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Pit Stories: Protecting The Van

Ready for a new Pit Story metal fans? This week's come courtesy of Canadian group Malacoda, and moves away from the pit and onto the road where bands spend countless hours travelling to bring you the craziest shows in the music industry!

Tour van break-ins are a fact of life for metal bands, and there's usually not a month gone by that we don't post about some crowd funding campaign to recover lost items after the latest robbery.

Some bands have taken up preventative security measures to prevent such activity - but they don't always work out as planned. Brad Casarin, guitarist of Malacoda, recalls his road story like this:

We were in Vancouver playing a show and the venue was on Hastings. Anybody that's been to Vancouver knows this is one of the worst areas in North America for drugs and drug users. After the gig half of us got to sleep in a hotel room while two of us volunteered to sleep in the van in front of the venue.

Around three in the morning we are woken up by a hand reaching into the van - older vans used to have these push out windows that you could just squeeze your hand through. The hand was trying to unlatch the pull up lock! Luckily I remembered I had packed a cO2 cartridge BB hand gun. So I reached for it as the hand was feeling around for the lock and I unloaded it 10 - 12 times about three inches away into his hand.

The perpetrator screamed in agony trying to get out of the tight fit he had maneuvered his hand into, all the while screaming "Please, oh God, please stop!" from outside the van. It was then that I recognized the voice as our drummer who had come back to the van to grab something. His swollen BB filled hand eventually healed up in a week and he could drum again at full capacity!

Malacoda's six track EP "Ritualis Aeterna" was released last week (December 2nd, 2016) and can be streamed in full below. More...

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Sunday Old School: Orphaned Land

Folk metal has become one of the more popular sub genres among rockers in the current age. While it was pioneered by the likes of Skyclad and Cruachan, it has gone on to produce stars such as Korpiklaani and Finntroll. However, one country which has the ingredients to make a great folk metal band is Israel, for it contains a mix of rich folklore from both Jewish and Arab populations, as well as the tense atmosphere and constant threat of war which contributes to the metal style so well. One of the country's most well known bands, as well as one of the world's most popular folk metal groups, would be Orphaned Land.

The band were formed in 1991, by vocalist Kobi Farhi, bass player Uri Zelcha, guitarists Matti Svatizky and Yossi Sassi and drummer Sami Bachar, originally going by the name Resurrection, before changing their moniker to the more familiar Orphaned Land. The group slogged it out in the club scene, eventually recording a demo in 1993 entitled, "The Beloved's Cry," which was met with very strong praise from the metal underground and gained the attention of French record label, Holy Records, who soon snapped up the band. More...

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Pit Stories: Epic NOLA Nights

Pit Story day has rolled around, as we check in with bands and fans from across the world to get their favorite stories from live shows.

From lost nude roadies to stumbling across the scene of a stabbing, there's a million and one crazy Pit Stories and we're on an endless quest to discover them all!

Today we've got Ross Brown of Louisiana-based stoner metal band Vermillion Whiskey sharing two epic nights burned into his memory that he'll never forget.

Ross tells the tale like this:

The most energetic and slightly horrifying pits was at a HAWGJAW show on a sweaty south Louisiana night. The crowd was totally into the bands raw and intense style. The singer had a huge back piece tattoo of a huge monkey on his back. He was rolling around on the ground in the middle of the pit and whipping himself in the head with his mic. I was probably 18 at the time and was etched in my memory.

Then there was a wild road trip to see my friends band Pig Knuckle play with New Orleans band Mangina. It was at a 24 hour laundromat/Bar Checkpoint Charlies who serves scrambled eggs 24/7. They had a 10 year kid doing backup vocals, bass player was wearing a thong, and singer had a cape. Then in the midst of downright debauchery, the singer drop kicked a heckler in the crowd right upside his head and the bass player and singer got into a fight. That night was EPIC like most of my trips to NOLA.

Vermillion Whiskey's new album "Spirit of Tradition" is coming on February 10th, 2017. Get full info at this location. More...

