In This Moment will be back in Minnesota on Tuesday, May 21st at the Mankato Civic Center Grand Hall. If you missed the band on December 8th at the Minneapolis Armory, when they were supporting Halestorm, make sure to make the easy one hour drive south for their headlining show. Sevendust, Light The Torch, and Hyde are the opening bands. Doors open at 6pm and show begins at 7pm. Get your tickets HERE.
IN THIS MOMENT
Throughout history, art rejoices and revels in the wisdom of women. Within a deck of tarot cards, the High Priestess serves as the guardian of the unconscious. In Greek mythology, the old oracles celebrate the Mother Goddess. William Shakespeare posited portentous prescience in the form of MacBeth’s “Three Witches.” On their sixth full-length album Ritual, In This Moment—Maria Brink [vocals, piano], Chris Howorth [lead guitar], Travis Johnson [bass], Randy Weitzel [rhythm guitar], and Kent Diimel [drums]—unearth a furious and focused feminine fire from a cauldron of jagged heavy metal, hypnotic alternative, and smoky voodoo blues. It’s an evolution. It’s a statement. It’s In This Moment 2017…
“It’s like we’re going into the next realm,” asserts Maria. “I had a conviction of feeling empowered in my life and with myself. I always write from a personal place, and I needed to share that sense of strength. I’ve never been afraid to hold back. Sometimes, I can be very suggestive. However, I wanted to show our fans that this is the most powerful side of myself and it’s without overt sexuality. It’s that deeper serious fire inside of my heart.” “What Maria is saying comes from deep inside,” Chris affirms. “This time, we had a bunch of ideas started before we hit the studio. There was a really clear direction. It’s different.” The group spent two years supporting their biggest album yet 2014’s Black Widow. Upon release, it seized their highest position to date on the Billboard Top 200, bowing at #8. Simultaneously, it clinched #3 on the Hard Rock Albums chart and spawned a series of hits such as “Sick Like Me,” “Big Bad Wolf,” and “Sex Metal Barbie”—all cracking 8 million Spotify streams each and topping Rock Radio. Meanwhile, the band’s signature smash “Whore” crossed the 20-million mark.
Furthermore, the title track off In This Moment’s 2012 album, Blood, has been certified gold by the RIAA. A remarkable accomplishment, the companion music video for “Blood” has been viewed over 27 million times. Between headline tours, they incinerated stages everywhere from Rock On The Range to Download Festival. In March 2016, Maria and Chris commenced writing for what would become the new record with longtime collaborator and multiple GRAMMY® Award-nominated producer Kevin Churko [Five Finger Death Punch, Ozzy Osbourne] at his Las Vegas compound.
Following a high-profile summer 2016 tour with Korn and Rob Zombie, the duo began writing. Then, Maria visited Salem, MA for the very first time with all of the women in her family quite appropriately during Halloween. “We were really tapping the energy there,” she says. “We were honoring each other. I was seeking inspiration and experience to inspire me in this album. I was trying to find a lot of truth in myself. I loved Salem. I was blown away by how visually beautiful it is. The history of the witch burnings is fascinating. It was a special ceremonial journey.”
Galvanized and inspired, Maria and Chris returned to Kevin’s stronghold to complete recording. In an atmosphere of candles, crystals, incense, and a cackling fireplace, they expanded their aural palette once again, welcoming a doom blues bombast into the sonic fold. “We love Black Widow, but it was very electronic,” Chris explains. “This is a little more organic, emphasizing guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. We slowed down the groove a little bit. I got to play some slide guitar, and I’ve never done that. There’s a bluesy side, which we’ve also never had.”
“We always want to grow and evolve,” Maria adds. “It was a chance to get a little more serious.” That progression shines through the first single “Oh Lord.” A minimal drum and handclap echoes as Maria’s wild incantation takes hold. Guitars shiver and shake as the frontwoman delivers an undeniable refrain. “The meaning of ‘Oh Lord’ is central to the album,” she reveals. “I should be able to have a relationship with what I perceive God to be. For me, it’s this strength and light. When I was younger, I felt guilty for thinking of these things. I’m not supposed to touch an oracle card, a tarot card, or these beautiful things, because they’re ‘bad.’ I had these fears in me for a long time like, ‘Is this wrong?’ I realized I don’t have to be afraid anymore. There’s a lot of learning and an awakening in that one.”
