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...
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.
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...
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!
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
For a genre as controversial as National Socialist black metal (NSBM), it's a given that there would be a backlash against it from within. Especially given that metalheads are often a rebellious bunch, a bunch of songs about extreme forms of nativism was inevitably going to annoy the living crap out of a lot of left-leaning metalheads. And thus, red and anarchist black metal (RABM) was born, a genre even more obscure than NSBM but coming from the radical left.
Not a genre with a specific sound but one defined entirely by ideology, RABM will likely never see mainstream appeal but will still manage to attract a small yet dedicated following committed to a never-ending war with NSBM.
Proving that one can be proud of one's culture without resorting to fascism, Yaotl Mictlan is a Mexican band affiliated with the EZLN secessionist movement in Chiapas. Evoking the religion of the ancient Aztec civilization as an attack on the Spanish imperialism and fighting for indigenous rights is only is still second to the band when it comes to making quality ass-kicking black metal.
So far this year in Sunday Old School, we’ve covered bands from a variety of places including Switzerland, Australia, Norway and Japan, as well as the expected English and American groups, but we have yet to look at a band from the Emerald Isle. This week we’ll be rectifying this by taking a gander at the Northern Irish alternative metal/rock band, Therapy? The seeds of the band were sewn in 1989 when guitarist Andy Cairns spotted drummer Fyfe Ewing performing in a punk rock band at a local charity gig. The two began talking after the show and soon recorded a demo tape, with Cairns also handling the bass duties, having borrowed the instrument from Michael McKeegan, a classmate of Ewing’s who was officially recruited into the band when they decided to begin performing live. After releasing their first single, "Meat Abstract" in July of 1990, Therapy? soon attracted the attention of legendary British disc jockey, John Peel and took slots supporting a variety of bands, including Madchester outfit Inspiral Carpets and Ian Mackeye’s post-Minor Threat band, Fugazi amongst others. After these accomplishments, they signed with independent record label, Wiiija, through which they released their first two albums, "Babyteeth" and "Pleasure Death."
The two albums were enough to secure the group a new record deal with major label, A&M and soon afterwards, the band found their first taste of commercial success when they released, "Nurse" in November 1992, which was able to reach the Top 40 in the U.K. Album Charts, thanks largely to the single, "Teethgrinder," which entered the Top 40 in the Singles Charts. They then scored a string of successful EPs including, "Shortsharpshock," which featured the song, "Screamager," perhaps the best known Therapy? song and one which incorporated the feelings of teenage emotions as brilliantly as their fellow Northern Irishmen, The Undertones had done fifteen years prior with, "Teenage Kicks," albeit in a much darker fashion. Following two more successful EPs in "Face The Strange" and "Opal Mantra," the group released, "Troublegum," their biggest album to date, in February 1994. "Troublegum" featured no less than six singles including the Joy Division cover, "Isolation," which had two different videos made to promote it. The popularity of the record led the band to a Kerrang! Award and a Mercury Prize nomination. More...
This week a look at two recently released videos from Sex Slaves and Falling Red; in a classic showdown I will have to ultimately decide between strippers and blood. Surprisingly, it’s a lot closer than you think.
The first video is from UK rockers, Falling Red. The video is for the song “Come On Down” from the EP “Hasta La Victoria Siempre.” We begin with the 1-2 punch of guitars and the band name, Falling Red, shown on a marquee, and then we’re off with two girls dancing on the stage in lingerie. The song begins with, “Friday night and I’m headed for the show…” then cuts to a seating area that may be a VIP or champagne room, although I doubt the latter because there is too much light. Here we find a girl in red lingerie stripping on a pole. We are 36 seconds in and already have three strippers. For those keeping score at home I don’t need too mention how impressive this is. More...
Each week we chat up bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite pit stories and tales from live shows. This week's story of alcohol induced mayhem comes courtesy of Dead Horse Trauma, which recently released the new album "Tellus Hodiernus Caducus" (reviewed here). Below is vocalist Eric Davidson's retelling of a fan's run in with the police at a show in Fargo.
First thing that comes to mind was a show at The Nestor Tavern in Fargo, ND. We didn't know it at the time, but we were having some really uncomfortable conversations with this shady drunk guy, who had minutes before stabbed his roommate for taking his liquor. I didn't notice the blood on his shirt while he was talking to me, but my band mates saw it. Cops were swarming the house next to the venue, and eventually this guy ended up getting slammed against the back of our RV and arrested. Made for some sweet footage that we used on our video for "No Recollection."
Check back again next Tuesday as we continue to share more pit stories from metal fans and musicians.
