The history of extreme metal in the Twin Cities is richer than those from out of the area might think. Minneapolis and St. Paul has spawned legacy acts such Anal Blast, respected veterans such as Demonicon, strong newcomers such as Ghost Hook, and djent-superstars such as, well, take your pick.
That said, Cwn Annwn has always had a complex relationship with death metal. Many of the genre’s fans (and musicians) have historically viewed us as, uh, well, pussies. Such is life. But the instances where we’ve developed friendships with bands of the extreme persuasion have typically been rooted in a mutual admiration for technical prowess. While you won’t hear much of it in our own sound, we’ve always held a deep respect for the highly-honed skills of death metal bands like Obscura, Carcass and Nile.
One band who exemplifies the best that Twin Cities death metal has to offer is We Are Legion. Active since 2009, We Are Legion is a five-piece strike squad of brutality that has shared the stage with numerous touring acts including Deicide, Chimaira, and Obscura. In September 2013, the group debuted their second full-length album, Exit Humanity, through Zero Budget Records.
Quality drumming is the price of admission for any death metal band looking to be taken seriously. And while most acts stop once they have double-bass and blast beats down to a science, drummer Aaron Lanik brings an added dimension and well-rounded approach to We Are Legion’s percussion arising from his extensive background in non-death projects, including Pink Gorilla Vs. Panda Bear and Echoterra. On The Plague Becomes, Lanik combines blasts done at a speed that has to be calculated in Mach units with flourishes that serve as the perfect punctuation to paragraphs of hostility.
Like few other genres, death metal demands athletic aptitude and versatility. Most guitarists possess one of those two. Paul Esch and Will Maravelas, however, bring both to We Are Legion. All throughout Exit Humanity, you’ll find the requisite shredding and arpeggio flares. But its Maravelas and Esch’s ability to add contrast to their demonic trem picking that help We Are Legion stand out in a highly cluttered genre. The tight Schuldiner-influenced triplet riff in A Celestial Awakening, the Spanish-flamenco intro to Shavasana, and jazz-influenced interlude of Ecophagy in particular are examples of strokes not often found in the genre’s repertoire, and their presence accentuates the chaos of the duo’s more traditional death metal assaults.
Vocalist Allan Towne and bassist Neal Pruett are equally critical to We Are Legion’s ability to crush heads. One of the oldest active scene veterans, Towne combines a picture-perfect death metal growl with a refined instinct for catalyzing and directing the band’s on-stage energy. Longtime metaller Pruett is no slouch either, supplying matching freneticism to We Are Legion’s low-end.
Perhaps more importantly, We Are Legion are even better people than they are musicians (and that’s no dig at the latter). Towne in particular has worked tirelessly since his days fronting Si6ks to advance the Twin Cities metal scene, promoting bands for no more reason than a deep love for independent music. Al is the founder and primary contributor to Undead Metal Scene TV a YouTube channel with over 100 videos featuring unsigned Minnesota metal acts.
In addition to being a well-known presence at Guitar Center, Maravelas reps for Zero Budget Records, an independent label that has helped distribute the latest from Killwire, Saturnalia, Eldergaad and Witchden among others. Will is also the proprietor of 14:59 Studios, which has recorded Cold Colours, Dawn of Valor, These World Collide and many more.
You’re a musician in a band. You and your bandmates have invested thousands of dollars in gear – amps, guitars, drums, processors, you name it. Not only that, you’ve spent nearly as many hours practicing, rehearsing, writing and gigging because, well, you’re a musician. This is your passion. Without music, life is monochromatic.
Now imagine if every piece of gear you owned was stolen. In a single instant, the tools that enable your art have vanished.
Thankfully, it is possible to recover stolen gear. Nobody commits this type of crime and then just squats on their ill-gained loot. Eventually, the turds who ripped off our friends will attempt to profit from it.
Our friends in A Moment Without recently recovered some of their stolen gear after a similar robbery thanks to a friend who spotted one of their amps at a local Music Go Round.
The key is to remain vigilant, and this is where we hope we can help.
We created a seven-step guide for people who want to help Demonicon and Daigoro get their gear back. After completing these steps (which should take about five minutes in total), you’ll receive e-mail alerts whenever key items stolen from Demonicon or Daigoro show up online. With any luck, one of these alerts will help the band recover their gear and bring the assholes who committed this crime to justice.
Without further adieu:
Step One: Get A Google Account
Note, if you use Gmail for your primary e-mail address, you can skip this step and go to step two.
To get started, you need to get your primary e-mail address set up as a Google account. Luckily, this is super easy.
Go to this link: Google Accounts. Before filling out the form, select the I prefer to use my current email address option. Then, fill out the fields.
You now have a Google Account that is registered to your e-mail address. Your user name is your e-mail address, and your password is whatever you chose.
