Category Archives: first impressions

First Impressions: Tzimani, Valkyrium and Trivax

Editor’s Note: Our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those that perished in the Manchester attacks on May 22. Our thoughts are with the survivors of this tragedy and with England.  Concerts are supposed to bring us all together to celebrate our favorite artists and invoke joy not terror. Regardless of your music preference, we are all human beings and we should not be afraid to attend a concert or other events. It is our civil duty to have each other’s back not just as  music fans but as people, and to avoid falling into the claws of hate, prejudice and ignorance. We are one and we should always keep that in  mind especially in these chaotic times.

*Honorable Mention: Tzimani

Nintendo may have the Mario Bros. but San Diego has the Tzimani Bros! Well actually, that’s the band name… but when they aren’t making music, these brothers are called Sebastian and Eddie Vazquez. The newborn Tzimani has only been around since January 2017 but carries an old school heavy metal soul.

Prior to Tzimani, the siblings were part of another local band called Malison.  After taking a break, the duo reemerged with Sebastian dawning the drumsticks and Eddie helming the guitar and mic. They began sporting a band name that felt right to them and officially launched with a demo, a logo and merch designed by artist Ryan Bartlett at the San Diego Metal Swap Meet on April 29.

“Our family heritage (from our father’s side) is traced to an indigenous Native Mexican tribe called the Purepecha.” Said Sebastian when asked about the meaning  of Tzimani. “They have their own language, and Tzimani, means “two” in that language. We wanted to pay respect to our bloodline, and also try to have something original as well.”

The Vazquez Bros. from Tzimani debuting their demo and merch at this year’s San Diego Metal Swap Meet .
(L to R: Eddie Vazquez and Sebastian Vazquez)

Tzimani will make their live debut at the inaugural Metal Assault in San Diego show at the Brick By Brick on June 14 and if you dig the classic metal sound such as Judas Priest and Deep Purple, you’ll LOVE Tzimani. Check out their debut music video for “Get Me Out Of Here” and pregame for the show and check out their Bandcamp and Reverbnation.

UPDATE:  Tzimani inked a deal with Noize Cartel Records on May 22. With their new deal, the siblings will be gearing up for their debut album and will be released sometime in the future. A big congrats to the duo! Feel free to congratulate them yourselves at their Facebook page and IG.

Valkyrium

There is some serious magic happening in LA. That’s right believe it! What?! No, I’m not using some weird innuendo for drugs or whatever starlets do. I mean a real kind of magic that’s being crafted by a band of  mages and warlocks from the San Fernando Valley and are on a mission to enchant every metalhead one beat at a time. The quartet known as Valkyrium offer a unique blend of pagan metal which is sure to penetrate your dreams especially after you fall for Nikki Kegan’s melodic and soothing vocals. Why are they so unique? Well Mr.snobby metalhead pants, more on that in a minute because each epic saga needs an origin story.

In 2010, Kegan along with drummer Justin Day joined forces and created Valkyrium. Kegan and Day knew they needed extra magic to make this metal spell work and soon after recruited their bassist/ backup vocalist Jenny Rose and guitarist/backup vocalist William Matthew Cota. Because there is no I in team, Kegan shares vocal duties with Cota and Rose, giving his thick growls wide open spaces to roam. After Cota’s monstrous growls fade into the darkness, Rose and Kegan tame the beast and fill the air with harmony. Lest we forget Day’s interchanging tempos which maintain a good paced melody and will come at you like a black metal beast.

Valkyrium working their magic in 2014.
(L to R: Backing vocalist/bassist Jenny Rose, Vocalist/ founder/guitarist Nikki Kegan, drummer/co-founder Justin Day and lead guitarist/backing vocalist William Cota )
Photo courtesy of Valkyrium’s Facebook page

Now, the moment you have been waiting for Mr. Snobby Metalhead Pants. Why is Valkyrium’s potion so unique? Well, the quartet throws in the best of all worlds into their cauldron, creating a delicious elixir a metalhead can enjoy. Aside from the predominantly pagan metal influnce, Valkyrium’s songs have traces of power metal, a little bit of prog influences and melodic black metal. The band pitched in all of their metal influences to make this delicious concoction. It’s a blend of metal Willy Wonka would want to get his hands on if he ever ventured into the record store biz! Valkyrium shared their power with the masses on Feb. 2017 and released their debut full length album Reign Til Runa independently.

