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Archive: Columns

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Sunday Old School: Dying Fetus

One thing that can be found in metal music that doesn’t appear in other genres is gloriously offensive band names. Metal is very good at turning away non listeners with monikers alone, with Septicflesh and Rotting Christ being two names that are always guaranteed to cause some disturbed looks from the uninitiated, with Anal Cunt and Pissing Razors usually gauging a good reaction too. So let’s take a look at another metal’s most repulsive names, Dying Fetus.

The band began life in Upper Marlboro, Maryland in 1991, the brainchild of guitarist John Gallagher, (not to be confused with the Raven frontman,) and bass player Jason Netherton. The two met guitarist and vocalist Nick Speleos a year later and from there, the group really got going, with Gallagher handling the drum duties until a permanent member could be found. The trio recorded a demo, "Bathing in Entrails" in 1993, before they hired drummer Rob Belton, as well as replacing Speleos with Brian Latta, which prompted Gallagher to also take up vocals, which were first heard on the 1994 demo, "Infatuated With Malevolence." The two demos were released together under the title of the latter as a compilation album in 1995 through Wild Rags Records. More...

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Sunday Old School: Evildead

Thrash metal must have given the world more bands in its heyday than any other field. So many of the groups in the genre have released classic albums, or at least good ones from "Reign in Blood" by Slayer to "Angel Rat" from Voivod. Much like the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that inspired it, the thrash scene also gave us plenty of great bands that didn’t receive much attention or have been shuffled away but can now be uncovered and cherished. Today we’ll look at one of these bands, namely the Los Angeles based socio-political thrashers, Evildead.

Evildead was formed in 1988 when guitarist Juan Garcia decided to leave the speed metal band Agent Steel as well as Abattoir, taking bass player Mel Sanchez with him from the latter group, as well as recruiting vocalist, Phil Flores, guitar player, Albert Gonzales and drummer, Rob Alaniz. Garcia was looking for something where he could express his interest in hardcore music and thrash metal, which was present but not at the forefront of Agent Steel material and so decided to forge a new outfit, taking their name from the cult Sam Raimi film, The Evil Dead. More...

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Pit Stories: Power Metal Moshing

Our quest for the best pit stories from metal shows marches on! In recent weeks we've heard about the glory of seeing your favorite band live for the first time, gotten a look at the bizarre things fans do at shows, and even got a story about mistaken identity resulting in the wrong guy getting punched.

This week we've got Illinois-based prog outfit Dissona discussing some unexpected brutality at Blind Guardian shows. The band had this to say:

Craig and David have been to multiple Blind Guardian shows together. Now, Blind Guardian is not exactly the band you would think of when you think of the glorious violence of the pit, but for each show Craig and David were positioned up against the front rail, getting pressed and smashed by the pit behind them. They had crowd surfers soar over their heads; sometimes directly into their heads.

Probably the closest we had come to broken ribs and concussions, but it was always well worth the pain. Occasionally, we would turn around and each time we would notice that nearly every person moshing was also simultaneously singing the words, chants, and guitar melodies perfectly. Quite a feeling of unity. Call us nerds for having the best pit be at a power metal show, but it’s the truth. We go to extreme metal shows, too, (gotta save our credibility somehow, right?) but in those cases we are more interested in the music than the pit.

The Chicago-based progressive metal band's third full-length album "Paleopneumatic" will be released January 15th, 2016 and two tracks from that impending album can be heard below. For more info on the band, head over to the Dissona Facebook profile here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Spineshank

In the late nineties and early 2000s, metal was being represented by the nu metal genre, which for those of you too young to remember, consisted mostly of guys with short hair, piercings and tattoos, a lack of guitar solos and perhaps most offensive to “true” metal fans of all, hit singles. While some of the big names in the field such as Limp Bizkit and Coal Chamber were being slated by metalheads, there were a few which were considered hidden gems in the hated genre, one of which was the more industrial influenced, Spineshank.

