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Diamond Oz: My Top Five Albums Of 2018

Eagle eyed readers may have noticed that last year, Metal Underground didn't have our annual Best Of awards. While we unfortunately won't be having one this year either, we don't want to miss out on telling you about some of our favourites of 2018. So with this in mind, here's one Limey's opinions on who released the best albums this year, who rocked hardest live and what I'm most looking forward to in 2019. Why not start proceedings off with...

Best Live Band

I've been absolutely spoiled this year quite frankly. Beginning the year with an awesome co-headlining show from Rage and Firewind and almost capping it off with the Headbanger's Ball tour, which was comprised of Exodus, Sodom, Death Angel and Suicidal Angels, as well as attending the Bloodstock Open Air festival and 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise, it's been a great year for gigs. I've seen some truly phenomenal sets this year, and choosing just one band was difficult, especially given that I've seen Voivod three times this year and they were outstanding every single time. Other special mentions go to Mantar, Judas Priest, Primordial and Skindred, the last of which I've often stated are the best live band I've ever seen. However this year my choice is...

Melechesh

It's been twenty two years since Jerusalem black metal veterans released their debut full length, "As Jerusalem Burns..." and they've continued to just get better and better. Melechesh are a band which can deliver on big festival stages and intimate club shows with a mix of darkness, enigma, great stage presence and most importantly, great music. Those who aren't necessarily fans of their studio work should really give them a go in a live setting because you're almost guaranteed to come away as fans. The seamless performances of such intricate music is stunning but most of all, Melechesh are incredibly fun live, without being corny. Frontman Ashmedi knows he doesn't have to give the "Are you ready to party!?" shtick, or pretend to have arrived straight from Hell, he just has to be Ashmedi... And Ashmedi is fucking badass! More...

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Heavy Metal Rules, Metalsucks Sucks

Metalsucks published an article last week that essentially questions why Vegard Sverre “Ihsahn” Tveitan, the ringleader of black metal legends Emperor, would continue to work with some of his bandmates who were involved with the criminal activity of the notorious Norwegian scene in the early ’90s. The article’s author(s) discuss the often referenced arson of churches that guitarist Tomas Thormodsæter “Samoth” Haugen was involved with and convicted for as well as former drummer Bård Guldvik ‘Faust’ Eithun’s murder conviction, erroneously referring to the latter act as bigoted in nature by jumping to a conclusion based upon assumption. Additionally, in a separate Metalsucks article published in 2017, one of the site’s editors/writers, Axl Rosenberg, wrote, “Yes, Bård Guldvik ‘Faust’ Eithun murdered a gay man, Magne Andreassen, who allegedly propositioned him (not that propositioning Eithun would make Andreassen’s murder okay, obviously — but to hear Eithun tell it, it’s the reason for his homicidal act).” Rosenberg later added that he speaks “for both Vince and myself when I say that we won’t give Emperor a free pass any longer.”

At press time, I was unable to verify whether or not Metalsucks’ editors/writers actually wear superhero capes.

The problem with Metalsucks’ claim is that they provide no evidence suggesting that the act was motivated by homophobia. It is conjecture. In these two instances, and this appears to be a recurring problem with the website, Metalsucks prove themselves to be sloppy at best and disingenuous at worst. Eithun was quoted as using a homophobic slur in Lords of Chaos, a 1998 book that he described—upon my request for this article—as one including “a vortex of bad statements, misquotes and still youth gone wild out-eviling each other.” More...

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This is xFiruath Signing Off

My long journey with Metalunderground began nearly a decade ago. Obama wasn't President yet, and I still had a day job. I was tired of people screaming at me on the phone over problems with their cell service that I hadn't caused and had no ability to fix. It was time for a change, so the wife and I decided to give a big old middle finger to the daily grind and dive headfirst into freelancing online.

