Kitchen Knife Conspiracy

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Artist of the Year: Chelsea Wolfe

Album of the Year: Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss

Song of the Year: Faith No More – Superhero

Music Video of the Year: David Bowie – Blackstar

Rock Act of the Year: Tame Impala

Alternative Act of the Year: Bjork

Rap/Hip-Hop Act of the Year: Kendrick Lamar

Punk Act of the Year: Teenage Bottlerocket

Metal Act of the Year: Deafheaven

Best Collaboration: New Order/Iggy Pop – Stray Dog

Best Live Act: Queen Kwong

Best Local/Regional Live Act: ALBUM

Best Album (Local/Regional Act): TIE: Kitchen Knife ConspiracySeven Deadly Sins and The ZouKills, Part 2

Comeback of the Year: New Order

Best New Artist: Black Wing

Lifetime Achievement: Bjork


By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

The inaugural WayoFest is set rock Dave Grohl Alley in Warren, Ohio on July 11. Boasting over 20 of the area’s heaviest hitters, the all-day music festival is free, and places heavy emphasis on the revitalization and emerging art scene of downtown Warren. The festival will feature area mainstays Kitchen Knife Conspiracy, Zero.Set.Memory and Two Days Until Tomorrow, as well as some of the area’s brightest rising stars such as The Spectral Type, Panty Droppin’ Rock Brigade and Shaving Lincoln, as well as a special performance from the ladies of Infini-Tribe.

WayoFest, which refers to the Warren-Youngstown Festival, is the product of local DJ, entrepreneur and promoter Brandyn Petrick. Petrick is the founder of both Chaos Culture Entertainment and the soon-to-be-launched Domination Radio Network. He said that his love for music and counterculture served as the primary inspiration and motivation to organize this grand of a festival.

“Its been a long road. This festival was an idea that I had four years ago, inspired by an actress from Pittsburgh that I was dating. We talked about how cool it would be to blend the idea of a huge music festival and a horror convention and that was what the initial idea was and that became MacabreFest, which has now been changed to Wayofest,” said Petrick.

After deciding on Dave Grohl Alley as a location, Petrick decided to expand his vision to something with a more universal appeal.

“Even with the name change and a shift to a more family-friendly environment, I still want it to have that circus and carnival sort of feel to it. Something I can bring my seven-year-old son to and he won’t be bored out of his mind. So it’s more than just a music festival, it’s an all encompassing festival that brings together all aspects of arts and entertainment in Northeastern, Ohio,” said Petrick.

Petrick noted that through his own personal suffering, he chose to shift his focus onto something creative that has the potential to benefit not only the local art and music scene, but the entire community.

“A Little known fact about me is that I spent a good amount of time suffering from anxiety and depression, even though I tried to hide it most of the time, every once in a while it would sneak out. I’m a firm believer that anxiety and depression can be handled by doing something that you love that takes your mind off of the things that bring you down and that’s exactly what this festival has done for me, its my therapy. Chaos Culture Entertainment has recently partnered up with the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County to create a cultural hub in Warren. It’s common knowledge that Warren is fast becoming a crime ridden city and the Police are trying their hardest to clean up the streets and we figure that this is the best time to make downtown Warren to place to be for arts and entertainment,” explained Petrick.

As a 20-year veteran of the local/regional scene, Petrick has witnessed the rise and fall of many trends and sub-scenes within the area. He noted the selection of artists on this bill was a very significant factor in making WayoFest a unique experience.

“The Hellfire Club from Akron are lesser known in this area but they’re music veterans whose singer and drummer have played internationally for our troops, doing USO shows; Slap ‘n’ Tickle is a great Blues Rock band from Cleveland who’ve done countless national openers; and S.E.T. Movement is a fairly new Hip-Hop group from Cleveland. Then you have some local Youngstown staples such as Kitchen Knife Conspiracy who have been together for nearly 20 years now, as well as [contemporaries] Woodside Manor, Mettal Maffia, Baroque Monody, and The Spectral Type who are all great bands who put on fantastic shows,” Petrick said.

