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Sunday Old School: Crowbar

Many cities across the world have become known for producing many great metal bands. Birmingham, New York, San Francisco are just a few, but one that frequently gets forgotten is New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans produced arguably the greatest bands in the sludge metal genre, and perhaps the greatest of these bands was Crowbar. Crowbar was formed from the ashes of hardcore outfit The Slugs, with the original lineup consisting of bass player Todd Strange, drummer Craig Nunenmacher, guitarist Kevin Nooger and frontman Kirk Windstein. They released their debut album, "Obediance Thru Suffering" in 1991 which was well received but failed to sell well. However, the band was helped tremedously by Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo when he produced their next album and gave the band a support slot on one of Pantera's national tours, as well as wearing a Crowbar shirt in the video for "I'm Broken."

Crowbar drummer Craig Nunenmacher decided to leave the band in 1996 and was replaced by Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod. This lineup released the albums "Broken Glass" and "Odd Fellows Rest" in 1996 and 1998 respectively, before the band briefly recruited drummer Sid Montz for the 2000 album, "Equilibrium." Montz was replaced soon after with original drummer Nunenmacher, though once again his tenure would be brief, as he left to join Black Label Society soon after. The band then went on a hiatus for a while as Windstein concentrated on working with Down, the band which also featured Pantera members Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown, along with Corrosion Of Conformity leader Pepper Keenan and long-time friend Jimmy Bower, before returning with a completely new lineup in 2004, which included Rex Brown and guitarist Steve Gibb, former guitarist of Black Label Society and son of Bee Gee, Barry Gibb. This incarnation of the band released the album, "Lifesblood For The Downtrodden" in 2005, though new members were recruited soon after in the form of bassist Patrick Bruders (of Goatwhore fame) and drummer Tommy Buckley (best known for his work in Soilent Green.)

The band has continued to tour since 2005 with the promise of a new album in the near future. Crowbar's continuity has been disrupted several times in recent years, owing largely to frontman Kirk Windstein being involved in Down, as well as Kingdom Of Sorrow, the band he founded with Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta in 2005. The band replaced guitarist Steve Gibb last year with Kingdom Of Sorrow guitarist Matthew Brunson and have since been touring steadily, most recently as special guests to Sepultura in Europe. Their influence on modern metal can be heard today, with many bands citing them as an influence and they remain one of the greatest acts to ever emerge from the legendary city of New Orleans... along with Fats Domino of course. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Strip Club Inspired

Slash (Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver) was recently in Sydney, Australia to launch the new MTV Classic television network. Slash and his wife met up with the young pop princess Justin Bieber who was hoping to have dinner with the guitar legend. Instead of a dinner invite Bieber got more than he bargained when Slash invited him out to a strip club. No news on whether Justin accepted the invite, but the rule is that any time an inappropriate strip club invite is made, it must inspire a column so here we go… More...

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Pit Stories: "The Helicopter" Takes Flight

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week’s story comes from Joe Henley of Taiwanese death metal band Revilement:

On March 20th, 2010, my band, Revilement, was playing Asia Metal Festival in Seoul, Korea, which was headlined by Graveworm. During the headliner's set, I saw a pit move I've never witnessed before in all my years of going to shows both as a fan and a performer. A kid, all of 15 years old and 90 pounds, pretended to pass out, which caused crowd around him to back off to give him some air and some space. Then, another, much larger man, ran up, picked him up by the ankles, and swung him around in a circle by his feet like they were a heavy metal figure skating duo. There you have it, pit maneuvers now involve elaborate choreography. I think the most appropriate name for this move is "The Helicopter." If anyone else has seen something like this please let me know, because it was definitely a first for me. Hopefully I'll see a double-rotor at some point in the future.

Revilement recently welcomed new guitarist Tony D (Blood Orange, The Freeloaders) to their line-up. You can check out some of the band's music on their MySpace page.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Singapore

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 Singapore scene.

The music scene in Singapore is predominantly indie and pop, with the biggest musical output being from indie bands. Rarely is metal heard over the airwaves with the exception of a one-hour metal show every Saturday midnight on a Malay radio station (the main spoken language in Singapore is English, so that shows how little exposure to metal there is over here). However, this has not stopped a large number of metal bands from sprouting up in recent years, with the wide availability of alternative forms of music via the Internet.

