After a McDonald's cheeseburger break down from Zimmer's Hole and fights breaking out in the pit during every. single. song. of an Oceano set, today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Gyre guitarist Chirag Bhatt.
In the tale below, Bhatt reminisces about a simpler time when he wasn't cool enough to listen to At The Gates and ended up stranded atop a table in a sea of thrown fists during a Terror live set:
So, this brief but amusing tale takes place at the now closed Cricket Club in Irvington, New Jersey, sometime in the mid-2000's (honestly, every year from that decade has blurred together in my mind). It was probably my first time at a real hardcore show with bands like Terror and others playing. Though me and a few friends were really only there to see The Black Dahlia Murder because we were in our late teens and nowhere near cool enough to listen to At The Gates.
So, TBDM goes up and crushes their set and I spend the next 10 minutes downing glasses of water for my damaged throat as I had attempted to growl along the previous 30 minutes while forgetting that I don't know the first fucking thing about growling. In any case, it was a fun, crazy time in an old-fashioned metal mosh pit.
Soon enough, Terror goes up and suddenly the mosh pit turned into MJ's "Beat It" video sans the dancing. A flurry of flailing fists and face bandanas eventually lead to my friends and I standing on top of a couple of tables on the edges of the venue because we came to listen to metal, have a good time and not lose teeth. But before we got too down on ourselves for not being so down with the cool kidz, I looked over to the table to my right and saw none other than a few members of TBDM standing right on those tables with us wondering what in the actual fuck was happening - a sentiment we expressed to each other through bewildered looks and monosyllabic grunts of fear. All in all, the moment was a bizarre mix of fanboyism and concern for our physical well-being. But what more can you ask of a metal show?
The band’s new self-released EP "Moirai" is out now and available for stream/purchase at Bandcamp here (also available for listening below). If you missed it, check out Gyre's "I Release" drum playthrough video at this location. More...
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel and A Christmas Carol. These are stories that we all know and in the case of metal fans, another story everyone knows is that of Metallica. However, since it’s the three hundredth edition of Sunday Old School (hooray for us,) we'll be marking the landmark with a look at one of metal’s biggest bands, even if we do all know the documented story by now. A band which has always been both revered and reviled but continued to do things their way throughout their illustrious career. A band known simply as, Metallica.
The group was the brain child of a young, Danish heavy metal fanatic named Lars Ulrich, who had gone as far as to travel to Europe to see his heroes, Diamond Head, eventually staying with the band for a month. Upon returning to the United States, where he had lived since his teenage years, he was determined to form his own band, inspired massively by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, even name dropping groups from the movement such as Tygers of Pan Tang in his advertisement looking for like minded musicians, which answered by Leather Charm guitarists, James Hetfield and Hugh Tanner, though Metallica itself would not be formed until five months later, when the drummer asked Metal Blade Records founder Brian Slagel if his band could appear on their forthcoming, "Metal Massacre" compilation. More...
It's that time of the week - today comes a new Pit Story from vocalist Brittney Slayes of Unleash The Archers. In this week's tale, Slayes heads back into the pit after a long hiatus to down cold cheeseburgers and potentially ruffied beer at a Zimmer's Hole show...
So I suppose we can begin with the fact that I do not usually go into mosh pits at all; I used to when I was young but got an elbow to the face one night and it just never felt the same after that… Regardless, I am more of a stand at the back and headbang type, unless the band is one of my faves and I’ve had a few too many, then I’ll usually stand at the front and headbang hahaha.
There is a band here in Vancouver called Zimmer’s Hole that is just the raddest most hilarious metal ever, if you’ve never listened to them then I strongly recommend you get your hands on "When You Were Shouting At The Devil;" Gene Hoglan on drums, Chris ‘The Heathen’ Valagao on vocals, seriously just some killer metal, really great for driving in traffic hahaha. Needless to say I was into them pretty hard back in 2009 and when they finally came to Victoria to play a show I was beyond stoked.
