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Pit Stories: Gross Green Mucus

Sometimes you fight to get to the front of the crowd and see your favorite band up close and personal. Other times, it's not worth the effort.

That was the case for one unlucky lady who had the misfortune to be at the front of the pit when Dawn Of Ashes was playing... and one member was battling a truly wicked case of phlegm.

For this week's spectacularly gross Pit Story, Dawn Of Ashes shared the following mucus-laden tale:

I can't recall what state this happened in but on our tour with Dimmu Borgir, I came down with a nasty cold from being in below zero weather in Canada. From the illness, I was coughing up really gross green mucus.

While on stage at whatever venue we were playing at, I coughed up this gnarly mucus ball and spit it directly into the crowd. All of this happen in slow motion like in a movie. I looked down and right in front row I see a girl pulling this mucus out of her hair all in slow motion. It was fucking disgusting and I was trying not to die laughing while singing. Definitely a funny ass experience.

Third Dawn Of Ashes full-length album "Daemonolatry Gnosis" will be released June 9th through Metropolis Records. Check out a lyric video for the track "Guardians" below and get full album details over here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Primus

It is often said that the most original bands don't make it in the mainsteam. Many of metal and punk's most influential bands such as Venom, Bathory and Bad Brains have found commercial success a lot harder to come by than those whom they inspired such as Metallica or Amon Amarth, though matter how much these groups cite and praise them in the press. There is of course, exceptions to every rule and one band who were able to garner plenty of commercial success with a sound practically all of their own, was California's own, Primus.

Primus began life as Primate in 1984, formed by bass player Les Claypool and guitarist Todd Huth, who utilised a drum machine at first as they found drummers hard to come by until Claypool's friend Vince Parker returned from the army and filled in the position. With a full lineup of musicians, the band recorded their first demo, which was financed by Claypool selling his car, around the same time that they decided to change their name to the more familiar Primus, after another group called The Primates threatened legal action. This was also to be their only recording with Parker, whose departure began a revolving door of drummers, with Tim "Curveball" Wright taking over the position in 1986 for two years, before they recruited Freaky Executives drummer Jay Lane. More...

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Pit Stories: Italian Temperment

Last week you all got spoiled with double Pit Stories so today we're returning to business as usual with just one tale of the ups and downs of touring.

For today's entry, we've got Magnus Henriksson of Swedish hard rocking crew Eclipse, who explains a bit about the uncertainties of traveling to another country for a festival gig.

Will there be someone to pick you up? Where are you staying? Will someone randomly hit you and then give you a big sloppy kiss? All these questions and more are answered with Magnus' tale:

Most of our funny or tragic tour stories always occur when we play in Italy for some reason. First time we played there with Eclipse, the promoter picked us up 2 hours late after our arrival. Being sleep deprived for having not slept for 24 hours he drove us to a rock pub where we’re forced to be introduced to his friends and watch one of "his" bands ’til 4 o clock in the morning. We just wanted to sleep.

We finally get to our "hotel" in the middle of nowhere. The day after (gig day) we wake up realizing we’re stranded in the middle of nowhere in a roach infested motel without food, water (you don’t wanna drink tap water in Italy) or possibilities to commute downtown. We just have to wait it out ’til something happens.

The promoter is nowhere to be found cuz his phone is shut off. We can’t reach anyone who works for the festival we’re about to play at.

We’re supposed to go on at 20.00.
We’re waiting. The clock is now 19.15.
We assume that there isn't gonna be a gig.

All of sudden a drunk driver in Motörhead t-shirt park his car outside our motel.
Turns out it's our shuttle. We reach the venue 30 min prior to the gig and we still haven't sound checked. The monitor tech (a hot tempered little Italian woman) is waiting for us onstage, shouting ”ECLIPSE!!!!! Where the hell have you been???”

