moment’s notice. Hermida stressed the importance of keeping his own personal touch intact. “He and I had very similar styles,” Hermida said. “His higher-end screams sound different from mine, but that’s going to come out in the final product, you know, I did the best I could to be me.”

Ultimately, Hermida said that fans will be pleased, as the core of Suicide Silence’s sound is still whole. “Suicide Silence sounds like Suicide Silence no matter who is singing for the band,” he said.

Hermida said without hesitation that “We Have All Had Enough” is his favorite track from You Can’t Stop Me. “It’s just a really heavy tune, and I think it’s going to be, like, a cool Easter egg in the record,” he said. “It’s not a song that we’re ever going to release as a single or anything of that sort, but we are going to play it live.” Hermida added that “We Have All Had Enough” revolves around shallow negativity. “I think if you’re going to have an, ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude it should be, ‘I don’t give a fuck about negativity and I’m going to put my best foot forward,’” he said, then pondered for a moment, and summarized the song: “I think if you’re going to act like a fool you’re going to be treated like one.”

There was something acutely self-aware about the sheer vitriol in Hermida’s writing in contrast to his upbeat and positive personality.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘fuck everything’ because it becomes sort of satirical,” he said, stressing a difference between pessimistic lifestyles and the lyrics he pens. “It’s about finding the best possible solution to the worst possible situation.”

However, even during what may be the biggest step of his career, Hermida is reminded of how much effort it took to get him where he is.

“Just don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop,” he said, offering advice for smaller, struggling bands. ”If you feel at any point you’re no good and that you aren’t made for this, or whatever reason, that’s the moment that you’ve got to push harder and you’ve got to make sure to go even crazier in those moments. If you’re not, somebody else will. I hope these words find you and inspire you.”

Hermida’s love of metal spilled out into his community, where the vocalist worked security at a local venue when he wasn’t on the road with All Shall Perish. Hermida said fan recognition of him in public affected his decision.

“That was one of the reasons that I had to step away. Because I feel like I was getting to a point where – already, with All Shall Perish – it was detracting from my work,” he said. “And I would have to not work days with metal shows, because I can’t bounce some kid wearing an All Shall Perish shirt.”

It was the desire to have a relationship with his fans that ultimately led Hermida to leave the job, he said, yet he remains adamant that the club is still near and dear to his heart, adding that he visits his former colleagues whenever he has an opportunity.

For Hermida, it all comes down to comfort, when providing Mayhem Festival peers with tour advice.

“Spend the money and get yourself a proper vehicle,” he said, laughing a bit. “Sitting in a parking lot all day in a van, or an RV, where the A/C isn’t working is hellacious, and you want to be able to relax after these grueling shows.” The advice, however, went a bit beyond mere comfort. “These shows matter. You’ve got to leave a solid impression on these fans,” Hermida said, adding that many fans only go to Mayhem.

Hermida’s tone changed from contemplative to nearly giddy when he talked about the band he’s most excited to see during this year’s Mayhem.

“I’m really fired up about seeing Ice-T kill it everyday,” he said, before referencing the poor online reaction of Body Count’s latest material. “They’re getting so much crap for it, but they go so hard, and you’re kind of supposed to laugh at it,” he said.

As for post-Mayhem Festival plans for Suicide Silence, Hermida confirmed that not only will the band tour this fall but also that talks of returning to the studio are already underway.

“Once we do a couple months of touring, I think we’re going to hunker down and write. We’re all really excited to write again. It’s still so fresh and new,” Hermida said, reflectively. “We had such a good time writing this record, I can’t even tell you.”

You Can’t Stop Me releases July 15 through Nuclear Blast Records, and you can catch Suicide Silence performing on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this summer.