Aside from Petrick, a number of artists on the bill are very excited to be taking part in this year’s event for a number of reasons. Members of Zero.Set.Memory, Panty Droppin’ Rock Brigade and The Spectral type all weighed in on how WayoFest will benefit the music scene and what they’re most excited for on July 11.

“It helps that there are other options out there for bands and fans to participate in.  Having a festival like this in a new location will help rejuvenate the scene, both for the performers and for the fans of local music and the community.  I feel that WayoFest is going to be a great thing for the city of Warren and for the scene, especially for future WayoFests,” said Josh Allen, drummer for The Spectral Type.

“Have you seen that there is a blacksmith there? Look at the diversity. On top of that it’s one of the first times I’ve seen so many locals pull together for something this big,” added Zero.Set.Memory frontman Cody Skeen.

They are also happy to note that emphasis will be put on the scene as a whole, rather than a slew of artists and promoters competing for dominance.

“WayoFest will bring a lot of new camaraderie to groups of people who otherwise might never get to be in the same place at the same time. Making new friendships that, with all hopes, will inspire lots of new future shows, new fans and more new friends. The collaboration will be well worth the time and energy spent to help get WayoFest off the ground,” said Panty Droppin’ Rock Brigade manager Cecilia Walsh.

“WayoFest is giving the locals in our area an opportunity to not only play, but all come together for one cause: The music. Fans will benefit by being able to see all their favorites in one spot on one day and bands get to expose themselves to new people. And of course most importantly, everyone can celebrate their love of music and the people that make it,” added Skeen.

Not to mention that they are excited to share the stage with so many peers, some of which they have yet to do so. Skeen and Allen both noted specifically who they’re most excited for.

“Woodside Manor, Panty Dropping Rock Brigade, Shaving Lincoln. It’s hard to pick one. There are so many awesome locals it’s mind-numbing,” said Skeen.

“We’re honestly looking forward to all of the bands on the bill. We like to support local music as often as we can.  It takes a lot of hard work and dedication for a band to get to a place where they’re ready to perform in front of a live audience. Some people who have never been in a band sometimes don’t realize much effort goes into writing new music and what it takes to get up on stage and perform. It’s an intimate process, to share your music with others, and when you’re about to open yourselves up to an audience, it’s really sometimes quite nerve-racking. So, this is why we look forward to seeing ALL of the bands on the bill,” finished Allen.

Petrick indicated that WayoFest is merely a small key piece to the larger puzzle that is the revitalization of downtown Warren.

“We have numerous big events planned to represent this revitalization and Wayofest, which will be combined with the art hop, which is artists set up all over the city creating projects, will be our yearly big event. And there will be a trolley to take people from one stop to the next with Wayofest being a huge part of this event,” said Petrick.

Finally, in regard to the future of WayoFest, Petrick is optimistic and plans to gradually expand the annual event into something even more involving and encompassing.

“Initially I had the idea of making Wayo more like Rock On The Range where it’s just a weekend-long party with great music all weekend long. But as time has gone on, I’ve thought that while that is great, I think Wayofest would benefit people more if it were modeled more like South by Southwest. You have the local bars that will benefit from the business, you have several indoor and outdoor stages, and we can tie in the Amp and The Robbins Theater and it’ll all be free. We also plan on bringing in national acts and mixing things up with national and local acts and also diversifying the lineup more as well. I’m all about uniting people for one common cause and that’s entertainment. I want people to travel from out of town just to see this festival, and I want people to come to Warren for the entertainment value,” finished Petrick.

WayoFest kicks of at 12 p.m. in Dave Grohl Alley on July 11 with two stages and live entertainment continuing through midnight.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Seven Deadly Sins

Artist: Kitchen Knife Conspiracy

Album: Seven Deadly Sins

Release Date: 3/7/15

Rating: 9/10

For music fans in the Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania region, it’s very likely that Kitchen Knife Conspiracy are a household name. For nearly two decades, the self-proclaimed “Stompcore” act have offered an endless onslaught of battering rhythms, chugging guitars and horror-themed lyrics to the masses. But to write KKC off as just another act is the seemingly endless pool of death metal bands should be considered a “deadly sin.” The regional mainstays have transcended a multitude of fads and genres, balanced personal careers and side-projects, experimented sonically while only continuing to intensify and have influenced countless local acts over the years. Their lyrics, although violent, contain a stabbing social-awareness and razor-sharp wit, often sprinkled with a Cannibal Corpse-esque sense of humor. Like it or not, Kitchen Knife Conspiracy are the original “pimp daddies” of the Youngstown music scene.

