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Archive: Reports

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Cannibal Corpse "Tortures" Nashville Audience

Cannibal Corpse is like a peanut butter & jelly sandwich if you think about it. I don’t mean literally, of course. The band has been around for 24 years with largely the same consistent sound. Every one of the records has been consistently outselling the one before it without the band ever selling out to be more commercially viable. The tours have been getting consistently longer due to worldwide demand. In all of these things, consistency is the staple. Cannibal Corpse has shown itself to be one of those universal constants like peanut butter & jelly, and both are widely accepted and can be mighty tasty if you’re in the mood for them.

As evidenced by the long line of black shirts seen up and down Elliston Place outside the Exit/In, Nashville, TN was having a Cannibal Corpse craving at the end of April. Fortunately for us, Cannibal Corpse just rolled into town with a few bands in tow: Exhumed, Abysmal Dawn, and Arkaik. More...

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Sabaton Rolls The War Machine Into Worcester

Only a few times in my life have I been as worried about how my “vision” of future events would come to pass as when Sabaton rolled it’s Swedish tank division into the Palladium at Worcester on Saturday night. For starters, the band just had a major split with four members, all of which provided the power and part of the rhythm of a band that was all about force. Secondly, the split happened on the eve of two major career milestones for the band: the release of “Carolus Rex” (review forthcoming), which will see a U.S. release even before the European, and a bold North American headline tour with no support, save for local acts at only particular venues. Tack on the fact that the band was late with obtaining visas for the new members forcing the cancellation of the first three nights of the tour and the fact that there has been little no tour hype generated though the band’s Facebook page, which remained eerily quiet since the tour began (not even announcing where the band was playing each day). It also didn’t help that Arch/Matheos was playing the same night back in Hartford in one of very few show appearances, which certainly would make attendance at this show even less. Since there were no supporting acts on the bill, I can report on the VIP meet and greet with the band, which proved to be a smashing success. More...

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Fear Factory Kicks Off Tour in San Antonio

On May Day 2012, Fear Factory ignited the “Noise of the Machine” tour in San Antonio, Texas. Formerly known as The Warehouse, Backstage Live’s industrialized setting seemed ideal for Fear Factory to get its gears churning. Even though “The Industrialist” isn’t due for another month (June 5), the group was “Recharging” its fans batteries for another dose of explosive cyber metal. Shadows Fall, The Browning, The Devastated and Legacy of Disorder served as support.

Having released “Soul of a New Machine” in 1992, Fear Factory has over twenty years of material to consider when creating a set list. Even though the group selected cuts from every full-length album except “Archetype” and “Transgression,” the set seemed a half-hour short. I’m not that guy who comes out to concerts to watch only the headlining band; however, the night’s billing of seven bands (two local and five touring) seemed to have stolen some of Fear Factory and Shadows Fall’s time in the limelight. Thanks to the gentleman who constantly photo bombed me with his camcorder, you can see video of four of the touring bands. More...

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Sepultura Is Still Sepultura

“That’s not the pass for tonight,” muttered the venue staffer checking IDs, wearing a dismissive expression suspiciously resembling a dildo. “I don’t know what to tell you.”

I’d just conducted interviews – coming soon – with guitarists Andreas Kisser (of Sepultura) and Moyses Kolesne (of Krisiun) backstage at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vermont. With no additional press to handle, Sepultura’s tour manager had scrapped the planned guest list, handing me instead a photo/access pass from a prior show. As this straightforward story was received with borderline indifference and a blasé shrug, I was pulled aside to allow lucky ticketholders entry. There I stood waiting under the gatekeepers’ stone cold gazes, like a failed freeloader – the lowest form of tool at a concert. More...

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Diecast At Mill Street Brews

Time waits for no man. When I purchased a copy of Diecast’s bruising 2001 LP “Day Of Reckoning” – at the now-defunct Circuit City, of all places! – I couldn’t have imagined that in ten years’ time, I’d be relying on the Boston-based band for a sweet nostalgia fix. That savored rush arrived on Friday, April 27th, at Mill Street Brews in Southbridge, Massachusetts.

