No matter how hard metal tries to separate itself from comedy, the two modes of entertainment are often linked, whether by accident or on purpose. Manowar might feel overwhelmingly macho and barbaric wearing cod pieces and furry boots in promotional pictures, but these visual statements are so over the top that some will find the sentiment absolutely hilarious. The grave nature of black metal can also be construed as humorous, especially the visual aspect. Some may view corpse paint as a morbid, anti-Christian statement, while others perceive the strategy as something reserved for children’s birthday parties.
Still, some bands make no qualms about having a sense of humor. Bands such as S.O.D. and Anthrax may pummel their fans with no-bullshit thrash metal, but always make time for joke songs such as “I’m the Man” and “King at the King.” These groups are musicians first and comedians second, whether their songs or presence was intentionally humorous or not. However, in the past few years comedians have started a new trend.
Trend might not be the correct term, certainly three albums do not constitute a “scene,” but metal labels are starting to sign comedians. Each of the three comedians signed to a metal label—Brian Posehn, Jamieson and Jim Florentine—are connected to metal in some fashion. Jamieson and Florentine join metal journalist Eddie Trunk as hosts of VH1 Classic’s “That Metal Show.” Posehn isn’t considered a metal expert like Jamieson and Florentine, but he is an unabashed fan. Jamieson and Posehn include humorous metal songs on both of their respective album. However, they are the opposite of the thrash bands listed above; they are comedians first and metal musicians second.
Brian Posehn was the first comedian to sign to a metal label. In 2006, Relapse Records picked up Posehn’s first album “Live in: Nerd Rage.” Posehn’s first album, at least the stand up portion, was recorded as part of the “Comedians of Comedy” tour and includes a sketch with Bob Odenkirk. Odenkirk and Posehn now each other from the HBO skit comedy show “Mr. Show” and its movie spin off “Run Ronny Run.”
Posehn also recorded a couple of songs. “Mr. Show” produced the joke-metal band Titanica whose performance of “Try Again” appears on the said album. Posehn also performs in Posehn, which features Scott Ian [Anthrax], Joey Vera [Armored Saint], John Tempesta [White, The Cult] and Brian himself on vocals. His solo-dubbed group performs a track called “Metal By Numbers,” which rips on metal stereotypes. His 2010 Relapse release “Fart and Weiner Jokes” includes more social commentary about the metal community. “More Metal Than You” is about how metal head often turn being a fan into a competition. Additionally, Brian Posehn is an actor and writer who has appeared in front of the camera on “The Devil’s Rejects,” “The Sarah Silverman Show” and “Seinfeld.”
Alternative metal is probably the loosest tag of any metal sub-genre, which is what makes it so alternative I suppose. Nevertheless, today Sunday Old School looks at Life Of Agony, an alternative metal band from Brooklyn, New York. Life Of Agony was formed in 1989 by singer Keith Caputo, guitarist Joey Z and bass player Alan Robert, who went through a number of drummers before settling with Sal Abruscato, a founding member of the gothic metal band, Type O Negative. The group slogged it out for four years before signing a record deal with Roadrunner, who were also home to Type O Negative. Through the label, the band released their debut album, "River Runs Red" in October of 1993. The album was critically praised and in time has become known as one of the finest records in the entire Roadrunner catalogue, gaining popularity through singles such as, "This Time" and "Through And Through."
A more emotional direction was employed on the group’s next studio album, "Ugly," which was released in 1995. The album was once again highly praised and was notable for featuring a cover of the Simple Minds hit, "Don’t You (Forget About Me,)" as well as a cover of Bob Marley’s, "Redemption Song" on the special edition of the album. Shortly after "Ugly’s" release, Abruscato announced that he was leaving the band and was replaced by Dan Richardson, formerly of the bands Pro-Pain and Crumbsuckers. With their new drummer in tow, Life Of Agony recorded and released their third album, "Soul Searching Sun" in 1997, but were dealt a major blow when Caputo announced his resignation from the group, claiming his heart was no longer in to the type of music Life Of Agony wrote. The band soldiered on, initially recruiting former Ugly Kid Joe vocalist Whitfield Crane, but parted company with the singer when they began working on a new album. After toying with the idea of Robert switching to vocals and guitar and bringing in Stuck Mojo bassist Corey Lowery, Life Of Agony decided to simply call it a day, feeling that the band couldn’t continue properly without Caputo. More...
