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Archive: Columns

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Jack Daniels Tee

A look at new music from Rust N’ Rage, Bloody Heels, and Daylight Robbery. Also, lots of Jack Daniels T-shirts, always lots of Jack Daniels T-shirts. More...

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Sunday Old School: Stryper

Stryper is a Christian glam metal band that wears their religion on their sleeves (via stripes). The mid eighties were good for Stryper, enjoying platinum and gold record sales as well as mainstream acceptance as a Christian band. After initial success their hair also got bigger. The “big hair” led to a decrease in record sales, proving that God does have a sense of humor. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Busty Cop

This week’s videos give us a dirty cop, a behind the scenes look at a Presidential campaign, and lots of feathers. More...

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Sunday Old School: Candlemass

Sunday is a day which is usually taken quite slow, deliberately or otherwise. It seems fitting then Sunday Old School pays tribute to one of the greatest bands in the history of doom metal this week, by taking a look at Swedish legends, Candlemass. Candlemass were formed in 1984 in the Swedish capital city, Stockholm by bass player Leif Edling, following the dissolution of his previous band, Nemesis. He soon recruited guitarists Mats "Mappe" Bjorkman and Klas Bergwall, as well as drummer Matz Ekström, to complete the lineup of musicians, while they went through a revolving door of singers. Before long, they had signed to Black Dragon Records, a label in France which signed the band on a one album deal and gave them a budget of less than two thousand dollars. In June of 1986, the band released their first full length record, "Epicus Doomicus Metalllicus," which was immediately met with a positive response thanks to it’s slow riffs, unusual in a time when thrash was the popular flavour in the metal world. The singer on the album was Johan Längqvist, who performed vocals despite having never heard their music before. Those who look for weaker points in the album tend to point fingers at Längqvist, though his singing was still quite impressive. He did not stay for long however and was soon replaced by Bror Jan Alfredo Marcolin, better known to audiences as "Messiah."

Messiah made his recording debut almost immediately upon joining, which surfaced in 1987 in the form on the sophomore full length, "Nightfall," although by this point Bergwall and Ekström had also left the group, their places being filled by Lars Johansson and Jan Lindh respectively. "Nightfall" was another critical success for the band and saw them branch out commercially too, most notably with their first music video for the song, "Bewitched," which features a young Per Yngve Ohlin, better known to most people as Mayhem vocalist, "Dead." They would release a third album a year later entitled, "Ancient Dreams" which spawned their second music video for the song, "Mirror Mirror." Although it didn’t receive quite as much praise as it’s predecessors, it became the first Candlemass record to hit the charts in the United States, reaching number 74 on the Billboard album chart. They won back some of their detractors with their next album however, 1989’s, "Tales of Creation," though following a live record simply entitled, "Live," they were once again forced to search for a new singer, as a falling out with Messiah Marcolin resulted in him leaving the group. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Subtitled

Revenge and subtitles rule this week. Screaming Eagles take a unique approach to recovering their gear while The Cheats lose everything they own. More...

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Sunday Old School: Living Sacrifice

Of all the reunions and reformations of bands over the past decade, from Carcass to Immortal, few have been as demanded or anticipated as highly as today's featured band. Although their break only lasted five years, fans of a four piece from Little Rock, Arkansas felt a signifficant void had been left by their absence, which was filled in 2008 and the news was broke that the world would see the return of Living Sacrifice. The band was formed in 1989 by bass player and vocalist Darren Johnson, guitarist Bruce Fitzhugh and drummer Lance Garvin, with Jason Truby joining the group as a second guitarist soon afterwards. The band took their name from the Biblical passage Romans 12:1 and from the outset aimed to promote their Christian beliefs, which was reflected in the title of their first demo, "Not Yielding to Ungodly." The demo proved popular in the metal underground and soon found its way to Believer members Kurt Bachman and Joey Daub, who helped get the band signed to R.E.X. Records, a label which specialized in Christian metal artists. The band recorded their self-titled full length debut, which was released in 1991 and featured a more thrash metal orientated approach than their later work, earning them comparisons to other popular thrash acts such as Slayer.

