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Sunday Old School: Def Leppard

Many young bands starting out dream of playing in the biggest arenas, but few were seemingly born to perform on the world's largest platforms. One of the groups that were meant to pack out huge venues the world over was formed back in 1977. A band by the name of Def Leppard. Def Leppard was formed in the South Yorkshire city of Sheffield, famous for it's steel production and regularly hosting the World Snooker Championship. They began life under the name Atomic Mass with the founding members consisting of Rick Savage, Tony Kenning, and Pete Willis, before adding guitarist, Joe Elliott to their ranks, who soon switched to vocals, and a second guitarist named Steve Clark, who joined the band after performing "Free Bird" in its entirety. They were all set to begin recording their first EP, when Kenning decided to quit the group, leading them to hire The Next Band drummer, Frank Noon to record the drum tracks for "The Def Leppard EP." After recording the single, Rick Allen, then only fifteen years of age, was hired as their new drummer and they soon found their first taste of sales success, selling out all 1000 copies of "The Def Leppard EP" thanks largely to airplay given to them by John Peel. The band built up a loyal and ever growing fan base and were considered one of, and at times, the most exciting band in the New Wave of British Heavy metal movement. During this time, EMI Records were searching for a new hard rock band to promote and kept a close eye on Def Leppard, though they eventually decided to take their chances on a band from East London named Iron Maiden.

In spite of being passed over by EMI, Def Leppard soon signed to Phonogram/Vertigo Records and before long, they found themselves on the road supporting the likes of AC/DC and Ted Nugent. They also released their first full length album, "On Through The Night," which sold well enough to reach the top fifteen in the United Kingdom, although it was met with some hostility from fans who felt that the band was trying too hard to appeal to the American market. Some people made their feelings about their new direction all too clear when Def Leppard performed at the Reading festival and were met with a hail of bottles, some of which were filled with urine, although Elliott maintains that most bands performing that day were abused by the crowd. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Shredded Sleeves

This week a journey with Eldorado to find the perfect pub and Black Tora pleads with you to raise your fists. More...

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Sunday Old School: Damageplan

Today marks the ninth anniversary of the murder of former Pantera guitarist, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, one of the most shocking events to occur in the world of heavy metal. It sent shock waves throughout the music community, leading to almost everyone posting their respect online and led to tribute songs from bands such as Machine Head, Black Label Society and even Nickelback. To this day, many people posting their thoughts on a metal website still end their input with "R.I.P. Dimebag," a small but notable example of how the man is still missed by millions across the globe. Although he was known for his work with Pantera, it was with his new band, Damageplan that he was performing when he was killed and so to honour his memory, this week Sunday Old School will be looking at the formation, the tragic demise and most importantly, the music of Damageplan.

In the early 2000's, the condition of Pantera was something of a mystery. The Abbott brothers, Darrell and Vinnie Paul, were keen to get to work on a new record, though they were having trouble getting the same commitment from frontman, Phil Anselmo, who had begun occupying himself with numerous side projects including Down and Superjoint Ritual. Vinnie Paul also claimed that Anselmo's drug use was affecting his live performances. Eager to record and release new music, the brothers decided to form a new band, initially named New Found Power, though their moniker was soon changed to Damageplan. They recruited former Halford guitarist Pat Lachman to fill the vocal spot, after he received a demo of the song, "Crawl" and the lineup was soon rounded up with the addition of former Jerry Cantrell guitar player Shawn Matthews on bass, although he was soon replaced by Bob Zilla, a tattoo artist who had done several pieces for the Abbott brothers. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Rose Ceremony

This week new music and videos featuring an eye-balling, lots of roses, and the Virgin Mary (yes, that Virgin Mary) from The Treatment, Tom Keifer, and The Quireboys. More...

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Sunday Old School: Satyricon

Given the somewhat hostile reaction of many people to Sunday Old School’s coverage of Christian rock superstars, Stryper last week, it seemed like a good idea to go in the complete opposite direction for the next column. So today, we will leave behind the sunshine of Orange County, California for the frostbitten plains of Norway, as Sunday Old School examines one of the most commercially successful black metal bands, Satyricon. The band began life in 1990 under the name Eczema, before deciding to adopt the black metal sound and style the following year and changed their name to Satyricon. Shortly after this switch, the band, consisting of founding drummer Exhurtum and bassist Wargod recruited vocalist and guitarist Satyr to the fold, although Exhurtum would be fired after the recording of their first demo, "All Evil," due to him being perceived as more interested in girls than kicking down grave stones, while Wargod departed to become a United Nations soldier. Satyr, along with fellow guitarist Lemarchand soon added a new member to the ranks in the form of drummer, Frost, who made his recording debut with Satyricon on their second demo, "The Forest is my Throne," which would be the last recognised recording Lemarchand made with the group before being fired, although he did record the guitars for their first full length album, "Dark Medieval Times," which was released in 1994 through Moonfog Records.

The record received a very favourable response and was quickly followed by a second album, "The Shadowthrone" only a few months later, which likewise was regarded very highly. The sophomore effort was also seen as a harsher approach to black metal, shedding the acoustic guitars and medieval influences of their debut and was also notable for Emperor member Samoth handling the bass guitar duties, although this would be his only contribution as a fully fledged member of the band. Since his departure, Satyricon has remained a duo in principle, consisting of Satyr and Frost, with a number of session musicians brought into to perform live and record, some of which have been quite high profile, such as Darkthrone member Nocturno Culto, who contributed guitars to the third Satyricon album, "Nemesis Divina" under another pseudonym, "Kvelduv." The third outing continued to see praise roll in and helped raise their profile as one of black metal’s highest quality acts. More...

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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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