Nestled in a renovated 19th-century textile mill building and stripped of ostentatious frills, the venue boasts no fewer than three separate barrooms, each with its own stage, and a vast expanse of floor area. Tonight’s show took place in the second floor Showcase Club and, by all appearances, was a veritable “who’s who” of regional metal talent. Nearly ten bands were jammed onto the bill, cranking out condensed sets that wrapped nearly as quickly as they’d begun. Time being a bitch, I sacrificed watching most of these sets (including Western Mass favorite WrenchNeck) in favor of some needed relaxation and chitchat in the adjacent barroom. More...

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Opeth Prolongs “Heritage” in San Antonio

Opeth returned to central Texas for the second time since releasing “Heritage” in the fall of 2011. Prog/tech masters Mastodon and mysterious, occult metallers Ghost supported the Swedish troupe. This performance at San Antonio’s Backstage Live marked my first Opeth concert in nine years. The group has undergone many changes since then—changes of style, personnel and label—but coming into this show I had an overwhelming since of continuation, perhaps a sequel.

“Heritage” is the first Opeth album since “Damnation” comprised entirely of clean vocals. It’s still a heavy album, as was “Damnation,” but without Mikael Åkerfeldt’s bestial roar, Opeth doesn’t climb as high into the emotional stratosphere. Their showcasing of this material led to a performance focused more on melody than ferocity. Some of the buzz around the Internet gave the impression that the band were to play a snoozer. One person even likened their performance to a Lionel Richie show. A similar backlash occurred at the 2003 show with Porcupine Tree. Opeth played the entire “Damnation” album that night and didn’t include a single growled note.

In a Metal Underground interview before the show, drummer Martin Axenrot said the evening would contain some death metal, so it wasn’t quite the prog-only exhibition of 2003. It was a fairly chilled out evening, though. Although Mastodon only occasionally accosted the crowd with hard rock fury, guitar and vocal harmonies induced swaying sing a-longs rather than pits and head banging from the crowd. More...

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Solstafir and Hexvessel Mesmerize Nosturi

These days I’m beginning to think that I live at Nosturi. There’s always familiar faces working, and in the photo pit as well which makes for a rather comfortable aspect to an otherwise extremely exciting and unique event.

Icelandic heathen metallers Solstafir embarked on a journey through Finland last week which started in Helsinki on Thursday. I've been waiting a few years to finally see these guys live, and it was with bated breath that I arrived at the venue on a rainy Helsinki day. The tone for the evening was not the usual drunken folk metal vibe, though I appreciate that on occasion as well! All in all, the event in store was a thought provoking and contemplative one. More...

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Eddie Van Halen Saves!

On April 1 I saw Van Halen for the third time. The first time I saw them was in 2004 with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, and that was a Top 5 show for me. Sammy was fantastic, as was the band, ripping through songs from every era in sizzling form. The second time I saw them was in 2007 (?), which was the first tour with David Lee Roth and Wolfgang Van Halen replacing Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, respectively. This wasn’t as good as my first Van Halen show, but great nonetheless, as seeing Diamond Dave for the first time was a treat.

That brings us to two Sundays ago, which was simultaneously phenomenal and phenomenally disappointing. More...

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SXSW 2012 Thrash Show Reverts to Garage Rock

On March 16th, 2012, Motorbreath Entertainment intended to create one of the best lineups featuring bands from the “New Wave of Thrash Metal.” Exmortus, Bonded By Blood, Havok, Speedwolf and Witchaven were on the bill to play Betsy’s Bar at Austin’s annual South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival. Oregon’s Spellcaster offered a style more in line with the New Wave of Classic Metal scene that has, in a sense, run parallel with the new thrash movement.

Besides Corrosion of Conformity who came to town with their crossover thrash, “Animosity” lineup, thrash metal is an endangered species in Austin during this time of the year. When I saw Motorbreath had organized a lineup of such great, young thrash bands, I had to help with promotion. Unfortunately, a number of mishaps led to Betsy’s Bar canceling the show. However, thanks to Alex Campos of local metal marauders, Beyond The Blood, the show went on! More...

