Back On The Road – Andy LaRocque of King Diamond

King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

King Diamond’s appearance on this past summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival became the talk of the summer as metalheads were eager to catch his elaborate show on a larger stage. This follows his 2014 North American tour, which also marked his return to the touring scene following his time off due to various health issues that plagued him for a few years.

This marks King Diamond’s first appearance on a US touring festival that took the band across the country. While the band has played various European summer festivals, they have found subtle differences with the US ones. They had just completed the first night in San Diego, CA and are about to perform at Devore, CA on the second night of the tour.

Exactly it’s a quite different thing actually in the USA, I must say. It’s great. It’s just different in all ways I guess,” said guitarist Andy LaRocque.

Last night was really good. San Diego – first opening night was really good,” said guitarist Mike Wead.

We had a good time. Even the places are a little different from Europe. It’s a different atmosphere. Everything looks different of course. Different organization – it’s great,” added LaRocque.

Andy LaRocque of King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Andy LaRocque of King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

They spoke about the big differences between the Euro festivals versus the ones in the US.

No rattlesnakes in Europe!,” said LaRocque.

The weather is different. It’s hotter here. Like Andy said, the organization behind it is a bit different. It’s still a festival and if you’ve done a few or a lot of them, you’ll feel familiar with the system pretty quick. It takes a couple of days and then you’ll understand how everything works,” said Wead.

The big difference with this festival is that it’s the same bands tour around the US, compared to festivals in Europe where there are different lineups on every festival. I don’t think there are touring festivals in Europe,” added LaRocque.

We used to have Sonicsphere but I think they went belly up. So we don’t have it,” concluded Wead.

Mike Wead of King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Mike Wead of King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Having an hour long set time during the tour, LaRocque explained how they picked what made up their set list. While fans each have their favorites, the band managed to select the core tunes that highlighted the main points in their history.

We try to make a good blend of theatrical stuff that fits on the stage and also what the audience wants, and the different time eras too. So I think what we have now is a good mix of that, which I think works really well. The first show was last night and I think everything was in a really good flow. [It was] very intense. We covered up everything. It’s really hard to fit in everything in one hour of course but this works.

Pontus Egberg of King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Pontus Egberg of King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

They took part on a line that featured Slayer, Hellyeah and Devil Wears Prada on the main stage, and a side stage consisting of Whitechapel, Feed Her To The Sharks, Thy Art Is Murder, Jungle Rot, Sworn In and many others. While much of their audience traditionally older, they have found a growing number of younger fans showing interest in their music and live set. LaRocque shared his theories behind this.

Well you could speculate it. There’s been a lot of hyping on the internet, of course, since he got with his health. I don’t know really to be honest why it happened. There were still a lot of things going on in the background, even though we were not playing. Since we came back, we are now able to play bigger places and reach out to a bigger audience. It seems like our fan base is bigger than ever. One of the reasons is we never have been into having internet sites like Facebook, which we created during that period of his illness. That made it grow also.

Photo Credit: Hillarie Jason

Photo Credit: Hillarie Jason

While King Diamond took his extensive time off of the road, the rest of his band kept busy with other things. Aside from the band, each member have their own respective projects they work on to keep busy in the meantime.

I have a studio and produce bands. I’ve had the studio for over 20 years. I’ve been doing that in theory itself, when we’re not doing anything with Diamond – not touring, not recording an album. I’ve also had different projects with different musicians,” said LaRocque.

Same with me – studio stuff, loads of session work as a guitar player, and doing records with other bands,” said Wead.

I only joined the band [in 2014]. I’ve been doing totally different stuff. I’ve been playing with different bands for as long as I can remember, but last summer I hooked up with these guys and it’s been a sweet ride ever since,” added bassist Pontus Egberg, who happens to be the newest member of the band. He joined the band in 2014.

King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

During the downtime, LaRocque admitted that he did come up with rough ideas for new songs but was mainly waiting for King Diamond to recover physically before proceeding.

We really didn’t do anything with Diamond at all. We just talked often – me, King, the guys in the band and management. I actually honestly wrote a few songs in the meantime. It’s still waiting there to go back there to listen, see if any of it could be used for the next album. I’ve got four, five or six songs. It’s nothing focused or serious, but it might be useful.

We’re just waiting for King to come back and took it from there. As soon as he was good enough health wise, we started to do festivals. It started out in Europe and it turned out great. We only did two festivals the first summer back in 2012. It turned out really good. Everyone was like ‘wow! Cool that you guys are back.’ The next summer we did some more festivals, and that was last summer. Then we got the chance to do this. We also did a US tour in October and November (2014). So this is the first festival tour here in the US for us. I’m happy we could do it. As long as he’s fine with everything, with his health and stuff, we will continue.

