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Archive: Pit Stories Columns

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Pit Stories: Backstage Espionage

Time for another round of Pit Stories! This week we head over to the infamous Hellfest, where many a metal head has seen some insane moshing.

What those festival goers don't always consider though is that the bands in attendance want to catch the other performances on tap as well - and being in one band that's playing doesn't necessarily get you backstage with any others.

This week, Mikey from Skindred shares a tale of talking his way backstage to see ZZ Top in a very "these are not the droids you are looking for" moment. He had this to say:

So a couple of summers ago, we're at the beginning of a hardcore festival season in Europe. Among other festivals we're due to play at is Hellfest in France. It's a huge rock/metal weekend in the south of France, huge crowds and big names and so on. Our show on the main stage is kinda hectic due to the headliner's production, lighting and gear spilling all over the stage and making everything run late, but that's another story. Our show was killer and the crowd went nuts, I digress. Playing later that day are none other than the almighty ZZ Top; they've got their own compound backstage so no one really lays eyes on them. I've never seen them live before so I'm jazzed to see their show. I'd managed to get a picture with The Rev. Billy Gibbons at the Classic Rock Awards show a couple of years previous. Which was awesome.

Anyway, I'm walking though catering when my eyes meet with a guy across the room, who calls out "Hey!" and beelines over my way to talk to me. He's about my height, has glasses, a baseball cap. I honestly have no idea who this man is but he seems to recognise me from somewhere, not to be impolite I respond and wave "Hey!" back. He gets closer to me and says "....no, sorry I thought you were somebody else" and walks away. No problem mate!

Later that day, Arya and myself are determined to watch ZZ Top. We want to get on the side of stage to catch a glimpse; occasionally I'll go out front to watch a band but this is ZZ Top man! I want to see if I can get up there to watch. We learn it's a closed stage meaning no access for us mere mortals. Arya grabs me by the arm and says "Come with me. Play along." We walk up the stairwell in an attempt to get up there, only to be halted in our tracks by a large French security guard, doing his job and denying us access to the stage. "Don't you know who this is?!" Arya protests. "This is Billy's BROTHER."

The poor guard's eyes jump out of his head, realises his 'mistake' and lets us through with a heartfelt and humble apology. I cannot believe my luck. We try to play it VERY cool like we're supposed to be there, but I am blowing up inside. I can't believe it. There's no obvious access to Stage Left (Billy's side) so we go over to Stage Right (Dusty's side). It's pretty glorious up there, the band rip into "I Gotsta Get Paid" and I am happy as a pig in shit. Somehow Pepper Keenan (Down, CoC) has found his way up to the side of the stage and is laying down the sweetest air guitar I've seen all day. It's all going great until I look over at Dusty's rack of bass guitars and see the same pair of eyes from earlier, looking right back at me. It's the guy from catering. He frowns at us both, shakes his head from side to side, and slowly points and extended finger to the back of the stage. It's time for Arya and myself to leave. We walk away, with our tails between our legs. I guess even Billy Gibbon's long lost brother can't watch ZZ Top from Stage Right.

Hot off the back of another busy summer festival season, Skindred is about to head out across the U.K. on the group's biggest headline tour to date. Dates are available at Facebook here. Skindred's sixth studio album "Volume" is due out on October 30, 2015. Below you can see footage from the ZZ Top incident in question, along with a song from the coming "Volume" release. More...

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Pit Stories: Porn In The Pit

We've all got a few stories to tell from the pit, even if they don't necessarily involve the moshing itself. This week, My Dying Bride guitarist, Andrew Craighan shares the story of a man at the front of the crowd who was, shall we say, "up" for the show...

"When we toured with Iron Maiden years ago an Italian fan (Milan or Bergamo, I don’t remember exactly) was at the very front reading a porn mag throughout our entire set completely oblivious to us blasting away. Once we’d finished, he threw the mag at stage which split the magazine apart into fluttering pages of naughtiness and awaited Iron Maiden. So when he thinks of MDB he has a genuine reason to think of tits now or worse depending on what type of mag it was. I’m not sure we had a positive impact on that guy but there you go."

My Dying Bride's twelfth studio album, "Feel The Misery" (reviewed here,) is available everywhere now through Peaceville Records.

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Pit Stories: Band Casualties In The Pit

Time for another Pit Story - this time about a band taking part in pit shenanigans that saw a show cut short and a vocalist get the boot!