It wasn't long after getting in touch with Deathbringer that I found myself in Seattle on a tour bus shaking hands with Mikael Akerfeldt and blathering like an idiot about what a big fan I was. Its an experience I'll never forget, seeing a legend in the flesh and learning what his daily life was like while performing across the country. I was so star struck I accidentally left my audio recorder on the bus after the interview and didn't get it back until after the show. I've got a good half an hour of Mikael on the phone talking to family in Sweden that I'm never going to delete.

Never in my life did I figure I'd be talking to Kyle Gass about the death of Dio and whether there might ever be a Pick Of Destiny 2, but there I was on the phone with one half of Tenacious D chatting about legalizing drugs and how mortality sucks. Phone calls with lifelong idols like Emperor's Ihsahn and Vorph from Samael became semi-regular occurrences. I actually ended up discussing the infamous “Jesus is a cunt” t-shirt directly with Dani Filth.

The Metalunderground of those golden days feels like a completely different era now. I remember back when every Avenged Sevenfold or Slipknot thread had 150+ comments and became any given reader's personal chat room. That time Deathbringer made a forum link on the main page as an April Fool's joke (royally pissing off everyone who wanted a message board long before we actually had one) had me in stitches while fending off angry emails.

Looking back at those days, I think of shirtless Wilco and his creative grammar. Regulars like americanpatriot1 and Gorecunt keeping conversations going. InfernoNecrosis oversharing about bodily functions. KMADD and Korndogg trolling. The constant cry of “That's not Rob Zombie!!” All those times I accidentally wrote “Mike Porntoy” or “Windows Of Plague” in a headline. Branded or Kali getting into massive fights with anyone about anything. Blindgreed1 coming up with ever more inventive insults to anyone who would dare besmirch the Metalunderground name or anybody who called MU home.

If you got past the hazing phase, you were a regular – you were on of us, and that meant something. Those were the days of R10 and Wolf, Natsquatch and Cozen, BrunoHockalugie and Jackrum, Terminator and BrianSD, IrishMetal and Trendkill91, PorcupineTreeFan and IrishMetal, Fuck_A_Name and Drum_Junkie (who blessedly has stayed active). Whoever thought a grown man could look back at a forum thread titled “I'd put my tongue in her butt” and feel nostalgic?

It wasn't just the readers that made us into that powerhouse of metal though, it was also the contributors. It was Vicky bringing absurdly underground pornogrind bands to the world's attention. It was CROMCarl's pun-tastic reviews. It was James (Cynic), Zack (zMETALlica), Peggy (darkstar), Cody (The_Avant_Garde), Dan (heavytothebone2), Kevin (n0thinghead), Joel (bloodofheroes), Andrew (remembermetal?), Matt (Dasher10), psythe, and more turning this thing into a community. All the while there was Deathbringer keeping us together and introducing me to bands like Acid Bath. More...

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Heavy Metal In Video Games Part 5

Heavy metal and video games are such an obvious combination that its baffling the collision doesn't happen more often. Despite four decades of games to work through, the number of titles that specifically revolve around metal themes or use heavy metal soundtracks is just abysmally low.

Today we're going to take another look at the limited options available, covering some old and some new entries that should be sitting on your shelf or taking up space in your Steam library.

For those who missed our previous three articles discussing various games with heavy metal soundtracks, be sure to go back and check 'em out (and let us know if you end up playing or re-playing any of these gems!):

Part 1: the amazing Brutal Legend, Saints Row III, Killing Floor 2, Pain Killer, and Guilty Gear X2 Reload

Part 2: Splatterhouse, Twisted Metal 2, The Witcher's bonus music disc, and Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost And The Damned.

Part 3 (the retro edition!): Rock And Roll Racing, Beavis And Butthead, F-Zero X, Earthbound, and Heavy Metal Geomatrix

Part 4: the return of music games with Rock Band in addition to Carmageddon, NeverDead, and NeverGone. More...

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2016 Metal Newcomers Explored, Pt. V

Whether you agreed with our 2016 Staff Awards or not, one of the things we take great pride in at MetalUnderground.com is being able to unearth some new acts (or acts just releasing a full length album in the current year) that you should take notice of.

