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Archive: Pit Stories Columns

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Pit Stories: Smooth Move

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Swedish classic heavy metal band Astral Doors sends in a story about how keyboardist Jocke Roberg got his nickname:

This story takes place about 4 years ago in Southern Germany. We were the support act to the fantasy metal heroes Blind Guardian. I can't remember what town we played in, but that's not really important.

Some headline acts treat their support bands like crap and don't allow the technicians to do a proper job. How many gigs haven't you attended where the sound during the support band's actual show has been terrible? In this case however I must pay my tribute to Blind Guardian and their crew: they gave us everything they had, every night. For two months we were treated like kings and the technicians and the rest of the crew did an amazing job for us; night after night. We filmed all 37 gigs, so it's documented:) Thank you Guardians!

Ok, at the gig this particular night, our keyboard player, Jocke Roberg, had a really bad stomach. He was running in and out of the WC before the gig...doing his thing. The show started and everything went really well the first couple of songs. During song four or five, he felt it was time again. He started to sweat and the panic was close. When it was time for one of our most popular songs, “Evil is Forever”, where we use a recorded organ-hymn-kind-of-intro, which he normally plays along to; he took his chance: he ran behind stage, found a bucket and did the big one. We wondered where the hell he went and we were quite prepared to play the rest of the gig without keyboard. However: just as the recorded intro was finished, Mr. Roberg was back on stage. He completed the gig and everything went great. Ever since that day we call him Jocke Bucket!

Astral Doors' "Best of" collection, "Testament of Rock - The Best of Astral Doors" (reviewed here), will be released in North American on January 25th. You can hear the new single, "Victory," on the band's MySpace player.

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Pit Stories: What Else Could Go Wrong?

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Tony Wolfe, guitarist of Owen Hart, shares a story about a show in Texas where things just didn't go quite as planned:

Being a band for 6 some years in the DIY house tour circuit produces a lot of fucking nutty show shit, such as people trying to pass you a crack pipe while you're playing, a high-as-fuck girl cutting her face with a knife, our friends in Elitist flooding everything by breaking the main water pipe in a basement (the show must go on), etc.

But by far the craziest shit happened to us in Texas in 2008. The following events happened all at one show. Our singer got slapped by someone's mom after the set because she didn't like the speech he'd given about evolution before one of our songs. While this was happening, someone was throwing up all over our merch table. Earlier, our drummer Brian had somehow managed to eat well over the recommended weed brownie dosage for playing grind drums and played everything at about 1/3 speed... He literally fell asleep on his snare during the evolution speech. Then we come to find out our van got broken into during the show by skinheads and, out of all our ipods, money box, and spare gear, the only thing they stole were our roadie's fanny pack and my jean jacket. Fuck Texas. RIP Dimebag."

Owen Hart's debut full-length, "Earth Control," is out January 18 on Vitriol Records. In the meantime, you can check out some of their music on the band's MySpace page.

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Pit Stories: Potentially Serious Show Stoppers

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Page Townsley of Vore shares a couple incidents that stand out to him:

We’re seen the gamut of drunks, fights, animal parts, tits, knocked over PA speakers and head wounds in pits over the years to be sure. There are two pit incidents that stand out to me in particular though as being unique...

One was back in 1998. We were on stage playing and this huge dude suddenly falls down in the front and starts shaking like crazy. He just collapsed and started vibrating. Turns out the guy had epilepsy and went into a grand mal seizure. It was a small place and downstairs, so we had to stop the show for thirty minutes or so while the venue called the paramedics who showed up and took the dude to the hospital. Fortunately there was someone there who had some first responder experience with epileptics that knew what to do until the EMT’s showed up to keep the guy from swallowing his tongue and hurting himself.

The other one was last year while we were playing a show at Downtown Music in Little Rock, AR. We had a huge pit going on and I suddenly see this leg go flying. That is leg singular, no body attached. Someone in the pit had a prosthetic leg and had it knocked off of him. Another person picked it up and was swinging it around and holding it up in the air like a trophy. I can’t say I’d ever seen someone get their leg torn off at a show before. I gave props to the guy with the leg for getting into the pit. I admired him for not letting a disability prevent him from jumping into a mosh pit and going ape shit with everyone else.

