Anthony Carioscia

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Hailing from Montgomery, New York, Anthony, better known as Tony has a love of horror films and heavy metal music and is a film editing student at Mount Saint Mary college and part time member of the improv troupe, Mission Improvable.

While the legendary outfit Black Sabbath is ending this year, drive thru metal creators Mac Sabbath are starting to get a lot of attention. Mac Sabbath are a Black Sabbath parody band managed by Mike Odd of the comedy metal band Rosemary’s Billgoat. The band covers Ozzy era Black Sabbath songs, but changes the lyrics to be about a certain fast food chain. Though a parody band, they have already shared the stage with huge acts such as Elton John. They are to embark on their Rock,Sham,Shake tour starting on March 3rd. Over the telephone I was able to speak with manager Mike Odd. He talked about the crazy story of how this band came to be and how to best experience them at home.

What made you decide to come up with this project?

I got an anonymous phone call and went down to this burger place. This abomination of a clown dressed in red and yellow and had skull make up notices the food i’m eating and then starts spouting this incredible banter, saying it was my destiny to manage his band. I was looking for the hidden camera. I thought it was a practical joke. He then invited me to a secret show that was happening in the basement of one of these places. So I went to this secret show that only certain people were invited to and it was nothing I ever seen before. So I thought what the hell? I’d work with this guy. He was obviously crazy and was talking about how music and food haven’t been real since the 1970’s and how hes going to bring that back as well as all this talk about tyrannical food control and the government poisoning us. It’s been a hard long road dealing with him, but it’s also been amazing cause it moves so fast because people respond to it so well. Before we even left California, we played a festival in England with Motley Crue, Slipknot and KISS. We then did a tour were we played in Cali and then a festival where we went on right before Elton John.

Can you tell us a bit about some of your song parodies?

One of our most well known songs is one called “Frying Pan” a parody of “Iron Man”. The lyrics are much different. The song is about this clown who is kinda forced into this fast food culture. Here are some of the lyrics: “It’s a culinary crime, our future is pink slime, everybody wants it, turn this grease into gold, excluding the veggies, trimming the cheese of mold”. We also have “Brand of Doom”, which is obviously a parody of “Hand of Doom”. We take every Black Sabbath concept and make it about the ominous evils of fast food. When you are watching the band you are looking at four characters,Ronald Osborne, guitarist Slayer Mac Cheeze,bassist Grimalice and drummer The Cat Burglar. It’s an amazing theatrical show, its not just music and costumes. Ronald does magic and pulls crazy things such as pulling giant straws and burgers out of his pants. We also have lazer eyed skull clown statues! It’s a crazy, over the top show.

With lyrics like that I’m guessing you guys are more against fast food.

Though the band coined the term drive thru metal, they are against drive thru culture.

Ah, kinda like how Sabbath had lyrics about Satan, but because they were warning us about him not worshiping him.

Exactly! I’d say Ronald Osbourne is as misunderstood as Ozzy. I always wondered if Black Sabbath was going to find out about it and then on January 1st, they re-posted our “Frying Pan” video on their Facebook and Twitter and it went viral. It’s now almost at 1,000,000 clicks, so that really helped.

It’d be funny if your “Hand of Doom” parody is what inspired them to play the original song on their final tour, since they haven’t played it since the 70’s.

(laughs) I’d like to think so.

Any plans to put out a studio album?

That is being talked about. Ronald is literally stuck in the 70’s and all new technology angers him. He wants the album to be put out on eight tracks, which no one will buy. Maybe one day they will make a comeback. I never thought cassettes would be back and look what happened.

If you were to cover a song from the Dio era, which song would you choose and what would the parody be called?

I was thinking about covering the “Mob Rules” as “The Swob Drools”, but I don’t know if that will ever happen.

If you were to start another heavy metal parody band based on a different kind of food chain, which food chain would you choose and which band would you parody? 

Funny you ask that cause Ronald is always going on about other drive thru metal bands and how they are ripping him off. He goes on and on about how he started this genre and how all these newcomers are stealing food out of his mouth. He’s always ranting about Cinabon Jovi and Burger King Diamond. This guy does want me to manage KFCDC. I’d be down do it as long as Ronald doesn’t kill me.

KFCDC that would be pretty funny. I notice you play a band called Rosemary’s Billgoat. Does Sabbath influence that band at all?

Absolutely! In my opinion Black Sabbath influenced all the best bands. They are my all time favorite band and I feel they didn’t just influence all of heavy metal but also punk,goth and hard rock in general. Not only am I influenced by them but I’d argue with anyone who said they weren’t.

I‘d definitely agree. Speaking of influences, if you were trapped on a desert island and could only bring one studio album with you which would it be and why? 

I think it would be Master of Reality and a cheeseburger. Thats what I say to people who get on me about making a Mac Sabbath studio album. Closet thing to a Mac Sabbath experience at home.

After the success of the article on  Black Sabbath’s Born Again, we decided to immediately work on the next installment of Infamous Albums. For this second episode we will be looking at Black Flag’s 2013 album What The…

The brain child of guitarist, Greg Ginn and most known for former vocalist Henry Rollins, Black Flag along with D.R.I, Minor Threat, Bad Brains and many other helped formed the U.S hardcore punk sound. Starting with their second album My War, the band would become more experimental, something that followed the band on every release until their 1986 break up.

Post break up, the members would remain in the music business with Rollins forming Rollin’s Band and Ginn continued in his other projects most notably The Descendants. In 2003 the band played three reunion shows in their home state of California. These shows would include My War being played in its entirety with skateboarder Mike Valley doing guest vocals.  In 2010, to celebrate the 50th birthday of then ex-vocalist, Ron Reyes, Greg Ginn along with Reyes himself, played a set of three Black Flag songs in addition, to a regular set from The Ron Reyes Band. On December 8th, 2011 ex-members, Keith Morris,Chuck Dukowski, Bill Stevenson, and Descendants guitarist Stephen Egerton played the entire Nervous Breakdown EP. This was a surprise appearance during a Vandals/Descendants show. This line up would continue to tour and be known as Flag.  In 2013, Ron Reyes, and Greg Ginn announced wanting to bring Black Flag back. They were joined by newcomers Gregory Moore on drums and Dave Klein on bass. This caused two versions of the same band to exist, neither which featured Henry Rollins. In 2013, Black Flag released their first album since 1985 titled What The… . Neither fans nor critics were impressed as they saw it as nothing but a cash grab. This is the first full length to not feature Henry Rollins and the first release since their second ep, Jealous Again to feature Ron Reyes.

First off the production on this album is really poor. Sure lo-fi production is one of the charms of Black Flag and punk in general, but here it doesn’t work. The rhythm section is impossible to hear and the mixing is extremely sloppy. Ron Reyes’s vocals on here just sound horrible. While he sounded just fine on Jealous Again, here he just sounds like a washed up version of Mark Arm from Mudhoney.  The lyrics are corny especially coming from a band that’s known for thought provoking lyrics. The album art looks very lazy and more fitting for a 90’s Nicktoon. The guitar work is the closest thing to a redeeming quality. The record has many cool leads and Ginn’s trademark shrieking solos are still there, however the riffs on this album are very generic and get boring fast. The drumming is also very generic. These problems are present on every track, making it a chore to get through in one sitting.

The first half of this album tries to be the in your face, aggressive, punk band we all know and love. Sadly Reyes’s bored sounding vocals combined with the lazy riffs fail to create any sort of energy and a Black Flag album without energy is a big fail. The second half of the album is where we start getting more varied. This is very similar to how My War transitioned from fast, experimental hardcore on side A, to a slow and heavy doom metal inspired style on side B. While that album was great and it’s experimentation inspired many others, What The…, found a way to make even it’s experimental side sound stale. The slow and mid tempo parts  sound very mediocre and chances are the listener is already starting to zone out at this part. The album also doesn’t blur together very well at all. If you were to have this on in the background and not pay attention to the lyrics, you would have no idea which track you are on. This record is so poorly structured that you could cut and paste random sections from random tracks and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. This is a huge step down for Black Flag as their later albums, such as Family Man, were full of variety and risk taking.

In conclusion, What The… , is a sloppy, rushed, mess of an album. Not a single track is worth listening to, as they all sound lazy and are near impossible to tell apart. The mixing and songwriting are bottom of the barrel, which is sad since everyone (when you can actually hear them)  in this band is talented. This is nothing more then an effortless cash grab that puts a stain on the band’s amazing past legacy.

Rating: Why the… did I listen to this.

In 1986, the metal sub-genre known as thrash metal exploded. Mostly a reaction against hair metal, thrash took the traditional metal sound and mixed it with the intensity of hardcore punk. So many thrash metal albums were released in 1986, many of which are by major players and legends in the genre. Here we will take a look at the best thrash albums from that year.

Vulcano – Bloody Vengeance

We start the list off with a nice underground gem from Brazil. This album contains elements that would influence death metal and the second wave of black metal.

Destruction – Eternal Devastation

One of the scenes that really exploded was Germany’s thrash scene and one of the most iconic bands from that scene was Destruction. On this sophomore effort, the band strips away its early black metal elements for a more traditional thrash sound. This album is really fast and intense and feels like you are listening to a tornado of riffs.

