Sunday, May 20, 2012

Castrofate - "Systematic Suicide"

Castrofate is an old school stlyed thrash band from NY who recently released their 4th album "Systematic Suicide". Past albums "ihuman" and "Cataclysmic Insanity" are pure gems, but Castrofate are way heavier, louder and tighter on this newest release. This band and album is thrash for the old school Metallica fan, if your looking for militant style riffing and songwriting comparable to the classic "Master Of Puppets" and "...And Justice For All" albums then Castrofate's "Systematic Suicide" is definitely an album begging to become part of your music library. Album openers "Revelation (Truth Be Told)" and the title track are pure ragers chock full of awesome riffery that pulsate with pure adrenaline and invoke images of classic circle pits. "Trapped Inside" is a slower dirge reminiscent of a mix between Black Sabbath with it's doom laden aura and also calls to mind classic Testament tunes like "The Ballad" and "The Legacy" with it's melodic chord progressions. "Tempted By Flesh" kicks back in with that killer thrash vibe, tons of upbeat riffs and a catchy chorus to snap your neck to! Vocalist/frontman Dan has an uncanny knack to come up with unforgettable riffs and face melting lead guitar runs, while vocally re-kindling the fire stoked by James Hetfield in his prime glory. "Hypocrite" and "Thunderclap" seethe with intensity and the riffs flow smoothly into each other. Castrofate prove on this album that they can write well crafted, catchy songs almost effortlessly and most importanly they hone a certain vibe on this disk, these songs sound like they are very fun to play from a musicians stand point, I can almost picture the band smiling while laying these tracks down because they know they have some bad-ass gems here! The intense thrash fueled insanity of "Deus Ex Machina" is unparralelled, I cant even begin to imagine how many guitar picks the guys must have melted through while playing this tune. At 3:40 an unbelievable viking styled piece kicks in that will have you raising your fists in the air and ready to go berserk on the next hipster you see with barbaric fury! "Behind Our Eyes" is the albums ballad of sorts, starting off with melancholic acoustic guitar, then kicking into slow but heavy verses and choruses and a very emotional lead guitar section. That "Master/Justice" Metallica era influence comes back in the tune "Cleansing The Earth" with it's super tight and angry verses and a chorus riff that sounds like it would tie a knot in your fretting fingers and beak the wrist on your picking hand. "Mortal Coil" has an early 80's NWOBHM vibe, think Judas Priest meets a thrash fueled Iron Maiden, this is a track for the leather clad, beer swilling Metal purist if I do say so myself. The bridge is very anthemic, I picture fists and devil horns pumping in the air while the riffs burn through the speakers and the guitar solo here would raise the eyebrows of K.K. Downing and Adrian Smith for sure! The 7:31 "Fear Of The End" plods along with a mid paced shuffle and overflows with guitar harmonies and an unforgettable chorus, this song almost reminds me of Metallica's "Wherever I may Roam" because of the way it's constructed and because of the epic old school metal vibe it provides the listener with. There's alot of heart and soul in tis entire album, but within this track especially and this just may be my favorite Castrofate song overall personally. The band close out this stellar disk with "The Enemy Within", a faster, louder track with lots of punch and lots of thrash fueled riffing. The circle pit riff at 3:08 is infectious, I guarantee you'll revisit this track frequently! The bottom line is Castrofate knocked it out of the park with "Systematic Suicide". Not only do I respect this band because of their awesome music, but I also envy their work ethic. Castrofate promote themselves harder than most bands I know, they work extremely hard to reach new fans, they have a HUGE internet presence, they promote their shows relentlessly and they make their CD's and merch very affordable, they obviously care way more about getting themselves heard and making a name for themselves than making a quick buck, if there's one thing you cant call these guys, it's lazy. Do yourself a favor, if your a thrash fan, you love old school Metallica and Testament, and your sick of the same old same that new bands are shoving down your throats, grab a copy of "Systematic Suicide" by Castrofate. You can find the band on Facebook at and you can also view professionally shot video's for "Revelation (Truth Be Told)" at and a pro video for the title track "Systematic Suicide" at as well. You can hear cuts from Castrofate every Thursday night on Up From The Underground from 7pm to 10pm EST at

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Interview with Dave "Gravy" Felton of Mushroomhead/Kriadiaz

