Band of the Month – Emphatic

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Emphatic is an American hard rock band from Omaha, Nebraska.

Emphatic was founded in 2004 by songwriter and lead guitarist Justin McCain. The band released their debut self-titled EP in 2004. In 2005 Emphatic released a full-length self-titled studio album which included four tracks from the EP plus four new tracks. In the same year Emphatic signed with Universal, but never released any material under the label.

In 2008 the band’s EP Goodbye Girl spent 17 weeks on the Billboard’s North West Central Top Heatseekers Chart. After Justin McCain met A&R executive, Jeff Blue, on a phone consultation, the two met in Nebraska to write their first song “Put Down The Drink”. The band signed to Jeff Blue’s Rock Shop Music Group in early 2009, Jeff and Justin wasted no time in getting to work on some new material. Jeff took the demo to various record labels, eventually Emphatic signed with Atlantic in December 2009 and the band inked a management deal with In De Goot Entertainment as well.

Emphatic consisted of only three members up until that point, Justin McCain (songwriter, guitarist), Patrick Michael Wilson (vocalist) and Alan Larson (bassist). Justin and Patrick went into the studio to start recording their major label debut with multi-platinum producer Howard Benson. Josh Freese played the drums on the record and Paul Bushnell played the bass. After the record was completed the band brought in Lance Dowdle on guitar and Dylan Wood on drums. The band’s first studio album and major label debut “Damage” released on the 12th of July 2011.

Emphatic was offered an opening slot on The Carnival of Madness Tour and unfortunately Patrick Wilson suffered a vocal injury (fractured larynx) which almost put the brakes on the project. Justin McCain was developing an Omaha-based rock band then, called “The Wreckage”, so he decided to pull vocalist Grant Joshua Kendrick from the project to fill in for Patrick. The band’s first single “Bounce” and the tour helped gather thousands of new fans and helped launch the second single “Get Paid”. After The Carnival of Madness tour, Emphatic had the opportunity to tour with Art of Dying, Adelitas Way and New Medicine with yet another new vocalist, Bryan Scott from Dev Electric.

After that the band took a break due to Patrick not being fully recovered yet. During this time the band was featured on an episode of Criminal Minds with their song “Do I”, their cover of Quiet Riot’s”Metal Health”appeared on the Footloose (Deluxe version) and their version of The Corre’s theme song “End of Days” appeared on WWE.

After 10 months Patrick Wilson finally returned along with a new drummer Patrick Mussack and hit the road to tour as support for Halestorm and New Medicine. Octane (active rock radio station) started playing the band’s third single off their debut album called “Put Down The Drink” which landed on the BIG UNS’ countdown and spent 4 weeks at No.1. Halfway through the band’s tour with Halestorm Justin McCain found out that the label wasn’t going to pick up their next option on the contract. After the tour Patrick Wilson, Lance Dowdle and Alan Larson left the band.

Justin McCain wanted to rebuild the band and contacted Toryn Green via Facebook,  receiving a phone call from him an hour later. Toryn is the former frontman of platinum selling bands Fuel and Apocalyptica. Actor/musician Jesse Saint (Scum of the Earth/The Autumn Offering) joined the band as the new bass player and Bill Hudson of Cellador joined as the co-lead guitar player. Justin managed to land the band another record deal with Epochal Artist Records/Capitol and they started working on new material set to record in early 2013. Justin and Toryn joined forces creatively in the making of the record, both supplying songs from their own arsenal and contributing to creating new ones. The record includes collaborations with “Sahaj” Ticotin from Ra, Tommy Henriksen, Brian Vodinh of 10 Years, Bobby Huff, Tobin Esperance from Papa Roach and Johnny Andrews.

The new album “Another Life”, produced by Justin McCain and co-produced by Ryan Greene released through Epochal Artists Records on the 22nd of October 2013. The single “Remember Me” was written by Justin McCain, Toryn Green and Sahaj. The song hit the radio on the 30th of July 2013  and released on iTunes on the 20th August 2013. In support of the album, Emphatic toured with Red and Gemini Syndrome in February 2014. The tour took place without the presence of Toryn Green and co-lead guitarist Bill Hudson. Grant Kendrick replaced Toryn Green on vocals and Lance Dowdle replaced Bill Hudson on lead and rhythm guitar as it was announced on the band’s official website on the 2nd of February 2014. Toryn Green announced his departure from the band on the 9th of February 2014 due to creative differences with Justin McCain. Unfortunately Epochol Artists Records folded and the band had to decide to give up or rebuild again.The band ran a campaign on Indiegogo in 2014.

