Each year the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame releases their nominations and each year (except 2009) this band has not been nominated. This is not a new story, but is an annual migraine once you review the bands elected IN and those that have NOT been elected (or even nominated). MANY rock bands deserve to be in today, but I don’t believe any band has a more solid case. This band has become the Pete Rose of rock and roll minus the gambling. Author Disclaimer: I am a casual fan at best of this band. More...
The mid-nineties saw Mortician getting heavy airplay for their "House By the Cemetery" EP, so by the time their classic full-length "Hacked Up for Barbecue" was released, there was keen interest in them coming and doing a live gig in Vegas. These Yonkers, NY natives had a reputation as brutal as the Son of Sam infested streets they were from and certainly were about to live up to it with the twisted free for all that was about to follow.
This would be the first ever tour for this two-piece combo of Will Rahmer and Roger Beaujard and whoever would sit in as their session drummer. (They had never bothered recruiting anyone new after their original drummer Matt lost his battle with demonizing luxuries) They figured they could get a gig lined up in our city, but someone had forgotten to tell them that the roof had collapsed on the main concert venue. Most bands would have been deterred, but not Mortician. They had just gotten on the road to tour, hooking up with fans in different cities and improvising where to play. Nothing was stopping them, and they even had t-shirts printed up with all the "tour dates" and cities on them.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 is our fourth exploration of the metal scene in Perth, Western Australia. You can also check out Part 1 (death metal), Part 2, and Part 3 (thrash metal).
The number of good bands that come out of such a small, remote place is quite staggering - it's just a shame that most of them don't get the opportunity to take their music to a wider audience. Today's highlighted bands have, to their credit, made some inroads into the international market.
With two full length albums under its belt, numerous local and national awards, and an appearance at Australia’s largest festival The Big Day Out, progressive metal outfit Chaos Divine has started to get some recognition in their home country. Not content with that, in 2009 the band played at the Progpower Europe Festival in The Netherlands as well as some club dates in Belgium.
March 2011 saw the release of Chaos Divine's second album, The Human Connection. While recorded in Perth, for the mixing and mastering the band managed to score the talents of Swedish producer Jens Bogren, known for his work with Opeth and Katatonia. The album is also available internationally on iTunes. The sound combines progressive elements and melodic death metal with particularly outstanding guitar work and great clean vocals, and will appeal to fans of Opeth and Dream Theater as well as fans of European-style melodic death metal.
Who says gang violence is restricted to rap music? If it weren’t for a fight between a local gang and Californian thrash metal band Vio-Lence, we may have never heard Machine Head, for it was this incident that inspired guitarist Robb Flynn to leave the group and form one of his own. Joining forces with bassist Adam Duce, drummer Tony Costanza and Canadian guitar player Logan Mader, the collective soon named themselves, Machine Head simply because, as Flynn states, "It sounded cool." Before long, they found themselves signed to Roadrunner Records, after a label representative heard the band’s demo tape which had been recorded in a friend’s bedroom. Costanza was soon replaced by Chris Kontos and Machine Head recorded their first album, "Burn My Eyes." The album was a success, reaching the top forty in albums charts in such countries as Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom and selling over 400,000 copies, a record for Roadrunner at the time. After supporting Slayer in Europe, the band found that they had become popular enough to head back to the continent and headline the same venues for themselves.
Following the tours, the group once again replaced the man behind the drum kit, this time bringing in German drummer Dave McClain, who had spent some time with American thrashers Sacred Reich. This new formation gave birth to Machine Head’s sophomore album, "The More Things Change," which was released in 1997 and entered the Billboard album charts at number 138. Machine Head then had the honour of participating in the first Ozzfest tour, during which they fired Mader after a backstage incident, replacing him with Ahrue Luster. They followed "The More Things Change" with perhaps their most controversial album to date, "The Burning Red." The record polarised critics and fans alike, who were unsure at best about certain musical aspects, including rapping vocals and an image change which saw some ridiculous outfits and hair cuts. Despite these factors, the album is currently the band’s second highest seller in the United States and the album’s inclusion of "Message In A Bottle" (originally by The Police) is considered by many to be one of the best versions of the song.
