Ready for another dive straight into the pit? Every Tuesday we check in with bands and fans from around the globe to get their most memorable stories from live shows!
Recently our Pit Stories have been all about bad fan behavior, from an overly aggressive mosher getting booted from the venue by the Melvins to an especially eager fan crawling on stage and interfering with a Empyrean Throne show.
We're shifting gears this week to a much more positive interaction: drawing in metal heads who have never heard your band before and become a fan based off a strong live performance.
Raj Krishna from prog group OmnisighT shared the tale below of gaining a new fan during a Vancouver set. Footage of the person in question is available after the jump, where you can literally watch him work his way through the crowd towards the stage as he gets more and more into the music.
One of our best sets was at the Rickshaw in Vancouver, BC during Wacken Metal Battle Canada finals. We're pretty intense live, we can bring in cold fans that have never heard or seen us before. We knew we had a good set that night, and some cool videos of it.
One night we were hanging out and watching some Omni on you tube when we saw a vid of "Plasticine," the last song that night, which went over really well. The video is pretty shitty quality. The point is, this guys never heard of us and just decides to record us on his tablet.
The vid is shaking, the musics too loud, but it captures the energy! You can see throughout the song, he gets closer and closer to the stage until he's right in the pit. He's chanting OmnisighT by the end of the song! I'm pretty sure we got a brand new Omni fan that night!
Omnisight's upcoming EP "Power of One" is slated to arrive on January 20th, which follows 2016 live album "Live At The Theatre." Check out the title track and pre-order your copy over at Bandcamp here. More...
Those of you who listened to the interview I conducted with Rotting Christ frontman, Sakis Tolis, will have discovered that in addition to being a die Queens Park Rangers fan, I'm a follower of the Greek football club, PAOK (which stands for Panthessalonikios Athlitikos Omilos Konstantinoupoliton, for any of you who insist on pronouncing full names.) While attempting to find a stream of their match against AEL Larissa today, I discovered that the game has been postponed as a result of heavy snow. It may seem strange to think that a hot and usually sunny country such as Greece can produce such weather, but it's not uncommon. Perhaps then it shouldn't come as a shock that the small but fascinating nation has also produced some very dark bands over the past few decades, including one of Gothic metal's early favourites, Nightfall.
Nightfall were formed in the Greek capital of Athens in 1991 by vocalist and bassist Efthimis Karadimas, joined in his endeavour by guitar players Christian Adamou and Mike Galiatsos, as well as a drummer simply known as Sotiris. This lineup recorded the group's first and only demo, "Vanity" that same year. The tape contained four songs with lyrics, as well as an instrumental, an intro and an outro and showcased a death/doom style, which had begun to be popularised by the likes of Anathema and Paradise Lost. While circulating in the metal underground, the demo found its way to France, where Holy Records took notice and offered the band a deal. More...
Following on from last week's tale of a fan being chastised by the performing band, today's entry in the ever-growing Pit Story catalog also features a band laying down the law on an unruly participant.
Today's story comes courtesy of Empyrean Throne vocalist Andrew Knudsen, and concerns respecting the band's space. Stage crawling/diving is all well and good - so long as the band is on board!
Andrew recalls the story of opening for Nile:
Our shows tend to get crazy and violent. People get wrecked in the pit area, glass gets broken if you’re not looking after your drink. Our fans are a wild bunch. We encourage rabid crowd participation. However, we take our performance very seriously. It is a ritual. There is a spiritual intent with our shows, and when we are on stage, it is treated as sacred ground.
We bring a lot of stage paraphernalia to each show. We have an altar with actual animal bones, war banners, tons of candles, a ritual dagger, blood, and tons of other trinkets aside from our gear. Because of this allotment we don’t invite fans on stage. Outside of performing, we spend a lot of our personal free time and money on constructing—as well as maintaining—these items. So when we perform we also demand that the audience respect the stage, its contents, and performers.
Last February, when we opened for Nile at the Grove of Anaheim, some young and quite hammered kid kept trying to force his way on stage and pull at various members’ boots and legs during our set. This guy was raging, he was the finest specimen of filth that evening. Totally cool until he climbed up on stage. I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish, he wasn’t there to stage dive or crowd surf, he was just there flailing around like a lunatic.
From what I recall, he tried to grab my incense censor and part of our altar before, literally grinding up on the leg of one of our members. At that point I grabbed him by the neck and threw him into the audience, who did not make an effort to catch him. They cheered instead. After the show the young lad came up to our merch booth and apologized for his tomfoolery, and proceeded to buy one of every item from our store. We thanked him for coming out and supporting us. It’s something we still laugh about today. I guess the moral here is this, support the band and get into the music, but also respect the stage and the performers on it because we will protect ourselves and our property at all costs.