King Diamond, photo©Kevin Estrada /

King Diamond, photo©Kevin Estrada /

In terms of a timeline towards their long awaited new record, LaRocque clarified where the band stood on this.

We have a few song ideas but nothing worked out yet. We were supposed to start working on new material this summer, but then this festival came in between, which we are very happy for. Once we get a break, we’re going to start working on it. It will probably be early 2016 that we start working on the new material. That’s the plan.

Approaching the songwriting process, they had spoken about some of the changes including have various options on where to record. Despite this, the writing process stayed somewhat similar to past records.

It’s mostly King and me who writes the stuff. So what he does is sitting down with now his computer. He used to have this old tape machine type of thing to record. He programs the drum machine and then he sends it to me. I listen to it and we bounce things back and forth. That’s what we usually do.

But for the next album, we’re probably gonna record the drums in a studio in Dallas since the drummer Matt [Thompson] is from Dallas, and King lives there. That’s the most convenient thing to find a studio there to track the drums and come over to track the guitars as well so King could attend the process. Maybe the bass too – I don’t know. We’ll see. Pontus has got his own home recording studio too so he could record that.

I usually record my leads by myself anyways. Andy is the same. He’s more focused. I don’t mind doing it in the privacy of my own studio,” said Wead.

Now, King has his own studio so he could do his vocals there. Then we decided him coming over to Sonic Train Studios, which is the name of my studio in Varberg. We’re going to mix and master the album right there,” added LaRocque.

Photo Credit: Hillarie Jason

Photo Credit: Hillarie Jason

He gave a preview of their forthcoming album: “I mean it’s going to be the King Diamond stuff…that’s for sure. But when it comes to lyrics and stuff, I don’t really know what he has in mind yet. He told us he has some ideas but nothing I want to talk about right now.

In terms of King Diamond’s health, LaRocque had praises on this subject for him. “He’s better than ever, I would say. He has to take care of himself but when it comes to his physical things, it’s like wow…he’s doing so much better. Eating healthier and all of that stuff….quit smoking, difference in performance.

What about King’s love of coffee? He claimed in past interviews that coffee and cigarettes, which he has since quit smoking, were the secret to his voice. “Not that much any more. He’s like…cleaned up!,” LaRocque said with a laugh.

I don’t know if that’s a good secret or not. I think now he realized that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.

By Rei Nishimoto

Brotherhood By Metal – Whitechapel

Whitechapel. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Whitechapel. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

The past year saw a significant growth in demand for the members of Whitechapel, as touring behind their latest album Our Endless War helped them to become one of the fastest rising new faces in the extreme music scene.

They spent this past summer on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and just completed their second day of the tour. Band guitarist Zach Householder shared his thoughts on their performance.

It’s the second day. It’s insane! We played here for Knotfest – it was just as crazy. Every time we’re here it’s absolutely nuts. It will probably be one of the best sets on the whole tour. I don’t want to be jinxing the tour, but it’ll be the ones that’ll stick out.

Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel.

Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel, by Brent B Photos.

Their rise in popularity since the release of their latest album has taken them to new heights, including a co-headlining North American tour with Devildriver and an appearance on the Knotfest in 2014.

He shares his thoughts on his band’s success and what motivates audiences towards them.

It’s weird because I wasn’t in the band in the very beginning. I took Brandon Cagle’s place and he’s actually doing sound for us now. He’s killer at that. I’m glad it worked out.

I was a fan to begin with when they were first coming out in Knoxville,” he said. “There’s something about it. You just knew something was gonna happen with this band. I was friends with many of them but I heard them and thought ‘this is just disgustingly heavy!’ I think it’s the weird alignment of the planets. It’s just something happened, something clicked, the vibe worked…the right time, the right place. What a lot of people don’t get with music, it doesn’t matter how technical you write shit. It matters how you feel about you feel about writing the music. You’ve got to have an image with the music that people can grasp onto. I think that’s what happened to Whitechapel. There’s something there to hang onto and can’t pull it out and say oh yeah…it’s there.

Ben Harclerode of Whitechapel. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Ben Harclerode of Whitechapel. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Headlining the second stage also placed them further away from the main stage, as on the San Bernadino, CA stop had them atop of the lawn section and many attendees having to walk up a hill to the stage. Despite the minor dilemma, the show must go on.