A while back we looked at some Facebook plugins to allow users to hear your music on your Facebook page. One of those was the newly launched bandcamp plugin. This week, I wanted to take a closer look at the bandcamp service.
While Tunecore and CDBaby are great ways to get your music into the major online stores, bandcamp should be the first option bands sign up with for a number of reasons. First and foremost, bandcamp is a customizable online store for your band, which allows bands to directly sell digital downloads and physical products. There are no setup fees and no recurring charges for the service itself. You can set up a page for your band, customize the design, add your releases, upload them, link up your Paypal account, and you’re ready to sell your music online. (Note: Paypal is not available everywhere around the world, so that may be a barrier to some bands.)
That’s the gist of it, but some other compelling features include a music player and embeddable streaming widgets for blogs and social networks, in addition to recently released Facebook app, which allows you to completely integrate your store into your band’s Facebook page. More...
The date: December 24, 1988
Location: Southern California
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the rock world
Not a guitar was sounding, not even a chord.
The bandanas were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that even more bandanas soon would be there.
The groupies were passed out, all snug in their beds,
With visions of DIO, dancing in their heads.
And Axl wearing his boxers, and Slash in his cap,
Had just settled their lawsuits, shot up, and decided to nap.
When out on the tour bus there arose such a clatter,
Bret Michaels sprang from his bed of whores to see what was the matter.
Away to the window he flew like a flash,
There he saw one of his whores, running away with his cash. More...
It doesn’t take long when wandering the streets of the sprawling, congested, and smog-ridden city of Bangkok, once known as the Venice of the East due to its many canals, long since paved over, to realize that metal lives here. Young and old sport metal t-shirts with surprising regularity, metal paraphernalia abounds in shops here and there, and even airport employees asked this recent visitor to the country, upon seeing his tattoos and metal garb, “What metal band are you in?” Though scene insiders in Bangkok remarked to this correspondent that the Bangkok scene is largely split among subgenre lines, it clearly does little to diminish the following among the brutal bands of the Bangkok scene. Here are four punishing bands hailing from Thailand’s capital waiting to unleash upon you and aural assault of massive proportions. More...
This past October Sunday Old School looked at British doom metal band, Electric Wizard. In the introduction, I stated that some bands are essential to a genres fan base, the first example being California thrashers, Exodus. So this week we’re going to examine the band in greater detail and see just how important to the thrash metal scene Exodus really are. The band was formed in Richmond, California by guitarists Kirk Hammett and Tim Agnello in 1981, along with drummer Tom Hunting, vocalist Keith Stewart and bassist Carlton Melson, who was soon replaced by Jeff Andrews, with Agnello leaving shortly afterwards to become a minister, leaving the second guitarist spot to be filled by guitar tech, Gary Holt. More departures would soon follow, with the band deciding to replace Stewart with their eccentric friend, Paul Baloff and Jeff Andrews departing after the band recorded their first demo to form an early version of Possessed and most notably, founding member Hammett leaving to join Metallica, who were just about to record their debut album, "Kill ‘em All" in New York. With Hammett now replaced by Rick Hunolt, the band began recording their debut album, "Bonded By Blood," which despite taking over a year to release due to business issues, proved to be well worth the wait, as it has since been hailed as one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive feedback Exodus received for "Bonded By Blood," they decided to fire Baloff as he was too much for them to handle and replaced him with Legacy frontman Steve "Zetro" Souza. This lineup of the band proved to be stable to some degree, and they released their second album, "Pleasures Of The Flesh" in 1987 which entered the Billboard charts at number 82, a position which was matched by the third Exodus album, "Fabulous Disaster." This album featured the song, "Toxic Waltz" which received regular rotation on the MTV show, Headbanger’s Ball, ultimately proving to be one of the most popular Exodus songs. Tom Hunting left the band after the release of "Fabulous Disaster" but they took a big step by signing with major label, Capitol Records, who housed fellow Californian thrashers, Megadeth at the time. The resulting fourth album, "Impact Is Imminent" received very negative feedback and after a live album, "Good Friendly Violent Fun" and another album, "Force Of Habit" in 1992, which saw the band experiment with their sound, they decided to call it a day, reuniting with Baloff briefly in 1997 for a live album entitled, "Another Lesson In Violence" before breaking up again. More...