VORE has been hard at work recording their new album, "Gravehammer," and plans to have it finished early this year. "So far it’s going really well. I honestly think it’s going to be the best thing VORE has done," comments Page.

In the meantime, check out some of Vore's music on the band's MySpace page.

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Pit Stories: Converge's Bizarre Australian Gig

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Jacob Bannon, the singer for Converge, tells a tale of a crazy Australian gig:

We played a show in middle of Australia. It was so bizarre. Mainly locals came to the show, mechanics, etc. They had no idea what to make of us. When we arrived, the door was a big school bus with sheet metal attached to the windows, making it a crazy wall into the venue. Tires and old car debris were everywhere. Tons of sand. People wearing the craziest things ever. Football pads, ripped up jeans. But they were all punks in some way and were armed. Totally wild. A little kid was even tossing around a boomerang. It was a total trip. In the middle of our set, a guy drove a dune buggy straight into the crowd. No one got hurt but it was NUTS. Complete chaos. He had a hockey mask on and was scary as fuck. We played a few more songs then jetted. So wild. We almost ran out of gas too. Real shortage out there.

Converge seems to be laying low of late, but was one of the first bands recently confirmed for France's Hellfest in 2011.

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Pit Stories: Worst. Smelling. Set. Ever.

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Ande Otte, guitarist of Canadian melodic hard rock band Versus The Nothing, shares one from a pizza joint in Manitoba:

Tuning our string waiting to play our set in Brandon, MB at a small pizza joint turned into a music venue for the night. I looked out at the crowd as they were rowdier than most and knew the night was gonna be great!! Just as we played our first note, a guy who we had been watching do the head bob for over an hour puked a bucket's worth all over the pit right in front of the stage. I looked at the bar tender and she gave me the look like thats metal. With no hesitation from the crowd they moshed throught the puke the entire set without even batting an eye and for some reason people kept falling in the pit that night. WORST SMELLING SET EVER!!

You can check out Versus the Nothing's music on their MySpace page.

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Pit Stories: Insane Backyard Gigs

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Mario, drummer of L.A. death/thrash band Exmortus, shares a story about insane backyard gigs in L.A.:

Some of the best pits this band has seen were from playing backyard shows in East Los Angeles. Theres nothing like have 100-200 people drunk and under aged crammed in a small yard pitting and head banging their asses off. This one particular night I will never forget, it was one of our first times playing a backyard show and also in East Los. Although the house was pretty small it was also ridiculously packed, the band barely had any room to set up. So we start rockin out in this little corner and the pit just broke out. There were kids diving off the garage and right in the middle of a song a mob of people slam into the band. I remember looking over and seeing conans amp at about a 45 degree angle up against the garage door with him on it still playing haha. It was pretty wild one of many crazy pit stories this band has had.

This past summer Exmortus recruited new guitarist Sean Redline while lead shredder/songwriter Conan has also taken over vocal duties. The band recorded a two-track demo to give fans a taste of what to expect from the new line up and the yet-unnamed new album is tentatively scheduled for release during spring 2011.

The band was recently intereviewed by Terrorizor Magazine about the new album.

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Pit Stories: How Not To Enjoy A Show - ODed

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. Last week's story focused on drinking, so this week let's take it up a notch to drugs. Jason Schmidt of California metalers Graf Orlock, shares his story from a remote corner of Australia:

Orange, New South Wales, Australia, June 2010. Graf Orlock and Dangers were doing a 3 week tour of this fair former penal colony, roughly 160 miles west of Sydney with a burgeoning population of 31,000. We played a rowdy and entertaining house show there, which was of particular historical interest because it appeared NO bands from out of town had ever played there. Whilst the mid-song running and punching was in full fiasco, there appeared to be an injured kid lying in the back of the room. Not only was this kid lying down, his face was a Violet Beauregarde color blue, and small tremors seemed to take over his half naked body. The ambulance people were called, his mom arrived, and his minor drug-induced seizure was put to rest in short order. Since then this house has been christened 'Seizure's Palace' and remains a highlight of our summer (winter) abroad.

