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Sunday Old School: Draconian

Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time (don't judge me for that reference, your sister probably watched it every day as a kid too,) but in metal terms, it's something which has really come to be a prominent aspect of the dark and depressing side of the genre. Many bands have utilised the method, that of a male growling vocalist and a female clean singer and today we'll be looking at one of the most acclaimed bands to do so, Sweden's own, Draconian.

The band came together in the town of Säffle in 1994 when drummer Johan Ericson, guitarist Andy Hindenäs and bass player Jesper Stolpe came together and formed the blackened death metal band named Kerberos. After seven months as a trio, they recruited vocalist Anders Jacobsson and changed their name to Draconian and in 1996 released their first demo, "Shades of a Lost Moon." It was an ambitious debut recording, featuring guest flutist Jessica Eriksson, who also performed guest vocals along with Susanne Arvidsson, who stayed on as a clean vocalist. More...

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Pit Stories: Manager Of The Year

Man, the summer's almost over already and we're in our first August Pit Story somehow! Where did the time go?

This week we've got Chicago hard rock crew Aeraco on tap to dispense a new tale of pit hijinks, this time with a wrench thrown in the works not by an unruly fan, but rather by a venue manager who just wasn't feeling the music...

Aeraco bassist Beast recalls the harrowing experience like this:

My first gig with Aeraco was at a local bar in the western suburbs of Chicago. Nothing too crazy to brag about, but it was a good size bar with a good atmosphere. These were the thoughts that ran through my head the night prior to the gig as the whole band went out to scout the place. A local talent known for their profane titles and lyrics was playing that night. There was a pretty good crowd that evening, which set an expectation for the following night.

The next night, Saturday, we load all our gear in to find out that the venue only provides a very small and outdated PA. No mics, no cables, no stands. Good thing we came prepared, but that was about as good as it gets. We were able to salvage the gig by providing our traditional 3 vocal mic setup across the front of the "stage" (most likely recognized as a corner to most people). Not having any other mics or inputs for the PA, we dialed our amp volume levels to the drummer and then dialed the PA over everything else. I was actually pretty impressed at how it sounded considering the conditions.

An hour later, we began rocking out some of the greatest tunes to ever hit the radio. Some of the people that came out to see the gig were digging it, but nowhere near the amount that was there the night before. We had 3 hours or so of set time, so I was in it for the long haul. After about 2 or 3 songs, we had a woman approach us. I'm thinking alright we are doing pretty good and now our first request of the night. But she quickly changed that perception after she snarled at us, "Turn down! You guys are too loud!" Our contract says Hard Rock Band, what else would you expect? So we turn down our amps a little bit and the PA as well. Still a good balance overall, just less in your face.

After another song and a half, she comes storming in again, but we keep chugging along thinking she'll have to wait till we're done to speak to us. Instead, she B-lines it towards the PA and just starts turning knobs. Being the one that setup the PA and being the closest at the time, I noticed the knobs she was turning were for the vocals effects type and volume. I started chuckling as I watched her try to figure it out and becoming increasingly frustrated with no noticeable results. The rest of the band wound up stopping the song after noticing her struggled effort. She proceeds to tell us that she is the manager (who we had been looking for earlier in the day so we could get paid), and that we were still too loud. So reluctantly, we turned down even more, both the amps and the PA till we got her approval.

At this point, the drums are now the loudest thing, I can barely hear myself through the amp, and the PA isn't producing enough sound in the room to hear the vocal cues. What a nightmare! We make it through another song. Woo! We must be quiet enough to play the rest of the night. Finally!

We continue rocking out despite the low volumes and not being able to hear ourselves. After making it 75% of the way through the next song and are about to bring it home, when you guessed it! The Manager of the Year stomps her ass all the way to the stage. I was thinking she was going for the PA again. But she's full of surprises, and this was no exception. She starts waving her arms in the air like she's trying to signal for help as if she was Tom Hanks in Cast Away. She yells for us to stop! Stop Playing! We finally settle our instruments and roll our eyes as she begins to open her trap again.

