Each week we check in with bands from around the globe to get their most memorable Pit Stories. This week If These Trees Could Talk shared this tale of learning a valuable lesson about removing your earrings before entering the pit:
When I was young, I went to every metal festival known to mankind, regardless of who was playing. In my youth, I felt invincible, therefore every mosh pit was open season. In the summer of 2000, I attended the Tattoo the Earth Festival with Slipknot and Sevendust. In my naivete, I had a row of ear piercings down each side.
In the middle of Slipknot’s set, I decided to test my might and enter the pit. Slipknot pits are always rowdy, and I was fully aware of the danger that lurked within, but I didn’t give a fuck. I was ready to rage! Unbeknownst to me, a dude in the biggest combat boots I’d ever seen was crowd surging right above me. As I looked up, his boot came down and grinded every earring out of my adolescent ear at once. Extreme pain, blood and adrenaline all at once. This experience never turned me off from mosh pits, but it reminded me to take them out before going into one for the rest of my life.More...
Sometimes in the Sunday Old School column, we like to go back to the very early days of heavy metal, before the term was even in use. It’s interesting to find out about some of the bands who were first slapped with the “heavy metal” tag, who may not fit in with today’s definition of the genre, but certainly influenced it. This week, we’ll be looking at just such a band, one who’s approach to the hard rock of the time had more attitude than most and whose name is still dropped today as one of heavy metal’s earliest pioneers, Spooky Tooth. The group was formed as The V.I.P.’s in 1963 in the North Eastern English town of Carlisle and initially performed a rhythm and blues brand of rock before changing their name in 1967 to Art. Under this name, they released the album, “Supernatural Fairy Tales” before changing it again soon afterwards to Spooky Tooth.
Under this new moniker, the group soon recorded a new album, “It’s All About,” which hit the shelves in the summer of 1968. The record received some very positive reviews and contained a cover of the Bob Dylan song, “Too Much of Nothing,” as well as another noteworthy cover track in the form of opener, “Society’s Child,” a song by Janis Ian which commented upon the then controversial subject of interracial romance. This was one of only two albums to feature the original Spooky Tooth lineup, the sophomore effort coming a year later under the title, “Spooky Two,” which featured the song, “Better By You, Better Than Me,” which was of course later to be covered by fellow British rockers, Judas Priest and go on to be the subject of a highly controversial court case. Many critics now regard, “Spooky Two” as the band’s best work to date, citing a great sense of passion found throughout the record. More...
Happy New Year! This week we have videos that showcase shadows, bare feet and smart phone video recordings. No, seriously, 2015 is going to be fucking awesome! More...
Our never-ending quest for the best Pit Stories continues this week with a tale from Eau Claire, Wisconson-based doom band Caveat. Guitarist Brandon O'Connell shared this story of the slippery beer patch leading to some pit-side mayhem:
Well this story is quite ridiculous, mostly because it involves our old drummer’s dad. It was Caveat’s first hometown show, second show overall. We were playing with our friend, Ben Hinz’s (Dwarfcraft Devices) new band, Blood Bears. They were a mostly-instrumental juggernaut that created soundscapes that could blow doors off bomb shelters. We also played with a melodic death/doom band from Minneapolis called Mordwolf, later renamed Ulvmord due to some weird legal issues. Rounding out the bill were our best pals Good Guys Wear Wolf from Chetek, WI. It was an eclectic show to say the least so there were many types of people there. We were even more of a punk doom band back then. It made sense because two-thirds of Caveat (Palmer and B-Rad, bass and drums respectively) was also in crusty thrash band, Accusation.
Anyway, after our set and loading up our gear, we all grabbed some drinks with friends, family, etc., one of whom was Butch, Brad’s dad, who was already noticeably intoxicated. Once Mordwolf was done setting up and sound checking, their death/doom onslaught resulted in a mosh pit. Things went on without a hitch for quite a while but that didn’t last.