Orc Adams of Orcumentary had this tale to share about performing live while another band was busy imploding out in the crowd:

I played a show a few years ago which turned out to be an interesting spin on the whole “I knew the band before they were famous” thing. I was playing my final song ("Orc Rock Anthem") and after a short amount of time, things seemed to get a bit rowdier than usual. People were moshing, but I didn’t pay that close attention to it, obviously focused on the performance. I finished the song, broke my gear down, got off stage, only to find out that one of the bands just left without even playing.

The account I received of what happened was that in the pit during my last song, someone was pushed into the singer of the aforementioned band. The singer punched that guy in the face and started a big fight. That band fired their singer and they just drove back home (probably a 3 hour drive) without even playing. They had a U-Haul and everything.

I’d prefer not to divulge the name of the band, but they recently signed to a very well-known metal label.

Alright metal heads, let's hear your predictions on who is being referred to in the story! Anybody else actually go to this show and see it go down?

Orcumentary's new album "Destroy the Dwarves" will be released on October 2, 2015 on CD (w/ bonus track) and digital formats. Take a plunge into a cavernous hole with the band below: More...

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Pit Stories: Flaming Speakers

After some forays away from moshing to look at what happens before and after a show, this week's Pit Story dives straight back into the action!

Drummer Rodolfo Rogers from Mexican blackened death metal band Evilheart shared these tales of the odd things one will encounter at a metal show:

Many years ago we were playing at a local rock festival, and the crowd were pretty apathetic. As we kept playing a burnt smell stated to come out from one of the speakers. We told that to one of the crew people from the Festival, but they told us to keep playing, and a few minutes later, one of the speakers was on fire. The good thing was that the apathetic crowd went apeshit when they saw the fire coming out from the speaker, and after that it was a fucking killer concert.

In our shows most of the time there is the regular mosh pit, and I say most of the time, because there are a couple of exceptions. The first one happened in Victoria City in Tampico, Mexico. In that show people were doing the usual headbanging & mosh pit, but suddenly some guys threw themselves to the floor and they started to roll until they would crash into each other. We all jaw dropped since it was the first time we saw something like that, and it’s been the only place we have seen something like that. A killer show and killer crowd for sure. The second was in Navojoa in Sonora, Mexico. Another killer show and people started with the usual headbanging and mosh pit, and then some guys started to smash their heads against a pole. I wouldn’t do that, but they seemed to enjoy it.

Evilheart just re-released the "Quinquaginta" album via Test Your Metal Records, which is available digitally here or in physical formats here. You can also stream the release below. More...

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Pit Stories: Hotel Room Denied

It's Pit Story time once again! Like with last week's tale about dodging moose, today we shift focus away from the moshing over to the time shortly afterward where the band needs to find a place to crash and then hit the road again to keep the music going in another town.

Today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Hendrik Wippermann from German hard rock band Eat The Gun, who had this to say:

Over the last 12 years we’ve played a huge number of shows all over Europe so we could certainly publish a complete “Book of Tales from the Pit” if only anyone wanted to read it. Well, here’s one story from the past: We played in a small Swiss rock club, the name of the establishment isn’t important to mention.

The club was really packed, so we hung out at the bar after the show and most of us got pretty wasted. Unfortunately, I was the driver so I had to be satisfied with soft drinks that night. It must have been around 1 AM in the morning when we decided to leave for the hotel, so I asked the owner for the keys to the hotel. He turned around and walked into the backroom returning with five towels. He looked at me and told me that we’d all needed to take a shower.

I started to laugh because I assumed the guy was kidding me. Unfortunately he wasn’t. So I stood there in the still quite packed rock club with my four boozy band mates who were at that point far away from being in the physical condition of taking a shower. It should be added that the showers were placed in the club. I imagined us walking barefoot through the club covered with nothing but white towels.

I turned to the owner and told him that there wouldn’t be the smallest chance for me to convince the other guys to take a shower at this point. He explained that it wouldn’t be possible to use the hotel beds if the band was still “soaked with sweat.” To keep a long story short, we drove to the next venue overnight. Sometimes soft drinks suck.

Eat The Gun's new album "Howlinwood" dropped on September 4 via SPV/Steamhammer and you can pick up your copy at this location. More...

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Pit Stories: Dodging Moose

Tuesday means it's time for more Pit Stories from metal bands, but this week we're going to shift focus and do something a little different.

We're actually not headed into the pit itself this week, but rather rewinding to the part beforehand where the band has to get there first.

