With ladies like Angela Gossow and Vibeke Stene fronting bands with primarily male members, the heavy metal scene has shown that women can just be as bad ass as men. While the female fronted band has gone from curiosity to accepted member of the metal kingdom, heavier acts still tend toward having mostly men among their ranks. Breaking that trend are a few groups that buck the established norm and bust out the girl power. With this week’s edition of the Unearthing the Metal Underground column we’ll take a look at three bands that rock out 100% wang free.
Kittie is probably the most well known group to feature only women handling the instruments and vocals, but there are plenty of all-girl bands that show up the kittens in terms of brutality. There’s no purr and all claws to be found in Greece’s Astarte, which leans heavily towards the black metal side of the spectrum.
Currently signed to Avantgare Records, Astarte has released five full-length albums so far, and even managed to catch Dimmu Borgir’s attention. Symphonic black metal icon Shagrath appeared in a guest spot on the “Ring of Sorrow” song off the band’s “Sirens” album. To get started with this all-girl act you can check out the video for the “Mutter Astarte” track, the collaboration with Shagrath, and the song “Black Mighty Gods” in the clips below.
The story of Motley Crue is not a well kept secret. In fact, turn on your television there is a twenty percent chance you will still see them right now. Albeit there is less than a one percent chance they will be performing. The band is made up of founder Nikki Sixx (bass), Vince Neil (vocals), Tommy Lee (drums), and Mick Mars (guitar).
In 1981 Motley Crue released the album "Too Fast For Love" on their own label, Leathur Records. A mix of hard rock, glam, and punk, "Too Fast For Love" (because it was their own label), was essentially a demo tape until Elektra picked it up and rereleased in 1982. The raw energy on this album laid the foundation for eight studio albums to follow.
"Shout At The Devil": This was Nikki Sixx’s black magic time. This is most often labeled as the greatest of the Crue albums from die-hard fans. Next, "Theatre of Pain": The album that established Motley as a glam band, too much glam for most. As if planned (probably not given the heroin usage at this time), "Girls, Girls, Girls" was the next album aimed at toning down the glam side, placing the focus on motorcycles and strippers. The next album became their most popular, "Dr. Feelgood." This is also the first album with the band was sober, coincidence? For those concerned about the strippers, they were still there. They never left after the "Girls, Girls, Girls" record.
After Vince left the band (or was fired), Nikki and Co. created a self titled album that sounded pretty cool, but just didn’t sound right without Neil. After several years the band got back together for "Generation Swine," an honest effort to grow musically and try new things. Despite a couple minor hits, it didn’t work. A few years later (without Tommy) the Crue would put out, "New Tattoo," an attempt to back to the original Motley sound, also just not quite there (which is probably directly related to a missing Tommy Lee). Most recently, Motley released "Saints of Los Angeles" (reviewed here), originally a record to compliment their autobiography, "The Dirt," their ninth studio album delivered, pleasing both their die-hard fans as well as a few critics. More...
This week a look back at what if certain break-ups, decisions, or meetings didn’t happen and how it would have turned out for the parties involved.
WHAT IF VAN HALEN DOESN’T SPLIT?
David Lee Roth stays with the VH brothers and continues touring to support the 1984 album. Eventually Roth loses his voice for a very long time, but this doesn’t stop Eddie and Alex from making their next album, an instrumental only record, titled: 1986. Despite Roth’s voice gone, they still tour (with DLR only doing karate kicks on stage) and for two years sell out arenas worldwide. Eventually, their popularity dies down with the ill-advised 1990 album titled: Still Runnin’ With The Devil. As for Sammy Hagar? Without VH in his way he focuses on his tequila, eventually forming a strong partnership with a leading brand and goes on to make billions with Jose Haggar… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Fredrik Johansson of Tuck From Hell shares a story of a good show and even better "afterparty":
Back in 2009 we played a venue in our hometown. The venue was crowded and it was magic in the air. The show was supreme but there was this guy in the audience that was so god damn drunk that he probably didn't even knew that he was there. At first he was just moshing and having fun, then he had a little to fun I guess, when he tried to crash the stage. Suddenly out of nowhere he punched a guy in the face. The police came and took him. Well the show went great for us and now on to the legendary afterparty:
Our singer Niklas Tuck Ingels has an old Dodge Van that was supposed to take us to the afterparty. We met some girl that was sober enough to drive it. Allthough the van didn't start, so Niklas (drunk as hell and butt-naked) stopped a guy and got his jump-starting cables. Yippi-kei-ey the van started. But the girl couldn't drive at all. The whole band, and some other people we brought along, were thrown around in the back seat. Ten minutes later we arrived to the apartment that belonged to a dude we met at the show. That dude started to play some classical music on his acoustic guitar and I went berserk, yelling that Petrus (lead guitar in Tuck from Hell) should play “Battery” instead. So after a while Petrus started shredding, and people went insane! headbanging, moshing and breaking stuff, we kind of thrashed the whole apartment except for his computer. We ended up watching some weird Japanese torture-films that he had, whilst drinking up his 400 dollar bottle of whiskey. Epic, Indeed.
