As a teenager in Britain, myself and any other guy with long hair, or even somebody wearing an Iron Maiden hoodie, was immediately classified by the non metal listening peers as a Goth (spelled "Goff" of course due to the average intelligence of these people.) It may come as a surprise to any of these people who think/thought this way then, that Gothic metal is a thing of its own, with not a great deal in common with the likes of Judas Priest and Deep Purple. Paradise Lost are often credited as the band which created the genre, which went on to create more pioneers, favourites and legends, including today's featured band, Tiamat.
Tiamat were formed in the municipality of Täby, in Stockholm, Sweden, originally using the moniker Treblinka and performing no nonsense black metal. After recording some demos, the band recorded their first full length album, "Sumerian Cry" in October 1989, though not long after they finished the record, guitarist Stefan Lagergren and drummer Anders Holmberg quit, leaving vocalist/guitarist Johan Edlund and bass player Jörgen Thullberg as the only remaining members. The two decided to change the name of the band to Tiamat, taking the name from the Mesopotamian goddess of the ocean before "Sumerian Cry" was released, giving them time to change the moniker for the albums release and for their appearance on a split with Unleashed, Asphyx, Grave and Loudblast. More...
It's Tuesday Pit Story time yet again! This week we shift away from the moshing fans and onto the stage itself.
With so many moving parts and many elements outside the musicians' control, there's always room for something to go wrong during a live show, and dealing with those sudden issues is something every performer needs to learn sooner or later.
For this week's Pit Story, Medevil shares two tales of when things didn't quite go as planned on the stage:
We had a pretty weird set when we played a show at the Railway Club two years back. During the second song of our set, "Mayan Rituals" (now known as "A Sacrifice"), our bass player Eric Wesa's bass string broke and he had to run through the audience and find a bass string. The crowd thought it was awesome, and when Eric came back on stage he arrived just in time to hit the last note of the song. I'm sure he felt like a metal god in that moment.
Also, during this exact show, singer Liam Collingwood collapsed for a few seconds due to dehydration. After the show when we spoke to the people in the crowd, it was pretty funny to hear that they thought it was part of the show. They said he looked like he was just getting really involved in the music and that it was an awesome stage antic.
As you may have noticed by recent Sunday Old School columns focusing on the likes of Coal Chamber and Spineshank, nu metal, or rather bands lumped into that category, are now being covered in this feature. It was a strange time, as following grunge's almost complete removal of metal from mainstream popularity, save for the likes of Pantera, Sepultura and Fear Factory, it was another brand of metal that removed it. The problem was, many metal fans hated what they saw as the bastardising of their genre. There were however, several bands which earned respect for their clear talent and songwriting abilities, including today's featured group, Sevendust.
Sevendust were formed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994 by bassist Vince Hornsby and drummer Morgan Rose, who christened their new project, Snake Nation prior to being joined by guitarist John Connolly. After recording a demo, which they felt was let down by a poor vocal performance, they began a search for a new singer, one which would lead them to Lajon Witherspoon, with the lineup being completed six months later when Clint Lowery joined as a second guitarist, at which point the band renamed themselves, Rumblefish, before changing it to Crawlspace and then finally settling on the moniker Sevendust after a band named Crawlspac sent them a letter demanding $2,500. More...
Gather 'round metal heads, it's Pit Story time!
This week we've got two for the price of one, as Francisco Ramirez of Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based group Volunteer shares two epic tales of live mayhem in Chicago.
The first deals with cops breaking up a show... while beating down some Nazi punks! The second shifts focus to a different venue where free flowing beer got the fans a little two rowdy. Ramirez spins these tales like this:
When I worked at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago there was some show that drew a crowd of SHARP (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice) and old fashion Nazi skinheads. I don't remember the band but I remember the Nazi's bum rushing the front door with lead pipes and attacking people in the show. My staff and I stopped most of the violence but there was still a lot of damage done. Lots of blood and people on the ground. The bartender called the police as soon as everything happened. 5 paddy wagons and 10 police cars showed up and dragged out all the Nazis. The police beat the fuck out of all the Nazi skinheads and arrested them for assault. The image of Chicago Police pressing and crushing the skinheads outside the venue is still vivid in my head. By the way, after the cops demolished the skins, one came up to me and showed me his Ramones and Crass tattoo, I offered a beer and he drank it. I know cops suck most of the times, but there are are moments.
