All posts for the month October, 2014

Cage the Elephant. Photo courtesy of the band's official Facebook page.

Cage the Elephant. Photo courtesy of the band’s official Facebook page.

By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)

When Bowling Green, Kentucky natives Cage the Elephant exploded onto the music scene and their debut record hit American shelves in early 2009, most could detect something particulrly special surrounding this band.

Though the album was released a full year prior in the UK, it begun to slowly build momentum in the US thanks in large part to the surprise success of “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Back Against the Wall.”

Now, the rockers have three albums and countless hits under their belt and are embarking on a tour opening up for their friends, and Akron natives, the Black Keys.

Guitarist Brad Shultz recently spoke to The Raw Alternative and said the band has grown close with Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach since doing several shows with the band a few years ago.

“We have great memories with those guys as well as the other bands we have toured with and grown close with. We have developed great relationships with various musicians and it’s been a crazy ride and I’m blessed to be a part of it,” Shultz said.

Cage the elephant

One could see why it’s been a wild ride for Cage the Elephant, as members Matt Shultz (Vocals), Daniel Tichenor (Bass) and Jared Champion (Drums) have played alongside bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots.

This would be a fantasy for most.

Dave Grohl even filled in on drums for the band for a couple of weeks in 2011 and is a self-proclaimed fan of Cage.

Currently the band is playing a lot of new material on the tour and mixing in old numbers throughout their set.

This is something Shultz said is a pretty neat experience.

“It’s good to get out there and play the new songs and even rework some of the older songs,” added Shultz. “It’s interesting to see how much we have progressed from the older stuff, to the stuff on Thank You, Happy Birthday! and now with the songs on Melophobia.

“What’s funny is, we will play like 17 songs and still get off stage in an hour because all of our songs are so short (Laughs).”

All joking aside, the band is now considered as one of Rock’s hardest working and most exciting bands, as they seem to tour non-stop.

“Playing shows is what we love to do, it’s a big part of our band and we put forth a strong effort to tour as much as possible to give fans more opportunities to see us,” Shultz said.

He also added that the crazier the crowd is, the crazier the show is. This is because the band feeds off of the crowd’s energy.

“That all kind of started when we use to play shows back in our home town at a place called Tidballs, it was this bar and fans would get so crazy in there and we would feed off of that.”

Playing big shows has also become a part of the band as they have now played Lollapalooza four times.

Shultz indicated that two of those shows are his all-time favorites and both sets were eerily similar.

“What a great feeling it is to play Lollapalooza, my two favorite shows we have ever played have been this year’s Lollapalooza and also 2011’s. Both times, ironically when we played, it was raining so hard and at points it was a downpour, it was awesome,” Shultz added.

Things were a little different this year at Lollapalooza for Cage the Elephant as long time guitarist Lincoln Parish was not onstage with his former band mates.

Parish decided to leave the band in late 2013 to pursue other interests.

Unlike most departures, this one ended on good terms as Parish, who joined the band when he was just 15-years-old, decided he wanted to focus on producing records.

“He joined the band at such a young age so he never really got to experience life,” Shultz said. “I think that now he is ready for some normalcy in his life, like wake up in the morning, have a cup of coffee and read the newspaper. He also has taken an interest in producing some records so as long as Lincoln is happy then we are happy for him and wish him the best.”

Replacing Parish is Nick Bockrath, who has also played alongside fellow Bowling Green natives Morning Teleportation, and Shultz says the transition has been a smooth one.

“Nick is an amazing guitar player, he is classically trained in jazz and fits in well with our band. We also added Matthan Minister on keys,” said the rhythm guitarist.

Though Cage the Elephant continues to enjoy the success that Melophobia has brought them with singles “Come a little Closer” and “Take it or Leave it” it will soon be time to make new music.

So far in the bands young career, each album has sounded different from one another, when asked what the new material may sound like, in typical Shultz brother humor (Matt is his younger brother), he gave this response.

“The next album is going to sound like Psychedelic Cowboy music, kind of like if John Wayne ate some shrooms and made a record.”