I have a special place in my heart for Las Vegas, probably because I lived in Nevada for almost twenty years. You hear all kinds of cliched phrases about Las Vegas being the "entertainment capital" of the U.S., but that depends on what kind of entertainment you're looking for. If you're just some tourist, you'll go hog wild for the latest flamboyant guy taming a white tiger or some pop star appearing at Caesar's Palace. Or you could be the weekend partier from LA, descending on the city for a night of debauchery at one of the dozens of night clubs and ultra lounges. But the kind of entertainment a metal listener wants is going to be markedly different, and a scene does exist in Las Vegas once again.
See, the Las Vegas valley had a great underground scene back in the late eighties and throughout the nineties. Besides Mark Slaughter putting it on the map in terms of commercial metal, Mitch Harris released two LP's with his LV band The Righteous Pigs before leaving to join Napalm Death. Clubs such as Calamity Jayne's brought in weekly shows before they were busted for coke, and the Huntridge was legendary in terms of hardcore and extreme metal shows. All the local bands played at the local college bars around UNLV and at the Elks Lodge in Henderson, and had their music promoted on the radio station before the general manager switched the format to all jazz back in 1998. Local bands such as Goatlord, Requiem and Hemlock (still active and billing themselves "the hardest working band in metal") had no more exposure after this happened, and the local scene died off for a number of years after this.
Technology intervened and created a renaissance for the Las Vegas scene. College radio isn't imperative any more when you can hear everything on satellite radio and the internet now. Besides the House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and the Hard Rock Casino bringing in the bigger names, there are tons of local venues hosting concerts now. Every weekend there are shows at the Cheyenne Saloon with local bands on the roster supporting the big name acts that come in from L.A. and elsewhere. That five-hour drive from California has brought in bands ranging from Asesino to Enthraller at this venue, which was the site for the Las Vegas Death Fest 3 and the Doom In June shows. Local favorites like Avenger In Blood and Soiled Carnage can be found there with a whole host of other garage metal bands opening for the big gigs.
In the past five years, the scene has exploded with bands such as metalcore heavy hitters Molotov Solution putting Las Vegas on the map. Another big surprise has been the immense popularity of Guttural Secrete in the national death metal scene. Granted, they've been around almost a decade, but it is literally unheard of for a band this extreme to have almost a quarter of a million hits on Youtube - especially an independent one. In many ways, Las Vegas does have the ideal climate for a scene if any city has. It's 24 hours of non-stop drinking, gambling and every vice imaginable. What it lacks in historic culture it exceeds in bacchanalian virtues. It is the setting for the glitterati and the plastic too, and for every serious extreme metal and metalcore band working the club circuit, the desert floor is littered with alot of screamo bands and younger kids that need to hone their style.
Below we will take you to the music of a few Las Vegas bands that haven't been featured prominently in our pages, so you can get an idea of what this desert community has to offer the metal scene.
Tales of the Grotesque
Tales of the Grotesque define themselves as a brutal melodic death metal band that were "recently released from a dark room where they defined their sound and status as a band." They've been around since 2010 and it's their mission to give you the feeling of an eerie tale crawling in your skin. They were recently voted October band of the month by Las Vegas website FiggZillaMusic.com.
Possibly one of the most darkly humorous bands from the old school, Pungent Stench traces it's roots back to 1988 when former members of Carnage came together to create this sick and twisted group. These "tres hombres," as the three members Martin Schirenc (El Cochino) on vocals and guitar, El Gore on bass and Alex Wank on drums referred to themselves as, became the flagbearers for extreme warped metal in the early nineties. After a demo and a split EP with fellow Austrians the Disharmonic Orchestra in 1989, Pungent Stench unleashed it's "Extreme Deformity" 7" and the classic debut "For God Your Soul...For Me Your Flesh." The time was 1990, a year that also saw them put out one of a couple split 7"s with Nuclear Blast labelmates Benediction. (A band that Alex Wank never minded sharing vinyl space with, since he deemed them the only other group on the label that vaguely resembled them.) This album took the underground by storm with it's deranged groovy death beat songs like "Dead Body Love" and "Embalmed In Sulphuric Acid." This was back in the time when not many bands were recording extreme metal. More...
Swedish rockers, Crashdiet (Simon Cruz/vocals, Peter London/bass guitar, Martin Sweet/lead guitar, and Eric Young/drums), are reissuing their 2010 Generation Wild album and will include an extra track named Hollywood Teaze. They have also created a video (see below and note the one stripper pole scene just to make sure you are paying attention) so what a perfect time to look at the first video, the title track from Generation Wild that was deemed too obscene for MTV. More...
