Interview with Billy Hamilton of Silverstein at Warped Tour ’17

Rei: Alright, Warped Tour. Rei Haycraft with Silverstein.

Billy: Hey, I’m Billy from Silverstein. I play the bass and yell sometimes. Make some sounds with my mouth.

Rei: How has your Warped been thus far?

Billy: Sufficiently warped. Yeah, you know, it’s our seventh or eighth year on the tour. It’s been very hot. I think we’ve got the majority of the both very hot, hot days out of the way, and the very hot wet days out of the way with both Florida, and Arizona, and Vegas, all that. It’s been hot, but yeah, we kind of know how to keep cool. We’ve got a great hangout set up behind our tent. We got pals coming around, we got some AstroTurf laid down and a barbecue and stuff, so you know.

Rei: Practicing your putt back there?

Billy: Yup, it’s been good. We just celebrated Canada Day. It’s great, you know?

Rei: Oh goodness. So, you all, we’ll say scene veterans, started in 2000. You’ve got 17 years under your belt, a ton of material, so coming out and playing a short set like this festival tour, what is it like building that set and deciding what to play?

Billy: Yeah, it’s tough. We’ve mostly been playing half an hour, some days it’s even been 25 minutes because it’s been a tighter schedule. It’s definitely tough for us, yeah, with over 100 songs. I think we just try, you know, we’ve got a couple of set staples. We try to mix it up a little bit, but try to play a little something of everything. Some old stuff, some new stuff, some not so old stuff, you know? Try to pick the fan favorites, as well. I think, though, it’s cool to see people responding and reacting to our newer songs. We’re not just a nostalgic band that people are like, “Oh, I love that record from 15 years ago.” They’re really pumped up about our new stuff, and we’re putting out a new record in a week or two, so …People are fired up. It seems really cool.

Rei: It’s July 14th, I believe?

Billy: 14th, yeah.

Rei: That is so close. Looming, even. What songs are you most excited for fans to hear that you haven’t been playing live yet?


Billy: You know what, we actually just dropped a new track this morning in Germany via a German website, but I think you can check it out worldwide. The song’s called Whiplash, and it’s my personal favorite on the record. It’s the second last track, which is kind of cool because a lot of bands seem to put the favorite tracks at the beginning of the record, but I think that it’s a real anchor of the album. It’s like a kind of fast, upbeat song, and I think it’s cool to end the record with … I mean, the last song on the record is quite mellow and …

Rei: Brings it all back home.

Billy: It’s heavy and mellow. It’s real deep sounding, and it does kind of bring it all back home, but I think this record’s the real kind of smack in the face before … This song is the real smack in the face before the record’s over. My personal favorite. I think it really was one of the last songs to kind of come together in the studio, and I was like, “Oh, wow, I love this now.” You know, once I heard the hook in the chorus I was like, that makes the song for me. So check out Whiplash, you know?

Rei: If you can find it on the interwebs, otherwise it will be out very, very soon. You’ve created over 100 songs, how has the song process changed as you all have evolved?

Billy: Yeah, I think, I mean our writing process changed quite a bit a few records ago when we brought Paul Marc Rousseau along to play guitar. He’s a great songwriter and he’s contributed the bulk of our catalog since joining the band. He wrote a lot of this record and co-produced it, as well. He’s brought a lot to the table, as well I think like working with a new producer. This guy Derek Hoffman produced our record. He’s a Toronto guy and an old friend. Having his hand in the mix I think helped shape the songwriting.

I that what we’ve been trying to do is maintain a good aspect of what Silverstein is and what Silverstein’s been for 17 years, but still kind of keep up with what’s happening in music nowadays and be able to give it a fresh and modern kind of taste. With this record in particular we did a lot of writing in a heavier guitar tuning, so the songs do have a bit of a heavier sound to it, but I think then that just allowed us to put a little bit more of a pop kind of element to it and have it not be so poppy and radio sounding or something.

Rei: It still has that meat.

Billy: It allowed us to further the dynamic, I think. While we were able to get heavier we were able to get kind of poppier and the songs have bigger hooks and stuff without sounding kind of too cheesy or lame. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I think people hearing the record next week are going to be really stoked.

Rei: As you’re playing Warped Tour you’re gaining new fans that haven’t heard you all before, or may not even be aware that you have such a vast catalog. What are you hoping that new fans take away from your performance?

