Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground we take a look at unsigned bands gracing a given locale. This week we will glance at the scene from Connecticut. Often viewed as the vast wasteland between New York and Boston, Connecticut often gets overlooked in terms of it's metal scene. Particularly distressing, considering many acts such as Fates Warning, Nasty Disaster, The Breathing Process and Liege Lord have heralded from there. Currently there are well over a couple dozen unsigned indie metal acts actively blazing the scene, but today we will take a look at three of the best.
Curse the Son
Coming at you from Hamden is stoner doom metal monster Curse the Son. Fronted by scene veteran and NWOBHM aficionado Ron Vanacore on vocals and guitar and completed by Cheech and Rich Lemley respectively, they describe their music as "the sound of dinosaurs walking the earth." Laying down slabs of riffs and mind-warping song lyrics, they purport to be influenced by valium, MJ and zoloft. Their music will take your higher conscious into one trippy journey. They released a full-length, "Klonopain," on their own last year. To listen to Curse the Son's music, check out the band's My Space Page.
Curse the Son - "Pulsotar Bringer"
Raised in Long Island, New York the band Twisted Sister started as a seventies local glam band that would evolve into one of the most important heavy metal bands of the eighties (eventually flip-flopping and becoming more heavy metal with a dash of glam, opposite of their initial vision).
Twisted Sister was originally formed in 1972 by Jay Jay French. The band went through several line-up changes until 1979 when it settled on Dee Snider (vocals), Jay Jay French (guitar), Eddie Ojeda (guitar), Mark Mendoza (bass), and A.J. Pero (drums). In 1979 the band self released two singles and then was signed by Secret Records in the UK. With Secret they would release an EP titled “Ruff Cuts” and their first studio album, “Under the Blade,” which quickly became an underground hit. The band would then sign with Atlantic Records and put out their second studio album, “You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll,” in 1983.
In 1984 Twisted Sister shocked the heavy metal world, releasing “Stay Hungry,” their contribution to an era that continues to define a decade. The album caught on with fans as well as government officials, organized as the P.R.M.C. (stands for the Parents Resource Music Center which is the least intimidating name I’ve ever heard). Twisted Sister was called out for their rebellious lyrics in the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” It was a strange group that included Twisted Sister, W.A.S.P., and Motley Crue as well as Madonna, Sheena Easton, and Prince. These proceedings eventually led to the “Explicit Material” or Tipper Sticker found on the cover of albums, cassettes, and CDs. After “Stay Hungry” the band would release the album “Come Out and Play” and then later, thought more of a Dee Snider solo project, the album “Love Is for Suckers” was released. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories from metal shows. This week's pit story comes courtesy of Jeannie Saiz from sludge metal trio Shroud Eater, who shared the following story of a bar room brawl.
At one of the last gigs we played, the evening started with two ladies at the bar breaking out into a sudden brawl - bar stools to the face and everything! As the second band of the night played, there was a whirlwind of like six fights breaking out at once. People were jumping on the bar to get out of the way and the cops showed up, lights went on, and the show almost got canceled on the spot as you can imagine the owner was pretty upset.
Luckily, we had an awesome friend who helped us book the show talk to the owner and he let us play. We did a killer set amidst some high tensions, so it was definitely a crazy evening.
Shroud Eater is currently streaming the entire debut album "ThunderNoise" online via the band's
Band Camp profile. You can also check out Metalunderground.com's recent interview with Jeannie at this location.
Check back next Tuesday as we share more Pit Stories.
Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. This week we'll dig into three rocking outfits all hailing from The Republic of Ireland.
Great Britain may be more well known for their heavy metal, but a short trip West finds that the Republic of Ireland has just as strong a heavy metal background. One could even argue that the Irish metal underground is much more varied than the British, boasting a large number of thrash, black, death and in particular doom metal bands. This week we’ll be taking a look at three of the country’s lesser known bands.
