It always feels when looking through the Sunday Old School archives that power metal is an area that gets severely neglected. Of course, there have been some of the big names covered such as Helloween and Blind Guardian, but such acts are few and far between the likes of Napalm Death and Testament. So this week, we’re taking a step to rectify this by focusing one of the most popular bands in the history of power metal, Hammerfall.
The band was formed in 1993 by guitarist Oscar Dronjak, following his departure from extreme metal band Ceremonial Oath, who invited his former bandmate Jesper Strömblad (who had also just formed his own band, In Flames) to join him as the drummer. They were soon joined by bassist Johan Larsson and Niklas Sundin (who were soon replaced by Fredrik Larsson and In Flames guitarist, Glenn Ljungström,) as well as Dark Tranquillity vocalist, Mikael Stanne. Because of the members time mostly being spent with their other bands, Hammerfall was treated as a side project for the most part and had few original songs of their own, mainly performing covers by bands such as Judas Priest and Alice Cooper .
They mostly performed at a local music competition called Rockslaget, which they reached the semi finals of in 1996, at which point Stanne was unable to perform with the band and so, with the initial plan of making him a temporary member, Hammerfall brought in singer Joacim Cans, who impressed them enough that although the group didn’t make the final, he was made the new vocalist on a permanent basis after the show. The band started taking themselves a little more seriously after and recorded a short live performance, which eventually earned them a record deal with the Dutch label Vic Records. More...
The pit is where metal thrives, and there's a million and one stories to be found there, from fans who've had too many and decide to throw down to bands hitting the road for the first time and experiencing the trials and tribulations of touring.
For this week's Pit Story, guitarist Richard Powley from instrumental metal band Telepathy shared a story of performing live in Poland for the first time... inside a freight container. Powley had this to say:
Our pit story comes from one of many interesting shows during Telepathy's first European tour back in 2012. Having had our debut EP “Fracture” receive glowing reviews from across the continent, we were offered a couple of support shows by our friends in Djevera in eastern Germany and the Czech Republic. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I quickly arranged three additional concerts in Poland, with the first of these being in Gdynia.
As is sometimes the case with DIY tours, we had an alarming email saying the venue for the Gdynia concert had closed down while we were on the road, and the promoter was looking for a new venue. When we arrived, the promoter (our good friend Ola) had managed to secure a DIY space in Sopot, the neighboring town in the tri-city area. What we found were two freight containers, one on top of the other, repurposed into some kind of lecture hall for arts students. Our show took place in the upper container, and with the PA quickly mounted on top of foosball tables and the venue quickly filling, we knew we were going to have a great, if chaotic, show.
Crowds in Poland are wild, and within the first songs a pit had opened up and crowdsurfers were making their way over to the makeshift stage. By the middle of the set, the venue was a complete sweatbox and the floor had begun to bow under the weight of the crowd. Watching this tiny freight container bend under the weight of a packed out Polish crowd was certainly alarming, but made for one the most intense experiences on the tour.
By the end of the set, and due to lack of ventilation in the venue, the onstage microphone had begun to shock me whenever I approached it to address the crowd. The electrics in the freight container obviously weren’t built to withstand metal concerts, and by the end of the night we had a couple of burnt out fuses in our amps.
As we were leaving, a small man - immaculately presented in a full suit and looking rather nervous from the destruction of the venue - came up to us. He was the owner of the hall. Surprisingly, he had loved the show and after we had settled up he offered us all a lap on the go-kart arena he was also running. So, before we set off to our sleeping place for the night, those of us sober enough ended the night racing laps in the dark. A memorable first time in Poland for sure.
Want to see Telepathy live and form your own memory of the band? Catch these upcoming live shows:
Nov 27th - The Underworld, London w/ Raging Speedhorn, Gurt & Ten Foot Wizard
Nov 28th - Bleach, Brighton w/Conjurer & Latitudes
Nov 29th - Chameleon Arts Café, Nottingham w/ Conjurer, King Goat & Iron Swan
Feb 6th - Yorkshire Riffer, Leeds w/ Extinction of Mankind, Svalbard among others More...