Tuck From Hell recently announced some new shows in support of their upcoming album, "Thrashing," which is due out on January 25th, 2011 via Metalville Records. "Thrashing" can currently be heard in its entirety on AOL Music.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
Most unsigned bands I talk to, regardless of their location, seem to uniformly agree on one thing: their local scene sucks. While I'm sure that's sometimes the case, I'll bet that it often isn't; it's a commonly held misconception by struggling bands that somewhere in the world there are magical cities where ordinary folks flock to see local bands in droves. While this is a nice little fantasy, such a place doesn't actually exist, but it doesn't mean that all of your local scenes suck. Bands are just looking at it the wrong way. Any strong scene is made up of the BANDS themselves, not random non-musician fans. It's about bands supporting other bands, putting together shows, coming out to see each other, teaming up. That's what makes a strong scene, not how many hot girls show up.
NYC's metal scene is currently brimming with talent. This doesn't mean, of course, that folks flock by the hundreds to see local band bills. For the most part, audiences are comprised of bands coming out to support other bands, and on any given night you'll find a modest but strong crowd at a number of simultaneously happening metal shows.
To showcase the caliber of talent in NYC's metal scene to the rest of the world, we at MetalSucks decided to release a free digital compilation called "NYC Sucks." We had so many great bands on the table that we were forced to split it up into two volumes, to be released a month apart. Metal Underground.com has graciously given me the opportunity to showcase three of the bands on the comp never before covered on this site. All of the bands covered today are on Volume 1, available now.
The first time I saw Wizardry, their costumes and performance were so over the top that I was seriously convinced the dudes who set up their gear were hired roadies. That the venue was the dark, dank basement of Lit Lounge -- which holds 30 people in front of the stage, tops -- made this premise even more ridiculous. Of course it turned out that it was just the dudes in the band, pre-costume, but that should underscore how much effort they put into their live show. Wizardry plays a brand of metal that's a healthy mix of traditional and stoner, like what White Wizzard (see what I did there?) might sound like if they smoked crazy amounts of weed.
Recently, the English county of Suffolk was given a shock when Cradle Of Filth frontman, Dani Filth, who hails from Ipswich town, was voted the county’s greatest cultural icon. But many fans of extreme metal and punk who have been around for a while would perhaps instead prefer this title to go to Extreme Noise Terror, one of the most influential grindcore and crust punk bands of all time. The group formed in 1985, also in the town of Ipswich and were notable for being one of the few bands that utilised the use of two vocalists, being inspired in this angle by Antisect. Before long, the band signed with Manic Ears Records and released a split LP with Chaos UK entitled, "Radioactive Earslaughter." Around this time, the band were being grouped with another bunch of British bands, including Napalm Death and Bolt Thrower, under an ever changing label, eventually becoming known as grindcore, though the band expressed discomfort with the term.
