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ICONOCAUST Metal With Altitude
Colorado Music Buzz
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
by The Swami
CMB: Why do you play the style of metal you do?
We write music that just feels right for the moment. We like technicality, groove, melody, aggression.. and we try to incorporate everything that we like into our sound. There aren't really any rules when it comes to our approach on music other than one: If it's good, play it.
CMB: Why do you think you won Metal Wars?
We work hard to promote. We have been playing shows in this scene for a while now and have a decent fan base, but it's more than that. Through word of mouth, handbills, mailing lists, social networking, and over the airwaves we encouraged people to participate in their music scene..... after all without fans attending shows, live music would not survive. Ultimately, it all comes down to the fans and the music. I would say that we won Metal Wars because we wanted it bad enough, and our chops were good enough. Add it all up: We hit the streets hard, we write music that people want to hear (as seen by their votes online and live), and we fit the genre that the competition was geared for. Sounds right to me! There were certainly some amazing bands to compete with as well, and we're just fortunate to have come out on top!
CMB: What do you think about the Colorado metal scene?
The local metal scene in Denver is a tough nut to crack. Ask any band from Grand Junction to Cheyenne, and they'll tell you the same, but it's growing stronger ever day. Thanks to bands like Cephalic Carnage and our friends in Allegaeon and Havok, the future for Mile High Metal seems to be shining ever brighter. I'm starting to notice the hunger in the eyes of the bands that have hit the stage recently. I just hope it won't be long before the world of heavy music settles it's gaze on the Rockies and sees what kind of raw talented fury we can yield at 5,280 ft. We do heavy a little differently around here. No "world-class" music scene exists around this part of the country (for metalheads), so we've just taken our favorite parts of what we see passing through... New York & Massachusettes, L.A. & Bay Area, Chicago, Florida, Sweeden, the U.K.... Throw a little of everything in the melting pot and see what boils over the top: Metal with Altitude!
CMB: What do you think about the entire Colorado music scene?
I think this region has always had a strong following in country, bluegrass, blues, reggae, and soul. The State of Colorado was built on a foundation of hard work, rugged lifestyle and the Wild West. People here have always seemed to be drawn to music that relates to that, but metal is perhaps still a little too abrupt. Consider also, that trends tend to take a little longer climbing over the mountains to reach us here and metal it seems, is no exception. We've taken that which inspires us from the rest of the world and have slowly begun to weave it into that restless spirit of the frontier. It won't be long now, before extreme music is just as prevalent here as more 'traditional' forms of musical expression.
CMB: What bands do you respect in the Colorado scene?
That sounds like a bit of a loaded question. I would like very much not to exclude anyone, be it at the mercy of an absent mind. We've played with countless bands from this entire region... Let me just say that we hold the utmost respect for every band out there doing EVERYTHING they can to bring Mile High Metal to the forefront of the global community. As we mentioned, there are several bands out there now on renowned metal labels. They are, with every step, spearheading this movement. Every local band that takes up the reigns along with them to further the cause has our full support. Let's show em what we're made of!
CMB: What would you change in the metal scene if you could?
You can't have change without controversy. Our opinions will no doubt offend someone who feels that we have midjudged them. That being said, I think that things can improve with promoters and venues. I don't feel that there is a single STRONG promoter in town anymore. More often than not, the bands do all (if any) of this promoting themselves. The promoters should be called "local talent scouts". They give the venue a list of bands, make a few phone calls/e-mails and collect a percentage. I don't see much actual promotion for the majority of shows. Most of the time we prefer to deal directly with other bands and the venues themselves. I would also like to see all the "metalheads" in the region actually attending local metal shows. All That Remains, Slayer, Megadeth... people will fill stadiums to see them. These same people claim to listen to heavy music on a regular basis, if not throughout their daily lives, yet it seems to me that less than 1% of those fans actually take the time to look for the 'next big metal band' to break out of Denver. I bet if they just tried, they would for sure find a few bands in the scene that play their flavor of ass kicking, face melting, fist pounding metal.
CMB: Where will Iconocaust be in 1 year?
We would like to be on the road, doing what we do best! We're already in the preproduction stages of our new EP, sorting out which songs we want to record this time around. We have tons of new material, and keep writing more all the time. Now it's just down to which ones will make the cut. The thing about this band, is that we don't stop. Hopefully we can get out this summer for a while hitting some new markets, making new friends and fans, and spreading the word. One year is a long time, full of possibilities!
CMB: What advise would you like to give other bands?
