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If you’re hungry enough, you can always start over.
On their sixth full-length and first release for Rise Records, hard feelings, blessthefall filter urgent and uncontainable energy through nearly 15 years of hard-earned experience and wisdom, igniting their next chapter. Preserving a signature punch while pushing the sonic palette, the Arizona quintet–Beau Bokan [vocals], Eric Lambert [guitar], Jared Warth [bass], Elliott Gruenberg [guitar], and Matt Traynor [drums]—emerge with ten equally heavy and hypnotic anthems awash in pummeling guitars, glitchy synthesizers, and rafter-reaching vocals.
“I felt like we were writing our first record and we had something to prove,” admits Bokan. “We scrutinized everything. A lot of the inspiration came from a dark place. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we didn’t know where we were going. Like a light at the end of the tunnel, Rise Records entered the picture. That was our cue this is a restart. You can’t do the same thing over and over. We decided to make this a banger. We wanted to show progress and change, because we owe it to ourselves and our fans. This is a fresh start.”
Over the years, the musicians quietly set the stage for this kind of revelation. Most recently, 2015’s To Those Left Behind marked their second consecutive Top 25 bow on the Billboard Top 200 and earned acclaim from Alternative Press, Outburn, and Rock Sound who named it among the “Top 50 Releases of the Year.” Meanwhile, 2013’s Hollow Bodies remains a fan favorite. The album houses the live staple “Hollow Bodies”—which racked up over 7 million Spotify streams. Returning home from Warped Tour 2017, they dove headfirst into creating what would become hard feelings.
The process represented another evolution. For the first time, they teamed up with Tyler Smyth [Falling In Reverse, Dangerkids] as producer and tapped Matt Good [Asking Alexandria, The Word Alive] and Howard Benson [My Chemical Romance, Adam Lambert] for additional production.
Inviting Smyth to Arizona, blessthefall holed up in an Airbnb “jacked up on cold brew iced coffee and Dominos Pizza” and made deliberate creative strides.
“Tyler encouraged us to experiment and try different things,” he goes on. “He would bring these synth sounds that we’d never used to the table. We were chopping up vocals and making them unpredictable. We had nothing to lose. We drew on inspirations as varied as blink-182, Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, and The Mars Volta. It’s a cool balance. We kept that aggression, while delivering something new.”
That spirit courses through the first single “Melodramatic.” It snaps from a hushed intro into a barrage of percussion, synths, and guitar before Bokan demands, “I need the anger, I need the rage. I need the worst things you could say.”
“It’s no frills,” grins the frontman. “The goal was to write a song hot out of the gate the crowd could get into. We’re using all of those negative influences and turning them into something positive. I wanted to be pissed-off and inspired again. We re-captured that fire inside.”
Cinematic delay functions as an overture on the opener “Wishful Sinking” as a gang vocal curls towards polyrhythmic riffing and hypnotic crooning, “You’re the shore, I’m the tidal wave.” Meanwhile, “Find Yourself” hinges on an unpredictable confluence of electronics and thick distortion, making for “something you wouldn’t ever hear us do in the past,” as Bokan puts it.
hard feelings climaxes on the heartfelt closer “Welcome Home.” A muted riff buzzes below the record’s most cinematic storytelling as the singer gives his wife and child an audio goodbye.
“I was getting ready to leave to Europe for seven weeks, and that was going to be the longest that I would be away from my wife and daughter,” he recalls. “It’s a fucking heavy song. It brings me to tears. It’s about me leaving for tour. I put my heart and soul into that track knowing I was going to be leaving them. It’s literally my letter. You might hear a surprise guest at the end too!”
In the end, blessthefall’s new beginning has all the makings of their biggest moment yet.
“I’ve learned that there’s another chance around the corner,” he leaves off. “No matter what dark place you’re in, there will always be hope. I’m excited to see where we go with this. I hope it’s as important for the fans as it is to us. They’ve carried us this far. I hope they stick with us as we reach the next level.”
The Word Alive
The quietest of fights often result in the loudest of victories.
Since 2008, The Word Alive have steadily maintained a course towards the forefront of alternative music and continue the upward trajectory with their fifth studio album Violent Noise. The Phoenix-based trio— Tyler “Telle” Smith [vocals], Zack Hansen [guitars], Tony Pizzuti [guitars], Matt Horn [drums], and Ryan Daminson [bass] —tosses and turns between visceral metallic power and entrancing emotionality encased in swathes of otherworldly electronics. It’s a singular sound that has naturally evolved since Deceiver  and through Life Cycles , Real. , and Dark Matter .