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)


Artist: Exodus

Album: Blood In Blood Out

Rating: 5/5

Release Date: 10/14/14

In terms of Thrash Metal, what comes to mind for many are undoubtedly the “Big 4” which includes genre pioneers Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. However, the San Francisco Bay Area scene of the early-to-mid-80’s certainly wasn’t limited to just a handful of acts, nor was it short of boundary-pushing pioneers.

Among the many acts to emerge from that scene was Exodus. Noteworthy for featuring a young Kirk Hammett in their early incarnation, Exodus was just as innovative and trailblazing as any of the Big 4 acts, if not more so. Their style has always pushed the limits, even into extreme metal territory, with early Death Metal acts like Possessed and Morbid Angel, as well as Black Metal act Emperor citing them as a major influence.

30 years later, the Thrash legends return with a brand new neck-braking record, sure to pump some life into a genre that has grown stale in recent years. Blood In Blood Out, their latest effort, released via Nuclear Blast Records, is probably the best release in the genre since Anthrax’s massive 2011 comeback effort, Worship Music.

Exodus waste no time in getting right to the point on Blood In Blood Out, with non-stop brutal riffage, speedy solos, and socio-politically-charged lyrics that touch base on everything from organized religion to the current state of national affairs.

Leading off Blood In Blood Out in the Industrial-tinged “Black 13,” a ripping album opener featuring over-the-top aggressive riffs and lyrics that hook the listener immediately. From there the pummeling only continues with the catchy title track and political awareness of “Collateral Damage.” “Salt the Wound” features an unmistakable guest appearance by Kirk Hammett in the form of a tight, wah-drenched guitar solo and “BTK” features some brutal guest vocals from Testament’s Chuck Billy.

The second half of Blood In Blood Out takes the intensity even further with angsty tracks like “Wrapped in the Arms of Rage” and “My Last Nerve.” “Numb,” one of the album’s several highlights, features vocalist Steve Souza screaming “I’m sick of what I’ve become, but this world has rendered me so fucking numb!”

Closing out the album are a pair of slammers; “Honor Killings and “Food for the Worms,” leaving the listener adrenalized and ready to take on anything! A true metal record through and through, the album closes with a special bonus track, a cover of Angel Witch’s “Angel of Death.”

Despite several lineup changes and guitarist Gary Holt’s stints with Slayer, Exodus have prevailed a force to be reckoned with in Thrash Metal. Contemporaries such as Lamb of God, Machine Head and Trivium will fall to their knees, as these godfathers of Thrash show the metal community yet again, just how it’s done.

All in all, Blood In Blood Out is a very tight riff-heavy, consistent and truly brutal album that highlights the best the heavy metal genre has to off. Highlights include “Black 13,” “Blood In Blood Out,” “Salt the Wound,” “Numb” and “Honor Killings.” The bonus track is pretty stellar as well, breathing new life into an old NWOBHM gem. For fans of pure, gut-wrenching, no gimmicks heavy metal, Blood In Blood Out is a perfect record.


Mark Lanegan performing in 2012. Photo courtesy of

Mark Lanegan performing in 2012. Photo courtesy of

By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)

Three decades ago, a young Mark Lanegan met Gary and Van Conner and formed the Screaming Trees. 30 years later, he’s still going strong with a solo career and various other projects.

Still, the nearly 50-year-old singer seems to never quite be in the spotlight, but rather lurking in the shadows of the rock world and that’s all right with him.

“I don’t worry about that kind of stuff, I just try to stay in the here and now. Because as far as the past goes, once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Lanegan said.

As the Grunge legend prepares to release his latest offering, Phantom Radio, on Oct. 21 and prepares for a mini U.S. tour, (hitting Cleveland’s Grog Shop on Nov. 5) the singer took time to talk to The Raw Alternative about his recent endeavors.

Having released three studio albums in less than three years (with a few EPs thrown in) and collaborating with such artists as Queens of the Stone Age, Lanegan has been busy, but the singer said he loves being in the studio.

“I love to keep busy and work, writing songs, recording and playing live is what I love the most. I always have something on my plate and I hope to continue that,” said Lanegan.