I did my darndest to be my usual hide in the back self, but these guys just get you so riled up! The Heathen dresses up like the devil (full red body paint) in assless chaps and a blacksmith’s apron (very Hephaestus) and has awesome props and a voice straight outta the depths of hell. So the beers go back way too easy and next thing I know my favorite song ‘Fista Corpse’ is on and I just can’t help myself. I’m back in the pit like a 15 year old, singing way too loud and fisting the plastic skeleton corpse thing that had been thrown into the pit.
They also have this great thing called a ‘cheeseburger breakdown’ where The Heathen throws McDonald’s cheeseburgers into the audience and you just shouldn’t eat that stuff but here I was sharing a cold cheeseburger probably purchased five hours ago with some random metalhead standing beside me in the pit. Suddenly there’s a beer in my hand to wash the burger down, probably roofied but who cares. The bar we were in was not big, and the area for the mosh pit was probably a third of the floorspace so pretty much the whole bar is in there with me now and it’s sweaty and disgusting and everyone smells like McDonald’s, but it is probably the greatest mosh pit I have ever been in, and thus it was the last because I mean really, how can you top a pit like that?
Unleash The Achers has a new album titled "Time Stands Still" set to drop via Napalm Records on June 26th (EU) and July 10th (North America). Check out a teaser trailer below. More...
The pit is the heart of the metal scene, and there's a 1,001 amazing stories to be found there. We're on a quest to unearth them all!
This week guitarist Raphael Pinsker from New York's Fin'amor shares the following tale of a fight breaking out during every single song of an Oceano set:
It had been a few years since I had last seen Oceano live, the last time being New England Metal & Hardcore Fest. The band is known to "bring the beef" live and I was excited to finally see them again. The amount of energy Oceano brings to the stage is massive and I was looking forward to seeing what would happen at this show.
As I walked into the venue I immediately notice how "DIY" this place looked: makeshift bar? Check. Makeshift bathrooms? Check. On the second floor the toilet was flooded, the sink was stuffed with trash and empty beer cans were afloat at the rim. This place was a complete shit hole, but deep down inside I knew something had to go down that night.
I met up with my buddy Al and we grabbed beers at the "bar." Oceano begins their set and no more than 30 seconds in, the entire place is rocking back and forth. Everyone in the venue gets pushed back, beers are dropping, people are falling on each other, and the pit is raging. First song in: FIGHT. Al and I look at each other confused as kids are trying to break it up. The band continues playing through all of this as if nothing happened.
Oceano moves onto their second song, again another fight. Like clockwork, Oceano is bringing the beef and the fights keep coming. During the breakdown of their sixth song a massive fight breaks out, Al and I look at each other with huge grins on our faces. He points over to the sound booth as we see the sound engineer grab an iron pipe and hop into the crowd to help break the fight up. Staff and security are pulling kids off of each other and kicking them out of the venue.
The house lights get turned on and staff is ejecting everyone in sight. We turn around to the bar and everything has been packed away into blue bins and was being carried upstairs. After the room was cleared Al and I were recapping on what we had just witnessed. Al tells me "There are shows, and then there are shows you remember. This is a show that you will remember for the rest of your life." It's true.
Jazz is something which a lot of people would initially think is worlds away from heavy metal. After all, no one can say that "Blue in Green" sounds anything like, "Reign in Blood" and death metal vocals are hardly a copy of Chet Baker’s. But give it some thought and a little bit of research and it’s clear to see that jazz has had a big influence on the genre, including some of its biggest names such as Megadeth, whose lineup on the first two albums featured two jazz musicians in Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson, while Testament guitarist, Alex Skolnick has released a number of albums in the genre and bands like Sigh and Shining (Norway) are making the connection clearer than ever before. One band that helped bring it to the extreme end of metal was born in Florida, arguably the home of death metal and they go by the name of Atheist.
The band began life in the city of Sarasota, originally using the name, Oblivion before changing it to, R.A.V.A.G.E. and then settling on the moniker, Atheist. It was founded by guitarist, Kelly Schaeffer and drummer, Steve Flynn, joined soon afterwards by vocalist, Steve Freid, another guitarist named, Rand Burkey and eventually by bass player, Roger Patterson. They slogged it out in the live scene for four years before finally recording their debut album, "Piece of Time," by which point, Freid had left the band and Schaeffer assumed the vocalist duties as well. More...
