"some music was meant to stay underground..."

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Nova Scotia

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

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...

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Sunday Old School: Accept

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...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Tattoos & Tequila Excerpt

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...

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Pit Stories: Brutalized In The Lamb of God Pit

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.

Omega Crom just wrapped up the Summer Shred tour and recently spoke to Metalunderground.com where they revealed they're planning a Canadian run as well.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In New Zealand

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.

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Sunday Old School: Angel Witch

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...

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Pit Stories: Honing Your Skills, Through Sickness

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week, Downspirit guitarist Cédric “Cede” Dupont offers up an interesting story about what could have been one of his worst experiences ever:

Right, let me start right away with that one recap of everything: It was HOT as hell, it was sweaty, it was crazy.

Last year, 2009 that was, right when we had the line up together to hit the stages right before we were going to record “Point of Origin,” our debut album, we were playing some sort of smaller clubs, just to see if we could get the material to a sound we were looking for.

So, this weekend, I had a terrible fever, and I could hardly get my ass out of bed, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do right?! So, heading to the club, almost fainting already before even having had a single note played on my guitar, I started to feel kinda weird again, and thought I’d get it away by drinking some liquor (it’s the best medicine, ya know). It definetely helped…being close to start fainting even more! Haha.

Anyway, we played the show, I kinda almost fell off stage, I almost fell backward right into my rig, and the good thing was, I was so terribly fucked up, I just thought I was about to die on that small freaking stage.

But you wanna hear the best? I was watching a videotape later that week, and who knows why, but I played the best show of my life, musically. It’s unbelievable...not a single mistake!

Downspirit's debut album "Point of Origin" just got a North American release earlier this month on Metalville. The band has more tour dates planned in 2010. Check out their MySpace page for the latest tour dates ans some music. Or check out some music on the widget below:

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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Sunday Old School: Raven

Arguably, without Venom, thrash metal would never have been as fast and ferocious as it was. But many of the genre's best musicians state that Venom wasn't the only band to influence them in such a way, but another band from Newcastle had just as big an impact; a group by the name of Raven. Although Raven was classed as part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, the band's formation predates the movement, as they were founded in 1974 by the Gallagher brothers Mark and John (not Noel and Liam) and guitarist Paul Bowden, before adding drummer Paul Sherrif to their ranks. Even in their early days, the band was known for their energetic live performances and taking musical risks, but it was to be some time before they received a record deal. Eventually, they landed such a contract with local label Neat Records, which is now regarded as one of the most important labels in British heavy metal as a result of them signing so many N.W.O.B.H.M. acts, including Raven's fellow Geordies, Venom.

Under Neat, the group released their first album, "Rock Until You Drop" in 1981, which found critical success straight away and is considered by some to be Raven's best album. Commercial success was also found with the record, as it entered the British albums chart at number sixty three. The album is also remembered for it's fantastic front cover, which shows a trashed stage with the band's members buried beneath the rubble of amps and instruments.The band then wasted no time in recording a follow up, which came in the form of 1982's "Wiped Out." Although it didn't chart in the United Kingdom, it was just as highly regarded by fans and the music press alike and did well enough to attract the attention of record companies in the United States, resulting in Megaforce Records offering them a deal. Their next album, "All For One" was released the following year and, like the two albums before, was cited as another heavy metal masterpiece. The album allowed them to perform in America for the first time, giving support slots to such young American bands as Metallica and Anthrax. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Hacked Twitter Accounts

A couple weeks ago someone (presumably with a great sense of humor) hacked into Axl Rose’s account and sent out a Tweet saying all the European shows were cancelled. Rose’s people quickly responded, noting that this was not true (despite this sounding EXACTLY like something Axl would do).

Lucky for us we were able to find a few other (alleged) Tweets sent out via (allegedly) hacked Twitter accounts. Enjoy… More...

