Thursday, June 30, 2011

NW MetalHead Forum

Don't forget, all my fellow heavy metal loving friends, to create a profile for the forum and start discussing metal!!!! Its free to sign up and you won't get any spam, so sign up and join the fun! You can start your own topics as well as discussing the ones already up. Get into the pit you crazy heshers!!!!! \m/

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A View From The Pit

Origin, Hate Eternal, Vital Remains, and Abysmal Dawn concert review

Several months had been leading up to this moment, many hours being glued to live YouTube clips tried to prepare me for the onslaught that was about to occur. Rarely on a tour are every single band playing a can’t miss act, but the ones at this show in particular was that rare occasion. Co-headliners of tech-death beasts Origin and inferno fueled death metal heroes Hate Eternal brought out old school death metallers Vital Remains and new generation tech-death masters Abysmal Dawn to leave a wake of destruction in their path. And all that build off was paid off on this eventful night.
First up was California’s own Abysmal Dawn, playing to a slowly growing crowd that was eagerly anticipating the night’s events. Playing songs off their breakthrough album 2008’s Programmed to Consume as well as their latest effort Leveling the Plane of Existence, each song seemed heavier than the last. One of the first things that I noticed was how incredibly heavy the drums sounded. I don’t know if it was just the sound guy was a drummer and wanted that to be prevalent, but their sound was so encompassing that half the crowd was entranced and the other half was swirling in a pit of destruction. It was the perfect start to the evening.
Next was Vital Remains, a band that has been around since 1988 and plays death metal like they are still stuck in that decade. Coming out onstage to dark lights and ominous music, everyone knew they were about to witness something completely amazing. The band had an incredible stage presence and knew exactly how to work the crowd into a ravenous frenzy. They played such blasphemous hits as “Hammer Down The Nails,” “Unleashed Hell,” and of course “Dechristianize”, their set was tight with the band simply playing song after song after song. The crowd was so worked up that people were crowd surfing, stage diving, and circle pitting non-stop. It was one of the most energetic sets that I had seen in a long time…but it was only the beginning!
First up for the two rotating headliners was the mighty Hate Eternal! Even though they are only a three piece their sound, stage presence, and energy was so strong that they seemed like six members on stage. Erik Rutan is a beast on stage, his vocals and guitar playing are unmatched which from the beginning set a precedent of brutality that grew more intense as the set went on. They played tracks off I, Monarch, Fury and Flames, and their newest effort Phoenix Amongst the Ashes, which is an absolute brute of an album. So ravenous was their playing that the crowd continued to surf and stage dive throughout the whole set. The band was obviously worked up as well as seen when a member of the crowd threw a bottle on stage Rutan threw his guitar down, stormed over to the guy and threw him down. The crowd erupted when Rutan screamed louder than ever before showing who the boss was. After that the crowd blew up even more and the band upped the ante playing wise as well. This was definitely one of the most powerful sets I have ever witnessed.
Having the unenviable task of following up that brutal set was Origin, the other headliner of the night. The crowd was visibly worn out from Hate Eternal’s set, with just a few people moshing during the first couple songs. The band was not going to let that happen, they were not going to let the crowd stand still. After a couple songs, the energy of the crowd began picking up and that fueled the band as well. Playing what seemed like the entire Antithesis album as well as songs off their newest record Entity and Echoes of Decimation, their set was incredible tight. Fret board gymnastics were being displayed in such a way that it was difficult to mosh around because of the frenetic playing. However the band’s new lead singer was moving from side to side throughout the whole set keeping the energy up both on and off stage. This was shown by the encore when he invited the entire crowd onstage to form a pit with the band themselves! However it got too brutal and cut the sound off and forced the end of the set. It was definitely not easy to headline over all those acts but each band seemed to up the energy from the previous band culminating in one incredible night. This one definitely will go down as one of the most entertaining shows I have ever been to!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Punk + Black Metal = Kvelertak

In the 1980’s, punks and metal heads had a pure hatred toward each other. It was unadulterated animosity that was seen every time shows were put together that had bands of both genres. Fights would break out, shows would end prematurely, people would get hurt; it was simply something that was bound to happen at those shows. These days fans of either genre are generally fans of both genres or at least several bands from either genre. And once bands like Agnostic Front, Madball, and Suicidal Tendencies started melding both sounds into one incredible sound the trend started to take off. These days we still see the intermingling of genres in other forms besides crossover/thrash bands, although that is still prevalent. One of the newer bands to start creating punk and black metal mixtures is Norway’s Kvelertak. Their self-titled album has been creating a huge stir within the underground for about a year now and more people are taking a good long look at their black metal/punk take on music.

And they are doing something different from the majority of bands out there in that they are not singing in English but rather their native Norwegian. For this writer, it makes it more fun to have a few beers and try to sing along with the songs. Black metal is pretty much always a very serious subgenre, one where the artists take their playing and lyrical content to such an extreme that they will do such ridiculous things as burn down churches. With a band like Kvelertak, this level of seriousness is not as prevalent. They seem to be regular dudes who simply love heavy and extreme music. A new band of party metal has come to the forefront of the underground and this is definitely a band that more people need to get into. Listen to more of these guys and rock your fuckin asses off!!!!!

