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Get Lifted: An Interview with Chris Black of High Spirits

JustinBy Smulison

High Spirits is a US-based rock band that can play fast and intricate without sacrificing their overall aura of positivity. Their sound lands somewhere between Blitzkrieg, Queens of the Stone Age and Dead Lord, which enables the quintet to fit seamlessly on any rock (and some metal) showcases.

They have played clubs and also at such festivals as Party-San Open Air in Germany, Heavy Metal Thunder in the Czech Republic, Pyrenean Warriors Open Air in France, and Hell’s Heroes in Texas, and much of their club-touring success has been experienced in the UK.

In the studio, singer Chris Black handles all the musical duties of High Spirits, which probably explains the consistency in the band’s output. I first became aware of High Spirits in mid-2020 when Hard to Stop was released and immediately loved it. Safe On The Other Side, which will be released by High Roller Records on Nov. 24, is an ideal successor and captures that same essence.

But as we’ll hear in this interview with Jace Media contributor Justin Smulison, Black reveals why the album’s title, Safe on the Other Side, in itself needed to be earned.

Song clips: “In The Moonlight” and “Lonely Nights”

High Spirits:
https://www.facebook.com/highenergyrock
https://highspiritsmetal.bandcamp.com/merch

https://www.hrrecords.de/NWOBHM_2#9f65/fullscreen/m=and&p=2&q=high+spirits
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgYBLt90gBiVqSpc9P6rmEA

Sons Of Sounds Talk Lucky Number ‘Seven’

By Justin Smulison

The Sons Of Sounds is a rock/metal quartet from Germany who have produced a succession of albums that continually improve or expand on their abilities or their sonic quality.

The tradition continues with Seven, which will be released by El Puerto Records on Nov. 10, 2023. The album appropriately features seven tracks, each quite distinctive from one another; from the anthemic opening track (and single) “Sound of Hope,” to the acoustically-driven, cinematic feel of “End of the Road.”


The band is comprised of three Beselt Brothers – Roman (singer), Wayne (guitar) and H. (drums) – along with bassist Marc Maurer and will be hitting the road for several weeks in November and December in support of rock champions Nazareth (tour dates below).

Ahead of the tour, guitarist Wayne Beselt joined Jace Media contributor (and big fan) Justin Smulison to discuss all the excitement in the band’s camp. They also discuss the band’s recent tour with Geoff Tate and Darker Half, and some standout tracks from Seven, as well as its predecessors, Soundphonia (2021) and Soundsphaera (2020).

Also, hear Wayne’s 2021 interview with Jace.

Sons Of Sounds

Web: www.SonsOfSounds.com

Social: www.facebook.com/sonsofsounds/

El Puerto Records: https://shop.el-puerto-records.com/en/bands/sons-of-sounds/

Sevensonsofsounds.epr.rocks
Seven digital: save-it.cc/epr/sound-of-hope

Sons Of Sounds On Tour with Nazareth
Nov. 11, 2023  – Budapest | Barba Negra
Nov. 13, 2023  – Vienna | Szene

Nov. 14, 2023 – Bludenz | Austria
Nov. 16, 2023 – Lindau | Club Vaudeville (GER)
Nov. 18, 2023  – Forst | Manitu (GER)
Nov. 20, 2023  – Bensheim | Musiktheater REX (GER)
Nov. 21, 2023  – Nürnberg | Der Hirsch (GER)

Nov. 24, 2023  – Stuttgart | Stauferhalle (GER)

Nov. 25, 2023  – Muhle Hunziken | Rubigen, Switzerland

Nov. 26, 2023  – Muhle Hunziken | Rubigen, Switzerland

Nov. 28, 2023  – L’Abeille | Martigny, Switzerland

Nov. 30, 2023  – Kulturhaus Stattbahnhof | Schweinfurt (GER)

Dec. 1, 2023  – Kubana Live Club | Seiberg (GER)

Dec. 4, 2023  – Eventhalle Westpark | Ingolstadt (GER)

Dec. 5, 2023  – Zeche Bochum | Bochum (GER)

Dec. 7, 2023  – Westand | Brunswick (GER)

Dec. 8, 2023  – Rieckhof | Hamburg (GER)

Dec. 9, 2023 – Hanerau-Hademarschen (GER)

Multi-Instrumentalist Michael Abdow Leads The ‘Séance In Black’

By Justin Smulison

Michael Abdow might not speak one word on his newest album, Séance In Black but you can hear his voice through his playing. On Séance, which is available from Couch Cat Records, the multi-instrumentalist takes the listener on a sonic journey through seven progressive rock and metal tracks that are at once complex and melodic and reflect a range of emotions – from your darkest memories to your brightest Sundays.

