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Archive: Columns

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Pit Stories: Slayer's Double Circle Pit

Every week we check in with musicians from across the rock and metal scene to get their most memorable Pit Stories.

This week, guitarist David Mena Ferrer from U.K. outfit In Search Of Sun shares a story of a band that frequently makes the top of anyone's favorite pit list: Slayer! David had this to say:

Well it has to be none other than SLAYER!!!!!! June 9th, 2007 to be exact. It was my second Download Festival ever and the weather was immaculate for a change, the sun was blazing and we sank warm beer after warm beer. My friends and I were positioned left of the main stage, chilled down at the little hill (you know the one), and watching the masses of beautiful festival freaks stumble past us, already half cut, all eagerly awaiting the coming of the mighty Slayer to blow our fucking brains out!

I even remember seeing a dude dressed in a burglar costume eating a crab that day…wherever the Christ he got that from I don’t know! But anyway, the time was finally upon us so we decided to get our asses up and get closer to the action. Maybe a bit too close perhaps…
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Sunday Old School: Pentagram Chile

The power of the metal underground can be a truly astounding thing. At times, it can give a band worldwide exposure and a large following even if they haven’t actually released a full length album. One of the best known examples of this would be Switzerland’s, Hellhammer, which of course evolved into Celtic Frost, but another band which would influence countless metal listeners was a group from Chile, who shared their name with an American group that also didn’t release an album until well into their career, a band named, Pentagram. Pentagram, or Pentagram Chile as they now go by, were formed in the Chilean capital city of Santiago in 1985 by singing guitarist, Anton Reisenegger and another guitar player named, Juan Pablo "Azazel" Uribe. They were strongly inspired by the more extreme end of the thrash spectrum and early death metal bands such Possessed, Kreator and Venom.

After recruiting drummer Eduardo Topelberg from a group named Chronos, the trio began working on their musicianship a little more seriously and eventually recorded their first demo, entitled appropriately enough, "Demo 1." Reisenegger handled bass duties for the record and the band began sending out copies all over the world. Two of the people who got a hold of the demo was the Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor, known of course as the founding members of Brazil’s most famous metal band, Sepultura, who at the time had just released their debut album, "Morbid Visions." They struck up a friendship with the two and there was reportedly intention for Max Cavalera and Anton Reisenegger to record an album together, though to date, this has not happened. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Stressed Out!

New music and videos from Sixx:A.M. and Screaming Eagles this week. More...

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Pit Stories: The Unwanted Pit

A few weeks back Halycon Way checked in with us to share a Pit Story about a massive wall of death at a Lamb of God show, and now the Atlanta prog metal group is back for another tale of pit shenanigans.

This week the group shares a tale of an unwanted pit failing to erupt at the NAMM convention. Halcyon Way had this to say about the event:

So, it's the Winter NAMM show in January of 2013. I'm at the Grove in Anaheim for an industry-only show there, and it's Exodus, Prong, and Jeff Loomis playing. I'm with a group of friends - other musicians, manufacturers, our producer Lasse Lammert is there, it's a good group. The Grove is a good sized venue, and it's probably about half full, so there's a pretty fair amount of room in the crowd area too, because the venue's floor is kinda segmented, with 20 foot sections going up from the stage. Basically, you have a 15-20 foot deep section the width of the venue, then there's a couple of steps up and a short wall, and there's another level a couple feet higher. I think there's 3-4 total. Keep in mind that this is an industry-only event, and that the general public was not allowed in. You had to get a pass from Dean Guitars in the NAMM show at the convention center.

So, during Prong's set there's a small pit breaking out in the lowest level, and that's cool. The people that didn't want to pit were up higher watching the show....until some drunk numbnuts decides he's going to start one 2 levels up. And the douche didn't even know how to really do a pit, he just decided to drunkenly stagger from one side of the venue to the other, and ram into as many people as he could. Women? Sure. Dudes? Of course. Mom with baby? He would have if there were one there. The guy was being a complete toolbag, just ramming into anyone at random, hitting them from behind, etc.
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Sunday Old School: Vio-lence

One of the wonderful things about thrash metal is that while some bands became superstars, others have earned eternal credibility amongst metal fans for their furious live shows and underground classics. Perhaps one of the best examples of the latter comes, unsurprisingly, in the form of a band from San Francisco, Vio-lence. The group was formed by guitarists Phil Demmel and Troy Fua, vocalist Jerry Birr, drummer Perry Strickland and bass player Eddie Billy, brother of Testament frontman, Chuck Billy.