The criticism continued when the band released, "Supercharger" on October 2nd 2001. Musically, it was a continuation of "The Burning Red" and resulted in a feud between the band and Slayer guitarist Kerry King, who claimed after the album’s release that Machine Head had sold out. Although it sold quite well, the "Supercharger" years weren’t too kind to the band either, as the promotional video for the song, "Crashing Around You" was banned by radio stations owing to the recent 9/11 attacks, it was for this same reason that the music video for the song was also banned from being aired on MTV. The group took exception to this and left Roadrunner Records, touring in support of the album by their own means and without the support from a record label. The tour produced the live album, "Hellalive," which was released through Roadrunner to fulfil a contractual obligation. They then suffered another blow when Luster left the group, joining Ill Nino soon after. Machine Head were unable to attract any interest from other record labels in the United States, but were still signed to Roadrunner in Europe, through which they released their fifth album, "Through The Ashes Of Empires," now with new guitarist (and Vio-lence founder and long time friend of Flynn) Phil Demmel in tow. More...
I found it entertaining that one of the reasons Chickenfoot named their second album “III” was to pass by the sophomore slump album and go right to their third. Three great albums in a row is no small feat. This week I (one opinion) take a look at some bands that have successfully accomplished the feat of: The Trifecta! More...
Each week we talk with bands and fans from across the metal spectrum to get their best most pit stories. New York's Tiger Flowers just released a self-titled EP last week through The Path Less Traveled records, and vocalist Jesse Madre has checked with Metalunderground.com to share a pit story about a drunk bassist wrecking ball saved from certain doom by a fan who doubled as an air bag.
Back home in NYC it was February, but out on the road the air and nights were more fair. We were south bound in more ways than one and we found ourselves in South Carolina's clear, night air. We were a week out with our Norwegian friends, March of Echoes, and were enjoying teaching them about Motley Crue and the right and wrong ways to rock, gluttonous American style. We pull up to the venue in our usual, punctilious manner, barely on time and 1/2 of us naked, to find a decently good looking crowd to see the foreigners and ourselves. Flattered as we were that they wanted to spend a night with us, we unloaded quickly and saddled up to the bar where we were greeted like old friends. Now, Jager isn't our brand of choice, but the barkeep offered free shots of it to us, being as we were "on the road" and all. And when in Rome... We gladly accepted. And accepted. And accepted. We are, if anything, gracious guests. Time goes by a little slower down south... which leads to more time to shout, "One more!"
Next thing we know it's time to rock and, being the consummate professionals we are, we go up and make the drive there worth it for us and everyone. We play hard and fast and fill the night with our electric storm! Dean is ripping the strings from his Gibson, Dan pummels the drums like he just caught them finger-banging his sister. I'm doing my throat thing and screaming down the skies when I look over at the now famous Puerto Rican Cowboy, Will Gomez, and he's swinging his bass like an axe on top of the drum riser. I see it in his eyes, he's feeling loose and thinking about pulling his anti-gravity move. The one were he seems to explode, like 2, maybe 3 inches off the ground and then jerks his feet back and forth like a fish out of water. The look in his eyes is true. He does the jump off the drum riser (which is only risen about 4 inches) and flies more sideways then up. His feet touch the stage and never really settle under him and I watch him kick them cartoon-style, trying to get them back underneath him, but he's running out of real estate. The edge of the stage is approaching his flailing feet too fast and just as he realizes and his eyes meet mine in a last look of horror, a savior swoops in and saves him from his doom.
Will Gomez falls right on top of the drunkest girl in the club while she's in the middle of her own little dance competition, two stepping to her own beat. She doesn't even know what hit her. Will Gomez is a wrecking ball and he never hits the ground. But god damn she does. Hard. Will Gomez hops back on stage just as the song's ending and in between the silence of the instruments and the coming roar of laughter, the airbag that saved Will Gomez shouts out (in the best Southern accent we've heard) "OH NO! MY ANKLE'S BROKE! OH WAIT, IT'S NOT BROKE BUT IT'S DEFINITELY SPUUURRAAAINED!!!" Will, being the gentleman that he is, goes over and asks her what he can do to help. She replies in the same shout-talk as before, "YOU CAN LET ME COME UP THERE AND DANCE WITH YOU!"