A little bit of a walk…whatever. Luckily everybody had no choice but to watch it, whether they wanted to or not,” he said.

Gabe Crisp of Whitechapel. Photo Credit: Brent B Photos

Gabe Crisp of Whitechapel. Photo Credit: Brent B Photos

This year marks the band’s third appearance on this fest and the band has shown their appreciation towards the promoters for bringing them back. “We did it in ’09 with Slayer and [Marilyn] Manson, and in 2012 with Slipknot and Slayer and obviously this year with Slayer headlining and King Diamond. King Diamond’s sick and Slayer is just awesome.

Being that this is their third time on this tour, the familiarity behind the set up eases the tension of handling everyday business. He shared the benefits of being a veteran on this tour.

Zach Householder of Whitechapel. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Zach Householder of Whitechapel. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

The easier the more fun,” says Householder. “Obviously we partied a little more on our first Mayhem and the second one. We don’t party that much any more and we take it easy. I like the fact that we’re done kind of early and hang out. We can kick back and watch Slayer and King Diamond on the main stage. I think it gets easier for sure. Mayhem takes such good care of us. We’ve always supported this tour. We love it.

Picking a set list is always a challenge as a band’s career advances, and including songs to please the crowd within the allotted time is something they have to deal with as well. But Householder explained the different factors that goes into choosing songs to perform each night.

Honestly when an album comes out we experiment a lot of songs from that album and then we go by whatever goes over live and what translates well live. Even an outdoor festival versus an indoor clubs, some songs work better in a club opposed to outdoor festivals. We just know by now what we want when it comes to a set. We pick the bangers off the album and if the hits have different vibes, then we’ll pick and choose from it.

Whitechapel album cover

Prior to this appearance, Whitechapel had experimented with an appearance on this tour’s sister festival tour, the Vans Warped Tour in 2010. While that audience leans less towards metal audiences, they still caught the attention of curious attendees and gave them a taste of music heavier than their usual playlist consisted of.

We did Warped Tour once. The shows were killer but it’s a little more crowded than Mayhem is. You’re fighting for food and showers a little more. That was cool too,” he said.

Householder shared his thoughts of playing for non metal crowds like Warped Tour and how much those earlier years factored into their exploding popularity.

I think it’s a double edged sword. Sometimes the non metal crowds are like ‘holy crap!’ Maybe they’ve never seen anything that heavy before. We all know how judgmental and harsh metal fans can be, so when we play especially on this Mayhem, there are a lot of judgmental eyes on us that have seen us before, but they’re not turning around and leaving, so that’s the good part.

Following this tour, Whitechapel will begin working on a new album and Householder talked about where they stand on that at the present time.

As soon as we get home, we will be. Like I said in the past interview, we’re always writing and sending riffs to each other. We’re sitting down and start writing for the next album when we get home, and we’re aiming to record in January.

I feel Our Endless War had such a cool vibe to it – a lot of melody and hooks in it. There are still death metal parts but it is not straight bombardment the whole time. You can breathe. I think we’re going to keep doing that. You have a little bit for sometime for everyone. Let the music breathe. Let it be heavy. We’re going to hang out and feel what we’re writing this time around, even more so last time. I think everybody’s heads are in the right place for it. I think it’s going to be, if anything, it won’t be off the wall but it will be even deeper or darker.

Householder also gave an update on the forthcoming DVD, which has been delayed but is expected out before the end of 2015.

The DVD is coming out. It’s taking a little longer. I’ve actually seen the whole DVD part of it and the bio part of it and the live show. It’s sick! It turned out great. Now we’re producing the physical copies.

Everybody’s upset about it either way I get it. It’s coming and I promise it will be out. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. It won’t let you down. Sorry for the wait on that.

We wanted to do this right. There are a lot of issues when it came to some people not having their shit together. I won’t name any names, but it wasn’t anyone in the band. That’s what put us in a scare but we worked it out. Early fall for sure.

By Rei Nishimoto

The Devil Wears Prada Talks Facing Metal Crowds

The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Being a band like The Devil Wears Prada and sounding the way they do can often be a challenge for those who are unfamiliar with their music. Over the past decade, the Ohio based act has built up a strong yet loyal following that live and breathe their style of metalcore.

They have once again appeared on the main stage of this summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and are tackling larger audiences who are new to their style of music. Vocalist Mike Hranica talked about playing in front of vast crowds at these events, and how much that influenced how they approached their music.

