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Archive: Pit Stories Columns

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Pit Stories: Three Day Ear Ringing

Happy Tuesday my fellow heavy music lovers!

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

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

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

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

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

Then a cat-and-mouse game started.

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

Worth it.

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

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Pit Stories: Curse Of The Soundboard

Alright metal heads, its Tuesday once more and that means its time for some new Pit Stories!

There's no crazy fan throw downs or quadruple conga lines this time around, and instead we're focusing on behind-the-scenes problems that cause bands grief, like malfunctioning (or non-existent) sound equipmment.

Guitarist Justin Krick of U.S. group Ascentia shared this tale of working under less than ideal sound conditions:

We opened a show in a small venue one night with touring bands Godmaker and Moon Tooth. The promoter was said to arrive soon with PA and speakers, but what he finally brought was a heap of gremlins! Finally, we decided to plug two mics into one of the powered speakers, for a hint of vocals, and start the show.

We kicked it off and gave it all we had, and by the end of our set, that speaker was pretty much shot. Nonetheless, Godmaker stepped up on stage and delivered an amazing set, though further crushing this poor speaker into oblivion. Pressing on, and eager to perform, Moon Tooth came to the stage and delivered one of the craziest and energetically mind blowing performances I'd ever seen at a venue like this. That speaker was cracking, clipping, distorting, and crapping itself, but Moon Tooth rolled with it, and raised the whole place to a new level of intensity.

Months later, Moon Tooth came back around to the same place, so we jumped on the bill. Determined to make the most of this one, we prepared to bring a backup PA system. However, days before the show, the venue went through some changes and had to cancel. So bummed, we scrambled to find a venue to make it happen, and on the day of, fortune smiled upon us with a bigger and better venue. All seemed to be looking up! The night was going great, and with pro sound and lighting amping the performances, we all anticipated our new touring friend's presence on stage. The moment was here, and the stage was set. Moon Tooth came out guns blazing and tearing up the stage! Until........... blackness. Lighting and soundboard went out. It seemed the gods were against us.

After an hour or so, the board was fixed. The band members were great sports about it, and performed a phenomenal short set to close out the night. Sound issues happen, but twice with the same band in this manner was crazy. We hope they'll return again soon though, and wreck the stage like they always do.

Founded in 2008, Ascentia is a five piece group based out of Greensboro, NC. You can check out the band's most recent EP "Pathways" below or follow the latest on Ascentia at Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Earth Hour SNAFU

Tuesday's regularly scheduled Pit Story time has returned!

Last week we had the craziness of ladder two-stepping on tables and a spontaneously forming quadruple conga line, while this week things don't go quite as well for the performing band, with an unscheduled holiday observance throwing a wrench in the works.

Russian alt rock band Remark shared this tale of a show gone dark without warning:

One of the most memorable stories that's firstly come to mind is about our first solo show. The club was small and old, that's why we brought a lot of additional lighting and sound rig. So much stuff, that we could hardly turn everything on.

During soundcheck and most of the show everything was OK, but suddenly the lights turned off. We have just finished a song, perhaps someone thought that it was planned. But we knew that it wasn't, cause the sound turned off too. People switched their phone lights, and our drummer, Timi, started playing some grove. Several minutes we were dancing and singing, trying to rock the crowd, while people were fixing the problems.

Then it turned out, that our show coincided with the Earth hour, and when everybody switched on the lights, the electric system of the club was overloaded.

You can follow the latest on Remark over at Facebook here or pick up the band's self-titled album via iTunes. Check out the band's music video for "Falling" below. More...

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Pit Stories: Ladder Two Stepping

We're going to keep up the recent trend of dual Pit Stories every Tuesday, so after Trollfest's quadruple conga line earlier, now we've got a tale from the U.S. deep south.

Chase Davis of Terminal Nation recalls a show from last year when the crowd went absolutely nuts in the most unlikely of places: a middle-of-nowhere location in Alabama.

