I’ve known of As They Sleep for a while and I’ve really enjoyed their music. Me and vocalist Aaron Bridgewater have spoken a few times in the past but have since fallen out of touch. I sent the dude an original pressing of a Jimmy Buffet record just because he was a cool dude. Little to say I haven’t followed As They Sleep‘s news cycle as of late, not that I don’t still listen to the band, I just haven’t noticed anything of importance in their feed. Until today.
Today I learned that As They Sleep will be participating in the Metal Madness Tour alongside Nightshade and Pathology. Wait, what? Pathology? The brutal, slamming, bree-ing Pathology? Yep, that’s right. With As They Sleep‘s brand of death metal, this is actually the last tour I’d expect to see them on. I mean, shouldn’t Pathology be touring with Aborted and Impaled?
I actually don’t know who Nightshade is and I’m too lazy to look them up. Well, I guess it’s not my say. Just find this pairing odd. More bands should be announced for this trek soon. Check out the dates below as well as a track from As They Sleep and Pathology. [Continue...]
I caught up with Aaron Bridgewater for a second interview. You can read our first one here. Aaron is an awesome dude and it was great talking to him. Read on and listen to this American Aftermath Exclusive Interview in which we talk about the video for “Oracle of The Dead,” punching the chicks in Jersey Shore and Jimmy Buffet guilty pleasures.
How’s it going man?
Very good. How you doing?
Ahh. Same old, same old. I was trying to think of some questions to ask you and I didn’t come up with very much, but I got a couple.
Nah, it’s no big deal, man. Whatever you got is good to go, man. I just–I’ve done, like so many interviews just typing e-mails, and it, like takes me forever to sit there and type them out. And I’d rather do phone interviews, man. I’d rather talk to the people that are doing the interviews because most of the time the people are really cool and I’m all about establishing good relationships, you know what I mean?
I hear ya. It’s good to put a voice to the face now.
It’s good to put a voice to the face.
Yeah, for sure. For sure. I wanna say thanks right off the get for that rad review that you did of our album.
Oh, man. It was killer. Y’all just finished up a tour in December with Living Sacrifice and some other bands on Solid State, right?
Yeah, the tour that we went on was the Very Metal Christmas Tour. That was with Living Sacrifice, Becoming The Archetype and To Speak of Wolves and, of course, us.
How was it?
How was it? It was a lot of fun. We had a couple mishaps with out van, which kinda sucked. But, other than that, it was really fun. I mean, I love the west coast, so it was nice being out there. It’s been a while since I’ve been there. It’s been about eight years since I’ve been out that way. I just really like it out there, you know?
Yeah, I’ve been listen to Living Sacrifice for a while now, there from my hometown. I still haven’t got to catch them live.
Oh, your in Little Rock?
I was born in Little Rock, I live about 100 miles north now. But, yeah.
Oh, we were right there, man. That was our last tour spot, dude.
Yeah, I tried to get down there, but work caught up on me.
Oh, yeah. That sucks. You gotta do what you gotta do.
Another thing I wanted to ask you about. I was reading on Decibel’s Website about some of the New Year’s Resolutions and yours was to “punch everyone in the entire cast of Jersey Shore. Epecially the chicks.” What’s up with that?
I can’t stand those people! I hate how they make so much money for being a bunch of retards, man.
I’ve never seen the show.
I’ve never seen it. I’ve seen clips of it. I’ve never actually watched the show. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, haven’t you. Yeah, it’s just a bunch of, just idiots on this show who think they are the hottest, sweetest people that have ever lived and I just can’t stand them. Mostly it’s meant for a joke, most people thought it was pretty funny because everyone knows about the Jersey Shore, you know?
Yeah. Y’all just finished up the video for “Oracle of the Dead,” right?
Yeah. Are these actually the interview questions?
Sweeeeeet. Yeah, we did just finish the video for “Oracle of The Dead.” Actually we shot it in mid-November and I just actually got the final cut this week.
I watched the making-of video y’all had on YouTube and I saw a boxing or a wrestling ring and it looked kinda like a pretty crazy video.
