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Archive: OpEds

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One Year On And On And On: Remembering Dio

There are some individuals in their field of music that are so important, they seem like they'll live forever. In many ways these legends do, as people will continue to listen to their music for years to come, but the lack of their physical presence on Earth can always be felt. Jazz lost a king when Miles Davis passed away in 1991, hip-hop lost one of it's most respected artists five years later when Tupac Shakur was murdered and heavy metal suffered from one, if not it's greatest loss this time last year, when Ronnie James Dio succumbed to stomach cancer.

The importance of this heavy metal titan who stood only at 5' 4" can never be exaggerated. this is the man who is credited with introducing the "heavy metal horns" hand gesture, which is used worldwide to this day by metal fans signaling their love of music, their approval or simply to acknowledge each other. As a singer, he was an influence to countless heavy metal vocalists and even at the age of sixty seven, he was still being credited as one of the best in the business, a title backed up by his winning of the Best Metal Vocalist Award at the 2010 Revolver Golden Gods Awards. Perhaps most importantly though, Ronnie James Dio was known for being one of the true gentleman of heavy metal. Unlike a number of other rockers, Dio wasn't known off the stage for excessive partying, violent encounters or a gargantuan ego, he was known for his honest love and respect for his fans and his undeniable intelligence and philosophic nature. More...

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Sepultura: The Reunion Illusion

Posting news about Sepultura is something that I always enjoy, because they're one of my absolute favourite bands, and dread because I know of the written onslaught that will follow with each and every article. For those of you who are unaware of why this may be, the diatribes that come with the articles and the background, permit me to shed some light on the subject.

Sepultura is a heavy metal band that formed in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 1984 by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera and bass player Paulo Xisto Jr, as well as a guitarist called Jairo Guedes. After releasing an EP called, "Bestial Devastation" in 1985 and a full length, "Morbid Visions" in 1986, they split with Guedes and recruited guitarist Andreas Kisser. This lineup of the band released several more albums and became one of the most well known bands to ever come from Brazil. They gained worldwide recognition for their album, "Chaos A.D." in 1993, which is considered their best album by many fans, and expanded their reputation as metal superstars with their 1996 album, "Roots," becoming one of the few metal bands to find success in the 90s along with Pantera and Machine Head. At the end of 1996, Max Cavalera, the group's singer and rhythm guitarist, left the band as a result of the other members not wishing to extend the contract of their manager, who was/is also Max's wife. Following this, the band recruited a new singer in American born, Derrick Green. Since then, the band has received a huge backlash from fans because of the lineup change, with many calling on the band to change their name, especially since drummer Igor Cavalera left in 2006 and daily pleas to reunite the classic Cavalera/Cavalera/Kisser/Xisto lineup. For many people however, it seems they don't even know why they feel the urge to demand a reunion, except that they want to see the classic lineup live... maybe. In this article, I'm going to attempt to explain why I think a Sepultura reunion wouldn't work, why people are wrong to demand it and what the alternatives are. More...

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The Face of Metal: Album Cover Artists

The tradition of morbid and complex album covers associated with metal is a hallowed and unique one in the music world. Your band has faces in colorful ironic Warhol fashion to appease your delicate audience? Ha! give me a painting of a robot seated a ludicrous time machine going back to assassinate Jesus any day. Creative artwork that captivate us in that unforgettable record store moment is the domain of metal, untethered by “good taste” or censorship. In this column, I'll be unearthing several of the big names who have been behind the scenes over the years influencing the twisted face of metal music. More...

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Have A Heart: Pro-Love Heavy Metal Music

Happy Hallmark card day everyone! Whether you're spending today with your loved one or your right hand, there's no denying that romance will be all around you today. Turn on the radio and you're likely to hear Lionel Richie's "Hello" or some other such soppy rubbish which you'll be told all day is a "classic." So why should we at Metal Undergound.com be any different? While there's never been one countdown that everyone agrees with, I'm going to take you through ten hard rock and heavy metal songs that I feel express the positive side to this strange phenomenon we call love.

For the opposite side of the spectrum, you can also check out our ode to anti-love metal as well.