Although their first record was received very favourably by metal fans, Christian or not, the band decided to drop the style and move towards the down tuned death metal genre that had been increasing in popularity thanks to such artists as Obituary and Morbid Angel. Their first foray into this tone came in 1992 with their sophomore effort, "Nonexistent," which the band see as something as a disappointment, expressing their dissatisfaction with the work of the producer, although it is still thought highly of by their fanbase. They then sought to combine the two styles they had previously exhibited, which culminated in their third album, "Inhabit," which was something of a return to their thrash sound, owing to the vocal methods employed by Johnson, but musically carried on in the vein of death metal, resulting in what is generally considered the group’s heaviest work to date. It was met with mixed to positive reviews but the band were soon dealt a blow when R.E.X. Records announced that they had gone bankrupt, leaving them without a label for a time, before they eventually signed with Solid State Records, who they trusted to help broaden their audience. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The End of the World

Steel Panther have released an explicit video for their new single "Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World.” The video features cameos by celebrities such as porn star Ron Jeremy, Breaking Bad actor RJ Mitte, comedian Rob Riggle, Jackass' Steve-O, UFC fighter Chuck Liddell, and several topless women. More...

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Pit Stories: The Crowd Surfing Performance

Every week we check in with musicians from around the globe to get their favorite stories from live shows.

Today Cormac Neeson from Irish rock outfit The Answer shares a tale about unintentional crowd surfing. Check it out below.

The Answer's latest album "New Horizon" is out now in both Europe and North America through Napalm Records. You can watch the band's video for "Spectacular" after the jump.

Be sure to check back in again next Tuesday as we share more Pit Stories from live shows.

This is an old one and harks back to when The Answer was just starting out and we were playing a really small club in my home town of Newcastle Northern Ireland. We would play this place every couple of weeks and the place would be packed and hot and very sweaty every night without fail. The crowd also had a tendency to get carried away and forget we were in a club that held 100 people as opposed to an arena that held 10,000. But that didn't bother us one bit.

Not until this one night when I took the mike and decided to jump into the crowd (who were right in front if my nose as there was no stage) and sing the encore down amongst the people. Unfortunately the very same good people thought I wanted to go crowd surfing rather than just shake my shit with the first few rows. Before I realized what was happening I was thrown up into the air.. I say into the air.

The roof couldn't have been more than seven foot from the floor. So I actually had to sing the rest of the song while wedged tightly between a sea of sweaty rockers and a nicotine flavoured, beer stained roof. And they didn't let me down until the song was over. I'll never forget that smelly assed roof!!
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Sunday Old School: Flotsam And Jetsam

In the United States, the main focus on thrash metal seems to be on the states of New York and California, though anyone who knows a bit about the genre will tell you that America produced some excellent thrash from all across the country. Take for example the state of Arizona, which gave birth to an act still going strong today, Flotsam and Jetsam. The seeds of the band were sewn in 1981 in Phoenix, Arizona, where drummer Kelly David-Smith formed the group with guitarists Pete Mello and Dave Goulder under the moniker, Paradox. They were soon joined by bassist and vocalist, Jason Newsted, who was in town with his band Gangster, who broke up in the city on their way to California from Michigan. After a few members came and went, along with the new name, Dredlox, Kelly reached out to an old schoolmate named Eric A. Knutson, who was attending the same summer school class and agreed to audition for the band. The group soon changed their name once more, this time to Dogz, before rechristening themselves yet again under the moniker, Flotsam and Jetsam.

