"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Archive: Sunday Old School Columns

Displaying records 1 - 20 of 294 1 2 3 ... 14 15 Last

Sunday Old School: Amorphis

When being interviewed a few years back in Tampere, Sakis Tholis of Rotting Christ stated that he believes Finland is now the capital of metal music. Looking at how many bands come from there and how commercially successful the genre is in the country, one could say it’s quite hard to argue with the man. It wasn’t always this way though, Finnish bands had to work hard to build both scenes and reputations and one of the bands who really helped make Finland a metal force was a group from the capital city, Helsinki, who go by the name, Amorphis.

Amorphis was put together in 1990 by drummer and guitarist, Jan Rechberger and Esa Holopainen, both members of the thrash metal outfit, Violent Solution, which struggled on for a while as the duo recruited a former bandmate, Tomi Koivusaari on vocals and guitar, as well as bass player, Oppu Laine. The band put together a demo, "Disment of Soul," the next year, helmed by the Stratovarius guitarist, Timo Tolkki, which was deemed good enough for the band to be offered a worldwide recording deal with Relapse Records. Their debut album was then released in 1992 under the title, "The Karelian Isthmus," receiving some very high praise upon release. It was much more of a solid death metal album than later releases, albeit with some doom influences on display, a style which could also be heard on the demo collection, "Privilege of Evil," which was released a year later. More...

Read more...  |  2 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Fastway

One of the great things about the internet is that younger headbangers can find all sorts of bands so much easier than they could twenty years. Where once fans may have wondered what happened to certain members of bands, they are now able to find their subsequent or side projects with much greater ease. One such band who achieved success in their time but for a while were swept away featured a very important member of the classic lineup of one of metal’s most important bands, Motorhead, whose guitarist Eddie Clarke would leave for a new group, Fastway.

Fastway was formed in 1983 when "Fast" Eddie Clarke became disillusioned with Motorhead and teamed up with UFO bass player, Pete Way, who had also become disgruntled with his band. They recruited former Humble Pie drummer, Jerry Shirley and Irish singer Dave King. Despite Way being a founding member and half of the group’s namesake, he decided to leave the project early on because he was unable to escape his record deal with Chrysalis Records and instead opted to join Ozzy Osbourne’s band, later forming a new group, Waysted. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Septicflesh

Greece is a country as fascinating as it is beautiful, though it’s had plenty of problems to contend with over the years, in recent times being one of the countries worst hit by the global financial crisis. Such harshness, as well as a history both violent and cultured, seem to be a perfect place for metal music to be born and thrive, and so it is that this week, we’ll take a look at one of their best known contributions to the field, Septicflesh.

Septic Flesh was formed in the Greek capital city of Athens in 1990 by bassist/vocalist, Spiros Antoniou, with his younger brother Christos Antoniou on guitar, as well as second guitarist Sotiris Vayenas. Nineteen months after coming together, the group released their first demo, "Temple of the Lost Race," which didn’t take long to sell out and is now a highly sought after collectable. It was songs from this demo, as well as, "Morpheus (The Dreamlord,") which helped the band grab the attention of Holy Records, who signed the band up and released their debut full length album, "Mystic Places of Dawn" in 1994. The record was co-produced by former Rotting Christ keyboardist, Magus Wampyr and is still considered to be one of the best releases by Septic Flesh, as well as one of the best of the year, a notable feat considering this was the same year Emperor released, "In the Nightshade Eclipse" and Mayhem unleashed, "De Mysteriis dom Sathanas." More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Watchtower

Progressive metal appears to be one of the longer lasting popular sub-genres over the years, with bands such as Dream Theater and Queensryche selling very well, others like Atheist, Cynic and Fates Warning becoming underground legends and younger acts such as Periphery now making a name for them self in the field. It’s hard to pinpoint a time or which band specifically really launched the genre, but there are those who certainly need to be name checked and acknowledged as an important part of it, one of which would be Watchtower.

The band were formed in Austin, Texas in 1982 by guitarist Billy White and drummer, Rick Colaluca, with Doug Keyser joining soon afterwards on bass and eventually brought in Jason McMaster on vocals. They initially performed covers of bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal such as Raven and Iron Maiden, as well as older heavy rock like Thin Lizzy before working on their own material. They made their recording debut the next year with a contribution to a Texas Hardcore Compilation, in the guise of the song, “Meltdown,” which they would later release themselves as a demo, which featured three other tracks. More...