Abdow is also known for his time as a touring guitarist for prog-metal champions Fates Warning and for being a collaborator on singer Ray Alder’s two solo albums, What the Water Wants and II.

Jace Media Contributor Justin Smulison has had the pleasure of seeing Abdow onstage with Fates Warning in 2019 and was incredibly stoked to converse with this talented musician. They spoke about his own solo work, collaborations with Alder, time onstage and in the studio with Fates Warning and his own musical philosophies.

Song clips: “From The Silence,” “Séance In Black

Michael Abdow:

https://www.michaelabdow.com

https://www.facebook.com/MichaelAbdow

https://www.instagram.com/michael_abdow/

https://michaelabdow.bandcamp.com/

https://michaelabdow.bigcartel.com/

Tommy Victor of Prong Enacts ‘State of Emergency’ EU Tour 2023

By Justin Smulison

Prong recently released their 13th full-length studio album, State of Emergency, via SPV/Steamhammer Records to widespread acclaim from fans, journalists and any metalhead with an opinion.

The New York-based trio manages to incorporate elements of thrash, hardcore, doom, industrial, punk, rock and nearly every other subgenre in this newest outing – keeping each song distinctive and impactful. From the “classic-sounding” fast-paced opener (and single), “The Descent,” to the crushing mid-tempo title track, there’s plenty to satisfy new listeners and old fans. There are a couple of welcome left turns as well, such as the 80s dark pop-inspired “Disconnected,” and the doom-heavy cover of Rush’s “Working Man.”

Singer/guitarist/creative force Tommy Victor spoke with Jace Media Contributor and fellow New Yorker Justin Smulison to discuss his career and how appearances on Beavis & Butt-Head in the 1990s helped the band maintain its presence.

They also discuss some standout moments on State of Emergency and Victor’s excitement to play these new songs live during a November EU Tour with Life of Agony. (Many shows are just a skip & hop from the UK).

Horns Up!

Prong:

https://prongmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/prongmusic/
https://prongmusic.com/tour-dates
https://Prong.lnk.to/StateOfEmergency
https://twitter.com/prongmusic

https://www.facebook.com/SPVsteamhammer

PRONG on tour with LIFE OF AGONY 2023

01.11. DE-Cologne – Carlswerk Victoria
03.11. DK-Copenhagen – Pumpehuset
04.11. SE-Gothenburg – Brewhouse
06.11. NO-Oslo – John Dee
07.11. SE-Stockholm – Slagt Kyrkan
09.11. DE-Leipzig – Täubchenthal
10.11. CZ-Brno – Freda
11.11. SK-Kosice – Colosseum
13.11. AT-Linz – Posthof
14.11. AT-Graz – PPC
15.11. AT-Innsbruck – Olympia World
17.11. BE-Ghent – Vooruit
18.11. NL-Klokgebouw – Helldorado Festival


An Interview with Hans Erkendal of The Mobile Homes

By Justin Smulison

The Mobile Homes are mainstays of Swedish electronic music, remaining on the scene 40 years after the group’s launch in Stockholm. Their eighth album, Tristesse, was recently released by Sound Pollution / Wild Kingdom, as was 2021’s, Trigger (their first album in 11 years).

And just like its predecessor, Tristesse can transport the listener to a dark, yet beautifully clear state of mind, thanks to its melancholic vibe complemented by layered instrumentation. On Tristesse, the band is reconciling the concept of ageing, the circles of life and all the pain and joy that comes with it. This is abundantly clear in the single, “The Last Third,” one of the tracks Singer Hans Erkendal spoke about and Jace Media contributor Justin Smulison discussed in this interview.

They also discuss the group’s unique strategy on live performances and touring, another single, Throne, who created the Tristesse cover art, some highlights from Trigger and what might be next for The Mobile Homes.

