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Housecore Horror Film Festival 2015 Day Three

Day Three of Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Film Festival in San Antonio, Texas started like day two at the Holiday Inn where the film portion of the festival took place. Just like the last two years, I made sure to watch at least one film. It’s difficult to take in a film as there are so many great bands to catch, but having to be over at the hotel for interviews, I figured get there early and catch a film, so I checked the schedule and saw that a showing of Gwar’s home video “Skulhedface” was playing. Don Drakulich, aka Sleazy P. Martini, provided commentary.

Short (the heals he wears as Sleazy really boast his height, not to mention his ten-pound hair piece) and wearing glasses and short brown hair, Drakulich started the film off with a slide show presentation where he talked about how he created many of Gwar’s costumes with the help of other members. In fact, most of the celebrities were his creations. He detailed how most of the characters/props were made with silicon. He also told how the story of how Sleazy P. Martini, Gwar’s “fucking manager,” came to life. There were two Sleazys before him known as Sluggo P. Martini that didn’t work out. Tony Clifton and Jersey cops with disco hair were the inspiration for this character. He lent commentary on “Skulhedface,” a hilarious film based on the music of “This Toilet Earth,” that also starred Jello Biafra and Sabastian Bach. Drakulich left after the presentation and returned in full costume for fans to get autographs and pictures. More...

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Housecore Horror Film Festival 2015 Day Two

Day two started at the Holiday Inn. The 7th floor of the Holiday Inn hosted the film portion of the festival. There were also a number of vendors associated with the films there. Angelcorpse guitarist Gene Palubicki was one of the vendors on hand. He starred in the movie “American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock,” the second film in the “American Guinea Pig” series. This film had a major buzz about it. Many fans I talked to expressed a desire to see this film and according to Palubicki the Zombie Room wasn’t big enough to accommodate all interested parties. The event featured a Q & A with director Marcus Koch and producer/screenwriter Steven Biro and was moderated by Bill Moseley (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre II, House of 1,000 Corpses).

The band schedule for both the Aztec and Korova was different than the night before when Korova started early in the day, ended, the Aztec started and then the Korova hosted the last band at 12:30 AM. Today, the Korova started at 6 PM and ran concurrently with the Aztec. Austin d-beat punkers Krigblast opened Korova. More punkisms came via Chicago, Illinois’ Kill It Again and many fans gushed at seeing veterans, Fang. The Aztec hosted a day filled with punk rock, too, starting with Poison Idea, Dropdead and Negative Approach. And the grindcore of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Cripple Bastards also fit into the punk’s gnarled family tree. More...

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Housecore Horror Film Festival 2015 Day One

Philip H. Anselmo brought his third installment of his Housecore Horror Film Festival to San Antonio this year. Many hearts were heavy as this was the first festival that founder Corey Mitchell didn’t have his thumb under. Mitchell died at the end of last year’s festival.

The first two years were held at Emo’s and Midway Field house in Austin. This time the Aztec Theater and Korova hosted the metallic mayhem. Less than a block down the street the film festival occupied the 7th floor of the Holiday Inn San Antonio River Walk. The Korova is a few blocks further. All venues took place in San Antonio’s historic river walk district. When not accosting their ear drums with brutal metal, fans, especially those from out of state, took a stroll down the River Walk. Joel Grind from Toxic Holocaust was one of those fans in attendance. More...

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Venom Welcomes Fun Fun Fest To Hell

“I thought Venom is on tour and playing San Antonio in January?” This was the type of confusion I read on the Internet concerning the Venom camps. I explained that the “Venom” that’s going on tour is Venom Inc., which includes ex-Venom guitarist Mantas and Demolition Man who took over for Cronos for a short period. The Venom I referred to on my posts is the namesake band featuring the true voice and bass of Venom, Cronos. The band’s appearance at Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest marked their only show in the U.S.

Venom was the first headline act that I caught all weekend. On Friday, I missed Coheed And Cambria to make sure I got down to ACL Live in time to catch all of the Skinny Puppy The day before Mayhem took precedence over watching either Jane’s Addiction, NOFX or Wu-Tang Clan. Before being treated to the band that coined the term “black metal,” though, I took in a string of veteran, influential hardcore artists. More...