Yeah, the video is pretty sick, dude. It turned out, like, really sweet. It really exceeded my expectations. And we’re really stoked about it. The video was a lot of fun to shoot, it was a long day, though. We didn’t wrap it until, like, 3 O’clock in the morning. We started at, like, 10am and didn’t wrap it until 3 in the morning the next night. It’s stellar, dude. I think everyone is going to like it. I can’t wait for everybody to see it. It’s supposed to go up online and on iTunes and everything, maybe not this week, but the week after. It’s also gonna be on Headbangers Ball, like MTV2, Fuse and all those other music video stations. Hopefully Cable on Demand as well, that will be great.
I can’t wait to see it.
Yeah, I can’t wait for everyone to see it, man.
Can’t you tell me a little about the song “Oracle of The Dead?” Like, what the lyrics are about.
Sure. “Oracle of The Dead” is basically about Hades, Greek God of the Underworld. Which would basically be like, the Devil. We decided that as long as we were covering the rise and fall of these ancient empires and stuff on the album, why not touch on Heaven and Hell. You know what I mean?
So, “Oracle of The Dead” is kind of about Hell but it covers some Greek mythology as well. So, we decided to do it on Hades. People have used, for centuries, used oracles to try and communicate with the dead. Hades was actually a big part of that. Hades is known for using Oracles to communicate with the living and the dead and all that stuff. I just thought it was a neat concept and we just decided to roll with it. We decided to throw some mythology on the album as well. So that’s basically where we came up with the idea for that. I’m not really into witchcraft and stuff like ouija boards and stuff. We’re definitely not condoning anything like that. We just wanted to try and even out a lot of the conceptual view of the album, you know what I mean.
Yeah. Like you know, from reading my review, I though the album was awesome.
Oh for sure, thank you very much, man.
What did you think of the final result of the album?
What did you think of the final result of the album? Like, the album as a whole.
My personal opinion on my own record?
I, actually think it turned out great. You know when you’re writing this stuff and you’re doing pre-production and you’re in the studio recording it, you still don’t really know how well it’s going to be received. Or how good the final product was gonna sound. And I gotta be honest, man. I was really stoked when we started wrapping this thing up in the studio. I was like “man this is awesome.” I was really proud. I was really happy with it. We’re all really happy with the end product.
What’s the plan for As They Sleep in 2011?
Well, our management is putting us out there. Getting us set up for another tour coming up in February or March. The plans from here on out are do a lot of touring and hopefully just try and push this thing and get as big as we possibly can as as possible.
Going back to video for “Oracle of The Dead,” who came up with the concept for, like, the boxing ring?
Yeah, it’s kind of like an underground wrestling, fight club type thing. Well, okay. We pitched a different idea for the video when we first decided we were gonna do one. The idea that we had was going to be a bit harder to shoot. So the director had this idea for an underground fight club, wrestling type fight. So more or less, it was the directors idea. Some of the members of the band had been into that kinda stuff so once they heard that idea they were like “Yeah, let’s do that. That sounds like a lot of fun.” And I gotta be honest, I’ve never really been a WWE or WWF wrestling fan. I mean it’s been around my whole life and it’s alright. But, I actually had like a new-found respect for it. The day we shot that video, we met a lot of cool cats. The wrestlers were cool cats. It’s just, those guys, it’s a profession just like our music is a profession to us. They work really hard on what they do and even though everyone thinks it’s fake and it’s acting and stuff. I mean, I have a new-found respect for what they do and I think we are gonna be heading out to see some wrestling matches with the guys who were in the video. The director came up with the idea, but we all kinda, like, recieved it really well. We’re all really into it now. To answer the question, the director had the idea, but we’re all into it now.
Music-wise, are you listening to anything right now?
You know what, man? I get that question all the time. And, I haven’t, like, listened to a lot of other bands right now. I mean, I listen to my own record a lot. I mean, you kinda have to like, you know. Just stay brushed up on it. We did this record very quickly. Within a years time we had written and recorded this album, which is not impossible, but you just don’t really see this that often. So, I’ve actually just been listening to my own record a lot lately since I’ve got back from the tour. Just so, I know it sounds stupid, I can stay familiar with my own music. You know what I mean?