The seeds of Spineshank were sewn when vocalist Jonny Santos, guitar player Mike Sarkisyan and drummer Tom Decker were all part of a band named Basic Enigma. Shortly after forming, the group heard the album, "Demanufacture" from industrial metal favourites, Fear Factory and decided to take their music further into such a direction, changing their moniker to the now familiar name of Spineshank and bringing in bassist Robert Garcia. As luck would have it, the band befriended the members of Fear Factory, particularly guitarist Dino Cazares, who was impressed with their demo and offered them a slot opening for his band at the Whiskey A-Go-Go. More...

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Pit Stories: The Venue Isn't What Was Expected

Ready for some more Pit Stories chronicling the ups and downs of life in a metal band? Today we have a tale from Norwegian hard rock band The Carburetors (featuring former Chrome Division member Eddie Guz) about the expectation of playing a huge venue only to realize as you arrive it's a single room bar with no space for your equipment!

On the first Carburetors tour out of Norway back in 2001, we tour Spain and we did two shows in Madrid. The first night we played a small club called the honky-tonk. As we arrived on the club the first thing that hit us was that the drum kit was a junior edition (in other words very small). The guitar amps I think was called Smervod and god knows where they where from…

Anyway the gig went well pretty cool crowded. The next day we where going to play the Rock Palace in Madrid. I remember picturing it as this great big venue…. when we arrived it struck me that the club was a tiny bar but I still had my hope up so I asked the promoter "alright cool is the stage in the next room?" He answer me harsh "NO THERE IS ONLY ONE ROOM…"

Ok, I still had my spirit up and asked are we gonna put up a stage along side the wall? His answer was short: "NO YOU STAND ON THE FLOOR IN THE CORNER BOTH GLUECIFER AND TURBONEGRO HAVE DONE THE SAME." He he. We did the show but Kai Kidd set the roof on fire when fire-breathing during the show, Chris broke two sets of drums and Eddie blew out both of his monitors but it was a cool gig.

For those readers who are in a band, let us know your best story of arriving at a venue and discovering things weren't quite as you expected in the comments below!

The Carburetors' new album "Laughing In The Face Of Death" is out now via SPV/Steamhammer. Check out a video below taken off the album and featuring Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir. More...

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Sunday Old School: In Flames

Over the course of Sunday Old School, we’ve seen how genres, or indeed sub-genres can be pioneered or popularised by a specific group of bands. We’ve seen how the Peaceville three (Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride) and Katatonia, helped launch the combination of doom and death metal, and of course everyone knows the Big Four of thrash (Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth in case you’ve forgot,) but another style we’ve seen spread was melodic death metal, which was brought to people’s attention by Carcass, At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity and one other group, today’s in fact, In Flames.

In Flames began life as a side project of Ceremonial Oath member, Jesper Strömblad, who wanted to add more melodic aspects to death metal. It wasn’t until he’d quit Ceremonial Oath that he was able to put together a lineup for his project though, recruiting guitarist Glenn Ljungström and bass player Johan Larsson, both founding members of the power metal band Hammerfall, another offshoot of Ceremonial Oath. After picking up another guitarist in Carl Näslund and hiring Dark Tranquility vocalist to be their session singer, In Flames recorded their first studio album, "Lunar Strain," which was released through Wrong Again Records at first and was notable for its inclusion of folk music, something which would not last long in the band’s style. More...

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Pit Stories: The Weird Things Fans Do

Update: Our apologies to Gomorrah, half this story was accidentally cut when this first went live!

Ready for another bout of Pit Stories metal fans? This week we've got a tale from Bowen Matheson of Canadian group Gomorrah, who shares an experience about the bizarre behavior sometimes exhibited by fans:

We played two local all-ages hardcore shows in Kelowna, BC in close succession in the fall of 2013, one before and after the release of "Perception." The first was with the bands Contention and Slumlord, and there was a kid in the pit who went up to Phil from Slumlord during their set and yelled into the strings of his guitar. He looked at this kid with the most fucked expression of disdain and confusion I’ve ever seen.