Proudly claiming themselves to be the world’s only Gaelic doom metal band, Dublin’s Mael Mordha, who take their name from the King of Leinster who led a gruesome rebellion against the High King of Ireland, Brian Ború in 998, formed exactly one thousand years after their namesake’s revolt. They signed with German label, Grau in 2005 and released their first full length album, "Cluain Tarbh" the same year, along with a split record with fellow Irishmen Primordial. Since then, the band has released two more studio albums, with the most recent being, "Manannan" in 2010.
Mael Mordha - "The Serpent And The Black Lake"
Mael Mordha - "Godless Commune Of Sodom"
Thrash metal was unquestionably a phenomenon considering it reached heavy metal fans all over the globe without ever really becoming mainstream. It also spawned numerous scenes in countries such as Germany, Great Britain and even Brazil. Despite it’s wide travels though, a lot of thrash novices are still surprised that even Australia had a premier thrash outfit during the 1980s. That band was Mortal Sin. The group was formed in Sydney in 1985 by singer Mat Maurer and drummer Wayne Campbell before quickly recruiting bass player Andy Eftichiou and guitarists Keith Krstin and Neville Reynolds, though Reynolds was to befired by the band for being unable to make their first show and was replaced by Paul Carwana. Gigging relentlessly, the band built up a strong following in the Australian metal underground and soon recorded a full length demo tape entitled, "Mayhemic Destruction," which rapidly won the band a record deal with British label, Phonogram Records, who released the album internationally.
They next recorded their sophomore album, "Face Of Despair," which was produced by Randy Burns, who was known for his work with other big name thrash metal bands such as Megadeth and Kreator. The album took the better of a year to recorded and distributed but soon after the record’s release, the band received further exposure by being booked to support Metallica on their Australian tour. Following the tour, Campbell was sacked from the band and the group brought in Slaughter Lord drummer Steve Hughes, who now works as a stand up comedian and has appeared on numerous television shows, to sit behind the kit. They then left the land down under to perform shows in Europe and the United States but once they returned home, Maurer announced he was leaving the band, which soon led to it’s demise, though a new incarnation formed afterwards and, while popular, soon folded ultimately split for a number of reasons.
In 1996 however, the band reunited with most of the, "Face Of Despair" lineup, though Carwana was to take leave almost immediately after reforming. Nevertheless, the band soon recorded a new EP entitled, "Revolution of the Mind" and embarked on a national tour, which did not fare as well as the band hoped and caused them to once again split in 1998. Once again however, the band would rise from the ashes, thanks this time to Maurer and Eftichiou, who enlisted the help of other musicians to bring back Mortal Sin. The band soon found themselves performing at such events as Wacken Open Air and sharing the stage with the likes of Michael Schenker and fellow Aussies, Rose Tattoo. The comeback was well received and the band then recorded their fourth release, "An Absence Of Faith," which was released in 2007. Since then, the band has continued to perform regularly and has supported such big names as Judas Priest, Testament and Overkill, as well as touring in South America, as well as releasing a live album entitled, "Into The Inferno," with a new album expected to be released by next year. More...
This week Duff McKagan (Loaded, ex-Guns N Roses) put to rest the rumor that Guns N Roses will be reuniting for next year’s Super Bowl. Even I knew that. Everyone knows there won’t be a football season next year… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories from metal shows. In this week's edition of Pit Stories, vocalist/guitarist Eric Horner from Throne of Malediction shares a story of a groupie cat fight:
I had a fun time at a Cradle of Filth/Nachtmystium show at The Knitting Factory, February 12th, in Spokane Washington. Seeing killer bands in my local area and gaining VIP access (along with my key player, Nick), thanks to Blake from Nachtmystium, were highlights. While watching and filming Cradle of Filth play in the VIP section, a few ladies decided to duke it out. One of them was a lady that was hanging out with me and the band members earlier. It was quite a surreal sight, seeing a brawl, with a great band playing. Kind of made my show better, to say the least.
I took some video of the scene. Along with other footage from the show. I am not sure why they even battled, but it was kind of interesting, unexpected, scene. There were hair extensions laying about afterward. The VIP section had a blast swinging them about and fashioning fake beards from the hair pieces. I also heard there was a fight in the pit around the same time. Must have been the metal-hungry crowd in Spokane, Washington. I want to thank the bands for stopping out!