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Growing Up Twisted: Shocking Cody News

This week’s episode begins with Shane graduating college. His mom, Suzette, believes this is the time to announce that Shane hasn’t had a girlfriend in years. She turns to husband Dee Snider and unconvincingly says, “I think he likes girls.” Dee is stone faced. Suzette decides that she needs to take control of the situation and find Shane a girl. Cody looks hurt when he hears this news. More...

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Pit Stories: Mosh Pit FAIL In A Snoop Dog Pit

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Brendan K Duff of Pristina shares one from Lollapalooza back in the day:

Over the years, I've quite literally seen it all, or pretty damn close. From simple fistfights to full blown riots. Brass knuckles, bricks, chains, padlocks, tasers, bats, beer bottles, chairs, knives and guns. Fucked up bouncers, Police brutality, Fucked up violence of all kinds, it goes on and on. I could write a book on the unbelievable shit I've seen and done. All of this pales in comparison to the DUMBEST thing I've ever experienced... and sadly, I deserved it. I wish I could say that the story takes place at some fucked up hardcore show, or at least a SLAYER gig or something... Nope, Snoop Doggy Dogg.

In 1997 I was 16 years old. That summer I was invited to go see the Lollapalooza Fest. Looking back, I have no idea why I went, because the only band I gave a shit about that played was TOOL. But alas, I went, and what happened turned out to be the dumbest thing that ever happened to me. I remember spending the afternoon scamming beer and being an idiot. The crowd was your typical "douche bag" festival audience. (You know? 10,000 white boys with tribal tattoo's who "rock out" to bands like Disturbed and Godsmack. Alright, so now that we're on the same page, we can continue.)

I was drunk, watching the mutants, when Snoop hits the stage. All of a sudden, a giant douche bag mosh pit erupts... That's right, white people moshing to Snoop Dogg. I decided it would be hilarious to enter said mosh pit and show these assholes how it's done! I took about three steps into "the pit"... and blackout. Sadly, I was not only knocked unconscious immediately, but my nose was broken and a tooth was knocked out. Even worse, the tooth was attached to a retainer that was glued to the bottom row of my teeth. So I come to, confused, bleeding out the nose with a piece of wire hanging out of my mouth with a tooth on the end. As I limped away, I had to rip the retainer out, which broke another tooth it was glued to.

To try and save face, I toughed out the rest of the show, but the night ended with me in the ER, trying to explain the story without looking like a total moron (didn't work). And that, boys and girls, is the dumbest mosh pit experience to ever happen to me.

Pristina's new album, "The Drought (ov Salt and Sorrow)" is due out September 28th on Trendkill Recordings. The albums is produced by Steve Austin of Today Is The Day, and featuring guest appearances by Steve Austin, Rennie Resmini (Starkweather), and Scott Angelacos (Bloodlet). Check out some of their music on the band's MySpace page.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Vancouver

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 am showcasing Vancouver, Canada’s stellar underground death metal scene, the same city that gave birth to internationally recognized acts such as 3 Inches of Blood, Strapping Young Lad and Bison B.C to name a few. Vancouver though is one city that always has a long list of talented young bands that can easily become metal’s next big discovery.

Death metal and its variances have always been the most dominating metal genre in Vancouver. With quite a few venues catering specifically to the underground metal niche its easy for young bands to flourish. Even with the closure/re-modelling of some of Vancouver’s most iconic metal venues (The Cobalt R.I.P, Pub 340) the underground metal scene refuses to die and becomes bigger each and every year.

Malice Plagued

First up is Malice Plagued. Quite possibly the most under-rated metal band going in Vancouver today, Malice Plagued is known for their unrelenting dedication to their music and their live performances. With a wide range of influences coming from acts like Rush, Black Sabbath, Testament, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Death, Malice Plagued has crafted a death-thrash hybrid sound unique to themselves, which is what keeps Vancouver crowds coming back for more after every show. Vocalist/guitarist Kyle Pepin knows what it means to be a proper front-man and can command audiences, shred and perform his distinct vocal style with effortless precision. The band is rounded out by drummer Lance Powell and bassist Kyle Smedley. This three piece death-thrash unit is one to keep an eye on and will surely be turning heads in the metal scene for years to come and should be the next Vancouver metal act to be breaking out to an international audience.