Every week we check in with fans and bands to get their mosh pit stories from metal shows. This time around bassist Gredin of French experimental act Hypno5e has shared a story of an ill-timed stage dive.
It was in Chandler, in the south of Chicago, 3 years ago, it was our first American tour with Hypno5e, the gig was going so well that I decided to jump into the crowd, brainless. The thing was that the lights were pretty bad so from the stage I couldn't see a thing. I happened to jump on a fat lady in her fifties, she rolled over and crashed under a table of the bar. I was too excited to notice anything, my comrades on stage were laughing while playing but I didn't understand why...
After the show I was told about all that, the lady s ankle was a little hurt and she was saying she was looking for the one in charge to sue him. Fortunately, the woman was the mother of a good friend of the guy who booked the show (a really good fellow by the way) so she stopped complaining at some point. That's the day I learned that going to court was the American way for having the wealth charges payed back since they didn't have any welfare system.
To hear tracks available for streaming online and find out what's going on with the band, head over to the Hypno5e MySpace music profile. Be sure to check back in again next Tuesday as we share more stories from the mosh pit.
Helsinki, my Helsinki. One year later, and still there is always something new and exciting here. In a city that is constantly evolving musically, a city where Gods of Metal roam the streets, what could be hidden under the surface? Clearly Helsinki is a center in the musical world, where it seems as if everyone you meet either plays an instrument or is in a band. One only has to look at the music that comes from this epicenter to realize how raw with talent the city and surrounding suburbs are.
With such internationally acclaimed acts such as Nightwish, Apocalyptica, Wintersun, Norther, Amorphis, and Moonsorrow boasting their origins here in Southern Finland, is it really a surprise that there is even more phenomenal talent hidden right beneath our noses? That’s not the Koskenkorva I smell, it’s the scent of fresh, raw talent. Heavily influenced by folk metal and symphonic metal, Helsinki area also has a surprisingly good local scene; this week we’ll Unearth the Metal Underground with everything from black metal to symphonic death metal.
Assemble the Chariots
To start with, a hefty dose of black and death metal! Assemble the Chariots was formed in the summer of 2008. The band's musical focus is death, black and hardcore metal, and in its own words “fast guitar shreds, and shit you’ve never heard before.” They had their first release in 2008 and currently are writing a demo set to come out later this year. Personally, I’m loving the flowing guitar riffs and the way the songs quickly transition to Opeth style growls and blast beats. Piano interludes provide melancholic interest and leave me wondering how the hell these guys aren’t on any magazine covers yet.
Some bands are almost essential to their respective genres. If one likes thrash metal, there's a better chance than not that the same person will be an Exodus fan. If one likes grindcore, it's extremely likely they will also be a fan of Napalm Death and if one is a fan of doom metal, it's safe to say that Electric Wizard is somewhere in their CD collection. Rightfully so too, as they have released some of the best tunes not only in doom, but all of heavy metal. The band was formed in the market town of Wimborne, Dorset in 1993 by guitarist Jus Oborn after he left the band Eternal, joined in the venture by bass player Tim Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening. After slugging it out in the live scene for two years, Electric Wizard were able to bag themselves a record deal with Rise Above Records, the label owned by Cathedral frontman Lee Dorrian. They soon released their self-titled, debut album which followed the traditional doom metal style, but was met with many positive reviews. They followed the record shortly afterwards by releasing, "Demon Lung," a split single which was shared with a band named, Our Haunted Kingdom, who themselves have now become a stoner metal favourite, though they are more recognised by their current name, Orange Goblin.
In January 1997, the group marked a milestone in their career when they released their second album, "Come My Fanatics..." which is today considered one of the best albums in the history of doom metal. "Fanatics..." was also labeled by many as one of the heaviest albums released in the 1990s and was followed by a slew of singles and EPs. This time of the band was not met without controversy. Guitarist and singer Oborn was arrested for possession of cannabis, as well as encountering health issues when he was hit by a collapsed eardrum and severed a fingertip in a DIY accident. Oborn was not the only member to have a run in with the law, as Bagshaw was arrested for armed robbery and Greening also found himself in trouble after he was charged with assaulting a police officer. Nevertheless, Electric Wizard arguably outdid themselves in the year 2000 when they released their third album, "Dopethrone." "Dopethrone" was instantly hailed as a masterpiece, with many today ranking it as one of, and in the case of Terrorizer magazine, the best album of the 2000s. The record saw the band adopt a more aggressive tone, leaving behind some of their psychedelic sounds in the process. More...
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...