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The Rockstar Ramblings: Breaking News

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...

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Tales From The Pit: The All Ages Mosh Pit

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."

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Sunday Old School: Celtic Frost

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"
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The Rockstar Ramblings: Video Marathon Diary II

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...

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Tales From The Pit: A Bone Crushing Wall of Death

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.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Nashville Doom

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. Although I can't say I've ever had the pleasure of visiting the country music capital of the world, I can say I've been delving into their more depressing side. More depressing than a bottle of whiskey and singing about heartbreaks to your dog? You bet, because we're delving into three new doom metal bands from the American mid-east.

Loss

To start off, the band Loss is one of my favorite underground bands. Coming onto the scene in 2004 with the lauded "Life Without Hope...Death Without Reason" demo, Loss plays an epic neoclassicical death/doom of a particularly morbid variety. Loss's last release was a four way split including Aussie funeral doom legend Mournful Congregation, which should hold the band's pedigree to be suffice. Whispers in the trees were that the band may have a full length coming out on Profound Lore Records called "Despond," so keep tuned to Metal Underground for future news. Until then, the "Life Without Hope..." demo is available to hear on the band's MySpace player. More...

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Sunday Old School: Diamond Head

Following on from last weeks article where we looked at Venom, a hugely influential band from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement, we're continuing the trend this week by looking at one of their fellow N.W.O.B.H.M. acts, Diamond Head. Diamond Head is considered in this day and age one of the most influential acts of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and have been championed by numerous big name bands such as Exodus, Megadeth and Metallica to name a few. Diamond Head was the hot tip at the time to follow Iron Maiden in becoming not just another band from the movement, but a major act themselves. Unfortunately, although signed to a major label, the band never got the success and fame many expected they would achieve. In some cases today they are a band heard in name only, many knowing of their existence but less are aware of the actual music with the exception of cover versions bigger acts have done.

The band was formed in 1976 in the town of Stourbridge in England's Midlands region and continued for several years to hunt for success. The group took their name from an album by Phil Manzanera, the former lead guitarist of Roxy Music. The band would often refuse to perform cover songs, eventually making the exception for the Black Sabbath classic, "Paranoid." Though they self-financed many demos and released them independently, they struggled to find record label interest, though they were able to attract the attention of popular rock and metal artists of the time and secure support slots with the likes of AC/DC and Iron Maiden.

The band released their first album, which is often reffered to as "Lightning To The Nations" (though it never officially had a title) in 1980 through their own record label, Happy Face Records and received much critical acclaim for the record. This led to the band signing to MCA Records the following year and releasing their next album, "Borrowed Time." The album hit the number 24 mark in the British album charts and enabled the band to venture on their own headlining tour of the United Kingdom.

Diamond Head suffered from several line up changes and break-ups over the years and today guitarist Brian Tatler remains the sole original member of the band. Since their most recent reformation in 2000, the band has released two studio albums with the new line-up entitled "All Will Be Revealed" and "What's In Your Head?" with plans to record another album well underway.

Diamond Head - "Am I Evil?"
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The Rockstar Ramblings: The VR Search Continues

Last week Corey Taylor (Slipknot) announced that he tried out for the available lead singer spot for Velvet Revolver. Apparently he has not been offered the job, but this definitely gives us an idea of how the band’s search is going and that is to say not well.

Rumors (most found to be factual) have placed country singers, Sabastian Bach, and Lenny Kravitz at VR auditions this past year. Given Duff McKagan and Slash’s solo projects it’s a mystery to me why they continue to press the need for a lead singer so urgently; however, this continues to be a priority despite no “perfect” fit found up to this point. How can we help? Let’s break down the top ten leading (available) candidates and why they would/would not be a good fit for the ex gunners… More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground in New Orleans

New Orleans is known worldwide for its legendary music of every genre. Myths have been created about what could have possibly happened here that made it such a hotbed of musical creativity. To quickly debunk those false myths; a lax government combined with a mixture of fun-loving people of all ethnicities led to a freedom of expression, and one off-shoot of that was music. Rock n’ roll was created in-part by the citizens of New Orleans. Therefore, metal would soon find its way into the dive bars and clubs that fill our streets. Sludge was our specialty, but all kinds of metal started pouring out of the amps, and some bands became famous, spreading “New Orleans Metal” around the globe. That first wave of musicians is still performing, and they’re still amazing. Exhorder is playing their first show in eight years this month! But the scene is thriving and alive; new blood mixing with the more established bone structure of Crowbar, Soilent Green and Eyehategod. Here is just a few of the bands keeping the spirit of New Orleans metal new and ever-growing; in the same position that the most popular of bands were in 20 years ago.

