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.
It's funny how a band who releases one album can create such a legacy and a clamouring for more. The Sex Pistols are probably the best example of this, as their only album, "Never Mind the Bollocks," revolutionised rock music and young politics for decades, yet they never recorded a second album of new material. Today we look at Cynic, who, in their initial run, released only one album, "Focus," before breaking up, though thankfully returned and released new music twelve years later.
The band was put together by guitarist Paul Masvidal and drummer Sean Reinert and the next year recorded their first demo, simply called the "'88 Demo," which featured Mark van Erp on bass and vocalist Jack Kelly, who parted company with the group soon after, with Masvidal taking over the singer position. Cynic also added a second guitarist, Jason Gobel to the lineup and the next year recorded a new demo, "Reflections of a Dying World," which was their last recording before bringing in Tony Choy on bass. This incarnation of the band recorded two more demos, before inking their first record deal with Roadrunner Records. More...
Tuesday means it's time for more Pit Stories from metal bands, but this week we're going to shift focus and do something a little different.
We're actually not headed into the pit itself this week, but rather rewinding to the part beforehand where the band has to get there first.
Here's the tale Evertrapped shared about dodging dangerous moose on the way to and from a live show:
A few years ago, we had to play a gig out in Halifax which is about 12 hours by car from where we live. We literally left the Saturday morning at around 8am, played there the Sunday afternoon in a festival, left there around 6pm and got back home around 6am on Monday. To our guitarists’ credit, he did the whole drive there and back without switching drivers.
Anyway, when you`re crossing through New Brunswick, it’s moose country. Well, we weren’t really fully aware of the full size of an adult moose until we noticed signs that actually show you the comparison between a full grown moose and your car. It's huge! So every time we passed a moose crossing sign, Vince would slow down to about 80km/h, let the guy behind us pass and then follow him. Especially if it was a truck. Kid of a dick move to the guy in front of us, but further up the highway at one point we noticed two sets of hazards flashing in the distance.
And just as we got close we almost ran over the moose that had actually been hit by the truck up ahead with the flashing hazards. Hitting the carcass alone would’ve killed us all on impact. After that, you’ve never seen a bunch of guys more awake and alert driving down the highway at 4 AM before, I guarantee you that.
Every day bands risk their lives across highways to bring you some head banging metal, and so do fans trying to reach bigger venues for better shows - so let's hear your stories below of the worst driving experiences YOU'VE had trying to get a show!
It was going to happen eventually. Nu metal, or at least what most people refer to as "nu metal," is being covered in Sunday Old School. Somewhat surprisingly though, it's definitely been around long enough to be featured in the column and despite the criticism the genre still gets, there's no denying it was a big part of the late nineties and early 2000s, providing plenty of gateway bands that led young rockers to "true metal." Today, we'll be looking at one of the most successful bands of the era, who many people credit with inventing the style, Bakersfield, California's own, Korn.
Korn began life in 1993, forming from the ashes of the bands L.A.P.D., which featured guitarist James Schaffer, drummer David Silveria and bassist Reginand Arvizu, and who released two albums before breaking up. The three aforementioned members decided to continue working together and recruited a second guitarist, Brian Welch and eventually a singer named Jonathan Davis, who only joined the group after consulting a psychic. That same year, the band released a demo album, "Neidermayer's Mind," which wasn't received particularly well by many listeners or critics, but nonetheless, seemed to attract enough interest to earn them support slots for House of Pain and Biohazard. More...
Gather around for another edition of Pit Stories this week, as we take a look at a really, really bad idea: pregnant moshing during a Mayhem show.
This week Geir Anfinn Halland Johansen from the Norwegian outfit Anfinnsaas shares the following tale of a truly odd pair of moshers who were going to get into the pit no matter what at Wacken 2011:
I'm not a big mosh pit guy myself, but this time I really had no choice. I was at the Mayhem concert at the Wacken festival in 2011. I’ve waited for hours to get to stand in the front and I was really looking forward to this concert. After a while the mosh pit magically started as mosh pits do, but I was able to hang on to the fence and continue to watch the show for a while.
Then this one guy and his girl walked up to me and dragged me with them right in the middle of the pit. Not an uncommon thing at concerts, but this couple really was a unusual sight at mosh pits. He had both hands and one foot completely covered in casts with metal pins sticking out, moshing like it was the last thing he would do before he died. The girl was pregnant and looking like she was about to give birth at any moment.
The pit people noticed this and backed off, probably afraid to hurt this couple. I didn’t see that everyone backed off, so I just continued the mosh pit activities with the two of them. So there we were alone in the middle of the mosh pit; a confused Norwegian, a guy almost covered in casts and his very pregnant girlfriend.
Anfinnsaas is a duo that was formed by Knut Finsaas and Geir Anfinn Halland Johansen in 2013, with a self-titled, debut album now due out this year. The earth-shattering blend of Nordic traditional music and metal that is "Anfinnsaas" is coming September 18 via Autumnsongs Records. For more info on the band, head over to Facebook here. More...