Keep your chops up. Keep your ego on a leash. This game is very much like a fraternity of sorts... there's a grueling initiation, but ultimately, we're all brothers together in the struggle. Promote yourself and network. Sell it. Above all, keep the music flowing. Feel it in your bones. Fuel it with your soul. If it ain't got heart, it's just your math homework put to a melody.
CMB: What pisses you off?
Rockstar egos, pay to play, empty promises, unqualified engineers, broken strings/amps/heads, bad weather, bad turnouts, vehicle trouble, greedy promoters.
CMB: What bands would you like to tour with?
We'd like to tour with just about anyone! I think it would be fun to hit the road with the Massholes (Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains), Testament, Slayer, Megdeth, Machine Head, God Forbid, Anthrax, Death Angel, Symphony X, Iced Earth, Scar Symmetry... For a few years we were pretty solidly booked on death metal shows, and have played some tourdates with death and grind bands. I don't know that we would always fit on shows like that, but we'd be happy to chill with Arsis, Obscura, Son of Aurelius, Last Chance To Reason... This is going to go on all day. Let's just say this: If it's metal and it's awesome in some way? We're in. Go!
CMB: Who the hell do you think you are?
We're not RICK JAMES BITCH! Brutally honest. Motivated. Music fans just as much as musicians.
CMB: What bands should give it up and never play again?
The Rolling Stones, Poison, Metallica.... etc etc...
CMB: If you were to market your own brand of instrument what would be the name of it?
CMB: What is one singular most important moment in music history to you?
I had a pretty musical movement this morning, following a very hearty dinner last night! *LOL* ahem... Probably this entire movement of rock and roll in general. I mean, getting people up and moving and really letting loose! From Elvis to Slayer, the Beatles and Judas Priest, Chuck Berry and Decapitated... As the late, great, Ronnie James Dio would say, "Stand up and shout!"
CMB: If you could ask yourself one question, what would it be?
What do you wanna do with your life???..... I WANNA ROCK!
CMB: Shout outs -
That's easy: THE FANS!!! Thanks to everyone who's ever shown us support. Keep it up, we need you! Tell your friends and spread the word! Thanks to every band we've played with, especially those who busted their asses in the METAL WARS competition! Hi-fives to every person who came out to show support @ any of the Metal Wars shows, regardless of what band they voted for! You make it possible! And of course.... a big shout out to C.M.B. for giving us all the opportunity! \m/ \m/
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Iconocaust - Album Advance (Judas Complex)
Colorado Local Legends
By Jake Ryan
Published: February 12, 2010
One of Coloradoís premiere heavy metal acts has had fans salivating at the prospect of hearing a new album release from them for some time now. With the promise of a collection of songs that would far surpass anything they had previously done to date, Iconocaust is ready to unleash the beast of an album known as Judas Complex upon metal fans with a co-CD release party with Cryogen at the Gothic Theatre on Thursday, February 18.
Veterans of the music scene, Iconocaust (www.iconocaust.com) has been tearing unsuspecting music fansí faces off with their immensely brutal, yet masterfully orchestrated, brand of melodic metal for many years. Though they have seen their fair share of lineup changes, they have found stability in the current formulation of the band.
Iconocaust, made up of Galen Stevenson (guitar/vocals), Brian Davis (lead guitar), Jason White (bass/backing vocals) and Josh Bowen (drums), originally began as a revamping of Galenís old band. He decided to make personnel changes, dropped the previous bandís name, and set out to create what music fans now know to be Iconocaust. And, though they have witnessed the aforementioned lineup changes over the years, they have very obviously struck gold with the current group of musicians they have assembled.
Nailing down a specific sub-genre for Iconocaust is quite honestly a futile effort. At first, a lesser trained ear would be quick to stamp them with the far too general label of death metal. This is something the band has rebutted in the past by noting that they are also too melodic to be tossed into this grouping, but at the same time stating that they are too heavy to be mainstream metal. With the technical prowess they exhibit in their music, it wouldnít be out of the question to simply say that Iconocaust has created a sub-genre all of their own.
Fans to date have been treated to two albums from the power-quartet, seeing the band musically mature and evolve in the process. In 2005, Iconocaust released their debut album The Natural Evolution of Metal, and followed it up with the 2007 release The Reckoning of Man. However, 2010 marks the next step in the evolution of Iconocaust and metal music as a whole.
The new Iconocaust release, Judas Complex, is a nine-song explosion of true metal at its best. From beginning to end, youíre sucked in and taken on a musical journey, complete with every emotion imaginable. The album was produced by Ahrue Luster and Illustrious Productions, and was mixed and mastered by Dave Otero at Flatline Audio. Not only does the album feature cameos by several local musicians, but also one by Luster himself.