Davis tells the story like this:

This was last summer when we did a short week run with New Heart. Our second show was in Athens, Alabama at a place called El Opry and no one knew what to expect. We eventually arrived and were a little concerned to see that it was a big metal building in the middle of a field. Inside there was a stage, tables everywhere, and a lot of chairs lined up in rows. It felt like it was frequently used for a service or meeting of some sort. On the floor between the stage and chairs there was a space surrounded by tables for us to play in and for people to mosh.

This awesome local punk band Slam Brigade just finished playing and New Heart was getting ready to set up. We weren’t really sure what the reaction was going to be but figured it would be good just from seeing how they reacted to the other bands. Once New Heart started playing everyone really got into it by moshing and singing along. Everything was going great and then New Heart started their final song.

Right before they started playing their last song people started looking around and grabbing whatever was closest to them. People were picking up chairs, pool sticks, and trashcans while we were all looking around wondering what was about to happen. As soon as they started this place went fucking crazy. People were hitting each other with chairs, breaking pool cues and throwing them everywhere, there was even a guy two stepping on top of a table and with a ladder.

While everyone in the pit was going crazy the guy with the ladder set it up in the middle of the pit. At the bottom of the ladder lay a guy who was moshing but soon got hit with a chair and ended up on the ground. The guy who set up the ladder was now at the top but not for long. He jumped off the top of the ladder and gave the guy on the ground a flying elbow to the stomach. After that everyone got even crazier and started flipping and throwing tables and chairs. It was an awesome, crazy, and unexpected show in Alabama.

Terminal Nation will release new album "Absolute Control" via Deep Six Records on June 9th, 2017. You can follow the latest on the band at Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Quadruple Conga Line

Tuesday has arrived and its time for another bout of heavy metal Pit Stories!

This time around we're going to hit the high seas for a tale from infamous floating festival 70,000 Tons Of Metal. Anyone who was at this show should give us a shout-out in the comments below.

The Norwegian folk metal maestros from Trollfest offer up our first Pit Story this week, with Dr. Leif recalling this tale of a quadruple conga line spontaneously forming across the ship:

Trollfest has had some pretty unorthodox pit action going. In addition to the classic wall of death and circle pit we have induced wall of hugs, circle of eight pit etc. The best story so far is what we experienced on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise this year. We played two shows, and we have the tradition of a conga line for the song "Solskinnsmedisin." During the second show, in the filled-to-the brim ice rink, four separate conga lines formed, all independent from each other.

The idea of a conga line is that you walk around, and eventually all these lines of people found in each. We were amazed as we witnessed this congregation of happy party people joining forces! The combined conga line went upstairs, downstairs, to the balconies, everywhere! Best conga line ever. Period. It will definitely go down in history, both with Trollfest and 70000 Tons Of Metal. Cheers.

Trollfest released latest album "Helluva" earlier this year, and you can check out two videos from the release below. More...

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Pit Stories: Scrotum To Scrotum Stapling

We're doing two Pit Stories today because some incompetent moron by the name of xFiruath couldn't get his shit together and post one up when it was supposed to go live yesterday.

This is part two of those stories, and oh guys, oh, oh guys, have we got a tale for you today. It's got everything: bat wing action, stapled scrotums, and a whole different, hairy kind of moshing than you'd ever imagine to see.

Canadian group Slagduster offered up the following baffling description of a show that will never, ever be forgotten by anyone who attended:

So, a few years back we were touring with Expain, and they brought themselves a camera along to record any ridiculous footage they could capture. After a show in Edmonton, they convinced at least two guys to staple gun their scrotums not only to bar stools and tables, but also apexing on each other’s legs and finally scrotum to scrotum stapling action. Side note, possibly inspired by the band intermission blood-soaked gorelesque performers.

Flash forward one year, we return to the same venue with Expain again. Our between song banter often gets out of hand, and obviously it was hard not to bring up the previous year’s events… long story short, during the next song, a group of guys had been unintentionally persuaded to pull out their man bags in a circle scrotum pulling mosh pit. We’re talking a half dozen burly grown males minimum, stretching their bat wings through their jean holes at each other. All the while headbanging like their lives depended on it. Cheers, Edmonton.

Slagduster's new album "Deadweight" is coming out on May 5th, 2017 - check out two tracks from the album below, and follow the latest on the 'duster at Facebook here. More...