It has been nine long years since KKC released their last album, 2006’s A Friend in Need… Is a Friend to Kill. Since then, a lineup shift saw the departure of guitarist Kevin Lewis and original vocalist John Prosenjak. Enter new frontman, Ian Pethtel (ex-IO, Secondhand Suicide, and currently of Orwellian). The local metal veteran joined KKC now several years ago, and is recently featured on their long-awaited new album, Seven Deadly Sins.

Seven Deadly Sins features Kitchen Knife Conspiracy on their most ambitious musical escapade yet. As the band examines each of the actual seven deadly sins, an emotional, often piano-driven instrumental serves as the calm-before-the-storm before all of the hellish fury of each individual sin is to be unleashed. With these instrumentals, largely composed by drummer Fred Whitacre, a stage is set allowing each of the following tracks an opportunity to stand out in a unique way.

The album opens with “The Wrath,” an instrumental leading into the blistering and soon-to-be concert favorite, “Buried By the Hatchet.” Another anger-fueled rouser, “Violent Eclipse,” follows before leading into “The Greed” and “Triple Six Fix,” another stomper with Pethtel bellowing, “Openly plan your fame, deceivingly win it all, now that you’re on the run, is the risk worth the reward? You’ll burn as they overcome.”

The middle section of Seven Deadly Sins begins to emphasize the band’s growth as songwriters.

“The Sloth” leads into “Acedia,” another standout track featuring the ruthless grind of guitarist Jeremy Cibella with some of his most clever riffs to date. The following track, “Red Ghost,” is also a highlight from the album. From the haunting yet soulful backing vocals and equally haunting piano lines provided by Whitacre, to the ingenious melodic bass lines from Johnny Kihm, this track is like no other in KKC’s repertoire. Off all tracks, “Red Ghost,” in many ways, feels like a band coming together on all creative fronts, with the whole truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Kitchen Knife Conspiracy. Left to right, guitarist Jeremy Cibella, bassist Johnny Kihm, vocalist Ian Pethtel and drummer Fred Whitacre.

Kitchen Knife Conspiracy. Left to right, guitarist Jeremy Cibella, bassist Johnny Kihm, vocalist Ian Pethtel and drummer Fred Whitacre.

“The Pride” enters into “Doomcult,” led by a (somewhat) slowed down, melodic Doom riff. “The Lust” brings us “Desire For the Dead,” another perfect example of KKC’s lyrical ability to balance both grotesque and thought-provoking imagery. “The Envy” gives us the slammers “They’re All Dead in There” and “I Don’t Have Anything,” with more brutal riffage and technical prowess.

Finally, Seven Deadly Sins concludes with “The Gluttony,” giving us another track most likely to become a fan-favorite; “A Vile Sense of Taste.” With a straight-forward attack, it’s reminiscent of the band’s earlier material. Final track “The Seven Deadly Sins” closes the album on a similar note, with yet another haunting melodic piano performance from Whitacre.

In many ways, Seven Deadly Sins indicates how extreme metal can stimulate both the primal and intellectual components of the mind. KKC never fails to energize and get the blood pumping (or squirting). However, they also have used their intensity to paint a much bigger picture and there is much appeal to this new record. Musically, the band are not only just as ambitious as they were on earlier work such as 2000’s Sin Pathetic and 2002’s Handicapitated,” but their hunger has only intensified. The influence of individual side ventures is apparent as well. Last year, Whitacre released a solo album spanning a multitude of genres. His confidence as a songwriter shows, especially in the excerpts credited to him. Pethtel, having been working with Orwellian for the past year-and-a-half, has also seemed to keep him sharp, as anyone who as seen that band live would attest to.

