Monday, July 21, 2014

YOUR DAILY DOSE OF THRASH - 7/21/2014 - PHRENETIX

PHRENETIX:


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I hope you enjoy Phrenetix! Check back tomorrow for another killer band!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

INTERVIEW: DEREK LAMBACHER Talks About All Things TESTIMONY!

If you're an avid reader of this site you already know that I'm a huge fan of Testimony, I've written about the band on several different occasions over the last two and a half years, including an in-depth feature just the other day. With the band set to release their brand new EP, The Beast That Prays, at any time now, I recently sent bassist Derek Lambacher a few questions regarding all things Testimony. Like the true gentleman he is, Derek gave some really great answers to my (not so) great questions resulting in one hell of a must read interview. Hope you enjoy!

TESTIMONY
GLOBAL THRASH ASSAULT: Hey guys, thanks for taking some time out to answer a few question for me today. I'm sure you're busy with your personal lives and if I'm not mistaken you're on the verge of releasing your highly anticipated EP, The Beast That Prays.

DEREK LAMBACHER: Thank you for the interview; it's always a pleasure doing things like this.

Before we talk about the new album, let's go back to the beginning. How did it all begin? What made you guys decide to form Testimony?

Going back to the beginning you had my brother Taylor and our original guitarist/singer. Shortly after they got together, Mike was brought into the band but they were still lacking a bass player. After some convincing from our Mom, Taylor asked if I would be interested in joining the group. Not being in a band at the time, I agreed to join. Later Adrian was brought in on vocals, and the other guitarist left the group. The idea behind Testimony was and still is to play, complex, challenging metal music that, while rooted in tradition, has a quality and sound all its own.

Testimony is a very technical/progressive band but at the same time you guys manage to keep things heavy and very much rooted in the thrash metal genre. What are some of your influences as a band? How do these influences come together to create the sound of Testimony?

If there's one band that has influenced all of us, I'd have to say there's no better candidate than Death. However, when you begin to break down our individual influences different pictures begin to emerge. Adrian is a huge fan of the "Three M's" as he call them; Maiden, Metallica, and Megadeth. Mike is a huge Dream Theater nut, and he also loves guitarists like Jason Becker and Paul Gilbert. Taylor and I grew up together so a lot of our influences are the same, although not identical. Any more I'm just a fan of good music played well; whether that's jazz, funk, metal, or otherwise. Add all of that up and somehow you end up with Testimony.

As I said in the previous question, Testimony is a very technical band. I'm curious, how many hours do you guys spend working on your craft? How many years of lessons did you guy's take? How many hours a day do you each spend practicing your individual instruments?

I can't speak for everyone on this, but I try and spend at least two hours a day playing bass either by myself or with others. As a band we get together once a week to rehearse and we also have writing sessions outside of our normal rehearsal time. In terms of lessons, we each have different experiences. Mike is totally self-taught, Taylor took some lessons a little while back, and I've taken lessons as well as studied music in college. We've each gone about our instruments in a different way, but we're all very dedicated to them and the band.

One thing I've always been curious about with Testimony is the Lambacher brothers. Obviously they grew up together and share the same interest in music. How has their relationship impacted Testimony as a band?

It's definitely been a huge advantage growing up together, and because of that we share a very similar musical lineage. When we were first getting into music, and even today, we would always share bands that we were getting into. So in a lot of ways our influences are closely related and that means we share a lot of the same musical tendencies. It's almost like sharing one musical brain, where I can present an idea and instinctually he can be like, "I know where you're coming from." I'd definitely say it's one of our strengths as a band, especially since we make up the rhythm section.

Let's talk music now. In January 2012 Testimony released their first album, Transcending Reality. Can you take us through the writing and recording process of that album? Did one person bring the ideas to the table or was it a communal effort?