After the tour Justin McCain announced that they had signed with Pavement Entertainment and a new album was in the works and would be due late 2014. Grant Kendrick was welcomed as an official member of the band after being a long-time touring band member on the band’s Facebook page. Justin revealed that the new album would feature guest appearances from artists such as Sahaj from Ra and Phil Anson from Venaculas, and a collaboration with Jonny Hetherington of Art of Dying.

The label (Pavement Entertainment) appointed Justin as producer and the band is now recording at ARC studio in Omaha with the record set for release in early 2015.

Emphatic has a unique blend of contemporary hard rock and grunge rock and I find that really appealing. I like the nostalgia that their music conjures within the listener, but it is tinged with a raw edge which is refreshing.

Listen to “Remember Me” below:

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Band of the Month – Skillet

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Skillet is a Christian rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1996 and the band is based in the USA. The band now consists of husband and wife couple John (Lead Vocals & Bass) and Korey Cooper (Rhythm guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), along with Jen Ledger (drums, vocals) and Seth Morrison (Lead Guitar). Founder John Cooper is the only remaining original member in the band.

Skillet was formed in 1996 by two members John Cooper (former vocalist for Tennessee progressive rock band Seraph) and Ken Steorts, former guitarist for Urgent Cry. The two bands met while touring together, but the bands disbanded soon after, so the pair’s pastor encouraged them to form their own band as a side-project. Both of them came from different styles of rock music, so they named the band Skillet. According to John Cooper the initial reason Skillet was formed, was to do outreach for his church. He thought they would do a couple of outreachactivities and that he would still play in his other band. Trey McClurkin joined the band as a temporary drummer. Skillet was only together for a month before they piqued the interest of major Christian record label ForeFront Records. In 1996 they released a self-titled debut Skillet. It was well-received and the trio continued to write new material while touring through the USA. Apparently the band members still joke among themselves about the band’s name, John still claims that he does not like the name. Skillet recorded the follow-up to their debut album throughout 1997 titled “Hey You, I Love Your Soul” which was released in April of 1998. With the second album the style of the band changed from their first release, abandoning their post-grunge style and changing to a lighter alternative rock. John’s wife Korey was recruited to play the keyboard to lighten John’s live performance duties.

Shortly before the band started recording for their third album, Invincible, Ken left the band to be with his family and he launched the Visible Music College, a modern music ministry college located in Memphis. Kevin Haaland joined the band as the new lead guitarist. Korey Cooper joined the band permanently and played keyboard for the recording of the third album. This caused the third studio album to have a more electronic sound. Soon after the release of Invincible in 2000, Trey McClurkin parted ways with the band and Lori Peters assumed the position of the drummer.

The band released their fourth album and first live album titled “Ardent Worship” in late 2000. The band had little time left between recording and touring, Skillet released “Alien Youth” on the 28th of August 2001, retaining the same style and sound from “Invincible”. It was John Cooper’s first time taking over production duties. Before Alien Youth was released Kevin Haaland left the band and Ben Kasica took over on guitar. The first single the title track was a major hit in the Christian market and allowed Skillet to headline their own shows for the first time.

On the 18th of November 2003, the band’s sixth studio album “Collide” was released by Ardent Records. The album became extremely popular and grabbed the attention of Andy Karp,  the Head of A&R of Lava Records. In 2004 Lava Records, an imprint of “Atlantic Records” bought the rights to Collide. On the 25th of May 2004, Collide was re-released by Lava Records with an added track called “Open Wounds”. The album was nominated for “Best Rock Gospel Album” in 2005. John Cooper cited P.O.D as the inspiration on the band’s musical shift on “Collide”.

Skillet’s seventh studio album “Comatose” was released on the 3rd of October 2006. This was the band’s first album to become gold certified. On the 7th December 2007 the album received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock or Rap Gospel album. In January 2008, it was announced that Lori Peters will be retiring from the band, as she felt it was time to start a new chapter in her life. She performed with Skillet for the last time on the 31st of December 2007. During the 2007 Christmas season she took time to train Skillet’s new drummer Jen Ledger. On the 21st of October 2008, “Comatose Comes Alive” was released, a CD/DVD combo featuring live recordings of the band’s May 9, 2008 concert in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Skillet announced that they will be entering the studio on the 12th of January 2009. They entered the studio with Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson. They added two songs from their new album to their setlist (“Monster” and “Hero”) on the 2nd April 2009 in Evansville, Indiana as part of their “Comatose” tour 2009. Skillet’s eighth album “Awake”, has 12 songs and was released on the 25th of August 2009. It charted at a staggering No 2 on the Billboard 200 selling around 68, 000 units in its first week. “Monster” was released as a single on the 14 July 2009. “Awake” was one of only three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, along with the  Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. They later released a deluxe version of the album with bonus tracks “Dead Inside”, “Would It Matter” and a radio edit of “Monster”. “Monster” and “Hero” were used many times in the media by the WWE, Football stadiums, TV shows, video games etc. Skillet was nominated for six Dove Awards for the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards. “Awake” was certified Gold on the 2nd of July 2010.