Empyrean Throne's new album "Chaosborne" will be self-released this coming January 24th, 2017. Telling the story of a hapless Templar knight in medieval Europe and his subsequent decent into the realm of Chaos, the album offers eleven solemn hymns to unbecoming. More...
Heavy metal and punk have more or less always had an uneasy relationship. There's been taunts and violence from both sides, yet there's always been a level of mutual respect, perhaps moreso in recent years than when the two genres were at their commercial (some might say, cultural) zenith. Many metal bands have cited the likes of the Sex Pistols, Discharge and Bad Brains as an influence, while numerous bands from the punk and hardcore scenes such as Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I. and The Exploited have channeled the metal sound into their own to create crossover thrash and in later cases, grindcore. This week, we'll be taking a look at another legendary punk band who struck a chord with fans of both styles, Anti Cimex.
Anti Cimex were formed in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city in 1981 and initially consisted of vocalist, Nils "Nillen" Andersson, Joakim "Joker" Pettersson on guitar, drummer Charlie Claeson and bassist, Tomas "Freke" Jonsson, the last of which had also been a member of another notable Swedish punk band, Shitlickers. This lineup would only record one EP together in December of that year entitled, "Anarkist Attack," which wasn't released until 1982. Shortly afterwards, Nillen was sacked from the group and Frecke took over the position of vocalist, with the band bringing in Christian "Cutting" to handle bass, before he was replaced by a bassist known simply as Conrad. More...
Happy Tuesday metal heads! It's officially our first Pit Story of the new year!
We're kicking the 2017 edition of the column off with a tale of an overly-rowdy fan who managed to get himself ejected... by the band itself!
Charlie Dowzell from U.K. doom group Sail shared this tale about an unfortunate fan being called out mid-show by none other than the Melvins:
A couple of years ago we went to see the Melvins in the Exchange, Bristol. Fantastic venue and very small indeed - 200 folks tops, I think. The place went absolutely mental when they came on and the vibe stayed at an all-time high - they were loud as all hell and played banger after banger.
Near the end of their set they played 'The Bit' and the already pumped-up crowd somehow became even wilder, which was ace. This is where things fall apart a little. Somebody was clearly 'in the zone' as it were, and King Buzzo must have thought it too much - admittedly I think the guy was beginning to knock people down and maybe actually hurt them, I'm not overly sure.
Next thing I know, the band have stopped mid-song and this guy gets a royal bollocking from King Buzzo, who told him to 'chill out, fucker!' to a rapturous applause. Tail between his legs, this guy yells out 'I'm sorry!' to which Buzz tells him he doesn't care that he's sorry, and wants him gone.
Think they ejected him from the venue, and on went one of the most intense and fantastic shows of my life. That will always stay with me as something so powerfully surreal and very funny. 'Chill out, fucker!' indeed.
Sail's new album "Slumbersong" is being prepped for a March 10th, 2017 release via Hibernacula Records. Check out a track off the release below. More...
It's a whole new year metal fans, and as the first Monday in a wide open 2017 standing before us full of metallic possibilities, we've officially arrived at the year's inaugural edition of Unearthing The Metal Underground!
In week's past we've covered modern prog rock groups and much more extreme metal bands alike. Today we're going to cover three completely different sub-genres in our underground picks, from post-rock to black metal to melodic death.
A Province Of Thay
This unlikely group hailing from Seattle caught my attention strongly when we had the opportunity to premiere the "Atonement" EP in October of 2016.
The opening title track immediately grabbed me and had me spinning the release multiple times to experience more of this shoegazy post-rock just absolutely dripping with atmosphere and emotion but still very much on the metal side (check out our full review here).
I sort of love the genre description A Province Of Thay uses on Facebook: "gloomy doom, post rock, post metal, prog, nerds." That pretty well sums it up. Take a listen to "Atonement" below.
Happy new year one and all! While everything is pointing towards another year of events set to depress everyone, Metal Underground will be keeping it brutal too throughout 2017 and what better way to live up to that promise than by covering a band a group credited as one of the earliest and biggest influences on extreme music? It's fair to assume that many bands dream of becoming influential if not commercially successful when they start out, and to make a mark before releasing an album is one only a handful of groups have ever achieved, though some bands were able to do just that including Hellhammer, Siege and today's featured band, Repulsion.
Repulsion were formed in Flint, Michigan in 1984, originally using the name Ultra Violence, before changing it to Genocide and recorded their first demo, "Toxic Metal" the same year. Though they quickly made a name for themselves in their local scene, maintaining a stable lineup proved difficult and it seemed as though they were finished after one demo when core members Matt Olivo and Scott Carlson were invited by Chuck Schuldiner to join Death. The collaboration did not last long and so the duo returned to Flint, determined to pick up where they left off with Genocide, eventually recruiting drummer Dave "Grave" Hollingshead and recording a second demo, "Violent Death." More...