Black metal Serpentis plays often and has gained a steady fanbase from it. Drummer Will pounds the drums like a madman, drenched in sweat by the third song because he forces his soul out through his arms for the crowd. The guitars are strummed so fast, they could set a fire instantly. Vocalist Heretic growls and gestures violently to preach his word to the people; not preach so much as shove down their throats relentlessly. Already these gentlemen have gotten on the bill of big acts such as Cannabis Corpse and Marduk. They are surely headed for notoriety at their break-neck pace. Check out more of Serpentis' music on their Myspace page. More...

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Sunday Old School: Venom

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal produced dozens of new acts, some of which have gone down in history as legends of heavy metal and hard rock music, but of all these bands, none were as extreme, as over the top, as exciting, as Venom. The band was formed in the early '80s in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England and released their first album, "Welcome To Hell," in 1981. They gained an underground, cult following in the United Kingdom as well as in the European and North American metal underground, yet they didn't perform a proper live concert until after the release of their second album in 1982. "Black Metal" would go down in history as one of the most influential metal records of all time, and the band's first show took place at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon.

During interviews, Venom would invent numerous tags to describe themselves in order to set them apart from other heavy metal bands of the time. Almost all of these tags went on to become actual sub-genres such as "black metal," "thrash metal," "death metal" and "doom metal." Venom claim they wanted to stand out from the other bands of the time because they felt metal wasn't being represented as well as it should have been. The final straw for Venom came, surprisingly, after Michael Jackson entered the British heavy metal charts with the song, "Beat It" because it featured a guitar solo from Eddie Van Halen.

Over the years, the band released several more albums and experienced several lineup changes, which some might say led to the somewhat unfair reactions to strong albums that didn't feature certain original members. Although they might seem ridiculous when looked upon, Venom is one of the most influential metal bands ever to enter a recording studio and is without question responsible for the likes of thrash, death and of course, black metal. They helped American bands like Slayer, Exodus and even Metallica find fans in Europe by taking them out on tour and their original sound can be heard on many albums from other thrash metal bands such as Metallica's "Kill 'em All" or Slayer's "Show No Mercy." Venom is still going today, with singer/bass player Conrad "Cronos" Lant remaining as the band's sole original member and they are currently working on a brand new album. For Venom, it wasn't quality or quantity that counted, it was standing out from their peers and creating something new, and no-one can deny they did just that.

Venom - "Bloodlust"
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The Rockstar Ramblings: Glam Band Album Names

This week Ratt finally released the name of their upcoming album. The title is Infestation and not Caught Cheating as I had guessed. All said and done I probably had a 50/50 chance…Vince Neil will soon be announcing the name of his upcoming solo album. The world waits on the edge of their seats… More...

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Tales From the Pit: Owning The Indie Mosh Pit

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Jason from Winter Storm shows those indie kids how it's done:

"Me and my friends went to a Metal/Indie night for new year's eve, turned out to be 90% indie, we moshed the whole night through and totally owned that night club!!! I think we easily made up for the lack of metal heads HAHA!!"

Winter Storm is playing the Femme Metal Fest on November 7th and is currently recording their first album "Serenity In Darkness," due out February 2010.

Check back every Tuesday for more tales from the pit.

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Unearthing the Metal Underground in Vancouver

Each week in "Unearthing the Metal Underground," we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week, I am exploring the metal scene in Vancouver, Canada.

First, I give you one of the best live bands in Vancouver: Gross Misconduct. As huge fans of Chuck Shuldiner (R.I.P.), Gross Misconduct picks up where Death left off. The band also draws influences from Iron Maiden, Slayer and good old Metallica. The death/thrash-metal four-piece have opened up for big names such as The Haunted and Amon Amarth. Gross Misconduct maintains the high quality metal that epitomized Death. It is impressive how both Schuldiner and Gross Misconduct vocalist/guitarist David London can pull off singing while playing such technical metal. More...

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Sunday Old School: At The Gates

This week in Sunday Old School we return to the 90's, having revisited the late 1960's and early 70's with Black Sabbath, Budgie, and Blue Cheer. While the 90's are less than twenty years ago, can you imagine a time before melodic death metal and even metalcore cannibalized the same melodeath riffs over and over ad nauseum? Enough said. Nearly twenty years ago, Swedish band At The Gates formed and soon helped popularized a new sound called melodic death metal, which was largely associated with Gothenburg scene due to the efforts of In Flames and Dark Tranquillity around the same time. The imitators have been many and in recent years the line between melodic death metal and melodic metalcore has blurred so much that it is often difficult to tell the difference between the two.

