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Archive: Columns

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Comedy Gold

This week is a good time for a laugh and these bands have just what we need. First, The Last Vegas are playing dress-up, and then Outloud wants the seventies back and 3D In Your Face are just adorable. More...

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Sunday Old School: Down

Bizarrely, one of the most surprising things about so called super groups is one of them is actually good. Many have been excited about some collaborative efforts only to find themselves disappointed with the end result. One band which did not fall in to this category however were one formed in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1991 when a group of friends formed a new group together. These were no ordinary group of metal fans however, as they consisted of Corrosion of Conformity guitarist (later vocalist,) Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod, Crowbar members Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange and perhaps most notably, Pantera singer, Phil Anselmo. The quintet all had a long time love of such doom bands as Trouble, Witchfinder General and Saint Vitus and decided they wanted to form a band more in the vein of these acts, rather than the ferocious thrash which was popular at the time. They soon recorded a three track demo and circulated it around the metal scene, hyping themselves up by asking fans if they had heard of a band called Down. When they eventually performed a live concert in New Orleans, they were spotted by a representative of Elektra Records, who offered them a record deal there and then.

The group recorded their debut album, "NOLA" once the members were free from the schedules of their main bands and released the record in September 1995. It was a success both commercially and critically, peaking on the Billboard album charts at number fifty five. The media were very impressed with the album and most publications gave the album very high scores, dazzled by the combination of Black Sabbath influenced metal, hardcore punk, doom and stoner infections and southern rock flavour. It spawned four singles, the most successful being, "Stone the Crow," which became Down’s first single to enter the Billboard top 40. Two of the other singles, "Temptation’s Wings" and "Bury Me in Smoke" have gone on to become fan favourites, as did the album tracks, "Eyes of the South" and "Hail the Leaf." Touring in support of the album was very limited, consisting of only a thirteen date trek before the members put Down on hiatus to focus on their respective bands. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: 5 Years and Counting

Holy shit this column has existed for five years! Some may suggest five weeks was too many. Anyway, we keep plugging along. This week’s videos feature rock stars roughing it in the wilderness, experiencing a not-so-special drink and an appearance by Waldo. Yes, that Waldo. More...

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Sunday Old School: Marilyn Manson

After a whole month covering black metal bands such as Behemoth and Gorgoroth, you’d have thought that we’d be sick of writing about men in makeup causing outrage. However, this week’s article looks at one of the biggest rock acts of the nineties, fronted by the most controversial name in rock since Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson. Manson himself began life as Brian Warner, who was working as a music journalist when he met guitarist, Scott Putesky, with whom he soon formed a band, which they named Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids. It was decided that the members would adopt stage names which married the names of female icons with serial killers. Warner became Marilyn Manson while Putesky rechristened himself, Daisy Berkowitz. They were joined by bass player, Brian Tutunick (Olivia Newton Bundy) and recorded their first, self-titled demo. After bringing in keyboard player Stephen Bier (Madonna Wayne Gacy) and drummer Fred Streithorst (Sara Lee Lucas,) as well as replacing Bundy with Brad Stewart (Gidget Gein,) the band increased their local profile and gained substantial airplay on WYNX-FM, thanks largely to DJ and fan, Scott David. The early shows were just as theatrical as the ones the band would become known for, featuring such provocative images as women on crosses, children in cages and, due to the lack of a professional pyrotechnician, setting their own props on fire. The group soon caught the attention of Nine Inch Nails frontman, Trent Reznor, who signed the band to his newly formed label, Nothing Records and brought the group on the road as a support act.

Marilyn Manson (as the band had by now shortened their name to) recorded their first album, "The Manson Family Album" in the summer of 1993 but was very unhappy with the result. After playing the record to Reznor, who agreed that the album didn’t sound very good and helped the band re-record and remix the album, which was released the next summer under the new name, "Portrait of an American Family." As soon as work on the record was complete, the band decided to let Gein go after he overdosed on heroin for the fourth time. He was replaced by Twiggy Ramirez who made his live debut with the band on a short headlining tour, during which Manson was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida after the local Christian Coalition accused him of indecency. On the same tour, Manson met Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan, who gave him the title, Reverend. The controversy stirred by Manson’s new title arguably helped earn the band its first headlining tour of North America, during which drummer Sara Lee Lucas would quit after Manson set his drum kit on fire while Lucas was still performing. He was replaced by Ginger Fish and the group hit the road again, this time partnering with Danzig and Korn. More...

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Pit Stories: The Useless Sound Guy

Every week we have metal musicians from around the planet share their favorite stories from live shows, and while these are usually centered on the mayhem in the pit or the interaction between band and crowd, sometimes the best stories come from before the show has even started.

