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. For my second article (read the first one here) I am going to look at three bands of three distinct genres in Heavy Metal, but in the emerging Halifax Underground you can find these three bands playing together on any given night.
Nova Scotia, with its small population and many rural areas, might not be considered the hotbed of metal, but when you look into the underground you see a very different story. With all styles of metal being accepted and embraced, the underground is growing each and every late night.
Black Moor consists of: Eric Hanlin – Guitar & vocals, Nick Jones – Lead Guitar, Rob Nickerson – Bass, Sylvain Coderre – Drums, and yes they are young. In fact I’m sure they are sick of people talking about how young they are, but why we as media are so amazed at their baby faces is because of the music that comes out of them.
The band rips tunes that are inspired by such heroes as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, and Metallica. When you are writing and playing music that has the sound of those amazing legends then you are going to have great show, especially when you pull it off as well as Black Moor. I can use all the adjectives here: hard hitting guitar riffs, raunchy vocals, blast beats! That’s all crap that as reviewers we use every day so if you need that at least I said it. In my opinion though Black Moor far outweighs those clichés. Their music is Raw Thrash that speaks to you on a level that I haven’t experienced since I was 14 and heard “Seek and Destroy” for the first time. As Heavy Metal Momma would say Black Moor is more of a feeling then a band. You can get that feeling at their MySpace page.
I will be the first to admit that having someone who could be my kid play music that takes me back to the days when thrash was king is weird, but hell I’m going to roll with it. What amazes me about them is they could certainly make some dollars standing up and doing cover songs, but they write and play what they like instead. That’s ballsy and what old-school thrash is all about.
Tis’ the season, it’s that time of year again. This week we take a look and see what our aging rockers are hoping for under the Christmas tree… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. Last week's story focused on drinking, so this week let's take it up a notch to drugs. Jason Schmidt of California metalers Graf Orlock, shares his story from a remote corner of Australia:
Orange, New South Wales, Australia, June 2010. Graf Orlock and Dangers were doing a 3 week tour of this fair former penal colony, roughly 160 miles west of Sydney with a burgeoning population of 31,000. We played a rowdy and entertaining house show there, which was of particular historical interest because it appeared NO bands from out of town had ever played there. Whilst the mid-song running and punching was in full fiasco, there appeared to be an injured kid lying in the back of the room. Not only was this kid lying down, his face was a Violet Beauregarde color blue, and small tremors seemed to take over his half naked body. The ambulance people were called, his mom arrived, and his minor drug-induced seizure was put to rest in short order. Since then this house has been christened 'Seizure's Palace' and remains a highlight of our summer (winter) abroad.
Graf Orlock's new EP, "Doombox," is out January 18, 2011 on Vitriol Records. Known for insane artwork and elaborate packaging, Graf Orlock steps it up once again with Doombox -- a 30"x10"x10" fold-out cardstock "boombox" that houses the Doombox EP on CD and vinyl, plus a bonus CD containing Graf Orlock's entire "Destination Time" trilogy. Also known for its far-flung DIY world touring, Graf Orlock has repeatedly toured Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Europe, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the US, all on its own dime.
Check out some of their music on the band's official MySpace page.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
When a metalhead moves into parenthood, a whole new world of challenges is unveiled, as with any new parent. Likely not the first on your mind is what music you can play for them. You presumably don’t want them growing up a wuss, listening to pop music. You want them to ROCK!
Cannibal Corpse and Slayer might be a little much for babies or toddlers, however. In fact, the biggest challenge to finding good metal to play for kids is the profanity. You could resort to some Christian metal, which is usually free of profanity and violence, or search through your collection for the few clean albums or make your own mix of kid-safe metal. Instrumental metal, especially Powerglove, is a decent option, if a little limiting.
Or you could search for some metal music that’s made just for kids. Yes, there are a few bands doing this, but perhaps just one who has done it best. For fear that you’ll skip this entire article when you see the others, let’s start with the best:
(Warning: If you take yourself and your metal too seriously, this is not for you; this is for metalheads with a sense of humor and can see the fun in these bands. After all, it’s for the kids!)
The promo says it pretty well: “What would happen if The Wiggles met Rob Zombie backstage at a Gwar concert and decided to form a band together? I'm not really sure, but I'd bet they would sound a lot like The Thunderlords!”
