2019 - Year in Review
by Dave Schwartz

2019 was a year full of surprises here at DaBelly.  We renewed some friendships and made some new ones.  

January 2019 DaBelly Unearth - What a strange interview and strange way to start off the year!  First of all, the monkey.   Buz McGrath and Ken Susi insisted that the monkey be part of the interview.  They even went as far as trying to name it!  The interview went off the rails and was a lot of fun.  And a couple of hours later when Unearth took the stage - they really kicked some ass.  Over all, this was one of the most memorable interviews of the year! 
Alien Weaponry - This was Alien Weaponry's first tour of North America and they certainly made the best of it.  Their was a lot of curiousity about the band and their unique approach to hard rock music.  They turned out to be musch more than just three guys in their teens. 
Video Game Bands - The Retro City Festival will be held in Pomona, California Jan. 5 and 6. It is an event celebrating video games with an arcade, pinball, console museum, tournaments, vendors and live music by the MniBosses, The Koopas, Travis Morgan, Super MadNES, 8-Bit Jazz Heroes and The Megas. Sure, you'll want to spend time playing the old games, but the music is pretty amazing. All of the bands at the fest have their own takes on what they play, for some it's a pure tribute, while for others the themes are a jumping off point. The genres range too, from rock and jazz to hip-hop and electronica. We spoke with three groups to learn what they do, why and a bit more.
February 2019 DaBelly NAMM 2019 - This is always our biggest issue of the year.  NAMM brings out the biggest and best of everything music.  DaBelly has covered NAMM for many years and there have been many changes over that time.  But the one thing that remains the same each year is the challenge of wrapping your head around just how big NAMM truely is.  110k visitor, about 7 fottball feilds of space and more new grear than you can see in 4 days.  We haul the gear, talk to the vendors and get the inside scoop on the latest gear because you want to know what's cool for 2019. 
Madame Mayhem - Madame Mayhem is an up and coming band from the New York city area.  Their new single "BROKEN" was released on January 11, 2019. The single was co-written with Keith Wallen of Breaking Benjamin and features Ray Luzier of Korn on drums, as well as Billy Sheehan of David Lee Roth, Mr. Big and others on bass.
Seven Spires - Seven Spires is a symphonic metal band from the Boston, MA area consisting of Adrienne Cowan (vocals), Jack Kosto (guitar), Chris Dovas (drums), and Peter Albert de Reyna (bass).  I found Seven Spires in all the usual ways – a PR announcement detailing their recent signing to Frontier Music lead to some research and the discovery of a very cool new band.  I caught up with the band while literally on the road traveling from Phoenix, AZ to El Paso, TX. 
Issue 227, March 2019 DaBelly Queensryche - Queensryche’s latest record, “The Verdict,” has just dropped and you know what that means, TOUR!  I’ve only heard a few of the new songs but I have to say, they sound great.   This band keeps doing the impossible – changing the minds of the few that see Queensryche as just a legacy band.  The last three albums keep getting stronger and the band keeps attracting new fans. 

