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Archive: Sunday Old School Columns

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Sunday Old School: Trouble

Looking at how big and branched out the doom metal scene has become in recent years, one can't help but look back to the pioneers of the first wave of Black Sabbath/Coven worship. Besides Witchfinder General, Candlemass, St. Vitus and Pentagram, there is the almighty Trouble. I respect the hell out of this band for its sheer heaviness and iconic style, making them a true American treasure. I've had the pleasure of seeing this great band live three times in my life, each time a complete and total assault of my auditory senses.

Back in the late seventies, guitarist Bruce Franklin and vocalist Eric Wagner were in a high school band in Chicago by the name of Wisecrack and eventually joined guitarist Rick Wartell to form Trouble. The line-up was rounded out with Tim Brown on bass and Jeff 'Oly' Olson on drums. By 1983 the bass was taken over by Sean McAllister, who had ironically borrowed a bass guitar from the man who would become Trouble's bassist for sixteen years - Ron Holzner, who had went to school with Trouble's number one roadie. Jeff Olson was from Maine, but his family had relocated to Chicago where he attended high school. The rest is history. More...

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Sunday Old School: Rush

A few weeks ago, Sunday Old School took a look at Swedish progressive metal outfit Opeth, which was followed by suggestions to cover other prog metal bands such as Dream Theater. We’ll definitely touch on them and other big name prog metal bands soon, but before that happens, perhaps it would be wise to examine the band that influenced almost every progressive rock band going today. Unfortunately, we don’t cover Pink Floyd, so this week we’ll be looking at Rush instead. Rush was formed in 1968 by schoolmates Alex Lifeson (born Alexandar Zivojinovich) and John Rutsey, who played guitar and drums respectively, along with singing bass player Jeff Jones, who was replaced by Geddy Lee, another former schoolmate of Lifesons, soon afterwards. They performed regularly in their local scene before releasing their first single, a cover of the Buddy Holly track, "Not Fade Away," which performed poorly. After struggling to impress record companies, they decided to release their self-titled debut album themselves in 1974, which once again had lacklustre sales at first, until a radio station in Cleveland, Ohio got hold of the record and began playing the song, "Working Man" on a regular basis. The song struck a chord with working class rock fans and soon "Rush" was re-released in the United States through Mercury Records.

Due to problems with diabetes, Rutsey decided to leave the band for the sake of his health, eventually being replaced by Hamilton native, Neil Peart, whose first concert with the band was opening for Uriah Heep to an audience of 11,000. Peart also took over the role as chief lyricist and the next year, Rush released their second album, "Fly By Night," which was better received than their previous effort and peaked on the Billboard 200 at 113. They followed this with, "Caress Of Steel," which featured only five tracks and was a commercial and critical disappointment. Although the record company urged Rush to record more radio friendly music, they instead got to work on their most ambitious record at that point, which was released in April 1976 as, "2112." The album contained a twenty minute long title track split into seven parts and became their first Platinum album in Canada, eventually going on to be Triple Platinum in the United States. The success of, "2112," allowed the group to release their first live album, "All The World’s A Stage" a few months later. More...

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Sunday Old School: Bad Brains

Let it never be said that heavy music only appeals to a small demographic. If it weren’t for four Rastafarian Black Sabbath fans, hardcore music wouldn’t be what it is today, and perhaps nor would heavy music in general. When the four young men from Washington D.C. discovered punk music, they would form a band that would influence thousands of others, with several of these becoming popular or influential acts themselves. Indeed, where would music be today without the Bad Brains?