By the time the nineties reared its head, metal music had evolved significantly from the blooming genre it was twenty years previously. It had been commercialised as glam metal, deified by thrash metal and taken to the extreme by the emerging death and black metal sub genres. But not everyone had shrugged off or forgotten about the roots of metal, which were firmly in the blues. There was one band who decided to put the blues back into metal and hard rock, who went by the suitably striking name of, Thunder.
The origins of the band date well back to 1975, when guitarist Luke Morley and singer Danny Bowes met at college and formed a band called Nuthin' Fancy, who released an independent single, "Looking For a Good Time," before changing their name to Terraplane. It was after adopting this new moniker that they found some relative success, releasing two albums and performing at the 1982 Reading festival. However, in time, 1989 to be exact, the band decided to rename themselves to their familiar alias, Thunder and in that same year, inked a record deal with EMI after impressing with a demo audtion. More...
Ready for another Pit Story ya crazy fuckin' metal heads? This week vocalist Robert Kreed from Canadian horror metal band Bleed discusses the group's namesake, and the many problems along the way to finding the perfect blood:
Robert Kreed: Hey fella! You wanna you how my blood came to be?
Gibbering bystander: ...no...
Robert Kreed: Well fuck you! I'm gonna tell you anyways...
It all started way back when I was getting all my props ready for a big show we were gonna play. Organs, heads, limbs, Jager spewing babies, all good to go. Oh yeah, my store bought blood. Better go grab that from my basement. When I grabbed the bottle it shifted oddly. Like there was something preventing it from splashing inside the bottle. I pop the cap and holy crap! The whole thing was moldy! What the hell? I go grab another jug of blood. Same thing. Gad damn! I go thru all my jugs of blood. Every one of them slimy with bacteria or caked in black fuzz. Show must go on. I sift out as much of the gross shit as possible, collect it in a bottle and off to the venue. I dowse myself, we do our thing, I go home and shower.
To hell with cheap store blood. I'm making my own. For whatever reason, probably being lazy, I'm in a pinch for blood again for another show. I whip up the stupid corn syrup recipe. Absolute shit show. Costumes are sticking to me. Set lists being dragged all over the stage by sticky boots. I do a drinking blood from a horn gag and all that comes out is the thickest sludge of pure pancreas killing sugar muck. Dolloped on my face and chest. Looked cool but I think my teeth shattered from the sweetness. This has got to end. I must find my own blood.
Doing some research on a variety of recipes, I finally found my own mix. Easy to make. NOT STICKY! Has some flavour but not over powering and smells absolutely wonderful. I use maple flavouring and it just wafts around me the entire time I am covered. People have said I smell like breakfast. Pancakes and bacon. Damn rights son! Metal is in our blood and our blood smells like maple syrup! The epitome of Canadian Metal! There was the one time I tried peppermint flavouring for a show. My body felt like it was constantly on fire and I wept the entire set. Ron said I smelt like Christmas but that's another story, christing fuck. So? What do you have to say about that, fella?
Gibbering bystander: ....leave me alone...
Bleed - a 2015 Wacken Metal Canada finalist - has a new album titled "The Hatred Inside" due out on September 29, following a self-titled EP from last year. See what the band does best in the live setting through the clips below. More...
Despite my recent live report in which I stated my disappointment with Cryptopsy during their show with Brujeria, it would be most remiss of me to ignore their contributions to the death metal genre. The group are one of the most influential names in the field of technical death metal, along with the likes of Atheist and Pestilence and have a rich catalogue of brutality behind them, so today we're going to be looking at Cryptopsy, one of the of the most hailed extreme metal acts to ever come out of Canada.
The band began life under the name Necrosis, with the original members consisting of vocalist, dan Greening, who became better known to fans as, "Lord Worm," drummer Mike Atkin and guitarist Steve Thibault, before they brought in bassist, John Todds. Under their original moniker, the band recorded the demos, "Mastication and Heterodontis" and "Realms Of Pathogenia," before a self-titled demo was released in 1992, the year the group performed their first live show and changed their name to the now familiar, Cryptopsy. Shortly after this, Atkin left the and was replaced by Flo Mounier, a recommendation of John Todds, who himself would leave before long, with Kevin Weagle entering the fold as the new bassist, while Dave Galea joined as a second guitarist. More...
We've had some great Pit Stories lately about teaching a student the way of the mosh, a trailer park show with some dubious offers for merch, and some hardcore dancers who can't sling insults for shit.
For this week's entry, we again hit up Virgin Steele, who previously gave us a baffling story of a kid who managed to take a nap in the bass bin during a Manowar show.
Today the Steele gives us another rousing metallic tale of just how crazy things can get at a GWAR show:
One night I wandered into a Rock Club that was quite famous here in New York at one time, called Sundance. I played there with Virgin Steele quite often, also Manowar played there, Guns & Roses, Megadeth… everyone. Anyway… one night I wandered or rather stumbled in blind drunk, crashed my way to the bar, ordered another drink, looked around, and there was GWAR onstage wearing these reptile suits.
