As a die-hard fan of the Melodic Hard Rock sub-genre, many of my fondest FM and MTV-fueled memories have involved artists and gro-ups not within the purview of the proverbial average (i.e., rural US-based) listener. Thus, my fascination with Stockholm, Sweden-based House Of Shakira should come as absolutely no surprise. Deftly intertwining their refreshingly forthright interpretations of the genre with the maddeningly–infectious-barrage of hooks, riffs and solos of their more well-known brethren, I diligently ‘followed’ their career with a keening interest. Although I most certainly fell victim to the charm(s) of the Grunge phenomenon as I inevitably aged, I still found myself returning to the group’s arguably finer moments (most notably “Elephant Gun”, “Morning Over Morocco” and, to a lesser extent, “Canned Laughter”) on a semi-regular basis. Thus, with release of the often mighty Xit, their latest–and quite possibly greatest–modern auditory offering to date, the quintet at last appears poised for the critical and commercial breakthroughs they so rightfully deserve.
Let’s face it; amid the oft-tumultuous history of the Hardcore Punk genre, few artists and groups have proved to be as enduring as New York City-based icons Cro-Mags. Unleashing their full-length debut The Age of Quarrel (1986) and it’s follow-up Best Wishes in 1989, the group would soon become among the first to meld Hardcore Punk with Thrash Metal (i.e., the Crossover Thrash sub-genre). Fueled by, primarily, at least, via bassist Harley Flannigan and guitarist Parris Mayhew, ‘inner turmoils’ would cause Mayhew to depart for a second and final time following the release of Revenge in 2000. A protracted legal battle would later ensue, further distancing the co-founding members. Recently, the charasmatic Mayhew, always a man of many words and interesting stories, was kind enough to speak with us regarding, among many other things, the highly-anticipated release of the mighty Rise Of The Aggros (2023) from his ‘all instrumental’ Hardcore act Aggros and his careers as a Union camera operator (30 Rock, Pan Am, and Ugly Betty, among others) and indie filmmaker.