Cryptic Slaughter – Convicted

The punk crossover style of thrash also had some greats in ’86, including Cryptic Slaughter’s Convicted. Playing a fast, in your face style of crossover, this album helped influence the powerviolence genre. Highly recommended for those looking to get into this style.

Metallica – Master Of Puppets

For those who live under a rock, Master of Puppets is one of metal’s most well known albums. This record was the first thrash release to ever go platinum. The politically charged lyrics and complex songwriting helped the album please critics outside of the metal scene.

Dark Angel – Darkness Descends

For the most part, the heaviest and most extreme thrash bands tend to come from Europe and South America. A big exception to this is L.A.’s Dark Angel. Their sophomore record displays the band’s ultra fast style they call “caffeine metal” at its finest. This is also the first studio album to feature drumming icon Gene Holgan.

Voivod – Rrroooaaarrr

Hailing from Canada comes one of Dave Grohl’s all time favorite bands. On this album, the band would add experimental elements to their thrash sound, something they would continue to expand upon on later releases. This release still remains one of Voivod’s finest hours.

Nuclear Assault – Game Over

Wanting to play a more aggressive style, Nuclear Assault was formed by ex-Anthrax members John Connolly and Danny Lilker. Here on their debut, the band blends old school speed metal with crossover. The distinct vocals and political lyrics make this release a favorite among thrashers everywhere.

Slayer – Reign in Blood

Reign in Blood is the third album by Slayer and the band’s most popular release. The album is also their fastest release to date and the first one to be produced by Rick Rubin, who would produce most of the band’s albums. The album spawned Slayer’s two most popular songs “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death“.

Kreator – Pleasure To Kill

Kreator’s best album is also the greatest and most well known release from the German thrash scene. The record’s cover is very accurate, as you will be crushed by it’s riffs and intensity. This album is now seen as a huge influence on death metal.

Megadeth – Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying

Containing the same exact line up as Killing is Business, Peace Sells is  Megadeth’s breakthrough album. The band got signed to Capitol Records and the production values went up. This is also the first Megadeth album to have politically charged lyrics, something that would become a staple of the band, though also had songs with satanic lyrics such as “The Conjuring“.

Honorable Mentions:

Metal Church – The Dark

Tankard – Zombie Attack

Sodom – Obsessed by Cruelty

Holy Moses – Queen of Siam

Razor – Malicious Intent

Infamous Albums will be a new series of articles where Alternative Nation writers take a look at albums that are normally panned by the bands fan base, to see if they are as bad as their reputation. To celebrate their final tour this first installment will focus on metal pioneers Black Sabbath’s 1983 album Born Again.

Black Sabbath is a band that needs no intro. Formed in 1968, Sabbath is highly regarded as the “Godfathers of Metal”. Their distinct sound quickly got them fame with albums such as Paranoid and Master of Reality. However, towards the end of the decade the band would release a few flops and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne started losing interest in Sabbath. Finally, in 1979 Ozzy left the band. He would be replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. The next year they would release Heaven and Hell. This record would give the band a more updated sound helping them compete with big releases from Judas Priest, Saxon and Ozzy’s solo act. After releasing the next album, The Mob Rules, Dio would also leave the band, leaving Sabbath to find yet another vocalist.

They recruited Ian Gillan who, at the time, was out of Deep Purple. When this line up, was announced the hype was pretty big.  A rock legend working with the founders of metal? How can this go wrong? Well, to a majority of Sabbath fans it did. Though the album sold well, it was panned by critics and fans alike and is still considered to be among the band’s worst. This is the only album to feature Ian Gillan and the last one to feature classic drummer Bill Ward.

The first thing one notices when checking out this album is the cover which features a red baby with yellow finger nails and teeth. This awkward cover sets the tone for the album… whether it was intended or not.

The first track,”Thrashed”, kicks off real well until Gillan’s scream comes in. Ian Gillan is a great vocalist and his screams were the best parts of Deep Purple tracks like “Child in Time” and ‘Highway Star”, but here it sounds forced and out of place. The lyrics are pretty cool and have an anti-drinking and driving message. The riffs are pretty catchy even if they are a little simple by Sabbath standards. The production on the track is really poor, as the bass cannot be heard at all and Bill Ward’s drumming sounds very processed as if it were done by a drum machine. These same production problems are present throughout most of the album. Flaws aside, “Thrashed” is still an alright track.

Next track, “Stonehenge”, is two minutes of nothing but random sounds. The third track, “Disturbing the Priest”, is an odd one. The melodies, riffs and production on this song are actually pretty well done, but the vocals are some of the worst on the whole album. Like on the first track, they don’t fit and Gillan’s random laughing parts just sound plain ridiculous,, making what could have been a great track only average.

“The Dark” is another track of random noises this one just 45 seconds long. This brings us to the album’s most well known track, “Zero The Hero”.  Gillan’s vocals actually work here and the chorus is very catchy. The intro is dark with its creepy opening riff and ominous bells. The main driving riff is very atmospheric and sounds like nothing the band has done before. The lyrics are about being mediocre which is ironic since this is a solid track and the best on the album.

The next track “Digital Bitch” starts side two of the record as well as the album’s downward spiral. The song has an okay typical 80’s metal riff that is ruined by both the production and Gillan’s vocals (there seems to be a trend here). His attempts at Rob Halford-esque screams aren’t very good and the lyrics are pretty corny.

The title track is a power ballad, something Sabbath has never done before this point. Guitarist Tony Iommi, who is known for writing some of the best riffs known to man, just plays the same generic chords through the whole track. The lyrics feel like they were made up on the spot and the track just feels dull.

“Hot Line” is an attempt at a straight up rocker. The songwriting is very run of the mill and every issue this album has can be heard on this one song.

The final track “Keep It Warm” opens up with a good riff and Gillan sounds surprisingly good. For a second the track sounds a bit like Deep Purple. The track goes downhill fast though as Gillan’s vocals get worse and the production and songwriting problems start to show.

All and all Born Again is not a good album nor is it a terrible one. There is one solid track and two okay tracks keeping the album from being completely bad. Many good ideas can be found on this record though are ruined by the poor production, unfitting vocals and in the case of the last three tracks, lazy songwriting.

Ranking: Worth a look for fans.

On January 9th, Venom offshoot Venom Inc and death metal pioneers Necrophagia played New York City’s famous venue Webster Hall as part of their first US circuit. For the uninitiated, Venom Inc is a new band that features ex-Venom members Mantas on guitar, Abaddon on drums, and Demolation Man on vocals, making this band a reunion of Venom’s 1988 to 1992 line up.

After the local openers, Necrophagia hit the stage. Their set was mostly focused on later material, as no songs from before 1998 were played. The band performed several fan favorites, such as “Embalmed Yet I Breathe” and “Blood Freak”, all while vocalist Killjoy practiced his horror theatrics. The band ended their set with their most well known song, “Cannibal Holocaust”, based on the horror classic of the same name.

After Necrophagia’s killer performance, it was time for Venom Inc. Audiences were curious due to the fact that though this version of Venom does not include classic vocalist Cronos, they still have two of the original three members. The band started their set with the title track from the 1988 Venom album Prime Evil. This was the only song they played from the line up they were a throwback to; from that point on the set list was mostly songs from the first two albums, Welcome to Hell and Black Metal. This included many classics such as “Black Metal”, “1,000 Days in Sodom”, “Countess Bathory”, “Don’t Burn the Witch” and “Schizo”. They also played some of the non-album singles from that era such as “Warhead” and “Bloodlust”. The band had good energy and looked like they were having a lot of fun. All and all the show was loved by the crowd who were sad about returning to reality afterwards.

I was given the opportunity to interview Necrophagia vocalist Killjoy. We had a pretty natural feeling conversation that revealed his plans for the next Necrophagia album as well as films he plans on making.

So how is the tour going so far?

It’s going great, a lot better than I expected. I’m getting drunk every night with Abbadon.

How did a bill like this happen?

Venom Inc personally wanted us for this tour. They contacted our manage,r who hooked us up with their booking agent. If it wasn’t for this tour we wouldn’t be touring at all instead I would have used the time to work on the next album.

Can you tell us a little bit about this next album?

The album will be a little bit more aggressive than our other stuff. It will just be a straight forward record, no interludes and nothing out of the ordinary and no random non-metal songs like “Sadako’s Curse”. It will just be a full on metal album that is more aggressive and maybe a little faster.

Speaking of “Sadako’s Curse”, what inspires you to write those non-metal songs?

I think it’s because I quit so many different side projects, and without taking away from what Necrophagia do, I think we were never a death metal band. I just keep my mind open. I’m a fan of Death In June, The Smiths, Elvis, Combichrist, and a lot more stuff that’s far from the metal genre. I try to make these influences work without going too left field.

That would explain why you guys sound nothing like other death metal bands yet you are credited as one of the first .