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Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015 Day Two: Mayhem

All the best metal on day two took place in the clubs as part of the Nites extension at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas. Black metal Warfare II tour featuring Mayhem/Watain/Rotting Christ stopped at The Mohawk. Black metal is a seldom seen commodity at FFF, so it was exciting to see three legends in the black metal camp play. With Venom playing on Sunday, black metal has singed its mark on the annuals of the decade-long festival.

Gaia’s tears could not hinder music lovers from attending day two. I did not arrive at Auditorium Shores until around 4:30. By that time the rain had dwindled down to a drizzle but its effects were evident in the mud. The sets of major acts Jane’s Addiction, NOFX and Wu-Tang Clan monumentally clashed.

I did not stay for any of those bands. I left early to get down to the Mayhem show. Before leaving, I caught stoner comedian Doug Benson’s act. He reeled off funny slogans and got the crowd wired in to his Twitter page. He read off tweats from his followers in and out of the tent. He did not seem as stoned as he usually is, his delivery of jokes was too fast, but did beckon an E-cig filled with Mary Jane juice, which he graciously accepted and toked. More...

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Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015 Day One: Skinny Puppy

2015 marked the ten-year anniversary of Austin’s favorite variety festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest. As with past years the festival hosted multiple color-coded stages of genres including rap, indie rock, electronic and comedy. Also, skate ramps and a wrestling ring were on hand. Games were placed throughout Auditorium Shores park to maximize the element of fun. This being Metalunderground.com, though, these following reports will focus on the Black Stage where punk and metal took place.

The forecast called for rain on the first day so many of the attendees were dressed for the weather. Fortunately, it only drizzled. Nothing was the first band I took in on the Black Stage. The Philly-based act released “Guilty of Everything” in 2014 via Relapse Records. They had a nineties alternative sound that fit well with many of the artists at FFF this year. Their guitar sound was noisy, too, which they’ve been branded as a noise rock outfit (another 90s-ism). They sounded good but didn’t do much to keep my interest. More...

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Carcass Cause A ComMotion In Bristol

Every once in a while, a tour comes along with a lineup that's more or less impossible to ignore. This year, Europe is being treated to a veritable wet dream of extremity, as two of death metal's most revered bands, Carcass and Obituary, are teaming up with grindcore godfathers Napalm Death and Canadian progressive thrashers, Voivod, as well as Swiss act, Herod, to give headbangers the Deathcrusher tour. As if to get the grey island out of the way first, the trek began this past week in the United Kingdom and this reporter was lucky enough to witness the event in Bristol, at a venue called The Motion.

Opening the show was Herod, a progressive sludge metal band from Vevey in Switzerland, who released their debut album, "They Were None" last year. Although they didn't feel out of place as such on this bill, opening such an exciting lineup with sludge didn't seem like a particularly good idea and as a result, Herod came across as a boring start that created the sentiment opening bands dread; the old, "Let's just get this over with so we can watch what we came for," vibe. They received a relatively warm response from the crowd however, who it must be said of Bristol audiences, are usually supportive of unknown or new bands. Whatever the case, with a dull stage presence and uninteresting repertoire, Herod will need to wait until their next album before they seriously impress any passing punters. More...

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Spirit Caravan Brings Doom To Austin

Doom metal icons Wino and Dave Sherman rolled into Austin with Spirit Caravan, a group that has twenty years of history under their vests. Of course, Dave and Wino are the core of the group, so they remained part of the group, but the drummer was different than the last time I saw them in 2014. Saint Vitus basher Henry Vasquez was behind the kit at that show. Tonight, Ed Gulli played drums. He was the original The Obsessed drummer. This tour showed him reunite with Wino after thirty years. More...

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Danzig Brings Blackest of the Black To Austin

Glenn Danzig started his Blackest of the Black tour over a decade ago in 2003. I caught it first in 2005 when he toured with Mortiis, Behemoth (among others) and what I believe was the first appearance of Doyle performing Misfits songs with Danzig. While this year’s lineup isn’t the “blackest,” that distinction goes to the last Blackest of the Black tour in 2010 when he took out Marduk and Possessed, Superjoint and Prong were solid acts nonetheless at this showing at Stubb’s in Austin.