They’ve earned acclaim from the likes of Alternative Press, Revolver, Guitar World, and Modern Drummer and supported I Prevail, Killswitch Engage, A Day To Remember, Motionless In White, among others, and are known for their ability to ignite crowds across the globe.
2018’s Violent Noise represents the culmination of a decade and the unbreakable bond shared by Telle, Zack, and Tony.
“We made it here,” smiles Telle. “Everything we’ve gone through made us stronger and more excited. We were able to come together and do something really special. This is diverse, but it hits super hard. Everything started by going back to the beginning. Tony, Zack, and myself unanimously said, ‘We are The Word Alive.’ We know who we are, where we want to go, and what goals we want to accomplish at this moment. The path wasn’t easy. We didn’t blow up overnight. We hustled. We fought to get here. We’ve gone from naïve kids to men who have maintained our core friendship. We’re blood. That comes through this record.”
In many ways, The Word Alive set the stage for the next progression on Violent Noise with Dark Matter. They reteamed with the producer behind their last offering Matt Good [Asking Alexandria, From First To Last] and followed a similar spirit unafraid to experiment. Logging 14 hour days in the studio during the summer of 2017, they took that creative spark and fanned the flame, embracing other styles and crafting sounds and tones of their own.
“We retained what fans have loved, while taking everything a step further and pushing boundaries,” he goes on. “The story started on this last record, but it’s really continuing in a cool way now.”
The first single “Red Clouds” tempers hard-hitting and hypnotic grooves and a lush and lively refrain. Thematically, it harks back to the five-piece’s origins.
“I was driving back to Arizona, and I saw a sign for ‘Red Cloud Road’,” recalls Telle. “All I could think of was my day trying out for the band, moving to the state, and seeing my first Arizona sunset. It reminded me of the journey we’ve been on. Tony, Zack, and I have written almost every part of every song. We’re still best friends. ‘Red Clouds’ is about people doubting us early on and rising up in the face of that. Every time I go to Arizona, I’m reminded of this awesome life we have.”
Elsewhere, “War Evermore” pays homage to a fallen hero of Telle’s: Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. Penned on the day of the singer’s tragic passing, it might just be the most vulnerable track in the group’s catalog thus far.
“The music felt like all of the emotions coming out of me when I heard the news,” he admits. “In part, it defends Chester. I saw comments online of people judging him that made me sick to my stomach. He didn’t have a voice anymore to say how he got to that place. The rest of the song tries to carry the torch. The more we discuss hard times, the better off we’ll be. Hopefully, we can inspire change. Lyrically, I’m admitting I’ve been there. I’ve come very close to leaving this earth myself. You’re not alone. I’m creating a safe space with our shows.”
Elsewhere, “I Fucked Up” examines accountability over a hard-hitting rush of guitars. Welcoming friends into this ecosystem, Sincerely Collins brings raw rhymes and raps—another first—to “Human,” and Asking Alexandria frontman Danny Worshop locks into an unbreakable harmony with Telle on “Stare At The Sun.” The confessional and catchy “Why Am I Like this?” empowers Telle to share his struggle “with drugs, alcohol, and the person I was portraying publicly.”
By holding nothing back, The Word Alive’s connection rings out louder than ever before on Violent Noise.
“The most distracting noise in life is the one that comes from your head,” he leaves off. “We all battle with self-doubt, insecurities, and trust. This record is about the balance. There’s light and dark. Nevertheless, you always have control. I want to show everybody that. I’m proof.”