Early on, there was no terminology for it. I understand we had bands like Death and Possessed, but we didn’t really know what we were doing. We were just trying to make music that was as heavy, sick and different as possible. Everyone started going in that direction once we did Season of the Dead in ’87. To me that album is not a death metal record, people always tell us that we helped start death metal and I don’t care. I don’t claim to have started anything and neither did Chuck of Death. He was a very good friend of mine. We both just loved horror films and love bands like Hellhammer and Venom and let it influence our work.

People love labeling everything. Nowadays it’s gotten really out of hand. I’ve seen people say that punk and punk rock are different genres.

That is weird. I know you have hardcore punk and crust and grindcore and all that, but I don’t get how you can have punk that’s not rock. To me we are just a metal band. I don’t like just one certain tag.

If you were to bring back one of your aformentioned old side projects which would it be?

I’d bring back Enoch, because I love making music that is horrific and sometimes making heavy music isn’t always horrific sounding. To me, that project was more of a challenge… people got to hear a soundtrack to a movie that they never heard of ’cause it only exists in my head.

Would you ever do a voice over for a horror film? Made voice a demon?

If I like the script yes, I’d even do it for a cartoon if I liked the idea. It’s something I’ve thought about actually. Ultimately, I want to direct movies. I have three different scripts written so when I finally call it a day with this band, that is what I will do.

Can you tell us about these scripts?

I rather not, only because the titles of these alone give what they are about. I can tell you they are straight through and through horror films. Two of them are very occult based, while one is going to be the most extreme and original thing anyone has seen… and I stress original, which is why I don’t want to say what its about cause its never been done.

If you were to get any director, dead or alive, to direct these scripts who would it be?

It would be easy to say Fulci though I don’t know if his style would fit even though hes a huge influence on me. I’d say Mario Bava. I feel my stuff would be more up his alley.

Australia one of the world’s biggest countries is known for having some of the most interesting and diverse animals on the planet. The country also has many bands that are as extreme and interesting as its wildlife. Here in no order are some of the country’s best metal and hardcore punk bands. Some of these bands are well known, but fans tend to forget that they are Australian.

Captain Cleanoff

Australia has been a full force for punk, hardcore and grind as early as the 70’s with classic bands like The Birthday Party. One of the bands doing it best today is the grindcore band Captain Cleanoff. With fun short songs and distinct drumming this band is a must hear for any fan of the punk side of grindcore.

Fuck… I’m Dead

The country also delivers when it comes to the more metal side of grindcore. Fuck… I’m Dead are a goregrind outfit from Melbourne. Their groovy sound should please any fan of bands like General Surgery and Haemorrhage.

The Amenta

From South Wales comes one of the country’s most overlooked and original bands. Formed as Crucible of Agony in 1997 the Amenta plays a fusion of death metal, black metal and industrial.  The result is a sound that is really heavy as well as haunting.

The Berzerker

One of the most well known grindcore bands, The Berzerker’s music is a good gateway to those looking to get into the genre. The band played an electronic music influenced death metal/grindcore fusion with some of the fastest drumming known to man. Live, the members sometimes wore monster masks and the shows were known for intense energy. The band is now broken up, but with all these recent reunions maybe one day they will return.

King Parrot

From Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records comes the one and only King Parrot. The band plays a mixture of thrash, grindcore and sludge with parrot squawk vocals and comedic lyrics. They are mostly known for their live shows which consist of the band throwing water at the audience and vocalist Youngy mooning them the whole set. Last year the band toured with Superjoint Ritual and responses to their set were pretty positive.

Sadistik Exekution

Kinda like the Mortal Kombat franchise, this band loved using the letter K in the place of the hard C sound. Sadistik Exektion was a old school death metal band from South Wales. They were mostly known for their second album We Are Death… Fukk You!   This was a reaction to music critics mislabeling the band as a black metal band and also shows they had a sense of humor. Ironically their later albums contained black metal elements. Sadly this band is no longer together.

Nazxul

Most of the time black metal bands that use keyboards tend to be very cheesy. Nazxul are not only one of the exceptions, but are one of the best at it. The keyboards add great atmosphere and the vocals sound completely inhuman (in a great way). They played Maryland Deathfest in 2010.

Hobbs’ Angel of Death

Named after vocalist/guitarist Peter Hobbs, this hidden gem plays 80’s thrash in the vein of old Slayer though the band prefers to be labeled as “virgin metal”. Though a big name in Australia, they were always pretty obscure elsewhere. In recent years they have been getting more worldwide exposure, slowly making them a new favorite among old school thrash fans everywhere.

Portal

One of the strangest metal bands out today, Portal plays a style they call “avant garde blackened death metal”. Their sound is extremely heavy with ultra deep vocals and off beat droning riffs. They are also known for their bizarre on stage look which includes vocalist The Curator wearing various objects on his head. The band has played Maryland Deathfest in both 2010 and 2015.

Destroyer 666

Since the sub-genre’s inception, Australia has always had a plethora of blackened thrash bands. The greatest and most well known of these are Destroyer 666. Playing a take on this style that sounds really evil and really epic at the same time help make this three piece one of the best post-80’s thrash bands. In 2001 the band relocated to Holland. They are scheduled to play this year’s Maryland Deathfest and have their first new album in seven years to be released in late February.

 

2015 has been a pretty memorable year for metal. We had many over the top news stories including Brett Hinds of Mastodon revealing his hatred for metal as well as a couple proposing on stage at a Napalm Death concert. America’s biggest metal festival, Maryland Death featured the debut performance of grind legends Agoraphobic Nosebleed while Hell’s Head Bash featured the first ever US show of black metal titan Satanic Warmaster. We have also sadly lost many metal greats including Bolt Thrower’s Martin Kearns, Gorgoroth’s Frank Watkins, Nunslaughter’s Jim Sadist, Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead as well as the band’s original drummer Phil Taylor.

2015 has also brought us many great metal albums. So many quality releases came out this year that it took the combined tastes of writers Birdman and Anthony to pin point the best of them. Here is our top 10 metal albums of the year, with 8 bonus albums.

Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Trumphator

Anthony: This year had several extremely intense war metal albums released including the latest offering from Revenge as well as the debut album from Goat Semen, but the best of all these is Archgoat’s latest release. This album is extremely raw and filthy sounding. Mix that with Lord Angelslayer’s haunting vocals and you get one of the most sinister sounding albums of the year.

 Arcturus Arcturian

Birdman:  This is the 5th album from the Norwegian avant-garde powerhouse. It is also their debut on German label Prophecy Productions. One can hear influences from all across the musical spectrum on this record.

Between The Buried And MeComa Ecliptic

Birdman: Like previous releases, Coma Ecliptic is a concept album, or rock opera as the band would say. The album tells the story of a man stuck in a coma traveling through his past lives. It is very reminiscent of the progressive side of Queen, shying from their death metal and hardcore roots.

Leviathan – Scar Sighted

Anthony: In 2011, one man black metal project Leviathan released True Traitor, True Whore. This album was of pretty poor quality and made fans wonder if he was loosing it. His new one, Scar Sighted though proved them wrong. The album has cleaner production then previous efforts which actually fits well with the atmosphere. This album is of his best releases up there with The Tentacles of Whorror.

Napalm Death- Apex Predator Easy Meat

Anthony: This year has been a huge one for Napalm Death as they have been in the news several times as well as put out a killer new album. On this release the band mixes in elements from post punk bands most notably Swans. We are also treated to some old school straight up grindcore tracks to help even out the mix. Easily the grindcore album of the year.

OceanoAscendants

Birdman: Album number 4, for the deathcore quintet from Illinois. Oceano have extended the range of their guitars even more, with their new songs sounding heavier than the band has ever been. The atmosphere that the band perfected since 2009’s Depths has been maintained as well.

 Rivers Of NihilMonarchy

BirdmanThe sophomore album by RoN is a little more progressive than their debut. Production does justice for this assault of technical death metal. Basically, if you’re a bass guitar kind of guy, you’ll want to check out this record.

Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls

Anthony: Iron Maiden’s epic double album is the best album from a mainstream metal act this year beating both Ghost’s Meliora and Motorhead’s Bad Magic. At around 92 minutes this is the band’s longest album to date. With that said it doesn’t drag on for a second and almost all the tracks are very addicting. Maiden is still at the top of their game.

Deathammer – Evil Power

Anthony: From Hell’s Head Bangers Records comes this tasty scoop of Norse thrash. With a sound very similar to Slayer’s Show No Mercy, Evil Power is thrash album of the year.

High On FireLuminiferous

Birdman: An album that draws on anything that has influenced frontman Matt Pike over the years. You can still hear Pike’s guitar vibrato, some very fast thrash-influenced tracks, and slower doom tracks from their early years. You can even hear a track that sounds akin to Pike’s other band Sleep.

StratovariusEternal

Birdman: Eternal marks full-length number 15 for Stradivarius. While no original members of this band are left, Vocalist Timo Kotipelto is still going strong with his songwriting collaborating once again with Jani Liimatainen (Cain’s Offering, ex-Sonata Arctica). The album is a blend of old school power metal and modern European-style power metal.