Although they don’t carry the name recognition of a Phil Anselmo or Tommy Victor, openers Witch Mountain put on an impressive performance. The Portland-based doom act were in the news a year ago when longtime singer Uta Plotkin left the group and they hired 19-year-old Kayla Dixon as replacement. Dixon’s performance certainly showed she was up for the task this night. Her range was excellent. Whether she sang in a soaring almost R & B type voice or a death metal growl, her vocals were spot on. The rest of the band’s tones sounded great in their down tempo dirges. Even though there was only about 50 people in the crowd during their set, those in attendance seemed to show their approval. Touring with a big name like Danzig has to be doing wonders for their career.


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ProgPower USA XVI, Part 4: Fabio Is God

3:45pm - September 12, 2015

It’s surreal….I stand on the ramp looking out Dragonland performing “Starfall,” minutes before I make my stage debut. Nerves, excitement, tension….all wrapped up as I stood with my friend Tommy to unleash “The Black Mare” with one of my favorite bands. I sang along to practice…

“The sign of truth – starfall lights in your eyes
The wish it hides – is in your mind
The hope of life – when astral angels cry
Truth and lies – starfall eyes”

Hey…I felt strong! Excitement flowed as I banged my head thinking…this is going to be awesome! Its back! My voice was back!

Far cry from this morning…… More...

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ProgPower USA XVI, Part 3: Falconer's Last Show

7:30am – September 11, 2015.

In any other place, at any other time of the year, 7:30am feels like noon. After last night’s Dragonland experience, it felt way too early. As a perpetual early riser, this one felt like grim death. I’m getting to old for this – restricted to two maybe three occasions a year that I would even consider staying out until 4:30-5:00am. I needed coffee….buckets of it. Where was Lance King and his trusty “Awakenings” blend when I needed it! Riiiiight, the main merch area doesn’t open until noon today.

Well, I couldn’t fall back asleep now…I might wake up at 3pm and I had an 11am sponsor meeting with Glenn Harveston. I cannot miss that one. Just a day earlier when arriving in Atlanta, I learned that since the issues with Hibria forced my sponsored band off the roster, I would now be proudly co-sponsoring Jeff Scott Soto. Nothing wrong with that! Here is a legend that now gets an extended set to celebrate his 30th anniversary – so I was expecting to hear solo material, Yngwie Malmsteen material and Talisman material at least! Truly exciting stuff….when one door closes, another opens wider! More...

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ProgPower USA XVI, Part 2: Project Dragonland

Daybreak…..September 10th. Going out to the Artmore the previous evening was lame by comparison to the rest of the weekend. Though sold out, the Mid-Week Mayhem show after party just isn’t as big because many of the fans and musicians haven’t arrived to the area quite yet, so a 3:00am turn in time may as well have been midnight.

Waking at 7:00am, I trudged over to the Residence Inn’s quality free hot breakfast on floor 2. Today was the day….it would all hang on Dragonland – the band I’ve been lusting over since the announcement came a year ago. The Kick-Off event has always been a special occasion, but since Nathan Block of Swordlord took over, the bar has been raised dramatically…for me. That is, if you are a power metal fanboy, Nathan is your man. More...

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ProgPower USA XVI, Part 1: Mid-Week Mayhem

Sunday....September 20, 2015....the alarm blared at 4:45pm. I guess I forgot to change it from the normal weekday. I sit up - still reeling from the post-ProgPower USA plague, a disease that seems to permeate from the long hours and constant human communication/contact over a four day annual ritual - or rite of passage for the newbie virgins. I reach for another cough drop and open unlock my phone to reveal this morning’s round of Facebook notifications.

Oh...a tag on a video from Dragonland’s second set at ProgPower USA...yes, I said “second.” Why a tag? Well, as it turned out, yours truly was afforded the incredible honor of joining the band on stage for “The Black Mare.” As I sit and contemplate just how that weekend transpired - all the changes, the problems Glenn and Jen Harveston and all involved had to endure in keeping a solidified lineup in the face of the dreaded USCIS - there really is a magic that happens in Atlanta. No matter how it turns out...it never ceases to raise the bar each and every year. More...

