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Archive: Reports

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Lamb Of God's Chris Adler - The Nashville Clinic

Let’s be honest: Instrument workshops or clinics are usually either self-indulgent, all about show, or strictly educational. You’ve got your Michael Angelo Batio types who think a four-necked guitar is just the coolest thing and can’t wait to start noodling for the crowd. You’ve got your Tim Yeung (Vital Remains, Divine Heresy) types that like to show off ridiculous dexterity and muscle control to the max. You’ve even got your Melissa Cross types, which are mostly educational.

That’s not saying they’re not amazing at what they do, but rarely do you see a musician who checks their ego at the door, talks about their career instead of their techniques, plays more obscure songs, and doesn’t try to instruct everyone in the audience. The drummer from Grammy-nominated American heavy metal titans Lamb of God, Chris Adler, did just that. More...

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Immortal Plows Through Chicago

It's only fitting, in an ironic way, that Immortal finally arrived in Chicago during a winter when my city was buried under two feet of snow. It's one of those coincidences that I'd have a much easier time appreciating if I wasn't trapped in my own home for four days a mere three weeks before the show. Despite taking almost a decade to return to the Windy City, Immortal was still worth the wait.

Unfortunately I missed all but the last two songs of Absu's set since the CTA thought it was a great idea to name two stops Ashland on the Green Line and I'd personally like to meet whoever was responsible for that decision, so that I can challenge that person to a bloody duel to the death suspended over a pit of lava with spiked clubs. I ended up taking the train in the exact opposite direction towards the second Ashland since jumping on the train saying that it was heading to the Ashland stop seemed like a great idea at the time. That whole ordeal managed to take up over an hour of my life since I ended up at the exact opposite end of Chicago that I wanted to be at. Thank you very much CTA. You really know how to create wonderful, memorable experiences. More...

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Boston Feels Motorhead's Fury

I’ve seen literally hundreds of shows in my life and for the past decade or so, there’s been one band on my concert bucket list that I somehow had never managed to see: Motorhead.

That all ended when Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee invaded Boston this week and it would be the understatement of a lifetime to say it was more than worth the wait.

These three have been playing together since 1985 and to call them “tight” is like saying Sydney Crosby is a good ice skater. They play as one and their raw chemistry defies words. More...

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Jucifer Rolls Into New Orleans

As the fog rolled in on the warm, balmy night in NOLA, so did the fans of Jucifer. Not just the average metalheads, but artists, punks, middle-aged/middle class men and women, and about anyone else you can think of. The infamous huge stack of old but very powerful amps, instruments, and all kinds of weird electronic devices filled the side wall of Siberia and rose to the ceiling. It was apparent that they would be performing on the floor lengthwise of the venue because their equipment was too much for the stage. More...

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Death Angel Summons The Angel of Death In Chicago

See what I did there? Clever stuff, eh? Anyway, Death Angel is out doing a club tour across North America to support their newest studio full length, “Relentless Retribution,” supported by Lazarus A.D., Bonded by Blood, Early Man and Hexen. They stopped by Chicago on February 9, and already had a couple strikes against them before they even took the stage. But more on that later. Lazarus A.D. was supposed to be second on the bill but had van problems and didn’t make it to Chicago; an obvious bummer all around for obvious reasons, and it especially sucked for your correspondent, since I love me some Lazarus A.D. Hexen and Early Man were also replaced by a couple local Chicago bands. Enough preamble, let’s talk about what actually happened. More...

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Arson Anthem Holds A Meeting In New Orleans

The Hangar was ready for the AA meeting; the floors were redone in a slick finish to make the mess easier to clean, the bar was stocked with booze, and the flasks were full. I’m talking about the Arson Anthem show, of course. I had to prepare for such an event as any Louisianian would, a tailgate complete with fried chicken, fold-out chairs, and good friends. We all had a great time before the show, but the best was yet to come. The crowd wasn’t the a-typical metalheads I thought would show up, although quite a few did. There were younger Down fans, older yuppie Pantera fans, and the curios onlooker all wanting to see what Phil Anselmo looks like behind a guitar, no doubt. I knew what to expect from Arson Anthem, but the show took some strange turns indeed. More...

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Devildriver Came, Cancer Bats Conquered

On a rainy Tuesday night in Vancouver, hundreds of metalheads lined the city's famed Granville street to catch the first Canadian stop in Devildriver's headline tour. If one thing is ever apparent about Vancouver and its metal fanatics, it is that they are one faithful bunch and are willing to put themselves through any amount of trouble to make it out to a metal show. Devildriver fans are especially rabid in this city and they had made the event a total sell out by the time doors were officially opened, as they have done for every other time Devildriver has rolled through our neck of the woods.

