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Archive: Reports

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Fear Factory and DevilDriver Play Australia

Fear Factory are a favorite for many Perth metalheads, not only because they are a great live band but also because they always make the trip out to the far reaches of Western Australia, something that a lot of other international bands don't bother to do. After the release of the Archetype album they recorded the video for Cyberwaste in a disused power station near Fremantle, sneaking a bunch of locals in through a hole in the facility's fence to participate. So this was a show by a band that the audience consider their own. More...

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I.R.A.T.E. At The Whisky A Go Go September 14th

Opener PANDEMIC is a Northern California based progessive thrash metal act that combines elements of traditional 80's Maiden'ish type metal, thrash, and progressive metal. The band is made up of Andy Giardina on lead vocals, Julian Kidd on rhythm & lead guitar, Patrick Daly, rhythm & Lead Guitar, Adam Herman on bass and Eric Ford behind the drum kit. I would say one of the first things I heard in their wicked sound was Strapping Young Lad, due to the super heavy twin-guitar attack and the quirky, totally theatrical stage performance from Giardina. Slamming through crushers like 'Still Part Human', 'Left For Dead' and 'Viral Visceration', this is a band that is not trying to be like every other metal act that puts on the makeup and garter belt to get your attention.

Pandemic is just a buncha guys that, to me, represent all that is the very essence of heavy metal music: spirit and fight! They seemed to have the early crowd on the toes of their feet with a seemingly non-stop double-bass drumming assault and soloing guitars that at points sounded as deafening as an air raid. They were thick with killer changes and interesting choruses, seemingly rough around the edges at points like any young band, but with a driving intensity throughout the entire set that made you have to applaud. It even made the night that much more metal when the band closed their set with the song 'Ode To Odin'. I must admit that I laughed inside when I heard the name, figuring, "Here comes Spinal Tap!". But I was even more impressed with this tune over all the others because of the gritty lyrical content and deathly-haunted chorus, grinder fed by the heavy, face pounding guitar riff.

Next up was quite essentially one of my biggest discoveries out of heavy metal's underground scene for 2006. The band's name is HOSTILITY and trust me, this is not the last time you will hear about these guys. I cannot go into absolute detail about what it is like when you see the future of heavy metal right before your eyes and then get to hang out and drink some of the Crown with the band afterwards. When you're as diehard and devoted to metal music as I have been for over twenty-five years, the best word to attach to what I felt is: MAGIC.

Hostility's sound simply blows away literally any other metal act I have seen live in the past years, even at times roaming in 'God-like' territory of Super Joint Ritual, who unlike most, I saw three times live here in Los Angeles back before Dime got stolen from us all. WIth a blood curdling, screaming precision and almost mechanized body movement, Greg Haran on lead vocals was certainly evenly matched laid up against the all-out 'goddamn electric' performance from Tony Vorrises on lead guitar. I swear at moments I thought this dude was channeling our old friend Darrell. Bringing down a tremendous rhythm section to back it all up was Brandon Sigmund on bass and Andrew Holzbaur on drums. Taking us from one taste of their brutality to the next with songs such as 'None For All' and 'Death As Leverage', their near forty minute set seemed to come and go as quick as death itself walks into the room and takes the life of another loved one. These guys are so good that honestly, I don't know what more to say about them but that I cannot wait for their label to send me their newly released album 'Uncompromised' on indie label The Pen.

