The season for giving and receiving is upon us. This week we look at what the 80’s glam gods are asking for this year…
Bret Michaels (POISON): A bandana (preferably blue) that alerts Bret when there’s a reality show opportunity near by.
Jon Bon Jovi (BON JOVI): Jeans (skinny, tears above and below the knees, medium wash).
Sebastian Bach (SKID ROW): Tickle me Elmo.
Steve Tyler (AEROSMITH): A band.
Sammy Hagar (CHICKENFOOT): A bottle of tequila, wrapped.
Vince Neil (MOTLEY CRUE): A Radio Flyer 2900 red wagon to carry all the cash made this past year.
Gene Simmons (KISS): To have Christmas renamed KISSmas.
Ted Nugent: Guns, raw meat, gun powder…oh, wait this is Ted’s weekly shopping list.
David Coverdale (WHITESNAKE): Once again make large hair and album sales go hand in hand.
Axl Rose (GUNS N ROSES): The option to do what he wants despite contractual obligations and pending legal proceedings. Also, a Tickle me Elmo.
David Lee Roth (VAN HALEN): A straight answer from the Van Halen brothers.
Jani Lane (WARRANT): For 2009 to end ASAP.
Kip Winger (WINGER): Hair dye for his chest AND buttons for his shirts.
Lita Ford: A new bed.
Josh Todd: A new tattoo.
Dee Snider: World anarchy in the name of peace and metal.
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher tells the story of what almost made him stop singing. The excerpt is taken from a full interview available here.
Check back every Tuesday for a new pit story.
Video game music metal covers, that’s what I’ll be reviewing here. For those new to this concept, video games, especially the old school games for NES and SNES, have always had many elements in common with metal. A Simple search on youtube or myspace, will yield plentiful results. Now it seems anyone who plays guitar decent enough is trying to play his or her favorite video game theme, movie theme, or TV show theme. Sadly most of these people are amateurs and don’t spend enough time arranging the music to form an interesting version of the song. Furthermore they usually have sub par recordings done in their bedroom with a drum machine. The bands in this article have been around for a while and put time, money, and a lot of effort into their recordings.
Boston unsigned video game metal band Powerglove are probably the most popular of the band as they have toured with power metal band Dragonforce. Their covers are constructed as progressive power metal songs. The band will be touring the US with Hammerfall in March and continue in April and May with Sonata Arctica and Mutiny Within. The band has three albums worth of covers available. I am really surprised that the band is able to tour with such popular acts, while being unsigned and a band that covers video game music. They’ve done everything from Power Rangers to Final Fantasy VII. Check out some of their covers and upcoming tour dates on their MySpace page.
Powerglove performing Power Rangers in Quebec with the crowd singing the words:
A few weeks ago I was in the metal section of my local HMV branch, when I heard some kids mention a name. "Oooh! Death! What a great band name! Honestly, who would buy an album from a band with such a stupid name? I bet they suck!" All I could think to myself as they wandered away with their copies of the latest Slipknot and Panic! At The Disco albums was, "If you only knew, kids...." Quite honestly, Death's name is about the only thing anyone could ever have a problem with. Everything else about them is pure magic. Death is responsible for some of the best songs, album covers, song titles and musicianship in the celebrated history of extreme metal.
Death was formed in 1983 by vocalist/guitarist Chuck Schuldiner in the city of Orlando, Florida. They released their first album, "Scream Bloody Gore," four years later and quickly established themselves as one of the pioneers of death metal along with bands such as Possessed and Obituary. Their next album, "Leprosy" followed on where "Scream Bloody Gore" left off lyrically, focusing on violence, blood and guts, but the band changed to writing about more social and political issues on their next album, "Spiritual Healing." This album also featured alot more in the way of melodies and musical progression than the previous two albums. The band continued with their progression into the technical side of death metal when they released the album "Human" in 1991, which featured Schuldiner as well as Sadus bassist Steve DiGorgio and Cynic members Sean Reinhert and Paul Masvidal. "Human" also featured the band's first song to be given the music video treatment, "Lack Of Comprehension." More...