Here's the tale Evertrapped shared about dodging dangerous moose on the way to and from a live show:

A few years ago, we had to play a gig out in Halifax which is about 12 hours by car from where we live. We literally left the Saturday morning at around 8am, played there the Sunday afternoon in a festival, left there around 6pm and got back home around 6am on Monday. To our guitarists’ credit, he did the whole drive there and back without switching drivers.

Anyway, when you`re crossing through New Brunswick, it’s moose country. Well, we weren’t really fully aware of the full size of an adult moose until we noticed signs that actually show you the comparison between a full grown moose and your car. It's huge! So every time we passed a moose crossing sign, Vince would slow down to about 80km/h, let the guy behind us pass and then follow him. Especially if it was a truck. Kid of a dick move to the guy in front of us, but further up the highway at one point we noticed two sets of hazards flashing in the distance.

And just as we got close we almost ran over the moose that had actually been hit by the truck up ahead with the flashing hazards. Hitting the carcass alone would’ve killed us all on impact. After that, you’ve never seen a bunch of guys more awake and alert driving down the highway at 4 AM before, I guarantee you that.

Every day bands risk their lives across highways to bring you some head banging metal, and so do fans trying to reach bigger venues for better shows - so let's hear your stories below of the worst driving experiences YOU'VE had trying to get a show!

Evertrapped's "Under The Deep" album is due out next month, with pre-orders available here. A music video for the track "Underneath The Deep" is also available below. More...

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Pit Stories: Pregnant Moshing

Gather around for another edition of Pit Stories this week, as we take a look at a really, really bad idea: pregnant moshing during a Mayhem show.

This week Geir Anfinn Halland Johansen from the Norwegian outfit Anfinnsaas shares the following tale of a truly odd pair of moshers who were going to get into the pit no matter what at Wacken 2011:

I'm not a big mosh pit guy myself, but this time I really had no choice. I was at the Mayhem concert at the Wacken festival in 2011. I’ve waited for hours to get to stand in the front and I was really looking forward to this concert. After a while the mosh pit magically started as mosh pits do, but I was able to hang on to the fence and continue to watch the show for a while.

Then this one guy and his girl walked up to me and dragged me with them right in the middle of the pit. Not an uncommon thing at concerts, but this couple really was a unusual sight at mosh pits. He had both hands and one foot completely covered in casts with metal pins sticking out, moshing like it was the last thing he would do before he died. The girl was pregnant and looking like she was about to give birth at any moment.

The pit people noticed this and backed off, probably afraid to hurt this couple. I didn’t see that everyone backed off, so I just continued the mosh pit activities with the two of them. So there we were alone in the middle of the mosh pit; a confused Norwegian, a guy almost covered in casts and his very pregnant girlfriend.

Anfinnsaas is a duo that was formed by Knut Finsaas and Geir Anfinn Halland Johansen in 2013, with a self-titled, debut album now due out this year. The earth-shattering blend of Nordic traditional music and metal that is "Anfinnsaas" is coming September 18 via Autumnsongs Records. For more info on the band, head over to Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Black Fuzz Blood

Ready for another Pit Story ya crazy fuckin' metal heads? This week vocalist Robert Kreed from Canadian horror metal band Bleed discusses the group's namesake, and the many problems along the way to finding the perfect blood:

Robert Kreed: Hey fella! You wanna you how my blood came to be?

Gibbering bystander: ...no...

Robert Kreed: Well fuck you! I'm gonna tell you anyways...

It all started way back when I was getting all my props ready for a big show we were gonna play. Organs, heads, limbs, Jager spewing babies, all good to go. Oh yeah, my store bought blood. Better go grab that from my basement. When I grabbed the bottle it shifted oddly. Like there was something preventing it from splashing inside the bottle. I pop the cap and holy crap! The whole thing was moldy! What the hell? I go grab another jug of blood. Same thing. Gad damn! I go thru all my jugs of blood. Every one of them slimy with bacteria or caked in black fuzz. Show must go on. I sift out as much of the gross shit as possible, collect it in a bottle and off to the venue. I dowse myself, we do our thing, I go home and shower.

To hell with cheap store blood. I'm making my own. For whatever reason, probably being lazy, I'm in a pinch for blood again for another show. I whip up the stupid corn syrup recipe. Absolute shit show. Costumes are sticking to me. Set lists being dragged all over the stage by sticky boots. I do a drinking blood from a horn gag and all that comes out is the thickest sludge of pure pancreas killing sugar muck. Dolloped on my face and chest. Looked cool but I think my teeth shattered from the sweetness. This has got to end. I must find my own blood.