Whether locally or over the Internet, here are three underground metal bands from Singapore worth checking out: More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: Bret is Project Manager II

Episode eight begins with Bret Michaels taking the reigns as Project Manager for team Rock Solid. With Sharon Osbourne and Maria (wrestling star) Rock Solid is ready for their challenge of creating three radio spots for a plumbing and electricity company. Sharon adds that their team has an edge because, “We’re all rock and roll!” More...

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Sunday Old School: Iron Maiden

Where would heavy metal be in a world without Iron Maiden? Love them or loathe them, there's no denying that Iron Maiden is one of the most important bands in the world today; not just in metal, but all of music. They have influenced countless bands and sold millions around the globe and remain as relevant today as they were 30 ago, if not moreso. The band was formed in Leyton, East London by bass player Steve Harris in 1975 and struggled for a good five years before releasing their debut album. They began their success by securing a residency at The Cart and Horses pub where they would attract fans of hard rock that were bored of the popular prog rock bands at the time, but weren't attracted to punk. The band joined forces with a young singer named Paul Di'anno in 1978 and from there began their rise to the top of the emerging New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. They recorded a demo on New Years Eve of that year named, "The Soundhouse Tapes" which sold out within a few weeks and by December the next year, they had signed a major deal with EMI Records. They released their self-titled debut in April 1980 which went straight in the British album charts at number 4 and capitalised on this success by touring with big name hard rock and heavy metal bands such as KISS and Judas Priest (who had just released their classic album, "British Steel" at the time.) Maiden quickly followed this with a second studio album named, "Killers" which featured former Urchin guitarist Adrian Smith, who had replaced guitarist Dennis Stratton. Although "Killers" did not do as well as the previous album in terms of chart success, it did well enough for the band to be booked in the United States, where they were just as well received as they were in England.

The band made another change in the lineup after finishing their tour of America, this time it would be Paul Di'anno who was to find himself sacked. The group hired Samson vocalist Bruce Dickinson after he met with their manager Rod Smallwood at the Reading Festival and the band recorded the album, "The Number Of The Beast" which is considered today as one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever made and propelled Iron Maiden from being a succesful band to rock superstars, topping the charts in the United Kingdom. From there, the band recorded a string of albums which continued to sell well and garner critical acclaim, including "Piece Of Mind" and "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son." Another lineup change was to occur in 1989 when guitarist Adrian Smith quit the band was replaced by former Gillan axe man Janick Gers. This lineup of the band recorded the album, "No Prayer For The Dying" which not particularly well received by fans, though it did earn the band their first chart topping single in Britain with "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter." They followed by releasing "Fear Of The Dark" in 1992 which was better received by fans, but not by much. Following this release and two live albums, singer Bruce Dickinson quit to pursue his solo career and was replaced by Wolfsbane vocalist Blaze Bayley. The "Blaze era" of the band produced several outstanding songs but was not met with great enthusiasm from fans of Dickinson's voice, though both albums recorded with Bayley entered album charts around the world.

Blaze Bayley left the band by mutual consent in 1999 and Maiden shocked fans by announcing that not only was guitarist Adrian Smith returning to the band, but so was singer Bruce Dickinson. After a "greatest hits" tour, the band recorded a brand new album named, "Brave New World" which was well received by fans and entered the top ten in the United Kingdom. The band continued to tour relentlessly being supported by such bands as Halford and Queensryche along the way, before releasing another studio album in 2003 entitled, "Dance Of Death" and hitting the road hard once again. Both of these tours supporting these albums received the live album treatment, in the form of 2002's "Rock In Rio" album and 2005's "Death On The Road" set. After a break from touring the band released another album in 2006 entitled, "A Matter Of Life And Death." Although it proved well receieved, the band angered several fans by performing the entire album on the subsequent tour, with only five classic songs in the set list. After touring in support of the album, the band embarked on the "Somewhere Back In Time" tour which saw them focusing on material from their mid 80s catalogue. After a well earned break, the band entered the studios last to record their fiteenth studio album, which recently revealed to be named, "The Final Frontier," fueling rumours that this is to be their last album. Whether it is or not, the legacy that Iron Maiden carved out for themselves is one that rock superstardom is made of and they will forever be considered one of the greatest bands in the history of heavy metal. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Tommy Lee on Biography

Occasionally I find myself in the nose bleed section of the cable listings, somewhere past TBS, USA, and TNT, but before the dreaded Country Music Channel. This week I was perusing the cable nose bleeds and came across the Biography episode of Tommy Lee. At first glance this didn’t sound that interesting, but I was quickly captured when I saw Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne as part of the documentary.