You can check out several Throne of Malediction songs available for streaming or free download through the band's Revernation page.
Be sure to check back next Tuesday for more pit stories.
Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. This week we'll dig into three rocking outfits all hailing from Croatia.
Croatia isn't typically the first band one thinks of when looking for new bands, but metal is famous for being an international phenomena with amazing groups coming from the least well known places. We'll start off our look at Croatian extreme metal acts with two bands heavily influenced by black metal and one that heads into much more groovy territory.
J.W. Pozoj is an act that mixes the old school black metal vibe with a series of avant-garde and artsy song arrangements. From the abrasive and harsh vocals to the atmospheric clean segments, there's a little of something for everyone from this fantastic act that should be more well known among black metal fans.
The group has a trilogy of linked albums going through the cycle of “Birth,” “Escape,” and “Return.” You can check out Metalunderground.com's review of "Escape of Pojoz" at this location or read our interview with the band members discussing their music here.
To get a taste of what J.W. Pozoj has to offer, check out the band's MySpace page or listen to the songs “I Am The Forest," “Careless Are Your Souls," and “Hisperia” in the clips below.
It seems that in the Sunday Old School archives, we’ve mostly been looking at bands from Great Britain, Germany and the United States. One of the goals this year is to help expand the knowledge of heavy metal veterans from all over the world. This week, we’re heading to the land of the Rising Sun, as we take a look at Loudness. The band was formed in 1981 in Osaka, after guitarist Akira Takasaki, drummer Munetaka Higuchi and bass player Hiroyuki Tanaka left the pop rock band, Lazy. While looking a for a sound for their new band, they trio stumbled upon the recent wave of Japanese heavy metal bands such as Anthem and Bow Wow and decided to adopt the heavy metal style. Tanaka felt that the style wasn’t for him and left to pursue work in the anime business, with Takasaki inviting his childhood friend Masayoshi Yamashita to become the group’s new bassist, which he accepted. The band was then completed when they recruited Earthshaker vocalist Minoru Niihara, and Loudness was born. They almost immediately signed a record deal with major label Nippon Columbia and released their debut album, "The Birthday Eve" in 1981. The album was only released in Japan but did surprisingly well and the band quickly got to writing and releasing new albums. Two years after their formation and debut, Loudness released their third record, "The Law Of The Devil’s Land," which was popular enough to allow the group to tour the United States.
The group then moved to Europe and recorded two versions of their fourth album, "Disillusion," one in Japanese and one in English, their first album to be translated as such. The attempt at appealing to English speaking audiences paid off and soon they signed a deal with American major label, Atco Records, through whom they released the album, "Thunder In The East," which reached number 74 on the Billboard album charts, thanks in part to the success of the single, "Crazy Night." More chart success would come with their next record, "Lightning Strikes," (released in Japan as "Shadows Of War") which climbed ten places higher than it’s predecessor and reached number 64 on the Billboard charts. However, the chart success meant that the band were forced to try and write more accessible music and Loudness lost much of their fan base in their home country, who felt that they were trying too hard to appeal to the American market. The pressure led to Niihara being fired from the band after they released the "Jealousy" EP, being replaced by American vocalist Mike Vescera, the former singer of Obsession. Unfortunately, the input from Vescera wasn’t the boost the band needed and they found their popularity dwindled in the States. Vescera didn’t stay long with the band either, releasing only two albums and one single before leaving to join Yngwie Malmsteen’s band. More...
Welcome to the first (and probably last) annual glam rocker draft. I am your moderator for this event; we will meet our four participants shortly, first a look at the rules. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week, Mark Chapman, lead singer/lead guitarist for the So Cal thrash metal band Attackhead, shares a story of playing for the U.S. Marines:
A few months ago we were performing at a So Cal Marine base and it was very clear that the Marines were heavy metal deprived. While we were setting up, the Marines were drinking and playing pool. As soon as we started our set, a massive pit formed. Let me tell you, when you combine metal, booze and aggressive Marines, the pit is insane. The problem is, the pit was on a tile floor which quickly became slippery with spilled beer. About half way through our set a Marine came flying out of the pit and hit my mic stand while I was singing. The mic hit me in the mouth and I got an instant fat lip. The mic and stand then fell over and stopped working. I had to move over to a back-up mic to finish the song until the mic was replaced.
