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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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Marseille And Company Shake Swindon To The Ground

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal created dozens of fantastic bands, many of whom got lost in the shuffle, leading to them being overlooked and eventually causing their demise. A good example of this would be Marseille, who broke grounds for young British bands during their first run, but were overshadowed by bigger British bands such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. However, the band is back now, with a sense of celebrity about them somewhat, owing to guitarist Neil Buchanan’s time as the presenter of the smash hit television show Art Attack, and I had the pleasure to witness them at Riffs Bar in Swindon.

Kicking off the night was local act, Vivaxi. The band possess a quality about them which tends to focus more on their musicianship than on an entertaining performance, with each member looking thoroughly concentrated on their respective instrument, which each member plays with undeniable skill. The songs themselves are drawn out to a degree but contain a catchy quality to them, thus ensuring an enjoyable listening experience. While a good band, their focus on music over performance would make for a more boring tenure were it not for lead singer Chris Hawkins, who brings barrels of energy on stage as well as an impressive voice, mixing the screams of Rob Halford with the American party attitude of David Lee Roth. All in all, a solid performance and a good start to the evening.


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American Carnage Comes To New Orleans

The biggest names in thrash finally returned to New Orleans! Old fans wanting to see their favorite childhood heros, young kids just learning about good music, most of the people in the NOLA metal scene, and more turned out in droves for this show; the biggest show of the year. These bands need no introduction. You’ve been listening to them for a very long time, and all the bands you like have been too. The American Carnage Tour has the same lineup as the Clash of the Titans tour in 1991. Slayer and Megadeth are paying homage to that by emphasizing the albums they released that year. Anthrax is made complete by singer Joey Belledonna, and he will be performing only your favorite tunes. Get ready for pure intensity. More...

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haarp Crushes The Locals

Not the first venue on the metal circuit, the Allways Lounge was clean and quiet. A pair of boots covered in disco ball mirrors hung from the ceiling lighted by a single stagelight. A decrepit paino sat next to the low, round stage. The bands of the night were all different from each other; each had a style miles away from the next. Punk, jam, and sludge; what a tasty mix. Of course, every band was incredible in their own way. And although it didn’t take place in the smelly, dank places we’re used to, it was kind of nice to breathe semi-fresh air. More...

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Metallica Shakes Up Christchurch

Biggest metal band in the world, good friends and a 4 hour road trip – what more is needed? After pressure from a Facebook group of all things, Metallica decided to head down south for two dates on the final leg of the “World Magnetic Tour” in Christchurch, New Zealand, and I went to see what breath was left in the great four horsemen.

Supporting acts for the night were Christchurch locals Tainted, Texan band The Sword and metal luminaries Fear Factory. For the normal reasons (meeting people, searching for alcohol, parking, travel etc.), we turned up part way into the show when The Sword was just closing, so it's unfortunate I can't comment on the first two bands much. I've seen Tainted several times now (who plays a modern brand of Lamb of God styled groove metal), so I wasn't too disappointed there, but from what I heard from others, The Sword subdued a baying Metallica crowd well enough, taking the stage with "Hey... we're The Sword" and then blasting out some tunes. More...

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Katatonia Makes A First Time Visit To Vancouver

Although being located in the least favourable part of Vancouver, the Rickshaw Theater has quickly become one of the city’s top venues for all things metal. Countless bands from all genres and areas of the underground have been congregating at the small theater on Vancouver’s famed “Downtown Eastside,” treating the city to a wide range of different metal sounds. On Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 the Rickshaw played home to one of Europe’s top dark metal acts in Katatonia along with other international metallers Swallow the Sun (Finland) and Orphaned Land (Israel). The crowd, while not sold out, was highly anticipating Katatonia’s first ever appearance in the city and once the lengthy show came to an end they surely left satisfied. More...

