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Archive: Reports

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Behemoth Mystifies Texas Independence Fest

Come And Take It Productions started Texas Independence Fest in Austin as a way to bring together friends and family in a celebration of Texas. Previous years featured performances by Down, David Allan Coe, Upon a Burning Body, Dixie Witch and many more. This year's festival saw a mix of local and touring acts. Wayne Static of Static-X and We Are The Riot (members of Coal Chamber) brought familiarity to the day's acts, while The Metal Alliance Tour featuring Behemoth, 1349, Inquisition, Goatwhore and Black Crown Initiate painted the afternoon sky black.

The doors to Emo's opened at noon and I arrived around a quarter to 2 in time to catch Denton, Texas melodic death/black outfit Tarim. According to a Come And Take It personnel, Tarim won Come And Take It's battle of the bands, which landed them on this spot. Ten hours is a lot of music to take in. This was my time to coordinate interviews times, but the band, playing material from "The Philosopher King," caught my ears and kept them. They definitely deserved to be on Emo's big stage, and would have proved a tighter fit to the evening's black out.

I missed Casket of Cassandra but caught the following band, Headcrusher. Former residents of Colombia , these deathly thrashers have become a staple in Austin's metal scene. The five-piece band often plays Come And Take It Production shows commonly held at the Dirty Dog Bar. Although this was the first time I caught their act on Emo's stage, it wasn't the band's largest crowd. Festival crowds brought in several times more people than the couple hundred watching the band's mid-day performance. It doesn't matter how many people watch this group; Headcrusher played hard and aggressive. Fans of Gothenburg-style metal such as Dimension Zero, Dark Tranquility and Carnal Forge take note of Headcrusher. More...

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Carcass Heartwork Plays on Heart Strings at Mohawk

The line to get into Mohawk was split in half between minors and adults. Although The Black Dahlia Murder has more than a decade under its 30-something beltline, the band is still a hot commodity among young listeners. The older demographic spawned by Carcass and Gorguts wasn't always welcoming to the 'core kids and their icons, TBDM; however, in terms of attendance, Decibel Magazine was onto something when they squeezed together, and I do mean squeeze, these disparate bands.

Baltimore, Maryland upstarts, Noisem provided a jolting dose of death/thrash. Featuring tracks culled from their recent "Agony Defied" album, the A389 recording artist played fast and spurned on oncoming body-mass wall. Standing on the first balcony, I often found myself checking out the bang bodies below. Long-hairs and spiked dos came together, often in a brutal-yet-loving fashion.

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Destruction & Krisiun Do Virginia

“Fuck all this ‘thrash,’ ‘black,’ ‘power’ bullshit,” snarls the towering mountain of a bassist from stage right. “It’s all Metal, right? That’s why we’re all here.”

Coming from Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer, a genre veteran and one of thrash metal’s European founders, these are powerful words. They serve as a reminder of Destruction’s influences – which, considering the German band’s pioneer status, are decidedly traditional – and its legacy, which includes death and black metal.

All told, Schmier has made it credibly clear that tonight is about celebrating Metal, with that capital “M.” Being heavy, playing your heart out, thrashing, rocking. ‘Banging, for those who can use the word “bangover” with a straight face. That’s a multi-context word if I’ve ever heard one. More...

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SXSW 2014 Day Four: Spirit Caravan

Saturday, March 14, the roads seem quiet compared to the previous night. Part of this was due to my moving back to Red River Street and away from Dirty Sixth. Everybody seemed tired, and as a publicist opined to me, Thursday morning's crash on Red River casted bad mojo onto the festivities. Whatever the cause, there was no 1001 person to flood a capacity venue. More...

