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

Archive: Site Updates

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Metalunderground.com Code Clean Up

I wouldn't bill this as a "new design" per se, but I've been cleaning up a lot of old code (remember, this site is over seven years old, and a lot of the code running it shows its age, unfortunately) in the past few weeks and am currently pushing these changes to the live site. Please pardon any issues you experience in the next couple of days. I should have them ironed out fairly quickly, as a lot of the issues I am already seeing just do not show up on my staged testing server.

The good news is that these updates should make adding some new features easier, as the old code base was really hindering progress in some ways. I'll have more frequent site updates over the next couple of weeks as things progress.

Thanks again for your patience while we clean up around here.

78 Comments - Discuss

Metalunderground.com Turns 7

Where do the years go? Metalunderground.com is yet another year older. We have now been supporting metal and the underground for over seven years. I started Metalunderground.com back in 2001. I had been working on it since 2000 and launched a beta version before embarking on a trip overseas to get married. Upon my return in mid-April, I launched the site officially and began posting news and continuing development.

Each year I've been amazed by the growth of the site and our readership, especially in light of the fact that this is not my full time job and there's so much more I want to do with the site, both in terms of features and promotion. A lot of people have helped Metalunderground.com grow to the point it's at today, but I have to say that this year we absolutely have the best, most well-rounded staff ever, and I am truly excited to see where we're headed in the coming years.

In the past year:

  • The site moved to a new web host and server

  • The comment spam issue was resolved (it only takes me two minutes a day to delete all the spam and you don't have to see it at all)

  • We've improved the amount and stability of our news coverage

  • We've got more quality interviews with bands

  • We've added a couple more photographers and

  • We are finally hitting our stride with the reviews section with the addition of numerous quality writers and reviewers, several from our very own community.

Since the site's inception, we've posted over 35,000 news posts and covered more than 6,000 bands that are in our database. We currently serve well over 500,000 page views per month to over 200,000 visitors.

Many thanks to all of our contributors and all of our readers, especially those who have made Metalunderground.com their primary place to get their metal news and those who contribute to civilized discussions on a regular basis. In addition, I want to thank all of the bands, labels and PR folks who have supported us over the years and the chaotic times when we were stretched thin.

Spread the word and let's make the next seven years even better!

110 Comments - Discuss

April Fools! Did We Fool You?

In long-standing Metalunderground.com tradition, as every year, for the past six years, we've devoted April 1 this year only to posting fake/prank stories (so as to not confuse anyone more than necessary). It's hard to believe that this is the sixth year we've done this. It's definitely hard to fool you guys (our readers) any more. I enjoy doing this each year as a break from the usual news and hope that some of you have enjoyed it as well.

If you happened to fall for any of them, then we apologize. If you weren't tricked, then hopefully you were still entertained. If you missed the stories, you can still read them all here. (Note the date on each story, however, to determine which ones are April Fools stories.)

You can also check out our archives for past years' April Fools articles:

Perhaps next year, the Metalunderground.com veterans can wait for some newbies to bite before calling out "April Fools" :-)

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming of Real MetalTM news. Thanks for reading.

PS - no offense is meant to either the people or bands discussed in the April Fools stories or to those whom we've attributed fake quotes. As is often the case in life, the bands we like most are the ones that get "picked on" in these stories.

34 Comments - Discuss

Full RSS Feeds Anyone?

Metalunderground.com has built up a solid subscriber list for its RSS news feed, and now I would like to hear from those users. When I originally set up the RSS feed and self-hosted it, I made it a partial feeds with only a blurb of each post due to bandwidth concerns. Now there's no reason to not post the full articles except for my concern about the overall length of the feed entries and daily digest emails.

I would like to hear if there is there any preference from our readership. Would you like full articles in the RSS feeds or to keep things as they are - partial articles with a link to click to Metalunderground.com to read the full article and comment on it?

If you're totally clueless about what RSS is, here's a blurb from Feedburner (who hosts Metalunderground.com's feed now): More...