Inverting everyone’s favorite Billy Idol nuptial anthem, “Black Wedding” sees Maria walk down the aisle of musical madness with none other than Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford. Co- written with Stevens, it’s an explosive and enchanting duet. “I can’t believe that happened,” beams Chris. “Maria hit up Rob and asked if he was interested. He jumped right on it. I can’t believe we got him.” “Who doesn’t love ‘White Wedding?’,” laughs Maria. “We wanted to do a spin-off that’s creative. It’s a question-and-answer between me and another voice. The chorus essentially says this isn’t going to be the opposite of a happy ending! You’re becoming empowered by heartbreak.”
Chris breaks out the slide on the raging “River of Fire,” while “Witching Hour” dances around the flames to a new wave-inspired groove and midnight lore as Maria recants, “This idea of me being burned as a witch in a past life for teaching people to be free.” Elsewhere, “Roots” practically opens up the earth with its sheer seismic force. “Sometimes, I have to go through pain in order to forgive and let go,” she adds. “I love to thank the hate in people. It’s that sort of energy. I’ll be okay, hold my head strong, push forward, do what I’ve got to do, and prevail.” Simultaneously, In This Moment breathe a dark new life into the Phil Collins’ classic “In The Air Tonight.”
“We can’t reproduce what he did in a million years,” she says. “It’s one of the best songs ever. We did our own interpretation and made it a little more sinister like our ritual.” The ritual has begun, and In This Moment ignite a brighter fire than ever before here. “When fans hear this, I want them to feel the music, whether they take away sadness, anger, or happiness,” concludes Chris. “As a kid, I remember listening to records and putting them on repeat over and over again. I’d love for the world to listen and absorb this as a piece of work.” Maria leaves off, “I want everybody to be unafraid of who they are and not worry about what the rest of society says. Be strong. Be loud. We love our fans deeply. I hope everybody feels that love and powerful in who they are.”
IN THIS MOMENT SPRING 2019 TOUR
Thu, MAY 9 U.S. Cellular Center, Cedar Rapids, IA
Fri, MAY 10 River Riot 2019, Council Bluffs, IA
Sat, MAY 11, The Rave / Eagles Club, Milwaukee, WI
Mon, MAY 13 The Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg, PA
Tue, MAY 14 Stage AE, Pittsburgh
Wed, MAY 15 The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD
Fri, MAY 17 Lunatic Luau, Virginia Beach, VA
Sat, MAY 18 Sonic Temple Festival, Columbus, OH
Sun, MAY 19 Chicago Open Air, Bridgeview, IL
Tue, MAY 21 Mankato Civic Center Grand Hall, Mankato MN
Wed, MAY 22 The District, Sioux Falls, SD
Fri, MAY 24 Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, MO
Sat, MAY 25 Rocklahoma, Pryor, OK
Sun, MAY 26 97.1 The Eagle Presents BFD ’19, Dallas, TX
Music unifies us when we need unification the most. It gives people a reason to put differences aside and come together. In 1994, Sevendust first forged a familial tie amongst each other that translated into one of the most diehard audiences in the game. To this day, the connection between fans and the GRAMMY® Award-nominated, gold-certified hard rock outfit only grows stronger. For their twelfth full-length and first release for Rise Records, All I See Is War, the quintet—Lajon Witherspoon [lead vocals], Clint Lowery [lead guitar, backing vocals], John Connolly [rhythm guitar, backing vocals], Vince Hornsby [bass], and Morgan Rose [drums]—did the best thing they could possibly do to combat all of the division in the streets and on social media. As Connolly puts it, they simply “made a Sevendust record.”
“We’re as polarized as we’ve ever been,” he continues. “Discussion is not happening. Everyone is so quick to snap online. We’re not listening. We’re just talking. In these songs, we don’t sugarcoat what’s going on. For as dark as the subject matter may be, it’s about hope. We know we can be in a better spot, because we’ve seen so many different individuals come together around music.” “We take pride in the connection we have,” adds Lowery. “We’ve always been a people’s band. We’re typical guys who just happen to make a career on stage. With this relationship to the fans, we realize how much we need each other, so we push ourselves to deliver. We don’t stop. We keep moving.”
That’s exactly what these five musicians do every time they get in the studio or on stage. A trifecta of now-classic gold albums—Sevendust , Home , and Animosity — ignited their journey. Known as an equally intense and unforgettable live force, they’ve consistently packed houses around the world and decimated stages everywhere from Rock on the Range and Woodstock to OZZfest and Shiprocked! 2015’s Kill The Flaw represented a high watermark. Bowing at #13 on the Billboard Top 200, it scored their highest debut on the respective chart since 2010 and marked their fifth consecutive Top 10 on the Top Rock Albums Chart and third straight Top 3 on the Hard Rock Albums Chart. Most impressively, the lead single “Thank You” garnered a nomination in the category of “Best Metal Performance” at the 2016 GRAMMY® Awards, a career first.