The interview portion begins with Tommy inside his famous home studio decorated complete with a Starbucks and cocktail lounge. Lee is quick to pull out his song “Good Times” for the crew to hear. From here, most of the interview is spent in his backyard, near a pond with gold fish. This is where we learn of the support his parents gave Tommy, to the point that his dad would create pyrotechnics by placing gun powder in pipes. Oh the father/son memories: fishing on a lake, throwing around the ball, and creating pipe bombs. As Tommy talks about his career with Motley and getting a break by touring with Ozzy the cameras continue to cut to blond star fuckers drooling over Lee. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Perth

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 exhuming the Perth death metal scene.

Being isolated from the rest of the country and indeed the world, Perth has long had to make its own entertainment – leading to a rich local music scene. There are good bands active in the city right now playing almost every kind of metal, from folk to black to groove to grindcore. But I’m of the opinion that it’s Perth’s death metal bands that really shine. More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: The Tour Bus Thrust

With Bret Michaels in the hospital, fighting for his lifewe take a look at episode seven of Celebrity Apprentice. More on the elephant in the room at the end.

With Rock Solid down to two men (Curtis and Bret) Trump decides to mix things up, sending Sharon Osbourne and ex-wrestler Maria over to Bret’s team. Bret and Sharon immediately lighten up, “You’re a genius Mr. Trump,” Says Bret. More...

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Sunday Old School: Suffocation

The New York death metal scene may not be quite as revered as the New York hardcore scene, but no-one can deny that it has produced some great results. One of the most acclaimed bands in death metal emerged from this scene, namely the grindcore-influenced Suffocation. Suffocation was formed in 1989 by vocalist Frank Mullen, guitarists Guy Marchais and Todd German, bassist Josh Barohn and a friend of his, though lineup would prove to be brief, as Mullen formed a new version of the band shortly afterwards with guitarists Doug Cerrito and Terrance Hobbs, along with drummer Mike Smith, all previously in the band Mortuary. The band took influences from the likes of British grindcore pioneers Napalm Death and Brazilian thrashers Sepultura and released their first EP, "Human Waste," in 1991 through Relapse Records, with a full length debut, "Effigy Of The Forgotten," following later that year via Roadrunner Records. The album was well received and the band went back to the studio to record their second album soon after. "Breeding The Spawn" was released in 1993 through Roadrunner, which was not quite as praised as the bands previous effort.

Drummer Mike Smith left the band after this release and was replaced by Doug Bohn and the band recorded their third studio album, "Pierced From Within," which has since become an extremely influential album in the field of extreme metal. After an EP in 1998 named "Despise The Sun," the band decided to call it a day. The band was not to remain inactive for long however, as Mullen decided to reform the band in 2003, being joined by original guitarist Guy Marchais, as well as guitarist Terrance Hobbs and drummer Mike Smith, in addition to new bass player Derek Boyer, who was formerly a member of Decrepit Birth. They quickly released a new album, entitled "Souls To Deny," the next year and set about making their mark in the world of metal once again by touring relentlessly, before releasing another well received album in 2006, which was self-titled. The band gained exposure to a completely different kind of audience in 2007, when they appeared in a commercial for The History Channel's documentary on The Dark Ages before splitting from Relapse Records to sign with German label Nuclear Blast for their next album, "Blood Oath," which was released in 2009 and earned the band their first entry into the Billboard album charts, when it reached number 135.

Suffocation is currently touring in support of "Blood Oath" and plans to release a documentary film entitled "Legacy Of Violence" this year, along with many other projects including a comic book and a video game. They are regarded as one of the most influential bands in the history of death metal and many young bands today can be seen wearing Suffocation merchandise and praising the individual members as well as the band itself, with drummer Mike Smith being credited as one of the best drummers in the genre and AllMusic.com naming Frank Mullen as one of the best vocalists in death metal. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Video Marathon

Thoughts while watching a video marathon and wondering whether Rob Halford decided to put tattoos on his skull before or after he shaved his head…

Production meeting prior to making the Dio video “Holy Diver”: Okay, so we need an abandoned church, an active steel mill, and a very large sword. Behind the Music: The Dio video props department…

In Guns N Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” Axl is getting off a bus with a very large suitcase. In Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” video Tawny Kitaen packs four pieces of lingerie into a large suitcase. Anyone interested to know the contents (or what for fictional purposes is supposed to be contained in their luggage)? I’m going to go with Hit Parader and Circus magazines for Axl and a pair of Bret Michaels (Poison) jeans for Kitaen. This mystery is right there with what is inside the briefcase from Pulp Fiction...While on the subject of “Jungle”, is Duff ever going to bring back the Bill Walton seventies style headband? I believe I speak for many when I say: I hope so… More...