I was playing the Blue Flamingo in Austin, TX in the late 90's. I was in a fast drunk punk band called Traitors from Chicago, we had songs no longer than a minute and half. Anyways, the Blue Flamingo was a drag bar earlier in the night and they had punk shows late night. We had to headline for some reason, but they kept giving us free beer all night so we said fuck it. So it turns out that we were not only the people getting free beer. One of the bartenders threw up in one of the beer coolers and they were just washing off the beer and giving it away. This meant that everyone was drinking for free and was getting rowdy. The place was tiny and the bands played in the front of the bar in front of a window, the crowd was having fun. By the time we started at 1AM, shit was bonkers. We played 15 songs in 20 minutes. The crowd wanted one more and we had learned Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" so we decided to play it. With in the first 10 seconds people were jumping off the bar, which is right next to the stage, into the crowd. Bar stools were flying and people were having fun, then someone dove out of the front window. Yep they ran through the band and dove through the window. Everyone stopped for a second and once he got up, we finished the song.
The Netherlands has a long history when it comes to metal music. This small, European country has produced plenty of excellent groups over the years such as Pestilence and God Dethroned and held plenty of festivals, including the Eindhoven Metal Meeting, where so many bands have performed and recorded live releases. Adding to this list of talented metallers is a group with one of the most suited monikers in death metal, the Zeeland based, Gorefest.
Gorefest were formed in 1989 in the city of Goes in the Netherlands and initially comprised of guitarists Alex van Schaik and Frank Harthoorn, drummer Marc Hoogendoorn and vocalist/bassist Jan-Chris de Koeijer. This lineup recorded their first demo, "Tangled in Gore" that same year, which was received extremely well by the extreme metal underground and led to them appearing on the split record, "Where Is Your God Now?" with such bands as Dead Head, Acrostichon, Disfigure and Sinister, before recording another demo, "Horrors in a Retarded Mind," which was also met warmly by metalheads and gained enough attention for them to be booked as the support for Carcass in the Netherlands and Belgium. More...
Believe it or not, oh young headbangers, groove metal doesn't begin and end with Pantera. Exhorder are of course cited as one of the great progenitors of the style, as are King's X, while other popular bands such as Sepultura and Prong also took on the design. Though perhaps not the most famous of metal's many sub-genres, groove metal nonetheless produced it's own legends and cult favourites, one of which began life in El Paso, Texas and went by the suitably brutal name of Pissing Razors.
The band was formed in 1994 by brothers Danny and Eddy Garcia, originally using the moniker Back Door Cyclops and were joined in their endeavour by vocalist Loco McNutt, who is credited with coming up with coming up with the change of the name, after he allegedly caught the clap after visiting a Mexican brothel, describing the condition as "pissing razors." His time with the band, much like that of Danny Garcia, was short lived and both decided to quit around 1996, at which point Eddy Garcia switched from guitar to drums and brought on board singer Joe Rodriguez and bassist Rick Valles, while bassist Matt Lynch moved to guitar. More...
Ready for another Tuesday Pit Story metal fans?
Today we have Italian power/prog icons DGM on board for a new tale involving the musicians having a little bit too much fun before the show, but trying their drunk damnedest to put on a killer gig anyway.
The story comes from a live appearance five years back while the band was on tour with Symphony X. DGM tells the tale like this:
It was the last gig of Symphony X's 2011 tour for "Iconoclast." We supported Symphony X throughout their whole European tour in 2011 across all Europe and of course lots of funny moments come back to my mind. We were in London at the O2 in the dressing rooms area and all the crew and band from Symphony X arrived to gives us some presents... from what I can remember it was a bottle of Jack Daniel's (or two...?).