I actually get that a lot.
Really? From a lot of people you interview?
Yeah, I mean, what are you gonna do? I gotta remember all the lyrics and everything that I write. Usually they are embedded, but I haven’t had years with this record like I did with my first record, “Blacken The Sun”. If I’m gonna listen to something else, I like the Agony Scene a lot. I listen to that band pretty often. They’re one of my favs. I like a lot of death metal, though. The Agony Scene isn’t really death metal. Pile on the death metal, I’ll listen to pretty much any death metal. And you know, as far as just chilling out and guilty pleasures, I listen to Jimmy Buffet.
I’ve got a shitload of Jimmy Buffet records.
So do I, I’ve got like 14, dude. Are you actually a Jimmy Buffet fan?
I dabble. I was raised around shit like that. When I moved in my house, my mom gave me like 166 records and there was shitload of Jimmy Buffet in there.
Yeah, man. It’s like my biggest guilty pleasure. I’m not gonna lie. I mean, yeah I’m metal to the bone. Death metal through and through. But like, everybody’s got their guilty pleasures. I actually listen to The Mars Volta a lot, do you know who they are?
I like The Mars Volta. I listen to them a lot. I’m an unrepented Parrothead.
That about does it for my questions. Do you have any questions or anything you’d like to say to the people who are gonna be hearing this?
I mean, besides to say thanks to everyone for supporting what we’ve done so far and thanks for spreading the word and buying the record, you know. I’m hoping to see everyone real soon on a full U.S. tour. So… I’ll definitely be looking forward to getting back on the road again.
Y’all come back to Little Rock, I’m gonna make it out this time.
Yeah, you know I hope we make it out there in the Spring or Summer because I can’t stand touring in the places where it’s cold, man.
Yesterday, I was at work at 7:30 in the morning. It was 10 degrees outside and -10 in the freezer I was stocking.
That sucks. Anyway, I’ll be on the look out for your new blog whenever you put it up, go ahead and shoot me a link, I’ll repost it and we’ll stay in touch. How’s that sound?
Sounds good, man.
Alright brotha, thanks for the call, thanks for the interview and thanks for all the support.
Thank you, man.
Keep a look out for As They Sleep’s new video for “Oracle of The Dead” coming out soon! Also, got out an pick up “Dynasty” out now on Solid State!
As a lot of you know, I posted my “Best of” list on December 1st. Well, that was stupid. I came to realize, that by posting my list that early, I was missing out on a lot of killer albums. So, I decided that since I have listened to more amazing albums, I would reprise my “Best of” list. Here goes…
Nails, Unsilent Death
Masakari, The Prophet Feeds
Coffinworm, When All Became None
East of The Wall, Ressentiment
Holy Grail, Crisis In Utopia
Trap Them, Filth Rations EP
Black Breath, Heavy Breathing
Black September, The Forbidden Gates Beyond
Mose Giganticus, Gift Horse
As They Sleep, Dynasty
Fuck The Facts, Unnamed EP
Bitch about it or love it. Have your own list? Let me know. Drop a comment.
I started this blog on September 1st of this year. Since then, I have reviewed 44 new albums and I have listened to roughly 100-110. I have heard some of the best music in many years come out in 2010. There were a few albums that I listened to that didn’t tweak my nips and a few that I just couldn’t get around to checking out. I do regret not having listened to these albums before posting my “Best of” list, but I set this deadline the day I started the blog.
First off, I’d like to point out that Captain Overboard–Radio Earth! released their debut album in October. It was an independent release, but it is definitely worth a listen. Check it out.