When we got started and doing Vans Warped Tour back in 2008, it didn’t really influence us too much. We were really influenced by bands like Killswitch [Engage] and As I Lay Dying. They were always doing an Ozzfest and still doing Warped and playing with rockier bands, poppier bands, and all the way to proper metal, Slayer bands. We tried to do the same.

Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Ever since the band first appeared on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour’s main stage, longtime fans got their first experiences hearing their chaotic sounds and became addicted. While The Devil Wears Prada immediately became the pit kings at Warped Tour, things became a bit more of a challenge at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival supporting some of the heavyweights in the metal world.

We get put in our place when we come to Mayhem. It’s actually tough guys and metalheads rather than at Warped Tour it’s a bunch of young bands. We’re less cocky on Mayhem than on Warped Tour.

Doing Mayhem three years ago was really eye opening and we know what we’re getting in for. Also at the same time, that was the best summer tour we’ve ever done and already the past two days have been ‘oh my god…it’s so relaxing to come to Mayhem.’

Having such a fraction of the bands on Warped Tour makes it so much easier. We’re pumped. I think it will be a good summer with fans recognizing and doing shows like Graspop and Download Festival overseas. We know the fan dude there standing there like ‘what the hell is this?’ and by the end of the set will be like ‘I can vibe some of this stuff.’ We enjoy that challenge and trying to win people over. That’s a big part of the challenge.

While playing in front of a tough crowd and seeing a sea of “what the hell is this” looks, bassist Andy Trick had an interesting view on it. “You can see it if you watch the people come up and sit down and then after a few songs they get into it.

By Rei Nishimoto

Space Truckin- The Devil Wears Prada

devil wears prada

2015 became a year of changes that helped push forward the evolution of The Devil Wears Prada and their ever growing sound. They spent this past summer opening up on the main stage of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival across North America and being their second time on this tour and so far they love their time on it.

We did Mayhem in 2012. We were rotating, but when we opened the main stage, which was a third of the tour – it was us, Motorhead, Slayer and Slipknot. So we had that before,” said vocalist Mike Hranica, about his previous Mayhem Fest experience.

There’s really no band more intimidating to open for than Slayer. Slayer fans are Slayer fans. I think it’s a little bit easier because on the first tour, the fans have to wait a while until they get Slayer. Gary [Holt] was around for a little bit when we last toured with them or last played Mayhem. [He] was really cool. I didn’t really meet anyone else in the band.”

“Yeah I don’t care. I love Slayer. I was on a serious Slayer kick all of June, looking forward to coming back with South Of Heaven and Reign In Blood every day.

Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Dane Burns (via Facebook)

Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Dane Burns (via Facebook)

The band is about to release their much talked about Space EP (out August 21, 2015) and are excited to be sharing it with the world. This is their first new recording since their 2013’s 8:18 album, and the band enjoyed the creative aspects of their new recording.

Very intentionally I felt like we really enjoyed how people received the Zombie EP, which was a huge part of why we wanted to do another one plus enjoying making [the Zombie EP] so much,” said Hranica.

This time around, I wanted more identity per song. We had the five songs for the Zombie EP and I gave them a theme. The lyrics were there but I still felt that they were particularly interchangeable. With this EP, each song was meant to work within its mood and a lot of the demos and the riffs that we would start and begin with, John [Gering, keyboardist] and I would really try to incorporate the keys to work with the theme very specifically.

Bassist Andy Trick and guitarist jeremy DePoyster of The Devil Wears Prada (via Facebook).

Bassist Andy Trick and guitarist jeremy DePoyster of The Devil Wears Prada (via Facebook).

With a song like ‘Moongod’ was meant to have a moon wind vibe, like you would imagine that desolate vibe. That wasn’t really something we worked too hard on the Zombie EP and something we wanted to have a part of the piece with the Space EP. That was a big point of that business going into writing the Space EP.

We also have a friend of ours who’s writing stuff with us now and that brings a key point into a new fresh viewpoint into it,” added bassist Andy Trick.

Finding new ideas to infuse into The Devil Wears Prada’s sound without sounding stale becomes quite the challenge, but the members are always up for it. They have found new ways to stimulate their creativity and making eps is one way to do so.

We all grow and it shows in the music. But for example, on the Space EP that’s coming out, it’s a way to challenge ourselves by focus efforts for five or six songs – doing something different,” said Trick.

We haven’t that spent much time outside of different producers, and I think that helps. We did a Record Store Day release – a seven inch single and the EP (South of the City seven inch) like Andy said. We like to not do full length after full length. I think that’s part of our formula,” added Hranica.

