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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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The Rockstar Ramblings: Rock Bottom Outlaws

The newness returns with videos from Israel, Finland, and New York. Bonus: We also have a new video from, Gypsy Lee Pistoleros, the man with the greatest nickname of all time: The Spanglish-speaking Flamenco Retro Rocker Glam Punk Sleaze Rock N Roll outlaw. More...

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Pit Stories: Chile Rips The Doors Down!

Every week metal bands from across the globe check in with Metalunderground.com to share their favorite stories from live shows. Today Nige Rockett, guitarist from the legendary U.K. thrash band Onslaught, reminisced about a show in Chile a couple of years ago where the crowd literally ripped the doors down to see the band:

We were down in Chile two years ago and we’ve just come on stage and there was a huge crowd there. All of a sudden, about 150 guys just came piling through this audience….split everybody open and surged to the front and went berserk…massive circle pit going. I was like ‘wow, that’s kinda weird.’ We finished the show and we decided – ‘cause it was so hot…it must have been over 100 degrees in the venue – we decided to go hang at a bar across the road before the next band came on. We went through the doors….which were kind of left on the floor – there was these massive steel doors about ten foot high and about 8 foot - 10 foot wide. There is police outside and all these doors are on the floor and there is blood everywhere. I said ‘what happened here?’ He said, ‘well, when you guys started playin’ – none of these guys had tickets, so they just ripped the doors off and beat their way into the venue. And that was the surge that came in and it was absolutely crazy. These were huge doors and they were just ripped off their hinges. It was absolutely insane. Yeah, there is some crazy guys in Chile!
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Unearthing The Costa Rican Metal Underground Pt. 2

Let's once again take a look at my former residence of Costa Rica as we bring you a scene report from this Central American country. In the past forty years, travelers from all over have been making it a vacation hotbed. Celebrities own homes there, drawn in by the fabulous ocean, weather, mountains and night life. Many metal bands also make Central and South America prerequisite stops on their tours now. Even bands with little or no label support are financing small club gigs and have made Costa Rica one of their stops. More...

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Sunday Old School: Arcade

A short-lived “super band” from the eighties, Arcade, was also very under-the-radar. After two great albums, proving the artists could make great music on their own, the band broke up to (ironically) rejoin their previous bands. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: David Lee Roth's Paradise

Twenty Five years ago, 1988, the charts featured Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and of course, Guns N’ Roses. Also, Van Halen’s ‘OU812’, their second album with Sammy Hagar, held it’s own with three Top 25 singles. It was also the year of David Lee Roth’s second (full) solo album titled ‘Skyscraper.’ The first single and video was “Just Like Paradise” and as is most things Diamond Dave, entertaining. This video expanded Roth’s resume to include rock climber, boxer, and crowd surfer... More...

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Pit Stories: The Room Clearing Prank

Every week metal bands from across the globe check in with Metalunderground.com to share their favorite stories from live shows. Today vocalist Nick Holmes of U.K. outfit Paradise Lost offers up this tale of an end-of-tour prank gone wrong:

On the last show of a tour, it’s “customary” for headline bands to play tricks on support acts, and the other way round—if you get along that is! Just small pranks, lowering small stonehenges from the ceiling, walking on stage dressed as a “zombie”—mostly unfunny stuff like that. But unaware of my absolute hatred for fish and seafood in general, our Swedish support band decided to play one of the worst pranks imaginable.

Back in the day, Paradise Lost used to use two industrial high velocity fans on either side of the stage to blow dry ice in the right direction to coordinate with the light show, etc., and this is where the “fun” started...Most people reading this won’t know about the northern Swedish delicacy “Surströmming.” It’s fermented herring, basically “tinned rotten fish,” and it’s hard to put into words just how bad this stuff smells!

For a “great” end of tour prank, the bass player from said Swedish support band decided it would be funny to pour the oil from a tin of “Surströmming” onto one of our industrial fans! All hell broke loose! Once the smell hit me, I began to projectile vomit, and couldn’t stop vomiting. My face turned as red as a strawberry, and my eyes nearly popped out. It was impossible to continue, and we had to cancel the concert and flee the stage after only four songs! Meanwhile, the whole room was in chaos. I have had the misfortune of being at a concert where tear gas was expelled, and the crowd reaction was pretty similar to this - combined with gagging!