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Pit Stories: Circle Pit For The Rock Band

Which dumb ass didn't get a Pit Story up yesterday during its normal Tuesday slot? That would be this dumb ass, right here. Sorry everyone, and to make it up to you, we're doing double Pit Story duty today!

First up we have a tale from Brandon Saller of rock group Hell Or Highwater, and who just happens to handle drum duties for a little band called Atreyu.

Saller had this tale to share of getting the metal fans into a less heavy group on tour:

Years back Atreyu where on a headlining tour with a band called Endless Hallway. They where a rock band on a metal tour so the crowd took some time to receive them. They where friends of ours so I wanted to do what I could to make the set great. Every night they would cover Nirvana's "Breed" and I would go in the crowd and start a circle pit. From that point on the set would go off. The funny part was when people realized it was me starting a pit. It was a fun face to face hang with our fans. I could only hope someone would do that for Hell Or Highwater if we got put in that situation.

Hell Or Hightwater's new album "Vista" will be released on May 19th, 2017. Check out advance song "Walk Out In The Rain" below, followed by a complete list of upcoming tour dates. More...

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Pit Stories: Gross Green Mucus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: Italian Temperment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: Crippling Vomit Anxiety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: Saviours Of The Gig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: The Most Energy (And Beer Spillage)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: Pissing Off The Lead Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: Dollarama Weapons And Slam Poetry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: Crowned On Stage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: Severely White Girl Drunk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: Rained Out At Summer Breeze

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pit Stories: Puke Stains And Fried Chicken

Happy Valentine's Day metal heads! Our Pit Story this week may not have much to do with love, but it does feature dirty mattresses where very unpleasant things no doubt went down, so that's close enough, right?

Many of our tales from the pit are all about what's going on during the show, but as any touring musician will attest, there's a lot going of craziness on behind the scenes, especially with bands trying to find a place to hang their hats for the evening before hitting the next town.

This week we've got a tale from the Thera Roya crew about some less-than-pleasant accommodations in Nashville:

I'll never forget when we played in Nashville, TN on our first tour. We thought it would be warm in the winter in New Orleans so we headed south (we're idiots lol). We ended up in a blizzard in Nashville and payed this stellar show at a place called the owl farm. Unfortunately it's not around anymore. This was nearing the mid to end of the tour and all of us were fried at this point mentally. I think Ryan was even catatonic at one point hahaha.

We needed a place to crash that was warm and this guy from one of the other bands had a punk house called the Himan house. We all crammed into this disgusting room with puke stains on the rug and dirty mattresses everywhere. Some of us ran out to get some fried chicken. When we got back and feasted on gas station chicken we noticed these pictures and notes on a wall together and a name that said "Gloria."

One of the members of the house was a repo guy and when he was emptying a house he found a trunk full of pictures and diaries from this girl Gloria who had passed away and he decided to make a shrine at the Himan house. I'll never forget sleeping in Nashville with Gloria's shrine in front of me.

Thera Roya will release new album "Stone and Skin" on February 17th, 2017. A full stream is currently online at this location. More...

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Pit Stories: Bizzaro World Mindfuck

It's Pit Story day once again metal fans!

Today we've got a completely bonkers, off-the-wall story where every element of a show - from arrival and loadout all the way to what happened after getting home the next day - were so insane as to be a surreal, dreamlike experience.

This week's tale comes courtesy of guitarist Jordan Smith of Indianapolis, Indiana-based band Drude. Want more info on Drude? Head over to the band's Facebook profile here. Jordan tells the crazy pit story like this:

When I was asked to share a crazy pit story, narrowing it down became quite the challenge. Which really classifies as the craziest thing I've ever seen? Nude crowd surfing? Shooting up in the audience? Dude with a billiard ball in a bandanna blindly swinging it around at head level? Seeing as nude crowd surfing is awesome and junkies and reckless assholes will be served no honorable mention from me, I am going to with the Cleveland story. More of a crazy show story. Names and locations have been omitted intentionally.