10. Anal Cunt - "In My Heart There's A Star Named After You"

Yes you read that right correctly, the first song in our countdown is by the masters of offensive grindcore, Anal Cunt. You wouldn’t expect the band that wrote, "I Pushed Your Wife In Front Of The Subway" and "Women: Nature’s Punching Bag" to be included here, but the band actually wrote a whole album dedicated to the subject of love, albeit a very tongue in cheek one. Here’s the last song from the "Picnic Of Love" album, "In My Heart There’s A Star Named After You." It may seem a little silly to include in this list, but isn't love a silly old thing in the end?

9. KISS - "I'll Fight Heaven To Hold You"

We don’t want to overload this countdown with soppy ballads that belong is bad 1980s movies, so we’ll be leaving "Beth" way out of this. Instead, here’s a love song by KISS that covers all the usual topics traditionally found in ballads, but rocks hard. KISS have never been afraid to talk about love (as well as what Gene Simmons considers love, let's not mention "Lick It Up" here,) and more often than not, they could really pull off a great love song, which they've definitely done here, though not in the traditional way. From the "Crazy, Crazy Nights" album, this is "I’ll Fight Hell To Hold You."

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Broken Hearts: An Ode To Anti-Love Metal

February 14th is a date that means different things to different people. For some, Valentine’s Day is that special occasion to show someone how much you care, while for others it’s an unfortunate reminder of just how long that unused condom has been stashed in your wallet. For every lucky gentleman who has found the lady he can sexually accost without fear of court mandated harassment classes, there’s that lonely soul who will spend Valentine’s Day with nothing but music out the speakers and a bottle of Jack.

No matter which side you fall on, heavy metal has got a song to match your mood and help you head bang through the gooiest of all the holidays.

Whether any given track is purposefully over the top and funny, depressing enough to make you pull out the eyeliner and candles, or just plain outright disturbing, metal is no stranger to the anti-love song. So for those of you will be spending Valentine’s Day alone, or just simply think the holiday is nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell chocolates and greeting cards, here’s a series of anti-love anthems to get you through the day.

For those who still have a heart and haven't devolved into extreme cynicism, you can also check out our companion listing of pro-love heavy metal music at this location.

Humorous

Metalunderground.com is no stranger to aberrant sexual behavior, as we have the honor of being home the infamous “I’d put my tongue in her butt” forum thread. The following, um, “tongue-in-cheek” songs are all dedicated to everyone who has ever contributed a post to that thread.

Whether 80’s glam rock parody/tribute act Steel Panther is singing love songs or anti-love songs is a matter of some debate. What could be more loving than each band member’s willingness to sleep with anything that moves, regardless of VD status? Take the particularly touching song “Turn Out The Lights,” in which we are informed that front man Michael Starr is in desperate need of some physical attention, even though his partner actively disgusts him. What’s a horny rock star to do? Look no further than the title for the answer:

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Empty Hearts: A Tribute To Gary Moore

Nowadays, the term "Guitar Hero" has become synonymous with a rhythm based video game, but prior to this, the term was used as a tag of respect to those who breathed, ate and lived for their instrument, and displayed a skill and passion for the six stringed axe that elevated them to the status of kings to their listeners. These guitar heroes created music that resonated within the very souls of their fans and bore riffs that would become as memorable to rockers as their child's first word or their wedding day. Regardless of how the term is thrown around now, Gary Moore is, was and forever shall be, a true guitar hero.

Gary Moore was born in the Northern Irish capital of Belfast on April 4th 1952 and begun his foray into music at the age of eight, using an old acoustic guitar. He showed dedication to the guitar even in his youth, when at the age of fourteen, he learned how to play his first "proper" guitar right handed, despite being a southpaw. His influences were similar to many young musicians of the time; The Beatles, Elvis Presley, but his approach to his instrument was changed forever when he witnessed a Jimi Hendrix concert. After attending the show, his style morphed into the blues rock style for which he would become most well known.

At the age of sixteen, Moore moved to Dublin to join the band Skid Row, which also featured future Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott. With Skid Row, Moore recorded two studio albums, "Skid" and "34 Hours," before setting out on his own and releasing his debut studio album, "Grinding Stone" in 1973. The album is not seen by some as a Gary Moore album, as it is attributed to "The Gary Moore Band" but nevertheless brought the young guitarist to the attention of many contemporaries. The following year, Moore reunited with Lynott to record the song, "Still Loving You" for the Thin Lizzy album, "Night Life." This would not be his only tenure with the band however, as he also worked with the group on their album, "Black Rose: A Rock Legend," regarded by many fans to be one of the best Thin Lizzy albums in their catalogue. He also appeared with the band in the music videos for the songs, "Do Anything You Want To" and "Waiting For An Alibi."

