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Archive: Columns

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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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The Rockstar Ramblings: White Jeans and Leather

This week the return of Tesla, Black Tora giving life lessons and Sebastian Bach continuing to do Sebastian Bach type things. More...

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Sunday Old School: Moonspell

So far this year, the Sunday Old School column has certainly been living up to the ambition of covering more bands from around the world, having for the first time featured bands from Greece (Rotting Christ,) Poland (Behemoth and Vader) and Belgium (Channel Zero) and so this week, we continue our global metal excavating by looking at a Portuguese band for the first time, one of the finest examples of gothic metal, Moonspell. Moonspell were formed in 1989 in Amadora, located in the North of Lisboa, initially under the moniker, Morbid God. In 1992, the group decided to change their name and got to work on new material, which they released in 1994 as part of their debut EP, "Under the Moonspell." The EP proved popular in the metal underground and impressed executives at Century Media Records enough that they offered the band a six album deal. It wasn’t long before the band had recorded their first full length effort, which was released in April 1995 under the title, "Wolfheart" and was considerably more in line with black metal than the gothic vibe which they would become known for.

Although the album was somewhat ignored by the metal media, it allowed the group to embark on a tour of Europe, during which guitarist, Mantus left the band, to be replaced by Ricardo Amorim. A new guitarist also meant a new style for Moonspell, who quickly adopted a gothic approach to their music, which they showcased on their sophomore album, "Irreligious," released in 1996. The album was a landmark for the band not only in terms of style change, but also their first single and music video for the song, "Opium," as well as some other Moonspell classics such as "Awake" and "Full Moon Madness," which has become the standard final song at the majority of Moonspell concerts. In addition to these personal successes, the band also found some commercial achievement when the record sold over ten thousand copies in their native Portugal. However, as with the cycle for "Wolfheart," the band would soon find themselves departing with another member, this time with bass player, Ares, whose fallout with the group was bad enough that lawsuits were soon brought into the mix. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Plot Twist

I love low budget and videos shot in gentlemen clubs. There is also nothing quite like a good plot twist when you are not ready for it. This week we have one and it did not leave me feeling good. More...

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Pit Stories: The Disappearing Groupie

Every week we check in with metal bands from across the globe to get their best stories about life as a musician.

Normally these tales center around the mayhem in the mosh pit, but sometimes bands have stories so interesting from the practice room or even trips to shows that we've just got to share them.

Today guitarist Renaud Baril from Trainwreck Architect shares this chilling tale of how the band ended up with a beer fridge:

Some people wonder why our jam space fridge is always filled with fresh beers. Here's my confession of a really strange story that happen some years ago...

Our jam space is located on St-Antoine street in Montreal, in an old building just behind the Bell Center. The artwork of our latest album 'Traits of the Sick' portrays the neighborhood at his best: old buildings collapsing in pieces, teethless prostitutes... you have to check where you walk or you'll get your feet on a needle and get HIV! At this time of the year, when the snow has melted, there is a putrid smell of rotten beer.

It was at night, we just finished a show at Piranha bar, and I was walking toward the jam space with a girl I picked at the show... she was named Rebecca. Two blocks away from the jam space, there were ruins of a building being destroyed. It was not totally destroyed yet, but there was a pile of junk lying near the street. Upon this pile of junk, I saw an object some people might recognize: one of these olive green old school fridge.

It has been a while since the rest of the band were wishing for a fridge in the jam space. I had a chance to make everyone in the band happy. Also, Rebecca was this kind of rockabilly girl so she convinced we needed this piece of collection in the jam space.

So I climbed the junk pile and took the fridge. Damn this fridge was heavy! We removed all the saw dust from the fridge and carried it at the jam space. (I will admit it, Rebecca helped me to carry it... not that I'm weak but damn this fridge was really heavy!)

As usual, the elevator was broken, so we had to use the stairs, five levels up! At the top, we were so tired, we wished there was some beers in this fridge, but there was not...not yet!

In the jam room, I plugged the fridge to make sure it was working. It was like in those old horror movies, all the lights in the jam room flashed for 10 seconds... then everything went okay. Surprisingly the fridge was working fine.

We did not really pay attention to the fridge after that. I just wanted to spend a good time with that chick. After one hour though, I had to take a leak, so I left the jam room, leaving her alone (with the fridge).
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Sunday Old School: Razor

In 2008, a highly anticipated documentary entitled, "Get Thrashed" was released on DVD. For those of you who bought it, you may remember a segment in the bonus features where Municipal Waste guitarist, Ryan Waste states that, "If you live in Canada there’s no reason to be pissed off. That band sounds so god damned pissed off." The group in question is one that formed in 1984 in Guelph, Ontario and who goes by the name of Razor. The band was fronted by singer Stace "Sheepdog" McLaren, who was joined in his metal endeavour by guitarist Dave Carlo, Mike Embro on drums and bassist Mike Campagnolo. They worked hard on creating their music, taking inspiration from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement and the blossoming thrash metal scene, eventually resulting in their self-financed and self-produced album, "Escape the Fire," which was released the same year, before they signed with Voice Records for another 1984 release, the "Armed and Dangerous" EP, which was also self-financed and quickly sold out of its 1200 pressings. The EP spread around the metal scene and garnered the band a deal with Canadian label, Attic Records.