Changes were soon made to the band, most notably when Birr was replaced by Sean Killian, who utilised a unique cadence in his singing style and former Forbidden guitarist, Robb Flynn. They soon signed a contract with Mechanic Records and entered the studio to record their first full length album, "Eternal Nightmare." The record is now considered to be one of the best thrash metal albums of all time by dedicated thrash fans, thanks to such songs as "Kill on Command" and "Bodies on Bodies." More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Guns N' Booze

A couple so-so videos this week that are redeemed with a GREAT ASS; a couple other videos masquerading as PRO gun and alcohol public service announcements. More...

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Pit Stories: Cpl. McTrailerpark Shuts Down A Fest

Get a bunch of amped up metal heads into an enclosed space and shenanigans are bound to happen, but add alcohol to the mix and you've got a recipe for pit craziness.

For this week's look at Pit Stories from metal bands across the globe, Crimson Shadows bassist Morgan Rider shares this tale of a festival getting shut down when the crowd turns on an unruly fan:

I have been playing shows the entirety of my adult and teenage life. I have seen just about as much crazy shit at concerts I have attended as the next guy has too. But actually PLAYING the show gives you that vantage point on the crowd and the pit that being a part of the crowd does not provide. Above all, some of the most insane crowds I have ever seen have been in our home country of Canada. I don't know if it's in the water or the poutine, but I personally think it may be the fact that Canada is one of the less-hit markets in the world for metal. The crowds here NEED their fix of metal!

One instance I can recall comes from another band I play in. We were playing an outdoor festival in Ontario right next to the lake and we were one of maybe 10-12 bands. I remember vaguely as we were gearing up to step up on stage, a roamer happened into our backstage area and started to harass our guitar player at the time that we had better play Lynyrd Skynyrd or Pink Floyd or he'd stab us in the throat or something to that degree. We told him to fuck off so we could get ready to play. And yes, this is the part where he losses his shit and attacks our guitarist who he was previously harassing. The quick tussle ended up in them both being bloody-nosed, bruised and covered in dirt, but otherwise OK! We kicked the random guy out of the backstage area and we moved onto the stage to perform. We didn't really hear him shouting at us about how he was going to round up his boys and come back for us though. Onward the show!

And this is where it gets interesting. We were maybe 3-4 songs into our set; we were enjoying the awesomely large-ish and crazy crowd, the cold Canadian beer and the feel of the breeze coming off the lake when Cpl. McTrailerpark and Company come drunkenly stumbling up into the festival grounds. I guess the guy originally did not realize we were the next performing band, so he went straight for the first long-haired and bearded fellow he happened across and a fight broke out immediately. Of course, we saw everything that was going on, so we shouted at someone to break the fight up before it got even further out of control. Now I have never seen this happen, except if a soccer team loses in Brazil or a bunch of fans streak across a football stadium, but the ENTIRE crowd B-lined and went straight for the guy and his buddies!

The whole crowd swarmed these guys and totally gang-beat them. Of course we did not stop playing. Within 5 minutes, ambulances, police cars and a paddy wagon all arrived with an even larger crowd of on-lookers. Eventually, the police came on stage and stopped us from playing and stopped the entire festival.
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Sunday Old School: Belphegor

As we’ve mentioned a few times over the past months, this year Sunday Old School is aiming to cover a lot more countries in our articles. Some of the nations we’ve taken a first look at have given the world of metal some highly controversial names, both literately (such as Rotting Christ from Greece) and in terms of theatrics (such as Poland’s, Behemoth.) This week sees the latter trend continue, as Sunday Old School examines a band from Austria for the first time. A blood drenched, blasphemous, outrageous group that goes by the name of, Belphegor.

