February is black metal history month, which means there’s plenty of raw, frozen, and spiteful heaviness headed your way in the coming weeks here at Metalunderground.com. In honor of the infamous style we already took a look at Darkthrone in our Sunday Old School column, and now that it’s time for a new edition of “Unearthing the Metal Underground” we’ll dive even further into black metal with three bands rising up through the ranks out of obscurity.
This isn’t our first foray into the black metal scene, as you can still check out our previous editions covering solo black metal acts, Red and Anarchist black metal, and even Christian “unblack” metal.
Whether you prefer your black metal of the symphonic or utterly eardrum-destroying and abrasive variety, each of these bands deserve to be heard by a wider audience and should hit your regular musical rotation.
Taking a page from the likes of Gothmog and Dimmu Borgir, this young Chicago based band has plenty of extreme vocals and heavy riffing, but supports the music with both corpse paint theatrics and a symphonic flair. The lads from Massakren may be from the U.S. but you’d never tell that from the music alone, which exudes a strongly European feel. Massakren released a self-titled last year (reviewed here), and hopefully we’ll be getting even more melodic mayhem from the band in the near future. To hear what the group has to offer, check out Massakren’s Facebook profile or watch the music videos available below.
It’s February once again and MetalUnderground.com has decided to bring back Black Metal History Month, (see what we did there?). This month MetalUnderground and in particular Sunday Old School, will be looking at some of the biggest and most important bands in the history of black metal. If some of your favourite black metal bands don’t get featured this month, such as Norwegian titans Immortal or Emperor, chances are it’s because we’ve already covered them. Speaking of Norwegian black metal, it only seems right that we kick the month off by looking at just such a band, and who better to examine than Kolbotn’s own, Darkthrone?
As previously mentioned, the band formed in Kolbotn, a suburb of the Norwegian capital city, Oslo, in 1986 by drummer Gylve Nagell, along with guitarist Ivar Enger and bass player Dag Nilsen. They originally went under the moniker, Black Death and performed a more death metal orientated brand of music, before they changed their name to Darkthrone the next year and were joined by a second guitarist in 1988 named Dag Nilsen, who would leave the same year. Following the recruitment of Ted Skjellum, the group would release four demo tapes before landing a record deal with Peaceville Records. They were helped in their endeavour to record their debut album by members of Entombed and Nihilist, since Darkthrone had a very small recording budget. It was on this first album, "Soulside Journey" that traces of black metal began to show in their music. They then took this a step further, adorning corpse paint and adopting pseudonyms, much like Venom before them.
Their transition to black metal was completed with their second album, "A Blaze In The Northern Sky," which despite causing problems between Darkthrone and Peaceville and seeing Dag Nilsen depart soon afterwards, was eventually released in February 1992 and has since become one of the most acclaimed black metal albums of all time. A third album, "Under a Funeral Moon" was recorded merely four months after the release of "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" and saw the band completely discard their death metal roots in favour of what Nagell, now known as Fenriz, called, "100% pure black metal." Once again, the album would be soon as a major landmark for the black metal genre and was adored by fans. Enger departed soon afterwards however and ever since then, Darkthrone has consisted of Fenriz and Ted "Nocturno Culto" Skjellum. More...
Last week the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned a promotional poster used by the band Steel Panther. The poster featured a woman with her eyes closed with one hand on her crotch while two silver balls dangled between her legs. A group shot of the band is on the bottom of the poster. The ASA found this “overtly sexual” and “suggestive of an orgasm.” The band has released a statement explaining the 80s retro look and tongue-in-cheek message; however, the ASA ruling stands and use of the poster in public areas has been banned. More...
We've been catching up with bands and fans all over the world to get their best mosh pit stories. This week Dark Empire lead guitarist Matt Moliti shares a pit story of dueling guitarists:
We were playing the Knitting Factory in NYC in 2008. Our former 2nd guitarist, Andrew Atwood, had a reputation for being incredibly animated on stage, and it got to the point where the two of us would try to one up each other, in a friendly competition kind of way. During our song “Eyes of Defiance” there is a lead break featuring some tricky right hand tapping that I thought would look cool if our singer Brian put his hands over my eyes while I did it. I figured that should be a good enough stage move to “beat” whatever Andrew had planned for the evening.
Little did I know what he was about to do though, because next thing I saw, he had jumped INTO the mosh pit while playing his guitar and started rocking out right there with the fans! Well, I wasn’t about to let him upstage me, so I followed suit, jumping into the pit with him, guitar and all, and proceeded to play the rest of the song right there in the pit with the fans thrashing all around us. Maybe that isn’t as uncommon as I think it is, but it was definitely a first for me.
