A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes


I hate the name “Djent”. I actually hate names given to types of music full stop, however we all use them in conversations to distinguish between styles because the media that reports on music also use them.

All the bands that fall into this “Djent” category are just metal bands with a progressive technical edge. (Yeah I know, more names for types of music).

To me the difference between a good band and a bad band is the song. Regardless of how virtuoso the members are in each group and how great they can play, if they can’t write a good song then what is the point.

I don’t mind Periphery and I never got into Animals As Leaders. However, TesseracT, The Kindred (formerly known as Today I Caught The Plague) and Intervals are my top three at this point in time. Some might say what about Protest The Hero. Well for that band, they are already in the Hall Of Gods, so let’s leave it at that.

I have already written about TesseracT, The Kindred, Periphery and Protest The Hero. Now it’s time for Intervals which is another band I really dig that of course comes from Canada.

Intervals began as an outlet for founder and guitarist Aaron Marshall to create music under. As with all musicians, no band is forever, and Marshall had just parted ways with a band that he was in for many years with his high school peers. Musical break ups are always difficult and as Marshall was trying to figure out what to do next, a friend of his convinced him to shoot a video of him playing one of his newer songs. That track led to Marshall meeting Anup Sastry who would end up being the drummer of the band.

Instead of touring and building an audience, Marshall and Anup built it up online. The first piece of music officially released is an instrumental EP called “The Space Between” in 2011. In the liner notes of this EP, the band expressed that they were open to a vocalist. In 2012, came another instrumental EP called “In Time”. All self released.

Then in 2014 came the album, “A Voice Within”. The big difference here is that as the title suggests, there are vocals on the album and really good clean tone ones at that. Mike Semesky (Ex-The HAARP MACHINE) who played live bass was introduced as the vocalist. The album explores the idea of self-discovery and refers to a person’s inner self and staying true to who they are. They composed three songs by locking themselves in a home studio. They collaborated on the others through file sharing. That’s the modern music business.

It’s a typical DIY attitude. No label involved, no middle men. It is a direct to fan connection. In an interview with “The Wellz Street Journal” from October 24, 20132013 this is what Marshall had to say about it;

We’re really into the DIY approach, for now. Direct support from our fans has been the number one reason we’ve been able to tour and sustain the band. We couldn’t be more grateful for that, so maintaining a direct rapport with our supporters is important to us. We’re not ruling anything out, but we’ve always approached things with that mindset, as opposed to rushing into a deal with anyone. I think it’s much better to be cautious and make the right moves in today’s music industry, as there appears to be more wrong ones to make, than the right ones.

“Ephemeral” kicks off the album. It’s only fitting that a song with title that means “nothing lasts forever” starts off the album. Co-guitarist, Lukas Guyader described the songs meaning in an interview on February 28, 2014 by The Wellz Street Journal;

“The meaning of ‘Ephemeral’ is something that is fleeting. We’re referring to the moments that pass by in day-to-day life, and how you have to make the most of those, even though they are exactly that – fleeting.”

The music might seem disconnected however as the song progresses, you just get it and understand it.

“Say goodbye to the world as we knew it
To the eyes that couldn’t see”

That’s right, time marches forward and it doesn’t break for no one. The chorus is a combination of twisting melodies and syncopated riffs, all topped with a captivating voice.

“It is our duty to live while we can”

Perfect lyric. If you are on cruise control, you need to shake it up because you never know when your time is up.

“Automaton” is by far my personal favourite.

There is a problem in the music business right now that any artist which is not mainstream is almost forgotten on arrival. That is the power of the ones that control the narrative. They only talk about the ones that will give them clicks.

With a title that more or less describes a person who acts mechanically or leads a routine monotonous life, the music underlying the song is chaotic and unpredictable. Nothing like the title suggests.

It’s all about the riff, with that syncopated poly rhythms and perfectly executed technical arpeggios.