This week Eddy "Snow" Levitsky from Montreal outfit Hollow shares a story of something many metal bands can relate to: an uncooperative sound guy!

I’ll tell you a tale which has become one of the most used inside joke in Hollow. When you have gigs, most of the time, the venue will have all you need to accommodate your stage needs and if you’re starting out, the staff to help you. Sometimes, though, you get the one sound guy who’s had either too much to drink or hasn’t slept well enough before coming to work and who obviously does not care for your music, or anybody else but himself, for that matter.

I’m not sure if I can name which venue and when this happened, but I do remember the circumstances around this story. We were setting up our gear on stage and getting ready for the sound check. Every question or important fact that we needed to tell the soundman about our performance seemed like a chore to him, even though the guy was paid to do this. Hey, we rented your venue for a reason, we want to have a good night, and at least you could be pleasant with us, even if it’s just a little bit.

So we are completely set up and I take the microphone from its stand to start sound check. As I walk away from the stand, the mic gets stuck on something and I almost drop it. To our amazement, we all realize that I’ve got a six foot wire, plugged straight into the floor of the stage underneath the mic stand. Being six foot and one inch tall and needing to move to and fro on stage to give a better show, I turned to the sound guy and asked in the nicest way possible if he could procure me a longer wire, say a twenty five inch one or longer. I’ll never forget his face, bothered, vexed and desperate at the same time, as he looked at me and answered:

“Do you like, REEEEAAAAALLLLY need this?”

For our many readers who are musicians themselves, be sure to let us know your story of a venue employee who just had to make the night a little more difficult in the comments below.

Hollow's "Mordrake" album (reviewed here) is due out May 30th, 2014. You can stream the "Iscariot" single at this location, or see the band's music video for "Landscape" below. More...

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Sunday Old School: Methods of Mayhem

With the final Motley Crue tour underway what is next for the band members? For drummer, Tommy Lee, some of his time may be spent with his band, Methods of Mayhem, a unique formation in terms of both structure and sound. The band has had two rounds, will Lee and Co. try a third one? More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Deep Thoughts

This week three videos that do their best to entertain, promote new singles, and stretch every cent in the budget. More...

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Pit Stories: Don't Piss Off The Vocalist

With digital music readily available through services like Bandcamp and iTunes, heavy metal is now readily available everywhere from your phone to your computer, but that hasn't stopped the live show from being the heart of the scene. That's why every week we check in with musicians from across the globe to get their favorite stories from live performances.

As any regular show-goer knows, you shouldn't piss off the band unless you've got the balls to throw down or the numbers to back you up and out-shout the vocalist. From Dave Mustaine's infamous rants, Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age chucking things at audience members, and Bruce Dickinson's viral anti-pot tirade, many fans have made the mistake of ticking off a front man during a set.

Today Johnny Gorilla from The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell shares this tale of his own back and forth with a crowd heckler:

We played in Scotland with Orange Goblin to a sold out King Tut's and this Russian guy calls me a cunt! He didn't remember meeting me the night before in a bar coz he was so pissed drunk. I stopped the gig and got the whole crowd to call him a cunt, by name. He looked like he was gonna cry.

Also a guy called "Scabby Dave" used to sit in front of us picking the scabs and eating them while we played! TASTY!!!

Admiral Sir Cloudsely Shovell's new album "Check 'em Before You Wreck 'em" was released earlier this month, and a music video off the album can be seen below.

Also be sure to check in next week for more Pit Stories, and let us know your favorite tale of a heckler getting called out during a set! More...

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Sunday Old School: Holy Moses

Germany is a country whose history and legacy of thrash metal is rivalled only by that on the United States. It’s given the world such excellent acts as Kreator, Destruction and Assassin and still has more to uncover. This week, Sunday Old School will look at another of the country’s fastest heavy groups, who helped strike a blow for women’s place in metal music, Holy Moses. The band was formed in the spa town of Aachen, located in North Rhine-Westphalia in 1980 by bass player Ramon Brüssler, guitarist Jochen Fünders and drummer Peter Vonderstein while they were in high school and played their first show only four days after forming, with Fünders handling vocal duties, before that same year, they recorded and released their first demo, "Black Metal Masters." In 1981, the band was to change forever when both Fünders and Vonderstein left the band, with the latter being replaced by Paul Linzenich, a singer known only as "Iggy" and guitarist, Andly Classen.

Just before the year ended, Iggy decided to leave the band and Classen brought in his partner Sabina to be the group’s new singer. They worked on new material until they felt they were ready to perform, debuting their new incarnation in November 1982, before recording several new demos. The demos, such as "Walpurgis Night" and "The Bitch" helped them gain attention in the metal underground, eventually leading to a deal with Aarrg Records, through which they released their debut album, "Queen of Siam" in 1986. They were scheduled to promote the record by opening for American speed metal act, Agent Steel, however drummer Herbert Dreger failed to show up and was fired from the band as a result, with Uli Kusch replacing him. The last founding member of Holy Moses, Ramon Brüssler decided to quit soon afterwards, his place taken by Andre Chapelier. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Tribute

This week an eclectic group of videos featuring bad ass women, potential kidnappings and answering the question no one asked: Why do escalators move so slow?

Axel Rudi Pell has released a new video for the song "Long Way To Go," taken from the guitarist's latest album "Into The Storm." The video starts like an indie movie, a boring indie movie. We see city like scenes and then an escalator. Is the escalator a metaphor for life and the “long way to go?” Maybe it just means some escalators are way to slow and this song is about how long it takes. If so, I understand…

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Sunday Old School: Brujeria

Looking through the Sunday Old School archives, it seems there hasn't been too many articles featuring a mainly Latino band, with the exception of such Brazilian bands as Sepultura, Ratos de Parão and Sarcófago. So this week, Sunday Old School will be examining one of the most prominent, extreme and overall, best bands to have ever formed in Mexico, Brujeria. Brujeria was formed in 1989 at a party in Tijuana by Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares and featured such well known names as Dead Kennedys frontman, Jello Biafra, Faith No More bassist, Billy Gould and DJ Pat Hoed, along with vocalist Juan Brujo. Because several members were in other high profile bands, it was decided that they would adopt pseudonyms and wear disguises to hide their true identity, with the story being given that they were drug lords on the run from the FBI. They recorded their first single, "¡Demoniaco!" the same year and released it in 1990 through Nemesis Records. Owing to their busy schedules, it would be another two years before their next single, "Machetazos" hit the shelves, this time being released through Biafra's, Alternative Tentacles Records. It was around this time that Biafra also left the group and new members Pinche Peach and Raymond Herrera, also of Fear Factory, was brought in, which saw Pat Hoed move from drums to backing vocals.

Soon after the second single's release, the band signed a record deal with Roadrunner and brought in Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury on guitar. Their debut album, "Matando Güeros" generated much controversy due to the graphic front cover, which consisted of a photograph featuring a decapitated and disfigured head, which the band adopted as their logo, naming it "Coco Loco." The album's lyrics were also a subject of protest, with some people taking offense at their anti-Christian stance, as well as talk of sex, drugs and border crossing, not to mention the record's title. As is often the case however, the controversy only served to increase the profile of the band and shift a few more copies. The music itself was met with a mixed reaction from critics, but very positive ones from death metal and grindcore fans, remaining an extreme favourite to this day. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Gloryhole

Steel Panther have released the third music video from their critically acclaimed new album 'All You Can Eat.’ Following the release of the "Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World" and "The Burden Of Being Wonderful" videos comes “Gloryhole.” More...

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Pit Stories: The Booze Cruise

Every week we check in with musicians from across the metalverse to get their favorite Pit Stories from live shows. Today vocalist Pekka Heino from Finland's Brother Firetribe shares this tale of how the legendary Finnish love for alcohol got out of hand on a cruise show:

I was doing a show on a big cruise boat sailing the Helsinki-Stockholm line. Things get easily out of hand there as the audience tends to be pretty drunk - to put it mildly. This one time people were extra special messed up, really partying to the music we played.

Some guy got a little too excited and made his way onto the fence dividing the stage and the audience. He started rocking his body back and forth while holding on to the fence with only one hand. The state he was in made sure that it wouldn't end up well. And it didn't. He slammed face down on stage so that his body followed, legs and ass twisting over his neck. Of course he landed on glasses and bottles people had placed on stage while partying, and of course on our bass players pedal board. The bassist didn't really appreciate this, grabbed a hold of the guy and threw him off the stage. Another face down landing in just a few seconds.

While I'm watching this episode, a bald body builder type of guy grabs a hold of my clothes, trying to pull me off stage so I'm left with no choice but to cross check him in the forehead with the mic stand. He was so out of it he didn't even blink, just showed me the thumbs up and kept on rocking.

At the end of the gig, during the last encore, our guitarist jumped onto the audience to play a solo, tried to jump back to the stage over the fence, failing epically and landing on his back like a beetle turned upside down. I laughed so hard I couldn't finish the song.

Brother Firetribe features Nightwish guitarist Emppu Vuorinen and will release "Diamond in the Firepit" via Spinefarm Records on May 2nd. Pre-orders are available now on physical format or digital via iTunes. More...

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Sunday Old School: Sanctuary

It’s interesting to see how some bands formed by ex members of another successful group can over shadow their predecessors. Type O Negative became unquestionably bigger than Carnivore, Machine Head are more popular than Forbidden and whilst Nevermore became a hugely successful act, many will remember Warrel Dane (and to an extent, Jeff Loomis) for their work with a band before Nevermore formed. A band named, Sanctuary. Sanctuary formed in the city of Seattle, Washington, a place which would become famous a few years later for producing the grunge wave and acts such as Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, in 1985. Whilst they are now associated with the thrash scene of the 1980s, their music was a solid blend of thrash, power and traditional heavy metal, which showcased impressively on their first demo, which was recorded in 1986. The demo circulated around the tape trading scene and found its way to a number of record companies, including major label Epic, who offered the band a deal, which was unsurprisingly snapped up.

The band entered into the studio with Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, who would produce their debut full length, as well as performing a guest guitar solo on the band’s cover of the Jefferson Airplane classic, "White Rabbit." Sanctuary spent the remainder of 1986 and the beginning of the next year working on the album, which eventually surfaced later that year under the title, "Refuge Denied." The record was notable for featuring a high pitched vocal style from Dane, one which he has not used since, with speculation stating that the vocal technique injured his voice, leaving him unable to replicate the style he utilised on Sanctuary’s debut. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Apologies to Winger

This week a tribute to the eighties, Bach is back and Winger (yes, that Winger) continues to surprise me. More...

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Pit Stories: Delain Offers To Sign Your Bruises!

Every week we check in with bands from across the globe to get their most memorable Pit Stories. Today Charlotte Wessels of symphonic outfit Delain checks in to share the lessons she's learned over the years in the pit, and to offer to sign any Metalunderground reader's mosh pit bruises! Charlotte had this to say:

My best moshing days were probably when I was between the ages of 14 and 17, so I believe I owe a lot to moshpit etiquette. Still, I had to learn a lot of things the hard way. For example the fact that I should rather stagedive backwards then forwards (that time my boobs landed exactly in my grinning friend’s perfectly cupped hands) and that All Stars are NOT moshpit sensible shoes (that time I didn’t notice I’d been jumping through broken beer bottles for two hours. Blood. Blood everywhere). Also, the fact that many musicians find it an awkward request if you ask them to sign your fresh bruises after a perfectly friendly violent pit.

Now, Delain’s audience is not the mosh-till-you-bleed type of crowd, nor are we the projectile-vomit-over-your-audience type of band - just picking up on two recurring themes in this website’s stories :) - but if anyone wants their mosh pit bruises signed after a show, be my guest! You earned those!

Delain's new album "The Human Contradiction" saw official release today in North America via Napalm Records. Pick up your own copy right here and check out the "Stardust" music video below. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Lynchburg, VA

“FREE SANDWICH,” the black-on-white marquee lettering announces outside the unassuming roadside deli. “JESUS LOVES YOU.”

For many Americans today, such a sight is instant “meme bait” – earnest religiosity begging for a sneering, sarcastic caption. For this returning Virginia native, who spent eight years in secular New England associating with metalheads and entertainment business types, it’s a fidgety sensation of dislocation, of being marooned between two worlds at odds with one another. Two worlds – let’s face it – at war.

Which is why I still have no idea what to expect – I am indeed attending a metal show, I have to keep reminding myself – as I turn off Route 29 South and weave my way uphill to narrow Old Colony Road in Madison Heights, minutes from Lynchburg. More...

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Sunday Old School: Lita Ford

If you grew up in the eighties you knew Lita Ford as the hard rock girl with credentials. She could play guitar and mix it up vocally with Ozzy Osbourne. Eventually you find out she was part of The Runaways and that’s when you really begin to appreciate how important she has been to rock and roll. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Hi Mom

New videos from two Australian bands and one Swedish band this week; focus on mesh tank tops and the debate of what is the proper reaction when you are on camera: “Hi Mom” vs. Middle Finger. More...

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Unearthing The Croatian Metal Underground: Part 2

Back in 2011 during our unending quest to unearth the best the underground has to offer, we previously looked at a series of bands from metal scene in Croatia.

Fast forward three years and today it's time to return to that country again for another threesome of Croatia's best. Read on to discover a new trio projects that all go in drastically different directions while remaining inside the realm of metal: the post-black metal Hesperian Death Horse, modern metal outfit Kryn, and instrumental group Asheraah.

Hesperian Death Horse

Swinging back and forth between atmospheric, understated post-metal and full-on black metal insanity, Hesperian Death Horse is a band of extremes that doesn't care to sit still and stay firmly within one genre.

If you can dig both hoarse, abrasive black metal and the more melodic and ambient side of the genre all in the same sitting, enjoy the full “Mrtav” album below, as well as the band's latest mind fuck of a track “Tesla,” taken off a new split release with Hazarder.

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