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Sunday Old School: Lacuna Coil

Italy may not be the first country one thinks of when it comes to metal music, given its warm climate and reputation for being one of the spiritual homes for both football fanatics and dedicated followers of fashion. However, the Mediterranean has produced a number of noteworthy groups such as Bulldozer, one of black metal's pioneers, along with Death SS, Cripple Bastards and Rhapsody Of Fire. The nation also gave the world one of the first metal stars of the new millenium, a Gothic metal band from the famous city of Milan named, Lacuna Coil.

The band was formed in 1994 by vocalist Andrea Ferro and bassist Marco Coti Zelati, under the name Sleep Of Right, recruiting guitar player Raffaele Zagaria and drummer Michaelangelo Algardi soon afterwards. The quartet recorded two demos, "Bleeding Souls" and "Noise of Bolgia" before adding second guitarist Claudio Leo and replacing Algardi with Leonardo Forti. While recording another demo, the group asked friend and singer Cristina Scabbia to perform background vocals, which led to her becoming a full time member. It was also around this time that the group changed their name to Ethereal and attracted the attention of Century Media Records, who offered the band a deal which they accepted, though they soon changed their moniker once more after discovering that a Greek band was using the name Ethereal, settling instead on their now familiar name, Lacuna Coil. More...

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Pit Stories: The White Whale Amongst Bathers

Ready for a new round of Pit Stories?

This week we've got a tale of a lost and very drunk roadie and a band scrambling to find their wayward companion, who has been up to no good while in an altered state.

Dre Versailles, vocalist of Gatineau, Québec-based band Inire, tells the Hangover-sequel worthy story like this:

Some names of people and places have been changed. The idiocy remains unaltered.

A friend of ours in London graciously offered us his pad while he was out of town so we could crash the night after the show. His door has multiple locks and he gave me specific instructions to lock up when we left in the morning because doing it improperly could result in him being locked out. I don’t need to tell you, this is important.

We partied a bit after the show, responsibly for the most part but our friend and roadie “Mustachio” (yes, that’s what I’m calling him) decided he was due for a solid one. It wasn’t long before we lost sight of him. Nor was it long before the police came poking around about a disturbance of some sort. We told them we knew nothing (which was technically true but also false in the sense that we all had a prime suspect in mind… name starts with “M”). Thankfully they ended up leaving empty handed (and probably a little confused).
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Sunday Old School: Superjoint Ritual

Some musicians seemingly can't stay still for a minute. Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury for example, has also been involved with such bands as Meathook Seed, Blood From The Soul, Venemous Concept and Brujeria amongst others, while Mike Patton, famous for his vocal duties for Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, has also taken part in projects such as, Fantômas Peeping Tom and Tomahawk, in addition to a lengthy list of other groups. Another of these musicians, is former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo, known also for his work with Down, Viking Crown, Christ Inversion and today's featured band, Superjoint.

Superjoint was formed under the name Superjoint Ritual in 1993 by Anselmo, along with Joe Fazzio, and Jimmy Bower with the trio soon to be joined by Hank Williams III. The quartet were mostly influenced by hardcore punk such as Black Flag and Minor Threat, though a trace of black metal can also be heard in their sound too, with the band taking particular inspiration from Venom and Darkthrone, with the latter providing the name Superjoint Ritual via a line in their song, "The Pagan Winter." More...

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Pit Stories: Cuttin Up Hookers... At A Crime Scene

Its been a pretty wild ride lately for our weekly Pit Stories: there was a crowd that nearly cooked at an overly-cramped Rammstein set, some crazy shroom tripping at the flame-filled CromFest, and a recounting of those terrible 1st show blues.

That ride gets no less wild this week as Infinite Earths checked in with us for a harrowing tour tale!

The band recounts an event during a 2014 live trek where one member was wearing a particularly ironic shirt while finding himself unexpectedly at a crime scene. Infinite Earths recalls the story like this:

It was the summer of 2014 on tour with Mindscar. We just put in a hard day’s night with supporting acts Miridian, and Thoughts Of Redemption in Satellite Beach, Florida at Wynfield’s enjoying a pre-load out beer. During the first quarter of the tour we were accompanied by brother Felix, lead photographer of FXO photography and acting roadie. Naturally, Felix is bumping elbows with me getting a cab tetris’d back into the death wagon when I hear a bloodcurdling scream off in the distance. It came from a motel looking joint just passed an unpurposed field behind the venue.