The band originally formed as a jazz funk outfit named Mind Power in 1975 but their path was altered forever two years later when a friend introduced them to the punk rock sounds of the Sex Pistols and The Dickies amongst others. They soon became obsessed with the genre and changed their name to Bad Brains, inspired by the song, "Bad Brain" by The Ramones. Punk was not the only interest that gripped the four young men either. After witnessing a Bob Marley concert, they became enthralled by reggae music and the Rastafari movement. The groups original singer, Sid McCray left soon after the bands inception, and guitarist H.R. (Human Rights) took over the role as frontman. Their shows were notorious for their extremely high level of intensity and they became an influential force in the D.C. hardcore scene, particularly H.R. who claims he encouraged Ian MacKaye to spread the Straight Edge philosophy with his band Minor Threat and inspired Henry Rollins to join Black Flag. Such was the craziness of their live shows that they soon found themselves on the receiving end of an unofficial ban from many clubs in the D.C. area, and soon decided to relocate to New York. They were instantly accepted in New York and performed regularly at the legendary CBGBs club and with other young hardcore acts like Reagan Youth and the Beastie Boys (yes, those Beastie Boys.)

In January of 1982, the band finally released their first album, a self-titled effort available exclusively on cassette at first through ROIR Records. The album has since been hailed as one of the greatest albums in the history of punk and hardcore, if not the greatest. Its breathtaking blend of hardcore punk and reggae music made them stand out from their contemporaries, not least thanks to their obvious musical ability. They released their second album, "Rock For Light" the next year through PVC Records, and re-recorded several songs from their self-titled debut for the release, as well as including older songs such as "At The Movies" in addition to new material. More...

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Sunday Old School: Slaughter

Slaughter was (and still is for some) a guilty pleasure. A band spawned from the eighties, Mark Slaughter and company enjoyed major, but brief success with both “heavy” tracks as well as the all important power ballad. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always Slaughter!

Formed in Las Vegas, Slaughter came in at the height of the glam metal movement. Mark Slaughter (vocals/guitar) and Dana Strum (bass) from Vinnie Vincent Invasion started Slaughter and recruited guitarist Tim Kelly and drummer Blas Elias. In 1990 they released the album “Stick It to Ya,” yielding immediate success with singles “Up All Night”, “Fly to the Angels”, and “Spend My Life.” Soon after they recorded the song “Shout it Out” for the movie soundtrack, “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” once again receiving heavy airplay on the radio and video plays on MTV. More...

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Sunday Old School: Opeth

This past week, MetalUnderground.com has largely (and irritably for some,) been discussing the latest Opeth album, "Heritage," which has divided fans with its blend of seventies inspired prog rock. To understand why some fans are so upset about the direction, perhaps it would be best to take a look at the history of the group. Opeth was formed in 1990 in the Swedish capital by vocalist David Isbgerg and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt after an argument with former band mates of Isbergs. They soon recruited bass player Nick Döring, drummer Anders Nordin and a second guitarist named Andreas Dimeo, though Dimeo and Döring left the group after their first performance. A number of lineup changes would follow, most notably the inclusion of guitarist Peter Lindgren (who originally joined as a bass player) and the departure of Isberg, with Åkerfeldt taking over vocal duties, in addition to keeping his role as a guitar player. They soon earned themselves a record deal with the then newly formed Candlelight Records and recorded their debut album, "Orchid" in the Spring of 1994, though due to distribution problems, it wouldn’t see a release until the next year. The album was positively received, with critics praising their blend of death metal with acoustic guitars and harmonies.

They soon followed "Orchid" with their sophomore effort, "Morningrise," which garnered even higher praise than "Orchid," allowing them to embark on a tour of the United Kingdom and a large Scandinavian trek with Cradle Of Filth. The growing interest in the band led them to sign with German label, Century Media, who released the groups first two albums in the United States (they had previously only been available in Europe.) Soon after the signing however, the band first parted with bassist Johan DeFarfalla, before splitting with Nordin, leaving Mikael Åkerfeldt as the sole original member. The first band first hired a new drummer named Martin Lopez before recording their third album, "My Arms, Your Hearse," which featured Åkerfeldt performing bass duties, though they soon found a permanent bassist in Martín Méndez. "My Arms, Your Hearse" continued Opeths tradition of releasing albums that were more acclaimed than their last, with many ranking it among their finest albums. More...