Things got a little heated when some falling-over-drunk guy went thrashing about with no intent but to apparently look like an idiot. He ended up slipping on some spilled beer and INTO Brad’s dad, who was right on the edge of the mosh pit area, totally oblivious to what was going on. Butch ended up stumbling a little bit due to the contact and slipped on the same beer causing him to fall face first onto the ground. The next thing anyone saw was Butch, obviously furious about something, yelling at some kid and trying to grab him. It turns out the fall broke off part of his tooth and he was bleeding out of his mouth. Butch had to be restrained and taken to the other side of the venue in order to calm down. A few vodkas later, he was just fine. That kid ended up getting his at the bottom of a bar stool. Whoops.More...
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week we take a look at some of the bands that took part in the recent DeLand Rock & Metal Festival from November 2014. Our report for the festival can be read at this location.
The DeLand Rock & Metal Festival – or “DRMF” as it is affectionately known by the festival's community – is one of the most diverse metal festivals in the United States. This past year there were days dedicated to death metal (or any style with a death style vocal, including old school death, deathcore, hardcore, melodic death and folk) and another day themed by power metal (or any power, traditional, hard rock act), the second of which is headlined by festival promoter Camden Cruz’s own…Seven Kingdoms. Immersed in an infectious sense of community and a plethora of local Florida acts (including the now defunct Massacre), there were also some out of town acts that really brought the “thunder” to the entire event.
Of three of those out of town acts, two of them had never once played a live show together. In fact, those two acts, Judicator and Project: Roenwolfe (both anchored by guitarist/songwriter Tucson, Arizona’s Tony Cordisco), had never met as a band ever until 45 minutes before they hit the stage back to back on the Friday night kick off show. More...
The band began life as Blitzkrieg (not to be confused with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal band of the same name) in Upplands Väsby, located in the Stockholm county, a brainchild of bass player Christofer Johnsson, guitarist Peter Hansson and drummer Oskar Forss and played a style of music similar in sound to Venom. The band lasted only two shows before a falling out with Forss forced the group to fold. The group did reform a few months later however, under the new moniker, Megatherion, taking its name from the classic Celtic Frost album. Johnsson put down the bass in favour of guitar and brought in Johan Hansson as the new bassist, along with drummer, Mika Tovalainenm though shortly after the band shortened their name to Therion, both new members took their leave, with original drummer Forss returning to the fold and Erik Gustafsson, best known as a member of Dismember coming in on bass.
With a name finally decided on and a lineup in place, Therion got to work on their first demo, "Paroxysmal Holocaust," which was released in 1989 and followed the same year by a second demo, "Beyond the Darkest Veils on Inner Wickedness." After a third demo, "Time Shall Tell," recorded the next year, they signed a deal with Deaf Records, through which they released their first full length album, "Of Darkness…" in 1991. It was hailed as one of the first progressive death metal albums, though it received mixed reviews upon release and the band saw it as the shedding of their early death metal skin. More...
There's a million and one stories from the mosh pit, and we're on a quest to find them all! This week Chris Milos from Mass Punishment shares a pit story about the band's roadie having a bit too much fun:
When we played The Skate & Surf Festival in New Jersey, our drunk-ass roadie was on stage with us during our set acting ridiculous. He was falling down and crawling all over the stage. He then decided it would be a great idea to stage dive not once, not twice, but 4 times! We thought that it was awesome when he was jumping over the security and barricade at that time, however the crew running the festival didn’t think it was as funny as we did, and wanted to have him escorted out of the venue which would've screwed us over when it was time to break down and pack up our gear.
After the set was over, our wasted roadie, so drained from his drunken antics, was nowhere to be found. So we broke down our own gear anyway. We had to haul it down the street ourselves to our van because he was nowhere to be found. When we got to the van and opened the side door, low and behold there's our roadie passed out on the floor of the van. Well I guess it's a good thing we don't pay him!
Mass Punishment released the "Proving Grounds, Vol.1" album earlier this year, and you can check out a track off the release below. For more info on Mass Punishment, head over to the band's Facebook profile here. More...
Whenever I meet people from outside Austria and we get to talk about Austrian metal bands it is a safe bet that people will come up with death metal veterans like Pungent Stench and Miasma - who both sadly enough are no longer active in their original line ups. Last not least of course the Austrian blackened death metal juggernaut Belphegor will always get a mention.
