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Archive: Reports

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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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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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