Inspired by my drunken stupor, I draw the dudes attention toward the clatter. Like a slovenly Freddy waving the Scooby Gang about. I propose we should go check it out, begging the question of what Batman would do. I sauntered off merrily with fuckless abandon and even more so with the more tattooed dudes I convinced to follow. Felix is into the action, a boots on the ground kinda mother fucker, the rest of the guys following his shredded rambo like gumption.

Into the fray, we dashed across the field toward the source of the distress. As we get up to the building we see a door on the top floor of this two story building burst open halting us in apprehension. A woman stumbles out of this room screaming bloody murder as she bumbled toward us and down the stairs. She flopped out onto the parking lot like a surly wounded walrus. Not that she was fat, it was more about the way she did it. “I got stabbed, I got stabbed!” she blubbered from the depths of her aquatic gut.
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Sunday Old School: Blood From The Soul

In the past, we've looked at several supergroups such as Fantomas and Bloodbath, while mentioning the likes of Velvet Revolver and GTA. However, with the possible exception of Rob Halford and John 5's band, Two, we haven't really examined a collaboration project as such, what happens when two established musicians come together to record an album. This week, we'll be looking at just that, a band formed by two highly respected men in their respective genres, who put their heads together to create Blood From the Soul.

Blood From the Soul can trace its roots back to the New Titans on the Bloc tour, a response to the Clash of the Titans tour, which featured Sepultura, Sacred Reich, Napalm Death and Sick Of It All. It was during this tour that Shane Embury, the bassist of Napalm Death, struck up a friendship with Sick of it All frontman Lou Koller and the duo expressed an interest in working together on a project. More...

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Pit Stories: Some Serious Miscommunication

After the insanity of shroom trips and flaming statues at Crom Fest and a look at all the things that can go wrong at a 1st show, Pit Stories returns this week with something completely different.

We asked Michael Arcane and Stack Manley from 100% true hair metal band Turbo Shokk for his best pit story, and that's when things got a little hairy and lost in translation.

Check out the full exchange below, which is undoubtedly one of the most odd in our never-ending quest for the most insane mosh pit stories from metal history.

Metal Underground (MU): So, onto pits. More...

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Unearthing The Extreme Metal Underground

Holy crap, more than one Unearthing column is arriving in a single year? It's not an early Christmas present, we're just back on the indie train bringing you the best of the best from the metal underground. Shifting gears heavily from the last look at progressive bands in October, today we're going to cover some of the most extreme groups around in the death and black metal realms.

Dyscarnate

After releasing a demo and an EP back in the group's early years, the extremely bludgeoning U.K. group Dyscarnate first came to our attention in 2009 by signing to Siege Of Amida Records. That partnership would see the release of the bulk of Dyscarnate's existing catalog: “Enduring The Massacre” in 2010 followed by “And So It Came To Pass” in 2012.

Sadly, the band was dormant on the release front for several years afterword, eventually parting ways with vocalist Henry Yates and recruiting new member Al Llewellyn in late 2015. The fruits of that collaboration are finally on the horizon as Dyscarnate is now appropriately signed on Unique Leader – a label specifically known for devastating technical death metal.

A third full-length album is coming in 2017 and we can't wait to hear it, but for now you can check out previous album “And So It Came To Pass" here:

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Sunday Old School: Avenger

It seems to be a common sentiment that since the Midlands, Birmingham in particular, produced many of Britain's best heavy metal bands, it must have also been the hotbed of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. While it did produce such excellent groups as Diamond Head and Cloven Hoof, the north east of England had perhaps just as many great names to their name, including such heavyweights as Venom, Raven and Tygers of Pan Tang. Speaking of both the Midlands and the north east, it was from the ashes of Leicester based band Blitzkrieg that another of Newcastle's heavy hitters emerged, who go by the name of Avenger.

Avenger was born when Brian Ross, Mick Moore and Gary Young, all former members of Blitzkrieg, decided to continue writing music together in 1982, along with guitarist Steve Bird. They would make their recording debut for the Neat Records compilation, "One Take No Dubs," for which they contributed the song, "Hot 'n' Heavy Express." This was to be their only recording with Bird, who quit shortly afterwards due to hearing problems. Nevertheless, the recording impressed the label enough to offer Avenger the opportunity to release their first single, which was released in October 1983 under the title, "Too Wild To Tame." More...

