A few months back, Sunday Old School examined the career of Brujeria, a band which proved that not all super groups are disappointments. They featured amongst their ranks Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Dino Cazares of Fear Factory and Shane Embury of Napalm Death. Embury has never been one to shy away from side projects and collaborations, as his stints with Brujeria, Venomous Concept and partnership with the British hip-hop group, Gunshot demonstrates, but there was another project he worked on which gained considerable attention. Indeed, it could be considered another supergroup, this time going by the name, Lock Up.
Lock Up was formed by Embury and then Cradle of Filth drummer, Nicholas Barker (later of Benediction, Dimmu Borgir and also Brujeria, amongst others.) The seeds were sewn one night when the two were drinking together and listening to some of their favourite metal records, talking about how they’d like to do a band which encapsulated the fun and brutality of early Napalm Death records, as well as being influenced by the Terrorizer album, "World Downfall," whose founder, Jesse Pintado, was then also in Napalm Death and was brought in to the Lock Up ranks, along with Swedish musician, Peter Tägtgren, perhaps best known as the driving force behind the death metal band, Hypocrisy. More...
Gather around metal heads: it's Pit Story time again!
This week Dave Davidson from Revocation shares a tale of trying to get a fellow musician to stage dive, who wisely turns the offer down.
Undeterred, Dave decides to show the fans in the mosh pit how it's done, with some unfortunate consequences. He tells the story thusly:
We were playing Cleveland at Peabody’s on the Darkest Hour Legacy tour and I was drinking at the bar with Misha from Periphery. The subject of mosh pits and stage diving came up and he said that he had never stage dived before. I was pretty drunk at that point so I was kind of teasing him about not doing it and challenging him to stage dive. He wasn’t into it so I went up and stage dove during Darkest Hour’s set and came out unscathed.
I came back to the bar and Misha was still not having it so I went for round two to prove my point… but then things didn’t go quite as planned. I dove off the stage backwards but I kind of over shot my jump so instead of catching my whole body the crowd only caught my legs which flipped my body around so that my head came crashing to the concrete floor.
I stood up in a daze after basically “piledriving” myself in the middle of the pit and felt a wetness on the back of my head. I soon realized that wet feeling was actually blood and one of the dudes who worked at the club was nice enough to take me to the ER. 8 staples later I was sent on my way. Misha got the aftermath of the stage dive gone awry on video for your viewing pleasure.
Revocation's forthcoming fifth album "Deathless" will drop on October 14th via Metal Blade. Get a taste of the release by hearing "Madness Opus" here or check out the title track at this location. Check out the end result of Dave's mistimed stage leap in the player below: More...
It’s a widely accepted fact that it’s important to know your history and generally agreed upon that one should also be aware of their roots. With that in mind, it seemed an appropriate to finally devote a Sunday Old School column to one of the most important bands in the history of heavy metal, though they may not strictly fit the tag by the modern definition. Most people, when discussing the first metal bands will point to three groups, all formed in England; Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, both from the Midlands are two and the other was born in the country’s capital. The other is named, Deep Purple.
Deep Purple was initially conceived as a supergroup called Roundabout, named so because the idea was for musicians to join and leave the band whenever they wanted. It was the brainchild of drummer Chris Curtis, who began assembling the band with the help of manager Tony Edwards, beginning with organist, Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Curtis was soon fired from the group owing to his behaviour and was eventually replaced by Ian Paice, who was brought along by singer Rod Evans during his own successful audition for the band, who by that time had also brought in a bassist by the name of Nick Simper. After performing a few shows in Sweden and Denmark, Blackmore suggested they change their moniker to Deep Purple, reportedly in honour of his grandmother’s favourite song. The suggestion was accepted and they began life as the outfit we all know today. More...
Sleeveless jean jackets are back along with spandex and a potential prequel to an Aerosmith favorite. More...
Every Tuesday we check in with musicians from across the metalverse to find their best Pit Stories from live shows.
While moshing is meant to be a chance to let out aggression while throwing down to your favorite band's music, some metalheads aren't exactly courteous in the pit and tempers are known to flare. Throw in someone who doesn't care about basic hygiene or personal boundaries and you've got a recipe for thrown fists and ejection from the venue.