At the top of 2017, the boys discussed what would become their next offering. Instead of diving right in, they took advantage of an eight-month writing process, which proved to be a breath of fresh air. “Without a doubt, it might’ve been the longest writing process we’ve had for any project other than the first one,” affirms Connolly. “We didn’t need to hop in the studio and punch out a record in a month. We wanted to bring our A-game.”
After sessions in their native Atlanta and at Lowery’s spot in St. Louis, the group headed down to Orlando in order to record at Studio Barbarosa with Michael “Elvis” Baskette [Alter Bridge, Trivium, Slash]. Over the years, they maintained a friendship with the producer amplified by the praises of longtime comrades Alter Bridge and Connolly whose Projected utilized his mixing talents on their debut. However, this would be Sevendust’s first time working with him. “The energy was great,” smiles Witherspoon. “At one point, I did seven songs in four days. He really challenged me as a vocalist. We all just gelled. We’ve always talked about doing something for years and years. It was a long time coming. From the first moment we walked into his house, you could feel it. There hadn’t been another band who lived there before. We capitalized on the meeting of the minds. It was a brotherhood.” “We haven’t had a producer since Cold Day Memory,” Clint goes on. “Elvis was so hands-on. He made us try new transitions and step up our game. Sonically, he opened up a lot of doors that I don’t think we would’ve gone through if he hadn’t been there. We preserved the essence of what we are, but we took chances. Lyrically, we captured what we’ve gone through, all of the rough times, and the changes.”
They introduce All See Is War with the opener and first single “Dirty.” Pummeling drums and driving distortion underscore a soulful proclamation from Witherspoon as he croons, “I’m no stranger to this thing called war.” The guitars crescendo into an expansive refrain that immediately imprints itself before a hummable solo. “I freestyled that first line,” recalls Witherspoon. “It’s something I haven’t done since ‘Angel’s Son.’ I think it set the tone for the whole thing. It was pretty magic.” “Someone wants to see you fail, and it really aggravates this person that you’re persevering and surviving anyway,” explains Lowery. “The lyric ‘I’m gonna die whole’ means not being extinguished, getting through, and pissing off your enemies.” The neck-snapping guttural groove of “Medicated” gives way to another unshakable chant. “The subject matter is a bit different,” states Connolly. “Porcupine Tree’s Fear of a Blank Planet is arguably one of my favorite records. The idea is similar to ‘Andromeda.’ These pharmaceutical companies have made it so everyone is hooked on something. You don’t even know why you’re on these medications. All of last year’s horrific suicides were linked to a pill. Think about the opioid crisis. It asks, ‘Can we just stop?’”
Slyly nodding to Lowery’s love for Stranger Things, “Not Original” thrives on airy, cinematic guitars that unfurl into one of Witherspoon’s bluesiest and boldest performances. “We wanted to get into some new territory,” elaborates Lowery. “It’s about being in a dry spell and not able to find creativity. You don’t want to repeat yourself. I thought I’d go for this new wave thing, because I was watching a lot of Stranger Things.” Nailing the “old school vibe,” “Risen” drops a hard-hitting and hypnotic hook that’s primed to set festivals ablaze. “You’re down and out looking for hope,” explains Connolly. “You ask the question, ‘Are you going to kick me while I’m still down, or are you going to help me stand up and get through this?’” In the end, that’s what the music of Sevendust does. It empowers listeners, lifts them up, and lets them know they’re part of the family. “This band means family to me,” Witherspoon leaves off. “I wake up and can’t believe this is what I do for a living. I still feel like that 20-year-old kid who signed a record deal a zillion years ago. Sevendust is also home. Even though we’ve been doing this forever, it feels like the beginning. “This what we are,” concludes Connolly. “It’s just another new version of Sevendust.”
LIGHT THE TORCH
The winds of change most definitely fanned the flame for Light The Torch. On their 2018 full-length debut, Revival, the Los Angeles, CA trio—Howard Jones [vocals], Francesco Artusato [guitar], and Ryan Wombacher [bass]—drew from five years together as Devil You Know only to forge a wholly distinct path. Amidst myriad struggles, they returned from the brink under a new banner.