On Phantom Radio, Lanegan continues to travel the dark, bluesy rode he is accustomed to with rich textures and haunting lyrics.

Songs like “Death Trip to Tulsa” and “Harvest Home” highlight Lanegan’s raspy yet fragile vocals and throughout the album there is a bit of a New Wave aesthetic thrown in.

“I like how the album turned out, if I didn’t like it I honestly wouldn’t have released it. I always try to make every record be complete. I don’t want just two or three good songs, I want it to be a complete experience,” he said.

Lanegan will be debuting much of his new material on his tour that spans from Oct. 29 through Nov. 9, with a more extensive foreign tour starting in January where he will play spots in Europe, South America and Australia.

“I’m really looking forward to touring, I’m only doing a handful of shows here in the states and it’s always fun to play in Cleveland. The bulk of touring will take place next year overseas,” said Lanegan.

Mark Labegan performing live with Queens of the Stone Age circa 2000. Photo courtesy of

Mark Labegan performing live with Queens of the Stone Age, circa 2000. Photo courtesy of

It is no wonder Lanegan will be playing plenty of shows on foreign soil, as he said that his music seems to resonate stronger in other countries.

“I have no idea why, I never really thought about it, but we do get a bigger audience outside of the US, a lot more people seem to show up. Especially over the last few years, it’s just one of those things, but hey, I’m glad people are interested in my work, no matter where it may be,” he explained.

A lot of Lanegan’s past work with his former band the Screaming Trees as well as his collaborations with Queens of the Stone Age and his Leadbelly covers with Kurt Cobain have interested fans throughout the world.

Despite all of his past success, he remains humble.

“Pride can only hurt, it can never help,” Lanegan said. “I just focus on what’s in front of me and concentrate on the present. Thank God I still have stuff left to do.”

“It’s hard to have prospective, on stuff that happened in the past, when you’re in the middle of something, I never think about stuff like where I rank in the realm of the rock universe.”

When Lanegan and the Conner brothers started the Screaming Trees in 1984, it’s easy to assume they never thought that the Seattle scene would become a world phenomenon and eventually become legendary.

It’s also fair to say once bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam hit big that it was only a matter of time until Lanegan and company would score a hit.

In 1992 they did, when they released “Nearly Lost You” which was featured on the Singles motion picture soundtrack.

With the Trees long broken up and Lanegan fully cemented as a solo artist, it appears that there is no end in site for the singer song writer as he says he thinks he will be doing this for a long time.

“I’m always working toward something, after I’m done touring I’m sure I will be working on something new. Nothing is set in concrete, but knowing me, it will probably be another album,” finished Lanegan.

Marilyn Manson circa 1994.

Marilyn Manson circa 1994.

By Brandon Judeh (Music Editor)

During the summer of 1994, music was in a curious place.

Grunge was on life support, Hip-Hop and R&B were starting to take over the radio waves and Industrial music was just beginning to take the world by storm.

While Nine Inch Nails and Ministry were leading the way, unbeknownst to most, there was a little known band from Florida well on their way to turning the world upside down.

Ironically it was Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor who would turn this musician loose on the unsuspecting public.

The band, Marilyn Manson, the album: Portrait of an American Family.

Twenty years ago this month (July 19) the album hit store shelves all while the band was opening for NIN, Hole and the Jim Rose Circus.

Manson and his band of freaks, Daisy Berkowitz (Guitar), Madonna Wayne “Pogo” Gacy (Keyboards), Twiggy Ramirez (bass) and Sara Lee Lucas (drums), soon became notorious for their live act full of violence and unpredictability.

Whether it was Mr. Manson cutting himself on stage or Pogo’s odd stage behavior the band was considered controversial right out of the gate, as was their names (First name, after an iconic female sex symbol and last name after an iconic serial killer) and first album.

Portrait of an American Family, produced by Trent Reznor at various locations including the infamous Tate house in California, kicked off with a twisted rendition of a classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory line.


“Prelude (The Family Trip)” features Manson rambling the famous boat ride lines from Willy Wonka overtop of samples and distortion, but it was the next song that truly introduced us to Marilyn Manson.