Metal loves to trace the roots and popularity of a style back to specific bands. Thrash metal famously has its "big four," of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax , black metal goes back to Venom, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate and Bulldozer and melodic death metal is often credited mostly to Carcass, In Flames, At The Gates and today’s featured band, Dark Tranquillity.
The band began life in 1989 after guitarists Niklas Sundin and Mikael Stanne put together a group named Septic Broiler, soon being joined in their endeavours by bassist Martin Henriksson, vocalist Anders Fridén and drummer, Anders Jivarp. Tney quickly recorded a demo, "Enfeebled Earth," before deciding to change their name to the now familiar moniker, Dark Tranquility. They soldiered on until they were snapped up by Spinefarm Records, through which they released their debut album, "Skydancer" in 1993, which was met with mostly positive reviews. It was quite different from later releases and many look back on it now as one of the dark horses of the Dark Tranquility catalogue. More...
It's that time again for more Pit Stories! This week guitarist Francis Larsson from Swedish band Aktaion shares a tale of that magical first time seeing your favorite band destroy the stage live:
Something woke deep inside of me when I was twelve and my older brother loaned me two records that would forever change my life. One was "Toxicity" by System Of A Down, the other one Arch Enemy's "Black Earth." "Toxicity" was real good, I still love that record. But "Black Earth" scared me to death. I couldn't believe my ears and turned that record off the first few seconds in, not to listen to it again until the next day when it was light outside. The madness of the sound I had never heard before drew me in, and I became lost in the world of metal. Arch Enemy became close to a religion for me, right then and there.
Growing up in from the same town as Arch Enemy, it became something magical about seeing them playing live in our shared hometown, back in 2006. My first death metal concert, I did not know how to act or what to do. But I queued outside for hours and then ran to the front of the stage. Too afraid to go to the toilet and lose my perfect spot, I stood my ground, in pain. When Arch Enemy finally took the stage I forgot everything about that. I banged my head because, being cramped up in the front position, it was the only thing I could do, and I did it good. I would be sore for weeks. I experienced sound as never before and were swept away as I never thought possible. After the concert I was handed three guitar picks, which I still keep, from a sweaty hand. It was magic, and somehow matched the feeling of hearing "Black Earth" for the first time.
Although seeing Black Sabbath the year before in Stockholm during their final tour with all original members, Slipknot with Machine Head years later, and many more thereafter, neither would match the special energy in that cramped up space in front of Arch Enemy in the small town of Halmstad that night. I hope it is true that we all have that special concert experience where our younger selves went into an metal concert naive, unknowing of the massive energy outlet the concert-format is, and leave as another person entirely.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's lost count of the amount of times the Sunday Old School has dived into the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement and found a subject. Then again, why not? It's the gift that keeps on giving, spawning metal icons, cult heroes and buried treasures, it was a nationwide scene that changed metal forever and gave the world some of the best heavy metal music ever. It was also where members of some of metal's biggest names got their start, including Tygers Of Pan Tang guitarist John Sykes, who went on to to bring some much needed vitality to Thin Lizzy and Motorhead guitarist, Phil Campbell, who was found while playing with today's featured band, Persian Risk.
Campbell formed the band in the Welsh capital city of Cardiff in 1979 and was joined initially in his venture by vocalist Jon Deverill, second guitarist Dave Bell, bass player Nick Hughes, and drummer Russell "Razz" Lemon. Deverill was not to stay in the band for too long however, as he left the following year to join up with the Tygers of Pan Tang and was replaced by Carl Sentance, who had previously performed with Hughes and Razz in a band named, Leading Star. The quintet then released their first seven inch single, "Calling For You" a year later, which has become a highly collectible release among heavy metal fanatics. More...
