"some music was meant to stay underground..."

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DIY Update: Google Music Open To Bands

Google’s masterplan to compete with everyone is becoming more apparent with its latest releases. Having just opened up Google+ pages, which is equivalent to Facebook pages, the search giant has now taken the beta tag off of Google Music and opened its doors to bands to sell their music on the Android Marketplace, which will compete with iTunes.

Google Music first opened in a beta testing phase to test their cloud storage and streaming service. The cloud will be the backbone for the music store, acting like a digital locker where all music purchases are saved. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Talk Dirty To Me

Over the past few weeks the band Kid Rocker has filed lawsuit against the band Poison for allegedly stealing songs originally written by Kid Rocker (band was broke up and presented the songs to C.C. as members of the band Screamin’ Mimis). Video (at the bottom) has surfaced, showing the bands riff for what would later become an alleged Poison hit. My opinion: given this alleged theft occurred over 20 years ago I find the timing suspicious. No word yet as to why wait until now to bring the lawsuit. The songs include “Talk Dirty to Me”, “Fallen Angel”, and “I Won’t Forget You.” What a perfect time to celebrate the video for “Talk Dirty to Me”; a made for MTV spectacle that started it all for the glam conglomerate we would come to know as Poison. Full Disclaimer: I was twelve and a big fan of this video when it came out. Did it shape my life in any way? Still working through this twice a week in therapy. More...

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Pit Stories: Katatonia's Impromptu Tattoo

We've been hitting up metal bands and fans from around the globe to get their most devastating mosh pit stories, and this week drummer Daniel Liljekvist of Swedish act Katatonia shares the following tale of losing an eyebrow piercing and getting an impromptu tattoo:

So back in 1997-1998, me and a girl I used to know traveled all across Sweden photographing bands we liked. Especially the band Refused. This story takes place at a small venue in Stockholm called Kafé 44. I think it takes around 250 people and the place was packed! There were some 200 more kids outside in the street that didn’t get in. So the bands on the bill (Refused and The Hives, who actually opened for Refused back then) decide to play two sets at the same night. So as soon as the venue was empty with people after the first set they start bringing in the kids that waited outside. I had a photo pass so I could stay for both sets however; I had run out of film for the camera so I decided to just watch the second set.

Pretty soon I was in the pit myself. People were stage diving, moshing and when they played the song “Circle Pit” all hell broke loose. I climbed up on top of the PA system and dived straight into the crowd, hitting my forehead in someone’s belt buckle and in the same time ripping out my eyebrow piercing. So I’m bleeding like hell and have a big chunk of eyebrow dangling as I try to stand up when another diver lands on me, ass first on my lap, and it stings. Turns out the guy who landed on me had a ball pointed pen in his back pocket and it had penetrated my right thigh. So now I have a small blue dot that will always remind me of that awesome night in Stockholm. My first tattoo even. Cheers!

In other recent news, the band managed to get an easter egg included in the new video game "Skyrim." Katatonia also just finished a North American tour alongside Opeth in support of the band's most recent album "Night is the New Day" (reviewed here). You can check out an interview with Katatonia from the tour by heading over to this location. The band is also expected to release information in the near future about working on a new full-length album.

Check back in next week as we continue to share more pit stories from metal heads and musicians.

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Unearthing The Brutal Metal Underground

If there was ever a genre of metal that seems to get the least amount of exposure, it would possibly be the brutal death metal scene. There are literally dozens of bands putting out material every week, and occasionally a few rise above the heap to become well-known with most metal listeners.

Brutal death metal, which has as it's subgenres slam, grind, and porno, can partially trace it's inception back to Earache grindcore compilations and mostly to the late 80's/early 90's when such extreme bands as Blood Duster, Lividity, and Broken Hope put out grisly material that raised the bar in terms of gore, lyrics, and horror-themed album cover art. The following years saw Dying Fetus become one of the top bands of the next wave, with caustic maim-inducing music that influenced countless bands in today's brutal scene. When done well, the music can be hilarious and high energy. When done badly, it is still pretty funny too. More...