Read more...  |  15 Comments - Discuss

Win Ozzy, Rob Zombie Tickets For Worcester, MA

Update: Contest is over. Congratulations to Carolyn Timmons, who won two tickets to see Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie!

Metalunderground.com in conjuction with AEG Live are giving away two tickets to one lucky winner for the Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie concert on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.

All you have to do to enter to win the tickets is send an email to winozzytix@metalunderground.com and include your first and last name (needed to claim the tickets), your email address, and a phone number so we can contact you. A winner will be randomly drawn from all entries received between now (December 19, 2007) and through January 1, 2008. The winner will be contacted on January 2, 2008 and tickets will be held at the venue's will call, where they can be picked up by presenting valid ID.

You can view the remaining tour dates and buy tickets for the Ozzy/Rob Zombie tour here.

(Please note: We hate spam too and assure you that all email entries will be deleted after this contest has expired.)

11 Comments - Discuss

Win A 30 GB Zune and/or Chevelle's New Album

Epic Records and Metalunderground.com are giving you the chance to win a 30 GB Zune (mp3 player) and/or a copy of Chevelle's latest album, "Vena Sera." You must register by November 25 to be eliigible to win. The contest is open only to US residents ages 13 and older. You can read more about the rules and eligability here.

Again, the prizes are:

  • One (1) Grand Prize consisting of a 30 GB ZUNE Player and a copy of Chevelle’s Album "Vena Sera"

  • Five (5) Runner Up Prizes consisting of the album "Vena Sera"

You can also check out Chevelle's latest single "I Get It" on the registration page.

14 Comments - Discuss

A Note on Banner Ads on Metal Underground.com

I just wanted to make a brief note about the advertising here on metalunderground.com. I've made some changes that should mean you all see a lot more relevant metal ads rather than the usual minimally relevant ads that are often seen on here and other sites. Upon implementing this new system, I also wanted to ask that if anyone experiences any problems - especially a file download dialogue - to let me know about it. If something like that happens, it's not adware or spyware or anything, but likely a snippet of HTML code downloading as plain text.

I think the ads will not only be well-received by our readers (you), but will also compliment the site design a lot better than the "other" kinds of ads we've run in the past. Lastly, I know many people would prefer not to see any ads on Metalunderground.com, but the advertising helps pay for the costs associated with running this site including hardware, hosting fees, other services and a tiny bit of advertising as well.

1 Comment - Discuss

We've Moved!

After a nearly day-long effort of migrating our massive database (over 6 years of data; 27,000+ news posts and articles, 5000+ bands and more) and getting things up and running, Metalunderground.com has moved to a new, more powerful server and new web host. This should mean all-around faster site responsiveness, even at peak times where the old server and bandwidth were barely capable.

This move has been a long time coming and I will be tweaking things for additional performance improvements in the weeks to come.

It may take a day or two for the DNS to propagate worldwide to the new server, so please don't bookmark the temporary URL if it does not read http://www.metalunderground.com - the temporary URL will not remain valid after this week.

If you do see any intermittent errors, please post a comment in this thread, as the email portion of our contact form may not be working properly for a few days as well.

Thanks for reading and for your time and patience in this matter. My apolgies for the down-time, but it should be worth it. Hopefully we'll all have a much improved experience here.

Back to the regularly scheduled metal news. \m/

21 Comments - Discuss

Spam Prevention and Comment Moderation

Comment spam plagues the web and as Metalunderground.com has grown in popularity, it has become more prevalent here. I don't know WHY anyone would post comment spam here, as it is clearly stated that HTML will be removed. There are no links allowed, so no search engine value, no pagerank value, and I've even isolated comments from the page content so that they do not influence the Google Adsense ads (there were a bunch of pharmacy ads showing due to the spam).