One major way to showcase pure musical talent is by including an instrumental on a bandís album. Iconocaust took it a couple steps further by raising the bar and including three instrumentals on this release, the first of which, "The Inevitable Onslaught," opens up the album.
This instrumental serves more as an intro, with progressively advancing guitars leading into the skull crushing, "Beaten, Bloodied, Broken." Throughout the song, the band hits you with a musical assault and a merciless double-bass backbone. And keeping you on your toes, the vocal growls are offset and complimented by cleans. Then, to rip you into another direction, the song seamlessly transitions into the next and title track, "Judas Complex."
Though it has a different rhythm and feel to it altogether, this track shows that complexity doesnít necessarily have to move at 150 miles per hour. However, the most impressive part to, "Judas Complex," is in the nuances, such as some of the quickest sweeps in recent memory sprinkled across the song.
Bridging the tracks is the albumís second instrumental, "Eve of Deceit." Beginning with an eerie, yet beautifully melodic movement, it soon crescendos with a hair-raising solo over the top, leading into, "Lies of the Betrayer."
For the majority of this song, you see a little bit of a mellower side to Iconocaust, and shows the band is more than capable of tackling a multitude of styles with ease. But before the song is over, like a rope tied around your waist, youíre yanked forward both in tempo and by way of some lightning fast fretboard fingerwork.
Following this up is, "Naziís Torch," an astute social commentary on the persisting existence of racism. This is a song that has become a fan favorite when performed live, and it doesnít disappoint as a studio recording.
"The Road To Ruin," is a winding trail of countless, contrasting styles, featuring some of the fastest guitar work on the album, and houses some of the previously mentioned cameos. As the song fades out, the ear-rumbling dive bomb transitions into a powerful speed metal monster, "Final Doom." Laced with some of the most adrenaline-pumping riffs, beats and solos on the album, this track has one of the most chillingly deep vocal growls imaginable. And, as if the sound alone isnít enough to get your hair to stand on end, the words that are growled should finish the job: "United in blood, we are the one that shall bring the final doom."
Closing out the album is one of the most contrasting songs to appear on any Iconocaust album, yet the most beautiful song at the same time: "Pro A Pera Argentum."
Over a year ago, Galen stated that this album, "Öcan bring a tear to your eye one minute, then make you want to beat the sh*t out of a guy the next." While the majority of the album covers the brutality, this track is definite evidence of the tear mentioned. The soft, soothing female vocals floating over the piano brings not only closure to an emotionally provoking album, but also brings the album as a whole full circle, as the song fades out in a similar way to how the beginning faded in.
Clearly, Judas Complex is Iconocaustís most ambitious, creative and musically advanced album up to this point. Not once do you find yourself thinking of skipping ahead to the next track or unsatisfied with a single second of any song. And with no disrespect to the previous two albums, this is, without a doubt, Iconocaustís best work yet.
On Thursday, February 18, 2010, Iconocaust will be holding their long-awaited and well-deserved CD release party for Judas Complex at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood. To further compound the importance of this event, it will actually be a co-CD release party with Cryogen. Playing along side these two bands at the 16-and-up show, presented by Fat Chicken, is Calculating Genocide and Cattleist, which promises to round out a beginning-to-end evening of all-out metal.
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Iconocaust (in depth)
Colorado Music Buzz
Doug, APRIL 2009
Iconocaust is so brutal even reading this might cause you to lose some chunks of face. They are one of Colorado's premiere purveyors of brutality and originality in all things Metal,
and if ever a band existed for the devil horns we all raise, Iconocaust
is it. Now, before we get started, letís get the language homework out of the way. Here's what their name means: Iconocaust means "destruction of icons," or from the Greek, "eikon klao" which simply means, "broken image." In my Rocky Mountain ďbroken tongue,Ē Iconocaust means, ďThey who destroy all mosh pits before them.Ē
was formed in 2005 and since then have had some line-up changes and a constant development of the sound that is sure to be echoed throughout the land. With influences that range from Classic Metal to Classical music and everything in between, Iconocaust is a band that knows how to
ďshredĒ in every sense of the word. Their 2005 release, The Natural Evolution of Metal, was just the first step in Iconocaust's progress towards achieving their shred-Metal goals. The fall of 2006 saw Iconocaust in the studio,
once again. This time they teamed up with Dave Otero of Cephalic Carnage and Relapse fame for The Reckoning of Man, 2007.