Billy: I think just that realizing that we’ve been a band for a while, and that maybe some of their favorite bands that are younger might have been fans of ours or been influence by us, or that there’s all this back catalog for them to discover, you know? It’s not just about a new record, it’s not just about an old record, it’s about the whole package. We’ve got I think eight records now, so yeah, there’s a lot to dive into if people are just finding out about Silverstein now. Definitely dive in and check out, there’s a lot of great songs out there.

Rei: If you had to write the memoirs of Silverstein right now, what would be the things that stand out that would be in the first chapter?

Billy: I mean, I think we got our well known … We’re Canadian, we’re well known as being a real friendly band, so nice guys, very apologetic, you know? All the Canadian stereotypes. I think we like to party but we keep it pretty tame, you know? I think people would, yeah, know us as quintessential Canadians.

Rei: Are there any moments that stick out at you? Moments on tour, stories that you can share with us? Everybody loves a good story.

Billy: It’s always the toughest question when you’re put on the stop, it’s like, “What’s the craziest tour story?” And then you never remember because it’s lie every day is kind of the same.

Rei: How about this Warped?

Billy: This Warped so far … I don’t know. We just got a lot of good pals. We’ve toured with a lot of the bands. We’ve been hanging out pretty hard. We hosted the Canada Day barbecue the other day. I did some interpretive dance with the Canadian flag to Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. That was pretty wild.

Rei: Multi-talented, this guy.

Billy: Yeah. I don’t know. Things don’t get too crazy for us. We were just in South America and Shane lost his passport, that was about as crazy as it gets.

Rei: That sucks.

Billy: But no, this Warped’s been cool. We got a lot of good friends and were meeting a lot of new friends. We’ve gotten pretty tight with Gwar, who we’re sharing a stage with. They’re veterans as well, but you know, we’ve been able to kind of get in behind the scenes with them and hang out with them outside of the costumes, I guess. They’re really great dudes and we’re stoked to be hanging with them. We obviously got good friends we toured with like Beartooth, and Hands Like Houses, and Hawthorne Heights. Counterparts are local friends of ours. There’s a lot of great bands that are here. Being as an Ocean, you know?

Rei: It seems like people keep talking about it like a family reunion or a rockstar camp, or something like that. Are there any bands that if you had a dream tour you would love to tour with that you haven’t yet? That’s a tall order because you all have done a tone.

Billy: That we haven’t yet. Well, it’s tough to say that we haven’t yet, because Warped Tour really does bring a lot of bands together. I just immediately thought we’ve been trying to do a tour with this band that I love called Defeater for a long time, but they were on Warped Tour three, four years ago and we toured with them then, so that’s tough to say. Trying to think. This new band that I would love to tour with that we have yet to be able to tour with is called Culture Abuse. I saw them a couple times, I love their record. I think they just signed with Epitaph. That would be a band I would love to take out on a tour. I met them, they’re cool guys, you know? Culture Abuse, what’s up? Come on tour with us.

Rei: I was going to say. Don’t worry, go. Google it right now.

Billy: Their record Peach is awesome. It was my favorite punk record last year.

Rei: That’s awesome. What advice would you have for local bands who are trying to do what you all have done?

Billy: I always just say just keep at it. Keep trying to play a lot of shows, recording your music as much as possible, constantly trying to make things better. Practice, play, record, tour. Get out there, you know? Just do it. I don’t want to just say practice makes perfect, but repetition makes perfect. Just keep doing it, pushing along, get your stuff out there. Get online, get your stuff on social media and just push it.

I feel like new bands often tend to wait for things to happen for them, like they just kind of say, “Oh, we’re going to do this and then we’ll wait and find a label to pick us up, or a promoter, or a booking agent.” It’s like, you got to do that stuff yourself, you know? DIY culture is still alive very much, and a lot of the time now labels, and managers, and booking agents are looking for that. Looking for you to do the work to show that you have the ambition and that you’re able to kind of draw a crowd and get people excited about your band yourself. So do it yourself, you know? Just get out there and do it.

Rei: Any other final words of wisdom for our fans back home?

Billy: I guess just check out the new Silverstein record, Dead Reflection. It’s coming in about a week.

Rei: July 14th.

Billy: July 14th.

Rei: So close.

Billy: I’ve lost track of the days. I’m very warped.

Rei: Nice pun there. I see what you did. Well, thank you so much for taking the time with us-

Billy: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Rei: And have a great rest of your Warped.

Billy: You as well. Cheers.