THE WORD ALIVE — Since 2008, The Word Alive have steadily maintained a course towards the forefront of alternative music and continue the upward trajectory with their fifth studio album Violent Noise. The Phoenix-based trio— Tyler “Telle” Smith [vocals], Zack Hansen [guitars], Tony Pizzuti [guitars], Matt Horn [drums], and Ryan Daminson [bass] —tosses and turns between visceral metallic power and entrancing emotionality encased in swathes of otherworldly electronics. It’s a singular sound that has naturally evolved since Deceiver  and through Life Cycles , Real. , and Dark Matter . They’ve earned acclaim from the likes of Alternative Press, Revolver, Guitar World, and Modern Drummer and supported I Prevail, Killswitch Engage, A Day To Remember, Motionless In White, among others, and are known for their ability to ignite crowds across the globe. 2018’s Violent Noise represents the culmination of a decade and the unbreakable bond shared by Telle, Zack, and Tony. They reteamed with the producer behind their last offering Matt Good [Asking Alexandria, From First To Last] and followed a spirit unafraid to experiment. By holding nothing back, The Word Alive’s connection rings out louder than ever before on Violent Noise. “The most distracting noise in life is the one that comes from your head,” Telle explains. “We all battle with self-doubt, insecurities, and trust. This record is about the balance. There’s light and dark. Nevertheless, you always have control. I want to show everybody that. I’m proof.”
If you're not pissed off, then you're not paying attention. Ded thrives on the aggressive spirit that is authentic to the heavy music genre. «There is an honesty and attitude about heavy music that I don't feel as often anymore» says lead singer Joe Cotela – «and we want to bring that back». Ded is loud and aggressive — but it serves as a positive outlet: the band produces an unapologetic sound that draws from the art of fantasy and expressive screams. Their debut album «Mis-An-thrope» has made an impact across the Rock world.
Ded was born in the music scene of Phoenix, Arizona and has been together for almost 3 years. Band members Joe Cotela (Vocals), David Ludlow (Guitar), Kyle Koelsch (Bass), and Matt Reinhard (Drums) developed a friendship and
ultimately a musical partnership that mixes horror and dark imagery to develop a familiar, yet unique sound that sets them apart from other bands. Cotela says “With our music — we want to make the listener feel like how you feel after
you’ve watched a really good horror movie – on edge, jittery… And very much alive”. They incorporate these volatile elements into their lyrics – with the hopes that it will breathe new life into the hard-core genre. Imagine an inspired
take on outward thinking that transcends screaming, and low tuned riffs. Their sound is meant to “be in your face and tell it like it is”, while paying homage to Korn and Pantera, who served as early inspirations. Ded are also influenced by
more recent bands like Slipknot and Bring Me The Horizon. This is modern hard rock & alternative metal that goes beyond anger — including themes like existentialism and ego in everyday life. The lyrics are timely and resonate with an audience navigating the chaotic world we live in.
The band’s work ethic, drive, and dedication led them to record an EP that quickly made the rounds of the music industry, and started a buzz that opened doors. Using that as a springboard, the band hit the road and toured with Beartooth, Asking Alexandria, Atreyu, Every Time I Die, Upon a Burning Body, The Acacia Strain, John 5, Powerman 5000, and Insane Clown Posse among others.
Their touring helped grow awareness in the business and brought them to the attention of producer John Feldmann (Disturbed, Blink-182, Beartooth). Their collaboration with Feldmann culminated in the band signing with Jordan Schur
@ Suretone Records – who discovered and grew the careers of platinum rock acts Staind and Limp Bizkit, among others. Suretone released their first song and video for “FMFY” in December 2016.
2017 was very busy year for Ded — they played all Major Rock U.S. festivals, played more than 150 live shows and toured 25 + dates with KORN and Stone Sour. Both of their 1st two singles «Anti-Everything» and «Remember The Enemy»
reached the Top 20 on the Active Rock Radio charts. «Anti-Everything» was #8 on SiriusXM Octane's Top 10 for 2017 and they named the band «Artist Discovery of the Year». They won the Kilpop/Rock Radio Award for Metal Debut of
the Year". «Anti-Everything» & «Remember The Enemy» were featured on high profile curated Hard Rock & Metal playlists at all major streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music, Youtube, and Google
Play Music. The video for «Anti-Everything» has more than 1.4 million views on Youtube. The band is repped by CAA for booking.
Their 3rd single «Hate Me» recently peaked at #28 on the Active Rock Radio charts and has been featured on key playlists including Spotify's «Rock Hard», Apple Music's «Breaking Hard Rock», Amazon Music's «Fresh Rock» and «Introducing
Rock», Pandora «New Rock», Youtube and Google Play Music's «Hard Rock Hotlist».
Thousand Below walk a fine, almost illusory line. Deftly balancing atmospheric and airy instrumentation, thoughtful emotionality, and just the right amount of hard-hitting hypnosis, the Southern California quintet—James DeBerg [vocals], Devin Chance [guitar], Josh Thomas [guitar], Josh Billimoria [bass], and Garrett Halvax [drums]—descend into the dreamy depths of loss, love, and life reflected in art on their full-length debut, The Love You Let Too Close [Rise Records].