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SXSW 2014 Day Three: Dio Tribute, Metalsucks

Friday, March 14, 2014, my third day attending SXSW music festivities, started just after 3 pm. This event was my only excursion outside of live music. Members of Landshark Promotions and DJ Chuck Loesch of 101X "No Control Radio" premiered a CD of the Ronnie James Dio tribute album "This Is Your Life." The three-person panel presented each track from the forthcoming recording featuring an all-star lineup of modern and classic metal artists. It felt good singing along to these majestic reworkings done in the name of charity. 100% of the proceeds will go towards Wendy Dio's "Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund" .

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SXSW 2014 Day Two: Relapse Records, Monte Pittman

SXSW can be an overwhelming endeavor. From word-of-mouth parties and secret performances to unofficial day shows that the festival doesn't promote, planning takes more than cursory glances. After last year's exhaustive outing, I learned a lesson: keep it simple (stupid) and don't over plan. One best experiences South By Southwest by staying in a downtown hotel and taking pedicabs (or real car cabs depending on the extent of travel). For only $2 a day, a bus is the way to go for Austinites, as long as they're not staying past midnight. More...

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SXSW 2014 Beerfest Starts At Beerland

(March 11, 2013) Beerland seemed the perfect venue for the suds fest that marked this year's South By Southwest festival--at least the music portion. Alcohol-induced projections, from top to bottom, were a common, public spectacle this year. One had to be aware of stepping into a puddle of piss or slipping on chucks of regurgitated BBQ on the sidewalk. Some venues, including parties held outside of the downtown area, even offered free drinks. The following night at Dirty Dog Bar, Christian Mistress singer, Christine Davis, called SXSW a "beerfest" during a brief break between songs. More...

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70,000 Tons Of Metal: Day Four

I woke up with a four alarm hangover….it was my birthday! For the second year in a row, I just couldn’t believe that I would spend it in such “majesty on the seas” with bands I admire and musicians I worship. I rose after just 4 ½ hours and reached for the knife that felt buried in my left temple. A quick look out the porthole of the room revealed a cloudy, foggy and rainy day. I stumbled to the shower and managed to get ready for the first show – Atrocity on the pool deck. I took the elevator to floor 11 to get some breakfast and I peaked through the back stage door (just out the elevator) and the rain was torrential. Ok…how is this going to work? More...

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70,000 Tons Of Metal: Day Three

Day three was port of call day for the largest floating festival. This year, the destination was set by the fans who voted narrowly to make port at Costa Maya, Mexico - a new destination and within a short journey to the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben. The boat docked at about noon and I gathered a small group of friends, which included cabin mate and vocalist for Helsott, Eric Dow, LT Rhapsody/21 Octayne drummer Alex Landenburg (who was onboard playing with Bonfire) and Margie, a rabid metalhead who has attended every single 70K cruise. Joining us on the journey was Bonfire vocalist Claus Lessmann and bassist Uwe Kohler, as well as Metal Injection's Dave Pando.

It's was a hot, humid and unforgettable journey into one of mankind's most advanced and mysterious civilizations in Mezo-America, the Mayans. We boarded the coach buses and made our hour long journey into the flatlands of the Yucatan peninsula, now largely abandoned due to high category 5 hurricane strikes in the last 10 years (though you can get a sweet land deal if you wanted to take the risk). Our guide was Manuel,,,who is also known as the "Silver Fox." He provided valuable information on the history of Mayan civilization and touched on the obvious reasons why the word failed to end on December 21, 2012 and the possibilities why the civilization may have disappeared. The map of entire Central American region of ruins also seemed to contain a site that could unlock a title of a future LT Rhapsody song...."The Temple of the Turtles" - or so we had a pretty good chuckle about. More...

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70,000 Tons Of Metal: Day Two

When day two began, it was about two hours from when day one ended....and I was grateful to have had an hour of sleep compared to many others who had none. Energized by Gloryhammer’s phenomenal set of unicorn greatness....I plotted my day.