One such unfortunate incident is chronicled today by drummer Avery Desmarais from Edmonton, Alberta-based metal band Display Of Decay. He had this story to share:
So Disciples of Power is playing their first ever reunion show at the pawnshop in Edmonton, I'm in the audience watching, enjoying the show and some giant asshole keeps elbowing and just laying out the people around him. People who aren't involved in the rowdy violent part of the crowd, people who don't look like they enjoy moshing. And he just keeps laying these people out, boom!
I'm unfortunately now beside him at this point, still watching when he turns, and shoves me pretty good. Managed to stand still, goes for it again and hits me. At this point a guy taps me on the shoulder to get my attention (I do not know this cat), he kinda nudges my hand insisting I smash this guys head in with this empty beer bottle that he is handing me. I think back on it now, I should have. but I'm like nahhh, don't need that kind of drama happening at a venue that I really like going to.
So this asshole, turns to me, and rubs the sweat from his forehead on my shoulder like a cat. Disgusted, I look at him and tell him to "Fuck off." Maybe 15 seconds passed, and I see him going for it again. At this point I'm thinking, okay I really want this guys to be bleeding from his ear right now, so I grabbed this fellow (who keep in mind, definitely has some weight on me, and a few inches, plus he was taller than me) by the shoulders of his jacket and I start whipping him around like hockey players on the ice grabbing the other by the jersey and just giving him all the weight I had.
This guy gets to his feet, swings at me, misses, I throw a punch and I'm pretty sure I hit him in the eyebrow. He swings again and clocks me, but being the spaz that I am along with the help of the pounding doom screaming from the amps of DOP during crisis, it barely phased me. Now we both were grabbed by people and I was taken outside and I went home.
I never saw that guy again. I wonder if he still thinks of me, I wonder if he remembers how we met. Only time will tell.
What's your best pit story of when an inconsiderate mosher practically begged for a beat down? Let us know in the comments below!
We've already seen twice this year, through our features on Behemoth and Vader, that Poland is a country which has contributed some great works to the art of heavy metal music. This week, we'll be taking a look at another band from the country that helped to pave the way for metal in Eastern Europe and stake a place in the thrash which had boomed in their neighbouring country, Germany. A group from Poznan known quite memorably as Acid Drinkers.
The band was formed in September 1986 by singing bassist Tomasz "Titus" Pukacki and guitarist, Robert "Litza" Friedrich, who were soon joined by drummer, Maciej "Slepy" Gluchowski and another guitar player named, Dariusz "Popcorn" Popowicz. They recorded their first songs together before Pukacki was forced to put his musical aspirations on hold for two years to do his part for the army. He returned two years later and eventually reformed Acid Drinkers with Friedrich and Maciek "Slimak" Starosta. They performed their first gig in August 1989 in western Poland's largest city, Wroclaw. The thrashers quickly made a name for themselves, earning a record deal with Under One Flag, an English record label which had previously released albums by such artists as Onslaught. More...
Joining the band on stage is a dream for many metal lovers, but sometimes that doesn't always go down the way you might of hoped.
For this week's Pit Story, Martin Drozd from beer-guzzling folk metal outfit Protokult shares a story of inviting a young fan to play on stage without first checking with the rest of the group:
So there we were, doing what we do best and indulging during our pre-show ritual. This venue/backstage was conveniently located right next to a parking lot which was nice and easy access for us to get obliterated before our set.
The sun went down and the Kult was in town and all of a sudden a group of random teenage school kids approached us in the parking lot. They looked a little under age, plus I don't like sharing with strangers so we didn't offer them any swigs but I noticed one nerdy looking kid was carrying some sort of small instrument case. "Hey man, what instrument you got there?" I asked. "I'm a flautist," he chirped back; "just finished a busking gig." I thought to myself, "interesting." Turns out he had the same name as our guitarist (Jeremy) and I decided to test his musical abilities. "If you claim to have studied music all these years, fuck it, join us on stage for a few numbers," I suggested. I am easy going like that and figured it would be worth a laugh; hell, maybe the kid would be amazing!