The tour, which features an all-Canadian supporting cast in Cancer Bats and Baptized in Blood, made its Vancouver stop at one of the city's more trendy dance clubs. The venue, which also happens to be named "Venue" of all things, mostly caters to a bar-hoping dance crowd and plays home to techno raves on most other nights. While the venue itself is nice and features an equal balance of floor space and upscale seating, it needs to be pointed out that the employees at Venue are some of the most insufferable people in the city and they really make it a point to take the douchebag factor to whole new levels. The employees were treating the metal fans in attendance that night like they were diseased third world prostitutes and made entry into the venue extremely difficult and lengthy, with many people being kept outside well into the start of the show; an hour after doors. To anyone thinking of attending a metal show at "Venue" in the future or to promoters looking to book a show in the city: only look to "Venue" as absolute last resort.

Despite the terrible start to the evening, Baptized in Blood took to the stage on time and looked to lighten the mood with its positive vibe and high energy performance. The crowd seemed to really enjoy the Ontario, Canada thrash act and did not hesitate to open the pit up early. Performing a rather short set, Baptized in Blood managed to cram all of the fan favorite tracks from its self-titled Roadrunner Records debut into the set with "Dirty's Back" being the lone highlight for me. Its hard to put a finger on what exactly it was, but the band just did not take an interest with me. The sound was great and each band member were very into its performance, but the music itself seemed to lack any punch as its set went on. Although for a young band that already has Megadeth's Dave Mustaine singing its praises the future is surely a bright one for this young thrash act. More...

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haarp's CD Release Show For "The Filth"

Sibera, the latest metal/punk bar hosting shows many days of the week in the darkly lit side streets of the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, quickly filled with many local metal patrons of all variables: musicians, artists, fans, Housecore Records affiliates, and beer-swilling metal supporters alike. I myself rushed from UNO’s graduation ceremony in cap and gown straight down Elysian Fields Avenue to be there for this special night: haarp’s album release show for the band's first full-length “The Filth.” More...

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X Japan Plays The Riviera

X Japan remains the biggest name in heavy metal across the Asian continent. Despite major setbacks including the death of a lead guitarist and a decade long-hiatus, X Japan is still capable of selling out the Tokyo Dome in the band's home country and appearing on the soundtracks for major motion pictures. Finally, North American audiences have been able to witness a phenomenon that they've missed out on since the 1980s.

For those not familiar with X Japan it, along with Helloween, pioneered power metal in the late 1980s as well as a new style of dress known as visual kei, which is entirely an image and has nothing to do with a band's sound. Visual kei bands range from noise to pop and are defined by their use of "Medusa" hairstyles, colorful costumes, and heavy stage makeup. It's a style that emphasizes live performance and theatrics much like black metal, but with a much lighter and less grim approach. Moreover, visual kei has has a profound impact on everything in Japan from anime to video games, with things like Code Geass and the Final Fantasy series taking a heavy influence from visual kei for their art direction.

Finally, after missing the band's Chicago debut at Lollapalooza, I was finally able to witness the legends in person during X Japan's full tour. For one thing, it was inspiring for me to see so many fans follow X Japan to North America from the band's home continent. About 1/3 of the crowd were metalheads decked out in shirts for bands like Helloween and Dark Tranquillity, 1/3 were American weaboos interested in Japan's biggest metal phenomenon, and 1/3 were overseas fans who followed X Japan all the way across the world to see a performance on the group's first ever (and long overdue) North American tour. After every show that I've been to, I've never seen a fan base devoted enough to follow their favorite band overseas. Then again, this is the band that is able to sell out a show at the Tokyo Dome with no opener and have managed to sell thirty million albums with absolutely no touring in North America. More...

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Watain Declares Lawlessness In New Orleans

Although it was cold out, not everyone wanted to go in. Rumors of the worst smell imaginable emanating from wherever Watain plays kept many people at bay. But The Bar was still full to the brim with fans of black metal and those wanting to see if this tour was really as creepy as people said. Let me say this, the next time Watain comes, I don’t think everyone from this show will come back. The scary show filled with meat, blood, fire, and extreme music might just be too much for them. More...

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Bison B.C. Returns To B.C.

In an extremely short amount of time Vancouver, Canada's Bison B.C. have gone from local bar hoping metallers to international headline touring act. With three full length albums released and countless tours throughout North America and Europe Bison B.C. have become an unstoppable force, notorious for its intense live performances. Fresh off an extensive European tour the band returned to its home city of Vancouver to treat its loyal hometown fan-base to undoubtedly one of the city's most destructive concerts it has seen in years.