She says, "I'll give you $200 to pack up and leave right now." We all were perplexed. We couldn't believe what we were hearing. We bickered for a little while, but eventually gave up as it was quite clear we were not wanted there. We had a contract to play for 3 hours for way more than 200 bucks, but apparently they weren't willing to uphold their end of the deal. Kind of a shitty first gig after a killer audition for me. After all that, I definitely had some second thoughts on whether or not I made a good decision to play with this band. But in the end, I stuck it out and now we have our brand new album titled "Baptized By Fire" which was inspired by experiences like these. Always keep Rockin!

A music video for the title track off that album can be found below, and you can hear more from Aeraco by heading over to SoundCloud here. To follow the latest on Aeraco, check out the group's Facebook profile. More...

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Sunday Old School 400: Led Zeppelin

When will it all end? Today the Sunday Old School column celebrates its 400th edition, having covered bands from the "proto metal" era such as Blue Cheer and Budgie to the more extreme acts of the 90s and 00s. To celebrate such a landmark, today we'll be looking at one of the most titanic bands in the history of music, one which helped spark heavy metal and influence bands from every spectrum of the metal genre. The one and only; Led Zeppelin.

Despite often being credited as a Birmingham band like fellow heavy music pioneers Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, none of the members were from the city. The seeds of the band were sewn by Middlesex native Jimmy Page, a session guitarist based in London, joined The Yardbirds in 1966, which at the time also included Jeff Beck. His time with the group didn't last long as following the departure of Beck later that year, The Yardbirds slowly dissolved. Page was eager to continue working with Beck however and initially tried to put together a supergroup with his former bandmate and The Who rhythm section, John Entwhistle and Keith Moon. Page, Beck and Moon did record one song together, with session bassist John Paul Jones, but nothing more came of the project. More...

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Pit Stories: Escaped Mental Patients

Ready for a killer addition to the ever-expanding Pit Story collection?

This week we've got some crazy tales of a venue that was a little too close to a mental hospital for comfort, but the most outlandish shenanigans to go down there were frequently enacted by the punk and metal kids rather than the escaped patients!

Today's story comes courtesy of incendiary and apocalyptic heavy group Integrity, which just released new album "Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume" earlier this month via Relapse Records. The band recalls:

I’m not much for the pit. I always liked watching bands / observing what was going on more than I liked being jostled around a wet slippery floor. I have a lot of great memories of going to see bands play in Toronto when I was growing up. Every weekend my friends and I would take the bus and train downtown to spend the day eating food and buying records before ending up at a show that night. Back then our interests were contained within the more civilized part of the City, but if you were so inclined to travel a few subway stops down the line you would end up in a far more depraved environment. There was only one real reason for us to go there: The Generator.

The Generator was a dive-bar located on the corner of Queen and Ossington that hosted awesome metal / punk / hardcore shows. Also located on the corner of Queen and Ossington was an old mental asylum that never seemed to be able to keep their patients locked in at night. On any given night if you were going to The Generator, you’d be guaranteed to see a mishmash of punks, metalheads, junkies and escaped mental patients. It often made for an interesting time.

Anyways I’ve seen some pretty crazy shows over the years. Whether it’s a barrage of fireworks / burning items flying around, to dudes moshing with a deer carcass ala Tom Green’s get inside the animal skit. I’ve watched shows explode into all-out prison riots ridden with drugs, sex and violence… .you name it. But the most memorable experience to me was seeing Canadian punk legends Dayglo Abortions perform at The Generator.

The club was jammed with a smelly and extremely wasted hybrid of crust-punks, metalheads, and escapees from the Asylum across the street. When Dayglos hit the stage, I wanna say they started with "Fuck My Shit Stinks" and all hell just broke loose. Everyone started pitching their beer bottles at the ceiling so it was constantly raining glass on this uncomfortably packed and hot mess of human bodies. By the time they were done playing, the pit was a mess blood, beer, dirt and drool peppered with tons of broken glass and who knows what else.

When the club let out, it looked like a scene from "Death Wish 3" crossed with "Night Of The Living Dead." A dude with a road-warrior Mohawk-mullet was boning a similar looking girl on the hood of someone’s car. When the poor owner of said vehicle tried to get into his car and go home, the ‘boner’ (or it might have been the ‘bonee’ in an equally gruff / terrifying voice) growled ‘You just keep walking if you know what’s good for ya.'

