"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Archive: Columns

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Sunday Old School: Van Halen

Though the Netherlands have given the world some excellent metal bands over the years such as Pestilence and God Dethroned, the country doesn’t receive as much attention as some others in Europe, such as their neighbours in Germany. However, it’s worth remembering that one of the most important names in the history of hard rock and heavy metal was literally born in the Netherlands in 1953 and 1955, where in the city of Nijmegen, the brothers Alex and Eddie were born, siblings who would go on to bring their surname into rock folklore. The name of Van Halen.

The brothers moved with their family to the United States in 1962 and started to learn instruments shortly afterwards, with Eddie learning drums and Alex learning guitar, though they switched after Eddie found out that Alex had been playing his drums while the younger brother was out on his paper route. They eventually formed a band which they Christened, Genesis, along with bassist Mark Stone and ultimately bringing in singer David Lee Roth, who the band had been hiring a P.A. from, who was hired to save money. Stone was soon replaced by Michael Anthony and another change came when the quartet found out about the British band named Genesis, so decided to rename themselves, Mammoth, though this name would also be dropped in favour of the now familiar, Van Halen. More...

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Pit Stories: Razor In The Pit

The pit is where the action is, but sometimes metal heads take things a bit too far with all that energy pumping as front men scream about blood and murder.

There's a million and one Pit Stories out there, and we're on a quest to find them all! This week Charlie Goler from Canadian outfit Golers shares a tale of his introduction to live punk shows, which included a razor making its way into the pit...

One of the most fucked up things I saw happen in the pit was back around 1987 at the first punk rock show that I have ever seen in Halifax, Nova Scotia. SNFU, System Overload and False Security were playing at the Old Carpenter's Hall on Gottingen Street. At that time I was living in New Glasgow which wasn't that far from Halifax so I went up to see the show. I was blown away with the bands and SNFU was just killing it so as a result the pit was completely out of control.

Everyone was slamming and having an awesome time. Unknown to me, some idiot was slashing people in the pit with a razorblade while they were jumping around. After a few songs SNFU caught wind of what was going on because there were several people that were cut up and bleeding.

I remember Chi Pig was freaking out on the mike and screaming that "if anyone can identify this loser they should kick the shit out of him." Unfortunately , the razor blade was found on the floor and no one ever figured out who the asshole was.This was my introduction to punk rock shows.

For info on upcoming Golers activity, head over to the band's Facebook page here, and be sure to check back in next week as we share more Pit Stories from across the metalverse. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground

With just under 20,000 bands in our database (and more being added every day) there are more metal bands on the planet than anyone ever would have imagined back when the scene was first getting started.

Unfortunately some of those bands end up falling through the cracks, and groups that deserve recognition get lost in the endless sea of heavy sounds. That's why we take the time to unearth stellar unknown bands and point out the ones you should be training your ears towards.

Today we look at three outfits separated by country and genre boundaries, but which are all lesser known metal groups you should be paying attention closer attention to: Fractured Spine, Hieroglyph, and My Last Suicide.

Fractured Spine

When it comes to the sub-genre of gloomy death/doom bands, you'd probably think first of groups like Swallow The Sun, October Tide, or Daylight Dies.

The unknown version of those genre stalwarts is Fractured Spine, a Finnish outfit that deserves to be among the aforementioned pantheon. With gothic and gloomy clean singing, dark death metal with symphonic leanings, and dreary doom, the band hits all the requisite sounds and does it without sounding like a carbon copy of the bigger names.

In addition to some early demos, the band has two full-length albums available, 2013's “Songs Of Slumber” (available for streaming in full below) and “Memoirs Of A Shattered Mind” released earlier this year. You can pick up Fractured Spine's albums over at Bandcamp here.