Kriadiaz, pronounced (Cree-uh-dee-yaz) is a new band put together by former Mushroomhead guitarist Dave "Gravy" Felton. This is a brutal metal outfit who's influence drips with southern sludge metal in the vein of Pantera, Crowbar and Down. The 13 song offering is rife with catchy riffs that would make Dimebag proud. Earth shaking bass lines, pounding drums and vocals that call to mind Phillip Anselmo in his prime. Stand out tracks include : "Blood Line" with it's bluesy acoustic intro that kicks straight into a blistering verse, chorus, bridge that reminds the listener of something from the Vulgar Display Of Power album. "Feed The Rats", "Long Time Gone" and "Soul Chaser" plod along with chunky riffs and face melting guitar solo's. If "Ten Lives Lived" doesnt invoke images of insane mosh pits with it's stomping riffs then you need to check your pulse. "Torch The Earth" rages along at a mid-pace with fist clenching rythms and a bluesy solo piece that calls to mind a heavy metal Lynyrd Skynyrd. "Stoner Funeral" is a doom-fueled instrumental that will chill the spine and get the heads of every metal purist nodding in tempo. If your sick of breakdown riddled music, and all the Meshuggah wannabe's crowding the scene right now, then Kriadiaz will be a breath of much needed fresh air you will surely enjoy. I had the pleasure of chatting with former Mushroomhead/current Kriadiaz guitarist Dave "Gravy" Felton to get the scoop on this awesome new band and some insight on his former band as well. Enjoy this interview!!!

Jaymz : The production on the Kriadiz album is awesome. Where did you record?
Dave : We recorded it locally with our boy in Cleveland in his basement. He mic'd everything up and we just went for it.

Jaymz : How long did the recording process take for this Kriadiaz album?
Dave : It's taken a while because we've been recording on and off while I was touring with Mushroomhead. It's been spaced out about a year and a half. With my Mushroomhead schedule and all the other guys in Kriadiaz work schedules, it was hard to get a consistent ammount of time. Plus being able to get time with the producer as he has stuff going on too. But not being on a label there was no pressure to force an album out which was cool so we could take our time and get it done right. Everything's come out really well and I just picked up the final master copy today and have been driving around for a couple hours listening to it. It will be on itunes evenutally. Also you can order it from my personal Facebook page, or from the Kriadiaz page. There's also some live audio and video up on there too. Everybody in the band is super cool, I've known these guys for years. We have a blast on the road, doing shows. Any big success or not, it doesn't matter. At this stage in the game I just want to have a good time and jam.

Jaymz : I have to ask the burning question. Why did you split from Mushroomhead?
Dave : Well honestly I haven't even gotten a straight answer. I was kicked out in an email. And I haven't even spoken to my brother(Mushroomhead drummer Skinny) yet.
So I haven't spoken to him, and this was like the third week in January that I was told I had to leave. Jeff, and I were in a band called Hatrix, and then we started Mushroomhead off that. We were kind of based off of Mr. Bungle, which was an early Mike Patton band. They wore jumpsuits and halloween masks. There was Mr. Bungle, then Mushroomhead then Slipknot, and then that whole controversy with Slipknot which started before I was a member of Mushroomhead. As far as that whole Slipknot thing, I don't give a shit about that, and I have no beef with those dudes at all.
The Mushroomhead thing, most of the material, I ended up writing. But that wasn't the intent when I first joined the band. I ended up doing the majority of the writing. I mean the music, I suck at lyrics.
I joined right when the band signed with Universal. We were touring for the XX album. So when we started working on the XIII album
I would have 4 or 5 tune ideas and we came off the road and the band was scheduled to go into the studio 2 weeks later. At that time certain dudes weren't contributing. For years that's how it's been. We were on a major label, on a world stage. I didn't want to go out there and sound half assed. I didn't claim ownership of the band but I considered myself a legitimate member for what I contributed. For me it wasn't
a job. It was something I cared about and it was part mine. I don't care who started it and who was in the band longer than me. I didn't consider it a job, so I didn't see that I could be "Fired" from it.
Also I don't drink or smoke or any of that shit so that might be part of the problem. They can do whatever they want on their own time, but when it holds up progress I have a problem with it.

Jaymz : How did Kriadiaz form and how did you guys meet/get together?
Dave : I've know these guys for a long time. I started it as an outlet to get out what I couldnt get out before. In Mushroomhead I was sort of on a leash. I wasn't playing to my full potential.
Also have you heard of the band 216? It was a band featuring myself with J-Mann and Skinny of Mushroomhead. In Mushroomhead the guys got wrapped up in side projects. But why would you take (what 216 was) and throw it on the back burner? I wanted to keep going, and I wanted to keep making music. So for people to get stuck up because they have a certain level of success is stupid to me. I got tired of waiting to make another 216 record. To me it felt like someone had something personal against me. So I had to start this new project. I've never wanted anything but to take things as far as they can go and succeed. Part of the reason I got booted from Mushroomhead was that my opinions were just too much for some people to handle.

