Personally, one of my favourite things about metal music is finding ways to fuse it with other genres. From rap to jazz, metal seems to find a way to work with anything. In the early nineties a group from Wales named Dub War found a way to entwine it with reggae. Dub War began life back in 1993 in Newport, Wales, and immediately gained notice for their distinctive sound, which quickly earned them a record deal with Words Of Warning Records, a small label which had previously released records from Britcore legends Gunshot amongst others. Through Words Of Warning, Dub War released their debut mini LP, "Words Of Dub Warning," which circulated throughout the metal underground and eventually found its way to a Mr. Digby Pearson, founder of Earache Records, who were known for putting out music by such extreme bands as Napalm Death, Morbid Angel and Godflesh amongst others. Pearson decided to take a chance on the band and Dub War were signed to Earache in 1995, releasing their first album through the label, "Pain" the same year.
"Pain" proved to be fairly successful. While the first single, "Gorritt" was largely ignored, the band earned their first charting single in the form, of, "Strike It" which entered the British Singles Chart at number seventy. With the release of the album, a charting single and the touring process that came with it, Dub War soon gained a reputation for their live shows, which featured the members experimenting with their sound and singer Benji Webbes commanding stage presence, coupled with his unique form of crowd interaction. The tour even took them to the legendary Dynamo Open Air festival in the Netherlands, where they played alongside such bands as Agnostic Front, Machine Head and Madball amongst many others in front of a crowd of 135,000 people. More...
This week brought the first single and video from the new Van Halen album. Not only do we get David Lee Roth back, but also Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, instead of Michael Anthony. There’s a lesson here kids. ANYWAY, the new video is “Tattoo” and the reviews have varied from “It’s good to hear Dave’s voice again” to “How many years did I have to wait for this shit!” Does the new video hold up to the vintage Van Halen videos? The old VH videos showcased a band with a sense of humor, keeping the balance between the song and having a good time. This week a look at some classic Van Halen videos before we dive into the new video… More...
Every week we track down musicians and metalheads from all over the world to get their favorite mosh pit stories and crazy tales from live shows. This week comes a story of Viking mayhem at Sweden Rock 2010 courtesy of Metalunderground.com reader Cbella:
At Sweden Rock 2010, I wanted to see Danzig but none of my group wanted to so I made my way alone over to the stage. On my way, I encountered a group of the biggest Vikings I ever saw! They charged at me and one of them threw me into a fireman’s lift. Anyway, he was trashed and it had been pissing with rain so the ground was really wet.
So this fucking Viking slipped, dropped me on my face, knocked me out and knocked my front tooth out! If that wasn’t bad enough, when I came round, this vomit-smelling, Sloth-from-the-Goonies-looking fucker, was trying to give me the kiss-of-life while I was bleeding from the mouth! Nice!
Many thanks to Cbella, and we hope your next festival is experienced fully conscious and with significantly less Viking face-destruction action. Check back in again next Tuesday as we share more Pit Stories from readers and metal bands.
Power metal: master of epic guitar solos and frequent champion of all that is cheesy. Some love it for the deliciously grandiose high-pitched vocals, and others hate it for the exact same reason. While not all can appreciate the lyrical themes and vocal stylings of the genre, the level of both passion and technical proficiency displayed by the power metal virtuosos can't be denied. There are the obvious big names in the scene like Fates Warning, Blind Guardian, and Jag Panzer, but what’s going on in the underground these days?
Unlike with the hordes of black metal or death metal, there isn’t nearly as large a pool of unknown talent in the power realm. In this case that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as lesser quantity can lead to better quality. For this week’s edition of Unearthing the Metal Underground, we’ll look at three lesser known bands from different corners of the globe that all approach the power metal style from a slightly different angle.
To start our expedition into the power metal underground we’re headed to Finland for a tour-de-force of shredding solos and pounding drums. Tiluland dropped the debut album “Axes of the Universe” last year and put a surprising twist on the style by going completely instrumental. Driven by guitar acrobatics instead of the standard falsetto singing, Tiluland is the band for you if you love the fast and epic instrumentation of the genre but don’t care for the vocal style.
Check out more on Tiluland via Facebook, or listen to two songs from the “Axes of the Universe” album below.
“Tilu of the Kings”
Many are under the misnomer that Coroner got it's start as Celtic Frost's roadies, but that's not entirely true. Coroner had been an established band a couple of years before they served as Celtic Frost's road crew on a U.S. tour. Coroner went on this tour of America as a way of promoting it's "Death Cult" demo in the U.S. back in 1986, and Tom G. Warrior even sang on it. When it came time to release their debut, "RIP," Tom once again offered to do vocal duties. By then, Coroner had bassist Ron "Royce" Broder assume the vocals as well. Ron had never sang before and even surprised himself with how well he rose to the occasion. More...
