With the recent, tragic passing of guitarist Trev Fleming, this week seemed to be a fitting time to look at Sweet Savage and the impact they had upon heavy metal music. The band formed in 1979 in the Northern Irish capital of Belfast by guitar players Trev Fleming and Vivian Campbell along with drummer David Bates and singing bass player Ray Haller. The group quickly began to build up a solid fan base and were able to secure opening slots for the likes of such big name bands as Thin Lizzy, Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne and Wishbone Ash. Their high profile support slots led to a recording contract with Park Records, through which they released a single entitled, “Take No Prisoners” which was limited to only one thousand copies and also featured the song “Killing Time.” The single didn’t result in a permanent record deal and the band’s next record was a self-released demo simply named, “Demo 81.” The band soldiered on for two more years until Campbell left the band to become the guitarist for Ronnie James Dios eponymous new band, resulting in a period of inactivity for Sweet Savage.
The group decided to continue in 1984, though this time the lineup did not include Campbell or Fleming, instead featuring the guitar talents of Ian “Speedo” Wilson. The new selective recorded a new single with guest vocalist Robert Casserly entitled, “Straight Through The Heart” via Crashed Records. The single found little success and the band continued to perform as and when they could, finally releasing a third single in 1989 called, “The Raid” before making the decision to retire the group for the second time.
During the 1990s, the band received an renewed interest from many heavy metal fans, thanks largely to American metal stars Metallica covering the Sweet Savage song, “Killing Time” as a B-side to their “Unforgiven” single. Sweet Savage decided to reform once again, this time with Trev Fleming back on guitar and Simon McBride replacing Ian Wilson. This re-energised version of the band was finally able to record a full length studio album in the form of 1996’s, “Killing Time,” which was comprised of re-worked and re-recorded versions of their old songs. The album and interest enabled them to continue and the band released a second album in 1998 entitled, “Rune,” which featured all new material. However, owing to the desire to pursue other musical ventures, the band broke up for the third time that year. The hiatus would prove to be the bands longest, lasting a full ten years before the group heeded the call of heavy metal once again and began touring under the Sweet Savage moniker. This time the band received more support slots for big names of the present and past eras, including Saxon, Motorhead, Deep Purple and, most recently, Iron Maiden. A new drummer in the form of Marty McCloskey was introduced in 2010 and the band revealed their plans to release a new album in October of this year entitled, “Regenerator.” October is now finally upon us and while the new Sweet Savage album is still expected to be released sometime this month, it will prove to be a sad launch, as founder and guitarist Trev Fleming passed away on October 2nd, leaving behind a legacy of great heavy metal music. More...
In a recent interview with Classic Rock magazine, Slash (Velvet Revolver, ex-Guns N Roses) says that he considered Axl Rose (Guns N Roses) as one of the singers for his recent solo project, explaining that Rose would be able to sing the shit out of all of his songs. I also believe this would give the two an opportunity to bond; each day calling Steven Adler (Adler’s Appetite, ex-Guns N Roses) and ask if he wants to get the band together then yelling “psyche!” Then hanging up the phone… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Heath Rave of Minneapolis metal band Wolvhammer sends in a short pit story:
This one time, there was this pit. It was as at a rock and roll event showcase. I believe there were as they say in the hood, "hardcore" bands playing. This one very strong person was chasing and punching an invisible ghost. Then he hit me. I'm not invisible.
Wolvhammer released Black "Marketeers of WWIII" on Init Records earlier this year. You can check out some of their music on the band's MySpace page.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
Here we go again! Another installment of Unearthing the Metal Underground in the Crescent City a.k.a. The Big Easy a.k.a. N'awlins. Whichever you prefer. With Steven Seagal keeping the streets safe, the metal bands can safely play, and they have been doing quite a bit of that lately. I've got three more amazing bands to tell you about; all playing at least once a month. Please enjoy the reviews and footage. Mabye it will entice you to take a trip down here to check them out. Don't worry; the seafood is safe.