The group was formed under the moniker Betrayer in Salzburg in 1991 by guitarist, Helmuth and Sigurd, vocalist Maxx and a drummer named Chris. Whilst using this name, they recorded two demos, "Kruzifixion" and "Unborn Blood," before changing their alias to Belphegor, named after a demon who was supposedly responsible for discoveries and, according to the Dictionnaire Infernal, Hell’s ambassador to France (because if anywhere is going to have an embassy for Hell, it’s France.) They would release only one demo with Maxx after changing their name in the guise of 1993’s, "Bloodbath in Paradise." After Maxx’s departure, Helmuth assumed vocal duties and the group recorded another demo, "Obscure and Deep" through Perverted Taste Records in 1994, before their first official album, "The Last Supper" was released in January 1995 via Lethal Records. More...

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Sunday Old School: Izzy Stradlin

Izzy Stradlin was the member (and co-founder) of Guns N’ Roses that presumably could handle his heroin use. He left Guns N’ Roses in 1991 and has led his own band or solo efforts since.

Izzy was born and grew up in Lafayette, Indiana where he was friends with William Bailey, later known as Axl Rose. In 1980 Stradlin moved to Los Angeles and joined the punk band Naughty Women. After a brief stint with Naughty Women, Stradlin would play with The Atoms and Shire before forming Hollywood Rose with his childhood friend Axl Rose. In 1984 the band recorded a five-song demo and also during this time (Stradlin) formed the short-lived band Stalin. In 1985 Stradlin, founded Guns N’ Roses with Rose and several members of L.A. Guns. The band released the epic ‘Appetite for Destruction’ album in 1987. Stradlin wrote or co-wrote most of the songs as well as “Patience” off the follow-up album "Lies."

The band blue up as did tensions around drug use. Around 1989 Stradlin took some time off and sobered up. In 1991 Guns N’ Roses released the "Use Your Illusion" albums. Stradlin co-wrote many of the songs, but now sober, was not happy with the band shenanigans and left the band in 1991. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Day Drinking

This week’s videos give us a classic bar scene and the possible return of the movie Cobra. More...

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Pit Stories: Crashing Into The Wall Of Death

It's Tuesday again, which means it's time for more Pit Stories!

This week we head into one of the most infamous, bone crunching, bruise-inducing pit activities: the dreaded wall of death.

Atlanta prog metal band Halcyon Way shared this story with us about a wall of death during a Lamb of God set:

One of my all time favorite bands is Lamb of God, and if you know Lamb of God at all then you know that they are known for doing a wall of death at the end of their show. So I was attending their show in Atlanta at the Tabernacle, and the time came for them to play "Black Label" which everyone knows is when the wall happens. So people started lining up, my best friend and I decided that we were gonna do it! So Randy Blythe started counting, when he hit 4, both sides of the room flew towards each other.

In the confusion I lost sight of my best friend and just began fending for my life it seemed! I saw some people on the ground, but saw that they were being helped up and didn't think much of it. It wasn't until I saw videos on Youtube later on that I realized that the side of the wall we were on had completely collapsed under the pressure from the other side and that we were mere feet away from being right in the middle of it, with no idea that it was even happening! It was definitely a blast though and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Halcyon Way's forthcoming album "Conquer" is due to drop on August 19th in North America via Nightmare Records and August 23rd in Europe via Massacre Records.

To get a preview of the album, you can stream the track "Home" at this location or watch the "Web of Lies" music video here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Bruce Dickinson

It’s usually a risk when the singer of a big name band decides to leave and go solo. Many doubted whether or not Ozzy Osbourne would be able to move on from Black Sabbath, though he went on to prove the naysayers wrong, while Judas Priest singer Rob Halford and Deep Purple’s, Ian Gillan found varying degrees of success after separating from their respective bands. Another metal legend who took the gamble was Bruce Dickinson, who made a name for himself as Paul Di'anno's successful replacement in Iron Maiden. The seeds of Dickinson’s foray into a solo career began in 1989 when he was approached to write a song for the movie, Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child, an offer which he accepted and called upon the services of former Gillan and White Spirit guitarist, Janick Gers.

