"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Archive: Reports

Displaying records 21 - 40 of 576 1 2 3 4 ... 28 29 Last

Body Count Brings South Central To London

If there's one word thrown around in music all too often, it's "legend." However, if there's one person that deserves that tag, it's Ice-T. The man credited with the first gangsta rap song ("Six In The Morning") by many has earned a reputation for his social commentary and tales of life in poor America, as well as his precise vocal delivery and story telling prowess. However it isn't just rap where Ice-T has had a profound effect, as in the early 90s he revealed his band, Body Count, put together with long time friends.

Their self-titled debut sold well but was massively controversial for its lyrical content, most notably the song, "Cop Killer," which was condemned by actor and NRA spokesman Charlton Heston and even President George H.W. Bush. Fast foward to 2018 and Body Count now have six albums under their belt, the most recent of which, "Bloodlust" was released last year. So, at the tender age of sixty, does Ice-T, Ernie C and company still have it? What do you think? More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Discharge Delight The London Faithful

Metal owes a lot to punk rock, some bands moreso than others. At the top of the list must surely be Discharge, the punks from Stoke On Trent who have had their music covered by such bands as Metallica, Sepultura, Anthrax and Machine Head to name a few. It's surprising then that for a band as legendary as this, the turnout in London was quite disappointing. Despite this and the absence of bassist Royston "Rainy" Wainwright, the band made sure that all that did attend went home happy.

Opening the show was The Migraines, based in both Bristol and London. The band is very much what one would think of when it comes to punk bands, minus the Mohawks, in that they have some solid music but are very loose and non-nonchalant about things. They're a good laugh at first but the novelty of their simple lyrics wears off pretty quickly, there's only so many bands that can sing songs about weed before it becomes very stale. Despite my criticisms, they're at least very good musically and well worth checking out if the style and humour are to your taste. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Leaves' Eyes Leaves An Impression In London

Symphonic metal is one of the most popular sub-genres of metal today, with bands headlining festivals across the world and even holding their own in the case of Epica. One of the more prominent bands from this area is Leaves' Eyes, who earlier this year released their superb new album, "Sign Of Dragonhead," their first with new vocalist Elina Siirala. To promote the album, the band has been on an extensive tour of Europe, joined along the way by MaYaN, the side project of Epica mastermind Mark Jansen and Almanac, the new band from former Rage guitarist Victor Smolski. How did the show go? Read on, MacDuff.

Opening the show was Almanac, a power metal project from Victor Smolski with no less than both male and female vocalists. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see a good portion of their set as I was interviewing Leaves' Eyes, but what I did see was very impressive indeed. Smolski has gained the reputation as something of a modern guitar hero and it's easy to see why, as his one of a kind style leads the group to a fresh sound with a unique take on a genre which makes it easy to be bland. Of particular note too was the talents of singers David Readman and Jeannette Marchewka, who were in fine voice throughout. It wasn't a sold out show tonight and opening acts don't always get a large audience, but those who were here for Almanac would find plenty to enjoy. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Crowbar Comes Out On Top In London

It's always intriguing when bands from different genres or generally different styles come together. Cathedral on the Gods of Grind tour was an interesting experiment, as was Sick Of It All on the New Titans On The Block tour. On this night, I made my first visit to Camden's famous, Electric Ballroom to see a show headlined by Converge, where they were joined by special guests Crowbar, another pairing which might raise a few eyebrows.

First of all, credit must be given to The Electric Ballroom. Camden is known for being overpriced and something of a tourist trap, but this large and tidy venue which has hosted everyone from Sid Vicious (who recorded a live album here) to Paul McCartney is very reasonably priced indeed and all the staff from the bouncers to the bartenders to the cloakroom attendants were very friendly and helpful. I don't normally make notes like these about venues, but The Electric Ballroom was so impressive I felt I had to praise their work. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Skindred Brings "Big Tings" To Bristol

Since first seeing them supporting Soulfly in February 2006, Skindred has gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the most popular bands in the United Kingdom today. Unsurprising then, that on returning to the same venue where I first saw them, they're headlining a sold out show with two big names supporting them, namely Danko Jones and CKY. With a new album entitled "Big Tings" (released today, April 27th,) Skindred were hotly tipped to be on form tonight.