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Sunday Old School: Witchfinder General

Sometimes in the world of heavy metal and hard rock music, one band can prove to be a major influence on hundreds, if not thousands of future fans of the genre. We have already seen how this is true when we looked at Geordie noise merchants Venom and the influence they had on black metal, so now shall we see how another band from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement would make their mark, this time on the doom metal genre. The band in question is Witchfinder General, who, like many other heavy British bands before them, including Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, came from the Midlands area of England. The group was founded in 1979 by the duo of Zeeb Parkes (vocals) and guitarist Phil Cope and settled on the name Witchfinder General, which they got from the classic Vincent Price movie. Before long the lineup was completed when the pair recruited Cope's cousin Steve Kinsell on drums and bass player Toss McCready. After writing material, the band released their first single in 1981 entitled, "Burning A Sinner" (sometimes jokingly reffered to as "Burning A Singer") through Heavy Metal Records. The next year, the group released an EP entitled, "Soviet Invasion," which while only featuring three songs (one of which was a live track,) clocked in at thirty minutes long.

The next step for the band was to release a full length album, which was finally unleashed in 1982. The album was entitled, "Death Penalty" and immediately became notorious as a result of it's album cover, which featured topless model Joanne Latham with hooded figures in the yard of a church in Enville, Staffordshire and had not been approved, nor even granted permission to be taken, by the church's reverend. Despite the controversy however, the album received positive reviews and has since gone on to be recognised as a true classic in the doom metal genre. A second album would follow the next year, in the form of "Friends Of Hell." Once again, the album contained a controversial front cover, with the band posing with semi-naked models in front of a church. However, the controversy had proved less beneficial than "Death Penalty," with some seeing it as almost a parody of themselves. The album itself received some backlash from fans for attempting to expand the group's fanbase to a more mainstream audience with the single, "Music," which ultimately failed to achieve it's primary goal. After being unable to grow the way they had wanted to and the band called it a day in 1984.

Like many New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands however, they eventually returned to the music scene, although this time without vocalist Zeeb Parkes. They announced teir reformation in Novemeber 2006, with Cope bringing back bass player Rod Hawkes, who had played on the "Friends Of Hell"record and drummer Dermot Redmond, who had joined the band after the second album's release, along with new member in the form vocalist Gary Martin. The band's first move as a regrouped unit came the next year when they released a compilation entitled, "Buried Amongst The Ruins," which featured both the A and B-Side to the "Burning A Sinner" single, the "Soviet Invasion" EP and four live tracks, among which was a live version of a previously unreleased song entitled, "Phantasmagorical." In 2008, the band released their first album of all new material in twenty five years entitled, "Resurrected." Though the band has repeatedly stated they will not perform live again, the possibility of another album could well come true and their influence and mark on the doom metal genre cannot, and nor should it be, ignored or overlooked. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Roth vs. Hagar

With the long awaited Van Halen (with David Lee Roth) follow up to 1984 due out next year (and one would expect a world tour) this week we take a look at the classic David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar debate with a closing thought on how the pending album may affect this age old discussion. More...

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Growing Up Twisted: Cody Waxes Shane

This week’s episode of Growing Up Twisted begins with Cody and Shane playing with Suzette’s pet tarantula. Suzette states that the purple and black color reminds her of a scrotum. Immediately Cody and Shane are interested to know whether this is what their father’s (Dee Snider) scrotum is like. More...

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Pit Stories: The Night The Stage Wanted To Eat Us

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Special Ops drummer Clarence shares a story of show in an airplane hangar on a sketchy stage:

It happened in Beloeil in the spring time of 2009. We played at a party for a friend of a friend of a friend. The show was held in a huge hanger used for storing air planes. When we arrived, we realized that the stage was home made and poorly setup. We looked at each other and laughed without saying a word. It was bad. It was wobbling like crazy, the floor boards were made of different thicknesses and types of wood that had been sitting outside all winter. The stage was barely big enough to fit the four of us along with all the gear. Nails and screws were sticking out from everywhere.