Obviously, we finished the set with her on stage go-going all around Will's bass set up, grinding the night away to Will's slick bass lines.
Tiger Flowers was covered earlier this year in the New York edition of the Unearthing the Metal Underground column, provided by none other than Vince Neilstein of Metal Sucks. For more details on Tiger Flowers you can also head over to the band's Facebook profile.
Every week in Unearthing The Metal Underground, we check out bands in the underground who deserve more notice for the excellent heavy metal they are producing. This week we're looking at the underground scene in the capital of the United States, Washington, DC.
The District usually conjures up thoughts of monuments, patriotism, and presidential blow jobs, but if you listen closely, ignoring all the political windbags, inner city gunshots and almost weekly protests for one cause or another and you manage to avoid all the indie rock hipster bars and DJ dance nights you can hear the rumblings of a metal scene overshadowed by just about everything else in the most powerful city in the world. But unlike the city's rats who scurry away in the shadows these bands are screaming to be heard, and cranking their amps up too! Here's three of the best underground metal bands in Washington, DC right now that you won't find in any of the tourist guides.
Ilsa is a metal band with a sound that lies somewhere in the filthiest place where old school death metal and sludgy doom collide. This five piece band is raw in the best sense of the word. Heaviness exudes from every riff these guys play, regardless of the tempo, and the rhythm section breaks up bursts of brutality with dirty grooves. On top of it all you've got lead singer Orion's vocals which scream out with a pain that can't be faked. They're often found playing to packed basements at house shows but Ilsa isn't just some garage band. They’re a great underground band really making art for the unwashed masses and they deserve more recognition. Listen to their song Frostthrower on their MySpace page here and you'll see what I mean.
In 1985, Bret Michaels (vocals), Rikki Rockett (drums), Bobby Dall (bass), and Matt Smith (guitar) set out for the Los Angeles Sunset Strip, determined to make it as the next big hair band. Initially, the band struggled to survive; Matt Smith specifically couldn't handle the poverty and left for back East. During this time Bret Michaels states that his only possession was a toothbrush. Behind The Music: One Toothbrush and Six Bandanas -- The Bret Michaels Story.
With Smith's departure, the band started looking for a new guitarist. In the end their search came down to C.C. DeVille and Slash. Slash was clearly the better guitar player, but C.C. had that over the top glam look the band coveted. This decision would end up being one of the most significant events in eighties heavy metal music. Not only was C.C. the right pick for Poison, but not taking Slash off the market proved to be more important, keeping the door open for him to join Guns N' Roses just months later.
The release of their first album, "Look What The Cat Dragged In," would introduce the world to this glam foursome. The cover would also lead to several debates. First, were these in fact men? After establishing that yes, in fact, these are men, the discussion would turn to which was the prettiest of the group? Most of the time it was Rikki Rockett edging out Bret Michaels in the beauty contest. I believe the amount of eye shadow Rikki used had a direct impact on this outcome. Often lost in judging this book by its cover was how hard the band worked to promote their shows and the dedication to their fans. They were the second wave of “hair bands” and there were hundreds trying to be part of this group. The foursome was relentless in getting friends, fans, and others to attend their shows and promote Poison. More...
This week a look at the band Down & Dirty and the release of their first video: “Taste of Rock & Roll”. Based in Chicago, Down & Dirty have released an album by the same name this year. Research on the band quickly turned up two items. First, that the band is relatively new to the scene. Secondly, they have a large number of groupies – already. Why every fourteen year old kid doesn’t teach himself how to play guitar is beyond me. PICK ONE: A. Master’s Degree B. White picket fence C. Groupies. Don’t feel too dirty, most picked the same one as you. Now a look at the video… More...
