Static Tension – Ashes To Animation

There are some great ideas and passages on Static Tension’s Ashes To Animation (Buried By Sky). A marriage of Grunge, Alternative Rock, elements of Prog and a smattering of Stoner and Trouble’d Doom, the bands’ first full-length is an interesting proposition; a hotchpotch of ideas pulled in from The Doors to Metallica, but mainly operating a Progressive Grunge arena.Continue reading

GUEST POST: Greg and Rob Of Static Tension – Best Albums of 2018

With 2018 coming to a close, Greg Blachman and Rob Rom of Static Tension took some time to collectively reflect on their Top 10 releases of the year. The below are their picks, listed in no particular order.Continue reading

Spaceslug – Eye The Tide

If you want prolific, look no further than Polish psych fiends Spaceslug. This is their third album in four years, all graced by the greatest sleeve covers since Coheed & Cambria found the Milky Way and a monstrous roar that never gets tired.Continue reading

Alice In Chains Live At Hammerstein Ballroom

Opening the evening was Seattle band Walking Papers. Known more because of their regular members Duff McKagan and Barrett Martin, this is an act too good to miss. Even down a few guys and playing with some fill-in musicians, the band won over the anxious crowd with incredibly soulful rock music. No BS, no self-depreciation: just rock and proud to be rock. Amazing songs and performances, especially by frontman Jeff Angell, who is incredible. They have a recent EP out from 2018, and you should all go get it now.

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Cane Hill – Too Far Gone

Nu-Metal doesn’t half get some stick, to the point where it has become the laughing stock sub-genre within the metal scene. Riding the crest of a new (nu? – Ed) wave of this beaten, bloody pulp style of metal is Cane Hill, whose 2016 debut record Smile (Rise) proved to be very divisive – not dissimilar to the way Korn and Limp Bizkit were treated back in the early Nineties, and look how that turned out in the end.Continue reading

CLASSIC ALBUMS REVISITED: Alice In Chains’ Masterpiece “Dirt” Turns 25

With the exception of Metallica, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana, no other band helped shape the tenor of mainstream 1990s rock and metal in terms of influence than Alice In Chains. Twenty-five years ago today the landmark album, Dirt was born via Columbia Records. Not only was it the bands commercial breakthrough, but it was their creative zenith in many ways, establishing them as a leader in the genre. Ghost Cult Magazine takes a look back at the album on the anniversary of its release.Continue reading

Invidia – As The Sun Sleeps

Invidia (the brainchild of In This Moment’s Travis Johnson and former Skinlab guitarist Brian Jackson) aims to be the sonic version of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, and makes no bones about it. The track ‘Step Up’ from their début As the Sun Sleeps (Steamhammer/Oblivion/SPV) spells this out quite literally, even lifting a line from the film that encompasses everything the band stands for: “It’s not about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”Continue reading

Unreleased Pre-Alice In Chains Layne Staley Recordings Up For Auction


A rare early recording made by late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley has been put up for auction on eBay. Seller Ron Holt posted that the tape was made in 1988 when Staley. Holt and Jerry Cantrell were all part of a pre-AIC band 40 Years Of Hate. Continue reading

From Screwed To Smiling – Jeff Waters of Annihilator

Anihilator band 2015 courtesy of UDR

Relaxing in London’s Gibson Rooms, surrounded by dozens of very expensive-looking guitars, Jeff Waters is a happy man. The founder, guitarist and occasional frontman of Canadian thrash outfit Annihilator is in Europe at the label’s beckoning filming videos for his band’s new album, Suicide Society (UDR).

“I’m smiling because we don’t usually get two videos,” explains Waters. “Normally I have to call the label and say I’d really like to do a video, and usually argue politely about a video budget and whether we can get one, and sometimes we get a video.” For the Annihilator’s 15th album, however, there was no need for negotiations; UDR & Warner wanted  two videos and wanted them quick. “We didn’t have concepts, we didn’t have a video team, director. We didn’t have anything arranged.” While Waters was still worried that these two videos might still be done on the cheap with a skeleton crew, what he found on arrival came as a pleasant surprise: 14 crew, three cameramen with top of the line stuff, and decent hotel rooms (no sharing) to top it off. “We got to the shoot in Hanover, went to the very east of Germany to an old run down building that was around in the war which we probably shouldn’t have been in, and filmed.”

“We were just smiling the whole time, realising that the labels are putting in some money into this thing, and I’ve not seen that since 1995. So that’s what, 20 years ago? 20 years since a label has looked like they’re putting in more than the contracts say, more than I request, more than I would expect.”

Having heard Suicide Society, it’s safe to say the label’s faith in Annihilator is well-placed. Continuing the upward trajectory in quality of 2010’s self-titled effort and 2013’s Feast, it balances the aggressive bite with Water’s soft spot for accessible melody. “It’s a good sign that looks like the labels are supporting us. I am getting a little bit excited about this, more than I normally would.”