Many years later, Integrity played in Toronto at a venue that was in the same part of town, and I couldn’t believe the amount of gentrification that took place over the years. It was all boutiques, fancy bars and bistros. My mom and siblings came to the show, and we were eating together at a restaurant that years ago could have been in The Generator’s backyard. I couldn’t help but wonder to myself what the growling car-bone guy was doing at this exact moment years later. I hope it’s something equally as awesome.

Integrity's freshly released album "Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume" was recorded and mixed at Developing Nations Studio in Baltimore with mastering handled by Brad Boatright. The band will kick off a Japanese tour in October, and below you can check out a video for album track "Hymn For The Children Of The Black Flame." More...

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Sunday Old School: X Japan

It's funny how far a name can spread. There are bands who are fortunate enough to receive international recognition almost immediately after releasing their debut album, or sometimes even before that, then there are those who made their name at home and had to wait a long time to visit other nations, or even release an album internationally. Today's band never performed outside of their home country in their heyday and had to wait until more recent years to do so, but their name was recognised far and wide as one of their country's greatest contributions to heavy metal, X Japan.

The seeds of the band were sewn in 1977, when two eleven year olds named Yoshiki Hayashi and Toshimitsu Deyama formed a band named Dynamite, which was later rechristened, Noise. Noise lasted until 1982, after which the two decided to create a new group, using the working name of X, though it soon stuck. They went through a series of guitarists and bass players, during which time they gigged regularly in the Tokyo area and in 1985, released their first single, "I'll Kill You" through Dada Records. More...

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Pit Stories: Indoor Motorcycle Burnout

All right moshers, its time to return to the pit once more for heavy metal tales of mayhem, misery, and all out mania!

For this week's Pit Story we got in touch with the Miami noisemakers Cave Of Swimmers, who shared a tale of a rather unexpected entrance to the pit.

If anyone has a video clip of the event in question please let us know so we can get it added!

The Florida-base band recalls this crazy tale of a vehicle circling where it doesn't belong from the International Noise Conference:

For the craziest thing we've seen in the pit, we didn't have to go far from our home base: Miami. We were asked to play the International Noise Conference (INC) at Churchill's Pub, and were excited to get to play to a different crowd and to hear some good ass weird music.

It was hot and humid, but more importantly, loud as hell. There was lots of sweat, a few naked people rolling around damp rugs, and unforgiving subwoofer noise blasting all around. We played on the floor, and it was a blast, but nothing could top what happened after our set. Nicky, a familiar face at the venue and all out crazy-dude, was determined to one-up everyone. We had pushed our instruments against the wall to make room for the next act when, out of nowhere, Nicky stormed inside Churchill's and rode right up to the pit, ON HIS MOTORCYCLE.

Everybody stood still, mouths open, waiting to see what he was gonna happen. He proceeded to turn on his bike back on and perform a full on tire burnout in the middle of the floor. Bear in mind, there are no windows or only a few far off doors. The fumes filled the room. Some people ran away, others couldn't get enough and inched closer, dangerously close. Soon he was gone behind the cloud carbon monoxide, and as if his leaving sucked out all the noise from the room, it was actually quiet.

Needless to say, the room had to be cleared and aired out before things could get back up again, but for an act to render INC quiet, we were glad we got to see that in person.

Cave Of Swimmers just dropped new 7" release "The Sun" earlier this month and you can hear a song off that release below, along with a music video off previous album "Reflection." Follow the band over at Facebook here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Bad News

Heavy metal has always maintained a loyal, cult like fan base. Listeners will guard the integrity of the music and the style with fierce pride, though some of the lyrical themes and imagery has often been seen as silly or outright funny by outsiders. It's no surprise then, that something so niche is also ripe for parody and would start becoming a regular source of humour for comedians and sketch shows such as Hale & Pace and Mr. Show members David Cross and Bob Odenkirk. One of the first noticeable send ups of the genre came from the popular British show, "The Comic Strip Presents..." in an episode entitled, "Bad News."