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Brujeria Shine In An International Metal Gathering

On Friday the 14th (probably unlucky for some,) two of death metal's cult favourites, Cryptopsy and Brujeria, performed a co-headlining show at The Dome in Tufnell Park, North London, joined in their venture by Brazilian thrash trio Nervosa and Australian technical death metal outfit, Psycroptic. The Dome itself is a solid venue, especially for housing metal shows, comprising mostly of a large hall, with the usual club features of a cloakroom and smoking area. Unfortunately, because of renovations at the Tufnell Park underground station (which is literally across the street from The Dome,) the best option was to get off at Kentish Town and walk from there, which is only a ten minute straight walk. It's a venue well worth checking out if there's something on that fits your taste, and on this night, The Dome was catering to those of us with a taste for the extreme.

First up, at only half past six in the evening, was the all female thrash metal group, Nervosa, arguably one of the most exciting bands coming through at the moment. It was their first time visiting Great Britain and they were clearly keen to both showcase their talents and win over new fans, which they most certainly did on the night. Though the crowd was relatively sparse when they took to the stage, Nervosa played with a frenzied passion that encompassed both the anger that drives their creativity and the love of metal that taking them to new places. As more people entered the venue, they found themselves gravitating to the stage to see this exhilarating three piece, mostly performing music from their debut full length, "Victim of Yourself." The album itself is a great listen, and songs such as, "Death" and "Into Moshpit" sound even heavier in a live environment and it took no more than two songs for the whole crowd to be converted, with more being won over from start to finish. It was a great way for the band to introduce themselves in the UK before heading out on their headline run, which is a must see for those who like their thrash tinged with death metal. A fantastic way to start the show. More...

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Graspop Metal Meeting: Day Three

The final day of a festival always seems to be the most subdued and relaxed, most likely a result of tiredness, but with such a solid lineup to look forward to, who has time to take it easy? Graspop Metal Meeting still had plenty to offer the head bangers on this Sunday, with things getting off to a great start at the second main stage, where New Zealand hard rockers, Like A Storm got things underway. This was another case of checking out a band I had never heard of and they proved well worth a gamble, as their brand of hard rock with a tinge of alternative metal was the perfect way to wake up the sleepy unwashed and accentuate a few hang overs. Like The Dead Daisies two days before, Like A Storm are all about having a good time. It's rock the way it was designed to be, a lot of fun and high energy, though they put their own, native stamp on things by utilising the didgeridoo, which believe it or not, actually works really well with their music. The instrument was first used in a solo performance, before being brought out again for their song, "Love the Way You Hate Me," and there were other surprises in store too, most notably a cover of the Coolio hit, "Gangsta's Paradise." A great way to start the day.

A little bit of Pop Evil followed, which continued the theme of enjoyable hard rock, before the day's first trip to the Marquee came, this time to check out Winterfylleth. This was another band I was unfamiliar with, despite seeing the name in passing a number of times. I assumed from the name that they were a black metal group, but there's a lot more to them than that. They display an amazing musical talent which goes beyond the simple goal of making music just to be extreme, which some bands are guilty of, and don't conform to the uniform of corpse paint and spikes out of a mistaken sense of obligation, something else young black metal groups have done from time to time. Winterfylleth are another outfit that let the music do most of the talking, which is guaranteed to win over newcomers and please fans who turned up to see these metal Mancunians. More...

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Graspop Metal Meeting: Day Two

Following an excellent start to the festival the day before, it was exciting to wake up to another day of metal music in Dessel. There was once again plenty on display for head bangers of all tastes, from legendary bands to current favourites. There were also plent of cult heroes performing on this day, one of which was the first band on the agenda.

Formed in 1991 under the name Resurrection in Israel, Orphaned Land have gone on to become one of, if not the premier metal band from the Middle East. Part of what makes them such an endearing group is their constant devotion of their music to peace, particularly between the Abrahamic religions that clash more than anywhere around their homeland. They were a great way to start the day, possessing a fantastic energy that got plenty of the crowd moving, which is quite an accomplishment for midday at a festival. Opening with the title track to their latest album, "All Is One," they oozed a positive atmosphere and most heads that were banging were also smiling. Having only a forty minute set, it was impressive that the band were able to fit seven songs into their schedule, with the excellent "Separi" being a particular highlight, in part due to the guest appearance of a Dutch Muslim belly dancer, who also joined the group for their finale, which was a medley of "Norra el Norra" and "Ornaments of Gold." Like several bands the day before, Orphaned Land were highly impressive and one that needs adding to the metal fans list of bands to see live. More...