Graf Orlock's new EP, "Doombox," is out January 18, 2011 on Vitriol Records. Known for insane artwork and elaborate packaging, Graf Orlock steps it up once again with Doombox -- a 30"x10"x10" fold-out cardstock "boombox" that houses the Doombox EP on CD and vinyl, plus a bonus CD containing Graf Orlock's entire "Destination Time" trilogy. Also known for its far-flung DIY world touring, Graf Orlock has repeatedly toured Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Europe, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the US, all on its own dime.

Check out some of their music on the band's official MySpace page.

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Pit Stories: Drinking Stories and Pit Stories

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week John Conley, lead guitarist of New York doom metal band Moth Eater, shares a couple that demonstrate how drinking stories and pit stories sometimes go hand in hand:

The ONLY thing I've ever won in life... free tickets to see Godsmack play a lunch time set for K-Rock radio at CBGB's. It was around the time of their 1st record. It was supposed to be a big deal or something. Stuttering John was the emcee... or something... I ended up going to the show with my buddy the Drunken Monkey. The band didn't start playing 'til after 1 but we were drinking as soon as they started serving. By the time they started playing there were all sorts of jackholes jumping around. I'm a bit fuzzy but I remember wearing my Skinless hoodie and throwing windmills between drinks. Good times with the Drunken Monkey for sure... and yes, Godsmack sucked.

Here's another one for a more positive experience:

I was drunk off my ass before getting to the show. Always a good way to start the night. It was Slayer at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC. I've seen Slayer so many times I forget who was opening. Might have been Meshuggah? I just don't remember. Anyhow, I was so lit that as soon as Slayer started I handed my friend my coat and went barreling to the front. I was throwing fuckers and getting thrown. By the end of the show I was spitting distance from the stage trying to get my hands on a Hanneman guitar pick. No hangover the next day but damn were my shoulders sore!

Moth Eater recently had a track featured on a free sixty-track compilation. You can also check out some of their music on their MySpace player.

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Pit Stories: The Brawl Pit

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Australian metal band The Red Shore's manager Roman Koester shares a story from their recent tour in the States:

So we were on the 'No Mercy Tour' in the U.S in September 2010. We got to Pennsylvania, the show was at The Smiling Moose. We were staying with this girl who kindly put us up. She seemed into it and was up the front the whole show. The room was small, but completely packed. After a few encouraging words from our vocalist Chase, fights began to break out. Within a few seconds the entire place was brawling, about 6 individual fights, noses breaking, blood everywhere! The next thing I see is this guy running at the girl whose place we were staying at. At this point she was still facing the stage, intent on focusing on the music. Just as she decided to turn around, this big guy unleashes a haymaker straight into her face. We were certain she was going to drop, but to our surprise she stood her ground and smashed the dude right back in the face and dropped in, then proceeding to kick him in the face while he was down... America's rough!

The Red Shore just recently wrapped up some dates on Despided Icon's farewell tour in Australia after releasing their latest album, "The Avarice of Man" in September. You can check out some of their music here.

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Pit Stories: More Blood!