Throughout the history of the Sunday Old School, we’ve looked at a number of undervalued bands formed by musicians from more famous bands. Be it the recent article of Fastway, formed by Motorhead guitarist,"Fast" Eddie Clarke, the collaboration between former Sepultura/Soulfly frontman, Max Cavalera with Fudge Tunnel’s, Alex Newport on Nailbomb, or Rob Halford’s endeavours with Fight and Two. This week, Sunday Old School will continue this by taking a gander at what drummer Dave Lombardo got up to shortly after leaving Slayer for the second time.
After taking his leave from the thrash giants, Lombardo put together a new outfit with Polish guitarist, Waldemar Sorychta, a former member of the German thrash metal group, Despair. They took their influence from the groove metal style which had been popularised by Pantera and christened their new outfit, Grip Inc., being joined in their musical pursuit by British vocalist, Gus Chambers, a former member of punk band, The Squad, and bass player, Jason Viebrooks. This new quartet didn’t take long to attract interest from record companies and before long, they signed with German label, SPV. More...
Every week we chat up musicians from throughout the heavy music scene to get their favorite Pit Stories from the mayhem of metal shows.
Today David Defeis of Virgin Steele shares the following tale of a fan who found a rather odd place to take a nap:
Virgine Steele played a place in Staten Island called The Paramount Theatre a couple of times with Manowar. On this one particular evening, during our set I noticed that a kid had passed out inside the bass bin of one of the PA stacks. I asked security to check on him, they said they would, and I assumed that they did and I went about my night doing all the things that one has to do at a gig.
When I finally had a moment to catch a view of the stage once again, somewhere near the end of Manowar's set, I noticed that this same kid was still passed out in the bass bin. I don’t know what happened to him, his hearing or his reproductive capacity… but it could not have been a terribly good thing for him to have been held in the grip of that sonic onslaught for all those hours from 2 very loud groups!
Virgin Steele is gearing up to release "Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation" on June 22nd in Europe and June 23rd in the USA via SPV/Steamhammer. Check out the lyric video for "Lucifer's Hammer" below. More info on the album can be found at this location. More...
It’s always interesting to look back at the very early days of heavy metal. That first batch such as Black Sabbath, Budgie and Blue Cheer that would influence even iconic bands such as Judas Priest before they were even formed. One such band which is often put into this group, straddling the line between hard rock and the new heavy metal genre, would be Cactus. Cactus were formed in Long Island, New York by former Vanilla Fudge members Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice, initially planned to include English guitar hero Jeff Beck before he had an automobile accident and was forced out of the music world for a long while. Instead, they brought in Jim McCarty and vocalist, Rusty Day, who had previously performed in The Amboy Dukes with Ted Nugent.
The quartet released their first full length album in July of that year, a self-titled debut which was adorned with a rather crude looking cactus. It’s become a genuine staple of early seventies hard rock, taking great influence from the blues, as evidenced by the covers of "Parchman Farm" and the Willie Dixon song, "You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover," as well as their own compositions. More...
Flailing limbs, wheelchair crowd surfing, overturned cars, lost teeth, and mid-show coitus - heavy metal has a million and one Pit Stories and we're going to unearth them all!
This week The Great Discord shares the following tale of a shambling zombie wall of death at a Skinless show:
So we went to this Skinless concert in France at the Hellfest festival in 2008. We were standing in the middle of the crowd when the vocalist called for a wall of death. “What a swell idea” we all thought! So the crowd divided itself down the middle, it was probably around two or three thousand people there. They played this sample from the stage about someone having sex with an amputee. The singer instructed everyone not to do this the regular way but rather as a bunch of fumbling zombies.
When the song began it was basically like everyone got drunk at the same time. So we started walking slowly towards each other looking like a bunch of senior citizens with inner ear infections. It took a while, but we reached the other crowd and everyone just kind of leaned on each other, it was bizarre!
We all laughed so much that we didn't notice when the “zombies” turned into a regular mosh pit. An arm came flying out of no where and knocked one of Fia's front teeth out. The dentists had a hard time making it symmetrical again and if you look closely at one of our teasers or videos you can actually notice one of Fia's front teeth sticking out a little further than the other. So thank you Skinless for lulling us into a false sense of security! Awesome show though.