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Malevolent Creation Brings Out The Old Metalheads

It’s been too long since Malevolent Creation has graced New Orleans with their awesome presence. So there was, of course, a good turnout when they finally came back. Just before they went out on the March of Brutality Tour with Exodus, Florida death metallers Malevolent Creation went on a short headlining tour in support of their latest creation “Invidious Domain.” The show featured all local support by Demonic Destruction, Machine Made Slave, and Built to Destroy. I was able to interview some of the members of Malevolent Creation. Watch the interview and the grossly hilarious Pit Story. More...

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The Nashville Incident

Porcupine Tree’s second time playing in Nashville, TN came on the 22nd of August, three years after their first visit. The first time, the band played to a packed house at City Hall, with progressive rock act Three opening the show. During the three years in-between, City Hall closed its doors for good. The second time saw the band co-headlining with Coheed & Cambria, playing to a sold-out crowd at the War Memorial Auditorium with The Dear Hunter opening the show. More...

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Death Angel Blasphemes The Sabbath In New Orleans

Three of Nuclear Blast’s best took a free day off from their huge tour with Soilwork to play in New Orleans, and we were very grateful. Although it was a Sunday (even the heaviest metallers have day jobs) many showed up to see Death Angel, who have not visited our swampy soil in decades. I was able to tape the first few songs of Death Angel’s set for your viewing pleasure. More...

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American Carnage Tour In Chicago Kills Everyone

*Before you start into this report, do yourself a huge favor, scroll to the bottom, see which tour stop is most convenient and buy a ticket. Pay however much you have to. If you like metal, and presumably you do since you are on MetalUnderground.com, then don’t make the biggest mistake of your life and not go – even bigger than the raspberry cosmo you had at Harry’s Drink Shack last Wednesday. And if you already have a ticket, buy another. You’ll need the extra space to clean your melted face and blown mind off the floor.*

Strolling onstage as thrash underdogs to the sounds of “For the Glory Of…,” which is the intro crush from 2009 full length “The Formation of Damnation,” Testament took the stage like a MAC truck pulling to the starting line of a drag race. When the opening chords of “More Than Meets the Eye” hit it was clear we were tied to the tracks at the end of the racecourse and we were going to get run over by a MACK truck. Or something like that anyway. About halfway through the set, it was clear Chuck Billy’s demonspawn roar (which has aged like a fine boxed wine, by the way) had ripped my brains out through my eye sockets, chewed on them for a while, and then jammed them back in through my earhole. The only ones that avoided the carnage were members of the vigorous circle pit, which grew throughout Testament’s 40-minute set and culminated in an impressively large wall-of-death, which Testament built up like fine orchestra conductors and finally set off during the real good head-banging part of set-closing song “The Formation of Damnation.” Leaving the stage, Chuck Billy thanked the crowd for “Kicking Our [Testament’s] Ass.” Well Chuck, thank you for kicking ours. More...

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Nominon Back In The U.S.

Just hours after an all-day punk and metal crawfish boil there was an international show called from the Death Metal Darkness Tour with bands coming from the U.S., Europe, and even Mexico that was not to be missed. Oppressing, extreme heat in the late night hours permeated the wooden bar. The three touring bands, Quinta Essentia, Infinitum Obscure, and Nominon, are all signed to Deathgasm Records, definitely a label to check out with a show like this. More...

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Metalcore Invades Baltimore on The Cool Tour

I recently got out to see the Cool Tour in Baltimore for a much-needed break. Featuring eight bands from every corner of the metalcore genre, one might be surprised to hear that this is the new tour by some of the Sounds of the Underground organizers, in it first year of the planned annual outing.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right away: With a name like “The Cool Tour” and a lineup full of metalcore bands, one might expect a bunch of straight/floppy haired teens in girl jeans as the audience. Luckily this was not the case, but it was clear that this tour is marketed to the younger and more trendy crowd. This was not your typical metal crowd, as short hair was the order of the day, but it was not what I expected either. While the name and first impressions might actually be a turn off to older and “true” metalheads, a closer look at the lineup reveals a few good reasons to check it out. I realized that if nothing else, headliners As I Lay Dying would put on a great show, and I also wanted to check out the much-hyped Between The Buried and Me as well as highly underrated Cancer Bats. If you are one who hates all things ‘core, don’t bother, however.