Opening the show at half seven was Canadian rock and roll ambassador, Danko Jones. There was a decent sized crowd for an opening act, but Danko and his eponymous band were more than willing to show everyone what they're all about. Performing with just as much energy and ferocity as they did on the main stage at Graspop last year, the group opened with "I Gotta Rock" from the latest album, "Wildcat," and continued to tear through their set fueled by an undying love for rock and roll. "Sugar Chocolate" went down well with the crowd, in part thanks to the frenzied movements and vocals from Danko himself, as did "First Date" and "Gonna Be A Fight Tonight," before they closed off their time with another song from, "Wildcat," the anthemic, "Little RnR," which may well be the best song Danko Jones has ever written. A great set which would have delighted fans of the band and rock and roll in general, though there were a few who didn't seem to get it. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Ugly Kid Joe And Friends Rock Shepherds Bush

There's absolutely nothing wrong with a good rock show. Tonight in Shepherds Bush, West London, veteran Californian rockers, Ugly Kid Joe headlined a celebration of fun in what was a real treat for all in attendance. Performing at the Empire, a rather grand venue with a lot of history, the pairing of Ugly Kid Joe and former Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell's new band, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons was one which promised a great time and did not disappoint.

Opening the show was Yellowcake, the new side project from Ugly Kid Joe frontman Whitfield Crane. The band have a very raw and old school minded approach, denying themselves any social media presence and only releasing their demo via cassette tape. While this makes it a little harder to get hold of their music, Yellowcake could very well break into the mainstream soon should they decide to go the more conventional route, as their music is so much more mature than most bands starting out can achieve. Featuring members from Australia and Japan, as well as the United States, this international collective have crafted a Black Sabbath reminiscent sound without being a run of the mill doom band. If you're able to see the group or pick up the tape, I strongly recommend them. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Inferno Metal Festival 2018 - Part 2

Friday, March 30th – Day Two

Being that this was the Easter holiday weekend, just about everything in Oslo was shut down to include every restaurant that wasn’t a kebab joint. I was also tipped off that beer sales would be ending by late afternoon for the duration of the holiday. I came to the harsh realization that I was going to survive these next few days on a steady diet of kebab, a set amount of canned beer and 7-11 paninis for nourishment.

The first thing that was on my agenda was to attend a screening for a movie called Rockabul. Here’s a short synopsis copy/pasted from the movie’s promotional material; “Rockabul follows Afghanistan’s first metal band District Unknown. The film features never before seen footage of underground expat party scene, at odds with an extremely conservative society. The band put themselves in the firing line to challenge conflict with culture.” Even though in all actuality I’m reviewing a heavy metal music festival, I will say this: Rockabul is a movie that highlights the harsh reality about an arts culture trying to get off the ground during the middle of a war (Operation Enduring Freedom) and socio/political uncertainty. I liked that Rockabul doesn’t sugarcoat anything and the ending leaves you with some questions regarding “what ifs” and “where are they now?” The director, Travis Beard (a separate exclusive interview forthcoming on Metalunderground.com), stated that Rockabul will be released for public consumption via streaming platforms within a year or so.



After the movie, I made my way back to the Rockefeller and settled in for the 2nd night of shenanigans. On this night, I was able to peruse more of the merch booths and art exhibits available. Compared to other metal festivals I’ve been to, Inferno doesn’t have the sheer number of merchants slinging merch. This is probably due to the fact that there really isn’t the space to house said vendors. Regardless, the selection of shirts, LPs, CDs, spiked leather gear, etc. on hand was pretty decent and the lines weren’t bad at all. I really enjoyed the art exhibits. I have made a point to check out the art exhibits at every festival I’ve been to, but I would have to say that Inferno’s are some of the best I’ve seen so far.

Emperor was the first band I checked out on this night. Without a doubt, they were one of the hometown favorites throughout the entire festival. I swear that everyone in attendance on this night was jam-packed into the main stage room. For a band that is exclusively playing festivals at the moment, you would hope that they would play a wide spread of songs from their entire catalog, and that they did. They ended their three-song encore with “Inno A Santana,” and it was absolute perfection.