After releasing the split LP with Chaos UK, the band attracted the attention of legendary DJ John Peel, who offered them a prestigious "Peel Session" slot, which in turn allowed ENT to record their debut full length album, ”A Holocaust In Your Head,” which has since become one of the most acclaimed grindcore albums in history. The band continued to garner interest from strange places, not least when they were contacted by Bill Drummond of legendary acid house band, The KLF. Drummond asked Extreme Noise Terror to re-record the KLF song, "3 A.M. Eternal," with the intention of getting the band television time on the famous Top of the Pops program. Despite the good performance of the single, the BBC denied the band an appearance on the show, fearing the song wasn’t appropriate for broadcast, which led to The KLF boycotting the program. However, the two groups did team up for a performance at the 1992 BRIT Awards, which made national news when the performance culminated in a machine gun being fired into the crowd.
Following this controversy, Extreme Noise Terror continued to tour wherever they could, going through a number of lineup changes in the process. Eventually, the band signed a new deal with Earache Records, re-recording a wealth of old material for the, “Retro-bution” release. Not long after however, the band faced one of their biggest challenges when vocalist Phil Vane left the band, but the band was helped when Napalm Death vocalist Barney Greenway, who had just been fired from his band, decided to join ENT. Funnily enough, Phil Vane became the new singer for Napalm Death, although he would never record an album with them. Now with Greenway in tow, the band got to work on a new studio album, resulting in, "Damage 381." The album saw the band enter a more death metal orientated area, incorporating blast beats and more screams. Following the release of the album however, Greenway returned to Napalm Death and Vane eventually came back to ENT. Since then, the band has continued to change members, with vocalist Dean Jones remaining the only constant member, as Vane left again in 1999, only to return in 2006. The band continue to tour and record new material, often in the form of split EPs. More...
While out promoting for Amercian Idol, Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) was quoted saying “American Idol is not rock n’ roll”, “American Idol will take Aerosmith up a few notches”, and that “Joe Perry is a loose cannon”. This was all in one interview! In related news, Tyler mentions he can’t find Joe Perry. He’s hiding Steven, waiting for all of this to go away. You can remove your head from Ryan Seacrest’s ass. He’s not in there… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Swedish classic heavy metal band Astral Doors sends in a story about how keyboardist Jocke Roberg got his nickname:
This story takes place about 4 years ago in Southern Germany. We were the support act to the fantasy metal heroes Blind Guardian. I can't remember what town we played in, but that's not really important.
Some headline acts treat their support bands like crap and don't allow the technicians to do a proper job. How many gigs haven't you attended where the sound during the support band's actual show has been terrible? In this case however I must pay my tribute to Blind Guardian and their crew: they gave us everything they had, every night. For two months we were treated like kings and the technicians and the rest of the crew did an amazing job for us; night after night. We filmed all 37 gigs, so it's documented:) Thank you Guardians!
Ok, at the gig this particular night, our keyboard player, Jocke Roberg, had a really bad stomach. He was running in and out of the WC before the gig...doing his thing. The show started and everything went really well the first couple of songs. During song four or five, he felt it was time again. He started to sweat and the panic was close. When it was time for one of our most popular songs, “Evil is Forever”, where we use a recorded organ-hymn-kind-of-intro, which he normally plays along to; he took his chance: he ran behind stage, found a bucket and did the big one. We wondered where the hell he went and we were quite prepared to play the rest of the gig without keyboard. However: just as the recorded intro was finished, Mr. Roberg was back on stage. He completed the gig and everything went great. Ever since that day we call him Jocke Bucket!
Astral Doors' "Best of" collection, "Testament of Rock - The Best of Astral Doors" (reviewed here), will be released in North American on January 25th. You can hear the new single, "Victory," on the band's MySpace player.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
The big names in metal get a lot of press and are famous for a reason, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a treasure trove of high quality metal bands hiding out in the underground. Each week with the Unearthing the Underground column we take a look at unknown bands in a specific genre or location that deserve to be heard by a wider audience.
Metal is unique in the musical world for the many different varieties to be found within it’s overall borders. “Experimental” or “Avant-Garde” metal bands are those groups that head outside the standard boundaries of the stylistic breakdowns, combining different sounds or even making up entirely new ones. Whether it’s extremely discordant vocals, a meshing of non-metal music with heavy atmosphere, or even random bouts of circus music, experimental metal typically has something that prevents the mainstream from recognizing it. These bands usually manage to get a small, but devoted, cult following that enjoys the odd juxtapositions and flagrant disregard for what’s socially acceptable in music.
In the last Unearthing the Experimental Underground we looked at the Czech Republic’s Oblomov, Poland’s Furia, and Italy’s Viscera///. This time around we’ll dig into U.S. based act Hallowed Butchery, as well as Virus and Source of Tide from Norway.
Maine based multi-instrumentalist Ryan Fairfield is the mastermind behind solo act Hallowed Butchery, which was previously known as Hallowed Butchery of the Son. Metalunderground conducted an interview with Ryan, in which he discussed the name change and the project’s upcoming work.
Hallowed Butchery frequently uses the stylistic elements of doom, with long, lingering guitar tones and slow moving music. There’s also a good deal of black metal to be heard in the music, along with some truly odd sounds that often defy easy description. One of the project's more experimental works is the fourteen minute epic “Coffin Life,” which was included on a recent split with New York’s Batillus. The song chronicles the life, demise, and surprising afterlife of a man who commits suicide, going through several distinct changes in style. A clip from the epic song can be heard at the band’s MySpace page.
The video below also contains the track “The Kennebec” from the band’s debut EP “Funeral Rites for the Living.” More...
Given the news earlier this week that Burzum would be releasing a new studio album in March, it seemed as good a time as any to take a look back at the band, and it's sole member, Varg Vikernes, who has in the past been called, "The most evil man alive" by the media. Whether or not Vikernes is the Darth Vader of metal music is open to interpretation, but the fact that many people have claimed to enjoy the music of Burzum, while proclaiming to hate the man himself, is proof that Burzum really is one of the best bands from the Norwegian black metal scene.
Vikernes formed Burzum in 1991, shortly after leaving the death metal band, Old Funeral, of which he was the guitarist. Two demo tapes were quickly recorded and caught the attention of Øystein Aarseth, the founder of the Deathlike Silence Productions label and also the guitarist of Mayhem, in which he used to the stage name, Euronymous. Aarseth decided to sign Burzum to his label and work on the self-titled Burzum album began shortly afterwards, with Euronymous guesting on the track, "War," performing a guitar solo. The album saw a release in 1992, making Burzum only the second band to have a record released by the label. After the release of the album, Vikernes became interested in recruiting musicians so that Burzum could perform live, going so far as to bring in Emperor bassist Samoth. Samoth would not stay in the band long however and only recorded on the "Aske" EP, after which Vikernes had no interest in transforming Burzum into a live band.
Now on his own again, Vikernes recorded a wealth of material from 1992 to 1993, the first of which to be released was the album, "Det son engang var," in 1993. Around this time, Vikernes was also recruited to perform bass duties in Mayhem, though he still composed and recorded music for Burzum. Unbeknownst to anyone however, "Det son engang var" would prove to be the last album Vikernes would release as a free man, as he was arrested later that year for killing Øystein Aarseth, his Mayhem bandmate. The reasons for the muder remain debated but Vikernes claims that he went solely to hand over an unsigned record contract, and retaliated after Aarseth attacked him first, climaxing in a fatal stab would to the head. He was convicted in May 1994 (the same month his album, "Hvis lyset tar oss" was released) and sentenced to twenty one years imprisonment, which is the maximum length of a prison sentence in Norway. In addition to the killing of Aarseth, Vikernes was charged with burning several Norwegian churches, something he claims he was wrongly convicted of. More...
It is being reported that Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue, Sixx A.M.) and Denise Richards are no longer dating and have split. The uncomfortable part of this breakup is that they are neighbors. There can’t be a worse feeling than stepping out to grab the morning newspaper, and looking over to see a Porsche in Richard’s driveway with a license plate that reads SHEEN… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Tony Wolfe, guitarist of Owen Hart, shares a story about a show in Texas where things just didn't go quite as planned:
Being a band for 6 some years in the DIY house tour circuit produces a lot of fucking nutty show shit, such as people trying to pass you a crack pipe while you're playing, a high-as-fuck girl cutting her face with a knife, our friends in Elitist flooding everything by breaking the main water pipe in a basement (the show must go on), etc.
But by far the craziest shit happened to us in Texas in 2008. The following events happened all at one show. Our singer got slapped by someone's mom after the set because she didn't like the speech he'd given about evolution before one of our songs. While this was happening, someone was throwing up all over our merch table. Earlier, our drummer Brian had somehow managed to eat well over the recommended weed brownie dosage for playing grind drums and played everything at about 1/3 speed... He literally fell asleep on his snare during the evolution speech. Then we come to find out our van got broken into during the show by skinheads and, out of all our ipods, money box, and spare gear, the only thing they stole were our roadie's fanny pack and my jean jacket. Fuck Texas. RIP Dimebag."
Owen Hart's debut full-length, "Earth Control," is out January 18 on Vitriol Records. In the meantime, you can check out some of their music on the band's MySpace page.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground we take a look at lesser known bands that are keeping metal alive and kicking in their respective regions and hometowns. This week, we introduce you to three bands from Kuwait: a country that has seen wars fought on its own home ground and in neighboring regions, as well as becoming a home to families trying to get away from conflicts. It has also become a small hub of high quality heavy metal, in both terms of production and originality.
Voice of the Soul
While Voice of the Soul may be better known as a song from the purveyors of death metal, Death, it also happens to be a progressive/melodic death metal band from Kuwait. With the typical line up of influences such as At the Gates, Carcass, Arch Enemy and the aforementioned Death, Voice of the Soul has set about creating a sound that is both intensely heavy and technical, but melodic enough to create memorable and satisfying songs.
Formed in 2007 by three like-minded metal heads who wanted to cover some of their favorite songs, Voice of the Soul eventually started to write and record it's own material, which brought about the release of their its EP, “Winds of Apprehension," in 2009. It included 3 original songs and a cover of Death’s “Empty Words." With this first EP, Voice of the Soul took a very straight forward melodic death metal approach. The release of the second EP, “Eyes of Deceit," in 2010 saw the band take a more progressive approach to it's sound.
The band’s song “Farewell to Hope” was featured on the Metality Compilation alongside Norther and The Empire Shall Fall. The same song was also voted as the top metal track of 2010 by the readers of Rockability Magazine.
While the band members are currently all based in separate countries due to school, Voice of the Soul is working on a full length album. You can download the “Eyes of Deceit” EP here.
Often in the world of music, the most respected performers were the ones who were willing to take risks, whether they payed off or not. Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford will always be known as the Metal God, despite the negative reaction to his band, 2wo, John Lennon will forever be regarded as one of the finest songwriters of the 20th century, despite mind crushingly abysmal, "Two Virgins" album and Tom Fischer (aka Tom G. Warrior) is considered by thousands of metal fans to be one of the most artistic composers in the genre, regardless of Celtic Frost's, "Cold Lake" record. However, "Cold Lake" wasn't the only risk Fischer released throughout his career, following the first dissolution of Celtic Frost, he formed a new band named Apollyon Sun, which was named after the album Celtic Frost were working on before they broke up. The band differed from Celtic Frost greatly in that it was strongly influenced by electronic music, resulting in a sound which was as much trip hop as it was metal.
Following the recording of their debut EP, "Industry Demonstration," the group were noticed by Sanctuary Management and began a working relationship with Rod Smallwood, who is best known as the longtime manager of Iron Maiden and before long were signed to Mayan Records. Through the label, the band released another EP entitled, "God Leaves (And Dies)" which caught the attention of British television executives, resulting in the songs, "God Leaves" and "Relinquished Body" being used in the BBC show, "City Central." Apollyon Sun then began work on their first full length album, for which they worked with producer Roli Mosiman, who had previously produced a variety of artists from Faith No More to Bjork. It took two years but finally, in the year 2000, the group's debut album, "Sub" was released. The release of the album allowed the band to begin touring internationally and were considered by many to be the stand out performance at that year's Kerrang Awards in London.
"Sub" was by no means a commercial success but was well received by critics and fans alike. Apollyon Sun continued to work with the BBC after this, contributing more music to be used in television shows, as well as Fischer and guitarist Erol Unala taking part in Probot, the metal super album put together by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. Following these collaborations and contributions, the band began work on a new album, "Flesh," for which a number of songs were written and recorded, including a cover of the Celtic Frost classic, "Procreation Of The Wicked," but the album was never finished owing to the reformation of Celtic Frost. Once Frost reunited, Fischer invited Unala to become the band's new second guitarist, effectively ending Apollyon Sun. Since then, Celtic Frost have once again parted ways, with Fischer forming a completely new band called Triptykon instead, and has gone on record to say he has no intention of making music under the Apollyon Sun banner again. Although the band are largely forgotten by many metal fans and are overshadowed by the legacies of Celtic Frost and Hellhammer, they are a key part in the history of Fischer's career, music and artistic growth and a band which deserves alot more recognition than they receive. More...
After eighteen years of marriage Sebastian Bach (ex-Skid Row) and his wife are getting a divorce. Not shocking considering the two have been separated since April, but the real question: what are the odds Bach left a red wine stain on the divorce papers? Fifty percent? Eighty percent?... More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Page Townsley of Vore shares a couple incidents that stand out to him:
We’re seen the gamut of drunks, fights, animal parts, tits, knocked over PA speakers and head wounds in pits over the years to be sure. There are two pit incidents that stand out to me in particular though as being unique...
One was back in 1998. We were on stage playing and this huge dude suddenly falls down in the front and starts shaking like crazy. He just collapsed and started vibrating. Turns out the guy had epilepsy and went into a grand mal seizure. It was a small place and downstairs, so we had to stop the show for thirty minutes or so while the venue called the paramedics who showed up and took the dude to the hospital. Fortunately there was someone there who had some first responder experience with epileptics that knew what to do until the EMT’s showed up to keep the guy from swallowing his tongue and hurting himself.
The other one was last year while we were playing a show at Downtown Music in Little Rock, AR. We had a huge pit going on and I suddenly see this leg go flying. That is leg singular, no body attached. Someone in the pit had a prosthetic leg and had it knocked off of him. Another person picked it up and was swinging it around and holding it up in the air like a trophy. I can’t say I’d ever seen someone get their leg torn off at a show before. I gave props to the guy with the leg for getting into the pit. I admired him for not letting a disability prevent him from jumping into a mosh pit and going ape shit with everyone else.
VORE has been hard at work recording their new album, "Gravehammer," and plans to have it finished early this year. "So far it’s going really well. I honestly think it’s going to be the best thing VORE has done," comments Page.
In the meantime, check out some of Vore's music on the band's MySpace page.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
When it comes to American metal strongholds, New York, California, and Florida never escape mention, but Texas remains the wild card. Not only has the state produced a number of influential bands, but the fan base is famously strong. It's true that no scene is what it used to be, but Texas continues to turn out new and varied acts whose names reach far beyond its borders. San Antonio Metal Examiner Jacob Holmes did the first round up for Metal Underground, but it's a big state and there's still a lot of ground to cover.
Guitarist Wes Weaver has become something of a Texas metal folk hero in the last twenty years. Operating out of Houston, he co-founded Dark Reign in the early '90s, which soon morphed into the much-loved death metal juggernaut known as Imprecation. The band made a name for itself as a cult phenomenon, but they never broke out into the larger arena and finally disbanded. In the meantime, Weaver continued to boost the Texas scene with his venerable radio show, and he also appeared in the short-lived Infernal Dominion, which was regarded as a departure from his classic brand of crepitus death metal.
In 2004, the Texas metal community was surprised to hear that Weaver was spearheading a new band called Blaspherian. Their approach was a pummeling return to the Imprecation model, and the debut EP, "Allegiance to the Will of Damnation," was the antidote to an increasingly stagnant Houston scene.
Like most veteran metal musicians, Blaspherian eschewed the current standard of soulless digital production in favor of a traditional analog soundscape. There are no typewriter drums or varnished guitar tones here; Blaspherian specializes in the booming, fuzzed-out death marches that reveal the blackened heart of true death metal. The riffs are efficient and linear even at the fastest moments, and nothing about the writing is rushed or overplayed. Chords hang, drums rumble, and evil all but drips from the speakers.
Blaspherian is important not only as a revival band, but because it points back directly to the groups that sired it. If younger fans are inspired to dig into the vaults of Texas' metal history, then "Allegiance to the Will of Damnation" has succeeded in its mission. The band makes semi-regular live appearances around the the state in the name of converting newcomers and flying the flag for the best days of death metal.
The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal really is a treasure chest when it comes to music. There are so many bands from the movement that produced some oustanding metal but never got the recognition they deserved. One of the best examples of such treatment would be Cloven Hoof, the band hailing from the city of Wolverhampton. Formed in 1979, it was three years before the group were able to record a demo tape and gain the attention of heavy metal fans and record labels. Initially the members attempted to stand out from their peers by using pseudonyms and decided that each member would be named after the four elements, Earth, water, fire and air. While using this gimmick, Cloven Hoof were able to self-release an EP entitled, "The Opening Ritual," which did very well and was championed by members of the heavy metal and hard rock press in the United Kingdom and the United States alike and led them to be able to record a prestigious session for the Tommy Vance friday rock show. Based on the success of the EP, the band signed to Neat Records soon after, who were known for releasing records by many other New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands such as Blitzkrieg and Raven. The result was their self-titled debut full length, which like "The Opening Ritual," achieved massive critical acclaim. However, internal tensions became a problem and after releasing a live album entitled, "Fighting Back" in 1986, the band called it a day.
Cloven Hoof would resurface in 1988 however, being brought back to life by bass player Lee Payne who recruited vocalist Russ North and a host of other new members. With a new sense of enthusiasm and dedication, the band decided to drop their stage names in favour of their own and get to work on a new album, which materialised the same year in the form, "Dominator." This new record saw the band move from the standard heavy metal style of their contemporaries into a power metal territory, a formula which followed them to their next album, "A Sultan's Ransom." Both of these albums were well received by fans and featured songs which have since become live staples. Despite their perceived success, the group once again broke up in 1990 as a result of contractual difficulties.
In the early period of the last decade, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal saw a resurgence in popularity and many of the bands reunited as a result. Payne decided around this time to reform Cloven Hoof but unfortunately, none of the former members were interested, leaving Payne to recruit a brand new lineup. Pre-existing contractual problems were still haunting the band however, and it wasn't to be until 2006 that the group released a new studio album, which came in the form of "Eye Of The Sun." Not long after this release though, former vocalist Russ North finally accepted the offer to return to the band and the duo of himself and Payne went about recruiting new musicians for the lineup, which eventually included former drummer Jon Brown. This new stable re-recorded a selection of older tracks for a compilation album entitled, "The Definitive Part 1," which was released in 2008. North left the band the next year however, despite recording his vocals for an EP of new material called, "Throne Of Damnation." As a result of his exit, the band hired singer Matt Moreton, who had previously sung on the "Eye Of The Sun" album, to record his own vocals and the EP finally saw the light of day in 2010. Currently, Cloven Hoof have plans to record a new studio album and have kept their profile alive by releasing a live DVD this past December. More...
Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver, Loaded, ex-Guns N Roses) has recently undergone sinus surgery to fix a quarter size hole caused from drug use. Based on this information I have to assume at some point Steven Adler’s (Adler’s Appetite, ex-Guns N Roses) nickname was Silver Dollar… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Jacob Bannon, the singer for Converge, tells a tale of a crazy Australian gig:
We played a show in middle of Australia. It was so bizarre. Mainly locals came to the show, mechanics, etc. They had no idea what to make of us. When we arrived, the door was a big school bus with sheet metal attached to the windows, making it a crazy wall into the venue. Tires and old car debris were everywhere. Tons of sand. People wearing the craziest things ever. Football pads, ripped up jeans. But they were all punks in some way and were armed. Totally wild. A little kid was even tossing around a boomerang. It was a total trip. In the middle of our set, a guy drove a dune buggy straight into the crowd. No one got hurt but it was NUTS. Complete chaos. He had a hockey mask on and was scary as fuck. We played a few more songs then jetted. So wild. We almost ran out of gas too. Real shortage out there.
Converge seems to be laying low of late, but was one of the first bands recently confirmed for France's Hellfest in 2011.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.