At the Gates did not remain together for even a decade, but their impact on the metal landscape has been enormous. The band remained entrenched in the underground as their first few albums suffered from 80's quality (read: low) production. It was not until 1996's "Slaughter of the Soul" that had significantly better production and was released by Earache Records that the band started to break into the mainstream a little more. After their breakup, drummer Adrian Erlandsson, bassist Jonas Björler, and guitarist Anders Björler went on to form The Haunted, while Lindberg has been in bands such as The Crown, Lock Up, Nightrage, The Great Deceiver and Disfear.

Newer metalheads can check out At The Gates to see where so many modern bands have drawn their influences from.

The video below is a live track lifted from the 2008 reissue of the classic album "Slaughter Of The Soul" that comes with a bonus DVD. The DVD features a recently unearthed live show filmed in Krakow Poland in 1995. More videos follow after the jump.

At The Gates Live In Poland 1995
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The Rockstar Ramblings: The $100 Hamburger

This week in New York City “The Apprentice” reality star Bret Michaels has been spotted selling hotdogs and hamburgers for charity. Some have been shocked by the $100 per burger price tag. Personally, it is still more shocking that it cost $5,000 for the Poison “Talk Dirty To Me” video, but that’s me not letting go…Guns N Roses has officially announced a Canadian tour starting in early 2010. For those that bet on 2010 and Canada in Vegas you appear to be the winner. Note that winnings will not be received until the band actually takes the stage… More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground in Calgary

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 death metal scene in Calgary, Alta. Canada. More...

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Sunday Old School: Blue Cheer

Given that Blue Cheer frontman Dickie Peterson sadly passed away last Monday, it seemed only fitting that this week's edition of Sunday Old School take a look at the band. Blue Cheer began in 1966 and took their name from a brand of LSD which was promoted by former Grateful Dead frontman, Owsley Stanley. The band was managed by a former Hell's Angel. Blue Cheer scored a hit single with their cover of the Eddie Cochran classic, "Summertime Blues," which peaked at number 14 on the Billboard singles chart. The debut album, "Vincebus Eruptus" from which the song was from, also entered the Billboard album charts at number 11.

Over the years the band split up and reformed several times, but left a lasting influence on rock and metal music and have been cited by many as one of the inspirations behind punk rock, stoner rock, doom metal and grunge. You can check out some videos below of Blue Cheer, the band that was described by The Doors frontman Jim Morrison as "The single most powerful band I've ever seen."

Blue Cheer - "Summertime Blues"
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The Rockstar Ramblings: Steel Panther

What do you get when you cross the hair of Warrant, make-up of Poison, lyrics of Ratt, and spandex of David Lee Roth? The heavy metal band Steel Panther. Actually, heavy metal parody is more accurate. Think Sunset Strip’s version of Spinal Tap. More...

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Tales From The Pit: Letting It Out In A Slayer Pit

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week’s story is from Jussi Heikkinen, the guitarist of Soulgrind:

"Slayer pit, of course. I remember one, when they were playing here in Finland at sauna Open Air, tampere. I just got a ticket from cops for driving too fast. They also took my driving licence for a couple of months, so I was REALLY pissed off when arriving to the gig. So I ran to the pit and got violent. In a positive way :) I jammed, slammed, hit, and banged with all of my heart and my over 100 kg weight. And after the gig, some youngsters came to me and thanked me about my great attitude in the pit. And thanked for me for hitting them HARD! That’s Slayer pit, indeed."

Soulgrind will perform at the UK's Femme Metal Festival at The Peel in Kingston, London on Sunday, November 8, 2009.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Sri Lanka

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 Sri Lankan metal scene. Today I'll be introducing three bands spanning metal sub-genres from Colombo, Sri Lanka, where the metal scene is the most active.

Fallen Grace is what most people would label as a melodic death metal outfit, although they don't fit the description of your typical Gothernburg melodic death metal band. Hailing from Sri Lanka's capitol, Colombo, these guys claim to be influenced by the likes of artists from the Gothernburg melo-death scene as well as bands such as Motorhead, I, Venom, Bathory and Dissection. Fallen Grace is widely known for their intense stage acts and uncompromising, attitude which has managed to attract a massive extreme metal fan base for them here in Sri Lanka. Although Fallen Grace is known as one of the oldest metal bands in Sri Lanka, they have only released one studio album to date, as the band claims to lack cooperative band members and proper recording studios in the country. Nonetheless, as friends who grew up together in the same school, the three founding members, Sohan, Rakitha, and Shiva are currently recording their debut EP titled "Heresy Unveiled: Do We Believe?," along with drummer Nisala and Guitarist Shamil. You can check out some of their music on their MySpace player or in a short video clip of one of their sound checks below. More...

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