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Pit Stories: Mushrooms And Flaming Swords

For the first Pit Story of November and one of the last of the year, we've got a truly epic tale of the best of metal culture: getting stoned out of your mind and hitting up a proper festival.

This week guitarist Nate Jones from Florida stoner / sludge metal outfit Junior Bruce shares a tale of fiery terror from Cromfest 2010. Nate recalls the events like this:

February 2010, with very loose directions and gear loaded up, we embarked on a journey to an isolated area just outside of Cassadaga, FL to play a party called Cromfest. $5 all you can drink, bonfires, and metal celebrating fucking CROM? Seriously I can't make this shit up!

Darkness falling and people starting to show up, it was time to eat some shrooms! Moments later the bonfire was blazing and things were warming up fast. These guys even had the forethought to have shit laying around to throw on to the fire all night long - old sofas and other random junk furniture and flammable garbage. The people at the party were fucking nuts - there was a guy walking around with a python, people with legit sharp ass dangerous as fuck battle axes, fuck - even the guy carving the smoked pig was using a jacked up sword to cut the meat (you know the kind that you'd find at a flea market or outlet mall for "decorative purposes only").

There was another guy that fashioned a mace out of a steel chain and bowling ball, another guy had a giant hammer to smash things with, and someone built a flame thrower out of a propane tank and was torching the pigs head mounted on a steak. This shit was intense! Did I mention they smoked a pig? People were smashing shit, throwing shit on the fire, and getting fucked up. It was Ocala / Volusia county at its finest! Pure testosterone filled redneck destruction - all in the name of CROM!
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Sunday Old School: Rotten Sound

Throughout the history of the Sunday Old School series, our grindcore coverage has focused primarily on the scenes in the United Kingdom, save for looking at a few American bands such Brutal Truth and Anal Cunt. The genre spread worldwide, particularly across Europe and as usual, once the Scandinavians got hold of a new brand of metal, they made significant contributions of their own, one of which we'll be looking at today, who go by the name of Rotten Sound.

Rotten Sound were formed in 1993 in the city of Vaasa, located very close to the border of Sweden, by guitarist Mika Aalto. He was soon joined by vocalist Keijo Niinimaa, bass player Masa Kovero and drummer Ville Väisänen, who would leave the band following their first release, the single, "Sick Bastard" in 1994. He was replaced by Kai Hahto who took part in the recording of the subsequent EPs, "Psychotic Veterinarian" and "Loosin' Face," as well as split releases with Dischord and Control Mechanism. Finally in 1997, the band were able to release their first full length album, "Under Pressure" through Spanish record label, Repulse Records. More...

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Pit Stories: 1st Show Blues

Got something a little different for you metal fans for this week's Pit Story: Grant MacKenzie and Kenny Parry of the progressive rock/metal duo Jupiter Hollow discuss some experiences from live performances in a video clip rather than text.

From injuries in the pit to loads of problems during early shows, Jupiter Hollow covers a little bit of everything below.

Stay tuned for Jupiter Hollow's debut EP release, "Odyssey" being released by Milagro Records on January 13th, 2017 and acting as a prelude to upcoming album "AHDOMN."

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Sunday Old School: Tang Dynasty

Our quest for old school heavy metal throughout the world has taken to so many places and seen such a variation of music. From the anthems of Turkish heavy metal band Mezarkabul to the Satanic subjects of Behemoth and Vader from Poland, there's literally a whole world of metal music to explore. Only last week, the Sunday Old School column featured Kryptos, arguably India's premier metal band and this week will be quite similar, as we head back to Asia, this time to examine the group many have dubbed "China's first heavy metal band," Tang Dynasty.

Tang Dynasty were formed in 1988 in the Chinese capital city of Beijing by guitarist Kaiser Kuo, bassist Zhang Ju and vocalist Ding Wu, with the former being replaced the next year by Liu "Lao Wu" Yijun. The group began developing their craft and gained attention in 1991 when they released a version of the socialist anthem, "The Internationale" in their native language. The following year, they released their debut album, "A Dream Return to Tang Dynasty," which officially sold over 2 million copies throughout Asia, in addition to the numerous bootlegs circulated throughout the world. It earned some excellent feedback from rock and metal fans the world over, who complimented the musicianship displayed, as well as the clear inspiration of Chinese history and culture. More...