In 1979, the same year Thin Lizzy released, "Black Rose," Moore once again began to compose solo material, culminating in the album, "Back On The Streets," which fetured Phil Lynott appearing on and co-writing several tracks and an album cover depicting Moore leaving the infamous Wormwood Scrubs Prison in West London. The album featured the song, "Parisiene Walkways," one of his best known compisitions and following the record's release, Moore continued to release solo albums regularly, experimenting in many forms of music including blues, rock, jazz, heavy metal and country music. He still found the time to contribute to other artists work though, including an appearance on the Charity single "Let It Be," which was billed as Ferry Aid and raised money for the survivors of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise disaster, which was considered one of the worst maritime catastrophes since the Titanic sunk.

With a discography spanning twenty studio albums and numerous live and compilation records and a life rooted in music for more than five decades, Gary Moore will always be remembered as one of the true devotees to music. His style has influenced countless guitar players worldwide, including Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa, Randy Rhoads, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard and Tygers Of Pan Tang guitarist John Sykes, who himself would become a large part of Thin Lizzy history. It's a testament to not only Gary Moore the guitarist, but Gary Moore tha man, that in the short time that his death was announced, tributes, memories and praise have poured out from fans and fellow musicians alike, none of whom seem to have a bad word to say about him.

He left us too soon, and we've Still Got The Blues.

Gary Moore. 1952 - 2011
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The Unblackening Of Metal

From the very beginning, heavy metal has been about rebellion against established norms and restrictive social institutions. That theme has never prevented metal from being influenced by the greatest of mankind’s various systems of organized repression, however. Using a guitar and a microphone to express discontent over the actions of parents and governments inevitably led to bands expressing their disgust with the beliefs behind those actions. Whether musicians are singing about it, railing against it, or just simply partaking of it in their free time, religion has an undeniable role to play in nearly every sub-genre of heavy metal.

Plenty of bands have been built up around an anti-religious atmosphere, whether a simple general sentiment or a full-on fervor that drives the music. Despite metal being frequently identified with an anti-religious standpoint, the style has more than its fair share or religious spokesmen. Famous musicians such as Dave Mustaine of Megadeth have never been particularly quiet about their Christian faith, even if they don’t expressly promote it in any given song. Explicitly Christian metalcore acts are also rapidly gaining widespread attention, with groups like August Burns Red taking over Hot Topic and acts like I The Breather touring the U.S.

In general, it would seem the thrash metal world either doesn’t care about Mustaine’s religious affiliation or is willing to overlook it for the sake of the music. Thrash certainly has its share of anti-Christian songs, but it’s a genre that’s more concerned with social issues or an overall aggressive musical feel than anything dealing with supernatural belief systems.

As any fan of metal can easily attest, not all genres are built equal, and what appeals to one metal head is a serious turn off for another. Black metal is easily among the most infamous of all metal styles, having cut its teeth in the early ‘90s across a back drop of church burnings and sensational media stories of power struggles between Satanic leaders. Names like Emperor and Mayhem were starting to make waves and become recognized in the underground not only across Europe, but also in the U.S. and abroad. More...

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Remembering Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott

Rock is responsible for some of the biggest icons and best frontmen in the history of music, there's no doubt about it. Freddie Mercury, Jimi Hendrix, Bon Scott, they were all rockers and will always be remembered for their commanding performances and outstanding music. Twenty five years ago today, a man easily as great and special as all of the those mentioned previously passed away at the age of thirty six. The man was Phil Lynott, best known as the singing bassist of Thin Lizzy, one of the biggest bands to ever come from the Republic Of Ireland. Lynott was the main composer for the band and was responsible for penning what are arguably some of the best songs in the history of rock music. "The Boys Are Back In Town," "Jailbreak," "Dancing In The Moonlight," look at the credits and you'll see his name by each of these songs. As a frontman, Lynott will always be known as one of the best. One only has to listen to "Live And Dangerous," the classic live album from Thin Lizzy, to hear how he commanded the attention of the audience. He is perhaps the main reason why that album never fails to reach any critics list of best live records.

