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I'm always suspicious when a metal band replaces their vocalist. Even for bands where the 'singer' is really just a yelling guy, vocals play an important role in personalizing and humanizing the music. Such replacements can be executed successfully; see last year's great Code album for evidence. But more often than not, when you switch out the man behind the mic, and you alter the personality of the entire band.

Cult Leader's very name may constitute an acknowledgement of this fact. Lineup-wise, this band is basically a modified version of Gaza, who broke up last year amidst allegations that their singer, Jon Parkin, had sexually assaulted a fan. The rest of the band parted ways with Parkin; bassist Anthony Lucero moved over to vox; and the band changed its name, presumably in an effort to distance themselves from their former singer. Parkin, with his towering frame, constituted the most visually striking part of Gaza's live show. This fact made him a double liability for his ex-bandmates: not only was his name besmirched, but the memory of his presence would make it difficult for any other vocalist to fill his role.

So the name change makes sense. Ironically, it has produced virtually no alterations to the band's music — listen to their 'debut' EP Nothing For Us Here below, courtesy of Slug Magazine. Lucero's mid-rangey bellow is virtually indistinguishable from Parkin's, and the rest of the band is still belting out the same noisy, galumphing metalcore that they've delivered since Gaza's first album. Personally, I'm more than okay with Cult Leader staying their harsh course. As the band could surely tell you themselves from recent experience, the world is an ugly place. Art that tangles with this fact sits well with me.

Nothing For Us Here comes out on April 15 via Deathwish Inc.; preorder it here. Cult Leader will be on tour in North America for much of the next two months; much of this tour will also involve Nashville's Yautja, a similarly bruising band who put on one of the best live shows I've seen of late. (Read more about their excellent debut LP here.) Check out both band's complete tours below.

— Doug Moore

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Yautja -- 2014 Tour Dates:
4/03/2014 TBA - Knoxville, TN
4/04/2014 MACRock - Harrisonburg, VA
4/05/2014 TBA - Louisville, KY
4/06/2014 TBA - Kansas City, MO
4/07/2014 Bar Bar (Carioca Cafe) - Denver, CO
4/08/2014 Baby Haus - Laramie, WY
4/09/2014 TBA - Salt Lake City, UT
4/10/2014 The Crux - Boise, ID w/ Cult Leader
4/11/2014 New Frontier Lounge - Tacoma, WA w/ Cult Leader
4/12/2014 Laughing Horse - Portland, OR w/ Cult Leader
4/13/2014 100th Monkey Café - Chico, CA w/ Cult Leader
4/14/2014 TBA w/ Cult Leader
4/15/2014 Aladdin Jr - Pomona, CA w/ Cult Leader
4/16/2014 51 West - Tempe, AZ w/ Cult Leader
4/17/2014 The Naylair - El Paso, TX w/ Cult Leader
4/18/2014 Red 7 - Austin, TX w/ Illustrations w/ Cult Leader
4/19/2014 TBA w/ Cult Leader, Illustrations
4/20/2014 Three Links - Dallas, TX w/ Cult Leader, Illustrations
4/21/2014 The Conservatory - Oklahoma City, OK w/ Cult Leader
4/22/2014 TBA - St. Louis, MO w/ Cult Leader
4/23/2014 TBA - Memphis, TN w/ Cult Leader
5/05/2014 Cafe Coco - Nashville, TN w/ Cult Leader
5/06/2014 The Forge - Birmingham, AL w/ Cult Leader
5/07/2014 TBA - Atlanta, GA w/ Cult Leader
5/08/2014 TBA - Tallahassee, FL w/ Cult Leader, Ex-Breathers
5/09/2014 Churchill's - Miami, FL w/ Cult Leader
5/10/2014 Uncle Lou's - Orlando, FL w/ Cult Leader
5/11/2014 Tin Roof - Charleston, SC w/ Cult Leader
5/12/2014 Milestone - Charlotte, NC w/ Cult Leader
5/13/2014 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA w/ Cult Leader
5/14/2014 Sidebar - Baltimore, MD w/ Cult Leader
5/15/2014 TBA - Philadelphia, PA w/ Cult Leader
5/16/2014 The Grand Victory - Brooklyn, NY w/ Cult Leader
5/17/2014 O'Brien's - Allston, MA w/ Cult Leader
5/18/2014 AS220 - Providence, RI w/ Cult Leader, Tinsel Teeth
5/19/2014 The Lair - Buffalo, NY w/ Cult Leader
5/20/2014 Mr. Roboto Project - Pittsburgh, PA w/ Cult Leader
5/21/2014 Yonka House - Detroit, MI w/ Cult Leader

Cult Leader -- 2014 Tour Dates:
4/10 Boise @ The Crux
4/11 Tacoma @ New Frontier Lounge (Bleak Outlook)
4/12 Portland @ Laughing Horse
4/13 Chico @ 100th Monkey Cafe
4/14 TBA*
4/15 Pomona @ Aladdin Jr
4/16 Tempe @ 51 West
4/17 El Paso @ The Naylair
4/18 Austin @ Red 7 Indoors w/ Illustrations
4/19 TBA* w/ Illustrations
4/20 Dallas @ Three Links w/ Illustrations
4/21 Oklahoma City @ The Conservatory
4/22 Albuquerque @ Gasworks (WITHOUT YAUTJA)
4/23 Las Vegas @ TBA (WITHOUT YAUTJA)
5/02 Denver @ Bar Bar (WITHOUT YAUTJA but w/ Call of The Void and Reproacher)
5/03 Kansas City @ Art Closet Studios (WITHOUT YAUTJA)
5/04 Louisville @ TBA (WITHOUT YAUTJA)
5/05 Nashville @ Cafe Coco
5/06 Birmingham @ The Forge
5/07 Atlanta @ TBA
5/08 Tallahassee @ TBA w/ Ex-Breathers
5/09 Miami @ Churchill's
5/10 Orlando @ Uncle Lou's
5/11 Charleston @ Tin Roof
5/12 Charlotte @ Milestone
5/13 Richmond @ Strange Matter
5/14 Baltimore @ Sidebar
5/15 Philadelphia @ TBA
5/16 Brooklyn @ The Grand Victory
5/17 Allston @ O'Brien's
5/18 Providence @ AS220 w/ TINSEL TEETH
5/19 Buffalo @ The Lair
5/20 Pittsburgh @ Mr. Roboto Project
5/21 Detroit @ Yonka House
5/22 Chicago @ TBA (WITHOUT YAUTJA)
5/23 Minneapolis @ TBA (WITHOUT YAUTJA)
5/24 Des Moines @ Vaudeville Mews (WITHOUT YAUTJA)

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