“We aim to make songs that are heavy and fun, but you can also listen to them on a nighttime drive home through the rain when you’re thinking about life,” exclaims DeBerg. “You could call it post-hardcore rock, but it’s more than that. We just want people to feel what we’re feeling.”
They first harnessed that energy in early 2016. After amicably parting ways with Outlands, the frontman quietly kept writing music. One day, Thomas presented him some demos of “these pretty sad jams,” and they dove headfirst into a collaboration together. Blindwish guitarist Chance joined the fold next followed by Billmoria and Halvax as the boys hit a San Diego studio to record. Rise Records became entranced by the initial output as well as the cinematic, self-funded video for “Tradition” and offered the band a deal. Handpicking the collaborative team, they finished recording with producer Sebastian Rizo, enlisting the mixing talents of Andreas Magnusson [Fit For A King] and Kris Crummett [Sleeping With Sirens, Issues] for mastering.
Over this rich sonic backdrop, DeBerg openly explores the suicide of his best friend and its aftermath on The Love You Let Too Close.
“The theme of my life’s descent is central to the record,” he admits. “Losing my best friend flipped my whole world upside down and changed who I am as a person. I used to be happy-go-lucky. I smiled through everything in life. It wasn’t the same after. The songs go through my healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms as well as the other feelings that came about during this really low and depressed period. I fell in love during a broken time, but I pushed back too. This is a chronicle of everything I noticed about myself.”
On the first single “No Place Like You,” solemn piano chords resound over a haze of feedback before guitars swell into a wave of emotion on the captivating chorus chant.
“We wanted to make that one a little bit lighter,” says DeBerg. “It’s mostly singing. Lyrically, it’s about being so depressed that it screws up a relationship with someone you care for a lot.”
Elsewhere on the record, the opener “Sinking Me” builds from a bombastic beat awash in lush guitar tones before snapping into a searing scream. Meanwhile, the title track encapsulates both extremes, shifting from delicate to deadly.
The Love You Let Too Close ignites Thousand Below’s journey. As they tour with everyone from The Devil Wears Prada to Veil Of Maya, listeners will undoubtedly fall under their spell, because each lyric and note are unequivocally real.
“I enjoy writing sad music,” DeBerg leaves off. “It’s a very therapeutic process that helps me. I want people to take a close look at the concepts, listen to them, and read the lyrics. I imagine others have been through losing loved ones to suicide. This is an admission, ‘It hurts. It feels dark. It’s a rough time, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.’ I want to remind everyone they’re not alone, and we do make it through.”
A War Within
Based in Detroit MI, A War Within consists of members Spencer Maybe, Nikhil Rao, Zac Bardsley, and Roy Guldenpfennig. The band prides itself on intense live performances and dynamic music that combines technicality with accessibility; crushingly heavy sections that are perfectly balanced by delicate melody.
The band was initially founded by prior members in 2014. The debut release was a music video for “Holding On”, and following this came the release of the debut album, «Sons of Saturn». The record lead to touring with The Paramedic, Sycamour, It Lies Within, Darkness Divided, Spence and Words like Daggers.
In 2016, the band released their second full length record, «Believe», and embarked on several full US tours. The year saw them touring with Blessthefall, Miss May I, The Plot in You, Sirens & Sailors, Divisions, Versus, Darkness Divided and Convictions. A busy year on the road was ended with a few weeks in Portland, Oregon recording with producer Kris Crummett (Sleeping with Sirens, Issues, Dance Gavin Dance).
In 2017, the band began releasing the material recorded with Kris, including the two singles «Where the Lines are Drawn» and «Wallflower». They also toured the East Coast relentlessly, joined by Never I, Alteras, The Few, and Icaria. In the winter of 2017, they began pre-production on their third full length record.
The band has earned a consistent following in the Detroit scene, resulting in shows with Attila, The Color Morale, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, For the Fallen Dreams, and more. They have also had the privilege of playing the Detroit date of Van's Warped Tour in both 2015 and 2018. Currently, the band is finishing self-producing and recording their third full length record. They are eagerly anticipating releasing the album and continuing to tour in support of it!