"The Comic Strip Presents..." was a series of short films for the then new TV station Channel 4 and was known for making fun of aspects of British culture, from football hooliganism ("The Yob,") to the Famous Five ("Five Go Mad In Dorset"/"Five Go Mad On Mescalin") but one of their most popular shorts was the "Bad News Tour" segment in the first series, which focused on a heavy metal band named Bad News, featuring frontman Vim Fuego (played by Adrian Edmonson,) guitarist Den Dennis (Nigel Planer,) bass player Colin Grigson (Rik Mayall) and drummer Spider "Eight Legs" Webb (Peter Richardson.) More...

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Pit Stories: Geriatric Mosher

Tuesday might be that day when Friday seems like an eternity away, but its also the day we share more epic heavy metal Pit Stories!

This week's tale from the pit comes courtesy of vocalist Manuel Castillo from Santiago, Chile-based metal band Half Blood.

Manuel shares the following tale of an unlikely mosher at a Cannibal Corpse show:

I remember my first Pit Story because it was one of the greatest in my entire life, and also so strange. I was a 14 year old metal head that had never been to a metal concert other than small local gigs when got the news that Cannibal Corpse was playing a show, I was so fucking happy! I asked my parents for tickets to the show for my birthday. In those days going to a concert was great cause it was a good deal, and I think the ticket cost less than 20 dollars and came with a t-shirt.

The day finally came and I went alone because the parents of my metal head friend didn't let him go. I headed to the arena called Teatro Caupolican, and when I got there everyone was taller and older than me! I entered the arena and the smell of weed was strong. That was the first time I got high just because almost the entire crowd was smoking. There was a support band called Dorso, didn't like them very much but who cares, I was there for Cannibal Corpse.

The concert was starting, it was mind blowing, everything, the lights, the heaviness that only a live band can bring, specially CC! So I was there headbanging like a maniac and then I saw the strangest thing I've ever seen at a concert. There he was, an old man, dressed like my grandfather, with a newspaper under his arm, a nice shirt and nice shoes headbanging to the rhythm of one of the heaviest death metal bands ever! No one was saying anything to him. After that, on "Hammer Smashed Face" I entered the pit for the first time in my life, at a CC concert, what a great night.

What was your first concert like? Let us know about your debut metal show in the comments! You can also hear music from Half Blood with a video below for "Self Exile," taken off the band's self-titled album. More...

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Pit Stories: An Odd Place To Find Your Vocalist

You might have noticed there wasn't a regularly scheduled Pit Story yesterday... sorry about that folks, but everyone in America was getting drunk all day, and yours truly was no exception.

We're making it up to you with a day late story, this time taken from an Australian stoner metal group that takes classic hard rock and ups it a notch on the heavy scale.

Emmett Young of Melbourne-based outfit Desert Kingdom today shares a tale of when he and the band's vocalist were involved with a different group that was prone to some serious drunken hijinks. Emmet coments:

I remember one time when Ritch and I were playing in another band in Melbourne, I'd gone in to load up on the 3rd level and come back down to find that he had climbed a thin tree out the front (he may have been a tad pissed), but once he'd got 15 foot up, it had bent across the laneway so he was about 10 ft in the air hanging above everyone going inside.

People were giving him drinks and he was trying to scull em upside down. To top it off he may or may not have fallen backwards off a decent sized stage later on that night! Needless to say we both don't play in that band anymore!

Desert Kingdom's self-titled album dropped at the end of 2016 and can be heard in full below or picked up at Bandcammp here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Origin

Death metal has more sub-genres than Eskimos have words for snow. While it is, of course, a sub-genre of heavy metal of itself, there are so many different categories death metal groups get put under, it borders on ridiculous. The likes of Septicflesh are classed as symphonic death metal, Behemoth as blackened death metal and At The Gates as melodic death metal. One of the most respected of these offshoots however, is technical death metal, so named for its superb and intelligent musicianship and today we'll be looking at one of the most popular of these bands, Origin.

The seeds of the band, (I refuse to make a pun on their name) were sewn when guitarists Paul Ryan and Jeremy Turner began jamming together in 1997, eventually deciding to expand into a full band by recruiting bass player Clint Appelhanz and vocalist Mark Manning in October of that year, with drummer George Fluke entering the fold the following January. After securing an opening spot for Suffocation, the quintet recorded a demo, "A Coming Into Existence," which gained enough popularity for them to be booked on the Death Across America tour, which also featured Nile, Cryptopsy, Oppressor and Gorguts. A little while later, Appelhanz and Fluke were replaced by Doug Williams and John Longstreth respectively and following more high profile shows, including one supporting Napalm Death, Origin signed their first record deal with Relapse Records. More...