The Marine was helped up by his brothers and rejoined the pit like nothing had happened. We thoroughly enjoy all of our performances, but the ones for the military are always wild and crazy.
You can see more of Attackhead at attackhead.com and pick up their latest CD, “Voices in the Dark – Second Attack,” which was released on January 25, 2011. The band also recently posted a video for their song “Make Me Suffer.”
Be sure to check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week I am exploring the Austin metal scene.
Austin, Texas is often referred to as the live music capital of the world. While country and indie rock have often dominated the city’s musical legacy, the Austin metal scene is alive and well. A stroll down Red River in downtown will reveal many metal-dedicated clubs: Emo’s, Red 7, Headhunter’s, and Mohawk. The following bands are some of the best I’ve discovered playing within those venues.
Iron Age’s hardcore brand of metal caught my eye before I even moved back to Austin. Their album, "The Sleeping Eye," is full of great riffs and piercing vocals that border on black metal stylistically. On stage, Iron Age brings a raw energy that’s part punk, part metal, and all awesome. I’ve seen them open for Baroness, Corrosion of Conformity, and play last year’s SXSW. Needless to say, the crowd was always very warmed up after their set.
Nowadays, heavy metal fans are pretty used to seeing women in bands. Arch Enemy, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation to name some of the most successful. But in the late 1970s and early 1980s, heavy metal was seen as dominated by white males and bands were accused of scaring away potential female fans by having a macho image and misogynistic lyrics. However, this perception was changed, or at least altered somewhat by four women from London who called themselves, Girlschool. The band was originally a covers outfit named, Painted Lady but eventually decided to begin writing original material, taking their new name from the B-side of the hit song, "Mull Of Kintyre" by Wings. They released their first single, "Take It All Away" in 1978 and received some radio play, as well as a strengthened sense of enthusiasm from the British metal underground. Not least of the people to take an interest in the group was Motorhead main man Lemmy, who offered Girlschool a supporting slot on their "Overkill" tour. After supporting Welsh rock favourites, Budgie, the band auditioned for, and received, a record deal with Bronze Records.
The band then recorded their debut album, "Demolition," which was released in 1980. The album was well timed, as several other British heavy metal bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Motorhead all released albums which were wildly successful and helped the fledgling New Wave Of British Heavy Metal explode in popularity. "Demolition" was successful in and of itself too, reaching number 28 in the British album charts and featured some of the band’s best known work and saw Girlschool becoming one of the most popular bands in the movement. Their popularity continued to grow when they teamed up with Motorhead for an EP entitled, "St. Valentine’s Day Massacre" under the collective pseudonym, Headgirl, which reached number five in the British charts and featured the hit single, “Please Don’t Touch.” The band soon got back to their own work and released the album, "Hit And Run" in 1981, which was even more successful than it’s predecessor, reaching number five in the charts and earned the group supporting slots with the likes of Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Rush. More...
Michael Sweet from the Christian glam band Styper is auctioning off the rights to the classic song “Together as One” as well as dinner with Sweet. Aggressive drinkers who have a tendency to drop a lot of F bombs during the main course are advised to stay away… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week, Odd Dimension bassist Gigi Andreone tells of the night they went on stage without a singer, due to some "car trouble":
I'm gonna tell you what happened one autumn night before a show at Mephisto Rock Cafe, a club on the hills near our hometown we played in many times. It was 2007 and we were still touring to promote our first EP, "A New Dimension." The band arrived regularly at the club and we prepared the stage for the show waiting for our singer Manuel coming from Milan.