On the 14th of February 2011, Skillet announced that lead guitarist Ben Kasica would be leaving the band. Up until that point Ben had been part of the band for 10 years. Ben planned to play his last concert with Skillet on the 20th of March. The band announced that they had chosen solo artist Jonathan Salas to be their new lead guitarist, but Salas confirmed via Twitter that he had left the band on the 9th of April. Ben returned and continued touring until a new guitarist had been trained. On the 16th of April Seth Morrison replaced Kasica as the lead guitarist.

Skillet announced the release of Awake and Remixed EP in early March 2011. The remixes were mainly done Korey Cooper and Ben Kasica. The four-song EP was released on the 22nd of March 2011.

“Awake” was nominated and won the “Top Christian Album” Award at the Billboards Music Awards 2011.

On the 21st of June 2011 John Cooper posted a tweet saying that the band had been busy rehearsing new music for the first time and preparing for a new album. The band planned to start recording in January/February 2012, but the band was scheduled to headline the Winter Jam tour. In January 2012, the band announced that they will not be touring for the most of the summer so that they can record the new album.

During an interview with on the 18th of July 2012 with RadioU, John Cooper stated that the band now had written 61 songs and would be heading to the studio in October to record the album with Howard Benson for an early 2013 release.

In an interview on the 26th of January 2013 in Beaumont TX, John Cooper announced that the new album “Rise”, would be coming out in May 2013, but was later scheduled for a 25 June 2013 release. In an interview with Noisecreep, John Cooper stated that the first single and music video “Sick of It” is scheduled to be released late April.  The album debuted at No.4 on the Billboard 200 and No.1 on the Top Rock Chart and Christian album charts selling 60, 000 copies in the US alone during the first week of release. “Rise” received critical acclaim, despite some negative reviews, the general consensus seems to be that the band had improved on their earlier release “Awake”.

Skillet was nominated and won a Dove Award for Rock Song of the Year for their sing “Sick Of It”.

The bands’ fans are humorously and affectionately called “Panheads”.

The band’s main goal is to write songs that speak to people about what they were going through and encourage them. John has always been deeply affected by Christian music and he knew that this would be his calling since he was 15. In an interview with CMCentral John says that the best thing about his job is to write a song which could change somebody’s life.

It’s refreshing to see a Christian band do well, despite the history of rock bands that has been ridiculed for their Christian label in the past. I think the key ingredient to Skillet’s recipe is the way they convey their message and the presentation of their material. Most people who listen to the band’s material for the first time will probably not even realise that they are a Christian inspired band. The listener can take from their music what they need without feeling like they are being preached to.

You can follow Skillet on Twitter:

You can follow John Cooper on Twitter:

You can follow Jen Ledger on Twitter:

You can follow Korey Cooper on Twitter:

You can follow Seth Morrison on Twitter:

Rock Regards,

Lauren Kruger

Band of the Month – Theory of a Deadman

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Theory of a Deadman originated in Canada, more specifically in Vancouver. The band was formed in 2001. The band’s name originated from a song title with the same name that was featured on their debut album, the song was later renamed “The Last Song“.

The lead singer/guitarist for the band Tyler Connolly slipped a copy of the band’s demo to Chad Kroeger at a post-concert party. Chad Kroeger obviously saw some potential in the band as they were the first act that got signed to Chad Kroeger’s record label 604 Records.  On the band’s demo was the song which would later become the “Invisible Man”. The band’s self-titled debut album was released on the 17th of September 2002. Their music stayed within the grunge genre, but delivered powerful songs like “Make Up Your Mind” and “Nothing Could Come Between Us” both of which was released as singles.