(Fun fact, cover art is done by none other than Baroness’ John Baizley)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Toxic Holocaust

Toxic Holocaust, one of the NW’s most highly acclaimed underground acts, is about to drop their brand new album Conjure and Command. Hailing from Portland, Or., Joel Grind is the main man behind this blackened thrash outfit that has been spreading their grimey, dirty riffs to heshers for over a decade. With this new album the band looks to new heights and tries to infect more metalheads than ever before. Two new songs have been released prior to the album dropping and they give us a solid idea of what to expect. The riffs are just as harsh, creating an atmosphere of dread that typifies this band. The vocals are just as caustic as ever however the production tends to clean up the sound a little bit allowing the listener to hear every throat shredding howl. In addition, the band decided to change their logo from the classic thrash look to a more black metal look. Either way the band is continuing their legacy of shredtastic black metal and we expect Conjure and Command to destroy all in their path. Check out their two released songs to get an idea of what to expect.


“Nowhere to Run”

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More Metal Bands That Changed Their Sound

As a result of Morbid Angel’s first new album in 8 years, Illud Divinum Insanus, we have the newest addition to Metal Bands That Change Their Sound. This record is a little different from the other bands that we have discussed as they don’t just change their sound from one subgenre to another, they completely destroyed their classic death metal sound and transformed into terrible industrial nu-metal garbage. I, as well as many other metalheads, was stoked to hear the first material with David Vincent in 16 years as he was one of the originators of death metal vokills, he has been an icon of underground metal for over 20 years. Even though his vocal chords are still covered in molten steel, the production level is too clean for a band this dirty. In addition to that the drums are not the brutal assault that we are used to hearing and a great deal of the guitar riffs are very generic. Overall, this is going to be one of those albums like St. Anger and The Unspoken King that legendary bands would love to forget as the band’s fans consistently discredit and critics will generally pan (with the exception of mainstream critics who will herald the album as an excellent progression). So take a listen for yourself, listen to the classics then listen to the new stuff to make your own decision.

“Immortal Rites” from Altars of Madness

“Radikult” from Illud Divinum Insanus

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Time Party Metal Playlist

It’s that time of the year: backyard barbecues, bonfires at the beach, camping out in the woods, generally just a great time to interact with friends and enjoy life. And one thing that every good time needs is a soundtrack to keep the party going. The majority of people would not think of metal as the background music to a party but rather hip hop or 80’s pop hits. However those people could not be more wrong! Metal that is upbeat, maybe has a few sing-a-long parts, or simply gives the listener a joyous vibe all while bashing them over the head can be the perfect mix for a party.  So here we are going to list a few great songs to keep the party moving and guarantee that everyone is going to have a great time!
Holy Grail – Fight To Kill
Anthrax – Got The Time
Black Breath – Fallen
Municipal Waste – Born To Party
3 Inches of Blood – Wykydtron
Valient Thorr – Doubled Crossed
Turisas – Rasputin
Sonata Arctica – Flag In The Ground
Dream Evil – Book Of Heavy Metal
(This last one is a bit of a stretch for metal but it came on a metal compilation)
The Illuminati – Going Down

Saturday, June 4, 2011

NW MetalHead YouTube Channel

We're making sure you all don't forget about our YouTube channel. Here is our latest submission. Some great doom/sludge metal from lesser known band Eyes of Fire. Check it out as well as the rest of our channel!

Metal Revisited: Metal Church

Speed metal, thrash metal, power metal, heavy metal; these are all terms that could be used to describe Northwest legends Metal Church. The band formed in 1980 and lasted on and off through 2009, and consistently creating epic metal anthems throughout their long and arduous career.  The band was the brainchild of Kurdt Vanderhoof in 1980 during an inspired time when metal was really coming on as a force all on its own. Traditional metal and punk were forming to create thrash and Kurdt created a band that ambitiously fused both sounds to form something amazing. Their career started off with two remarkable albums, 1984’s Metal Church and 1986’s The Dark which heralded such classics as “Beyond the Black,” “Hitman,” “The Dark,” and “Watch The Children Pray.” Those two albums skyrocketed the band to underground fame which led to tours with Metallica, Judas Priest, and Overkill as well heavy rotation for their videos on MTV. As the band’s career continue to move forward, so did the number of people passing through their ranks.  Metal Church has seen enough lineup changes that could fill almost 5 completely separate bands which is something that most other bands would crumble in the midst of. Singers Ronnie Munroe and David Wayne belted out venomous lyrics while Kurdt, Craig Wells, and John Marshall all shredded through the memorable melodies that made the band who they were during all of their incarnations.  The power of the music as well as the dedication of its founder was the driving force to continue the band through those tumultuous times. Throughout the nineties and the 2000’s Metal Church continued to release quality outputs but never reached the stardom that seemed inevitable to the band in the eighties.  Their influence today is immeasurable within the likes of the retro thrash bands and the new wave of traditional metal bands that are popping up everywhere. Their sound can be linked to the original thrash bands as well as the newest group recently busting out in the scene. So at this time we need to pay homage to one of the greatest metal bands ever to grace our world. Metal Church never quite reached the heights that they should have ascended to, but those who know the band understand that this is a band that could have been one of the all-time greats.