Having its welcome back show take place at the severely under-rated Biltmore Cabaret meant that the show would be a definite sell out, which it was was well before the doors were to even open. People of all different backgrounds were in attendance; from patch vest metalheads to flannel engulfed hipsters and everyone in between but while the crowd was diverse they all came for one thing, to watch Bison destroy everything in its path. But more about that later. Unfortunately, due to some issues not in my control, I was forced to sit out on the opening act Purple Rhinestone Eagle. I was told they were a female fronted power rock act that kicked out some decent and heavy tunes. That's all I can pretty much say as far as they are concerned. More...

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Gwar Lays Vancouver To Waste

Gwar shows in Vancouver are always a sell out and there was no doubt that the Commodore Ballroom, located in the middle of Vancouver’s trendy Granville Entertainment District, was packed to full capacity. In a day and age where many shows are being down-sized or cancelled all together Gwar somehow manages to keep the Vancouver bohabs crawling back for more each November. While this time around Gwar had brought with them a few of the weaker openers it has chosen in the last few years once the almighty Antarctican space thrashers took the stage the real show began. More...

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Blind Guardian Conquers Everything In Chicago

After I bought my ticket to the Sacred Worlds and Songs Divine Tour I realized I had never seen Blind Guardian play live, which in turn sparked some questions: would I have to recite Gimli’s entire family tree to get my ticket from will call? Would the audience be acting out the grand tales Blind Guardian spins in real-time? Would I need a suit of armor? A battle axe? Should I ride my war horse or would my lighter travelling mare be better suited to the evening? Fortunately all my questions would be answered by the great bards…

I arrived just as opening act Seven Kingdoms was getting rolling. Hailing from Orlando, Florida these power and speed metal troubadours have the chops and desire to be quite good, even though silky vocalist Sabrina V could use a couple semesters in the Angela Gossow School of Stage Presence for Women. The songs ranged from overwrought to outstanding; set closer “Seven Kingdoms” was the standout as the eponymous tune was Maiden-meets-Yngwie-meets-Doro fun, and Seven Kingdoms was warmly appreciated by the already full house. More...

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3IOB And Alexisonfire Team Up For A Secret Show

Its quite amazing how in the span of just one hour you can go from sitting in a friend’s basement drinking beers to being one of the lucky few in attendance at an exclusive "secret show." My Friday evening on November 27th certainly wasn't planned to go in that direction, but as soon as the text message was received proclaiming that 3 Inches of Blood and Alexisonfire would be performing a secret show under different names in a small, 300 person venue, myself and a few friends were rushed out the door and began our frantic journey into downtown Vancouver, which would transform into one of the best concert memories in my lifetime. Sound eerily similar to the movie "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist?" I hope not. More...

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GWAR Gives New Orleans A Tour Of The Pit

GWAR is no stranger to New Orleans, they make it here about once a year. Unfortunately one of the opening bands Infenaeon could not make it to this show. They’ve had extremely bad transportation issues throughout this trek across the states and had to miss our town. But I wish them well in the future. Although it wasn’t packed gut-to-butt as usual, there was a great turn-out, and all of the crazy crowd surfers were there. More...

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Cannibal Corpse's Plague Strikes Nashville (video)

It’s not often venues pack the house for a Tuesday evening show. However, it’s not that often that Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Vital Remains, and Devourment are in the same place at the same time. On November 9th, 2010, Brutal death metal fans came out of the woodworks and packed the Exit/In for this show, with even the venue’s balcony area being filled. Not your everyday sight in the “Bible belt” of America, many fans who were waiting in line on the side of the street sported shirts with some of the most obscene artwork known to metal on them. The doors opened unexpectedly late, with Devourment taking the stage as fans were still pouring in. More...

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New York Hardcore Invades Bristol

While many British fans were disappointed to see that the proposed tour featuring Sick Of It All and Sepultura would not be coming to the United Kingdom (Sepultura has since been replaced on the tour by D.R.I.,) they were more than compensated with the news that Sick Of It All would be coming to Great Britain after all, and that they would be bringing fellow New York hardcore icons Madball with them.

Although I arrived a little late to catch the start of opening band, No Warning Shot, I was still able to catch around half of their set. This marked my second time seeing No Warning Shot, having previously seen them in April opening for Sick Of It All (whose singer Lou Koller stood next to me throughout much of their set tonight) and once again, the band put on a fantastic display. It came as a surprise to learn that the band doesn't perform regularly because they are perhaps one of the best hardcore bands going if in the United Kingdom, or at least the West Country. Their banter with the Welsh patrons was hilarious and the group have a sense of fun mixed with intensity, much like the evening's headliners. I would honestly recommend fans of hardcore from all over the world to try and get hold of the band's EP.

