Back in the Day
Once upon a time there was a magical symphonic black metal super group (try saying that 5 times fast) that spent the better half of 1998 inside my disc-man. Yeah, remember those!? Covenant originated as a two man group in 1993 with Nagash, and Blackheart , but it wasn't until they signed a deal with Nuclear Blast and released their sophomore album Nexus Polaris that they caught the attention of the entire metal world. The Album, consisting of members Nagash (Dimmu Borgir, Troll), Blackheart (Troll), Astennu (Dimmu Borgir), Sverd (Arcturus), Sarah Jezebel Deva (Cradle of Filth) and Hellhammer (Mayhem), led to the band's Norwegian Grammy nomination and eventual win, making them the first metal band in history to win a Norwegian Grammy. This had a lot to do with one simple fact, this album fucking rules! (more…)
So I got to fulfill a life long mission of mine last week at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards by meeting Sebastian Bach at the VIP lounge. I'm sort of a big fan. Of course, I didn't tell him that Skid Row was one of my favorite 80's metal bands in my youth, that I listened to them every day on my way to school, that I watched the Skid Row VHS tape, Oh Say Can You Scream like it was the 7 O'Clock News, that I know all the lyrics off their first two LPs, or that I've even taken a photo of the original Skid Row release hanging on the wall at Trax East studio (where they recorded). I apparently have no problem confessing my adolescent fanboyishness to you though. Hey, sometimes you need to keep it in your pants and compose yourself. (more…)
by: Frank Godla
How can we possibly celebrate Black Metal History Month without the band that started it all? Venom was an extreme thrash metal band from England who began their rocking days in 1979, however it wasn't until their 2nd full length entitled "Black Metal" that gave birth to a sub-genre unlike the world has ever known before. Although the music style of the LP remains more reminiscent of thrash, the lyrics and imagery associated with the record turned out to be the single biggest influence in spawning the early Norwegian Black Metal scene nearly 10 years later.
Mayhem, Burzum, Immortal and Emperor cite Venom as true originators of the black metal message, as should you. The above video clip features a live version of the LP's title track, and also contains one of my favorite lines of old school metal lyrics ever "Lay down your soul to the gods rock and roll!"
by: Frank Godla
Oh man, this track takes me back to my youngest of cognitive metal years. It was a time where high-top white sneakers wasn't a fashion statement, but just what you wore because it's what everyone wore, a time when gum was 5 cents and even included a free comic inside, a time when recording an instrumental track was considered daring for a metal band. I'm of course talking about the stone-age year of 1987 when thrash was king, and Death Angel was the ambassador of awesomeness.
This song is the title track from Death Angel's debut record The Ultra-Violence, which I still to this day consider a thrash masterpiece of it's time. For an extra bonus nostalgic throw back be sure to check out the music video they made for the LP, it was banned by MTV for lyrical content. Way to go MTV!
by: Frank Godla
I'll start this off by admitting I am a huge fan of bands that put on a sweet light show. It really gives the live experience that extra level of awesomeness I find missing from most shows I attend these days. There is a distinct art about enhancing your performance beyond it's usual means, and I often think it deserves a lot more respect than it's ever given. Anyway, when talking about awesome light shows, I don't think anyone would disagree NIN are at the top of their game. However, did you know back in the day NIN had an even better stage show than anything you read people barking about the past few years prior to calling it quits?
Don't get me wrong, I've seen Trent and the gang several times in my life including a handful of shows in the 00's that were nothing short of stellar. Nine Inch Nails have never been a band to disappoint and I wouldn't dare call them anything less than awesome. With that said remember when NIN music was faster? Harder? and more offensive? Well it didn't just stop there, check out the above live performance video for "Wish" back on the Self Destruct tour back in 1995. After 15 years this clip still gives me goose bumps!
by: Frank Godla
FUCK YES!! I'm always surprised to learn many people either never heard of Fight, or simply never got hip to it. That's understandable though,maybe balls to the wall crushing metal with top notch musicians, and one of the best front men known in the genre's history may not be your thing… but that doesn't make you less naive.