Machine Made Slave
Machine Made Slave plays frequently around New Orleans. If you’ve read my show reports, you’re sure to remember the name. Soon they’ll be opening for Watain and Goatwhore to complete the black metal showcase. Through the many lineup changes, founding members and brothers Jason and Trevor Milbourne (on vocals and bass, respectively) have remained and transformed the band into something truly evil. The talented guitarists Rene and Kevin Roche, who are also brothers, combine a classic metal rawness with black metal melodies and even some South American tunes into their playing. And although Ryan Willis does not have a brother in the band, he still does a fine job of pounding the skins. Jason claims that Machine Made Slave will be recording a full-length album soon when they find a proper studio. He claims that they are taking their time with every aspect of the album so that it’s perfect; “So that it doesn’t sound like a demo.” You can watch a clip of one of their shows with the inclusion of female singer Amy Vial below. We wish you luck in the recording process! Visit their Myspace to see their progress.
"Keep It In The Family" may be a song by Anthrax, but for another American thrash metal band it means something else entirely. The band in question would be Death Angel, who were formed in 1982 by four cousins, vocalist and bassist Dennis Pepa, guitarist Gus Pepa, drummer Andy Galeon and Rob Cavestany, who also played guitar. The cousins went through a number of names before deciding to settle with Death Angel, after coming across a book by the same name. The original lineup of the band recorded a demo entitled, "Heavy Metal Insanity," which sounded alot more like New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands such as Tygers Of Pan Tang, than the thrash metal style of which the band would later be known. In 1984, the band decided to recruit their roadie, Mark Osegueda (also a second cousin of the band members) to take over the role of vocalist, allowing Dennis Pepa to focus on his bass playing and the new lineup made their live debut supporting Megadeth (which was one of only four shows to feature Kerry King as Megadeth's guitarist.) The band continued to slug it out in the clubs and refine their live show, as well as musicianship, before recording a new demo in 1986 called, "Kill As One," which featured Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett as producer. The demo proved to be extremely popular in the tape trading community, earning the band a solid fanbase and eventually leading to a deal with Enigma Records. Through, Enigma, they released their first full length album, "The Ultra-Violence," which found favour with many thrash metal fans, as well as the impressive fact that all of the band members were under twenty years old at the time, with drummer Andy Galeon only fifteen years of age at the time of release. The group also filmed a music video for the song, "Voracious Souls," but it found little airplay, owing to it's lyrical nature, which refers to marijuana.
The next year, the band released their second album, the comical sounding, "Frolic Through The Park," which saw their popularity rise signifficantly. The album received largely positive reviews and garnered a minor hit with the song, "Bored," which was inspired by the unlikely influence of U2 and was eventually featured in the movie, "Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III." The record was also praised for it's diverse range of influences, which no longer confined Death Angel's music to straight forward thrash metal, and for the band's excellent cover of the Kiss song, "Cold Gin." The success of the album allowed the group to tour the world for the first time, finding particular success in Japan, where they sold out two tours in support of the record. Following the release of, "Frolic..." the band's contract with Enigma was bought out by major label, Geffen, who released the band's next album, "Act III" in 1990. Once again, Death Angel expanded their musical range, incorporating elements of funk and making greater use of acoustic guitars and backing vocals. The album featured two singles in the form of, "Seemingly Endless Time" and the ballad, "A Room With A View," which was sung mostly by guitarist Rob Cavestany. The album didn't give them the mainstream breakthrough which they deserved, but saw their popularity as a live act remain intact, selling out famous venues such as London's Hammersmith Odeon and The Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Dave Khan of Vancouver, BC-based folk metal band Scythia shares a pit story from a Canadian pirate bar:
2009, year of our lord... We took a ferry across the Straight and played a little show.
The place was called the Cambie and it was an open concept pirate bar, constructed perhaps in one of the last few centuries. It had a particular rustic charm that felt very inviting for Scythia.
We opened our set by explaining who we were and then wasted no time in kicking off into Sailor's Accolade, which was an obvious pick. The seawater in the blood of the inn's patrons began dancing as a pit immediately formed.