We pour over literally thousands of new albums between all of the staff and there is a reason: the quest for great metal. I'm sure I do not stand alone in the belief that once you lose the desire to seek out new bands, you've given up on the scene. Metal should be perpetual and though there are so many acts out there trying to get attention, this should not dissuade you from the hunt. One of the biggest problems in metal fandom is falling into the lazy trap of saying "no good music is made these days" or "nothing can ever be better than the music of the 80's, or 70's, or 90's." The hunt for great music is the driving force for passion for music and it is imperative as fans that we continue to do it.

So for this final installment of Newcomers 2016, I wanted to draw attention some bands not nominated, but would fall in line as "6-10" on my list for 2016. Hopefully, you will find something you like. More...

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2016 Metal Newcomers Explored, Part IV:

Our annual staff awards were recently announced, but each year we delve into some of the newcomers a little more in-depth to help our readers discover new metal bands. Here are my top metal newcomer picks for 2016: More...

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2016 Metal Newcomers Explored, Part III

Our annual staff awards were recently announced, but each year we delve into some of the newcomers a little more in-depth to help our readers discover new metal bands. I have not been on the pulse of metal as much as in years past, but I still discovered a few new bands to enjoy in 2016. While my best-of picks were all folk metal and thrash, the newcomers I enjoyed were a little more varied, but some still falling into those categories. Here were my top five metal newcomer picks for 2016:

Huldre

I enjoy folk metal a lot and with the shakeup in Eluveitie's lineup, I was especially happy to discover another excellent folk metal alternative in Huldre, who released "Tusmørke" this year. While not officially the band's first album, until hitting bandcamp just recently it was extremely difficult to get a copy of the band's music in the States. Huldre varies things quite a bit on "Tusmørke," going from soothing folk with female vocals to heavier, chugging riffs. "Hindeham" is a decently heavy track throughout and is a good place to start, while "Underjordisk" is a bit faster paced overall.

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2016 Metal Newcomers Explored, Pt. II

The capitulation of each year is that glorious time when we pour over hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of titles trying feverishly to rank them into either a Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 50, Top 100 or Top 1000 lists (we did our own, which you can read about here). One of my favorite list to compile is the new, unknown or newly formed groups in order to very year we make a point of searching out new, unknown, and freshly formed groups because its pretty rare (though not impossible) that they top the album lists. However, the search for new bands to perpetuate the scene is something I take great pride in doing because every Blind Guardian or Amon Amarth or Dream Theater started somewhere.

For all the pain that 2016 seemed to inflict on people all over the world, in music it seems like despite the evolving and changing music industry a plethora of new bands try to stake a claim on the world. Technology and the internet contribute greatly, as bands can record, produce and release albums themselves and those creations far exceed the quality of the demo tape trading that went on in my youth. Crowdfunding aids in relinquishing the need for record company control, which allows for more bands to take a shot at becoming the next big thing. The problem is - that shot is more like 1 million to 1, instead of 10,000 to 1 years ago.

To give you a glimpse into some of those newer acts which came out in 2016 that you may have missed or overlooked, MetalUnderground.com will be covering individual band nominations for the Best Newcomer category. Here are five bands who I nominated for in the Newcomer category. Hopefully, you will find something you like. More...

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2016 Metal Newcomers Explored

The end of the year means our annual staff awards have arrived! Every year we make a point of searching out new, unknown, and freshly formed groups to bring the best of the best in the metal underground to you.

Ultimately Abbath ended up taking our Best Debut Album / Newcomer award with his self-titled album after splitting off from Immortal, but there were a whole lot of other bands nominated in that category. To give you a look back at what new material came out in 2016 you may have missed, the staff will all be covering our individual band nominations for Best Newcomer.