The Thunderlords is an entirely original Viking-themed “band” making original loud and heavy songs for kids. The band released their only album, Noisy Songs for Noisy Kids in 2005. The album features nine songs with song titles like “I Like Dirt,” “Eat Vegetables” and “Ice Cream Headache.” In fact, I Like Dirt" and "Ice Cream Headache" were featured on the soundtracks for the bestselling video games “Tony Hawk's American Wasteland,” “Tony Hawk's Project 8” and “Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land” respectively.
Check out the video for “I Like Dirt” and a stream of “Ice Cream Headache” below:
It’s always a shame when death is a factor in choosing which band to cover for Sunday Old School, but after the tragic death of drummer Armando Acosta, it seems only right we remember his work with Saint Vitus, one of the first and most influential bands in doom metal. The band was formed in 1979 by Acosta, bassist Mark Adams, guitarist Dave Chandler and lead singer Scott Reagers under the name, Tyrant but changed their name shortly after to Saint Vitus a Black Sabbath song. The band were eventually offered a record deal from SST Records, which was run by hardcore legends Black Flag, another of the group’s biggest influences and they released their self-titled first album in 1984 before following it with a second album, "Hallow’s Victim" and an EP, "The Walking Dead" in 1985.
Following these releases, Reagers decided to leave the band and Saint Vitus recruited The Obsessed frontman Scott "Wino" Weinrich. The first record with Weinrich was the full length album, "Born Too Late," which became the group’s best selling release to date. Although their next album, "Mournful Cries" didn’t sell as well as their previous album, it still garnered positive reviews from fans and critics. The band parted ways with SST Records soon afterwards and signed with Hellhound Records, through which they released the album, "V" in 1989. The album would prove to be the last studio recording with Wino to date, as he decided to leave the band following the release of a live album to reform The Obsessed in 1991. A new singer was found in Count Raven frontman Christian Lindersson but he would only record one album with Saint Vitus, 1993’s, "C.O.D." Following the tour in support of the album, Lindersson was replaced by the group’s original singer Scott Reagers, with whom they recorded one more album, "Die Healing," before deciding to call it a day in 1996.
In 2003, the "Born Too Late" incarnation of the band decided to get back together and perform some live shows, but they made it clear that it was not going to be a permanent reunion, and disbanded once again before the year was over, releasing a live DVD from the tour in the process. A more promising reformation would happen in 2008 however, when the band announced that they were returning and eventually confessed that new material was being written. Once again, this reformation featured the "Born Too Late" lineup and they were able to perform at some of the biggest festivals in Europe such as Roadburn and Hellfest. However in 2009, Acosta parted ways with the band due to health concerns and was replaced by Blood Of The Sun drummer Henry Vasquez. Acosta passed away on November 25th of this year, leaving behind a great legacy of heavy metal and carving himself a place as one of the most respected drummers in the history of doom metal. A new Saint Vitus album is expected to surface sometime next year, which will be their first without Acosta. More...
In response to the Motley Crue/Poison 2011 tour Bret Michaels admits that his pre-mature announcement may have been a “pipe dream”. Vince Neil commented, saying it was “wishful thinking” at best. Is it just me or are these two being way too nice to each other? I smell another reality show. Ladies and gentlemen it’s VH1 Rock of Hair starring Vince Neil and Bret Michaels, watch as the two compete for well used girls, camera time, and dollars to go toward their next plastic surgery session… More...
This week’s episode begins with Bret in Indianapolis on the Bob and Tom radio show. The discussion begins light, discussing Michaels' health, then gets serious when they bring up the song “Talk Dirty To Me” and its place as a strip club anthem. Interesting, this got me pondering some of Poison’s music. Is it possible Poison isn’t only the strongest top 5 strip club songs, but also top 5 B-side strip club songs? Let’s take a closer look. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week John Conley, lead guitarist of New York doom metal band Moth Eater, shares a couple that demonstrate how drinking stories and pit stories sometimes go hand in hand:
The ONLY thing I've ever won in life... free tickets to see Godsmack play a lunch time set for K-Rock radio at CBGB's. It was around the time of their 1st record. It was supposed to be a big deal or something. Stuttering John was the emcee... or something... I ended up going to the show with my buddy the Drunken Monkey. The band didn't start playing 'til after 1 but we were drinking as soon as they started serving. By the time they started playing there were all sorts of jackholes jumping around. I'm a bit fuzzy but I remember wearing my Skinless hoodie and throwing windmills between drinks. Good times with the Drunken Monkey for sure... and yes, Godsmack sucked.