Video of a Hellfest zombie wall of death can also be seen here: More...
The worst inspiration in choosing which bands get covered in the Sunday Old School column is always whenever a band member dies. With the sad passing of Pagan Altar vocalist, Terry Jones this past week, it seemed only fitting that we take a look at one of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal's lesser known, though highly influential bands, who along with contemporaries, Witchfinder General, were a big part of forging the genre we know today as doom metal.
Pagan Altar was founded in 1978 by Terry Jones, along with his brother Alan on guitar and were joined in their venture by Glenn Robinson, Les Moody and Ivor Harper. Somewhat typically for heavy metal bands of their time, they focused on occult themes and dark subject matter, though without being as overtly Satanic as Venom, for example. This original lineup didn't last long and at the beginning of the eighties, Pagan Altar consisted of what is now known as their "classic" lineup, which saw the Jones brothers joined by bassist Trever Portch and Israeli native, John Mizrahi on drums. More...
Time for a new Pit Story for all you rabid show loving metal heads. This week U.K. outfit Bad Guys share the following tale of playing a show they hadn't been invited to play and causing a whole lottta ruckus with the Melvins:
Our first gig was in a crowded chalet at a Butlins holiday resort in Minehead, South West Engerland. It was an early All Tomorrow's Parties festival in 2008 curated by Melvins/Mike Patton and we hadn't been asked to play. So we played anyway.
Sneaking the equipment in, shoving the fold up beds out of the way and inviting the entire drunken festival back to the chalet was the easy part, getting them out without trashing the place was a little trickier. But we'd not planned that far ahead.
We had no songs, just handful of riffs and Stuart sang lyrics from a little notebook he had that looked like a miniature bible. It was cold outside so people started climbing through the windows and it quickly became a packed, sweaty party. Everyone was drunk enough to not notice we didn't have any songs and starting going a little nuts. There was a dude crowd surfing in the kitchenette area and breakfast cereal was being thrown around the lounge/sleeping room, mud was being trampled up the walls, ceiling and television and fist holes started to appear in the thin plasterboard walls.
It all started going really wrong when Jared from the Melvins climbed through the window, standing on the power cable to my amp, ripping it out of the socket and the kitchen table collapsed under the weight of the 7 dudes standing on it. It became a drum - vocal ensemble for a short while after that until security finally swamped the chalet and shut us down, some disgruntled kid head butted a security guard and was being pinned to the bonnet (hood) of a car outside.
The Head of Butlin's slapped a £450 fine on us for rebuilding the chalet and removed our wristbands for the festival. We were back in the festival within the hour and started planning next year’s chalet gig.
History is a subject which may have bored many people in school, but even those who dozed off during lessons will agree that along with the occult and war, it makes for one of the best topics for heavy metal. Motorhead for example has written several songs about famous wars, as well as an album entitled, "1916," while Iced Earth took things further with a concept album about the American Civil War. Iron Maiden approached the culture of ancient Egypt on their fifth album, "Powerslave," and other bands have touched on it too. But for one band, this wondrous civilisation was to inspire not only their lyrics, but their album titles and even their name. Far away from the Pyramids, in Greensville, South Carolina in fact, this band came to life, under the moniker, Nile.
The group emerged from the remnants of a thrash metal band called Morriah, who achieved success locally and were able to perform some shows with the then emerging death metal champions such as Morbid Angel. After their dissolution in the early nineties, member Karl Sanders decided to form a new, heavier band, joined by bassist and vocalist, Chief Spires and drummer, Pete Hammoura. Their first release came two years after forming, with the 1995 EP, "Festivals of Atonement," which was distributed via their own label, Anubis Records. It circulated strongly and helped them to build up enough of a fan base to support the likes of Obituary and Deicide amongst other death metal giants. More...
When being interviewed a few years back in Tampere, Sakis Tholis of Rotting Christ stated that he believes Finland is now the capital of metal music. Looking at how many bands come from there and how commercially successful the genre is in the country, one could say it’s quite hard to argue with the man. It wasn’t always this way though, Finnish bands had to work hard to build both scenes and reputations and one of the bands who really helped make Finland a metal force was a group from the capital city, Helsinki, who go by the name, Amorphis.