The gears pulling forward
Always falling into place
This battle I know is over
Despite the effort and the haste

I always connect to songs that have a “slave to the grind” kind of vibe. I saw my father and my grandfather do the grind each day as they set up a family and a life in a new country. I swore that I would not be like them and when I realised that I was, I switched off the cruise control and shook things up a little bit. However, in time, despite the effort and the haste, as the song lyrics state, the gears start pulling forward and I am back in the same place, doing the grind. And I repeat all the above steps again.

“The Self Surrendered” is both striking and transcending especially from about the 4 minute mark when it goes into this clean tone jazz fusion post rock section. Intervals are not about the single, but the body of work.

The self surrendered are after all
Minds reduced to marionettes
Forever performing on our stage

A common theme of dancing like marionettes to the symphony of destruction.

“Breathe” is just brilliant. The song opens up with arpeggio lines that sound like rain drops. It’s an instrumental, it only goes for about 2 minutes and it acts as an intro to the more frantic song called “The Escape”. But it’s two minutes without any filler. Quality all the way.

With “Atlas Hour” Intervals scores a hit that lives in our head space and that’s the most important one.

Through functional dependency
We endure conformity
A greater purpose will be served
Within this life and the next

“A Voice Within” is a song that can cross over into the mainstream. It has all the elements of being unique enough to be rooted in technical metal, mainstream rock and (cough, cough) pop rock.

In time we all will hear what resonates from within
The voice that we must find and embrace to guide us

To feel, to see, to create, to dream
It is our duty to live while we can

And as quickly as Mike Semesky came in as vocalist, he was gone and the band is currently a three-piece with the original crew from 2011. The announcement said that the remaining three members are looking for a new vocalist that can dedicate themselves to Intervals. Maybe, dedication played a part in the departure of Semesky.

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Perfect Album Of 2014

We know that metal and rock bands need to get their heads away from the album format. From all of the 2014 releases that I heard, there was not an album that I loved from start to finish. So for my top 10 list, I have sequenced my favourite songs like an “album”. (Everyone gasps).

It looks pretty solid from start to finish.

Machine Head – Now We Die

It’s the first track and lead single from “Bloodstone and Diamonds”.

Cast off the shackles of the past
Live in the moment nothing ever lasts

So true, live in the now because no one knows when that last day being alive is.

A family friend died last week at 50 years of age however he actually died over 10 years when his wife left him. He just never got over it and it led to 4 heart attacks, stents, pace makers and in the end it was a brain haemorrhage that did it. A few days ago, the mother of a kid I coach in football died from a heart attack. She was under 40 years of age.

The recording business is so enraptured about what they lost that they fail to see the opportunities of the day and what they stand to gain.

Vanishing Point – Distant Is The Sun

One of Australia’s best kept secrets when it comes to melodic metal. This is the title track of their new album that almost didn’t get made.

 How many times can you walk away
How many years can you give to crying

It covers the years in between albums and the struggle to get the album done due to life being life. They dealt with a record company going bust, band members leaving, shelving the music written with those band members, starting from scratch again, the death of a family member and then finding inspiration to continue.

Evergrey – King Of Errors

The anti-heroes from Sweden. As a fan, there has not been a bad release from them. “Hymns For The Broken” is no different and “King Of Errors” is a great comeback song.

They call us kings
And then we fall down broken

Social media accounts put out an image that all is well in our lives. There we are, happy, smiling, taking selfies with others and having a good time.

I know that life is peaks and valleys. We could be kings and queens for a while but it doesn’t sustain. We all have our lows. We all make errors. I made errors and I made choices that led me to where I am today.

Black Label Society – Angel Of Mercy

“Zakk’s developing into a monster. If you listen to his guitar playing there’s a little bit of Hendrix here, some other stylings there. He’s putting it all together in his own way. Zakk’s a musician for the future.”

OZZY – Guitar World, October 1989

Enough said.