At the next show we were playing in support of Fall City Fall, and during our set same kid came up to me and tried to do the same thing. He ran in super fast, but this time actually made contact with the strings of my guitar, muting what I was playing. Kid basically went to first base with my guitar, and fucked up what I was playing. I wasn’t happy about this, so I grabbed the kid by his face and threw him away from me and my now tainted guitar. A buddy of mine saw the whole thing happen, and said that after I threw him, he looked back at me like I was the dick in the situation, and I just huffed my cheeks at him like an angry horse.

Several months go by, and we are playing another all ages hardcore show in Kelowna. A kid comes up to me, introduces himself, and explains to me that he was the kid in mention. He tried to tell me that it was “kind of his thing at shows” and nobody had ever gotten mad at him for doing that before. I recognized that this guy was basically telling me that I was the dick in the conversation, and he was trying to justify it again. It took me a great deal of self control to not explode on him, and instead I explained how getting in somebodies personal space and doing shit like that when they are performing is not okay. He seemed to have to consciously think about what I was telling him for it to make rational sense. I don’t know if he thought he was doing some flattering thing by doing that, but it is one of the weirdest things I’ve seen happen, then have happen to me at a show by the same mislead teenager.

Granted, it's not quite napping in the bass bin or pregnant moshing, but that's still weird. Let us know - what's the most baffling thing YOU'VE seen a fan do at a metal show? More...

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Sunday Old School: Believer

It’s quite hard to think of how a Christmas special could be done in a column exclusively about metal music. We came close last year with a look at British hit makers, Slade, who are perhaps best known for their song, "Merry Xmas Everyone." This year, we’re ringing in the holidays with a band who perhaps have a more traditional take on this season, as perhaps do some of our readers who are also subscribers to the Christian faith, or should I say, consider them self to be a Believer?

Have you forgiven me for that terrible pun yet? Then let’s move on to Believer, a band formed in Colebrook, Pennsylvania , that was formed in 1986 by vocalist/guitarist Kurt Bachman and drummer Joey Daub with bassist Howe Kraft and a second guitarist, Dave Baddorf joining soon after. Initially, their music was very melodic and the group demonstrated this with their demo, "The Return," in 1987, which earned them a deal with R.E.X. Records. More...

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Sunday Old School: U.D.O.

It seems a common trait in metal music is that if a popular frontman leaves a well known group, he (or indeed she,) will form a new band named after themselves, rather than simply using their full name. Dio is one of the best known examples of this, and King Diamond of Mercyful Fate is another, with the trend continuing to this day with Immortal frontman Abbath Doom Occulta, forming his own band, Abbath. Another of the more popular acts to be founded in such a way, was done so in "the city of blades," Solingen, Germany, by the German singer, Udo Dirkschneider, who christened his new group, U.D.O.

Dirkschneider had made his name in the eighties as the gruff frontman for Accept, a pioneer of the speed metal sound and one of Germany’s most popular heavy metal groups, but in 1987, he expressed his desire to go solo, which he did with the blessing of his bandmates. He put together a lineup which included Warlock bass player Frank Rittel, as well as guitarists Mathias Dieth of Sinner and Peter Szigeti, along with drummer Thomas Franke and the quintet recorded their debut album, "Animal House," which was actually written for Dirkschneider by Accept as a goodbye present. It was very well received by fans, if not all critics, and the band took to the road to promote the album, performing with the likes of Lita Ford and Guns N Roses, who were riding high on the success of, "Appetite for Destruction." More...

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Pit Stories: Seeing The Band For The First Time

We've hit another Tuesday and that means its time for some Pit Stories. This week there's no smashed equipment, no climbing up stage lighting, and no couples going to town on each other in front of the stage.

Nope, we're leaving all that nonsense behind to focus on that feeling you get when you see a band you adore live for the very first time. This week Matt Copeland from Canadian band Adrenechrome shared this story from the Decibel Magazine 2015 tour:

About six months ago in April 2015 a couple friends a myself went to witness the Decibel Magazine Tour 2015 featuring Vallenfyre, Pallbearer, Converge and legendary Swedish metal masters At the Gates. We were of course stoked, as we had never seen any of these bands live previously.