The year was 1993, mainstream metal was only getting lighter and weaker across the U.S. when ex-Judas Priest front man Rob Halford announced he'd be making a come back with a new younger band, and a more direct approach. His last effort with Priest then was Painkiller, an LP that was as epic then as it is now. So needless to say the metal community was both eager and worried to see what Halford had in store. Most critics claimed he'll never be able to release something as heavy as Painkiller again, and it's simply not where metal is anymore. Wow were they wrong! (more…)
by Frank Godla
I know right now your probably thinking "Dude, why!?" While I don't have a great explanation to that question, I do have a few personal factoids you might find interesting. For instance, despite my lack of excitement for most metal of this brand, I think Machine Head is a pretty sweet band, with pretty sweet dudes. I have a lot of respect for a band that really hones in on their own unique sound, and runs with it. Whether you love them or hate them, it's hard to deny you know them when you hear them, and that's saying a lot in a day and age where tens of thousands of metal bands exist. It seems like every band fights to be heard, I always thought it was better to be remembered. However, that doesn't mean I'm a fan of Machine Head's entire discography, especially when talking about the more Nu Metal induced releases like The Burning Red LP, which features this silly music video above. It's certainly no match when compared to the raw, and fierce tunes of Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change… or even their newer material found on The Blackening. (more…)
Back in the day NO band was heavier than Crowbar, pun intended! The obvious jokes aside, the early 90's were a very strange time for the metal genre. You had your legends such as Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax peaking in attention and sales. You had loads of bands try to scale back their aggression, speed, and distortion in order to try to appeal to a larger, tamer, grunge happy audience. Then you also had the bands that didn't give a fuck what was popular, and played by their own rules. One of these bands was New Orleans based Crowbar.
Just yesterday I was having a discussion with our brohammers at MetalSucks concerning new age trends of slow jam metal. Running the gamut of today's slew of sleepy sub-genres such as metal gaze, hipster metal, stoner metal, fuzz pedal metal, drone metal, flannel metal, I-Wish-I-Was-Born-Down-South-Metal (you get it) I came to the conclusion I'm just not that into the slow metal craze and their endless attempts of copycat hooks. However, before the internet revolution, before flannel was sold in the trendy aisle of Macy's, and way before the southern sound was even remotely thought of as interesting, let alone cool; Crowbar emerged on the scene with possibly one of the most influential sounds of the decade. Devastatingly crushing, and disturbingly slow for a non-doom band, Crowbar shined a whole new light on what the south had to offer. Often described as "fat music for fat people" by frontman Kirk Windstein, it was no secret Crowbar did not concern themselves with image, and fancied themselves as average as the rest of us. Who would have known 20 years later they would inspire hundreds of bands, many start up labels, and entire sub-genres?
The band is still kicking and a new album is expected soon.
- Frank Godla
By: Navjot Kaur Sobti
Respiring in the capillaries of all we hail as classic and timeless in thrash is METALLICA'S Master of Puppets. The 55-minute record just made its 24th birthday, marking nearly two and half decades post-release: that fine day – March 3, 1986 – when tales of eroded sanity, rising demons, and whiskey-laden backlashes stirred everyone from the choir kids to the hard rockers to come out and shatter some cranial tissue to its serving of hard, fast, aggressive riffage.
By Ben Apatoff
It doesn't entitle DAVE MUSTAINE to act like the self-centered baby he apparently is, but Endgame is MEGADETH's best record in ages and a sure bet for my year-end top ten. But most of the Endgame raves I'm hearing, while deserved, just confirm that most people have forgotten that The System Has Failed was Megadeth's first great comeback.
