All Hail the Yeti, Invidia, Broken Rail
On Sunday, May 21, The Community Center for the Performing Arts and University of Oregon Campus Radio 88.1 FM KWVA proudly welcome All Hail the Yeti, Invidia and Broken Rail.
Heavy music upholds a long tradition of storytelling. It’s been carried from woods and fields to streets, cities, and beyond. All Hail The Yeti continue that ritual on their second full-length album and first for minus HEAD Records, Screams From A Black Wilderness. The Los Angeles quartet — Connor Garritty [vocals], Nicholas Diltz [bass], Ryan “Junior” Kittlitz [drums], and Alan Stokes [guitar] —weave together vivid, vibrant, and visceral tales with sprawling, slick, and spattering metallic grooves.
“We always want each song to tell a story in and of itself,” says Garritty. “The record comes together like a book of short scary stories you can recount in the dark around a campfire.”
Following a successful European tour supporting 36 Crazyfists in early 2015, All Hail The Yeti returned home and began to etch the outline for these sonic sagas. Writing with Stokes for the first time breathed new life into the process as the band cut a batch of demos in Garritty’s home studio. Teaming up with metal luminary producer Matt Hyde [Deftones, Slayer, Hatebreed], they recorded the 13 tracks that would become Screams From A Black Wilderness at NRG Studios and Hydeaway Studios.
“Matt’s a wizard,” smiles Garritty. “We were all big fans of his work and he really enhanced the sound. We came to him knowing that we wanted to do something bigger, and he helped us achieve that goal. Matt would bring ideas to the table that we wouldn’t even think of. He understood exactly what we were trying to do. The whole experience was awesome.”
Following the re-release of the group’s self-titled album on minus HEAD, All Hail The Yeti unleashed Screams From A Black Wilderness’s first single, “Before The Flames”. Beginning with an eerie piano and sounds of children playing, the track paints a hypnotically haunting picture punctuated by punishing riffs and a chilling plea. Coupled with “After The Great Fire” from the group’s first offering, it conjures an unforgettable vision.
“‘Before The Flames’ is about these nuns who run a mental institution for children,” Connor explains. “They decide they want to get rid of the kids living there, so they’re planning to set the place on fire. They’re not actually nuns; they’re really part of A satanic cult using the kids for rituals after hours.”
“In ‘Daughter Of the Morning Star,’ this pagan woman lives off the land outside of a Christian village,” he goes on. “The villagers are terrified of her because she’s different, so they try to get rid of her. They rape her, beat her, and leave her for dead. She embraces the evil, becomes a black witch, and exacts vengeance.”
Meanwhile, “Mr. Murder” sees Garritty trade verses with 36 Crazyfists frontman Brock Lindow on a heart-wrenching tribute to a fallen friend. “Brock knew him too,” sighs the singer. “He was one of my best friends, and he was sick for a long time. We wanted to immortalize him and not just focus on his sickness and how he passed away. The song is about how awesome he was, how he affected me, and how he changed my life.”
All Hail The Yeti first emerged from the streets of Hollywood in 2006, touting a delicate balance of Acid Bath-drenched sludge, grooves a la Pantera, and a healthy dose of Mötley Crüe-style excess and infectiousness. The group became a fan favorite on the road, supporting the likes of In This Moment, Hollywood Undead, Motionless In White, and more. Now, their stories stand poised to infect all of heavy music.
“We really pushed to outdo ourselves on Screams From A Black Wilderness,” Garritty leaves off. “These stories feel real to us. I want each person to feel something different though. Listen to it and make up your own story within ours.”
Invidia is a project of rock veterans Travis Johnson (ITM) on vocals; Brian Jackson (Skinlab) guitars/vocals; Matt Snell (5FDP) bass; Logan Mader as producer; Marcos Medina (Skinlab,TMG) guitars and Darren Badorine on drums.
When perusing the lineup of Invidia and recognizing the names of current and former members of In This Moment, Five Finger Death Punch and Skinlab you might think you have the band figured out. You don’t. While the ten-legged Las Vegas based wrecking crew certainly bring elements of their other bands to Invidia’s sound -- this is a beast that stands apart, and their debut As The Sun Sleeps makes this very clear.
“While what we’re doing is still ‘metal’ there were no rules when we started this band,” says vocalist Travis Johnson, who formerly fronted Flatline and currently handles bass duties for In This Moment. “The mixing of ideas and styles worked for us because we let it, and every song is different from the last. Not having to ‘stay in the box and write the same stuff everyone already likes’ was pure gold, and an exhilarating opportunity for us all.”
