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Archive: Reports

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Steel Panther (11/24/17) Phoenix, Arizona

Should what happens at a Steel Panther show, stay at a Steel Panther show? Maybe the band should consider copping this from Las Vegas’ advertising firm because when you attend one of their shows, it turns into its own Sin City. The band is currently in the middle of its 2017 Girls in a Row Tour and if you’ve never seen them, I’ll let you in on a little secret, NOTHING is off-limits at a Steel Panther show. More...

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Fall of Summer Festival 2017 - Torcy, France

September 8th - Day One

Vive le Fall of Summer Festival 2017! My girlfriend and I arrived in Paris the day before the festival jet lagged and without a plan on how to get to the town of Torcy, the home of Fall of Summer Festival. So we did what any metalhead might do in this situation, we went to THE metal bar in town and for Paris, that bar is Le Black Dog. Located a stumble away from the Seine River and in the middle of a popular food and entertainment district, you wouldn’t even know it’s a metalhead sanctuary from the outside.

After sheepishly stepping inside, the bar was packed with plenty of other metalheads. Black metal was blaring over the sound system and I observed there was a solid beer selection and plenty of Fall of Summer posters and drink coasters strewn about. After attempting to ask the bartenders and then realizing there was somewhat of a language barrier going on, I said “fuck it.” I shoved four of the Fall of Summer cardboard beer coasters into my girlfriend’s purse and decided that we’d figure it out the next day.

The first day of the fest, we decided to call our cab driver that drove us from the airport to take us to Fall of Summer and after a 40 minute drive, we arrived in Torcy. After winding through a few country roads, the all familiar seas of tents became visible. Our driver asked us where he should go to drop us and I told him anywhere near the mass of black t-shirts…duh! After a relatively short wait in line with several dozen of anxious festival attendees (approximately 1 hour), we were inside of Fall of Summer. Our first mission was to get adult beverages and food and to accomplish that we had to purchase “tokens.” After securing enough tokens for a day, we were able to complete our mission and finally set out to see our first band of the day.

Necrowretch, a death metal band from France no less, played a tight and aggressive set under a cloud filled sky. The crowd was small, but it was obvious that people were still making their way into the fest while they played. In fact, it was evident that at some point, there was going to be rain in the forecast. We weren’t worried, we had ponchos!

After Necrowretch, we started exploring the festival grounds. What a better place to start our exploration other than the merch area. There were about a dozen or so vendors, plus a bar and a café to peruse through. In addition, and most importantly, there were umbrella covered standing areas to chill…err…I mean escape from the rain that would dominate most of Friday’s festivities. The second band of the day was the blackened jazz version of Shining. Also hailing from Norway, this version was a last minute replacement band when Saint Vitus unfortunately had to drop off the fest. Without a doubt, The Shining were one of the more eclectic bands of the entire fest, they poured on the saxophone around the same time the rain ramped up its performance.

As the rain continued to soak everyone to the bone, that didn’t stop us and the rest of the festival attendees from checking out Gaahl’s Wyrd. Performing a swath of material from Gorgoroth, God Seed and Trelldom, Gaahl commanded a ten song set that made everyone forget about the rain for the time being. At one point, and I apologize for not remembering which song it was, but he sang in French to which the hometown fans responded in earnest. Ending his set with “Prosperity and Beauty,” the ever so eloquent Gaahl saluted with a sincere “Merci beaucoup” before exiting the stage.

After being soaked to the bone, the weather unfortunately got the best of us on this first day of Fall of Summer. As we made our way towards the exits, we were able to watch a couple songs from Blasphemy’s set. Covered from head to toe in chains, spikes and black leather, Blasphemy blasted the crowd with sheer brutality. As a teenager, I remember purchasing their debut album on Wild Rags Records and I, like most that followed them back then, are probably surprised by their rise to becoming a cult legend among extreme metal purists. Well, that was it for day one of Fall of Summer, hopefully the next day would be drier. More...

