BE WELL by Casandra Strafer
New Music

10 New Covid-era releases discovered by guitarist of melodic hardcore band BE WELL

BE WELL by Casandra Strafer
Soon after their recent single premiere on Loudwire (“Morning Light”, listen below), high-energy melodic hardcore pack BE WELL are back to our pages with a brand new feature on some of the inspirations and new music tips from their guitarist Mike Schleibaum.  He sat down with us to give us his thoughts on some of the new records worth your time, and a special Spotify playlist to spark your interest.

Fronted by prolific record producer Brian McTernan (Turnstile, Thrice, Hot Water Music), Be Well marks McTernan’s unexpected, but welcomed return to the other side of the glass. The band also includes guitarists Mike Schleibaum (Darkest Hour) and Peter Tsouras (Fairweather), bassist Aaron Dalbec (Bane), and drummer Shane Johnson (Fairweather).

“A truly raw, energy-infused, heartbreaking yet hopeful collection of tracks” – Loudwire

“You can feel the honesty and the vulnerability in his voice” – BrooklynVegan

The relative newcomers formed from hardcore and metal veterans, Be Well, premiered their blistering new single “Morning Light” last week with an accompanying lyric video via an interview with Loudwire. Clocking in just under the 2-minute mark, “Morning Light” reflects on past failures and the urge to feel truly alive tying into the album’s deeply personal themes of anxiety, depression, and moving forward for your loved ones. The fervid new track follows the first single and intensely emotional album closer, “Confessional”, taken from Be Well’s debut full-length album, The Weight and The Cost, due out on August 21st via Equal Vision Records and End Hits Records (EU/UK).

Be Well’s debut finds McTernan in his most honest and transparent moments. He chronicles his struggles with depression and fatherhood through lyrics that are equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful. Recorded at McTernan’s famed Salad Days Studio in Baltimore, this record is refreshingly real and at times emotionally raw. This is an album that pushes well outside of the confines of what you already know about its members’ previous bands. The Weight and The Cost has the urgency, energy, and vulnerability of something totally new. You can now pre-order The Weight and The Cost here.

10 New/Covid-era releases discovered by guitarist Mike Schleibaum (BE WELL, DARKEST HOUR)

Nø Man “Erase”

Obviously I am highly biased towards this band because it’s comprised of ALL three members of the legendary hardcore/punk band Majority Rule Combine that with the raw energy of one of the most fierce and fresh voices in modern hardcore/punk, Maha Shami, and you have a band you MUST listen to. They have been developing their sound for a while and this new material is the best to date.

Strike Anywhere “Nightmares of the West”

There is no other band that I urgently seek to learn every word and read every lyric from then Strike Anywhere. Growing up in the DMV area and having had the joy of sharing the stage with them over the years I can tell you they are very near and dear to my heart. I was absolutely ecstatic when I got to hear this new material. After all, it is produced by my favorite producer, lol! This album could not have come at a more important time for me. I need this music like oxygen and Strike Anywhere is there for me once again! Nightmares of the West is due for release on July 17th through Pure Noise Records.

Run the Jewels “RTJ4”

It is no secret I love Hip Hop and Rap Music and have been a fan of Killer Mike for many years. I actually remember being super bummed when I learned he had “joined” a group called Run the Jewels. I just loved his last solo album, R.A.P. MUSIC, so much. Man, was I wrong that! RTJ1 album is pure fire (as well as all their subsequent releases). Which leads me to RTJ4, released totally FREE to me via their email list, pure love right out of the speakers. Music for zero profit, of course I ended up donating to the band after receiving the album but this echoes the thought on their song, The Ground Below. They are just giving away inspiration for free, and I love it!

Continued below…

BE WELL by Casandra Strafer

BE WELL by Casandra Strafer

Sharptooth “Transitional Forms”

I feel a special connection to this album because it was created at Salad Days in Baltimore while we were still working on the Be Well jams AND it features my brother from Darkest Hour, Travis Orbin on drums! That dude is a beast and his playing compliments this album perfectly. Not to mention the songs and the production is aggressive and fresh, even to an old metalhead like me. Lastly, I love the vocal approach and lyrical perspective. I think Sharptooth absolutely proves that new “heavy” music can still push it’s boundaries while remaining as visceral as ever.

Bitter Branches “This May Hurt a Bit”

Be Well was able to play with this band earlier this year, so I actually got to discover a band from a live show in 2020, can you believe it? On their April 2020 release, the band seems to break out with a DC sound even though they are from NJ! I think that knowing this band has members of Deadguy and Lifetime makes me like it, but the fact that the music connects with me and feels like an old record I have loved forever makes me love it. To me, this really speaks to the talent and maturity of Bitter Branches.

Public Enemy “Loud is Not Enough”

Public Enemy has always been one of my favorite Hip Hop groups. I was disappointed when the band had public turmoil over their support for Bernie Sanders and I have always hated the feud with Flaver Flav. Yet, I also understood why Chuck D would have to distance himself etc. from FF’s behavior. With all that being said, I was super excited when I saw this single pop up on my radar. Their latest single, State of the Union comes as hard as any old PE album and is needed fuel for these trying times. I love it when older artist come back with killer tracks, makes my heart feel young!

Misery Signals “River King

I have had the pleasure of touring with this band many times since the beginning of their existence. I know personally how hard they worked for this album, how much time they spent pouring their heart and soul into it, and I think it shows in so many ways. I love this record. Its an absolute CLASSIC Metal Core album. Yes I said it, Metal Core, this is Metal Core when it is GOOD. This is Metal Core with a heart and a purpose. At the same time this album transcends that small genre into something on its own and that is how you know it is truly ahead of its time. Trust me, you will see this album on every metal head’s top ten list this year.

Travis Orbin “Finite III”

Once again a release that features my brother from Darkest Hour, Travis Obin. Only this time he’s has full creative helm. I know how hard Travis works on his solo material. I also know how uniquely him it is so when he dropped this album I expected it to sound completely insane, which it does lol. BUT this album also has a compositional aspect (ala Fank Zappa) that while presenting as completely crazy is also understandable. I think he has found the fine line between shock and awe crazy and super catchy. This is DIY music at it’s absolute core, music from a drumming jedi, I suggest you dive in.

Truth Cult “Off Fire”

Another band that seems to have a classic sound but young spirit is Truth Cult. These are Brian’s (BE WELL) neighbors and he introduced me to them, even though they feature members from the DC/MD area that have been in plenty of notable bands. I love the sound of this record and this is a must find for all of you looking for something that doesn’t sound like everything else out there, haha!

Every Scar Has a Story

I love it when artists I loved when I was a kid come back with NEW music and NEW perspective. To me that is Every Scar Has A Story. This band features the singer, Rob Fish, who also sang for 108! One of my favorite metal/core bands of the 90s. Rob is back with a new sound that I must admit is a perfect blend of emotion, catharsis, and melody. While I love the metal approach of some of his other bands I also really like the more revolution summer vibe going on here. As a 108 super fan and life long hardcore “kid” I can tell you this record is going to stick with me as do the records Rob has made. I suggest you check it, something new that feels familiar is always good!

10 New Covid-era releases discovered by guitarist of melodic hardcore band BE WELL
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