The first group of hardcore legends to take the stage was Madball, who opened with the classic, "Set It Off." Truely the song sounds as devastating today as it did when it was first released in 1994. Frontman Freddy Cricien is still an unmatchable force on stage and his voice was in perfect shape on this night, tearing through classics both old and new along with long time bassist Hoya Roc, guitarist Mitts and new drummer Igor (who I had mistaken for former Sepultura drummer Igor Cavalera. To be fair he does look like him.) The West Country crowd loved every second of Madball's performance and receieved the new material from the band's recent release, "Empire" with open arms, being treated to the title track as well as "R.A.H.C." Of course, the staples went down a storm too, with "Heavenhell" being the latest song to be considered an honest Madball classic, along with "Down By Law" and set closer, "Pride." the audience greeted these songs with moshing, headbanging and sing alongs. Exactly the way a hardcore show should be. Frankly, the show could have ended after Madball and everyone would have gone home happy.

That said, there were four more legends yet to grace the stage. Sick Of It All is definitely one of, if not the best hardcore group to ever release a record, and their live performances are second to none, a statement which they backed up themselves on this cold Bristol night. Kicking things off with "Good Lookin' Out," the brilliant opening song from 1997's, "Built To Last" album, the band captured the excitement of every member of the crowd and fed off their energy perfectly. More recent songs followed suit, with "Death Or Jail," the single from their excellent new album, "Based On A True Story," and "Uprising Nation" from 2006's "Death To Tyrants" being memorised by around 90% of the crowd. Although there were a few sound issues to begin with, these were rectified quite quickly and the band continued to put on an excellent performance, aided largely by material from their new album, which also included the songs, "The Divide," "Good Cop," "A Month Of Sundays" and "Waiting For The Day," all of which are frankly outstanding.

As one would expect, the older material wasn't left out either, as the band showcased songs from their debut full length, "Blood, Sweat & No Tears" as well as the standard, but by no means ordinary, airings of such classics as "Step Down," "Scratch The Surface" and "Injustice System." One of the things that makes a Sick Of It All show so spectacular is the raport that they have with the audience, joking with them, taking song requests (which resulted in a brilliant cover of Sham 69's "Borstal Breakout") and playfully demanding five pounds from a fan for stage diving while no music was being played. Set closer "Us Vs. Them" capped off what was a truely a magical evening for fans of hardcore.

One can only hope that both bands return to the British Isles as soon as possible.

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Whitechapel's Corruptour in Nashville (With Video)

A weekend metal show is the perfect opportunity for every metalhead in a hundred-mile radius to get their fix of headbanging and ear damage. A weekend metal show with bands that complement each others’ sound and keep up a consistent level of energy through the entire show is a big reason not to miss the opportunity. Five bands specializing in crushing riffs, otherworldly death metal vocals, and syncopated rhythms teamed up for such a show -- Nashville, TN at Rocketown on the night of October 22nd into the morning of the 23rd. With Whitechapel headlining, I Declare War opened the show. Following them were Oceano, Miss May I, and Impending Doom. There were enough sub drops throughout the show to make Rocketown’s foundation shift. More...

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The Housecore Records Showcase

Housecore Records is pumping out some awesome music these days. Although relatively quiet in the past, it’s owner Philp Anselmo of Down and Pantera notoriety is working with the bands he signed on to get their albums out, get them on the road, and get Housecore out there for everyone to enjoy. To celebrate the beginning of something big, Housecore Records put on a show of a few of their biggest bands; sludge legends Crowbar, Phil’s favorites haarp, and classic thrashers Warbeast all the way from Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas. I was able to get footage of each band of the night. The decibel level was very high, however, so the sound is slightly grainy. If you see any people wearing shiny party hats in the videos, it’s because it was my birthday. I passed out the hats to my friends and they went in the mosh pit with them. More...

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Goatwhore Comes Home

There’s a lover of metal in the midst of the New Orleans House of Blues. Holderbeast has been granted a monthly metal show where he brings in the best of the NOLA metal gods. Past shows have included Flesh Parade and Crowbar. This month’s show featured the hardest working band in the biz: Goatwhore. Just before they left on two back-to-back tours (currently touring with Black Dahlia Murder) Goatwhore obliged to play the town where it all started. Pro-shot footage of Goatwhore by REKFilms can be seen below. More...

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