Sometimes just getting to the show can be a battle all it's own, especially with metal bands covering long distances by van and bus with few funds (or mechanical know-how) available. For this week's Pit Story, Canadian group Silent Line shares a tale of having to rig up some very ghetto windshield wipers just to reach the venue:
A while back the majority of us lived in Bonnyville and we used to travel to and from Edmonton for the majority of our gigs. Not too long before this specific gig we bought a beautiful yellow 16 passenger van for the band. Bonnyville to Edmonton is roughly a 2-and-a-half-hour drive and about half way through the trip we came up to a pretty nasty storm. Unfortunately, earlier on in the trip we noticed the windshield wipers weren’t working and we needed to pull over and take a look at them.
We pulled over into a nearby gas station ahead of the storm, opened up the hood, and could not for the life of us get the wipers working. After pondering a few moments Mike came up with the suggestion to tie shoe laces to the windshield wipers and manually pull them from the inside of the vehicle.
The shoelace for the left wiper was attached and ran underneath the left side mirror on the van, so when we pulled on that one the wipers would come down. For the right wiper we left a small gap in the top of the window so when we pulled that shoelace the wipers would go up. Dave was in the band at the time and he kindly volunteered to do the first shift on working the wipers. Luckily as kneeled in between the seats and alternately pulled the laces we fed him ice cold beer until his arms gave out. Roughly an hour later we made it somewhat-safely to our show and with a hilarious memory that we would not forget.
That's some dedication to bring an awesome metal show to the fans! Silent Line's new album "Shattered Shores" will drop this Friday - October 30 - and you can also stream the entire release ahead of time through the player below. For more info on Silent Line, head over to the band's Facebook profile here. More...
Ready for a new pit story? This week's comes courtesy of guitarist Mark Drastrup from Denmark-based thrash outfit Essence. Mark shared this story of getting elbowed in the throat at Wacken but downing a handy health potion to get back into the action:
I was at Wacken in 2006 where I went to see Soilwork on the Party Stage I think. I had just discovered them a short time before the festival and I was really excited for the concert, but I didn’t get to see that much of it, because a big moshpit broke out after a short time (I think it was during the song "Nerve") and suddenly I was involuntarily caught in it.
I’m not the tallest guy, so my head is always a bit exposed in moshpits haha. Out of nowhere I got punched in the throat by an elbow, by accident of course, and everything went dark for a few seconds (that’s why I don’t sing haha). Luckily I wasn’t seriously injured, but breathing was a bit hard for a while and I was quite dizzy.
Some of my friends took my back to our camp, where I got to lie down for an hour or so. Then I got up and took a health potion/beer and went back to the festival area. It was my first festival ever, so I didn’t want to spend it lying in camp. I guess that the moral of the story is to always wear armor in moshpits haha.
Anybody else have any great Wacken mosh pit experiences they'd like to share? Let us know about your head banging mishaps below!
Essence signed to Spinefarm Records earlier this year and also just released 3rd album "Prime" worldwide. The album was produced and mixed by Danish producer Rune Rask, and will be supported by new tour dates as the band just signed a booking deal with Live Nation Finland. More...
Thrash metal was truly a phenomenon. Not only did it create legendary scenes in the United States and Germany and give us some of the most beloved metal bands in history, but it spread worldwide, spawning movements in Great Britain, Brazil and of course, Canada. The great white north has brought the world some well respected thrash over the years, including today's featured band, Sacrifice from Toronto.
Sacrifice began when two friends, Rob Urbinati and Joe Rico, both guitar players, decided to form a band, initially playing covers of some of their favourite bands, bringing in bassist, Scott Watts soon afterwards. After bringing in drummer, Craig Boyle and his friend, singer John Baldy, the quintet recorded two demo tapes, which mostly consisted of covers of bands such as Metallica and Judas Priest, with the one original coming in the form of, "Turn in Your Grave." As time went on, Sacrifice developed a heavier sound, with Urbitani taking over the vocalist position as well as seeing a slew of drummers coming through the ranks, before the group settled on Gus Pynn. More...
Not every pit is a massive mosh from hell with a horde of metal fans. Sometimes the crowd just isn't into it, and then a metal fan has to make his own mosh - even if its a pit of only two!