Now, like I said, there was a nauseating amount of albums that came out this year and no way for me to listen to all of them. Some of the main albums I regret either not getting to hear or not getting to hear in entirety are:
Dawnbringer – Nucleus
Withered – Dualitas
Melechesh – The Epigenesis
The Funeral Pyre – Vultures At Dawn
East of The Wall – Ressentiment
Agalloch – Marrow of The Spirit
Before narrowing my list down to 25, I was up in the 40s and 50s. As I said, there was so much good shit out this year, I really didn’t want to cut anything out. But I had to, so I did. Some of the ones that almost made the list are:
The Rotted – Anarchogram EP
Gwar – Bloody Pit of Horror
Cephalic Carnage – Misled by Certainty
Landmine Marathon – Sovereign Descent
Murder Construct – Murder Construct EP
And now, for what you have all been waiting for, Ross Gnarly’s “Best of 2010″ list is here. I have been working on this list since mid-October and it has been really hard to cut out albums to finish this list, but I did what I had to do. Here it is (25-11)
25. Black Tusk – Taste The Sin
24. Kataklysm – Heaven’s Venom
23. Salome – Terminal
22. Cradle of Filth – Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa
21. Defeatist – Sixth Extinction
20. Fleshwrought – Dementia/Dyslexia
19. Fuck The Facts – Unnamed EP
18. Phobia – Unrelenting EP
17. Kill The Client – Set For Extinction
16. Infernaeon – Genesis to Nemesis
15. As They Sleep – Dynasty
14. Charred Walls of the Damned – Charred Walls of the Damned
13. Autopsy – The Tomb Within EP
12. Mose Giganticus – Gift Horse
11. As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise
10. Svart Crown – Witnessing The Fall
–Amazingly well done black/death that is sure to put poison in your veins. Read the review here.
9. Early Graves – Goner
–Punishing metalcore at it’s greatest. Mahk Daniels will be missed. His voice was one of the strongest, most passionate I’ve heard. Read the review here.
8. Kvelertak – Kvelertak
–Super catchy black n’ roll. Upon first hearing this, I didn’t know what to think about it. And now? All I can say is it is one of a kind. Fucking killer. Check it out. Read the review here.
7. Black Breath – Heavy Breathing
–Brutal neo-thrash that will stomp your ass with military boots. For fans of Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust. Love it. Read the review here.
6. Trap Them – Filth Rations EP
–Punishing. That’s it. Fucking punishing. Do it.
5. Cloudkicker – Beacons
–Some of the most amazing progressive instrumental metal I’ve ever heard. Ben Sharp is a master of crafts. This is like the Star Wars of progessive, one-man metal. It’s that epic. Read the review here.
4. Holy Grail – Crisis In Utopia
–Holy Grail are the epitome of neo-traditional heavy/speed metal. Amazing melody and some of the best vocals of all time. Great. Gnarly. Read the review here.
3. Dawn of Ashes – Genocide Chapters
–Evil-as-fuck. Death incarnate. Scary, brutal, melodic, scary. All these words make up just a hint of what Dawn of Ashes have to offer. Read the review here.
2. Coffinworm – When All Became None
–The best example of black/doom. Coffinworm were the the number one album on this list until recently. This album is an evil mass that shall reign in hell. Read the review here.