Since you cannot bring them on a plane and we were supposed to be in Italy the day after, we had this brilliant idea of finishing them right in that moment. I know this sounds like the typical Motley Crue-style, but I can assure you that it's not that easy if you play this fast progressive intricate stuff for an hour!!!!
Somehow we managed to finished the show and we continued with beers and whatever during the whole SyX set... during their last song we invaded the stage and each one of us “stalked” their “alter-ego”... I went to Romeo's side, Fabio went to Jason's Drums and so on... you know we were and we still are major fan of the band and I remember that they let us play their instruments for a short time during the song, and I can recall clearly that I personally fucked up every note of that passage of music, and all the other guys in the band did pretty much the same... ahahahah. This was so embarrassing in front of the audience and in front of the SyX guy, but in the end a funny memory!
Frontiers Music Srl will release the brand new album from Italian prog metal masters DGM, entitled "The Passage," on August 26th. Check out the songs "Ghost Of Insanity" and "Fallen" below. More...
Last month in this column, we examined the career of Fantomas and mentioned the topic of supergroups. Whilst Fantômas much like Cream, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Crosby Stills and Nash (and Young) crafted some excellent music and achieved great commercial success (in the latter three cases at least,) many of these projects fall flat or only last for two albums, such as Velvet Revolver and GTR. A supergroup that seemingly met the high hopes of fans however, was one formed in the Swedish capital city of Stockholm, which comprised of some of the most respected names in death metal and chose the suitably brutal name of Bloodbath.
Bloodbath were formed in 1998, the brainchild of Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt and Edge of Sanity's Dan Swanö, who handled vocals and drums respectively. They were soon joined by Katatonia members Anders Nyström on guitar and Jonas Renkse on bass and two years later, released their debut EP, "Breeding Death," through Century Media Records. The three track release received a generally positive response from the death metal faithful, with many feeling it was a worthy debut from such a talented collective. More...
When looking through the Sunday Old School archives, perhaps you'll notice that while we pay a lot of attention to thrash, death, black and doom metal bands, we haven't forgotten the roots of the genre we all know and love. Over the years, we've taken a look at such bands as Black Sabbath, Budgie, Blue Cheer and Spooky Tooth, who all helped shape heavy metal in it's earliest form. Today, we'll be looking at another such band, who despite a relatively short career, are still mentioned frequently when discussing the most influential groups in the genesis of metal, Sir Lord Baltimore.
Sir Lord Baltimore was formed in 1968 by John Garner, who was joined in his musical endeavour by schoolmates Joey Dambra and Gary Justin. After putting some material together, the band performed in front of talent scout Mike Appel, who would go on to discover, Bruce Springsteen. Appel agreed to mentor the group and is rumoured to have been the one to give them the name Sir Lord Baltimore, which was taken from a character in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. More...
Ready for another set of Pit Stories from the metal world? This week's tale twosome arrives courtesy of experimental U.S. outfit Gus McArthur, who shares stories (and some awesome video) of epic pits at two very different shows from Babymetal and Megadeth.
One of the coolest pits we have ever been in was Babymetal's first U.S. show in L.A. The head of their fan club comes all the way from Japan to coordinate the wall of death, which is dividing the crowd in half down the middle and waiting to charge. We stood divided for maybe 3 minutes before the song came in at the right part to charge, I honestly don't know how anyone didn't get hurt. It was fun and good vibes all around, not quite like getting punched in the face in a Cannibal Corpse pit, but close.
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal has been studied, mentioned and dragged up time and time again throughout the history of this here column; and with good reason. It gave the genre some of the greatest bands in the field and revitalised the friendly rivalry between the British and American heavy metal scenes. While the Midlands gets a lot of attention for producing such NWOBHM acts as Diamond Head and Blitzkrieg, as well as icons such as Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, the North East contributed massively to the scene with the likes of Venom, Raven and Neat Records, as well as today's featured band, White Spirit.
White Spirit were formed in the coastal town of Hartlepool, most famous for the legend that the locals hung a monkey during the Napoleonic wars, believing it to be a French spy, in 1975 by drummer Graeme Crallan and guitarist Janick Gers. They were joined in the endeavour by vocalist Bruce Ruff, bassist Phil Brady and keyboardist Malcolm Pearson, displaying a sound closer to that of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep to the more contemporary styles of Saxon and Samson. More...