For this week's Pit Story, vocalist / guitarist Farhad Hossain of Shumaun shares this story of the two guys in the back who aren't content to just fold their arms and bob their heads:
Three years ago was the last time I played all original music live with a band of my own, which happened to be my last show with my previous band Iris Divine. That is a long time for a musician who prefers to play live as opposed to being stuck in a studio day in and day out. As you can imagine, the itch to play live again was intense, but it was also quite daunting. How will the music be received? Will the crowd like it? Will I play okay? Will we suck? These are all questions that run through your mind when you debut your new band to a crowd that has never heard a single note from you.
So, here we are at Shumaun’s first show. I look onto a crowd of mainly progressive rock and avant-garde fans, with a few scattered metalheads wearing tees consisting of prickly logos. Intro tape plays, and all eyes are on us as the hi-hat count begins. The first thing I notice is people bobbing their heads back and forth with their arms crossed. For a band that’s used to getting the “prog” label thrown its way, this is a pretty standard audience reaction, so all was good. Shumaun tends to shift in and out of various styles of hard rock, with progressive and metal elements sprinkled in throughout, but that didn’t seem to impress the extreme metal dudes I noticed in the back of the room who just stared at us with no readable expression.
However, soon into our second song, it happened: that magical moment when we got into one of our more metal-inspired sections. I noticed two of the dudes in the back who were wearing the tees with the indecipherable band logos getting a mosh pit started, which unfortunately just consisted of the two of them. They continued bashing up against each other until one of them hit the ground. Sadly, the heavy portion of the song didn’t last long enough for the guy to get up and continue to wreak havoc on the subdued and focused prog crowd, which was more interested in analyzing our every note. It was the best moment of the show for me, and what made it even better was that the two dudes approached me afterward to tell me that they really enjoyed our set. You got to raise the horns up for them!
Let's hear YOUR stories of that time it was just you and a buddy moshing - share away in the comments below!
When one thinks of grindcore, the likelihood is that the first thought will turn to the scene in the United Kingdom that produced the likes of Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror and Carcass, while the over the pond, some of the genre's best bands such as Brutal Truth and Terrorizer were formed. But grindcore wasn't exclusive to the UK and the US, there was plenty of demand for extreme music in mainland Europe too, and today, we look at one of the more well known names from this era, Italy's own, Cripple Bastards.
Cripple Bastards originally went by the name Grimcorpses and were formed by singer Giulio the Bastard and guitarist Alberto the Crippler, originally as a punk band with some metal influences, before forging a harder style by throwing grindcore into the mix and changing their name to the now familiar moniker, Cripple Bastards. With this new style, they were able to stand out among other bands and bring some attention back to the hardcore scene in Asti, which is around 34 miles east of Turin, and released a string of split EPs and seven inch singles, as well as the EPs, "Life's Built On Thoughts" and "Frammenti di Vita." More...
Time for another round of Pit Stories! This week we head over to the infamous Hellfest, where many a metal head has seen some insane moshing.
What those festival goers don't always consider though is that the bands in attendance want to catch the other performances on tap as well - and being in one band that's playing doesn't necessarily get you backstage with any others.
This week, Mikey from Skindred shares a tale of talking his way backstage to see ZZ Top in a very "these are not the droids you are looking for" moment. He had this to say:
So a couple of summers ago, we're at the beginning of a hardcore festival season in Europe. Among other festivals we're due to play at is Hellfest in France. It's a huge rock/metal weekend in the south of France, huge crowds and big names and so on. Our show on the main stage is kinda hectic due to the headliner's production, lighting and gear spilling all over the stage and making everything run late, but that's another story. Our show was killer and the crowd went nuts, I digress. Playing later that day are none other than the almighty ZZ Top; they've got their own compound backstage so no one really lays eyes on them. I've never seen them live before so I'm jazzed to see their show. I'd managed to get a picture with The Rev. Billy Gibbons at the Classic Rock Awards show a couple of years previous. Which was awesome.
Anyway, I'm walking though catering when my eyes meet with a guy across the room, who calls out "Hey!" and beelines over my way to talk to me. He's about my height, has glasses, a baseball cap. I honestly have no idea who this man is but he seems to recognise me from somewhere, not to be impolite I respond and wave "Hey!" back. He gets closer to me and says "....no, sorry I thought you were somebody else" and walks away. No problem mate!