Shining – IX Everyone, Everything, Everywhere Ends

Anthony: From the mind of madman Niklas Kvarforth comes the bands most melodic and progressive release to date. The album focuses on epic and slow song structures which bring on a mix of emotions. This is also the band’s more versatile effort to date mixing in elements of industrial, folk and other genres and shows that Niklas is still at his creative peak this late in his career

Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to Antisphere

Anthony: Once again these German’s are back with their brand of Lovecraft themed death metal. With brutal vocals, brutal drums and heavy in your face bass and guitar, Gateway to Antisphere is this year’s best death metal release.

ArmageddonCaptivity & Devourment

 Birdman: This band is the brainchild of Chris Amott (ex-Arch Enemy). It began as a side project that took off in the interim period between Arch Enemy’s first and second albums. The debut was a melodic death metal approach similar to that of Amos’s main band. The band then, released two power metal albums afterwards, but this year saw the band had returned to their melodeath roots.

NeurotechStigma

Birdman: Likely the least known artist on this list, Neurotech is a one-man symphonic industrial project hailing from Slovenia . It is the brainchild of Andrej Vovk, better known as “Wulf”. He actually released two albums this year, though the second one is more of a futurepop/trance album. Stigma is the type of cyber metal album that builds and builds and builds, notably with the first and final tracks.

Mgla – Exercises in Futility

Anthony: Out of all the great black metal releases from this year, this latest entry in the Mgla saga is by far the best. With all of the band’s signature traits such as melodic mid paced song structures, distinct vocals, killer riffs, and great drumming are still intact and in full force. A great album for both newcomers and veteran fans alike.

Cain’s OfferingStormcrow

Birdman: It was originally thought that this power metal supergroup would be a one-album deal. Right after the release of the debut, members got busy with their main projects. With Stormcrow the band has retained their vocalist, guitarist, and drummer while bringing in a new bassist and the keyboardist from Stratovarius. Not only that, the band has gained social media presence with this sophomore album as well as a tour in Japan to support the album.

Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower

Anthony: Windhand’s third release isn’t much different then the last in style. While in a lot of cases that could be a bad thing, here the band is able to pull it off well as the songs still sound fresh and not like a carbon copy of the last album. As Windhand continues to grow bigger and bigger they also continue to show the world that they are a band that well deserves this attention. Vocalist Dorthia Cottrell also put out a self titled solo album this year. While not very metal, it is still recommended for fans of her vocals that want to hear a different side of her.

“If you were trapped on a desert island and could bring one album with you which would it be”? This is the question the metal columnists of Alternative Nation have asked several musicians spanning huge names, cult favorites, and even local acts. With answers ranging from obvious influences to bands you never thought they would like, to sarcastic remarks about the question here is a compilation of every time this question was used in our 2014 -2015 interviews.

Dave Ellefson (Megadeth/Metal Allegiance bassist) – I’d go with Kiss, Alive. One of the first records I ever bought.

Devin Townsend (Man of many bands) – That is a good question! I’d pick one of Ravi Shanktar and George Harrison’s collaborations. Really cool sound.

Biff Byford (Saxon vocalist) – Id go with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. If I’m going to be trapped on an island its best I listen to something beautiful.

Eric Peterson ( Testament guitarist) – Black Sabbath’s Sabotage . It has a lot of nooks and crannies and I like that record a lot.

Chelsea Wolfe (Singer/songwriter)Yggdrasil or Gap Var Ginnunga, by Wardruna.

Paul Bostaph(Slayer/ex-Testament/ex-Forbidden drummer) If i’m going to be trapped for god knows how long I’d need to bring something that could kill all that time, something like Beethoven’s Greatest Hits.

Tom Hunting (Exodus drummer) – It would have to be Rainbow’s Rising. I just think that album is a journey. It’s just a great album. Classic metal band with Dio and Richie Blackmore, it just crushes.

Dave Matrise (Jungle Rot vocalist) – Either Sacrifice’s Forward to Termination or Destruction’s Infernal Overkill… both classic albums.

Barney Greenway (Napalm Death/ex Benediction vocalist) – I’d have to say Ace of Spades by Motorhead. I’ve always been one to love extremity and I see that record as the very first extreme album.

Ricky Warwick (Black Star Riders/ ex-Thin Lizzy/ ex-The Almighty vocalist) – That’s easy. I’d bring Black Rose by Thin Lizzy. Love that record… changed my life.

George Kollas (Nile drummer) – It would be my “next” album, hahaha. I got several songs I am working on and I would love to spend as much time with it as possible before I start recording it. I have plenty of time of course because Invictus just got out, but I like to be productive and start ASAP with the next one!

Kat Katz (Agoraphobic Nosebleed/ex-Salome vocalist) – Deadboy And The Elephantmen’s We are the Night Sky. I never grow tired of that album. I love Dax Rigg’s voice and lyrics, and I especially love the soulfulness of that album.

Dixie (Weedeater vocalist/bassist) – Corrosion of Conformity’s Animosity, best of their early punk rock albums. Great band,great guys.

Mike Starr (Steel Panther vocalist) – Oh God, that’s a great question, dude! Desert album… well, I would have to probably bring Def Leppard, Pyromania. I’ll tell you why. Their pop songs are great, there are the deeper cuts that fucking rock. And I dig it. I did a lot of cocaine back in high school to that record, and it brings back memories of lots of chicks and having a good time. If I’m in a desert, all alone, I want those memories.

Bob Pantella (Monster Magnet/ Atomic Bitch Wax drummer) – The album that we would bring to a desert island has yet to be written. Most likely though..it would be the next Bitchwax record because a desert island is probably where we will end up recording it…

Niklas Kvarforth (Shining vocalist) – Burzum’s Filosofem or Depeche Mode’s Violator.

Teloch (Mayhem guitarist) – None, most likely there is no CD player or electricity on a desert island. Why bother staring at a CD you can’t play?

Kevin Foley (Benighted drummer) – Anaal Nathrakh’s Passion, especially with the second song that really sounds like the apocalypse to me.

Dirk Verbeuren ( Soilwork/ ex-Devin Townsend Project/ ex-Aborted drummer) – Fredrik Thordendal’s Special Defects Sol Niger Within. I’ve played it hundreds of times and it still gives me goosebumps. One of the most unique, heartfelt and inspiring pieces of music ever created.

J.J Hrubovcak (Hate Eternal bassist) – That’s a hard one. It’d probably be one of the big four thrash band’s records like Reign in Blood or Peace Sells. I think that either way, if you have to listen to one record over and over on a desert island alone, you are going to go crazy! My brother used to like some of the Japanese noise bands. If you are going insane, you might as well get there faster with a bunch of noise band static on endless loop!

Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ vocalist)Black Metal by Venom. This is history and personally I have a strong respect for history!

Markus Hirvonen (Insomnium drummer) – Dream Theater’s Awake.

Nature (Tengger Cavalry vocalist) – I would say Slipknot’s Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses.

Ken Faggio (Morpheus Descends bassist, Rooms of Ruin vocalist/bassist) – It’s hard to narrow it down to just one, but off the top of my head I’d say Dimension Hatross by Voivod. They’ve always been one of my all time favorite bands and this album was them at their peek; amazingly unique and original songs and a very cool story concept that carries through the entire album. Some great stuff to get lost in between fishing and building a raft.

Mick Mayer ( Sonic Pulse vocalist/ guitarist) – Trapped on an Island thats a good one!  Megadeth’s Rust in Peace as I listen to it at least once a day. Its the bible for heavy metal song writing.

Gary “Throat” Hadden ( Lesch-Nyhan vocalist) – Bark at the Moon by Ozzy.

Dave Muntean ( Nucleus/Wil vocalist/ guitarist)A Night at the Opera by Queen. I’ve been a fan of Queen way before I was into metal and they still are one of if not my favorite band.

Doug Brown ( documentary filmaker) – Blind Melon: Soup!

Mers Sumida (Black Table vocalist/guitarist) – Tenhi’s Saivo. It sets the mood to be alone and let the mind wander.

Ryan Fleming (Black Table guitarist) – The Zombies: Odessey and Oracle.

DJ Scully (Dead Empires/Black Table bassist) – Mutoid Man’s Bleeder.

Vincent Lepore ( Exinfernum vocalist/guitarist) – I would have to go with Altars of Madness by Morbid Angel. I’ve always been a huge Morbid Angel freak.

Andrew Bones Eastroad (Morditorium guitarist/vocalist) – Stigmata by Arch Enemy. An old favorite of mine. I love the guitar tone on it.

Nick Jackabowski (Bill X Nye vocalist)The Apes of Naples  by Coil is a really good album and its all over the place.

Doyle Von Frankenstien (Doyle/ex-Misfits guitarist) – Why would I bring music? I’d bring food, stupid question.

Interviews with Mike Starr, Mick Mayer, Sakis Tolis, J.J Hrubovcak and Dirk Verbeuren by Birdman Dan. Interview with Nature by Robert Muller. All others by Anthony Carioscia.

Formed in 1996, Season of Mist is one of metal’s leading record labels. In the start the label only focused on more extreme genres such as black and death metal, but has since expanded to include all forms of metal as well as none metal genres such as punk and goth rock. To this day, they put out some of the best albums the underground has known. Here in no order are their best releases from 2015.