This was a first for me personally in my time at Metalunderground: unlike nearly all years past, most of my best debut album nominations didn't come from legitimate "newcomers" in 2016, but rather were from new bands consisting of established members of the scene. That's not to say there weren't truly new outfits born this year that are worth hearing, but rather that none of those I heard blew me away and made my top list like these bands did.

Trees Of Eternity

Featuring members of Swallow The Sun, Wintersun, and October Tide, this ill-fated band showed up with a stunning debut album that will also most likely be its last ever release.

Recording on "Hour Of The Nightingale" (reviewed here) was nearing completion when tragedy struck and vocalist Aleah Starbridge unexpectedly passed away.

This highly atmospheric release is made all the more haunting (and lyrically compelling) knowing that Aleah is speaking beyond the grave to the audience. It's a shame the band is likely over just as it was getting going, but it offered some truly stellar music on this debut release, easily beating out all the competition for me.

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The Best Heavy Metal Christmas Songs

It's a yearly tradition for metal bands, sometimes of the very extreme death/black variety, to pull out a few tongue-in-cheek Christmas covers around this time.

While most are just jokes or aren't pulled off with much effort, there have been a handful of legitimately awesome heavy metal Christmas albums released, and we're going to show you the ones worth hearing.

If you've got a significant other or family member who insists on Christmas music this time of year, these are the albums you want to pull out to really give them a shock!

Death Metal Christmas - "Hellish Renditions Of Christmas Classics"

Back in 2013, Hate Eternal bass maverick J.J. Hrubovcak released a twistedly unholy rendition of some of the seasons darkest hymns. The EP as a whole is a bit hit or miss, but that death metal rendition of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is absolutely killer. For all the hype this got at the time, it's a shame there's never been a follow-up release.

August Burns Red - "Sleddin' Hill"

While I'm not a huge August Burns Red fan personally, this Christmas album is absolutely phenomenal, and filled to the brim with metallic recreations of classic holiday tunes along with some originals. It's also instrumental, which is a plus, as the instrumentation here is top-notch and the band puts a heavy spin on these songs to a much better degree than many heavy metal Christmas albums that came before.

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The Best Heavy Metal Cover Art From 2016

Every year in December we cover the best and worst of metal with a focus on recorded material and live releases, but what frequently gets lost in the shuffle is an integral part of all things metal: the artwork.

While the prominence of physical media that you actually handle and admire while listening to an album has faded with the advent of digital distribution, cover artwork remains a core and iconic part of the heavy music experience across all sub-genres.

From frozen occult black metal to the most over-the-top fantasy power metal, the artwork is the first thing people are going to notice, and the artists deserve more recognition than they typically get.

Our roundup of the most memorable art last year saw jaw-dropping pieces from the likes of Marco Hassman, Par Oloffson, and the increasingly prolific Seth Siro Anton. This year will feature a markedly contrasted lineup of artists and bands as we explore drastically different styles that all express thematic ideas in amazingly divergent ways.

Some art this year was memorable for more negative reasons. Freedom Call, Devildriver, Gojira, and Metallica in particular all had less-than-stellar or head-scratching cover artwork this time around. We'll (mostly) be skipping that sort of memorability below, and instead focusing on things that looked amazing or were too bizarre to ignore.

Alkerdeel – Lede

We have to start here with Alkerdeel's “Lede” cover crafted by Luchtrat, an artist I'd never heard of before who does a variety of graphic designing online. I seriously haven't been able to stop thinking about this cover all year long from the moment I first laid bewildered eyes upon it.

Is it a joke? Is it completely serious? Is it taking square aim at the sort of people who would wonder about the difference? It's both minimalist and somehow simultaneously complex. It's a childish idea presented very simply – a demon taking aim and farting – but also seems to be so much more. Is it a comment on the pointlessness and absurdity of life? Is it meant to be lighthearted or threatening? Are we supposed to be taking something away from the stripped down color scheme and the blank spaces between the lines?

I have no idea if this was even the intention, but this artist caused something of an existential crisis for me. I have to wonder if somewhere there's a farting demon currently laughing about that fact.