This was my second show at Sonar, and my impression of the venue since the first time was much improved. It seemed more organized and the security and staff were extremely helpful, the latter putting up with bands’ verbal jabs at them looking bored while encouraging the crowd to crowd surf to give them something to do.

While the entire venue was in use, the bands played only the main stage. Fortunately they had the process of switching bands down to a science and there was only a 10 to 15 minute gap between bands’ 30 minute sets for the most part.

Note: with a only passing familiarity with many of the bands, I am not able to name many songs or give set lists for this tour, even for the bands whose CDs I own. But read on for my account of the concert. More...

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Evil Army Comes Back To New Orleans

They may live in another state, but we New Orleanians love Evil Army as if they were our own. Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, the extremely brutal thrash-threesome is back from the grave and ready for action. Their first show in New Orleans this year was packed with their soldiers. The extreme summer heat in the small un-air-conditioned bar couldn’t stop the sweat-drenched, stinking legions from packing in to see what they’ve been waiting anxiously to see for almost a year. More...

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Charred Walls of the Damned Kicks off Tour

The biggest oddity of Charred Walls of the Damned’s first tour is they are playing smaller venues – bars and small theaters and the like. With the amount of experience and reputation this supergroup has (although admittedly half of the studio members aren’t on the road), it seems like they should be playing arenas and ampitheaters, or at least opening for big name headliners.

But as it stands, Charred Walls of the Damned kicked off their first ever tour in Chicago at the Empty Bottle. The Empty Bottle is the type of old school dive where the air feels sticky, not to mention the restroom floors. Thus, it is perfect for an old school traditional metal show. And suffice it to say there wasn’t anyone in the crowd that became a metal fan after hearing “Nothing Else Matters” in high school, and nobody was rocking the latest Hot Topic sampler on the way to the show either. The folks here were all metal-for-life types, even the young ones. More...

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The Big Four Rock by Satellite

Thrash veterans Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica have never before all played the same show or festival. This isn’t too surprising, as that is a lot of stars and egos to get into one place at one time – someone has to play first, and only one band can play last. But finally in summer of 2010 the Sonisphere Festivals wrangled all four together to play seven dates in Europe. Because there are no North American dates the bands arranged to have the show in Sofia, Bulgaria beamed by satellite to hundred of theaters back home. And while there are plenty of ways to nitpick the negatives, the end result is a hugely entertaining concert via video. More...

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Thorny Bleeder Holds Vancouver Showcase

This definitely goes down as being one of the most interesting and unique heavy shows that Vancouver has seen in quite a long time. The venue for this event was not your typical metal venue. It was barely a venue at all. The Shark Club, as its known, turns out to be a trendy upscale version of a sports bar. Complete with soft plush booths for dining, cute but high maintenance waitresses running around in every possible direction, a DJ that seems to only own European techno records and last but not least a bathroom complete with interactive video screens plugging products while you wait. A metal show was taking place here? Really? Everything seemed a bit odd and out of place, the setting just didn't seem right for a heavy label’s showcase. Especially compared to the usual dingy clubs that metal shows take place within this city. But this is where Thorny Bleeder Records chose to hold their talent showcase so there is nothing that can be done, or said. More...

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Pentagram Spreads Evil Over New Orleans

People turned out in droves to see the show with so many amazing bands on the bill. If they couldn’t afford to get in, they would hang outside and listen because it was just too good to miss completely. The slow, swampy, southern metal was complimented so well by the high humidity and heat of the night. Beer flowed (everywhere) and ears became numb as each of four bands took turns breaking amps. More...

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