Today it's time to take a closer look at that country's secret Austrian metal underground capital, the city of Graz, for a threesome of Austria's best you probably never heard of but are sure worth listening to. Read on to discover three bands that all go in different directions while remaining inside the realm of melodic death and thrash metal: the modern melodic death metal outfit Disfigured Divinity, progressive melodic metal group Rest In Fear, and melodic death thrash band veterans Darkfall.
The melodic death metallers are offering songs rich in variety and composed of a well-made mix of catchy choruses and violent galopping mosh parts.
The band dropped their debut album "Zapotectron" in 2013, which can be bought at BigCartel, iTunes and Amazon-Mp3. Two clips for their songs "Mandatory Heirs" and "Insignificance In Space And Time" can be streamed below.
Though the Netherlands have given the world some excellent metal bands over the years such as Pestilence and God Dethroned, the country doesn’t receive as much attention as some others in Europe, such as their neighbours in Germany. However, it’s worth remembering that one of the most important names in the history of hard rock and heavy metal was literally born in the Netherlands in 1953 and 1955, where in the city of Nijmegen, the brothers Alex and Eddie were born, siblings who would go on to bring their surname into rock folklore. The name of Van Halen.
The brothers moved with their family to the United States in 1962 and started to learn instruments shortly afterwards, with Eddie learning drums and Alex learning guitar, though they switched after Eddie found out that Alex had been playing his drums while the younger brother was out on his paper route. They eventually formed a band which they Christened, Genesis, along with bassist Mark Stone and ultimately bringing in singer David Lee Roth, who the band had been hiring a P.A. from, who was hired to save money. Stone was soon replaced by Michael Anthony and another change came when the quartet found out about the British band named Genesis, so decided to rename themselves, Mammoth, though this name would also be dropped in favour of the now familiar, Van Halen. More...
The pit is where the action is, but sometimes metal heads take things a bit too far with all that energy pumping as front men scream about blood and murder.
There's a million and one Pit Stories out there, and we're on a quest to find them all! This week Charlie Goler from Canadian outfit Golers shares a tale of his introduction to live punk shows, which included a razor making its way into the pit...
One of the most fucked up things I saw happen in the pit was back around 1987 at the first punk rock show that I have ever seen in Halifax, Nova Scotia. SNFU, System Overload and False Security were playing at the Old Carpenter's Hall on Gottingen Street. At that time I was living in New Glasgow which wasn't that far from Halifax so I went up to see the show. I was blown away with the bands and SNFU was just killing it so as a result the pit was completely out of control.
Everyone was slamming and having an awesome time. Unknown to me, some idiot was slashing people in the pit with a razorblade while they were jumping around. After a few songs SNFU caught wind of what was going on because there were several people that were cut up and bleeding.
I remember Chi Pig was freaking out on the mike and screaming that "if anyone can identify this loser they should kick the shit out of him." Unfortunately , the razor blade was found on the floor and no one ever figured out who the asshole was.This was my introduction to punk rock shows.
With just under 20,000 bands in our database (and more being added every day) there are more metal bands on the planet than anyone ever would have imagined back when the scene was first getting started.
Unfortunately some of those bands end up falling through the cracks, and groups that deserve recognition get lost in the endless sea of heavy sounds. That's why we take the time to unearth stellar unknown bands and point out the ones you should be training your ears towards.
Today we look at three outfits separated by country and genre boundaries, but which are all lesser known metal groups you should be paying attention closer attention to: Fractured Spine, Hieroglyph, and My Last Suicide.
When it comes to the sub-genre of gloomy death/doom bands, you'd probably think first of groups like Swallow The Sun, October Tide, or Daylight Dies.
The unknown version of those genre stalwarts is Fractured Spine, a Finnish outfit that deserves to be among the aforementioned pantheon. With gothic and gloomy clean singing, dark death metal with symphonic leanings, and dreary doom, the band hits all the requisite sounds and does it without sounding like a carbon copy of the bigger names.
In addition to some early demos, the band has two full-length albums available, 2013's “Songs Of Slumber” (available for streaming in full below) and “Memoirs Of A Shattered Mind” released earlier this year. You can pick up Fractured Spine's albums over at Bandcamp here.