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Sunday Old School: Metal Church

The month of May marks a couple of pivotal moments in the history of one of America's most classic power/thrash bands, Metal Church. It was in May of 1984 that the band played its first gig at the D&R Theatre in Kurdt Vanderhoof's native Aberdeen, Washington. It was also in May, nearly seven years to the day, that the metal world lost one of its most iconic metal singers - original Metal Church vocalist David Wayne. In this homage to the Seattle band, we will look at the history of this venerable old school band and how it ties in with so many other acts while fulfilling its history. We will also bring you the rich history that Metal Church and all of its offshoots have lived through. Because, with Metal Church there is six degrees of separation from several other groups.

Back in the late seventies, Aberdeen's son Kurdt Vanderhoof was living in the San Francisco bay area. He played for a hardcore punk band by the name of The Lewd. As he started listening to the early prototypes of the British invasion of metal, he had an epiphany. Kurdt decided he'd rather start playing metal music, so he began talks with a few of the members of another San Francisco act - Leviathan. Together they formed Anvil Chorus - The Church of Metal, later shortening it. The rest of Leviathan left and formed Vienna. More...

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Sunday Old School: Ugly Kid Joe

For many, the band Ugly Kid Joe was the group on MTV with videos for “Cat’s In the Cradle” and “Everything about You,” but there was more, trust me. They landed in a strange time (right at the start of the grunge nineties) and had a song picked up by a major movie, giving them immediate success. Then, despite this good fortune, the band was unable to keep their momentum (again, blame the nineties – damn you Cobain!) and flamed out rather quickly, leaving us with a limited catalog of three full albums. However, that may change soon... SPOILER ALERT: Ugly Kid Joe is coming back!

Initially, the band used the name Ugly Kid Joe as a parody of the band named Pretty Boy Floyd, and then it just stuck so they kept it. Their first EP was titled “As Ugly as They Wanna Be,” again another parody, this time a take on 2 Live Crew’s “As Nasty as They Wanna Be.” It was clear from the start that this band wouldn’t take themselves too seriously; the music was a mix of hard rock, funk, and glam, though mostly hard rock as they were heavily influenced by Black Sabbath. The current lineup of Ugly Kid Joe is Whitfield Crane (vocals), Klaus Eichstadt (guitar), Cordell Crockett (bass), Dave Fortman (guitar), and Shannon Larkin (drums). More...

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Sunday Old School: Kreator

Previously in Sunday Old School, we've looked at several big names in thrash metal from all over the world. These include two of the "Three Kings" of German thrash, Sodom and Destruction. This week we'll be completing the trilogy by taking a look at Kreator, arguably the most well known of the three. Kreator were formed in the city of Essen in 1982 by vocalist/guitarist Mille Petrozza and drummer Jürgen 'Ventor' Reil, originally using the moniker, Tyrant before switching to the name, Tormentor, under which name they released two demos which attracted the attention of Noise Records, home of such other notable metal artists as Celtic Frost and later Sabbat. It was the label’s suggestion that the band change their name, due to the company already having a band from Hungary on their books called Tormentor, and so the German thrashers settled on Kreator instead. The band recorded their debut album, "Endless Pain" in only ten days, featured had a more proto-black metal sound, similar to what Sodom were doing at the time. "Endless Pain" was released in 1985 and was soon followed by the groups sophomore effort, "Pleasure To Kill," which is now considered something of a thrash metal classic and a clear influence of the burgeoning death metal genre. The success of the album led them to embark on their first ever tour (having performed only five gigs before it’s release) and soon they followed with their third record, "Terrible Certainty," which like its predecessor was critically acclaimed and warmly welcomed by underground metal fans, owing in part to the songs, "Behind The Mirror" and their first music video for "Toxic Trace," as well as a strong cover of the Raven song, "Lambs To The Slaughter."