Devil Wears Prada Space EP

Prior to the making of the Space EP, the band went through lineup changes as their longtime guitarist Chris Rubey left the band and was replaced by Kyle Sipress. While lineup shuffles is not common in their band history, each change has worked in their favor.

We kicked out our keyboardist (James Baney) years ago and Jon’s [Gering] been working with us since then. At around Halloween, our guitarist Chris [Rubey] decided to leave the band and stay home with him wife and kid, which is now Kyle [Sipress], which he is now playing guitar with us now.

The Space EP is the first time writing without Chris and writing with Kyle, which was a lot of fun. I think that goes back to keeping things fresh. He definitely was a big part of the challenge and it’s refreshing,” said Hranica, about the lineup changes.

Dan Williams of The Devil Wears Prada (via Facebook)

Dan Williams of The Devil Wears Prada (via Facebook)

Another change was their return to Rise Records, where the band had released their first two albums (2006’s Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord and 2007’s Plagues). Hranica talked about their reasons behind the label change and how much the label had grown since being on that label.

A big part of moving back to Rise…we loved Roadrunner and working with the guys we got to, but I feel any band should move labels and expand between street teams and around media and what not. That’s part of also about going back to Rise is that their online presence is massive. It’s important obviously for today’s day and age. It’s a totally different world than when we first signed with them in 2006.

We know Craig [Ericson] really well. We know Sean [Heydorn] really well. It’s also we also know the exact equation of what’s happening at the label and how things are occurring. So it’s a matter of comfort, as complacent as it may seem. It’s circumstances more so than comfortable and familiar with, and that refreshing for us. Especially we have those discussions as far as whether we should put out our own record. Going from that and really talking about that. Dan [Williams], our drummer is really into that. Going from that into where you’re handling everything or we could work with a label, where we know who’s handling it and what’s going on. That was an important part of going back to Rise.

Kyle Sipress of The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Alex Matthews (via Facebook)

Kyle Sipress of The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Alex Matthews (via Facebook)

With the band releasing the Space EP, Hranica clarified that this was strategically done with intentions of a full length release in the works.

We did three full lengths and the EP, and another two full lengths and an EP. Before the end of this year, we’re going to solidify more songs. We’re sitting on a bunch of demos with riffs. I think by the end of this year, maybe November or something. We’re going to all get in a room together and start concentrating on the next full length.

By Rei Nishimoto

Take Your Shot- Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey

coldcock whiskey logo

Within its short period of existence, Coldcock Whiskey has become a well recognized liquor item within the music world. Its brand has been recognized for sponsoring various music events such as the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and NAMM, as well as its logo plastered across the chests of countless musicians as well as fans alike at concerts across North America.


Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey

Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey

John Reese of Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-coordinator
John Reese of Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-coordinator

The Coldcock Whiskey story began after grooming another well recognized liquor brand for years. Brand marketing representative Adam Grayer explains how it all began.

We are about to finish up our second year,” he said. “We ran the music marketing for Jagermeister – sponsorships, tours, festivals. When Rick and Sarah Zeiler brought the idea to create the brand, the first thing that they did was to reach out to all of our friends – band members, managers, booking agents, and festival owners – showing them what we’re doing, told them about our idea to market the brand.

Coldcock Whiskey event

Coldcock Whiskey event

They all loved the idea and came in and invested. John Reese [Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-founder] is an investor in our brand. Kerry King’s [Slayer] an investor in our brand. David Draiman from Disturbed, Miles Doughty from Slighty Stoopid, Avenged Sevenfold’s booking agent, and Linkin Park’s booking agent. So it’s really humbling that all of these people have come in and invested their money, and on top of that, they’ve helped us promote and build the brand. John Reese has us out of the tour and Kerry King’s at our booth every day doing meet and greets. Everyone does a little something more than just putting in a bit of money. They actually believe in what we’re trying to do, which is help us build a brand.”

Aysha and Kerry King representing Coldcock Whiskey.

Aysha and Kerry King representing Coldcock Whiskey.

Coldcock Whiskey’s flavor has a different taste than most liquors on the market, which has immediately sparked the interest of those who have tried the product. Grayer explains how the texture differs from some of the other products available.