All of the material for "Transcending Reality" was written prior to hitting the studio, and each song was written by an individual member; which included our former guitarist. That was our first major recording, outside of a demo, and we were able to take away a lot from the process. "Society's End" was a new song written just for the EP and was never rehearsed before entering the studio. Using Guitar Pro we each individually learned our parts and then went straight to recording. Not something I would recommend!

Transcending Reality gained a lot of attention from fans around the world and the album received some pretty solid reviews from critics as well. How did this response impact the band?

As it was our first official release I'd say we were all pretty surprised. It was like, "Wow, someone actually lies us!" The band was pretty stoked with the response we got, which was and still is a really nice feeling. Another part to that is the motivation to keep writing better material and make the next release even better. There were part to "Transcending Reality" that we didn't like, or thought we could improve on, and we've been inspired to take our next EP to another level. That's one thing we're all constantly striving for; making the next song, riff, or whatever better than before. Putting the "progress" in progressive if you will.

Following Transcending Reality's release Testimony went on to play a fair amount of shows opening for bands like Witchaven, Vektor, and Revocation. Is there a particualr show from this time period that stands out? Any stories you'd like to share?

The show you just mentioned were all awesome and it has been an honor to share the stage with the above mentioned bands. Vektor and Revocation are bands we look up to as they both play heavy music with progressive elements; like us. There are plenty of lessons to be learned from bands that are on the next level than you, and we are always diligently taking notes. Other than that, I'd have to say playing Diamond Plate's record release show was awesome. Just some great band from the Chicago are and awesome people as well.

Let's fast forward to a more present time. Testimony is on the verge of releasing their second album, The Beast That Prays. I've heard the album and it's tremendous. I have to ask on behalf of everyone waiting for this album, is there an official release date yet?

There's no official release date as of now, but we're very close to wrapping things up. We're just finishing some details with the artwork layout for the physical copies. So stay tuned as we should have a release date set soon.

On what formats will The Beast That Prays be released?

Right now we're working on getting physical CD's printed. In addition to that, we'll be streaming the whole EP on our bandcamp site where it will be available for free download.

Like I said, the album is tremendous. It's evident that you guys really took your time writing and recording this album. To me the music sounds more technical but it's also a bit heavier as well. The production is also cleaner than it was on Transcending Reality. How did the experience of writing and recording Transcending Reality help with the writing and recording of The Beast That Prays? Was there any significant differences in the two or did things pretty much stay the same?

Recording our first EP was a great experience for the band and we were able to take away a lot. We wanted to come into the studio better prepared than last time, so we made sure everything was worked out in advance; things like tempos and arrangements. Some parts of our songs can get a little tricky in terms of meters changes, so it's best to have that worked out ahead of time even though sometimes you're stuck having to redo things on the fly. Probably the most common criticism from our first EP was the production quality, so naturally that was something we wished to address. Luckily, thanks to the guy who recorded us, we were able to get a cleaner, punchier sound on this EP.

When the writing process for The Beast That Prays began did the band have any type of goal in mind? Were you looking to do something on this album that you didn't do on your last, or did the music just kind of flow?

Since this was our first release after our former guitarist left we wanted to make a statement with the EP. With three people contributing songs and ideas, naturally some stuff gets left out. Now with just Mike and I writing, we wanted to take the music in a more technical and heavy direction. For our last EP each song had just on composer, but now the band is more of a collaborative effort. There's sort of a friendly competition between Mike and I, where we're like, "bet you can't play this riff!" That sort of drive is an integral part of Testimony, and I think our new EP highlights that.

The Beast That Prays is set to be released soon; do you guys have plans for any type of CD release show?

I don't think we're going to have any type of official release show. Right now we have some pretty nice shows set up for the summer, so we'll probably just stick with that for now.

Like Transcending Reality, The Beast That Prays is going to be a self-released album. Obviously there's a lot involved in releasing an album on your own. Can you talk ab little about the difficulties in releasing an album on your own? Has the band experienced any setbacks or turbulence from taking the DIY approach?