Every week in Pit Stories we travel the world looking for interesting stories from fans and bands from different shows. Today we take you to a Cannibal Corpse show from the early nineties, proving that truth can be stranger than fiction - or at least a song can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The Huntridge was a refurbished movie theatre in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada that used to play host to all the hardcore and metal shows coming to town. Back in 1994, our station - KUNV - was promoting the Cannibal Corpse show there, and the turnout was huge for a Monday night. Usually you wouldn't see that many metal fans there, even on the weekend. Cannibal Corpse were touring prior to the release of their album "The Bleeding," which would prove to be a landmark album. This show at the Huntridge was one of the last in which Chris Barnes was at the helm of the band, and you could say he went out in style. MTV Europe was there with a blue-haired woman named Vanessa, filming onstage with her camcorder.
The teeming energy of the pit was intense, but this one idiot kept getting on stage over and over and diving into the crowd. He obviously wanted to appear on the camera footage but was truly pissing off all the metalheads he was landing on each time. The songs that Chris and the band were growling out mostly came off "The Bleeding," and prophetically all the events that would come to pass in the next hour were like the song titles personified. It was unreal. Shortly after "Stripped, Raped and Strangled" played, the whole pit got disgusted with the stagediving kid and tore his clothes off, kicking and shoving him right to the exit door. A burly security guy grabbed him by the throat and bounced him out the door (without his clothes on) right into that cold Vegas February night.
Just when the pit got it's momentum back, the big theatre doors way back by the nosebleed seats thrusted open with activity. Two security guards were kicking the crap out of a guy who broke into the merchandise display booth in an attempt to steal some Cannibal Corpse t-shirts. They had his face on the ground, shards of broken glass from the case all over the floor. This was right about the same time the band played "Force Fed Broken Glass." One thing about Cannibal Corpse that night - they weren't just voyeuristic horror. Everyone "lived" what they were playing. It is good to note that "An Experiment In Homicide" was not on the set list.
Cannibal Corpse have begun work on a new album, set to be released in 2012. Join us every Tuesday when we bring you more Pit Stories from bands and fans from around the globe.
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 the metal scene in London, one of the most famous cities in the world.
Formed in 2006, Mutant has been performing their take on classic thrash metal, which they refer to as speed death, for five years now. They have been able to build up an ever growing fan base in that time, leading to shows with such other acts as Municipal Waste and performing at the Bloodstock, Damnation and Hammerfest festivals amongst others. Early this year they proved to the whole country why they’re one of the best bands going in the British underground, when they were voted the Best Unsigned Band of 2010 by readers of Terrorizer magazine.
Mutant - "The Rauncher"
One of the crazier bands to grace the LA metal scene in the mid-eighties was the legendary trio the Mentors. While gaining their fame in that city, what many may not realize is that the band got it's start in 1976 right out of Roosevelt High School in Seattle. Eldon Hoke, Eric Carlson and Steve Broy relocated to LA in 1979 and quickly became a fixture in the club scene at the height of the punk rock era, and a voice to counter the beginnings of the glam/hair metal movement. Figuring they had a better chance for fame in LA, they moved the band and the roadies into a one bedroom Hollywood apartment. Changing their stage names to El Duce, Sickie Wifebeater and Dr. Heathen Scum respectively, they were ready to launch an all-out assault on traditional metal as we know it. Combining thrash, garage and punk, they developed a huge core audience with their irreverent, misogynistic lyrics delivered in that nice sloppy style that never pretended to be good serious metal. When hair metal bands in spandex were singing about what the cat dragged in, here came three slovenly dudes with beer bellies and t-shirts singing about their secretary hump. More...
Duff McKagan has released an 80 page excerpt of his upcoming autobiography titled It’s So Easy (And Other Lies). For those hesitant to read another “rockography” or are burned out from reading ex-Guns N’ Roses books I’m here to say you may want to give this one a chance. More...
Every week we catch up with bands and fans to hear their favorite mosh pit stories from metal shows. This week Landmine Marathon's Ryan Butler shares a story of how one foot of space can make all the difference in house shows.