I try to explain: ”Well, we waited for hours but…..” and then WHACK!!!! All of a sudden she hits our singer in the head with a rolled up newspaper! ”You bastards, showing up late!”
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Sunday Old School: Soulfly

Revenge is a motivation that's created some of the biggest moments in history, as well as many famous names in pop culture. Were Bruce Wayne not spurred on by the death of his parents (spoiler,) he wouldn't have become Batman and in a world closer to our own, we wouldn't have Megadeth if Dave Mustaine hadn't been kicked out of Metallica and sworn to create a faster, heavier and more intense group. Similarly, after the decision made by three of the four Sepultura members to fire their manager, her husband, the group's leader, Max Cavalera, quit the group and almost immediately founded a new one. One which has rivaled the commercial success of his previous outfit. One named, Soulfly.

Soulfly began life in 1997 in Phoenix, Arizona, where Max Cavalera and his wife Gloria had made their home. In addition to dealing with the split with Sepultura, Gloria's son, Dana, who was also a close friend of Max, had been murdered the previous year and as expected, left the couple with a feeling of total devastation. Inspired by a line in the Deftones song, "Head Up," on which Cavalera appeared, he named his new group Soulfly and recruited Lúcio Maia on guitar, bassist Cello Dias, who had previously played with another Sepultura alumnus, Jairo Guedes back in Brazil and drummer Roy Mayorga, formerly of the crust punk band Nausea and Hare Krishna hardcore group, Shelter. More...

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Pit Stories: Crippling Vomit Anxiety

Rejoice metal fans: it's a surprise double Pit Story day!

After a beer-chucking tale from The Riven earlier today, we return with a bonus Pit Story from Jake Dreyer of Witherfall who, as it turns out, is not a fan of the pit.

Jake recounts these harrowing pit memories, from one very angry lady sending him scrambling for safety to cheap beer and hot dog vomit heralding his guitar solo:

Ah, pit stories. These are always fun. Truth be told I actually don’t like mosh pits and try to avoid them at all cost when I am attending a show. Yes, I am the guy who hangs out by front of house where I know it is safe and sound. On one rare occasion I tried to venture away into the uncharted waters of the standing room only area to see the show up close. All was good until a very angry 4 foot 9 female who looked like a cross between Sid Vicious and the dog from the Muppets got so motivated by the music of the show I was attending that randomly she decided to shove me into the stage. Afterwards I cowered in fear like a scolded dog and went to watch the show back at the soundboard far away from the chaos. I still have no idea why she was so upset….

Anyways, I do love watching pits from onstage all the energy just gets fed back and forth between the band and the crowd and for a second it takes you away from the reality that you are just a circus monkey turning tricks for peanuts. These are fun, until they turn ugly. Like on a recent tour playing in Budapest (I think) I watched someone get hit so hard they passed out and the crowd just picked them up and threw them over the security barrier like tossing a wet towel in a bin. Watching a limp body just fall hard to the ground of the pit while security dragged them away was a little dark. Fights can be difficult to watch too, they do not happen regularly but I have seen a couple break out in a pit where guys were beating the hell out of each other blood and other bodily fluids squirting uncontrollably through the air.

Though out of all of this, my worst story has to deal with my crippling anxiety of watching people throw up. I am not kidding. It scares the shit out of me to watch myself or someone around me vomit. This does not work playing in a metal band where to let loose men love to pound fistful of cheap beer and run around until their stomachs turn on themselves expelling their partially digested pre-show hot dog. This happened to me once, as someone in the front row on my side of the stage puked over the barrier after I finished a guitar solo. Perhaps maybe that was their way of showing me what they felt of my playing. If so then I commend them.

Witherfall released latest album "Nocturnes And Requiems" back in February - check out a track from the release below, and a previous pit story from Witherfall all about mob justice can be read over here. More...

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Pit Stories: Saviours Of The Gig

Spilled beer is a universal tragedy - unless its spilled in the name of saving a show!

We've had a quite a few Pit Stories covering the suds spilling to detrimental effects, and this week's tale features a full Guinness getting pitched directly into one unruly fan's unsuspecting face.

