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Pit Stories: The Room Clearing Prank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Going Down

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

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Pit Stories: Crashing The Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday Old School: Praying Mantis

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

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

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Mama Horny

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

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Pit Stories: When Headbangers Collide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday Old School: Samael

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

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

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

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

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

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Wham. Bam. Glam.

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

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Pit Stories: The Toys-R-Us Satanic Sacrifice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Unearthing The Latvian Metal Underground

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

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

Eschatos

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

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Sunday Old School: EyeHateGod

With the recent passing of their drummer Joey LaCaze, it seemed an appropriate time to look back on Eyehategod, one of the most esteemed metal bands to ever come from New Orleans, a city which has produced some of the finest music to ever come from the United States of America. Eyehategod were formed in 1988, on April 20th to be precise, by LaCaze and guitarist Jimmy Bower, before being joined shortly afterwards by vocalist, Mike Williams, bassist Steve Dale and second guitarist, Brian Patton. They soon recorded two demos entitled, "Garden Dwarf Woman Driver" and "Lack of Almost Everything" and sent them off to various labels, eventually finding success in their pursuit when they were signed to a French label named Intellectual Convulsion. Through the label, they released their first full length album, "In the Name of Suffering," which was noticeably more hardcore in sound than their later work. Not long after releasing their debut, Intellectual Convulsion Records folded and the band were forced to find a new label, which came in the shape of Century Media, who re-released the album.

The following year, Eyehategod got to work on their sophomore record, "Take as Needed for Pain," which displayed their blues and southern rock influences a lot more prominently than their previous efforts. It also featured the recording debut of their new bass player, Mark Schultz, though this would be his only album with the group. The album was released to a positive response, with Mike Williams claiming that it remains almost all of the band members' favourite material, and allowed them to tour with other established acts such as White Zombie and Corrosion of Conformity amongst others. Despite the positive response, the band was put on hold for a short while whilst the members of the band contributed to other projects, perhaps the most notable being Jimmy Bower who performed drums on the Crowbar album, "Broken Glass" and "NOLA," the debut album by supergroup, Down which also featured the frontmen of Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity and Pantera. Some of the other members' activities included Brian Patton performing guitar duties on the debut Soilent Green album, "Pussysoul" and Mike Williams contributing to Metal Maniacs magazine. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Blondes and Explosions

New videos high on explosives as well as the alluring temptation to walk into a dark forest after you have murdered a hooker. More...

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Pit Stories: Puke And Rally

For today's Pit Story, Boston hardcore punk outfit Gang Green goes way back in time to the mid-80s to tell the following tale of the band's vocalist passing out drunk half an hour before a show:

In Long Beach, California in 1985, the teenagers of Gang Green were on their first national tour. With a just a couple 7” singles released, each show was generally unpredictable for this new up and coming band outside major cities. After the van breaking down 1 hour out of Los Angeles, the band was slightly on edge and out of money when we finally arrived into California, though happy that we had finally made it to our main destination.

We were all pleasantly surprised to see some of our punk rock idols from The Circle Jerks attending the show. I guess Chris, our singer, decided he was going to impress some these guys with some good old excessive drinking! Something he was getting very good at after 20 days on the road with 5 or 6 smelly guys in a van. Actually, he drank so much that night he was vomiting outside the venue and eventually passed out in a grassy area. Holy shit! Here we are in California ready to play in front of kids who are actually looking forward to seeing us play and Chris is passed out with 30 minutes left until set time.

After forcing him to wake up, we were all relieved when he made it to the stage and made it through most of set without falling on his face. This show is documented in the live photograph of Gang Green displayed on the inside panel of the CD, Drop The Needle: Boston Punk Anthology.

The new compilation "Drop the Needle: Boston Punk Anthology" is due out October 1st, 2013 and features tracks by Gang Green, Smegma and the Nunz, Celebrity Death Certificate, Scratch, and Mallet Head. Full details are available at this location. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Puerto Rico

Today on Metal Underground, we will head over to almost the southeasternmost zip code in the US - the island of Puerto Rico. Not exactly a nation, although many of its citizens would like it to be, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States with its own constitution and a rhythm and vibe that rival that of any Central American country.

We have featured several Puerto Rican bands and groups that have ties to that island in our news such as Zafakon, who rose to prominence with their "Fall" EP back in 2010. The all female gothic/black metal trio Matriarch, now disbanded, combined the impossibly high soprano operatic pitch of guitarist Vanessa Urrutia and the evil lower end vocals of Shamara and Isabel. Too bad "Revered Unto the Ages" was their swan song. Countless bands are actively playing, releasing albums and making the news on a regular basis, though. More...

