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...
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week I take on bands that fuse metal with industrial/electronic elements.
Over the years this genre has adopted many names: industrial metal, techno metal, electronic metal. The infusion of industrial/electronic elements into rock and heavy rock can be traced back to the late ‘80’s with Ministry and Die Krupps and then followed by Godflesh, Fear Factory. In the early ‘90’s. the industrial scene hit its stride and started branching off on its own. The more popular branches leaned out towards more alternative metal/rock like Korn, Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein. However, there was also a branch with bands like Invincible Spirit and God is LSD who kept the sound distinctly metal. It is this branch of the genre that we will concentrate on today.
It was in the early 90’s when electronic elements also found a way into the black metal scene with the emergence of Norway’s Mysticum. However, Samael best defined it with the “bridge to the future” and appropriately titled “Ceremony of Opposites” in 1994. In the early 2000’s, electronic elements began to be incorporated into power metal with the emergence of bands like Cyberya and Illidiance. This week we introduce three bands with their own distinct sounds: Neurotech, Jesus on Extasy and Octagone. More...
You know you're old school when you've had an album on Shrapnel records and can count eleven full-length albums among your repertoire. This is where the story of Canadian thrashers Exciter begins - way back in 1978. They began as Hell Razor and changed their name out of homage to the Judas Priest song and put out a demo, getting the attention of the legendary Mike Varney. He was the head of Shrapnel records, a label that catered to the forefathers of American thrash and all the classic guitar heroes. Mike put Exciter's track "WWIII" on his second compilation, "US Metal Volume II" in 1982. The debut, "Heavy Metal Maniac," followed on the label in 1983. This album already had great hype as a nine-song tape traded overseas, and ten thousand metalheads had put in an order for it upon its release. More...
Fresh off their “occupy Hard Rock” stint in Vegas, Motley Crue is back in the studio recording a new song. Vegas odds that the words “Hard Rock” are included are 2 to 1. Odds that Nikki Sixx and company will rhyme “cock” with “Hard Rock” is even money… More...
More than just brutal riffs and unintelligible screams, heavy metal covers a huge range of sounds and has a massive number of sub-genres that dip into just about any style imaginable. Every week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we highlight three lesser known or unsigned bands that deserve to be heard by the wider music community, and this week includes another look at groups that are well outside the standards of black or death metal.
Last summer we delved into three “progressive” metal bands that throw in non-standard song structures, avant-garde twists, and a healthy dose of ‘70s style prog rock. Below you can find three more groups in the prog metal realm that are all unified by a jazzy outlook, some showy technicality, a strong emphasis on bass playing.
The heaviest of the three bands we’ll look at this week, Spanish three piece Continuo Renacer also happens to be an all-instrumental group, following in the footsteps as such acts as Blotted Science by maintaining a feel of death metal heaviness without using any screams or growls.
Without vocals the instruments really get a chance to shine, and the bass lines keep the music moving forward into ever funkier and more avant-garde territory. The guitar playing on the band’s latest album “The Great Escape” (reviewed here) doesn’t get left behind either, keeping up with impressively technical flourishes. The opening title track from the album can be heard in the player below. Head over to the Continuo Renacer Facebook profile for more details on the band.
It’s common in heavy metal music for fans to exaggerate how important or how good a band they love is, but Cannibal Corpse genuinely deserves to be recognized as a ground breaking act in the field of death metal, being the biggest selling death metal band in the United States, as well as having a sound that has been copied countless times. The band was formed in Buffalo, New York from the remnants of popular local bands Tirant Sin, Leviathan and Beyond Death and through friends the members made, made their live debut in April 1989 opening for Dark Angel.
Not long after this impressive debut, Cannibal Corpse was snapped up by Metal Blade Records after the manager of the record store where vocalist Chris Barnes was working sent in the band's self-titled demo tape, becoming the label's first death metal band in the process. The first album, "Eaten Back To Life" was recorded at the Morrisound Recording studio, a place now famous for producing albums by the likes of Sepultura, Morbid Angel and Napalm Death amongst other big names in extreme metal, before being released in August 1990. The band didn’t do a conventional tour in support of the record, performing only a handful of shows when possible, including one which featured no more than thirteen people in attendance.
Cannibal Corpse returned to Florida shortly afterwards to record a sophomore album, "Butchered At Birth." This would mark the beginning of causing outrage and controversy on an international scale, as the record was banned in Germany and was only available to people over the age of eighteen in Ontario, Canada due to its graphic cover artwork. Despite this, Cannibal Corpse soon embarked on a first headlining tour, which took place in Europe, where the group was greeted very warmly by extreme metal fans. Upon returning, the guys set out on their first North American headlining tour, this time being joined by Atheist and Gorguts.
Having completed the tour, Cannibal Corpse recorded another album entitled, "Tomb Of The Mutilated," which once again featured a shocking album cover and also contained at least two of the group's best known songs in the shapes of, "Hammer Smashed Face" and "I Cum Blood." Shortly after the release of the album, the band parted ways with guitarist Bob Rusay, replacing him with Rob Barrett, known for his work with Malevolent Creation. After an appearance in the hit comedy, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, the band once again got to work on a new album, which surfaced in 1994 under the name, "The Bleeding." The record was praised for its more disciplined approach to song writing and featuring plenty of catchy riffs, not to mention more charming song titles such as, "Fucked With A Knife" and "She Was Asking For It." More...
It’s true, reality “star”, Dee Snider, is appearing in a sitcom. This week let’s take a look at the show promo for Snider’s new gig, a sleazy glam rock video from New York City rockers Electric Black Horse, and a frightening album teaser from Fatal Smile. More...
Each Tuesday we share the best mosh pit stories from metal fans and band members from across the globe. This week we have another tale from Dark Empire's lead guitarist Matt Moliti about a Destruction fan with apparently alcohol related depth perception problems:
I think it was in 2005 or 2006 I saw Destruction (at the Knitting Factory in NYC) and I remember seeing this one crazy drunk guy during one of the opening bands who insisted on trying to stage dive even though no one was catching him. I though that was funny enough, but then I saw that he had climbed up onto the balcony area. The guy actually dove down into the crowd from that height, slamming into the solid concrete floor! I have no idea how that guy got up, but he did (probably all the alcohol in his system).
Dark Empire also shared a story with us about dueling guitarists in the pit, which can still be read here. The band's new album "From Refuge to Ruin" hits stores on March 27th via Nightmare Records. To get a taste of the album, check out the new song "The Crimson Portrait" at this location.
Be sure to check back in again next Tuesday for another dose of brutal mosh pit stories.