The headliner for this night, Fleshgod Apocalypse, put on a brilliant show as well. Following Emperor was no easy task, but the theatrically inspired Italian death metal band did more than a fine job. This was actually my first time checking them out and it definitely won’t be the last. After partying to the wee hours of dawn the previous night, I decided to take it easy on my liver and returned to my room after Fleshgod Apocalypse’s set. Inferno Festival is a marathon, not a sprint… More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Angra And Operation: Mindcrime In London

Whenever bands announce a tour of the United Kingdom, or even just one show, one of the most likely venues to show up will be the The Underworld in Camden. It's a very famous venue, located under The World's End pub, which is a great place to listen to metal over a beer. Inside the venue itself on this occasion, Brazilian metal veterans Angra would be headlining a show which also featured special guest Geoff Tate (former Queensryche vocalist) and his collective, Operation: Mindcrime, as well as American outfit, Halcyon Way.

Though the show was scheduled for six, problems meant that doors didn't open until seven and subsequently scheduled opening act Ravenscry were not able to perform. Halcyon Way were also dealt a blow as they were only able to play for around twenty minutes, in a set which appeared to contain no more than five songs. There was little time, as a result, for the band and audience to connect and their set seemed to be over before it really began. For this reason, it's unfair to really judge Halcyon Way on this performance. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Inferno Metal Festival 2018 - Part 1

Inferno Metal Festival, in terms of human growth, matured into adulthood in 2018. Eighteen years strong, this festival by all accounts is the reputed king of festivals throughout the Scandinavian nations. This year’s reiteration includes some of the most recognizable names in black metal and heavy metal in general; Emperor, Satyricon and Electric Wizard. One of the most anticipated bands, Carpathian Forest, are back playing the festival after more than a decade.

There will be more written about the bands since after all, this is considered a show report, but I will also be sharing my personal adventures day that transpired in Oslo, the capital of Norwegian black metal. So light a black candle or two and read on…but first, check out some photos of the festival here!

Wednesday, March 28th – Pre-Festival

After flying almost halfway around the world from Phoenix, Arizona, I attempted to get my circadian rhythm adjusted to an unapologetic time zone shift and attempted manifest some intestinal fortitude on the fly due to the 70-degree drop in temperature. It’s not an easy feat to do both of those at the same time, but this isn’t my first rodeo and I thought I adjusted quickly for the most part. My first order of business for the day was a shopping spree at the famed Neseblod Records. If you don’t know the reason for the fame, just Google Helvete Records and you’ll be in the loop for the next paragraph.

Located on a quiet street just outside of the tourist district of Oslo, you could easily walk past it if it wasn’t for the “A” frame sign with their snake laced logo propped up on the sidewalk in front. Inside? Well, it’s a heavy metal hoarders paradise. There is so much stuff, and by stuff, I mean records, CDs, cassettes, shirts, memorabilia and most of all, so much black metal history on display, that you can literally spend a whole afternoon perusing and still not get through half of it. One of the coolest things on display, located right behind the register, is the original door key to Helvete Records. If you were wondering if it was in a shadow box or some nice display case, nope…it’s in a sandwich bag tacked to the wall. Black metal has always had a “fuck it” attitude that’s for sure.



Later that evening, I checked out an Indie Recordings showcase that took place at the Hard Rock Café Oslo. The bands that played, Vorbid and Tantara, are fresh upstart thrash bands, which stood out considering the marjority of the label’s artists are of the black metal variety. Both bands played to a very enthusiastic and plentiful crowd. The show had a very DIY feel to it other than the Hard Rock Café logos splattered everywhere. The best part is when my friends and I asked the bands where the merch tables were, they ran to grab trash bags and shoeboxes stuffed with shirts and CDs to peddle their wares from. Fucking awesome.