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. With all of the stories of mosh pit brutality of late, you might expect more of the same from the title, but in fact, this story from California death metal band Gravehill is not what it would appear:

This one goes back to October 31st in Dekalb, Illinois. Gravehill had flown out to Illinois to do 3 shows with our brothers in Cardiac Arrest. We had arrived late late late the night/morning before this Halloween show in Dekalb. Once the sun went down and the pabst blue ribbon started disappearing at an alarming rate, we left Aurora (where we were staying) and started our short treck over to Dekalb. When we got there, we were informed that the gig was at a rehearsal space that some local bands practiced at. "No biggie," we thought. Sometimes, those types of shows totally go off and go crazy. But once the night wore on, we became a little bummed. The first bands started playing and people were barely showing up. It was dead and the bands we really not very good. There was a mix of indie rock, bad metal and even some sort of techno/hip hop type dj guy. So we just preceeded to get drunk and make the best of it as we always do.
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Pit Stories: Everyday Mosh Pit Brutality

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. Omega Crom's Johnny K seems to have a lot of stories, and this week, we're going to share a couple more from him, which simply follow the general theme of getting fucked up in the mosh pit, for whatever reason:

Slayer in 99 - I was crowd surfing and somersaulted over backward and accidently knee'd this guy in the nose, the crowd shifted and my face was directly over his face as he screamed, " FUUUCK!". As I was swept away I yelled, " Sorry". That same day I saw SlipKnot for the first time which was a rough mosh pit, I took at least five boots to the skull. It wasn't intentional just people crowd surfing and flailing limbs.

OK last story, I'm at Iron Maiden everyone is rocking out having a good time and I see that Steve Harris looks pissed. After the song he goes to Bruce and says something and Bruce points this Dude out in the audience. I guess the guy was being an asshole in some way and he starts lipping off Bruce Dickinson. Needles to say this guy got fuckin rocked hard and then security came and carried him outta there. I learned a great lesson from Iron Maiden that day, Mosh pits are great for releasing some pent up rage but if you see someone going down everyone helps them out which is the beauty of it all, Kicking ass but Not behaving like a Macho Dickweed. Good Times.

All has been quiet on the Delta, BC band's front since they completed their Summer Shred Tour and then played a homecoming show in Delta in October.

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Pit Stories: Attack of the Killer Mic

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week J Michalski, vocalist and bassist for the Red Deer, Alberta-based death metal band Awkward Silence sends in a short pit story:

Awkward Silence was playing a show at Vern's Tavern in Calgary, AB. We were playing the song "Choke Out Your Pride." I walk up to the mic for the first line of the song when two guys collide right in front of me, barrel roll into my mic and it slams into my eye. The mic flew somewhere off stage by the sound board, and the mic stand collapsed, so I started walking over to the other mic, just to have it thrown away by the pit. That's when I felt the blood dripping from my eye. We finished the song as an instrumental, the audience started yelling something about me bleeding from the eye. I told them they were f'n crazy... Vern's erupted in applause and cheering. Metal!

You can check out some of Awkward Silence's music on the band’s MySpace page.

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Pit Stories: Sumo Wrestling Meets Drum And Bass

Every week we talk to bands from all over the world and hear some of their favourite stories from the mosh pit. This week, Dean Miller of New York hardcore veterans No Redeeming Social Value shares his story about getting into the spirit of another culture:

"Every NRSV show is a free for all fun extravaganza of ill behavior! So on our recent Japan tour, in Osaka our naked tour manager and crew Sumo wrestle other members of the other bands in the pit and they are covered in sweat and mud and bee. The matches lasted a good half hour and then NRSV played, then after our set a bachelor party free for all drum and bass party broke out. We partied until after the sun came up... then played another show!"

No Redeeming Social Value recently released a new live album entitled, "High In Holland." You can read all about it, along with a history of the band and much more, by checking out our recent interview with vocalist Dean Miller.

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Pit Stories: The Folk Metal Jig Pit

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Jeff Black, keyboardist for the Edmonton, Alberta-based progressive metal band Samandriel, sends in a short pit story:

I'm normally not one to mosh, but I have a memory that I am particularily fond of. When I was in Europe in summer 2008 I attended Bloodstock Open Air in the UK. Lots of folk/pagan metal bands were playing that year, such as Tyr, Moonsorrow, Eluveitie and Alestorm. During particularly bouncy segments, people in the crowd would form rings by swinging their arms over each other’s shoulders or locking elbows with one another. They would then proceed to dance, sway, or perform some sort of bastardized jig around the circle. Someone in the circle would then break out, and bum rush the person directly across from them and the mosh pit would begin. This would presumably happen when the riffs got heavier or someone got bored, whichever came first. I never heard a name for it, but I call it a "dance pit" or "jig pit." I've never seen it done in North America, and I secretly miss them. Easily the most fun I've ever had in a mosh pit.