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Crowbar and Prong Assault San Antonio

Bludgeoning hardcore, bruising grooves and bittersweet syrupy sludge elbowed the eardrums of Backstage Live’s patrons as they paid witness to two of the standard bearers of ‘90s metal—Crowbar and Prong. Although both bands look and sound very different, both artists lent a hand in sculpting the modern metal sound. The chunky rhythms and mechanized motions of Prong helped direct a stampede of Nu Metal, core and other rhythmic mosh-oriented bands, while Crowbar brought attention to a strong metal scene in NOLA and helped define a more extreme form of doom metal called sludge.

Crowbar and Prong rose to prominence through videos on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball (when it still mattered). These singles were part of the metal education for many in attendance, so the enthusiasm displayed during Prong’s “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” and Crowbar’s “All I Had (I Gave)” came as no surprise. Although those videos built a mountain of exposure for both bands, neither group has achieved headline status like former touring mates Pantera, Sepultura and Danzig, which rang true in the small amount of ticket sales produced. More...

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Corrosion Of Conformity On St. Patrick's Day

You could spot someone that was going to the Corrosion of Conformity show a mile away in the French Quarter as they walked, sometimes stumbled, around in the hot afternoon sun of St. Patrick’s Day; black, worn band shirt, a few drinks under the belt, and a happy smile. Even in their stupor, they hovered around One Eyed Jacks just waiting for those doors to open so they could finally see their friends. Although many people coming go to numerous concerts a month, a good bit came just to see COC, the band that they used to go see in the small, dank clubs of New Orleans when they were much younger. It was a reunion for them. More...

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Paganfest Destroys The Palladium

There are few places I would rather see an event like Paganfest more than at The Palldium in Worcester. It is currently the venue in which I see the majority of great metal event pass through the Northeast. Needless to say, when I found out long ago that the great hall (which would have been more fitting the lineup here) would remain empty as Pirates and Vikings would be facing off in the dreaded upstairs portion, my heart was heavy. For one, the sweat soaked sardine fest that would come is not conducive to a man my size who generally enjoys a four foot warzone to avoid striking any of my metal brothers with lumbering limbs and no sense of balance. Secondly, even though I would witness my first live exposure to Alestorm and Turisas, two of many personal favorites, I would not actually hear OR see the event properly. The sound in the upstairs portion is absolutely unfixable no matter what the venue does and the stage is at least three feet lower. Unless you plow your way through the crowd of men, women and children leaving a trail of destruction behind to get to the front, photography with any camera is an epic fail. Even if you are that lucky, the frighteningly horrible house lighting rig showers the bands in merely blood red. So was the night that awaited me. But alas, the crowd was entertaining enough, the beer doth flow and above all the four main acts were there. For metal, we do most anything. More...

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Mpire of Evil Plays Venom Classics in San Antonio

All hell broke loose on March 26th, 2012. Hell didn’t exactly break loose considering Korova club in San Antonio ushered a guestimated fifty people through their doors. Shows held at the beginning of the work week may produce dismal ticket sales, but south Texas must not have gotten the memo: Mpire of Evil contains ex-Venom members, who play Venom classic Venom numbers.

Mpire of Evil isn’t exactly Venom and without a blurb explaining their lineup, the name Mpire of Evil may elicit a “never heard ‘em before” type response. The night’s headliners, Mpire of Evil and fellow Brits Onslaught were both American tour circuit noobs. Onslaught took nearly thirty years to make an American appearance, which has hindered them from gaining the fame they so badly deserve. One can’t fault the level of devotion possessed by Onslaught’s small cult of American followers. Some of the fans at Korova’s had waited three decades, figuring to never see the thrashers. For most of us, this was the closest we had ever been to witnessing Venom, so this was a night not to be missed. More...

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Truckfighters And The Midnight Ghost Train In NOLA

This was going to be a special show; you could feel it in the air. The lineup was great, but there was something else lingering that later took everyone by surprise; and it wasn’t the new drink called the Just Say Yes. They wouldn’t tell you what was in it, but you should just say yes to having one. Anyway, the music kicked off and patrons wandered in. I filmed Midnight Ghost Train’s set which you can see below. More...