At LAX, Axl Rose (GUNS N ROSES) got into a scuffle with a paparazzo that ended up with a few bloodied participants. Even with Rose flying to Taiwan there is still concern about whether he will be in the mood to perform, a question that had been raised earlier in the week when the rest of the band flew to the gig without the singer. It’s time to set the GNR Tour odds: 2:1 one gig is played; 3:1 the Asian tour is completed without incident and/or cancellations; 5:1 GNR makes it to their Canadian leg of the tour; 1:1 Axl self destructs at some point during the tour. Technically, for those that had self destruction, you can now collect your winnings… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Guilt By Association bassist Britt shares one with us:
"I was on tour with my band Guilt by Association and we played a show at the Monkey Bar in Huntington, WV. We were mid set and it was really hot on stage. The riser puts you up really close to the lights and I needed a break from the heat. My guitarist and I ran off stage and started playing in the middle of the pit! He had a solo coming up so he only stayed a minute and then returned to the stage. Maybe the people in the pit thought I ran out too cause right then they all started moshing again instead of just circling around. I wasn't gonna be trampled so I pushed back and rocked out with the fans and right before I made it back to the stage this guy ran into me and I split his eye open with the headstock of my bass! He kept moshing and took his shirt off the stop the bleeding! After the show we were signing autographs at the merch table and I figured he'd be long gone but I looked up and there he was. He said 'I have to shake you hand and tell you you fuckin rock.... now I'm gonna go get some stitches!' He was die hard... it was awesome!"
Guilt By Association recently announced in an interview with Metalunderground that they are in pre-production for their upcoming EP "Chapter 2." Sample tracks from their first EP "Chapter 1" can be heard at the band's MySpace page.
Each week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we highlight a new group of bands that aren’t signed to a major label and are making a name for themselves in the underground. This week I’ll be delving into three Montana bands on opposite ends of the spectrum, ranging from death metal to thrash to groove. More...
Since my first “real” news posting had to do with the unfortunate news of Ronnie James Dio's stomach cancer, I thought it might make some karmic sense if my first Sunday Old School posting had something to do with the the remarkable frontman.
I suspect a lot of people my age (36 years young) are like me in that the first time they ever heard of Dio was in seeing the phrase “OZZY RULES! DIO DROOLS!” scrawled on a wooden desk in junior high or high school. That's naturally a reference to the fact that Dio had replaced Ozzy Osbourne as the singer for Black Sabbath, following Ozzy's firing in 1979.
Dio would serve as Sabbath's lead vocalist on the seminal albums “Heaven & Hell,” “Mob Rules” and “Live Evil” before parting ways with Sabbath until 1991 when he rejoined the band for “Dehumanizer.” Another parting of the ways lasted until 2006, when his version of Sabbath reformed under the moniker Heaven & Hell and recorded new tracks for a greatest hits CD, as well as “Live from Radio City Music Hall” in 2007, and a new studio album, “The Devil You Know” in 2009.
Beginning with 1983's “Holy Diver,” he racked up plenty of album sales and accolades with his own band, Dio.
But there's an important chapter of Dio's professional career that seems to get at best a cursory glance among a lot of metalheads I know, which is unfortunate, because it seems to me to be very much a transformative time for one of metal's most powerful vocalists.
I am, of course, talking about his time in Rainbow, the post-Deep Purple band formed by guitar-god Ritchie Blackmore in the mid-1970s.
Blackmore had departed Deep Purple after arguments about the more “funky” direction that singer David Coverdale and bassist Glenn Hughes were taking the band in. In search of a new singer and band, he didn't have to look far.
Elf, which featured Dio on vocals, had been touring as a supporting act for Deep Purple. Blackmore essentially grafted himself into the band, renaming it and collaborating with Dio to write the tracks for the appropriately named “Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.”