Samandriel released “Awakening” on October 15th of this year. It’s currently available for download at CD Baby. You can check out some of their music on the band’s MySpace page.

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Pit Stories: A Lesson In Mosh Pit Styles

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Ben Falgoust of Goatwhore discusses small bars and "The Four Corners of the Apocalypse." (That is not a Goatwhore song title.):

Here's a transcription of that video segment:

Ben Falgoust: “We’ve had some pretty rowdy pits, you know. A recent one, we played Wisconsin and it got pretty rowdy. It wasn’t crazy…well, the pit was sort of crazy. But the people at the front seemed even more crazy and they were just throwing alcohol all night. Basically, the whole stage, it’s the stage and then monitors, it was just liquor all on it. Beer, drinks, everything. Even to, we have points where we played this place that’s up near Albany, New York, a place called Popeye’s Pub. It’s a small little place. It’s the smallest place you can imagine seeing a band. This place is small. But the show was fun. Actually, the stage was bigger than the floor space the people were on. And the back wall of that was about to give way into this yard. So at any given moment these people could have been shoved if the whole back wall fell out. But in this little tight area, it just broke out on the floor and it was so crazy cause the area was so fucking small and these people were like…It was like all the sudden you step two feet, and turned around, and someone was plowing into you. It was almost like you didn’t have time to maneuver what you wanted to do on the floor. So that was great too. And sometimes when we get a really good rowdy crowd, we do this called the Four Corners of the Apocalypse. They have this big thing called the Wall of Death where two lines come and they clash. We took it a step further and made it the four corners of the room, and everybody goes toward the center and just…it’s chaos.

Buick: I bet that makes a great noise.

Ben: Yeah, bones cracking and things like that. It’s always pretty exciting. Um, let’s see. Anything else fairly exciting? Every show is a different experience, you know? So after this I’ll think of something. I’ll say, “Oh, damn! That situation was fucking crazy.” Yeah, there’s a lot of different ones, man. We’ve played from big places to small places, but I really like the aggression of the small places because you’re locked into so much area. So when it breaks out, there’s nowhere to really go. It’s like you’re trapped, so everybody in that area is sucked into it and has to partake in it unless they just leave the room because the area is so small. But then again the big places, if the whole place is ready to roll and do something crazy and you can ignite them to go off, that’s pretty fucking intense as well. Like an entire floor.


Don't miss the show report from Goatwhore's return to New Orleans.

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Pit Stories: This One Time, In The Mosh Pit...

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Heath Rave of Minneapolis metal band Wolvhammer sends in a short pit story:

This one time, there was this pit. It was as at a rock and roll event showcase. I believe there were as they say in the hood, "hardcore" bands playing. This one very strong person was chasing and punching an invisible ghost. Then he hit me. I'm not invisible.

Wolvhammer released Black "Marketeers of WWIII" on Init Records earlier this year. You can check out some of their music on the band's MySpace page.

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Pit Stories: Pirates Know How To Mosh

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Dave Khan of Vancouver, BC-based folk metal band Scythia shares a pit story from a Canadian pirate bar:

2009, year of our lord... We took a ferry across the Straight and played a little show.

The place was called the Cambie and it was an open concept pirate bar, constructed perhaps in one of the last few centuries. It had a particular rustic charm that felt very inviting for Scythia.

We opened our set by explaining who we were and then wasted no time in kicking off into Sailor's Accolade, which was an obvious pick. The seawater in the blood of the inn's patrons began dancing as a pit immediately formed.