Doing some research on a variety of recipes, I finally found my own mix. Easy to make. NOT STICKY! Has some flavour but not over powering and smells absolutely wonderful. I use maple flavouring and it just wafts around me the entire time I am covered. People have said I smell like breakfast. Pancakes and bacon. Damn rights son! Metal is in our blood and our blood smells like maple syrup! The epitome of Canadian Metal! There was the one time I tried peppermint flavouring for a show. My body felt like it was constantly on fire and I wept the entire set. Ron said I smelt like Christmas but that's another story, christing fuck. So? What do you have to say about that, fella?

Gibbering bystander: ....leave me alone...

Bleed - a 2015 Wacken Metal Canada finalist - has a new album titled "The Hatred Inside" due out on September 29, following a self-titled EP from last year. See what the band does best in the live setting through the clips below. More...

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Pit Stories: Booze And Blood

We've had some great Pit Stories lately about teaching a student the way of the mosh, a trailer park show with some dubious offers for merch, and some hardcore dancers who can't sling insults for shit.

For this week's entry, we again hit up Virgin Steele, who previously gave us a baffling story of a kid who managed to take a nap in the bass bin during a Manowar show.

Today the Steele gives us another rousing metallic tale of just how crazy things can get at a GWAR show:

One night I wandered into a Rock Club that was quite famous here in New York at one time, called Sundance. I played there with Virgin Steele quite often, also Manowar played there, Guns & Roses, Megadeth… everyone. Anyway… one night I wandered or rather stumbled in blind drunk, crashed my way to the bar, ordered another drink, looked around, and there was GWAR onstage wearing these reptile suits.

They were roaring away, the music was deafening, and pounding, and the vocals were low, snarling and well…reptilian… and then quite suddenly the song ended and the head reptile spoke to us in a very human, soft rather cultured voice and I was riveted, shocked & startled by the juxtaposition of visual and aural strangeness and the next thing I knew, the entire audience seemed to have flown through the air and imbedded themselves on the stage!

They were flailing about, leaping off then back on the stage, jumping forwards, sideways, and backwards and generally running around wildly. There were so many people up there that you couldn’t see the band anymore… it looked, sounded and felt quite insane! I had no idea what was happening and thought I was in a Hieronymus Bosch painting or Dante’s Inferno. This was my first experience with moshing and wild over the top audience participation. When I finally stumbled out of there much later, I was covered in a nasty mixture of beer, booze, blood, both real and fake, and other assorted liquids that emanated both from the band and the audience that I would not care to remember or identify…

What's your favorite memory for a GWAR show? Let us know in the comments below! Virgin Steele's "Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation" dropped last month and a song off that album can be heard here: More...

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Pit Stories: Mosh Pit Padawan

Ready for some more mosh pit mayhem metal heads? Tuesday's rolled around again, so let's dive right in!

A few months back Fin'amor provided us a Pit Story about a fight managing to break out during every single song of a set, and today Fin'amor returns for another tale from the pit. This time vocalist Benjamin Meyerson shares a story of a student learning the ways of the mosh:

It was my first day of teaching seniors in high school, and within 5 minutes a student walked up to me and asked “Are you in a band?” I lifted my finger to my mouth and whispered “tell no one.” It was nice to be asked, but the last thing a teacher wants is for students to know we have lives outside of the class.

After the semester ended I celebrated with a Meshuggah show. The venue was wall to wall packed, and through the crowd comes the same student, who had just graduated high school. He was with his friends enjoying the show, when out of nowhere a massive pit breaks out. He turns to me and asks me very politely, “Mr. M, Can you teach me to pit?” I gave him a five minute lesson on pit etiquette and unspoken metal codes and asked “have you ever crowd surfed?” He says “no, show me.” I smile and turn to the biggest dude I can find, tap his shoulder, give him the double thumb lift sign, point to my student, and he lifts him and throws him into the pit.

I meet him a few minutes later in between two walls of death, he thanks me for everything, the walls close and I see him jumping off into the sea of fists and feet once more. He came up to me after the show and said “that was the greatest thing a teacher has ever taught me.” I smiled, and in that moment realized that I learned something too: experience and learning are like a mosh pit, you either jump in yourself and bust your ass like I did when I was a kid, or someone shows you the way and tosses you in and you bust your ass anyway. Either way, when the walls of death close, someone is going to bust their ass eventually.