After the show, my friends and I ran into a contingent of Spaniards that were also there to attend Inferno and a plan was set in motion to head on over to one of Oslo’s many rock bars, Rock In. While we were conversing with our new friends on our way to the Rock In in a sloppy dialect of Spanglish, we were hedging on the more we drank, the more we would understand each other. We arrived to a packed, darkened and of course, loud tavern blaring Venom’s “In League with Satan.” Yesss…my kind of place! As we became more acquainted with our amigos over several rounds of Norwegian pilsners, we lost track of time and before we knew it, ‘twas 3 o’clock in the morning and we had closed the bar. Great success! More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Primordial Emerges As Legends Amongst Ruins

How many sub-genres can one band be labelled with? Over the course of twenty six years, Primordial has been called black metal, pagan metal, celtic metal, doom metal and pretty much everything else, but whatever the case, Primordial are metal to the very core and know how to put on a show to remember. Having just released their ninth studio album, "Exile Amongst The Ruins," the sons of Skerries are back on the road and bring with them some very unique guests.

Opening the bill was German black metal outfit Der Weg Einer Freiheit (loosely translated: The Way Of Freedom,) who possess a seriously abrasive sound. Extremity is very much of the menu this evening at the Islington Assembly Hall and not everyone was sure what to make of the Bavarian quartet. Those who enjoy their metal very fast and miserable will enjoy what Der Weg Einer Freiheit has to offer, providing a real sonic assault reminiscent of black metal flag carriers Mayhem. They were perhaps the most straight forward of the three bands tonight, which is no insult given who they're sharing the stage with, but for that reason, those who weren't blown away early in their set wouldn't have changed their mind later on. All in all, Der Weg Einer Freiheit aren't for everyone, but when was black metal ever meant to be? More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Andrew W.K. Shows London How To Party Hard

Metal and rock music has so much to offer when it comes to live shows. We have the elaborate theatrics of bands like Iron Maiden and Amon Amarth, the stunts and fireworks of Metallica, KISS and the like and then we have groups who rely on the music to do the talking, as well they should. What makes the latter option special though, is the delivery and is it turns out, nobody can deliver quite like Andrew W.K.

Opening the show was Yonaka, a Brighton based band which melds rock and pop music but without doing so in the stereotypical indie way. Comparisons can be drawn to the likes of Jefferson Airplane and The Answer, though the group still has a way to go. They're show some real promise, particularly in the guitar area, but at the moment lack much in the way of anything memorable. Yonaka were able to get some sections of the crowd moving and no doubt they'll be some in the audience that really enjoyed their set. Having only been around since 2015, they still have plenty of time to develop and refine their sound, which will help them take the next step in the future. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Epica Enchants Kentish Town Forum

Over the past ten years or so, symphonic metal has really exploded in popularity, thanks to the success of groups such as Nightwish, Within Temptation and Theatre Of Tragedy. Last Friday, I had the pleasure of witnessing another of the sub-genre's most revered bands, Epica, at their show in London where they were joined by Myrkur and Oceans Of Slumber to craft a night to remember.

Opening the show was Houston, Texas progressive metal outfit, Oceans Of Slumber. Not being familiar with the quintet, I had no idea what to expect. Like many opening bands, they had to fight through some relatively poor sound at the beginning of their set but fight they did and those in attendance were treated to a magnificent display of atmospheric metal. Vocalist Cammie Gilbert was superb in showcasing her soulful voice which fit alongside the gloomy, My Dying Bride-esque music very well. Songs from their new album, "The Banished Heart" such as "The Decay Of Disregard" sound fresh and intriguing and it won't be long until Oceans Of Slumber are headlining tours of a similar size. More...

Read more...  |  1 Comment - Discuss

Watain & Destroyer 666 Phoenix, AZ March 18th 2018

Between the shitstorm that Destroyer 666 were a part of last year and the recent war between “edgy” (a borrowed description…) black metal bands defending against self-righteous keyboard justice warriors, I didn’t know what to expect at Watain and Destroyer 666’s Phoenix, Arizona date. Just a week earlier, Destroyer 666 was booted off their Bay Area date. Watain, showing support for their touring brethren, basically told the venue to go fuck themselves and pulled out of the date as well. Another venue had stepped up to host the show but inexplicably cancelled a few days later. In light of all this drama, Phoenix did not disappoint. There was no bullshit, no drama, only metal and Watain’s Disciples.