“The album was created as a collective consciousness by weaving together our musical chemistry and ideas.” Said Kegan as she discussed the album. “We spent many hours in the studio developing and recording each song as each member plays an important role to the integrity of our sound.”

We can vouch for that, especially the Klown who took a swig of this potion and had a lot to say about it. If you take the Klown’s word and checked out Valkyrium’s Reverbnation, snag a copy of their debut in this link. Stay in the loop and give them a like on their Facebook page.

Trivax

Once upon a time in Iran, a youngster by the name of Shayan Shoeibi was flipping through TV channels until he found the right one. In this channel he stumbled on a Metallica performance that not only piqued his budding interest in metal but it also unlocked an epiphany that set in motion a passion. Shoeibi then began to nourish the metal seed that was planted in his mind and would ultimately flourish in Birmingham where his band, Trivax,  fully bloomed.

“I was turned to discovering Black Metal very early on. This was something that I connected with wholeheartedly and I became obsessed with it.” Shoeibi explained why he gravitated towards black metal in particular. “I always had the urge and wish to become a musician and express myself in that form since I was very young,”

“My connection with Black Metal and its mysterious format made me want to become a vessel through this genre and explore the broken boundaries.”

Shayan Shoeibi and the rest of Trivax in their debut music video for “Wormwood” which was shot and produced by them.
Photo courtesy of Trivax’s YouTube channel.

The young metalhead began weaving some black metal goodness in his homeland of Tehran in 2009, where the first incarnation of Trivax took flight. Trivax was mostly a one man band and soldiered on despite of society’s restriction on metal. Not letting anything come between him and his love for this particular genre, Shoeibi made the big move to England in 2013 at the ripe age of 16 where Trivax rose from the ashes.

“We always like to think that we have a choice in life, but with the way of how certain events paved the road of what became my life, I would like to think that Trivax was something that found me, rather than me finding it.”  Said Shoeibi regarding the creation of the band.

The multi-instrumental founder took over vocal and guitar duties after he recruited Benjamin Sheldon as his fellow axe man, Matthew Croton as the drummer and Phillip Taggart on bass. The quartet put out two demos in 2012 and released their first killer EP a year later titled Set The Torch which is the same name as their first demo. After a string of compilations and EP’s, Trivax had mercy on our nonexistent souls and independently spawned their first full length album in 2016 titled SIN.

Lead guitarist/vocalist Shayan Shoeibi along with the rest of Trivax celebrate the release of SIN at the O2 Academy in Birmingham on Nov. 20, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Trivax’s YouTube Channel.

“Last year we were very busy and we finally put out the debut full-length album titled ‘SIN’ which is about 70 minutes of soul crushing material that is all gathered from the pain and suffering and lessons learned over the years.”

We can vouch for the “soul crushing material” part, it would be a sacrilege if you don’t check out SIN on their bandcamp ‘cause goddamn… what an album. Because there’s no rest for the wicked, Trivax have toured endlessly since they began their 2012 campaign.

The quartet debuted their music video for “Wormwood” earlier this year and did it all themselves on a miniscule budget. Shoeibi promises more material in the future we can all lap up… YES PLEASE. We hope to see these guys embark on an American conquest in the future and don’t be surprised if Trivax become the next must see band in the black metal scene. For my lucky peeps across the pond, catch them on June 3 at The Navigation and see them co-headline on Nov. 18 with symphonic black metallers Ethereal at The Fulford Arms in York. Still need a feel of how they sound like? Check out their Reverbnation page and their debut music video below which will lure you into a dark ride you’d wish it never stopped.

First Impressions: Nightshadow, In Veins and New Stuff From Brutality in Buddah

Nightshadow

Local power metallers Nightshadow are here to fill your traffic playlist! With these guys, you’ll finally feel like you’ve made progress in that SoCal traffic jam. Before they embarked on a mission to relieve that vehicular tension, Nightshadow had to overcome a few obstacles themselves. Guitarist and founder Nick Harrington along with guitarist Danny Fang had an earlier incarnation of the band but had trouble launching it. Nighshadow finally assembled their missing counterparts in 2015 with bassist Chris Bader, and vocalist Brian Dell joining ,and in early 2016 with drummer Nick Mafi.  Nightshadow swooped down into the San Diego metal scene and had their first live performance on July 2016.