Benighted – Brutalive the Sick

Made as a late celebration of the band’s 15th anniversary, Brutalive the Sick is a sick live album. This CD/DVD combo really shows off the strength of these French deathgrind great’s live performances as they play the Sylak Festival in their home country. This is without a doubt the best way to experience the band.

Rotting Christ – Lucifer over Athens

Speaking of awesome live albums, Greek black metal veterans Rotting Christ have also given fans a take home taste of their live sound. Lucifer Over Athens is a live double album that also celebrates the band’s entire career. With songs ranging from their early demos to some of their most recent stuff, this release works as both a good live album and a best of album.

Weedeater – Golliathan

Coming from the swamps of South Carolina comes a new release from stoner metal blazers Weedeater. This album has many of the same elements of all Weedeater releases including short simple songs, use of non-metal instruments such as banjo and organ and lots of fuzz, however it is done in a way that gives this album its own identity. Like the last two albums this one is produced by Steve Albini which is always a plus.

Drudkh – A Furrow Short Cut

Back in 2010 these Ukrainian nationalists released a post-rock album called Handful of Stars.  In 2012 the band returned to its atmospheric black metal roots with Ethereal Turn the Wheel and continues down this path with A Furrow Short Cut. Like most bands in this sect of black metal, this album is good at bringing on a variety of emotions. This record is beautiful and sad when it needs to be, but is also not afraid to punch you in the face with heaviness when it wants to. A great album for driving or working on artwork.

Kylesa – Exhausting Fire

Savannah Georgia is known as America’s most haunted city as well as one of it’s most creative and Kylesa’s new release really helps show this. Mixing in the atmosphere of their later sound with the aggressiveness of their older sound, Exhausting Fire is a melodic,sludgy, trip at the brain. Definitely one of the best sludge metal albums of the 2010’s.

Hate Eternal – Infernus

After their legendary third album I Monarch, Hate Eternal seemed to have lost their touch. On their latest album Infernus, the band came back strong. This album’s crispy sound, atmosphere and great musicianship make this a must hear for any death metal fan.

Revenge – Total.Behold.Rejection

Canada’s savage black/death metal machine is back with another serving of chaos! Like all releases from Revenge, this album punches you in the face with its heaviness. The production is very raw but done to a degree where you can still make out the songs.; this album is minimalist metal at its finest and rivals the band’s early work.

Shining – IX Everyone, Everything, Everywhere Ends

From the mind of madman Niklas Kvarforth comes the bands most melodic and progressive release to date. The album focuses on epic and slow song structures which bring on a mix of emotions. This is also the band’s more versatile effort to date mixing in elements of industrial, folk and other genres and shows that Niklas is still at his creative peak this late in his career.

 

First entering the metal world with the progressive death  metal band Strapping Young Lad in 1994, Devin Townsend is one of metal’s most original and most hardworking gentlemen. Among his various projects, he has released a total of 23 albums, all which showcase his large variety of influences, causing some to dub him “The Heavy Metal Frank Zappa”. Just last year he released Z2with the Devin Townsend Project, and the self-titled debut album by his new project, Casualties of Cool. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing him by phone. We talked about topics such as his plans for 2016 as well as why Strapping Young Lad will never get back together.

On being compared to Frank Zappa:

I don’t smoke cigarettes… so I guess that’s a difference. I do love Zappa, though if I had a choice, I would have gone with Captain Beefheart. Beefheart was completely unaware of how brilliant he was while Zappa knew it.

On Casualties of Cool:

Casualties are a project I have been working on for a long time. I guess because I do all this work with DTP and all these other projects it’s easy to forget the other stuff you have planned and easy to fall into a paint by numbers sort of thing.  This project was something that started slowly without any intention of it turning into anything, but it ended up being a very personal reflection of where I am in music at this point. I’m sure my typical heavy metal fans don’t have any interest in this, but for me it was a really important one cause I got to do something without anyone asking for it. People call this project country all the time but I think its not quite country. I think its more progressive and dark. I think the influence for the sound comes from where I grew up. I grew up on the Americana sort of vibe, stuff like Johnny Cash and Pete Seeger. Then in 2008 I remember hearing that Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration record Raising Sand and thought it was pretty cool. I guess in natural ways this sound just found its own footing.

On possible future albums:

There are always tons of future ideas! Kind of like how I let Casualties evolve the way it did,I let my future solo work evolve in whatever way it wants to. Next thing I’m doing is a Devin Townsend Project record which will be different than anything I’ve done in the past, but along the same lines of that epic heavy metal vibe. I plan on doing a symphony by the end of the year and I have a bunch of a little side projects I’m working on but I’ll let the ones that feel most important to me take a pole position and that would be  the Devin Townsend Project.

On 2016 tour:

We have a planned Devin Townsend Project 2016 US tour, but no dates or locations are decided yet.

On Strapping Young Lad Reunion:

I hate to disappoint you, but the short answer is no. Other then Jed, I don’t really talk to those guys anymore. A lot of fans are upset that there won’t be a reunion and that I’m not doing Strapping anymore, but I can’t spend anymore energy apologizing. I feel I have progressed as an artist and have moved on from that stage in my career.

On who he would like to collaborate with in the future:

Pretty much everyone I’d like to collaborate with I have already. I don’t listen to enough modern metal to have a new list of favorites. The biggest problem with metal in general is that its hard to sustain. Look at Metallica for example they are these 50 year old guys who can’t seem to put out another metal record. They had Orion fest, movies, and Lulu, but no new metal material. I see their problem being they just don’t have the energy anymore. Which I can totally relate to. The collaboration album Deconstruction was an idea I had at the time and though I feel its a good record, I don’t have any plans to do anything like it at the moment. I often wonder if the people I respect as musicians have anything in common, if we just hung out. I wonder if we tried to put together some kind of supergroup that we would end up just all hating each other’s guts… that would suck.

Formed in 1983 and run by guitarist Trey Azagthoth, Morbid Angel is one of the biggest death metal bands of all time. Their distinct riffs, powerful drums, and dark atmospheres have kept them a favorite among metal fans young and old. To celebrate the band’s body of work this new installment of Alternative Nation’s “Ranked up”  series will focus on Morbid Angel.  This list will include studio albums only.

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9.Illud Divinium Insanus (2011)

Often called the St. Anger of death metal, the band’s most recent album is a total train wreck. The album was hyped up due to eight years with no new Morbid Angel albums and the return of iconic vocalist David Vincent.  When the album was finally released, it was met with heavy criticism and memes bashing it all over the net. Morbid Angel tried to experiment with industrial. Now if Morbid Angel took influence from bands like Throbbing Gristle, Foetus, or Skinny Puppy, this album could have been awesome. But instead they mix in cheesy Vampire Freaks.com industrial and end up sounding close to nu-metal (in 2011!). The album’s mind numbing lyrics (such as “kill a cop kill a kill a kill a cop”) make it even worse.

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8. Heretic (2003)

Released three years after the amazing Gateways to Annihilation, Heretic was a huge step backwards. The style of this album is that of your usual later Morbid Angel release minus the memorable song writing.  None of the songs really stand out and it just feels like a disappointment after how good the last one was. After this album vocalist Steve Tucker would leave the band and join the awesome super group Nadar Sadek.  He would return to Morbid Angel in 2015. This is also the last album to feature drummer Pete Sandoval as he would leave in 2010.

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7. Domination (1995)

Joined by former Ripping Corpse guitarist Erik Rutan, Domination was the band’s  attempt at a more commercial sound. The album sounds overly polished,downed down and one dimensional. With that said the songs ,”Dominate“, “Where the Slime Live“, and “Dawn of the Angry” are still solid tracks. After this album Erik Rutan would leave and form Hate Eternal, only to return to Morbid Angel in 2000. David Vincent would also leave the band and not return untill 2004.

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6. Abominations of Desolation (1991)

Recorded in 1986 this was supposed to be the band’s debut album, but was scrapped because the band did not like the end product. In 1991 the band’s then label Earache records decided to release it due to their  new found popularity. The line up on this release included Trey Azagthoth on guitar, John Ortega on bass, Richard Brunelle on guitar and Mike Browning on both drums and vocals and was produced by David Vincent.  All of the songs except for “Demon Seed” would appear on later albums. This album is a fun listen mostly to hear how classics like “Chapel of Ghouls” originally sounded. After this album Mike Browning would leave to form Nocturnus. John Ortega would also leave, but not really go on to join or form any band.

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5. Formulas Fatal to the Flesh (1998)

After Domination took them in a bad direction, Formulas got the band back on their feet. Out was David Vincent and in came Steve Tucker who proved he was a better vocalist (yes you read that right!). The satanic lyrics of the first four were replaced with lyrics based on Sumerian and Lovecraftian deities with some of the lyrics even being in Sumerian. This theme would follow on all of the Tucker era albums. The album’s musical sound is very similar to that of Covenant but with more extreme vocals. Highlights include the thick sounding “Prayer of Hatred”, the semi anime inspired “Hymn to the Gas Giant” and the haunting tune “Hellspawn: The Rebirth“.