Rock and metal shows are known for their interesting characters, but its not just the die hard fans or musicians themselves who show up in interesting attire... sometimes its the journalists like us who cover the shows!
For this week's Pit Story we've got our own Amy Dyer sharing how she likes to hit up music festivals and live shows and make an impression wearing something just a bit out of the ordinary:
When I photograph gigs, I take a bag of marshmallows with me and throw them into the crowd during the wait between acts. I have now earned a reputation as Marshmallow Girl. I once went to a gig as a punter and someone recognized me as marshmallow girl and bought me a pint XD. More funny than interesting but it's still makes me laugh.
I've gained a similar reputation at festivals when I spend the entire weekend in a Lion onesie. Andy Copping (owner of Download) has no idea what my name is but does know I'm the photographer in a lion onesie XD.
Amy was kind enough to share a few photos of this lion outfit below... including one where she's meeting a very bemused Marilyn Manson!
What's the strangest thing you've seen someone wear to a festival, and what's your preferred show-going attire? Let us know in the comments section below!
The Netherlands has a long history of love for rock and metal music. The Eindhoven Open Air festival was once one of the main highlights of the calendar and the country also gave us one of the greatest driving anthems ever in the form of "Radar Love" by Golden Earring. They've also contributed to a wide range of metal, including death metal groups like Pestilence and God Dethroned, as well as symphonic metal outfit Within Temptation. Today we're taking a look at one of Holland's other cult names, The Gathering.
The Gathering were formed in North Brabant city of Oss in the south of the Netherlands in 1989 by Nijmegen born brothers Hans and René Rutten on drums and guitars respectively along with local vocalist Bart Smits, taking their name from the cult favourite movie, "Highlander." They soon completed their lineup with the additions of bassist Hugo Prinsen Geerligs, guitarist Jelmer Wiersma and Frank Boeijen on keyboards and started out performing doom metal, with some death metal influences, not unlike contemporaries such as Paradise Lost and Katatonia. This lineup recorded their first demo, "An Imaginary Symphony" in 1990 and followed it a year later with, "Moonlight Archer," which caught the attention of the metal underground and allowed them to open for such groups as Morbid Angel and Death, before being snapped up by Foundation 2000 Records. More...
Tuesday's Pit Story time has come around again!
Gather round for a new tale from the pit, this time from vocalist Chase Thibodeau of Vancouver thrash metal band Terrifier.
Chase recalls a particularly drunk 'n rowdy Canadian pit at the Cobalt, telling the story like this:
I remember the first time we came to Vancouver to play at this old classic dingy bar called the Cobalt. It was the main local venue for many years. It was located in a rough part of town so it was a good venue for metal. There we're fights breaking out in the pit constantly. When we first got up to play we had a few bottles and glasses fly on stage but we remained focused on delivering the goods.
I remember getting soaked in vodka and thinking man this crowd is wild. I looked down and saw this chick up front get hit so hard her glass flew out of her hand. The whole time I thought they we're throwing bottles at us until I realized they we're givener that hard lol I'll never forget that.
Terrifier recently signed to Test Your Metal Records and will be releasing second album "Weapons of Thrash Destruction" on January 20th, 2017. The nine-track mosher follows 2013 EP "Metal or Death" and 2012 full-length release "Destroyers of the Faith." More...
We've seen before in our Sunday Old School series of columns how grindcore, a sub-genre more or less agreed upon to have been started in England, a suitably grim setting for such a filthy style, has spread throughout the world since its genesis. While the scenes in the UK and the United States provided us with some of grindcore's biggest names such as Carcass and Brutal Truth, bands such as Cripple Bastards in Italy showed that the style wasn't just limited to English speaking nations and such is the case with today's featured band, Nasum.
Nasum were formed in 1992 in the city of Örebro by guitarist Anders Jakobson and drummer Rickard Alriksson, who also provided vocals, a rare thing but seen before by such bands as Autopsy. They were soon joined in their endeavour by Polish guitar player Mieszko Talarczyk, who joined in time to participate in recording the split release, "Who Shares the Guilt?/Blind World" with Agathocles through Poserslaughter Records. It was the first of a number of split releases, which saw the band share vinyl with the likes of Psycho, Autoritär and Abstain amongst many others, with EPs of their own finally surfacing in 1995 and 1997 unde thte titles, "Industrislaven" and "World In Turmoil" respectively. More...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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).More...
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...
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.More...
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...
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...