Later that day, Arya and myself are determined to watch ZZ Top. We want to get on the side of stage to catch a glimpse; occasionally I'll go out front to watch a band but this is ZZ Top man! I want to see if I can get up there to watch. We learn it's a closed stage meaning no access for us mere mortals. Arya grabs me by the arm and says "Come with me. Play along." We walk up the stairwell in an attempt to get up there, only to be halted in our tracks by a large French security guard, doing his job and denying us access to the stage. "Don't you know who this is?!" Arya protests. "This is Billy's BROTHER."
The poor guard's eyes jump out of his head, realises his 'mistake' and lets us through with a heartfelt and humble apology. I cannot believe my luck. We try to play it VERY cool like we're supposed to be there, but I am blowing up inside. I can't believe it. There's no obvious access to Stage Left (Billy's side) so we go over to Stage Right (Dusty's side). It's pretty glorious up there, the band rip into "I Gotsta Get Paid" and I am happy as a pig in shit. Somehow Pepper Keenan (Down, CoC) has found his way up to the side of the stage and is laying down the sweetest air guitar I've seen all day. It's all going great until I look over at Dusty's rack of bass guitars and see the same pair of eyes from earlier, looking right back at me. It's the guy from catering. He frowns at us both, shakes his head from side to side, and slowly points and extended finger to the back of the stage. It's time for Arya and myself to leave. We walk away, with our tails between our legs. I guess even Billy Gibbon's long lost brother can't watch ZZ Top from Stage Right.
Hot off the back of another busy summer festival season, Skindred is about to head out across the U.K. on the group's biggest headline tour to date. Dates are available at Facebook here. Skindred's sixth studio album "Volume" is due out on October 30, 2015. Below you can see footage from the ZZ Top incident in question, along with a song from the coming "Volume" release. More...
We've all got a few stories to tell from the pit, even if they don't necessarily involve the moshing itself. This week, My Dying Bride guitarist, Andrew Craighan shares the story of a man at the front of the crowd who was, shall we say, "up" for the show...
"When we toured with Iron Maiden years ago an Italian fan (Milan or Bergamo, I don’t remember exactly) was at the very front reading a porn mag throughout our entire set completely oblivious to us blasting away. Once we’d finished, he threw the mag at stage which split the magazine apart into fluttering pages of naughtiness and awaited Iron Maiden. So when he thinks of MDB he has a genuine reason to think of tits now or worse depending on what type of mag it was. I’m not sure we had a positive impact on that guy but there you go."
My Dying Bride's twelfth studio album, "Feel The Misery" (reviewed here,) is available everywhere now through Peaceville Records.
One of the great things about the Sunday Old School column is getting to go way back and examine some of the very earliest examples of heavy metal, some of whom even denied the term when it came around. Over the course of this column, we've already taken a look at the likes of Budgie, Blue Cheer, Humble Pie and Spooky Tooth, as well as the big names such as Black Sabbath and this week we'll be adding to that list by observing another strangely named group from that era, Atomic Rooster.
Atomic Rooster was formed in 1969, by keyboardist Vincent Crane and drummer, Carl Palmer, who had both decided to leave The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. When putting the band together, they had hoped to recruit Rolling Stones guitarist, Brian Jones, but due to his death, this was not to be. Instead, they brought in singer and bass player, Nick Graham and began performing around the London club circuit, where on their first headlining show, they were supported by a young band named, Deep Purple. It didn't take long for them to earn a record deal, signing with B&C Records and releasing their debut, "Atomic Roooster," the following year. This was to be their only record with this lineup, as weeks later, guitarist, John Du Cann joined the band and Graham left, followed soon after by Carl Palmer, who quit to form a new band called, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. More...
Time for another Pit Story - this time about a band taking part in pit shenanigans that saw a show cut short and a vocalist get the boot!