Fin'amor's "Forbidding Mourning" album dropped last month and can be picked up at this location or streamed in full below. You can also read our review right here. More...

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Pit Stories: "Go Back To Zumiez!"

Every Tuesday we chat up metal bands from across the genre spectrum and across planet Earth to get their most memorable Pit Stories.

This week Chris Kelly of Philadelphia outfit Alustrium shares a tale of a hardcore dancer battling invisible ninjas - but hitting a real person. While he was great at windmilling innocent passers by, unfortunately his smack talk skills weren't quite up to par (blindgreed1 would have eaten this kid up and spit him out half-chewed in the insult hurling arena). Chris tells the story thusly:

Though we've seen our fair share of notable pit moments in our career, there's one that stands out to me. A few years ago we supported a pretty heavy hitting line up at Croc Rock in Allentown, PA. That place was our go-to stomping ground for a number of years. If I'm not mistaken, the tour package was The Faceless, Revocation, and the Haarp Machine (pretty sure that was the only US tour they ever did). Despite the fact that these were some of the more prominent technical metal bands around that time, in Allentown you will never have a shortage of misplaced deathcore kids looking to fight some invisible ninjas.

Though we avidly despise that kind of ridiculous, spastic self expression, it wasn't hurting us so we kept our mouths shut. That is until the most skilled of the ninja fighters landed one of his windmilling fists on our former drummer's face. Spoiler alert: not a cool thing to do. Needless to say, our guy quickly returned the favor and a few of the venue bouncers immediately stepped in. Both guys were dragged outside and thrown into the parking lot to settle their shit.

At this point the rest of us had either seen or heard about the incident and we were all now running to the parking lot to see what was happening. The ninja warrior was uttering your typical meathead jargon; "come on, bitch, the fuck you gonna do about it?" That kind of thing. At this point our drummer had no interest in continuing to interact with this kid simply because if either of them were to kick the other's ass, it was certain that the police would get involved. However, the last thing we heard him say before pulling him back inside was "Go ahead, man. Keep being a fucking moron. Go back to Zumiez." That line alone made the entire debacle worth it in our eyes.

Alustrium just released new album "A Tunnel To Eden" last month, which you can pick up at Bandcamp here. For more details on what's happening with Alustrium lately, head over to the band's Facebook profile. More...

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Pit Stories: 24h McDicks

Tuesday means its time for some new Pit Stories, and this week's entry comes from Canadian grind outfit Fuck The Facts.

In typical rebellious grindcore fashion, Fuck The Facts didn't bother with a story that actually takes place in the pit and instead told us about having waaaaaaaay too much fast food. Bassist Marc Bourgon had this tale to tell:

Years ago, I'm guessing around 2010 or so, we were out west on tour with The Black Dahlia Murder and made a stop in jolly old Regina for a show at the Exchange. The show was rad but it was looking grim as far as a place to stay was concerned so I got tasked with "cold calling" random people at the show to see if they would be cool with having us crash at their place. Usually someone will offer but tonight we were tossin' gutters.

We eventually found somewhere (after a reluctant girlfriend was convinced) and made our way to the dudes apartment.

In our band, we have "sober nights." This is a rotating schedule that determines who has to drive after the show/concert/bar mitzvah. I know for sure it wasn't Johnny or my night to drive because we were plastered. The wagon made a stop at a 24h McDicks for a quick snack and that's when Jibay and I got the brilliant idea of ordering 25 Mcdoubles. Ho-lee-fuck. Within a few minutes of placing the order every fucking beeper and alarm was going off behind the counter as the staff scrambled to fulfill this insane request.

When we got to the dudes house we saw that he made a stop at Burger King and picked up 20 Junior Whoppers. We barely ate any of them. It was awesome. Needless to say, we don't see much crazy road antics.

Fuck The Facts will release new album "Desire Will Rot" on August 25. You can also catch the band live on the upcoming tour dates listed below, where you should probably buy them a bunch of McDonalds or Burger King. More...

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Pit Stories: Do Ya'll Take Sex?