I don’t know if any of you have noticed it, but it’s that magical time of year when Michael Buble releases a new album, which can mean only one thing... IIIIIIIIT’S CHRIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAAAS!!! Whether you celebrate it or not, it’s a time meant for fun and games, and if ever there was a band in rock music that were all about a good time, it was one of the earliest stars of British hard rock, whose outlandish attire, booming vocals and deafening volume would go on to influence many of the biggest rock and metal bands for years to come and write one of the best modern Christmas songs of all time. A group still loved by generations in Great Britain, a group by the name of Slade.
Slade, like many of their heaviest compatriots, began life in the English Midlands, and was the result of two local bands, The Mavericks and The ‘N Betweens, the latter of which had been able to obtain high profile support slots for such bands as The Hollies and The Yardbirds. Within the ranks of the Mavericks was a guitarist and vocalist by the name of Noddy Holder that The ‘N Betweens desperately coveted. They unsuccessfully attempted to get Holder to switch sides on a ferry trip the two groups happened to be sharing, but were finally able to convince him to join during a conversation in Wolverhampton. More...
This week a video searching for a classic ride, smoke machine and of course, strippers; also, will the trend of lead singers wearing the “pilot” cap ever stop? More...
Facebook community And Justice For Art and Metal Underground keep exploring the world of look-alike album covers. This time we're focusing on three artworks that are inspired (or keep a reasonable resemblance) with well-known movie posters. Were the bands and visual artists aware of this at the moment of creating the artworks or is it just a coincidence? Let's find out what they have to say... There will be more of these in future "And Justice For Art" episodes. Stay alert!
MESHUGGAH Vs. "ALIEN"
The first one is the artwork for Meshuggah's "Alive." In 2010, the infamous Swedish genre-bending band, decided to pay homage on the cover of their live CD/DVD to one of the most revered SciFi/Horror movies in history.
Drummer Tomas Haake took inspiration from the now iconic poster for the first "Alien" film and designed a cover that visually and conceptually praises the virtues of the original image, which features the Alien egg opening upside down and the unforgettable tagline "In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream."
In Meshuggah's case, Hakke changed the egg for the head of vocalist, Jens Kidman, and added the phrase "In Space No One Can Hear You Unless You Scream." This gives the whole effort, an humorous punch which is enhanced by the positioning of the lettering—pretty much identical to the original poster.
No doubt, the overall effect is quite satisfactory, especially because it comes from a band whose intricate music sometimes seems to come from outer space! More...
For decades, heavy metal fans have pointed certain things and debated as to whether they are or aren’t, “metal.” Haircuts, elements of classical music, or indeed most other forms of music, these are a couple of the targets, but one of the first things to shock some fans of metal music was the use of keyboards. In his book, “Hell Bent for Leather,” author Seb Hunter mentions the time when he first heard British legends, UFO and recoiling when he realised they were using keyboards. Metal has certainly evolved since the days of UFO and keyboards have been used on many metal records, especially in the symphonic black metal genre, but one of the first bands to bring the instrument to extreme metal music was a group from Tampa, Florida named Nocturnus.
Nocturnus began life in 1987 after drummer/vocalist, Mike Browning and guitarist, Gino Marino’s previous band, Incbus folded. They recruited Agent Steel bass player, Richard Bateman and a second guitarist named Vincent Crowley, recording and releasing their first demo later that year. This self-titled demo would prove to be their only recording with Crowley, who left soon afterwards to form, Acheron and was replaced by Marino’s eighteen year old cousin, Mike Davis. Bateman would also soon leave the group to join Nasty Savage, whereupon Nocturnus hired a new bassist, Jeff Estes and most famously, a keyboard player named, Louis Panzer, whose inclusion helped to set them apart from the ever growing Florida death metal scene, as it was practically unheard of at the time to utilise keyboards in extreme metal. More...
As we approach the end of another year, it would seem that Sunday Old School's attempt to expose more metal veterans from across the world has been a success. From Aria in Russia to Moonspell in Portugal, from Channel Zero in Belgium to Mezarkabul in Turkey, we've seen some of the best the world has given the metal genre and heard some of the best music on offer. This week, we'll be continuing this trend by heading to Asia for the first and only time since 2011's column on Japan's, Loudness, to check out a contribution to thrash metal from South Korea, one which had the suitably high impact moniker of Crash.