I could go on a major rant about comment spam - because deleting spam and coding preventative measures takes up time that I could be doing more interesting things and improving Metalunderground.com. But it suffices to say that I've put measures in place to prevent (or at least curb) comment spam from showing up. Behind the scenes, there is a moderation queue. Only flagged messages require moderation. The goal is for 99% of legitimate comments to be posted immediately. Those comments containing links or URLs are the most likely to require moderation. Once our admins have viewed those comments flagged for moderation, they will approve the legitimate comments (and delete the spam), and those comments will show up within the thread based on the time they were submitted.

There is also a level at which a comment may be rejected outright (if it is SO obviously spam), in order to save us some time by moderating fewer comments.

I'm sure there will be some fine-tuning to do on the algorithm as well as the user-feedback, so please bear with us. I just wanted to make you all aware of the measures in place so you can be extra aware of any error messaged that might show up in the comment form once you've submitted your comment (I know the page does not scroll down there to see them immediately).

You should be able to go about posting comments as usual and be relatively unaffected. If you do run into problems, please send an email via our contact form. My goal, as always, is to minimize the impact of such efforts on legitimate participants. (The CAPTCHA I implemented for a short while last year was pulled because it sucked for commenters).

OK, enough of the technical talk, and back to the metal news, spam-free I hope. \m/

PS - as I fine-tune the spam filters, I will also be adding an auto-ban feature, so please don't "play" with the anti-spam features or otherwise waste our time. We enjoy bringing you metal news, not administering b.s.

37 Comments - Discuss

April Fools, Did We Get You?

Having done the April Fools thing for four years in a row now - this year makes five - it's getting kind of tough to fool you guys. As each of the previous four years, we devoted April 1 this year only to posting fake/gag stories (so as to not confuse anyone more than necessary). I enjoy doing this each year as a break from the usual news and hope that some of you have enjoyed it as well.

I think I was a little too obvious with the My Chemical Romance on Ozzfest post first thing in the morning. :-) If you happened to fall for any of them, then we apologize. If you weren't tricked, then hopefully you were still entertained. If you missed the stories, you can still read them all here. (Note the date on each story, however, to determine which ones are April Fools stories.)

You can also check out our archives for past years' April Fools articles:

Perhaps next year, the Metalunderground.com veterans can wait for some newbies to bite before calling out "April Fools" :-)

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming of Real MetalTM news. Thanks for reading.

PS - no offense is meant to either the people or bands discussed in the April Fools stories or to those whom we've attributed fake quotes. As is often the case in life, the bands we like most are the ones that get "picked on" in these stories.

PPS - except My Chemical Romance.

43 Comments - Discuss

Metalunderground.com Celebrates Five Years

Before the year is over, I wanted to mention that in 2006 we celebrated our fifth anniversary bringing you all metal news. I've just been too busy running the site and with family matters (and the birth of my second son) to properly announce this earlier.

2006 was a banner year for heavy metal with loads of landmark albums released - across the board by the leaders of the NWOAHM as well as by metal stalwarts from almost every metal genre.

2007 looks very promising on the tour front already as well as some more big releases scheduled. We look forward to bringing you more metal news, reviews, interviews and more in the coming year! Have a safe and metal new year!

29 Comments - Discuss

A Follow-up On Social Networks

MetalUnderground.com recently surpassed 1000 friends on MySpace. Thanks to everyone who has made us your MySpace friends. It's always interesting to put some faces to names.

While I'm talking about social networks and since I introduced Last.fm with MySpace previously, we'd still like to get more readers in our Metal Underground Last.fm group. Last.fm recently rolled out an upgraded site with a flash music player (so you don't need to install their player anymore), an event notification system (e.g. concerts), more social features, and free MP3 downloads, so if you haven't already, check them out.

13 Comments - Discuss

Who Says Metal is Anti-Social?

Metalheads are often seens as the black sheep. Often misunderstood and seen as unapproachable, or both, many metalheads are perceived as anti social and are attributed anti-social behavior.

In the new millenium, there are a lot more social aspects of the internet. Social networking sites are the latest craze - from social networking to social bookmarks, calendars and photo sharing. Sites like MySpace (despite its flaws) and Last.fm have gone the extra mile to make social networking work for musicians and music fans alike.