The pit was unrelenting for the entire course of our set. Bodies were tossed about the front of the stage. Beer was spilled all over our guitar pedals and best of yet... Our merch booth (which in hind sight was poorly positioned near the stage) was lying completely horizontal with beer, cider and other miscellaneous bar fluids forming a thick coat over every t-shirt and CD.
We finished the set and realized that this crowd threw down. They were indeed pirates and knew the spirit of a primal pit. I shook hands with some of the more dominating pit characters only to be gifted with a combination of blood, sweat and ale.
T'was a fantastic eve of destruction!
Scythia is currently touring Canada on the "Exiled Across Canada" tour. The band also released a new song "Fierce Riders of Scythia" for free on the band's bandcamp page. Check out more of their music there or their MySpace page.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
I’m going to let you all in on my dirty little metal secret: I don’t dig thrash. At all. Yeah, I know, how can it happen, right? Megadeth, Metallica, Testament, Anthrax, these are the bands that made metal in the ‘80s and ‘90s and brought an otherwise niche genre into the mainstream spot light. Despite their name recognition and commercial success, I just find I can’t sit through a whole thrash album without wishing something different was playing.
In this week’s edition of “Unearthing the Underground,” I’ll be going over bands that start with a base of thrash metal, or have a big thrash metal influence, but add in a variety of different styles. The thrash influenced bands this time around all either have big name members or have released several albums, but haven’t received a big following outside the underground yet.
First off is Germany’s Duskmachine, which is essentially a thrash metal band, but also incorporates power metal, progressive metal, and some groove metal elements. Some of the band’s influences are undoubtedly brought in by members Russell Bergquist (ex-Annihilator) and Randy Black (Primal Fear, ex-Annihilator). Duskmachine last released an album in 2005, and split with former vocalist Mirko Prietzsch back in July. The band has yet to formally announce a replacement, and the last update from the group stated a new album would be mixed this coming October.
New York undoubtedly created some of the best hardcore music of all time, producing such bands as Agnostic Front, Murphy's Law and Sick Of It All. Not only that, it also birthed some of the best bands in thrash metal, such as Nuclear Assault and Toxik, so it was inevitable that the two extreme genres would eventually meet. The band that became known for eventully bringing these two genres together would be the sometimes hilarious, always controversial, Stormtroopers Of Death. The nucleus of the band began when Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian befriended hardcore punk fan Billy Milano at one of the legendary CBGB matinees, before Ian deided to create his own hardcore band centred around a character he created named, "Sargent D." Ian asked Milano to be the group's frontman, and completed the lineup by recruiting Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, along with Nuclear Assault bassist Danny Lilker (who had also spent some time in Anthrax.) They were able to grab the attention of Johnny Zazula's Megaforce Records with their demo, "Crab Society North," which featured no less than sixty three songs. They quickly signed to Megaforce and recorded and mixed their debut album in just three days. The album, "Speak English Or Die" attracted some controversy due to it's title and politically incorrect, though tongue in cheek lyrics, which Lilker admitted were written with the sole intention of offending people. Nonetheless, the record has gone down as one of the true classics of thrash metal, as well as a blueprint of crossover thrash and earned plenty of good reviews, as well as a spot opening for Motorhead at the time.
Although a second S.O.D. album entitled, "U.S.A. For S.O.D." was planned, it never materialised and the members returned to their respetive bands, while singer Billy Milano formed a new group called Method Of Destruction, whose debut album, "U.S.A. For M.O.D." featured many lyrics written by Scott Ian. Even while the members were busy with Anthrax, Nuclear Assault and M.O.D., the band still retained a cult following and eventually reunited for a one off show at The Ritz in New York in 1992, which was released as the live album, "Live At Budokan." The live album featured not only their own material, but also covers from such a diverse range of artists as Nirvana, Ministry and Fear, along with performing the Method Of Destruction song, "Get A Real Job." Five years later, the band reunited once more, which resulted in their first European show taking place at Germany's With Full Force festival. Not only did the band perform again, but they released a new studio album in 1999 entitled, "Bigger Than The Devil." Again, the album contained many songs with humourous lyrics, that ranged from parodying other bands like Slayer, ("Seasons Of The Obese") and Celtic Frost ("Celtic Frosted Flakes,") to downright silliness ("Monkeys Rule," "King At The King," "Frankenstein and His Horse.") The album received mostly positive feedback and the band toured all over the world to support it's release, resulting in the live DVD, "Speak English Or Live."
