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Metal and Hardcore in 2014: Council of Steel, Blood & Bone

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DEP daredevil guitarist Ben Weinman. Photo by Ira Chernova.

The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Ben Weinman
Mathcore icons the Dillinger Escape Plan formed from the ashes of a more straight-ahead hardcore trio that recorded a six-tune EP and signed a deal in 1997. From the beginning, DEP’s mastermind guitarist Ben Weinman has brewed a heady mix of dissonant mayhem, brain-busting time changes, and on-a-dime tempo shifts that have won them attention from many quarters, including Faith No More’s Mike Patton—who invited them to support Mr. Bungle on the road. Current vocalist Greg Puciato joined in 2000 and cemented the quintet’s fate. His relentlessly brutal vocals and ballistic stage persona fit perfectly with Weinman’s attention-getting fretboard and stage antics, which include launching himself from atop 4x12 cabs, and hanging upside-down from venue rafters—all while not missing a beat between stomping riffs and tapped clean arpeggios.

Thoughts on the State of Metal/Hardcore in 2014: Metal and hardcore are more exciting now than they’ve been since the mid ’90s. It feels like formulaic, over-produced, soulless “metal” is being seen for what it is, and an exciting resurgence of underground hardcore and metal is emerging. The underground grindcore and hardcore scenes are starting to resemble something similar in ethic to what I remember when I was coming up with Dillinger: Bands are creating music and playing shows knowing there’s no way in hell they’re ever going to be on commercial radio or played in an Apple commercial.

“It feels like formulaic, over-produced, soulless ‘metal’ is being seen for what it is, and an exciting resurgence of underground hardcore and metal is emerging.” —The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Ben Weinman

Best Album of the Last Year: … Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age is definitely a good one. I’m a little biased on that one though, because my side project, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, and Queens share John Theodore as a drummer and I’m super proud of the work he is doing with them.

Best Metal or Hardcore Album of All Time: That answer could change for me on any given week. Entombed’s Wolverine Blues is pretty flawless. Another great one is Beneath the Remains by Sepultura—that was both a metal and a hardcore record, in my opinion. For straight-up hardcore, you can’t go wrong with Damaged by Black Flag. The True till Death 7" by Chain of Strength has a special place in my heart, as well.

Ben Weinman's Gear

Guitars
ESP BW-1 FM/ET Ben Weinman signature models

Amps
Mesa/Boogie Mark V
Orange 4x12 cabs

Effects
Way Huge Swollen Pickle
TC Electronic Flashback
Jim Dunlop Dimebag Signature Cry Baby wah

Strings and Picks
Ernie Ball Slinky sets (.010–.046)
Dunlop .88 mm Tortex picks

Most Underrated Metal or Hardcore Guitarist: Steve Brodsky from Cave In—that dude still rips. His new project Mutoid Man is awesome.

Metal or Hardcore Cliché That Must Die: Every metalcore, mathcore, metalcore, whatevercore band uses the same exact guitar simulation tone and drum samples. Meshuggah is great, but you are not Meshuggah—stop!

Metal or Hardcore Tradition That Must Not Die: Starting a riff with just bass and then dropping the bomb when the whole band comes in and we all explode!

People Who Don’t “Get” Metal and Hardcore These Days Should…: Not make bands! If you want to be a pop band, then just be a pop band. Why scream? Why write breakdowns? Just go be in One Direction, dickhead. Metal and hardcore are about making music that—if you played it loud in your car while driving around school—98 percent of your classmates would look at you like you were possessed.

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