The influence of Lynott and Thin Lizzy has reached countless bands from Judas Priest to the Happy Mondays to Atreyu, as well as rock fans across the globe, including yours truly. Indeed, I was only five years of age when I became aware of them, owing predominantly to the use of "The Boys Are Back In Town" on a trailer for the movie, Toy Story. I became as interested in that song and who sang it as much as I did the film and later that year was given, "Wild One: The Best Of Thin Lizzy" as a birthday gift. This was made all the more special in that it was my first album and all the more interesting with each passing track. I was blown away by the sonic onslaught of "Cold Sweat" and "Killer On The Loose," while being subdued by the melodies of "Whisky In The Jar" and "Sarah." Ever since I received that CD, with Lynott's face emblazened on the front cover in sepia, I have loved Thin Lizzy and to this day, consider them to be perhaps the greatest pound for pound rock band of all time. More...

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Remembering Chuck Schuldiner

December is a time for remembrance for many metal heads. Three years prior to the on-stage murder of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, metal lost another icon. Today marks nine years since Chuck Schuldiner's death. On December 13, 2001, "The Father of Death Metal" lost his battle with pontine glioma, a form of brain cancer, at just 34 years of age. Schuldiner was modest about his part in the history of death metal, noting "I don’t think I should take the credits for this death metal stuff. I’m just a guy from a band, and I think Death is a metal band."

Schuldiner was the singer, songwriter, rhythm and lead guitarist of the band Death, which he founded in 1983 under the name Mantas at just 16 years of age. For an extreme metal band, Death received much acclaim with their releases and Schuldiner was hugely influential on countless metal musicians. The band took a decidedly more progressive and technical turn by their final album, "The Sound of Perseverance" and on Chuck's following band, Control Denied. More...

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Remembering Dimebag Darrell

Dimebag Darrell would have celebrated his 44th birthday this past August, no doubt surrounded by friends and family, the love of his life Rita Haney, and his big brother Vinnie.

Black tooth grins would have been downed, and more than a few fireworks probably would have been shot up into the sky and at unsuspecting revelers. It would have been a true celebration of life, because, as the man himself often said, that’s the kind of fun Dime had. But six years ago to the day that lifelong celebration, along with the lives of four other members of the global metal family, was cut tragically short. By now we all know the story, there’s no sense in reliving the grisly details. Dime wouldn’t want us to dwell on the way he died; he would want us to focus on the way he lived.

To a person, everyone who came into contact with Dimebag Darrell as he made his way around the world several times over playing the music he loved was made to feel like an equal, like a friend. With Dime, there were no walls between the fans and the musicians, between crew and band. There was only kinship and a common love of music and having the best time humanly possible. Even those of us who never met the man felt like we knew him from watching the Pantera home videos and seeing him exude one hundred percent uninhibited enthusiasm on stage each and every night and completely unfiltered, boyish joy off stage when he partied with his brothers by blood and by metal, the hardest drinking band in the business, Pantera. More...

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Top Ten Halloween Metal Songs

Its no secret that heavy metal and Halloween go together like a hockey mask and a machete. While there are numerous songs you can list under the hallowed category, here are ten terrifying tracks to bleed your ears dry.

10. Moonspell - "I'll See You In My Dreams"

Who knew such a soft jazz song from 1924 could be recreated over 80 years later as a wickedly heavy and haunting track from Portugal's biggest metal export. It was recorded for a film of the same title, and the video features clips from the movie along with an amazing array of starving Zombies who seem to have a craving for Portuguese flesh.

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The Loudness War: Volume Knobs Optional

When most of us go to play a CD or MP3 file, we don’t immediately think to check the production quality before giving the song our full attention. We judge the song based on a simple instinct of whether we like what we hear, or we don’t. As a listener, you place a certain amount of trust into the artist and production team to deliver a product that can sound good and balanced in any stereo you play it from. This is essentially the job of a mastering engineer.

Once the artist completes their recorded performance, the producer and recording engineer will mix the songs and pass them on to the mastering engineer. This stage in the recording process is where all the bells and whistles are addressed. Making sure the frequency equalization is balanced so there is not too much bass or treble destroying your speakers, adjusting volume fade in/outs on the front/back of certain songs, and most importantly adjusting the overall volume level or “loudness” of the entire album. More...