Step Two: Go to Google Alerts
Pretty simple. Just go to www.google.com/alerts. If you need to sign in, use your Gmail credentials or the credentials you just created in step one.
Step Three: Create An Alert
In the field labeled Search Query, copy and paste the following with the quotes and capitalization intact: “Ampeg SVT 4″ OR “Ampeg SVT4″
Select the drop-down menu next to How Many and select All Results.
Click Create Alert.
You should now be at a screen that looks like the following:
Step Four: Create A Second Alert
Click Create A New Alert. This will take you back to the screen you were at in step three.
Repeat everything you did in step three, but copy and paste the following with the quotes and capitalization intact in the field labeled Search Query: Behringer “bt2000″
Change the How Many field to read All Results, and create your alert. Your screen should look like the following:
Step Five: Create Additional Alerts
Continue to create additional alerts, copying and pasting the following phrases:
“Ibanez” “Soundgear” “SR-505″
Laney AOR (“Pro100″ OR “Pro 100″)
You should now have an Alerts screen that looks like this:
Step Six – Bookmark The Gear
We have created a special page of our website that lists this stolen gear, which you can visit here. Bookmark this page.
Step Seven – Be Vigilant
You should now begin to get e-mails in your inbox alerting you any time one of the above items appears on the internet, be it on Craigslist, Ebay, Music Go Round, or wherever.
If you suspect that one of these alerts might be one of the stolen items, double-check by cross referencing against the list you just bookmarked. You will get an alert every time one of these items go online somewhere. Note: Most of these alerts will be from legitimate dealers or individuals looking to sell their own legally purchased product. Do not harass every individual who puts a Crate GT3500 on the market.
Wait, I’ve Got A Question
You only had me create five alerts? These guys had a ton of gear ripped off. Why not create alerts for everything?
Good question. The biggest challenge you’ll face when using this method to help Demonicon/Daigoro is that you’ll get a lot of false positives.
For example, if somebody in Florida decides to put their legitimately purchased GT3500 on Craigslist, you’ll end up getting a Google Alerts e-mail. It’s likely that most of the e-mails you receive as alerts will be for legitimate, non-stolen product.
To help minimize how much legitimate stuff you have to sift through, I created queries for the less common items that have unique model numbers and identifiers. If you were to create an alert for “black Jackson Flying V”, for example, your e-mail box would be crushed by the number of alerts you would receive given how many of these things are on the market. That’s not conducive to helping these guys get their gear back.
The biggest aid that anybody can provide Demonicon and Daigoro is in helping to recover just a single item. If one item is found, there’s a decent chance the seller can be traced. When A Moment Without recovered a single piece of their stolen gear, the police learned that it was all unloaded at the same time by the same individual at the same place.
That said, if you want to create additional alerts for the other pieces of gear, feel free. It won’t hurt.
Do I have to copy and paste those alerts exactly as you constructed them?
You don’t have to. I wrote them that way so as to minimize the amount of junk, false alerts that you would receive. That said, if you want to modify those alerts or create your own, feel free!
How can I shut off the e-mails?
Why would you do that, you cold, heartless bastard?
Just go to www.google.com/alerts, and you can either shut off some or all of your alerts. Pretty simple.
What do I do if I think I’ve found a stolen item?
Get in contact with Nate, Eli or Anthony through the Demonicon or Daigoro Facebook pages. They’ll help you verify if what you found is legitimately theirs.
I can’t figure out how to get this Alerts working! What do I do?
Go to YouTube and search for “Google Alerts”. There, you will find a plethora of videos to help you figure out how to use this service.
If you’re still having trouble, please feel free to e-mail me, Neil, at jame0123 [at] comcast.net, or leave your question in the comments, and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
I don’t remember exactly when it was that I first became aware of Cold Colours. I vaguely remember pulling up their website on my dial-up connection sometime around 2001 from my old college apartment in Roseville. If memory serves me correctly, I believe somebody in the band reached out to us (we were just getting off the ground as a band capable of gigging at that point), and I remember being really flattered that somebody had “discovered” us and liked what we had to offer.
Hopefully that story is true – it’s stitched together from some disjointed memories and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s completely false.
Regardless of its origins, the relationship between Cwn Annwn and Cold Colours has been among the most treasured we have built over the years. No band has consistently treated us with more respect, made us feel like legitimate artists and rooted for our success more than the CC boys, and the feeling has been more than mutual.
The tricky thing about that statement, however, is that Cold Colours has meant many different things throughout the years. Founder, vocalist and whatever-instrumentalist-the-band-needs-now Brian Huebner has remained the only constant throughout the band’s many incarnations.
Although the band’s history dates back to 1999, our story begins here:
The Burden Of Hope
The version of the band most associated with the name “Cold Colours” in our memory bank was The Burden Of Hope era group featuring Huebner on vocals and guitar, Glen Wadie on drums, Jon Rayl on keys, Joseph Dunne on bass and Paul Anthony on guitar (and later Lance Vien). The Burden Of Hope sounded much as you would expect from its Travis Smith-painted album cover – melancholy, yet poetic.