It's a double pit story day! Earlier we heard from Leave The Living about an overly large mammal (homo sapien in fact) taking a short but devastating flight through a bar door, and now Pennsylvania band Rosetta shares another story about a questionable venue and a fan short on cash hoping to trade sex for merch. Rosetta's Matt Weed (guitar) offers up this tale:

Years ago we had booked a weekend of shows around playing the Emissions From the Monolith Festival. The last show was in the Virginia panhandle, in an area none of us had ever seen before. When we got there, the town was mostly just a collection of trailers on the side of a hill, at the foot of an enormous mountain. The show turned out to be your basic punk house show – except that the show wasn't in the house, it was in a corrugated metal shed next to the house.

By the time we got our amps in there, set up cockeyed on the gravel floor, you could get about 13 people in there with us. But almost a hundred people showed up to the show. So we played with the shed doors open, to a crowd that was mostly in the driveway and the street, looking at this huge mountain while the sun went down behind it. Totally surreal.

After the show, we decided to pack up early because there were a lot of underage kids drinking and things were getting rowdy. A girl came up to the van and wanted to buy a CD before we left. We told her it was $10, and she replied with “do ya'll take sex?” One of us yelled “NO” and we all jumped in the van and shut the doors, after which she started licking the van's side window. We bailed and drove all the way home to Philadelphia.

Rosetta's album "Quintessential Ephemera" is available digitally with "pay as you wish pricing" directly from the band's BandCamp page here, or you can stream all the tracks below. More...

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Pit Stories: The Flying Mammal

In last week's Pit Story we learned you are just not ready for the insanity of a Terror show, and this week Canadian band Leave The Living steps up to share a new tale of a bar that's usually clam and quiet - until one crazy of night of metal rolls around. Leave The Living had this Pit Story to share:

We used to play shows in this little dive bar in our home town, maybe an 80 person capacity. The owner couldn't care less how many people we jam in the place as long as they're drinking. There were literally no issues for over a year. No fights, no one got too crazy, an all around good time for all involved.

Well, this one time we throw a 7 band rager in there and the place was jumping. 130-150 people, I mean, it was packed. Still, the night is going really, really well. We get up to play and the set is just flying along when a couple of our good buddies decide to get in the pit. Now these are two very large land mammals we're talking about. So they start moshing, everything is fine.

We get to the last song and one of the guys picks the other up by the front of his battle jacket and throws him through the door to the kitchen! Door comes off the hinges and breaks in half, owner comes up screaming, we have to move our gear now. Long story short, no pay, no more shows there. Totally worth it. I can still see him flying through the air.

Leave The Living released the "Pacifist" full-length album back in May, and you can check out the music video for "Sink Or Swim" below. To hear more from the band, head over to Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Avoiding The Sea Of Flailing Fists

After a McDonald's cheeseburger break down from Zimmer's Hole and fights breaking out in the pit during every. single. song. of an Oceano set, today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Gyre guitarist Chirag Bhatt.

In the tale below, Bhatt reminisces about a simpler time when he wasn't cool enough to listen to At The Gates and ended up stranded atop a table in a sea of thrown fists during a Terror live set:

So, this brief but amusing tale takes place at the now closed Cricket Club in Irvington, New Jersey, sometime in the mid-2000's (honestly, every year from that decade has blurred together in my mind). It was probably my first time at a real hardcore show with bands like Terror and others playing. Though me and a few friends were really only there to see The Black Dahlia Murder because we were in our late teens and nowhere near cool enough to listen to At The Gates.

So, TBDM goes up and crushes their set and I spend the next 10 minutes downing glasses of water for my damaged throat as I had attempted to growl along the previous 30 minutes while forgetting that I don't know the first fucking thing about growling. In any case, it was a fun, crazy time in an old-fashioned metal mosh pit.

Soon enough, Terror goes up and suddenly the mosh pit turned into MJ's "Beat It" video sans the dancing. A flurry of flailing fists and face bandanas eventually lead to my friends and I standing on top of a couple of tables on the edges of the venue because we came to listen to metal, have a good time and not lose teeth. But before we got too down on ourselves for not being so down with the cool kidz, I looked over to the table to my right and saw none other than a few members of TBDM standing right on those tables with us wondering what in the actual fuck was happening - a sentiment we expressed to each other through bewildered looks and monosyllabic grunts of fear. All in all, the moment was a bizarre mix of fanboyism and concern for our physical well-being. But what more can you ask of a metal show?

The band’s new self-released EP "Moirai" is out now and available for stream/purchase at Bandcamp here (also available for listening below). If you missed it, check out Gyre's "I Release" drum playthrough video at this location. More...