We played a house show in Santa Fe, New Mexico at one point and it was all adobe houses in a really nice neighborhood. We pulled up to the house and there are birthday balloons on the sign that said “Show Here.” We get in there, in a decent sized house, and we set up to play and once you put 30 kids in the room it’s cramped with all our gear. We start to play and Dylan ended up on the side of the room that just had the bulk of the kids and I was kind of up against the wall on the other side. He’s trying to play guitar and kids are flipping each other across the tops of their heads and just moshing like crazy. His guitar was cutting out every 30 seconds to 2 minutes because they’d step on his pedal board or fall on top of him literally and knock him to the ground.
About halfway through the set this guy yells out that he’s pretty sure he broke his foot, which is not funny until you see he’s still moshing, and he ends up moshing the entire show and having a great time. He hangs out at the after party, which was right in the same room, and is limping around. We tell him he should probably go the hospital, but he says he doesn’t care, he’s got to work tomorrow and he knows it’s broken, so there’s nothing going to the hospital that night will do. It was just chaos the whole time. We tend to enjoy shows where there’s not a stage sometime because it gets crazier. We just played a show in Reno and usually we tend to end up in basements, which in Reno are actually the size of venues, some of them. The kids go crazy and are right on top of you. We played in a bar in Reno for probably the first time in two or three years and kids were going nuts, but it’s just not quite the same. The energy level changes for some reason when there’s only one foot of separation for some reason. When you’ve got kids falling all over you its just pure adrenaline, so that’s the difference between playing on the floor and playing on the stage. One foot can make all the difference.
Landmine Marathon is set to release the new album "Gallows" on September 27th, 2011. You can check out a track from the album, titled "Three Snake Leaves," by heading over here.
Check back next Tuesday for even more pit stories shared by fans and bands from across the metal world.
While Chicago has a reputation as a punk and hip hop town, there's still an active metal scene within the Windy City with some great gems that haven’t gotten nearly enough exposure. Even though Chicago may not have the same metal cred that Boston and Seattle have today, there is still a rawness and experimentation to Chicago metal fused into the scene's bloodstream. Less accessible than Gothenburg and nowhere near as technical as Montreal but certainly not lacking in creativity, the Chcago metal scene's mix of grittiness and experimentation has produced everything from Hewhocorrupts to Ministry to Nachtmystium and that same aesthetic is still alive in 2011 in any number of as yet undiscovered bands.
Now, as part of the Unearthing the Metal Underground series, Metal Underground.com presents three underground Chicago bands that deserve way more exposure and attention than they currently receive.
Blood of the Tyrant
Sounding like the bastard child of Black Sabbath and Mastodon, Blood of the Tyrant is an excellent example of progressive doom metal. While still only having one release to its name, released in 2008, Blood of the Tyrant is still one of Chicago's best unsigned bands, known for epic song lengths, impressive guitar solos and surprisingly energetic take on doom metal.
Last year when I wrote a Sunday Old School column to commemorate the 30th anniversary of frontman Bon Scott's passing, I asked readers to close their eyes and think of AC/DC. As I wrote back then, “If you're like most people, the first thing that enters your mind is the image of Angus Young in his schoolboy suit doing his Chuck Berry on speed duckwalk across the stage. The second thing for most is the image of singer Brian Johnson, cap pulled down nearly to his eyes, letting loose with a powerdrill wail.”
To be sure, part of the reason for that is the longevity of Johnson's tenure with the band. Scott's career with AC/DC lasted a mere six years, while Johnson's been with the band for 30 years and counting. But chalking it up to that alone discounts Johnson's skill as a vocalist, lyricist and frontman in his own right. The fact of the matter is that had Brian not been as adept as he was in taking over for Bon, the lights could've been permanently put out for AC/DC three decades ago. In fact, in the book “AC/DC: Maximum Rock 'N Roll,” there are several statements pointing to the fact that but for Brian, the band never would've taken off as it did in the United States in the 1980s. After all, the band had failed to catch fire supporting acts like Kiss, Aerosmith and Lynrd Skynrd during Bon's tenure.