Here's another one for a more positive experience:
I was drunk off my ass before getting to the show. Always a good way to start the night. It was Slayer at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC. I've seen Slayer so many times I forget who was opening. Might have been Meshuggah? I just don't remember. Anyhow, I was so lit that as soon as Slayer started I handed my friend my coat and went barreling to the front. I was throwing fuckers and getting thrown. By the end of the show I was spitting distance from the stage trying to get my hands on a Hanneman guitar pick. No hangover the next day but damn were my shoulders sore!
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
When going through the Sunday Old School archives, it struck me as rather strange that while over sixty bands have been covered thus far, there has yet to be an article on a true power metal band. So today I make amends for that as we take a look at one of the most loved bands in the genre, Germany’s Blind Guardian. The band formed in 1984 under the original moniker, Lucifer’s Heritage in the town of Krefeld by singing bassist Hansi Kürsch and guitarist Andre Olbrich.
After going numerous lineup changes, the band signed a deal with No Remorse Records and decided to change their name to avoid accusations of Satanism and to stop them being lumped in with the emerging black metal bands at the time such as Mercyful Fate and Celtic Frost. Through No Remorse, the band released their debut album, “Battalions Of Fear” in 1988, which was predominantly a speed metal album in which the influence of countrymen Helloween shined through. The album was well received and a sophomore full length, “Follow The Blind” was released the next year, which featured a guest performance from Helloween founder Kai Hansen. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Australian metal band The Red Shore's manager Roman Koester shares a story from their recent tour in the States:
So we were on the 'No Mercy Tour' in the U.S in September 2010. We got to Pennsylvania, the show was at The Smiling Moose. We were staying with this girl who kindly put us up. She seemed into it and was up the front the whole show. The room was small, but completely packed. After a few encouraging words from our vocalist Chase, fights began to break out. Within a few seconds the entire place was brawling, about 6 individual fights, noses breaking, blood everywhere! The next thing I see is this guy running at the girl whose place we were staying at. At this point she was still facing the stage, intent on focusing on the music. Just as she decided to turn around, this big guy unleashes a haymaker straight into her face. We were certain she was going to drop, but to our surprise she stood her ground and smashed the dude right back in the face and dropped in, then proceeding to kick him in the face while he was down... America's rough!
The Red Shore just recently wrapped up some dates on Despided Icon's farewell tour in Australia after releasing their latest album, "The Avarice of Man" in September. You can check out some of their music here.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
Here we are already at episode 6 with no way of getting this time back. This week Bret is still on the road while his family is home. His girls are preparing for their first day of school and Bret is bummed he can’t be part of this. This is of course because Bret’s priorities are: 1. Rock n’ Roll 2. Family 3. Bandanas. 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 I am revisiting Vancouver, Canada’s underground metal scene. While last time we gave some of the city's death metal bands the spotlight, this time I'm taking a look at the city’s more experimental metal acts. There is no doubt that this west coast Canadian city is abundant in metal talent, but beneath the piles of death metal and hardcore/metalcore acts lay a handful of exceptionally talented progressive and experimental bands. This week we will be taking a closer look at three of these bands.
Nylithia is an absolute force in every aspect. Its music is insanely technical and vastly diverse. While being labeled as a death metal act, Nylithia combines stylistic elements from many different areas. Technical death metal, progressive metal, ambient and melodic thrash metal are all combined into one fluent sound. The members who come together in Nylithia are also exceptionally young and are one of the youngest active bands in the Vancouver metal scene. A debut EP was released in 2008 by the name of “Infector,” and the band is currently setting up some studio time to record its second album and debut full length for a mid-2011 release. Nylithia has already made news around the world when they debuted a music video for its adaptation of a Super Mario theme song, which Metalunderground.com covered. Do not be surprised if you start to hear alot more about Nylithia in 2011. Its extremely entertaining debut music video for the track “Replicants” is available for viewing below. Nylithia may be underground today, but could easily become a household name in extreme metal in the years to come.