I.R.A.T.E. took complete ownership of the stage once it was their turn, however. I tell you that it literally seemed as if these guys encouraged the 'tough act to follow' scenario, because they were easily three times as solid and intense than the last time I saw them earlier this year as headliner for the first Project Independent Tour. The boldest choice of all was that they opened the set with a cover of Oingo Boingo's 'Dead Man's Party'. It seemed readily apparent to my trained ear that all its members have not only gotten tighter as a musical unit since doing all the endless touring this year but they are not letting up in the sheer bravado and swagger that they always infuse with their steady onslaught of hardcore metal done well. The guilty culprits: lead singer, Erik Ulrich, Rudy Hewlett on guitars, Eric Buell on bass and drummer, Jason Berglund, seemed to take complete glee in the fact that the audience literally became mesmerized by them from start to finish. Tearing like a Texas Twister through much of their latest album 'Brothers Of The Same Struggle' with a workman-like ethic, I.R.A.T.E. clearly has stepped up their game a major notch in my mind. The crowd was literally at their mercy by the time the last note rung out. I was honored to be able to chat with Erik before the show and I must admit that despite all his street-tough posturing and in-your-face rants as a performer, he is one of the most humble and down to earth rockers I've ever met in my life. The big thing out all of the great metal music I heard this night was walking away knowing that The Project Independent Tour is simply killing it on all levels, putting it mountains above the rest in its literal uncanny ability to showcase 'best of the best' metal acts out of America's immensely competitive underground scene.

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Danzig at the Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney Australia

Let me tell you a story. I have a friend - let's call him "Ben" - who had the opportunity to see Danzig live in Hamburg back in '92 or so. Due to an unfortunate fabric rip, Ben was witness to a view throughout the show of the contents of the great man's leather trousers. As an impressionable 16 year old, the damage to poor Ben's psyche was deep: to this day, he cannot listen to, read about or discuss the legendary Glenn Danzig without that particular image surfacing, unbidden, in his mind. He's a little bitter about it.

I am pleased to report to both readers of this site and to Ben that no wardrobe malfunctions tarnished Danzig's Sunday night performance at the Big Top in Luna Park, Sydney, although there were a couple of technical glitches with the microphones and other sound equipment. The three date tour was the legendary singer's first Australian shows in 13 years, and will probably be the last - it has been widely reported that Danzig does not intend to keep a regular touring schedule in the future, choosing instead to focus on his film and comic book projects. More...

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Supernova: Only the Strong Have Survived

As predicted, “Rock Star: Supernova” contestants Zayra and Patrice have met their doom after bringing very little to the table in previous shows. While it is still a mystery how so many unfit rockers made it so close to fronting a band of Supernova’s magnitude, it now appears as though six strong contenders are left vying for the gig. Unlike many of these types of competitions, it appears that Supernova has precisely weeded out all of the lesser talent, with no undeserving contestants making their way to the final rounds.

Despite the expectations of a strong week, this week’s “Rock Star” shows started off with a whimper, as Patrice kicked things off with a decisively non-rocking original song. Dave Navarro again brought out the “start a solo career” blast—this time in reference to Patrice—both times Navarro’s words have seemed all to fitting. On Wednesday’s show, Patrice again fell into the bottom three. This time, the writing on the wall couldn’t have been any bolder, and Patrice was sent home. More...

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Rock Star: Supernova's Zarya Gets The Axe

After a wealth of strong performances and several strong contenders emerging from last week’s shows, “Rock Star: Supernova” appeared to be hitting full stride. With this week’s shows, however, the eight remaining contestants have fallen down a notch, reverting to the kind of karaoke-night singing that burdened so many of the previous episodes.

Tuesday’s show began with Zayra putting Spanish lyrics to an original Supernova tune, with decent results. Zayra, however, clearly has never been Supernova material, and Navarro’s previous advice, for her to start immediately on a solo career, should be taken by Zayra as meaning “start a solo career in Spanish,” as she is clearly more comfortable singing in her native tongue. Following Zayra were three consecutive poor performances, delivered, surprisingly, by some of the better vocalists of the remaining contenders. Magni lost the worldwide audience’s admiration with a boring rendition of David Bowie’s “Star Man,” Patrice was criticized across the board for her rather pathetic attempt at the Police’s “Message in a Bottle,” and Storm delivered an absolute abomination with her version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Navarro’s reaction to Storm’s performance: “I hated that.” More...