After we premiered new song "Killer On The Loose" last week, bassist Max Ternebring of The Riven checked in with us to offer up this tale from the pit:

I’ve been to quite a few gigs in my life, and I’ve played some pretty cool ones as well. This thing that happened though was when I was in London at The High Voltage festival, the second edition in Victoria Park. A really good festival that was, but unfortunately they don’t run it anymore. But fear not – it has morphed into Stone Free Festival and as well Ramlin’ Man Fair.

Anyways, I was watching the legendary Judas Priest doing their supposedly "last gig ever," they were gonna stop touring after that one and KK had already called it quits. The show was late in the afternoon/early evening. The sun had been shining all through the day and the beer had obviously been flowing as it does at a hard rock festival!

I was standing with my crew, enjoying Halford's epicness whilst the sun was setting and I was just having the best time! Unfortunately there was this big dude, the biggest I’ve ever seen, arms like logs and he was drunk out of his mind. At first I didn’t notice it, but after a while I saw that this guy got into a fight with a much smaller dude, over what I can only assume had something to do with him being an awful person and trying to ruin everyone else’s experience.

It was at that point that I found myself with a nice full Guinness in my hand, that my girlfriend had just bought and asked me to hold. I obviously had to give it my best shot at throwing it on this dude, given the situation. So of course I threw that Guinness and of course I hit him right in the face.

At that point he looked at me and I thought to myself - he’s definitely gonna kill me. He rushed towards me like a big angry bull and started waving his logs of arms to hit the crap out of me. I ducked and moved like a cobra and fortunately for me, my black belt karate drummer friend managed to do some karate kid moves and knocked this guy out in perfect time for the security to arrive. They managed to get that guy out of there and we were celebrated as the saviours of the gig. After that, the beers did flow and the best part of it – Judas Priest is still touring!

London-based group The Riven will drop debut EP "Blackbird" on April 14th, with five tracks bringing to mind the glory of the '70s. Check out EP track "One Last Time" below. More...

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Sunday Old School: Black Death

It's funny how bands can create a legacy for themselves, especially if they've only released one album. The Sex Pistols are probably the most famous example of a band which only released one (proper) album but their influence is still heard in music today. There were renowned groups associated with the grunge scene who went on to be regarded highly after one studio effort too such as Mother Love Bone and Temple Of The Dog, while side projects such as Nailbomb from Sepultura's, Cavalera brothers and Fudge Tunnel singer Alex Newport, as well as Control Denied from Death mastermind Chuck Schuldiner also have become cult favourites. Today's article will look at another band who only managed one album before breaking up, though in their time, they were able to gain mainstream attention and even be credited with opening doors for black musicians in rock. That band was named, Black Death.

Black Death began in Cleveland, Ohio in 1977, starting out as a trio comprising of guitarist Greg Hicks, bass player Clayborn Pinkins and drummer Phil Bullard, before recruiting vocalist/guitarist Siki Spacek (real name: Reginald Gamble.) In 1979, before the musicians had even recorded a demo together, Pinkins was murdered by gunfire and the group began recruiting a series of bass players, eventually settling on Darrell Harris. They made their first recording together in 1981, which included the song, "Outcast," a track which was to earn heavy airplay on a local college radio show hosted by Brian Sergents. More...

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Pit Stories: The Most Energy (And Beer Spillage)

In recent weeks we've had bands pranking their own front men, shows abruptly ended with slam poetry, and an on-stage coronation.

For this week's Pit Story, we're getting into the high octane energy of a pit during a killer live show with a too-small stage where the band and fans get unceremoniously smashed together.

Vocalist Pete Mercer from Medicine Hat, Alberta-based group Nuclear Oath tells the story like this:

I'm not really sure of the date but this was a local show and the first time we played at this pub, it was Olys ale house in Medicine Hat, i think it was our 2nd show, it was put on by a former band mate of mine, things originally didn’t end so well, so there was definitely some tension still in the atmosphere on both ends. We were ready to make an impression and show everybody that we were ready to destroy no matter what previous things had occurred.