They then focused on breaking America with their next effort, "Extreme Aggression," which was produced by Randy Burns, notable for his work with established metal bands such as Megadeth. "Extreme Aggression" became a hit in Europe and helped to achieve their goal of penetrating the American market when the music videos for the song, "Betrayer," as well as the title track received regular airplay on MTVs Headbangers Ball, before touring North America for the first time with Suicidal Tendencies. The band soon released a fifth album entitled, "Coma Of Souls," which, while praised by many, failed to gain the same recognition that previous records did, with some feeling that the album sounded rushed, though it still managed to sell quite well and spawned two singles in "People Of The Lie" and "When The Sun Burns Red." More...

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Sunday Old School: Annihilator

Many of the world's top guitar shredders fit into two types of personalities. There are the overindulgent ones with inflated egos and there are the ones with quiet self-confidence that are in it because of their love for metal music. Jeff Waters of Canadian band Annihilator fits into the latter category. He lets others put him in their charts for top guitar players in metal while he quietly goes about pursuing the field that he loves - creating music with his band and others.

Jeff loves what he does, for he's been in it for over 28 years since Annihilator put out its first demo "Welcome to Your Death" in 1984. That, and the subsequent couple of demos released, were among the top traded demo tapes in the mid eighties - giving even Metallica and Megadeth a run for their money. In the early incarnation of Annihilator, Jeff had John Bates on vocals and went through quite a few musicians in the rhythm section, even replacing Bates with Randy Rampage from D.O.A. The problem was that the band members liked partying and going to clubs, leading to the turnover. More...

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Sunday Old School: Heathen

The wonderful thing about the thrash metal movement is that there were so many bands to find, it really is something of a treasure chest. Today we’ll look at a band which released some of the finest albums known to speed and thrash metal, but arguably haven’t got the recognition they deserve, Heathen. Heathen was formed in 1984 by former Metal Church drummer Carl Sacco and Russian guitarist Lee Altus and were initially accompanied by vocalist Sam Kress and guitarist Jim Sanguinetti before replacing them after their first gig with David Godfrey and Doug Piercy respectively, whilst also bringing in bass player Eric Wong. Although from the Bay Area and often associated with the thrash metal scene at the time, their music wasn’t strictly speaking contained in the thrash vein, as they also demonstrated more of a New Wave of British Heavy Metal influence than many of their peers. Although Wong decided to leave the group after the recording of their first demo, "Pray For Death" (being replaced by Mike "Yaz" Jastremski,) the demo was something of a success and earned the band a deal with Combat Records.

Their debut album, "Breaking The Silence" was released through the label in 1987 and was hailed as one of the best thrash metal albums of the year. It also contained something of a hit single in "Set Me Free," a cover of a song originally by British glam rock legends The Sweet. The song received regular rock radio airplay and the video was also broadcast frequently on MTVs Headbangers Ball show. While touring for the album however, Heathen ran into some internal difficulties, resulting in Sacco, Jastremski and Godfrey all leaving the group at some stage. Several well known vocalists were a part of Heathen for a while, including former Exodus frontman Paul Baloff and ex Metal Church singer, David Wayne. More...

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Sunday Old School: Jackyl

Jackyl is probably best known for its song "The Lumberjack", which features a chainsaw solo by lead singer Jesse James Dupree. He once was asked, "How the hell can you play a chainsaw?" to which he responded, "How the hell can you not play a chainsaw?" This is the story of Jackyl.

Jackyl is made up of current members Jesse James Dupree (vocals, guitar, and chainsaw), Jeff Worley (guitar), Roman Glick (bass), and Chris Worley (drums). Past members include Jimmy Stiff (guitar), Ronnie Honeycutt (vocals), and Thomas Bettini (bass).

The 1992 self-titled debut album featured singles “The Lumberjack,” “Down on Me,” and “I Stand Alone.” Their debut went platinum, mostly due to “The Lumberjack” because vocalist Jesse James Dupree performed a chain-saw solo. People like chainsaws. The song became a hit and staple for the Jackyl live show to this day. Videos where also created for their singles.