“2016 was a really tough year for us as a band, both personally and professionally,” admits Howard. “While going through some lineup changes we were also battling some issues with the use of our band name. At the same time, I was trying to deal with the loss of my oldest brother which really hit me hard. During that time, we just bonded like never before. We all meshed because we faced war together. We survived. At the end, we realized we were a real band and decided to make an album representing that resilience. Honestly, we came out of the dark. The name literally signifies what we went through.”
The musicians quietly struck the match for Light The Torch during 2017. Without so much as telling either the label or management, they wrote the 12 anthems comprising Revival and recorded them in Los Angeles with the help of Wovenwar and As I Lay Dying bassist and producer Josh Gilbert [Bullet For My Valentine, Suicide Silence] behind the board. Joined by Extinction A.D. drummer Mike “Scuzz” Sciulara behind the kit, the guys put their heads down and really focused on making an album as a whole, placing more emphasis on the songs flowing cohesively from one to the next. “It was time for a change,” the frontman continues. “It was time for us to try and stretch our wings. We were really going for songs. The structuring made more sense. I was focused on melody and harmony. I really cut loose. All in all, it was the perfect storm. We had so much fun making this, because there were really no restrictions other than creating a heavy and catchy body of work.” The boys introduce the record with the first single and opener ‘Die Alone’. Powered by airtight riffing and a hummable lead, the verses immediately engage before the vocalist croons the anthemic refrain: “There’s nothing in the shadows, and you will be the one to die alone.”
“It was one of the first demos Fran showed me,” he recalls. “I listened to it while cruising around the UK on tour. It just worked. Lyrically, that song was like a letter to myself that I had jotted down from all of the stuff I’d been through.” Elsewhere, ‘Calm Before The Storm’ builds from a thick guitar groove into an expansive chant. “It’s about trying to be there for those who need you,” Howard explains. “Everybody knows someone who needs a hand getting through tough times. While some may be beyond help, you never know when you can be the hand that makes a difference.” Whether on the robust balladry of ‘The Great Divide’ or the pensive vulnerability of ‘The Safety of Disbelief’, melody takes center stage, driving one anthem after another. “I write sappy songs,” he laughs. “There was enough that we had gone through that I had a whole wealth of emotions and stories. Some are fiction. Some are non-fiction. Some may apply to me. Some may not. If you listen closely, I promise you can hear where we’ve been and where we’re going.”
As far as “where they’ve been” goes, Light The Torch maintains one of the most esteemed pedigrees in modern heavy music. From Howard’s decade at the helm of GRAMMY® Award-nominated and gold-selling titans Killswitch Engage and Francesco’s much-lauded stint in All Shall Perish and status as a shred virtuoso to Ryan’s tenure in Bleeding Through, there’s no shortage of experience. Still, Revival marks an important moment for all three men. “It was a long road to get here,” reveals the singer. “We reworked everything. Once we started this, things snowballed. It was like, ‘Wow, we can breathe again.’ Revival felt like the appropriate name.”
Ultimately, Light The Torch ignites the future for not only its members but metal at large. “Everyone’s got a path,” Howard leaves off. “There will always be strange and unexpected twists and turns. More important than the struggle is how you handle it and come out of it. I don’t know what sparked it, but for us it translated into the music. This album is what we were supposed to make.”
Hyde, Japan’s most prolific rock artist, is the lead vocalist for two of the most popular Japanese rock bands: L’Arc~en~Ciel and Vamps. Throughout his career so far, Hyde has recorded more than 300 songs, with 60+ songs breaking the Oricon (Japanese Billboard Chart) top 10. Still active with L’Arc~en~Ciel, Hyde took a break from Vamps in early 2018 to reinvent himself yet again as a solo artist, releasing 4 new singles back-to-back: “Who’s Gonna Save Us”, “After Light”, “Fake Divine”, and “Zipzang”. Hyde shows no signs of slowing down with his 12th single “Mad Qualia” scheduled to be released on March 20th, 2019, a World Tour just announced to be starting in Asia in March 2019, and a US tour on the books for May 2019.
Hyde’s new album, anti, his first solo album in 13 years, in now available on digital services worldwide, giving fans an intense, high energy primer before his 2019 U.S. tour which launches this week. The long-anticipated album features previously-released singles “After Light”, “Set In Stone”, “Mad Qualia”. Singing the whole album almost entirely in English, the performer has been lauded by Rolling Stone and Billboard. The CD comes out in Japan on June 19 from Universal Music. Hyde will visit 13 cities including headlining the recently announced Japan Night on May 12 at PlayStation Theater in New York City, and several headlining shows in Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles on May 26 at Club 1720.