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Pit Stories: Tom Hunting's Nasty Sock Story

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Tom Hunting of Exodus recounts the grossest thing he's seen someone do in the audience:

Exodus recently announced two record release shows in June. The band's new album, "Exhibit B: The Human Condition" will be released in North America on May 18th.

Check back every Tuesday for more mosh pit stories.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In New York

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 progressive metal in New York.

The progressive metal bands in New York are rarely a typical prog act, so the focus is more on bands that incorporate progressive elements in their music. More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: Trump Wants Bret's Bandana

The sixth episode starts with the end of the last challenge. Bret Michaels is in a positive mood, deciding to go out drinking. “We’re going to ROCK!”

The next morning Sharon Osbourne is still not with the group, Donald Trump begins hinting he may have to make a move here, possibly removing her from the show. Sharon’s strategy to win may be taking a hit, let’s see how this plays out.

For the next challenge the teams must promote an up and coming country star. There are two. Given their non-descript looks and aura of boredom we will refer to them as Country Riser #1 and Country Riser #2. The details are given out at the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame Annex in New York. Trump says he expects both Cyndi Lauper and Michaels to be there one day. Interesting side note: The Annex actually closed just two months after this taping. I don’t have proof it had to do with The Donald’s lobbying for Bret Michaels induction, but it is safe to say this contributed. For the women, Cyndi Lauper quickly takes on the role of Project Manager, for the men, ex-wrestler, Bill Goldberg, assumes the position. More...

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Sunday Old School: Remembering Peter Steele

Given the tragic news posted earlier this week, it seemed not just fitting, but mandatory that this week we dedicate Sunday Old School to the memory of Petrus T. Ratajczyk, better known as Peter Steele, who passed away last Wednesday. Steele was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and was the founder of the infamous crossover thrash band Carnivore, before going to achieve massive success with Type O Negative. Before that however, he was in a band named Fallout which also featured Agnostic Front drummer Louie Beateaux and future Type O Negative keyboardist Josh Silver. Fallout only lasted three years and in such time only released one record, a single named "Rock Hard" which was limited to 500 copies.

Beateaux would go with Steele after the demise of Fallout to form the band Carnivore in 1982, with a self-titled debut album being released in January 1986. The album was exceptionally well received and praised for its unrelenting speed and tongue in cheek humour, along with spawning such great songs as "World Wars III & IV," "Male Supremacy" and the title track. A second album named "Retaliation" would be released the following year through Roadrunner Records, which was once again critically praised. "Retaliation" would prove to be the bands last album however, as they split up soon after.

From here, Steele formed the band he is perhaps best known for, Type O Negative, which although labelled as a gothic metal outfit, mixed in many aspects of doom and thrash metal. The group released their first album, "Slow, Deep and Hard" in 1991, using alot of material which was originally meant for Carnivore. The album received mixed reviews, though music historian Piero Scaruffi would go on to call it "the greatest heavy metal album of all time." Type O Negative followed this release with "The Origin Of The Feces" which was designed to sound like a live album, dubbing in audience noises, banter and even stopping a song because the "venue" had a bomb threat called in. The album was less well received than "Slow, Deep and Hard" but the band would achieve massive success with their next album, "Bloody Kisses," which eventually reached Platinum status, becoming the first album from Roadrunner Records to do so. The album featured the popular singles "Black No. 1" and "Christian Woman" along with the controversial "Kill All The White People" and "We Hate Everyone." The band released two more acclaimed albums in the form of "October Rust" in 1996 and "World Coming Down" in 1999 before releasing a compilation album entitled, "The Least Worst Of." The group released their last album for Roadrunner, "Life Is Killing Me" which featured much shorter songs than previous albums, with the exception of the 7 and a half minute, "How Could She?" which is essentially a list of female television characters. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Drinking Play List

Sammy Hagar (Van Halen, Chickenfoot) is set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his Cabo Wabo Cantina. All are invited and asked to reply to ensure a reservation. The comprehensive list includes: Michael Anthony and… More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: Bret’s Many Moods

Here we are, week five and Bret Michaels is still around, in honor of this achievement let’s go old school this week which means any time you hear the word AWESOME it’s bottoms up.