The Mobile Homes:

Web: http://www.themobilehomes.se/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/themobilehomes/ [Check Here For Tour Dates]

Sound Pollution: https://www.soundpollution.se/


Andy & Max Skinny Knowledge

Talks to Jace Media Music

A Next-Level Interview with Game Over

By Justin Smulison

Italian thrashers Game Over return to the international metal scene with their newest album, Hellframes, available from Scarlet Records.

Hellframes takes the listener on an aggressive thrash journey with many fast-paced songs accented by melody and precision, particularly on singles like “Call of the Siren” and “Synthetic Dreams.” But there is some structural variation as well, such as on “Count Your Breaths,” which begins with a slower, acoustic-rooted core that takes off about midway through. The title track is the album’s epic, 7:47 closer about dark, religious lore that harkens back to another single, “The Cult.”

Guitarist Luca “Ziro” Zironi joined Jace Media contributor Justin Smulison to talk about Hellframes, some notable bands with whom they’ve shared the stage and upcoming shows.

Horns up!

Game Over – Online

Game Over official site: www.GameOverOfficial.net

Instagram: @gameoverthrash

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GameOverThrashMetal

Twitter: www.twitter.com/GameOverThrash

Scarlet Records: https://scarletrecords.it/

Tour Dates:

October 21 – Metalpunk Fest, Padova
October 22 – Barrio’s, Milano
October 27 – Scumm, Pescara
October 28 – Demodè, Bari
October 29 – Sidro Club, Rimini
November 18 – Firenze Metal, Firenze


Tanith Prepares For A ‘Voyage’ of UK & EU

By Justin Smulison

Tanith bassist and co-lead vocalist Cindy Maynard joined Jace in April 2023, marking her debut video interview to talk about the vintage rock trio’s sophomore album, Voyage, now available on Metal Blade Records.

We are revisiting the video interview to share in the excitement that Tanith will embark on the “Voyage Tour” in the UK and EU, starting at Ivory Blacks in Glasgow, UK on Sept. 29. Full tour schedule is below.

Rounded out by drummer Keith Robinson and singer/guitarist Russ Tippins (also of NWOBHM icon, Satan) Tanith provides the soundtrack to an existential journey with songs about mythology and personal quests through 70’s-inspired riffs.

The harmonizing of Maynard and Tippins is a standout, and they deliver a warm, full sound by recording directly onto 24-track analogue tape without any digitization along the way.

Maynard spoke with Jace contributor and fellow New Yorker Justin Smulison about the songs on Voyage, how Tanith approached the recording process and what may lie ahead for this promising band.

Check out the singles, “Snow Tiger,” and “Flame.”

Tanith on Metal Blade

https://www.metalblade.com/tanith

Connect with TANITH

https://www.facebook.com/TanithNYC

https://tanithnyc.bandcamp.com

VOYAGE TOUR


10-29-23         UK       Glasgow          Ivory Blacks
10-30-23         UK       Edinburgh       Bannerman
10-31-23         UK       Newcastle       The Cluny
11-01-23         UK       Southampton  Heartbreakers
11-02-23         UK       Bristol  The Gryphon
11-03-23         UK       London            Blackheart
11-05-23         GR       Athens Kyttaro Club
11-07-23         BE        Bree    Ragnarok
11-08-23         DE        Hamburg         Bambi Galore
11-09-23         DE        Berlin  Reset Club
11-11-23         DE        Oldenburg       MTS Records
11-12-23         DE        Osnabrück       Bastard Club
11-13-23         DE        Kassel  Goldgrube
11-14-23         DE        Essen   Don’t Panic
11-16-23         CH       Winterthur      Gaswerk
11-17-23         DE        Göppingen      Zille
11-18-23         DE        Würzburg        Hammer of Doom Festival

Into The ‘Black’: An Interview with Mario Vogel of Vendetta

By Justin Smulison

Germany’s VENDETTA is rooted in in thrash and speed metal, and the band made a mark on the scene with its first two studio albums, released in the late 1980s during the Teutonic thrash metal explosion. Following a two-decade hiatus of releasing new material, the quintet returned in 2007 with Mario Vogel as its singer, and Vendetta has since had slow but steady output.