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Pit Stories: The Cheeseburger Break Down

It's that time of the week - today comes a new Pit Story from vocalist Brittney Slayes of Unleash The Archers. In this week's tale, Slayes heads back into the pit after a long hiatus to down cold cheeseburgers and potentially ruffied beer at a Zimmer's Hole show...

So I suppose we can begin with the fact that I do not usually go into mosh pits at all; I used to when I was young but got an elbow to the face one night and it just never felt the same after that… Regardless, I am more of a stand at the back and headbang type, unless the band is one of my faves and I’ve had a few too many, then I’ll usually stand at the front and headbang hahaha.

There is a band here in Vancouver called Zimmer’s Hole that is just the raddest most hilarious metal ever, if you’ve never listened to them then I strongly recommend you get your hands on "When You Were Shouting At The Devil;" Gene Hoglan on drums, Chris ‘The Heathen’ Valagao on vocals, seriously just some killer metal, really great for driving in traffic hahaha. Needless to say I was into them pretty hard back in 2009 and when they finally came to Victoria to play a show I was beyond stoked.

I did my darndest to be my usual hide in the back self, but these guys just get you so riled up! The Heathen dresses up like the devil (full red body paint) in assless chaps and a blacksmith’s apron (very Hephaestus) and has awesome props and a voice straight outta the depths of hell. So the beers go back way too easy and next thing I know my favorite song ‘Fista Corpse’ is on and I just can’t help myself. I’m back in the pit like a 15 year old, singing way too loud and fisting the plastic skeleton corpse thing that had been thrown into the pit.

They also have this great thing called a ‘cheeseburger breakdown’ where The Heathen throws McDonald’s cheeseburgers into the audience and you just shouldn’t eat that stuff but here I was sharing a cold cheeseburger probably purchased five hours ago with some random metalhead standing beside me in the pit. Suddenly there’s a beer in my hand to wash the burger down, probably roofied but who cares. The bar we were in was not big, and the area for the mosh pit was probably a third of the floorspace so pretty much the whole bar is in there with me now and it’s sweaty and disgusting and everyone smells like McDonald’s, but it is probably the greatest mosh pit I have ever been in, and thus it was the last because I mean really, how can you top a pit like that?

Unleash The Achers has a new album titled "Time Stands Still" set to drop via Napalm Records on June 26th (EU) and July 10th (North America). Check out a teaser trailer below. More...

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Pit Stories: Round 1 - Fight!

The pit is the heart of the metal scene, and there's a 1,001 amazing stories to be found there. We're on a quest to unearth them all!

This week guitarist Raphael Pinsker from New York's Fin'amor shares the following tale of a fight breaking out during every single song of an Oceano set:

It had been a few years since I had last seen Oceano live, the last time being New England Metal & Hardcore Fest. The band is known to "bring the beef" live and I was excited to finally see them again. The amount of energy Oceano brings to the stage is massive and I was looking forward to seeing what would happen at this show.

As I walked into the venue I immediately notice how "DIY" this place looked: makeshift bar? Check. Makeshift bathrooms? Check. On the second floor the toilet was flooded, the sink was stuffed with trash and empty beer cans were afloat at the rim. This place was a complete shit hole, but deep down inside I knew something had to go down that night.

I met up with my buddy Al and we grabbed beers at the "bar." Oceano begins their set and no more than 30 seconds in, the entire place is rocking back and forth. Everyone in the venue gets pushed back, beers are dropping, people are falling on each other, and the pit is raging. First song in: FIGHT. Al and I look at each other confused as kids are trying to break it up. The band continues playing through all of this as if nothing happened.

Oceano moves onto their second song, again another fight. Like clockwork, Oceano is bringing the beef and the fights keep coming. During the breakdown of their sixth song a massive fight breaks out, Al and I look at each other with huge grins on our faces. He points over to the sound booth as we see the sound engineer grab an iron pipe and hop into the crowd to help break the fight up. Staff and security are pulling kids off of each other and kicking them out of the venue.

The house lights get turned on and staff is ejecting everyone in sight. We turn around to the bar and everything has been packed away into blue bins and was being carried upstairs. After the room was cleared Al and I were recapping on what we had just witnessed. Al tells me "There are shows, and then there are shows you remember. This is a show that you will remember for the rest of your life." It's true.

Fin'amor's new album "Forbidding Mourning" will be released on July 7th, 2015 with pre-orders now available here. Two tracks from the album can be heard in the Bandcamp player below. More...