This week’s episode begins with Bret outside of the boardroom showing his dance moves to the women’s team. When the guys show up Bret is happy he wasn’t in the boardroom, and able to sit outside and drink. Bret is feeling ecstatic. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Vote Slash for Office

Slash (Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver) released his new solo album this week that includes a song sung by Ozzy Osbourne, “Crucify The Dead” containing the lyrics: "A loaded gun jammed by a rose/the thorns are not around your head/your ego cut you til you bled". Slash is adamant that the song is not about ex-band mate Axl Rose saying, “Yes, there were some key lines in there that were very suggestive of my experience. No, this is just an overall picture of the issues.” Prediction: We are two years from Slash running for a political office… More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: Rock Solid in Trouble

With team Rock Solid losing two challenges in a row, week four would be critical for both the team and Bret Michaels, a team member no one expected to still be around.

The challenge is to create a 3D promotion for the new Harry Potter amusement park in Orlando, FL. Ex-Governor, Rod Blagojevich, is Project Manager for Rock Solid. When watching his inability to use a laptop or cell phone the word inept comes to mind, and then you realize this is not a strong enough word. More...

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Sunday Old School: Motorhead

The term "legend" is thrown around all too often these days, almost to the point where being an older band instantly gives you the title, but how many bands can not only honestly claim the title of "legend," but also "icons?" Only a handful. And within this handful, we find one of the best and loudest bands to ever tread the Earth - the one and only Motorhead. Motorhead is as important to heavy metal as Miles Davis is to Jazz. Every fan of metal, punk, hardcore and rock will be able to tell you who Motorhead is, and if you find one who can't, beat them with the heaviest object you can find, just so they get an idea for how heavy Motorhead is.

The band was formed by Ian Fraser Kilmister (aka Lemmy) in London in 1975, after he was released from the band Hawkwind for (of all reasons) excessive drug use. The band was originally going to be called "Bastard" until it was pointed out that shows like Top Of The Pops might have a tiny problem with such a tag, so the moniker was switched to Motorhead instead. The name came from the last song Lemmy wrote for Hawkwind and at the time was American slang for someone who often took Speed. Lemmy assembled guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox and after only ten shows, they secured a slot opening for Blue Oyster Cult at the famous Hammersmith Odeon. They then recorded an album for United Artists but it wasn't to be released until the band gained popularity a few years later, as the label were unhappy with the material. Shortly after this, Wallis and Fox were no longer members of the band and "Fast" Eddie Clarke and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor came in as replacements, forming one of the heaviest trios in the history of music. This lineup recorded a string of albums which are now regarded as classics by rock and metal fans, such as "Overkill," "Bomber" and of course, "Ace Of Spades," as well as topping the British albums chart with their live album, "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith." Following their next album, "Iron Fist" Eddie Clarke would leave the band, being replaced by former Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson. This lineup of the group would only record one album, 1983's "Another Perfect Day" which earned the band some backlash from fans at the time, though it has gained a cult following over the years.Subsequently, both Robertson and Taylor left the band, leaving Lemmy to form an entirely new lineup, which he did with former Saxon drummer Pete Gill, ex-Persian Risk guitar player Phil Campbell and unknown guitarist Michael "Wurzel" Burston.

This lineup would only last for one compilation record and one studio album before Taylor returned to the band. Motorhead would release the albums, "1916" and "March Or Die" before Taylor was once again no longer a member, this time being replaced by King Diamond drummer Mikkey Dee. This lineup would release the album "Bastards" in 1993 and the band released a single the next year entitled, "Born To Raise Hell" which featured Ugly Kid Joe frontman Whitfield Crane and rap legend Ice-T, for the movie "Airheads." This lineup would again be a short lived one, as Wurzel was to leave the band following the "Sacrifice" album in 1995. Since then, Motorhead has continued as a three-piece and have released a further seven albums, with another one planned for this year. Many have also claimed that the group was rejuvinated by the beginning of the 21st century, as since 2004's "Inferno" they have received constant acclaim for their newer material, with plenty of fans and critics alike agreeing the band have been producing their best albums since the early 1980's. As was said at the beginning of this article, Motorhead aren't just legends, nor will people stop at calling them icons. They are are gods. They changed the face of rock music, proved it was alright for fans of metal and punk to like the same band, influenced thrash metal to no end and are still going strong thirty five years later, continually setting the standards for all bands out there. Long may they continue to show everyone how rock and roll is done! More...

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