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Archive: Reports

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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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Amon Amarth Pillages Helsinki

Tavastia is one of those legendary metal bars in Helsinki that goes all the way back to the 60’s. Hordes of metal bands have played there, and it’s one of those places that if you’ve lived in Helsinki long enough, it becomes a regular stop.

So it was much to my own amazement when I realized I had actually never been there! Truly I couldn’t have thought of a better night to be there, then when Amon Amarth would be taking the stage. More...

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Machine Head Mixes The Generations

The line-up was picked perfectly for this tour, from the bands abilities to bring unique heavy metal and modern hybrid influences to a big audience and worked the crowd. As Machine Head’s older fans and Darkest Hour and Suicide Silence’s younger fans filed in, some still excited from nearby Mardi Gras parades, the generations mixed, mingled, sized each other up, and eventually socialized as they waited to see two great bands opening for one of metal’s best known bands ever. More...

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Jucifer Shocks And Awes New Orleans

The mood at Siberia was a lively one, even though it was a rainy, humid Wednesday night. As I stood outside, I stared at Jucifer’s RV and thought about how the heaviest Southern duo could live on the road for over a decade. Maybe the droning sound of their music reflected the droning sound of the road under their wheels. Maybe the crashes of the cymbals were the potholes and bumps they encountered. Whatever it was like in there, I was glad that that RV was in the ragged streets of New Orleans tonight, sitting silently under the orange streetlights while bicyclists, cops cars, and empty Mardi Gras floats from earlier parades passed it by. Things would not be silent for much longer. More...

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Children of Bodom & Revocation Wreck Austin, TX

Last year, Children of Bodom earned a gold record in its native Finland for selling 10,000 copies of "Relentless Reckless Forever” on its release date. Add this to career sales in their country and the group has sold over 250,000 records, making them one of Finland’s best selling artists of all time. In America, 250,000 units will get them halfway to a gold record; that is if we were counting individual recordings. Still, the group has found its way to the ears of enough Americans to warrant a headlining tour in celebration of the group’s 15th birthday.

Children of Bodom has spent the better part of the new millennium on the road in America, supporting some of metal’s biggest acts. I saw Children of Bodom twice in 2004. Once, they supported Lamb of God and Fear Factory. Another time they went out with Ripper Owens and Iced Earth. Eluveitie, Revocation and Threat Signal have assumed the warm-up spots so familiar to the melodic death/power metal act. Several of Emo’s patrons wore BLS shirts as a reminder of Children of Bodom’s 2010 showing in Austin with Black Label Society. More...

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Anthrax and Testament Tear Up Baltimore

Anthrax, Testament, and Death Angel recently wrapped up their second leg of U.S. tour dates earlier this month. Baltimore was the second to last stop, on February 7th, and after missing the first leg of the tour in Silver Spring, Maryland, a show at Ram's Head Live was one I couldn't pass up. Despite having stopped in Silver Spring not too long ago, Ram's Head Live was packed pretty close to capacity, if not sold out.

The crowd was noticably older - mostly in their upper thirties and fourties - and for once I didn't feel like the old guy at a metal show. That is, until I saw those who made the show a family affair and brought their teenagers or younger kids. It seemed a little surreal, but bringing my teenage sons is something I could see myself doing in the not too distant future.

When I arrived, Death Angel was already well into their set, despite it being five minutes before they were supposed to take the stage. Having missed the opportunity to photograph the band, I grabbed a beer and enjoyed experiencing their brand of old school thrash. While Death Angel has been around since the 80's thrash scene, I didn't grow up listening to them like the "big 4," so this was my first time seeing the band live. More...

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Finnish Metal Expo 2012 Day Two

With some after parties of legendary proportions at one of Helsinki’s many metal bars, I have to admit waking up was not so easy Saturday morning. And then I remembered it was day two of the expo, and went on my merry way back downtown. Day two of the expo would ring in the Finnish metal awards as well as many more bands, with the headliners today being Stam1na and Turisas. More...

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Finnish Metal Expo 2012 Day One

After being in Finland for a full year now, I once again was able to attend the annual Finnish Metal Expo in Helsinki. A good omen for the weekend was the fact that for the first time in weeks, the weather was not so freezing that my fingers would be tempted to fall off.