Door of memories
Closed forevermore

I love the analogy of using the door to keep the memories from leaking out. We never want to lose all of those good and bad memories. In the end they make us who we are today.

Intervals – Automation

Intervals is another progressive band from Canada with a cult like following. I came across their name when I saw them on a tour poster with bands that I support like Periphery, Protest The Hero and TesserAct.

“Automation” is from their 2014 self-funded/released album “A Voice Within”.

After a few instrumental releases, this is their first one to feature vocals and what a stellar job they did with it.

The gears pulling forward
Always falling into place
The battle I know is over
Despite the effort and haste

The Kindred – Heritage

Yep, another band from Canada that was formerly known as “Today I Caught The Plague” and one of the best progressive bands out there that everyone needs to hear. This song is from the album “Life In Lucidity” released on Sumerian Records.

Now stand on the shoulders of history’s tallest thinkers
See that their height is borrowed from predecessors
And even the worst ideas can spur better conceptions
Pushing humankind along an evolutionary rite of passage

The whole British Rock movement in the Sixties came about because of the love the British musicians had for the American Blues movement. They borrowed from their predecessors to make new creations. Hell, Led Zeppelin took blue and folk staples and built a career of that. That E7(#9) chord that Jimi Hendrix so famously used in “Purple Haze” was used consistently by Wes Montgomery years before. However it is known to the masses as the “Hendrix Chord”.

We’ll be tomorrow’s heritage
The giants of advancing thought
But if only we respect the statuesque preceding

Machine Head – Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones

It was hard to pick a song from Machine Head because “Sail Into The Black”, “Killers and Kings” and “Game Over” are all up there as well, however “Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones” was a favourite right from the start. That whole intro build up made me want to pick up my work desk and throw it out the window.

From my throat the agonies emit
My demons wrestle and my thoughts conflict
The stench of bile, as I purge this hate
An inner struggle I can’t separate

With all that was happening behind the scenes between the Machine Head members it is a miracle that this album was finished and finally released.

Adrenaline Mob – Dearly Departed

Adrenaline Mob’s aura is a throwback to the Eighties period. Yeah, I know they might have had some nu-metal style of riffing in some songs, overall, the feel is still classic Eighties.

I gave you everything
Took you under my wing
With open arms brought you in the family

I don’t allow people into my life that easily anymore. The band members from my last band left me cautious and then when they put in song writing claims for songs that I had registered in 2005 (and the band formed in 2008, with the bass player that also put in a claim joining in 2010) I was furious. The deceitfulness shown by them I thought wasn’t possible in humans and it was a real eye-opener to me to be more careful.

Fight or Flight – Leaving

The side project that featured members from Evans Blue and Disturbed.

Living life through compromise

Being married for more than fifteen years is basically living a life through compromise on both sides. Having kids further compromises that life. Working a Monday to Friday job is another compromise. Get where I am going with this. Are there any people out there that have never compromised anything of themselves?

Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died

Sanctuary are a cult favourite of mine and the thing is as much as I tried to get into Nevermore, I just couldn’t. Then came Warrel Dane’s solo album and I was like “yeah”. And with Sanctuary’s new one, it’s a “Fuck Yeah”.

What if there is nothing more?
What if there is only emptiness?
What if there is nothing more
Beyond the code of deliverance?
What if everything decays?
What if we’ve all just been betrayed?
The code of deliverance leads us closer
We are closer to the end

It’s like a modern-day “Draconian Times” from Paradise Lost all wrapped up into one song.

ONE LAST ENTRY: Black Veil Brides – Faithless

Say what you want about them and their look but man, this band has two deadset shredders in Jinxx (plus he plays a mean violin) and Jake Pitts.

“Faithless” is a riff romp and the Bob Rock production just takes it to another level. Even the vocal tone of Andy Biersack which I am not a big fan off is pretty good under the tutelage of Rock.

Live with defiance
It’s time to fight
Don’t ever let them keep your words from being heard

Dee Snider would be proud.