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Sunday Old School: Slade

I don’t know if any of you have noticed it, but it’s that magical time of year when Michael Buble releases a new album, which can mean only one thing... IIIIIIIIT’S CHRIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAAAS!!! Whether you celebrate it or not, it’s a time meant for fun and games, and if ever there was a band in rock music that were all about a good time, it was one of the earliest stars of British hard rock, whose outlandish attire, booming vocals and deafening volume would go on to influence many of the biggest rock and metal bands for years to come and write one of the best modern Christmas songs of all time. A group still loved by generations in Great Britain, a group by the name of Slade.

Slade, like many of their heaviest compatriots, began life in the English Midlands, and was the result of two local bands, The Mavericks and The ‘N Betweens, the latter of which had been able to obtain high profile support slots for such bands as The Hollies and The Yardbirds. Within the ranks of the Mavericks was a guitarist and vocalist by the name of Noddy Holder that The ‘N Betweens desperately coveted. They unsuccessfully attempted to get Holder to switch sides on a ferry trip the two groups happened to be sharing, but were finally able to convince him to join during a conversation in Wolverhampton. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Shock Rock

This week a video searching for a classic ride, smoke machine and of course, strippers; also, will the trend of lead singers wearing the “pilot” cap ever stop? More...

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Album Covers Inspired By Movie Posters

Facebook community And Justice For Art and Metal Underground keep exploring the world of look-alike album covers. This time we're focusing on three artworks that are inspired (or keep a reasonable resemblance) with well-known movie posters. Were the bands and visual artists aware of this at the moment of creating the artworks or is it just a coincidence? Let's find out what they have to say... There will be more of these in future "And Justice For Art" episodes. Stay alert!


The first one is the artwork for Meshuggah's "Alive." In 2010, the infamous Swedish genre-bending band, decided to pay homage on the cover of their live CD/DVD to one of the most revered SciFi/Horror movies in history.

Drummer Tomas Haake took inspiration from the now iconic poster for the first "Alien" film and designed a cover that visually and conceptually praises the virtues of the original image, which features the Alien egg opening upside down and the unforgettable tagline "In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream."

In Meshuggah's case, Hakke changed the egg for the head of vocalist, Jens Kidman, and added the phrase "In Space No One Can Hear You Unless You Scream." This gives the whole effort, an humorous punch which is enhanced by the positioning of the lettering—pretty much identical to the original poster.

No doubt, the overall effect is quite satisfactory, especially because it comes from a band whose intricate music sometimes seems to come from outer space! More...

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Sunday Old School: Nocturnus

For decades, heavy metal fans have pointed certain things and debated as to whether they are or aren’t, "metal." Haircuts, elements of classical music, or indeed most other forms of music, these are a couple of the targets, but one of the first things to shock some fans of metal music was the use of keyboards. In his book, "Hell Bent for Leather," author Seb Hunter mentions the time when he first heard British legends, UFO and recoiling when he realised they were using keyboards. Metal has certainly evolved since the days of UFO and keyboards have been used on many metal records, especially in the symphonic black metal genre, but one of the first bands to bring the instrument to extreme metal music was a group from Tampa, Florida named Nocturnus.

Nocturnus began life in 1987 after drummer/vocalist, Mike Browning and guitarist, Gino Marino’s previous band, Incbus folded. They recruited Agent Steel bass player, Richard Bateman and a second guitarist named Vincent Crowley, recording and releasing their first demo later that year. This self-titled demo would prove to be their only recording with Crowley, who left soon afterwards to form, Acheron and was replaced by Marino’s eighteen year old cousin, Mike Davis. Bateman would also soon leave the group to join Nasty Savage, whereupon Nocturnus hired a new bassist, Jeff Estes and most famously, a keyboard player named, Louis Panzer, whose inclusion helped to set them apart from the ever growing Florida death metal scene, as it was practically unheard of at the time to utilise keyboards in extreme metal. More...