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A Decade Of Metal In Review

On the 31 Dec 1999, no planes came crashing out of the sky, nuclear bombs went off or microwave ovens tried to eat anyone. However, times were about to change and in the metal scene change was already well underway. Let us take a stroll through the decade in metal that was.

Many of the 90s big names like Emperor and Pantera prepared to give their last venomous scream dying off in the wake of ever diminishing interest in the metal scene that had plagued the 90s. In the year 2000 a band named “Limp Bizkit” came out with an album called "Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavoured Water" and in a storm nu-metal took over the public perception of heavy music, changing the face of metal irreparably. Although nu-metal had already been pioneered by Korn, bands like Deftones, Disturbed, Mudvayne and Linkin Park all had breakout releases in 2000. More...

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Giving Thanks For Metal And All Involved

I've avoided writing any sort of giving thanks Thanksgiving message for years, but since we're doing more personal op-eds and columns these days, I figured "why the hell not." Besides, I really am thankful for all who have helped me along this 8+ year journey of Metalunderground.com, directly and indirectly.

Publicists

While the music industry is often reviled, there are a lot of people working their asses off for sub-executive level salaries to make stuff happen for the bands. Nine times out of ten, publicists are the ones who get us set up with exclusive coverage and access to the bands themselves, all the while juggling a million things at once. I can relate. Thank you all for working with us on so many mutually rewarding and beneficial projects, and for your patience when things are sometimes slow moving or hard to nail down (because you know how swamped we are too probably), and being cool people to work with.

Metalunderground.com Staff

We've got a killer staff this year - the best staff ever - who have helped bring you all the latest news daily, review tons of releases, gain more insight into bands through interviews and show reports, and help you discover new music with some of our latest columns and countless other ways. We've added many excellent writers and our senior staffers have all been steadily improving their writing over time, even those who are not writers by trade. So thanks to all of you for your efforts and making this site better than I ever imagined and of a quality that I am proud.

Metal Bands

We only get to work with or speak to a fraction of the bands we cover, but bands are central to everything we do. Checking out thousands of bands can be tedious work, but in the end, the bands we get to chat with, see live, and the many bands that connect with our musical tastes and sense of discovery give us the inspiration to continue doing what we do day in and day out. We love metal and without the bands, successful or underground, there would be nothing to write about and enjoy as we do now. Thanks for inspriring us and creating the music that we enjoy and plays such a big role in our lives.

The Metalunderground.com Community

Thanks to everyone who comes here to read our articles, interact in our little community, and aid others in discovering more great metal bands and music.

I'm very thankful for all the people who have helped make this journey an enjoyable one, providing the help and encouragement to continue all these years and many more.

And to those who celebrate it in the U.S. or abroad, have a safe and metal Thanksgiving.

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Heavy Metal Songwriting Tips

In my opinion, metal fans are the most outgoing, proactive and instrument-oriented of all music fans. I've met more than a few fellow metallers who, despite having little to no knowledge about playing an instrument, have managed to produce a rough demo and play a live show on enthusiasm alone, which is neat! Yet when it comes to song writing or music advice for metal fans on the net there is a real lack of information; a true shame. There is a good amount of general songwriting tips out there for anyone who can use Google, but little of it is relevant to a metal head; "Write a simple hook in the chorus! Focus lyrics on universal topics like love!" - Forget it. Unlike some of the members here, I can't consider myself a metal star, but I'm old and gnarled enough to dish out some advice to the young, long-haired masses with a gleam in their eye. More...

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Too Much Is Never Enough: Technical Metal in 2009

Earlier in the year Metal Underground presented its annual “Best Of” awards and with his finger always on the pulse, deathbringer mentioned a new dominance in metal leading us into 2009. Maybe you’ve noticed the extra acoustic interludes, the blazing shred solos, the disjointed poly-rhythms or maybe you haven’t - but either way a cloud of progressive influence has undoubtedly emerged over the metal scene. Not just in our minds here at MU, but in the minds of fans Opeth, Cynic, Meshuggah, Nachtmystium and Ihsahn stood out with impressive 2008 releases. Even more excitement and interest has been generated by collaborations between Ihsahn and Opeth, and 2009 hasn’t let up with Mastodon’s progressive opus “Crack The Skye” and Obscura’s “Cosmogenesis” leading the charge.