The video for “The Lumberjack” begins with the Southern cliché of an old man sitting on a porch, smoking a Pall Mall with his shotgun close by. I’m surprised they didn’t place a Waffle House in the background. A general comment: “Lumberjack” is maybe the only performance where the lead singer seamlessly changes from a sombrero, to flannel, to a jumpsuit. Anyway, there is a school house nearby, with a bearded female teacher and students that like to bang their heads to the music of Jackyl, especially when the chainsaws are blazing. The primary lesson in this video is that chainsaws turn girls into sluts. The “Down on Me” video tells the story of a record store owner who refuses to sell CDs to underage kids because of the Parental Advisory Warning. Long story short, the owner loses his business and ends up on the street as a CD whore. I really enjoyed this video.

Ever since the release of their debut album, the band has hit the road and barely left it since. In 1994, the second album titled ‘Push Comes to Shove’ went gold. Later that year, Jackyl had a notable performance at Woodstock '94, resulting in the inclusion of their song “Headed for Destruction” as part of the Woodstock compilation album. In 1997, Jackyl released the album ‘Cut the Crap.’ The album included “Locked and Loaded”, a song with guest vocalist Brian Johnson (AC/DC). It was the first time Johnson had ever collaborated with an artist. In 2002, they would collaborate again on the song “Kill the Sunshine” off their ‘Relentless’ album. B-sides, greatest hits, and live albums would follow; however, like any true rock and roll band, it has been the live performances that have created their following.

Their live performances have earned the band two Guinness Book of World Records citations and the designation "The Hardest Working Band in Rock 'N' Roll" for performing 100 shows in 50 days as well as 21 shows in 24 hours.

Jackyl has also flirted with the reality show circuit, seen regularly on the show Full Throttle Saloon. In 2010 the band released a new album titled “When Moonshine and Dynamite Collide.” Jackyl is available to play wherever chainsaws are sold. You can usually catch them on stage at a festival near you.

The Lumberjack VIDEO
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Sunday Old School: Grim Reaper

Sunday Old School has examined many bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. From the South West in Jaguar to the North East in bands like Raven and Venom, but it’s been quite some time since we’ve looked at the movement, so let’s return to it this week shall we? One band that’s been well overdue a look is Grim Reaper, who unlike many other bands from the movement, found success in a time when many of their peers did not. Formed in the West Midlands town of Droitwich, in Worcestershire back in 1979, Grim Reaper first gained noticed by winning a Battle Of The Bands contest which featured no less than one hundred groups, which ultimately led to a deal with Ebony Records, but their debut full length album, "See You In Hell" was distributed through RCA Records in 1984. The album was quite successful, finding a place on the Billboard album charts (where it peaked at number 73) and subsequently seeing the title track appear in a number of TV shows including Beavis and Butthead and Jackass. Touring for the album also went well, and the band found themselves performing to over twenty thousand fans in Texas at one particular show.

Success continued to stay with Grim Reaper when they released their sophomore album, "Fear No Evil" in 1985. Though not quite as acclaimed as "See You In Hell," the record once again proved popular amongst heavy metal fans on both sides of the Atlantic. One of the most notable things about this album in a more modern sense, is that the music video for the title track was to resurface twenty years later, though this time used by the alternative rock band Weezer as the initial video for their song, "We Are All On Drugs." Following the success of “Fear No Evil,” the band found themselves away from the stage and in the courtroom, battling a case against Ebony Records which took up two years of the bands existence, resulting in their third album, "Rock You To Hell" being delayed by such time, not finding a place on the shelves until 1987, by which point they discovered that a lot of heavy metal fans and turned away from the safer sounds of traditional heavy metal and more towards the likes of thrash metal. Even though the music video for the title track received regular airplay and the record itself was released through a major label, the album was considered something of a commercial failure. The failure of the album, coupled with another legal battle with Ebony Records, took its toll on the group and they decided to call it a day in 1988, right before they were supposed to work on their fourth album. More...