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Pit Stories: An All Around Cluster F*#k

Gather round old uncle xFiruath kiddos, he's got another heavy metal Pit Story for you!

In recent weeks we've had bizarre hair-burning black metal bands and even some full on-stage coitus, but today we spin around to the technical side, or rather the lack of.

Vocalist James Todd from Abandoned Souls shared this tale of a tour date gone wrong with a no-show promoter and sound guy:

This happened back in 2010 I believe. It pretty much was an all around cluster fuck of a gig. We were to be headlining a show in Ottawa with a local support band. The promoter was responsible for getting the sound tech, opening band and p.a. We arrive at the venue to find that it is a really good size and cool looking venue with a pretty nice stage. However, what we found out very quickly is that the promoter had us playing in a side room of the venue. So, we go there to see that it is about 3 times smaller the size of the bigger room and the stage was too.

OK no big deal, still a decent sized room and we are ready to rock. But wait, what is this? p.a. gear piled in the corner waiting to be set up. But by who? I get a call from the promoter to say the sound tech is sick and won’t be able to make it and asked if we knew how to set up the p.a. Fortunately (I guess), I did live sound in the past and knew how to set up a p.a. In this case I use the term p.a. very loosely. At best it was a not bad practice p.a. with at least some subs that were almost adequate for the size of the room.

Hooking it up was no easy task as the cables were a mess and not all there. We eventually got it all set up by borrowing some cables from the d.j. on the big half of the club. Then we find we are very lacking in the number of microphones and cables. OK, so we just put vocals and kick drum in the p.a. and turn up our amps. The soundboard was mostly working but nothing to write home about.

Luckily the opening band showed and I was able to fine tune the sound a bit during their set. So when we eventually went on the sound was about as good as it could be with that p.a. We still gave it our all as we always do and had a great set. It wasn’t very busy due to a lack of promotion by the “promoter.” Isn’t that what they are suppose to do, promote? We got paid a partial amount that night and were to receive the balance in the morning before we left the hotel. So we went back to the hotel after the show and drank heavily of course. The next day, the promoter never showed to give us the rest of the money and we were unsuccessful trying to reach him. Shocking, I know. Off into the sunset we went.

Abandoned Souls released latest EP "Make It Last" this past April via indie label Fiend Records. Check out a track off that release below. For more info on the band, head over to Facebook here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Gorilla Biscuits

As young metal and hardcore fans, we are constantly told to support our local scene. Often, we do so merely out of local pride, as the groups themselves aren't always particularly noteworthy. However, every once in a while, a local scene features many great bands and can become a worldwide phenomenon and leave its mark on music. It happened in Seattle with the grunge bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, in the Bay Area with thrash bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Exodus and hardcore probably wouldn't be what it is without the New York Hardcore scene, which featured some of the genre's best known bands such as Agnostic Front, Sick of it All and today's featured band, Gorilla Biscuits.

Gorilla Biscuits began life in 1987 in Long Island, founded by schoolmates Arthur Smilios and Anthony "Civ" Civarelli. They took their name from a slang term for quaaludes and initially only meant to use it temporarily, needing a name when they played their first show, which was organised for them by the band Token Entry. The moniker stuck and soon the band began recording demos, which were sold at a local dollar store and began printing their own shirts. More...

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Pit Stories: Under The Stench Of Burning Hair

Another week has reached its Tuesday, and that means its time for yet another Pit Story!

This week we've got guitarist J. Bennett from the formidable and enigmatic Ides Of Gemini, sharing a story of a very strange show indeed.

In the tale below, you'll find everything from a black metal band's odd performance art (goats blood is old hat now - they had to try something different!) to a group experiencing a sudden on-stage breakup that would make Five Finger Death Punch proud!

We don’t see many mosh pits at our shows, but I do have a good story from a few years back. In 2013, we did a month-long North American tour with Ghost, which ended in Pittsburgh. From there, we did a handful of club shows on our way home to Los Angeles. The first three were in Cleveland, Chicago and Lincoln, Nebraska, opening for a band that shall remain nameless because some of the members are still friends of ours.