So what magic is at work here aside from great prog-metal releases? Larger bands such as the explosive power metal act DragonForce and progressive groovers Mastodon have played a large part in the uprising of the pursuit of extreme talent for more mainstream metal fans - opening legions of otherwise clueless greenhorns to the bar of instrumental ability. Old hands such as Deicide, Cannibal Corpse and numerous thrash acts have also not been untouched by the progressive aura and have regained the thirst for pushing technical boundaries - a truly founding ideal of metal if ever there was one. Another force at play here is the power the internet has had in exposing technical freak shows like Necrophagist as well as many young tech-metal heads being introduced to metal and fostered through 90s progressive acts such as Tool or Dream Theater. Not enough for you? Let’s take a little trip back in time then. More...

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Was Adrian McCoy A Metal Underground.com Reader?

It's not exactly the kind of publicity that I'd want for Metal Underground.com or for metal as a whole, but the question has been eating away at me since first reading about the man arrested for making death threats against Korn and then recently trading emails with the author of this article, who links the timelines of the reported threats made against Korn online (before those made on the FBI's site) to that of the postings and ultimate banning of the infamous Metalunderground.com reader and commenter LordAgony.

Adrian McCoy, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty in federal court last Friday to threatening the band.

The prosecutor told ABC23 that McCoy made threats on a metal underground-related Web site in January of 2006. While metalunderground.com did not confirm if McCoy made threats against Korn on their site, one user using the name, LordAgony, was kicked off the site at that time for making threats against the band, saying he wanted the band destroyed.

The reality is that I have no way of knowing who this Adrian McCoy is. Things look like they are adding up, but the question remains: is Adrian McCoy the LordAgony who posted (and trolled) on Metalunderground.com a couple years ago?

I was, in fact, contacted by the FBI sometime last year regarding "threats made toward someone on Metalunderground.com." They did not state who was making the threats or who the threats were against. I did not think much of it at the time. The call actually seemed a little fishy, so I wasn't even sure it was legit, and I have since misplaced the agents' names. In any case, I told them that I had no other information but the poster's screen name and IP address linked to the posts. No further information was ever requested or furnished (not even the IP addresses). They wouldn't need it if the perpetrator was foolish enough to make such threats on the FBI's web site.

I recently revisted some of LordAgony's comments and did a reverse DNS lookup on several of the IP Addresses, and while some would not resolve completely, most did point to California.

But back to the topic of making threats on the FBI's web site. That's the part that I just don't get, and it leads me to believe this person had really lost touch with reality or was reaching out for help/trying to get caught. Seriously, who goes to the FBI's web site to threaten a band? We could be dealing with a seriously delusional Nathan Gale-type personality here.

I have many reasons for bringing this topic up here on Metalunderground.com. Pure curiosity is a big one. Is Adrian McCoy LordAgony? It's a neat bit of trivia from Metal Underground.com's past at the very least.

I also wanted to assure our readers that their privacy was maintained despite my tongue-in-cheek comment in the comments of this article that "I've sent all server logs to the FBI." Clearly other commenters recognize the animosity shown towards Korn (for their music) by many readers of this site, and my comment was simply in jest. As I said, no information was furnished (or requested) to the FBI or any other branch of law enforcement.

There are a couple morals to this story. First, you are always accountable for your actions, even if you think you are "anonymous." Some people do and say things online that they would never say in person. Even though the chances are slim, just remember you may be called on your words one day. Second, it's a reminder - one that I had to make recently in another thread - that we will not tolerate personal attacks on this site. I try not to be a heavy-handed moderator and I let quite a bit of stuff slide here, but there is a line and crossing it will result in being banned from Metal Underground.com.

Back to my curiosity about the matter. I've been told that Metal Underground.com was mentioned by name on TV broadcasts on this topic, but have not heard any such newscasts directly. If anyone has more information linking Adrian McCoy to Metalunderground.com and/or LordAgony, please send me links by posting them here or via the contact form. Videos of mentions in newscasts would be awesome. I'll offer up a small reward for the best sources reported.