The young Jeremy was delighted at the thought and I quickly mentioned a few chord progressions for him to keep in mind and practice to. Fast-forward inside the venue. As we're setting up, the nerdy, homeless looking minstrel wanders up on stage and starts blowing his heart out on the flute. Coincidentally, this was the same weekend as the Toronto Jazz festival so I decided to troll the audience a bit. "Good evening folks, this is Jeremy on the flute and welcome to the Toronto Jazz fest." Confusion and apprehension lingered amok but the joke seemed well-received by a majority of the audience. As Jeremy kept fluting relentlessly for what seemed a lifetime, we launched into our first song.
Ekaterina climbed up on stage and gave this kid a swift kick off-stage and in less than a heartbeat, he was gone! He tried weaseling his way back on for a few numbers but she wasn't having it. Being very drunk and focused on my own performance, I took no notice to the occasional plea for mercy and desperate cries of "Please give me a chance, I'm a human being!" Moral of the story? Make sure the full band is aware of any guest appearances prior to performance.
Protokult's new album "No Beer In Heaven" just came out last month and can be heard in full via the Bandcamp player provided below. More...
In some ways, being part of a hugely influential band can be a real hindrance to a person’s future endeavours. Many times they’ll be unable to escape from the shadow of their past glory, though there are some musicians who have bucked the trend and gone on to find success again. Dave Grohl is one such well known example, as is former Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig, who was able to triumph with his eponymous band. Danzig began life in 1986 when Glenn Danzig’s band at the time, Samhain, performed what was billed as their final show in New York. In the audience that night was producer, Rick Rubin, who approached the singer about taking part in a supergroup he was looking to put together. Danzig wouldn’t take part in another band without bassist, Eerie Von and eventually, two other members of Samhain, John Christ and Chuck Biscuits (also formerly of Black Flag and D.O.A.) were brought into the fold. Despite consisting entirely of Samhain members, the group decided to change their moniker to Danzig, given their shift in musical direction.
They wasted little time in getting to work on material and in 1988, released their self-titled debut album, which remains their best selling album. The record contained the single, "Mother," the video of which was banned by MTV for it’s provocative imagery, specifically the ending sequence which featured a chicken being supposedly sacrificed, with an inverted cross then being drawn in the animals blood. Three other music videos, "She Rides," "Am I Demon" and "Twist of Cain," the last of which featured Metallica frontman, James Hetfield performing uncredited backing vocals, were made to promote the album and helped the record reach its popular status. More...
This week we have videos that remind us of wet dreams, the hot desert and just how much fun dynamite and drinking and driving can be. More...
Tuesday's not just new release day - it's also when we have the best of the best in the metal world share their most memorable Pit Stories.
This week metal warrior Casey Orr of Rigor Mortis (...and Warbeast, and GWAR, and Ministry, and a whole bunch of others) shares a tale of camaraderie in the pit when metal heads and punk rockers come together to tear shit up and have a good time. Casey recounts the story thusly:
I grew up in Arlington, TX, just east of Ft. Worth and about 30 miles west of Dallas. Though only about 30 miles apart, Dallas and the Arlington/Ft Worth area are very different. While Arlington/Ft. W was clearly the birthplace of heavy metal in North Texas, Dallas, being a bit more "big city," was a fertile breeding ground for punk. At that time my only exposure to punk had been through main stream outlets. I was aware of Devo, The Sex Pistols, and The Ramones, but not much else. Our side of the Metroplex was all about Sabbath, Skynyrd, Led Zep, and the burgeoning NWOHM.
Sometime in 1984, a friend told me and Rigor Mortis drummer, Harden Harrison, about this crazy club in Dallas we HAD to check out. It was a punk rock club called The Circle A Ranch, and we said hell yeah, let's go! So one night Harden and I drove out to Dallas to this seedy area called Deep Ellum in search of enlightenment, or beer, or a fight, or all of the above.
We found the club, a dingy dump up a rickety flight of stairs, and we entered. As we got to the top of the stairs I looked around and realized we were the only longhairs in the room. It was all skinheads and mohawks! The band that was playing (I've long forgotten who) was playing faster and more aggressively than almost any of the metal I'd heard up to this point. After a slight verbal altercation between Harden and the doorman over "being a long haired hippie," which ended in mutual respect and acceptance (I was so mesmerized I barely noticed, I think I threw money at him and just went in), we proceeded into the room and soaked in this amazing scene that appeared in front of us. The first mosh pit we had ever seen!