Time passed by but he didn’t arrived at the stated time…we called him many times on the phone in vain, then he called us with a terribly sad voice telling us the unbelievable. He had stopped by the way probably to ask some info ‘bout the right road to take, he parked the car nearby, then when he came back the car wasn’t there. At first he thought someone had stolen his car, then his eyes stopped down the hill and he saw the unbelievable! Probably due to a defect in his car’s braking system, it cruised down without a driver from the parking on the top of the hill bumping into a wall downhill!! Fortunately no one was hurt but Manuel was immediately involved in all the necessary legal and rescue practices and as a consequence he couldn’t arrive in time for the show.
So we were at the club, everything ready for the show, our friends coming in and no singer….what to do?? After a short discussion we decided to play just instrumentally (fortunately our music and especially our first EP was full of technically involving moments for the audience) and then a friend of ours that is a singer in another band came on stage to sing some classic metal covers to complete the set, preventing tthe audience from getting too bored.
The night passed away remembering us of the first times we met in the rehearsal room without a singer and with a bit of ‘jam session fever’ on the cover tracks, but the audience was quite happy of the show.
So remember: be sure you have put on the parking brake correctly especially when you are on hills or mountains tops!
Odd Dimension's debut album, "Symmetrical," is set to arrive on March 22nd via Scarlet Records.
Be sure to check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
Besides being black history month, February also happens to be black metal history month at Metalundergound, and we’ve already taken looks at bands like Emperor and Immortal. Each week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we look at several quality acts that haven’t managed to make it big yet. To get the month back to its originally intended purpose, we’ll know delve into a series of underground metal bands composed primarily or even entirely of black members.
Heavy metal, of any sub-genre or style, is a worldwide musical phenomenon that easily crosses racial and ethnic boundaries. While it would seem that many metal bands are composed entirely of lanky white dudes with long hair, that’s by no means the only type of group to be found among the metal hordes. Sepultura, Killswitch Engage, God Forbid, and Suffocation are some of the most well known acts to feature black musicians.
Rather than rehash bands you already know and love, instead we’ll unearth several acts that haven’t had a chance to be exposed to the wider metal world.
To start off our look at metal bands composed of black members, we’ll head over to Botswana, Africa to be pummeled to pieces by the death metal act Crackdust. Hailing from a country that hasn’t exactly made it on the musical radar yet, Crackdust still has a well developed and crushing sound that deserves a mosh pit full of metal heads. Details on the band can be found here, or you can check out the songs “Fate,” “Ruptured,” and “Deranged Psychopath” in the clips below.
As many people are aware, February is Black History Month in the United States of America. Always one to respect cultures and take part in something, we here at MetalUnderground.com are dedicating this month to the history of Black Metal. We will be looking at some of the biggest names in the genre, those who helped to shape it, and some of the promising younger black metal bands in the underground.
The most ardent fans of the genre might say that black metal is immortal. Whether or not that’s true, Immortal is certainly black metal, and could be considered by some to be the poster boys of the scene, since practically every picture mocking black metal features the band and there’s even a Facebook group dedicated to inserting Immortal into any and every picture. Regardless of how they may be seen by some, there’s no denying that the group are one of the most popular that emerged from the Norwegian black metal scene in the early 1990’s. The origins of the band can be traced to one of the first extreme metal bands in Norway, Old Funeral, which featured future Immortal members Demonaz and Abbath, as well as including one Varg Vikernes in the lineup at one point. Abbath then began forming other musical projects, including Amputation, before deciding to form Immortal, which featured members of Old Funeral and Amputation, resulting in the demise of the former.
The band gained a following in the black metal underground after releasing a number of EPs and demos, but their popularity increased largely when their music video for the song, “The Call Of The Wintermoon,” from their debut full length album, “Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism,” was shown on television. Although the station mocked the band and the video has been a source of parody ever since, it helped gain awareness for the group and they soon got to work on new material, culminating in “Pure Holocaust,” which received rave reviews and has since gone on to be considered one of the best black metal albums of the 90s, if not all time. It was a departure from the previous album lyrically, discarding the supposed Satanic themes and concentrating more on ice, snow and blizzards. The album was recorded solely by Demonaz and Abbath, as they had not found a drummer yet, which came a few weeks later in the form of Grim, though he was to be fired from the band before Immortal recorded their next album, “Battles In The North,” which is considered to be another outstanding work in the field of black metal. After filming two more music videos for the songs, “Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms” and "Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)" with Mayhem drummer, Hellhammer, the band finally found a permanent drummer in Horgh and the group recorded their next album, “Blizzard Beasts,” which featured a more experimental sound than their previous work, which was considered straight up black metal. More...