On the final day of the three-day stint we arrived in Lincoln to discover that we’d be playing at an old blues bar that our singer Sera’s dad had played 30 years earlier. Not only that, but the promoter had used a huge close-up of Sera’s face for the flyer, even though we weren’t headlining - or as we like to call it, “playing last.” This may or may not have caused some tension within the other band, but it was definitely good for a few laughs within our band because it was just so patently ridiculous.

The local opener that night was a three-piece black metal band. During their set, the singer produced a giant Ziploc bag full of human hair that he proceeded to burn in handfuls while the band played. The smell was so fucking horrible that everyone in the club - even the bartenders - left the venue and stood outside for the duration of their set. We set up our gear while the place was airing out and played an uneventful set to an audience that consisted of the other bands, the bartenders, and maybe eight other people.

While the last band (the one that shall remain nameless) set up, we made friends with the openers, who turned out to be super nice people. Their vocalist even gave Sera a Tibetan singing bowl as a gift. Then the band-that-cannot-be-named played about half a song before one of their guitar players walked offstage and left the venue. They spent the next hour or so looking for him, but by the time they found him we had already split. We later found out that they had just broken up onstage - under the lingering stench of burning hair.

Ides Of Gemini released latest album "Women" via Rise Above Records in late April - check out a song off the album below, and you can pick up your copy of the album here. More...

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Pit Stories: The Devil And The Dirty Deed

Tuesday again already? That means we've got more hilarious Pit Stories for you culled straight from the minds of the musicians themselves!

In recent weeks we've seen a show get tanked by a pretty smile and a very interesting way of expressing anger during a battle of the bands being judged by nuns.

Today we've got two stories from Annamaria Pinna and Dave Sussman of the New York based rock / gypsy metal Band Vajra. Both got a lot more than they bargained for at shows - but one of these endings is more enjoyable than the other!

First up is Annamaria, offering a story of a very unexpected encounter while waiting for the bathroom:

This actually just happened on our To The Ends Of The Earth tour. We were in Ohio. We had just played and I was waiting for the bathroom. I didn’t have my phone on me because it was charging so I basically looked around trying to waste time. The walls became so very interesting at that point.

I must have been waiting 5 minutes when all of a sudden, a woman sitting at the booth next to me leaps up, points in my direction and says “Either she goes, or I go!” And I looked at her intrigued by the drama unfolding before my eyes. It was like a juicy soap opera taking place right before my eyes. I looked behind me to see who she must have been referring to, but there was no one else there. The thought crossed my mind; was she talking about me? At that point, she glares at me and said “She’s the devil! Look at her, she’s evil!” So, naturally, I started laughing, which of course, freaked her out even more.

Her husband then jumps up, approaches me, apologizes and says she is really drunk. The whole situation amused me, so I smiled, looked at her, and told her husband not to worry and that this is clearly her issue. As I continued to smile and look at her, she continued to unravel and freak out more. I thought to myself that this experience paralleled a few chapters in The Master and Margarita.

Not sure why she thought I was the Devil, but I take it as a compliment. Bahahahhaha!

Dave meanwhile had this story to share about really "performing" well on stage: More...

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Sunday Old School: Decapitated

What were you up to as a teenager? For many of us, we were listening to music, dealing with school, day dreaming of a life to come and maybe playing in a band ourselves. The question is, how many of us in our teens got our bands signed? That's just what happened to a quartet of young lads in Poland back in the nineties, who went on to create a legacy of brutal and proficient death metal, going by the suitably grizzly name of, Decapitated.

Decapitated was formed in 1996 by vocalist vocalist Wojciech "Sauron" Wasowicz and brothers Waclaw "Vogg" and Witold "Vitek" Kieltyka on guitars and drums respectively at a time when Vitek was only 12 years old. A year later, they recruited bassist Marcin "Martin" Rygiel, who was the same age as Vitek. They recorded their first demo, "Cemeterial Gardens" that same year, followed in 1998 by a second recording, "The Eye of Horus," which gained the attention of several record labels, including Earache, who signed the group to their Wicked World subsidiary. More...