The song most everyone remembers from that 1975 album is “Man on the Silver Mountain,” with its son-of-“Smoke on the Water” riff and powerful delivery by Dio declaring himself a medieval metal prophet. It's become such a staple in the Dio arsenal that it's easy to forget how much of a milestone it is for the singer. Compare the supernatural lyrics with the somewhat more pedestrian (if equally well-performed) lyrics of tracks like Elf's “Carolina County Ball,” and you'll see what I mean.
That's hardly the only great one, though. The album also features “16th Century Greensleeves,” which would seem to be a precursor to Blackmore's later career, as well as the superb Quartermass cover “Black Sheep of the Family.”
By Rainbow's next album, 1976's “Rising,” Blackmore had fired everyone but Dio from the band and, if you ask me, the replacement keyboardist, Tony Carey and bassist Jimmy Bain (who'd later play with Dio in the 1980s) aren't completely up to snuff. It's this incarnation of Rainbow's weakest album, though tracks like the opener, “Tarot Woman” and the huge 8-minute closer “Stargazer” still hold up well.
The band had a return to glory with 1978's “Long Live Rock 'n' Roll,” which featured bass contributions from future Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath bassist Bob Daisley. The disc, which does feature some of the medieval and experimental sounds featured on the previous two studio albums (a live album, “On Stage,” was released in 1977), there's a surprising amount of pure blues-rock stomp this go-round, especially on the title track. “L.A. Connection” reminds me a bit of the bluesier side of the Doors, while “Sensitive to Light” is just a good-time rocker of the finest sort. Meanwhile, the darker lyrical themes Dio would go on to explore in Sabbath are on full display in the creepy Middle Eastern-sounding “Gates of Babylon.” The album's finest hour, though, comes with the speedy “Kill the King.”
Dio left the band in 1979 following a dispute with Blackmore over the guitarist's desire to take the band in a more “commercial” direction, which he ultimately did with vocalists like Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet.
If you ask me, though, the Dio era is a golden era for Rainbow, as well as the moment that one of metal's finest discovered his true voice and calling. As I and other metal fans await news of the ailing singer's condition, I take some measure of comfort in his “Man on the Silver Mountain” declaration that “You'll never stop me burning.”
May it be so.
Carolina County Ball (with Elf)
Recently Lita Ford sent out messages via Twitter to her fans detailing her sexual romp with her husband who is referred to as both Big Daddy and Meat Whistle. To read (or join) Ford’s Twitter go to: twitter.com/litaford. My only comment is that if Nikki Sixx can publish “The Heroin Diaries” then Lita should seriously consider “The Sex Diaries”. Let’s get this started, shall we… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week The Carrier drummer Mike shares one with us:
"Well Rain Fest 2008 was our first fest ever, and our first ever show on the West Coast (Or Northwest, whatever). It was also the first time any of us had ever had Joose, the most unbelievable and magical malt liquor known to man. Well, I guess in the end, after about seven or eight juices, Anthony, who is bigger than most silverback gorillas, decided to mosh during Ceremony's set. It didn't take long for Anthony to knock some dude unconscious. In fact, he hit the kid so hard that the kid landed on some other people, in turn knocking all of them over as well. We don't know what happened to the guy. Hopefully he is okay. That's the power of Joose."
As previously reported, The Carrier has confirmed dates for a European tour this winter with Dead Swans (UK). The Carrier, after touring all summer, has also started working on material for a new full length record. In the meantime, check out some of their music on their MySpace player.