Jaymz : Listening to this Kriadiaz album, I clearly hear influences from Pantera, Crowbar and Down. Lots of groovy southern sludge metal going on. Was that your main influence on this album?
Dave : Well I'm definitely into those bands for sure. But I also come from that era that those guys come from. The late 70s, early 80s was a great era in music. Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zeppelin. If it sounds like Pantera, Crowbar, ect. that's great! Those are some of my favorite bands. I don't hve to try to write like that. It just naturally comes out that way Ive had people tell me that Mushroomhead is a cross between Faith no more and Pantera, so that influence has always been there. Ive always been influenced by guitar players that have that "fire" in their playing. Technicality is great, but there's something about the style that certain people have that just does it for me. Even if youre not into blues, Stevie Ray Vaughn is one of my favorite artists. His put his heart and soul into every performance. Dimebag was like that too. Those elements made me what I am.

Jaymz : Your guitar sound on this Kriadiaz album is really thick and brutal. What gear did you use on the recording?
Dave : I've had an Ibanez deal for a long time now, but I havent talked to them since ive been out of Mushroomhead. I have a bunch of Ibanez RG 7 strings. Those are basically the guitars I've been using The stock models, but slightly customized with pickups that I like. The amps are Randall Titans. I had a deal with Randall a few yrs back and I'm still using them and touring with them for the past 7, 8 years. I haven't had any problems with those things. I was using marshall 800s but I got tired of changing the tubes every year. I have these Randalls and i didn't like them that much at first, but I monkeyed around with them, and I've
been using them ever since. I also use a Yngwie Malmsteen overdrive pedal with a noise supressor attached to it. The only other thing I throw into the mix is a wah pedal for some solos. My setup is really as simple as you can get. Organic is the perfect word to describe it.

Jaymz : Are there any immediate touring plans for Kriadiaz?
Dave : The Summer is basically booked up. There's no label deal or distribution thing yet. I'm just in the local phase with everything working back from the ground up. I just want to try to get a distribution deal at the moment. I have a couple agents I've talked to about touring, and they're ready to book something whenever I want. The problem is that the other guys have "real" jobs, so it's not like theyre going to quit their jobs so we can tour. I'd like to see if we could get a small deal, maybe get on a festival. Just something worthwhile for everyone to do. You need that big push to get the exposure. I believe that if you have something genuine and honest, people are gonna latch on to it. Ive heard tons of good feedback locally and such, but that only goes so far. I'm grateful for that, but getting to that next level and getting fans to rally behind you isn't the easiest thing. We've been playing out for the past couple of years, but kind of under the radar. I'm not using the Mushroomhead thing to try and get fans that way. The last thing I want to do is confuse fans with yet another Mushroomhead related project. But fans are loyal and they want to support. I cant get over the fact that 216 sold 10,000 albums in Cleveland alone and was playing huge, packed shows to 500-600 people a night. I don't know why people would want to put that on the back burner. It's like having a winning lottery ticket in front of you and not cashing it in, being like "I'll wait till tomorrow".

Jaymz : How do you feel about the current state of the Metal scene in general?
Dave : That's a good question because I don't really know. It's weird. It seems like these metal trends come and go fast. A few bands do really good, then another band comes out that sounds like them. Metal is a strange animal. It's like super popular for the most part, but its hard to get people to rally around certain bands, until they get to a certain level. It's constantly transitioning. I know as far as the Cleveland scene, for me, I'm starting from scratch. I have friends helping me book shows, but I'm basically nobody at the moment. There's a shit ton of underground bands that nobody knows about in the Cleveland scene. It would be cool if people would branch out a little bit, and not only like and listen to what they're comfortable with.

Jaymz : Are there any new bands out that your digging and listening to?
Dave : I like that band Volbeat. They're pretty heavy and remind me alot of Life Of Agony which I also loved, especially River Runs Red. I listen to Volbeat on XM radio and it's refreshing to hear those guys. They're heavy and it's really cool. That band Kyng stands out too. I hear them on XM as well. Those guys are pretty cool. I heard some amazing death metal band that I cant remember their name at the moment on XM the other day. The drummers in those bands always blow me away. Death metal drummers play with such finesse and grace. You see these rock drummers like Tommy Lee, they're just bashing it out, but death metal drummers like Gene Hoglan look so relaxed playing a million miles an hour, it's crazy.