 

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4. Blessed are the Sick (1991)

This sophomore effort  is known for creating the band’s signature sound. The album is slow paced although contains some very fast riffs and has overtones from goth and classical music. This style would follow the band on most later releases. Some of the best tracks from here include “Desolate ways” ,”Blessed are the Sick”, and “Day of Suffering“.

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3. Covenant (1993)

 

Morbid Angel’s third album is their most well known and their first taste of mainstream success. The album was put out by Giant records, a division of Warner Bros making it the first death metal album to be put out by a major label. The music continues the style that the previous album started but speeds it up slightly. The lyrics are the band’s most satanic to date and the song “God of Emptiness” was featured on an episode of Beavis and Butthead.  Some other classic’s from this album include “Vengeance is Mine, “Rapture“, and “Angel of Disease“. In 2013 the band celebrated the 20th anniversary of this album though even when not celebrating it, plenty of songs are bound to appear in the band’s setlist.

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2. Altars of Madness (1989)

One of the most iconic death metal releases of all time, Altars of Madness is a classic from front to back. Here on the band’s true debut album (not counting Abominations) Morbid Angel plays their original trashy and slightly technical death metal. Here the world got the first real taste of Trey’s amazing guitar work, Pete’s insane drumming and David’s demonic vocals on classics such as “Chapel of Ghouls“, “Immortal Rites“, “Maze of Torment” and Lord of All Fevers and Plagues“. Many music magazines and websites to this day still list it as one of the best death metal albums of all time, with a few even giving it the number one slot.

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1. Gateways to Annihilation (2000)

While Covenant will always be remembered as the band’s most well known release and Altars of Madness as their most important, Gateways to Annihilation is Morbid Angel’s musical peak. With Steve Tucker on vocals, Erik Rutan returning on guitar and the combined might of Trey and Pete we get the ultimate Morbid Angel song writing team. The album’s style is much slower than any other album by the band and is heavy on atmosphere. The guitar tuning is extremely low giving the riffs are really chunky and give off a crushing sound. Erik and Trey’s lead solos bring on a feeling of destruction and chaos. Now that Steve Tucker is back in the band hopefully we will see a proper follow up to this masterpiece of music. Summoning RedemptionI and Ageless Still I Am are the best tracks from this album.

 

 

 

During the summer of 1845 a man named Johnathan and his wife Miriam move into a mansion that Johnathan inherits. They are warned not to go in by four horsemen, but they do not listen. Johnathan is told by the ghost of a relative that Miriam is possessed by the spirit of a  stillborn child named Abigail. The next day Miriam is pregnant and the fetus starts developing inside her and Johnathan realizes he must stop this demon child from being reborn.

That is the story to King Diamond’s iconic album Abigail. Released in 1987, Abigail is the second King Diamond solo album and his first to tell a full story, something that would become a staple of his albums. With a good story, chilling atmosphere, amazing high vocals from King himself and amazing riffs and solos from guitarist Andy Laroque, Abigail is without a doubt the man’s best and most well known album to date. When it was revealed that he was going to do a fall tour celebrating this album, the hype was unbelievable as tickets evaporated as soon as it went on sale.

Fans in the Tri-State area were given the chance to see this tour when it was booked at the Playstation Theater on Times Square in New York City. Originally called the Nokia Theater and then the Best Buy Theater, Playstation Theater is one of the most popular venues in NYC hosting concerts from many acts ranging from Devo, to Carcass, to King Crimson. For this tour King Diamond played three shows in a row at this venue, all which sold out! This review will be focused on the third show which took place on November 21st, 2015.

Due to recent events, Time Square was surrounded by cops and random people telling doomsday prophecies. At around 7pm the doors opened and security carefully checked everyone as they let them in. Though the show was sold out, the venue had yet to be packed. The crowd all found their places to sit or stand as they awaited the opening act.

Thrash legends Exodus got on stage around 8pm. Since the day they formed to as recent as their spring/summer tour with Testament, the band was known for high energy shows and fast mosh pits. However at this show almost no one was moshing. Their set was really short and though they played some greats such as “Strike of the Beast” and “The Toxic Waltz” fans were disappointed at the small amount of Exodus classics. Sound wise they sounded great and if given more set-time, Exodus would have most likely delivered the awesome set the band is known for.

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After Exodus was done it was time for King Diamond. Around this time the venue was getting more crowded and actually looked like a sold out show. King opened the set with his popular track “Welcome Home” while on stage he had an actor play his grandma. He then followed it with “Halloween”, “Sleepless Nights” and “Eye of the Witch”. His voice was spot on and didn’t sound weak for a second. His backing band sounded great and fans couldn’t remove there eyes from the stage. King then asked the audience if they “wanted some mercy”. The crowd knew this meant it was time for some Mercyful Fate tracks. He played “Melissa” followed by the “Come to the Sabbath”. This was a great choice in tracks as they both tell the story of the fictional witch Melissa who was burned at the stake and her lover who tries to get revenge on the church. On stage a woman played Melissa and acted out the lyrics to these songs making for a nice short film before the feature presentation.

After the Fate songs it was Abigail time. He played the entire album front to back and it sounded amazing. The stage show was very fun and parts such as seeing the possessed Miriam  lip syncing to the chorus of the title track and the horsemen slaying Abigail helped bring the album’s story to life. King’s set stole the night and left the crowd leaving happy. If you are a King Diamond fan  and you have not seen him live do yourself a favor and fix that! You won’t regret it!

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 photo by Stephen Keeler

2015 has been a pretty busy year for British metal heavy weights Saxon. They have spent a majority of the year touring, whether it be with L.A band Armored Saint or the almighty Motorhead, but this still left them with enough time to put out their new album Battering Ram. Battering Ram is the band’s 21st album and shows that the band is still on top of their game.

Biff Byford’s voice still sounds great as shown in “Queen of Hearts”, “Battering Ram”, and the haunting ballad “Kingdom of the Cross”.  Nigel Glockler’s drumming is produced really well showcasing his style, especially on the track “Destroyer”. Guitarists Paul Quinn and Doug Scaratt both have plenty of great solos throughout the disc. The song “The Devil’s Footprint” has a solo in the vein of 80’s speed metal like Accept, with a touch of atmosphere, while “Top of the World” has that good old rock’n’roll guitar work.

All and all there isn’t anything bad to say about this release. Any fan of Saxon should enjoy this album as it is one of band’s best modern efforts.

I had the honor of interviewing vocalist Biff Byford about this awesome new release. He was a nice guy and revealed some future tour plans as well as his love for Indian curry!

On Battering Ram‘s writing process: It went really well. The bassist and I started the process and then the others joined in. We all got drunk and ate lots of Indian curry!

On album name: I felt it was a good title, just like the track it’s named after. The name really rings right off the tongue and fits in with how the album first hits you. The first four tracks are the heaviest, but after that it gets more melodic.

On possible music video: We have no plans on shooting another music video for the album. We not too long ago put out a lyric video for “Queen of Hearts”. We might do a live video in the future. Maybe “Devil’s Footprint” or “Queen of Hearts”. I feel those would be good choices.

On 2016 tour: We are still touring with Motorhead until February. We are planning on playing shows in the US around April or May. We have no planned opener as of now.

On the track “Kingdom of the Cross”: It was a poem I wrote and we put it together with some of Nigel’s keyboard ideas. It was a bit of an experiment, a bit of a mad idea I had. I think it worked pretty well.

On favorite song to play live: I’d say the older songs are my favorite to play. Either “Denim and Leather” or “Princess of the Night”.

On the album “Innocence is no Excuse“: I feel the songs from that album were great but the production made it sound not so metal.  It was just something that happened,the label wanted a more radio friendly sound for that record.

Formed and pretty much run by ex-Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine, Megadeth has always been a household name among metal die-hards and casual listeners alike.  Though the band has had ups and downs, they have always been hailed as the most consistent of the Big Four. To celebrate the upcoming album and rumored 2016 tour with Suicidal Tendencies we have decided to make this current installment of Alternative Nation’s “Ranked Up” series on Megadeth.

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Super Collider (2013)

After an awkward commercial rock phase, Megadeth started coming back strong with albums such as The System has Failed and Endgame. Somehow it led to this. Here Megadeth combine elements of post-grunge and glam metal. Funny considering Dave Mustaine always called glam “Gay Los Angelos Metal”. Some tracks, such as “Burn“, start out with good intros, but then turn for the worst within seconds. Even the most open-minded fans will have a hard time finding merits to this train-wreck.

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Risk (1999)

Risk is one of the most infamous releases from the Big Four and Megadeth’s second most infamous album. Like the title implies the album was a big risk for the band as it was a pretty experimental release. The song “Crush’Em” sounds like an attempt at industrial, “Breadline” sounds like something 3 Doors Down would make while,  “Insomnia” sounds like a failed attempt at atmosphere. The closest this album has to a good song is “Prince of Darkness“, which starts out decent but goes downhill fast. Fans blamed the contemporary nu-metal trend for this album, but Dave Ellefson claimed Risk was a reaction against it.