The band was formed in 1991 by vocalist/bassist, Ahn Heung-Chan, guitar player, Yoon Doo-Byung and drummer, Jung Yong-Wook, in the country's capital city of Seoul and became one of the first groups in the nation to encourage stage diving and hardcore dancing. Their ferocious music and growing, rabid following soon caught the attention of Metal Force Records, a subsidiary of the SK Group, a giant corporation in Korea. More...
This week The Rockstar Ramblings return with new videos from Rated X, Nasty Habit, Spiders & Snakes, and Pink Velvet Krush. Not a bad band name in the bunch! More...
When it comes to naming some of music’s best bassists, who is it you think of? Bootsy Collins of Parliament-Funkadelic? Norman Watt-Roy of The Blockheads? The unsung legends such as James Jamerson? Personally, at least when it comes to metal, I believe it’s very hard to find a better bass player than Steve DiGiorgio, who first made his name with the thrash metal outfit Sadus.
Sadus was formed in Antioch, California in 1984 by DiGiorgio, vocalist Darren Travis, drummer Jon Allen and guitarist, Rob Moore, but was unable to record a demo tape until 1986, which came in the form of “D.T.P. (Death to Posers.)” Two tracks from the demo made their way to the Raging Death compilation album and with popularity steadily increasing, the group decided to self-finance a full length album, “Illusions,” with Metal Church guitarist John Marshall handling production duties.
The album found enough success underground to catch the attention of several record labels, with Roadrunner eventually being the company that snapped Sadus up. By 1990, the band had released second full length record, “Swallowed in Black,” which was able to break into the top fifty in Poland. Sadus expanded its profile further still by teaming up with Brazilian thrashers Sepultura and American death metal act Obituary for a tour of North America. The band followed this with the release of a third album, “A Vision of Misery,” in 1992. More...
It’s interesting to think that this week will see a new album from one of the biggest metal bands in the biggest country in the world, one which has a long lasting love of metal music too, yet many, many head bangers will not have heard of them. We all know that back in the days of the Soviet Union, many freedoms were restricted by the regime, but this didn’t stop heavy metal music from leaking in and influencing the Russian youth to create their own bands. One such group hailed from the capital city of Moscow and was spawned when two Muscovite metalheads named Vladimir Holstinin and Alik Granovsky decided to pursue their beloved music with a new project named, Aria.
They chose the moniker so that it would be short, sweet and easily translatable, a memorable name inspired by the brand of guitar which Holstinin owned. They finished writing enough music for a full length album and began the process of looking for a singer, which they eventually found in the guise of Valery Kipelov. Before the end of 1985, the band released their debut album, "Mania Velichia," which attracted the attention of many rock fans in Russia because it was very different from anything else on show in the country at the time. It was even able to produce a music video for the song, "America is Behind," something which was not common for rock bands to do at the time. More...
This past year we’ve looked at some of the old guard in a lot of places across the world. From Rotting Christ in Greece, to Belphegor in Austria to Pentagram Chile in… uh, Chile. Today Sunday Old School will once again be looking at a band from a place we haven’t examined yet, and another band called Pentagram to boot, though internationally they are not known by the same moniker as the Chilean and American groups, but rather by a word which in their home country of Turkey means "to accept the grave," a band known outside the former Ottoman Empire by the name of Mezarkabul. The group was formed in the city of Bursa in 1986 by drummer, Cenk Ünnü and guitarist, Hakan Utangaç, with bass player, Tarkan Gözübüyük joining their ranks the next year. Utangaç assumed the role of lead vocalist for the first few years, during which they performed live frequently, building up a fan base strong enough to get them signed to Nepa Muzik, through whom they released their self-titled debut full length.
Shortly after the record’s release, the group recruited a new vocalist named, Bartu Toptas, allowing Utangaç to concentrate more on his guitar playing, a pressure which was lessened when Pentagram brought in a second guitarist, Demir Demirkan in 1992. Toptas did not stay with the group for long however and his only recording with the group can be heard as part of the intro to the song, "Secret Missile," the opening track of their sophomore album, "Trail Blazer," on which vocals were performed by a singer named, Ogün Sanlisoy. The album was notable for the song, "Fly Forever," which was written about their guitarist, Ümit Yilbar, who was killed by terrorists in 1993 whilst performing national service. More...