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Sunday Old School: Exciter

You know you're old school when you've had an album on Shrapnel records and can count eleven full-length albums among your repertoire. This is where the story of Canadian thrashers Exciter begins - way back in 1978. They began as Hell Razor and changed their name out of homage to the Judas Priest song and put out a demo, getting the attention of the legendary Mike Varney. He was the head of Shrapnel records, a label that catered to the forefathers of American thrash and all the classic guitar heroes. Mike put Exciter's track "WWIII" on his second compilation, "US Metal Volume II" in 1982. The debut, "Heavy Metal Maniac," followed on the label in 1983. This album already had great hype as a nine-song tape traded overseas, and ten thousand metalheads had put in an order for it upon its release. More...

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Sunday Old School: Cannibal Corpse

It’s common in heavy metal music for fans to exaggerate how important or how good a band they love is, but Cannibal Corpse genuinely deserves to be recognized as a ground breaking act in the field of death metal, being the biggest selling death metal band in the United States, as well as having a sound that has been copied countless times. The band was formed in Buffalo, New York from the remnants of popular local bands Tirant Sin, Leviathan and Beyond Death and through friends the members made, made their live debut in April 1989 opening for Dark Angel.

Not long after this impressive debut, Cannibal Corpse was snapped up by Metal Blade Records after the manager of the record store where vocalist Chris Barnes was working sent in the band's self-titled demo tape, becoming the label's first death metal band in the process. The first album, "Eaten Back To Life" was recorded at the Morrisound Recording studio, a place now famous for producing albums by the likes of Sepultura, Morbid Angel and Napalm Death amongst other big names in extreme metal, before being released in August 1990. The band didn’t do a conventional tour in support of the record, performing only a handful of shows when possible, including one which featured no more than thirteen people in attendance.

Cannibal Corpse returned to Florida shortly afterwards to record a sophomore album, "Butchered At Birth." This would mark the beginning of causing outrage and controversy on an international scale, as the record was banned in Germany and was only available to people over the age of eighteen in Ontario, Canada due to its graphic cover artwork. Despite this, Cannibal Corpse soon embarked on a first headlining tour, which took place in Europe, where the group was greeted very warmly by extreme metal fans. Upon returning, the guys set out on their first North American headlining tour, this time being joined by Atheist and Gorguts.

Having completed the tour, Cannibal Corpse recorded another album entitled, "Tomb Of The Mutilated," which once again featured a shocking album cover and also contained at least two of the group's best known songs in the shapes of, "Hammer Smashed Face" and "I Cum Blood." Shortly after the release of the album, the band parted ways with guitarist Bob Rusay, replacing him with Rob Barrett, known for his work with Malevolent Creation. After an appearance in the hit comedy, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, the band once again got to work on a new album, which surfaced in 1994 under the name, "The Bleeding." The record was praised for its more disciplined approach to song writing and featuring plenty of catchy riffs, not to mention more charming song titles such as, "Fucked With A Knife" and "She Was Asking For It." More...

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Sunday Old School: BMHM - Primordial

Black metal has certainly come a long way over the years. Starting from the almost sloppy sounding thrash of Venom and Hellhammer, it has incorporated many other elements into its sound as time’s gone by, including traditional folk music, a combination worked to perfection by Irelands own, Primordial. The earliest incarnation of Primordial was formed in 1987 by brothers Pól and Derek MacAmlaigh, along with guitarist Ciáran MacUiliam under the name Forsaken in Skerries, a small seaside town in County Dublin, where they began life by performing covers of popular extreme metal bands such as Death before recruiting vocalist Alan Averill (aka A.A. Nemtheanga) in 1991 and adopting a much darker approach, more inspired by the proto black metal bands of the time such as Celtic Frost and Bathory. The band released a demo in 1993 entitled, "Dark Romanticism" which attracted the attention of numerous labels, including Candlelight, but ultimately it was Cacophonous Records, then home to British extreme metal outfit Cradle Of Filth, who successfully signed the group. Through the label, Primordial released their first album, "Imrama" in 1994. The album was noteworthy for its focus on medieval Irish folklore and use of the Gaelic language, in addition to combining the black metal sound with traditional Irish melodies, becoming one of the first Celtic Metal bands (along with Cruachan and Waylander) in the process. Despite some difficulties faced after the release of the record, including performing only one show in 1996, which was stopped half way through by the police, things began to take an upturn for the band in 1997 when they found a new drummer in Simon O'Laoghaire and performed with the recently reformed Mayhem in the United Kingdom.

