Interview: Conducting From the Grave, Mike Powell

Nefarious Realm: Recently Conducting From The Grave was in the running to play this years
installment of The Summer Slaughter Tour. What were your thoughts on that?

Mike Powell: I actually thought that it was a pretty sweet idea that we were in the running for
the spot, although I think that we have been around long enough for us to not have to battle
for it with votes, it was still a pretty cool thing to be a part of because it helped out a lot with
getting our name out there even more so with the amount of people who came through to
vote on Facebook, who had never heard of us before. Plus we only lost to Within The Ruins by
a couple thousand votes which is really good, considering they are getting really big really
fast. So all in all, it was a good thing because now we are going to co-headline Slaughter
Survivors Tour and share the stage with all the bands that people were working so hard to
get into Summer Slaughter so the promotional part of it is already pretty much handled.

NRP: Are you looking forward to the Slaughter Survivors Tour?

MP: Absolutely. I’ve seen tons of comments from people saying they are actually more
stoked on the Survivors lineup than they are the actual Summer Slaughter, its also a more up
close and personal tour. Smaller venues in my opinion are BY FAR a lot more explosive for
tours like this, and I would much rather be playing in front of fans who will actually be able to
crowd surf and be in our faces versus playing shows where people are behind guard rails.
Not to say big tours aren’t fun (and sharing the stage with TBDM is a personal dream of mine)
but being able to interface with people who come to shows while I’m on stage certainly helps
me and my performance. So yes I am very stoked.

NRP: I’m one of those persons more stoked for Slaughter Survivors than the main event.
Speaking of tours, which has been your favorite so far?

MP: I think my favorite tour so far has been the Spread The Venom Tour we just recently did
with Kataklysm, All Shall perish, Decrepit Birth, and Abysmal Dawn. We are very close with
all the guys in ASP so it was just one massive love fest going on between our two bands, lots
of parting, lots of good times.

NRP: It’s been said that the guys in All Shall Perish are really fun dudes. Any memories stick
out?

MP: Many do, but most (if not all) are pretty gnarly, and are at risk of destroying some band
members reputations, so I will not go into detail. Lets just say Canada knows we like to
party…

NRP: Those are the best kind of memories. Looks like I’ll have to go talk to some other the
bands you toured with and ask them about it. HA! “Revenants” came out last October, are
you fellas working on a new release? If so, what can we expect, the same or will it have
some variance?

MP: Yes in fact we are, “Revenants” was actually tracked and ready to go back around
March 2010, they were just in between vocalists and by the time I had joined, recording
schedules had already been filled which delayed my recording of vocals, otherwise the
album would have been released sooner. So naturally by the time we released the album we
were already, for lack of a better word, bored with playing them. Not to say we don’t enjoy
playing them anymore, but musically we always want to move forward and progress, so
John started coming up with ideas and Jeff, Greg, and Steven are hard at work putting
together some shredtastic stuff as we speak. I think I can safely say its going to be a
combination of our release “When Legends Become Dust” and our current album, but a bit
darker, and I know we are experimenting with the tuning so we may even drop down a step,
but nothing set in stone.

NRP: How has working with Sumerian Records been?

MP: Sumerian is a good label, with that being said I also think at times that we are definitely
under promoted, even before I joined the band I was amazed at the fact that CFTG was a
signed band on Sumerian that stayed remarkably in the dark, but I also think that the early
split and departure from CFTG to With Passion had a lot to do with it as well. But still in the
back of my mind I get the feeling that we are not taken as seriously as a lot of the other
bands on the label, when the amount of hard work and dedication we put into this is insane.

NRP: There’s almost always a constant battle between label and band, just have to enjoy the
time and make the best of it. Could always be worse! What initially got you into performing?
Besides having some pipes, do you play any instruments?