I have to admit, I’m not an avid listener of Destroyer 666, but I did want to check out what all the chatter was about that was filling up comment sections of several metal blogs in 2017. I thought they were solid, but their sound reminds me of early European thrash metal ala early Kreator. They didn’t blow my mind musically but the raw and intensity of their sound had massive appeal a couple of decades ago. For some, this style is fresh and new and turns their crank. For this writer, I was counting down the number of songs left of their 45-minute set.

More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Cannibal Corpse Turns Red Before Bristol

As one of, if not, the biggest name in death metal, a Cannibal Corpse show is never to be missed. For nearly thirty years, the Buffalo born gore peddlers have gone from strength to strength, featuring one of the best rhythm sections in all of metal, two excellent guitarists and a monster of a vocalist, Cannibal Corpse has continued to stay on top of the extreme metal mountain, and with their new album, "Red Before Black" under their belts, it's time once more for the quintet to take to the road, with a little help from some friends. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Sepultura Unveils The "Machine Messiah"

It's not yet festival season, which means metal fans are currently being treated to a number of tours at the moment, many of which come in big packages. It was only last week that Venom Inc. kicked off their tour in Bristol with Suffocation, Nervosa and Aeternam and it was in the same city that Brazilian metal titans Sepultura began their headline run of Europe, bringing with them a lineup with something for everyone.

Opening the show was American deathcore outfit Fit For An Autopsy. Fans of the style more likely than not enjoyed their set and those with a love of all things extreme no doubt will find something to like in their music, while those who tend to shy away from deathcore probably wouldn't have been converted by their sound. They're a highly energetic band, which can only be admired, who have been going for ten years already, thus possessing the rare combination of youth and experience. Not for everyone, but not bad. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

The Exploited Keeps Punk Alive In The South West

"Punk's Not Dead!" bellows the title and artwork of The Exploited's debut album, released back in 1981. Thirty seven years later, the quartet are still proudly making the proclamation with all the venom they can muster. Led by iconic frontman Wattie Buchan and his brother Wullie on drums, the band became one of the most popular names in the second wave of British punk, which is often named "UK82" after a song of theirs. From "Death Before Dishonour" onwards, their sound took on a more metallic tone, leading some to lump The Exploited in with the crossover thrash acts like D.R.I. and Stormtroopers Of Death. Though it's been fifteen years since they're last album, "Fuck The System," the band are by no means near the end and certainly haven't mellowed with age, as the crowd in Bristol were about to find out. More...

Read more...  |  2 Comments - Discuss

Venom Inc. Brings Black Metal To Bristol

As is the case with oh so many metal bands these days, there now exists two incarnations of Venom. There's Venom, led by frontman Chronos and now there's Venom Inc., featuring the other two famous members of the influential trio, Mantas and Abaddon (guitar and drums respectively,) as well as vocalist/bassist Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan, who replaced Chronos in Venom for a period of time in the eighties and nineties. The latter group released their superb debut album, "Ave," last year through Nuclear Blast Records and last week began a headlining run of Europe in support of the record, as part of a stellar lineup which also included death metal legends Suffocation and Brazilian thrash metal favourites, Nervosa.

Opening the bill was a band named Survive. Quite honestly, I don't even know if they played. A few young lads took to the stage and performed the same riff a few times at sporadic moments, then that seemed to be it. Rumour was that the group were using a stand in drummer and so I sincerely hope that things have improved for them. Unfortunately, an important call meant that I wasn't able to see Canadian support act Aeternam, however the rest of the night more than made up for what I'd missed out on. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

70000 Tons Of Metal: Day Four

All good things must come to an end, as they say. After three fantastic days at sea with sixty one metal bands, it almost time to head up. Fret ye not however, as there was still one more day filled with metal for those on board to enjoy.

Up first (at least for me,) was sunshine, fresh air and German thrash metal, as Destruction took to the stage for their second set of the cruise. The setlist wasn't changed enormously from their first, though this time "Nailed To The Cross" went down particularly well as there were two men dressed as Jesus in the mosh pit. Sacrilicious. Fortunately, the teutonic trio faced no visible technical problems this time around and put on a hell of a show, despite playing in the earliest slot of their career. It shouldn't be necessary to say this, but Destruction are one of the top thrash bands in history, still to this day, thanks not only to their superb catalogue, but to their towering stage presence and scorching live performances.

