This is the first official announcement of this particular news, first here on Paul Hedrick Reviews!
I have decided to make promotion a bigger goal. I am announcing now, that I will officially be launching FEAR Entertainment! There will be four branches of this - music (FEAR Recordings), film, books, and reviews (all three FEAR Entertainment. Currently, there are two albums planned under FEAR Recordings - For The Fallen's The Omega Code. which is due no later than February 2019, and my solo album (using the name BLACKHEART), titled I Won't Be Your Hero, which will be released later this year, either late November or early December. For film, I have begun production for a TV style series that will be free on YouTube. The series will be called Manic, and will feature 8 episodes, the first of which has been filmed and uploaded on my personal channel. I am also writing three different books, which will all three be out hopefully no later than 2021. The first book that will be released is a book called iSOS, which will be a horror book that will focus on the dangers of selling one's soul to the devil. The second, tentatively titled Life of an Exorcist, will be the second to be released. It will be about an exorcism (obviously), but will not be based on actual events. The third, tentatively called Nuclear Revolution, will be about the post apocalyptic world, and will deal with a lot of human emotions that seem to be plaguing the world today - trust issues, hatred, anger, confusion, political unrest, etc. I also will be doing an occasional podcast, where I will review songs, albums, books, or films live, and possibly discuss different things happening in the Indiana music scene.
I will be making the FEAR Entertainment website soon, and once I do I will post the website along with more details on upcoming releases.
I plan on reviewing several bands, movies, and shows within the next month. Expect a review to be posted within the next few hours - and if you have a song, band, album, movie, TV show, or anything you want me to review, feel free to email me!
PH: I had the pleasure of reviewing Castle Black for the first post on my website. For those who are just now discovering you, can you introduce yourselves and tell everyone your position in the band?
CB: We're totally honored to be the first post on your website! Thank you. We really enjoyed your review of our single "Broken Bright Star." It means a lot when people take the time to listen and write thoughtful reviews.
I'm Leigh, and I'm the singer, guitarist and primary songwriter.
PH: As a fan, what is the best way to support your music, and where is the best place to buy your music?
CB: There are so many different ways someone can support our music, but I think the most impactful is to share our music with anyone you think might like it too. It's a really important way to get new listeners, who can then go on to be supportive in other ways. Interacting with us on social media, coming to shows and buying the music/merch are of course other great ways to show support.
If you are going to buy our music, I drive everyone to Bandcamp or CD Baby, because they are really fair in terms of what percentage the musician makes off of a sale, compared to other sites. It's important to us to support companies that care about being fair.
PH: What is the writing process for you guys?
CB: I generally will bring a song to the band once it's a song, and I can play it sounding like a song on guitar and with vocals. Then the drums and bass will be worked out. We'll continue to work on the song at practices, revising things if needed after listening to how everything sounds together.
I tend to write a song from a lyrical/melodic perspective. An idea will often just pop into my head, generally with full lyrics and a vocal melody. I then work the guitar around that. There are a few times when I've worked the other way, writing something on guitar first, but it has generally been the other way around.
PH: What inspires your lyrics?
CB: I'd probably say what doesn't inspire my lyrics ... I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories as a kid, so writing lyrics just felt natural to me when I started. All of my lyrics come from a very personal place, and are inspired by my life and experience and feelings ... I tend to mix themes within songs, for example, I bring in a lot of imagery from relationships, and then those images also start to represent some greater social idea. It happens quite often, and I think that's what makes the music relatable, because it's highly interpretable. In many cases, I write about one thing, and the idea develops into another, or I listen months later and realize I was bringing in some other idea that I wasn't even aware of at the time. So I'd say that it's just life and everything that I take in that leads to lyrical inspiration.
PH: How did the band form? What was the first song you wrote as a band, and does it differ in style compared to your newer stuff?
CB: This version of the band formed in 2015. The first song I wrote, "The Old Town," I had written maybe a year before that. It's off our first EP from 2015 Find You There.
I essentially wrote that song on a plane back to NYC from LA, after spending time with someone I knew I shouldn't spend any more time with. The song is largely about addiction in all its many shapeshifting forms. I think we can still play that song in a set, and have it fit in. However, our music has of course changed a bit, in that I think I have changed a bit. I wasn't really very experienced with writing songs when "The Old Town" was written and I feel like now I can craft something in a way that is more impactful, if that makes sense.
PH: What got you guys into performing music, and how long have you been playing/performing music?
CB: I wanted to play the drums when I was like 6, but my parents weren't into supporting that, so I ended up dancing for most of my childhood / teenage years. Through dance, I of course fell in love with music and rhythm. Body movement became really important to me as a way to express ideas within songs. Everything became about expressing what a song was conveying through movement, which I later brought into my song-writing and performance, this idea of a song being the ultimate expression of emotion. When I stopped dancing, I felt this creative void and for a few years I went through various creative endeavors, largely unhappy with anything that I tried. I then just had this strong pull to learn guitar, and wanted to write music, and it all went from there, countless hours to actually become decent. When I started writing songs and had my own band, it all made sense to me, it had everything that made me happy - writing, performing and music. As a side note, I did start playing drums a few years ago.
PH: You guys are going on tour here in a few days, “the gods that adored you” tour. Can you tell me about the tour and a few of the places fans can see you at?
CB: The gods that adored you tour is to promote our just released album, "the gods that adored you." We're really excited about it. It's largely a midwestern tour, with stops in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Philadelphia on the way home. There are some other dates coming up this summer in Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut. And of course, the planning is now starting for the fall tour!
PH: You guys have played quite a few big festivals, including Mondo Fest, Northside Fest, NJ Shore Fest, as well as the Staten Island PrideFest, and opened for Richard Lloyd as well. What was your first big show, and what stood out most about the show?