On the 29th of March 2005 the band released their second album “Gasoline”, slowly moving away from their grunge sound by incorporating more pop-and country influence into their music. Four singles from “Gasoline” landed onto the Mainstream Rock Chart and the album cracked the Top 60 of the Billboard album chart. After the release of the album the band toured with Shinedown and No Address. Theory of a Deadman went on a promotional tour in the same year which was headlined by Breaking Benjamin and The Exies.

The band performed the theme song to World Wrestling Entertainment’s No Way Out’s pay-per-view in 2006 a cover version of “Deadly Game” from the WWE Anthology album. The song was released on WWE Wreckless Intent album. They did a cover of “No Chance In Hell” which is Vince McMahon‘s theme song, the song was released on WWE The Music Vol. 8. on the 25th of March 2008. The band performed the theme song for the 24th Annual WWE Summerslam.

On the 1st of April 2008 Theory of a Deadman released their third studio album Scars & Souvenirs which delivered 8 singles namely “So Happy”, “By The Way”, “Little Smirk“, “Bad Girlfriend”, “All or Nothing”, “Hate My Life”, “Not Meant to Be” and “Wait for Me”. “By The Way” features backing vocals from Daughtry band members Chris Daughtry and Robin Diaz. With this album the band developed their own unique sound a little more with daring lyrics and flashier sound.

Theory of a Deadman attended the Juno Awards in Calgary, Alberta after taking part in a promotional tour across Canada called Journey To The Junos. Theory of a Deadman performed in the 96th Grey Cup halftime show on the 23rd of November 2008. Hinder and Theory of a Deadman supported Mötley Crüe during the fall 2008 /winter 2009 tour as well as Crüe Fest 2.

On the 9th of April 2009 Scars and Souvenirs was certified Gold by the RIAA with 500, 000 copies sold in the US alone.

In late 2010 the band announced that they were busy recording their fourth studio album which was scheduled for a mid-2011 release date. Tyler Connolly later confirmed that the album titled “The Truth Is… would be released on the 12th of July 2011. The first single, “Lowlife” was released on the 17th of May 2011. Musically not too much has changed on their fourth album, but the band had an epiphany when it came to songwriting. The band had more confidence and Tyler was willing to be more open and honest about his feelings than ever before. Tyler thought it would be fun to write a song about a Lowlife, because their fans aren’t people wearing fancy clothing or driving around in the latest cars. Their fans are regular people who like to have a good time and listening to rock music.

In 2011 Theory of a Deadman co-headlined the second annual Carnival of Madness tour with Alter Bridge. The supporting bands were Black Stone Cherry, Adelitas Way and Emphatic.

The band contributed a song called “Head Above Water” to the Transformers:Dark of the Moon which was released on the 14th of June 2011. The band’s record label Roadrunner Records made a free download of the song “Drag Me To Hell”  available on their website on the 16th of June 2011.

The band consists of Tyler Connolly [Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar], David Brenner [Rhythm Guitar], Dean Back [Bass], Joey Dandeneau [Drums].

I’m a fan of Theory of a Deadman’s music, because they are realistic about their goals. They don’t expect to change the world with their music, they just want their fans to love, laugh, cry and share their passion for music along with them. The band compose enjoyable, catchy and honest songs/lyrics which is refreshingly different in today’s music landscape.

You can follow the band on Twitter:

You can follow Dean Back on Twitter here:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Theory Of A Deadman Dave Brennerby ~ChibiStalker16 Source:

Theory Of A Deadman Dave Brennerby ~ChibiStalker16

Band of the Month/Year – Alter Bridge

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And so the countdown starts towards 2013 and the anticipation for Alter Bridge’s follow-up to 2010’s AB III begins. I for one absolutely cannot wait for it to be released. It might be strange to give the title Band of the Year to a band that hasn’t toured for the past year or so, but thats the beauty of this band. They don’t have to release new material or tour for more than a year and they still have the ability to touch people’s lives in some way. Mark, Scott and Brian has been busy touring with Scott Stapp as Creed this year, Myles has had a fantastic year touring with Slash and the Conspirators and Mark Tremonti has been occupied with his solo effort All I Was. All of the band members has had a successful year, so now its time to get back down to business guys!! Alter Bridge has personally been my favourite discovery this year, although I might be jumping on the bandwagon a little later on in their career I feel like I have been a fan for years.

Myles Kennedy and Alter Bridge has a few dedicated fan pages on Facebook that has been very active in publishing content surrounding Myles’s current endeavours and Alter Bridge’s official Twitter page has certainly not been inactive or dormant this past year. Its great when fans still feel they can connect with the band in some way even though they are busy doing different projects.