The opening lines to “Cake and Sodomy,” much like the rest of the song, were a big fuck you to pretty much everything.

“I am the God of fuck,” Manson, calmly proclaims.

The chorus, “White trash get down on your knees, time for cake and sodomy” though catchy, was an obvious stab at redneck America. Specifically those in the Midwest that Mr. Manson grew up around in Canton, Ohio.

“Lunchbox” was next up, a tale about a child being bullied, then the child turning to violence as a weapon of retaliation.

It was also an acknowledgment to all of the Manson fans, A.K.A. the “Spooky Kids” who would carry lunchboxes to his shows when the band was relatively unknown and still playing in Florida.

The next two tracks, “Organ Grinder” and “Cyclops” are gritty, hard hitting and disturbing.

Upon first listen, “Organ Grinder” is shocking with its lyrical content, dealing with everything from penis envy to self-loathing.

“Cyclops” is a straightforward rocker that is the perfect prelude to perhaps the albums catchiest song, “Dope Hat.”

The songs guitar riff, bass line and drums, along with Manson’s hypnotic vocals, are enough to send you into a trance, as the beat is sure to be stuck in your head for hours.

The music video, the third single off of the album, fits the song perfectly as you follow Manson and his band mates through a twisted, perverted boat ride straight out of Willy Wonka.

Track number seven is a brutal number that features a surreal/nightmarish video.

“Get Your Gunn,” which was the albums first single, takes a stab at pro-lifers and right-wing religious fanatics alike.

Ironic lyrics such as, “The housewife I will beat/the pro-life I will kill, what you won’t do I will” help spearhead Manson’s message of hypocritical, white trash American’s.

During the breakdown of the song, voices are heard in the background and a gunshot is fired, adding more to the shock value is the fact it was real, as it was an excerpt from Budd Dwyer’s ill-fated press conference in 1987. (Don’t know who Budd Dwyer is? Google the video.)

The song “Wrapped in Plastic” (a personal favorite) followed. Manson got the name of the song from the popular TV series “Twin Peaks.”

One of the first scenes from the pilot episode shows a character that finds the shows (dead) star, to which he proclaims, “She’s dead, wrapped in plastic.”

The series was a personal favorite of Manson’s and he uses several samples from the show in this song about how, from the outside, many family’s appear to have the All-American, white picket fence lifestyle, but it’s what happens inside of the home that tells the real story.

“Dogma” and “Sweet Tooth” follow before the three-headed monster of “Snake Eyes and Sissies”, “My Monkey” and “Misery Machine” hits.

“Snake Eyes and Sissies” was originally intended to be the first single, but it was never released.

One can see why it was a strong contender with its undeniably catchy bass line and Berkowitz grungy guitar riff.

One of the oddest tracks is “My Monkey” but it surprisingly works well.

The verse features Manson’s voice being transformed into a child like enigma, before blasting off into his gritty, sarcastic vocals during the chorus.

Lastly the masterpiece ends with “Misery Machine” a song the band regularly closed with during concerts.

The track is pure mayhem as every instrument seems to be in overdrive and ready to explode at any given moment until the song suddenly slows down into a slow, heavy groove toward the end.

That’s when Manson’s voice joins the instruments in becoming slow, but heavy at the same time, before blasting through the intense ending that eventually leads into a sample of a phone call received from an angry parent of a Manson fan.

Though this album was only a prelude to the controversy that was to come with subsequent albums, this may be Mr. Manson’s finest effort, especially lyrically.

Many of the albums references are still relevant today as we live in a world full of hypocrites and self-righteous people.

Little did the world know, in 1994, that this was just the start and that two years later Marilyn Manson would become the most hated person and band in the entire world…

Behemoth, circa 2009.

Behemoth, circa 2009.

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

As many bands throughout Europe began to be more and more influence by Scandinavian Black Metal one of those pocket regions that rose to this movement was the Slavic regions.

Indeed there was an almost camaraderie between the two regions at least musically and they often respected and acknowledged each other’s influence on each other. Fenriz, the drummer for Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone, said on the band’s MySpace that the Master’s Hammer debut LP Ritual from 1991 “is actually the first Norwegian black metal album, even though they are from Czechoslovakia.”