Codex Obscura – Miira review


Review written by William Dibble

Art, by definition, is an intensely personal creation. It is a direct channel into the mind of its creator, and deathcore is no exception (we erroneously referred to Codex Obscura as death metal in a prior review). Miira is a self-recorded, self-mixed, self-produced album by one person, which makes its musical and lyrical achievement all the more potent. It is important to know that each track on this album is incredibly intimate and personal. It is self-described as a “series of vignettes representing different periods” of the artist’s life. For those who did not see our original review, Codex Obscura is a transgender deathcore artist who creates her art about her experiences and, in this case, her acceptance of herself.


The first track, “Fear Made a Home in Me”, does not begin by mincing words or riffs. It assaults your ears from the first second, with her growls and blasting guitar. The song is an exploration of her fear, both of herself and others, and her shyness. It is also, however, a touching (if musically heavy) love note to her mother. From early childhood, the song moves to discussing later childhood and self-loathing from Christianity in “No Company”. This song features an almost haunting background sound throughout portions, but also an incredible breakdown that can stand toe-to-toe with many of the other best bands in the core genre. The lyrical theme of this song is carried into “To Suffer in Silence”.


Here, the album shifts rhythms drastically. While it still features blast beats and breakdowns, it also sounds completely different from “No Company”, with a much heavier, in-your-face sound. For our readers who have been taught self loathing and hatred, this song in particular may speak to you. It comes from the viewpoint of somebody who was taught that everything they were and wanted was wrong, and speaks openly about the pain and loneliness it causes. Those familiar with this possibly know what comes next in “A Hole in Between”. By now, we are in the teen years of Codex Obscura’s life, and this song is a testament to her emotions in that period. Her hatred of other kids “who got to go to public school… with friends… who felt normal and okay with who their parents made them out to be.” This song also takes on a fairly experimental sound, with a high-pitch sound following along with parts of the lyrics, high above the guttural guitars of the rest of the song. These parts are echoed in the outro of the song.


“Gray and Red” specifically addresses her years from 13 to 17. The hatred was hurting her life, making it impossible to befriend others, to the point where it became comfortable. The bridges and breakdowns in this song come in a way that a person can easily picture a depressed, angry teenager in their head. There are frequent breaks, mixing parts that can almost be called “soft” with brutal drum beats and breakdowns. The mood of the lyrics begins to change here, though, as we get to “Eyes Toward the Sun”. The sound changes substantially, too. We’re at a part in a journey through her life where she was finally able to begin to explore what it meant to be herself. While this track has a steadier, slower intro, it does definitely feature heavy breakdowns and screams. The intro, however, is a motif it retains throughout, and the entire song has a more consistent sound to it. It isn’t until now one realizes how dissonant some of the prior tracks, especially “A Hole in Between” and “Gray and Red”, sound (which only serves to complement the songs).


This changes almost instantly- “4 AM” returns to the hard, fast, jarring sounds of the earlier tracks. Given that the song is about being shamed and trying to kill a part of herself, as well as the beginnings of her gender dysphoria, this is thematically appropriate. The pain and hatred seep through the breakdowns, driving home the full force of the lyrics and meaning through every breakdown as they get slower and slower. “I Bore My Teeth”, while still dissonant, is also a swing to more positive things. Talking about her adulthood, she has come out as transgender, and is letting go of her negative habits and feelings. This song demonstrates some incredible vocal screaming throughout, even more impressive than what has already been shown in the previous tracks. It is simultaneously loud, brutal, and loving, a loud proclamation that she is learning not to hate herself.


“A Color Louder Than Life” is a fast piece that has a more constant, less stop-and-go sound than other songs on Miira. Don’t worry, there are still breakdowns, but it is a steadier musical concept than most of the rest of the albums. It is also a window into somebody’s life once they’ve finally begun learning to love herself and her life. Finally, in “Miira”, we are where in today. She has learned that it is okay to be herself, that it is okay to not be okay. She knows that the things aren’t always going to be good, but it is okay to love herself and be herself, and that life can be enjoyed. It is a declaration that Miira, as the album is self-named, is “going to be alright, I’m going to be okay, I’m going to be fine.” The music cuts off abruptly as the album ends, appropriate to the affirmation of her beauty, life, and the beauty in her life as it stands today. If there’s any message to take away from this monument to a single life, it is that a life of pain and self-loathing can be overcome, and that it is okay to get help to overcome it.