1. Nails – Unsilent Death
What can I say about Nails? Their musical style is one that should be, not looked up, but praised. They have every aspect of the crust/grind/death/hardcore spectrum in tact and it all gets worked into a raging beast that made it’s way to number one. Here is the review of “Unsilent Death”:
“Conform” contains some of the fastest, most brutal fucking grind I’ve heard in a good while. It soars by with lightning speed and tears ear drums and anything else in it’s path to shreds. The song leads right into the next, “Scum Will Rise” which responds with a more melodic approach to grinding. Fucking amazing track. With songs so short, it is hard for some to describe grindcore albums in more than a paragraph or two. I however wish to tell you the impact this album will have on you. Imagine taking your brains from your skull and putting them into a blender on frappe. You then freeze the remains into a large ice block, carry it into the backyard and smash it with a mallet. Yes. It is frozen-brain-shattering. Yes it is. “Your God” goes back to the formula of “Conform” as being an insanely fast and heavy track. It does however manage to maintain melody throughout the entire 33 seconds. A nice drum roll introduces us to the groove-grinding of “Suffering Soul.” The chorus of this song rings out like an anthem for the depraved. The vocals are pure and simple. A gut-wrenching yell with tremendous emotion. Nice grooving guitar riff towards the end of the song in which the song as a whole hits the slow-down-button. Nice old school death metal riffing on the title track, “Unsilent Death.” This shows that this band has a very wide range influences that make this band rather hard to categorize. This whole song takes me back to the mid 1990s in death metal. Fucking “A.” A lot of feed back for what I would assume you would consider a breakdown. The song then returns to that fantastic groove. “Traitor” touches back on some previous songs (“Conform” and “Your God”) but with odd, varying timing. Grind one second and a chord-hanging doom riff. Very odd, but I love it. “I Will Not Follow” is as punishing as the rest of the album. Fast and furious yet filled with melody. Nice chugging guitar riffing. Nice doom-death riffing around the 1:00 mark. This band has an amazing sound that will definitely keep them going for many years to come. “No Servant” is another melo-grind face-smasher with a great guitar soloing. Oddly timed, but that’s the best kind. These guys are killing it. “Scapegoat” has some of the best guitar shredding on the album. It still has that old school death metal feel, especially around the 0:40 mark and leading all the way into “Depths” which marks the last track on the album. This is also the longest song on the album, maxing out at almost four minutes! The song doom/drones along at the beginning before bursting into another extraordinary death-groove shred-marathon. Another odd solo pops up at 1:36. This entire band is extremely tight while keeping the music superbly crusty and filthy. The song breaks down around the 2:05 mark and dooms it for a while. Nice pinch harmonics coming through very clear. This bands wide range of sound keeps me guessing what is around every turn. I never know what I am going to hear next: grindcore, death metal, doom, polka. Who knows?
Ross Gnarly: Tell me a little bit about the concept of “Dynasty” from your perspective. Aaron Bridgewater: “Dynasty” focuses mainly the rise and fall of various kingdoms, empires and dynasties throughout history… Both factual and mythological. It ties in the reasons for collapse with power and battle-lust, and intertwines it all with modern problems and politics that we are dealing with today. It pretty much outlines popular stories in history regarding false gods, struggle, famine, dictatorship, etc. and why these things didn’t work. The album starts off with “Oracle of the Dead”- a balls to the wall look at Hades, the so called “God of the underworld”. It then ventures through history, examining ancient Egypt, the Mayan civilization, and even Attila the Hun (look him up kids) only to wrap it all up with “The Unseen”… A kingdom we can only dream of, and exists only through faith.
We chose “Dynasty” as it perfectly sums up the album, and even though it’s a succession of rulers all from the same family or line, it symbolizes our inheritance of this earth as brothers and sisters. Whether we believe it or not, we’re all worthy of inhabiting great things in the future, as long as we cleanse ourselves of the past.
RG: Why did you choose this topic for the album? AB: Because I’ve always been obsessed with ancient civilizations, to me it made perfect sense.
RG: Can you tell me a bit about the song writing process? AB: Well… It’s long and tedious, but that’s how it goes when you’re making something you want everybody to love as much as you do. Pretty frustrating at times.
RG: How do you feel about the “Very Metal Christmas Tour”? AB: In one word, GEEKED.
RG: Was there anything in particular that serves as an influence for As They Sleep? AB: Oh man, I can tell you this… If it weren’t for bands like Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse I literally wouldn’t be here.
RG: As They Sleep are relatively new to the Solid State label. How has your experience been with the label and the bands on the label? AB: Honestly, they’ve treated us like family since the get. I have been a Solid State fan for a long time, and now I really know why. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the Agony Scene, hahaha.