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Sunday Old School: Faith No More

Some bands are just so eclectic, it’s practically impossible to label them. Everyone likes these bands because their music is always guaranteed to be interesting, and none of these such bands are more intriguing than Faith No More. Faith No More began life thirty years ago when it was founded by bass player Billy Gould in 1981, along with drummer Mike Bordin, vocalist Michael Morris and keyboard player Wade Worthington. They did not adopt their current moniker until 1982 after Worthington had been replaced by Roddy Bottum and Morris had been fired, leading the band to through a series of vocalists, including future Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, before settling on Chuck Mosley in 1983, the same year they found guitarist Jim Martin.

They began recording their debut album independently, pooling their money together and recording it as and when they could. By the time five songs had been recorded, the group earned the attention of Mordam Records, who signed the band and gave them the money they needed to finish their album, which was released in 1985 under the title, "We Care A Lot." Faith No More then signed with Slash Records, and released "Introduce Yourself" in 1987, which, despite the release of "We Care A Lot" two years prior, is considered by many to be the bands debut album, owing to the limited availability of the previous record and the re-recording of its title track.

Not long after "Introduce Yourself," Mosley was fired from the group, due to erratic behaviour on and off the stage, including falling asleep during the "Introduce Yourself" release party. Taking his place was Mr. Bungle frontman, Mike Patton, who dropped out of Humboldt State University so he could sing for Faith No More. They released their first album with Patton, "The Real Thing" in 1989 and broke through into the public eye in the process, thanks largely to the records second single, "Epic" which became a top ten hit around the world. They performed live at the MTV Video Music Awards and Saturday Night Live, as well as touring all over the world. After releasing a live album, "Live at the Brixton Academy" in 1991 and contributing the song, "The Perfect Crime" to the soundtrack of the movie, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (in which guitarist Jim Martin made a cameo appearance,) the band got to work on their next album. The result, "Angel Dust," was released in the summer of 1992 and featured a much more experimental tone than previous releases, thanks predominantly to Mike Patton. Despite selling well over six hundred thousand copies in the United States, the album sold better overseas, going Gold in Australia and reaching the number 2 position on the album chart in the United Kingdom. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Axl Rose Interview

Last Friday Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses) sat down with the crew from VH1’s That Metal Show and discussed lawsuits, Chinese Democracy, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course there was not enough time to ask ALL the questions. After some dumpster diving behind Miami’s American Airlines arena we found the rest of the questions that never got asked. More...

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Unearthing The Prolific-Yet-Unknown Underground

Every Monday we take a look at three bands in the metal underground that deserve to be heard by a wider audience.

While normally the various bands unearthed are all grouped together by sub-genre or geographical location, this week we’re headed into slightly different territory to examine three bands that don’t necessarily share a similar sound. Instead, these three groups all have a common thread in that they are highly prolific artists with many releases under their belts, but somehow still haven’t managed to become highly known in the metal community.

Check out the music of Root, Transmetal, and Senmuth below and decide for yourself if you’d like to join these band’s relatively small but loyal fanbases.

Root

This Czech Republic act is a bit of a cult hit in the underground, developing its own unique sound that isn’t quite black metal or avant-garde or ambient or anything else, but has echoes of all those styles and more.

Root has a solid nine full-length releases under its belt scattered throughout a 20+ year history, having just dropped the new album “Heritage of Satan” (reviewed here). Until recently, Root was almost completely unknown by fans of European dark metal acts, only starting to see more exposure after a series of re-releases through I Hate Records in 2008.

For more info on Root, head over to the band’s official website here, or listen to a sampling of songs off “The Temple in the Underworld” and “The Book” below.

“Casilda's Song”
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Sunday Old School: Piledriver

Take yourself back in time almost three decades - the year was 1985, only a scant couple of years after a few record labels were issuing independent metal stateside. The commercial bands were starting to get upstaged by these new groups that had this harder and heavier sound. This little known band Thrust put out this song "Posers Will Die" which became sort of a mantra for the new movement. Listeners wanted an alternative to commercial metal, and along comes this album "Metal Inquisition" by a Canadian band named Piledriver. The album cover alone was enough to have you laughing your ass off. The vocalist was this giant dude with spikes, leather and bondage gear plastered all over his body. He was wielding a v-neck guitar like a jackhammer into some young metalhead kid's skull. But what was truly classic was the actual record itself, which contained a track listing of songs that held up to the test of time and are still listened to today. It was the perfect combination of a thrashing power metal sound. More...

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DIY Update: Introducing Google+ Pages

Here’s another one for all you social networking addicts. Google+ rolled out their answer to Facebook Pages this week, Google+ Pages, allowing users to create separate pages for companies, products, etc. Bands are one of the available categories, and you can create your own band page now with a few simple steps.