One of the best musical things about this album is the fact that every song is completely and totally unique in its composition. Some artists in the genre have songs that bleed into each other and become hard to differentiate- Codex Obscura is not one of these. Each song almost has a musical theme that matches the lyrical theme. If you don’t get the meaning by listening to the lyrics (or if you struggle with screams), the songs will happily bludgeon the meaning into your ears and mind. It is also incredibly personal, with the full meaning of each song available on the artist’s bandcamp, and a striking, singular self portrait as the album art. One of the only weaknesses of their prior work, Holy Teachings of Self Defeat, was the mixing and drum work. That is largely rectified here. One never struggles to make out her screams or the drums, as both stand out separately and powerfully from the guitars. Conversely, they never manage to drown out or disguise the guitar work, which is absolutely phenomenal. If you only pick up one deathcore album this month, make it this one.


Miira is available on Codex Obscura’s bandcamp page, here.

Forthteller – Nihilist review

crop front forthteller.jpg

Written by William Dibble

The genre of technical metalcore is booming. Within the last five to ten years, numerous new bands have hit the scene, each bringing a bit of a different take on the genre. Forthteller’s EP, Nihilist, released on July 7th of this year. Relatively new to the scene, they brought out an album full of meaning and musical brutality. Nihilist is only five tracks long, coming in at just around eighteen minutes, but is absolutely crushing.


“Of Nothing” starts off with soft keyboards and drums, but descends into heavy riffs and drum beats within a minute. The song is in keeping with the album’s theme. Nihilist explores the concepts of purpose and our search of it. The music uses a contrast of hard and soft sequences to emphasize this, and the listener can easily picture a person in pain looking for that purpose. The next track, “Empire”, picks up literally as the last lyrics of “Of Nothing” end. The song will have you wanting to throw fists and mosh. The drums and vocals stand out spectacularly, managing to stand out against complex guitar work while also leaving room for the guitars to wow you. There are interesting sequences in both songs where the syncopation of the lyrics produces unexpected combinations. “Empire” finishes with an echo-laden guitar sequence that leads right into “Evolve”.

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“Evolve” signals a shift in the album’s sound, for a few moments. It brings an ambient sound, with water drops, and clean guitars, to its intro. These contrast sharply with a mixture of screamed and yelled spoken word from Forthteller’s singer. It doesn’t take long before these become outright lyrics as the song resumes the blistering pace of the prior songs. The powerful riffs of this track bring to mind images of guitarists swinging their instruments on stage, with someone in the band screaming out at the crowd. The song closes with an ambient outro that is not dissimilar to the song’s beginning, before catapulting the listener into “Tiresias”. This brutal track is deceptively complex. “Tiresias” is a pair of sonnets dedicated to examining society’s concepts of love, lust, and consumption, in the context of modern nihilism. The song ends with a chant, before the album concludes with “The Crux”. Like the four other tracks, this one has a distinctly separate rhythm and construction. Forthteller has certainly created a unique and persistent sound while writing distinctive songs.


Work like this stands out from what some would call artistic nihilism, or artwork created for the sole purpose of making money. Nihilism is imbued with purpose by Forthteller, and it shows that purpose up front, confronting what they believe is a lack of direction amongst humans. The songs are musically and lyrically complex, but in a way that makes them all the more enjoyable. The mastering is very well put together, and in places, one even feels like they’re in the same room as the band. The songs will definitely resonate with audiences, and it is easy to tell where the crowd will go insane throughout.


Nihilist is available now from multiple musical outlets. Grab it from iTunes, Google Play, and other services today! 

GALLERY: NEVER I at Warped Tour ’17

NEVER I live at Vans Warped Tour ’17: July 6th, 2017 in Charlotte, NC.

Photography by Terie Shaver for Fuel The Scene Magazine.

GALLERY: THE ATARIS at Warped Tour ’17

THE ATARIS live at Vans Warped Tour ’17: July 6th, 2017 in Charlotte, NC.

Photography by Kevin McGee Photography for Fuel The Scene Magazine.


GALLERY: CREEPER at Warped Tour ’17

CREEPER live at Warped Tour ’17: July 6th, 2017 in Charlotte, NC.

Photography by Kevin McGee Photography for Fuel The Scene Magazine.



Fire From The Gods live at Vans Warped Tour ’17: July 6th, 2017 in Charlotte, NC

Photography by Kevin McGee Photography for Fuel The Scene Magazine.