There must have been 50 - 75 hardcore punk rockers slamming each other as they moved in a counter clockwise direction. It looked like they were beating the shit out of each other, but they weren't. In fact if someone went down, they were immediately helped back up and the melee continued. I felt like John Belushi in The Blues Brothers when he's in the church and has his revelation about "the band." After a couple of minutes we looked at each other, grinned, and jumped right in. Of course we went the opposite direction as they were going; what better way to introduce yourself? After a couple of songs we stepped out to catch our breath. Right about then two boots and braces type skinheads also left the pit and came right to us. The bigger of the two, who was bleeding from his forehead, said "I don't give a shit if you guys come here or not, but that shit (pointing at my spiked wristbands) has got to go!" Without even thinking about it, I popped the wristbands off, threw them over my shoulder, threw my arm around the big skinhead and dragged back him into the pit with me. We had a blast that night and it definitely changed me forever.
Rigor Mortis eventually played our first Dallas gig at The Circle A Ranch, and were the first metal band to infiltrate Deep Ellum and the punk scene. Sure there were constant scuffles between our fans (The Longhairs), and The Skins, but we never backed down and gained the respect and friendship of most of the punks in Dallas. And the press did wonders for our reputation!More...
Facebook's ever-growing community, And Justice For Art has joined forces with MetalUnderground.com to present monthly episodes of their infamous series "Look-alike metal album covers." These short but thought-provoking articles focus on artworks that somehow, are uncannily similar, both visually and conceptually. Of course, the metal connection will always be there. Is this a coincidence? A mere rip-off? Let's try to figure it out together....
Grave Digger Vs. Dissection
German irreverent heavy metal quintet, Grave Digger, finally released its seventeenth studio opus, "Return Of The Reaper." The album came accompanied by a cover art courtesy of their longtime artist/collaborator, Gyula Havancsak. It features the reaper-like figure previously established by the band, relentlessly driving a ghostly carriage throughout a graveyard.
Although the graphic seems to be a continuation of the band's previous covers (also featuring the reaper) this idea, however, is far from original. Before Gyula, legendary designer, Thomas Holm, explored a similar setting on King Diamond's "Abigail" (1987) and then, in 1993, Swedish maestro, Kristian 'Necrolord' Wåhlin (At The Gates, Tiamat) created its own rendition for Dissection's debut, "The Somberlain."
What connects "Return Of The Reaper" cover with these illustrations (especially with "The Somberlain") is not just the theme but also the structure of the whole composition, featuring a similar point of view, the relentless attitude of the main rider character, the graveyard setting and even way the horses look like. Thankfully, Gyula's vibrant painting style is far from Whalin's quasi-monochromatic approach and this creates the well-needed differences.
Was Wahlin inspired by Holm? Was Gyula consciously influenced by Kristian Wåhlin? We just don't know. One thing is true: both "Abigail" and "The Somberlain" covers have been part of the metal imagery for decades. Consciously or not, these images could have been in Gyula's mind at the moment of creating his own, otherwise, arresting graphic... In his defense, Gyula briefly comments: "I tried to avoid the "Abigail' direction and I love Dissection, but I forgot "The Somberlain" artwork! How could I forget "The Somberlain" cover!?"
Dear Gyula, this could happen to anyone... Better luck next time. More...
Heavy metal and punk rock has had a longstanding love/hate relationship. Though some fans of one genre have viewed the other with a sense of distaste or disdain, others have given the opposing scene respect. A number of bands were well known for appealing to both sets of fans, with Motorhead being one of the earliest examples and Discharge were a punk band that heavily influenced thrash metal, but another group to bring punk to metal fans was Devon’s very own, Amebix. The group formed in the South West of England under the moniker, The Band With No Name in 1978 by Rob Miller and his brother, Chris, also known as "The Baron" and "Stig" respectively, along with And Hoare and Clive Barnes. They performed regularly in their local area and increased their profile considerably when Rob gave their four track demo tape to underground heroes, Crass, who included the song, "Universally Challenged" on their first compilation LP, "Bullshit Detector."