The pit was unrelenting for the entire course of our set. Bodies were tossed about the front of the stage. Beer was spilled all over our guitar pedals and best of yet... Our merch booth (which in hind sight was poorly positioned near the stage) was lying completely horizontal with beer, cider and other miscellaneous bar fluids forming a thick coat over every t-shirt and CD.

We finished the set and realized that this crowd threw down. They were indeed pirates and knew the spirit of a primal pit. I shook hands with some of the more dominating pit characters only to be gifted with a combination of blood, sweat and ale.

T'was a fantastic eve of destruction!

Scythia is currently touring Canada on the "Exiled Across Canada" tour. The band also released a new song "Fierce Riders of Scythia" for free on the band's bandcamp page. Check out more of their music there or their MySpace page.

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Pit Stories: Permanent Disfigurement By The Pit

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Corey Archuleta of Colorado melodic death metal band Allegaeon shares a story from his first pit, and one that he will never forget:

Back in the early exposure of metal, I attended my first ever metal show (bunch of crap local bands) when I was in middle school. A friend pushed my panzy ass into the pit, and got knocked into the air by some large "metal looking" guy. I fell onto my hip, and limped away. 9 months later I was in the shower and noticed my entire left leg was shifted, and causing my feet into a v shape. Went to doc, got xrays and a "how are you walking?" My growth plate slipped out of place, and my leg was growing wrong. I then got a 6inch screw put in, and they were unable to correct the damage that was done, but prevented it from getting worse. I am unable to ride a bike, because of the motion. My right leg is longer as well. I went in for a ct scan a few weeks ago, and now the screw might need to be taken out, and a fake hip might be in place for me. Metal.

What could possibly be more metal than permanent disability/disfigurement at the hands of a mosh pit? Luckily Corey's in a kick-ass metal band or that story might not be one he'd want to share with others.

Allegaeon released their debut album, "Fragments Of Form And Function," this summer and just wrapped up a short tour in August. You can hear "A Cosmic Question" here or on their MySpace player with a few others.

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Pit Stories: Set Up In A Wall Of Death

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week we hear from German metal band Emergency Gate. Guitarist Udo shares his wall of death experience with us:

It was the last day of the Chaos over Europe Tour 2009, on which I had the honour to support Kreator, Caliban and Eluveitie with my band Emergency Gate for 2 months. This evening was a special evening so our other guitar player Vlad and me decided to join Caliban‘s wall of death for the first time. So when they started playing their third song we knew from the nights before, that it was wall of death time. We went to the very first row where the Andy, the vocalist from Caliban saw me, smiled and said: "EVERYONE AGAINST UDO."

Well, it wasn‘t as painful as expected, but Vlad and me both lost our bracelets.

Emergency Gate recently posted an exclusive trailer for their new album "The Nemesis Construct," which is due out in North America on October 5th. You can also check out their official music video for "Point Zero" here.

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Pit Stories: Brutalized In The Lamb of God Pit

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week, Omega Crom's Johnny K recalls getting brutalized in a Lamb of God most pit:

A bunch of us were drinking in the parking lot before the [Lamb of God] show and my friend Stubbs dresses up as this wrestler called the Green Teabagger (you can find him on myspace) goes up to Chris Adler yelling, "I heard you wanted to go me! I heard you wanted to do it!" Funny shit.

So we go into the show just loaded and I'm in the mosh pit drunk and I gotta say that isn't the brightest thing I ever did. I lined up the biggest dude I saw in the vicinity and got smashed to the ground. I'm on my hands and knees and took a knee to the face at which point two random people pick me up and put me back on my feet, wow. Then they're ready to play Black Label and the crowd starts seperating for the wall of death. Randy screams, "1,2,3,4!" and everyone charges at each other like fucking Braveheart and I'm about the second row back from the frontline when we crash together. Managed to step back see just a massive pile of bodies and everyone is bailing people outta there to help the ones at the bottom of this massive doggypile, it was Fuckin Crazy.

Omega Crom just wrapped up the Summer Shred tour and recently spoke to Metalunderground.com where they revealed they're planning a Canadian run as well.

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