"some music was meant to stay underground..."

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Russia

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...

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Sunday Old School: Dokken

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...

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DIY Update: Facebook As The New MySpace

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...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Video Heaven

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...

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Pit Stories: The Motorhead Whirly-Bird

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.

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Unearthing the RABM Underground

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.

Yaotl Mictlan

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.

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Sunday Old School: Therapy?

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...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Sex Slaves vs. Falling Red

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...

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Pit Stories: Don't Steal Your Roommate's Liquor

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."

Dead Horse Trauma has also recently posted the "Disbelief" music video, and you can find Metalunderground.com's interview with the band about the new album and video at this location.

Check back again next Tuesday as we continue to share more pit stories from metal fans and musicians.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Las Vegas

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.

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Sunday Old School: Pungent Stench

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...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: CRASHDIET /Generation Wild

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...

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Pit Stories: The Ill-Timed Stage Dive

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.

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Unearthing the Metal Underground in Helsinki

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.

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Sunday Old School: Electric Wizard

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...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Rock and Roll HOF

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...

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Pit Stories: A Pit By The Wrecking Yard

The mid-nineties saw Mortician getting heavy airplay for their "House By the Cemetery" EP, so by the time their classic full-length "Hacked Up for Barbecue" was released, there was keen interest in them coming and doing a live gig in Vegas. These Yonkers, NY natives had a reputation as brutal as the Son of Sam infested streets they were from and certainly were about to live up to it with the twisted free for all that was about to follow.

This would be the first ever tour for this two-piece combo of Will Rahmer and Roger Beaujard and whoever would sit in as their session drummer. (They had never bothered recruiting anyone new after their original drummer Matt lost his battle with demonizing luxuries) They figured they could get a gig lined up in our city, but someone had forgotten to tell them that the roof had collapsed on the main concert venue. Most bands would have been deterred, but not Mortician. They had just gotten on the road to tour, hooking up with fans in different cities and improvising where to play. Nothing was stopping them, and they even had t-shirts printed up with all the "tour dates" and cities on them.
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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Perth, Part 4

Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week is our fourth exploration of the metal scene in Perth, Western Australia. You can also check out Part 1 (death metal), Part 2, and Part 3 (thrash metal).

The number of good bands that come out of such a small, remote place is quite staggering - it's just a shame that most of them don't get the opportunity to take their music to a wider audience. Today's highlighted bands have, to their credit, made some inroads into the international market.

Chaos Divine

With two full length albums under its belt, numerous local and national awards, and an appearance at Australia’s largest festival The Big Day Out, progressive metal outfit Chaos Divine has started to get some recognition in their home country. Not content with that, in 2009 the band played at the Progpower Europe Festival in The Netherlands as well as some club dates in Belgium.

March 2011 saw the release of Chaos Divine's second album, The Human Connection. While recorded in Perth, for the mixing and mastering the band managed to score the talents of Swedish producer Jens Bogren, known for his work with Opeth and Katatonia. The album is also available internationally on iTunes. The sound combines progressive elements and melodic death metal with particularly outstanding guitar work and great clean vocals, and will appeal to fans of Opeth and Dream Theater as well as fans of European-style melodic death metal.

Listen to Chaos Divine on the band's web site or on MySpace.

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Sunday Old School: Machine Head

Who says gang violence is restricted to rap music? If it weren’t for a fight between a local gang and Californian thrash metal band Vio-Lence, we may have never heard Machine Head, for it was this incident that inspired guitarist Robb Flynn to leave the group and form one of his own. Joining forces with bassist Adam Duce, drummer Tony Costanza and Canadian guitar player Logan Mader, the collective soon named themselves, Machine Head simply because, as Flynn states, "It sounded cool." Before long, they found themselves signed to Roadrunner Records, after a label representative heard the band’s demo tape which had been recorded in a friend’s bedroom. Costanza was soon replaced by Chris Kontos and Machine Head recorded their first album, "Burn My Eyes." The album was a success, reaching the top forty in albums charts in such countries as Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom and selling over 400,000 copies, a record for Roadrunner at the time. After supporting Slayer in Europe, the band found that they had become popular enough to head back to the continent and headline the same venues for themselves.

Following the tours, the group once again replaced the man behind the drum kit, this time bringing in German drummer Dave McClain, who had spent some time with American thrashers Sacred Reich. This new formation gave birth to Machine Head’s sophomore album, "The More Things Change," which was released in 1997 and entered the Billboard album charts at number 138. Machine Head then had the honour of participating in the first Ozzfest tour, during which they fired Mader after a backstage incident, replacing him with Ahrue Luster. They followed "The More Things Change" with perhaps their most controversial album to date, "The Burning Red." The record polarised critics and fans alike, who were unsure at best about certain musical aspects, including rapping vocals and an image change which saw some ridiculous outfits and hair cuts. Despite these factors, the album is currently the band’s second highest seller in the United States and the album’s inclusion of "Message In A Bottle" (originally by The Police) is considered by many to be one of the best versions of the song.

The criticism continued when the band released, "Supercharger" on October 2nd 2001. Musically, it was a continuation of "The Burning Red" and resulted in a feud between the band and Slayer guitarist Kerry King, who claimed after the album’s release that Machine Head had sold out. Although it sold quite well, the "Supercharger" years weren’t too kind to the band either, as the promotional video for the song, "Crashing Around You" was banned by radio stations owing to the recent 9/11 attacks, it was for this same reason that the music video for the song was also banned from being aired on MTV. The group took exception to this and left Roadrunner Records, touring in support of the album by their own means and without the support from a record label. The tour produced the live album, "Hellalive," which was released through Roadrunner to fulfil a contractual obligation. They then suffered another blow when Luster left the group, joining Ill Nino soon after. Machine Head were unable to attract any interest from other record labels in the United States, but were still signed to Roadrunner in Europe, through which they released their fifth album, "Through The Ashes Of Empires," now with new guitarist (and Vio-lence founder and long time friend of Flynn) Phil Demmel in tow. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Trifecta

I found it entertaining that one of the reasons Chickenfoot named their second album “III” was to pass by the sophomore slump album and go right to their third. Three great albums in a row is no small feat. This week I (one opinion) take a look at some bands that have successfully accomplished the feat of: The Trifecta! More...

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