“Oracle of the Dead” opens into an extremely technical melee of slamming death metal. Great vocal variations. This band reminds me of something I heard a while back but for the life of me I cannot think of whom. Necrophagist maybe? I dunno. Back to the review. Great melodic riffing throughout the song. Every thing is very well layered and structured. Great track. Brutal from start to finish. “To The Republic” contains one of the catchiest riffs I’ve ever heard. This band doesn’t have to focus on basic chugging riffs because they have all kinds of shit going for them. The band as a whole are extremely tight and complex beyond belief. Vocals on this track are top notch. Aaron really has a great growl/scream. Another amazing track. “The Third Reich” opens with more fantastic riffing. These dudes riff-ment will be stuck in my head for a long time. That is for sure. Everything is super catchy and memorable. Vocals are again very well done. This drummer is a fucking machine. Every thing is spot on. I like that this band doesn’t employ any bullshit into their songs. Everything is to the point. The songs are not long and do not drag. That, on top of superb melody and superb technicality, makes this band extraordinary in my book. “Bedlam At The Nile” is a great, down-tuned, lead-guitar killing track. Vocals are the lowest I’ve heard so far on the album. Reminds me of a mix between Mohammed of Necrophagist and Glen Benton from Deicide. Nice melodic chugging breakdown. I really like the structuring of the vocals. Every single word lays perfectly over the musical composition. “The Darkest Ages” almost reminds me of Earth Crisis. I’m not sure why, just something about it. This is quite possibly my favorite riffing on the album. Nice chugga-riffing. The speed that this band commits itself to is utterly mesmerizing. The songs remain technical without being chaotic. The guitar solo is very well done. Reminds me of something Zakk Wyldd would have done. Short but sweet. Great fucking track. “Ritual” contains a rather creepy guitar section and even creepier chanting. The lead guitar work is fucking fantastic, however. Nice. Interesting to say the least. “The Offering” brings back the funk, so to speak. Vocals are brutal as can be imagined. Even more so than “Bedlam At The Nile.” Nice chugging riffing with great leads. I love this band. Yes, seven songs in and I am already sold on this band. Their music is captivating. This album is fantastic. “Attila” is fast, heavy and straight to the point. No bullshitting. Just full on, aggressive death metal. The breakdown has elements like “Ritual” before hitting on one of the most amazingly technical solos I’ve ever heard. Although the song is 3:00 long, it soars by with fantastic effort. “Poseidon” has a lot of metalcore elements in it. A lot of melodic lead guitar riffing mixed with nice chugga riffing. This song reminds me of old All That Remains, only heavier. Great shit. Vocals are evil as fuck. This track is sure to get your head banging muscles going. Another amazing solo. I am loving the chorus on this track. This is, for sure, one of my favorite tracks. “God Of War” is just what a lot of newer death metal bands are attempting: fast, heavy, catchy and fucking off the wall. Great high pitched screams by Aaron. This kid has some seriously amazing vocal transition skills. Nice melodic breakdown. I am glad this band doesn’t go over the top with breakdowns like a lot of bands do. As They Sleep use breakdowns when they are necessary and that’s great. Doesn’t make their songs over-complicated. Fantastic riffing on “The Unseen.” Duh. Haven’t I said that throughout this entire album? If you haven’t began listening to this band by this time, I don’t know what could possibly be more important. Oh yeah. My review. Sorry. Lost my head for a minute. I got really into this track. Love the chugga riffing. It makes me want to… chugg. The breakdown just blew my mind to shit. All together, what did I think of this album? Fucking amazing. As They Sleep have put together an unbelievable concept album about the rise and fall of empires throughout history. I think they did a great job. That’s that. Rated G.
Dynasty will be released November 22nd via Solid State Records!
Well, I only recently heard of this band. I got an e-mail update and this band was the subject. I headed over to their MySpace page, as the e-mail instructed and what I heard, I liked. Nice, straight up metalcore. Great vocalist. After a few songs, I’ve decided that this band deserves some recognition. There aren’t too many bands out there that sings on a strictly Christian subject that I enjoy, but I push past that on As They Sleep. They are super catchy, heavy and have a great sound. They may have covered a Johnny Cash song, which is a little… odd, but I won’t hold it against them, because if you didn’t know what you were listening to, it’s not bad. Interesting. Pretty good band, check ‘em out.
As They Sleep’s new album, Dynasty is to be released November 23rd on Solid State Records. Word.