Orc Adams of Orcumentary had this tale to share about performing live while another band was busy imploding out in the crowd:
I played a show a few years ago which turned out to be an interesting spin on the whole “I knew the band before they were famous” thing. I was playing my final song ("Orc Rock Anthem") and after a short amount of time, things seemed to get a bit rowdier than usual. People were moshing, but I didn’t pay that close attention to it, obviously focused on the performance. I finished the song, broke my gear down, got off stage, only to find out that one of the bands just left without even playing.
The account I received of what happened was that in the pit during my last song, someone was pushed into the singer of the aforementioned band. The singer punched that guy in the face and started a big fight. That band fired their singer and they just drove back home (probably a 3 hour drive) without even playing. They had a U-Haul and everything.
I’d prefer not to divulge the name of the band, but they recently signed to a very well-known metal label.
Alright metal heads, let's hear your predictions on who is being referred to in the story! Anybody else actually go to this show and see it go down?
Orcumentary's new album "Destroy the Dwarves" will be released on October 2, 2015 on CD (w/ bonus track) and digital formats. Take a plunge into a cavernous hole with the band below: More...
We have somehow reached a staggering 21,000 bands being covered at Metalunderground.com, so with so much noise polluting the airwaves, how's a metal head to know what's worth listening to and what isn't?
We're aiming to help you out with that decision by unearthing three underground groups you should be paying attention to if you dig your metal on the extreme side. This week we dig up three groups that are still new and just getting their footing – with two of them only releasing their debut full-lengths in the coming weeks.
This Denmark-based outfit is just making an appearance in the metal scene, gearing up to release a first studio album next month, consisting of 11 tracks of lo-fi Miskatonic metal that alternately blasts sanity with discordant melody or lays waste to everything with pummeling riffs not afraid to either move at a crawl or take off at light speed.
With titles like “R'lyeh” and “Akrham,” obviously we're dealing with some serious Lovecraft worship here. Dive into the bleak depths with an advance album stream below, or you can pre-order a physical copy through Lavadome Productions.
There seems to be a theory these days that younger metal bands aren't particularly interested in where their style came from, focusing too much instead of who can be the most "brutal." Fortunately though, there will always be those who never forget the time when metal featured great riffs, a fun atmosphere and a band named Black Sabbath. This week, we'll be looking at a British band, who in the time when death and black metal had been firmly established and industrial metal was continually gaining momentum, showed that the roots and traditional heavy metal were still cool and they are called, Orange Goblin.
The London quartet was formed in 1995, by vocalist Ben Ward, bassist (and former Queens Park Rangers trainee,) Martyn Millard, drummer Chris Turner and guitarist Pete O'Malley, originally using the name Our Haunted Kingdom, under which moniker they released a split with a young doom metal named Electric Wizard a year later through Rise Above Records, the label owned by another doom cult hero, Lee Dorrian of Cathedral (and formerly of Napalm Death.) This was the band's only release as Our Haunted Kingdom, before changing to the now familiar name, Orange Goblin before releasing their debut album, "Frequencies From Planet Ten," through the same label in 1997. Though not all critics were impressed, it was well received by fans of the stoner metal genre, with some citing them as future champions in the field. More...
After some forays away from moshing to look at what happens before and after a show, this week's Pit Story dives straight back into the action!
Drummer Rodolfo Rogers from Mexican blackened death metal band Evilheart shared these tales of the odd things one will encounter at a metal show:
Many years ago we were playing at a local rock festival, and the crowd were pretty apathetic. As we kept playing a burnt smell stated to come out from one of the speakers. We told that to one of the crew people from the Festival, but they told us to keep playing, and a few minutes later, one of the speakers was on fire. The good thing was that the apathetic crowd went apeshit when they saw the fire coming out from the speaker, and after that it was a fucking killer concert.
In our shows most of the time there is the regular mosh pit, and I say most of the time, because there are a couple of exceptions. The first one happened in Victoria City in Tampico, Mexico. In that show people were doing the usual headbanging & mosh pit, but suddenly some guys threw themselves to the floor and they started to roll until they would crash into each other. We all jaw dropped since it was the first time we saw something like that, and it’s been the only place we have seen something like that. A killer show and killer crowd for sure. The second was in Navojoa in Sonora, Mexico. Another killer show and people started with the usual headbanging and mosh pit, and then some guys started to smash their heads against a pole. I wouldn’t do that, but they seemed to enjoy it.
