NEPA Scene Staff

VIDEO: Pa. metal band Tallah plays new album ‘Matriphagy’ inside horror attraction ‘Prison of the Dead’

VIDEO: Pa. metal band Tallah plays new album ‘Matriphagy’ inside horror attraction ‘Prison of the Dead’
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From a press release:

An original dose of fucked up and disturbing alt metal insanity, Tallah is exhilaratinghly fresh while incorporating nostalgic ’90s nu metal vibes.

Vocalist Justin Bonitz is a man possessed, wildly careening from bloodcurdling shrieks to lightning-quick rap bars. Throw in electronic elements and almighty riffs, plus modern hardcore breakdowns and thundering drums from Max Portnoy, son of ex-Dream Theater and Sons of Apollo drummer Mike Portnoy, and Tallah are 2020’s answer to Slipknot.

Today, the Pennsylvania-based band released their debut album, “Matriphagy,” on Earache Records following last night’s live performance of the entire album, which was streamed for Knotfest and filmed by hate5six at Willow Glen State Penitentiary, also known as the “Prison of the Dead” at Shocktoberfest, a haunted horror attraction in Sinking Spring near Reading.

“‘Matriphagy’ is a concept album about how an overprotective mother pushes her son to the edge of insanity through psychological and physical abuse. Having spent two decades trapped inside a glorified prison, and after some failed rescue/escape attempts, the son, in a state of heavy delirium, does the unforgivable to free himself from his mother’s wicked hold,” Portnoy described.

A disturbingly graphic tale that is to be taken both literally and metaphorically, “Matriphagy” is set to a pleasurably harrowing backdrown of brutally heavy musicianship, an unapologetic love letter to chaos and the sickening twist of the macabre.

Emerging from Pennsylvania in 2018 and combining the percussive force of second-generation drummer Max Portnoy with the pure war-torn fury of vocalist and YouTube sensation Justin Bonitz, “nu-core” quartet Tallah formed with a singular and unifying mission.

Intent on revamping the much-loved sound of popular nu metal bands of the early 2000s, Tallah draw influence from the likes of Slipknot, Korn, and Linkin Park while simultaneously fusing it with a modernized hardcore edge, as displayed by current acts Code Orange, Vein, Candy, and Fire from the Gods.

Having followed Bonitz’s popular YouTube channel for some time – which boasts “How to Scream (10 Different Techniques),” perhaps the most popular scream tutorial at approximately three million views – Portnoy approached him to join a new project with guitarist Derrick Scheider and bassist Andrew Cooper, both of whom Portnoy had formed previous relationships with in the Philadelphia music scene.

The resulting explosion of chaos, controversy, and metal innovation birthed the band’s first EP, “No One Should Read This,” which was recorded at Spin Studios (Gojira, Lamb of God) in 2018 and released to critical acclaim.

Drawing inspiration from darker territories may have been a natural descent for the members of Tallah, but the band – Bonitz in particular – has cited everything from horror movies to Disney villains as a framework for their high-octane studio delivery and live performances. The vocalist comments that this is both a natural reflection of his own personality traits as well as a conscious decision to be seen as a diverse, heterogeneous act.

“I grew up enjoying the sassy, almost feminine evil of cartoon characters – that’s how I carry myself on stage. The evil villain thing is fun, but it does result in people thinking I’m a huge douche! They’re quite surprised when they meet me offstage and I’m just a normal guy having fun. The whole ‘evil villain’ thing isn’t always planned, but it comes quite naturally to me.”

These mischievous characteristics have led Tallah to some controversy in the past, most notably with Bonitz’s arrest at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster. Strangely, it wasn’t him mounting of the stage’s rigging or the scuffle that ensued with a plain-dressed security guard (during which the band continued to play) that caused his arrest – it was his proclamation to a police officer, when asked, that his name was “Carls Jr” – the name of a popular fast food chain.

Notorious for their wild, unhinged, and downright dangerous live shows, Tallah have cultivated a fierce live reputation on the underground circuit with multiple U.S. tours, including a local stop at the inaugural Darkenheavy Campfest at Mountain Sky in Jermyn last fall. This year, former Tallah guitarist Eric Novroski invited Bonitz to add his vocals and personality to a song by his current band, Wilkes-Barre’s Toothless, that has been well-received:

Following the release of “No One Should Read This,” Portnoy received the Modern Drummer Award for Best Up and Coming Drummer 2019, and the band performed at the massive Boomtown music festival in England the same year, opening for Napalm Death and Prophets of Rage. Having now signed to Earache Records, Tallah recorded their first full-length album, “Matriphagy,” with producer Josh Shroeder.

Featuring highlights such as “The Silo,” “L.E.D.,” “Overconfidence,” and “Too Quick to Grieve,” “Matriphagy” expands upon the concept outlined in “No One Should Read This,” though the band has never publicly alluded to whether or not the story emanated from any real-life events. The definition of the word “matriphagy” is “the consumption of the mother by her offspring.”

Set to a pleasurably harrowing backdrop of brutally heavy and talented musicianship, Tallah’s closing words on their new album state their intentions in a clear and concise fashion.

“It might feel like we’re at the point where everything’s already been done, and there are no surprises left. We’re not sure that’s true, but whatever you think, we’re going to take what we love about metal and do it in our own way.”

“Matriphagy” tracklist:

1. [redacted]
2. No One Should Read This
3. Kungan
4. Overconfidence
5. Placenta
6. L.E.D.
7. The Silo
8. We, The Sad
9. Too Quick To Grieve
10. Cottonmouth
11. Murder Seed
12. The Borderline Of Pain
13. Red Light

See NEPA Scene’s photos performing at Darkenheavy Campfest on Sept. 28, 2019 here and watch a clip from the set below: