For this week's Pit Story, we're getting into the high octane energy of a pit during a killer live show with a too-small stage where the band and fans get unceremoniously smashed together.
Vocalist Pete Mercer from Medicine Hat, Alberta-based group Nuclear Oath tells the story like this:
I'm not really sure of the date but this was a local show and the first time we played at this pub, it was Olys ale house in Medicine Hat, i think it was our 2nd show, it was put on by a former band mate of mine, things originally didn’t end so well, so there was definitely some tension still in the atmosphere on both ends. We were ready to make an impression and show everybody that we were ready to destroy no matter what previous things had occurred.
So with that being said we was one of the opening acts and we were ready to fuck this place up and show everyone that we are here to drop bombs. The beers were flowing good and the energy was unstoppable. When we played TGTN, I called everybody to move in closer and get crazy with us, this was a small enough stage as is, so both guitars and bass were already playing on the floor, an i was doing my thing on the stage. Then the bomb dropped we all jumped on the floor, except for drummer obviously haha, sorry Brandon stay at your throne. Hair was flying everywhere, cables were getting tangled, but we still stayed on point.
It got so crazy that myself got jabbed with the base headstock, tangled with guitar player Zack (we always get tangled haha) and even the long hair caught on some tuning nobs, but again still keep the energy, kept getting in peoples faces and screaming and pushing them. With them also pushing back an grabbing the mic and screaming also, love that shit, beers spilt with tangled wires, oh an I even got knocked down and sang some of the chorus on the ground and helped back up just to get knocked around again, I love the energy this band gives off.
With that being said we had the most energy of the night and probably most beer spillage of the night, haha.
Nuclear Oath will release new album "Toxic Playground" this coming June 9th to follow debut EP "Ashes of the Unborn." Check out some teaser clips and info on upcoming live appearances at Facebook, and you can hear the "Razor Blade Regrets" single below. More...
For the second time in only a month, Sunday Old School presents itself in a sombre tone. Having lost Kittie bassist Trish Doan in February and paying tribute to her at the beginning of the month, this column pays its respects to another fallen metal musician, Gabriel Mafa, better known to the world as Negru, the drummer and co-founder of what is perhaps Romania's best known metal group, Negura Bunget, who tragically and suddenly passed away five days ago from a suspected heart attack at the age of 42.
The roots of Negura Bunget can be traced back to 1994 when Negru, along with Hupogrammos Disciple (real name Edmond Karban) on vocals, guitar and keyboards, founded the band Wiccan Rede in the major city of Timi?oara in west Romania. Under this moniker, the duo recorded and released one demo, "From Transilvanian Forests" in 1995, before changing their name to the now familiar Negura Bunget, which roughly translates to "dark foggy forest." Following this decision, the two musicians traveled to the Romanian capital city of Bucharest to record their debut album, "Zîrnindu-sa," which translates to "getting weak." More...
Hello again metal world - it's Tuesday and time for another heavy metal Pit Story!
This week's tale arrives courtesy of Canadian trio Absinthe From Society, with a story of on-stage tomfoolery that left the crowd confused and the front man plotting revenge.
Absinthe From Society's drummer Adam "The Caveman" Roberts had this to say:
I can remember one particular gig that I decided to mess around a little bit, have fun and make people laugh. It all started around 7:00 pm when we were loading in the music equipment for a full night of just Absinthe From Society (AFS) on stage at this venue. It was our first all night gig. Prior to this gig I hadn't written any of the songs or played any other instruments besides drums. Wow, was Ian (Saint Absinthe) Harper in for a surprise.
I immediately told the door lady, after being stamped on the back of my hand for the night, that I had written all the songs for AFS and that the band was mine. She laughed and smiled saying that she was interested in seeing us because she had heard good things about the band.
Two days before the gig we found out that we needed to supply ALL of our own sound gear as well as a sound man. Luckily I owned all my own sound gear and just by a hint of luck was able to find a sound man for the night (off to a good start). We setup our gear, did sound check and were all ready to go around 9:30.
Little did we know at the time what was to come. We had two newly strung guitars but we didn't have extra strings. Ian blew a string after the first song (off to a better start). Okay, we got this. Halfway through the first set Lexi Graham and I switched our instruments so
that she was playing drums and I was playing bass guitar. Ian had no idea we where practicing this on the side and had planned on doing this the whole time. Ohhh the freedom! To be in front! I thought, how could I piss off the lead man in a way that he can't get back at me?
The first thing I did as I started the song was to take the bass, and hit the mic stand so then the mic hit Ian on his lips. I laughed and proceeded to scurry into the crowd because I was wireless and I knew Ian wasn't. Lexi saw what had happened the whole time and was laughing her ass off. We finished the remaining sets with one guitar, there was no feedback because the sound man was awesome and at the end of our last set, I had the whole bar convinced that it was my band and got crazy recognition for playing bass guitar on stage. What a ride!
Oh and the first gig we did as a band, the venue cut us one song short at the end of our forty-five minute set because....WE WERE TOO METAL... That's another story...
Comprised of founder Ian "Saint Absinthe" Harper and Adam "The Caveman" Roberts (drums & percussion), along with Lexi "Shitkicker 9000" Graham (bass & vocals), the trio released latest EP "The Angels Ignored Us" last month. Listen in below or pick up your copy at Bandcamp here. More...
No need to check again, we're not featuring Grave in Sunday Old School for the second week in a row. Instead, the column is taking a trip over to Germany and the power metal genre and examining one of the country's most revered groups in their field, Grave Digger (though this would surely be a great name for fans of Grave.) Power metal is something of a cult genre in the United States and the United Kingdom, but in mainland Europe, particularly in Germany and Sweden, it has a much larger following, thanks in part to some of power metal's most revered bands such as Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian hailing from these countries respectively. Grave Digger may not have quite reached the same heights as these bands, but over three decades, they have established themselves as one of the style's most respected groups.
Grave Digger was formed in the city of Gladbeck in 1980 by the trio of singing bassist, Chris Boltendahl, guitar player Peter Masson and drummer Lutz Schmelzer. Schmelzer was quickly replaced by Philip Seibel and the three piece recorded their first demo in 1982. Following the recording, Boltendahl decided to concentrate more on the vocal aspect and so the band became a quartet by bringing in bass player Willi Lackman, while Seibel was also replaced by Albert Eckardt. This new incarnation recorded another demo entitled, "Born Again," which started to garner attention from labels, particularly Noise, who featured the group on their "Rock From Hell - German Metal Attack" compilation alongside such bands as Running Wild. More...
Happy Tuesday metal fans! Ready for another bout of Pit Stories?
Most of our tales involve out of control pits, drunk fans, and unexpected violence, but sometimes the pit is less a bloody place and more a gathering for silly fun.
That's the sort of tale we've got this week from Marc Bourgon of Cancelled / Greber / Fuck the Facts, who shares these stories of several memorable gigs:
Years ago, while I was playing in a now defunct band called tugnut, we would regularly play the sleepy industrial border town of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. There must have been something in the water of the St. Clair river that seeped its way into the veins of the average Sarnian underground metal concert-goer because every show was perpetually more crazy than the last. Not in a “wall of death” or “crowd punishing” manner but something far sillier.
Early on in my years with tugnut we befriended a band by the name of Sarnia. We knew this band was a true titan of soul when they let loose the infectiously anthemic song entitled: “Sarnia.” The song's lone lyric was the word "Sarnia" and the pre-chorus included it being spelled one letter at a time in a gang vocal. They were the ones who put Sarnia (the city) on the map for us and soon invited us to come play there.
The first show we did was at the Eagles hall if I remember correctly. It all started like any other show but once in full swing the show was like a miniaturized version of Obscene Extreme. Costumes. Toy weapons. Acrobatics. Not to mention that when any riff slower than 85bpm was played by any band, someone would yell out: “BIIIIIG STEP!!” and everyone would just start taking giant steps to the music. It was off the fucking chart.
Anyhoo, the show that comes to mind for me was Sarnia (the band)’s CD release. Prior to them playing was all the insanity that we had come to love and expect from a show there but it wasn’t until they took the stage (floor) that it got completely out of hand. A contractor grade garbage bag full of Dollarama weaponry was dumped into the middle of the pit, everyone eyed up their choice of arms and poised themselves for battle. Sarnia started and chaos erupted. Everyone was fighting everyone else and whoever was left was moshing. At one point a shopping cart that had been turned into a tank plowed into the pit and started attacking anyone who dare step into it’s path. Their set ended with a 13 musician rendition of Sarnia (the song).
Now I realize this all seems juvenile and silly but it was one of the rare times in life that everyone was on the same page with each other and having a great time at a show. Can’t figure out why this is what came to mind when I read “Pit Stories” but it did. Thanks for reading.
Epilogue: There was a dude who called himself Shmagnet who became a good friend over the years. I recall some generic metalcore band bombing and him forcefully grabbing the mic from the singer and doing some slam-poetry. That uninvited yet crucial move ended up getting the whole crowd chuffed into a frenzy and saving the rest of the band from their already half-over set. By the looks of it the band was into it as well. The singer, not so much. That dude was a fucking hero.
Bolt Thrower’s name does not refer to the Greek god of thunder, Zeus. It is in fact a large crossbow, a medieval batiste. It is the perfect moniker for a band who writes exclusively on the topic of war, or at least most of the time they’re writing on that sordid topic. War is something grand, whether you support it or not, it changes the fabric of our society.
A bolt thrower could change the fabric of society, too, ripping and impaling ranks of soldiers. How do you defend against the bolt thrower? How do you defend against the band Bolt Thrower? You can’t, their music will pound you, ground you, and light you on fire. It is melodic guitars. It has groove. The vocals are growly, but you can understand every word Karl Willetts speaks of, every bloody-muddy scene. Sometimes it’s pure fast hardcore, but it’s always on the topic of martial ways—battles won, battles lost, lives lost, lives survived, loss, pain, grief.
Karl knows grief all too well when his band mate Martin "Kiddie" Kearns passed and decided to pursue his loss combined with Benediction regulars, Frank Healy and Scott Fairfax and former Bolt Thrower drummer Andrew Whale joined the group as a way to fuel their bereavement into the ultimate English death record, Memoriam, which will come out on the 24th of March, 2017.
This interview, however, isn’t about Memoriam. There is a great video of Memoriam posted below, but this interview focuses exclusively on Karl Willett’s influences on how he shapes Bolt Thrower. Sit back and read the following interview concerning BOLT THROWER and don’t let the tunnel rats pongee your ankles.
Sweden is a country that often gets brought up in metal circles. The Scandinavian nation in between Norway and Finland has become known as one of the more liberal countries in the world, with a highly developed welfare state, one of the highest life expectancy and satisfaction rates in the world, a long list of famous names such as scientist Alfred Nobel, writer August Strindberg and one of cinema's most revered directors, Ingmar Bergman, as well as, quite frankly, one of the sexiest accents in Europe. So why then, with so much going for it, has the country developed such a talent for extreme music, death metal in particular? We may never know, but we can be grateful that they do, otherwise we wouldn't have such classic groups as today's featured outfit, Grave.
Grave as we know them, began life in 1986 under the name Corpse, in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland. They recorded one demo, "Black Dawn" the same year before changing their moniker to the now familiar, Grave in 1988, in time for the release of their second demo, "Sick Disgust Eternal." They released a string of demos while building up a live reputation, which eventually caught the attention of German label Century Media, who signed the band in 1991 and included them on a compilation featuring some of the most exciting young bands of the time, including Asphyx and fellow Swedes, Unleashed and Tiamat. More...
Is it March already? Here we are with our 10th Pit Story of the year kicking off the start of the month!
This week we've got U.S. prog metal band Vangough on board for a tale of touring bands messing with each other on stage.
Clay Withrow recalls the following story of being unceremoniously crowned while still performing during the set:
While we were on our North American tour in support of Pain of Salvation in 2014, there was one particularly unique occurrence that I’m sure very few bands or even fans have experienced. Our very last show on the tour was booked in a performance arts theater, which was kind of different but also very cool. The stage was extremely deep to account for set changes and such, so it was by far the biggest stage we had played so far.
Anyways, as we’re tearing into the final chorus of our song “Separation,” I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder and something being placed on my head. The guys from Pain of Salvation were trying to seat me in a king’s throne, while also placing a crown on my head. What made the whole exercise even more difficult was the fact that my explorer-style guitar just wasn’t playing nice with the chair they were trying to squeeze me into, so I’m sure witnessing this event was pretty awkward but also hilarious.
So thank you Daniel Gildenlow and Gustaf Hielm for a very memorable end to our already memorable tour! I’m so glad that wasn’t the night we had to record for our Kickstarter live CD. Though I did get them back when I dressed up in a pink rabbit suit and hopped out on stage during one of their songs.
Vangough's upcoming new album "Warpaint" is due out this coming March 17th, 2017 (read our full review here). Check out advance song "Morphine" in the player below.
Spending over a year in production, this album represents the delicate inculcation of restraint, self-doubt and introspection that was afforded as a result of recent touring efforts. More...
As has been said several times throughout the history of this column, the saddest reason to feature a band is following a death in the family as it were. Following the tragic passing of bass player Trish Doan on February 11th, it seems appropriate that Sunday Old School takes the time to look at one of North America's most famous all female metal bands, with whom Doan made her name, Kittie.
Kittie began life in 1996 in London, Ontario when drummer Mercedes Lander and guitarist Fallon Bowman met in school and began jamming together. They were quickly joined by Morgan Lander, the sister of Mercedes on lead vocals and guitar and after a search, recruited bass player Tanya Candler. With a full lineup, the quartet began recording demos and performing live in 1998, with a record deal arriving the next year after the band asked NG Records executive Jake Weiner. Though they signed with NG, they were switched to Artemis Records following a takeover. More...
This week we're coming back solidly to the pit itself for a tale of having a few too many and not realizing you'd just met an admired musician - and then taking a headbutt to the gut.
Today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Shelby Tanaka, lead vocalist for the Vancouver-based band This Gun for Hire, who recalls the tale like this:
Now I don't remember most of the minor details to the story, because I was severely white girl wasted, but here it goes. The show, Texas In July. The venue, El Corazon in Seattle WA. I was there hours earlier before lines had even formed outside so I could grab a few drinks at the bar next door to get super toasty for the show.
In the bar I met a married couple there for one of the local bands playing. We bought each other drinks and talked music for a bit. A little later, Alex Good walks in and orders a beer next to us. Now, at the time, I didn't really know what Texas's lead singer looked like, so already slightly tipsy I said something to him that brought him into the conversation. 2 double whiskeys and 5 buds later, the first band was starting up so we all said "nice to meet you, goodbye."
Later in the night it was finally TIJ's time to play. I had been in the pit throwing down for every band and was well passed a sober state of mind. Lights go down, sound turns up, and who else do I see on stage other than Alex Good exhaling viciously with a low growl. I go nuts, pulling everyone's shoulder around me yelling "I had beers with him!" Their first song drops and the pit spins out of control. I work my way to the middle, only to suddenly get head-butted in the stomach by the wife of the couple I met in the bar. She looks up, sees me, grabs me on each side of the head and screams in my face "METAL!" That's one of my favorite pit memories. Be sure to check out our new album that comes out on March 31st 2017 everywhere.
This Gun For Hire's impending album "Something A Little More Sinister" is only a month away - check out two tracks from the release below. More...
Sadly, we've come to the closing chapter of this year's Black Metal History Month. Over the past weeks we've examined the influential Czech band Master's Hammer, Canada's most beloved black metal outfit Blasphemy and the understated but important presence of Norway's, Thorns and this week, we'll be rounding things up by taking a look at a supergroup from Greece whose members all have a background in extreme music, several of whom achieved success in their own right. And so we close Black Metal History Month's sixth installment with a feature on Thou Art Lord.
Thou Art Lord began life in the Greek capital of Athens in 1993, the brainchild of Rotting Christ frontman Sakis Tolis and George Zacharopoulos, AKA The Magus of Necromantia (and part time keyboardist for Rotting Christ) on guitars and bass respectively, being joined in their endeavour by Mortify vocalist Gothmog (John Hiotellis.) The trio recorded a demo "The Cult of the Horned One" before releasing their first EP, "Diabolou Archaes Legeones," both in 1993, the same year that they also released a split 7" vinyl with Belgian black metal group, Ancient Rites. More...
There's a million and one Pit Stories in the metal world and we're on a quest to catalog them all!
After we premiered new track "Genesis 11:1-9" last month, Belgian symphonic black metal crew Saille checked in with us again for a tale of a show almost gone terribly wrong.
If all the equipment and crew manage to arrive in one piece, nobody has burned the place down, and drunk fans don't climb on stage and wreck everything, there's still always mother nature to contend with, as Saille discovered while playing the Summer Breeze fest. Guitarist Reinier Schenk recalls the story like this:
We arrived at the Summer Breeze festival in Dinkelsbühl (Germany) with plenty of time before our gig. We were lucky and got 1 hour for setting up our gear. About 15 minutes before we could get started all hell broke loose. It was already dark at that time, so we didn't see anything happening, but it got extremely windy and it started to rain.
The stage manager came to us running, with panic in his face. He was yelling to us: "Leave all your stuff here and get into that bus NOW!!!" We were looking at each other, wondering wtf is his problem? Everybody in the backstage was acting weird, running, shouting to each other, like a scene from a movie. Then others started to shout the same, so we all went into a bus and the driver started the engine and drove away as fast as possible and took us somewhere else.
Still not knowing what was happening he told us they would have to cancel our show, because a huge storm was heading to the festival site and it was too dangerous to play. We were all disappointed of course, but all of a sudden the driver got a phone call telling him the storm would not hit the festival. He drove us back to the stage (which was very wet from the heavy rain) and there we were... we had 15 minutes before showtime and we had to hurry as hell. No mercy!
Saille will release new concept album "Gnosis" this coming March 17th, 2017 via Code666 Records. Check out a track from the release below. More...
If there's one place that springs to mind when one thinks of black metal, it's Norway. The Scandinavian country may not have invented the genre, but they certainly shaped it into what we know today. Many of the most famous names in black metal were formed in Norway, including Immortal, Darkthrone and Dimmu Borgir, but there were also plenty of cult (or should that be kvlt?) favourites, including today's featured band, Thorns.
The roots of Thorns dates back to 1989 in the city of Trondheim, when guitarist Snorre W. Ruch and vocalist/bassist Marius Vold formed the band, Stigma Diabolicum, with whom they recorded one demo, "Luna De Nocturnus," as well as releasing a rehearsal tape and a live recording, "Live in Stjørdal." They soon added to their ranks, bringing in a bassist named Harald Eilertsen, allowing Vold to concentrate on vocals, as well as drummer Bård G. Eithun, better known to black metal fans as "Faust," who would later join Emperor. The quartet changed their moniker to Thorns around 1991 when the use of Latin was becoming more prominent in black metal. More...
Happy Valentine's Day metal heads! Our Pit Story this week may not have much to do with love, but it does feature dirty mattresses where very unpleasant things no doubt went down, so that's close enough, right?
Many of our tales from the pit are all about what's going on during the show, but as any touring musician will attest, there's a lot going of craziness on behind the scenes, especially with bands trying to find a place to hang their hats for the evening before hitting the next town.
This week we've got a tale from the Thera Roya crew about some less-than-pleasant accommodations in Nashville:
I'll never forget when we played in Nashville, TN on our first tour. We thought it would be warm in the winter in New Orleans so we headed south (we're idiots lol). We ended up in a blizzard in Nashville and payed this stellar show at a place called the owl farm. Unfortunately it's not around anymore. This was nearing the mid to end of the tour and all of us were fried at this point mentally. I think Ryan was even catatonic at one point hahaha.
We needed a place to crash that was warm and this guy from one of the other bands had a punk house called the Himan house. We all crammed into this disgusting room with puke stains on the rug and dirty mattresses everywhere. Some of us ran out to get some fried chicken. When we got back and feasted on gas station chicken we noticed these pictures and notes on a wall together and a name that said "Gloria."
One of the members of the house was a repo guy and when he was emptying a house he found a trunk full of pictures and diaries from this girl Gloria who had passed away and he decided to make a shrine at the Himan house. I'll never forget sleeping in Nashville with Gloria's shrine in front of me.
Black Metal History Month is up and running once again, covering some of the darkest and most brutal bands to ever lace up a pair of boots. It's a genre often associated with the freezing cold, in part due to the barren tone and unforgiving nature of the music, but also due to many of the genre's most famous (or rather infamous) bands such as Mayhem, Emperor and Burzum originating in Norway, while other bands like Dissection and Impaled Nazarene also hail from cold countries such as Sweden and Finland respectively. Today we'll be looking at another group from one of the world's chillier nations, though this time on the other side of the Atlantic, as Sunday Old School travels to Canada to take a look at what is perhaps North America's best black metal band, Blasphemy.
Blasphemy were formed in 1984 in Vancouver, British Columbia by childhood friends Sean Stone and Gerry Buhl, adopting the respective monikers of 3 Black Hearts of Damnation and Impurity and Nocturnal Grave Desecrator and Black Winds. They were joined in their pursuit by guitarist Geoff Drakes, AKA Caller of the Storms, before adding a second guitar player the following year in the guise of Blake Cromwell, who took on the name Black Priest of the 7 Satanic Blood Rituals. The group started out covering songs by the likes of Sodom, Slayer and Bathory and immediately made a name for themselves when they began performing live, as according to Black Hearts, the show caused a riot in the streets, a factor in the group being blacklisted from Vancouver along with too many fights breaking out at shows. More...
It's Pit Story day once again metal fans!
Today we've got a completely bonkers, off-the-wall story where every element of a show - from arrival and loadout all the way to what happened after getting home the next day - were so insane as to be a surreal, dreamlike experience.
This week's tale comes courtesy of guitarist Jordan Smith of Indianapolis, Indiana-based band Drude. Want more info on Drude? Head over to the band's Facebook profile here. Jordan tells the crazy pit story like this:
When I was asked to share a crazy pit story, narrowing it down became quite the challenge. Which really classifies as the craziest thing I've ever seen? Nude crowd surfing? Shooting up in the audience? Dude with a billiard ball in a bandanna blindly swinging it around at head level? Seeing as nude crowd surfing is awesome and junkies and reckless assholes will be served no honorable mention from me, I am going to with the Cleveland story. More of a crazy show story. Names and locations have been omitted intentionally.
The band I was in at the time pulled up to the building around 5 o'clock and we were met with all the hospitality you'd expect as a touring band. We were shown the place and got unloading. After getting our van stuck in the mud, we managed to make it inside and got setting up.
The time came for us to play and we noticed that people started bringing random trash into the building. I didn't wonder about it much, but by the next time I looked up, there was a dude 6 feet in the air crashing down on it. One by one, people were launching off of one another trying to absolutely obliterate this door. Once that had been destroyed, they brought in a wooden bench and starting completely fucking that thing up. Scraps of wood were flying all throughout the room. Mind you, we had fog machines and lights going, so this scene was just a completely intense sensory experience. Next were a few plastic lawn chairs falling victim to cinder blocks being thrown at them and exploding everywhere. Then I smelled burning. Somebody had lit a trash can on fire in the building.
I couldn't believe what was happening. It was amazing. After the havoc, we cleared the stage and began loading into the van. As soon as we got our gear out into the yard the skies broke into a torrential downpour, completely soaking all of our gear. After dealing with that the best we could, we went back in. As it turned out, the last band had left and decided that they weren't going to play. During our set there was a guy sitting on the couch in the back and our bass player had teasingly said something to the effect of "Come on get up, this isn't a coffee shop" and that so greatly offended the guy that he and his whole band left.
About an hour later a lady, who we had assumed was homeless judging by her clothing and demeanor, came in and started grabbing the mic from the final band and rapping into it. Saying all kinds of shit barely discernible through her badly slurred speech. After 10 or 15 minutes it had reached that "Ok, we get it" phase. Curiously, I asked one of the guys if this was a normal thing and why they didn't ask her to leave since she was clearly disrupting the show. The guy told me that there were some serious no bullshit crack dealers living across the street and that was their sister. The last time they kicked her out for coming in there and being a drunken mess, they were met with very convincing threats from their neighbors. So they just sort of had to let her do her thing and play along no matter how annoying or obnoxious she was being. She was harmless and sort of endearing.
Later that night, we were put up and fed by the promoter and the evening had seemed like a passing dream. The next day, we looked at the Facebook event page and it was blown up by some Neo-Nazi dudes just hammering away at how awful we were and making some really shitty comments about homosexuals and people with disabilities. It feels necessary to mention that he was in no way affiliated with the venue or promoters and they tried their best to have our backs. The whole thing was a complete Bizarro World mindfuck. I lost my favorite Sleep hoodie, but I gained a ridiculous story that I've probably told a hundred times since.
Three-piece metal outfit Drude (formerly known as Burn The Army) will release a new self-titled EP on March 3rd, 2017. Check out the title track below. More...
It's back! February means only one thing for Metalunderground.com, a month of darkness and controversy, with a few history lessons thrown in and some of the most extreme music ever recorded; Black Metal History Month! Throughout February, we'll be featuring black metal bands past and present in various columns and Sunday Old School will be taking a look at four bands from the genre, each from a different country. Speaking of countries, today will be the first time the column features a group from the Czech Republic and one cited as a big part in the development of black metal as we know it; Master's Hammer.
Master's Hammer was formed in the Czechoslovakian capital of Prague in 1987 (the Czech Republic and Slovakia would not go their separate ways until 1992,) by vocalist and multi instrumentalist, František "Franta" Štorm, along with bass player Milan Fibiger and drummer Ferenc Feco. The trio recorded their first demo, "The Ritual Murder," that same year before bringing in a second guitarist named Míla Krovina and recording another demo, "Finished," in 1988. They continued to self-release their own material, including a live album in 1989, entitled imaginatively enough, "Live in Zbraslav 18.5.1989." More...