They soon established themselves in the Arizona club scene and would frequently make the trip to California, leading them to support such acts as Megadeth, Mercyful Fate and Armored Saint amongst others. They recorded their first demos in 1985, "Iron Tears" and "Metal Shock," as well as a video for "Hammerhead," which they recorded in guitarist Ed Carlson’s living room. Their efforts impressed several record companies and before long they were signed to Metal Blade Records, who had previously signed Metallica and Slayer. They released their debut album, "Doomsday for the Deceiver" in 1987 to instant critical acclaim, becoming the first album in history to be rated 6/5 in Kerrang! magazine and is still regarded today as one of, if not their strongest work and one of the best debuts in the history of thrash metal. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Vegas Acid Trip

Chicago rock band, The Last Vegas, have released a music video for "Come With Me", the latest song off their upcoming full-length album 'Sweet Salvation', available Spring 2014. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground in Chile Pt. 2

In this week's edition of Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll revisit the country of Chile again - a land with a scene that is so vast and devout that one could do a column on it every week. I respect the Chileans since they are fervent supporters of their metal scene with how they pack their clubs and buy music. In fact, looking at the Chilean scene is observing one with both plenty of new talent and veteran acts just now getting their due.

The Chilean scene dates back to the eighties, much like ours. In gaining an overview of it all, it is best to see it through the eyes of a Chilean old schooler. One of the most visible scene veterans, Digmetalworld honcho Ignacio Orellana, has seen a great deal of it since he picked up his first pair of drumsticks at the age of 14. The Santiago native thus began his journey into being a metal drummer and all-around metal music fanatic. More...

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Sunday Old School: Brides of Destruction

During 2002, the rock and roll landscape was bleak for eighties veterans. Given this, it makes perfect sense that if Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) and Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns) decided to put together a band the name should be Cockstar, the original name for their super group later renamed Brides of Destruction. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Rock God Salute

The first new Stryper video in more than 20 years, for the song "No More Hell To Pay", has been released. The song is the title track of their forthcoming studio album 'No More Hell To Pay' and is the band's first new video in more than 20 years. More...

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Pit Stories: Olympic Pit Throwing

Every week we check in with bands from across the globe to get their favorite stories from metal shows. This week Insomnium guitarist/vocalist Ville Friman shares the following story of kids in a pit going airborne courtesy of an Olympic hammer thrower:

When I was young, there really wasn’t a pit culture at Finnish live shows. However, mosh pits have become more popular among young people within the past few years - and we even get these once in a while. One thing you often notice from the stage is the size, age, and strength differences between different people. At one of our recent shows in Helsinki, a pit broke loose during “The Killjoy.” After awhile, you could see these small kids starting to fly around from the back of the audience. When I took a more careful look, I could see that Finnish Olympic hammer thrower, Olli-Pekka Karjalainen, had come to see our show and was taking part in the pit by pushing around these small teens. Even though everybody was enjoying the show and having fun, I was pretty glad to be on the safe side of the room.

Insomnium is currently working on the follow-up to "One For Sorrow" (reviewed here), with full details on the new album forthcoming. The band has already posted one single from the forthcoming opus.

Check out the new song "Ephemeral" below, and be sure to check back in again next Tuesday for more Pit Stories. More...

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Sunday Old School: Cerebral Fix

Having given birth to such bands as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, there isn't really any question that the English city of Birmingham is the birthplace of heavy metal. It, along with the surrounding Midlands areas have continued to produce some of the finest acts in extreme music since and today we will be looking at another of these such groups, Cerebral Fix. Cerebral Fix were formed in 1986 by singer Simon Forrest, bassist Paul Adams, guitarist Gregg Fellows and drummer Adrian Jones and wasted little time when it came to recording their music. By the next year they had recorded two demos, "We Need Therapy" and "Product of Disgust," which attracted the attention of Vinyl Solution, a record label in London who would also go on to sign such acts as Bolt Thrower, Cancer and Fudge Tunnel. Before the band could record their debut however, Adams parted company with the group and formed a new outfit, which would go on to become Benediction. They brought in Steve Watson as his replacement and recorded their first full length, "Life Sucks... And Then You Die!" which was released in 1988. The album garnered attention from the thrash, punk and hardcore scenes and led them to tour with the likes of Electro Hippies and Doom amongst other prominent names.