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Reasons Why Your Band Sucks And Will Never Make It

When I browse around for unsigned bands, it's hard to find one that I like. Mostly since most unsigned bands lack a record deal for a reason. It's that your band just plain sucks horses. There are exceptions and there are bands who never get a record deal who deserved one but most of the time, most bands just suck too much to ever go anywhere.

Here are the main reasons why I've hated nearly all unsigned music that I've listened to. More...

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Metal Must Evolve

My biggest issue with metal in the 2010s is that in contrast to the past three decades, there's just a lack of creativity. Newer metalcore is being increasingly influenced by nu-metal and post-hardcore as the new musicians who are in their 20s and 30s are now playing music that's entirely an amalgam of what they grew up with as teens rather than creating anything new.

Blackgaze was novel for the first few years but now feels like the light beer version of black metal at this point that doesn't have the same edge that metal is supposed to have. I'm not sure if I want black metal to have a kinder, gentler, dare I say, “cuddlier” face when compared to the antisocial behavior that defined the second wave. When I hear a band like Alcest or Deafheaven, I don't feel like these are maniacs with serious mental issues precisely because it sounds way too calculated and professional for my aging ears.

Djent is nice but often feels too monotonous to really do justice to how technical it is. For, “progressive metal” the songwriting lacks the same level of unexpected changes in direction that make progressive rock acts like Rush and Yes so appealing. Yeah, Djent is heavy but it's also often predicable when unconventional songwriting is half of what separates metal and makes it so special and unique. Blackened sludge on the othe rhand is only going to appeal to people who want extremely raw production... who will never be great enough in number to establish a trend rather than a fad. More...

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1985-1995: The Golden Age of Death Metal

Death should be credited with creating death metal, at least the old school style we recognize now, as they birthed the infamous Tampa, Florida sound. Bands such as Autopsy and Obituary—two of the forerunners—would not exist without Death. Death is not the true father of death metal, though. That distinction goes to Possessed. The California Bay Area group not only played a style of brutal, vicious metal, with loads of Satanic imagery, they also coined the term “death metal” on the “Seven Churches” album.

Around 1985, albums similar to “Slowly We Rot” (Obituary) and “Mental Funeral” (Autopsy) simply did not exist. Thrash was the fasted, craziest music around. Of course Possessed has already been mentioned, but the influence of Slayer, who obviously influenced Possessed, can not be under recognized. Where Possessed was different was they used a rougher production. Dark Angel, whose drummer, Gene Hoglan, would go on to be one of the most heralded drummers in the metal biz, certainly showed a good dose of Slayer in their sound. In the beginning, Slayer was nothing more than a faster, nefarious, more solo-oriented Venom protégé. More...

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The Best Heavy Metal Cover Art From 2015

Inspired by Oscuro's “...And Justice For Art” series, I decided to take a look back at some of the metal cover art from 2015 that has stuck with me into the new year.

With hundreds (thousands?) of metal releases every year, there's a ton of artwork that gets splashed across my screen on any given day. While some of it is godawful, for the most part heavy metal gets album artwork right and really creates moods and tones you don't get with the cover designs of other genres.

From Vincent Locke's infamous Cannibal Corpse watercolors to the many, many different cover pieces by Travis Smith, there's some truly iconic artwork in metal and a ton of ground covered in terms of styles and themes.

This past year we got some really great cover art in just about every sub-genre. Unfortunately sometimes killer album art does not mean there will be equally killer music inside, though. The one imbalance that stands out most for me this year was the Marco Hassman cover for Contrarian's “Polemic.”

That cover is jaw-dropping, but it's also intensely interesting in the details. I mean, that's a giant space marlin, and it's apparently engaged in battle with regular old non-organic, metal ships. Everything about that makes me want to hear the album in question. Unfortunately the music didn't grab me (the vocals in particular killed my enjoyment, and the instrumentation was pretty standard tech death), but the artwork unquestionably did its job here.