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Psycho Las Vegas 2017

Psycho Las Vegas recently wrapped up its second edition in Sin City after moving away from its Californian roots in 2016. Psycho Las Vegas 1st edition was outstanding. The second? Well, I’m trying to find an adjective that tops outstanding… The whole experience of hosting some of the heaviest/hottest/weirdest/loudest bands in the storied Hard Rock Casino is practically a religious experience. My short anecdotes cannot and will not do it justice. You, the reader, will need to make the conscience decision to go next year to experience it for yourself. Or, if you’ve been already partaken, well, I’m sure you can vouch for me in addition to having your own stories to tell. Here’s a brief rundown of my four days.

Thursday: The first day of any festival is always the most dangerous when trying remember details. It’s the day you usually celebrate breaking away from your job/your significant other/your home/your life. It’s probably a statistical fact, the day you tend to overindulge in adult beverages.

By the time I arrived at the Pool Stage, Goya had already started. After a couple of minutes of nothing coming through the PA system, the Phoenix, AZ doom lords were off and fuzzing up the already buzzing crowd. Next up were Conan. I have to admit, I kept running into friends throughout the pool area and I was only was able to listen to them through breaks in conversations with said friends. I did catch the crowded pool stage’s reaction to their set and it the applause was loud after every song. So, I’m going to say they had a great set at this point. More...

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Graspop Metal Meeting 2017: Day Two

After one hell of an opening day and a second night of camping, those attending this year's edition of the Graspop Metal Meeting festival had by now settled into the routine and were ready for another day. Once again, the day promised a mix of legendary names, young blood and cult favourites (or perhaps in the case of one Norwegian act, that should be "kvlt" favourites.)

Following a delay and miscomunication, I was unfortunately unable to catch Axel Rudi Pell and so my second full day at Graspop opened with a trip to Main Stage 2, which was being graced by Devildriver. Though they're not the biggest metal band of recent memory, performing at ten past one in the afternoon was something of a surprise. This did not deter the group from playing with full force and intensity and getting so many rockers' Saturday off to a great start. Frontman Dez Fafara was able to interact very well with the crowd and the high energy the group displayed at the very least impressed those in the audience who are not fans of Devildriver and delighted those who came to see them intentionally. More...

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Graspop Metal Meeting 2017: Day One

The Graspop Metal Meeting festival in Belgium has become one of the biggest and most popular events on the European summer circuit. Seemingly every year they put together a fantastic line up, mixing the classics, the young blood and cult favourites to really give something for all head bangers. This year was no different, with such legends as Scorpions, Deep Purple and Blue Oyster Cult all booked, as well as plenty for the kids like Chelsea Smile and Architects. It all promised to be a hell of a weekend and indeed it was.

Though the festival doesn't begin it's "official" schedule until Friday, weekend campers arrive the day before and are met with plenty on offer, including a number of live bands and the Metal Cafe. Being too tired after travelling from England to Belgium, we were only able to catch one full performance, though we also caught the last ten minutes of Belgian stoner metal act, King Hiss, who would probably please fans of Mastodon but left little impact. This was followed by the very short journey to the Jupiler Stage, which housed most of the weekend's hardcore and deathcore groups to watch Dutch hardcore veterans, Born From Pain. The quintet are regarded as one of Europe's best hardcore groups and it's easy to see why, particularly in the live setting where their brand of positive energy spreads to the audience very quickly, making for a very enjoyable live set. More...

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Amorphis Enchants Audience At Tampa Bay

Finnish Metal kings, Amorphis (along with fellow countrymen, Swallow The Sun) visited one of Tampa Bay's premier music venues, The Orpheum, on April 18th. This was one of the final dates of their current North American tour and the band's first Tampa show in more than 12 years.

Everything about their killer set confirmed why they're considered one of the greatest European bands of the last two decades. The six-piece opened with the bombastic title track from their glorious new album, "Under The Red Cloud" (Nuclear Blast).  

After that, they delivered classic after classic, mixing old and new material from their vast discography. Among the cuts included were Prog-oriented epics "Into Hiding," "My Kantele," "Black Winter Day" and "Sampo" and the relatively straightforward-yet-anthemic hits "House Of Sleep," "Silver Bride" and "The Smoke," among many others. More...