The flavor is a three year aged Kentucky bourbon, so it’s true bourbon whiskey, and we infused it with natural herbs like green tea, hibiscus, ginseng, gingko, eucalyptus, and those herbs give it a natural sweetness that kills the burn. It has the whiskey taste but not the whiskey burn. It’s more of a lighter, sweeter after taste. It’s not harsh going down but it still is a whiskey.

coldcock whiskey banner

After building up a well established liquor brand like Jagermeister, starting over from the beginning can be quite daunting towards anyone who has to build up a name from scratch. This group behind this brand was up for the challenge and Grayer explains how building up the name is a long term project and without huge expectations immediately.

The beauty behind a brand like Jagermeister, and I don’t want to talk too much about them – that is what they call a 30 year over night success. It really did take a very long time to build. Their music program didn’t actually start until the brand was established.

What we realized is that at that brand, the bands gave that brand its soul. What we wanted to do on the outside was to get those bands that love us and have tried our brand and love this brand Coldcock to talk about the brand. We know it’s not going to take five weeks. We know it might take five years, but we want to do this in a cool, unique way. We want to build it out there with a cool core following, and as this following grows everyone that starts drinking this brand becomes a loyal fan,” he said.

Eyes Set To Kill with Carla Harvey Coates and Heidi Shepherd of The Butcher Babies.

Eyes Set To Kill with Carla Harvey Coates and Heidi Shepherd of The Butcher Babies.

He goes in deeper about the difference between their product and the competition’s, and how their ingredient base has a slightly different taste and reaction from those who have tested it out.

What we’ve seen over the years is that a lot of brands have popped up that are these flavored whiskeys and flavored vodkas that are easier to drink and expensive, but they’re loaded with sugar and some of them are loaded with chemicals. So we wanted to create a brand that was very easy for people to drink, inexpensive and flavored naturally so there’s very little sugar in it. It’s whiskey with no burn but also not a lot of sugar in it. It’s not as harsh, and as a result word will spread because people will go ‘humm…you haven’t tried Coldcock? You don’t know what you’re missing…’ If you’ve been drinking other brands that are loaded with sugars, after shots of those brands and you’re not feeling so good, you’ll want to try something different. We’re that different.

When you have all of these bands that we’re working with talking about on social media or on stage, you’re hearing about it in a unique way that’s never been done before to this level. We feel that the consumers will react to that and I think they will become more loyal as a result. They see Kerry King and David Draiman supporting this drink, and their favorite local band supporting this drink, they’re going to wonder…what is this drink? I’ve gotta try it. Then they come out to an event like the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, see our booth set up, go to the first bar they see, order a shot of Coldcock, get to meet Kerry King and then it all falls into place of they haven’t just created a brand – they created an experience. That is what we wanted. We didn’t want to create another brand on the market. The world is filled with liquor brands. We wanted something new – a true experience for a fan.

We sponsor a lot of events, tours, and bands so that our goal is whenever you go out to something music related, you should be able to see something Coldcock related. Know that when you’re done working a long hard day and you go out to see a concert at night, you’ll get to share a shot of Coldcock with your favorite band.

Ashley Purdy of Black Veil Brides with Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey.

Ashley Purdy of Black Veil Brides with Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey.

While the public may have seen the Coldcock Whiskey logo on various rock and metal music events so far, Grayer said the brand has been working with a variety of musical acts and will continue to expand.

We actually work with cover bands, DJs, country artists…we just did a four month sponsored tour with another one of our brand owners Datsik, and we’re going to be sponsoring a lot of John Reese’s music fests…The Safe N Sound Festival. We work with a lot of country artists. We’ve expanded but what we’ve noticed in rock and metal is that the bands and the fans are core and very loyal. So it’s been a very great honor for us to be able to come in here and not feel artificial to the fans. They see us and they see their favorite bands supporting it and they immediately became loyal to the brand.


As for venturing overseas, Grayer said it is in the works and would not say when exactly Coldcock Whiskey will seek out distribution in more territories. He said, “Eventually we will. We want to build our brand in America, tackle all 50 States and then as we do that we will expand into other countries without a doubt.

By Rei Nishimoto

Jungle Rot – Order Shall Prevail

jungle rot prevailcd

Jungle Rot has been one of the most consistent bands in death metal for over two decades. The fact that they are not top of mind when talking about the best American death metal acts is a shame for how hard they have worked. Added to the fact that their thrashy, power-groove flavored style has always harkened back to the earliest death metal years, while current popular tastes favor the more flashy technical bands. All that being equal, Jungle Rot always turns out solid albums, and their new one Order Shall Prevail (Victory) is no different.