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Sunday Old School: Slash’s Snakepit

In 1993 Guns N’ Roses guitarist, Slash, put together another band. He needed a side project, a distraction. He needed a break from Guns N’ Roses. Slash’s Snakepit would release two albums, with the first selling over one million copies. That is one successful side project. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Three Ring Circus

Crashdiet have released a music video for the song "Circus", the latest single from their recent album 'The Savage Playground.’ More...

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Sunday Old School: Ratos de Porão

For many people, the mere mention of Brazilian metal will instantly, and in some case solely, conjure up memories of Belo Horizonte’s, Sepultura. But if one were to look deeper at the heavy music of this vast and amazing country, a treasure trove of great music will be uncovered. Today, we look at one of the oldest heavy acts from Brazil that are still going, who made a name for themselves in both the punk and metal scenes, led by a larger than life vocalist named João Gordo, whose very name means fat. I'm talking of course, about Ratos de Porão. Ratos de Porão were formed in 1981 in Sao Paolo, the largest city in Brazil and were almost immediately considered one of the most aggressive and fierce sounding bands in the Brazilian punk scene, thanks largely to them being more influenced by the UK82 bands such as Discharge and The Exploited than the previous punk scene that inspired their contemporaries. They focused their lyrical themes on speaking out against the Brazilian government and society, a concept that was somewhat radical for a band from Brazil to do, given how oppressive the government was compared to other countries with flourishing punk scenes, including the United States and Great Britain. The lyrics shone through on their debut album, "Crucificados Pelo Sistema," which was released in 1983 through Ataque Frontal and immediately established itself as one of the most abrasive punk records ever to come from Brazil. Despite the attention their debut received, the group was forced to call it a day soon afterwards, when the punk scene in Sao Paolo was all but dissolved thanks to gang violence.

The group didn’t stay inactive for long, returning to the scene in 1985 with more of a thrash metal take on their sound. Lead singer João Gordo remained, as did original drummer Jão Carlos, who switched to guitar, his place behind the drum kit being taken by a man named Spaguetti. After releasing their second album, "Descanse Em Paz" through Baratos Afins, they began to associate with the heavy metal scene a lot more, perhaps most noticeably with four long time fans who had a band of their own named Sepultura, as well as other soon to be known bands such as Korzus. RxDxPx then released their third album in 1987, entitled "Cada Dia Mais Sujo e Agressivo," which was their first album to be released in English, as well as their native Portuguese, a move they had previously shied away from for fear that their grasp of the English language was so poor that fans outside Brazil would make fun of them. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: XXX

This week a video named “College Gangbang” and another claiming to be rated XXX. WARNING: The following videos may contain…just kidding, on to the videos. More...

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Sunday Old School: Vengeance Rising

For all the controversy heavy metal has generated, one of the biggest and sometimes most divisive talking points within the genre itself is the concept of Christian metal. For a genre which has been accused time and time again of attacking the values of Christianity and portraying Satan in a more positive light than he’s used to, the idea of using the music itself to promote devotion to God may seem like something of a contradiction. However, a number of bands have not only found commercial success with their musically heavy spiritual themes, but also established a large, devoted fan base and respect among secular fans. This week (on a Sunday, appropriately enough,) we’ll be looking at one of the heaviest examples of early Christian metal, albeit one whose story takes a considerable turn, Vengeance Rising. The band was formed in 1987 by vocalist Roger Martinez, initially under the moniker, “Vengeance,” before their name was lengthened to their more familiar tag. Martinez was heavily involved in the Pentecostal Foursquare Church, eventually becoming a pastor in the denomination in Hollywood, California. He was joined in the band by guitarists Larry Farkas and Doug Thieme, along with drummer Glenn Mancaruso and bass player Roger Martin. Merely a year after forming, they released their first album, "Human Sacrifice" through Intense Records, which is considered by many to be one of the most radical albums in the history of Christian metal, adopting a brutally heavy take on thrash. Despite the promotion of their religion, they found that the favour was not returned by Christian stores, who found the sound and front cover to be demonic.

The lyrics were also a heavy topic of conversation. Despite some of the more positive (daresay Stryper-esque) titles such as "Salvation," "He Is God" and "I Love to Hate Evil," it also featured tracks with such names as, "Beheaded" and "Fill This Place with Blood." This was another reason why the record was pulled from many stores, though the same themes can be heard from most borderline insane preachers in the street. The band soon embarked on a tour to promote the album, where they caused more controversy for essentially staging their own Passion Plays on stage, depicting the death of Jesus Christ in a very graphic manner. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Wild Thing

This week a new video from Sammy Hagar and Friends and a rock and roll hair flashback that goes way, way back. It’s been 25 years since the classic Sam Kinison version of “Wild Thing.” Putting these two videos together confirms what I’ve suspected: EVERYTHING has changed since 1988! More...

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