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Pit Stories: Steaming Crowd

The week has kicked off again and now that we're finally done with that abysmal Monday, it's time for another edition of Pit Stories straight from metal bands.

Last week we heard about an unruly fan getting what he deserved after repeatedly crashing into the band, but for this week's Pit Story we're moving away from unruly crowds to crowds getting set on fire by the performance... literally!

Rob Rom from Cincinnati, Ohio outfit Static Tension recalls one particularly cramped venue hosting a pyrotechnics-filled Rammstein show to some sweltering results. Rob tells the story like this:

On July 28th, 2001, some buddies and I had tickets to see the German metal band Rammstein at a club called Bogarts in Cincinnati. I was a big fan at the time and had huge expectations. I had seen pictures and heard stories of their pyrotechnics and had to witness it for myself. So we walked into the place and found it to be dark and rather quiet for a venue.... Turns out the opening band Crossbreed had some equipment difficulties and had to shut down after one song, but that's not what made this night so memorable.

Another band followed called Godhead, I myself wasn't very impressed, they weren't terrible, just not my cup of beer. So I waited through what felt like a 2 hour set for the flaming 6 piece to hit the stage. Keep in mind that Bogarts isn't exactly a big place to see a show, I've seen bigger school auditoriums. So the band finally hits the stage and within moments, there are already huge flames shooting out of the floor, they had to reach 15 ft at least! Not to mention flaming microphone stands, flame throwers attached to their faces, and random smaller pyro effects. Needless to say, the place was heating up, and my buddies and I moved to the back.

Halfway through the set, the members started dumping buckets of cold water onto the crowd, I swear I saw steam coming off of them! I was uncomfortably warm but still managing to stay cool enough in the back to finish the show. As the set neared its end, vocalist Til Lindemann came out in a large metal trench coat and was set completely on fire and finished the last song in what must have been the hottest coat in history. It was already miserably hot in that place and that poor guy had to finish the set in a flaming coat.

By the end of the evening, some of the crowd was drenched in cold water, my buddies and I, we were drenched in sweat, you could feel the heat coming off of the walls. It's no wonder they've never played there again. Had to of been a huge safety issue in such a small place. I've seen fights break out, I've seen people come out of pits completely bloody, I've seen people cut themselves on broken glass on the floor, and I'm sure you have all read enough about all of that, but never again have I seen a band who's act revolved around so much fire in my life!

Static Tension's new EP "Out Of Reach" is set to drop through Buried By Sky Records on January 6th, 2017. For more info on the band, head over to Facebook here. More...

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Unearthing The Prog Rock Underground

It's been awhile since we cut through all the noise and decided to highlight three unknown bands specifically worth your while in a crowded music scene, and this week we're getting back into the swing of things with a new edition of Unearthing The Metal Underground!

We're returning with another look at progressive bands that meld opposing sub-genres, utilize very old school sounds in new and unique ways, or utterly dominate on the instrumental front. Without further ado, we now introduce you to three prog metal bands you need to hear hailing from locations as diverse as Spain, Chile, and New York City.

Bauda

A Chilean band that has flown under the radar for far too long, Bauda's latest album "Sporelights" (reviewed here) came to my attention last summer from an unsolicited review request email, which is always a dicey proposition: you might get something awesome, or you might hear some basement recordings that never should have hit the digital airwaves.

Needless to say, "Sporelights" was an unexpected treat. I had no idea what to expect going in, being totally unfamiliar with the band, and I was blown away by the juxtaposition of sounds, flirting with the line between rock and metal.

There's some dark material that plays with shoegaze (but offers a lot wider breadth of sound than you'd usually hear there), along with incredibly emotional offerings that will be right on track for fans of Anathema, all while offering a very distinct sound that is uniquely Bauda.

The entire "Sporelights" album can be heard in the Bandcamp player, and you can follow the latest on Bauda by heading over to Facebook.

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Sunday Old School: Kryptos

Throughout the history of the Sunday Old School column, we've visited and explored more places than Dora (you thought you'd escape your child's favourite TV show on a metal website? No such luck.) We've looked at such South American bands as Korzus and Pentagram from Brazil and Chile respectively, as well as Eastern European bands as Aria (Russia) and Gordi (Serbia,) in addition to Asian groups as Crash from South Korea and Japan's Sigh, Loudness and Church Of Misery.

In between Eastern Europe and the far East however, we of course have other side of Asia, of which the most populated country is the fascinating land of India. Despite a strong religious presence in the country from Hindus, Sikhs and Catholics, the latter of which caused the Slayer album "Christ Illusion" to stop being sold in the country, heavy metal is alive and well there. They have a number of solid metal publications and more bands are performing there than ever, while the underground Indian metal scene continues to grow, with perhaps the most prominent name in the scene being today's featured band, Kryptos.

Kryptos were formed in 1998 in the city of Bangalore, the capital of the Karnataka state. The original lineup consisted of vocalist and bass player Ganesh Krishnaswamy, guitarist Nolan Lewis and drummer Ching Len. They took influence from some of the biggest names in classic heavy metal such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, as well as cult favourites like Mercyful Fate and Candlemass and took their moniker from the Latin word "Cruptus," meaning a burial site underneath a church. More...

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Pit Stories: What Goes Around Comes Around

The time for another Tuesday Pit Story has officially arrived! This week's tale comes courtesy of vocalist Michael Ursini from Canadian rock group Uforia. Ursini shares the following story about dealing with an overly drunk dude (affectionately named Mr. TotallyFucked) during a live set:

Uforia’s last show was at the Cock & Pheasant in Streetsville Mississauga, a pub we’re very familiar with and have played many times. This time there was an exceptionally rowdy Hip fan. Of course we’re playing on the night of the big Tragically Hip concert and this guy is on all sorts of drugs and alcohol. We knew we were in for some kind of adventure with this dude offering us all kinds of intoxication (we did not accept any).

Like most nights at C&P the turnout is pretty much just our fans, no new faces except for Mr. TotallyFucked and his caretakers. Half way through our first song this guy is running across the dance floor knocking people over and exposing himself while screaming at the top of his lungs. Man boobs and butt-crack all over the place. It was all fun until he got up close to me and started bumping into my microphone stand. Twice he bumped the mic into my teeth. It really fucking hurt but I kept my composure and continued the song. After the third time I leaned over during a vocal break and asked him to stop with a serious, now I’m getting pissed, face. He tells me to fuck off and laughs in my face.

At this point I’m in revenge mode but still keeping a smile and putting on a good show for the fans. This dude continued his shenanigans and was getting sloppier by the minute. I waited for the perfect moment, where ‘buddy’ was once again fucking with my mic stand, and just rammed the back of the boom stand into his face. He fell on the floor with his bare ass out and was too fucked to get up. Good thing his friends didn’t notice and just assumed he fell because he was wasted like all the other times. I didn’t hit him hard, just enough to knock him off his already unbalanced stature. His friends carried him out and that was the end of super fucked up guy. We laughed about it for the rest of the night and had a great show.

Uforia released the "Fight or Flight" EP back in July and will next perform live in the Toronto area on October 21st at Horseshoe Tavern and November 12th at Hard Luck Bar. Check out a video clip for the EP's title track below. More...

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Sunday Old School: Asphyx

The Netherlands has always had a soft spot for hard music. The country has played host to many metal festivals over the years, most notably the Eindhoven Metal Meeting, where many of metal's most beloved names have performed and several have recorded live albums. Their contribution to the music itself has also been quite noteworthy, especially in the death metal field. Today we'll be looking at another of their more notable bands, Overijssel's, Asphyx.

Asphyx was formed in 1987 by drummer Bob Bagchus and guitarist Tonny Brookhuis, who soon recruited a second guitar player named Eric Daniels and singing bassist Chuck Colli. This lineup lasted for two years but only recorded two demos, "Carnage Remains" and "Enter the Domain" before replacing Colli with Theo Loomans for the "Crush the Cenotaph" demo, which itself was the last recording before Brookhuis quit the group. Left as a trio, they recorded an album entitled, "Embrace the Death," though due to label problems, it remains unreleased to this day. More...

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