Tuesday's here and it's time for another round of heavy metal Pit Stories! This week sees a host of tales from across years worth of attending shows all brought together in one place.
Joeseph Woodbury of Armed With Books shares a veritable bazaar of the most bizarre events from heavy metal and hardcore shows. From overly drunk assholes at grind shows to truly odd one-man performances, he recalls the events in question like this:
With over 15 years of playing and attending shows, I have seen many things that are worthy of a mention, and to be honest I’m finding it hard to pin point just one story. The most horrific was seeing a man stage dive, the crowd parted and I watched him land head first onto a concrete floor. He laid there twitching, some people tried to help but because of the injury sustained nobody wanted to move him in case he had also damaged his spine. The band stopped playing and were just looking around like WTF do we do. Thankfully an ambulance crew turned up very rapidly and the band and moshing resumed before the man was even out of the room.
Probably the strangest stories from shows I have played seem to come in the form of the opening act. I once had a man open for me wearing nothing but pants and a horse head mask playing feedback for 10 minutes. I also had a man with what I can only call a keyboard and a Sega Mega drive hooked up to a big speaker, playing his own version of the kids song "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes" with dance moves included.
But the most violent would be when I watched a grindcore band play to a small crowd in a tiny pub. Some guy was pissed as a fart and stumbling all over the place. He was on stage with the band continuously knocking into the guitarist and trying to sing into the mike, the band was getting very annoyed with him as too were the crowd. The band was about 12 minutes into the set and for a grind band probably 15 songs deep, the drunken guy then stumbles and falls face first into the drum kit, knocking over the ride and floor tom, almost pushing the drummer off his stool.
Obviously, the band stop playing to see what this idiot had done and without even thinking the drummer hits the drunk guy over the head with his stick as hard as he could before the guy had a chance to stand up. The sound of wood on skull, froze the whole room, the thud was frightfully grotesque. The drunken man tries to stand like nothing had happen and the hit had maybe sobered him up, but the moment he put his hands to his face and realized his eye socket was sunken inwards to an unrecognizable shape, his face went white and he collapses onto the floor, falling forward once again in to the kit. The drummer realizing the seriousness of this assault begins to quickly pack away his breakables.
The band silently follow suit and all 4 members are out of the venue before anyone has a chance to say a word. I don’t know what happened to the drunken guy but I do believe he deserved what he got. Yes it was a seriously hard hit he took, but not only did he ruin the bands night who had probably traveled miles to get to the venue, the promoter who took weeks in planning the show. He ruined the night for all members of the crowd who had paid money to watch.
It's that time of year in the Northern hemisphere when the sun's out, the shorts are on and the Facebook feeds are filled with people complaining about the heat... Perfect timing for some Scandinavian gothic metal, don't you think? Gothic metal is largely attributed to British band Paradise Lost, not least due to the title of their sophomore full length, "Gothic," but has since gone on to become a popular and successful sub-genre in it's own right, probably providing the most female musicians in any of metal's varied offshoots. One of the first bands to lay the template for operatic, female vocals hails from the west of Norway and continue to hold a special place amongst fans of the genre, is Tristania.
Tristania was formed in 1995 by vocalist/guitarist Morten Veland, drummer Kenneth Ølsson and keyboardist Einar Moen and were joined in their musical pursuits a few weeks later by guitarist Anders Høyvik Hidle and bass player Rune Østerhus. While recording a demo, the group decided to bring in Vibeke Stene as a guest vocalist, who was soon recruited as a permanent member, although she was unaware of this until after the band signed with Napalm Records and released their debut album, "Widow's Weeds." The album itself drew considerable praise and is considered a classic in the gothic metal genre, thanks to the contrasting, "beauty and the beast" vocals and symphonic elements. More...
Ready for a new Pit Story heavy metal fans? This week we've got JP LaChapelle from Keychain to share a few he's accumulated over the years.