“We have enough material for a full length record but we wanted to start simple and just get something out there for people to hear,” Said Bader regarding the band’s decision to give the masses a lick rather than a full bite. “So we contacted Studio West in San Diego and started the process.”

Nightshadow have been unstoppable and full of vigor much like their music and have opened for the renowned American drumming act called Appice Brothers and the rock n’ roll monster Beasto Blanco who is fronted by Calico Cooper, daughter of rock legend Alice Cooper. Bummed you missed these? No worries! Nightshadow will return to the stage on Friday, April 14 at The Bancroft where they will perform with local thrashers BeekeeperHellfire and Anti-Hero. On May 20, catch them at Brick By Brick with The Iron Maidens! While you anticipate the shows, check out their first and new self titled EP.

Vocalist Brian Dell and guitarist Danny Fang at the Brick By Brick on Feb. 2017
(Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/nightshadowmetal)

In Veins

Deep in the land of Arepas, coffee and neck ties lies something far darker …no it’s not an unearthed emerald but it’s something just as good! What can be better than the things I mentioned before? In Veins duh! This fresh export from Colombia offer a harsher blend of metal that may not be for the faint of heart. These four amigos started out their musical endeavors in 2005 as a cover band named NotalCriss while they were stuck in the cesspool of frustration known as a university!

After taking a break from being rockstars and hustlin’, the three original members, vocalist Camilo Valderrama, drummer Sergio Chaparro and guitarist Oscar Rangel, reunited in 2015 and resuscitated the band and renamed it In Veins. After rehearsing, and shufflin’ and finding their bassist Jorge Oliveros, the guys wasted no time and went right to work. They held their debut performance on March 25 at 4Cuartos sound stage in Bogota and currently have three lyric videos in their YouTube channel.

In Veins make their live debut at 4cuartos sound stage on March 25
(L to R: Vocalist Camilo Valderrama, drummer Sergio Chaparro and bassist Jorge Oliveros )
Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/inveinsband

Though In Veins only have three music videos at the moment, their sound evolved from somewhat melodic with dashes of clean choruses to harsh and more in your face. Their latest 360 º lyric video (so fancy…oooooh! *looks around lyric video*) for their single “Bloodletting” is not only cool ‘cause its 360 º but for a moment, it will have you believing you are listening to a Lamb of God track. Valderrama’s vocals at times has a striking resemblance to Randy Blythe’s signature growls, and Rangel’s riffs mixed with the fast tempo from Chaparro and Oliveros only fuels the Lamb of God-esque feel to this track. In Veins is currently working on their debut EP and are aiming to release it this year, but in the meantime check out how Colombia throws down and take a peek at their Reverbnation or Soundcloud!

We Hit the Road With Brutality in Buddha’s Latest

Brutality in Buddha are back and not just in this segment but with a NEW track! Vocalist/multitasking wonder Ted Wray take us on a once a lifetime ride, literally, with “Highways or Dieways.” Wray’s crazy eyes ripped open time and space and sucked him into a two dimensional dry erase marker world! No word when they’ll send a rescue team but for now, enjoy this fun little saga.

First Impressions: Finding T.H.E.T.I.S, Seize the Vatican and Demon Seduction

Finding T.H.E.T.I.S.

When the Klown first heard of Finding T.H.E.T.I.S. he thought he heard finding titties. He then thought “me too!” He checked them out and it wasn’t smut (damn…!) but it was raw groove metal from San Diego. Before the Klown talks about this band’s material why not indulge in a quick band bio, the way any speed dating acquiesces to.

The quartet was first found by the guitarist Sky Jay and the skinsman, Jesse Nathason about a year and a half ago. Like most musicians, the love and passion for their jamming sessions evolved in to a serious thing. Jay and Nathason didn’t necessarily play straight up metal in these sessions; they’d combine and write various styles of music. Jay and Nathason began to think big and started holding auditions in hopes of adding new players to the mix.