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Pit Stories: Balls Out For The Nuns

Another week, another Pit Story, this time coming from an absolutely furious thrash / death metal hybrid that grabs by the jugular and never lets go!

Today we've got a twosome of tales taking place in Rio de Janeiro, one set in a classic Motorhead pit, the other featuring a rather more odd location with a crowd who probably wasn't ready for what Siriun has to offer.

It’s all about the pit! I was once at a Motorhead gig in Rio de Janeiro and things got out of hand fast... it was extremely intense and loud! I believe they were hammering "Overkill" and I found myself, drunk, right in the middle of the pit and suddenly a friend that I hadn’t seen in ages went on a frenzy and tried to put me up on his shoulders, but the fact that I’m 6’1 and weigh 200lbs didn’t make things easy for him… we skidded from one side to another and ended up striking a whole bunch of people and eventually hitting the ground! Luckily no one got hurt (from what I can remember) but I managed to lose my house keys. The show was amazing and I will always miss how great Motorhead was. RIP.

Another funny story, happened to the band that would end up becoming Siriun. At that time, I was not the lead singer, the former bassist was. We were kids and we were going to play on a band contest. When we got there, the place was packed and the singer got stage fright.  The only way to get him to sing was getting him drunk! So we went to a skeevy bar and he drank several shots of Brazilian Cachaça! We came back, played the show, head banged a lot and in the middle of the songs the singer cursed at the crowd... only problem was that the contest was taking place in the auditorium of a college of nuns.

Then one of the judges came to tell him that he could not have said that. Instead of apologizing, he said OK, waited for the judge to turn his back and hang his balls towards him in front of the whole audience and the other judges! Long story short, it was pretty rock 'n' roll.. we were disqualified!

Brazilian outfit Siriun formed in 2014 and has already shared the stage with acts such as Black Dhalia Muder and Krisiun. At the end of the month, Siriun will introduce the world to first record, "In Chaos We Trust," with pre-orders online here.

The album was recorded by vocalist / guitarist Alexandre Castellan, his longtime friend Hugo Machado on bass, and renowned drummer Kevin Talley (Chimaira, Suffocation, Six Feet Under). Niklas Sundin from Dark Tranquillity helped the band produce artwork and also directed Siriun's first music video for the track "Transmutation." More...

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Sunday Old School: Hatebreed

The relationship between metal and hardcore is a funny one. Both the rivalry and the influences stem back to punk rock, which was initially something anti-heavy metal, before the likes of Motorhead showed both fan bases that common ground could be reached. To this day, both camps have fans that can't stand the other, as well as those who enjoy both genres. The two styles would combine a number of times to form such sub-genres as thrash metal, crossover and metalcore, the last of which was not always the easiest to define, but if ever one band could be described perfectly by the metalcore tag, it's today's featured group, Hatebreed.

Hatebreed began life in 1994 in New Haven, Connecticut, though some members hailed from Bridgeport, consisting of vocalist Jamey Jasta, guitarists Larry Dwyer, Jr. & Wayne Lozinak, bass player Chris Beattie and drummer Dave Russo. The quintet recorded three songs for a demo tape, which was handed out to members of the local hardcore scene before being included in a split release with Neglect. They followed this with an EP, "Under the Knife" in 1996 which included the three songs once more, as well as four other songs, all of which except the title track would later be re-recorded. More...

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Pit Stories: Tanked By A Smile

The ranks of our Tuesday Pit Stories ever grows longer, with another foray into the dank depths of metal shows arriving today.

This week we've got vocalist / bassist Joshua Cayer from doom metal trio Longhouse, sharing his memory of the band's first show, which didn't quite go off as expected.

Our musician readers can probably identify with Cayer's nervousness, which featured one song tanked by nothing less than the smile from a pretty lady in a sea of sweaty, beer drinking dudes:

I don't think we have played enough to have any extravagant tales from the pit, but I can share a story about our very first show. I want to firstly fess up by stating that I get extremely nervous before each and every show. Not puke-nervous, but definitely queasy and tense-nervous.