To some people, the Midlands born five-piece Judas Priest were the first heavy metal band, being as they were the first band to actually embrace the term "heavy metal." Whether you agree or not, they are certainly one of the most important bands in the history of metal. No other band has had the longevity of Judas Priest and arguably no other band has had the heart and passion that Priest have had with them since 1969. The band first consisted of guitarist KK Downing, bass player Ian Hill, lead vocalist Al Atkins and drummer John Ellis and went on to support the likes of Thin Lizzy, Budgie and Trapeze under this lineup. Eventually, Hill brought in his girlfriend's brother Rob Halford to replace Atkins and Ellis was replaced with John Hinch. The band once again toured supporting Budgie and developed such a following that they were able to headline shows in other countries such as Norway and Germany. Once the band signed to Gull Records, the label suggested they add another musician and the band chose guitarist Glen Tipton to become one of the pioneers of the twin guitar sound along with bands like Wishbone Ash. After the recording of their first album, "Rocka Rolla," the band would use a series of session drummers for their next albums, "Sad Wings Of Destiny" and "Sin After Sin" and settled on drummer Les Binks after touring in support of the latter record.
The band went on to record "Stained Class" and "Killing Machine" (known in North America as "Hell Bent For Leather") with Les Binks before he left the band and was replaced with drummer Dave Holland, who would stay with the band for their next six studio albums and one live record. The band struck gold in 1980 when they released "British Steel," which is considered one of, if not the greatest, heavy metal album of all time. The album contained the hit singles, "Breaking The Law," "Living After Midnight" and "United" and helped the band to achieve worldwide rock stardom. The band would continue their success with a series of critically acclaimed albums such as "Point Of Entry," "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Defenders Of The Faith." Their next album, "Turbo" was met with mixed reviews due to its use of synthesisers and the record after that, "Ram It Down" was considered to be a small step up from "Turbo," though the band's popularity began to wane at this point. However, after replacing Dave Holland with former Racer X drummer Scott Travis, the band reclaimed their spot at the top of the heavy metal pile with the outstanding, "Painkiller."
Despite the success of the album, frontman Rob Halford would leave the band after a dispute with the band's record label and formed the band Fight, before going to form the industrial metal outfit 2wo and the heavy metal band Halford. Judas Priest themselves took a long break before recruiting vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens, who was previously the lead singer of a Judas Priest tribute band. With Owens, the band released the albums "Jugulator" and "Demolition" which were met with mixed reviews. In 2003, Rob Halford returned to the band and Owens replaced Matt Barlow as the lead vocalist of American power metal band Iced Earth. With Halford back on board, the band recorded the critically acclaimed "Angel Of Retribution" album and toured the world extensively before releasing the ambitious, 2-CD concept album, "Nostradamus" in 2008. Without a doubt, Judas Priest are as creative, passionate and dedicated today as they were fourty years ago and they've shown no signs of stopping this trend. All hail the Metal Gods! More...
WHAT IF Van Halen decided to name their third album Van Halen III?
[ANSWER] Common sense says sales stay the same, but the band becomes more focused on reaching Roman numeral ten, keeping the original line-up together for ten albums. Everyone likes the big X. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week IMPIOUS drummer Mike Norén shares a story from a show they played in Germany:
"We did a show with Cataract at Markthalle in Hamburg back in 2005. I stood next to the stage and watched the entire Cataract set; I was really into the 'With Triumph Comes Loss' album at that time. And on the last song 'Reborn from Fire' I ran right out on stage, threw myself head first towards the monitors, grabbed them just before my head was about to smash into them and did a front flip right off stage. I remember my feet smashing into these German kids’ heads right before my entire bodyweight came slamming down on top of them. After the show a kid came up to me and told me in broken English/German how I 'put my foot in his head.' It was great fun."
I'm not so sure that kid has such fond memories of that night as Mike does! Perhaps it was lost in translation, but no blood, no foul.
Impious' new album "Death Domination" was just released in North America this week and will see an Asian release on December 23rd. You can check out some of their music here.
Check back every Tuesday for a new tale from the mosh pit.
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 Indian metal scene, introducing three bands spanning various metal sub-genres.