Following the release of another DVD entitled, "Kill Yourself: The Movie!," the band broke up after reported disagreements between Scott Ian and Billy Milano. A posthumous album named, "Rise Of The Infidels" was finally released in 2007, which was described as an "extended E.P." and featured previously recorded material, including covers of Agnostic Front and Negative Approach, as well as live recordings and many of their "Ballads" (which were merely small parts of songs by a famous, deceased musician with the phrase "You're dead!" thrown in.) Despite the positive reviews the E.P. garnered, Milano has stated that the record is "the last of S.O.D." and that fans shouldn't expect a reunion to happen. Today, Scott Ian and Charlie Benante are still in Anthrax, Billy Milano continued Method Of Destruction until it's final show in 2008 and Danny Lilker performs with several bands, including Nuclear Assault and Brutal Truth. S.O.D.'s influence on heavy music can still be heard today, with many big names of modern metal and hardcore citing them as an influence, including Corey Taylor of Slipknot/ Stone Sour and Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed and Kingdom Of Sorrow. More...
While Vince Neil’s (Motley Crue) accuser teams with her lawyer (Neil was accused of attacking a woman in an elevator), Vince is spending time at the grand opening of Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, posing for pictures with porn legend Ron Jeremy and Bunny Ranch head Dennis Hoff. This answers the age old question: Can enough Tequila make you forget all of your problems and make you feel invincible?... More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Corey Archuleta of Colorado melodic death metal band Allegaeon shares a story from his first pit, and one that he will never forget:
Back in the early exposure of metal, I attended my first ever metal show (bunch of crap local bands) when I was in middle school. A friend pushed my panzy ass into the pit, and got knocked into the air by some large "metal looking" guy. I fell onto my hip, and limped away. 9 months later I was in the shower and noticed my entire left leg was shifted, and causing my feet into a v shape. Went to doc, got xrays and a "how are you walking?" My growth plate slipped out of place, and my leg was growing wrong. I then got a 6inch screw put in, and they were unable to correct the damage that was done, but prevented it from getting worse. I am unable to ride a bike, because of the motion. My right leg is longer as well. I went in for a ct scan a few weeks ago, and now the screw might need to be taken out, and a fake hip might be in place for me. Metal.
What could possibly be more metal than permanent disability/disfigurement at the hands of a mosh pit? Luckily Corey's in a kick-ass metal band or that story might not be one he'd want to share with others.
Allegaeon released their debut album, "Fragments Of Form And Function," this summer and just wrapped up a short tour in August. You can hear "A Cosmic Question" here or on their MySpace player with a few others.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
Freedom of expression is likely not the first thing that comes to mind when one mentions the People’s Republic of China. It’s a place where the mere mention of anything that might be construed as being the least bit anti-authoritarian by the powers that be can land a person in jail, and dissidents are regularly executed by the state or simply disappeared without even the pretense of due process. But luckily for the metal heads residing in the world’s most populous nation, the government censors have bigger fish to fry than metal bands, and so China’s budding metal community, which features its own independent labels dedicated solely to various facets of the broad genre, and even a nationally published print magazine focusing on all sounds hard and heavy, has been allowed to develop as the country has opened itself up to outside influences in the past couple of decades. Here’s a look at three bands waving the metal flag in the pseudo-communist house that Mao built.
Imitation is often considered the sincerest form of flattery, and if that is indeed the case, then by all means keep Chaotic Aeon’s music away from John McEntee, Ross Dolan, and Gene Palubicki, lest the founders of Incantation, Immolation, and Angelcorpse respectively experience a simultaneous head implosion. If you don’t believe me, try playing any one of the tracks currently streaming on the band’s myspace page, and see if the death metal freak in the room doesn’t confuse Chaotic Aeon with any one of the three. But though the band, hailing from Xi’an, the midwestern Chinese city of Terra Cotta Army fame, may just be aping these American death metal greats, they do a damn good job of capturing their grimy, down tempo brutality that satisfyingly grinds down a mountain of granite like a dirty blackened glacier. The band currently has a six-song EP out on Pest Productions, a Chinese label specializing in black metal. More...