Read more...  |  4 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Gillan

One of the great things about the New Wave of British Heavy Metal is that not only did it bring the spotlight to new, young bands such as Iron Maiden, Saxon and Venom, amongst many others, but it sparked a renewed interest in some of the older guard and their outputs. Judas Priest were one band whose popularity was boosted higher than ever when they released “British Steel” in the glorious year for metal that was 1980, and the same thing happened to Ozzy Osbourne when he released his debut studio effort, “Blizzard of Ozz,” five months later. Someone else who found his musical endeavours reaching a young head banging fan base was (then) former Deep Purple singer, Ian Gillan, who launched his own eponymous band in 1978.

Ian Gillan decided to form the band after becoming bored of his jazz fusion outfit, The Ian Gillan Band, retaining only keyboardist Colin Towns and recruiting new blood in bassist John McCoy, drummer Liam Genockery, and guitarist Steve Byrd. That year, the group recorded their first album, a self-titled effort, but found they were only able to get a record deal in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. This debut was very much steeped in progressive rock, a style which had been almost obliterated by the ruling punk scene at the time.

Though it wasn’t officially released in the United Kingdom until almost fifteen years later, it still sold well there via imports, helped along by positive reviews that those journalists who had heard it gave the album and an appearance at that year’s Reading Festival. The interest was great enough to earn the band a European deal with Acrobat Records though before a second album could be recorded, the group brought in new drummer, Mick Underwood and guitarist, Bernie Torme. Torme was to be a massive part of Gillan, essentially changing their sound towards a more heavy metal style and culminating in the excellent 1979 album, “Mr. Universe,” which peaked at number eleven in the British albums chart.

Gillan “Mr. Universe” (Live 1981)
More...

Read more...  |  1 Comment - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Running Wild

Disclaimer: MetalUnderground.com does not support piracy of any kind and strongly encourages readers to buy their music and not plunder the seven seas. We do however, fully endorse any metal band who wants to base their image or lyrics around pirates, and there are a few. Pirates have become a popular topic amongst people over the past twenty years, thanks in part to successful franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Monkey Island games, so it’s no surprise that the drunken, debauched world of piracy found its way to the drunken, debauched world of heavy metal. It did so before either of the aforementioned franchises in fact and before bands such as Alestorm and Swashbuckle performed under the Jolly Roger, and most people would give full credit for the invention of pirate metal to a band from Hamburg, which were appropriately named, Running Wild.

The seeds of the band were sown in 1976 when members of the bands Granite Hearts and Grober Unfug began jamming together, eventually decided to form a new band with a new name. It seemed to be a relatively lengthy search as they didn’t settle on the moniker, Running Wild, until 1979, taking its name from the Judas Priest song of the same name. They released their first demos in 1981 and soldiered on for a few years this way, certain that their hard work would pay off. As luck would have it, it did, and they were eventually picked up by Noise Records, who released their debut album, "Gates to Purgatory" in 1984. Lyrically, the album was based more in fantasy and Satanic themes than the historical topics they would later adopt, though the record did feature a song entitled, "Genghis Khan." More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Salem

Last year, Sunday Old School columns looked at a variety of bands from countries the column hadn’t featured before. From Rotting Christ in Greece to Aria in Russia, from Pentagram in Chile to Mezerkabul in Turkey, a lot of ground was covered. Now, we’ll be once again heading to uncharted territory, as for the first time, Sunday Old School covers a band from Israel, who are represented well in the history books of extreme metal by a group from Giv’ atayim by the name of Salem.

The band was formed in 1985, just over four kilometres from Tel Aviv, originally under the name, Axe Metal and became one of the first groups outside of Europe to perform the extreme brand of music which would become known as black metal. They built up a fan base at the Penguin Club, where numerous other alternative Israeli artists made their name and where they recorded a live demo, "Destruction Till Death," which was preceded in 1986 by a self-titled rehearsal demo. Another live demo, "Millions Slaughtered" was released in 1990 and was able to spread throughout the underground metal scene. More...

Read more...  |  1 Comment - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Broken Hope

The worst prompting to feature a band in the Sunday Old School column is when a member of the group dies. While the passing in question, that of drummer, Ryan Stanek, was over a week ago now, it is no less apt to feature one of death metals lesser known veterans, Broken Hope. The band was founded in 1988 in the state of Illinois by Stanek, along with vocalist, Joe Ptacek and guitarists Jeremy Wagner and Brian Griffin, with bassist, Ed Hughes joining later on.

They released two demos before signing with Grindcore International, who released their full length debut, "Swamped in Gore," the following year. Generally, it's garnered something of a mixed response from death metal fans, with some citing is as an excellent release of the time, while others appear to claim that the structure of the music can’t support the heaviness brought to the table. More...