Obviously there's the cost of recording, printing CD's, and getting the artwork, but luckily for us that's never been much of an issue. There's also distribution, marketing, and that whole bag that come with not having a label behind you, but the bottom line is if you love it, you'll do it; no excuses. Being in an independent band, or signed band for that matter, is kind of like operating a small business. You have to deal with marketing and promotion, bookings, keeping track of finances and all sorts of other goodies. There's a lot to keep track of being in an independent band, but there are some benefits. You'll never have someone else making creative or business decisions for you, and any money you make (if at all) is yours.

I mentioned earlier that Testimony went on to play a bunch of shows following the release of Transcending Reality. Is the band planning anything following the release of The Beast That Prays? Is there a possibility of a Testimony tour in the future? What's next?

Right now we have some good shows line up, but given to right opportunity we'd love to go on tour. We've had some bad luck in setting up tours in the past, but that is something we'd very much be interested in. Hopefully things fall in place and we'll be able to hit the road soon rather than later.

Thanks again for the interview! Congratulations on The Beast That Prays, it's truly a great album! Is there anything you'd like to say before we wrap things up?

I'd just like to say thanks Chad! You've been a great supporter of our band, and for that we are always indebted to you. Other than that, I'd just like to say we'll be releasing our next EP "The Beast That Prays" very soon, so stay tuned!








YOUR DAILY DOSE OF THRASH - 7/20/2014 - SUICIDE WATCH

SUICIDE WATCH:


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Saturday, July 19, 2014

YOUR DAILY DOSE OF THRASH - 7/19/2014 - DIVINE CHAOS

DIVINE CHAOS:
Listen to Divine Chaos on the band's BandCamp Page.

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I hope you enjoy Divine Chaos! Check back tomorrow for another killer band!

Friday, July 18, 2014

YOUR DAILY DOSE OF THRASH - 7/18/2014 - NEVERFALL

NEVERFALL:


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I hope you enjoy NeverFall! Check back tomorrow for another killer band!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TESTIMONY: Putting The "Progress" In Progressive

I've never been a huge fan of technical or progressive music. Don't get me wrong, I love Vektor and classic bands like Coroner and Voivod, but for the most part I'm more of a "straight-to-the-point" kind of music fan, meaning I don't want to sit there trying to figure the music out. Personally I find a lot of technical bands tend to overdue things by adding far too many different elements to their music, creating a mish-mash of tempo changes and chord progressions that require a degree in music theory to decipher. Although I can greatly appreciate the talent and skill level required to play this type of music, it's not usually my cup of tea. However there are exceptions to this - bands that know how to combine just the right amount of technicality with heavy riffing thereby creating a unique listening experience - are the exception. In other words bands like the previously aforementioned and Indiana thrashers Testimony, are in fact, the exception.  

TESTIMONY
Testimony has been turning heads with their progressive and jaw-dropping approach to thrash metal since 2009, when the band was founded by drummer Taylor Lambacher and the band's original guitarist/vocalist. "Shortly after they got together, Mike was brought into the band but they were still lacking a bass player" explains Derek Lambacher, the bands bassist and older brother of founding member Taylor Lambacher, in a recent Global Thrash Assault interview. "After some convincing from our Mom, Taylor asked if I would be interested in joining the group. Not being in a band at the time, I agreed to join." Soon after the oldest Lambacher joined the ranks of Testimony the band's then guitarist/vocalist parted ways with the band and Testimony drafted current vocalist Adrian Harris. With their line-up now finalized Testimony were ready to begin writing music. "The idea behind Testimony was and still is to play complex, challenging metal music that, while rooted in tradition, has a quality and sound all its own." 