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Th1rteen (2011)

2011 was a strange year for metal albums; many bands released albums of unbelievably bad quality, such as Morbid Angel’s llud Divinium Insanus and Metallica and Lou Reed’s Lulu. While those albums were weird experiments gone wrong, Th1rteen is the exact opposite, pretty much being Megadeth by numbers. The album is just filled with generic song writing and recycled riffs, making it completely forgettable.

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The World Needs a Hero (2001)

After the negative reactions to Risk, Megadeth decided to go back to their roots. Guitarist Marty Friedman would leave the band, move to Japan, release a J-pop album (not making this up) and be replaced by Al Pitrelli. While the album was a return to form, it was very bland and forgettable. Some tracks, such as “Promises” sound like they could have come from Risk.

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Cryptic Writings (1997)

Continuing the path of their previous album, Cryptic Writings is more of a rock release then a thrash one. The album sold very well even getting it a platinum status and the song “Trust” still appears in the band’s set lists. However musically,  Cryptic Writings is only okay and sort of was an omen of what was to come next.

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Youthanasia (1994)

After Countdown to Extinction gave the band more mainstream attention, their next album, Youthanasia gave them a more mainstream sound. This album is most known for the hit song “Train of Consequences” and the ballad ‘A Tout le Monde“. While far from their best release, Youthanasia is still an alright record.

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Countdown to Extinction (1992)

By 1992 most of the 80’s thrash bands were putting out embarrassing albums, but Megadeth showed the world they still had it. The album is most known for the singles “Skin O My Teeth“,”Sweating Bullets“, and “Symphony of Destruction“. The deep cuts on this album are cool to especially “Psychotron” and “High Speed Dirt“.

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So Far So Good… So What! (1988)

Megadeth’s third album is also their most underrated. Originally panned for its bad production and “Anarchy in the U.K.” cover, this release is usually considered to one of the band’s worst. However, if one gives the album a chance they shall find some great tracks such as “Liar” and “In My Darkest Hour”.

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The System Has Failed (2004)

After ten years of okay to bad albums, Megadeth finally gave fans the comeback they had been waiting for. Guitarist Chris Poland who played on the band’s first two albums came back and gave this record an old school Megadeth feel. This was also the first album not to feature long time member Dave Ellefson who would not return till 2010. While the album has some cheesy tracks like “Of Mice and Men” it also has plenty great ones such as “Black Mail the Universe” and “Die Dead Enough“.

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United Abominations (2007)

In 2004 the band showed they were coming back strong. Three years later they show it even more with United Abominations.  Chris Poland was swapped out for Glen Drover and his brother Shawn Drover joined on drums. Some of the best tracks from this album include “A Call to Arms”, “Washington is next” and the Japanese bonus track “Black Swan“.

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Endgame (2009)

Continuing the path the band was on in the 2000’s, Endgame is the best post-Rust in Peace album. Glen Dover was replaced by Chris Broderick who brought with him amazing guitar work. This album is filled with awesome energy and technicality. Tracks like “This Day We Fight” and “Headcrusher” showed the world that Megadeth were still at the top of their game.  Sadly this moment didn’t last forever…

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Killing is Business… and Business is Good (1985)

Megadeth’s debut is still one of their best. Self produced by the original line up of Dave Mustaine on guitar and vocals, Chris Poland on guitar, Dave Ellefson on bass and Gar Samuelson on drums, this debut is their rawest effort to date. Some of this album’s gems include “Rattlehead“, “The Mechanix” and the cover of the Nancy Sinatra classic “These Boots“.

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Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying (1986)

Containing the same exact line up as Killing is Business, Peace Sells is the band’s breakthrough album. The band got signed to Capitol Records and the production values went up. This is also the first Megadeth album to have politically charged lyrics something that would become a stable of the band, though also had songs with satanic lyrics such as “The Conjuring“. Other great tracks include “Peace Sells“, “Wake up Dead” and “Devil’s Island“.

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Rust In Peace (1990)

Megadeth’s best album is also one of the best metal albums of all time. Added to the band was guitar master Marty Friedman who would stay with the band throughout the 90’s. Marty’s technical guitar playing brought some of the best riffs and solos ever created to the table. “Holy Wars“, “Tornado of Souls“, “Hangar 18“, “and “Poison was the Cure” and just about every track on this album is a classic. The band would celebrate this album with a tour that consisted of them Slayer, Anthrax and Alice in Chains. In 2010 the band would do an anniversary tour for the same album with Slayer and rotating openers Anthrax and Testament.

Japanese horror films or J-horror have always been a force to be reckoned with. The country has produced some of the scariest, weirdest and most extreme films the genre has known. In Western pop culture, people normally think of giant monsters (aka Kaiju) or ghost children when it comes to horror flicks from Japan, though the country has produced a diverse wealth of them spanning multiple subgenres. Here, in no order, are ten of the country’s best horror films that feature neither of those things.

Suicide Club (2002)

During the late 90’s to mid 2000’s Japan was making many controversial horror films, one of the most notable being Suicide Club. The film is about police investigating a wave of unconnected suicides and is most notorious for a scene where schools girls happily jump in front of a train. Despite having such a dark subject matter, the film has plenty of humor. Recommended for fans of films that are disturbing and funny at the same time.

Versus (2000)

Versus is a horror, comedy, martial arts, gunplay fusion directed by the now acclaimed Ryuhei Kitamura. Set in a place known as The Forrest of Resurrection, a gang of Yakuzas fights hordes of zombies while trying to stop their leader from opening a portal to hell. With good laughs, gore and fight choreography, the film has stuff to please just about any kind of geek. In 2004 an extended edition called Ultimate Versus was released. This is the best version to see.

Wicked City (1987)

In the 1980’s anime was known for being very violent and this horror anime is a prime example of that. Set near the dawn of the year 2000, a human agent named Taki and a female demon named Makie take on a group of demons called The Radicals. They must also protect a 200-year-old man named Giuesspi who is the only one who can bring peace to the human and demon worlds. The film mixes frightening visuals with high-octane action and explicit gore and nudity and never feels slow for a minute, but at the same time is able to tell a good story.

Kuroneko (1968)

During a civil war, two women are raped and murdered by samurai. After the war, many samurai start mysteriously dying. A young hero is then called in from the government who are convinced it’s the work of a demon. Though the film’s plot does involve ghosts, the film is not structured like a ghost movie and is different in style than what Japan’s horror scene would be known for.  The black and white look mixed with its feudal setting gives the film great atmosphere. The acting is also very good and you really feel for the characters, something that is lost in a lot of horror.

Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (1988)

Yet another genre blender, this film mixes horror with science fiction and historical fantasy. The plot is about a demonic reincarnation of an old Japaneses emperor on a mission to destroy all of Toyko. The film was a major part of the occult crazes that swept Japan from the late 80’s-early 90’s. Though very slow at times, this film is full of atmosphere and a story that just draws you in and shocks you at when it wants to. The emperor from this film was the inspiration for M. Bison from the game series Street Fighter.

Onibaba (1964)

From Kaneto Shindo, director of Kuroneko, comes another feudal era horror film. Two women have a hobby that involves killing soldiers and stealing their belongings. The women then meet a mysterious man who wears a bizarre mask. Like Kuronekothe film’s setting and lack of color give it good atmosphere. The free-jazz and tribal score also help give the film a bit of a bizarre tone. If Akira Kurosawa made a horror film, it would be Onibaba.

Tetsuo:The Iron Man (1989)

Shinya Tsukamoto is known for directing some of Japan’s craziest films and Tetsuo is no exception. The film is about a businessman who accidentally kills a man who has a fetish for sticking scrap metal in his body. The businessman then starts sprouting metal appendages such as drills out of random parts of his body (not making this up). Shot in black and white and on a low budget this film feels like Eraserhead on crack.  The industrial score is also very good and fits the film perfectly. The film would get two sequels, Tetsuo II: The Body Hammer and Tetsuo: Bullet Man.

Vampire Hunter D (1985)

Based on the first of the Vampire Hunter D novels, this film is horror anime at it’s finest. In the year 12,090 AD, a young woman named Doris hires a half-vampire half human named D to protect her from a powerful vampire lord who has bitten her and wants to make her his new bride. Vampire Hunter D is mostly known as the film that inspired the game series Castlevania. Some of the similarities include Doris using a whip as her main weapon and D resembling recurring Castlevania character Alucard. In 2000, the film would receive a sequel titled Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, based on the third book in the series.

Ichi The Killer (2001) 

Considered to be one of the most disturbing films of all time. The film is directed by famed Japanese director Takashi Miike and is based off the manga of the same name. The film is about a Yakuza named Kakihara who gets turned on when he feels pain. While torturing a rival Yakuza, he learns of an assassin named Ichi who is a great martial artist who gets turned on when he inflicts pain (not making this up) . The film was banned in many countries due to its explicit violence. Though it is full of shock value, the film doesn’t fail in the story and character departments. The film has a prequel called 1-Ichi, which is done in the style of an anime.