While he might be smiling now, the album’s gestation contained more than its fair share of stress. Shortly before he was due to record his part, Dave Padden, Annihilator’s vocalist/guitarist for over a decade, decided to call time on his career with the band. “I don’t know the specific reason, but I know the general reason was he hadn’t been happy in the band for almost four years,” says Waters.

“I thought, “Uh-oh, do you need more money?” Nope, that wasn’t it. Was it something I’ve been doing or some way I’ve been treating or not treating you? No.” At loss as to why, Waters asked for an explanation. “He said, “I don’t like or look forward to going on tour or going to record. I just don’t like the travel anymore.” While it came a shock, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. “Now that I look back, I think I knew. I never said anything because I didn’t want to open something up and have him leave.”

Since he joined in 2003, Padden had been a steady ship in a band with an-ever rotating line-up of members and for a while, things seemed bleak. “I was screwed. I had a whole week of depression.”  The original plan would have seen him arrive at Waters’ studio in early December and have everything wrapped up time for Christmas. “I had recorded the entire record, wrote the lyrics, and demoed it on CD. I was scheduled to move house and I also had a deadline for the record. It was supposed to be out months earlier than now. Dave quitting completely destroyed that whole thing.”

But refusing to be deterred, Waters set about looking for a new vocalist. “I looked for a while, couldn’t find anyone. It was either old school guys that were old and out of shape or guys that didn’t have everything Annihilator needed.” Explaining that returning to previous vocalists such as Randy Rampage or Aaron Randall was a non-starter, he looked to some of the younger vocalists, but still couldn’t find what he was looking for.

Annihilator classic logo


Eventually Waters – who performed vocal duties for three Annihilator albums in the 90s (1994’s King of the Kill, 1995’s Refresh the Demon, and 1997’s Remains) – had an epiphany. “I said to myself, “I’ve already got this thing done. I could walk in tomorrow and sing it” and then I realised, you idiot, that’d be a great way to get this problem quickly solved.” But not wanting to do a half-arsed job of it, Waters did some prep work. “I pushed the entire thing back – not just the album, my whole life went on hold and I went to a vocal teacher, got vocal lessons, learned how to warm up my voices so I hopefully wouldn’t destroy it on tour.”

“I spent a couple of weeks writing down on those three albums what sucked, what I did and didn’t like. I kind of taught myself to get rid of the things I didn’t like and work on what I might actually be good at.” After ditching the “crappy Waters characteristics”, the focus shifted to a What Would Jesus Do-type scenario, except instead of looking to the son of God for inspiration, he looked to his four favourite singers instead: Layne Staley, Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield and Ozzy Osbourne. “That was the only way I could stay afloat, otherwise you would have got an album like King of the Kill and you would have got some pretty clichéd, barely-cutting-it stuff out of me.”

Despite the trouble, Waters insists there’s no bad blood. “I talk to him every weekend; Facebook or text messages or whatever it is – and in a way he’s like “Dammit I wish I was there with you doing that,” but he knows that he would come back and do it and then in a week he’d be back to where he was.”



The Sixxis – Hollow Shrine

the sixxis hollow shrine
The Sixxis have been gaining attention for some time, and now we finally see what they are capable of with their debut LP Hollow Shrine (Glassview Records). Produced by David Botrill (Tool, Muse) Hollow Shrine presents a core sound of progressive rock, yet it seems the band’s multiple influences have blended into one. Preventing their music from being just a one trick pony. It’s an album that many people may enjoy regardless of what their usual cup of tea is when it comes to rock and metal.

Hollow Shrine has many facets to it. Songs like ‘Waste of Time’ is pure prog rock with a soaring violin solo performed by front man Vladdy Iskhakov. Then we have ‘Long Ago’. The prog rock feel is there, but they’ve also incorporated a southern rock groove for an interesting combination. The final track ‘Weeping Willow Tree’ with the southern prog sound but is slowed down giving the track a real southern comfort feel. ‘Out Alive’ has more of a prog metal feel. The whole song is just one buildup to the final minute where it really kicks in a finishes with a great guitar solo.

The track that caught my interest the most was ‘Coke Can Steve’. An instrumental track that really showcases all the intrsuments that have managed to remain a presence throughout the entire album. A great prog metal track with each instrument taking center stage at times with drum fills and solos performed by guitars, bass, and violin. Hollow Shrine is finally topped off with Vladdy Iskhakov’s vocal range and ability. At times it may remind you of the late Layne Staley, and other times he hits extended higher or more lower emotional pitches to really get across the emotion or intensity of the music.

I was overall surprised by Hollow Shrine, especially after not being aware of this group. This again feels like an album that many people regardless of their preferred brutality or emotions in music, may enjoy.