This week's entry is actually an audio story told as you'd hear it outside a show bullshitting with the band.
Below you can hear JP share a bevy of road report tales (all somehow combined with a common theme of strip clubs) about the learning curve of not partying too hard while touring and dealing with tour van break downs.
Has there ever been a time when metal was more at war with itself than the late nineties/early 2000s? After Korn hit the big time, many bands with a similar, though not always identical sound, soon emerged and thus, nu metal came to be. A sub-genre which was largely discredited by fans of "true" metal for its unashamed hip-hop influences, style and perhaps most offensively, lack of guitar solos. Whether you're a fan of the genre or not, there's no denying that nu metal is by now, old school, thus warranting coverage in this very column. This week, we'll be taking a look at one of the earliest success stories of the era, Coal Chamber.
Coal Chamber was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1993 by singer Dez Fafara and guitarist Meegs Rascón, who had both previously been members of the group, She's In Pain. They rounded up the lineup with the additions of drummer Jon Tor, who himself was soon replaced by Mike Cox, and bass player Rayna Foss. Early in their career, the band was dealt a blow when Fafara quit at the insistence of his wife, though he soon returned to the fold, at the expense of his marriage. With the help of Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares, the group earned themselves a contract with Roadrunner Records, who released their self-titled debut in February 1997. More...
I know everybody's still waiting on the second half of that epic pit story from Panzerfaust, but I'm afraid you'll have to wait just a bit longer on that front. We finally got in touch and the band is keen to share their recollections of the event, so hopefully next week!
In the mean time, we have a good old bloody tale from Forty Winters vocalist Xavier Vicuna. Xavier tells the gruesome story of unintended pit mayhem like this:
The date was Saturday, August 15th, 2015. We were on tour with Shai Hulud and xBishopx, it was our last date in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Now, we were already warned that Myrtle Beach kids can be kind of crazy and all over the place, I didn't really think anything of it, haha. Fast forward to the hometown heavyweights Down In It destroying their set.
Out of nowhere someone launches a bar stool with all their might, legitimately across the room; and nails their unsuspecting friend square in the face. I have honestly never seen so much blood in my entire life.
The dude ended up going straight to the ER for stitches and still made it back in time to catch the Hulud set. He was a real good sport and took it like a champ. I snapped a picture next to one (yes one) of the pools of blood he left behind. Great night and show.
What's the most damage you've accidentally done to a buddy in the pit? Let us know in the comments section!
The South Florida heavy metal outfit Forty Winters is currently gearing up for a July 22nd release date for sophomore album "Rotting Empire," coming via Dead Truth Recordings. Check out a lyric video for opening track "Summoning Spirits" right here. More...
If there's one term in music guaranteed to raise eyebrows, and often nothing else, it's "supergroup." Arguably more often than not, the results don't quite go as hoped and for every Cream there's a Contraband and Ov Hell. There will, however, always be musicians that draw people to their projects no matter who they're working with and if ever there was a vocalist who was able to do this, it's Faith No More's charismatic frontman, Mike Patton. Throw in members of other esteemed bands such as Slayer and the Melvins and surely the results are going to be something special, which is exactly what happened in 1998 when Patton put together a new project as Faith No More were coming to the end of their first run, a project named Fantômas.
Fantômas, which was named after a French supervillain and one of the country's most popular literary figures, began initially as a series of avant-garde songs Mike Patton had penned on his own, in the hopes of putting together a supergroup of his own. He sent the songs out to his Mr. Bungle bandmate Trevor Dunn, as well as Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne and Sepultura drummer Igor Cavalera. Cavalera was the only musician to decline his invite to the group, though he did suggest that the drum stool should be occupied by another highly respected metal drummer, Dave Lombardo, who at the time was busy with Grip Inc., having left Slayer for the second time six years previously. More...
You know what Tuesday means: time for some more Pit Stories from metal shows!
In recent weeks we've covered acquiring some interesting scars, making a fool of yourself in front of guys who would later be your band mates, getting crushed by a wall of death, and an ill-fated train ride to see The Misfits.