It got off to a rocky start for shows, since writing my day one report forced a miss of Poltergeist’s first gig since reforming. Tired set in big time and I begrudgingly missed Freedom Call’s first set as well, two items that will not be missed on Thursday. So today’s schedule ended up like this: Swallow the Sun, Terrorizer, Bonfire, Leaves’ Eyes, The Haunted, Orphaned Land, Dark Tranquility, Carcass, Haggard, Death: DTA Tours. I sacrificed plans to see Satyricon, Fear Factory and Septicflesh, knowing that I had to follow up. More...

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70,000 Tons Of Metal: Day One

It seemed like one year had passed in a blink of an eye. No sooner had I experienced my first 70,000 Tons of Metal, which included a birthday that saw Helloween, Rage (w/Lingua Mortis Orchestra) and Metal Church play, than I was plotting my next adventure on the high seas. The floating festival is not only the most unique and phenomenal metal sojourns in the world, its boasts a diverse genre spanning 40+ bands. Though the 2013 installment represented an array of bands more geared towards my personal favorite tastes, a “Barge to Hell” like fog is built up around this year with Carcass, Obituary, Massacre, Death: DTA Tours, Satyricon, Terrorizer among a few which has swung the pendulum towards a harsher environment. For the traditional and power styles there is return act and “athletic rock” legends Raven, German euro power and proclaimed “happy metal” act Freedom Call, German symphonic metallers Xandria, Israeli symphonic ambassadors of peace Orphaned Land and the 700 piece traveling city Haggard, which single handedly make this 71,000 Tons of Metal. More...

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Austin Pledges Allegiance to Suicidal Tendencies

December 12, 2013-- Flip baseball caps, blue bandannas and button shirts welcomed Suicidal Tendencies to the Mohawk in Austin, Texas. In a sense, the group was in town to visit old friends--fans with a devotion that stretched back to the early '80s. A large faction of youth, possibly the children of these older fans, helped provide the spark to keep ST's fire burning bright. This is not saying the older crowd members ever lost their passion for the group; I witnessed men in their '40s stage diving, crowd surfing and slamming to one of Los Angeles' most popular heavy acts.

Suicidal's musical mash-up of hardcore punk, thrash and funk works well with a variety of styles. I first witnessed the unbridled energy of ST front man, Mike Muir in 1992 on MTV's Headbangers Ball tour with Megadeth. That tour was marketed to the thrash crowd. Back then "Cyco Miko" burned up a stage several times larger than at the Palace of Auburn Hills near Detroit, Michigan than Mohawk's outdoor stage. Tonight's tour, dubbed "Slam City" after the track on the group's latest full-length recording "13," focused on the band's hardcore side with supporting acts, Terror and Trash Talk. More...

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Morbid Angel Inks Covenant In Austin's Blood

On December 3rd, 2013, Morbid Angel came to Austin, Texas to promote the 20-year anniversary of its breakout album "Covenant." The said album marked the group's dramatic rise out of the death metal underground. MTV showcased the album's brilliance through videos of "Rapture" and "God of Emptiness"--the latter track was made more famous by the nitwit ridicule of "Beavis and Butthead." This was a wickedly satanic album, possibly their fastest and purest death metal album, but also introduced more clean vocals. The group celebrated the recording by bringing it to their fans in full. More...

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Overkill, Kreator Kill Worcester With Aggression

As if the ante of seeing Testament, Overkill and Flotsam & Jetsam needed to be raised, the thought of seeing Kreator, Overkill and Warbringer was much too tempting an offer. I was fortunate enough to see Overkill on that fateful day – February 16, 2013 – the last show that Blitz would sing on the tour due to contracting pneumonia – which forced him into the hospital in Buffalo the next day and forced the band off the tour. Looking back on that day, I thought despite the illness, Blitz sounded great – however, he did leave the stage nearly every time he stopped singing. Chuck Billy of Testament, who was also sick, sounded pretty awful, but he was a trooper and put on a great show regardless. Flash forward to November 1st and The Palladium in Worcester would be witness to what I can only describe as the “Tour of North American Aggression.” More...