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Catching Up On Rock Star: Supernova

Following the success of last season’s Rock Star: INXS, CBS has raised the stakes for this summer’s rock band tryout show, giving contestants the opportunity to front the likes of Gilby Clarke, Jason Newsted, and Tommy Lee in the supergroup Supernova. Beginning with what audiences were told were fifteen of the world’s best unsigned vocalists, Supernova, with the help of a worldwide audience, have cut the field of rocker hopefuls down to eight, including the surprising cut of two contestants on the Wednesday show.

While there’s no doubting the success and overwhelming gossip factor that this season’s Rock Star has achieved, metalheads worldwide have been left scratching their heads, wondering how some former heavyweights of the industry—we are talking Guns n’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, and Metallica—have been reduced to complementing a bunch of karaoke-quality singers following mediocre vocal performances. This week was no exception, with some grade-A butcher jobs of songs like Stone Temple Pilot’s “Interstate Love Song” and John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” It’s of little solace that the song selection for the show has been less metal than an episode of T.R.L. on MTV, but this is a network television show. Still, is it too much to ask for more hard riffs and less phoniness? More...

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Ozzfest 2006 Comes To Bristow, Virginia

Another year, another Ozzfest. After a star-studded lineup for its ten year anniversary last year, Ozzfest was faced with the challenge of putting together yet another great lineup for its eleventh year. When I went to Bristow, VA on Sunday, August 6, 2006, I was wondering just how good a lineup they managed to scrape together. I knew the bands that were playing, but the real question remained whether the main stage bands could hold their own with primarily younger, nu-metal bands on it and Ozzy closing out the second stage.

The temperatures had fortunately dropped from the 105F degree humid days of only a few days earlier, but the sky was crystal clear for most of the day and the intense sun beating down on you in the 90F degree temperatures was still enough to take a lot out of you and require constant re-hydration. More...

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Ozzfest 2006 Stops In Indianapolis

On Sunday, July 23, the annual metal-gods tour known as Ozzfest, minus Ozzy, of course, rolled through Indianapolis, and the event passed without much out of the ordinary. The day saw a couple of fights, a lot of marijuana, a whole lot of ignorant people who harassed event staff at every turn, and a lot of people waiting to see the last three bands of the night without any knowledge of who played the second and early main stages—a typical Ozzfest. More...

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Devildriver Rocks the Starland Ballroom

On Friday, June 2nd, I attended the Devildriver show at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. Along with Devildriver were Artimus Pyledriver, Remembering Never, Bury Your Dead, and If Hope Dies. I arrived late due to a need to stop and pick up dinner. Once I arrived, I began eating my dinner after checking in with Dez from Devildriver and meeting all their friends outside the Devildriver camper. Dinner was cut short as I had to conduct my interview with Devildriver's drummer, John Boecklin. John and all of Devildriver's friends, along with Dez and all the members of Devildriver were very nice and hospitable to me. I was treated as a friend and felt among friends, although during the interview there were many interruptions.

My interview with Devildriver drummer, John Boecklin was conducted on Devildriver's camper and, as mentioned, was interrupted quite frequently until John finally yelled for the door to be kept shut. After the interview, I walked out to rain and thunder and immediately hoped my dinner had been saved from the rain, which it had been, much to my relief. I thanked a friend of the band for saving my dinner and asked Dez and John if I could finish eating on their camper; they were kind enough to say yes. So, I went and finished eating on their camper. WhenI met my friend in side the venue, I found out that I had missed If Hope Dies and learned that they weren't that great. When I went down to the pit area, I saw Artimus Pyledriver in the middle of their set. More...

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Nevermore Wins Crowd at Jaxx in Springfield, VA

On Saturday May 6th, my friend, and I drove down to Virginia from northern New Jersey to see Nevermore, one of our favorite bands, headline at their one off show at the Jaxx with Evergrey the next day. We got to the show early to meet up with some friends, one of which is Will Bozarth from Distorted Mind, who assisted me during the interview process for my interview with guitarist Jeff Loomis (guitarist of Nevermore), since he knows the band from hanging out with them at previous shows. Will’s input added a new dimension to some of the questions and gave the interview a humorous edge. Sadly, I had lost the entire interview because of a technical accident with the recording equipment. Fortunately, I still have the questions and can hopefully recreate the experience on a later date. Interview troubles aside, in hindsight, this was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. More...