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Nobody Should Be Defending Phil Anselmo's Remarks

There are few things more pathetic than supporting a rich and successful public figure's mistakes. Out on the great, glorious internet, I've seen apologists for Mel Gibson, Brian Wood, even Martin Shkreli. So the amount of people defending Phil Anselmo - when he clearly doesn't need defending - is hardly shocking. It's just disappointing.

For those out of the loop, a visibly drunken Phil Anselmo recently closed out a charity benefit concert by shouting, “White power” after covering his former band's, “Walk.” More...

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Best New Metal Bands Of 2015 Explored

Every year our annual staff awards include a vote for the best new metal band to arrive with a debut full-length. To make the cut, these fresh young outfits have to blow us away and remind us why we love this genre to begin with.

There were a horde of bands nominated for the “best newcomer” category in 2015, and ultimately the title went to U.S. outfit Gruesome, who happened to be in my list of contender.

Since our focus is on helping metal fans find new bands, we're going to take a closer look at all the bands who were in contention for the award, starting with my personal top bands. Here's the 5 groups who just got started in 2015 that you should be getting into as the new year begins:

Alkaloid

Fans of Obscura and Blotted Science got an unexpected treat this year when several members of prominent European metal bands came together to release a new album under the banner of Alkaloid. Totally forgoing the label route altogether, Alkaloid's debut self release features the talents of names such as Linus Klausenitzer, Hannes Grossmann, and Christian Münzner.

As might be expected by a band with that sort of pedigree, “The Malkuth Grimoire” is an absolute monster of a release (check out our review here). It's technical, it's progressive, it's melodic, and it's even a little gothic. The end result is some very top notch death metal with a sound you aren't going to hear elsewhere, and it absolutely demands a follow-up release!

You can follow Alkaloid at Facebook here and stream all of the stellar debut full-length album “The Malkuth Grimoire” below.

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Born To Raise Hell: A Tribute To Lemmy Kilmister

Three days ago, the musical world was devastated when one its greatest icons was taken after a short bout with cancer. Ian Fraser Kilmister, or as we all knew and loved him as, Lemmy, the lead singer and bassist of Motorhead, passed away on this day, a mere four days after celebrating his seventieth birthday in style, and only two days following his diagnosis. Though in the past two years or so, the man who was a specimen of masculinity had lost a lot of weight and looked very frail, Lemmy fought, and rocked to the very end of his life, and the world expected no less. He was many things to all; A hero, an inspiration, a legend, but above all, he was the embodiment of rock and roll.

Motorhead and Lemmy were always special to me personally. At the age of twelve, I'd begun moving away from the nu metal music I loved as I found the roots and legends of metal. After Black Sabbath, the next band I checked out was Motorhead. Having at the same time got into the punk sounds of the seventies, Motorhead were the ideal band. They were heavier than anyone else when they began, but also faster than many, if not all of their metal counterparts, earning them a place in the hearts of punk rockers too. I remember receiving their box set, "Stone Deaf Forever," reading Lemmy's excellent autobiography, "White Line Fever" throughout a family holiday and then, tickets to see the band at the legendary Hammersmith Apollo (formerly the Hammersmith Odeon.) This was my first concert and to this day, I feel proud that it was (my other choice was Def Leppard.) I went with two friends, Chris and Alex and we arrived early enough to queue up outside the doors, talk about what we were expecting, have a thirteen year old argument about something, then run over to the merch area before there was much of queue, all before heading into the performance area, which was sparsely populated for openers, Young Heart Attack but much busier for The Wildhearts. More...

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Heavy Metal Video Games: The Return Of Music Games

With the king of music games about to make a triumphant return in less than two weeks, it seemed like a good time to take another look at the limited offerings available where video games collide with heavy metal.

