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Archive: Columns

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Just Say Yes

This week Vitne, The Sandness, and Beasto Blanco bring videos full of pretty colors, suckers, and Pall Mall cigarettes. More...

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Sunday Old School: Discharge

Stoke-on-Trent is an English city which might not be well known outside of Britain, but they’ve produced some outstanding talent, such as legendary England goalkeeper, Gordon Banks and Phil Taylor, perhaps the greatest player in the history of professional darts. But it’s not just sport that Stoke has contributed to. The world of punk rock, and indeed all heavy music, was changed forever in the city when five young Stokies got together in 1977 and formed Discharge. The seeds of the band were sewn by vocalist Tezz Roberts and guitarist Royston "Rainy" Wainwright, who quickly added Tezz’s younger brother Anthony, aka “Bones” on guitar, as well bass player Nigel Bamford and drummer Anthony "Akko" Axon. Like most punk bands starting out at the time, they were influenced by the likes of the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned, the latter two they would go on to support following the release of their first demo.

Their style was soon to change however, after Bamford and Axon quit the band and they hired vocalist, Cal Morris, leading Tezz Roberts to take up the position of drummer, while Rainy switched to bass. The new addition saw them shedding their Sex Pistols style in favour of a much more aggressive sound, influenced largely by Motorhead (whose frontman, Lemmy, was also born in Stoke-on-Trent) and their lyrics began to take a form as harsh their guitar tone, focusing on the fear of nuclear destruction and the evils in society that was caused by Capitalism. Although this change was made of their own accord, several other bands in Britain had also begun to perform a more abrasive style, such as Amebix and Chaos UK and the new second wave of punk was ready to unleashed, eventually referred to by rock historians as "UK82," which takes its name from a song by The Exploited. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: How to Be a Ho

This week a new video from Nasty Habit, an eighties throwback looking to inject some fun back into rock and roll with their new video, "Strut Your Stuff.” The message of this song and video appears to be that wearing your Sunday best isn't always best. More...

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Pit Stories: Taking The Pain

For this week's edition of Pit Stories, guitarist Taylor Roberts from Cathercist shares a tale of his most memorable mosh experience at a Lamb of God show:

I think the craziest mosh pit I ever encountered would have to be when I attended Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, Children of Bodom, God Forbid, and Municipal Waste. I remember thinking how crazy this show was, because it was in this random town in Louisiana. The auditorium looked like a bigger, more asbestos filled gymnasium from high school, so I knew it would be interesting.

The show is going on and the crowd is getting crazier with each band. And of course at the time I had brought my then girl with me and she was losing her mind over the pit, and I was absolutely loving it. Well Lamb of God finally gets on stage and second song in, it's a sea of crazy kids and a crowd surfer floats by, falls down, and as he gets back up, dropped kicked the ever living shit out of me. I wasn't even mad, if anything I threw horns in the air, yelled "Hell Yeah!" And started pushing kids back! I had the biggest grin.

As far as pits that we've started, I think my favorite was at uproar 2011 with A7x, BFMV, Sevendust, and more. The event was supposed to be outside, but apparently a monsoon had come out of nowhere at the coliseum so the stages had to be moved inside. There were about 5,000 kids inside the convention center and I remember us saying "Ignore these signs that say no moshing, they mean nothing today!" And we started our song "Rise" and when it kicked in, we had a wall of death that started and this huge pit erupted in the center of the crowd. Security of course broke it up, but it was pretty insane cause no one moshed after that because security got real strict after us, but we felt quite accomplished. We did get bitched at though by security afterwards haha.

Cathercist will soon be hitting the road with American Head Charge for a U.S. tour. You can find the dates right here, or check out a music video from the band below. For more info on Cathercist, head over to the group's Facebook profile here. More...

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Sunday Old School: Six Feet Under

Side projects can be a dangerous thing. Whilst they can provide a creative outlet for a band member, they can also bring about arguments regarding commitment and sometimes cost said musician his place in the first band. Many of these projects don't even go anywhere, but this was not the case of Six Feet Under, the group formed as a side project by then Cannibal Corpse vocalist, Chris Barnes. Six Feet Under started in 1993, when Barnes joined forces with Allen West, one of the founding members of Obituary, who also brought with him bass player, Terry Butler, formerly of Massacre and currently the bassist of Obituary. The lineup was rounded off by Butler's brother-in-law, Greg Gall and they soon embarked on their first shows, performing a set mostly comprised of cover songs. They took themselves a little more seriously the next year, writing more original material and easily securing themselves a record deal with Metal Blade, thanks in part to Barnes already being signed to the label with Cannibal Corpse. The band teamed up with such respected names as Brian Slagel and Scott Burns to complete their debut album, "Haunted," which was released on September 1st 1995 to good reviews from critics who were impressed with the distinctive vocals and the group not being reliant on guitar solos to complete their songs.