After a few beers we were ready for the music to start. It was exactly what we had expected Vallenfyre melted our faces with their blend of blackened/grind. Pallbearer unfortunately missing their bass player on this leg of the tour still reigned supreme that night providing their own twist of doom metal. Converge being the band we were wanting to see the most that evening did not disappoint and left us in awe. Last but not least the legends of Swedish metal themselves At the Gates absolutely slayed and proved to us they were still the headlining act they had always been.

After giving you an idea on how the actual show itself was, there is one part of the evening that really stuck in our heads and I believe always will. After many more cold beverages we made our way up to the Pallbearer merch table. All the lads were there so after buying a few things we began to basically shoot the shit with them about the show, their music and the tour thus far. I think the fact that we had recently discovered this band for ourselves and being that we were (still are...) very infatuated with them made this meeting super rad and unforgettable. They were very interested on what we had to say about the set, their music and just about us in general.

That was probably the first time I had ever met an entire band that were the definition of ‘regular dudes’ in the sense of us being able to chat and somewhat ‘fanboy’ to them without them getting annoyed or feeling awkward.

In the end, it was very cool to meet a band that we admire so much and have the chance to just shoot the shit and hang with them for a good hour or so as though hanging with our everyday pals. Made me appreciate them as people and appreciate their band even more. Great dudes, great band and a great show all around.

If you catch Adrenechrome live, be sure to let 'em know you read this and chat them up after the show! The band's new album "Tales From Adrenechrome" launched last month and can be heard in its entirety below. You can also follow the latest on Adrenechrome by heading over to Facebook here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Stone Temple Pilots

This week, it was sadly confirmed that Scott Weiland, the former vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots and supergroup Velvet Revolver, had passed away at the age of 48. Perhaps the most tragic part of this news was that not too many people were surprised, given his long history of drug abuse. In spite of this, he was always respected for his outstanding vocal talents and unique stage presence that inspired dancing even during the heaviest songs he performed. This is the story of how he, the DeLeo brothers and drummer Eric Kretz made their name as one of the most popular bands in rock music, Stone Temple Pilots.

The story of how the group started is one that’s been debated. Most accounts claim that Scott Weiland met bassist Robert DeLeo at a Black Flag show, where they discussed their girlfriends and realised that they were dating the same girl, though in his autobiography, Weiland claims that he and his two friends, guitarist Corey Hicock and drummer David Allin had been chasing up DeLeo after seeing him perform with a band named Soi Disant. After convincing him to join them, the wrote for a few years before Allin left and was replaced by Eric Kretz, who the group had seen perform in Long Beach and not long after, Hicock also quit, with his place eventually being taken by Robert’s brother, Dean. The guitarist insisted that if he joined, the band would have to lose their name, Swing and so they settled on Mighty Joe Young, taken from the 1949 movie of the same name. More...

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Pit Stories: Breaking Shit On Stage

After Toothgrinder shared a story of accidentally tearing down the stage lighting last week, today The Glorious Rebellion offers up another Pit Story of on-stage destruction, this time self-inflicted and getting a little out of control. Vocalist Billy Myers comments:

We're slowly gaining a little bit of a reputation as "that band that breaks shit onstage." Our music is loud and violent, which translates to chaos at the end of our set usually resulting in guitars being thrown into drum kits, amps being toppled over, etc. It's just something we've always done. We totally shouldn't, as we're poor and doing dumb things like this can get expensive in repairs and replacements, but c'est la vie.

On a tour stop in Johnson City, TN we played a normal set for us, and at the end of the show, as usual, things got nuts. That part would've been fine except I forgot that the stage had been backlined and the next band's gear was behind ours. I drop kicked one of my 4x12 cabs which sent it toppling backwards, into one of the local band's half stacks. The head that was on top went flying about 10 feet landing offstage, along with the cab which went about 5 feet back. Luckily, nothing of theirs was broken, however my cab landed on top of one of the floodlights we use as part of our stage set up. We realized this when we started smelling burning, and saw this when we started seeing smoke and then fire.

Stay in school, kids.

The Glorious Rebellion is set to release new album "Euphoric" via Magnetic Eye Records on April 8th, 2016 and we'll soon be premiering a new track from the album - stay tuned for that exclusive stream! More...