Much like a commitment, finding the right partners isn’t always easy especially when this duo had no specific subgenre to identify with. Vocalist Andy Chavez fell in place by blowing them away with his screaming vocals and by that point, they knew that the groove subgenre was their calling. After the voice was found, Bryce Guiliani completed the band’s need for a bassist, who to their happened to be a multi-instrumentalist.

The acronym in the name stands for Trying to find the Harmonic Equal To Internal Sound. (To the smart asses, just shuffle the “find” bit to the front.) According to Jay, the band plays for themselves but would love to play for others. The Klown has had the pleasure of listening to some of their things and he’s got to say that it is catchy as hell far as raw, new talent goes.

Their song “Crawl,” reminded the Klown of Iraqi metal sweethearts, Acrassicauda if Faisal Moustafa took up more harsh and growling vocals. “Valkyrie” was also a good song too, the Klown really took a liking to the opening riffs and reminded the Klown of Avatar’s “Hail to the Apocalypse.” If that’s what Finding T.H.E.T.I.S sounds like when they are playing for themselves, the Klown can only imagine if it were for conformity sake! If you don’t believe the Klown, you can check out their soundcloud and hear it for yourselves.

Lastly, before this Pennywise impersonator sounds off, he would like to announce that Jay and his boys are currently working and recording brand new material at this moment. Also, if you’re looking for an opening act or a band to play at your Quinceañera, Bar Mitzva or whatever the event, these guys would do the honors because they love to play!

Fellow San Diegans can see these dudes in action at The Merrow on April 29!

The Klown may not have found the “titties,” but he discovered something just as good.
(L to R: Vocalist Andy Chavez, bassist Bryce Giuliani, drummer Jesse Nathanson and guitarist Sky Jay)
Photo courtesy of Finding T.H.E.T.I.S FB page

Seize the Vatican

If you keep up with us, then Seize the Vatican shouldn’t surprise you. The Klown, however, will indulge you further on this up-and-comer from Maine. Luckily, our fetish for new metal and * insert other “devil music” genres here* acts along with our stalking journalism, we’ve gotten some more info on these bros. So without further ado here’s the quick bio.

First off, if you’re from Maine you definitely know the history better than most. They are a quintet that is attempting to challenge Stephen King’s monopoly on Maine. In their local metal scene, they are considered somewhat of a supergroup. The band first started off as two bands named Salvo and A Constant Battle. Salvo consisted of lead and rhythm guitarists Pat Sawyer and Scott Stetson respectively, and vocalist Dustin Faloon while A Constant Battle had bassist Jason Moody and drummer Joe Ronco.

Although both bands dissolved, the Klown will note that Moody wasn’t the original bassist of the group. Moody was already friends with the members and naturally joined the band after the original bassist departed. Soon after they officially formed, these Mainers busted out a four song self titled EP but hit a familiar road block most artists face, getting that creative process going.

Before releasing their debut studio album, Advent of Annihilation, the band’s original intention was to be offensive but not of the Anal Cunt pedigree. Not necessarily for the sake of shock value but for the sake of storytelling and making a point to their intended and potential audience. Although they confessed that they struggled and had difficulty making this album, the rewards that they reaped made them feel justified.

For you Mainers and others passing through there, they’ll be playing a free show at the Sapphire Nightclub in Auburn on March 31st and the 3-day NYDM Annual 2017 in New Jersey on Thursday, August 17.

Seize the Vatican will make you a believer!
(L to R: Lead guitarist Pat Sawyer, drummer Joe “Nacho” Ronco, bassist/ backup vocalist Jason Moody, lead vocalist Dustin Faloon, rhythm guitarist Scott Stetson)
Photo courtesy of Lennyvision on YouTube

Demon Seduction

Demon Seduction are currently unsigned and released their debut independently. The German quartet started out on the premise of combining thrash and death metal with hardcore and deathcore influences. The band was founded by the vocalist Kevin Leyendecker and drummer Erik Mülhberger in 2009 but they weren’t known as Demon Seduction till 2012 when guitarist Arnold Klaus and bassist Fabian Stangenberg joined.

By that point the band was developing a sound and an identity that on May 2013, they made an impact. The collective impressed at a talent competition in Essen and later that year, the band did a self organized event to continue to stand out. Demon Seduction continued to blow invited guest which among them were the organizers of the Grind the Mine Festival where they landed a spot as openers.