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SXSW 2012: Tone Def Touring Showcase with C.O.C.

After Pallbearer marched its audience toward a giant, gaping abyss at ND, I hustled a couple blocks west to Dirty Dog Bar. I learned an important lesson last year: If you don’t have a badge or wrist band, show up early to ensure you get into the venue. Last year, I showed up a band or two into the Metal Alliance show and missed Saint Vitus and Crowbar. Once the doors opened, the bar’s staff allowed a few badge and wrist-band holders in first and then opened the flood gates to everyone else.

The Atlas Moth did not bide its time in leisurely boredom like me. The Chicago-based space sludge masters were busy setting up for their second show in the span of a couple of hours. The group filled in the vacancy left by Rwake, who also bowed out of The Atlas Moth’s earlier show. Without their planetary light show that illuminated ND’s, The Atlas Moth’s performance was not as visually stunning. Their keyboards, effects and coarse tones updated the flowery texture of traditional psychedelia. Although they call Profound Lore home, The Atlas Moth could fit right in on Neurosis’ Neurot label. More...

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Doom Rules Pitchfork.com's SXSW Day Party at ND

South By Southwest 2012 maintained its tradition of billing a long list of heavy bands from an assortment of styles. Attendees began pouring in from every corner of the globe on the previous Friday to experience the interactive and film portion of the city-wide festival. Traditionally, at least during the last few years, the music segment starts five days later on Wednesday. Even though I attended a free show at Emo’s East featuring High on Fire, our coverage begins with Wednesday’s usual sonic circus.

Torn between the Thrasher/Converse Death Match Day Party at Scoot Inn and Pitchfork’s Show No Mercy show at ND, I opted for the Pitchfork show. The Thrasher show included legendary hardcore punk acts Fear and Cro-Mags as well as Nachtmystium, but I chose the doomed tones of Rwake, Pallbearer and Pilgrim at the Pitchfork.com show. More...

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Arcturus Invades Helsinki

Ever since ICS Vortex (Simen Hestnaes) parted ways with Dimmu Borgir the buzz in the air was of an Arcturus reunion. When it was finally made a reality, the only thing left for fans to do was to patiently wait for the band to land in their town. For Helsinki that chance came last Saturday! The show had been reported as sold out well before the actual date, and 900 lucky people were able to witness the reunion tour from the vantage point of one of Helsinki’s most renowned venues, and my personal favorite place to shoot: Nosturi. Check out the shots here! More...

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Barren Earth at Tavastia

It was a gorgeous sunny spring day in Helsinki last Thursday, perhaps unfitting for the precursor to a metal show, and yet it only heightened my appreciation for the happenings of the evening. Following the release of the latest album “The Devil’s Resolve” Barren Earth kicked off another Finnish tour last Thursday. The first show of the tour had the supergroup playing at the legendary Tavastia, in Helsinki Finland. More...

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"N" Is For Nashville, A Puscifer Experience

Puscifer is one of the most difficult bands to describe, given the disconnect between their outward appearance and the substance of their songs. Yet, to anyone familiar with the work of A Perfect Circle and Tool, just the buzz-phrase of "It's a Maynard James Keenan band" does the trick. The band's approach is almost exclusionary in that their promo photos and stage presentation are mostly unrelated, which deters casual listeners but intrigues those who demand that music be a full-on experience. Finding out what that Puscifer experience was all about was my goal when they stopped in Nashville, TN on the night of February 28th. More...

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70,000 Tons of Metal Day 4: Doesn't get any better

Although there had certainly been nothing to complain about with the weather thus far on the cruise, the final full day heralded the most perfect weather we had seen yet: not a cloud in the sky, deliciously warm, and thankfully not too windy (which had previously been a problem from time to time). With a full complement of great bands to check out and oddly, no ill-effects from the previous night's alcoholic adventures, I was primed for an absolutely awesome day.

Check out the day 4 photos: Atheist, Alestorm, Gravedigger, Coroner, Amorphis, Venom, Suffocation. More...

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