Welcome to Napalm Flesh! This week we have an interview with legendary guitarist Jeff Loomis, who we caught up when he played Salt Lake with Periphery and Protest the Hero on April 6. We talked to him about his days in Nevermore, his new solo album, and the metal scene at large. We also have our usual weekly calendar rundown as well as blog-exclusive reviews of Accept. Cathter, Pelican and the Nails/Skin Like Iron split.
Compiled by Bryer Wharton
Tonight deathcore stalwarts All Shall Perish headline In The Venue with Carnifex, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Conducting from the Grave and The Contortionist. Tickets are $17 for the all ages show, doors at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, April 28, East Coast thrashers Overkill headline the Complex with God Forbid, Diamond Plate and Suidakra. Tickets, $22 in advance or $25 the day of the show, are available for the all ages show. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Also Saturday, locals Downfall, Truce, Deny Your Faith and Poonhammer play the South Shore Bar & Grill (21+). $5 gets you in the door, music underway around 8 p.m.
Monday, April 30 Kittie headlines the Complex with Blackgaurd and The Agonist with locals Darkblood and Hooga opening up the show. $20 tickets are available for the 21+ show in the Vertigo portion of The Complex, doors at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 1, Psychostick returns to Salt Lake, playing Kilby Court with support from Downtown Brown, Dead Revelator, Project Blackthorn and Perish Lane. $12 tickets are available for the all ages show, doors at 6 p.m.
Interview with Jeff Loomis
Guitarist Jeff Loomis has had an unprecedented career. As a teenager, he tried out for an open spot in Megadeth, but was turned down due to his young age—a mistake Dave Mustaine would try to remedy in 2008, only to have Loomis turn him down in favor of solo projects. After this early rejection, he spent a few months in short-lived Sanctuary, which opened the doors of fate when he and his bandmates regrouped to form the legendary Nevermore. Loomis’ technique, use of 7-string guitars, and songwriting style came to define the progressive death metal band and inspired legions of future guitarists. Nevermore shocked fans when they called it quits in 2001, after 18 years of playing together. Unfazed, Loomis began work on his critically-acclaimed solo album Zero Order Phase, and he hasn’t looked back. Napalm Flesh was lucky enough to sit down with this legendary shredder as he toured cross-country with some of the young progressive bands his music has inspired over the last few decades, and find out about the release of his second solo project, Plains of Oblivion.
SLUG: How has the tour been so far? How are you liking this next generation of progressive metal bands?
Loomis: It’s all been absolutely awesome. It’s a trip, it’s weird, because obviously I’m used to playing with Nevermore, and used to a more traditional heavy metal. But I think this stuff is really cool and I’m a fan of it. I really dig the music these guys make. I’m a huge Periphery fan so I’ve been able to sit down with Misha [Mansoor, guitar] and play some stuff. It’s been really fun! The tour is so relaxing, everybody really gets along and it’s a chilled environment. No one is out there to show anyone up, it’s all about the music.
SLUG: So close to your album release! [Editor's Note: Loomis' album Plains of Oblivion was released April 10, four days after this interview was conducted.] You’ve put some songs and snippets out there—how are they being received both by the public at large and live at your shows?
Loomis: Really well! People writing back to me on my Facebook page are really digging it, it’s a really diverse record there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of guest guitar players: Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine, Chris Poland, Atilla Voros who used to be in Nevermore. Ihsahn from Emporer sang a track called Surrender, and a good friend Christine Rhoades is doing vocals on a track for me—she also did some work with Nevermore back in ’99. Her voice is so amazing, so I thought it’d be cool to have her be a part of this record. Live, it’s been trickier because of the whole instrumental vibe—this is an instrumental band, and people are like, “Where’s the singer?” But then they get it, realizing I’m a guitar instrumentalist too.
SLUG: What’s the process like for finding vocalists for your tracks? Do you write songs with certain people in mind or does that come later?
Loomis: That happened for Christine—I had the songs already written for her. We did four songs together, and two of them will be on the Japanese bonus CD. For Ihsahn, that was actually going to be another instrumental, but my producer Aaron and I decided we should do another vocal bit since the album already had plenty of instrumental tracks. Aaron came up with the idea to have him sing, so I sent him a polite email to see if he would be interested and he loved the track. A week later he sent us this symphony of vocal tracks, it was great!