Stay metal, and stay civil! :-) More...

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A Heavy Metal Christmas Song Round-up

Yet another way you can tell metal is on the rise (commercially) is by how many metal Christmas songs are out this year. I don't recall another year that I have heard of more than one or two metal renditions of Christmas songs. This year, however, I've seen postings for more than half a dozen of them - some old, but some new as well. So I've decided to compile a list of these metal Christmas songs so that fans of this sort of thing can listen to and download them while they're still online.

Personally, I'm a sucker for metal Christmas songs, but only if they're done well. I figure if I've got to listen to something, it might as well be heavy or at least have a rock or metal edge to it. Granted, some of these songs are not ultra-heavy, but I find them to be fun expressions for the holiday season by metal bands. Others are parodies of Christmas songs or Christmas itself, and these are usually heavier than the actual Christmas carols.

Without further ado, here's the list: More...

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Hardcore to Me

I remember being at an Articles of Faith show back in the early 1980s in Chicago and thinking, "This is where I belong, these are my people." It's not 1982 anymore and you can't expect things to sound the same. The lines have blurred and you can nearly start a riot on some corners trying to define who and what is hardcore. Much of what is called hardcore these days has strong metal influences and sounds much different from what was called hardcore back in the day.

I'm a fan of lots of the old school stuff which came out of the punk scene but I also like a some of the newer 'metalcore' stuff. That being said, here are some of the recordings that are in my player or in the car on a regular basis: More...

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Two Years Later: Remembering "Dimebag" Darrell

The saying goes that “time heals all wounds”, I find it to be an expression that fails to capture how slow and awkward the process of healing can be. It’s been two years since the unexpected passing of “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and the metal community is still adjusting. Bands continue to fervently tribute songs and even entire sets and albums to the man. As a fan, hearing any Pantera song today summons more emotions than originally intended. It’s remarkable and somewhat amusing, to find oneself tearing up to “Five Minutes Alone”. Slowly however, I find that the more often I play a Pantera song, the less it feels like a part of the grieving process.

Metal Underground.com has become one of the many hubs where Dime’s creative impact and his passing still resonate. Virtually every thread relating to Pantera and Damage Plan boast a countless array of heartfelt sentiments from admirers across the globe. Coping has not come easily but fans continue to celebrate Darrell Abbott’s life by blasting his music at preposterous volumes and toasting with his patented Black tooth grin. Some find solace in the killer having been felled by a 12 gauge shotgun to the face, metal justice by anyone’s standards but poor consolation nonetheless. Most still ponder the hows and whys of the tragedy, while recieving little in the way of answers or closure. While fans will always be distressed and confused by the actions of one lone lunatic, it’s Darrell Abbott’s friends and family who have suffered the most.

Only recently have we seen any signs of recovery from the surviving members of Pantera and Damage Plan. Darrels brother, Vinnie Paul Abbott, has continued to keep himself busy with his advice column in Revolver Magazine. Last month he dubbed his newly formed supergroup Hell Yeah, which features members of Mudvayne and Nothingface. Similarly, Patrick Lachman went on to front the Mercy Clinic, while Rex Brown and Phil Anselmo have been hard at work on the next Down record.

Like all so called legends, Dimebag has a legacy of achievements that may eclipse -who- the man was. By all accounts, Darrell Abbott was a gracious and personable individual, known to wade amongst the masses at shows, personally handing out tickets, merchandise and even drinks to his fans. Dime was also in the habit of greeting new tour mates (read: total strangers) like they were old friends. Members of Shadows Fall, Alice in Chains, Lamb of God, Korn and Black Label Society have all been taken aback by Darrell’s outgoing hospitality.

In celebrating Dime’s monumental impact, it’s important that we as fans do not deify him. Darrell Abbott was many things to many people but no more or less human than anyone else. By living out his childhood dream and utilizing sheer force of will, he reinvented metal during the reign of grunge. It's conceivable that metal music might still be saving face from the extended glam farce of the 80's, if not for the cowboys from hell. We owe it to Dime and ourselves, to carry on his legacy but not with the sad bastard-fanaticism some reserve for Presley, Cobain, Hendrix and Lennon. On this, the second anniversary of his passing, the man who helped devise “Vulgar Display of Power” would rather us be banging our heads than hanging them.

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