With the recent announcement that Quiet Riot are to return this year with a new vocalist in tow, it seemed as good a time as any to take a look at the band, and how they broke a major barrier for the genre of heavy metal. The band made a name for themselves in the 1980s but were actually formed by guitarist Randy Rhoads in 1973 under the name Mach 1. The group used this moniker for a short while, before changing it to Little Women until they made the wise choice to change their name once again, this time to the label we know them today, Quiet Riot. While the name may sound like a way to stick in people's minds, it actually has a fairly humourous origin. While the band were talking with Rick Parfitt of the legendary British rock band Status Quo, Parfitt mentioned he'd like to name a band "Quite Right," but owing to his English accent, the band members mistakingly believed he said, "Quiet Riot" and settled on the moniker.
The band slugged it out in their native Los Angeles with their new name for two years before eventually landing a deal with Sony. Strangely though, the deal only entitled the band's albums to be released in Japan. They released their self-titled first album the same year, which featured covers of songs by the likes of Dave Clark Five and The Small Faces. A second album, simply named, "Quiet Riot II" followed in 1978, but the band parted ways with bass player Kelly Garni soon after, with future Ozzy Osbourne, Dio and Whitesnake bassist Rudy Sarzo replacing him. The next year would see another lineup change for the group, when founding guitarist Rhoads left for what proved to be a critically acclaimed, though ultimately tragic stint as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist. Quiet Riot soldiered on for a while, but eventually changed their name to DuBrow, after the band's vocalist, and went through a number of lineup changes. More...
Axl Rose (Guns N Roses) during his recent tour fired his entire road crew for allowing him to nap during the time he was suppose to go on stage. The tricky part to this is that Rose has strict instructions to not wake him under ANY circumstances. The crew was eventually rehired, but led to this job wanted advertisement...WANTED: Person with telepathic powers and an acute sense of time; need to be able to communicate to another person through their dreams without knowing they are being awakened; NOTE: supervisor unstable… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week we hear from German metal band Emergency Gate. Guitarist Udo shares his wall of death experience with us:
It was the last day of the Chaos over Europe Tour 2009, on which I had the honour to support Kreator, Caliban and Eluveitie with my band Emergency Gate for 2 months. This evening was a special evening so our other guitar player Vlad and me decided to join Caliban‘s wall of death for the first time. So when they started playing their third song we knew from the nights before, that it was wall of death time. We went to the very first row where the Andy, the vocalist from Caliban saw me, smiled and said: "EVERYONE AGAINST UDO."
Well, it wasn‘t as painful as expected, but Vlad and me both lost our bracelets.
Emergency Gate recently posted an exclusive trailer for their new album "The Nemesis Construct," which is due out in North America on October 5th. You can also check out their official music video for "Point Zero" here.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
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. For my first article I’m going to be looking at three very distinct styles, but all artists that are on the verge of blowing up.
Nova Scotia, with its small population and many rural areas, might not be considered the hotbed of metal, but when you look into the underground you see a very different story. With all styles of metal being accepted and embraced, the underground is growing each and every late night.
The Worshyp currently consists of Marz Nova (vocals/guitar), Thor Rune (guitar), Mig Diablo (bass), and KK Devina (drums). It wasn’t always like this though. The heart and soul of the band founder Marz Nova had being playing in cover bands and I’m sure realized that the true rewards are from singing music from your soul, not the Top 40 Rock countdown. Marz being from a small town in Nova Scotia he knew he had to dump the tributes and move to a larger market to make his dreams come true. Hence moving to Toronto.
What it is today is a powerhouse band that blends very classic melodies, with very hard driven guitar riffs. With the new members on board Marz and the boys have almost completed their first full length CD and released their first single “Under Surveillance” to radio stations and ITunes. You can check out “Under Surveillance” and some other great songs on their MySpace page or Reverb Nation. More...