As has been discussed before, while thrash metal was influenced by the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, thrash metal bands in the United Kingdom found little success. Out of the several British thrash bands worth mentioning, arguably only two really stand out. We’ve already taken a look at one of them, Bristol’s, Onslaught, so this week, we’ll be examining the history of Nottingham’s Pagan thrashers, Sabbat. The band was originally formed under the moniker, Hydra in 1985 by vocalist Martin Walkyier and bass player Frazer Clarke, along with guitarist Adam Ferman. A second guitarist was recruited soon afterwards in the form of fifteen year old Andy Sneap, though two weeks later he became the band’s sole guitarist when Ferman quit, taking drummer Mark Daley with him, leaving the drum stool open for Simon Negus. With the new members on board, the group decided that a change in name was appropriate and settled on Sabbat, after finding it in a book on witchcraft. Once Sabbat released a demo entitled, "Fragments Of A Faith Forgotten," they saw their popularity soar, receiving a two page spread in Kerrang magazine, a BBC Radio One session, a flexi disc release for Warhammer’s White Dwarf magazine and eventually a record deal with Germany’s, Noise Records (the label had previously shown interest in the band, but were unable to sign them because Andy Sneap was not yet eighteen.)
In May 1988, the band released their debut full length album, "History Of A Time To Come," which garnered rave reviews from critics and was very popular amongst thrash fans for it’s different approach to thrash metal. The album also received a lot of interest as a result of it’s lyrical themes which contained well researched insights into the occult and religion. They followed this record with their sophomore release, "Dreamweaver," a concept album based on the book The Way of The Wyrd by Brian Bates. On this record, the songs were noticeably longer and featured a new member in second guitarist Simon Jones. Although the album was hailed as a classic, it helped to fuel the tensions within the band, as some of the members expressed concern regarding the growing length of the songs. These feelings, combined with poor management and the lack of interest from Noise, caused an internal meltdown. Guitarist Simon Jones quit the band during a U.K. tour and was replaced by Neil Watson, who appears on the live video, "The End Of The Beginning." Bassist Frazer Clarke decided to quit the music industry entirely not long afterwards and Sneap and Negus took over the band, outing Walkyier and bringing in new vocalist Richie Desmond, along with bass player Wayne Banks. For many fans, “Dreamweaver” marks the last Sabbat album but this lineup recorded a third record studio album entitled, “Mourning Has Broken,” which was released in 1991.While not without it’s praise, the album was considered nowhere near the level of quality that the first two records had set, and so the band decided to call it a day soon after.
A reunion was scheduled to take place in 2001 by Martin Walkyier, who brought with him Clarke and Simon Jones, but this was blocked by Sneap, who felt that since the other members had quit, leaving him and Negus to take care of the bad financial situation the group was in, amongst other problems, they had no right to the Sabbat name. Instead this lineup toured under the moniker, Return To Sabbat but folded in 2003. However, fans were delighted to hear that in 2006, Sabbat would return to the stage, this time utilising the "Dreamweaver" lineup. The shows were a result of Cradle Of Filth frontman Dani Filth’s longtime appreciation of the band, and it was he who convinced Andy Sneap to reunite the band, in return for a special guest slot on Cradle Of Filth’s short tour of the United Kingdom that year. The reunited performances were a hit and to celebrate, Sabbat re-released "History Of A Time To Come" and "Dreamweaver" with bonus tracks the next year. Since then, the band has continued to perform sporadically across Europe and have stated that, while they have found the shows to be a lot of fun, there are no plans to record a new studio album. More...
This week Sebastian Bach (ex-Skid Row) was asked to leave a bar and instead of politely grabbing his top hat and heading for the door he smashed a wine glass and then bit the owner’s hand. Can someone get this ex-Celebrity Fit Club guy a sandwich? To make matters worse Canadian cops found two grams of weed on Bach. So not only was Bach hungry from dieting, but also smoking pot. In hindsight the owner is lucky Bach didn’t eat his whole hand… More...
Last week Bret got marriage advice from Trump Jr. so this week he approaches his father and guitar player for their thoughts. Neither take a second to ponder the question of whether Bret should marry Kristi, both essentially look at him and wonder if Kristi will still have him. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. With all of the stories of mosh pit brutality of late, you might expect more of the same from the title, but in fact, this story from California death metal band Gravehill is not what it would appear:
This one goes back to October 31st in Dekalb, Illinois. Gravehill had flown out to Illinois to do 3 shows with our brothers in Cardiac Arrest. We had arrived late late late the night/morning before this Halloween show in Dekalb. Once the sun went down and the pabst blue ribbon started disappearing at an alarming rate, we left Aurora (where we were staying) and started our short treck over to Dekalb. When we got there, we were informed that the gig was at a rehearsal space that some local bands practiced at. "No biggie," we thought. Sometimes, those types of shows totally go off and go crazy. But once the night wore on, we became a little bummed. The first bands started playing and people were barely showing up. It was dead and the bands we really not very good. There was a mix of indie rock, bad metal and even some sort of techno/hip hop type dj guy. So we just preceeded to get drunk and make the best of it as we always do.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. In the dawn of what some call “The New Wave of Asian Heavy Metal,” we have unearthed bands from countries such as South Korea, China, Sri Lanka, Singapore and India. This week, I will be showcasing metal’s biggest Asian supporters – Japan.