The duo composed the song, "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter," which would later be included on the Iron Maiden album, "No Prayer For the Dying" and become the band’s first number one single in Britain. Given the popularity of the song, Dickinson and the same lineup returned to the studio to work on a full length album, which was completed in only two weeks and released in 1990 as a Bruce Dickinson solo album entitled, "Tattooed Millionaire." The album received positive reviews from many fans and critics and a tour in support of the record soon followed. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Dirty Lips

This week new videos from Glitzy Glow and Kristy Majors and the Thrill Kills; the videos may be new, but the music is a throwback to simpler, stranger time. More...

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Sunday Old School: Krisiun

As most sports fans, and even many who aren’t, are aware, today marks the final day of the FIFA World Cup, the largest international tournament in the sporting world. This year, it was held in Brazil, a country known globally for their love of and talent for football. But there’s another area the Brazilians seem to excel at, as Sunday Old School has shown in the past by highlighting such bands as Ratos de Parão and Sarcófago, and that is that Brazil has given birth to some of the most crushing metal bands of all time, as we’ll see today by taking a look at another of their excellent exports, Krisiun. The band was formed in Ijuí, Rio Grande do Sul, in 1990 by three brothers, Moyses and Max Kolesne, who handled guitar and drum duties respectively and singing bassist, Alex Camargo, who uses their mothers maiden name. They were heavily influenced by the aggressive metal of such acts as Morbid Angel and Slayer and recorded two demos before deciding that their career would stand more of a chance if they moved to Sao Paulo in 1995, where they were almost immediately spotted and signed by Dynamo Records.

The band recorded and released their debut studio album, "Black Force Domain" that same year and displayed their influences proudly with covers of "Nuclear Winter" by Sodom and the Kreator track, "Total Death." The album was well received by the death metal fans who heard it and soon afterwards, their brutal sound was to be brought to a larger audience when they signed with German record label, GUN. The group’s first release through their new label came in 1998 with the album, "Apocalyptic Revelations," which was also met with a positive response amongst the death metal community. More...

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Pit Stories: Leaving The Show In A Trunk

The live show is the heart of the metal scene, and both fans and musicians from across the globe have their share of epic stories from the mosh pit.

From amorous couples who can't be bothered to wait until getting home, to bursts of violence, and on to booze-addled shenanigans, the pit has been the site of just about every crazy scenario imaginable.

This week King Of Asgard guitarist Lars G. Tängmark shares this story of trying to see a Paradise Lost show but botching the whole affair from the beginning when he runs into his old friend Jagermeister:

This was the cold winter of 1992 and Paradise Lost was going to play Norrköping. It was probably one of the many brilliant club nights held under the "Trash Bash" flag in the early 90's where international metal celebrities could be enjoyed on a small stage, in small town, on a regular basis. All this less then hour by train away from the even smaller town where I lived and rehearsed with countless obscure musical projects (nothing has changed today BTW).

At the time I was in habit of being absolutely pissed before even leaving home on a Friday night, but on this particular day I made an exception and didn't start pouring Jagermeister down my throat until I got on the train. Had I made an estimation (which I was NOT in the habit of making) I should have understood that the show was still three hours away and I would have to pour the Jager really, really slowly to even be conscious at the time of the show. Did I mention that I looked really good too? I didn't really have the "metal" look going at the time, probably because of some kind of constant identity crisis, so I my hair was semi-long and part at the middle. I had decided for some type of normal clothing, but since I was in "experimental" mode when leaving the house I opted for a huge darth-vader black trenchcoat that looked more weird-granny than Edward Scissordhands. Neat.
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Sunday Old School: English Dogs