While most people will tell you that heavy metal was born in Great Britain, the same people will tell you that metal's home is in Germany. Germany has several large festivals dedicated to the genre, and has produced some of the best bands ever to pick up a guitar, including the Teutonic Thrash Scene, the only thrash metal movement than can be seen as a legitimate rival to the American scene. Most of the bands from the Teutonic thrash era will explain however, that they may never have found their sound, without the influence of a band from Solingen named Accept.
Accept was originally formed in 1968 by vocalist Udo Dirkschneider and guitarist Michael Wagener under the name Band X and performed at an amateur level for around eight years before being offered a spot on the Rock am Rhein bill. The performance at the festival was impressive and led to the band receiving a record deal shortly after. They released a self-titled album in 1979 but found little success with the record and as a result, guitarist Gerhard Wahl and drummer Frank Friedrich, being replaced by Stefan Kaufmann and Jörg Fischer respectively. Accept would find greater rewards with their next album, "I'm A Rebel" however, resulting in their first televised performance, with even more success coming the next year when the band released, "Breaker," which earned them a spot supporting Judas Priest on their "Point Of Entry" tour. The group began evolving their sound somewhat with their next album, "Restless And Willd," which would prove to have a profound effect on the speed metal genre. More...
Vince Neil's new book Tattoos and Tequila is out September 23. This week his website sent out an excerpt for his book of adventures. Here's a quick look and initial thoughts. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week, Omega Crom's Johnny K recalls getting brutalized in a Lamb of God most pit:
A bunch of us were drinking in the parking lot before the [Lamb of God] show and my friend Stubbs dresses up as this wrestler called the Green Teabagger (you can find him on myspace) goes up to Chris Adler yelling, "I heard you wanted to go me! I heard you wanted to do it!" Funny shit.
So we go into the show just loaded and I'm in the mosh pit drunk and I gotta say that isn't the brightest thing I ever did. I lined up the biggest dude I saw in the vicinity and got smashed to the ground. I'm on my hands and knees and took a knee to the face at which point two random people pick me up and put me back on my feet, wow. Then they're ready to play Black Label and the crowd starts seperating for the wall of death. Randy screams, "1,2,3,4!" and everyone charges at each other like fucking Braveheart and I'm about the second row back from the frontline when we crash together. Managed to step back see just a massive pile of bodies and everyone is bailing people outta there to help the ones at the bottom of this massive doggypile, it was Fuckin Crazy.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
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. Today I'm taking a look at some bands from my home country whom are centered around the growing doom/sludge/rock/drone scene in New Zealand. (You can check out some other previously unearthed bands from New Zealand here.)
Made In China
Dunedin based band Made In China has been slogging away sincerely in the student ghetto for some time now and is currently in the studio recording for their upcoming album, but until then you can check out their myspace. Made In China combine Alice In Chains style grunge with a heavy groove and a great live show, below is a snippet of their live antics.
Although the most famous city in the United Kingdom, London itself hasn't seemed to have made a large contribution to heavy metal in the grand scheme of things. Of course, there was Iron Maiden, who were hailed as the leaders of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement, but many of these movements bands came from the Midlands and the North of England, rather than the capital itself. That being said, there was another metal band from London during this era that would prove to be hugely inflential on young bands around the globe, from Celtic Frost to Metallica, namely Angel Witch.
The band was formed in 1977 and originally used the moniker Lucifer, but decided to change their name after parting with several members, leaving vocalist/guitarist Kevin Heybourne and guitarist Rob Downing. The two recruited bassist Kevin Riddles and drummer Dave Hogg but before long, Downing also made the decision to quit the band, leaving Angel Witch as a three piece outfit. They recorded a demo and quickly found some success in the metal mainstream, after their song, "Baphomet" was featured on the Metal For Muthas compilation. The attention the band received from the song led them to signing a record deal with major label EMI, though unfortunately the deal was cancelled soon afterwards as a result of manager Ken Heybourne refusing to hand the band over to professional management, along with the bad performance of their single "Sweet Danger," which stayed in the British Singles Chart for only one week. More...