While a core sound unites the tracks across the record under the watchful eye of producer/manager Logan Mader (Once Human, Machine Head), the band gleefully crash through sub-genre walls, embracing everything from industrial sludge to Bay Area thrash, a boot placed firmly up the ass of everything they do.
“Of course we set out to make a killer record, but what made it so unique was the way everyone worked together. We all trust Logan without question, we all knew him or had worked with him previously. It was a really positive, comfortable environment to create in, so the music just evolved really fast but at the same time smoothly, and it was a fun, exciting experience.”
The band’s origins date back to December 2015, though long relationships exist between the majority of the members. Conversations between Johnson and guitarist Brian Jackson (formerly of Skinlab) got the ball rolling, and soon afterward Jackson entered the studio with Mader to start “hashing out” some music. Getting wind of this, bassist Matt Snell (formerly of Five Finger Death Punch) – a long time friend and often tour mate of Jackson and Johnson – enthusiastically offered his services. Drummer Darren Badorine who had previously collaborated with Johnson was soon drafted into the fold, the final piece of the puzzle coming with ex-Skinlab guitarist Marcos Medina. “When we were looking for a second guitarist Brian said ‘dude, why didn’t I think of this sooner – I’ve got the perfect guy! Hang on lemme call him!’ That was it, super smooth and easy and the band was going. It was like it was ‘meant to be’.”
The various personalities and styles of the members soon gelled, and bonded and driven by a common goal they worked quickly and passionately. The result is a collection of songs that not only land with phenomenal force but skewer the listener with ruthless hooks.
“That was our goal, what we wanted to do with these songs, but at the same time we didn’t want every track to be the same, so we firmly stuck to the idea of always doing what was right for the individual song. Logan was instrumental in this department. He really seems to inspire confidence while recording, and pulls music out of people they maybe didn’t know they had in them.”
Listen to lead off track “Making My Amends” and you will get the full on Invidia effect: tighter than hell, built around monstrous grooves and armed with a truly scathing chorus that makes you want to punch whatever is in your vicinity at the time. Blast your eardrums with “Now Or Never” and you will be no less pummelled, but its industrial-infused thunder, propulsive rhythms and cinematic grandiosity will take you to a wholly different place. Or crank up “Feed The Fire” and embrace the southern grooves woven into its titanic riffing, its chorus and climax almost impossibly huge.
Producer Logan Mader says, "I loved working on this album! Invidia's sound has huge balls while maintaining a great sense mass appeal with big hooks and heavy grooves. The guys are dead serious about making it all happen and very self-sufficient. Producing records like this are the ones that make my job fun and inspiring."
With the album primed to drop, those coming into contact with the band’s music will likely Google the definition of Invidia, and learn that the Latin phrase refers to a sense of envy, conjuring a sense of spite and resentment at the success of others. It is not unreasonable to suggest that a great many bands currently operating in the active-rock/metal sphere will feel just that when confronted by the songs on As The Sun Sleeps, the album title also connected to this concept.
“We’re a Vegas based band, we’re out at night, and that’s also when the ‘demons come out to play’, as the last track on the record says. You see a lot of envy and judgment in the world, even more so if you’re an ‘out every night’ sort of guy.”
While Johnson remains committed to In This Moment he has every intent on touring hard with As The Sun Sleeps, not wanting Invidia to ever be considered a side project. “Who knows, maybe we’ll tour with In This Moment and I’ll get to pull a double every night!” he laughs. “Stranger things have happened!”
Following the path set by legends such as Godsmack, Avenged Sevenfold, Hinder and Shinedown to name a few, Alabama rockers BrokenRail set out to make their own mark in modern music with their own blend of post-grunge rock. The band consists of Blake Clawson (vocals) Dave Delacruz (guitar) Dick Black (bass) and Alex Hilton (drums).
BrokenRail’s music has been featured on ESPN and NBC Sports, won two #1 chart positions in two different rock charts on the MTV powered OurStage.com in 2011, another in 2012, and remains a top 10 All Time band on RoadRunner Records unsigned rock charts, SignMeTo.
As Blake puts it, “Great rock comes from strong emotion. People can tell when it’s real, something you’ve actually been through yourself. If you want lies, you won’t find them here.”
After a successful debut release Welcome To The Escape in 2010 featuring Alabama producer Ben Trexel and Shinedown/Crossfade producer Rick Beato, BrokenRail toured heavily across the Southern regions as they prepared for their next CD. The band released their follow-up sophomore EP Never The Same, engineered and produced by Framing Hanley producer Brett Hestla in December 2011.
BrokenRail completed recording of their sophomore full-length album in October 2013 after traveling to Los Angeles to work with As I Lay Dying producer Joseph McQueen.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Doors open at 7:00 pm and showtime is 8:00.