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Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 Day Three Slayer Sunday

Slayer played Fun Fun Fun Fest on Sunday two years ago. The promoters of the fest, Transmission Events, must see the value in making Sunday its metal day. As was experienced on Sunday two years ago, we left the park Sunday night with the metallic taste of Slayer in our mouths. My hunt for steel started at 12:30 when 4arm (read xFiruath’s interview) took the stage. I had no problem making this early show since I skipped the Nites shows on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Aussie modern thrash group, most of the fest’s attendees found 12:30 too early in the day. The 20 or so people who did make the early show were treated to one of the best performances of the weekend. More...

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Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 Day Two On With Body Count

"There goes the neighborhood," Ice-T loudly exclaimed. The rapper/actor wasn't here to shoot a commercial or drop a beat. At this moment, the second day of FFF 2013 in Auditorium Shores park, he was "in the house" with his metallic creation, Body Count. The song in question, which deals with the prejudices of black people playing rock music, took on a different context after Ice-T explained Austin, Texas marked the beginning of legal trouble he experienced with "Cop Killer." Because of the controversy surrounding this song from the group's self-titled debut, and I didn't even know Austin's PD chief instigated the controversy, I wondered if we would hear this infamous track. More...

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Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 Day One Punk Blow Out

Misfits, Flag (an assemble of Black Flag's earliest cast) and Subhumans certainly need no introduction to the punk world. The legacy passed down by these artists not only changed the landscape of punk, but music in general. Even though Jerry Only sang Glenn Danzig's parts and Keith Morris was in charge of songs later made famous by Henry Rollins, fans still shouted the words and slammed in manic appreciation. With the exception of Misfits, who played a club show as part of the FFF Nites attraction, the Black stage--the stage I primarily report--focused on punk rock. Day two of my first FFF experience in 2011 operated with a similar punk roots bands The Damned and Negative Approach.

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Housecore Sucessfully Blends Horror and Metal

Housecore Horror Film and Heavy metal festival masterminds, Corey Mitchell and Philip H. Anselmo brought Austin, Texas a rare entertainment opportunity, packaged in human flesh, marred by celluloid cigarette burns--a four-day, multi-stage, multi-tent, multi-everything horror-movie festival. Industry people arrived from all around the world to help support this lofty endeavor.

The gorier the better as many of the major stars of the film portion of the festival had participated in legendary blood spillers such as the "Nekromantik" film series (Director Jörg Buttgereit ), "Coffin Joe" (Director José Mojica Marins ) and "Friday the 13th." Ari Lehman made film history when Jason Voorhees finally sprung to life after the murder of his mother. Lehman attended the festival not only as a film celebrity, but as a musician. Nefarious of Macabre joined Lehman on stage in his First Jason band to perform campy horror metal songs about that guy in the hockey mask. More...

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August Burns Red Burns Bright In Tennessee

Metalcore and deathcore have become polarizing genres within the sphere of heavy metal, although the fans of both are just as fervent as the other genres, if not moreso. The lyrical sides of these genres are quickly becoming known for their earnest natures, cutting out the bullshit that several other genres tend to lather themselves up in to define themselves.

Hitting Nashville on the night of November 4th at the wonderfully eccentric Rocketown was a group of bands that take the high road, headlined by August Burns Red and assisted by Blessthefall, Defeater, and Beartooth. It was an unusually early show, with myself and bunches of attendees still in the security line awaiting entry while Beartooth were playing, having started promptly at 6:30.

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Asking Alexandria's Motley Crew Invades TN

On October 29th at the storied War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, TN, a rather unusual tour lineup shook things up a bit. Asking Alexandria rolled in, bringing All That Remains with them, along with the veterans of Sevendust, as well as the younger For Today and Emmure. If the lineup didn’t involve Sevendust or All That Remains, it would have made more sense. All That Remains wasn’t stretching it, really, but including Sevendust with this largely metalcore bunch? I scratched my head at that choice.

It was a bizarre experience. More...

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