Some Metal fans give their life and soul to worshiping the music they love. Others, are more specific and prefer to give... their backs. They unashamedly imprint that part of their bodies with hyper-detailed tattoo renditions of some of their favorite album covers. No doubt, that's the ultimate compliment that a band or a visual artist could receive from their faithful followers..
On this episode of "And Justice For Art," we invite you to explore ten visual examples of Metal tattoo fandom. They showcase different renditions of images that have adorned the covers of some iconic Metal/Hard Rock albums over the past few decades. In some cases (Slayer, Venon) the inked images were kept as faithful as possible to the original. In others (KISS, Benediction, Manowar) the tattoo artists and the recipients tried to become a little creative and added their own personal touches.
Are these true pieces of art, the ultimate fan tribute or the result of an uncontrollable addiction to body inking and Metal music? You decide. In the meantime, check you the images below and take some inspiration from them... maybe your own back is next!
Do you want to know more about Heavy Metal Album covers? Check the new book "And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers." Available now at www.andjusticeforart.bigcartel.com
Thrash metal is a hugely influential genre which brought the heavier side of metal to mainstream attention with some big names and albums back in the eighties. Many bands such as Hirax and Vio-Lence were as thrash metal as it gets, while some brought new ideas and new styles to the genre. Today's column looks at a band which did just that, one which went from gang associated skaters to thrash stalwarts with danceable bass lines. Of course, this could be no one else but the one and only, Suicidal Tendencies.
Suicidal Tendencies was formed in 1981 and was originally intended as just a party band by vocalist Mike Muir, but before long, their live notoriety and popularity had the group creeping to the front of the singer's life. What helped create such a buzz around Suicidal Tendencies was the rumours surrounding them, mostly that they were involved with gangs, in part due to Muir's blue bandana and in time, a gang that revolved around the group called Suicidal Cycos sprung up in California. The band, which also consisted of guitarist Mike Ball, Carlos "Egie" Egert on drums, and bass player Mike Dunnigan, soon recorded their first demo and appeared in the Surfpunks documentary, performing the songs, "Kill" and "Parents For Adoption." Egert left after the first recording and Mike Dunnigan's brother, Sean took his place, though both brothers left after their appearance on the Slamulation compilation. More...
It's Pit Story time once again! Like with last week's tale about dodging moose, today we shift focus away from the moshing over to the time shortly afterward where the band needs to find a place to crash and then hit the road again to keep the music going in another town.
Today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Hendrik Wippermann from German hard rock band Eat The Gun, who had this to say:
Over the last 12 years we’ve played a huge number of shows all over Europe so we could certainly publish a complete “Book of Tales from the Pit” if only anyone wanted to read it. Well, here’s one story from the past: We played in a small Swiss rock club, the name of the establishment isn’t important to mention.
The club was really packed, so we hung out at the bar after the show and most of us got pretty wasted. Unfortunately, I was the driver so I had to be satisfied with soft drinks that night. It must have been around 1 AM in the morning when we decided to leave for the hotel, so I asked the owner for the keys to the hotel. He turned around and walked into the backroom returning with five towels. He looked at me and told me that we’d all needed to take a shower.
I started to laugh because I assumed the guy was kidding me. Unfortunately he wasn’t. So I stood there in the still quite packed rock club with my four boozy band mates who were at that point far away from being in the physical condition of taking a shower. It should be added that the showers were placed in the club. I imagined us walking barefoot through the club covered with nothing but white towels.
I turned to the owner and told him that there wouldn’t be the smallest chance for me to convince the other guys to take a shower at this point. He explained that it wouldn’t be possible to use the hotel beds if the band was still “soaked with sweat.” To keep a long story short, we drove to the next venue overnight. Sometimes soft drinks suck.