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Sunday Old School: Crash

As we approach the end of another year, it would seem that Sunday Old School's attempt to expose more metal veterans from across the world has been a success. From Aria in Russia to Moonspell in Portugal, from Channel Zero in Belgium to Mezarkabul in Turkey, we've seen some of the best the world has given the metal genre and heard some of the best music on offer. This week, we'll be continuing this trend by heading to Asia for the first and only time since 2011's column on Japan's, Loudness, to check out a contribution to thrash metal from South Korea, one which had the suitably high impact moniker of Crash.

The band was formed in 1991 by vocalist/bassist, Ahn Heung-Chan, guitar player, Yoon Doo-Byung and drummer, Jung Yong-Wook, in the country's capital city of Seoul and became one of the first groups in the nation to encourage stage diving and hardcore dancing. Their ferocious music and growing, rabid following soon caught the attention of Metal Force Records, a subsidiary of the SK Group, a giant corporation in Korea. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Rated X

This week The Rockstar Ramblings return with new videos from Rated X, Nasty Habit, Spiders & Snakes, and Pink Velvet Krush. Not a bad band name in the bunch! More...

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Sunday Old School: Sadus

When it comes to naming some of music’s best bassists, who is it you think of? Bootsy Collins of Parliament-Funkadelic? Norman Watt-Roy of The Blockheads? The unsung legends such as James Jamerson? Personally, at least when it comes to metal, I believe it’s very hard to find a better bass player than Steve DiGiorgio, who first made his name with the thrash metal outfit Sadus.

Sadus was formed in Antioch, California in 1984 by DiGiorgio, vocalist Darren Travis, drummer Jon Allen and guitarist, Rob Moore, but was unable to record a demo tape until 1986, which came in the form of “D.T.P. (Death to Posers.)” Two tracks from the demo made their way to the Raging Death compilation album and with popularity steadily increasing, the group decided to self-finance a full length album, “Illusions,” with Metal Church guitarist John Marshall handling production duties.

The album found enough success underground to catch the attention of several record labels, with Roadrunner eventually being the company that snapped Sadus up. By 1990, the band had released second full length record, “Swallowed in Black,” which was able to break into the top fifty in Poland. Sadus expanded its profile further still by teaming up with Brazilian thrashers Sepultura and American death metal act Obituary for a tour of North America. The band followed this with the release of a third album, “A Vision of Misery,” in 1992. More...

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Sunday Old School: Aria

It’s interesting to think that this week will see a new album from one of the biggest metal bands in the biggest country in the world, one which has a long lasting love of metal music too, yet many, many head bangers will not have heard of them. We all know that back in the days of the Soviet Union, many freedoms were restricted by the regime, but this didn’t stop heavy metal music from leaking in and influencing the Russian youth to create their own bands. One such group hailed from the capital city of Moscow and was spawned when two Muscovite metalheads named Vladimir Holstinin and Alik Granovsky decided to pursue their beloved music with a new project named, Aria.

They chose the moniker so that it would be short, sweet and easily translatable, a memorable name inspired by the brand of guitar which Holstinin owned. They finished writing enough music for a full length album and began the process of looking for a singer, which they eventually found in the guise of Valery Kipelov. Before the end of 1985, the band released their debut album, "Mania Velichia," which attracted the attention of many rock fans in Russia because it was very different from anything else on show in the country at the time. It was even able to produce a music video for the song, "America is Behind," something which was not common for rock bands to do at the time. More...

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Sunday Old School: Mezarkabul

This past year we’ve looked at some of the old guard in a lot of places across the world. From Rotting Christ in Greece, to Belphegor in Austria to Pentagram Chile in… uh, Chile. Today Sunday Old School will once again be looking at a band from a place we haven’t examined yet, and another band called Pentagram to boot, though internationally they are not known by the same moniker as the Chilean and American groups, but rather by a word which in their home country of Turkey means "to accept the grave," a band known outside the former Ottoman Empire by the name of Mezarkabul. The group was formed in the city of Bursa in 1986 by drummer, Cenk Ünnü and guitarist, Hakan Utangaç, with bass player, Tarkan Gözübüyük joining their ranks the next year. Utangaç assumed the role of lead vocalist for the first few years, during which they performed live frequently, building up a fan base strong enough to get them signed to Nepa Muzik, through whom they released their self-titled debut full length.