The melodic aspect was expanded upon by the time Primordial released its second album, "A Journeys End" through Misanthropy Records in 1998, which featured the use of whistles and mandolins in order to accentuate their nationality and heritage. Right after releasing their sophomore effort, the band had decided that Misanthropy was not the right record label for them, and signed with Hammerheart Records, immediately getting to work on new material, which surfaced a year later in the form of an EP entitled, "The Burning Season," before releasing their third album, "Spirit The Earth Aflame" in 2000. Once their fourth album, "Storm Before Calm" was released, Primordial knew that some changes were needed to be made, and started by recruiting a new guitarist named Michael O Floinn and began the search for a new label, which they found following tours with the likes of Enthroned, Rotting Christ and Ancient Rites, when they signed with Metal Blade Records and got to work on their darkest album yet. More...

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Sunday Old School: BMHM - Mayhem

Black metal is a genre of music shrouded in controversy and perhaps nowhere is controversy more prominent in the field, than in Mayhem. The group was formed in 1984 by guitarist/vocalist Øystein Aarseth (aka Euronymous,) along with bassist Jørn Stubberud (aka Necrobutcher) and drummer Kjetil Manheim (aka Manheim). They initially were influenced by the more extreme metal music at the time, particularly proto-black metal bands such as Venom and Celtic Frost and released their debut demo tape, "Pure Fucking Armageddon" in 1986 before Euronymous decided to concentrate on solely on playing guitar, first replacing himself in the vocal department by a singer named Eirik Nordheim (Messiah), then Sven Erik Kristiansen (aka Maniac,) with whom the group recorded and released their first EP, "Deathcrush," which was distributed by Euronymous himself through his own Posercorpse Music label. Maniac left the band soon afterwards however, along with drummer Manheim. Taking their places would be Swedish vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin (aka Dead) and local drummer Jan Axel Blomberg (aka Hellhammer,) setting in place the beginning of the most infamous chapter in the history of Mayhem.

Dead helped attract a lot of attention to the band, delivering notorious and in some cases, baffling performances on stage which included self mutilation and burying his clothes days before a show, so that he really would look like a corpse. The members moved into a house in the middle of a forest to begin work on their album, "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" but were soon to deal with a major blow when Dead lived up to his name and committed suicide. He was found inside the house by Euronymous with slit wrists and a shotgun wound to the head, along with a note which merely apologized for firing the weapon indoors along with the now infamous caption, "Excuse all the blood." What followed was just as macabre, as Euronymous decided that instead of calling the police, he would venture into town to purchase a disposable camera, with which he took photographs of the corpse along with rumours that he made necklaces out of pieces of Deads skull and even that he made a stew with parts of the brain, though this has never been confirmed. The death of Dead would prove to be hard for Necrobutcher to handle and he decided to leave the band soon afterwards, leaving Mayhem to find both a new vocalist and a new bass player, which they did in Tormentor frontman Attila Csihar and Burzum mastermind, Varg Vikernes. This lineup would prove to be the one that would record, "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" but the members were far from friendly and the controversy wasn’t yet finished with, nor was the deaths. More...

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Sunday Old School: Blood Duster

Plenty of old school metal bands come from Australia. Immediately coming to mind are Destroyer 666 and Mortal Sin...but don't forget about Blood Duster. Nobody, but nobody is like Blood Duster. They have made a career out of taking sounds and cliches from other genres and turning them on their asses into supremely heavy grinding rock. This year marks 21 years of existence for these crazy Aussies who started pissing in our ears in 1991 when they formed the band, claiming to have met at a peep show. Very underground and cult, you may have missed them if you blinked or were looking in the wrong direction back in the 90's.

