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Sumerian Records Founder: “I Never Subscribed To The Thinking That Metalcore Is A Bad Word”


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Noisecreep have conducted a revealing chat with outspoken Sumerian Records founder (among other things) Ash Avildsen. The chat saw Avildsen frankly address some interesting topics with some excerpts from the Q&A available below:

Are there bands you wouldn’t sign to Sumerian?

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“It’s a fine line when you diversify as a label. Roadrunner and Epitaph were able to do that. People ask me “Why don’t you start another imprint to put out the stuff that isn’t as heavy?” I don’t agree with that. It’s a fine line but I don’t want to subcategorize bands and releases I like because others might not like them.

I love Josh Grabelle but I will speak my mind on the Trustkill scenario. It’s always terrible when bands feud publically with their label over things like money – you’ll never see that with a Sumerian band.

However, on a musical label, I think where Trustkill suffered was they had a great brand in the underground but once they started signing a lot of emo bands, poppy bands and “mainstream” rock bands – which is fine to do as long as those bands are unique and successful but every time you go out on a limb and extend the olive branch potentially risking the brand power and those bands fail to break then those “diverse signings” can really risk the brand power… especially if you’re not balancing it out with new, credible heavy signings.

Putting out a country record would be a challenge. If I thought I found the new Johnny Cash, I’d put his record out. Lana Del Rey is sort of the female Johnny Cash and I would have put her record out. To me when it’s too close to a band that we already have, then that’s when I have to draw the line.”

What is “Sumeriancore”?

As far as the “Sumeriancore” thing, I have a love-hate relationship with that tag. When I started the label, everyone was telling me metalcore is dead, everything was thrash metal or New Wave of Brit/American heavy metal being regurgitated or it was straight death metal and no one wanted breakdowns anymore. I never believed that. I just believed that it was evolving and there was going to be a new cast of characters and it was still going to grow and it was going to change.

The bands that had real songs were going to be the ones that stuck around. Killswitch Engage‘s Alive or Just Breathing is the greatest metalcore record of all time. I never subscribed to the thinking that metalcore is a bad word. Metalcore is like any genre of music, it can be great or it can be shitty. Bands like Born of Osiris. Veil of Maya, The Faceless, After the Burial, they’ve been dubbed ‘Sumeriancore’ by the press and some of the fans.

I don’t think there’s a contrived sound but there are similarities… They all have a fresh sense of melody in their riffs. Their chugging patterns are not the same regurgitated rhythms.. but make no mistake, The Faceless is not any type of “core” band.

Interestingly, Avildsen also confirmed that his estranged father is John Avildsen, director of the “Rocky” and “The Karate Kid” trilogy, among various other films.

-P.S. is there a support group for people ripped off in the Trustkill fallout?

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