Shortly after the record’s release, the group recruited a new vocalist named, Bartu Toptas, allowing Utangaç to concentrate more on his guitar playing, a pressure which was lessened when Pentagram brought in a second guitarist, Demir Demirkan in 1992. Toptas did not stay with the group for long however and his only recording with the group can be heard as part of the intro to the song, "Secret Missile," the opening track of their sophomore album, "Trail Blazer," on which vocals were performed by a singer named, Ogün Sanlisoy. The album was notable for the song, "Fly Forever," which was written about their guitarist, Ümit Yilbar, who was killed by terrorists in 1993 whilst performing national service. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Party Time!

Do kids still throw parties when their parents leave for the weekend, or do they just go to the same alley each weekend and get high? My parents never left for a full weekend and I’m still bummed about it. This week videos from The Treatment, Hessler and The Beautifully Demolished take on a typical house party. More...

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Pit Stories: The Invention Of The Bat Wing

Each week we check in with metal bands across the genre spectrum to get their most memorable Pit Stories from live shows.

Today Indestructible Noise Command guitarist Erik Barath shared this tale of the bat wing being invented in Long Island and a fan taking advantage of pain to try to make off with free merch:

The craziest pit story is probably the time we played at the Sundance in Long Island. It was Dennis' birthday and some dude jumped on stage with nothing but a sock on. He dove on top of the crowd, lost his sock and ended up bat winging a bunch of fans. I think he invented bat winging that night.

Another dude dove off the stage, smashed his head and passed out. Our manager took him back stage to recover and when he went back to check on the dude, he found the guy stuffing his pants with our merch. Dennis got wacked in the mouth with the mic stand, chipped his tooth. Fun night overall.

I.N.C. just released fourth album "Black Hearse Serenade" on Ferocious Records, as well as a music video for the track "No Turning Back," which was directed by Thomas Mignone (Slipknot, System of a Down, Mudvayne), and starring Michael Rodrick from the TV show "24." I.N.C. has been touring this month with Tantric. Remaining dates are as follows: More...

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Sunday Old School: Exhumed

Death metal is notorious for its lyrics which focus on the brutal and at times sickening aspects of life. While many bands are wrongly accused of writing material which relies solely on this area, one band who revelled in such a subject was America’s own, Exhumed. Exhumed were formed in the state of California in 1990 by then fifteen year old, Matt Harvey. They were influenced by some of the more interesting death metal bands of the time such as Carcass and Terrorizer and set out to put their own unique stamp on the branch of extreme music which they loved so much, deciding ultimately that it would be gore they focused on.

They recorded a significant number of demos, split releases and EPs in the early career before eventually signing a record deal with Relapse, a label which had become known as the home of the American branch of grindcore, much like Earache was known as in the United Kingdom. They released their first full length album, "Gore Metal" in 1998, which featured an incredibly gruesome front cover and contained a cover of the Sodom song, "Sodomy and Lust" in addition to the twelve original compositions on offer. Although somewhat sloppy by Harvey’s admission, the record was received quite well by the death metal audience and they were soon hitting the road to promote the album. More...

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Unearthing An Eclectic Slice Of The Underground

Although we'll cover the big names like Metallica and Motorhead, our goal at Metalunderground.com is to always to bring the lesser known local bands that deserve your attention out of obscurity and into the collective metal consciousness.

To that end we periodically unearth bands you may not have had the chance to hear before that all offer up quality material. Today we'll cover a huge range of sound and even a massive number of miles between countries with three bands from different corners of Europe who all lean towards drastically different corners of the genre spectrum.