The band I was in at the time pulled up to the building around 5 o'clock and we were met with all the hospitality you'd expect as a touring band. We were shown the place and got unloading. After getting our van stuck in the mud, we managed to make it inside and got setting up.

The time came for us to play and we noticed that people started bringing random trash into the building. I didn't wonder about it much, but by the next time I looked up, there was a dude 6 feet in the air crashing down on it. One by one, people were launching off of one another trying to absolutely obliterate this door. Once that had been destroyed, they brought in a wooden bench and starting completely fucking that thing up. Scraps of wood were flying all throughout the room. Mind you, we had fog machines and lights going, so this scene was just a completely intense sensory experience. Next were a few plastic lawn chairs falling victim to cinder blocks being thrown at them and exploding everywhere. Then I smelled burning. Somebody had lit a trash can on fire in the building.

I couldn't believe what was happening. It was amazing. After the havoc, we cleared the stage and began loading into the van. As soon as we got our gear out into the yard the skies broke into a torrential downpour, completely soaking all of our gear. After dealing with that the best we could, we went back in. As it turned out, the last band had left and decided that they weren't going to play. During our set there was a guy sitting on the couch in the back and our bass player had teasingly said something to the effect of "Come on get up, this isn't a coffee shop" and that so greatly offended the guy that he and his whole band left.

About an hour later a lady, who we had assumed was homeless judging by her clothing and demeanor, came in and started grabbing the mic from the final band and rapping into it. Saying all kinds of shit barely discernible through her badly slurred speech. After 10 or 15 minutes it had reached that "Ok, we get it" phase. Curiously, I asked one of the guys if this was a normal thing and why they didn't ask her to leave since she was clearly disrupting the show. The guy told me that there were some serious no bullshit crack dealers living across the street and that was their sister. The last time they kicked her out for coming in there and being a drunken mess, they were met with very convincing threats from their neighbors. So they just sort of had to let her do her thing and play along no matter how annoying or obnoxious she was being. She was harmless and sort of endearing.

Later that night, we were put up and fed by the promoter and the evening had seemed like a passing dream. The next day, we looked at the Facebook event page and it was blown up by some Neo-Nazi dudes just hammering away at how awful we were and making some really shitty comments about homosexuals and people with disabilities. It feels necessary to mention that he was in no way affiliated with the venue or promoters and they tried their best to have our backs. The whole thing was a complete Bizarro World mindfuck. I lost my favorite Sleep hoodie, but I gained a ridiculous story that I've probably told a hundred times since.

Three-piece metal outfit Drude (formerly known as Burn The Army) will release a new self-titled EP on March 3rd, 2017. Check out the title track below. More...

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Pit Stories: Mob Justice

After that crazy tale of a chainsaw clear out last week we're back again for more heavy metal pit mayhem!

A familiar theme arises this week in the form of a cautionary tale. We've heard plenty of times in the past about you should always respect the stage and do your best not to piss off the band, but it's not a lesson that always seems to sink in for all metal fans.

This week vocalist / keyboardist Joseph Michael of Witherfall shares a tale of a New York state show where a crowd had to go all mob justice on one unruly asshole who wanted to ruin it for everybody.

Joseph recalls the events like this:

I was at a show in upstate NY a while back at a place called Albies. The place was known for being a cool place to catch local and touring metal bands. A band called the Blob Mob was on stage tearing up some classic metal and the pit was happening on the floor. All of a sudden a drunk psycho steps up on stage and smacks the “Blob” in the head with a beer bottle, sending shards of broken glass, blood and shitty beer all over the stage...

The “Blob” was a well known and loved local singer who also happened to be at least 350 pounds and was not happy. Members of the audience grabbed the unlucky assailant and carried him outside and beat the living shit out of him until the police arrived. I made my way out the back door and hid until the cops left, as I was not of legal age. After all the chaos died down and the blood and beer was mopped up the band went back on stage and killed it. Great night.

California group Witherfall is set to release new album "Nocturnes And Requiems" on February 10th, which is dedicated to the life of Adam Sagan who passed on December 7th, 2016 during the final stages of production. Check out a track below, and you can follow the latest on Witherfall via Facebook here. More...

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