Needless to say, the backstage atmosphere turned rather sour! Also, since the incident, I have it on good authority that the entire venue smelled like “Davey Jones’ Locker” for many months to follow.

In addition to last year's "Tragic Idol" full-length (reviewed here), Paradise Lost will be releasing a collection titled "Tragic Illusion 25 (The Rarities)" on October 21st in Europe (digitally on October 29th in North America). Full details can be found at this location.

Check back in again next Tuesday as we continue to share more band stories from live metal shows.

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Going Down

A creepy red mini-van, counterfeit money, and a warning about "going down" highlight new videos this week. More...

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Pit Stories: Crashing The Interview

Every week we check in with rock and metal acts from all corners of the globe to get their best stories from live shows. This week we move beyond the pit to hear from Christina Kasper of Ottawa band Doll about a drunk fan crashing an interview:

One of the first interviews Doll ever did was with the guys on I'm With The Band TV. We decided to do it outside the venue we had just played, right after our gig. Little did we know it was near "The Liquor Store Party Bar" at 2am... a bar that's known for catering and over serving to a younger crowd on weekends.

So the interview was going on normally when all of a sudden bars close and out comes the crazies! This drunk ass girl comes up to the camera blabbing about her new iPhone. Instead of stopping the interview we figured we'd go along with it and have bit of fun. So after she told us she loved life hehe we asked her if she loved Doll and of course she did and she loved our live show... although I'm pretty sure she had never heard of us or was even at the show! Different music crowd I think! After a few minutes her boyfriend and friend came looking for her and took her away from the cameras.

After that is when the madness begins. Her boyfriend brought her to a wall directly behind where the cameras where filming. She started puking which was to be expected. It was hard to continue the interview with a straight face. Then all of a sudden her dress came off and she started peeing right behind us... Golden showers everywhere and in front of a huge crowd and cameras rolling. When she noticed people were starring at her she began to cry, still with her dress off, completely naked. I guess kids don't wear underwear these days...

Anyhow her boyfriend came and confronted us when he figured what was going on and we told him we wouldn't release any of it...and since we're nice guys we didn't but part of the excitement can be found in the video below.

Check out the beginning of the interview (minus the puking and urinating) in the player below, or find more info on Doll at the band's Facebook profile here. Be sure to also check back in again next Tuesday for more Pit Stories.

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Sunday Old School: Praying Mantis

A look back through the Sunday Old School archives will help you find a plethora of bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, from stars such as Iron Maiden and Saxon to somewhat lesser known acts like Jaguar and Angel Witch. Today, we will look at another band from the scene, which never became celebrities like some of their contemporaries, but like Raven and Tygers Of Pan Tang, established themselves as one of the standout acts of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, a group by the name of Praying Mantis. Praying Mantis were formed by brothers Tino and Chris Troy in 1974 but despite the early formation, it would take them five years to record their first demo, "The Soundhouse Tapes," which was named such because they, like many other bands at the time, recorded it at the Spaceward studio, owned by DJ Neal Kay, who also managed the Heavy Metal Soundhouse club. They followed this with their first single the next year, an eponymous track which featured the song, "High Roller" as a B-side, along with another short release entitled, "The Soundhouse Tapes Part 2" in 1981. These releases and supporting slots for bigger acts garnered the attention of Artista Records who signed them up and distributed their first full length album, "Time Tells No Lies," also in 1981. The debut is considered their best known work to date, as well as perhaps, their highest quality of material.

Despite the favourable response they found after their debut, the band soon entered a turbulent period. They recorded a version of the song, "I Surrender," by Russ Ballard, but unfortunately for them, Rainbow, the band formed by ex Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, had also recorded their take on the track, which prevented Praying Mantis from releasing theirs. To add insult to injury, the Rainbow version went on to be a hit single worldwide. Instead, Praying Mantis recorded a single called "Cheated," which was only able to reach number 69 on the British singles chart. They followed this with a cover of The Kinks’ classic, "All Day and All of the Night," which also did relatively poorly, causing Artista to drop them from the label. They released one more single through Jet Records entitled, "Turn the Tables," which was also unsuccessful and the band decided to call it a day soon afterwards. They did however briefly return under the new moniker, "Stratus" for an album named, "Throwing Shapes," though they went no further than this one album. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Mama Horny

Q: What happens when you cross a KISS cover with a drug deal and a horny mother? A: Random dog petting and a dildo. Welcome to this week’s videos. More...