The best thing about Jungle Rot is they know where they live and breathe: the grinding, grooving mid-tempo jams that make everyone headbang and mosh. Starting with the Slayer-tastic ‘Doomsday’, they serve notice that yes, the`Rot is back! Vocalist David Matrise’s militaristic howling bark has always stood out to me. The second track ‘Paralyzed Prey’ has an angular riff from guitarist Geoff Bub and some tasty soloing going on as well. ‘Blood Revenge’ is one of the best songs on the album. Just a classic badass cut. It has a maelström of cool parts that get better on every listen. ‘Fight Where You Stand’ is a deathy speed metal jam and features Max Cavalera on guest vocals. The Max connection makes sense since Jungle Rot has clearly been influenced by early Sepultura albums such as Beneath The Remains and Arise (both Roadrunner). Cavalera and Matrise’s two vocal ranges mesh beautifully too, in a too often not heard type of team up for death metal.

As you would imagine, the title track is a claustrophobic feeling affair, warning of a dystopian future not too far off for us. You can almost hear this being a huge sing-a-long song live. Drummer Jesse Beahler, who dominates on this album, is on point here. Other top tracks include ‘The Dread Pestilence’ ‘Cast The First Stone’, and ‘Nuclear Superiority’.

At this point in the game, Jungle Rot is not going to change up the formula too much, yet stay true to themselves. Their straight-ahead approach should help win over fans all summer as they appear on the Victory Records Stage at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.



Video: Slayer Performs New Songs At First Mayhem Festival Dates

slayer 2015

The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival kicked off this weekend in California with Slayer as the headliner. As part of the bands career-spanning set, they performed the new singles from their upcoming album Repentless in the form of ‘When The Stillness Comes’ and ‘Repentless’. You can watch videos of each song below:


Repentless will be released on September 11th from Nuclear Blast.

Slayer online

Slayer on Facebook

Slayer on Twitter

Slayer on YouTube

Slayer on Instagram

The Summer of Slam: A Comprehensive Guide to Summer-Time Shows



The 2015 selection of summer festivals and shows proves to be one of the strongest in years: The usual suspects, Wacken and Hellfest, as well as newcomers Deadfest and King of the Monsters, all feature a brutal bevvy of the best in Death, Grind, Black Metal, and Hardcore.

Keeping up with all of the happenings calls for a comprehensive list, so here’s your guide to the grim de la grim of summer fests:

Summer Slaughter Tour

Dubbed “The Most Extreme Tour of the Year,” the annual Summer Slaughter Tour features a hefty handful of big-time Metal acts serving up set lists to concert goers July 28th through August 24th.

The 2015 lineup includes Arch Enemy, Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, The Acacia Strain, Obsurca, After the Burial, Cattle Decapitation, Beyond Creation, and other “special guests;” tickets can be purchased through


France’s answer to open-air shows includes the annual Hellfest, which has quickly become one of the most exciting and involved.

Over the course of three days, June 19, 20, and 21, with this year’s gathering held in Clisson, France, Hellfest features six stages of subgenre-specific sets:

Main Stages One and Two host heavy hitters, like Judas Priest, Slipknot, and Faith No More, and The Alter showcases crushing Death and Grind bands, like At the Gates, Onslaught, and Leng Tch’e. The Temple features Black Metal and Thrash, and The Valley finds Stoner Rock, Sludge, and Doom.

With the Warzone holding down the Punk and Hardcore front, Hellfest also proves to be one of the most well-organized concert series of the year.

Information on Hellfest can be found at the official Website


King of the Monsters

July 31st and August 1st find Hardcore and Grind bands celebrating King of the Monsters Records’ 20th Anniversary.

Crudos, Infest, and ACxDC are among performers, and attendees can also catch Creation is Crucifixtion, the defunct avant-garde Grind act.

Information on this two-day show can be found over at, as well as at the King of the Monsters page (

bay area death-fest 2015

Bay Area Deathfest

The second-annual Bay Area Death fest brings Tech-Death and Death-Grind to the Oakland Metro, July 11 – 12th.

Cattle Decapitation, Psycroptic, Origin, and Bay-Area natives Fallujah, head up the crop, and The Zenith Passage, Gortuary, and No Zodiac are among many others.

A spirited DIY effort between its two co-founders, Andrew Manganiello and Thomas Johnson, the Bay Area Deathfest offers one of the most well stocked showcases of the year.

Attendees, as well as prospective ones, can find info and updates at

Festum Carnis

The outdoor gathering known as Festum Carnis takes place July 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the mountains of Wilseyville, CA.

Guests can find Agata, Wandern, and Battle Hag, as well as Hemotoxin, Mockery, and Horrid all performing.