Dave Mustaine had a lot to be angry about in 2004. Struggling with a debilitating arm injury, tangled in a lawsuit with his longtime bassist, fresh out of rehab and up shit's creek without a label, it looked like Megadeth's bitter 2002 breakup was for the long run. Factor in an unconvincing shot at recapturing Megadeth's thrash roots (The World Needs a Hero) and a much ridiculed appearance in Some Kind of Monster, and Mustaine seemed like the punchline at the end of a once-great metal band. (more…)
Throughout the years there has always been a debate whether NY's own Pro-Pain is Hard Core, Alternative Metal, or something in between. What I can tell you is that this band is groovy as fuck! Don't believe me? Check out one of their live shows where they speed up the fast parts, slow down the sludgy parts, and your buddy who just got punched in the jaw will give you the thumbs of approval. (more…)
DEATH – Lack of Comprehension
Today we know the name "Death" as the legendary death metal band that debatably started it all, but in 1991 they had only just begun. Their 4th studio LP, Human was regarded as a turning point for this Florida based death metal act by incorporating more technical and progressive playing through out the record while maintaining that extreme death metal sound. This may have been due to an all star line-up: guitarist/songwriter Paul Masvidal of CYNIC was asked to officially join Death after filling in on tours. As we all know Masvidal rejected his invitation in order to commit to his work with his own band Cynic, despite Death being a much bigger band at the time. When it came time to track the Human LP they had also recruited Cynic drummer Sean Reinert, and bassist Steve DiGiorio (Autopsy, Sadus, Testament, Iced Earth, Vintersorg) to complete the line up that would also go on to tour in support of the record. Sean and Paul later left Death to release Cynic's debut 1993 LP "Focus"
This music video for "Lack of Comprehension" is the first of only 2 videos ever made for the band, featuring the recording line up. Watching Sean and Paul rock out with long hair is worth the viewing unto itself, but don't take my word for it…
CANDIRA – Elevate in Madness
My first experience with Candiria was while I was waiting for a bus home on the way from high school, when Carly Coma approached me upon rocking out with head phones on, to hand me a Candira business card. This was of course pre- internet days when face to face communication with your audience was key, and word of mouth was essentially the RSS feed of it's time. Having seen stickers plastered all over the NYC area for this band, I knew there was some buzz about them, but it wasn't until my first experience seeing them live that I understood what all the fuss was about. (more…)
ANTHRAX – Madhouse
In the late 80's Anthrax was already a house hold name for head bangers across our nation. These thrash giants have seen it all since, and still remain to be one of today's most notable thrash metal bands ever. However if it's one thing that can be said about early Anthrax no matter what line up you prefer, it's that the NYC quintet brought the fun that was clearly missing from your normal heavy acts of it's time.
Going back to 1985 this music video for "Madhouse" off their 2nd LP "Spreading the Disease" was actually banned from MTV completely, who believed the video to be degrading towards mentally ill patients. The LP itself features the then, new vocalist Joey Belladona who replaced original front man Neil Turbin, and new bassist Frank Bello, who took over for Danny Lilker (now of SOD/Brutal Truth fame).
Unless you spent the past quarter century living in Michael Jackson's closet, chances are you've heard and/or seen the spectacle that is Mr. King Diamond. However before Diamond ventured off into solo stardom it was his previous efforts in Mercyful Fate that would put this shock rocker on the legend map.
Founded in Copenhagen Denmark in 1980, Mercyful Fate began as a collective side project turned focus group for Shermann, Denner, and Diamond after helping each other out with demo work for former bands. Needless to say, the metal community at large is thankful for the meeting of these minds for if they hadn't, then many legendary bands such as Metallica may have never found the inspiration needed to shred.
Unfortunately the band did not make a music video for the first 2 classic LP's, but after a near 10 year hiatus (the result of arguments between Diamond and Shermann over creative differences) the band reformed in 1993 with their 3rd full length record "In The Shadows" featuring the single "Egypt." For anyone interested in checking out this LP, Lars Ulrich got to thank his heroes by drumming on the re-recorded track "Return of the Vampire"… this was of course pre-Load era, so it's not half bad. Would I steer you wrong?