Read more...  |  1 Comment - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Enslaved

A couple of weeks ago, we concluded a month long look at the black metal genre, featuring such bands as Marduk and Sigh. While researching the feature, there seemed to be quite a few bands which began life as a black metal group, but had shed this style by their second album at the latest. One such band, who named themselves after an Immortal track, was formed by thirteen year old, Ivar Bjørnson and seventeen year old, Grutle Kjellson, and who were named, Enslaved.

The duo formed the group as a typical black metal band, but gradually brought in more eclectic influences and wrote songs much longer than many of their peers, moving them away from the black metal scene, although Enslaved’s first album, "Vikingligr Veldi," was released on Mayhem guitarist’s Euronymous', Deathlike Silence Productions label, albeit after he was murdered. The debut album contained only five songs but still clocked in at around fifty minutes, while being something of an oddity for containing lyrics mostly written in Icelandic, potentially because of its similarity to Old Norse. It was a very well received album and continues to be a favourite amongst fans to this day, with critics at the time claiming that the band were keeping younger Norwegian metal bands relevant. More...

Read more...  |  3 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Racer X

Some bands tell you what they’re all about from their name alone. AC/DC promise high energy rock, Death was balls out death metal and Motorhead are all about speed, plenty of it and in more ways than one (allegedly...) Another band which attracted metal fans looking for something fast and furious that used their name to do so, was a young band from Los Angeles, California by the name of Racer X.

The seeds of the band were sown in the Guitar Institute of Technology, when students Juan Alderete and Paul Gilbert (who was soon to become a teacher at the school) met and decided to form their own band. Being highly skilled musicians themselves, they approached a gifted drummer, Scott Travis to join them, though he declined in favour of sticking with his band, Hawk. Instead, they recruited another fellow student, Harry Gschoesser, a native of Austria and the future founder of social networking site, Speedgig. The band completed their lineup with the addition of Phoenix, Arizona resident, Jeff Martin, who was unable to rehearse regularly with the band due to the long distance, but nevertheless, worked hard on writing lyrics for demos which Gilbert sent him. More...

Read more...  |  1 Comment - Discuss

Sunday Old School: BMHM Part 4 - Impaled Nazarene

Black Metal History Month has returned for a fourth installment! This year will see our special time analyze some of the roots of the genre, as well as some of the bleakest and obscene bands to fly the flag of darkness.

As we saw in last week’s Sunday Old School covering Marduk, Norway was not the only Scandinavian country contributing significantly to the black metal scene, though it is no doubt still considered the home of the genre. Yet, Norway and Sweden were not alone, as the Swedes other neighbours were also about to launch their own scene, one which was given greater attention thanks to a particular band from the city of Oulu. A band by the striking name of, Impaled Nazarene.

The group was formed twenty five years ago by vocalist and sole constant member, Mika Luttinen, guitarists, Ari Holappa and Mika Pääkkö, bass player, Harri Halonen and drummer, Kimmo "Sir" Luttinen, the brother of frontman, Mika. They were forged with a fierce sense of independence and aggression, evidenced by their ambition to stand out from what other Scandinavian bands were doing. Whilst bands from Sweden such as Marduk were welcomed into the black metal scene in Norway, Impaled Nazarene became known for their hatred of it, though they would eventually bury the hatchet in the frost, with Luttinen claiming that he made peace with Mayhem guitarist, Euronymous before his murder. More...

Read more...  |  4 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: BMHM Part 3 - Marduk

Black Metal History Month has returned for a fourth installment! This year will see our special time analyze some of the roots of the genre, as well as some of the bleakest and obscene bands to fly the flag of darkness.

Sweden is perhaps best known in the extreme music world for their contribution to death metal, having been the birthplace of such bands as In Flames, Entombed, At The Gates and Katatonia, but they have also made a good contribution to black metal, perhaps most notably thanks to Bathory, one of the earliest influences on the genre. However, one of the more controversial names in the field (which is saying something when talking black metal, believe me) would be a band from the city of Norrköping which go by the name of Marduk.

Marduk was formed by guitarist Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson, with the intention of creating the most blasphemous and offensive band in the world. They began by fusing death metal with black to create a very extreme sound. They unleashed their sound in 1991 with the release of the demo, "Fuck Me Jesus," before releasing their first full length album, "Dark Endless" the next year. It was well received and the band took to the road to perform across Sweden, expanding their fan base along the way. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: BMHM Part 2 - Sigh

Black Metal History Month has returned for a fourth instalment! This year will see our special time analyze some of the roots of the genre, as well as some of the bleakest and obscene bands to fly the flag of darkness.