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Graspop Metal Meeting: Day One

The Graspop Metal Meeting festival, held annually in the small Belgian town of Dessel, has become one of the highlights of the metal calendar, along with such festivals as Wacken Open Air and Hellfest and this year, the event proved how successful it is by celebrating it's twentieth edition. It was certainly a special way to mark the occassion, booking a number of bands who had never played the festival before but who fans had been clamouring to see. It has always traditionally catered to head bangers of all ages, bringing in bands from the early days of metal to the stars of today, as well as up and comers. Before we go any further, it should be noted that due to scheduling conflicts, some big names either will not be covered in this review, or only mentioned briefly, so don't be disappointed if your favourite band doesn't get the treatment you want, if at all. So, with all that said, just how good can a metal festival in the Flemish region be? Read on, MacDuff.

Arriving on the Thursday, the camp site seemed to be smoother than ever to get in to than previous years. Whether this is because the staff have further improved the planning of the grounds, metal heads have become friendlier over the past four years, or because I've been put on medication since my last visit, we'll never know. Anyway, the general atmosphere at Graspop was, as per usual, a very relaxed one, with people from all over the world coming to listen to and celebrate the music they love so dearly. There are some bands performing on this day too, mostly cover acts such as The Art of Pantera and Diolegacy. It's a good way to get introduced to the festival grounds, get some tokens (imagine Disney money but with skulls on,) and familiarise yourself with the stages, food stalls and the cafe, which is more of a pub with Warlock on full blast.

On to the most important thing however, the music. Kicking off the main stage, or rather, the second main stage as the festival now has two, was hard rock supergroup, The Dead Daisies. The band features a collective of solid names such as Marco Mendoza, Dizzy Reed and former Motley Crue vocalist, John Corabi. Looking at the bands on the members resume such as Guns N Roses, Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake, their good time, hard rocking sound was pretty much what one would expect. This does not, however, stop them from doing their job of getting people on their feet, putting smiles on faces and generally bringing a great vibe to the event that is so vital in making sure a festival gets off to a good start. They're not just a party act either, they've got some genuinly good songs and a number of people seemed to be a little surprised how much they enjoyed the set. Bottom line: If you want to party like it's 1985, go see the Dead Daisies. You'll be glad you did. More...

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Sepultura Plays 30-Year Anniversary Show in Austin

Just a few weeks ago I watched Cavalera Conspiracy perform Sepultura songs at the Texas Independence Festival on the very same stage at Empire Control Room & Garage. At that show I heard the former voice (Max) and beat maker (Igor) of Sepultura. With the band bearing the namesake Sepultura, I witnessed original bassist Paulo Jr. and longtime guitarist Andreas Kisser. Most of all I would be comparing vocalists. I saw Max Cavalera front the band during their vaunted “Chaos A.D.” album twenty-one years ago, so I was curious to hear Derrick Green’s fill in this position. More...

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Texas Independence Fest Day 3: Cavalera Conspiracy

Day three of Texas Independence was the day I looked forward to the most. The headliners included Corrosion of Conformity-Blind, Death Angel and Cavalera Conspiracy.

This day was by far the most stacked for talent. Bands as well known as Allegaeon played early in the day. I didn’t make it to the club until 2:30. The Agonist was the first band I caught. I wasn’t able to see the band with Alissa White-Gluz before she left for Arch Enemy, so it’s difficult to compare her to her replacement Vicky Psarakis. Psarakis’s vocals seemed fine, but she appeared to have lost the monitor. Her band mates were in fine form, though.


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Texas Independence Fest Day 2: Whitechapel

Deathcore was the chosen style of music for day two of Texas Independence Fest in Austin, Texas. Whitechapel headlined and Oceano and Boris The Blade were two of the bands providing support. All those bands played the main stage, the Garage Stage. Before getting into this this stage, I would like to look at some of the small stage, Control Room Stage. Metalcore seems to be alive and well in Temple, Texas, a town located an hour north of Austin. Insonomist out of Temple played yesterday’s show and In The Trench played today. Vocalist Steven Harding’s refrain was infectious and the band got the small crowd in motion. More...

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