Amorphis was put together in 1990 by drummer and guitarist, Jan Rechberger and Esa Holopainen, both members of the thrash metal outfit, Violent Solution, which struggled on for a while as the duo recruited a former bandmate, Tomi Koivusaari on vocals and guitar, as well as bass player, Oppu Laine. The band put together a demo, "Disment of Soul," the next year, helmed by the Stratovarius guitarist, Timo Tolkki, which was deemed good enough for the band to be offered a worldwide recording deal with Relapse Records. Their debut album was then released in 1992 under the title, "The Karelian Isthmus," receiving some very high praise upon release. It was much more of a solid death metal album than later releases, albeit with some doom influences on display, a style which could also be heard on the demo collection, "Privilege of Evil," which was released a year later. More...
Unless you make hip hop videos, the days of big budget videos are pretty much gone. This week a couple rock bands release effective videos on a budget. Hip hop videos do rule though: lots of money, cars and women... More...
New York has a reputation worldwide for being hard as nails and producing tough guys, which is something that has been represented in their music throughout the decades. Hip hop is a well known contribution New York has made to music, but their punk, hardcore and metal legacy is certainly the stuff of legends as well, having produced such bands as The Ramones, Agnostic Front and Anthrax to name but a few. Another band who personified what their home was all about, particular in the vocalist's accent, was Long Island's own, Suffocation, probably one of New York's best known death metal bands along with Cannibal Corpse. Their music was unforgiving in its brutality and punished the ears of audiences throughout the nineties until the band split in 1998.
Luckily for fans of the group and the genre, Suffocation reunited in 2003 and a year later released the excellent album, "Souls to Deny." The record helped put them back on the metal map after five years away and in 2006, they solidified that the comeback was for real by releasing a self-titled album. Like their previous efforts, the album was a display of sonic violence and extremes, earning good reviews in nearly every publication and delighting fans with a re-recording of the old track, "Prelude to Repulsion" from their album, "Breeding the Spawn." It also produced two music videos, one for "Abomination Reborn" and one for today's featured song, "Bind Torture Kill."
The song was inspired by the serial killer, Dennis Rader, also known as the "BTK strangler" after his infamous signature. This horrifying subject is captured perfectly in the song, which has a pummeling intro before getting into the grizzly business. Like the majority of Suffocation's catalogue, it's a relentless bulldozer of a song, encapsulating the claustrophobic fear of a victim of violence and aggression that comes with a mindset hellbent on causing destruction. It was a highlight on a solid album and was popular enough that even the History Channel, who then actually made programmes about history, took notice and featured the song in an advertisement for their series on the dark ages. It's an excellent slab of brutal death metal that put any worries about Suffocation not living up to their own blood soaked legacy to rest. More...
We've all got fond memories of that one unforgettable show, and for this week's Pit Story, Daemonskald from the Canadian band SIG:AR:TYR shares this tale of seeing Metallica live back in '89:
In the summer of 1989, I was 19 and drove with a group of friends from London, Ontario to the famous Pine Knob Theatre in Michigan to see Metallica on the Justice For All tour. It was a very hot day, and there were 5 of us in a compact car with no air conditioning. Even with the windows rolled down for most of the 3 hour drive, all of us were in muscle shirts and sticking to each other in a horrifying, sweltering mess.
When we arrived, it was like a big football tailgate party in the parking lot with everyone partying it up before the gates opened. One of our guys got very friendly with a girl in the pickup truck parked beside us, and before we knew it, had run off with her into the bushes. Meanwhile, her big, mean-looking boyfriend came back wondering where she had got to. Some of his friends pointed towards our vehicle, and we actually watched him angrily put on brass knuckles and wait for them to come back. The girl and our friend came back separately, and she must of came up with a good excuse because things cooled down and we could stop worrying that we were going to get into a giant brawl before we even got into the venue.
The Cult opened up the show. At one point Ian Astbury seemed to have lost his famous cowboy hat in the crazy crowd. Metallica was amazing, but the one thing I remember most is that the crowd started a giant bonfire in the lawn seats and it just seemed to grow in size as the night went on. Then, hundreds of people started to mosh around the giant fire like some ancient pagan ritual. It was the most insane thing I’ve ever seen at a concert. Whenever I hear Creeping Death, that memorable day as a teenager in the 80’s always comes to mind.