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Pit Stories: Napping In The Bass Bin

Every week we chat up musicians from throughout the heavy music scene to get their favorite Pit Stories from the mayhem of metal shows.

Today David Defeis of Virgin Steele shares the following tale of a fan who found a rather odd place to take a nap:

Virgine Steele played a place in Staten Island called The Paramount Theatre a couple of times with Manowar. On this one particular evening, during our set I noticed that a kid had passed out inside the bass bin of one of the PA stacks. I asked security to check on him, they said they would, and I assumed that they did and I went about my night doing all the things that one has to do at a gig.

When I finally had a moment to catch a view of the stage once again, somewhere near the end of Manowar's set, I noticed that this same kid was still passed out in the bass bin. I don’t know what happened to him, his hearing or his reproductive capacity… but it could not have been a terribly good thing for him to have been held in the grip of that sonic onslaught for all those hours from 2 very loud groups!

Virgin Steele is gearing up to release "Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation" on June 22nd in Europe and June 23rd in the USA via SPV/Steamhammer. Check out the lyric video for "Lucifer's Hammer" below. More info on the album can be found at this location. More...

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Pit Stories: The Zombie Wall Of Death

Flailing limbs, wheelchair crowd surfing, overturned cars, lost teeth, and mid-show coitus - heavy metal has a million and one Pit Stories and we're going to unearth them all!

This week The Great Discord shares the following tale of a shambling zombie wall of death at a Skinless show:

So we went to this Skinless concert in France at the Hellfest festival in 2008. We were standing in the middle of the crowd when the vocalist called for a wall of death. “What a swell idea” we all thought! So the crowd divided itself down the middle, it was probably around two or three thousand people there. They played this sample from the stage about someone having sex with an amputee. The singer instructed everyone not to do this the regular way but rather as a bunch of fumbling zombies.

When the song began it was basically like everyone got drunk at the same time. So we started walking slowly towards each other looking like a bunch of senior citizens with inner ear infections. It took a while, but we reached the other crowd and everyone just kind of leaned on each other, it was bizarre!

We all laughed so much that we didn't notice when the “zombies” turned into a regular mosh pit. An arm came flying out of no where and knocked one of Fia's front teeth out. The dentists had a hard time making it symmetrical again and if you look closely at one of our teasers or videos you can actually notice one of Fia's front teeth sticking out a little further than the other. So thank you Skinless for lulling us into a false sense of security! Awesome show though.

Video of a Hellfest zombie wall of death can also be seen here: More...

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Pit Stories: The Show We Weren't Supposed To Play

Time for a new Pit Story for all you rabid show loving metal heads. This week U.K. outfit Bad Guys share the following tale of playing a show they hadn't been invited to play and causing a whole lottta ruckus with the Melvins:

Our first gig was in a crowded chalet at a Butlins holiday resort in Minehead, South West Engerland. It was an early All Tomorrow's Parties festival in 2008 curated by Melvins/Mike Patton and we hadn't been asked to play. So we played anyway.

Sneaking the equipment in, shoving the fold up beds out of the way and inviting the entire drunken festival back to the chalet was the easy part, getting them out without trashing the place was a little trickier. But we'd not planned that far ahead.

We had no songs, just handful of riffs and Stuart sang lyrics from a little notebook he had that looked like a miniature bible. It was cold outside so people started climbing through the windows and it quickly became a packed, sweaty party. Everyone was drunk enough to not notice we didn't have any songs and starting going a little nuts. There was a dude crowd surfing in the kitchenette area and breakfast cereal was being thrown around the lounge/sleeping room, mud was being trampled up the walls, ceiling and television and fist holes started to appear in the thin plasterboard walls.

It all started going really wrong when Jared from the Melvins climbed through the window, standing on the power cable to my amp, ripping it out of the socket and the kitchen table collapsed under the weight of the 7 dudes standing on it. It became a drum - vocal ensemble for a short while after that until security finally swamped the chalet and shut us down, some disgruntled kid head butted a security guard and was being pinned to the bonnet (hood) of a car outside.

The Head of Butlin's slapped a £450 fine on us for rebuilding the chalet and removed our wristbands for the festival. We were back in the festival within the hour and started planning next year’s chalet gig.

The Bad Guys recently dropped a new album titled "Bad Guynaecology," which can be streamed at Bandcamp here or in the player below. More...

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