Let’s Get Real with Jeff Paulick is a column on Metal Insider featuring the thoughts and opinions from Lazarus A.D.singer/bassist Jeff Paulick. He’ll be sharing his views on everything from the music industry to life on the road (and everything in between) in this bi-weekly column.
Back again for another installment of “Lets Get Real”, had to take a week off from the holidaze, and I went to Vegas, so, I was pretty much drinking nonstop the whole week. It kicked ass! So we’re gonna take a sidestep here and not talk about mechanics of the industry and why they suck. We’re gonna talk about something that I in particular am pumped about: Mayhem Fest.
When I first heard the lineup way back when, I was like “ok, it’s alright.” I thought they could have done a better job, but, you know, I’m just bitter we can’t sell 20K records to be considered! But seriously, with every passing week, and every leaked album/single, the lineup starts to look mighty fine. I wanna rant on some of the albums/singles that have been coming out particularly with the Mayhem lineup, and why this year I’d be psyched as shit if I could go, but I cant, I’ll be the non Mayhem tour, haha.
Red Fang put out their single a while back, and I’m not a huge fan of doom or sludge, or whatever Mastogenre they fit into, but this songs kicks major ass. Dude’s voice has a very Thin Lizzy vibe, and and the guitar tone on the cut is perfect. They sing pretty much the whole song. The arrangement is top notch. The hooks are undeniable. I was singing along within 2 listens. And the video just kicks major ass! Kudos to these dudes. I’d be really curious to see how they do opening the fest.
Suicide Silence is not a band that I’ve ever really been a fan of. I understood the hype, the sweet name/t shirts, I just lumped them in with every other deathcore band. But any band that has every member with long hair in that genre (except the singer, obviously) has gotta throw down on stage. You just have to. And they do. Look up the live footy, they bring it. I can relate with this band because they get labeled deathcore, and they don’t really care. They are just writing what they wanna write. I respect that. And the new disc shows that. It clearly has a more Slipknot esque vibe, and it has a lot more focus. The songs are songs, I can pick apart verses and choruses. And, it’s not half bad. The production is top notch, that always helps. I can see why CM pushed hard to get Suicide on the fest, coupled with their new CD. They have a legitimate shot at breaking free from the genre nazis, and start to come into their own.
Unearth, or as we call em in the Laz camp Ungirth, have fucking returned. They always had the highest energy live show I’ve seen in the metal world (while still actually playing the songs efficiently). And with their new disc, holy shit, I wanna see the new tunes so bad. Every song is good. It’s no bullshit. If you’re a fan of The Oncoming Storm and just haven’t felt like they’ve nailed it since, they have this time. I’m gonna quote my tech here, the solos and breakdowns are unfuckawhithable. The opening track “Watch It Burn” is the gem. It’s everything you want in a great metal song. It marks the first time I can really remember a solid use of a grindcore beat in an Unearth song. The chorus is this huge breakdown anthem. The verse is fast and upbeat. But its alllllllll about the bridge. Ken Susi, you are my hero. An amazing clean vocal melody comes in over Trevor. It just fucking works, much like As I Lay Dying, but NOT cloning them in any way. It ends with a stupid awesome hardcore breakdown (hey magine that another awesome breakdown that doesn’t sound overused somehow? I wanna know their secret) with the line “burn your eyes on a setting sun” getting stuck in your head for all the right reasons. In the top 3 of the year without a question.
Trivium. A band I also never liked until their last record. They are headed in the right direction. The track “In Waves” is fucking stellar. By far the catchiest and refined track released this year. The problem I always had with Trivium was Matt’s vocals. I always felt they never fit well enough with the music, but as he gets older, his voice is maturing, and its clicking. It never sounds cheesy, it never sounds whiny. All the lines are put in perfectly. The solo section is awesome. The arrangement is great. Everything about this song just rocks. So to all the Trivium haters, forget it, this is legit. I saw them on the Shogun headlining run, and they blew my mind. They already are the next big thing, but I think this record is gonna make an even bigger stride in their career.
I’ll end with Machine Head’s “Locust.” Amazing production, damn close to Trivium’s. Epic is the word, and they’ve continued that awesome trend from The Blackening seamlessly to their new single. Robb’s vocals sound better than ever. The song isn’t too long, which was my only qualm with the last record. This one never gets stale. You actually want more even though its 7 minutes! That takes fucking skill. I think Metallica did that a bunch of times back in the day, but who knows, they never went anywhere or anything. The solo section is groove madness. The clean transition and angelic vocal line works great. Everything about this song is top notch. I’ve never seen Machine Head live sadly, but I know they throw down.
The moral of the story is these bands are turning into veterans. When you consistently write awesome music, and some of your best music comes this late in your career (5-7 albums in some cases) that’s an amazing sign. For the first time in a long ass time, I’m actually pumped about metal. I don’t hear these songs and go “yeah that’s ok.” I’m hearing them and saying “goddamn I wanna rock out right now.” It’s not technical death metal, it’s not scenester bullshit, it’s not anything the average metal listener can’t grasp, nor the most knowledgeable would scoff at. Its solid fucking metal songs, and I say thank fuckin god. Go to Mayhem, go support metal, watch the openers, keep an open mind, and get drunk and high!
**On a side note the new In Flames REALLY let me down. I loved the last one even though a lot of people didn’t. There’s just nothing about the new one I can latch onto (I guess that was Jesper I loved).