Here are a few fan pages you can check out if you’re a fan:!/pages/The-Myles-Kennedy-Fan-Page/193843620723265?fref=ts!/TheKennedyEffect?fref=ts!/alterbridge?fref=ts (Official) (Official)!/pages/Alter-Bridge-III/235680409963?fref=ts!/AlterBridgeSA?fref=ts

Alter Bridge is an American rock band that was formed in 2004 in Orlando, Florida. The group was named by Mark Tremonti after an actual bridge located in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, near his former home on Alter Road. Alter Bridge’s first album was met with mixed reviews and achieved gold status with One Day Remains which was released by Wind-Up Records in August 2004. After the band’s first tour they left Wind-Up Records in 2006 and signed with Universal Republic Records releasing their second album Blackbird in October 2007 which was met with positive reviews by critics. The band toured for the next two years and reconvened in 2010 to work on their third studio album. AB III was released in October 2010 through Roadrunner Records and the album was a critical success. In January 2011 Alter Bridge’s first live album and concert film was released “Live from Amsterdam” after two years of delays. Their second concert film “Live at Wembley” was released on the 26th of March 2012.

The band has had relatively low mainstream success (which isn’t always a bad thing, as we all know), but their music has been critically successful which proves that Alter Bridge consists of true artists and musicians in every sense of the word. In 2009 Ultimate Guitar Archive name Alter Bridge the 36th greatest band of the decade.

Afer Creed became inactive in 2003 following a controversial tour, that same year Mark started writing new material with plans to form a new band with Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips, being fans of Myles Kennedy‘s former band The Mayfield Four they invited Myles to join their band. The music of One Day Remains as well as most of the lyrics on the album was written by Mark Tremonti, although Myles also co-wrote the lyrics for about half the songs. A few songs from One Day Remains established an affiliation with WWE, most notably “Metalingus” which Edge adopted as his entrance theme in 2004 and used it as such until his retirement in 2011. Its ironic how I always loved that song and I always wondered who the artist was that performed it.

Alter Bridge experienced a bump in the road when their relationship with Wind-Up Records started to deteriorate. Alter Bridge still experienced some difficulty after parting ways with Wind-Up records which consisted of criticism for disbanding Creed, pressure to reform Creed and false reports of a Creed reunion. I can imagine this time in their career as being quite tough on the band and I think it was extremely unfair to blame Alter Bridge for Creed’s problems, but I suppose it was inevitable. Creed and Alter Bridge are two seperate bands and I think fans as well as the media should respect that.

Blackbird was released in 2007 and it has been dubbed by fans of the band as their best and heaviest album to date. In October 2010 “Ties That Bind” was listed by Total Guitar as the 41st Greatest Guitar Song of the Decade. Ties That Bind is definitely one of my favourite songs, its very energetic and the lyrics are powerful. In March 2011 the dual guitar solo performed by Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti on the song “Blackbird” was voted the Greatest Guitar Solo Of All Time by MusicRadar‘s readers, which is an AMAZING achievement considering the amount of talent featured in the top 20 that readers could vote for. Read more about Myles and Mark’s reaction to the news here:

A single disc version of “Live from Amsterdam” was sold exclusively at venues during Creed’s reunion tour in 2009 and on The dvd sold thousands and thousands of copies in comparison to the projected hundreds that Amazon expected to sell. The dvd reached No.1 on Amazon’s “Bestsellers in Music Videos & Concerts” and remained there for weeks.

On September 6th 2010 Roadrunner Records debuted Alter Bridge’s first single “Isolation” on their website, the song became the band’s most successful song reaching number 1 on active rock radio and on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, a first for Alter Bridge. AB III was met with overwhelming critical acclaim from professional reviewers upon its release. MusicRadar called it one of the guitar albums of the year and Artistdirect gave AB III a perfect score and called it a masterpiece.

Alter Bridge’s music is a spiritual experience and it touches your soul. Alter Bridge’s music is heavy yet melodic, because Myles has such a soaring voice it creates a great contrast with the heavy guitars and bass. Alter Bridge has a unique formula which you don’t come across often. As a listener Alter Bridge’s music soothes and renews your faith in music. I’m so happy I followed my instinct when I bought AB III earlier this year, because its very unusual for me to purchase an album without listening to a few samples on the album. I take the task of purchasing music very seriously and I don’t make the decision lightly.

I can’t wait to hear what Alter Bridge has in store for fans in the new year and I hope to hear a lot more from them in the future.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K