Perhaps a difference from last year, that I had noticed immediately was the fact the exhibition itself had shrunk a bit. Less guests, and less retail stands of course means smaller crowds and I wondered just what that would mean for the rather exciting lineup this year, which featured Swallow the Sun, ICS Vortex, Turisas and many more! More...

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In Flames Rules The Palladium

Friday, February 17 marked the fourth to last date of In Flames’ headlining North American tour in support of their 2011 studio album “Sounds Of A Playground Fading” (reviewed here). As a longtime fan and ardent supporter of the band through thick and thin, and having missed every performance since their spring ’08 Gigantour stint, I was rabidly eager for a live In Flames fix tonight. Anything less would constitute a crime against metal. More...

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Guns N’ Roses Returns to The Ritz (Webster Hall)

I never got to see Guns N’ Roses at the height of their "Appetite For Destruction" days or the riot filled multi-year long "Use Your Illusion" tour. Lots of reasons, lots of stories, one revolves around running a car off a highway, another was stopping at a casino; ALL ended in not having enough money (this part of my life was sponsored by Busch Light beer) or finding that all the tickets were sold out. As the years passed by, Axl and the new band spent most of their time away from the states, until recent months when Guns N’ Roses embarked on a North America tour. Now it was a matter of seeing the “new” band in a large stadium or arena. I just wasn’t feeling it. Then I heard Guns was returning to The Ritz.

Looking back, in 1988, Guns N’ Roses, by most standards were on the verge of “blowing up”, and the set list for The Ritz was mostly made up of songs from their Appetite For Destruction album. The show was recorded by MTV and was part of a Saturday Night series. To this day the performance GN’R gave that night in New York’s East Village is legendary, displaying the energy and ferociousness that would make them famous and keep pre-internet bootleggers in business for years to come.

Last month Guns N’ Roses announced they would be doing a series of club dates, three in New York City, two shows (Roseland Ballroom, Terminal 5) prior to their return to what is now named Webster Hall (formerly The Ritz.) I’ll admit initial mixed feelings and low expectations. My first thought was what time will Axl take the stage? This was a Wednesday night after all, a school night. Okay, so I’m 37 and don’t have school, but I have a job and don’t have until 2a.m. to stand around and hope Axl Rose shows up. Trepidation turned to excitement when I peeked at the set list from the Roseland Ballroom and saw that the new Guns N’ Roses opened the show with “Welcome To The Jungle”, “It’s So Easy”, and “Mr. Brownstone.” My plan was to show up around 11 and hope for a midnight start time. More...

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70,000 Tons of Metal Day 3: To Hell in Paradise

Cautiously opening a bleary eye on day 3 soon showed that the Majesty of the Seas was behind schedule and did not arrive in the Cayman Islands until an hour past the scheduled time for 9am. This was fine for me, after last night's late one - I went for some breakfast and lots of much-needed coffee. The weather was a little threatening to start with, with some angry looking clouds. More...

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70,000 Tons of Metal 2012 Day 2: A Sea of Metal

My fellow cruise ship warriors and I awoke on day 2 to a cloudless sunny sky and blue oceans as far as the eye could see in every direction. With the movement of the boat barely noticable, I went to find my friends - mobile phone communication had been impossible since the previous evening, so if you wanted to find someone, you had to know where they would be. I found them at the buffet, where metalheads in varying stages of wakefulness were ploughing through mountains of eggs, bacon, sausages and pancakes. Tea and coffee were the more popular beverages but the drinks waiters were already getting busy ferrying beers back and forth. More...

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Machine Head In Its Prime At The Palladium

September 29, 2007. The date of Machine Head’s gig at Montreal’s late and lamented Le Medley, holding the distinction of the most claustrophobic and brutally violent metal show I’ve ever attended. Now a few years older and wiser – and with a job to do – I had little intention of getting physical on February 4, 2012, but what this date of “The Eighth Plague” tour would surely lack in danger to my person, I expected it to make up enormously in scale, scope, and overall grandeur. More...

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70,000 Tons of Metal Day 1: Ahoy there sailor!

It's almost the universal rule of festivals: in the excitement of the lead up, arriving at your destination - in this case, swapping snowy cold Kraków for warm and sunny Miami - and anticipation of the fun to be had ahead, there's a tendency to party too hard the night before. 70,000 Tons of Metal 2012 was no exception, so it was with a sore and foggy head and a bunch of new (also hungover) friends that I arrived at the Miami pier to board the Majesty of the Seas cruise ship.