A year later, in 1996, Barnes was fired from Cannibal Corpse while they were recording a new album, "Created To Kill," which was eventually released under the name, "Vile." His attention could now be paid fully to Six Feet Under, who released a new EP, "Alive and Dead" before the year was out, which featured two new songs, four live tracks and a cover of the Judas Priest song, "Grinder." Just less than a year later, they released their sophomore album, "Warpath," which is considered one of their best works to date and was notable for taking a few risks, such as the inclusion of clean vocals and broader lyrical themes, such as smoking marijuana, as well as the usual blood and guts stories associated with death metal. "Warpath" was also the last album to include Allen West, who parted company with the band and was replaced by another Massacre alumni, Steve Swanson. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Loaded Gun

It’s a new year with new videos from England and Sweden plus songs about guns and bullets. There’s even a video shot inside a strip club. Yeah 2014! More...

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Sunday Old School: Dangerous Toys

Before Steel Panther was Dangerous Toys, a hard rock band with a sense of humor that loved sex and melody. More...

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Sunday Old School: Iced Earth

Power metal is a genre which almost certainly is most popular in mainland Europe. The continent has given birth to many of the genre's greatest acts such as Blind Guardian, Hammerfall and Gamma Ray and continues to book such acts for their biggest festivals. However, that is not to say that the United States has had no input into the development or popularity of power metal. Indeed, one of the field's most beloved groups hail from Tampa, Florida. A band by the name of Iced Earth.

The seeds of the group were sewn in 1985 when guitarist, Jon Schaffer formed a band named Purgatory. As would be a common theme in the life of Iced Earth, member changes were frequent, with Schaffer remaining the only constant. In 1988, they decided to change their name from Purgatory to the moniker we all know today, which was suggested by a friend of Schaffer's who passed away after a motorcycle accident. They soon caught the attention of record labels with their second demo, "Enter the Realm," which earned them a deal with Century Media. Schaffer, along with drummer Mike McGill, vocalist Gene Adam, bass player Dave Abell and guitarist Randall Shawver, entered the famous Morrisound Recording studio, renowned for producing many of the greatest death metal albums, to record their self titled debut. The album was met with a somewhat mixed response, though it allowed them to perform in Europe for the first time as a support act to Blind Guardian.

They wasted little time in getting to work on a sophomore record, though not without making a few changes first. Mike McGill was replaced with Richey Secchiari and perhaps most notably, Gene Adam was fired from the band after he refused to take singing lessons, his place being taken by John Greely. This new incarnation of the band went back to Morrisound to record, "Night of the Stormrider," which faired a little better with the critics, though remains a very popular entry in the Iced Earth catalogue with their fans. The album also took a little longer to be released in the United States than it did Europe, as the American branch of their label was worried that the album would compete against their debut. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Merry Kissmas

This week it was announced that Kiss would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After numerous nominations as well as years not nominated this was maybe their last chance. They will join Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, and others April 10, 2014. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground in Bulgaria

Eastern Europe is a hotbed for extreme metal. Behemoth and Vader opened venues and studio doors to growls and screams, and invited a whole new generation of cult bands into their realm of the world. Today, we are going to focus on three of those bands. MU has reported on one of these bands in the past, Enthrallment, but we will be introducing two more--Dimholt and Dark Incognito.

Enthrallment

Bulgaria did not always allow extreme metal within its borders. Since the mid-40s, Bulgaria was under Soviet rule. As soon as the Eastern Bloc collapsed, heavy bands began to form. Murder Sound studio owner and Enthrallment drummer, Ivo Ivanov states that many bands began to form in the period of 1989-1993 in his hometown of Pleven. Artists such as Mortal Remains, Corpse and Necrophilia ushered in the first wave of extreme metal. Ivanov's band, Enthrallment emerged during the the period of 1993-1998, an era he dubs the "zenith of the death metal industry."

Starting with their 1999 demo "The Scarlet Difference" and ending with their latest full-length "People From The Lands of Vit," Enthrallment has created death metal appeasing to their European neighbors and long-distance listeners in America. The group has played Serbia's Hellhammer Festival and Obscene Extreme Fest. They toured with Malevolent Creation, Rotting Christ and Rotten Sound in 2011, and supported major acts such as Destruction, Obituary, Deicide and Napalm Death.

In a couple of weeks, at the beginning of 2014, Enthrallment will release its newest incarnation of audio filth, "The Voice of Human Perversity." Ivanov recorded and mixed the album in his Murder Sound Studio, while the group sent the recording to Safehouse Production in Florida to be mastered by James Murphy. Check out a preview of the album below, as well as the video for "Fruits of Pain and Blue Sky."

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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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