While possibly not truely "social" in the context used above these sites make it much easier than ever before to discover new metal music. Sharing experiences and tastes in music help us [at metalunderground.com] achieve our goals of helping readers discover new and underground metal as well.

Metalunderground.com has opened up accounts on both MySpace and Last.fm and are now formally inviting you to "be our friends."

You can check out Metalunderground.com's MySpace profile at myspace.com/metalunderground. There we have posted some general info about the site and my very own "top played" (on the computer) list from Last.fm as well as the usual MySpace features of comments (moderated) and blog. We've been pretty inactive on the MySpace profile in the past, but plan to change that. Many of our contributors are on MySpace as well and Rocket has made quite a name for himself with The Metal Den on MySpace before joining the Metalunderground.com team. So go and add us to your friends list here.

Last.fm has more collaborative social features such as groups (with collaborative journals and top play lists, recommended radio and bands. Everyone knows Myspace, but what is Last.fm you ask?

Once you've signed up and downloaded Last.fm, just listen to music through your computer's music player – as you do every day. The name of each song you play will be automatically sent to our servers and saved in your musical profile. We call this "scrobbling," and it's the basis of everything we do at Last.fm, from personalised recommendations to radio, music charts to musical neighbours, and much more.

I have a personal account on Last.fm but have also started a Metal Underground group. If you have a Last.fm account, you can join this group and we will be able to make our own charts (after reaching 15 members) to see what Metalunderground.com readers and contributors are listening to.

Furthermore, if you use one or more of the dozens of social bookmarking sites such as digg.com, del.icio.us or others, we'll be integrating features related to them a little more in the future as well.

In today's internet age - as opposed to 1995 when I was scouring the newsgroups (aka USENET) for any word of interesting bands I'd never heard of - discovering new metal music could not be any easier.

PS - It also makes me feel better having many "friends" as I sit at my computer working on Metalunderground.com into the wee hours of the night

PPS - We're not going to sign up for every social network out there, but it you have recommendations in the area of metal/music-oriented social networking sites, please feel free to let us know in the comments.

95 Comments - Discuss

Metalunderground.com Power Outages

As the remnants from Tropical Storm Ernesto approach the Washington, DC area we're expecting flooding and have already experienced some power outages. Please bear with us during the next couple of days while we try to keep things up and running as best we can.

Thanks,
deathbringer

33 Comments - Discuss

Win Lamb of God or Threat Signal's Latest CDs

Metalunderground.com is giving away three copies of both Lamb of God's "Sacrament" and Threat Signal's newly released "Under Reprisal" - one of each for three weeks with the first prizes to be awarded on Sunday, August 27, 2006. The deadline for entering is therefore September 10, although you have a greater chance of winning if you enter before the first drawing on August 27th, as your entry will remain active for the subsequent drawings.

To enter to win, all you have to do is send an email to logtscontest@metalunderground.com with your name, email address and mailing address. You do not have to be a site member to enter this giveaway. You are restricted to one entry per person, however. Multiple entries will disqualify you from winning any prizes.

After all winners have been chosen and confirmed, the mailbox containing all of the entries will be deleted, so rest assured that we will never spam you or share your information.

33 Comments - Discuss

Vayne Theories Makes 1,000th Post

As of this post, I have posted 1000 news stories to Metalunderground.com. Formerly known as Negatyve One on here, I've been a site member for nearly three years and a contributor for just over a year. In that time I've learned alot about the metal scene myself, and hopefully have helped passer-bys and regular readers to keep up on their favorite bands' news and expand their metal interests.

In my time working on Metalunderground.com, I've strived to get news straight from the sources and break big news stories. I've recently resumed writing the weekly column "This Week In Metal," which helps readers find out which bands are doing well in the scene. A column that comes straight from the sources of metal, hopefully it will allow the readers to learn what bands are breaking the scene and how well their favorite bands are doing.