There is no doubt the metal scene is enormous in Japan. It is home to Tokyo’s Sigh and Chiba’s X-Japan, the latter of which pioneered the glam-rock movement known as Visual Kei and recently completed a successful first-ever North American tour. In addition, the Loud Park Festival is held in Japan every year and has featured bands such as Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, among many others. Also, there is a manga, turned anime, turned live-action movie (with a cameo by Gene Simmons) based on a fictional band named Detroit Metal City. (I highly recommend to Metalocalypse fans.)
Although there is a plethora of talented J-metal bands, I can only focus on a few this week. Here are three “ichiban” (that means "top" or "number one") bands worth checking out:
Blood Stain Child
Osaka’s Blood Stain Child formed in 2000 with vocalist Ryo, guitarist Ryu, keyboardist Aiki and drummer Violator. The Child, in its early years with the debut "Silence from Northern Hell," has been likened to melodic death metal bands Children of Bodom and In Flames; however, BSC has since matured and separated itself from the pack with its unique blend of electronica, industrial and trance, although still retaining some Gothenburg-influenced roots. The band recently recruited vocalist Sophia from Greece and drummer Gami to replace the previous members Sadew and Violator, and are expected to release a yet-to-be-titled fifth studio album in 2011.
Check out Blood Stain Child at its MySpace.
German thrash metal is widely hailed as the only international thrash scene that could rival their American counterparts. However, when discussing German thrash, the names Kreator, Destruction and Sodom are the three that are always brought up first. There’s a good reason for this, all three bands were and are outstanding, but if one were to dig deeper then a treasure chest of thrash can easily be uncovered. One of the best examples of hidden German gems, would be the Dusseldorf based, Assassin. The group was formed in 1984 and released a demo shortly afterwards which quickly sold out all five hundred copies. After releasing a second demo entitled, "Nemesis," the band was able to secure a record deal with German label, SPV. The signing allowed them to release their first full length album, "Upcoming Terror," which sold around 15,000 copies.
After recruiting some new members, the band released their second album, "Interstellar Experience" in 1988. The album was widely praised by thrash metal fans and earned the band a supporting slot on Death Angel’s first European tour, which was also a success. The group began working on their third studio album after the tour finished but disaster struck when all of their equipment was stolen by burglars. Not having the money to replace the gear, the group decided to call it a day, leaving work on the album unfinished.
Like many thrash bands however, a reunion was inevitable, an in 2002, Assassin decided to regroup and were quickly offered a spot on the 2003 edition of the famous, Wacken Open Air festival. The performance was critically acclaimed and the band experienced a small but noticeable resurgence in popularity. To celebrate this, a third Assassin album named, "The Club" was finally released in 2005, much to the delight of longtime fans. Although the group have been keeping fairly quiet since then, they recently announced that they have re-signed with SPV, and will be releasing a brand new album in 2011, aptly entitled, "Breaking The Silence." More...
During a lazy Sunday I found myself catching up on previously recorded episodes of Bored to Death when much to my delight I discovered a couple Metal Mania episodes on queue. Here’s what I found:
In Kiss’s video for “Rock and Roll all Nite,” I wonder what was so bad that the girl coming down the stairs needed her eyes blacked out like they do on the show Cops. Also, is there someplace we can put all of the eighties brick-sized cell phones for display? I would definitely go to the Pre-2K Cell Phone Hall of Fame (maybe located in Indiana?) to see the phone Gene Simmons has while sitting on his throne in this video as well as the one used by Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell. More...
Three episodes in and not a lot of highlights unless of course Bret Michaels picking up after his dogs or playing “hate” dodge ball with his girlfriend is entertaining. Time to keep this show moving, this week the Bret Michaels “Awesome” shot rules will be in place. I will be drinking Patron, chased with Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips. More...