So with that being said we was one of the opening acts and we were ready to fuck this place up and show everyone that we are here to drop bombs. The beers were flowing good and the energy was unstoppable. When we played TGTN, I called everybody to move in closer and get crazy with us, this was a small enough stage as is, so both guitars and bass were already playing on the floor, an i was doing my thing on the stage. Then the bomb dropped we all jumped on the floor, except for drummer obviously haha, sorry Brandon stay at your throne. Hair was flying everywhere, cables were getting tangled, but we still stayed on point.

It got so crazy that myself got jabbed with the base headstock, tangled with guitar player Zack (we always get tangled haha) and even the long hair caught on some tuning nobs, but again still keep the energy, kept getting in peoples faces and screaming and pushing them. With them also pushing back an grabbing the mic and screaming also, love that shit, beers spilt with tangled wires, oh an I even got knocked down and sang some of the chorus on the ground and helped back up just to get knocked around again, I love the energy this band gives off.

With that being said we had the most energy of the night and probably most beer spillage of the night, haha.

Nuclear Oath will release new album "Toxic Playground" this coming June 9th to follow debut EP "Ashes of the Unborn." Check out some teaser clips and info on upcoming live appearances at Facebook, and you can hear the "Razor Blade Regrets" single below. More...

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Sunday Old School: Negura Bunget

For the second time in only a month, Sunday Old School presents itself in a sombre tone. Having lost Kittie bassist Trish Doan in February and paying tribute to her at the beginning of the month, this column pays its respects to another fallen metal musician, Gabriel Mafa, better known to the world as Negru, the drummer and co-founder of what is perhaps Romania's best known metal group, Negura Bunget, who tragically and suddenly passed away five days ago from a suspected heart attack at the age of 42.

The roots of Negura Bunget can be traced back to 1994 when Negru, along with Hupogrammos Disciple (real name Edmond Karban) on vocals, guitar and keyboards, founded the band Wiccan Rede in the major city of Timi?oara in west Romania. Under this moniker, the duo recorded and released one demo, "From Transilvanian Forests" in 1995, before changing their name to the now familiar Negura Bunget, which roughly translates to "dark foggy forest." Following this decision, the two musicians traveled to the Romanian capital city of Bucharest to record their debut album, "Zîrnindu-sa," which translates to "getting weak." More...

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Pit Stories: Pissing Off The Lead Man

Hello again metal world - it's Tuesday and time for another heavy metal Pit Story!

This week's tale arrives courtesy of Canadian trio Absinthe From Society, with a story of on-stage tomfoolery that left the crowd confused and the front man plotting revenge.

Absinthe From Society's drummer Adam "The Caveman" Roberts had this to say:

I can remember one particular gig that I decided to mess around a little bit, have fun and make people laugh. It all started around 7:00 pm when we were loading in the music equipment for a full night of just Absinthe From Society (AFS) on stage at this venue. It was our first all night gig. Prior to this gig I hadn't written any of the songs or played any other instruments besides drums. Wow, was Ian (Saint Absinthe) Harper in for a surprise.

I immediately told the door lady, after being stamped on the back of my hand for the night, that I had written all the songs for AFS and that the band was mine. She laughed and smiled saying that she was interested in seeing us because she had heard good things about the band.

Two days before the gig we found out that we needed to supply ALL of our own sound gear as well as a sound man. Luckily I owned all my own sound gear and just by a hint of luck was able to find a sound man for the night (off to a good start). We setup our gear, did sound check and were all ready to go around 9:30.

Little did we know at the time what was to come. We had two newly strung guitars but we didn't have extra strings. Ian blew a string after the first song (off to a better start). Okay, we got this. Halfway through the first set Lexi Graham and I switched our instruments so
that she was playing drums and I was playing bass guitar. Ian had no idea we where practicing this on the side and had planned on doing this the whole time. Ohhh the freedom! To be in front! I thought, how could I piss off the lead man in a way that he can't get back at me?