Punk rock is well documented as having changed the face of music forever. It certainly left it's mark on heavy metal, with many punk bands influencing the fledgling thrash movement, to the point where thrash’s first sub-genre, crossover thrash, almost completely blurred the line over what’s thrash and what’s punk. But interestingly, this new style went full circle and began to influence many punk groups of the day, with bands such as Discharge and The Exploited incorporating it into their sound. Another respected punk band that brought this harder edge to their music and appealed strongly to metal fans was Lincolnshire natives, English Dogs. The group were formed in the market town of Grantham in late 1981 and by the next year had recorded two demos entitled, "Show No Mercy" and "Free to Kill," earning them support slots with bands such as Discharge and G.B.H. The exposure was helpful for the band, who soon signed a record deal with Clay Records and released their first EP, "Mad Punx and English Dogs" in 1983.

The next year, the band released their first full length album, the rather bizarrely entitled, "Invasion of the Porky Men," which was perhaps their most punk rock orientated album to date. Following the release of the album, vocalist Pete Wakefield, also known as, "Wakey," parted company with the band and was replaced by Adie Bailey, formerly of Ultraviolent. It was also around this time that the band brought in guitarist, Graham "Gizz" Butt, who was very important in the history of English Dogs as he brought with him a metal style of guitar playing, which changed the course of the band’s music. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Home Sweet Home

New videos from Tigertailz, Accept and country artist Justin Moore (featuring Motley Crue); welcome to the country ramblings. More...

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Sunday Old School: KISS

This week is a special week for Sunday Old School because it’s the 250th column. One of the genres covered has been the glam and hair bands of the eighties. No band provided more of an influence in this area then KISS. Known for over-the-top antics, make-up, merchandising and farewell tours the boys from KISS have ruled since the seventies. Still, there is the question: Which came first, the music or the makeup? Spoiler Alert: We can’t prove either only that success followed. So without further ado, your 250th Sunday Old School post from the biggest band of all time: KISS. (Note: If you don’t believe this is the biggest band of all time just ask Gene Simmons.) More...

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Pit Stories: Losing Your Pants To The Pit

Each week we check in with metal musicians from across planet Earth to get their best pit stories.

This week we asked guitarist Greg Burgess of Allegaeon for his most memorable story from a live show, and this is what he had to say:

Oh man best our Allegaeon pit story... We were playing outside of San Francisco. During our last song "Accelerated Evolution" the crowd charged the stage and circle pitted around us while we were playing. After the show a dude comes up to us in his boxers saying, "I lost my pants in the pit." Awesome.

From teeth to prosthetic legs there's a lot a metal fan can find himself missing after moshing - what's the worst thing YOU'VE lost in the pit? Let us know in the comments section below!

Allegaeon's new album "Elements of the Infinite" (reviewed here) is out now and you can also read our interview with the band at this location. More...

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Sunday Old School: Tankard

Looking back through the Sunday Old School archives, we certainly seem to love our thrash metal. We’ve covered most of the big names in British thrash, a large number of American bands and a good portion of the German scene. However there is one band we have yet to cover in this column that hails from the last country mentioned, a band who will be releasing their sixteenth studio album this week. A band which goes by the name of Tankard. Tankard were formed in 1982 in the city of Frankfurt, located in the state of Hessen, by classmates, Andreas "Gerre" Geremia and Frank Thorwarth on vocals and bass respectively, as well as fellow pupil, Axel Katzmann, who played guitar. They became notorious for their heavy drinking even at an early age, when they would pour milk out of the cartons at school and fill them with beer, fuelling their good time thrash metal and helping them become party favourites. After two demos, "Heavy Metal Vanguard" and "Alcoholic Metal," the band eventually signed with Noise Records, though not before being passed on by SPV, who were shocked by the drunkenness exhibited by the group at a live show.

Their debut album was released in 1986 under the title, "Zombie Attack," which was quite well received by metal fans, especially in their native Germany. This was followed only a year later with their sophomore record, "Chemical Invasion," which was something of a concept album based around the arguments over the planned Beer Purity Law in Europe. Once again, they received positive feedback for their effort and continued performing live and earning themselves a reputation as one of the best thrash metal bands in Germany. More...

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