Experimental, ambient, introspective... Postvorta soothingly beckons you through smooth and seemingly stable sonic corridors, then unexpectedly blows up the ceiling and drops tons of bludgeoning metal on your head.

The Italian sound smiths have dubbed their music “post metal.” I call it “something you need to listen to immediately if you dig Neurosis or Isis.”

The full “Beckoning Light We Will Set Ourselves On Fire” album was self-released earlier this year and just last month saw a physical edition through Bleeding Light Records. The whole album can be heard through the player below, and you can pick up a digital or physical copy at this location.


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Sunday Old School: M.O.D.

Heavy metal contains some worldwide rock stars, from Ozzy Osbourne to Metallica. But in addition to the famous names, metal also has a large number of underground icons and cult favourites. One of these beloved people in this category is a man named Billy Milano, who’s known for his large presence and sometimes hilarious lyrics, two things he brought with him when he formed Method Of Destruction in 1986. Method Of Destruction, (or M.O.D. as they are often referred to,) was started by Milano after Stormtroopers Of Death (S.O.D.,) a thrash metal supergroup for which he was the vocalist, placed themselves on hiatus.

In 1987, the band recorded and released their debut album, "U.S.A. For M.O.D.," the title of which was a play on the planned Stormtroopers of Death album, "U.S.A. For S.O.D." It was co-produced by Anthrax guitarist (and Milano's S.O.D. bandmate,) Scott Ian and continued on from where the previous group left off, spouting tongue in cheek diatribes mostly written from the point of view of their mascot, Corporal Punishment. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Euro Invasion Part X

Entertaining and rock fueled videos this week by way of Europe in the form of Santa Cruz, Crazy Lixx, Million Dollar Reload and Sister Sin. What is it about Sweden? Must be something in all that snow they eat. More...

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Sunday Old School: Black Sabbath Part 4

As so many of our readers are aware, in the United States, the month of February is Black History Month. It’s also the time when we devote the Sunday Old School column to Black Metal history. What many of our readers might not know however, is that Black History Month is also held in the United Kingdom, albeit on a far less noticed scale. Since it doesn’t make sense to dedicate two months of the year to one genre, Metal Underground and Sunday Old School in particular, will focus on a different history, that of arguably the first, and many would say best, heavy metal band of all time. Welcome to the final installment of Black Sabbath History Month!

The eighties had not been as kind to Black Sabbath as it had to some of their contemporaries and after a string of overlooked albums and cancelled tour dates, it seemed that unless something special happened, the band would soon be over. Fortunately for them, and indeed the fans, something spectacular did indeed happen, as following a guest appearance by Geezer Butler at a Dio concert, the bassist and singer returned to Black Sabbath, eventually also being rejoined by Vinny Appice. More...

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Sunday Old School: Black Sabbath Part 3

As so many of our readers are aware, in the United States, the month of February is Black History Month. It’s also the time when we devote the Sunday Old School column to Black Metal history. What many of our readers might not know however, is that Black History Month is also held in the United Kingdom, albeit on a far less noticed scale. Since it doesn’t make sense to dedicate two months of the year to one genre, Metal Underground and Sunday Old School in particular, will focus on a different history, that of arguably the first, and many would say best, heavy metal band of all time. Welcome to Black Sabbath History Month!

After losing three iconic singers in Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie James Dio and Ian Gillan, Black Sabbath were dealt yet another huge blow when Geezer Butler decided to quit, leaving guitarist Tony Iommi as the sole original remaining member. Iommi decided that he should record a solo album and leave Black Sabbath alone, though their name was soon brought back when the original lineup reunited to perform at Live Aid in the United States, however it wasn’t the full time resurgence fans had hoped for, as Ozzy returned to his solo career immediately afterwards. Iommi returned to the studio and continued to work on his solo album, along with vocalist Glenn Hughes, another former member of Deep Purple. More...

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