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Pit Stories: When Headbangers Collide

The pit is where the action is at, but it can also be a dangerous place with all the banging heads and flailing body parts.

Every week we check in with musicians from around the globe to get their most memorable Pit Stories. Today Martin Van Drunen (Hail of Bullets, Grand Supreme Blood Court) shares this story of a short stage resulting in fan and band coming just a bit too close together at an Asphyx show:

In April 2009, I played with Asphyx in Barcelona in a place called Espasi Jove, together with Graveyard and Looking For An Answer. Two great but unfortunately not very well known bands from Spain. It was one of these shows organized by fans, not professional promoters, so it was a bit pleasantly chaotic, as these shows usually are. The place itself looked like a school building, and the stage was about one-foot high, so it wasn’t really something you could call a stage. But we don't care about minor things like that-- the place was packed and the atmosphere was just great. Both Graveyard and Looking For An Answer did fat performances, which we watched from the crowd, having a good time and drinking, as always. A lot of beers with the metalheads.

So then it was our turn. Normally when we headline smaller shows, we can play up to two hours sometimes, depends if there's a curfew. So this would be a long one as well. I think it was somewhere halfway into the set (we still had to do songs like “The Rack” and “Last One” along with some other Asphyx-oldies) when there was a big guy standing at the front of the stage banging his head off. But he was really tall, perhaps like me, maybe even bigger. So at one point, he was banging his head, but he was standing slightly bent over. And we always bang our heads off too during our set, so when I put my head down, all of a sudden he threw his head back, but also stood up straight. So he hit my forehead fuckin’ hard with the back of his thick Spanish skull. And for an instant, I was blind, couldn't see shit. Then I felt the spot where he hit me, and there was this egg growing rapidly.

The band guys asked if I was ok of course. I asked Xavi from Graveyard (whom I saw standing in the crowd) to please get me some ice, and he started running to the bar and came back with a plastic cup with a big piece of ice in it. Ah, I remember that relief when I put that against my aching and palpitating forehead. But, as we say in the band, we always man ourselves (it's a Dutch expression, not sure how to translate that), and it was our first show in Spain ever. We didn't wanna disappoint the Spanish fans. So I continued the show, with the ice against my head, taking it slightly more easy than normal haha. And the crowd really appreciated it and were grateful that we kept playing on.

Later on, I met the guy and he apologized. I told him, “Hey, not your fault, you had a good time banging to us and you didn't do it on purpose, those things can always happen during a death metal show.”

I think I had a brain concussion, as I still had a satanic headache for days after that performance. But I recovered soon after that, and now it's just a nice anecdote or memory. And let's be honest, boys and girls: death metal just ain't for sissies…

Asphyx released latest album "Deathammer" in 2012, and in other Martin Van Drunen news, Hail of Bullets is gearing up for the release of new album "III The Rommel Chronicles." Check out the first single from the album right here, and be sure to check back in next Tuesday for more Pit Stories! More...

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Sunday Old School: Samael

Formed by brothers Vorph and Xy (originally going by the much longer titles Vorphalack and Xytraguptor) way back in 1987, Swiss act Samael is one of the longest running bands in the black metal scene, although there have been many times throughout the group’s career where the term “black metal” didn’t apply at all.

Despite the tension that would appear to occur with two family members writing, recording, and performing together constantly, Samael has been forging ahead without any signs of slowing down for more than 20 years. The band’s lineup is currently rounded out by bassist Mas, who has been involved with since the early ‘90s, and “newcomer” guitarist Makro, who joined in 2002. Makro also plays in the devastating death/doom outfit Sludge, which has previously been covered in our look at unknown side projects.

Samael has actually had one of the most stable lineups in a band with this sort of longevity, only splitting with three members in 26 years, with the core of the band remaining stable in all that time. Despite that lack of membership changes, the group has had a constant theme of evolution throughout its history, refining and even changing styles completely several times.