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GN'R Acoustic Birthday Tribute For Rosario Dawson

For those of you who don't know Rosario, she's one of the most down to earth, sweetest celebrities I have met; Dawson is best known for her performances in Men in Black and Sin City.

Dawson arrived at the Plumm in New York on May 18, 2006 to celebrate her 27th birthday. After getting a huge hug from the birthday girl, we watched as Axl sang 11 tunes, including “Used to Love Her,” “Mr. Brownstone” and “Sweet Child O' Mine”, as well as the quintessential “Happy Birthday” song. More...

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King's X Rocks Ziggy's in Winston-Salem, NC

King's X hit the stage of the Winston-Salem night club Ziggy's on Thursday the 18Th, to a very anxious and receptive crowd. the set was electrifying and the band was amazing as usual, pulling off complex three part harmonies at will, while never missing a beat, and at the same time finding time to fit unscheduled jam sessions which included not just them but also the opening act Mardo.
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Demiricous Dominates A Metalcore Lineup At Jaxx

On Wednesday, April 26, I got out to see Still Remains' "Of Love And Lunacy" tour, featuring supporting acts Nodes of Ranvier, If Hope Dies, Demiricous and Another Born Without at Jaxx in Springfield, Virginia. The real reason I was going to this show was to see Demiricous, but I also like what I've heard of If Hope Dies and wanted to check out Still Remains and Nodes of Ranvier, who I've heard a lot about but never heard their music or seen them live. I had noted to my friend who I planned to meet at the venue that the show wouldn't be crowded due the show being on a Wednesday night and having no big name headliners. I had no idea how much of an understatement that would turn out to be. More...

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Project Independent Tour Kicks Off At Whisky

With a buzzing anti-major label sentiment palpable in the air Thursday night, April 27th at Hollywood's famed Whisky A Go Go, I was fortunate to have the red carpet rolled out for me with V.I.P. treatment, for which I am eternally thankful to Jeff Totten, I.R.A.T.E. and The Project Independent Tour. I truly celebrated in the fact that I was witnessing one of the real success stories of underground metal this year. I also must say that I was more than taken aback at the overall turnout and strong sense of unity in the air.

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The Masters Of Chaos Tour Report

Last Saturday, April 8, was the day of the Worcester stop of the Masters Of Chaos Tour. Before the show I was dreading that if not enough tickets were sold, the Palladium owners will pull up a last minute change of floors ( upstairs, instead of downstairs) like they did last year for the Behemoth/ Suffocation show- not that upstairs is bad but there’s no photographers pit which would result in poor quality pictures from the side of the stage. Thankfully, my fears were put to sleep when I got there, the venue was full of enthusiastic metal fans. What an amazing night for metal that was. More...

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Therion Engulf BBkings Into Their World

On Wednesday, September 14th I went to BBkings in New York City, NY to see Therion and Beyond the Embrace. As I walked into the venue as doors opened, I saw about six people standing around waiting for the concert to start. I met up with a friend and chilled until it started. What was scary was how we were the only people there until about 15 minutes before Beyond the Embrace took the stage. About 30 people showed up in those 15 minutes. I was scared that Therion drastically undersold the show. I was very wrong. By the time Beyond the Embrace finished the venue was packed. I didn’t even notice how many people were pouring in, since I was front row out of the three rows of people there. By the time Therion was playing I couldn’t move. Before Beyond the Embrace took the stage, I thought I saw Brian Fair from Shadows Fall hanging out at the bar, but wasn’t sure, so I went up to him and said, “Hey, what’s up”. Turns out it was him and he was cool. We had a short conversation because the concert started and it would be nearly impossible to hear each other. More...