When the time came for us to play, Clarence, in his normal excitement, ran up to the stage and jumped on. His foot went right through the floor board. Thankfully, he didn't hurt himself too badly. Just a minor scrape. Abe helped him back up and and the show began.

Knowing that the stage wasn't very solid, the Ops crew tried not to move around too much but the stage was doomed from the start. By the end of the set, the stage looked like a mine field. There were holes everywhere. So bad that someone had to patch some of the holes with smaller pieces of wood between some of the songs. It was a night they would all remember as "The night the stage wanted to eat us" Fun times were had by all that night. Clarence didn't sue because he was too wasted and didn't realize he had been injured until the following day.

Special Ops has a few local shows planned while bassist Waldo Thornhill is in rehabilitation from surgery from his second bout with cancer. Visit the band's MySpace page for more details.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories and check out Special Ops' first pit story here.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground in Red Deer

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 am exploring the metal scene in Red Deer, Canada, situated about halfway between Alberta's provincial capital to the north, Edmonton, and the city of Calgary to the south. Surrounded by farming communities and cattle ranches, a small but tight-knit collection of metal bands have been heavying things up in the prairie city of 90,000, setting the stage for Red Deer to finally find it's way onto the metal map. More...

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Sunday Old School: Agnostic Front

For many people, when they think of hardcore, the first place they think of is New York. And with good reason too, the N.Y.H.C. scene is perhaps one of the most well known in the world of heavy music, right up there with the Bay Area thrash scene. New York has produced dozens of hardcore bands that have gone on to become legends in the field and the now sadly defunct CBGBs club hosted more hardcore shows than a Red Light district in Amsterdam. One of the absolute top dogs from the New York scene, is a band that has been around longer than most and arguably played CBGBs more than anyone, Agnostic Front.

Agnostic Front was formed by guitarist Vinnie Stigma, formerly of The Eliminators in 1980 and went through a few singers before settling on Roger Miret, himself the former bassist of The Psychos. Before long, the band recruited bass player Adam Moochie and drummer Ray Barbieri (aka Raybeez) on drums and released their debut EP, "United Blood" in 1983. The EP was well received by fans and the group recorded their first full length, "Victim In Pain" soon after, releasing it in 1984. The album pushed them to the top of the New York hardcore scene and earned them a tour with Scotish hardcore act, The Exploited. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Judges

Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) announced this week that if a judge on American Idol he would be honest. Speaking of honesty, Joe Perry spoke this week about the secret of Tyler becoming a judge, saying he was not happy with the situation and hurt Steven didn’t let the band know. So, if I understand correctly, it is okay to lie to your band mates regarding drug use, just not over reality television? Actually, I’m not even sure what side I’m on anymore, nor does it matter because we all know the true losers in this scenario are: Bret Michaels and Gene Simmons (he had to try and get this, right?) for losing out to Steven Tyler… More...

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Growing Up Twisted: Rock and Roll Ain't Dead

This week’s Growing Up Twisted begins with Cody telling a story of a chef that puts an eel up his drunk friends ass. At this point there really needs to be one show dedicated to Cody’s sexuality. Actually, one episode may not be enough, we are talking miniseries.

Dee receives an offer to do a show in Atlantic City so he uses this opportunity to take the family on a road trip to A.C. After a stop at the recording studio where Jesse is playing his new song, “Rock and Roll Aint Dead”, Dee decides he wants to sing the song with his son at his upcoming show. Meanwhile, back at the house Lita Ford (who is apparently opening for Dee) is calling to invite Cheyenne to sing her song “Cherry Bomb” live at the show. Of course Cheyenne, Dee’s little drama queen, has a sore throat and is unsure she will be able to perform the song. More...

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