Amid some lineup changes and health concerns, VENDETTA started recording a new album during the height of the pandemic and it was released in July 2023 by Massacre Records. Black As Coal features 11 bone-crushing metal tracks rooted in thrash but with a modern feel. Many of the songs are audio snapshots of the world today – calling out the horrors of violence and the impact of climate change. In fact many of the lyrics resonate even louder due to the war in Israel.

VENDETTA’s former vocalist/guitarist Achim “Daxx” Hömerlein wrote the songs on the new album along with bassist/guitarist Klaus Ullrich and wrote the lyrics along with Vogel.

Vogel spoke with Jace Contributor Justin Smulison to discuss the lyrical themes on the album and the hope that it might inspire fans to pay closer attention to these challenges and take proper, responsible action. Vogel also discussed recovering from cancer during the recording process and how VENDETTA expanded their offerings via a new fan-produced red wine (from the Hillabrand winery), aptly titled “Black As Coal.”

Songs clips include: “Stranglehold Of Terror“, “Black As Coal.”

ALBUM LINE-UP

Mario Vogel – Vocals

Michael “Opf” Opfermann – Lead Guitar

Jan Hüttinger – Lead Guitar

Klaus Ullrich – Bass, Rhythm Guitar

Domi Bertelt – Drums

Vendetta:

http://www.vendetta-band.de

https://www.facebook.com/Vendetta.official.Thrash.Metal.Page

https://www.youtube.com/@vendettagermanthrash5383

https://spoti.fi/3LRRkIX

‘Bites’ of Wisdom: An Interview with Trumpet Icon Mac Gollehon

By Justin Smulison

Mac Gollehon is one of the most enduring trumpeters and multi-instrumentalists of the last five decades. Though best known for his jazz output, he has toured the planet and has played on thousands of records, including over 200 gold and platinum albums since the 1970s, including his decade-plus run in Duran Duran. He’s contributed to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car,” as well as records from Madonna, Hall & Oates, and Blondie.

The native New Yorker has had a steady stream of releases in the past three years via Nefarious Industries:

  • Dismemberment Cabaret, by Grid failure f/t Mac Gollehon (2021)
  • The End Is The Beginning, by Mac Gollehon (2022)

And recently on Sept. 29, 2023

  • Bites of the Street, by MAC GOLLEHON & THE HISPANIC MECHANICS. 

Jace Media Contributor Justin Smulison is a fan of Mac’s discography and was thrilled to speak with Mac about the uniqueness among these three recent releases, career highlights, some deep cuts and cameo appearances. Mac also offers some words of encouragement and advice to new and aspiring musicians of all ages.

Check out the video interview for a fun dialogue and to hear clips from Bites of the Street


Ronnie Romero Speaks The Truth About Solo Metal Album, ‘Too Many Lies, Too Many Masters’

By Justin Smulison

Ronnie Romero is one of the most consistent singers in metal today, which is quite a feat considering his omnipresence fronting groups like Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, The Michael Schenker Group, Lords of Black, The Ferrymen, Sunstorm, and the recently launched Elegant Weapons.

On September 15th, his first solo album of original songs will be released by Frontiers Records. Too Many Lies, Too Many Masters is a terrific compilation of the hard-driving metal for which the native Chilean is known, but also demonstrates his willingness to take some musical risks and incorporate some unique world influences.

Jace Media Music Contributor Justin Smulison is a big fan of Romero, and it was a genuine pleasure to delve into his musical and lyrical philosophies and learn what it’s like to front so many impactful bands.

They also discuss his upcoming shows:

September 22 – Morlenbach – Live Music Hall (Germany)

September 23 – Tennwil – Tennwil Rocknacht (Switzerland)

Song clip: Chased by Shadows

Ronnie Romero:
https://www.facebook.com/ronnieromeroofficial
https://www.instagram.com/ro_ck_nnie/


Temtris Brings ‘Khaos’ to UK and EU: Video Interview with Genevieve Roberts

By Justin Smulison

Temtris is a heavy metal quintet from Australia whose seventh album, Khaos Divine, was released this year via WormHoleDeath Records to widespread acclaim.

The power metal concept album plunges the listener into a tale of a dark and troubled dystopian city, where a new world order has taken hold of its population with the offer of a chance to live an almost eternal life but at the cost of freedom. The story is told from the perspective of Ember, the character featured on Khaos Divine’s stunning album cover.