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Sunday Old School: Holy Dragons

Over the course of the Sunday Old School series, we’ve examined veteran metal bands from all across the world. From Aria in Russia, to Septicflesh and Rotting Christ of Greece, to Austria’s Belphegor, a Chilean band called Pentagram and another band called Pentagram (or Mezarkabul, if you prefer,) from Turkey. Speaking of Turkey, did you know that Turks are part of a larger group of people classified as Turkic? Another ethnicity that’s a member of this collective is the Kazakhs. In case you haven’t put two and two together yet, this week we’ll be expanding our map by taking a look at a metal band from Kazakhstan for the first time and their name is Holy Dragons.

The band was formed in 1992 in the then capital city of Almaty, (it was replaced as capital in 1997 by Astana,) by guitarist, Jurgen Thunderson, who was joined initially in his endeavour by singer Oleg "Holger" Komaroff. They set out to bring make music like that of their heavy metal heroes such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and in doing so, became one of, if not the first metal band Kazakhstan had produced. Keeping a stable lineup proved to be something of a difficult task, with Thunderson remaining the sole constant member. More...

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Pit Stories: Tearing Down The Lighting

Time for another round of Pit Stories! This week Toothgrinder drummer Will Weller shares a tale of something that just never goes as planned: climbing up the stage lighting. Weller had this to say:

OK so this takes place at a Toothgrinder show. We were playing in Brooklyn, NY that night and I won't even mention the venue. If you have seen us live then you know our shows get a little crazy on stage. So that night we were in a tighter space packed in like sardines. We made it to the last song and as any band would you absolutely give it your all at that point.

So we're headed full speed into the last minute of the last song and I see our singer climbing up onto one of the guitar cabinets. This is typical so I think nothing of it and continue on drumming. Well as I looked away he reached for the lights to pull himself up and you can guess what happened next. The whole light rig ripped out of the wall and came crashing down ripping out the cables that were plugged into the amps and smashing the snake on the stage.

No sound on the entire left side of stage or lights for that matter. So our guitar player without skipping a beat ripped his guitar off and just started singing with him. Needless to say after we finished the song the entire show stopped, lights came on, and everyone was asked to leave (2 bands were scheduled to play after us). We weren't looking to break anything it was just a freak thing that happened and we helped pay for it to be fixed of course. Now looking back on it it must have been kind of crazy to be in the crowd to see that unfold.

Toothgrinder's new album “Nocturnal Masquerade” will be released January 29, 2016 on Spinefarm Records. More...

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Sunday Old School: Vital Remains

Ordinarily, when a news story provides the inspiration to choose which band will be featured in the Sunday Old School column, it's because the group has split, reformed or a member has passed away. However, this week, the choice was made when a police officer in Florida was fired for joining a well known death metal band on stage and singing along to their song, "Let the Killing Begin." The quartet in question hails from Providence, Rhode Island and goes by the name of Vital Remains.

The group was forged in 1988 by guitarist, Paul Flynn, who was soon joined in his endeavour by guitarist Butch Machado, vocalist Mike Flynn, bassist Tom Supkow, and drummer Chris Dupont. Mike Flynn and Butch Machado did not last long however, as Vital Remains decided they needed better musicians and replaced the duo with Jeff Gruslin and Tony Lazaro respectively. Spurred on by the writing partnership of the two guitar players, the group became one of the most popular live acts in their local scene and after recording two demos, "Reduced to Ashes" and "Excruciating Pain," they caught the attention of French label, Thrash Records, who signed them up. More...

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Pit Stories: Punching The Wrong Guy

We've got another Pit Story for you metal heads, this time from the glory of European summer festival season! Drummer Pontus Jordan from classic hard rocking outfit Horisont shares a tale this week of that one guy every big show seems to have: the one who is too drunk and has to get in everyone's way.

This time around things a got little out of hand when a case of mistaken identity led to the wrong person getting punched. Pontus had this to say:

This summer we've been playing some festivals around Europe and during one of these festival gigs there was a really stupid guy who was being a jerk against the rest of the crowd and us in the band. He kept screaming insulting stuff and throwing beer at everyone in his way. Halfway through the set Axel (our singer) got fed up and gave the guy a push and told him to leave if he couldn’t behave. This didn’t sit well at all with this guy but after a while he left and we continued to play.

After the show we exited the stage through a side door, leading us out to the festival site. Who do think was standing there all ready to fight? The problem was that he was so drunk that he got Tom and Axel mixed up. So instead of “getting back” at Axel he gave poor Tom real good punch square in the face!

A bit of a ruckus exploded until out of nowhere this small and deadly fast guy jumped in out of nowhere. He gave the “I can’t behave at concerts when I drink guy” a hook Mike Tyson style. You could literary hear his nose break. Needless to say the fight was over and we had a fan that could pack a punch and did not tolerate idiot behaviour like that guy was showing. Tom got away with a sore face and all and all it was a good gig.

Horisont is currently out on the road with Kadavar, The Shrine, and Satan's Satyrs, with full details available at the band's Facebook profile here. New album "Odyssey" just dropped back in September and a video clip off that release is available below. More...

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Sunday Old School: Hammerfall

It always feels when looking through the Sunday Old School archives that power metal is an area that gets severely neglected. Of course, there have been some of the big names covered such as Helloween and Blind Guardian, but such acts are few and far between the likes of Napalm Death and Testament. So this week, we’re taking a step to rectify this by focusing one of the most popular bands in the history of power metal, Hammerfall.

The band was formed in 1993 by guitarist Oscar Dronjak, following his departure from extreme metal band Ceremonial Oath, who invited his former bandmate Jesper Strömblad (who had also just formed his own band, In Flames) to join him as the drummer. They were soon joined by bassist Johan Larsson and Niklas Sundin (who were soon replaced by Fredrik Larsson and In Flames guitarist, Glenn Ljungström,) as well as Dark Tranquillity vocalist, Mikael Stanne. Because of the members time mostly being spent with their other bands, Hammerfall was treated as a side project for the most part and had few original songs of their own, mainly performing covers by bands such as Judas Priest and Alice Cooper .

They mostly performed at a local music competition called Rockslaget, which they reached the semi finals of in 1996, at which point Stanne was unable to perform with the band and so, with the initial plan of making him a temporary member, Hammerfall brought in singer Joacim Cans, who impressed them enough that although the group didn’t make the final, he was made the new vocalist on a permanent basis after the show. The band started taking themselves a little more seriously after and recorded a short live performance, which eventually earned them a record deal with the Dutch label Vic Records. More...

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Pit Stories: The Polish Freight Container

The pit is where metal thrives, and there's a million and one stories to be found there, from fans who've had too many and decide to throw down to bands hitting the road for the first time and experiencing the trials and tribulations of touring.

For this week's Pit Story, guitarist Richard Powley from instrumental metal band Telepathy shared a story of performing live in Poland for the first time... inside a freight container. Powley had this to say:

Our pit story comes from one of many interesting shows during Telepathy's first European tour back in 2012. Having had our debut EP “Fracture” receive glowing reviews from across the continent, we were offered a couple of support shows by our friends in Djevera in eastern Germany and the Czech Republic. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I quickly arranged three additional concerts in Poland, with the first of these being in Gdynia.

As is sometimes the case with DIY tours, we had an alarming email saying the venue for the Gdynia concert had closed down while we were on the road, and the promoter was looking for a new venue. When we arrived, the promoter (our good friend Ola) had managed to secure a DIY space in Sopot, the neighboring town in the tri-city area. What we found were two freight containers, one on top of the other, repurposed into some kind of lecture hall for arts students. Our show took place in the upper container, and with the PA quickly mounted on top of foosball tables and the venue quickly filling, we knew we were going to have a great, if chaotic, show.

Crowds in Poland are wild, and within the first songs a pit had opened up and crowdsurfers were making their way over to the makeshift stage. By the middle of the set, the venue was a complete sweatbox and the floor had begun to bow under the weight of the crowd. Watching this tiny freight container bend under the weight of a packed out Polish crowd was certainly alarming, but made for one the most intense experiences on the tour.

By the end of the set, and due to lack of ventilation in the venue, the onstage microphone had begun to shock me whenever I approached it to address the crowd. The electrics in the freight container obviously weren’t built to withstand metal concerts, and by the end of the night we had a couple of burnt out fuses in our amps.

As we were leaving, a small man - immaculately presented in a full suit and looking rather nervous from the destruction of the venue - came up to us. He was the owner of the hall. Surprisingly, he had loved the show and after we had settled up he offered us all a lap on the go-kart arena he was also running. So, before we set off to our sleeping place for the night, those of us sober enough ended the night racing laps in the dark. A memorable first time in Poland for sure.

Want to see Telepathy live and form your own memory of the band? Catch these upcoming live shows:

Nov 27th - The Underworld, London w/ Raging Speedhorn, Gurt & Ten Foot Wizard
Nov 28th - Bleach, Brighton w/Conjurer & Latitudes
Nov 29th - Chameleon Arts Café, Nottingham w/ Conjurer, King Goat & Iron Swan
Feb 6th - Yorkshire Riffer, Leeds w/ Extinction of Mankind, Svalbard among others More...

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Sunday Old School: Dark Tranquillity

Metal loves to trace the roots and popularity of a style back to specific bands. Thrash metal famously has its "big four," of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax , black metal goes back to Venom, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate and Bulldozer and melodic death metal is often credited mostly to Carcass, In Flames, At The Gates and today’s featured band, Dark Tranquillity.

The band began life in 1989 after guitarists Niklas Sundin and Mikael Stanne put together a group named Septic Broiler, soon being joined in their endeavours by bassist Martin Henriksson, vocalist Anders Fridén and drummer, Anders Jivarp. Tney quickly recorded a demo, "Enfeebled Earth," before deciding to change their name to the now familiar moniker, Dark Tranquility. They soldiered on until they were snapped up by Spinefarm Records, through which they released their debut album, "Skydancer" in 1993, which was met with mostly positive reviews. It was quite different from later releases and many look back on it now as one of the dark horses of the Dark Tranquility catalogue. More...

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Pit Stories: The First Death Metal Show

It's that time again for more Pit Stories! This week guitarist Francis Larsson from Swedish band Aktaion shares a tale of that magical first time seeing your favorite band destroy the stage live:

Something woke deep inside of me when I was twelve and my older brother loaned me two records that would forever change my life. One was "Toxicity" by System Of A Down, the other one Arch Enemy's "Black Earth." "Toxicity" was real good, I still love that record. But "Black Earth" scared me to death. I couldn't believe my ears and turned that record off the first few seconds in, not to listen to it again until the next day when it was light outside. The madness of the sound I had never heard before drew me in, and I became lost in the world of metal. Arch Enemy became close to a religion for me, right then and there.

Growing up in from the same town as Arch Enemy, it became something magical about seeing them playing live in our shared hometown, back in 2006. My first death metal concert, I did not know how to act or what to do. But I queued outside for hours and then ran to the front of the stage. Too afraid to go to the toilet and lose my perfect spot, I stood my ground, in pain. When Arch Enemy finally took the stage I forgot everything about that. I banged my head because, being cramped up in the front position, it was the only thing I could do, and I did it good. I would be sore for weeks. I experienced sound as never before and were swept away as I never thought possible. After the concert I was handed three guitar picks, which I still keep, from a sweaty hand. It was magic, and somehow matched the feeling of hearing "Black Earth" for the first time.

Although seeing Black Sabbath the year before in Stockholm during their final tour with all original members, Slipknot with Machine Head years later, and many more thereafter, neither would match the special energy in that cramped up space in front of Arch Enemy in the small town of Halmstad that night. I hope it is true that we all have that special concert experience where our younger selves went into an metal concert naive, unknowing of the massive energy outlet the concert-format is, and leave as another person entirely.

Aktaion recently released the "Throne" album, which can be streamed below or picked up at Bandcamp here. For more info on Aktaion, head over to the group's Facebook profile here. More...

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