Getting Started

First, like Facebook, you need to set up your personal account. Set this personal account up as yourself and not your band. The rules of engagement are slightly different for the two types of accounts and I always find it annoying when someone is using a personal account to represent a product essentially.

Once you’ve got a Google+ account for yourself, it’s only a few clicks to create a page for your band. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Last Vegas Slashed

The Last Vegas are Chicago area rockers best known for being Guitar Center’s On Stage contest winners (prize was touring with Motley Crue), and their last album “Whatever Gets You Off,” which was produced by DJ Ashba (Guns N’ Roses), Marti Frederiksen, and Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue, SIXX:A.M.). While their fans await the follow-up to their last album, the band has released a new music video for a song titled “The Other Side.”

Starring in the video is B-Movie star, Sybil Danning, who has starred in Rob Zombie’s (White Zombie) “Halloween” and “Howling II.” Fun Fact: Sybil appeared on the cover of the 1983 August issue of Playboy. Joining Danning in the video is The Last Vegas, consisting of Chad Cherry (vocals), John Wator (guitar), Adam Arling (guitar), Danny Smash (bass), and Nate Arling (drums).

The stage is set for the horror genre by the “normal every day” setting of a house in suburbia. Sybil is sitting on the couch. The band is in the house, spread around the living room. Cherry is sitting next to Danning on the couch. Given the “low budget horror” aspirations of this video, it makes sense that Danny Smash was not allowed a drum set, instead forced to bang out the beat on his knees.

It’s uncomfortable on the couch as Sybil just sits and stares (looking worried) while Chad Cherry SCREAMS into her ear the lyrics and chorus to the song. Inches from her ear, Cherry continues to deliver his vocals as Danning becomes concerned. Something is bothering her! It must be dinner time. Has the ham cooked too long? The screaming continues. The look of concern turns worrisome. Cut to the kitchen.

Dinner is served. If you ever wondered how to eat a feast like a rock and roll band this video offers three points: 1. Chug beer out of a glass (need to stay classy Chicago) 2. Always stick knives into the main course. Apparently a stabbing motion is preferred. 3. If you believe you have shoved enough mashed potatoes in your mouth you are probably wrong, there’s always room for more.

With dinner on the table Sybil is no longer worried. No, instead she looks at peace and has a cleaver behind her back. She is all smiles when she approaches Chad Cherry and slashes his throat. Blood splatters all over the kitchen, the band, and Sybil. Next, Danning kisses and caresses Cherry; rubbing his blood all over herself and then dancing. The band is dead at the kitchen table, in a pool of blood as Danning prances around the kitchen. A brief moment of concern returns, and then she remembers. Dessert! She goes to the oven and pulls out a sheet of chocolate cookies, of course, not before a drop of blood falls onto the cookie sheet.

A killer song and video (literally) that teaches us all a lesson: If you insist on screaming in someone’s ear you may get your throat slashed! The more you know…

The Last Vegas - "The Other Side"

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In France

Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. For as long as there has been rock music, a scene has existed in this Western European country, but many have struggled to gain international stardom, with death metal outfit Gojira probably being the most well known French band in metal today. This week we'll be looking at three bands from France who are out to prove that, contrary to popular belief, the French can throw down just as hard as anybody else.

Whyzdom

Formed in 2007 by guitarist and self-proclaimed orchestrator Vynce Leff and recorded their debut EP, "Daughter Of The Night" just six months afterwards, instantly receiving acclaim wherever it was heard and even earned them the titles of Best French Band of 2008 by Metalsymphonique.com and Best EP from HeavyLaw.com. They split with their vocalist last year but were able to find security in December when they recruited Clémentine Delauney to stand behind the microphone.

Whyzdom - "Daughter Of The Night"
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Sunday Old School: Possessed

Death metal is without question one of the most popular sub-genres in heavy metal, with thousands of bands emulating the likes of Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse and the like, but there was a band before the Florida based legends came along which pioneered, and some say invented death metal itself. Namely, San Francisco based, Possessed. Possessed was formed in 1983 by guitarist Mike Torraro and drummer Mike Sus, along with bass player Geoff Andrews and vocalist Barry Fisk. This original lineup was not to last long, and ended in tragic fashion when Fisk, who was homeless at the time, shot himself in front of his girlfriend, resulting in Andrews no longer wanting to be a part of the group. The group soon picked themselves up when they recruited Jeff Becerra from the Pinole based band Blizzard to handle both bass and vocal duties, as well as hiring another guitarist in the form of Brian Montana. Possessed got to work spreading their name in the Bay Area scene, performing with local titans such as Slayer and Exodus, the latter of which helped Possessed immensely when they gave the band’s three song demo, "Death Metal" to Metal Blade Records head, Brian Slagel.