Now on a proper label, Razor quickly recorded their official debut full length, "Executioner’s Song," which was comprised mostly of material from and written during "Armed and Dangerous." It was an underground hit and led to the band being considered one of the most extreme in Canada at that time. Although it was only released in April 1985, the band would release a second full length only six months later, in the form of the frankly excellent, "Evil Invaders," which is considered by many today to be a classic album in the thrash metal genre. The record spawned the bands first music video for the title track and helped them gain even more attention when they toured with such big names and cult favourites as Slayer, Venom and Motorhead in Canada and the United States. More...

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Pit Stories: Metsatoll And The Siamese Hair Twins

Each Tuesday we check in with metal musicians from across the world to get their best Pit Stories from live shows.

Today Estonian folk metal band Metsatoll shares a tale (which the band swears is true) involving Siamese hair-twins, flavored lube, and backstage jujitsu. Metsatoll's Kuriraivo tells the story this way:

Once upon a time on one Metsatöll gig the were two longhaired moshers n the
front of the stage. The crowd was bizarre, men with drinking horns, women with horny drinks, drinks with horned men. Mad! And those two moshers, one small and thin as Mexican money, the other big, long and strong as (censored).

Anyway, they got somehow stuck within each others hair and they kept on moshing during all our songs. The tiny-one seemed to flew through the air as the big-one moshed his feet up from the ground. Yes, there was unnatural power in the mosh of the censored-one. After the show, we were all very excited, as we all saw the "mosh of the pseudo-Siamese twins," we called the pair to the backstage after that and offered our help to let them loose from each other. As we have on the tour different kind of lubrication-crèmes: you know, with the strawberry, pepper
and iron taste. For every occasion. So, we tried to use this stuff on mosher hair. Nothing.

Then we had an idea to use our stage-manager Janno, hes been doing judo for
at least three lifetimes, so he tried some of his famous ju-jitsu. The Mexican-money-man did loose some of his hair from the top of his head, but luckily the hair in the back did stay still long, so its still metal! And the bigger guy turned out to be a bearded woman with only one foot and a
golden ring inside her nose, just escaped from her home and a man, who’s cheating her with an Alice Cooper male fan. Mosh and go! What a night! The unbelievable part of it is that it’s a true
story!

Metsatoll will be touring with Eluveitie and Tyr this Fall, with dates available at this location. The shows will be in support of Metsatoll's new album "Karjajuht" (reviewed here). Find out more about the album by reading our interview with the band. More...

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Sunday Old School: Vader

In 1992, Brutal Truth released their debut album, "Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses." Perhaps this was a phrase ringing around the minds of a group of young men nine years earlier in Olsztyn, Poland, who formed a metal band while living under Communist rule and named it, Vader. The group was started by bassist Piotr Wiwczarek and guitar player Zbigniew "Vika" Wróblewski, initially as a speed metal band, though they eventually progressed into a death metal sound by the time they recorded their first demo, "Live in Decay" in 1986. It would be another three years before another demo, "Necrolust" was recorded, followed closely by a third demo, "Morbid Reich" in 1990. The demo circulated around the European metal scene, selling almost ten thousand copies, a very impressive tally for an underground group from Eastern Europe. The success of the demo earned them a deal with Earache Records, who were known at the time for releasing some of the heaviest bands around, including the likes of Godflesh and Carcass. They first attempted to record their debut album at Sunlight Studios in Sweden, however both the band and the label were unhappy with the end result and so it was re-recorded at Rhythm Studios in England. The finished product was finally released in November 1992 under the title, "The Ultimate Incantation." After releasing the album, Vader was able to tour in the West for the first time, initially in Europe with Bolt Thrower and Grave and then in the United States with Deicide and Suffocation .

Following a breakdown of communications with Earache, the EP, "Sothis" and live album, "The Darkest Age: Live '93" had to be released under different record labels, something which would also happen after the band recorded their sophomore full length, "De Profundis." The album received some excellent reviews in parts of the music media and included a cover of the Depeche Mode song, "I Feel You" on the American version of the release. It was something of a success in their home country, where they also recorded the album, selling over seventeen thousand copies in two weeks. They promoted the album by once again teaming up with some of the heaviest names in death metal, partnering with Cannibal Corpse and Immolation in Europe, before heading back to the United States to support Monstrosity and Broken Hope. The touring cycle for the album featured no less than 250 concerts and concluded with the band recording a covers album, "Future of the Past," which paid tribute to the likes of Celtic Frost, Sodom and Terrorizer. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Girls, Girls, Girls

Apparently there have been lots of casting calls for tattooed rock girls who like to strip and dance in their panties. Thankfully there have been lots of casting calls for tattooed rock girls who like to strip and dance in their panties. More...

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