Despite the feel good story and quick success the band was enjoying, Stangenberg unfortunately departed from the band. Some time in 2014, current bassist Marcel Dreher would join the mix and worked tirelessly through the following year to put themselves out there again by joining contests. By June 2015, Demon Seduction released their self titled EP and premier their songs at the Rage Against Racism Open Air Festival. By 2016, the band continued to play more shows and began taking steps towards recording, ultimately producing their debut album Dissolution which came out not long ago.

Lastly, nothing new to note from this group other than they are currently touring to promote their current release. If you happen to be in Germany, the band will be in Duisberg and Oberhausen on May 6th and 20th, respectively. If not, check out their bandcamp and find out what the Klown thought of Dissolution

Demon Seduction may look innocent but just wait till you hear them growl and shred…
(L to R: Drummer Erik Mühlberger, bassist Marcel Dreher, vocalist Kevin Leyendecker, guitarist Arnold Klaus)
Photo Courtesy of Demon Seduction’s FB page

First Impressions, Vol 1

Brutality in Buddha

Vocalist/guitarist/bassist of Brutality in Buddha, Ted Wray, does a victory riff in “Pentecostal Shovel Attack” video

No, it’s not the uber chill deity’s secret metal side project but rather a fun variety of death groove! Deep within Buddha, IN, Ted Wray growls and unleashes killer riffs while Michael Hall pounds away at those drums and produces the tracks in a way that would make Cannibal Corpse proud. Brutality in Buddha first formed in 2006 and been actively creating these brutally hilarious tracks since 2008. Wray and Hall are currently taming this groovalicious death metal monster.

Aside from playing a sub genre that is still hiding in the shadows  per se, Brutality in Buddah add  tar black humor that most bands stray away for the sake of maintaining a “hardcore” image. According to Wray, they are working on an album this year “with more songs of death groove and relentless violent lyrics.” Once you check out their stuff, it will make you wonder what they’ll do next.

This duo brings something new to the table and once you fall into the rabbit hole and get sucked into the care freeness of their homemade music videos, you will be wishing you were part of that party and having a great time with them. Stay in the loop and like them on their Facebook page and check out Wray’s Youtube channel to really experience THE Brutality in Buddha. In the meantime, check out their latest treat and Sunday favorite “Youthpastorbater.”

Dead Inception

Chad Hill kicking ass in Dead Inception
(Photo Courtesy: Dead Inception’s FB page)

Speaking of bands that have four or less people, this one man band from Phoenix, AZ will give you death metal in its most primal and raw form. The man behind the guttural gnarls and riffs is none other than Chad Hill, who has been ravaging our metal needs since 2011. But…but who’s drummin’? Hill’s got that covered too! Thanks to his pre recorded drum tacks for his songs when he performs, though Hill credits Kyle Ramaker for taking over drumming duties for “Blood Vengeance” and “Bloodsought.”

Dead Inception wasted no time and released his first album in 2011 titled Programmed Insanity, followed by 2012’s Serving the Dead, a compilation Everything Dead and their latest 2016 album Barbaric Excisions. According to Hill, he will begin recording a new album for Dead Inception once he wraps up his Excisions of Flesh Tour on March 18.

Hill is one busy man and when he isn’t splitting the earth in two with Dead Inception, he is promoting bands with his company Sadistic Entertainment, working with a new drummer to produce more material for D.I. and other projects and will be doing vocals for an unnamed grindcore band. Dead Inception plans to launch a national tour and spread the “Insanity.” Check out his Soundcloud and stay tuned for tour dates in his Facebook page and for metalheads in the Tempe area, celebrate 4/20 at the Palo Verde Lounge with some sadistic death metal!

Surgat Debuts Music Video

A big apology to Surgat but after waking up from the trance this video put me in; it’s FINALLY time to spread the word! The Tijuana deathgrinders are back with their first music video for the badass track “Kill Them On Your Own.”

Though the quintet first burst into the scene in 2005 and reformed in 2016, they have returned with a vengeance! What will they do next aside from working on a split EP with Witchaven?! Stalk them in their Instagram and stay up to date and while you’re at it, check out their  killer 2016 EP Kill Him On Your Own  and experience how these guys get down!