While Vince Neil (Motley Crue) does his time in jail his girl on the outside is concerned because he’s working the breakfast shift and has only eaten some peanut butter and a baloney sandwich. Given the length of his sentence (less than a month) this doesn’t sound like anything of concern. This sounds like fat camp for middle aged rock singers… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week, D.J. Gilbert of Imbroglio tell of a horrific Halloween show experience last year, noting especially some characters in the crowd:
On October 31, 2010, we played in Huntington, West Virginia. It was during our most recent solo tour, entitled "Enjoy It While It's Dying Tour 2010". It was Halloween night and we were going to play this house show. On our way there our right passenger front wheel broke off 4 lugs and we were only riding on one for who knows how long. After pulling off the highway we find two drunken NASCAR fans to help us. They replace three of the broken ones because that is all the auto parts store had. After the NASCAR fans (C.W. & Eric) send us on our way with the spare, about 30 minutes down the road the spare tire blows. So we change the spare with the second one that we have. Once we pull up to the venue, our second spare deflates.
Now if the fun already hadn't begun... We set up and are getting ready to go on. There's a guy dressed up like Peter Pan, and there's a guy dressed up like John Wayne Gacy. They were the two that stuck out the most. They were completely intoxicated when we arrived. I feel bad not remembering their names but I am sure they didn't remember them either, due to their massive alcohol consumption.
As we start playing, "Peter Pan" is running around us acting like he is masturbating and doing weird voodoo-like dances. It was so obscure seeing a childhood fairytale icon be so exploited and adulterated during our set, along with the fact he said he was on peyote and a slew of other drugs later that night. Also, while playing our set, Devon is falling over constantly -- he's literally tumbling around like the town drunk. Apparently there was a big hole in the ground
because he couldn't keep his balance.
When we reach our last song, the cops show up and watch us while we are playing. While I am screaming/playing, I look over and see "Gacy" heckling the Cops and literally giving them the finger and screaming obscenities. It was priceless and so out of control. As soon as we stop, the cops ask me if he's a friend of ours and I say "no" for obvious reasons. After that "Gacy" tells the cops, "Fuck off. They are done, NOW GO DO YOUR JOBS!!!". I am sure he is going to be arrested but they just ignore him like he isn't even there.
Not only was Halloween a bizarre day in general (with the worst luck attached to it) but so were those two characters during our set.
Funny or crazy characters in the pit is a scenario many of us have experienced, with someone wearing a gorilla suit or the like becoming not an infrequent sighting at metal shows these days. Share your favorite or least favorite pit characters in the comments below.
Imbroglio's second album, "Sleep Deprivation" (reviewed here), came out on January 18th on The Path Less Traveled Records.
Be sure to check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
In honor of black metal history month, Metalunderground.com has been looking back at bands that influenced the genre as well as some of the biggest names in the style, most recently examining famous Norwegian act Emperor in the "Sunday Old School" column.
Each week with Unearthing the Metal Underground, we look at a handful of quality bands championing the underground and carrying metal forward. This week we'll spotlight three one-man black metal bands that fans of the genre may not have had the chance to hear yet. You can also check out our previous look at solo black metal bands here, as well as solo musicians from a variety of genres at this location.
Italy's Hiems is a band worth watching for black metal fanatics who want occasional respite from the non-stop frozen atompshere and rasping screams. Although both of those elements are found throughout solo artist Algol's music, the songs also feature a black 'n roll vibe and even dip into Opeth style prog metal. A sample from the "Worship or Die" album (reviewed here) can be found in the clip below.