Tickets can be found at, along with helpful info on camping and lodging.


Mayhem Festival

Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, and The Devil Wears Prada headline the 2015 Mayhem Fest: the month-long, state-side show takes on cities from Chula Vista, CA to Dallas, Texas, June 26th through August 2nd.

Whitechapel, Thy Art is Murder, Jungle Rot, Sister Sin, Sworn In, Shattered Sun, Feed Her to the Sharks, Code Orange, and Kissing Candace are among supporting acts; the fest is a one-day blow out, so show up early to catch everyone.



Punk and Grind, Doom and Death come together August 14th and 15th at Deadfest.

DIY Till Death,” the show line-up includes Primitive Man, Gehenna, Bio Crisis, Cave State, and more at Oakland Metro.

There’s no official Website, but there is a Facebook page (, so interested parties should mosey over there for further updates and details.



Inarguably, Wacken is one of the most well-known and widely attended open-air Metal fests; its immeasurable reach and impact means attendance is almost a rite of passage.

Wacken 2015’s line up is encompassing—expect performances from everyone in your music cache, including Cryptopsy, Skindred, Kataklysm, and Dream Spirit.

The show is sold out, but if you can score some tickets, it takes place July 30th – August 1st.



Obscene Extreme

Obscene Extreme boasts an impressive band list, with the summer-time shows taking place on two continents:

In North America, Montreal’s Obscene Extreme features Drop Dead, Full of Hell, and Magrudagrind; in Europe, the Czech fest includes Pig Destroyer, Maruta, and Flying High Tribe among performing acts.

Concert goers can also find cruelty-free vegan food, and an Asian Obscene Extreme is planned for November.

In Europe, the Czech shows takes place on July 8-11, 2015; in North America, it’s August 20-23, 2015 for the Quebec-based ones.

Info can be found on and for the Euro dates and North American shows, respectively.


Brutal Assault Fest

A three-day stay at this Czech Republic show promises to satiate your need for both nu-Metal-era head banging (yep, via Head PE), and Grind and Death equally.

Agalloch, At The Gates, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Napalm Death, Psycroptic, Rosetta, and others will perform, and August 5th sees festival kick off, with August 8th concluding it all.

Brutal Assault is not yet sold out, so if you’re feeling Prauge-y, for more info, visit

These are just a few of the summer fests and forthcoming shows; for full band lists and further festival info, be sure to check out the Facebook pages and official Websites sites, and visit for show coverage, features, reviews, and photos.




Shattered Sun Contest Winner

shattered sun album cover 2015

Like all good things, our contest with the young thrashers in Shattered Sun has come to an end. The winner of our contest is Brenden James Patterson of San Francisco, CA. Brenden wins an exclusive prize pack of killer Shattered Sun merch from Victory Records and Ghost Cult. Thanks for entering Brendan and thanks to all the entrants!

Pick up Hope Within Hatred (Victory) now. You can see Shattered Sun next at The River City Rockfest and this summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival on the Victory Records Stage.

shattered sun band 2015


Stay tuned for more contests and cool stuff to win from Ghost Cult!

Shattered Sun on Instagram

Victory Records on Instagram

GhostCultMag on Instagram

Ghost Cult’s Shattered Sun Contest Ends This Weekend

Shattered Sun flyer Ghost Cult contest

Shattered Sun is playing two shows in their home state of Texas this weekend, celebrating the recently released Hope Within Hatred (Victory) album. It also marks the end of our contest for you to win a FREE, exclusive prize pack of the band’s merch from Ghost Cult and Victory Records. The band just finished a whirlwind tour opening for Testament and Exodus on the Dark Roots of Thrash II Tour. If you caught the band anywhere on tour this spring, or are going to one of the shows this weekend, you still have a chance to win:

Step 1: Take a picture of Shattered Sun, kicking ass on stage, in a photo with you at a meet and greet, you with your Shattered Sun gear, whatever you like. Photos from any date on the recent tour are acceptable.

Step 2: Tag @ShatteredSun, @GhostCultMag and @VictoryRcords in your photo on Instagram. (Following all these accounts can’t hurt your chances!)

Step 3: Don’t forget the Hashtag #HopeWithinHatred

Thanks to all who have entered already! Good luck true believers!

shattered sun album cover 2015


Shattered Sun on Instagram

Victory Records on Instagram

GhostCultMag on Instagram



*One grand-prize winner will be chose at random. Entrants must live in the continental United States. Contest ends Sunday May 10th at 5 PM EST.