A new album release from A Good Rogering comes through with a set of honest stories and messages that are portrayed with a heard hitting melodic metal style and it shines with cinematic undertone and has an energy that becomes part of the bands staple sound along with intricate time signature changes, a slight haunt lurking just beneath the surface, and a vast feeling.
The Systematic Paralysis album is brimming with killer guitar work including doubled up solos and enough soul to choke on. The whole band actually has a clear love for their craft and as they come together, it creates a certain atmosphere that is just uncanny.
Drums are destructive but perfected, vocals rise and fall with intensity as the song climaxes and come through with layers of textures that sit atop each other or come in screaming in the background.
It all has such a brilliant songwriting approach and arrangements that can be both straight forward and have tendencies to get complicated if it suits the song right.
Riffs are melodic but can get brutal at times with drudgery and attention to detail and the whole feeling you get from this album is that you should listen carefully.
Listen to the lyrics, to the music, to the melodies, hooks, and progressions.
They all sing the same messages and tell those same stories and it's a massive experience.
This is for real deal metal lovers that have a soft spot for some of the classics as the band incorporates their individual influences across this beast of an album.
With the release of such an outstanding album, we wanted to have a chat with the band to find out where this all came from and what may be next for them.
Buzz Slayers: Let's kick things off with the Systematic Paralysis album. This record had a really cool, heavy and progressive style to it! Where did this album come from?
Systematic Paralysis was actually a collection of songs written on the heels of our second album. Lifeblood is a pretty eclectic hard rock/metal album, driven by lots of heavy riffs, guitar solos and jaunting musical juxtapositions. It features guest guitar virtuosos Jon Simpson and Guy Laverick and was sort of like a tip of the cap to Megadeth, Type O Negative and Mr. Bungle among others. After its release we decided we wanted to move in a more melodic and cohesive direction. There was an immediate focus on groove and melody and we were less concerned with flashy solos, complex arrangements, and embedded satire.
A good twenty plus songs were written and pre-produced around 2013, and ultimately most of them found their way onto 2017's This is Death Metal EP and this year's Systematic Paralysis album. The TDIM EP served as sort of a transitional predecessor and a few of those songs could have easily fit on System. Initially we were just going to put out another EP, but I really wanted to do another full-length album and once the pandemic hit there was no hurry so I just kept adding tunes until I felt like we had a good variety and flow. We recorded and mixed at various intervals at Evil Snail Studios in Austin, TX and the album was mastered by Maor Appelbaum in Los Angeles. From a conceptual standpoint System is pretty dark and foreboding, with lyrics about dystopian landscapes and the endless folly of our species. I felt that ironically tied into what we've been experiencing the past few years, and the time of release actually seemed fitting. The title track had existed for years, but the chorus needed some tweaking. Finally I had a Eureka! moment and the title Systematic Paralysis, one which personifies the overall theme perfectly, came to me.
Buzz Slayers: When did this all start for you guys?
AGR officially formed in late 2007, although I don't think we had our first drummer, Mike Molina (aka Mr. Nub) until the following year. My brother (aka Chef) and I had played music together for years and were both getting our feet wet in the Austin music scene. I'd just met and hit it off with bassist Blaine Matte when I joined the rock band Quarterhackle, and within a year the three of us were writing together. We cut a few very rough demos and then in the summer of 2008 recorded six songs live in the studio. That then grew into our first album (Long Overdue released in 2010). It was a live studio demo turned debut album with some production after the fact. It's still very raw and rough around the edges, but I really like the songs and vibe. It's got a gritty hard rock edge to it and set the tone for the "eclectic heavy rock" band we would become.
Buzz Slayers: What inspires you to write a song?
It varies. Sometimes there is inspiration with a specific musical or lyrical intent, sometimes there's just a random spark and I roll with that, sometimes it comes from jamming with other musicians, and sometimes I have to write a song for whatever purpose and it finds its way out of necessity. For AGR, most of the initial writing was between my brother and I but we'd write as a band as well. These days, I like to have a purpose behind a song and at least have a rough version to bring to the table. Then the band will craft that into its final form. I love the way songs evolve, not only in the writing and recording process, but even after the fact when different musicians and arrangements give them new life on stage.
Buzz Slayers: This track has some great styles! Can you give us some of your top musical influences?
This is the hardest question for me because I like so many different artists and genres. I'll list "a few" that align with the general stylings of this particular band.. namely hard rock, metal, and classic rock bands like Metallica, GNR, Megadeth, Pantera, Skid Row, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Clutch, Sabbath and Ozzy, Black Label Society, Faith No More, Type O Negative, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Beatles,Stones, Zeppelin and well you get the idea.
I'm also very big into guitar gurus like Satriani, Vai, Vinnie Moore etc., blues legends like Howlin' Wolf, the classical composers, jazz guys, old country and a bunch of lesser known artists who I interview on my podcast or just happen to discover.
Buzz Slayers: What are you all doing when you're NOT working on music?
That's about all I do. If I'm not writing, recording or performing with A Good Rogering, Runescarred or The Invincible Czars, I'm teaching music, working on my festival, Skunfkest, or interviewing musicians on Eclectic Soundtrax Podcast. I've played with several other bands and artists and done session work and producing as well. When I'm not doing something "musical" I enjoy standup comedy, movies, food, nature and animals, traveling, and hanging out with my fiance.
Buzz Slayers: Who's in all your headphones right now?
Buzz Slayers: Are you guys doing any live performances right now?
As mentioned, our Lifeblood album came out in 2013, so we're reving up to do a 10 year celebration show early next year. I'm also working on a west coast tour and a summer Skunkfest for 2023. We just played the 2022 edition and most likely are done for the year. Although almost the entire band is also in an Alice In Chains tribute band together, so we have a few "Layne Unchained" shows on the books.
Buzz Slayers: This record feels like a big undertaking, is there any advice you'd give to other up and coming bands out there?
I'd suggest, if at all possible, hire a good producer to help you with writing, arranging, recording etc., especially if you are new at this. First and foremost, make your songs count. They need to be good AND sound good. Try not to cut corners, but be smart with your time and money. It's relatively easy to start a band and go play local shows, BUT if you want to do things beyond that I'd advise not trying to do it all yourself. Be a musician as much as you can, but understand there is a music business you cannot avoid. Research and hire professionals to do what you can't do and inevitably won't have the time for anyway, and be wary of an endless sea of sharks who really offer nothing of value but are after your dollar. Don't try to buy your way in with likes, plays etc. Get a good publicist and manager if you can. Make your shows count. Be strategic and set goals. Be patient and stay the course. Doing something right takes time, thought and effort, but it's well worth smart planning and investing on the front end. It will save you time and heartache in the long run.
Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
We'll put out a few more videos for Systematic Paralysis and will most likely release a single or two next year along with some touring, the 10 year Lifeblood show, Skunkfest 2023. We're also planning on putting out Systematic Paralysis on vinyl.
Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Thank you! The fans are everything. You give me the inspiration to keep this train rolling.