The first thing I did as I started the song was to take the bass, and hit the mic stand so then the mic hit Ian on his lips. I laughed and proceeded to scurry into the crowd because I was wireless and I knew Ian wasn't. Lexi saw what had happened the whole time and was laughing her ass off. We finished the remaining sets with one guitar, there was no feedback because the sound man was awesome and at the end of our last set, I had the whole bar convinced that it was my band and got crazy recognition for playing bass guitar on stage. What a ride!

Oh and the first gig we did as a band, the venue cut us one song short at the end of our forty-five minute set because....WE WERE TOO METAL... That's another story...

Comprised of founder Ian "Saint Absinthe" Harper and Adam "The Caveman" Roberts (drums & percussion), along with Lexi "Shitkicker 9000" Graham (bass & vocals), the trio released latest EP "The Angels Ignored Us" last month. Listen in below or pick up your copy at Bandcamp here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Grave Digger

No need to check again, we're not featuring Grave in Sunday Old School for the second week in a row. Instead, the column is taking a trip over to Germany and the power metal genre and examining one of the country's most revered groups in their field, Grave Digger (though this would surely be a great name for fans of Grave.) Power metal is something of a cult genre in the United States and the United Kingdom, but in mainland Europe, particularly in Germany and Sweden, it has a much larger following, thanks in part to some of power metal's most revered bands such as Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian hailing from these countries respectively. Grave Digger may not have quite reached the same heights as these bands, but over three decades, they have established themselves as one of the style's most respected groups.

Grave Digger was formed in the city of Gladbeck in 1980 by the trio of singing bassist, Chris Boltendahl, guitar player Peter Masson and drummer Lutz Schmelzer. Schmelzer was quickly replaced by Philip Seibel and the three piece recorded their first demo in 1982. Following the recording, Boltendahl decided to concentrate more on the vocal aspect and so the band became a quartet by bringing in bass player Willi Lackman, while Seibel was also replaced by Albert Eckardt. This new incarnation recorded another demo entitled, "Born Again," which started to garner attention from labels, particularly Noise, who featured the group on their "Rock From Hell - German Metal Attack" compilation alongside such bands as Running Wild. More...

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Pit Stories: Dollarama Weapons And Slam Poetry

Happy Tuesday metal fans! Ready for another bout of Pit Stories?

Most of our tales involve out of control pits, drunk fans, and unexpected violence, but sometimes the pit is less a bloody place and more a gathering for silly fun.

That's the sort of tale we've got this week from Marc Bourgon of Cancelled / Greber / Fuck the Facts, who shares these stories of several memorable gigs:

Years ago, while I was playing in a now defunct band called tugnut, we would regularly play the sleepy industrial border town of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. There must have been something in the water of the St. Clair river that seeped its way into the veins of the average Sarnian underground metal concert-goer because every show was perpetually more crazy than the last. Not in a “wall of death” or “crowd punishing” manner but something far sillier.

Early on in my years with tugnut we befriended a band by the name of Sarnia. We knew this band was a true titan of soul when they let loose the infectiously anthemic song entitled: “Sarnia.” The song's lone lyric was the word "Sarnia" and the pre-chorus included it being spelled one letter at a time in a gang vocal. They were the ones who put Sarnia (the city) on the map for us and soon invited us to come play there.

The first show we did was at the Eagles hall if I remember correctly. It all started like any other show but once in full swing the show was like a miniaturized version of Obscene Extreme. Costumes. Toy weapons. Acrobatics. Not to mention that when any riff slower than 85bpm was played by any band, someone would yell out: “BIIIIIG STEP!!” and everyone would just start taking giant steps to the music. It was off the fucking chart.