When it comes to black metal, the first place that immediately springs to mind is Norway, despite the genre being pioneered by groups from England, Switzerland, Italy and Denmark. It would be appear that Mayhem guitarist and black metal figurehead, Øystein Aarseth, better known perhaps as Euronymous, was well aware that the genre wasn’t restricted to his home country, as evidenced by his offers to bands all over the world to join his Deathlike Silence label. One of this groups hailed from the other side of the world, in a country one might not associate with the frostbitten scene, Japan. Their name is, Sigh.

Sigh began life in 1989, forming in the Japanese capital city of Tokyo. They released two demo tapes, "Desolation" and "Tragedies" the following year, featuring the lineup of Mirai Kawashima on vocals and keyboards, drummer Kazuki Ozeki and multi instrumentalist, Satoshi Fujinami on guitar. The demos aren’t considered their best work and suffered from very poor production, but nevertheless attracted enough interest for Wild Rags Records to offer them an outlet for an EP release, which came in 1992 under the title, "Requiem for Fools," around the time that they had hired guitarist, Shinichi Ishikawa, a move which saw Fujinami moving to the drum stool. More...

Read more...  |  2 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: BMHM Part 1 - Bulldozer

Black Metal History Month has returned for a fourth instalment! This year will see our special time analyze some of the roots of the genre, as well as some of the bleakest and obscene bands to fly the flag of darkness.

We’re kicking off this year’s Black Metal History Month with a band which was a massive influence on the genre, but perhaps don’t always get the credit and respect they deserve. They certainly don’t get mentioned in the same breath as Celtic Frost and Mercyful Fate too often by entry level self-proclaimed experts very much. It also marks the first time Sunday Old School has looked at an Italian band, and who better to represent the beautiful country than one of the heaviest bands of their time, Bulldozer? More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Cro-Mags

There are some scenes that stay local, some which are struggling and then there those which become legendary. One such example is the Bay Area thrash metal scene, which gave the world such bands as Exodus, Testament and Metallica, but on the other side of the country was something just as important which would shape the thrash metal scene there. A movement which has been the subject of documentaries and books, the New York Hardcore scene. Many of the best bands in the genre came from this, including Agnostic Front and later, Sick of it All, but there was one band that were legends in their own time as well as today, who went by the name of Cro-Mags.

The group began life in 1981 in New York City, the brain child of bass player, Harley Flanagan, who was only fourteen at the time but was intent on making himself known in the local punk scene, as well as hitchhiking his way to California to check out the punk scene there. The band went through a number of musicians and at one point, were seriously considering approaching Beastie Boys member, Adam Yauch to join. They also didn't have a singer until 1984, when fifteen year old Eric Casanova was brought into the fold. Though he only performed two shows with the group, he contributed to the writing of such songs as, "Life of my Own" and "Hard Times." He was eventually replaced by John Joseph, also knows as John Bloodclot, who had worked with Flanagan before in Mode of Ignorance. Joseph was the perfect fit for the band and his lyrics helped them evolve into the image we know today, helping to craft more songs and complete a solid live set. More...

Read more...  |  2 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Holocaust

Last year, MetalUnderground took a look at the history and legacy of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which included a personal top ten of bands from the movement. There were of course, far more than ten great bands at the time and it was mentioned in the article that some bands that didn’t make it into the list were of very high quality. One such band hailed from the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh and definitely made its own stamp on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. That band was Holocaust.

The band began life in 1977, comprising of guitarists John Mortimer and Ed Dudley, vocalist Gary Lettice, bassist Robin Begg and drummer Nick Brockie. They formed at an opportune time, allowing them to become swept up in the growing popularity of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, a time where record labels were searching for any metal bands they could, though instead of opting to sign with a company, the group formed their own label, Phoenix Record And Filmworks and released two singles, "Heavy Metal Mania" and "Smokin' Valves," before releasing their debut full length album, "The Nightcomers" in 1981. The record was very well received by heavy metal fans and remains one of the most popular albums of the NWOBHM era, featuring the two previously released singles as well as such songs as "Death or Glory" and the title track. More...

Read more...  |  2 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Spooky Tooth

Sometimes in the Sunday Old School column, we like to go back to the very early days of heavy metal, before the term was even in use. It’s interesting to find out about some of the bands who were first slapped with the “heavy metal” tag, who may not fit in with today’s definition of the genre, but certainly influenced it. This week, we’ll be looking at just such a band, one who’s approach to the hard rock of the time had more attitude than most and whose name is still dropped today as one of heavy metal’s earliest pioneers, Spooky Tooth. The group was formed as The V.I.P.’s in 1963 in the North Eastern English town of Carlisle and initially performed a rhythm and blues brand of rock before changing their name in 1967 to Art. Under this name, they released the album, “Supernatural Fairy Tales” before changing it again soon afterwards to Spooky Tooth.