Although most foreigners are initially exposed to all the Bollywood hype of the second most populous country in the world, behind the rich and somewhat conservative culture and monolithic economy traits lies a massive subculture striving to make an identity of their own for the sole purpose of making their mark on the world of heavy metal. The scene is of course and without a doubt considered immense, as opposed to where I hail from (Sri Lanka), considering the fact that some of the biggest names in heavy metal have been stopping in India for a gig or tour for the past few years. And not forgetting the amount of record/distribution labels and promoters that strive to thrust the scene forward, India will certainly, in time to come, be held responsible for making a unique mark of their own in the history of one of the world’s most largest and evolved sub cultures.
To start off with today’s unearthing, I chose a technical death metal outfit which goes by the name of Amogh Symphony, who’ve been stirring up the scene in Mumbai as of late with the release of their debut album, “Abolishing the Obsolete System.” The brain-child of solo musician Vishal J. Singh, the band was conceived in 2003 and now has two commendable releases under their belt. Amogh Symphony incorporates a hybrid of progressive, symphonic, death metal with a nod towards Indian classical tunes and Jazz fusion. More...
Few bands can claim that they have had a profound influence on a variety of sub-genres in metal, from thrash to progressive and from black metal to power, Mercyful Fate can proudly and honestly say that they are one of those bands. The group formed in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark in 1981 from the ashes of the bands Brats and Black Rose and became well known for their dark and Satanic themes both in their music and stage act. They recorded two classic albums in the form of "Melissa" (named after the human skull lead vocalist King Diamond would use on stage) and "Don't Break The Oath," which were released in 1983 and 1984 respectively. After their first tour of the United States, King Diamond decided to leave the band due to creative differences and took band members Timi Hansen and Michael Denner with him. Instead of continuing under the Mercyful Fate banner, remaining band member Hank Shermann formed a band simply named Fate which followed a more mainstream rock direction.
Mercyful Fate reunited in July of 1992 (though King Diamond would continue to release albums under his own moniker throughout this period) and recorded several more records thoughout the '90s, concluding with 1999's "9" album. Whilst the band has been more or less inactive since the record's release, King Diamond has promised fans that they haven't heard the last of Mercyful Fate and that the band will definitely return at some point in time with a new album and tour.
When looking at the band, one can see how they influenced the black metal genre with their satanic lyrics and imagery but after listening to the band themselves, it becomes apparant that they became so influential in a broad spectrum because they were outstanding musicians. King Diamond can be considered as the master story-teller of heavy metal and knew perfectly how to capture the listeners interest with his unique, haunting stories and lyrics. Add to this his one of a kind vocal delivery which could reach the highest of highs and lowest of lows and the end result is one of the greatest frontmen in the history of metal. The band themselves also proved time and time again that they were extremely talented when it came to their instruments and song writing and orchestrated some of the most complex and intricate metal songs of the time. Still to this day, bands cite Mercyful Fate as an influence in their music and they are perhaps remembered as the biggest and best metal band to ever come from Denmark. More...
BREAKING NEWS: This week starts with rumors swirling of an Aerosmith break-up and Steven Tyler considering auditioning for Velvet Revolver, more to come as this story develops… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week guitarist Matthew Bile of Walking Corpse Syndrome shares his story of an all ages mosh pit in Deer Lodge:
"Montana gets a bad rap for being so sparsely populated, and the small towns in Montana get an even worse rap. But we'll play most any place people want to see us. So when folks in Deer Lodge, where the state pen is located and our drummers are from, wanted to see us, we played a show. We rented a venue. Our friends and family ran sound and lights. And half the town showed up. The other half was busy trying to shut down the 'devil worshiping' music. It felt more like a state fair than a metal show. All ages there really is all ages, from babies up to great grandparents.
"We've also noticed that there's an inverse relationship between size of town and intensity of mosh pit. The less stuff there is to do, the crazier the kids get. And Deer Lodge kids took home the trophy. There were no fewer than 4 mosh pits going on, segregated by age group (high school, junior high, and middle school) and gender (a chick pit is a sight to behold). It was a like a scene out of that movie Fight Club, with punches thrown, pile drivers driven, and even a kid slammed into a garbage can and kicked across the floor. I almost stopped the show because I was getting a little sick watching the mayhem, but not for a single second did I see the smiles leave their faces."