Anyhoo, the show that comes to mind for me was Sarnia (the band)’s CD release. Prior to them playing was all the insanity that we had come to love and expect from a show there but it wasn’t until they took the stage (floor) that it got completely out of hand. A contractor grade garbage bag full of Dollarama weaponry was dumped into the middle of the pit, everyone eyed up their choice of arms and poised themselves for battle. Sarnia started and chaos erupted. Everyone was fighting everyone else and whoever was left was moshing. At one point a shopping cart that had been turned into a tank plowed into the pit and started attacking anyone who dare step into it’s path. Their set ended with a 13 musician rendition of Sarnia (the song).

Now I realize this all seems juvenile and silly but it was one of the rare times in life that everyone was on the same page with each other and having a great time at a show. Can’t figure out why this is what came to mind when I read “Pit Stories” but it did. Thanks for reading.

Epilogue: There was a dude who called himself Shmagnet who became a good friend over the years. I recall some generic metalcore band bombing and him forcefully grabbing the mic from the singer and doing some slam-poetry. That uninvited yet crucial move ended up getting the whole crowd chuffed into a frenzy and saving the rest of the band from their already half-over set. By the looks of it the band was into it as well. The singer, not so much. That dude was a fucking hero.

Cancelled is the experimental recording project of Marc Bourgon that just released three song EP "Tenebrific." You can stream all the songs below or grab your own copy at Bandcamp here. More...

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Sunday Bloody Sunday - Bolt Thrower

Bolt Thrower’s name does not refer to the Greek god of thunder, Zeus. It is in fact a large crossbow, a medieval batiste. It is the perfect moniker for a band who writes exclusively on the topic of war, or at least most of the time they’re writing on that sordid topic. War is something grand, whether you support it or not, it changes the fabric of our society.

A bolt thrower could change the fabric of society, too, ripping and impaling ranks of soldiers. How do you defend against the bolt thrower? How do you defend against the band Bolt Thrower? You can’t, their music will pound you, ground you, and light you on fire. It is melodic guitars. It has groove. The vocals are growly, but you can understand every word Karl Willetts speaks of, every bloody-muddy scene. Sometimes it’s pure fast hardcore, but it’s always on the topic of martial ways—battles won, battles lost, lives lost, lives survived, loss, pain, grief.

Karl knows grief all too well when his band mate Martin "Kiddie" Kearns passed and decided to pursue his loss combined with Benediction regulars, Frank Healy and Scott Fairfax and former Bolt Thrower drummer Andrew Whale joined the group as a way to fuel their bereavement into the ultimate English death record, Memoriam, which will come out on the 24th of March, 2017.

This interview, however, isn’t about Memoriam. There is a great video of Memoriam posted below, but this interview focuses exclusively on Karl Willett’s influences on how he shapes Bolt Thrower. Sit back and read the following interview concerning BOLT THROWER and don’t let the tunnel rats pongee your ankles.

More...

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Sunday Old School: Grave

Sweden is a country that often gets brought up in metal circles. The Scandinavian nation in between Norway and Finland has become known as one of the more liberal countries in the world, with a highly developed welfare state, one of the highest life expectancy and satisfaction rates in the world, a long list of famous names such as scientist Alfred Nobel, writer August Strindberg and one of cinema's most revered directors, Ingmar Bergman, as well as, quite frankly, one of the sexiest accents in Europe. So why then, with so much going for it, has the country developed such a talent for extreme music, death metal in particular? We may never know, but we can be grateful that they do, otherwise we wouldn't have such classic groups as today's featured outfit, Grave.

Grave as we know them, began life in 1986 under the name Corpse, in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland. They recorded one demo, "Black Dawn" the same year before changing their moniker to the now familiar, Grave in 1988, in time for the release of their second demo, "Sick Disgust Eternal." They released a string of demos while building up a live reputation, which eventually caught the attention of German label Century Media, who signed the band in 1991 and included them on a compilation featuring some of the most exciting young bands of the time, including Asphyx and fellow Swedes, Unleashed and Tiamat. More...

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Pit Stories: Crowned On Stage

Is it March already? Here we are with our 10th Pit Story of the year kicking off the start of the month!