Shortly afterwards, both Clive and Andy left the group and a new drummer named Martin was brought in. Soon after his recruitment, the band decided to change their name to Amebix, referring to the amoeba. The band was first moved to Dartmoor, then London where Martin suffered a mental breakdown, inspiring the song, "Largactyl," following which Amebix relocated to Bristol, where they lived in squats, during which time they shocked a few people by recruiting a synth player. With something of a stable lineup in place, the band got to work on material and recorded the EP, "Who’s the Enemy?" and the single, "Winter," which reached as high as eighteen on the British Indie Chart. More...
Every week we check in with rock and metal musicians from across the globe to get their best stories from live shows.
While these traditionally take place directly in the mosh pit, sometimes the best stories take place just before or after the show.
This week vocalist / guitarist "The Horde" from The New Jacobin Club shares one such tale of a pants-less evil clown wielding a cattle prod and narrowly avoiding trouble with the local police:
In 2009 we were a 10 piece horror rock/sideshow on the road in Western Canada. At the time, we were on our “Cannibal Circus Roadshow,” tour, and some of our theatrical entourage were dressed as clowns…and not the sort of clowns you take your kids to see at the circus.
One night we found out that two of them were being questioned by police outside the club. One of them was no longer wearing pants. It turns out there had been a report of “two clowns carrying a cattle prod around in public.” One of them did have a cattle prod.
Their reply - “No, officer, we just found this lying here by the alley.”
The cop said “So you’re telling me that there must be two other girls dressed as clowns that were running around the clubs on this strip with a cattle prod?”
The police let them go. This actually happened.
What's the closest you've come to a run-in with the law while attending a metal show? Let us know in the comments!
Of all the names that have appeared throughout the Sunday Old School columns, one of the few to be expected to grace the series would have to be, Peter Frampton. Yet the man who recorded, "Frampton Comes Alive," one of the biggest selling live albums of all time, which according to Mike Myers in Wayne’s World was issued to everyone in the suburbs, was an integral part in one of the first albums to be described as heavy metal. The album in question was called, "As Safe as Yesterday Is" and the band who recorded this effort was called, Humble Pie. Humble Pie was formed in the county of Essex in south England in 1969 by former Small Faces guitarist, Steve Marriott, along with Spooky Tooth bassist, Greg Ridley, Peter Frampton and drummer, Jerry Shirley. After deciding on their name, they soon signed to Immediate Records and released their first single, "Natural Born Bugie," only six months after forming, which was able to reach as high as number four in the British singles chart.
A month later, the band released, "As Safe as Yesterday Is," which, as mentioned before, was one of the first albums to be called heavy metal by Rolling Stone reviewer, Mike Saunders, who went on to form a popular band himself, named Angry Samoans. Perhaps fitting for this bit of trivia, the record opened with a cover of the song, "Desperation" by Canadian band, Steppenwolf, who themselves have at times been credited for the term "heavy metal" after including it in their classic song, "Born to be Wild." The music press weren’t entirely sure what to make of the album, but listeners seemed to enjoy what was on offer, with the record peaking at number sixteen on the British albums chart. More...
In case you missed the previous news - Icona Pop’s single “I Love It” has been covered by Buckcherry. Yes, that single and yes, that Buckcherry. The video is part of an EP titled simply ‘Fuck’ that contains several covers with the chorus and/or lyrics changed to the album title. This particular song is titled “Say Fuck It.” More...
Every week we check in with musicians from across the rock and metal scene to get their most memorable Pit Stories.
This week, guitarist David Mena Ferrer from U.K. outfit In Search Of Sun shares a story of a band that frequently makes the top of anyone's favorite pit list: Slayer! David had this to say:
Well it has to be none other than SLAYER!!!!!! June 9th, 2007 to be exact. It was my second Download Festival ever and the weather was immaculate for a change, the sun was blazing and we sank warm beer after warm beer. My friends and I were positioned left of the main stage, chilled down at the little hill (you know the one), and watching the masses of beautiful festival freaks stumble past us, already half cut, all eagerly awaiting the coming of the mighty Slayer to blow our fucking brains out!