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Dope/Combichrist Conquer Austin, Texas

April 3rd, 2017

The Blood, Lust Death Tour arrived at Grizzly Hall in Austin, Texas with one of the best industrial packages of the year. A reunited Dope took the stage with Combichrist, September Mourning and Davey Suicide supporting. While there were quite a few Combichrist fans supporting wearing the band’s t-shirts, the headliner certainly brought in the most people.

Before the tour bands got underway, though, there were some locals. Sine was the first local act I was able to catch at the early hour of 7 PM. Doors at Grizzly opened at 6, so the opener was without much of a crowd. They might have only played in front of 25 people, but Sine played like they were in front of a crowd in triple digits. Their front woman, Rona Rogueheart had a beautiful-yet-aggressive voice. The band played dark industrial music with a synthetic quality that was very danceable, thus they did their job and warmed up the venue for the headliners. More...

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Photo Recap: 70.000 Tons Of Metal, Day 3 And 4

The largest and longest-running sea travel of its kind this year headed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Labadee, Haiti and back, featuring 61 bands playing 123 live shows on 4 stages to fans from 74 different countries. For most fans on board it’s "the" annual metal highlight. Below you can see George's personal extensive photo-recap of the events, scenery, and shows of his favourite bands taking place on "The Independence Of The Seas" metal-battleship:

Day 3: Labadee - Overkill - Marduk

Day 4: Unleashed - DevilDriver - Annihilator - Arch Enemy

If you missed the recap of day 1 and 2 you can watch it HERE.

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Photo Recap: 70.000 Tons Of Metal, Day 1 And 2

Metalunderground.com writer and photographer Georg Wilfinger boarded The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise, 70.000 Tons of Metal, taking place February 2 through 6.

The largest and longest-running sea travel of its kind this year headed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Labadee, Haiti and back, featuring 61 bands playing 123 live shows on 4 stages to fans from 74 different countries. For most fans on board it’s "the" annual metal highlight. Below you can see George's personal extensive photo-recap of the events, scenery, and shows of his favourite bands taking place on "The Independence Of The Seas" metal-battleship:

Day 1: Cattle Decapitation - Death Angel - Testament

Day 2: Suffocation - Revocation - Dying Fetus - Anthrax

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A Legend In Manhattan "Accepts" No Substitutes

It’s was the fall of 1985 when Accept was introduced to me, only the second metal band to Twisted Sister that I was exposed to. “Metal Heart” was an album that captured me like no other, one that became so intertwined into what I declared “true metal” that I knew every single nuance of every single song. “Bound to Fail” became a bit of a theme song and “Teach Us to Survive” was one of the most daring songs of its time. Six months later a label company “rushed” “Russian Roulette” hit the streets and in as much as I read how disappointed the band was with it at the time of its release, it remains one of my favorite albums of all time, an underplayed, near forgotten masterpiece. I can expound upon what Accept has done to improve my life with such brilliant music, but suffice to say they have been in it for 31 of my 46 years and are ingrained in my very own “metal heart.” More...

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Leaves' Eyes Go Viking on Austin

Monday December 12, 2016-

While there are still a couple weeks left in 2016, this will be my last road report of the year. The show was a milestone in my career as it completes ten years of concert photos and reports. I will be putting these into a new series of books. The visual aspect, energy, epic music and melody was the perfect send off for this ten-year odyssey. Thanks to Come And Take It Productions for making this night and many more nights possible. Their switch from Dirty Dog to Grizzly hall was a better choice for concert attendees. More...

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Flotsam and Jetsam Thrashes Austin

Sunday December 4, 2016—

Veteran speedsters Helstar and Flotsam stopped in Austin, Texas for an old school metal throw down. New wave thrashers, Hatchet warmed up the crowd. Hair flew, fists pumped and even a mosh pit or two broke out. From pure speed to concrete grooves, from high pitch vocals to growls, the show was a lesson in true metal. More...