This week we travel from Russia to Brazil and take a look at some new videos recently released. More...
As we continue our constant quest to get the craziest mosh pit stories in all of metaldom, vocalist Patrick Hemer of German/French act Horizon got in touch with us to share a story of a headbanger who went just a bit too far. Check out Patrick's tale of a blood soaked pit below.
This took place when playing a festival in the south of France with the very first line-up of Horizon. As soon as we took to the stage, we noticed this guy in the audience, in the first row in front of our bass player, who was headbanging in the wildest, craziest and most violent way I’ve ever seen in my life. It looked unreal, almost supernatural. He seemed to move like a possessed dude in some horror movie. From the second song on, his face was covered with blood but he kept headbanging with the same superhuman energy until the end of the show, so I thought at this point that he might simply have hit his brow on the wedge just in front of him – there were no barricades between the stage and the crowd - and maybe he didn’t even notice it in the heat of the moment. Moreover, he obviously reached new heights of excitement every time a band member was getting close to him and we – stupid as we were – really did what it takes to give him the time of his life. Our roadies also had a great time and were totally bent over laughing.
Things suddenly got less funny and started getting scary when we saw the stage after the show, in the cold neon light. Instead of a few blood drops they imagined they would find behind the wedge near the place the guy stood, the roadies had found something that actually looked like a crime scene. There was a LOT of blood! This moron had been banging his head and his face on a wedge for 40 minutes in a row and nobody saw he was bleeding that much because of the stage lights and the black shirt he was wearing. Then someone said that a person who had lost that much blood might be unconscious somewhere and should immediately be brought to the hospital. So we asked the security whether there had been any problem with an injured member of the audience and they said no. We then had the promoters search every bathroom and every place of the festival area for a possible unconscious person. Nobody. We even asked the local newspaper the next morning to see if someone had been found during the night but, apparently, the bastard had managed to make his way back home despite his terrible state.
We’ll never know what the guy was on, to be so frenzied and indestructible but we imagine there must be someone somewhere now who’s wearing concert memories in the form of battle scars on his face. Definitely Metal!
Check back in again next week to find our latest pit story shared by metal fans and musicians.
Chile is a world unto itself, a land of extremes that begins at the harsh Atacama desert to the north and extends thousands of miles to the south in the fjords of Patagonia. The population is of hardy, rugged stock and it's people are as diverse as our own. Within this long country of one time zone, you have all kinds of microcosms and people of diverse ancestry. There are influences from German and Italian lineage and plenty of native and indigenous folk residing amongst the Hispanic populace. And of course, one common thread appears to always transcend boundaries - music. In the case of metal music, Chile has an unbelievable amount of bands in every subgroup imaginable. Black metal bands such as Runepath have put out demos that have gotten recognition on many webzines, and even the ambient new age doom of Uaral has gone viral on YouTube. The majority of people will think of Tom Araya, who recently got the key to a city as a musical emissary, as the most popular Chileno - but delve a little bit deeper and you will find all sorts of bands.
Chile has been thrashing for years, and you can see this as evident when old schoolers such as Vastator regroup are still around putting out videos and even collaborate with Veronica Freeman ("The Gods Give No Reply"). The great thing about the Chilean metal scene as of late is the organization put into it. The Digmetalworld label has put alot of effort into showcasing and streaming countless bands and releases from Chilean and other South American artists. A fan of one band can easily jump and discover music from other groups this way. While you may stream dozens of releases this way and get to know more metal bands, I still find that many will investigate on their own as well. Great blogspots such as Paganvs Info, for those who can read Spanish, also highlight a vast amount of music from the pagan metal scene in Chile and South America. Here on Metal Underground, we have streamed the entire newest releases of such diverse Chilean metal bands as Lefutray, Sacramento and several others. Today we will take a look at a few different styles of metal bands currently active in the Chilean scene.
