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Scumdogs of the Universe, Gwar, Invade NJ

The mighty Scumdogs of the Universe, otherwise known as Gwar, invaded the Starland Ballroom of Sayreville, NJ this past Sunday, October the 15th. This Gwar conquest was the first of Gwar's that my friend and I had witnessed. Before Gwar began their set though, The Red Chord and Municipal Waste had the honors of the opening ceremony.

Municipal Waste started off. I had heard of them through a friend that directed me to their myspace page. From that, I knew that Municipal Waste was a decent band, but after watching them spread their toxic thrash, I must say that I was thoroughly impressed. Municipal Waste’s first two songs were only ok, but after that their intense energy and quality music got me into them. Municipal Waste impressed me at the end of their set by taking out a boogie board and the singer climbed on top of it as the crowd kept it up and he stood up on it and finished out the set on the boogie board, literally crowd surfing. I thought that would be a hard act to follow, but I knew Gwar was going to be able to; they’re intergalactic warriors after all. But before that, The Red Chord came on. More...

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All That Remains Play Oklahoma City

I got set to interview All That Remains at around 6:30 (video and transcript comming soon). Phil wasnt feeling well so I interviewed Oli. He was awesome and gave a good 10-minute interview.

I got on the front row literally 4-5 feet from the band and stage, which is an awesome way to see a concert. Horse the Band came on-stage first. They are a 5 piece (keyboardist being the odd part) and were all fairly young guys. I've heard of Horse before but had never found the time to listen to them. Unfortunatly they had mic problems and you could barely hear the singer, even with how close I was to the band. The music was good, but the keyboards were mediocre and made you wish they would just play music. In many songs they left space for a keyboard-solo, which was kind of boring. The crowd was pretty into them, especially during "Anti-pizza." They played a 6 song set, but during their last 2 songs the bass player's equipment broke, and caused a lot more problems. I felt bad for them, as they were quite decent despite the problems and keyboardist.

After a long pause to fix equipment and finally All That Remains got on stage. The crowd was totally into them, and it seemed like they should have been the headliners. They started off with "For Salvation" and Phil was really on fire. He was flying around the stage and playing to the crowd really well. He displayed a lot of charisma, which ignited the crowd. They promised a half-and-half 8 song set and really delivered. They played Death In My Arms, Air That I Breathe, It Dwells In Me, Weak Willed, Tattered on My Sleeve, This Darkened Heart and This Calling. The set was amazing and they left a 5 minute slot for Oli to show off his guitar prowess.

Unfortunatly I had work the next day and had to leave before Dragonforce got to play any songs. Thankfully I went for All That Remains and was not disapointed.

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Bullet For My Valentine and DropDead Gorgeous

I happened to be lucky, or unlucky enough considering the quality of the bands to win some free tickets via my local radio station to this show, and since it has been over a year since I've been to a concert I decided to go.

I can honestly say before the show despite being from Oklahoma City I had never heard of Rikits and there was actually another band on the bill that they had replaced, but they, in fact, were the ones who made the night worth it. They are a great 5 piece act, with a very heavy sound throughout all of their songs. The singing leaves alot to be desired but the band played a solid 5 song set. They sound a lot like Dry Kill Logic, so if you are into those types of bands I would highly recommend checking them out, as they are creating quite a buzz in the area, and have a very well put together guitar/bass trio.

The second band, Drop Dead Gorgeous, was screamo-core Underoath type and I am totally biased to hating this type of music, so I will just say they played a 6 song set, and the crowd was semi-into them considering the headliner I suppose this band was a good fit. They were from Denver, Colorado and apparently doing fairly well in the business, but I just could not get into them.

Lastly Bullet for My Valentine came on stage. I've never been a fan of the music I've heard by them, but I honestly haven't heard much. I heard that damn "4 Words To Choke Upon" all the time on Madden, so I was halfway looking forward to how they played it live. When they took stage the electricity in the small venue jumped. It was a max 1,000 crowd but honestly those types of shows are the most initimate and in my opinoin the best. Bullet For My Valentine came out strong with "4 Words" and to my surprise they were alot harder live then I could have anticipated. I was really pleased with the sound, and so was the crowd. There was a lot of crowd surfing, but unfortunately no moshing, which at 7 beers I was extremely hoping for. They played all of their singles, most of which have names I cant remember, but they did play "Tears Dont Fall" and their most recent single of which also cannot remember. I took my brother who is really into this band and he said they played really well compared to the album and did, in fact, play all of their singles as well as a few more popular songs from their discography. It was a decent show, and had I known about it, I would have been willing to pay the $10 just to see Rikits. All in all it was a great show.

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Downspell At San Diego's Soma On September 15th

San Diego, California's BROKEN FOUNDATION was the first act I caught upon my arrival. A clearcut hardcore metal band with some death metal element . The crowd immediately went ballistic for these guys and to be perfectly honest, I didn't see it. Not that they weren't full of energy, engaging the crowd and pretty much doing their thing well. It's just that they sounded like everyone else in this genre. Nothing new, nothing gained here. And to be perfectly honest with you all, I'm tired of it.

Next up was the very reason I made the trek from Los Angeles to San Diego in the first place. I have heard and seen pretty much all the hot underground metal acts this year and clearly there is a legend in our midst with hometown giants, DOWNSPELL. The vibe around these guys was like you were about to witness 'Fight Club' on stage. Tons of goatee and tattooed down locals were wearing the band's T-shirt and looking like they wanted to start a ten minute brawl. It only added to the great anticipation building in my stomach for when the mighty Downspell took the stage. And once they did appear with their instruments, like a crack rock explodes to flame, Downspell wasted no time triggering as a lynch to the neck into an absolutely 'let it fly and who cares who gets hurt' brutal death/thrash breakdown called 'Regurgitate'. I have seen the meanest and fiercest acts over the years, and when you get that rare opportunity to see something this pure going off in front of you, I'll be totally candid, you pinch yourself to make sure that you're really there. The crowd literally went insane with applause after the opener and the band wasted no time digging into the 'hate chest' even deeper for the next cut 'Pogrom' off their new self-released LP "Afterbirth". The band interestingly enough is made up of two main vocalists, Wayne Price and Tyson Montrucchio. Price more than effectively holds down the deep, bass-like roaring, while Montrucchio's intermittant high-pitched yells easily brought to mind a man locked in an insane asylum, screaming for someone to come put a bullet through his head. It is readily apparent that he is the star of the band. And I do not take away one thing from the others, Mike Mosier and Jake Phillips on guitar, Eric Raiche on drums and Kenny Moshier on bass. It's just that Montrucchio himself seems to actually be the one dude in the band who is actually living the crazy way of life he sings about. Himself tatt'd down on both arms and even sporting a jailhouse looking 'Downspell' tattoo across his neck! His performance on stage was so hardcore and pissed off that it almost lulls you into a chaotic-like trance where you can't take your eyes off him. The band next steam rolled through other life horrified songs like 'Insulin', 'Malevolence', '50 Calibar Facelift', 'Submission' and closed it out with the 'wreck yer gut' wrencher to end them all, 'Solidify'. This is a band that runs the gamut in the different metal genres it draws its influence from. They sound death at times, yet totally thrashy, with elements of sludge and grind. At the end of it all, I was more than pleased to finally have taken in a show from real metal soldiers charging their way out of the underground heavy music scene to what will hopefully soon lead them all to absolute glory in the music business.

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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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