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Orphaned Land Unite All As One In London

In the modern world, metal music truly has become international. It's reached all four corners of the globe, touching music lovers for all manner of different reasons. Recently, a tour rolled into London which summed up the far reaching power of metal, featuring bands from Europe, Asia and South America and offering a wide variety of sounds and sights. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the show and witness the unifying power of a genre that has been dismissed far too many times as a negative influence.

Having unfortunately missed out on the opening act, Chilean progressive metal veterans Crisálida, I was able to catch Russian symphonic metal act, Imperial Age. Though I'd never heard of the group before, they were very striking in a number of ways. Firstly, the vocals, provided mostly by Anna "Kiara" Moiseeva but aided expertly by keyboardists Alexander "Aor" Osipov and Jane "Corn" Odintsova, are absolutely breath taking, showing off their classically trained voices in an awe inspiring way. The music which accompanies the singing is just as epic and grand in sound, while even the band's attire was memorable, with Osipov dressed in what could best be described as a general's uniform. For those who like symphonic metal, Imperial Age are a band one simply must check out. They could well be the next stars of the genre. More...

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Lordi Put On A Monster Show In Bristol

Lordi are a band that will usually generate a different reaction to everyone who hears their name. For some, they're keeping the spirit of old school heavy metal alive with their U.D.O. and glam influenced sound, along with their showmanship, while for others they're an imitation of other such previous bands as Gwar and then there are those in Europe who remember them solely for their Eurovision winning entry, "Hard Rock Hallelujah" back in 2006. Whatever the case, the prospect of seeing a Lordi show was a very intriguing one and something I was able to do when they stopped off in Bristol during their extensive tour of the United Kingdom.

Starting the show, and in some fashion, was Silver Dust, from the Swiss municipality of Porrentruy. The band make strong use of theatrics in their performances, using props such as video screens and realistic, if slightly funny looking, guns, while the majority of the group were clad in suits and top hats. It's steampunk influenced gothic rock at its most ludicrous and by extension, its most fun, with the audience made to feel very much part of the show throughout, blurring the line between a hard rock show and vaudeville. Their music may not be to everyone's liking, but Silver Dust do put on a performance to remember. More...

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Onslaught Unleashes "The Force" In Bristol

British thrash metal is often described as an overlooked are of the genre, with much of the focus being shifted to the American and German scenes. However, the United Kingdom had several heavy hitters such as Sabbat, Xentrix and Acid Reign, though many fans will tell you that the premier British thrash band is, was and perhaps always shall be, Onslaught. After reuniting in 2005, the group has gone from strength to strength, released three stellar albums with another one on the way, however this year they have been celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of what many believe to be their defining album, "The Force," by playing the record in full, including in their home city of Bristol.

As is often the case at The Fleece, the opening band, in this case Ipswich thrash metal veterans Anihilated, took to the stage almost immediately after the doors opened. The group has a sound very reminiscent of Slayer and a true old school thrash vibe that went over very well with the relatively small audience who had turned up early. Though not the most memorable of bands, Anihilated delivered exactly what they promised and gave the crowd a solid and frenzied set of break neck speed metal from start to finish. More...

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Vader Builds An "Empire" In London

Death metal is perhaps the most expansive of metal's many sub-genres. It ranges from the extremely brutal to the hauntingly melodic and often displays amazing technical ability from the musicians involved. A night full of death metal may seem a bit much for some people, but for devoted death heads, it might seem like paradise. So it was that when Vader embarked on their first headlining tour in support of their new album, "The Empire," they brought no less than four bands with them, all of which performing death metal in one form or another.

Having not seen enough of the first two bands to really comment, it's fair to start the review by discussing Canadian quintet, Threat Signal. Unfortunately, not being familiar with the group or able to find a setlist, I can't name any of the songs they performed, but every single one of them was played with a sincere energy. The group carry themselves very well, unafraid and confident about supporting two death metal legends but respectful enough not to be cocky about their clear talents. The crowd were visibly impressed too, with newcomers and doubters being won over just as much as their fans enjoyed their set. While not everyone enjoys the studio output from Threat Signal, they're a sight to behold live and a band which must be watched at least once. More...