They were roaring away, the music was deafening, and pounding, and the vocals were low, snarling and well…reptilian… and then quite suddenly the song ended and the head reptile spoke to us in a very human, soft rather cultured voice and I was riveted, shocked & startled by the juxtaposition of visual and aural strangeness and the next thing I knew, the entire audience seemed to have flown through the air and imbedded themselves on the stage!
They were flailing about, leaping off then back on the stage, jumping forwards, sideways, and backwards and generally running around wildly. There were so many people up there that you couldn’t see the band anymore… it looked, sounded and felt quite insane! I had no idea what was happening and thought I was in a Hieronymus Bosch painting or Dante’s Inferno. This was my first experience with moshing and wild over the top audience participation. When I finally stumbled out of there much later, I was covered in a nasty mixture of beer, booze, blood, both real and fake, and other assorted liquids that emanated both from the band and the audience that I would not care to remember or identify…
What's your favorite memory for a GWAR show? Let us know in the comments below! Virgin Steele's "Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation" dropped last month and a song off that album can be heard here: More...
This week in Sunday Old School, we're going to be doing something we've never done before and taking a look at the careers of three different bands. We've established by now that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal had a lot to offer, going back to the early days of the column when we looked at big names in the movement such as Venom and Diamond Head, to more recent editions examining Atomkraft and Tokyo Blade, but there were a number of bands who had very short careers but remain cut favourites amongst the NWOBHM afficianados. Today, we'll be looking at a trio of these treasures, starting with...
Ethel The Frog
One of the strangest names in heavy metal, quite literally, was Ethel the Frog. Their name came from a Monty Python sketch about the Piranha Brothers, themselves a parody of sorts of the infamous Kray Twins. They were formed in 1976 in the Yorkshire city of Hull and steadily built up a strong following in the north, which grew after they gained attention for their first single, a heavy take on the Beatles' classic, “Elanor Rigby.” Shortly afterwards, they joined prestigious company by contributing to the Metal For Muthas compilation series and signed a record deal with EMI, who had recently picked up Iron Maiden. The band released one self-titled album in 1980 before calling it a day soon after. More...
Ready for some more mosh pit mayhem metal heads? Tuesday's rolled around again, so let's dive right in!
A few months back Fin'amor provided us a Pit Story about a fight managing to break out during every single song of a set, and today Fin'amor returns for another tale from the pit. This time vocalist Benjamin Meyerson shares a story of a student learning the ways of the mosh:
It was my first day of teaching seniors in high school, and within 5 minutes a student walked up to me and asked “Are you in a band?” I lifted my finger to my mouth and whispered “tell no one.” It was nice to be asked, but the last thing a teacher wants is for students to know we have lives outside of the class.
After the semester ended I celebrated with a Meshuggah show. The venue was wall to wall packed, and through the crowd comes the same student, who had just graduated high school. He was with his friends enjoying the show, when out of nowhere a massive pit breaks out. He turns to me and asks me very politely, “Mr. M, Can you teach me to pit?” I gave him a five minute lesson on pit etiquette and unspoken metal codes and asked “have you ever crowd surfed?” He says “no, show me.” I smile and turn to the biggest dude I can find, tap his shoulder, give him the double thumb lift sign, point to my student, and he lifts him and throws him into the pit.
I meet him a few minutes later in between two walls of death, he thanks me for everything, the walls close and I see him jumping off into the sea of fists and feet once more. He came up to me after the show and said “that was the greatest thing a teacher has ever taught me.” I smiled, and in that moment realized that I learned something too: experience and learning are like a mosh pit, you either jump in yourself and bust your ass like I did when I was a kid, or someone shows you the way and tosses you in and you bust your ass anyway. Either way, when the walls of death close, someone is going to bust their ass eventually.
It has been well documented that the nineties were not particularly kind to heavy metal. Many bands from the once popular thrash era such as Death Angel and Vio-Lence, disbanded before the decade reached the half way point and others such as Megadeth and Anthrax kept their name alive by changing their style. Of course, there a few metal bands who were able to defy critics, trends and commercial pressures and become stars of their time such as Pantera, Machine Head and Sepultura, as well today’s featured band, Fear Factory.
The group began life under the name, Ulceration in 1989, though they adopted their now familiar moniker the year after, following the more extreme style that they had taken on, culminating in a mix of death metal, grindcore and industrial influences, particularly Godflesh. The band, whose official lineup consisted of drummer Raymond Herrera, singer Burton C. Bell and guitarist, Dino Cazares, performed their first show on Halloween in 1990 and soon afterwards recorded a demo album, "Concrete," which saw Cazares handle both guitar and bass duties. The band were unhappy with the result but producer Ross Robinson saw no problem, leading to a lawsuit which saw Robinson retain the rights to the album, with Fear Factory keeping the rights to their songs, many of which they re-recorded with Colin Richardson for their official debut, "Soul of a New Machine." More...