Slagel agreed to put Possessed on his forthcoming compilation album, Metal Massacre 6, the same series of compilations that had previously helped Slayer and Metallica become noticed, including the song, "Swing Of The Axe" on the record. Metal Blade did not sign the group but the compilation found it’s way to Combat Records, home to such acts as Megadeth. Combat were able to sign Possessed, who had since replaced Montana with Becerra’s former Blizzard bandmate Larry LaLonde and in October of 1985, the band released it’s debut full length album, "Seven Churches" through the label, with Roadrunner Records handling European distribution. The album was an underground hit, owing to Becerra’s guttural vocals (something quite different for metal at the time) and it’s extreme lyrics which, along with frequent use of the word, "fuck," led to it becoming one of the first albums to receive the famous RIAA "Parental Advisory" sticker. It impacted many burgeoning musicians including Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris, who claimed that "Seven Churches" was his introduction to metal, and Death frontman Chuck Schuldiner, who reportedly told his bandmates that he wanted the band to base their sound on the album. More...

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DIY Update: Tunecore Launches Songwriter Service

This week Tunecore announced a new Songwriter Publishing Administration Service. Many self-published bands may be familiar with Tunecore’s online distribution service, which helps get unsigned bands’ albums and songs into the major online stores. In the changing musical landscape where streams are slowly eating away at album sales, Tunecore now hopes to helps artists capture much of that money and do it as painlessly as possible for the artist.

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The Rockstar Ramblings: 1981 M/F/K

30 years ago the bands Anthrax, Metallica, Motley Crue, Pantera, Queensryche, and Slayer were formed. It was also the year many important hard rock/heavy metal albums were released, laying the groundwork for the eighties. Here’s a look back at ten of these classic albums in no particular order. Same as the “1986 M/F/K” edition there is a twist as Marry/Fuck/Kill rules apply. It’s as simple as it sounds. M (Marry) is a song you want to “save” and listen to forever, F (Fuck) is the song you get one more listen to and that is it, and K (Kill) is the song you want to go away and never be heard from again. More...

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Pit Stories: The 8 Staple Stage Dive

The almighty metal mosh pit: sanctuary to some, place of unfortunate pain for others. Every week we seek out fans and bands to share their most memorable mosh pit stories, and this week guitarist David Davidson of Revocation shares the following tale of a drunken stage dive. A bloody clip of the aftermath is also available below.

My mosh pit story took place during the Darkest Hour Legacy Tour. We were playing in Cleveland at a club called Peabody's and the DH dudes bought a shit ton of booze to get the party started early. I was drinking heavily and was talking with Misha from Periphery about the joys of stage diving. He had mentioned that he had never done it before and in my drunken state I convinced him there was nothing to worry about so I decided to demonstrate for him. I jumped of the stage backwards and at the same time head first. Unfortunately I over shot my jump and landed directly on the back of my head, busting my dome open. After a quick trip to the emergency room I returned to the show with 8 staples in the back of my head. Good times!

After:
David Davidson's stapled head injury

In other Revocation news, the band recently shot a new music video for the track "No Funeral."

Check back in next Tuesday as we share more pit stories from band members and metal fans.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Russia

Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. This week we take a look at three bands from the vast country of Russia. Believe it or not, rock and heavy metal music was being made by Russian bands ever since 1960s, but it was not until the 1980s that the Soviet Union allowed such music to be released officially. Since the collapse of the Communist empire in 1991, the Russian metal scene has continued to grow and metal artists from the West routinely perform in the country, where legend has it some of the craziest fans in metal are to be found. Below is just a short example of the some of the band that come from Russia, perhaps not with love.

A Foggy Realm

From Russia's capital city, Moscow natives A Foggy Realm formed in 2009 by accomplished composer and musician, Ilya Lipkin, performing a mix of doom metal and ambient in an instrumental fashion, prefering instead to let their music do the talking. A Foggy Realm recorded their first EP, "Twilight" in January of last year, releasing it the next month. You can download the EP for free by heading to this location. More...