I like what Folkheim stand for. They have the touch of the common man in their message of popular rights and autonomy for indigenous people. They don't celebrate Columbus Day, because in their words it would be celebrating 519 years of conquistador oppression. They recently bowed out of the Caviahue festival on moral and monetary grounds, and continue to speak their peace on issues such as the funding of the HidroAysen energy project which many deemed environmentally unsound. Hailing from Antofagasta, they play a rich variety of ethnic black folk metal. Folkheim's first EP was 2006's "Pachakuti," which followed their 2004 demo "Touched by Thy Undisturbed Essence." They continue to play shows all over Chile and have an incredible cult following.
It is always so unfair when you see mediocre and lackluster bands becoming hugely popular and selling millions of albums, especially when a band with overwhelming talent gets the shaft and never realizes it's true potential. But I learned a long time ago that life was never meant to be fair, and not a better example of this exists in the annals of metal than the story of Artillery. Formed in 1982 in Taastrup, Denmark - this band came along at the beginning of thrash metal and was one of a very small handful of bands that pioneered the technical metal genre. They were ahead of the times, and sadly still fly under the radar in terms of recognition within the metal community. The old schoolers and metal elitists know and recognize them for what they are, though - perhaps the greatest and most technical thrash band of all time. More...
News spread fast regarding Motley Crue becoming the first hard rock band to take up residency in Las Vegas. It was announced that starting in February the band will be playing nightly shows at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. In light of this semi-groundbreaking news a look (IMO) of the top 25 Crue songs to date. Note that although personal opinion was weighted heavily, I also took into account popularity, videos, etc… More...
Every week we catch up with metal fans and band members to find their most brutal and memorable pit stories from live shows. This week guitarist Rick Jimenez from This is Hell shares the following recounting of losing half a tongue but still catching the end of the show:
In 2000 I was at an On The Rise (Mike Gallo from Agnostic Front's first band) show. A NJ band called Redline was playing and were covering "Reign in Blood." I was thinking "everyone does the intro and then goes into their own song all the time, whatever," but after the intro they kept going with it and I got extremely psyched. Everyone moshing was about 7 feet and 300 pounds and I was only 19 and about 100 pounds and 4 feet tall so I'm thinking there is no way I'm going to get in on the mosh.
Once the chug breakdown came though I couldn't contain myself anymore so I get out and start doing 2000 NY mosh... about 10 seconds later I'm about 20 feet from where I first started, on the ground, half my tongue on the ground. Mike helped me up and brought me to the bathroom... then someone else came in and handed me the rest of my tongue in a cup of ice. I was driven to the hospital, had my tongue sewed back together and got back to the show in time to see On The Rise. Casualty of the core.
This is Hell released the new album "Black Mass" (reviewed here) earlier this year, and you can check out the band's music by heading over here. Metalunderground.com also spoke with Rick Jimenez last month about the album, with the full interview available at this location.
Check back in next Tuesday as we continue to share more mosh pit stories from metal shows.
Toronto is located in the South Eastern part of the province of Ontario, five hours east of Montreal, Quebec and three hours away from Ottawa, Ontario. A fair comparison to use to describe Toronto would be as the poor man’s New York City: it is large, expansive and industrial (and emotionally cold) in feel, but extremely culturally diverse, and while there are great opportunities for people to spark their individual creativity, the pressure to conform is palatable. Toronto seems to primarily be an “indie rock” town, but in the past few years, hardcore bands such as Fucked Up and Cancer Bats have been making waves, and Protest The Hero started off in Whitby, a suburb outside of the city. There are a plethora of new metal bands in the GTA, and while they get little (if any) love by Toronto press – metal or otherwise, they are around, getting opening slots for the American and European metal and hardcore bands that come into town.
Sons of Otis
In terms of style, Toronto metal acts seem to prefer to emulate the NWBHM feel, while Quebec metal bands seem to be more technical and favor Black metal and /or grindcore styles. Toronto’s Sons of Otis stands out as being a trio of extremely proficient musicians who stand out from the pack with their unique take on metal. Their sound, which is categorized as psychedelic stoner/doom, is infused with American blues music, which adds a deep-in-your-belly groove and a soulfulness to their sound.