Celtic Frost may very well be one of the most creative and artistic bands in the vast world of metal. They formed from the ashes of the band Hellhammer in 1984 and released their first studio album, "Morbid Tales" in the same year. The album was met with strong acclaim from music critics and the metal underground alike, which led to the band releasing an EP entitled, "Emperor's Return." The band once again released an influential album in the form of "To Mega Therion" in 1985 that did not feature bass player Martin Eric Ain, though he would return to the band after the record's release. Celtic Frost would release the next in a trilogy of acclaimed and classic albums in 1987 when they released, "Into The Pandemonium," one of the most ambitious and experimental albums in the history of underground metal. The record included a sound of an avant-garde nature and featured unlikely covers of the songs "Mexican Radio" by New Wave artists Wall Of Voodoo and "In The Chapel In The Moonlight," which has been performed by artists such as Dean Martin, Kitty Kallen and The Bachelors.
However internal struggle became a massive problem for the band with financial troubles and personal tensions causing the band to briefly break up before frontman Thomas Fischer revived the group with former drummer Stephen Priestly and new members in the shape of guitarist Oliver Amberg and bass player Curt Victor Bryant. The resulting album, "Cold Lake," proved less than well-received by the band's fanbase with some labelling the bands as sell outs. "Cold Lake" featured a much more mainstream sound that seemed to be more influenced by bands such as Motley Crue than Venom. Fischer would later claim that the musical style on the album was due to his lack of interest in the creative output of the band. Martin Eric Ain would rejoin the band and they recorded the album, "Vanity/Nemesis" which was more in the vein of thrash metal than it's previous releases, which allowed the group to regain some of the credibility they had lost with "Cold Lake." The band planned to follow this record with a double album entitled, "Under Apollyon's Sun" but decided to split up before they entered the studio. During the split Martin Eric Ain would find success as a businessman, becoming the owner of a number of bars and nightclubs, while singer/guitarist Tom Fischer founded the industrial metal outfit Apollyon Sun and wrote a book about the history of Celtic Frost entitled, "Are You Morbid?"
After working together on the re-issue of several Celtic Frost albums, Fischer and Ain began writing music together under the Celtic Frost banner once again, along with guitarist Erol Unala and drummer Franco Sesa. They released a demo named, "Prototype" which featured ten new songs, before releasing their comeback album, "Monotheist" in 2006. The album received a huge amount of positive feedback and was labelled the darkest album they had ever written and was accompanied by the band's most ambitious tour yet, touring in countries they had never performed in before and headlining festivals such as Wacken Open Air. However the reunion did not last for as long as many had hoped, when Fischer decided to leave the band in April of 2008, leading to the band's demise once again. Celtic Frost will now go down in the history books of metal as one of the most influential, creative and darkest bands the world had ever seen.
Celtic Frost - "Circle Of The Tyrants"
Thoughts while counting the number of spandex body suits worn in the David Lee Roth video “Yankee Rose”…
For those that refuse to place KISS into the hair band genre please take a look at exhibit A: The video for “Forever”: It’s as if both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley walked into wardrobe and asked for the Rikki Rocket…On the topic of bad hair, there is not a worse wig then the one worn by the principle in Motley Crue’s version of “Smoking In The Boys Room”… More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week, Ben of All Shall Perish prefers to let the video do most of the talking:
"Full Force Festival was probably one of the most memorable mosh pit's All shall Perish has ever created. The crowd busted one of the biggest wall of death's I have ever seen! check out the video from the Jumbotron:
"I heard from a few that attended that day that some kid broke both of his legs... Sorry about that!"
All Shall Perish just wrapped up a co-headlining tour of the US with Born of Osiris and will be heading to Europe in January for their "The Black Procession" tour with Machine Head, Hatebreed and Bleeding Through.
Check back every Tuesday for more tales from the pit.