After recording two more songs for Sounds magazine, the group was to experience another change in lineup as Jones and Watson decided to quit the band, with their places being taken by former Sacrilege members Frank Healy (also formerly of Napalm Death) and Andy Baker, with whom they recorded another demo entitled, "Tower of Spite." The demo was circulated amongst labels and impressed Roadrunner Records enough to offer the band a contract, which they happily accepted. To promote the new partnership, Roadrunner booked Cerebral Fix to open for another of their exciting young acts, Sepultura, in London, before the band's sophomore effort, also named, "Tower of Spite" was released in 1990 to fairly positive reviews. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Dirty Hair

Ireland's DIRTY DIAMONDS have released an EP titled 'Leaving Town', and have issued their first single from the album, “Let’s Get Loud.” Guitars ready? Check. Lead singer arms extended? Check. Wind blowing through your hair during the chorus? Check. Everything appears to be in order including the special effects budget at 2:47. Two questions: 1. Is the camouflage tee worn by the drummer considered bad ass? 2. Is the air guitar by the lead singer during the solo bad ass? ANSWERS: 1. Yes 2. No…

I missed this video (been out for a while) from FAMOUS UNDERGROUND. The video for the song “Necropolis” is from their self titled release. Love the movie theater setting and the song hits fast! The lead singer’s appearance looks like the result of Sebastian Bach and Vince Neil having a kid. Apparently he HAD to front a rock band (sort of like being born into a NASCAR family – not a lot of options). Not a huge fan of lyrics displayed throughout the video, but always appreciates a dirty theater and overall creepiness…

TYKETTO singer, Danny Vaughn joined BURNING KINGDOM and the result is the video for “Watching As It Burns.” The song will appear on their upcoming album, ‘Simplified.’ The video is VERY dramatic. The arms up and out in one motion – good move. “TURNING BACK ON YOU!” This video makes me feel good. The guitarist is straight out of the hair eighties and the darker haired guitarist could have just left a seventies porn set. The keyboard player is playing the shit out of the keys and the drummer pounds with his “O” face. At 1:57, the hair, I mean MY GOD, THE HAIR! What about the song? I have no idea, I am having way too god a time with the video. “WATCHING AS IT BURNS!” Here we go, at 2:40 here comes the fire, oh no, WATCH OUT! The hair is going to catch fire…

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Pit Stories: Catching The Sombrero

Each Tuesday we check in with bands and fans to get their best stories from live shows, and this week we got in touch with comedy metal kings Pyschostick, who know the truth that Dogs Like Socks! Guitarist Joshua Key shares these tales of the band's sombrero-instigated pits:

We have an infamous song where we give a sombrero to someone in the audience, then challenge them to hold on to it while the entire audience tries to snatch it away from them. It can get pretty out of hand. We actually had to come up with rules we give them before we start... "No kicking, no punching, no biting, no wet willies, no wedgies, don't steal his shoes." ALL of those have all happened before.

One time we were doing the sombrero in Nashville, the big knot of people hanging onto the sombrero somehow migrated out the door next to the stage which led into the parking lot. Rob (our singer) was like, "Hey, the shows in here!"

Another time in Buffalo, we were touring with a band called As Summer Dies. Their guitarist Hollywood was just an innocent bystander watching the sombrero pit from the sidelines. A really big dude backed up into him, stepping on is foot and breaking his ankle. He had to do the rest of the tour with a broken ankle, I don't know how the hell he did it! That's the first broken bone we've ever had during the sombrero... and he wasn't even going after it!

One of the craziest shows with the sombrero was in Casper, WY of all places... there was a huge pile of bodies on top of the dude with the sombrero, and one guy took a flying leap on top of the pile, like Superman. Later in the show, the crowd was so crazy that they broke the barrier in front of the stage. Let no one claim that Wyoming doesn't know how to throw down at a metal show!

For info on upcoming live shows and activity from Psychostick, head over to the band's Facebook profile here, and check back in again next week for more Pit Stories. More...