Besides the sound change as the band evolved from black metal towards an electronic/industrial vibe, the lyrics themselves have morphed significantly. The themes went from explicitly negative lyrics attacking religion in the early days (“I vomit on the holy bible” being one iconic line from the “Ceremony of Opposites” album) to more mystical leanings in the transitory middle era. The metamorphosis came full circle by the time of the 2004 album “Reign of Light” (reviewed here), where the band was still critical of religion, but the lyrics had become positive and uplifting instead. The follow-up “Solar Soul” (reviewed here) then shifted yet again, this time towards current events, politics, and warfare.

Samael’s first full-length “Worship Him” arrived in 1991, which witnessed the band’s most overt early black metal sound that is about as old school as it gets.

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Wham. Bam. Glam.

Are you in the mood for synchronized stage dancing, a “serious” glam video, and a not-so-typical rock band? If so, great – we’ve got that. If not, we’ve also got a hard core S&M video from Kenny Kweens (BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, L.A. GUNS). God bless you Kenny Kweens! More...

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Pit Stories: The Toys-R-Us Satanic Sacrifice

It's Tuesday, which means the time has come for another Pit Story from those road warriors who get on stage to let the mosh flow for headbangers around the world.

This week's story comes courtesy of Dissension vocalist/guitarist Nathan Afilalo, who shares this tale of a Toys-R-Us Satanic sacrifice:

If you were to go just north east of Montreal’s inner city, there lies a hole in a brick wall. In said whole one finds a shitty ass venue, packed with sweaty teenagers, amateurish gratify, more band stickers than all the hairs in Odin’s beard, and a giant dog who lays equally giant shits on the pit floor. In said venue, there was a heavy metal show taking place. On a side note the venue was legally considered a cafe.

It was at this show that our band, Dissension, decided to incorporate a poorly executed somewhat Ghost reminiscent comedy routine midway through the set. We had our friend come up on stage and perform a demonic gospel sermon, in a deep southern accent naturally, to dimmed lights and a smoke machine we got discounted at Canadian Tire during the Halloween sales. Our drummer was on the keys playing one of his spooky church organ originals (if you can appreciate a drummer playing keyboards then this is very funny). Amidst the terrible music and Satanic proselytizing, our friend took out a baby doll from beneath his cloak which had a upside-down cross painted on its face. The crown went wild for the Toys-R-Us sacrifice as it flew into the pit as our next song began.

The hapless doll fell into the frenzied crowd and we thought, “a fitting sacrifice for the dark Lord,” and forgot about it. However, the end of the night came, the venue lights turned on, and strewn about the shit-stained floor were various members of the doll’s little body. What was most hilarious, however, was that when we went outside in the alley adjacent to the venue, we found the limbless husk of the plastic child lit of fire, with its satanic eyes peering at us from behind the flames. The miniature fire died down and we retrieved the head. It's charred remains are still in our jam space today.

Dissension's new album "Of Time And Chronic Disease" is due out September 10th, and we'll be releasing a song from the album later this week, so keep your eyes peeled! You can also read our recent interview with the band right here, or follow the band's activity at Facebook.

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Unearthing The Latvian Metal Underground

As we’ve shown throughout the years in our never ending quest to the Unearth the Metal Underground, high quality metal bands can come from the most surprising of locations. Europe is known as a hotbed of extreme metal, both originating several styles and still innovating others, and even those tiny, out of the way countries have something appropriately metallic to offer.

Today we’ll take a look at three unknown acts from the Latvian metal scene. Working largely without label support and independently releasing demos, EPs, and albums, which in an earlier era would have been hindrance, now these underground stalwarts have a chance to be heard by a much wider audience thanks to various social networking sites and music platforms like Bandcamp.

Eschatos

Featuring members of Ocularis Infernum, this absolute gem of the Latvian scene takes the black metal sound you think you know and takes it on a twisting journey. While it keeps up the menacing and horrifying vibe black metal is known for, it’s all injected with a surprising amount of melodic hooks. The band’s debut album “Hierophanies” is out now (reviewed here) and can be streamed in full via the player below.

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