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Amnesty for Astronauts. Left to right, guitarist/vocalist Josh Green, vocalist Alyson Byerly, guitarist Chris Byerly, drummer Joe Carbon and bassist Sam Silsbe. Photo courtesy of facebook.com.

Amnesty for Astronauts. Left to right, guitarist/vocalist Josh Green, vocalist Alyson Byerly, guitarist Chris Byerly, drummer Joe Carbon and bassist Sam Silsbe. Photo courtesy of facebook.com.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

The northeast Ohio music scene is a bona fide breeding ground for innovative and unique local talent. Each year, another crop of new artists and projects emerges, continually turning the scene on its side. With a sound consisting of soaring melodic guitars, spacey atmospheric noise and a dual vocal attack, it’s no doubt that Youngstown, Ohio’s Amnesty for Astronauts is poised to be the next standout act of the area.

Like a handful of the area’s current acts, Amnesty for Astronauts consists of veteran musicians coming together from former big name acts. From the infectious grooves of drummer Joe Carbon (ex-Slander, Moral Dilemma) and bassist Sam Silsbe (ex-Erin’s Vineyard), to the gigantic riffs of guitarists Chris Byerly (ex-Relic, Moral Dilemma) and Josh Green, to the dual vocals of Green and Alyson Byerly, the band is solid through and through.

The band said that like most projects, it began naturally through friendships, mutual admiration and the love of music.

“It started out as a few friends getting together jamming in a basement. They called me up and asked, ‘Hey, you want to join the project?'” said Silsbe.

“Joe and I have played together for 18 years now. I was in his first band with Aly, so that’s where our roots are. Joe and I continued to jam ever since,” added Chris Byerly.

Formed over a year and a half ago, the band began to incessantly evolve. With the final addition of Alyson last summer, the sound had officially became solidified.

“With the addition of Aly a couple of months ago, we decided to bring in another singer and really turn it up a notch,” said Carbon.

With a wide pallet of influences, the band effectively blend their eclectic tastes into a unique and fresh sound that is unlike any on the area’s scene. Fusing the dynamic of The Pixies and early Radiohead with thumping grooves and a Hum-meets-Helmet slam of guitars, Amnesty for Astronauts successfully spans the broad spectrum of alternative rock. Evident on tracks such as the soaring “Miss Perfection” and the dream-like “Counting Sheep,” their sound provides no limitations.

“We get in arguments about what we sound like. We don’t really want to stick to a certain genre. And it’s helping us write songs. Every week we’re writing a song. It might sound something completely different than the last one we wrote, but it’s still something we like,” said Green.

“It makes you more versatile. The more you listen to, the more opportunities you have to be inspired,” added Alyson Byerly.

While consistently finding inspiration, the band have not only been pushing themselves forward artistically, but stressing the importance of building their name in unique and entertaining ways. For their first live performance, the band have been hitting the streets for promotion with a flyer resembling a moon-landing reported on the front page of The New York Times.

“You need to show your passion for what you’re doing to people. You can convince people to like what you’re doing if they see how much you like it. Facebook is very impersonal. I think getting out there and meeting the people, that’s what music is all about,” said Carbon.

Amnesty for Astronauts officially takes flight on Saturday, Nov. 23 with their first mission taking place at Chipper’s in Austintown, Ohio for a FREE show alongside Skull’Rz Bane and New Diaries. Exclusive live tracks can be streamed via their Reverb Nation page by clicking here.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Giger designing the iconic creature from the "Alien" franchise.
Giger designing the iconic creature from the “Alien” franchise.

Hans Rudolf Giger, better known as H.R. Giger, is a Swiss-born conceptual artist who’s designed some of Hollywood’s most terrifying images. Giger, born in Chur, Switzerland in 1940, is also behind some of the music industry’s most eyebrow-rising album art. Taking inspiration from the horror-fiction works of H.P. Lovecraft and images associated with the Necronomicon, as well as his own night terrors, Giger has been Hollywood’s go-to artist for the gruesome and macabre for over 40 years.

Giger began his career in the movie industry as a director, making small horror-tinged sci-fi films in his native Switzerland. He broke on to the international scene most notably for his work on the 1979 blockbuster, Alien. He designed the notorious monster after sketching down one of his own night-terrors, an ailment of which he frequently suffered. The Alien monster has become synonymous with the multi-million dollar franchise.

The Alien monster created by Giger.
The Alien monster created by Giger.