Under this new moniker, the group soon recorded a new album, “It’s All About,” which hit the shelves in the summer of 1968. The record received some very positive reviews and contained a cover of the Bob Dylan song, “Too Much of Nothing,” as well as another noteworthy cover track in the form of opener, “Society’s Child,” a song by Janis Ian which commented upon the then controversial subject of interracial romance. This was one of only two albums to feature the original Spooky Tooth lineup, the sophomore effort coming a year later under the title, “Spooky Two,” which featured the song, “Better By You, Better Than Me,” which was of course later to be covered by fellow British rockers, Judas Priest and go on to be the subject of a highly controversial court case. Many critics now regard, “Spooky Two” as the band’s best work to date, citing a great sense of passion found throughout the record. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Therion

The band began life as Blitzkrieg (not to be confused with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal band of the same name) in Upplands Väsby, located in the Stockholm county, a brainchild of bass player Christofer Johnsson, guitarist Peter Hansson and drummer Oskar Forss and played a style of music similar in sound to Venom. The band lasted only two shows before a falling out with Forss forced the group to fold. The group did reform a few months later however, under the new moniker, Megatherion, taking its name from the classic Celtic Frost album. Johnsson put down the bass in favour of guitar and brought in Johan Hansson as the new bassist, along with drummer, Mika Tovalainenm though shortly after the band shortened their name to Therion, both new members took their leave, with original drummer Forss returning to the fold and Erik Gustafsson, best known as a member of Dismember coming in on bass.

With a name finally decided on and a lineup in place, Therion got to work on their first demo, "Paroxysmal Holocaust," which was released in 1989 and followed the same year by a second demo, "Beyond the Darkest Veils on Inner Wickedness." After a third demo, "Time Shall Tell," recorded the next year, they signed a deal with Deaf Records, through which they released their first full length album, "Of Darkness…" in 1991. It was hailed as one of the first progressive death metal albums, though it received mixed reviews upon release and the band saw it as the shedding of their early death metal skin. More...

Read more...  |  2 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Van Halen

Though the Netherlands have given the world some excellent metal bands over the years such as Pestilence and God Dethroned, the country doesn’t receive as much attention as some others in Europe, such as their neighbours in Germany. However, it’s worth remembering that one of the most important names in the history of hard rock and heavy metal was literally born in the Netherlands in 1953 and 1955, where in the city of Nijmegen, the brothers Alex and Eddie were born, siblings who would go on to bring their surname into rock folklore. The name of Van Halen.

The brothers moved with their family to the United States in 1962 and started to learn instruments shortly afterwards, with Eddie learning drums and Alex learning guitar, though they switched after Eddie found out that Alex had been playing his drums while the younger brother was out on his paper route. They eventually formed a band which they Christened, Genesis, along with bassist Mark Stone and ultimately bringing in singer David Lee Roth, who the band had been hiring a P.A. from, who was hired to save money. Stone was soon replaced by Michael Anthony and another change came when the quartet found out about the British band named Genesis, so decided to rename themselves, Mammoth, though this name would also be dropped in favour of the now familiar, Van Halen. More...

Read more...  |  6 Comments - Discuss

Sunday Old School: Slade

I don’t know if any of you have noticed it, but it’s that magical time of year when Michael Buble releases a new album, which can mean only one thing... IIIIIIIIT’S CHRIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAAAS!!! Whether you celebrate it or not, it’s a time meant for fun and games, and if ever there was a band in rock music that were all about a good time, it was one of the earliest stars of British hard rock, whose outlandish attire, booming vocals and deafening volume would go on to influence many of the biggest rock and metal bands for years to come and write one of the best modern Christmas songs of all time. A group still loved by generations in Great Britain, a group by the name of Slade.

Slade, like many of their heaviest compatriots, began life in the English Midlands, and was the result of two local bands, The Mavericks and The ‘N Betweens, the latter of which had been able to obtain high profile support slots for such bands as The Hollies and The Yardbirds. Within the ranks of the Mavericks was a guitarist and vocalist by the name of Noddy Holder that The ‘N Betweens desperately coveted. They unsuccessfully attempted to get Holder to switch sides on a ferry trip the two groups happened to be sharing, but were finally able to convince him to join during a conversation in Wolverhampton. More...

Read more...  |  2 Comments - Discuss

Displaying records 1 - 20 of 294 1 2 3 ... 14 15 Last