Also, Brian brought a level of consistency that perhaps hadn't quite been there before. One could argue that he was less of a dynamic showman than Bon was — though in recent tours he's come out of his shell a lot more. At the same time, Bon was much less consistent in terms of vocal delivery. Even Angus admitted such in an interview, saying that Bon's vocal style was much more a matter of rhythm, where Brian's vocals were much more like a musical instrument in their own right.
Prior to his AC/DC gig, Brian was best known as the lead singer of the English glam rock band Geordie. In the early 1970s, Bon Scott's pre-AC/DC outfit Fang toured England, playing with Geordie. With a singing style reminiscent of Little Richard, Johnson had impressed Scott, who later told the rest of AC/DC of a particular show in which Johnson was shrieking and thrashing about on the ground. Scott believed it was all part of the show. In fact, Johnson was in agony from appendicitis.
"Geordie: She's a Teaser"
Van Halen announced that they have completed mixing their new album. This news jumped the Vegas line from 50-1 to a 10-1 shot of this album actually happening. It has been 27 years since the last David Lee Roth-Van Halen album. A lot has changed during this time, a few examples: In 1984 The Cosby show premiered along with “Cosby Sweaters”, it was also the year the AIDS virus was discovered. Apparently there is no connection between the two. It was also the year stonewashed jeans were introduced. Vanessa Williams was stripped (pun intended) of her Miss America crown when nude photos were discovered and Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire during the shooting of a Pepsi commercial. Apparently these events also had no connection to the discovery of AIDS, despite many remaining suspicious… More...
We've been catching up with fans and band members everywhere to get their mosh pit stories and tales of on-stage mishaps. This week guitarist Kim Olesen of Anubis Gate shares the following story of a technological malfunction.
I'll share a little tale of how tech stuff can let you down. The first concert we did in support of our previous album "The Detached," I had my in-ear monitor system attached to the strap (as I always have). Everything's going fine. We start the track “Dodecahedron.” I'm playing rockstar, standing on the drum podium. So far so good....until I jump down and my in-ear beltpack receiver empties itself of all the batteries. That's critical because that was almost all the sound I had on stage. Luckily this song has some passages that would sound OK if I didn't play so in-between playing without hearing what I play (looking at my fingers and hoping routine will do it). I'm searching the stage floor for the batteries, which must have looked very strange. Four guys playing away and the fifth guy crawling on stage to find his batteries. That day I learned to put gaffa tape around the receiver. Maybe not a big lesson for mankind, but a big lesson for this guitarist.
Anubis Gate is set to release the band's new, self-titled album (reviewed here) this coming September 13th, 2011. To see what bassist Henrik Fevre had to say about the album, head over to this location and check out Metalunderground.com's recent interview with the band.
Check back again next Tuesday for more pit stories sent in from bands and show-goers.
Back in December 2009, Sunday Old School covered Napalm Death, one of the most influential bands in the history of extreme music. In some respects, we never stopped looking at them, as the column has covered several bands with ties to Napalm Death, namely, Cathedral, Carcass, Extreme Noise Terror and most recently, Terrorizer. Today will see a continuation of this trend, as Sunday Old School looks at Godflesh, one of the most innovative metal bands to ever emerge from Great Britain.
Godflesh was initially birthed as Fall Of Because in 1985 in the city of Birmingham by bass player G.C. Green and guitarist Paul Neville, with Justin Broadrick joining the ranks soon afterwards as a drummer and vocalist, though he would leave soon after to become the new guitarist for Napalm Death, making his recording debut with the band on the A-side of the classic, "Scum" album. Broadrick would leave Napalm Death soon after to become the drummer for Head Of David, one his favourite local bands, but once again remained unsettled and soon contacted Green about reforming Fall Of Because, an invitation Green accepted. Fall Of Because soon became Godflesh and the duo of Broadrick and Green decided to stay as such, incorporating the use of a drum machine instead of hiring someone to sit behind the kit. More...
This week a look at Chickenfoot’s latest video, “Big Foot”.
The video starts off as every alcoholic’s nightmare. Waking up in a chicken coup, wearing a chicken costume. It’s an odd choice to drink out of the same water bucket as the other chickens, but then again, it’s probably a nasty hangover and any beverage will do at this point. More...