I spoke to Mike Wilton just a couple days ago.  Check out the interview!  
Lullwater - Lullwater is yet another cool little band to come out of Athens, GA.  Over the years so much great music has emerged from that town that it has become one of the more iconic places in rock music.  Lullwater is keeping up the cool with their latest release, “Voodoo.”  Recorded in New Orleans, John Strickland (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Daniel Binnie (lead guitar), Roy “Ray” Beatty (bass/vocals) and Joe Wilson (drums/vocals) have taken a significant step forward with this album.  It’s gritty, and interesting and has a great vibe.  You can almost feel a little New Orleans on the record. 
Issue 228, April 2019 DaBelly Fleshgod Apocalypse - Since 2007, Fleshgod Apocalypse has brought the world of theatre and classical music to the infernal metal sphere. Their albums depict adventures on the king's court to tales of philosophical Greek mythology. Their fifth album, "Veleno," meaning venom in Italian brings a concept true to cultural ties and music that will melt your soul. This record set to release May 24th, 2019, features real orchestral ensemble, classical percussionist, baroque choir, a full string quartet and so much more!
SAUL - Saul is a young band hailing from the Sioux City.  The progressive metal act has worked to become one of the most established bands in the area.  Saul consists of William McIlravy (bass and backup vocals), Joe Nichols (drums), Blake Bedsaul (lead vocals), and Zach Bedsaul (guitar and backup vocals)
Another Day Dawns - Hailing from Lehighton, PA – hard alternative rock band Another Day Dawns is making the music industry work for them.  After securing opening slots for Fuel, Avatar, Sammy Hagar, Godsmack, Puddle of Mudd, Bad Flower, Trapt, Breaking Ben, 5 Finger Deathpunch, Daughtry, and BuckCherry, Another Day Dawns is taking the next step.  They just dropped a new EP – “A Different Life” – and released a single with a hot video and soon will be stepping out on their first national tour. 
Issue 229, May 2019 DaBelly Ice Nine Kills - Ice Nine Kills have released their fifth studio album and arguably their best record to date, “The Silver Scream.”  If you know INK, they’re are best known for horror-inspired song lyrics.  “The Silver Scream” is a collection of 13 songs, each inspired by a movie within the horror genre.  Examples of the source material are:  A Nightmare on Elm Street ("The American Nightmare"), Friday the 13th ("Thank God It's Friday"), and The Crow ("A Grave Mistake").  Released October 5th, 2018, “The Silver Scream” was produced by Drew Fulk.
Yngwie Malmsteen - Singer/songwriter and guitar master Yngwie Malmsteen released his first solo album, “Rising Force,” in 1984 and the title cut was nominated for a Grammy for “Best Rock Instrumental.” He has released more than 25 efforts since then, including the 1996 cover album, “Inspiration,” and his newest work, “Blue Lightning” (Mascot Records). He is currently on tour is support of the effort. It was released March 29 and features Nalmsteen's takes on blues-rock songs, such as “Foxey Lady,” “Paint It Black” and “Smoke on the Water.”
Children of Bodom - Children of Bodom are on tour in support of their latest record, “Hexed,” their tenth studio album which was released March 8th, 2019.  The album is a throwback in ways – it’s the first album since “Follow the Reaper” to include neo-classical elements.  “Hexed” really is a great album with much of the records drive coming from the prominent mix of keyboard parts creating a flavor reminiscent of COBs earlier works. 
Issue 230, June 2019 DaBelly GEARS - Gears is a band from Miami, FL which consists of Jimmy Wooten (drums) and Trip Six (vocals).  It’s probable that you’ve caught them live at some point as the band tours extensively.  They’ve recently released a music video for their current single, "Tango Yankee" which features Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust.  It’s a cool song that pays tribute to the men and women in our military who protect America as well as the first responders that help us all put our lives back together when things go wrong.  After a bit of phone tag, Wooten and I finally sat down and discussed all that is current and all that will be Gears. 
Dropout Kings - The Dropout Kings surprised many when they erupted from Phoenix, AZ.  Some felt that nu-metal was so 15 years ago while others realized that the genre was once again gaining a foothold.  The band, which includes Adam Ramey (vocals), Eddie Wellz (vocals), Chucky Guzman (guitars), Staig Flynn (guitars), Rob Sebastian (bass) and Trevor Norgren (drums), wasn’t about to make any apologies.  The Dropout Kings just play the music that they feel and the result, “AudioDope,” was released in August of 2018.  Since the release, the Dropout Kings have been touring with bands like OTEP and currently they’re out with Crazytown.  I caught up with vocalist Adam Ramey to find out more about the record and touring.
Issue 231, July 2019 DaBelly Five Finger Death - Metal rockers Five Finger Death Punch appear on stage as hard as their name. But off stage, they are quite amiable and truly appreciate their fans. At the Family Values Tour, when FFDP finished their set, they exited the stage and then went out to the crowd, signing autographs, posing for photographs and giving huge bear hugs. This may seem paradoxical, but read on and you'll soon discover why it's perfect.
Volbeat - Danish rock band VolBeat, fresh off the success of 2010's "Beyond Hell/Above Heaven," which featured three No. 1 rock radio hits, "A Warrior's Call", "Still Counting" and "Heaven Nor Hell," has just released "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies."  The album is an evolution of rock melodies contained in a pseudo western motif.  Bold and Imaginative, “Outlaw Gentlemen” is currently running up the charts powered by singles, “Cape of Our Hero" and "The Hangman's Body Count.”
Carpathia - Boston based alternative rock band Carpathia came together piece by piece over the last three years. Their style of rock blends in nostalgic nu metal, groovy guitars and beautiful vocals that are packed full of punch.  June 9th, 2019 Carpathia gave the world a taste of what is to come with "1912." This four track EP features the single, "Sacrifice," the band released as a lyric video. Vocalist Samantha Alice gives us an inside look into Carpathia and "1912."
Issue 232, August 2019 DaBelly Betraying The Martyrs - Two days after this interview the bands trailer was engulfed in a fire which destroyed much of their gr=ear and ended their North American tour.