The Burden Of Hope was Cold Colours at its most graceful and poignant, and perhaps most adherent to our understanding of their style. Within the confines of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the band was relatively unique – few people were blending gothic undertones with legitimate metal. Live, their shows were extremely powerful and emotive. We shared the stage with Cold Colours several times during this era, and to us, this period was the band’s most distinctive and defining.
During that era, “Breathe In” was their followers’ consensus favorite, even though the band absolutely hated the song (if I’m remembering correctly, anyways).
“All This Time” was my personal favorite song. To this day, I’ll still bust out that C#add9, A, B chord progression during band practice.
The Great Depression
Following the departure of Dunne, Anthony, Wadie and Rayl, Cold Colours entered a more transitory phase. On their primary release from this era, The Great Depression, Huebner drifted musically from the whole-note cadence that marked The Burden Of Hope to a sound that had stronger roots in Iced Earth and Judas Priest. The riffs were faster, the songs were more aggressive and the guitar harmonies grew more dominant.
Despite this shift, Huebner retained his commitment to crafting memorable choruses. Cold Colours’ ability to get stuck in your head was perhaps best exemplified by Redemption, a track which featured a strong, Jon Schaffer-esque guitar hook, well-crafted dynamics and a powerful refrain.
One of the unfortunate byproducts of The Great Depression era was the near-constant shuffling of band members. During the many occasions that I watched Cold Colours play during this time, it was kind of a crapshoot as to what instrument Huebner would be playing. This, combined with a suffering scene, led Cold Colours to become essentially a solo project.
The transition from democracy to autocracy, however, has had a highly transformative impact on the band’s sound. The most striking observation one makes after listening to tracks from Cold Colours newest self-titled release (as well as the occasional live show cobbled together from willing musicians) is how authentic the music has become. Without taking away from the band’s potent prior works, Cold Colours’ new tracks more closely conform to the visual imagery that has defined the band throughout the years, appealing to a much more primal lineage of dark, gothic metal. There is a subtle but meaningful difference between the concepts of “sadness” and “doom”, and the progression in Cold Colours sound represents the band’s traverse between the two.
Perhaps what I’ve admired most about Cold Colours is Huebner’s unrelenting persistence and tenacity. Like anybody who has ever played in an independent band, including ourselves, Brian has been knocked off of his horse on more than one occasion. But in my years of friendship with him, never once have I heard him consider throwing in the towel and foregoing his art, and I’ll be shocked if that day ever arrives.
Moreover, Brian has always viewed success as something that encompasses more than his own band. The number of people who have spent more hours than him growing the profile of Twin Cities metal can be counted on one hand. Brian is a rare member of the metal community who recognizes that a rising tide lifts all boats, and the Twin Cities scene benefits from his involvement. I’m proud to consider his band a peer, and I’m prouder to call him a friend.
Listen to Cold Colours online – http://coldcoloursmetal.bandcamp.com/
Become a fan of Cold Colours on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/coldcoloursmetal
Catch Cold Colours on Saturday, December 7th at Neisen’s – https://www.facebook.com/events/608523679200187/
We are some sick motherfuckers.
Credit: Jim Schott
If you’re a fan of Cwn Annwn, you’ve probably noticed a bit of radio silence since opening for Holy Grail back in July. No shows. Little communication. No incidents with the paparazzi. If you haven’t encountered us in the bowels of Kooler Sound, chances are it’s been a while since you’ve been graced by our sweet, sultry presence.
Why the hermitude? Besides the ever-present struggle to escape the insidious clutches of responsible adulthood, we’ve been hard at work on our new full-length followup to 2011′s The Alpha and the Omega.
This as-of-now untitled project marks our first collaboration with Ian Combs and Waterbury Studios. Working with Ian and his process has had a significant impact on our sound, and thus far, we couldn’t be happier. Ian’s passion, attention to detail and highly-refined ear has brought out a new dimension in our music and added a level of depth unexplored in our prior efforts.
This endeavor covers a sizable range of our band’s history. Two tracks, The Accuser and Two Minutes Hate, were written prior to The Alpha and the Omega (the latter track actually predating Julie joining the band). In contrast, Metamorphosis and Embodying Chaos mark the first material Cwn Annwn has recorded prior to playing out live. Finally, this project also represents our first foray into cover material, as we’ve paid tribute to the seminal prog act Rush with an interpretation of their 1982 classic, Subdivisions.
After what seemed like endless hours of rehearsal, pre-production and tracking, we’re excited to announce that recording is finally complete. The aforementioned Mr. Combs is hard at work on mixing as we speak, and we’re hopeful to share with you the fruits of our labor as soon as we can.
In the meantime, get a taste of what’s to come via the following: