A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to tour around Asia with my band for eight days, stopping in seven cities. One of the highlights of the tour was Hong Kong, not just for the great crowd, but for the excellent bands I and my band mates had the privilege to share the stage with. Here’s a quick intro to those bands in this week’s edition of Unearthing the Metal Underground:
Melody, abject brutality, and paramount evil. This is the formula that death metal four-piece Elysium has adopted as its own. Featuring some of the most earthy and natural guttural vocals this side of Incantation and Immolation, along with the occasional elongated pig squeal thrown in for good measure, Elysium has been plying its trade for a few years in the Hong Kong scene, and has managed to make its way to foreign shores at least once, having played at last year’s Drown In Metal Festival in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.
While technical, Elysium manages to keep its songs memorable without compromising brutality—no mean feat. Slams and pinch harmonics are put to good use, but not overused, and the band knows how to employ versatility while still maintaining a discernable sound. Currently, the only way to hear Elysium’s music is to pick up a demo from them at a show or check out the band’s Facebook page.
Previously in Sunday Old School, we've looked at several big names in thrash metal from all over the world. These include two of the "Three Kings" of German thrash, Sodom and Destruction. This week we'll be completing the trilogy by taking a look at Kreator, arguably the most well known of the three. Kreator were formed in the city of Essen in 1982 by vocalist/guitarist Mille Petrozza and drummer Jürgen 'Ventor' Reil, originally using the moniker, Tyrant before switching to the name, Tormentor, under which name they released two demos which attracted the attention of Noise Records, home of such other notable metal artists as Celtic Frost and later Sabbat. It was the label’s suggestion that the band change their name, due to the company already having a band from Hungary on their books called Tormentor, and so the German thrashers settled on Kreator instead. The band recorded their debut album, "Endless Pain" in only ten days, featured had a more proto-black metal sound, similar to what Sodom were doing at the time. "Endless Pain" was released in 1985 and was soon followed by the groups sophomore effort, "Pleasure To Kill," which is now considered something of a thrash metal classic and a clear influence of the burgeoning death metal genre. The success of the album led them to embark on their first ever tour (having performed only five gigs before it’s release) and soon they followed with their third record, "Terrible Certainty," which like its predecessor was critically acclaimed and warmly welcomed by underground metal fans, owing in part to the songs, "Behind The Mirror" and their first music video for "Toxic Trace," as well as a strong cover of the Raven song, "Lambs To The Slaughter."
They then focused on breaking America with their next effort, "Extreme Aggression," which was produced by Randy Burns, notable for his work with established metal bands such as Megadeth. "Extreme Aggression" became a hit in Europe and helped to achieve their goal of penetrating the American market when the music videos for the song, "Betrayer," as well as the title track received regular airplay on MTVs Headbangers Ball, before touring North America for the first time with Suicidal Tendencies. The band soon released a fifth album entitled, "Coma Of Souls," which, while praised by many, failed to gain the same recognition that previous records did, with some feeling that the album sounded rushed, though it still managed to sell quite well and spawned two singles in "People Of The Lie" and "When The Sun Burns Red." More...
Van Halen has released their second single titled “She’s The Woman” from their latest album ‘A Different Kind of Truth’, this song is one of the six new songs that were based on older material. Here’s a look…
The video starts with classic slide moves of David Lee Roth and a smiling Eddie Van Halen. Everyone having a good time? Roth follows up with his version of working the pole.
0:43 Roth shimmying across the stage as the Van Halen boys look on, is Roth entertaining the audience or the band? Sometimes it is hard to tell. I guess that’s why Diamond Dave is often referred to as an entertainer first.
The video is the band playing their small come back show at Café Wha? in New York City combined with other stages (appears to be same stage as first video “Tattoo” in a lot of shots) and still photos moving across the screen.
1:11 David Lee Roth deep in thought or trying to remember the lyrics? Discuss amongst yourselves…
1:29 A still shot of an airborne Roth. Probably not recent, but still awesome!
FAVORITE YouTube comments: 3) “She's? the Wombat!” by k4cper3k 2) “no videos should contain lots of? still photos or overalls” by changeofaddress1 and 1) “cool, but who is the new young bassist? !!” by ccbbom.
1:44 A Kodak Gallery of still shots, then we get a look at Eddie Van Halen in red pants. Good to see he still has a little flare, and is not ALL frayed sweatshirts and jeans.
2:10 Was that an album promo in the middle of the video? A distraction or genius? Discuss amongst yourselves…
2:16 Roth using his scarf to “cool down” Eddie during a guitar solo.
2:48 An ass cam (we know because it says ASS CAM) displaying what appears to be a revolver tattoo on Roth’s ass!
2:55 “Thank you very much. Yeah!”
Every week we check in with bands and fans everywhere to get their most memorable mosh pit stories from metal shows. After our last story about romance in the pit, this week guitarist Rafaël Sellekaerts of Belgian act Dehuman shares the following tale of learning a lesson about drinking before a gig:
During a nice yet stormy road trip to Oostende (Belgium coast), our guitarist, Mathias, aka “The Guilt Grinder,” had the great idea to drink a whole bottle of whiskey. It’s pointless describing how drunk he was when we entered the stage, having to play his replacement guitar because he tried (and failed) replacing a broken string on his main guitar while in the car, leaving it unusable.
If I can remember well, it obviously took him only two songs to break a string from the then only playable guitar left after we started our set due to his totally drunk stage dancing. He then handed Adrien, our roady, the guitar for he could replace the string, which literally took him three songs, during which Mathias took over the bass, leaving Andréa (bassist/singer) singing and crowdsurfing to attract the public’s attention so they couldn’t really notice how… er… intense and… er… unforgettable Dehuman was during that time.
Sure we had a good laugh during that gig and afterwise. But we had to learn a lesson from it, which we still obey as an eleventh commandment since then: be drunk, but stop drinking alcohol two hours before the gig! Stay sick and brutal motherfuckers, thanks for the support!
Dehuman will release debut album "Black Throne of All Creation" on April 30th, 2012 through Kaotoxin Records. To get a sneak peek of the album, check out the song "Cast of Assassination" by clicking here.
Check back in again next Tuesday as we continue to share more pit stories from bands across the world.
When looking at the El Salvador metal scene, it is shocking coming to the realization that a country this small has close to ninety metal bands. Two of the ones I have unearthed today are not even in the Encyclopaedia Metallum archives, which shows how fast the scene is still growing. El Salvador has only a few dozen less bands than its significantly larger neighbor a couple of countries over, Costa Rica.
One of the first nationally renowned Salvadorean metal bands was B'rock (later known as Broncco). B'rocks polished power metal sound laid the foundation for future generations of metal bands in El Salvador. The group disbanded in 1996 due to founder Vicente "Chente" Sibrian's degenerative illness, but he is viewed as a godfather in the scene still. He recently appeared at the Maaskab Open Air and other festivals in his wheelchair, to the chants of all the concert goers. Watch a video montage done in homage for Sibrian to the Broncco track "Vendedor de Suenos" by going here. More...
Many of the world's top guitar shredders fit into two types of personalities. There are the overindulgent ones with inflated egos and there are the ones with quiet self-confidence that are in it because of their love for metal music. Jeff Waters of Canadian band Annihilator fits into the latter category. He lets others put him in their charts for top guitar players in metal while he quietly goes about pursuing the field that he loves - creating music with his band and others.
Jeff loves what he does, for he's been in it for over 28 years since Annihilator put out its first demo "Welcome to Your Death" in 1984. That, and the subsequent couple of demos released, were among the top traded demo tapes in the mid eighties - giving even Metallica and Megadeth a run for their money. In the early incarnation of Annihilator, Jeff had John Bates on vocals and went through quite a few musicians in the rhythm section, even replacing Bates with Randy Rampage from D.O.A. The problem was that the band members liked partying and going to clubs, leading to the turnover. More...
I picture Vince Neil kicking it in his backyard with a couple of buddies (and a couple of groupies, one young, one looking somewhat weathered), sharing a joint and several Budweiser beers, when someone leans in and asks Neil, “So, what’s next?” Vince ponders the rock and roll bar, his tequila business, the tattoo shops, and the charter airline business. Vince takes a long pull from his can of Bud and his eyes open up wide. More...
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. Last week, we exposed three metal bands from Pakistan and we continue in something of a similar vein this week, turning our attention to another Islamic country, though this time in North Africa, namely Morocco. Morocco had something of a controversial encounter with heavy metal music, when in 2003 more than a dozen heavy metal fans were jailed in the city of Casablanca for "acts capable of undermining the faith of a Muslim" and "possessing objects which infringe morals." The Moroccan courts felt that the black t-shirts adorning heavy metal logos worn by these young men, all of whom played in metal bands themselves, were Satanic. However, after global outcry from musicians and human rights activists, they were released and today, Morocco sees more bands performing hard rock and heavy metal music. This week we will be looking at three such groups.
Formed in early 2006, Analgesia created a blend of groove metal with classical elements, fusing black metal vocals with a more operatic female counterpart. They released their first record, "Return to the Self" the same year and gained quite a following amongst metal fans in Morocco. They have performed at some of the biggest festivals in the country including L’boulevard and have since released two more albums, "Era of the Storytellers" and "Beyond Illusion."
Analgesia - "From The Ashes Of Morocco"
The wonderful thing about the thrash metal movement is that there were so many bands to find, it really is something of a treasure chest. Today we’ll look at a band which released some of the finest albums known to speed and thrash metal, but arguably haven’t got the recognition they deserve, Heathen. Heathen was formed in 1984 by former Metal Church drummer Carl Sacco and Russian guitarist Lee Altus and were initially accompanied by vocalist Sam Kress and guitarist Jim Sanguinetti before replacing them after their first gig with David Godfrey and Doug Piercy respectively, whilst also bringing in bass player Eric Wong. Although from the Bay Area and often associated with the thrash metal scene at the time, their music wasn’t strictly speaking contained in the thrash vein, as they also demonstrated more of a New Wave of British Heavy Metal influence than many of their peers. Although Wong decided to leave the group after the recording of their first demo, "Pray For Death" (being replaced by Mike "Yaz" Jastremski,) the demo was something of a success and earned the band a deal with Combat Records.
Their debut album, "Breaking The Silence" was released through the label in 1987 and was hailed as one of the best thrash metal albums of the year. It also contained something of a hit single in "Set Me Free," a cover of a song originally by British glam rock legends The Sweet. The song received regular rock radio airplay and the video was also broadcast frequently on MTVs Headbangers Ball show. While touring for the album however, Heathen ran into some internal difficulties, resulting in Sacco, Jastremski and Godfrey all leaving the group at some stage. Several well known vocalists were a part of Heathen for a while, including former Exodus frontman Paul Baloff and ex Metal Church singer, David Wayne. More...
New videos featuring roundhouse kicks, girls, gambling, and of course, rock and roll. More...
Each week we track down musicians from every genre of metal to get their most memorable mosh pit stories. For this week's look at the pit, guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö of Kreator and progressive death metal act Barren Earth shares the following story of a (brief) "romantic" entanglement:
Through the years I´ve seen lots of odd things in the pit. Usually unintentional. But it was only very recently during a Kreator show in Oslo I spotted an extremely intoxicated young couple having sex against the crowd barrier. Most of their clothes were on but the poor girl got seriously rammed to the straight-forward rhythm of the song "Pleasure to Kill." This was merely the shortened version of the song but nevertheless the guy finished before the tune was over. I had serious difficulties beginning the next song because I had to laugh so much. It was a Saturday night in Norway and everyone in the audience was so drunk that hardly anyone even noticed the happy and "romantic" incident in the pit. I bet it happens all the time.
In related band news, Kreator will be releasing the new album "Phantom Antichrist" on June 1st, 2012 (Europe) and June 5th, 2012 (North America), while Barren Earth recently dropped sophomore full-length "The Devil's Resolve" (reviewed here).
Metalunderground.com recently had the pleasure of premiering three songs online from the new Barren Earth album, and the band also dropped a music video for "The Rains Begin," which can be viewed here.
Check back in again next Tuesday to find more pit stories from metal fans and band members.
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 will be taking a look at three heavy metal bands from Pakistan, whose name translates as "land of the pure" in Urdu, and seems to be the land of some very talented musicians too!
Black Warrant are one of the longest running heavy metal bands in Pakistan. Having formed in 1997 from the ashes of a former band named Metal Purge, by vocalist Ali Raza, with his brother M. Ali joining on rhythm guitars soon afterwards. The band has gone through many lineup changes since their inception, and currently neither brother is a part of the group, Their first album, "Recover" was released in 1999 and comprised solely of covers of songs by the likes of Judas Priest, Rammstein and Killing Joke, before their first full length debut of original music, "Desi" was released in 2004. They have since released six more records, consisting of both cover tracks and original music, with the most recent being, "Decade Of Destruction." They have been able to experiment with their sound over the years too, adding electronic and industrial elements and are one of the few metal bands from Pakistan to have toured outside of their country, performing in such places as Australia and the United States of America.
Black Warrant - "Desi"
This week, a look across the pond at some new videos released by ’77, Hard Riot, and Europe More...
Every Monday we unearth three more underground metal bands that our readers may not have had the pleasure of hearing yet, and this week we’re looking another batch of acts that throw prog rock into the mix or otherwise break genre boundaries.
This is our third outing into the ever-changing waters of prog, and what’s interesting about this style is how many different sounds can be contained within the same overall genre title (even the term “prog” itself is somewhat contradictory – if a band falls into an easily identifiable genre label then is it really “progressive?”). For instance, compare Orphan Bloom’s over the top rock style from our last prog metal edition of Unearthing the Metal Underground with the mixture of soothing atmosphere and death metal mayhem found in Enochian Theory below. Both are “prog,” but both are vastly different in style and substance.
These three acts are a little less jazz and instrumental focused than the bands in our last prog lineup, and cover a wider range of ground, heading into power and symphonic territory as well.
U.S. act Ocean Architecture is a newer band on the scene, having just now finished and released online a first full-length album title “Animus.” Although the sound quality isn’t perfect (this is a debut from an unknown group after all), the album still has pretty much everything that a progressive metal fanatic craves: crazy electronic keyboard sounds, a strong prog rock feel, random gang shouts, and even some black/death metal bouts interspersed all throughout.
Topping it all off are some technical and showy bits, as well as interesting changes in tempo and vocal styles, such as the odd feeling of falling created during the “spiral downwards” section on the track “Plato’s Cave.” You can listen to the full “Animus” album through the Bandcamp player below.
Jackyl is probably best known for its song "The Lumberjack", which features a chainsaw solo by lead singer Jesse James Dupree. He once was asked, "How the hell can you play a chainsaw?" to which he responded, "How the hell can you not play a chainsaw?" This is the story of Jackyl.
Jackyl is made up of current members Jesse James Dupree (vocals, guitar, and chainsaw), Jeff Worley (guitar), Roman Glick (bass), and Chris Worley (drums). Past members include Jimmy Stiff (guitar), Ronnie Honeycutt (vocals), and Thomas Bettini (bass).
The 1992 self-titled debut album featured singles “The Lumberjack,” “Down on Me,” and “I Stand Alone.” Their debut went platinum, mostly due to “The Lumberjack” because vocalist Jesse James Dupree performed a chain-saw solo. People like chainsaws. The song became a hit and staple for the Jackyl live show to this day. Videos where also created for their singles.
The video for “The Lumberjack” begins with the Southern cliché of an old man sitting on a porch, smoking a Pall Mall with his shotgun close by. I’m surprised they didn’t place a Waffle House in the background. A general comment: “Lumberjack” is maybe the only performance where the lead singer seamlessly changes from a sombrero, to flannel, to a jumpsuit. Anyway, there is a school house nearby, with a bearded female teacher and students that like to bang their heads to the music of Jackyl, especially when the chainsaws are blazing. The primary lesson in this video is that chainsaws turn girls into sluts. The “Down on Me” video tells the story of a record store owner who refuses to sell CDs to underage kids because of the Parental Advisory Warning. Long story short, the owner loses his business and ends up on the street as a CD whore. I really enjoyed this video.
Ever since the release of their debut album, the band has hit the road and barely left it since. In 1994, the second album titled ‘Push Comes to Shove’ went gold. Later that year, Jackyl had a notable performance at Woodstock '94, resulting in the inclusion of their song “Headed for Destruction” as part of the Woodstock compilation album. In 1997, Jackyl released the album ‘Cut the Crap.’ The album included “Locked and Loaded”, a song with guest vocalist Brian Johnson (AC/DC). It was the first time Johnson had ever collaborated with an artist. In 2002, they would collaborate again on the song “Kill the Sunshine” off their ‘Relentless’ album. B-sides, greatest hits, and live albums would follow; however, like any true rock and roll band, it has been the live performances that have created their following.
Their live performances have earned the band two Guinness Book of World Records citations and the designation "The Hardest Working Band in Rock 'N' Roll" for performing 100 shows in 50 days as well as 21 shows in 24 hours.
Jackyl has also flirted with the reality show circuit, seen regularly on the show Full Throttle Saloon. In 2010 the band released a new album titled “When Moonshine and Dynamite Collide.” Jackyl is available to play wherever chainsaws are sold. You can usually catch them on stage at a festival near you.
The Lumberjack VIDEO
This week Kiss (Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer) and Motley Crue (Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee) announced a summer blockbuster tour that will include both bands. A press conference was held in Los Angeles to announce the event and details. More...
It's Tuesday again, and that means we have more mosh pit stories to share, which we collect from fans and bands across the world. For this week's story, Hopes Die Last vocalist Daniele Tofani shares the following story of an out-of-control crowd that just couldn't get enough and wasn't going to let the venue stop them from seeing a show:
There are really shitloads of stories about our concerts that are worth telling, but the first one that comes to my mind is the one happened in Poland during our last tour. That night we played in a club in Szczecin. It was a small place, but there was a good amount of people, not a lot, but it seemed promising.
After a massive booze-up it was finally our turn to get on stage. As soon as the music started, people completely freaked out and a disproportionate-size moshover was right there before my eyes. I was kind of astonished throughout the whole live set. It wasn’t just mosh, it was true violence!
The funny part was that people were even pogoing like crazy - pushing and shoving and falling on their asses - during the slow and ambient-like songs! The club was lacking in security (obviously nobody could imagine such a worrying situation) so the two old owners tried to supply that by doing what they could, but they hardly had control of the situation, and in the end the club was completely destroyed.
On the deafening-cry “One more song!” the sound guy turned off the whole soundboard and microphones, trying to persuade people to leave the club, but I clearly remember someone from the crowd jumping on the console and turning everything back on. So while the technicians and the owners were cursing and lost in the anarchist behavior, we played our last song.
We were all speechless. Fuck, something completely out of the ordinary! Those people were crazy motherfuckers, it was amazing! I won’t ever forget that night.
Hopes Die Last recently released a music video for "Keep Your Hands Off," which can be seen here. "Keep Your Hands Off" is taken from the band's "Trust No One" album.
Check back in next Tuesday as we continue to share more of best pit stories from metal bands.
The best acts that metal has to offer aren’t always highly visible or inhabiting the mainstream, which is why every week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we bring to light several groups that deserve to be heard.
Black metal history month may already be over, but screeches from hell, head pummeling blast beats, and tremolo picking are always a good time year-round, and the genre is ripe with a multitude of high quality acts to discover. The term “black metal” covers a wide range of ground, from symphonic acts to abrasive and misanthropic bands and even on to more styles. This week we’re unearthing three bands from very different locations that each put their own spin on black metal and make the genre their own.
Gorthaur’s Wrath is an absolutely no-holds barred black metal act hailing from Croatia that’s as dark and evil as they come, but still devastatingly heavy. The band is a bit like a Behemoth that went a more black metal route instead heading into death metal, and the group is currently in the process of working on the follow-up to the 2011 album “Ritual IV.”
The new album is shaping up for some higher profile sonic destruction, as the band managed to recruit Triptykon's Norman Lonhard for the recording sessions, but due to scheduling conflicts he has now dropped out and is being replaced by German drummer Christian Bass. While awaiting what Gorthaur’s Wrath has in store, you can check out two songs from “Ritual IV” below or find more via the band’s Facebook profile.
“The Devil Speaks”
Sunday Old School has examined many bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. From the South West in Jaguar to the North East in bands like Raven and Venom, but it’s been quite some time since we’ve looked at the movement, so let’s return to it this week shall we? One band that’s been well overdue a look is Grim Reaper, who unlike many other bands from the movement, found success in a time when many of their peers did not. Formed in the West Midlands town of Droitwich, in Worcestershire back in 1979, Grim Reaper first gained noticed by winning a Battle Of The Bands contest which featured no less than one hundred groups, which ultimately led to a deal with Ebony Records, but their debut full length album, "See You In Hell" was distributed through RCA Records in 1984. The album was quite successful, finding a place on the Billboard album charts (where it peaked at number 73) and subsequently seeing the title track appear in a number of TV shows including Beavis and Butthead and Jackass. Touring for the album also went well, and the band found themselves performing to over twenty thousand fans in Texas at one particular show.
Success continued to stay with Grim Reaper when they released their sophomore album, "Fear No Evil" in 1985. Though not quite as acclaimed as "See You In Hell," the record once again proved popular amongst heavy metal fans on both sides of the Atlantic. One of the most notable things about this album in a more modern sense, is that the music video for the title track was to resurface twenty years later, though this time used by the alternative rock band Weezer as the initial video for their song, "We Are All On Drugs." Following the success of “Fear No Evil,” the band found themselves away from the stage and in the courtroom, battling a case against Ebony Records which took up two years of the bands existence, resulting in their third album, "Rock You To Hell" being delayed by such time, not finding a place on the shelves until 1987, by which point they discovered that a lot of heavy metal fans and turned away from the safer sounds of traditional heavy metal and more towards the likes of thrash metal. Even though the music video for the title track received regular airplay and the record itself was released through a major label, the album was considered something of a commercial failure. The failure of the album, coupled with another legal battle with Ebony Records, took its toll on the group and they decided to call it a day in 1988, right before they were supposed to work on their fourth album. More...
This week a look at two new videos: A classic head to head video showdown between Sister and Electric Sister. As always the rules are made up as we go along, except of course dancers and pole usage: both matter and both score well! More...