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Sunday Old School: Sarcófago

Brazil, home of some of the most beautiful scenery, the most gorgeous women and most enjoyable football the world has ever seen. They’re also pretty great at producing extreme music, which is hardly a surprise given the contrasting violent history of the South American country. Of course, the most famous of these bands would be Belo Horizonte’s, Sepultura, which was founded by the Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor. While Max is widely regarded as the voice of Sepultura, he was not the first. That honour belongs to a man named Wagner Lamounier, who left the band before they were able to record anything and in unfriendly circumstances. Shortly after parting company with Sepultura, Lamounier was invited to join a new band named Sarcófago, who were influenced by even more extreme music such as Bathory and Celtic Frost. He adopted the stage name, "Antichrist" after contributing lyrics to the Sepultura song of the same name, while the rest of the band also took the monikers "Butcher," "Incubus" and "Leprous."

The group soon got to work on their first recordings, which surfaced on the compilation album, "Warfare Noise 1" and consequently led them to sign with Cogumelo Produções for their debut album, "I.N.R.I." by which time they had replaced Leprous with D.D. Crazy, the brother of Butcher. "I.N.R.I." was recorded in July 1987 and released the very same month, finding an audience with metal fans that were looking for a harsher sound. Everything about the album, though particularly the music, would prove to be a big influence on the future of black metal, including the corpse paint they adorned on the front cover. It’s impact on the Norwegian black metal scene was particularly well documented, with Mayhem guitarist Euronymous reported to have been obsessed with Sarcófago’s image and felt all black metal bands should look like them, as well as trading letters with Lamounier as the Norwegian black metal scene was beginning to flourish. More...

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Pit Stories: The Pit Pileup

Each week we check in with musicians to get their favorite stories from live shows. This week vocalist/guitarist Cregg Rondell of Boy Hits Car shares a tale of holding up a pit pileup from the bottom at a Nuclear Assault performance. Check out Cregg's story below:

1989, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium: while slamming during a Nuclear Assault set, I felt a body go down behind me, and fall on my right foot. As the rest of the pit piled up and on top of the person who went down, my leg got wedged between the floor and the quickly accumulating body's falling on top of the poor dude who initially fell. I began to panic, feeling that if I go down I'll be at the bottom of this mass of sweaty, hairy, heshers. So I quickly grabbed my leg just above the knee, and with all my will pulled myself loose. As I moved away, and back into the hectic circle, I felt and heard the whole pile up slam to the floor, as I was inadvertently holding the whole thing up...

For more info on Boy Hits Car, head over to the band's Facebook profile. Be sure to also check back in next Tuesday for more Pit Stories.

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Sunday Old School: Cancer

With the recent announcement that British death metal band Cancer has decided to reform for a second time, it seemed that the timing was right to grant the request of some of our readers and devote an edition of Sunday Old School to these well loved, if perhaps overlooked Midlands metallers. Cancer was formed, as a number of ideas in Britain are, one night in a local pub, in this case one in Ironbridge, in the county of Shropshire by drummer Carl Stokes, bass player Ian Buchanan and guitarist/vocalist John Walker. They very quickly got to work on material and soon found themselves at the Pits recording studio in Birmingham, where they recorded their first demo, "No Fuckin’ Cover," which was produced by Stevie Young, the nephew of iconic AC/DC guitarist, Angus Young. They played their first gig shortly afterwards in the same city and soon earned a good live reputation which garnered them support slots with such acts as Bolt Thrower and punk legends, G.B.H.

After a second demo and a bootleg live album recorded in Wrexham, Wales entitled, "Bloodbath in the Acid," the group signed a deal with Vinyl Solution, who were impressed with "No Fuckin’ Cover." They returned to Wales, this time to the small Monmouthshire town of Usk, to record their first full length studio album, "To The Gory End," which they finished in only four days before it was sent to the famous Morrisound Studios in Florida to be mixed by Scott Burns, who brought in Obituary vocalist, John Tardy to add backing vocals to the song, "Die, Die." The record was released in the spring of 1990 and Cancer soon found themselves touring with Obituary, as well as their Florida comrades, Deicide. More...

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