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Entombed A.D. Unleashes Hell In Bristol

Continuing the string of exciting touring partnerships recently, which have included the likes of Amon Amarth & Testament and Rotting Christ & Inquisition, Entombed A.D. are currently on the road in support of their latest album, "Dead Dawn," with another of metal's highly respected veterans, Voivod, joined along the way by Lord Dying and Morbid Evils. Last Sunday, the tour rolled into Bristol for a show at the Fleece which had a surprisingly small attendance but a huge atmosphere.

Kicking off the evening was Finnish doom metal trio, Morbid Evils, featuring Rotten Sound vocalist Keijo Niinimaa. The group really live up to their sub-genre's name, taking to the stage shortly after doors opened and letting loose a highly morose sound, which caught the attention of the early birds in the audience. Performing material from their debut album, "In Hate With the Burning World," the three Finns could be one to watch for all fans of doom metal, though listeners who aren't so keen on very slow, very dour music may not find what they're looking for. More...

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Lacuna Coil Spellbinds Bristol

It's been a good year for new releases, with the likes of Superjoint and Brujeria returning, as well as new albums from Vader, Testament and Amon Amarth, it's a great time to be able to see some of the bands you love. Another group which released a new full length in 2016 was Lacuna Coil, whose latest release, "Delirium" has received some of the best reviews of their career and continues to lead them down the path of acclaim and success. The band are currently performing a headlining tour of the United Kingdom, which began in Bristol last night and which I was lucky enough to attend.

Opening the show was Italian Genus Ordinis Dei, a symphonic death metal band from Cremona in the Lombardy region. The group have a very strong presence, with frontman Nick K possessing some particular impressive talents in both his growling and guitar playing techniques. As impressive as they were, one can't help but feel it was perhaps the wrong tour for them, as there were several in the audience who weren't so enthusiastic, with a few even taking refuge in the toilets because it was, by their own admission, too heavy for them. It would be great to see Genus Ordinis Dei back in the UK soon on a tour where they might be appreciated a bit more, though it must be said that there were a good number in the crowd who did enjoy their brand of death metal. More...

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SOiL Take Over Bristol

For those of who grew up at a certain time, there will always be songs that stay with us. As a twelve year old, it was impossible to escape "Here To Stay" by Korn, "Rollin'" by Limp Bizkit, "Last Resort" by Papa Roach and of my personal favourites "Halo" by SOiL. Even if the young rockers of the time didn't stay fans of these bands, the idea of seeing such anthems live was a very exciting prospect and one we couldn't wait to experience. However, I did remain a SOiL fan from then until the present day and knowing that their catalogue goes well beyond one "classic" song made tonight's show so much more exciting for me. More...

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Rotting Christ And Inquisition Burn Down London

There have been a number of tours this year that have delighted fans of a specific sub-genre of metal in Europe. Destruction took to the road with fellow old school thrashers Flotsam and Jetsam, bringing with them younger fast bands, Enforcer and Nervosa, while we've also seen some dream pairings such as Exodus and Obituary on their "Battle of the bays" tour and the recently covered Amon Amarth and Testament trek. On this night however, it was the turn of devoted black metal fans to be treated when the "Bloodshed Rituals" tour rolled into London, featuring co-headlining slots from Inquisition and Rotting Christ.

Though unfortunately missing out on opening act, Schammasch due to conducting an interview with Rotting Christ frontman, Sakis Tolis, I was able to see the second band, Mystifier, a black metal group from Brazil who themselves are longtime veterans of the genre. Founded by the charismatic guitarist Beelzeebubth in 1989, the band have not released any new material in fifteen years but have clearly created a legacy for themselves given the reception they received when taking to the stage and those in the audience wearing their shirts. The trio put on a solid performance, no doubt winning over those in the crowd who were not familiar with them during a slot which clearly meant much to them. More...

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