One of the great things about the internet is that younger headbangers can find all sorts of bands so much easier than they could twenty years. Where once fans may have wondered what happened to certain members of bands, they are now able to find their subsequent or side projects with much greater ease. One such band who achieved success in their time but for a while were swept away featured a very important member of the classic lineup of one of metal’s most important bands, Motorhead, whose guitarist Eddie Clarke would leave for a new group, Fastway.
Fastway was formed in 1983 when "Fast" Eddie Clarke became disillusioned with Motorhead and teamed up with UFO bass player, Pete Way, who had also become disgruntled with his band. They recruited former Humble Pie drummer, Jerry Shirley and Irish singer Dave King. Despite Way being a founding member and half of the group’s namesake, he decided to leave the project early on because he was unable to escape his record deal with Chrysalis Records and instead opted to join Ozzy Osbourne’s band, later forming a new group, Waysted. More...
What a band Venom are and what an album, "Black Metal" is. It's a classic, pure and simple. It's credited with spawning an entire sub-genre of metal and was one of the most radical releases of its time, comparable only to Venom's first album, "Welcome To Hell." It cemented Venom's place as the band everyone had to hear and as time has passed, it's become even more vital to the collection of every headbanger. The album's title track is perhaps the most well known, a frenzied blast of energy with an unforgettable hook, but there were other staples on display too, such as regular set closer, "Countess Bathory," which has been covered countless times and is arguably one of the best structured songs on the record. "Buried Alive" was another standout track, notable for the sound of dirt being shoveled on to the microphone at the beginning, while "Leave Me In Hell" was another insanity driven slice of mania, but the song that really stood out to my impressionable, fifteen year old self, was the fifth song on the album, "Teacher's Pet."
The song, as the title crudely suggests, was a departure from the usual Satanic themes and ventured into the other territory Venom were partial to discussing; Sex. They'd dealt with this subject on their debut with, "Red Light Fever," but this time turned their attentions to the fantasies many a schoolboy had in their developing years, penning a tribute to that one hot teacher. Musically, the song is fabulous as well, bordering on camp with the guitar interpretation of "I'm the King of the Castle" before building into another fantastic thrill ride with a catchy chourus. It's one of the most fun songs on the album, as clearly evidenced by the mid-song lapse into the classic English anthem, "Get Ya Tits Out for the Lads," and as a teen listener, was a cheeky number that you had to play for your friends. It's still a good laugh today, as well as being a generally great, fast metal song, and a snapshot of what made Venom so loved. More...
It's time for another round of Pit Stories. This story comes to us via Matt Garzilli of Sworn Enemy. Brian Fair of Shadows Fall thought he could mosh in during Sworn Enemy and then play a show but he went to the hospital instead. More...
Greece is a country as fascinating as it is beautiful, though it’s had plenty of problems to contend with over the years, in recent times being one of the countries worst hit by the global financial crisis. Such harshness, as well as a history both violent and cultured, seem to be a perfect place for metal music to be born and thrive, and so it is that this week, we’ll take a look at one of their best known contributions to the field, Septicflesh.
Septic Flesh was formed in the Greek capital city of Athens in 1990 by bassist/vocalist, Spiros Antoniou, with his younger brother Christos Antoniou on guitar, as well as second guitarist Sotiris Vayenas. Nineteen months after coming together, the group released their first demo, "Temple of the Lost Race," which didn't take long to sell out and is now a highly sought after collectable. It was songs from this demo, as well as, "Morpheus (The Dreamlord,") which helped the band grab the attention of Holy Records, who signed the band up and released their debut full length album, "Mystic Places of Dawn" in 1994. The record was co-produced by former Rotting Christ keyboardist, Magus Wampyr and is still considered to be one of the best releases by Septic Flesh, as well as one of the best of the year, a notable feat considering this was the same year Emperor released, "In the Nightshade Eclipse" and Mayhem unleashed, "De Mysteriis dom Sathanas." More...