2009 brings a whole new animal to the stage, with a new guitarist and a new album in the works entitled Judas Complex, which is being produced by Ahrue Luster of Ill NiŮo and Illustrious Productions
and is set to explode some gray matter. Mr. Luster has been elevating and uniting our Metal scene for a couple of years now and this latest production work of his will be no different.
If you have never seen Iconocaust, live, you really need to get out of the ďMoon HutĒ and get back into the pit. These guys will impress the hell out of you with their ludicrous skill and their grinding energy. I caught them recently at a show at The Gothic and even though they had some equipment literally blow up on stage, smoke and all, Iconocaust still put on a show that most bands that are
firing on all cylinders would be jealous of. The good news for us all
is that they are playing one of the biggest shows in April, opening for
Snot at Club Inferno on April 10th.
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Colorado Local Legends
Melodic brutality reinforced by originality.
This, in a nutshell, is the simplest way to describe the sounds coming from the Denver metal quartet Iconocaust.
This power-infused group, made up of Galen (vocals/guitar), Brian (guitar), Jason (bass) and Josh (drums), has one of the most recognizable names in the local true-metal scene. With two albums available, and one more on the way, Iconocaust (www.iconocaust.com) has found a solid lineup that will take them as far as they aim to go. And the drive and confidence they exhibit is the much-needed fuel that will carry them on their musical journey.
This technique-oriented, heavy as hell group was originally formed out of one of Galenís previous bands when he decided to make personnel and fundamental changes. He dropped the old bandís name and reformulated the lineup to embark on what would become Iconocaust.
"Over the last couple of years I fired everyone else in the band," Galen says. "Iím the only actual original member. Jason was on the first album, so heís the closest you can get to being an original member."
Iconocaust has gone through several lineup changes, and the position of the second guitarist is no exception. However, the addition of Brian on guitar has made them a more unified, concrete group.
"We started as a four-piece," Galen says. "When getting rid of past members, weíre not the kind of group thatís going to stop because of it. We finally found somebody that fits and doesnít have an ego."
Galen says the idea to choose the name Iconocaust came when they started writing down names, during which they even started using a dictionary in the process. The finalized name means the destruction of trends.
"Iconocaust is a hybrid of icon and holocaust," Galen says. "I started to research it, and it turned out it was a real word... it refers to a point in history where Christians were killing Christians, and it fascinated me. I mean, weíre not satanic, but weíre not Christians either. Since the name had a real definition, it made it solid. Itís derived from eikon klao, a Greek phrase meaning the breaking of icons."
With no other way to characterize their music, Jason simply says its, "Heavy f*cking metal."
"Weíre too heavy for mainstream, and too melodic and groovy to be death metal," Galen says. "We put every genre of heavy into it."
The bandís musical influences come from all over the board, from Bay Area thrash to death metal. But it doesnít stop there. Inspiration is taken from some of the heaviest bands, like Cannibal Corpse and Deicide, as well as seemingly unrelated styles such as jazz. Brian goes further to also site guitar virtuosos, including Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. "It constantly changes," Josh says. "We listen to everything, even classical music." This has formed a style of pure originality, yet it still maintains a level of appeal to any fan of both bone-shattering heavy metal and melodic, technical ability.
"Weíre not trying to be the next this or the next that," Galen says, to which Brian adds, "We make music for us, what we like listening to."
When Iconocaust hits the stage, those in attendance canít help but feel the raw power that the band possesses. Aside from their clear musical ability, they also bring forth a form of energy and showmanship that isnít easy to find on a local level. Josh explains that by being in a brutal band, the music wouldnít have the same effect if they put on a boring performance.
"When you go to a show, you see that the people in a lot of bands just stand there and play," Galen says. "I canít stand that. On stage, itís like weíre channeling our music through us."
"Weíre entertainers as well as musicians," Jason adds. "We give a lot back to the crowd. Thatís why youíre there, to give them what they paid for."
Iconocaust currently has two albums available, The Natural Evolution of Metal and The Reckoning of Man, which were released in 2005 and 2007 respectively. Now, the band is currently recording their third and most ambitious studio release. For this album, they have been working alongside Ahrue Luster of Ill NiŮo and Machine Head fame, who has been serving as the producer.
"Weíve done all of the pre-production and weíre half-way done with the final tracking," Galen says. "Weíre making all of the arrangements tight and dissecting each song."
The most interesting part about the new album is that Iconocaust didnít bring Brian into the band until after the recording process has already begun.
"I came in late, and they were already working on the album," Brian says. "It was crazy coming in at that point."
"He came in a week after we started and jumped right in," Galen says. "I was stuck with the guitar part in one song, and after about ten minutes he had it filled in. It used to take longer to write, because I was writing everything myself. When Brian came in, it made it a lot easier to finalize the songs."