Jaymz : Do you have any advice for young, upstarting musicians looking to start a band and get involved in the Metal scene?
Dave : Yea, don't do it! LOL! Go to school! Get a real job! Because 25 yrs down the road you'll be like "I followed my dream, and I'm still the broke dude I was 25 yrs ago!" No, seriously, keep playing and keep moving forward. I love what I do, I'm not on a national level anymore, but I still dig it. If you're in it to be in a competition or to try to sell an image you're in it for the wrong reason. If you're having fun doing it, then do it.

Jaymz : Who are some of the bands you've had the most fun touring with?
Dave : There's been several awesome bands I've had fun on the road with. Weve toured with Lamd Of God, Shadows Fall, Avenged Sevenfold. We've had fun with all of those guys. The Lamb Of God guys, we bonded with them a lot. They're just fun, cool dudes. No gimmick at all. They just get up there and do their thing. I would love to be in their shoes, just getting to be myself, bring the metal, and throw down. I'm all about the honesty. When it came to Mushroomhead, I loved it for what it was, but sometimes it was just beating a dead horse in a way. I just wanted to take it a little farther. But I loved it for what it was. I felt gifted to be in that postion, to just tour and make records for a living. It's sort of like hitting the lottery in a way. We toured with Dope several times. Theres a lot of ridiculous things going on with those cats. Lots of debauchery. (haha) I don't know if you've seen those Mushroomhead Vol. 1 and 2 dvd's. A lot of it was my footage. I did a lot of editing on those dvd's. There's a ton of really funny and cool stuff that didn't make it. I have all the tapes. Every now and then I hook it up and show it to some people. The Dope guys were just crazy. Lotta fun with those dudes.

Jaymz : If there was one band in music history, currently going or defunct, who would you want to jam with most?
Dave : There's several. I'd like to jam with the remaining Pantera dudes. I would love that, to jam with Vinnie Paul and co. would be amazing. Also double trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughan's band. Dude there's a million, Yngwie Malmsteen, he'd make me look like a chump, he'd put me to shame, but I'd love to jam with him. I don't have an ego, It's just music. It's supposed to be fun. I'd like to jam with the Queen guys, i know this is all far fetched but I'd love to jam with them. I dig the White Stripes, some of the stuff Jack White does. He's a badass. He's got that bluesy style. He's got a similar style to me. That would be really fun. I always get envious when I'm watching the Palladia channel, all concerts nonstop. One of the coolest things I've seen, was The Foo Fighters are in an arena and they're covering Zeppelin with John Paul Jones. Dave Grohl is a basher. I like him playing drums more than playing guitar and singing. He's a rocker. It's all good. I'd jam with that dude! I'd love to just collaborate with anybody. I'd like to have enough credibility to be able to do it.

Dave : As far as the Mushroomhead thing goes, My sound never seemed to come across the right way, and I didn't really write 100 percent. I wasn't myself in the
writing all the time.I had about 80-90 percent to do with writing everything on those records. If it doesn't sound like me, I'm just
throwing in a differnt style on there. I have played keyboards and bass on almost every Mushroomhead record. We would sit down, I would just make up keyboard things on the spot. I know some music theory, so I can figure things out on piano. Half the stuff on Savior Sorrow album was scratch tracks. If you listen to Save Us you can hear the guitar part is the same notes as the keyboard part on Embrace The Ending, and the lyrics on Embrace are left over lyrics from Save Us. On the last record i was asked to play a bunch of keyboards, and i was like no, I'm not doing someone else's job for free.
Not to bash anything, but that was one of my points. We have this killer studio, Why are these albums lacking the tightness you can hear on Pantera and Crowbar albums? The master of the new Kriadiaz is just cleaner and more in check. Doing it at a home studio we pushed it to the limit with the sound. We recorded with just a tower, monitor, and a keyboard. AS long as you can pop it in, and it kicks you in the balls, that's all I care about. 216 was heavy too, but we spent a ton of money recording in a big studio, but it just doesn't have the same characteristics. Quality isn't always what's important. The characteristics of the music has to come across. "Cowboys From Hell" and the Crowbar albums prove that. When the songs are good and the production is done right, you can't go wrong.

Jaymz : Whats in the immediate future for Kriadiaz
Dave : We're trying to branch out as much as we can. We're playing in NJ in August.
We're playing Philadelphia the day before that. Champs is the name of the place in NJ.
We're playing with Stygeon. They toured with Mushroomhead, That's how I have a contact with them.