Although the Slavic bands would general employ a quality that would eventually be known as yet another subgenre that is still flourishing to this day: Blackened Death. It was perhaps a combination of Czech Republic’s Torr ( formed in the 80’s and Poland’s Vader and the original elements of Scandinavian black metal’s originators that influenced the early influential bands such as Master’s Hammer and Root.

Both Master’s Hammer and Root said Bathory heavily influenced them. In addition, Master’s Hammer was also influenced the by the extremely technical aspects which Carl Czerny and Giuseppe Verdi which employed in their compositional styles. Master’s Hammer enjoys a reputation among of the most respected metal acts as composers. Such influences among these early bands would lead to the orchestral metal influences in this region just as it did in Scandinavia.

Artwork on records became quite distinctive (and often unusual) in this region. One of the first contributions in this scene actually came from Master’s Hammer vocalist František Štorm, who did the artwork for Root’s first single, “7 černých jezdců / 666,” and their first full length, Zjevení. These and their later albums reached to other parts of Europe, namely to Portugal where the very successful Moonspell is from. They were greatly influenced by them. Root was indeed an early prominent band and was active until only about a few years ago.

In fact, many bands from this region enjoyed a longevity that unfortunately the Scandinavian black metal scene did not. Many are still currently active. One example that also has a great fan base to this day and who also solidified in 1991, is Behemoth from Poland. Their early works were demos on the small Polish label, Pagan Records but later came full length, Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic) in 1995.

A year later, they recorded their second album Grom: A stellar example of Black Metal in its starkest form, it is often the most overlooked Behemoth record. The album hits upon themes not dissimilar to Viking Metal with titles such as, “The Dark Forest (Cast Me Your Spell)” and “Spellcraft and Heathendom,” lead singer Nergal seems to be tapping into his own interest in paganism as Quorthon of Bathory did before him. There are decided Black and Viking Metal influences and the record (from 1996) sounds much older but the influences they took from all those elements and what Vader started in the 80’s, Master’s Hammer and Root in the early 90’s is how Slavic Blackened Death would become completely developed.

Grom as well as other early Behemoth records were unique and ethereal, but Grom was especially important, as it was a pivot between applying what they knew black metal as and the band’s starting to experiment with their own takes of it. Tracks with very madrigal style female and children’s vocals and purely Polish lyrics became something of an archaic harkening to Slavic lands in Ancient and Medieval times.

As Behemoth went on to be the most notable band from the Slavic region to refine the blackened death genre, we must not forget the bands a long the way from other regions that were influential such as Akercocke, Belphegor, and Sacramentum. However, Behemoth became more political and critical of Catholicism in their native Poland just as Quorthon was in Sweden and they are still going strong with many of these sentiments as well as thought provoking lyrical themes of many kinds in addition to exploring different subgenres of metal. On their new album, The Satanist (that we reviewed in March) they seem going back in time by using older methods and songwriting styles just as the bands of the early Slavic scene had done before them. It is good to know your musical history.

All of the aforementioned bands as well as some of the lesser known independent acts (which I unfortunately cannot decipher enough of the languages to adequately add to this article with accuracy.) But they all seem to all be going strong – Many since the 80’s. Which is an interesting contrast compared to much of the Scandinavian Metal scene where tragedy abounds. Maybe they applied their own cultural takes on Black Metal and instead of “praising Satan” they embraced Vampirism or perhaps they found a better balance with religious assimilations of their Slavic paganism and Christianity that the some of the Scandinavians did not. (At least not among the hype of the crowds.)

All in all, I find the music of these regions and the blackened death subgenre, genuine and both dark and ethereal… Very interesting music. Please check it out.

In addition to my Picks of the Week (from June 2014) leading to this article Here is a list of picks (as chronological as possible) for your enjoyment!

