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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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Pit Stories: Skinhead Facial Surgery

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week vocalist Brett Hoffman and guitarist Phil Fasciana of the legendary death metal band Malevolent Creation talk about an incident at one of their first shows involving an unbelievable oral amputation.

Pit Stories: Malevolent Creation from Emily Hingle on Vimeo.

This footage is taken from their upcoming interview. Malevolent Creation's latest album, "Invidious Dominion," will be out August 24th. They're currently on a headlining tour before meeting up with Exodus for the March of Brutality Tour. For more Malevolent Creation, check out their MySpace page.

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Sunday Old School: Armored Saint

Often in the Sunday Old School articles, we tend to focus on the sub-genres of heavy metal such as thrash, death and black metal, amongst others. This week we take a look at a great example of traditional heavy metal in the form of California's Armored Saint. Armored Saint was formed in 1982 by brothers Phil and Gonzo Sandoval, who played guitar and drums respectively,along with friend Dave Prichard who also played guitar, whilst students at South Pasadena High School. Soon after their formation the band recruited bass player Joey Vera and lead singer John Bush. The name of the band was suggested by Gonzo while the band were watching the movie Excalibur and a five song demo was recorded not long afterwards, that included the song, "Lesson Well Learned," which was featured on the Metal Massacre II compilation. After releasing a self-titled EP through Metal Blade Records in 1983, the band signed to Chrysalis Records the next year. Their debut album, "March Of The Saint" was released that year and earned the band a minor hit with the song, "Can U Deliver?," as well as critical praise. A second album entitled, "Delirious Nomad" was released in 1985 and, like the first album, earned the band critical acclaim.

Soon after the release of "Delirious Nomad," Phil Sandoval decided to quit the band, leaving Armored Saint has a four-piece. The quartet began work on their next studio album, which resulted in 1987's "Raising Fear." The album did not sit as well with critics as the past two albums had and many believed that Phil Sandoval's exit had shaken the band's confidence. The album did however garner the band another minor hit with the song, "Isolation." After "Raising Fear" was released, a live album named, "Saints Will Conquer" hit the shelves the next year but sadly these would be the final albums to feature guitarist Dave Prichard. Although Prichard participated in the writing and demoing of their next album, he unfortunately passed away from leukemia during the sessions. The resulting album, "Symbol Of Salvation" was released in 1991 and used the guitar solo Prichard recorded for the song, "Tainted Past." The album also featured the return of Phil Sandoval, as well as new guitarist Jeff Duncan. The record was seen as a return to form and perhaps their best yet by critics and fans alike but ultimately the band were unsure of a future without Prichard. During this period of uncertainty, John Bush was asked by Anthrax if he would be interested in becoming their new vocalist, replacing the recently departed Joey Belladonna. Bush's decision to accept the job proved to be the final straw for Armored Saint and they decided to call it a day. During the band's inactivity, other members kept themselves busy with various musical proects. Bassist Joey Vera found success as a producer, whilst also performing in bands such as Fates Warning and Lizzy Borden and the Sandoval brothers formed a new band together entitled Life After Death, which was more inspired by the likes of Thin Lizzy than the heavy metal influences of Armored Saint. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: More Reality TV

Rockers from the eighties continue to bring in the viewers for reality TV. With Dee Snider, Gene Simmons, and Bret Michaels regulars on the TV circuit it doesn’t appear this trend will be disappearing anytime soon. Here is a look at some of the other reality shows currently being considered by the networks. More...

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Growing Up Twisted: Are They Real?

The third episode begins with Cheyenne looking or hiding socks and not wanting to participate in her older brother Shane’s sketch comedy act. Apparently Shane needs the whole family involved or else it just won’t be funny. It is unclear whether the socks are going to be part of the act. Cheyenne takes a nap and wakes up in tears, eventually she goes with her Mom (Suzette) to a magic shop because they need to buy a beard. When she inquires about a beard that hobby magician confirms that they have a wizard beard and that it looks real. Duh, don’t all wizard beards look real? Where it gets interesting is when the hobby guy magician asks Suzette if her breasts are real. This immediately angers her so she calls Dee and the boys to let them know that someone else is talking about her breasts. Being the twisted family they are it’s actually the boys that are more offended. Within minutes Dee and the boys are in the hobby shop threatening this teenage magician who is holding back his laughter. More...

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Sunday Old School: Sacred Reich

The thrash metal movement in the eighties saw bands all over the world adopt the new approach to heavy metal, and the United States were arguably the champions of the genre. Although it was California and New York that were credited with some of the biggest and best names in thrash, other states produced some of the heaviest hitters of the bunch. A great example of this, would be the state of Arizona, which produced the politically minded Sacred Reich. The band formed in 1985 by vocalist and bass player Phil Rind and signed to Metal Blade Records, one of the biggest labels for thrash metal at the time, soon after. They released their first album, "Ignorance" in 1987 and was extremely well received by thrash fans all across the globe. An EP entitled, "Surf Nicaragua" followed the next year and featured a cover of the Black Sabbath classic, "War Pigs," as well as a passage from the song "Wipe Out" in the EP's title track.

After another EP, this one recorded live at the Dynamo festival in the Netherlands, Sacred Reich released a second album named, "The American Way" in 1990. The album saw a departure somewhat from their thrash metal sound, without discarding it completely and once again, was loved by fans and critics alike. Their next album, "Independent" did not find as much favour as their first two releases, but contained some stellar material, such as the title track. This album would also introduce drummer Dave McClain, who later went on to join Machine Head. Three years later, Sacred Reich released their fourth, and to date final studio album, "Heal," which regained the critical praise that "Independent" did not receive. After an absence of six years, the band's original drummer Greg Hall rejoined the group and they subsequently released a live record entitled, "Still Ignorant" in 1997. Sadly, this would prove to be the final release from Sacred Reich, as they decided to call it a day in 2000.

In 2007, the band decided to reform with the lineup of Phil Rind, Greg Hall and guitarists Wiley Arnett and Jason Rainey, peforming live around the world, most noticably at European festivals such as Wacken Open Air and Graspop Metal Meeting. Although the band has showed no sign in ending these performances any time soon, Rind has repeatedly stated that the band will not record another studio album. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Burning Questions Edition

People.com reports that Bret Michaels (Poison) vows to start Groupie Love, the first retirement home for groupies. Two days later Michaels tour bus was pulled over, Marijuana was found on board. This is no coincidence. Question: Is medicinal Marijuana a treatment for brain hemorrhage recovery? More...

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