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666 Degrees Of Metal: My Ruin Murders The Whisky

On Saturday, April 1st, with some serious heavy metal electricity in the air, I was in person to see a rather large bill of underground metal bands at The Whisky A Go Go here in Los Angeles. First up was Coalition Bear from Thousand Oaks, featuring Jake Goodrich on Vocals, Brett Leonard on Drums, Jack Howard on Guitars, Quinn Brentson on Bass and Aaron Collins on Keyboard. Citing influences ranging from Lamb of God, Misery Signals, Darkest Hour to Toad the Wet Sprocket, I found this act to be one that wasn't too original or too stimulating, yet somehow still captured some of my interest during their thirty minutes as the show opener. The vocalist, Goodrich, worked the crowd with some light-hearted jokes and flat out had the death growl down better than most that are trying to emulate the work of Randy Blythe. Remnants Of Solace is a song that has some cool moments, certainly the repetetive end lyric howl of "I will make you remember."
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Kittie comes to West Virginia

I had the opportunity to check out Kittie at the Huntington Music Hall (aka Monkey Bar) on April 4th. The place was packed too, especially for a Tuesday night, about three hundred people rocking out. Unfortunately I arrived late to the show, very late. Though I did manage to catch the last five and a half songs of Kittie’s set.

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Darkest Hour Brings Down Asbury Park, NJ

Friday night, March 31, 2006, I was sitting at home on my computer and on AIM. I hadn't planned on doing anything until out of nowhere, one of my friend's instant messages me, asks if I like Darkest Hour, "yes", I replied, so began my Friday night.

After running a few errands, my friend, his friend, and I headed towards Asbury Park to see Darkest Hour, A Life Once Lost, the Acacia Strain, and Himsa at Club Deep in Asbury Park, NJ. Now, this would be our first time to this venue and were told that it was right across from the legendary Stone Pony. When we got to the Stone Pony, we where relieved to find out we hadn't been misinformed. We walked in after paying at the door and I was surprised to see a pretty decent venue.

Club Deep consists of a decent size pit area, a bar in the back, and a divider separating the stage and pit area and the merchandise area. Also, in the merchandise area, there are a couple pool tables and the rest rooms. Club Deep is about the size of the Stone Pony which isn't very big, but isn't extremely small. Club Deep was just the right size for a good show.

Now, because of the errands we had to run, we showed up 20 minutes late and missed the Acacia Strain. We made it just as a Life Once Lost go on. A Life Once Lost was ok, not really my thing, sounded very hardcore influenced, and we enjoyed some of their songs. After them, Himsa went on; we aren't too big of Himsa fans because their drumming, in my opinion, overpowers the rest of the band. Also, I believe the drummer is too good for that band. After we sat down for Himsa, there's a little leather couch built into the divider to sit on, we stood back up for Darkest Hour.

Darkest Hour, the band we came to see, made the night worth the $12 spent to get in. Their vocalist was having trouble with his microphone in the beginning, but that was resolved after the first couple songs. Darkest Hour tore through songs from all three of their albums, including their single, "Convalescence", off their newest album, "Undoing Ruin", which I purchased along with a shirt after the show. Darkest Hour put on an amazing performance for their whole set. I found the guitar work to be exceptionally good. At the end of their set, their vocalist decided to stage dive, right into my arms. A much unexpected surprise! I bet he and I were both glad that I caught him!

That was the end of a Friday night that started as nothing besides me and my computer spending some quality time. Anyone who says AIM and computers are a waste of time and bad for you, I suggest you take a look at how this amazing night started.

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COB, Chimaira and TTEOTD Rock The Recher Theater

On Tuesday, March 21 I decided to end my several month drought on seeing live shows and go out to see Through The Eyes of the Dead, Chimaira and Children of Bodom play at my new favorite venue, The Recher Theater, in Baltimore, MD. This single movie theater converted to a club/concert hall with a capacity of 700 was sold out and quite packed. The lineup looked good and I didn’t want to miss a chance to catch Through the Eyes of the Dead, who have breathed some much needed life into the largely stale genre of death metal. And ever since “The Impossibility of Reason” and their latest self-titled album, I will gladly see Chimaira any time they come to town. More...

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