This week we've got U.S. prog metal band Vangough on board for a tale of touring bands messing with each other on stage.

Clay Withrow recalls the following story of being unceremoniously crowned while still performing during the set:

While we were on our North American tour in support of Pain of Salvation in 2014, there was one particularly unique occurrence that I’m sure very few bands or even fans have experienced. Our very last show on the tour was booked in a performance arts theater, which was kind of different but also very cool. The stage was extremely deep to account for set changes and such, so it was by far the biggest stage we had played so far.

Anyways, as we’re tearing into the final chorus of our song “Separation,” I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder and something being placed on my head. The guys from Pain of Salvation were trying to seat me in a king’s throne, while also placing a crown on my head. What made the whole exercise even more difficult was the fact that my explorer-style guitar just wasn’t playing nice with the chair they were trying to squeeze me into, so I’m sure witnessing this event was pretty awkward but also hilarious.

So thank you Daniel Gildenlow and Gustaf Hielm for a very memorable end to our already memorable tour! I’m so glad that wasn’t the night we had to record for our Kickstarter live CD. Though I did get them back when I dressed up in a pink rabbit suit and hopped out on stage during one of their songs.

Vangough's upcoming new album "Warpaint" is due out this coming March 17th, 2017 (read our full review here). Check out advance song "Morphine" in the player below.

Spending over a year in production, this album represents the delicate inculcation of restraint, self-doubt and introspection that was afforded as a result of recent touring efforts. More...

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Sunday Old School: Kittie

As has been said several times throughout the history of this column, the saddest reason to feature a band is following a death in the family as it were. Following the tragic passing of bass player Trish Doan on February 11th, it seems appropriate that Sunday Old School takes the time to look at one of North America's most famous all female metal bands, with whom Doan made her name, Kittie.

Kittie began life in 1996 in London, Ontario when drummer Mercedes Lander and guitarist Fallon Bowman met in school and began jamming together. They were quickly joined by Morgan Lander, the sister of Mercedes on lead vocals and guitar and after a search, recruited bass player Tanya Candler. With a full lineup, the quartet began recording demos and performing live in 1998, with a record deal arriving the next year after the band asked NG Records executive Jake Weiner. Though they signed with NG, they were switched to Artemis Records following a takeover. More...

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Pit Stories: Severely White Girl Drunk

In recent weeks we've covered getting rained out of Summer Breeze, experiencing some very dubious sleeping arrangements, and even a little bit of mob justice.

This week we're coming back solidly to the pit itself for a tale of having a few too many and not realizing you'd just met an admired musician - and then taking a headbutt to the gut.

Today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Shelby Tanaka, lead vocalist for the Vancouver-based band This Gun for Hire, who recalls the tale like this:

Now I don't remember most of the minor details to the story, because I was severely white girl wasted, but here it goes. The show, Texas In July. The venue, El Corazon in Seattle WA. I was there hours earlier before lines had even formed outside so I could grab a few drinks at the bar next door to get super toasty for the show.

In the bar I met a married couple there for one of the local bands playing. We bought each other drinks and talked music for a bit. A little later, Alex Good walks in and orders a beer next to us. Now, at the time, I didn't really know what Texas's lead singer looked like, so already slightly tipsy I said something to him that brought him into the conversation. 2 double whiskeys and 5 buds later, the first band was starting up so we all said "nice to meet you, goodbye."

Later in the night it was finally TIJ's time to play. I had been in the pit throwing down for every band and was well passed a sober state of mind. Lights go down, sound turns up, and who else do I see on stage other than Alex Good exhaling viciously with a low growl. I go nuts, pulling everyone's shoulder around me yelling "I had beers with him!" Their first song drops and the pit spins out of control. I work my way to the middle, only to suddenly get head-butted in the stomach by the wife of the couple I met in the bar. She looks up, sees me, grabs me on each side of the head and screams in my face "METAL!" That's one of my favorite pit memories. Be sure to check out our new album that comes out on March 31st 2017 everywhere.