I hope to continue bringing metal news to the masses. There is alot of work behind the scenes of the site that alot of people don't understand, but it is a job that I take very seriously. I hope to see TWIM continue to grow, finally break the scene and do my own interviews, including a plan I have to video record them and get them posted here on metalunderground.com where the readers will be able to see me sitting with the bands and hopefully learn alot more about the people behind the music this way. Also I've been working on ideas with good friend and site owner Deathbringer to make the site more user friendly, adding alot of personal features for the readers to increase the enjoyment and experience here at the site. Here is a link to my very first post, and with 1,000 down now hopefully there is many more to come.

stay metal - Mark ' Vayne Theories ' Vanisko

42 Comments - Discuss

Metalunderground.com Downtime

Apologies for the downtime we've experienced lately. Due to the ongoing rain/flooding/storms on the East coast, we've experienced extended down time twice in the past couple of weeks. Rest assured that we have not gone anywhere. In fact, I am planning to move the site to a new host by month's end, which should solve these issues (as that host has redundant internet connections and power generators) as well as improve the site's overall loading speed. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your patience.

26 Comments - Discuss

Font Size and Site Design Tweaks

Due to reader feedback, the default font size on metalunderground.com has been slightly increased and is now closer to the original font size prior to the redesign that rolled out earlier this month. I've since discovered that Mac users viewing the site in Safari have a smaller default font than other browsers, so the small type was especially hard to read for them. In the case that text (or specific parts of the site such as the new releases, which is very small text) is not legible, some customization features have been added, which you can currently access in the footer of the page (they need a more prominent placement eventually). There, you can change the font size by clicking on the "small," "medium," "large," and "XL" links and your preference will be saved to a cookie on your computer.

In general, there are still some minor tweaks being made to the entire site, and each section is being addressed one at a time in order to uncover any problems and polish them up. If you have and serious problems with a part of the site aside from some text looking weird, please let us know. Thanks for your feedback and your patience.

34 Comments - Discuss

Metalunderground.com: Rebooted

Today we've launched our new design in participation with the semi-annual CSS Reboot. As previously mentioned, the new design is not so different looking from the old one. It is more of a behind-the-scenes update, which will make life easier for building additional sections as well as allowing for multiple themes on metalunderground.com.

Time limitations resulted in not getting all the bells and whistles implemented, but now that I'm knee deep in the code I can continue to polish the site and implement these changes over the coming weeks. The largest visual change was to drop the redundant left side navigation and merge that space into a larger sidebar on the right. While that sidebar contains mostly ads on some pages, more relevant information will be placed there in the coming weeks as well. Other visual changes made include a revamped (touched up) logo, tabbed site navigation, a persistent search in the secondary navigation area (top right), greater line spacing for ease of reading, and removal of the "scribble" font. (A "classic" theme will return at a later date with the scribble font added back to the site for those who liked that look).

With these changes comes the possibility that the site may not function properly in a given browser (especially old ones), so please report any bugs to me via the contact form.

Look for some more visual enhancements and sidebar info throughout the week. Thanks for your patience and for reading my technical ramblings!

26 Comments - Discuss

Testing New Layout On Reviews Pages

The new design template has been uploaded to the reviews pages. Please check them out and report any bugs to me via the contact form or comment here. Don't forget to include your operating system (Windows 2000, XP, Mac OS X, etc.) and web browser (Internet Explorer, Fire Fox, Safari, etc.) and version number.

If you like the site just how it is, then you should be happy that the overall look and feel has not changed much. The changes being made are largely behind the scenes with a little cleaner presentation, but I want to make sure they do not negatively impact our visitors/readers/fans in any way.

I appreciate all of the feedback we received when it was requested recently, and I hope you will all be happy with the new design when it is complete. As I mentioned previously, we are shooting for a May 1 launch of the new design across the entire site, which coincides with CSS Reboot.

Thanks for bearing with us in times of change and helping the changes go smoothly. Things should only be getting better around here!

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