But, do not underestimate the impact they had on the scene with their irreverence and complete humorous take on the grindcore genre. In fact, Blood Duster's style of grinding death rock with slabs of retro grooves shows how they are the sum of their parts. Many of the band members came from all kinds of metal bands like Hecatomb and Pod People, so their music is influenced by almost anything. The difference is, through all the chaotic sounds Blood Duster incorporated they always did it well - and did it best. More...

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Sunday Old School: BMHM - Darkthrone

It’s February once again and MetalUnderground.com has decided to bring back Black Metal History Month, (see what we did there?). This month MetalUnderground and in particular Sunday Old School, will be looking at some of the biggest and most important bands in the history of black metal. If some of your favourite black metal bands don’t get featured this month, such as Norwegian titans Immortal or Emperor, chances are it’s because we’ve already covered them. Speaking of Norwegian black metal, it only seems right that we kick the month off by looking at just such a band, and who better to examine than Kolbotn’s own, Darkthrone?

As previously mentioned, the band formed in Kolbotn, a suburb of the Norwegian capital city, Oslo, in 1986 by drummer Gylve Nagell, along with guitarist Ivar Enger and bass player Dag Nilsen. They originally went under the moniker, Black Death and performed a more death metal orientated brand of music, before they changed their name to Darkthrone the next year and were joined by a second guitarist in 1988 named Dag Nilsen, who would leave the same year. Following the recruitment of Ted Skjellum, the group would release four demo tapes before landing a record deal with Peaceville Records. They were helped in their endeavour to record their debut album by members of Entombed and Nihilist, since Darkthrone had a very small recording budget. It was on this first album, "Soulside Journey" that traces of black metal began to show in their music. They then took this a step further, adorning corpse paint and adopting pseudonyms, much like Venom before them.

Their transition to black metal was completed with their second album, "A Blaze In The Northern Sky," which despite causing problems between Darkthrone and Peaceville and seeing Dag Nilsen depart soon afterwards, was eventually released in February 1992 and has since become one of the most acclaimed black metal albums of all time. A third album, "Under a Funeral Moon" was recorded merely four months after the release of "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" and saw the band completely discard their death metal roots in favour of what Nagell, now known as Fenriz, called, "100% pure black metal." Once again, the album would be soon as a major landmark for the black metal genre and was adored by fans. Enger departed soon afterwards however and ever since then, Darkthrone has consisted of Fenriz and Ted "Nocturno Culto" Skjellum. More...

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Sunday Old School: Hanoi Rocks

“Keep the punk leather jackets but bring a kind of transvestite vibe to it” - Nasty Suicide on the look of Hanoi Rocks. More...

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Sunday Old School: Doro

All too often, the role of women in heavy metal has been relegated to either eye candy or soprano singer for symphonic bands. But they can also rock just as hard as many of the guys can. No further proof of this is needed than Düsseldorf’s own, Doro Pesch. Doro began her musical journey in the early eighties singing with such bands as Snakebite and Beast before she was recruited by another local band named Warlock. This would prove to be one of the biggest decisions of her career as after a year of hard work performing in the clubs of Europe, the band received a record deal from Belgian label, Mausoleum, through whom the group released their first studio album, "Burning The Witches" in 1984. The album led Warlock to sign with Vertigo for future releases, beginning the next year with, "Hellbound."

They toured Europe heavily in support of the album, before their third record, "True As Steel" brought them to the attention of North American head bangers, thanks largely to the single, "Fight For Rock," which was able to find a place on the Billboard Singles Chart and receive regular airplay on MTV. Their profile was also increased in their native continent, perhaps most notably when they opened the 1986 edition of the Monsters Of Rock festival, which also featured Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead and fellow German rockers, Scorpions. Warlock was dealt a blow when two members, Frank Rittel and Peter Szigeti left the band to join U.D.O. the new band from former Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider, leaving Warlock to recruit Tommy Bolan and Tommy Henriksen for their next album, "Triumph And Agony," which spawned the popular single, "All We Are." Their status continued to rise worldwide, particularly in North America where they toured with such bands as Megadeth, Sanctuary and Fates Warning amongst others. More...

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