CB: Well I'd say that we haven't had our first big show yet. It's interesting because we opened for Richard Lloyd of Television in 2017, and that was probably the most people up to that point that we had played for, and it was a great show because of that. It was interesting interacting with someone as popular and well known as Richard Lloyd. However, we played for an equal number of people at a basement house show in Buffalo just this year, so it's hard to say really what makes a show a big show.
PH: Your new EP, “the gods that adored you”, is dropping on June 29th. Can you tell me about the album, and different messages within the songs?
CB: The title comes from a line within the 4th song on the album, "A Cigarette, Saved." The actual line is "fucked over the gods that adored you." When I wrote that line within the song, it was specifically dealing with the idea of someone just being kind of horrible to a person who really cared about them. However, this line became more than that when considered in the context of the song title. It just kind of sums up the album, and also allowed for this really dramatic split of the EP into two parts. Part A "Fucked" consists of the first two songs and Part B "Adored" consists of the remaining three. The parts explore the ideas respectively of what it means to be fucked or adored, or to be doing the fucking or adoring, and those parts then support the entire whole of the album.
PH: To close, what are some of the weirdest or funniest tour/show stories that you have?
CB: How long do you have?! There was the drunk guy in Albany who insisted on standing on stage while I set up, incessantly demanding lyrics to the songs so that he could sing with me. He ended up being thrown out of the venue by management during the set, as he apparently was invading people's space in the crowd.
I once booked a really cheap Air B and B, with some obvious red flags, that we had to flee from because we just didn't feel that our gear would be safe. There were some drug deals being made from the house, there was no lock on the apartment and it wasn't a great neighborhood to leave gear in the car. We ended up staying with someone I know about an hour away after the gig that night. Our gear was definitely safe there, but he was into his own drug use. He ended up assaulting my bassist in the middle of the night, so we kind of moved from one problematic situation into the next.
We also witnessed some kind of fight on the side of a highway when we went south earlier this year. I was driving and all of a sudden I had to swerve because of a truck stopped in the right lane of a two lane highway. Turns out, there was another car stopped on the shoulder of the road, and the guy from the truck was hitting the driver of the car on the shoulder. We called 911, and as we were making the call, the same two cars came zooming by us again in a high speed chase.
PH: Thank you guys so much for the interview, and congrats on the new EP!
CB: hank you so much! We really appreciate your support.
The first band I am reviewing is Thin Lines, from Indiana. I have performed with them a couple of times, and had high expectations going into this review. The song I chose to review is Stockholm. The first thing that comes to mind is that this song reminds me of a band I saw live at youth camp, so it has a very nostalgic feel to me. I really enjoy how the guitars are layered throughout the song, and how well it is produced. The drummer stands out in this song to me. I feel as if the drums are mixed perfectly, and you can feel the energy from the whole band. Overall, I am pleased with this song. I see this being the song that could put Thin Lines on the map! Rating - 9/10
Up next is Karkosa. I had not heard of this band until a few days before writing this review. I am a fan of black and death metal, and this band embodies everything I love with their song Sleep Paralysis. A few moments of silence lead into this song, and they hold nothing back, right from the start. This is a fantastic track, very well produced, and I definitely see this as a hit live. Just before the 2 minute mark, they include creepy spoken word vocals, which adds to the song, reminiscent of Requiem by Mortification, which is one of the songs that got me into extreme metal. Overall I am pleased with this track. You can find it on their Harvest of the Adept album, which is correctly priced at $6.66 on Bandcamp! Rating - 9.5/10
For Burdens Within, I chose to review Dead End Town. I know this band, we're both from Indianapolis, but I have never heard their music before. This track is definitely a good one, and for me, the vocals stand out. This is what I try to sound like but can't. I love how they can make a song sound somewhat simple, but can keep my attention. The guitar solo was very well executed and clean, which is something that you don't always hear. I would love to do a show with these guys. Their sound is what the music scene needs right now. There are not enough bands that can pull this sound off. Burdens Within pulls it off, and they pull it off well. Rating - 9.8/10
For my next review, I am reviewing Wayward Son's song, Phantoms. Wayward Son is a Christian band from Indiana. As a Christian, I definitely had very high expectations for this song. I hold Christian music to a much higher standard than any other genre, because due to the nature of the songs, people won't listen to the words if the music isn't good. Phantoms has an interesting intro to it, definitely not a standard CCM track right from the start. The distorted guitars add a lot to the song, and accompany the vocalist very well. The drums and vocals are my favorite part of this song. The structure for Phantoms is one I haven't heard yet. It goes from rock, to soft rock, and back and forth. It is different, but it works well for this song. The vocalist shows his skills best after the 2 minute mark. The longer the song goes on, the more fascinated I am by the vocals. The vocalist has a fantastic style, and the lyrics are incredible. The guitar solo near the end enchants me, as it leads into the vocalists best performance on this track. The final riff completes the song perfectly. I am almost never pleased with Christian music, as I am very picky about it. But this song breaks away from other songs. It is unique, it tells a story, and if this is how the rest of the album (AntiVillain) sounds, I want to hear more! Rating - 10/10
To close this review, I have chosen to review Broken Bright Star by Castle Black. The track opens with drums, and goes into a haunting guitar riff that appropriately accompanies the drums. The vocals and bass soon come in, completing the opening sound. The vocals are good, and the instrumental is bone chilling. I really enjoyed the opening two minutes of this song. Broken Bright Star sounds like it could be on Marilyn Manson's album Eat Me, Drink Me. It is equal parts creepy and intriguing. This band can definitely make it. I enjoy this track, and the closing minute is a very good closing for this song. I want to hear more from this band, and I would definitely share the stage with them. Rating - 9.8