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Sunday Old School: Dokken

In 1978 the band Dokken formed, it was soon after the band was composed of Don Dokken (vocals), George Lynch (guitar), Juan Croucier (bass), and Mick Brown (drums). They were wide-eyed and ready to rock, still there was no way anyone could predict a Grammy nomination, die-hard fans, and the Ultimate Warrior style armbands. More...

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DIY Update: Facebook As The New MySpace

MySpace is dead. Oh, it’s still out there, but isn’t worth your band's precious time anymore. If it wasn’t clear its downfall was coming when sold to News Corp., then it should have been clear when sold to ad network Specific Media this year. The social network, while terrible on usability and reliability, did wonders for the music industry in its heyday by giving bands a place where they could host their music for free streaming. While other sites would also host songs for streaming, being the top social network resulted in every band creating a MySpace profile and the site becoming the go-to destination to hear a band’s music.

MySpace has been losing users and mindshare for years now, with Facebook and its superior interaction model rocketing to the top of the social network pack. Still, while hinting at music services, Facebook took their time delivering any sort of music integration, keeping MySpace relevant to the music world long after it had been made irrelevant as a social networking platform. Eventually, YouTube surpassed MySpace as the primary place where users search for music (albeit much of its content consists of infringing uploads), and the writing was on the wall about MySpace's imminent demise.

Facebook Pages were enough to draw bands to Facebook to network with their fans on the largest social network in the world. Then Facebook opted not to create “Facebook Music,” but instead support music via applications that integrate with other services and a more direct integration with streaming services such as Spotify, MOG, and Earbits.

As the current #1 social media site and now as large as the entire Internet was in 2004, Facebook is a great place for social media addicts to promote their band and engage with fans and make new fans. But can Facebook be what MySpace was to bands and more?

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few applications that can be used to turn your band’s Facebook page into a destination where users can hear your music, much like MySpace was at its peak, but without the errors and crappy/bloated designs. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Video Heaven

The videos keep on coming and this week a special treat as we look at three different bands with unique, yet equally phenomenal videos. This assumes you define phenomenal as I do: Fun and hilarious with no sense of moral ground! More...

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Pit Stories: The Motorhead Whirly-Bird

Every week Metalunderground.com seeks out fans and bands to share their memorable stories from the mosh pit. This week Jason Mackenroth, formerly of Rollins Band and current Mack member, shares a story of clearing out a Motorhead pit.

It was July 15th, 2000 and we were in the middle of a particularly intense Rollins Band summer tour of Europe. We'd been on a handful of dates with Motorhead on our European travels and this night Rollins Band was going on before Motorhead at the Monster Mastership Festival in Dortmund, Germany.

We'd hung a bit with Mikkey and Phil before the show and Mikkey watched our set and I remember having a pretty great show. So with my work behind me for the evening, I was ready for Motorhead. The Motorhead pit is always in top form it seems. I couldn't help getting involved. So I step in and start doing my thing, and end up running into our road manager, Mike Curtis. Apparently, I'd hit him in the face! He quickly got my attention and I immediately grabbed both his hands in a criss-cross handshake. The two us did the infamous whirly-bird throughout the pit and cleared it completely in seconds, flinging people with the greatest of ease. With the kind of momentum this move generates, it usually knocks people right out of the ring. But it seemed like most folks just got out of the way before they were hit and left pulseless.

Mack — featuring former Rollins Band drummer Jason Mackenroth, bassist Michael “MK” Kelly (Magnified), and guitarist Billy O’Malley (Seka, Stripmind, Jocobono) — just released "Pay To Play," the follow-up to Mack’s self-titled debut album. Blas Elias (Slaughter) is the band’s live drummer, enabling Mackenroth to step out front on lead vocals. A Mack 2012 U.S. tour will also be announced soon.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal called the "Pay To Play" album “a modern-day update of the harder edges of Kiss' '70s catalog: songs of sex, sin and redemption powered by shout-along hooks, octopus-armed drumming and lots of fist-in-the-air guitar soloing. It's a visceral, overheated, organic-sounding recording.” You can check out Mack's music by heading over to the band's Reverbnation page here.

Be sure to check back next Tuesday for more pit stories, or share your favorite mosh pit experience in the comments below.

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