So, we decided to start our set with one of our more complex songs, "Earth from Water." For us, "more complex" isn't saying a lot, but because I was so tense my fingers didn't want to work the way they're supposed to, so a simple root-fifth-seventh arpeggio felt like I was trying to play an Animals As Leaders tune! Now, let's add in poor stage lighting, and a drummer who was likely equally as nervous and kicked in at an extra 20-30 bpm's higher than we should've been. I'll say that I'm glad not too many people were there to see it. Luckily we managed to settle in to the next song, and had the growing crowd headbanging along with us by the end.

There was also another stand-out moment from that show: during one of our favourites, "Gehenna Gate," my eye caught glimpse of an exceptionally pretty lady in the crowd. She kind of really stood out in a room full of bearded, beer-slogging dudes. Now, don't tell my wife this, but just as I was about to deliver another line of hellish doom screams I saw her smile, and it actually caused me to forget the lyric, and almost stop playing my bass! It's a good thing that you can't typically understand what the heck U'm saying anyways, and I managed to recover. All in all, our first was a pretty fun show and we were pretty happy with getting that under our belt.

Below you can check out the track "No Name, No Marker" from Longhouse's sophomore album, "II: Vanishing," which was released via Bandcamp on April 14th, 2017. You can follow the latest on this Ottawa-based doom outfit via Facebook here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Witchery

Black metal is surely one of metal's most important sub-genres. While a hefty chunk of the attention it's received has been for its image and legacy of death and arson, the music itself changed the way a lot of musicians felt towards their own style, most notably the hybrid between black metal and death metal, two styles previously thought incompatible, performed by such artists as Behemoth. It's not just death metal that felt the frostbitten grimness creeping in, thrash metal was touched too, particularly in the case of Sweden's own, Witchery.

Witchery was formed in 1997 in the southern Swedish city of Linköping, following a massive split by the black metal band Satanic Slaughter. The four departing members included vocalist Tony Kampner, guitarists Patrik Jensen & Richard Corpse and drummer Micke Pettersson, who all formed Witchery along with Mercyful Fate and future Arch Enemy bass player Sharlee D'Angelo. In January the following year, the band spent a week recording their first album, "Restless & Dead," a pun of the Accept album, "Restless and Wild." Though recorded in January, it wouldn't be until October 1998 that it hit the shelves through Necropolis Records. While it retained elements of the black metal sound that the bulk of members had performed with Satanic Slaughter, it was more or less a thrash metal album. More...

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Pit Stories: Three Day Ear Ringing

Happy Tuesday my fellow heavy music lovers!

Today we've got a Pit Story that many of our regulars can relate to: getting older but still wanting to throw down at the front of the pit. What used to involve a couple of shots to rally and then going to work at 6 AM now involves days of recovery.

This week's Pit Story comes courtesy of guitarist and vocalist Tyson Wiebe of Lethbridge noise rock / punk duo Cope, who recalls the tale like this:

As I get older I somehow forget that my body/ears are not built for the pit anymore. The punishment I shrugged off as a teen and drank away in my early twenties now lingers well past what should be normal. I know better, yet I can still be found where the bodies are tightest and the music is loudest.

The most recent one came from a trip to Missoula to see my personal guitar hero Dean Ween. People always seem to write off Ween as a joke band, but they’ve always been dead serious to me. Mickey Melchiondo (aka Dean Ween, aka Deaner, aka Mickey Moist, etc.) is a shredder and I couldn’t wait to watch him and maybe steal some of his essence, so when we pulled into town for the show there was no doubt where we were going to stand: front stage, stage left. Where he has stood for the past 33 years as the other half of Ween.

We held our ground in that spot through the Meat Puppets (who still shred) and waited and waited. When the band came out and the first notes from his guitar rang out we realized we had made a huge, huge mistake. I have heard loud before, but this was deafening. His Fender Super-Sonic stack was cranked and pointing right at us. Plus, we were jammed up right by a monitor that was flipped to face the crowd for some reason. We knew we had to do something, so we started pushing the monitor further right. Security instantly came back and pushed it to its original position.

Then a cat-and-mouse game started.

When they would look away, we’d inch it further right, hoping they wouldn’t notice. They would notice eventually and push it back. We’d wait and move it over by inches again. We left the show with our ears ringing for three days afterward.

Worth it.

You can check out Cope's self-titled 7" release at Bandcamp here or stream the track "Mother Russia" below. For more info on this Alberta group, head over to the Cope Facebook profile. More...

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