For those who missed our previous three articles discussing various games with heavy metal soundtracks, be sure to go back and check 'em out (and let us know if you end up playing or re-playing any of these gems!):

Part 1: the amazing Brutal Legend, Saints Row III, Killing Floor 2, Pain Killer, and Guilty Gear X2 Reload

Part 2: Splatterhouse, Twisted Metal 2, The Witcher's bonus music disc, and Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost And The Damned.

Part 3 (the retro edition!): Rock And Roll Racing, Beavis And Butthead, F-Zero X, Earthbound, and Heavy Metal Geomatrix

Rock Band

There was this utterly glorious time where console gaming was flush with a stable lineup of music games and every weekend involved a bottle of something hard and your best friends making drunken fools of themselves in your living room till 2 AM. Typically your neighbors would not be amused, but fuck them because they don't like metal anyway.

Unfortunately that time died when Activision decided to flood the market with an absurd number of Guitar Hero entries and the era of the music game came to a sudden, crashing halt.

Obviously the Rock Band titles had plenty of rock tunes, but a handful of legitimate metal was also involved in the various incarnations and weekly DLC updates, adding in the likes of Emperor, Machine Head, and a whole lot more. Where things really took off was in the Rock Band Network, which let bands make their own tracks, seeing tons of underground groups add in their own music.

It was a truly sad day when Harmonix announced there would be no more DLC coming to Rock Band back in 2013, but an unexpected light at the end of the tunnel appeared just a few months ago. Back in March, Harmonix made a whole lot of fans happy by officially announcing Rock Band 4, which seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream up till that point.

Due out October 6, Rock Band 4's launch lineup of metal will include Dream Theater, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Baby Metal, System Of A Down, and more, with loads of metallic downloadable songs no doubt prepped and ready to drop each week.

Needless to say I'm greatly looking forward to it, except that unfortunately Guitar Hero is also returning. Maybe Activision can keep it in its pants this time around and not kill music gaming again by releasing six or so games a year.

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Heavy Metal Video Games: The Retro Edition

A month back we idly asked why more video game developers aren't using heavy metal soundtracks, since gunning down enemies, conquering rival armies, and slicing apart demonic hordes seem like they should all be tailor fit to shredding guitars and harsh vocals.

We've been bombarded with suggestions from readers since then about games with solid metal or metal inspired soundtracks, and we'll be sharing those every few weeks – but don't stop letting us know about your favorites! Be sure to give us some suggestions below or over at Facebook.

The heavy metal gaming madness continues today, and this week we're going entirely retro, ranging from Super NES and Genesis to the PS1/N64/Dreamcast era, but advancing no further into the ever-increasing hardware specs of consoles.

If you missed our previous examinations of video games with heavy metal soundtracks be sure to check 'em out here:

Part 1: Brutal Legend, Saints Row III, Killing Floor 2, Pain Killer, and Guilty Gear X2 Reload

Part 2: Splatterhouse, Twisted Metal 2, The Witcher's bonus music disc, and Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost And The Damned.

Without further ado, here's our tribute to all things metal in retro gaming history:

Rock and Roll Racing

This forgotten gem originally came out on SNES and Genesis, but was then later ported to the Game Boy Advance in 2003. For you folks who use emulators like ZSNES, this one is readily available on any given ROM site.

Featuring compressed, digitized versions (minus the vocals) of hard rock and metal songs in that distinctive Super NES quality, the soundtrack included songs like “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath and “Bad To The Bone” by George Thorogood. Like the classic Zombies Ate My Neighbors, in true old school style Rock And Roll Racing spat out a passcode to remember for returning to specific levels with all your car upgrades saved.

I have to wonder if some of the themes and imagery from these cars and tracks ended up as inspiration for the pinnacle of heavy metal video games – Brutal Legend – which featured its share of vehicle mayhem with heavy metal backing. A sequel to Rock And Roll Racing actually showed up for the Playstation a few years later titled Red Asphalt (named after those driver's ed videos meant to scare kids straight) with much updated sound quality. Seems like we're overdue for another one though – so game developers, get on it!

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