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Metal Brainiac

Author: Matt Peiken

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The smartest half-hour in heavy metal, Metal Brainiac features serious interviews with metal artists about their music, histories and the creative process.
45 Episodes
Jesse Zuretti suffered such a deep and suffocating depression that it threatened his livelihood and his life. He channeled much of what he experienced into his guitar, and the music he created became “Moonsblood,” the new technical, melodic death album from the New Jersey outfit Binary Code. Hear Jesse talk in detail about pouring his pain into his music.
In 2001, the band Ill Nino released its debut album “Revolution”—and at the time, a revolution is exactly what it seemed like, an American band of Hispanics performing a melodic, Latin-inflected metal. Ill Nino bassist Lazaro Pina talks about reviving that album on the band's current US tour, along with the band's artistic evolution and current cultural relevance.
Kristof Bathory recently became an Ambassador with the Greater Church of Lucifer, so it would be easy to cast the music he creates as evangelistic evil. But in this conversation, Bathory describes his personal and creative turns as positive maturity and, today, he views his band, Dawn of Ashes, as working to lead listeners to self-empowerment.
Otep Shamaya is perhaps the only true protest artist in metal. On the heels of her seventh studio album, “Generation Doom,” Otep talks about her politics, her bouts with the music industry, the deep personal impact she’s had on her fans and the biases against women she sees and experiences within the metal.
Mallika Sundaramurthy, vocalist of Massachusetts technical death band Abnormality, talks art, politics and working like an athlete to develop her sub-guttural growl. The band has just released its second full-length album, "Mechanisms of Omniscience."
Nate Garnette and his bandmates in Skeletonwitch fired Nate's brother, vocalist Chance Garnette, after 11 years together. That was in April 2015, prompting a deep gut check within the band. In this interview, Nate and fellow guitarist Scott Hedrick talk about the emotional, psychological and artistic impacts of the split and where Skeletonwitch is today.
Chaney Crabb’s audition video for Veil of Maya didn’t land her the microphone in that band, but it did catch the attention of a lot of other musicians—including her bandmates in the new outfit Entheos. Chaney’s deep vocal growl and register have crushed any doubters who might believe her gender keeps her from anyone’s definition of heavy.
Over three decades of near misses and missed trends, New York band Prong has found new life with stellar back-to-back albums. Prong mastermind Tommy Victor talks about the band's past and present and how Glenn Danzig and Al Jourgensen rescued him at his darkest hour.
Marc Görtz, the guitarist, songwriter and mastermind of Caliban, orbits the creative process behind the German band's 10th album, "Gravity." The album hits stores March 25.
Robin Staps, guitarist and songwriter for the German band The Ocean, bristles at the description of his music as progressive. But there’s no denying the thoughtful, technical and conceptually rich music Staps creates. We talk with Robin about life and art in Berlin and how his academic background in geography plays into the oceanic themes of his music.
Holy Grail guitarist Eli Santana has a background in classical music and reggae and he’s even performed on a country music album. Still, as you'll hear in this interview, there’s no confusing where his heart resides. The progressive, melodic thrash band is touring to support its new album, "Times of Pride and Peril."
Singer Michael Ciccia initially wanted nothing to do with Canadian progressive outfit Mandroid Echostar. Now their chemistry has given birth to a rising metal upstart. Also, in this episode, learn about L.A. metal band Toothgrinder. Both bands have just turned out their first full-length albums.
Astrophysics, philosophy and religion aren’t everyday explorations in death metal. But as we find out in this fascinating conversation, German guitarist, vocalist and composer Steffen Kummerer is no ordinary death metal musician. We dive deep with Steffen about his band Obscura and their fourth and brand new album of heady death metal, called “Akroasis.”
Karl Sanders, founding guitarist/songwriter/vocal growl of Nile, talks about his continued lyrical explorations of Ancient Egypt, his draw to violence and why he spends so much time crafting complex stories when most of the lyrics are impossible to understand beneath the churn of death metal.
West German thrash mirrored what came out of America in the 1980s. The band Exumer was at the forefront, mimicking Slayer, Metallica and others. In this interview, vocalist Mem V. Stein talks about exhuming Exumer after its supposed death 25 years earlier and the worldview that colors the band's new slab of classic thrash, “The Raging Tides.”
Warbringer vocalist John Kevill expounds on the economic challenges in keeping his band together, makes a case for global awareness, gets critical of Axl Rose, Lars Ulrich and metalcore and calls out promoters and headlining bands who fleece newer bands and their fans.
At one time a progressive metal band, Intervals is now the solo operation of Toronto musician Aaron Marshall. In this exclusive conversation with Metal Brainiac host Matt Peiken, Marshall details why Intervals canned its vocalist and evolved into a solo identity during the creation of Intervals' new album, "The Shape of Colour."
We rewind cuts from our best interviews of 2015, including conversations with Marty Friedman, Alex Skolnick, Buzz Osborne of the Melvins and members of Queensryche, Armored Saint, Between the Buried and Me, Veil of Maya, The Agonist, Act of Defiance and Rivers of Nihil.
In our first shared episode, Bo Louther of Canadian metallers Odium talks about the impact of moving guitarist Andrew Fullerton behind the microphone. Myles Yang and Robert Edens of Native Construct talk about their path from small-town North Carolina to an opening slot on tour with Between the Buried and Me.
“Every Trick in the Book” is a concept album unlike anything else in metal—every song was inspired by a classic piece of literature. Ice Nine Kills vocalist Spencer Charnas dissects the album song by song.
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