All in all, Seven Deadly Sins is an ambitious piece musical mastery. Nine years worth the wait, as the album successfully keeps Kitchen Knife Conspiracy true to themselves, while offering a whole lot more. Stand out tracks include “Triple Six Fix,” “Acedia,” “Red Ghost” and “Doomcult.” Although, the endless brutality of “Buried By the Hatchet,” Desire For the Dead,” “A Vile Sense of Taste” and the title track are not to be counted out either. Although not for everyone, this record will secure the band’s legacy among die-hard fans and undoubtedly usher in a new generation of fans. If you like your music heavy, mean and thought-provoking, then Seven Deadly Sins is a must-have!

Orwellian left to right: guitarist Seth Kesinger, drummer James Shaw, vocalist Ian Pethtel, bassist Mark Moats and guitarist Rickie Palmer. Photo courtesy of

Orwellian left to right: guitarist Seth Kesinger, drummer James Shaw, vocalist Ian Pethtel, bassist Mark Moats and guitarist Rickie Palmer. Photo courtesy of

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief

Imagine George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian state. Human thought and emotion have been eradicated in order to make way for a mechanized, mundane existence. Then, suddenly, mankind’s natural individuality begins to spread like a virus. A bloody revolt ensues, and the power of the human soul, ideas and expression, are all raging against the system.

Now, imagine a soundtrack to this conquest: The brutality; the struggle; the rage. Northeast Ohio’s aptly named Orwellian comes to mind in doing so.

Orwellian is an extreme metal outfit comprised of some the of the area’s HEAVIEST hitters. Lead by Kitchen Knife Conspiracy frontman Ian Pethtel on vocals, the band features guitarists Seth Kesinger (ex-IO) and Rickie Palmer (Postpwn3d), bassist Mark Moats (ex-Dawn Abandoned) and drummer James Shaw (ex-Paradym). Their fusion of death metal, black metal and grindcore, along with the unique influence of the members’ various projects, offer a distinctive sound spanning nearly the entire spectrum of extreme heavy metal.

“We kind of take a little bit of everyone’s influences and throw them into one style,” said Moats.

Orwellian has been in the works for several years. After the demise of IO, Kesinger began writing music with a handful of others before solidifying the final lineup. With the final addition of his former bandmate, Pethtel, Orwellian had come full circle and began focusing their creative energy on something new and distinct.

“It’s really just about bringing something to the table,” said Kesinger. “Then whoever’s there or not there can really just start expanding upon it. It’s really free, anybody can bring an idea to the table. If it sucks we’ll tell you, if it’s awesome we’ll keep it.”

“We’re not trying to stick to a certain genre or sub-genre. If it works, it works. We’re very critical, but it works. We’re not afraid to tell each other if something’s not working,” added Pethtel.

The raw emotion and range of influence is certainly present in the band’s music. The chugging riffs of “Novel of Despair” and the slamming-yet-melodic “The Gift” offer a look into what Orwellian does best; the thinking man’s death metal. These tracks perfectly surmise the rage of an individual whose been stripped of their being through a hierarchy of power. Pethtel’s signature growl offers an unbridled sense of brutality, matched flawlessly by the band’s very intense, yet very musical style. Tracks like the Fear Factory-esque “Tyrant” and “Abandoned (in Flames)” also indicate the band’s socio-political quip, living fully up to their name.

Orwellian debuted live at the Crawlspace Concert Club in Girard, Ohio in March of this past year. Since then, they have brought their brand of metallic brutality to dominance with explosive performances at the Outpost in Kent, Ohio. According to the band’s official Facebook page, this is only a taste of what’s to come:

“Here the story only begins for Orwellian. Where they’re going and what they do is left in their own hands. All we know is… it won’t be pretty.”

Orwellian is set to play Wedgewood Ramps in Austintown, Ohio alongside Youngstown-based thrash outfit Chaos Reigns, Warren metalcore masters Among the Fallen and post-hardcore punks Them Bastards on May 10. They will also be returning to the Outpost on May 31 for a headlining set with support from Chaos in the Sky and Cherry Poppins.

Stream exclusive Orwellian tracks here.

Orwellian Poster