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Carmen Monoxide

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In Flames has always been one of the more proficient and consistent metal bands around, releasing quality albums every two years or so. Even after the departure of integral member Jesper Strömblad in 2008 (something that would be debilitating to most bands), they released their best effort to date, Sounds Of A Playground Fading. Rejoice, metal world, for they are back with another release, Siren Charms.

The Henry Maneuver – if you haven’t heard of him already, well, you need to pay attention. This guy is certainly one musician to look out for. The first time I saw Henry in the flesh was with his previous band in a tiny venue in Baltimore. I was just blown away by his sheer musical prowess – it’s enough to make you question how many instruments does one have to master before it becomes too much.

I hadn’t heard from NEEDTOBREATHE in a long time – since The Reckoning in 2011 in fact. Turns out they were not only doing the usual band-y stuff, touring relentlessly and writing the next record. The band was grappling with some serious conflicts that almost broke them up (sibling bands are hard – speaking from personal experience here).

Metalcore giants Killswitch Engage are still roaring across the globe on their “Disarm The Descent” tour. I caught up with them at their hometown show, here in Boston, MA, at the end of last year. I got to talk at length with bassist Mike D’Antonio about the journey KsE has been through, his inside perspective on the band, and his role as a musician, designer and member of a ridiculously talented and fun band. Enjoy!

The first time I was exposed to Icon For Hire was when they opened for Red and P.O.D. at a Baltimore show. I was left mesmerized by the sheer energy of their live performance… and frontwoman Ariel’s shocking pink hair and goth/punk getup, of course. (She even has her own fashion line, Custom Catastrophes, which you should definitely check out).

Many bands try to avoid being confined to a specific genre. Often, this a weak attempt to seem “unique” – most bands don’t even execute the whole “multi-genre” thing well anyway, inevitably ending up labeled as “alternative”, “indie” or something of that sort.

Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree, No Man, Blackfield and more) is currently on his second world tour for his second solo album to date, The Raven That Refused To Sing. Armed once again with an immensely talented ensemble of Guthrie Govan (guitars), Adam Holzman (keyboards), Nick Beggs (bass, Chapman Stick), Marco Minnemann (drums) and Theo Travis (flute, sax, clarinet), Steven has once more been making waves with his unique brand of music and spectacular live shows. I had the opportunity recently to discuss with Steven about themes and symbols in his music, what his music means to the younger generation, his creative process, being a musical god/sex symbol (no, really), and making people feel. And a lot more, obviously. Enjoy!

Killswitch Engage’s sixth studio album, Disarm The Descent, is slated for release tomorrow, April 2nd, 2013. The album marks the first with returning vocalist Jesse Leach after the departure of Howard Jones, Killswitch’s vocalist of 10 years. In anticipation of the new record, we caught up with Jesse sometime back and talked about his big return, what really happened in those 10 years that he was missing, his process of self-discovery and music for him as an individual. A pretty in-depth interview, but it’s worth it! Read on.

British rock band Young Guns has definitely been making waves. They were recently named the I Heart Radio/Clear Channel “New Artist of the Month” and have steadily been building up a dedicated fanbase. They have all the prerequisite criteria for a quality modern rock band – great pumping rhythms, good amounts of distortion, the ability to switch between intense moshy tracks and rock ballads, etc.

Hoobastank is back with the brand new album Fight or Flight, continuing their two-decade long stint in the modern rock music scene. Recently I chatted with vocalist Doug Robb about the band’s departure from record label Island/Def Jam, the musical and lyrical content of their new music, balancing being a successful band with family life, and more. Read on!