Dark Empire is set to release their new album, "From Refuge to Ruin," on March 27th via Nightmare Records. You can hear a new song from the album on the band's Facebook page.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
Recently Peru, which used to have a lot more rock and metal on it's airwaves a decade ago, played host to an event called "Dia Del Rock Peru." (Day of Rock) It took place on January 7th in Lima and in other satellite cities such as Arequipa. It was a way for the rock community to say "we exist" to all of the media and corporate broadcast venues. Nine bands of diverse styles played in downtown Lima from 4:00 until 10:00 p.m., giving exposure to those artists and the creative collective. You can see footage of the event here. Dia Del Rock might have started just on that day, but it was a blueprint of shows and events to come in the ensuing months. Paco Holguin from the band Emergency Blanket had originally come up with the idea on his Facebook page and it spread like wildfire. Then three promoters came together - Ivan Fajardo, Wayo Aguayo and Eduardo Quezada - who compiled a chain of events that would link together indie labels, stations, magazines and corporations. This show on the 7th was the start of more concerts, and you can learn more about upcoming shows by visiting the official Facebook page of Dia Del Rock Peru.
Of course, Peru is a very large country and only a fraction of it's large pool of bands will perform at events like this. The first band that we present today played at this event, while the other two take the more traditional underground approach of playing the clubs and gaining visibility through tours. The more alternative the genre of metal a band plays, the harder it might be to hook up with a high visibility event. The three bands that we will unearth today have vastly different interpretations of the metal style and different methods of diffusing their music to their respective fan bases. More...
“Keep the punk leather jackets but bring a kind of transvestite vibe to it” - Nasty Suicide on the look of Hanoi Rocks. More...
This week a look at five new videos; a mix of older and new bands, some videos good and some not so good. At least two, maybe three are exotic dancer friendly and one appears to pay tribute to Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” More...
We've been catching up with metal bands and fans all over to get their best mosh pit stories. This week Rob Barrett of death metal legends Cannibal Corpse recalls an X-rated encounter that occurred nearly twenty years ago, during the Chris Barnes days. Apparently, the idea of bloody ejaculate is a potent aphrodisiac. More...
There must be something in the water down in Davao in the southern Philippines, because the sprawling city has produced some of the most brutal, slamming, and at times technical death metal in all of Southeast Asia in recent years. The global brutal death community is beginning to take notice of the Davao scene, as some of the bands are starting to get signed by labels of note in the sub-genre, such as Coyote Records and Sevared Records. Here are a few bands making more than their fair share of gurgling, putrid noise in Davao City, Philippines.
Human Mastication has been blasting out slamming sickness since 2002, and in that time has developed a rock solid international reputation as one of the top slam bands in the business. The early years of the band saw the release of a collection of splits and demos before Human Mastication was picked up by Sevared Records for its debut full length release in 2008, “Grotesque Mastication of Putrid Innards.” Sevared also put out the band’s latest EP, “Persecute to Bloodbath,” last year. Chugging, slamming riffs, disgustingly guttural vocals, liberal use of pinch harmonics, and some combustible groove are all key elements of the Human Mastication formula. This band is currently top of the heap in the Davao brutal scene, and 2012 marks a decade of dedication to unholy slam for vocalist Gee and his comrades in gore. Expect more trademark slamming groove from Human Mastication in the near future.
All too often, the role of women in heavy metal has been relegated to either eye candy or soprano singer for symphonic bands. But they can also rock just as hard as many of the guys can. No further proof of this is needed than Düsseldorf’s own, Doro Pesch. Doro began her musical journey in the early eighties singing with such bands as Snakebite and Beast before she was recruited by another local band named Warlock. This would prove to be one of the biggest decisions of her career as after a year of hard work performing in the clubs of Europe, the band received a record deal from Belgian label, Mausoleum, through whom the group released their first studio album, "Burning The Witches" in 1984. The album led Warlock to sign with Vertigo for future releases, beginning the next year with, "Hellbound."