While the band has been kicking around since 1992 and has toured with bands like Electric Wizard and YOB and performed at the renowned Roadburn Festival in Holland in 2010, they have been lauded with critical acclaim, but for some reason commercial acclaim has been stymied by horrible record deals, lineup changes and in my opinion, a musically immature city where their uniqueness isn’t appreciated. While I’d heard of the band for a number of years, their opening set for Dark Castle and YOB this past July blew me away, and if I were in one of the bands performing that night, I would have been intimidated. Sheer power and heartfelt passion for their craft cannot be faked simply to win an audience over. These guys are the real deal.
It’s very close to that time of year again when metal fans all over the world pay their tributes to Dimebag Darrell Abbott, the legendary guitarist from Pantera who was murdered on stage on December 8th, 2004 while performing with his post-Pantera band, Damageplan. To understand why his death is so important to metal fans, it’s best to start, as all legends do, at the beginning. Darrell formed Pantera thirty years ago with his brother Vinnie Paul, along with guitarist Terry Glaze, vocalist Donnie Hart and bass player Tommy Bradford. Hart and Bradford left the group the same year, with the latter being replaced by Rex Brown, while the rest of the group decided that Darrell would be the bands sole guitar player. They soon became an underground favorite, touring throughout their native Texas, as well as Oklahoma and Louisiana, and supporting the likes of Quiet Riot and Dokken.
In 1983, the band released debut album, "Metal Magic" through its own record label of the same name with a second album, "Projects In The Jungle" following the next year. Both albums were very much in the glam metal vein but the second demonstrated the first hint of thrash metal influences, a style which was embellished on the third album, "I Am The Night."
Thrash metal soon crept its way into Pantera's sound permanently however, leading the group to part ways with Glaze and search for a more aggressive vocalist, which was found in New Orleans native, Phil Anselmo. With Anselmo, Pantera recorded the fourth album, "Power Metal," a hybrid of thrash metal and the popular hard rock style of the time. Following this release, Pantera decided to radically reinvent itself, shedding the big hair and make up the group had previously adorned and soon gained itself a manager in Walter O’ Brien, with a record deal coming shortly afterwards with Atco Records.
Despite now being considered something of a debut album for the band, the fifth album, "Cowboys From Hell" was released in 1990 and was instantly a hit with fans of the heavier side of metal, as well as some of their heroes such as Judas Priest and Slayer. It was certainly a breath of fresh air at the time, varied in sound but fluent, songs like the pummeling title track were just as much a part of the band's sound as the haunting epic, "Cemetery Gates." The band toured heavily to support the album, taking to the road with such respected acts as Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies and even earning a slot on the Monsters In Moscow festival with the likes of AC/DC and Metallica, in what was still the Soviet Union. More...
This week a look at a new video from Canadian rockers, Reverse Grip. They have released a new video for “Nasty Reputation”, a track from their new four-song EP. Reverse Grip is a hard rock band formed by the three Broda brothers (Sean, Dru and Dylan) with a mission to bring back true rock n' roll. WARNING: The following video contains drinking and lots of cow bell. More...
Each week we chat up metal fans and band members from every style and sub-genre to find their best tales from the mosh pit. For this week's look into the pit, guitarist Andreas Allenmark of Swedish act Cipher System shares the following story of a circle pit gone out of control:
This "accident" happened when I was on tour with another band. We were playing in Germany and had been drinking quite a few beers the night before and I had been taught a few tricks from another band.
One of those tricks was the sign for a circle pit. After a few songs I started thinking about that sign, what if I should try it...just to see if the audience understood what it meant. So I waited for a break in the song then showed them as distinctively as I could.
After that I continued my headbanging mostly looking down at the guitar and floor. When I looked up again I saw that a circle pit really had started and almost developed to a riot atmosphere, people were really hurting each other. I regretted my foolish naivety, almost stopped playing just to try to calm them down again. My last thought was, what if my brother saw me now? He is a police officer and what I had done would be considered to be a crime in Sweden.
Cipher System released the new album "Communicate the Storms" earlier this year. You can check out track-by-track videos from the band discussing the album here. For more details on Cipher System, navigate over to the band's Facebook profile.