After that crazy tale of a chainsaw clear out last week we're back again for more heavy metal pit mayhem!
A familiar theme arises this week in the form of a cautionary tale. We've heard plenty of times in the past about you should always respect the stage and do your best not to piss off the band, but it's not a lesson that always seems to sink in for all metal fans.
This week vocalist / keyboardist Joseph Michael of Witherfall shares a tale of a New York state show where a crowd had to go all mob justice on one unruly asshole who wanted to ruin it for everybody.
Joseph recalls the events like this:
I was at a show in upstate NY a while back at a place called Albies. The place was known for being a cool place to catch local and touring metal bands. A band called the Blob Mob was on stage tearing up some classic metal and the pit was happening on the floor. All of a sudden a drunk psycho steps up on stage and smacks the “Blob” in the head with a beer bottle, sending shards of broken glass, blood and shitty beer all over the stage...
The “Blob” was a well known and loved local singer who also happened to be at least 350 pounds and was not happy. Members of the audience grabbed the unlucky assailant and carried him outside and beat the living shit out of him until the police arrived. I made my way out the back door and hid until the cops left, as I was not of legal age. After all the chaos died down and the blood and beer was mopped up the band went back on stage and killed it. Great night.
California group Witherfall is set to release new album "Nocturnes And Requiems" on February 10th, which is dedicated to the life of Adam Sagan who passed on December 7th, 2016 during the final stages of production. Check out a track below, and you can follow the latest on Witherfall via Facebook here. More...
The ascendancy of Nergal's new dark blues / country project Me And That Man got me thinking about all the utterly unexpected sounds that have come through my speakers in the years I've been writing here.
For every thrash rehash, modern metal copy and paste job, or a slew of utterly identical melodic post-hardcore emo bands, there's always some outfit hanging out just below the surface that no one has ever heard of - but is putting out awe-inspiring sounds.
Today we're going to focus on those groups that go way off the beaten path, offering a very different take on various sub-genres than what you'll hear from the average metal band. You aren't going to read about them on Rolling Stone, but these are the innovators pushing boundaries that deserve to thrive in the metal underground.
Zeal And Ardor
This one-man project creates something that is so incredibly obvious in hindsight but has barely been scratched by the scene as a whole: a collision of old African American spirituals with extreme metal. Reading that description for the first time, it seems like those two forces wouldn't be compatible, but just think about the connotations for a second.
Why did black metal arise in the Scandinavian scene in the first place, and why are the early days of the style so closely associated with church burnings? American slaves persecuted by Christianity have more in common with the pagans of European lore than you might think.
Imagine if those same slaves had access to guitars and decided to take their music in a more extreme direction. I'll let the project's Bandcamp description explain the rest:
Imagine this: Django sacrifices a goat on stage while intimidating slave chants roar and screeching guitar riffs burn in the background. Then the rhythmic chain rattling evoking a satanic summoning makes way for the eerily familiar melodies of Norwegian black metal.
Intrigued? While the album as a whole does have some down points and a lack of focus (a full review is coming), the tracks that stick to this collision of ideas are top-notch. Zeal & Ardor's "Devil Is Fine" is due to officially drop February 24th, 2017.
Oh Sweden, sometimes you are too good to us. The Scandinavian country has long been one of rock and metal's biggest exporters, giving the world such great punk bands as Anti Cimex and Disfear, as well arguably the most creative death metal in history with the likes of the melodic In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, as well as the brutal, Unleashed and the progressive, Opeth. Speaking of progressive death metal, that's another area we'll be exploring today, as we take a look at another of Sweden's more daring extreme bands, Edge Of Sanity.
Edge Of Sanity were formed in Finspång, a small town in the Östergötland county in 1989 by Dan Swanö, a multi instrumentalist who recruited guitarists Andreas Axelsson and Sami Nerberg, in addition to bass player Anders Lindberg and drummer Benny Larsson to complete the lineup. The quintet recorded their first demo, "Euthanasia" that same year, before releasing three more ("Kur-Nu-Gi-A," "The Dead" and "The Immortal Rehearsals") in 1990. These demos along with a growing live reputation were enough to catch the attention of Black Mark Records, who soon snapped up the band and released their debut album, "Nothing But Death Remains" in 1991. More...