Betraying The Martyrs were out on their first headline tour of America, promoting their upcoming album “Rapture” when tragedy struck. 

The incident occurred July 11th, around 4 a.m. – after their Los Angeles show.  While driving down the freeway, the trailer portion of the band's Mercedes Sprinter van caught fire.  All band and crew members were able to safely to exit the vehicle with no major injuries.  Tragically, all of the band's equipment was lost in the blaze. 

Defying Decay - Defying Decay is a diverse band with members scattered across the globe.  Blessed with a new record, "Metamorphosis" (June 28, 2019) via Legend Recordings, the band has signed on their first tour of America – Summer Rapture, featuring Betraying The Martyrs, Entheos, Within Destruction and Sentinels.  This is a great tour package for Defying Decay and an opportunity for them to place their music in front of western audiences. 
Issue 233, September 2019 DaBelly Collective Soul - Collective Soul is back on the road with their new record, “Blood.”  First listen will tell you that this is a special record.  A quick look at the charts and you get a clue just how special.  It’s been about 4 years since their last album, “See What You Started by Continuing.”  That is a writing/touring cycle that’s a bit longer than the typical.  And as I watched the show at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, I could tell just how much their fans had missed them. 
M.O.D. Classic - It all started back in the '80s with four young guys in a band. That band is M.O.D. (Method Of Destruction), with S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death) vocalist Billy Milano, the axeman Tim McMurtrie, all-about the-bass man Ken  Ballone and sitting at the throne, Keith Davis. The year was 1987 and M.O.D. made their debut with "U.S.A. for M.O.D." and what a debut it was. 
Issue 234, October 2019 DaBelly Lacuna Coil - Lacuna Coil was back on tour in North America in support of their new record - “Black Anima.”  The album drops October 11th on Century Media Records.  I spoke to vocalist Andrea Ferro backstage at the Pressroom in Phoenix, AZ. 
Toothgrinder - It seems like Toothgrinder is constantly on the road.  This was our second interview with the band having spoken to them in our Nvember 2017 issue.  Justin Matthews and Wills Weller are always fun and enlightening. 
Strength Betrayed - We had a phone interview with this unsigned Christian rock band from North Carolina. 
Issue 235, November 2019 DaBelly Sabaton - After years of trying, this was our very first interview with Sabaton and they didn't disappoint. 
The Hu - This band was the surprise fo the year.  Mongolian hard rock?  Who could've known??  The Hu toured North America for the first time and soldout most of their tour dates.  It was a challenging interview - done through a translator - and worth every moment.   
Alien Weaponry - Back for a second helping!  It was our second interview this year with this New Zealand band.  Hd so much fun that we came back for seconds. 

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