Happy New Year! Let’s kick it off with a couple of new bands paying homage to the glam metal of the eighties. First up is New York’s Nasty Habit. Their video “Saturday Night” is from their recently released EP. More...
While the Caribbean island of Cuba may be a source of mistrust for some owing to it's political history and it's former leader Fidel Castro being seen as both an enemy and an icon, the country boasts quite a healthy metal scene, one which certainly deserves to be brought to the attention of headbangers the world over. When scratching the surface, one can find a diverse range of metal bands in Cuba, from the epic to brutal. Here are just a few of the Cuban metal acts on offer.
Formed in La Habana in 2009, Sed mostly comprises of former members of The Flowers Of Evil and Radical OH. The band is perhaps best described as a combination of speed and power metal, featuring crystal clear and powerful vocals along with epic sounding riffs and stampeding drums. The band released their first demo CD, "Sed De Tantas Cosas" last year and has even been able to perform on Cuban television.
Discuss New Jersey rock and roll and many think Bruce Springsteen; however, Bon Jovi has built quite a reputation themselves. With over 130 million albums sold, the boys from Sayreville, NJ continue to change up their sound and are making a run at "the boss" for notoriety in the Garden State.
The original band has been together since their first studio album (one exception being a change at bass in '94). The initial line-up was led by lead singer Jon Bon Jovi (who shortened his name from John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.), guitarist Richie Sambora, bassist Alec John Such, keyboardist David Bryan, and drummer Tico Torres. The initial thought when looking at this band was not that they had a lot of hair, but that they were also very pretty and smiling at the camera -- unlike the scowls of David Lee Roth, Nikki Sixx, and Stephen Pearcy, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were just a couple of guys with a hardhat mentality and hair most women would kill for. Was it just me or did David Bryan actually have better hair than Jon? Just me... okay. Anyway it is quite preposterous to think that the keyboardist would have better hair than the lead singer. Moving on...
The first album, their self titled debut from 1984, featured a single titled "Runaway" that displayed Jon Bon Jovi wearing either leggings or bandanas around his ankles. This video was also the beginning of the rise of Jon Bon Jovi's hair, something that would peak during the second course of "Livin' On A Prayer." In 1985 they put out their second album, "7800 Fahrenheit," an album with "In and Out of Love," a song showing arena anthem potential complete with a live video showing the world how much fun you can have at a Bon Jovi concert. The first album showed potential and gave hope of the band becoming a hit, but the second album didn't blow up, instead steadily building on the first album, if nothing else, an example of a band working hard to create music and tour to support. This hardest working band mantra would last from their start through present day. Of course, they would get a break, which changed everything in 1986. More...
The story that won’t go away, NOT Guns N’ Roses elected to the rock and roll hall of fame, but will they reunite to accept the honor? Despite recent reports, this is HIGHLY unlikely. Here’s one person’s list of the top 25 GNR songs to date. As in the past, note that although personal opinion was weighted heavily, I also took into account popularity, videos, etc… Since there were overall too many honorable mentions I won’t list them; however, I will say that from Chinese Democracy the songs Better, I.R.S., and Sorry were all close to cracking the top 25. More...
We've been tracking down metal fans and bands everywhere to get their best stories from the pit. This week, German prog rock/metal band Beyond the Bridges shares the following story of a bassist embarking on a glorious crowd surfing trip, and a vocalist who wasn't quite as lucky:
Actually we're not a hardcore extreme death metal band, which kicks ass with hard riffs and death-bringing blastbeats. In fact the music of Beyond the Bridge is meant to a polyrhythmic head-nodding audience. But even “BtB” has a dark past as a school-band with alternative-indie-progressive-rock songs, only known in and around Frankfurt, Germany.
A single legendary gig we had one night in one of the most famous clubs in Frankfurt, a newcomer band contest. Hundreds of fans were traveling with us and celebrated until the last encore. We saw nothing but raised hands, time for stage diving. Bass man “Dömsen,” our featherweight, jumped down the stage and was carried all the way to the FOH, yeah!
Our singer at that time, was jumping down, too, but he wasn´t that kind of airy as Dömsen was. And the crowd felt that their own security is more important than taking the once in a lifetime opportunity of touching the singer of a rock band. But it was indeed a once in a lifetime experience for the singer.
Beyond the Bridges recently signed with Frontiers Records and "The Old Man And The Spirit" album is scheduled for release on January 20th, 2012 (EU) and January 24th, 2011 (North America). For more details on Beyond the Bridges, head over to the band's Facebook profile.
Check back in again next Tuesday as Metalunderground.com continues to share more Pit Stories from metal bands and fans.
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...