This Gun For Hire's impending album "Something A Little More Sinister" is only a month away - check out two tracks from the release below. More...

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Sunday Old School: BMHM Part 4. Thou Art Lord

Sadly, we've come to the closing chapter of this year's Black Metal History Month. Over the past weeks we've examined the influential Czech band Master's Hammer, Canada's most beloved black metal outfit Blasphemy and the understated but important presence of Norway's, Thorns and this week, we'll be rounding things up by taking a look at a supergroup from Greece whose members all have a background in extreme music, several of whom achieved success in their own right. And so we close Black Metal History Month's sixth installment with a feature on Thou Art Lord.

Thou Art Lord began life in the Greek capital of Athens in 1993, the brainchild of Rotting Christ frontman Sakis Tolis and George Zacharopoulos, AKA The Magus of Necromantia (and part time keyboardist for Rotting Christ) on guitars and bass respectively, being joined in their endeavour by Mortify vocalist Gothmog (John Hiotellis.) The trio recorded a demo "The Cult of the Horned One" before releasing their first EP, "Diabolou Archaes Legeones," both in 1993, the same year that they also released a split 7" vinyl with Belgian black metal group, Ancient Rites. More...

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Pit Stories: Rained Out At Summer Breeze

There's a million and one Pit Stories in the metal world and we're on a quest to catalog them all!

After we premiered new track "Genesis 11:1-9" last month, Belgian symphonic black metal crew Saille checked in with us again for a tale of a show almost gone terribly wrong.

If all the equipment and crew manage to arrive in one piece, nobody has burned the place down, and drunk fans don't climb on stage and wreck everything, there's still always mother nature to contend with, as Saille discovered while playing the Summer Breeze fest. Guitarist Reinier Schenk recalls the story like this:

We arrived at the Summer Breeze festival in Dinkelsbühl (Germany) with plenty of time before our gig. We were lucky and got 1 hour for setting up our gear. About 15 minutes before we could get started all hell broke loose. It was already dark at that time, so we didn't see anything happening, but it got extremely windy and it started to rain.

The stage manager came to us running, with panic in his face. He was yelling to us: "Leave all your stuff here and get into that bus NOW!!!" We were looking at each other, wondering wtf is his problem? Everybody in the backstage was acting weird, running, shouting to each other, like a scene from a movie. Then others started to shout the same, so we all went into a bus and the driver started the engine and drove away as fast as possible and took us somewhere else.

Still not knowing what was happening he told us they would have to cancel our show, because a huge storm was heading to the festival site and it was too dangerous to play. We were all disappointed of course, but all of a sudden the driver got a phone call telling him the storm would not hit the festival. He drove us back to the stage (which was very wet from the heavy rain) and there we were... we had 15 minutes before showtime and we had to hurry as hell. No mercy!

Saille will release new concept album "Gnosis" this coming March 17th, 2017 via Code666 Records. Check out a track from the release below. More...

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Sunday Old School: BMHM Part 3. Thorns

If there's one place that springs to mind when one thinks of black metal, it's Norway. The Scandinavian country may not have invented the genre, but they certainly shaped it into what we know today. Many of the most famous names in black metal were formed in Norway, including Immortal, Darkthrone and Dimmu Borgir, but there were also plenty of cult (or should that be kvlt?) favourites, including today's featured band, Thorns.

The roots of Thorns dates back to 1989 in the city of Trondheim, when guitarist Snorre W. Ruch and vocalist/bassist Marius Vold formed the band, Stigma Diabolicum, with whom they recorded one demo, "Luna De Nocturnus," as well as releasing a rehearsal tape and a live recording, "Live in Stjørdal." They soon added to their ranks, bringing in a bassist named Harald Eilertsen, allowing Vold to concentrate on vocals, as well as drummer Bård G. Eithun, better known to black metal fans as "Faust," who would later join Emperor. The quartet changed their moniker to Thorns around 1991 when the use of Latin was becoming more prominent in black metal. More...

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