Getting 2051 ticket holders - not to mention 452 musicians, 879 crew and 13 trucks' worth of equipment - onto the ship with all their respective luggage was no mean feat and it took a pretty long time. But it was fun to do some musician-spotting while waiting in line at the terminal,and funny to see that George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher has as much hassle getting through security as everyone else. After what seemed like an eon each person was issued with a "sailpass" - a handy little item that opened our cabin doors and allowed drink purchases to be added to our accounts - and ushered onto the vessel. More...

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Gigantour 2012: At Least The Music Was Good

It’s hardly necessary to point out why Gigantour, the recurring metal mini-festival on wheels led by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, is such an – ahem – gigantic draw. My last time seeing the band perform was for the tour’s third incarnation in April 2008, with support from In Flames, Children Of Bodom, Job For A Cowboy, and High On Fire. Round four boasts a package at once further streamlined and brawnier in industry clout, making this show a no-brainer for any heavy music fan within reasonable driving distance. With this firmly in mind, my photographer Tanya J. Kawecki and I set out for Lowell, Massachusetts on Sunday, January 29th. Our destination: UMass Lowell’s Tsongas Center, named – in the words of my colorful colleague Matt Dasher – “for the guy who famously didn’t become President in 1992.” More...

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Iced Earth & Symphony X Burn Hartford To Cinders

Even though I reside in the “drive through” state of Connecticut, I still find it odd that one of the most anticipated tours of the year would begin in a location that most bands/tours avoid. It has more to do with fans in the state. Real fans of metal usually head over to neighboring New York or Massachusetts for any quality metal and any other fans tend to stay at home on Tuesday rather than get out and witness a major tour that is literally within 20-40 minutes away. It is the sorry state of affairs that most real metal fans in Connecticut deal with. But here, a rare opportunity descended upon us and it was a night that the half-filled hall would not soon forget.

The bands arrived in town early, but for some reason the sound checking process started right about the time that doors should have opened. Iced Earth could easily be heard in a practice run of Dystopia while the crowd gathered and waited. The delay caused doors to open at approximately 6:45pm and by the time half the crowd had be properly frisked, entered and started to check out the merchandise table…Warbringer started its set. More...

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Machine Head At the House of Blues

Machine Head was the first show that I actually bothered to pay money for since seeing Behemoth two years ago. “Unto the Locust” is an amazing album and I've never seen Machine Head headline a show. I caught them opening when they were touring with Metallica back in 2009 and they impressed me enough to get me to buy a shirt. Naturally, I was upset to see that they weren’t headlining for another two years and I wasn’t going to pass up this great opportunity. More...

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Lamb of God, Acacia Strain Crush Boston

For the past few years, your best bet to catch Lamb of God has been at an amphitheater or arena on a massive stage on a package tour.

But the gods of metal have smiled upon the East Coast as the Virginia band hit six small clubs this month to roll out their speaker-shattering latest disc, “Resolution.” I was among the lucky thousand or so packed into the Paradise in Boston this week and witnessed first-hand the band’s raw force. They slayed – simple and plain.

Massachusetts’ own The Acacia Strain opened with a grinding set of chugging, angry hardcore that brought the club to a near riot. I last saw these guys on Warped tour last summer when towering vocalist Vincent Bennett terrified the Ashleys and Tylers and scared the eyeliner off the emo kids. More...

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Spinefeast at Sea Festival 2012

Tis the season apparently for metal cruises, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Spinefeast at Sea cruise from Helsinki, to Tallin last Thursday and Friday! The cruise was organized by Spinefarm Records, and with perfect timing as the label was celebrating its 20th birthday this year.

Here in Finland, these cruises to Tallin, Estonia are known for being somewhat of a booze cruise, and almost every Finn has been on one of these journeys to either Stockholm, Tallin, or St. Petersburg. The tax free alcohol and overall party mood are always a safe bet for a good time and I for one can’t think of a better accompaniment to my inexpensive alcohol consumption then to have a solid 20 hours of metal oriented fun! Aboard the ship, called The Baltic Princess, were opportunities for drinking, dancing, metal karaoke and of course an exciting and diverse lineup of 8 bands. More...

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