Check back in again next Tuesday as we share more Pit Stories from metal bands.
Logan, Utah sits in a picturesque little furrow by the name of Cache Valley, which is home to many small towns. Righteous mountain views are prevalent throughout and Logan is home to an array of diverse businesses, people and music. One thing that has become very apparent throughout the last few years is that, despite the small town vibe, the town has an awesome variation of pure metal that is comparable to cities ten times its size. Autostigmatic, Simple as Suicide, and Osco are but three of the bands that keep Logan’s metal scene alive and kicking some serious ass.
Autostigmatic is a four piece that is reminiscent of greats like Pantera and Slayer but with a crucially unique metal sound that brings fans back in hordes, craving more with every show. Live, they are non-stop head-banging metal that is cemented in the underground scene not only in Logan, but across Northern, Utah. Hovey is the front man, leading the mayhem with fierce vocals and guitar riffs that merge superbly with ferocious guitar abilities. The band produces deep and contagious bass lines and their drum beats are a hardcore combination of metal meets stampede, all in all creating a sound that pulls you in and saturates your soul.
If you lived in Southern California during 1983 to present day there is a very good chance you have played for a band named L.A. Guns. I demand a VH1 Classic documentary on this phenomenon. I already have the title: "Eight is Enough: The story of nine albums and eight lead singers.”
This is the story of L.A. Guns.
To start we need to get the administrative part out of the way. Instead of populating every other sentence with a line-up change, here we go.
We will refer to the “Classic Line Up” of L.A. Guns as Phil Lewis, Tracii Guns, Mick Cripps, Kelly Nickels, Steve Riley. The “Steve Riley L.A. Guns” a.k.a. L.A. Guns #1 as Phil Lewis, Stacey Blades, Scott Griffin, Steve Riley and the “Tracii Guns L.A. Guns” a.k.a. L.A. Guns #2 as Jizzy Pearl, Tracii Guns, Doni Gray, Jeremy Guns. Recently Jizzy Pearl has left Tracii’s version of L.A. Guns, being replaced by Dilana Robichaux. So now the story is “Nine Lives: Nine albums, nine lead singers”.
Need a comprehensive list of lead singers? Why not, here they are: Phil Lewis, Jizzy pearl, Paul Black, Axl Rose, Michael Jagosz, Chris Van Dahl, Ralph Saenz, Marty Casey.
And finally other members (non lead singers) that at one time were members of L.A. Guns: Nickey Alexander, Ole Beich, Rob Gardner, Robert Stoddard, Michael Gershima, Johnny Crypt, Brent Muscat, Muddy, Keff Ratcliffe, Adam Hamilton, Keri Kelli, Scott Griffin, Kenny Kweens, Chad Stewart, Alec Bauer, Danny Nordahl.
Push the paper to the side and let’s see if we can figure out how this band bio grew to the size of a phone book. More...
Google’s masterplan to compete with everyone is becoming more apparent with its latest releases. Having just opened up Google+ pages, which is equivalent to Facebook pages, the search giant has now taken the beta tag off of Google Music and opened its doors to bands to sell their music on the Android Marketplace, which will compete with iTunes.
Google Music first opened in a beta testing phase to test their cloud storage and streaming service. The cloud will be the backbone for the music store, acting like a digital locker where all music purchases are saved. More...
Over the past few weeks the band Kid Rocker has filed lawsuit against the band Poison for allegedly stealing songs originally written by Kid Rocker (band was broke up and presented the songs to C.C. as members of the band Screamin’ Mimis). Video (at the bottom) has surfaced, showing the bands riff for what would later become an alleged Poison hit. My opinion: given this alleged theft occurred over 20 years ago I find the timing suspicious. No word yet as to why wait until now to bring the lawsuit. The songs include “Talk Dirty to Me”, “Fallen Angel”, and “I Won’t Forget You.” What a perfect time to celebrate the video for “Talk Dirty to Me”; a made for MTV spectacle that started it all for the glam conglomerate we would come to know as Poison. Full Disclaimer: I was twelve and a big fan of this video when it came out. Did it shape my life in any way? Still working through this twice a week in therapy. More...