Singer Genevieve Roberts joins Jace Media Music Contributor Justin Smulison to discuss how themes explored in Khaos Divine mirror modern society, as well as themes on the outstanding prior album, Ritual Warfare.

Temtris has toured their home country extensively over their 20-plus years, having supported Metal Church in 2019 and having shared the stage with Australian metal champs like Darker Half and Envenomed. But they are charting their own path this year. Roberts is especially excited to discuss the band’s first international tour, with dates planned for the UK and the EU in September!

Khaos Divine featured clips: “Eternal Death Machine,” “The Lies Become Truth.”

Temtris: Khaos Divine UK/Europe 2023

United Kingdom

Sept 14 – The Yorkshireman – Sheffield

Sept 15 – Percy’s Bar – Whitchurch

Sept 16 – Cart & Horses – London

Sept 17 – The Pig – Hastings

Europe

Sept 22 – Ragnarok – Belgium

Sept 23 – Manoir Pub – Switzerland

Sept 28 – P.M.K. – Austria

Sept 29 – Soundcheck One – Germany

Sept 30 – Hexenkessel – Germany

TEMTRIS 

www.temtris.com
www.facebook.com/Temtris
www.instagram.com/temtris_official
www.youtube.com/@temtris6323

Spotify

WormHoleDeath Label

Blindstone: Blues Power To ‘Remember’

Interview By Justin Smulison

I’m a big fan of the output of guitarist Martin Jepsen Andersen, whether it’s through this work in the Danish melodic metal band Meridian or as a contributor or member in metal projects like Chalice of Sin or Reece. I last spoke at the end of 2022 and he mentioned that his blues power trio, Blindstone would reemerge in 2023.

The time has arrived, as Scars To Remember is now available from Mighty Music. I was instantly hooked by the rock-blues blend and the range and heft of Andersen’s voice.

The influence of Clapton, Hendrix and Vaughan are layered within many songs and Andersen’s masterful guitar work, which is backed by bassist Jesper Bunk and drummer Sigurd Jøhnk-Jensen.

Scars is an album written to reflect the times. The impact of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are detailed in the lyrics for songs like the title track and “Drums of War,” as well as the emotion of the instrumentation.

I was so glad to speak with Martin again about Scars to Remember and how it stands out in Blindstone’s discography. We also discuss his other bands, updates and career highlights!

Song clips: “Waste Your Time,” “Drums of War.”

2022 audio interview with Martin about Meridian: https://www.mixcloud.com/jace-parkes/an-interview-with-martin-

Facebook.com/blindstone.official

Instagram.com/blindstonedk/

Spotify


Metal Icon Interview: John Bush of Armored Saint

By Justin Smulison

John Bush has continually had one of the most distinctive voices in metal over the last 40 years. Best known as the frontman for Armored Saint and for Anthrax in the 1990s through 2005, his vocal abilities seem to improve with time. You can hear it most recently heard on the newest Armored Saint releases, 2020’s Punching The Sky and Symbol of Salvation: Live, both available from Metal Blade Records.

In July 2023, Armored Saint was inducted into the Heavy Metal Hall Of Fame and announced they will be featured on the Monsters of Rock Cruise, March 2-7, 2024, which starts in Florida. The band is also premiering its documentary film, “A Band of Brothers,” in the UK on August 10 at Quad in Derby. The film features interviews with the band, as well as James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of Metallica and members of Queensryche and Anthrax.

Jace Media contributor Justin Smulison is a huge fan and relished the opportunity to speak with Bush about his career (past, present and future).

This interview was recorded prior to news of the HOF induction and cancelled tour plans with W.A.S.P., but fans will enjoy some of the unique perspectives and insights in this video interview, along with hints of what might be on the horizon for one of metal’s most enduring singers.

Horns up!

Song clips: “Standing On The Shoulders of Giants,” “Last Train Home.”

Armored Saint:

https://www.armoredsaint.com
https://www.facebook.com/thearmoredsaint
https://twitter.com/thearmoredsaint
https://www.instagram.com/thearmoredsaint

www.metalblade.com

A Band Of Brothers – UK Premiere – Aug. 10, 2023

Get to Quad on Thursday Aug. 10, 2023 at 8:00pm to see this much anticipated film. A limited amount of tickets are still available:
https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/events/armoredsaint
 

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