They toured Europe heavily in support of the album, before their third record, "True As Steel" brought them to the attention of North American head bangers, thanks largely to the single, "Fight For Rock," which was able to find a place on the Billboard Singles Chart and receive regular airplay on MTV. Their profile was also increased in their native continent, perhaps most notably when they opened the 1986 edition of the Monsters Of Rock festival, which also featured Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead and fellow German rockers, Scorpions. Warlock was dealt a blow when two members, Frank Rittel and Peter Szigeti left the band to join U.D.O. the new band from former Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider, leaving Warlock to recruit Tommy Bolan and Tommy Henriksen for their next album, "Triumph And Agony," which spawned the popular single, "All We Are." Their status continued to rise worldwide, particularly in North America where they toured with such bands as Megadeth, Sanctuary and Fates Warning amongst others. More...
Sometimes these things just fall into your lap. Uh, yes, pun intended. If you would have told me that Captain Zapped would release a song AND video for a song titled “Shake That Pussy” I would have told you to stop yanking my chain (again, yes) and then I would go directly to YouTube and check it out. Here’s my running diary… More...
We've been catching up with metal bands and fans all over to get their best mosh pit stories. This week Prong's Tommy Victor shares the following tale of full frontal male nudity and on-stage theft:
Even though Prong was originally based out of the Lower East Side of Manhattan New York City, we've has some crazy shows out in L.A. Mainly in Hollywood at the Whiskey. For those who are unfamiliar, the lower level is all pit area, with the exception of a few booths by the lower bar. The sound there is always good. Lots of low end and high volume throughout the club, especially downstairs. There isn't a barricade, So if you are onstage you are very connected to the pit audience, literally on top of the crowd.
We did a show years back that was way sold out, that had a few memorable episodes. We were touting like crazy, partying like crazy, pretty much sleeping in our gig clothes, not washing much nor changing much. Our late great bass player Paul Raven had this weird leisure suit that he pretty much lived in. Somewhere down the line the crotch ripped out of the trousers. Raven could care less. With the lack of laundry access and hygiene in general we all pretty much bypassed underwear. So we start our set and I notice a few girls situated directly under Raven pointing upwards and giggling. I'm trying to sing and play and I'm watching these girls laughing at Raven's cock and balls hanging over their heads. We had to stop the show because I couldn't concentrate. I told Raven to move back a bit. He got mad at me.
The show continued and people were going crazy. It was a great crowd. I was leaning over the crowd, singing playing, interacting with the crowd. Suddenly I was interrupted again by a chain smacking into my guitar. I was wearing a chain wallet, I knew that, but this was all chain. I reached back into my rear pocket: no wallet! I was pick pocketed right on stage. I stopped the show and yelled "Somebody stole my wallet!!" I was freaking out, but the show had to go on. I did notice some scuffle by the door, but I continued the set rather upset. There was money, ID, credit cards, etc. in the wallet. Lost now at the Whiskey.
We were loading out and two dudes sweating, panting, approached me declaring they got my wallet while handing it over! They were upstairs, saw the dude who nabbed it. They ran out of the club and chased him down all the way to La Cienega where they jumped him and got it back. They missed the rest of the set but said it was worth it being loyal fans. Every once in awhile I run in to one of the dudes on the Strip and buy him a drink, telling everyone "This is guy who retrieved my wallet ..stolen on stage!!"
Years later Prong is still doing it. We just finished recording and mixing our new LP entitled "Carved Into Stone" on SPV Longbranch records out April 24. Maybe not the Whiskey but see you live soon!
You can get your own taste of Prong insanity live, as the band has already confirmed upcoming 2012 tour dates for February and March. Find a list of the currently announced shows here, and be sure to check back next Tuesday for more Pit Stories.
A friend of mine often refers to heavy metal and hardcore as "children's music." (No, not this kind of children's music). Today, I am going to grudgingly give him some ammunition for his snobbery, as Unearthing The Metal Underground takes a look at two bands who exhibit extraordinary talent and enthusiasm for playing metal, despite being younger than probably every member of this website.
Gauchos de Acero (Los Gauchos)
Some readers here may remember Gauchos de Acero, as they became something of an internet sensation among heavy metal fans in 2007 when videos of three young boys from Argentina were posted by their father, showing them covering the likes of Slipknot, Pantera and fellow South Americans, Sepultura. Although known as Los Gauchos, the duo did not originally have a name, Los Gauchos being a moniker assigned to them by YouTube users, owing to their user name, "gauchosalta." Not only did they become a hit on the internet, but they also attracted the attention of Argentinean promoters, not least when they were booked to perform at Cosquin Rock 2007, an open air festival which packed in over 20,000 spectators. They were even noticed by the Argentinean government, who supplied them with sound equipment!
Gauchos de Acero - "Refuse/Resist"
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.