Vader – Dark Age

Törr – Kladivo na čarodějnice

Master’s Hammer – Ritual Full LP

Master’s Hammer – Až já budu v hrobě hníti…

Root – Píseň pro Satana

Behemoth – The Dark Forest (Cast Me Your Spell)

Behemoth – Alas, Lord is Upon Me

Törr – Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives


Resinaut. Left to right, drummer C.J. Haden, guitarist Matt Servenack, singer Joe Sinkovich and bassist Lucas Goleb.

Resinaut. Left to right, drummer C.J. Haden, guitarist Matt Servenack, singer Joe Sinkovich and bassist Lucas Goleb.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

As so goes the story of the Northeast Ohio music scene, as one musical titan falls, another rises in its place. Tighter. Meaner. And ready to take the scene into the next level. That is exactly the case Resinaut; Youngstown’s newest and grittiest arrival.

Resinaut brings a familiar sound with an added dynamic. Their unique blend of Sludge, Stoner and Acid Rock are capped off with a hint of the blues and a refreshing catchiness that is no easy feat in the said genres. Reminiscent of the Desert Rock scene of the early 90’s (including acts like Sleep and Kyuss), and with a nod to local sludge legends like Rebreather and Centrifuge, the band is quickly and proudly leading the pack of one of the area’s many most beloved sub-scenes.

The summer of 2014 saw several changes to staples along the area’s scene, with the unfortunate demise of Full Moon Canoe and Chapless Larry. However, from chaos bred creation, and the seeds were immediately planted for the birth of Resinaut.

“Matt (Servenack, guitar) actually brought us all together. Chapless Larry and Full Moon Canoe broke up on the same day, and then he called me,” said lead vocalist Joe “Joebob” Sinkovich.

“I put an ad up on Facebook, which rarely works, but Lucas responded within hours. We jammed once back in March with all of these same riffs. So when we all got together, he knew most of these riffs alreay,” added guitarist Matt Servenack.

The result was something hardly anyone could have expected. Resinaut formed, comprised of Sinkovich (ex-Chapless Larry) and Servenack (ex-Full Moon Canoe, Centrifuge) with bassist Lucas Goleb (ex-Mountains of Mars) and drummer C.J. Haden (Mississippi Gun Club).

The musical chemistry is not only present, but at the very forefront of the music itself. Songs like “Sleepwalker” and “Halt” perfectly showcase a band that is not only into their art, but having fun at the same time.

“It all really fell together real fast and real easy. Seven songs in two months,” said Sinkovich.

Goleb explained that despite close proximity and frequently crossing paths, this is the first time he has actually gotten to play with these musicians.

“C.J. and I are actually from the same general area, a few miles from one another. And we’ve always almost played in bands together. I’d go see his band or they would play with our band,” said Goleb.

Resinaut Shows

On Sept. 20, Resinaut exploded onto the scene, playing for a packed house on Supporting Your Local Music‘s one year anniversary party. Their high-energy assault of droning heavy metal and post-rock atmospheres hit right-to-the-point with instant crowd favorites “Oh Captain” and “Sleepwalker.” Other songs like “Halt” and “Through His Eyes” indicated the band’s unique chemistry, making the debut just as excited for the fans as it was for the band. The following week, they land a high-profile second gig opening for national touring act and Sludge legends Jucifer at the famous Now That’s Class in Cleveland.

Resinaut will mark their return to the area this Saturday, Oct. 18, at Cedars West End. From there, they will hit Chipper’s on Nov. 1 and perform in Erie, Peensylvania and Canton, Ohio by year’s end.

They are optimistic and indicated that they’re looking forward to reaching new audiences everywhere they play.

“People are still searching for something,” said Haden. “There’s a lot of good heavy music out there, it’s just nobody’s caught it yet.”

Lastly, they explained that they are big supporters of the local scene and are encouraging their peers to keep on writing, pushing and performing.

“It’s a good time for local music. We like to see diversity one these shows. No one wants to sit through four bands of the same kind of music, we like to see different bands helping each other out and hope to continue to see the scene grow,” said Sinkovich.

Resinaut will be performing at Cedars West End in Youngstown on Oct. 18 with The Days Before Empires, Baroque Monody and Cvttvnmvvth.

King Buzzo

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Ms. Rose