TRANSCENDING REALITY
In January 2012 Testimony released their debut EP, Transcending Reality. The album was a hit among the underground thrash legions and almost immediately after the album was released the name Testimony began to spread like wild fire. "We were all pretty surprised." recalls Lambacher. "It was like, 'wow, someone actually likes us!" Of course anyone that's ever listened to Transcending Reality will tell you, the album is a progressive gem that features plenty of heavy riffing and mind-boggling tempo changes. "If there's one band that has influenced all of us, I'd have to say there's no better candidate than Death." Lambacher says in regards to the band's vast list of influences. "However, when you begin to break down our individual influences different pictures begin to emerge. Adrian is a huge fan of the "Three M's" as he calls them; Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth. Mike is a huge Dream Theater nut, and he also loves guitarists like Jason Becker and Paul Gilbert. Taylor and I grew up together so a lot of our influences are the same, although not identical. I'm just a fan of good music played well; whether that's jazz, funk, metal or otherwise. Add all of that up and somehow you end up with Testimony." 

Following the release of Transcending Reality, Testimony went on to play a fair amount of shows all around the mid-west and even opened for national acts like Vektor, Revocation and Diamond Plate. Although Testimony were more popular than ever, members of the band never let things go to their head. Instead the band became more dedicated to their craft as time went on. "Vektor and Revocation are bands we look up to as they both play heavy music with progressive elements; like us." says Lambacher "There are plenty of lessons to be learned from bands that are on the next level than you, and we are always diligently taking notes." Although it's unknown what exactly these notes say, I imagine they have something to do with hard work, dedication and perseverance, especially considering the band's practice regiment. "I can't speak for everyone on this, but I try and spend at least two hours a day playing bass either by myself or with others." says Lambacher. "As a band we get together once a week to rehearse and we also have writing sessions outside our normal rehearsal time. We've each gone about our instruments in a different way, but we're all very much dedicated to them and the band." 

THE BEAST THAT PRAYS
After nearly two years of playing shows in support of Transcending Reality, Testimony announced in late 2013 that the band would be releasing a brand new EP entitled The Beast That Prays sometime in 2014. Although there is no official release date as of writing Lambacher insists there is one on the very near horizon. "We're very close to wrapping things up. We're just finishing some details with the artwork layout for the physical copies." Good thing too, because The Beast That Prays is without-a-doubt one of the best albums of 2014. It's evident from the album's opening track "Twisted Visage" that Testimony really took the time needed to create an album that is greater than it's predecessor, which I might add, is no easy task. "That's one thing we're all constantly striving for; making the next song, riff, or whatever better than before. Putting the "progress" in progressive if you will." says Lambacher. "We wanted to take the music in a more technical and heavy direction" he continues, which is exactly what the band has done. The Beast That Prays is much like a roller coaster ride, slowly taking the listener to the top of a peak and then, without warning, propelling them down hill straight into a hair-pin turn that surprises in the best way possible and then, without warning, everything is upside down and before you know it, the whole thing is thrown into a series of twists and turns that are hard to forget. And when the experience is over the listener is left sitting there with their mind blown begging to do it all over again. "For our last EP each song had just one composer, but now the band is more of a collaborative effort" explains Lambacher. "There's sort of a friendly competition between Mike and I, where we're like, "bet you can't play this riff!" That sort of drive is an integral part of Testimony, and I think our new EP highlights that." Whatever it is that's driving Testimony, other bands should be diligently taking notes because this band is on to something.

So what's next for Testimony? "Right now we have some good shows lined up, but given the right opportunity we'd love to go on tour." says Lambacher. Given the band's performance on The Beast That Prays, I think it's pretty safe to say there are going to be a lot of opportunities for this band in the very near future.

Be sure to check out Testimony on Facebook and Twitter and keep your eyes peeled for The Beast That Prays. Trust me, it's worth the wait!

 

YOUR DAILY DOSE OF THRASH - 7/17/2014 - TORTURE SQUAD

TORTURE SQUAD:


Check out Torture Squad on the web.

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I hope you enjoy Torture Squad! Check back tomorrow for another killer band!