MP: I think I was around 10 or 11 years of age when I got my first guitar, but I can remember
being as young as 3 or 4 watching my father jam on acoustic to his favorite rush and Jimmy
Hendrix albums so I have always been around music, and to tell you the truth I cant even tell
you when I first picked up a microphone exactly. I did always sing around the house, and in
grade school I took some chorus and choir classes so I have pretty much always been
singing one way or another. I always went to shows at a local venue near my house too and
seeing all the awesome artists and bands on stage did have an inspirational effect on me.
Just cant tell you that exact moment haha.

NRP: When it comes to music, what do you find yourself listening to? Any guilty pleasures?

MP: I listen to all kinds of music, the only genre I don’t listen to is country, not to big on
dubstep either, if its good Ill listen to it, no guilty pleasures needed.

NRP: Country is a no fly zone with me as well. Instant headache. Besides music, what other
interests do you have?

MP: I am a huge graphic art enthusiast, and I love gaming, I’m actually more of a nerd than a
metal head and if you see me at shows chances are I’m by our merch table playing league of
legends on my laptop or playing super Nintendo or Playstation through an emulator. My
Nintendo pretty much raised me.

NRP: I was a Sega kid myself. Okay, enough about you, back to the band! What’s the next goal
Conducting From The Grave is looking to achieve?

MP: Band wise I really cant speak for everyone but I do know we always want to push on and
continue making the best music that we can for all of our friends and fans out there, for
myself its to continue to make people happy. Its a good feeling when people come up to you
and tell you your music helps them, and as long as it does, ill keep making it.

NRP: Thank you Mike for taking the time to answer my questions. Any last words you would
like to add?

MP: I guess it would be that everyone should be checking the Slaughter Survivors dates and
get ready to come party with us and all the other bands on the tour, and to thank you for
wanting to interview me and giving me the opportunity to speak my mind.

Conducting From the Grave:
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Interview conducted by: Matt Darcy

Review: AFTER THE BURIAL – “In Dreams” (Sumerian Records)

On “In Dreams,” the latest release from the Sumerian Records artist, the breakdowns are still there, the “bounce” is still there, and the shred is still there…somewhat. My first listen to this album gave me the sense that the band hadn’t really progressed much musically, and wasn’t trying to show any real sense of change or maturity as musicians. A few listens later and that feeling still lurks, but not as strongly, because where this album has (mostly) what you would come to expect after hearing the last release, aside from the solos, those fast paced shred riffs seem to be a bit distant, and even in some songs lacking, making it seem that they’ve almost stepped backwards.

Opening is the song “My Frailty” with a riff that I can almost swear I heard on an old Korn record from the 90s (yes, I was that guy at one point in time, get over it, you probably were too), mixed with a bit of a Dillenger Escape Plan style harmony, then right into a mid-paced riff that seems to be the main point of the song. That pace continues, and continues, and after a little while sounds very redundant. Track three, titled “Pendulum” seems to be one of the more melodic songs of the album, and there’s small hints of clean vocals every now and then. I can’t quite make out what they’re saying, but judging by the gang vocals at the end of the song, they’re saying “We lose control.” I can picture kids piling up to sing along to this already.

A few songs in, the technicality picks up a bit, and they bring those cool “meedly” riffs back in for short periods of time, but still don’t have any riffs based on the shredfest that the last one was, and where they are seen sound exactly the same as the one on the last song. “To Carry you Away” starts off with an ambient sounding clean riff, and then kicks in with what sounds like a riff that you think you heard somewhere on Shadows Fall‘s album “The War Within“, but can’t place your finger on the song. It continues like that for a little while, even with clean vocals in the chorus, then builds into one big massive breakdown for a few minutes.

Overall it’s a solid effort, and I can definitely see the hardcore fans absolutely loving every minute of this, as I’ve already been in a few arguments over this. For me, it’s just a mediocre metalcore album from a band that had a chance at one point to remain ahead of the game, but instead took half a step back and settled, plus the clean vocals kind of make me scratch my head a bit. It’s definitely an album worth listening to, but in order to progress, a few steps in the right direction may just be what After the Burial needs.

RATING:  5 / 10
By: Greg Mann