Dave : As far as the Mushroomhead controversy with me leaving is concerned...Are you guys
really gonna kick me out because I hurt your feelings with the truth? We're in our 40's. If you don't have thick skin by now and you don't know your place by now, go see a psychiatrist.
And for everyone wondering about all the personell changes in the lineup. Maybe the problem isn't with the guys who have been kicked out, maybe the problem is with the guys that are still there.

You can hear cuts from the Kriadiaz album every Thursday night from 7pm to 10pm EST at and you can find Kriadiaz and keep up with them at

Monday, May 14, 2012

Open Denile - "Visions Of The Next Dimension"

It is my pleasure to review for you "Visions Of The Next Dimension", the brand new full-length release by my BXDM brothers Open Denile. Opening the disk with a 2 minute eerie keyboard melody aptly titled "Descent Into Denile", the mood is set and the listener is given an immediate boot to the throat with the opening riffs of "Vivid Degradation". This 7 and a half minute monster is filled with crushing riffs, an abundance of shredding on the keys and guitar and a great contrast of guttural growls and melodic singing. This track is the ultimate example of what Open Denile truly is as a band, super brutal, very complex and progressive, lots of tempo shifting going from almost black metal speed to big open catchy pieces and tons of melody to spare. Think if Dream Theater were to go in a more extreme direction and collaborate with Children Of Bodom during the "Hatebreeder/Hate Crew Death Roll" years and you'd get something close to what Open Denile serve up musically. "Pathogen Eradication" sears through the speakers next, full speed ahead with intricate riffing and classic black metal tremolo picking, all the while with the keys creating a dark, haunting aura in the background. The lyrics in this tune, tell a tale of armageddon and the imminent path of self destruction mankind is on par for. The crazy break that begins at 3:50 includes face-melting guitar wizardry, and even gets kind of mellow and jazzy with epic guitar vs. keyboard pieces. This is thinking mans death metal, no mindless breakdowns, endless blast beating, no blood soaked tales of murder and gore, and no satanic blasphemy for added shock value. This band is all about 1 thing, musicianship, and thats what these 4 guys serve up through this entire offering. "Perish" is next and probably my favorite track on this amazing disk. How can you NOT love a 9 minute and 27 second epic dirge about a zombie holocaust?! 9 plus minutes may seem like alot of time, and Open Denile to fill that space with a ton of music, but this track flows seemlessly. There's no "Hey look what we can do" showboating, this is well crafted, extremely heavy, and they addition of keys over this track make it beautiful. Yeah I just said a song about zombies is beautiful, and unless Open Denile write "Perish part 2" I dont think I'll ever be able to say that again. The instrumental "An Absolute Memory" kicks in next. Just when you though Open Denile may have pulled every trick from their sleeves, where the heck did THIS track come from?! Acoustic guitars, mellow jazz inspired pieces that sway back and forth effortlessly, and more keyboard vs. guitar insanity. This track is almost a welcome "Intermission" if you will, to the brutal beating that proceeded it and a great setup for the 2 ragers to follow and close this disk out. "Blessed" is next and after a nice acoustic intro, goes straight for the jugular with heaviness. This track is a little more straightforward than the others, great classic metal vibe in the verse riffing and the chorus is extra catchy with an almost In Flames sort of feeling. This track is where Open Denile shows us they dont have to be chaotic and constantly blow our minds with progression to write a great song with a real solid punch to it, although the lead key and guitar solo's will have you running to the store looking for a new face, as yours will be melted off. "Immortalized" brings this disk to a close, with lots of frantic riffing, at a feverish black metal fueled pace. Again the lyrics here really stand out, from the point of view of a man feeling crushed, and betrayed and revolting against religion. Once "Visions Of The Next Dimension" comes to a stop, you'll be hard pressed not to press that replay button and go through this extremely brutal musical journey again. As I said before, this is thinking man's death metal, and Open Denial spew forth nothing but an abundance of talent and insane levels of creativity. There is no other band in the tri-state area and New York especially, doing what Open Denile does at the level they do it. "Visions Of The Next Dimension" pleases the metal enthusiast on many levels, and if you truly love metal this disk deserves a spot in your music library. Open Denile will officially be unleashing this masterpiece on the world on Saturday, June 9th at their record release show at Arena 80-12 51st Ave. Elmhurst,NY 11377. Performing along with Open Denile will be Left In Ruins, Engraved, Fall Of The Albatross, Irony Of Chaos, I Am The Trireme, Hypoxia and Cryptodira. This is an amazing event you dont want to miss, and this is an album you cant afford not to own! Come on out, buy a copy of "Visions Of The Next Dimension" and support some of the hardest working bands in the underground! You can hear cuts from this disk and all your underground favorites every Thursday from 7pm to 10pm EST at