Today we've got a tale of the odd ways people behave at shows, from hating on the band to straight up getting it on in the pit rather than just heading home for the hanky panky.
Shawn Pelata of U.S. power / thrash metal band Final Sign tells the story like this:
Back in the very early 1990s, I was in a band called Oracle. We did what a lot of bands did at the time. We played a lot of shows, wrote a lot of songs, did some recording and basically tried to be rock stars. We played kind of a blend of power metal and thrash. We slugged it out in the clubs in the area like any other metal band, and we saw our fair share of strange things. At one of our shows in particular, I saw two.
One evening in Winston-Salem, NC, as we played our sets (we would play two sets of all original material back then), periodically I would see a man pacing back and forth, from one side of the stage to the other and back again. He was carrying a beer...and he was flipping us off. Now, it wasn't uncommon to see a bunch of middle fingers in a rowdy crowd back then. It was almost a salute. However, this guy, seemed to really hate what we were doing. He slowly, intentionally, made his way back and forth behind the crowd, his middle finger raised high and aimed directly at the stage, and was just glaring at us. I saw him 3 or 4 times throughout the night, but never saw him once we were off stage.
That same evening, as we played our song "Valley Of Sadness," one of my guitar players and I noticed a man and woman in the crowd just straight up "dirty dancing." Again, we played like a power metal/thrash hybrid and here are two people, obviously feeling zero pain, just grinding away, holding drinks, to a song about finding your way out of the valley of sadness before your life fades away. Although they were fully clothed, I truly believe she went home pregnant.
Final Sign's latest album "Hold High The Flame" is out now via Divebomb Records / Tridoid Records. More...
We've covered bands from many countries over the course of Sunday Old School's history. From Mezarkabul in Turkey to Aria in Russia and Holy Dragons from Kazakhstan across to Asian bands like Crash from South Korea and Sigh, Loudness and Church Of Misery from Japan. However, one thing we haven't done as of yet, is look at a group who's entire history took place in a country that no longer exists. Of course the land is still there, but the nation formerly known as Yugoslavia has since become several countries and the former capital city of Belgrade is now the capital of Serbia. Despite being gripped in the rule of Marshal Tito, a dictator whose legacy remains disputed, rock and metal music was able to find it's way into the country and was pioneered when it came into the hands of the proud ones, or rather, Gordi.
Gordi, which as the previous paragraph alluded to, is Serbian for "the proud ones," was formed in 1977 in Belgrade by guitarist, Zlatko Manojlovic, along with his brother Goran, drummer Stevan Milutinovic Steva and bassist Dragan Jankovic, who was soon replaced by Zdenko Pomper. It was only after this change that the group were able to record and release their first album, "Covek," through the Ljubljana based major label, ZKP RTLJ. It was very much a progressive rock affair, with Zlatko Manojlovic later describing it as "psychedelic." More...
Gather 'round metal heads, it's story time!
That's right, we're back for your Tuesday Pit Story, this time from Dan Gargiulo of U.S. outfit Revocation.
For this week's tale, Dan shares a story about getting knocked out quite unexpectedly in Boston... in full view of a future band member. Gargiulo tells the story like this:
I was about 19 and a band I was in played a show in Boston. I was watching one of the openers fairly close to the front row. Next thing I know I'm having a dream about some clouds and stuff, but a few moments later I regained consciousness and my buddies were asking if I was alright.
Apparently a pit busted out and before I even realized it, some dude cracked me in the jaw hard enough to knock out a skinny teenager. I drank some water and I was awake but definitely confused and I didn't really know where I was. We were on next so I just got up on stage and did my thing. I'm told we played alright, but I don't remember many details from that night. I wonder if I had a concussion?
Anyway I'd love to file that under "embarrassing scenarios that nobody but me remembers", but I can't, because one of the attendees of that show was none other than David Davidson, who I would end up meeting a few years later. When I joined Revocation, we had some laughs over that story.
Revocation's new album "Great Is Our Sin" is coming July 22nd via Metal Blade Records. A lyric video off the release is available below. The band also currently on tour in North America - get a full list of upcoming dates right here. More...