Aside from the Alien franchise, Giger has been involved in several major movies over the decades. He’s responsible for the most terrifying imagery in the horror flicks Poltergiest II: The Other Side and Killer Condom. He’s also credited for designing the Batmobile from 1995’s Batman Forever. Most recently, his original designs were credited in the 2012 horror/sci-fi Alien-precursor, Prometheus, and has been a creative consultant behind the computer game, Dark Seed.

Giger is also well-known in the music industry for creating some of the most controversial album artwork ever released by major labels. He’s the mastermind behind Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery, which had to be edited due to its overtly sexual explicitness. He also designed the limited edition poster (rows of copulating genitalia) that was included in vinyl copies of the Dead Kennedys 1985 release Frankenchrist, which resulted in the arrest of the band’s frontman, Jello Biafra. More recently, Giger has designed a custom microphone stand depicting a naked woman for KoRn frontman Jonathan Davis and has a line of custom-designed signature guitars from Ibanez.

Giger believes that despite the dark and menacing tones behind his work, beauty can be found.

“Some people say my work is often depressing and pessimistic, with the emphasis on death, blood, overcrowding, strange beings and so on, but I don’t really think it is. Some people would say my paintings show a future world and maybe they do, but I paint from reality. There is hope and a kind of beauty in there somewhere, if you look for it,” said Giger in an interview with TIME Magazine.

Scar the Martyr. Photo courtesy of roadrunnerrecords.com.

Scar the Martyr. Photo courtesy of roadrunnerrecords.com.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Slipknot drum virtuoso Joey Jordison is no stranger to exploring unfamiliar territory. Aside from the multi-platinum nine-piece unit, Jordison serves as the guitarists and co-songwriter for horror-glam outfit Murderdolls, and has filled in behind the kit for the likes of KoRn, Satyricon, Ministry, and Rob Zombie to name a few. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that during his down time from the Knot he’s getting his hands dirty again.

Earlier this year, Joridson decided to test the waters of the industrial-metal that influenced his formative years, thus forming his new band, Scar the Martyr. Handling the duties of drums, bass and rhythm guitar for the project, Jordison recruited ex-Stapping Young Lad guitarist Jed Simon, ex-Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna for programming and relatively unknown vocalist, Henry Derek Bonner for the studio sessions. The result is Scar the Martyr’s self-titled debut, due Oct. 1 via Roadrunner Records, which fuses metalcore and death metal with elements of industrial metal.

2013 has been a good year for industrial, seeing releases from genre pioneers like Skinny Puppy, Ministry and Nine Inch Nails as well as a successful side-project of Disturbed’s David Dramain called Device. With that being said, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for Jordison to capitalize on. Although Scar the Martyr has it’s share of bleeps and bloops and ambient textures, it certainly has more of a modern metal sound than that of straightforward industrial.

Scar the Martyr begins with an instrumental album opener consisting of frightening samples, setting the tone for the album and project, leading into the track “Dark Ages.” “Dark Ages” is a slamming good time, with grinding guitars and Jordison’s signature machine gun drumming. A good introduction to the band, seeing all of its key elements at full throttle on one track.

From there, the combination of industrial-influenced riffing and slamming percussion continues over the next couple tracks, leading into the lead single, “Blood Host.” “Blood Host,” most likely alluding to some sort of parasitic nature, serves as the perfect single, with a crushing yet dissonant drone similar to Fear Factory. “Anatomy of Erinyes”  and “Prayer for Prey” give off a darker aura, with more descending riffs and tribal drumming. The album closes with the droning and brutal opus, “Last Night on Earth.”

Fans of Slipknot and/or run-of-the-mill industrial metal may be slightly put off by Scar the Martyr, typically because of the abundance of soaring vocals found in more modern styles like metalcore. However, they work in good contrast to the hints of Stapping Young Lad, Fear Factory and Ministry that also ooze throughout the album.

Overall, the album, and band, can see as yet another victory for Jordison. Not only has he futher reached into unknown territory, but he has succeed with an original take on a highly influential genre of extreme and underground metal.

Audiences have agreed, as proven on Scar the Matyr’s initial tour opening for Danzig and strong hype surrounding the album’s release. Die-hard fans of the failing industrial metal can also revel in the fact that new and interesting bands are waving the flag for the genre and taking it to new and interesting places. Without a doubt, it is with great hope that Jordison continues this project between jaunts with Slipknot and that it doesn’t fall into the vast abyss of one-off projects.