I even remember seeing a dude dressed in a burglar costume eating a crab that day…wherever the Christ he got that from I don’t know! But anyway, the time was finally upon us so we decided to get our asses up and get closer to the action. Maybe a bit too close perhaps…More...
The power of the metal underground can be a truly astounding thing. At times, it can give a band worldwide exposure and a large following even if they haven’t actually released a full length album. One of the best known examples of this would be Switzerland’s, Hellhammer, which of course evolved into Celtic Frost, but another band which would influence countless metal listeners was a group from Chile, who shared their name with an American group that also didn’t release an album until well into their career, a band named, Pentagram. Pentagram, or Pentagram Chile as they now go by, were formed in the Chilean capital city of Santiago in 1985 by singing guitarist, Anton Reisenegger and another guitar player named, Juan Pablo "Azazel" Uribe. They were strongly inspired by the more extreme end of the thrash spectrum and early death metal bands such Possessed, Kreator and Venom.
After recruiting drummer Eduardo Topelberg from a group named Chronos, the trio began working on their musicianship a little more seriously and eventually recorded their first demo, entitled appropriately enough, "Demo 1." Reisenegger handled bass duties for the record and the band began sending out copies all over the world. Two of the people who got a hold of the demo was the Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor, known of course as the founding members of Brazil’s most famous metal band, Sepultura, who at the time had just released their debut album, "Morbid Visions." They struck up a friendship with the two and there was reportedly intention for Max Cavalera and Anton Reisenegger to record an album together, though to date, this has not happened. More...
New music and videos from Sixx:A.M. and Screaming Eagles this week. More...
A few weeks back Halycon Way checked in with us to share a Pit Story about a massive wall of death at a Lamb of God show, and now the Atlanta prog metal group is back for another tale of pit shenanigans.
This week the group shares a tale of an unwanted pit failing to erupt at the NAMM convention. Halcyon Way had this to say about the event:
So, it's the Winter NAMM show in January of 2013. I'm at the Grove in Anaheim for an industry-only show there, and it's Exodus, Prong, and Jeff Loomis playing. I'm with a group of friends - other musicians, manufacturers, our producer Lasse Lammert is there, it's a good group. The Grove is a good sized venue, and it's probably about half full, so there's a pretty fair amount of room in the crowd area too, because the venue's floor is kinda segmented, with 20 foot sections going up from the stage. Basically, you have a 15-20 foot deep section the width of the venue, then there's a couple of steps up and a short wall, and there's another level a couple feet higher. I think there's 3-4 total. Keep in mind that this is an industry-only event, and that the general public was not allowed in. You had to get a pass from Dean Guitars in the NAMM show at the convention center.
So, during Prong's set there's a small pit breaking out in the lowest level, and that's cool. The people that didn't want to pit were up higher watching the show....until some drunk numbnuts decides he's going to start one 2 levels up. And the douche didn't even know how to really do a pit, he just decided to drunkenly stagger from one side of the venue to the other, and ram into as many people as he could. Women? Sure. Dudes? Of course. Mom with baby? He would have if there were one there. The guy was being a complete toolbag, just ramming into anyone at random, hitting them from behind, etc.More...
One of the wonderful things about thrash metal is that while some bands became superstars, others have earned eternal credibility amongst metal fans for their furious live shows and underground classics. Perhaps one of the best examples of the latter comes, unsurprisingly, in the form of a band from San Francisco, Vio-lence. The group was formed by guitarists Phil Demmel and Troy Fua, vocalist Jerry Birr, drummer Perry Strickland and bass player Eddie Billy, brother of Testament frontman, Chuck Billy.
Changes were soon made to the band, most notably when Birr was replaced by Sean Killian, who utilised a unique cadence in his singing style and former Forbidden guitarist, Robb Flynn. They soon signed a contract with Mechanic Records and entered the studio to record their first full length album, "Eternal Nightmare." The record is now considered to be one of the best thrash metal albums of all time by dedicated thrash fans, thanks to such songs as "Kill on Command" and "Bodies on Bodies." More...