Following some lunch and finally being able to get into the merch room, it was a trip to the Alhambra Theater for something very special; The All Star Jam, hosted by Annihilator founder Jeff Waters. Members from many bands on board joined together to perform metal classics and favourites. Naturally, some groupings and songs went down better than others, with highlights including Riot's, "Swords and Tequila" performed by Snake from Voivod, Mike Silfringer of Destruction, Metal Church drummer Stet Howland, Korpiklaani bassist Jesper Anastasiadis and Primal Fear guitarist Tom Naumann, as well as the AC/DC classic, "Hells Bells," sung by Battle Beast's, Noora Louhimo, with Elias Viljanen if Sonata Arctica and Jeff Waters on guitar duties, Primal Fear's Mat Sinner on bass and Enslaved drummer Cato Bekkevold, all before the final number, which saw the dreams of thrash metal fans come true as Kreator frontman Mille Petrozza joined Destruction's Schmier and Vavver on stage to perform Metallica's, "Whiplash," in a lineup that was rounded up by Andreas Kisser of Sepultura and Matt Harvey of Exhumed performing guitars. A one of a kind experience which is a real treat for metal fans. More...

Read more...  |  8 Comments - Discuss

70000 Tons Of Metal: Day Three

Two days of metal is a real treat, but with another two days of hard and heavy tunes to come, a little recharge of the batteries does no harm. So it was that on the morning of February 3rd, the Independence Of The Seas docked in Cockburn Town, in the Grand Turks and Caicos Islands, with fans, crew and musicians alike stretching their legs in this beautiful Caribbean setting. The heat is about what you'd expect and sun screen is a must (though being charted $25 for a bottle is a liberty,) the water is crystal clear and refreshing to the touch and the local staff are very welcoming, right down to having a DJ booth set up playing metal music, which was more than happy to take requests (I couldn't resist the urge to ask for Mezarkabul - "Bir.")

After a relaxing day at the beach, fans were asked to be back on the ship by half 4 that afternoon. Getting back on with enough time to get some dinner and a round of golf in on the pool deck, a bit of power metal was first on the agenda and so it was that I made my first trip to the Ice Rink to check out German act, Evertale. Like a number of groups I reported on yesterday, I'm unfamiliar with the majority of their work and this was more about checking out a new band for me. Evertale are solid, it's fair to say. Their brand of power metal isn't groundbreaking or new, but in a genre nostalgic for the fantasy themes more common in the 80s than today, that's not necessarily a requirement. They don't possess anything special when it comes to stage presence either, though againm there's nothing particularly wrong with it. Not much to say except that they're worth a go if you like this kind of thing, but those with little to no interest in power metal won't be especially impressed. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

70000 Tons Of Metal: Day Two

After a superb first day aboard the Independence Of The Seas, it was time for another long day of seeing and meeting some of the most revered bands in metal. There's worse ways of spending a long weekend I suppose...

A late night and jet lag meant sleeping in longer than expected and missing out on the first few bands, though I was up and fed in time to head to the pool deck for the first time and check out one of the greatest names in British death metal, Benediction. While some may onky recognise them as the group Barney Greenway fronted before joining Napalm Death, the Birmingham based bruisers have had a long career with some outstanding music under their belts and it's fair to say that a live setting is the best place to sample it. There's no frills and no pretentiousness about Benediction, they're working class English guys who play old school, thrash inspired death metal and they do it wonderfully. I imagine Benediction to thrive in a small venue, which makes an outdoor venue with thousands of potential crowd members something of a risk, as not all bands used to intimate stages can work on a bigger setting. I'm pleased to report however, that Benediction don't have this problem. Those in attendance were treated to a blistering performance, which no doubt won over those who are put off by the poor production of their earlier work and delighted fans and curious parties. A great way to kick off the day. More...

Read more...  |  0 Comments - Discuss

Displaying records 21 - 40 of 576 1 2 3 4 ... 28 29 Last