As with any local band who has had the privilege of working with Luster, the members of Iconocaust have praised his eye for detail, professionalism and personality. Josh also makes mention of how easy it is to work with a musician like Luster.
"His experience in music has given him a good attention to detail," Galen says. "Heís very positive and knows what areas you can improve on. Heís going to make the Colorado scene about ten times better. Bands are going to start putting out better CDs, and people are going to hear the quality of music in this state, which is going to make for a better scene."
"Heís not doing this to make money," Brian says. "He works with a lot of passion."
Recorded in a studio at their house, with re-amping and drums to be recorded at Spiked Audio, the new album is set to have about six full-fledged songs, as well as the addition of a couple of instrumentals. The album will then go for mixing at Dave Oteroís Flatline Audio, and then to California for mastering. The band is shooting for a late-winter or early-spring release, but they donít want to set anything in stone yet. This is to make sure they are not rushed with the final product, and they can also have the merchandising ready to put out along with a new CD.
The word proud wouldnít be a strong enough description of how the band feels about the new music they are creating.
"If the second album was a hundred times better than the first, the new one is going to blow it out of the water," Galen says. "Itís going to be dirt on my shoe (compared to the new album). Itís more brutal, more technical and more melodic all at the same time. It can bring a tear to your eye one minute, then make you want to beat the sh*t out of a guy the next."
"Itís like a mix between the two CDs with more progression," Jason says. "Itís all over the place with a wide range of metal in it."
To help with the promotion of the bandís first album, Metal Evolution was formed. It is a promotional community that has the sole purpose of helping advance local bands and the local music scene as a whole. However, there is a catch. The bands involved must be willing to show a high level of effort in the promotion of not only their own shows, but those of other bands as well.
"Itís all about bands promoting other bands, not competing," Galen says. "If bands help promote others, the whole scene will prosper. We had to take a break (from Metal Evolution) for a while; the scene became chaotic and fell apart. Itís dog-eat-dog right now. Case in point: on December 19, thereís a show at PTís (Club Inferno), the Gothic, the Cephalic Carnage show, and who knows what else. One-third of the big metal bands in Denver are playing all on one night. People have to decide who theyíre going to see, and who theyíre not. We all love the scene and want to see it shine. (Metal Evolution) will be back."
Speaking of the state of the local scene, the members of Iconocaust see it as something that has taken a bit of a dive, but could come back just as strong, if not stronger than before.
"The bands are getting better, but the shows are getting worse," Galen says. "It comes down to the promoters. You have the same bands playing the same venues, and others donít get a shot. We need a unified effort, not promoters playing favorites with the bands. And we need to tell bands, íIf you donít promote, you donít get booked.í People lost faith and promoters donít try, and the bands are suffering from it. We need to get people excited about the scene again."
"There are a lot of good bands in Colorado," Brian says. "You need one big band to headline, and change up the opening acts. Two years ago I was in another band, and when you developed a following, you spread it to the other bands. The opening bands were constantly changing."
The band also has several ideas on what could help boost the scene, and, in turn, bring the aforementioned excitement back to local metal music.
"There should be no more music showcases," Galen says. "Do you know what the difference between a concert and a show is? A show is people paying $5 to get drunk and see their friends play. A concert is where people pay money to see bands in an event worth playing, showing effort. Lighting, theatrics, everything is involved. Think about it, when is the last time you went to a concert and were really blown away?"
The members of Iconocaust are still optimistic about the future of both the scene and their music. Donít be surprised to see this band playing outside of the state of Colorado quite often. As a matter of fact, that is one of the bandís immediate goals in the upcoming year.
"People have said that weíre the most underrated band in Denver," Galen says. "A lot of people either donít know us, or have heard the name but have never seen us. Thatís all going to change. Youíre probably not going to see a lot of local shows from us over the next two years. Weíre going to be doing big shows, epic shows, with good bands."
"Weíll be touring a lot," Jason adds. "Weíll also do a lot of writing, because the writing never stops. Weíre already writing a new song for the next album."
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Colorado Music Buzz
Melissa Silverson, October 2008
If technical riffs and a sinuous bass are more your making, Iconocaust is a great band to see. The sound is fiercely dark with hints of operatic influence in the keyboard samples but the beats do not sell the hardcore band short. They consistently deliver force in vocals and drums creating a hard line very few bands will cross. In October you can see them play at Club Inferno on the 11th, join them for a great birthday bash. Galen Vocals and Guitar, Jason Bass and Backups, Josh Drums, Brian Lead Guitar.