Audition (1999)

Also from Takashi Miike, Audition is one of the most well-known and greatest J-horror films out there. A father who lost his wife looks for a new girlfriend. The method he uses is a false movie audition held by his friend, who is a filmmaker. Eventually, he finds the girl he wants. The two relate real well though, though the film hints that this girl is not right in the head, leading to an unforgettable climax. The film is known for its roller coaster-like story structure. Most of it is like a romantic drama with hints of horror; you know things are going to get bad, but you don’t know when. The film is very disturbing and creepy without the use of much onscreen gore.

Geosonic Magazine Volume 1: The Mid Hudson Valley

Hailing from the deep dark woods of a mysterious land known as Monroe, New York comes Black Table! This four-piece formed in 2012 and refuses to fit into one metal sub genre. The band’s experimental sounds have gotten them some media attention as well as landed them shows with metal greats such as Vital Remains, Wolven Ancestry, Sig:Ar:Tyr, and Agalloch.

More recently they played The Shadow Woods Festival in White Hall Maryland. I had the pleasure of interviewing vocalist/guitarist Mers Sumida, guitarist DJ Scully, and bassist Ryan Fleming on how this young, unsigned band has gotten so far so fast.

On band’s sound:

Mers: I’d say experimental metal. We aren’t really black metal… maybe a little blackened, but I feel we don’t have a genre.

Ryan: Since we pull influences from many styles, I don’t think we gravitate towards anything really. We just play what we like and try not to really pigeonhole our sound.

On band’s name:

Mers: We wanted a name that didn’t really have any previous meaning. The goal was to have our music and personality  provide its definition. A table is a simple humble structure: it’s common and mundane.

On Shadowwoods Fest:

DJ: I loved sharing the stage with Sangharsa, great guys.

Mers: Slagstorm were really good they opened up the fest and I loved catching Falls of Rauros later.

DJ: Oh yeah those were good too, and Hivelords were fucking heavy.

Ryan: I have to say it’s my favorite show that I’ve ever played. Everyone was really cool! We wish we could stay both days, but we couldn’t since we had a show the next day.

On growing pains:

Mers: It took a while for us to be able to practice again in 2013. I didn’t have a job for a while, so I had no money for gas. Even when we aren’t doing anything I’m always writing songs, lyrics and ideas for the band.

Ryan: We wrote stuff for our new album during our hiatus. Since the writing process too so long we had different opinions on the products and ended up re-writing them. Though we weren’t playing we never stopped working, we wanted to get the stuff done.

How do you guys feel being a young unsigned band yet have tons of coverage and already play big shows?

Mers: We are always humbled and motivated by the support we get. It feels surreal a lot of the time, to know that people care about this thing you do that is very personal and vulnerable, at least for myself. It’s an honor. Music was my first expression so it carries great meaning for me.

Ryan: I’ve always been humbled that anyone takes the time to give our band even a moment of attention. As for labels, we haven’t really felt the need to look in that direction. We are extremely focused and know exactly what we want to do, so until we see a place where a label can elevate that, we are perfectly fine doing everything ourselves.

DJ: It’s great… While I think labels can still do bands a lot of good, they’re not entirely necessary if you have really have the drive and confidence to do what you want, and do it the way you want to.

Geosonic Magazine was put together by Doug McCausland in June 2013, showcasing multiple unsigned artists 
from a unique geographical location in the United States. You can contact him at dmccausland1(at)gmail.com

 

Misfits (also known as The Misfits) are one of punk rocks most iconic punk bands and the creators of the sub-genre know as horror punk. The band’s distinct mix of punk rock with 50’s pop melodies, and horror themed look and lyrics have given them a following among not just punks, but metal heads , goths, horror fans, you name it. To celebrate Halloween season we decided to make the next installment of Ranked Up! on everyone’s favorite Jersey boys, Misfits.

 

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Project 1950 (2003)

Project 1950 is the first album to feature Jerry Only on vocals and first to have no other classic Misfits members. Instead it contains Marky Ramone on drums and Dez Cadena of Black Flag on guitar. The songs are all covers of 50’s rock hits such as “Great Balls of Fire” and “The Monster Mash“. All of these covers are awful and the album just feels like a cheap cash grab. This same year ex-Misfit, Michael Graves put out an EP titled Seasons of the Witch with his band Gotham Road. Listen to that instead of this pointless release.

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The Devils Rain (2011)

After seven years of no new albums and 12 years without original material, The Devil’s Rain was released. Long gap albums by classic punk bands tend to bad (Black Flag’s What the… for example) and this is no exception. Jerry tries too hard to sound like Danzig and songs like “Father” and “Twilight of the Dead” reek of cheesy songwriting. Jerry may be the nicest of the original members, but this album shows he was never the strength of the band. The film this album is named after is bad to, but in a good way!

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Famous Monsters (1999)

While not as good as the Danzig era, The Michale Graves era of Misfits was still pretty great. This album contains many classic tracks such as “Helena“, “Descending Angel” (which would be re-recorded in 2013), “Forbidden Zone“, “Crawling Eye” and the 50’s style rock n roll song “Saturday Night“. The song Scream would receive a music video directed by George Romero. Doyle, Graves and Dr. Chud would all leave the band after this album.

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American Psycho (1997)

American Psycho is the first album to not feature vocalist Glen Danzig and the first album after their 1983 break up. After their Christian metal project Kryst the Conqueror (not making this up) failed to gain much success, brothers Jerry Only and Doyle Von Frankenstein got the rights from Glen Danzig to reform Misfits. Danzig felt the band would go nowhere without him, but this album would prove him wrong. The band recruited vocalist Michale Graves and drummer Dr.Chud and had their first taste of commercial success. The title track, “Shining” (which is ironically about Poltergeist), “Dig Up Her Bones“, and “This Island Earth” are some of the album’s highlights.

 

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Walk Among Us (1982)

The debut release by the band is one of the very first horror punk albums. This album marked the first appearance of Doyle Von Frankenstein who along with vocalist Glen Danzig and bassist Jerry Only, would go on to become the band’s most iconic members. The album showcases the raw punk/pop melody fusion that the Danzig era is known for. Some of the best tracks from here include “20 Eyes“, “Astro Zombies“, “Skulls” and “Hatebreeders“.

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Earth A.D/Wolfs Blood (1983)

 

The last album to feature Glen Danzig is also one of their most influential. The album is most known for having more of a hardcore punk sound then the other albums. Some of this album’s highlights include “Die Die My Darling“, “Death Comes Ripping“, and “Green Hell“. After this album Glen Danzig would form Samhain, and then his solo band Danzig.

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Static Age (1997)

Though released in 1997, Static Age was recorded in 1978 and was suppose to be the band’s debut album, but they could not find a label that would take it. The album contained the lineup of vocalist Glen Danzig, bassist Jerry Only, guitarist Franche Coma, and drummer Mr. Jim. It contains several horror themed songs such as “Last Caress” and “Return of the Fly” but also songs with other topics such as “Bullet“, “She” and “We Are 138“. The band is playing the album in its entirety on their current tour.

October is around again, the time of year where everyone binges on horror films. To celebrate his one year anniversary on the site, Anthony has decided to bring the horror lists back from the dead. While last year he talked about slashers, this time he goes into the zombie sub-genre… just none of these zombie films are directed by horror master George A Romero, pioneer of the genre renowned for his … of the Living Dead films.

 

Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)

We start the list off with a serving from Spain. The film is about the Knights Templar coming back from the dead. They are blind due to having their eyes pecked out when they were hung on the gallows, but they are still pretty deadly. The film contains the great atmosphere and visuals that Spanish horror is known for and it helped kick start a boom of films from that country. The film would later get three sequels,none of which would connect story wise.

28 Days Later (2002)

Directed by acclaimed director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting,Slumdog Millionaire) this film is credited for bringing the zombie genre back from the dead! A man wakes up from a 28 day coma to a word over run by people infected by a rage virus. The film put a new spin on the genre by using a virus instead of the undead making these zombies faster and more violent. The score is also very well done something rare for scores done during this time period. The sequel 28 Weeks Later is also pretty good.

City of the Living Dead (1980)

Italian director Lucio Fulci was made many great films including some in the zombie sub genre. City of the Living Dead is one of those greats. The film is about a reporter and a psychic race to close the gates of hell after a clergyman’s suicide caused them to open. While these gates are open all kinds of strange and evil things happen as well as you know zombies! The film has good dark atmosphere as well as some really brutal deaths that you will not be able to unsee!

Deadgirl (2008)

From writer Trent Haaga, known for his Troma films Citizen Toxie and Terror Firmer, comes a different kind of film. The film is about two teens that skip school to go to an abandoned mental hospital where they find a tied girl who is of the undead. The boys do what any person would do if they saw a zombie girl… make her their sex slave (not making this up). Thing is those shackles won’t hold forever! The film is very disturbing and caused controversy when it came out though it was also praised for being smarter than most teen horrors.

Brain Dead (1992)

Known as Dead Alive in the states, this New Zealand horror-comedy is one of Peter Jackson’s earliest films. The film is about a man whose mother is bitten by a when visiting a zoo. The woman becomes a zombie and this slowly starts an outbreak. Considered the goriest film of all time at its releases, the film is a fusion of Monty Python humor and splatter gore. Anything can possibly happen in this film.

White Zombie (1932)

This early Bela Lugosi film is considered to be the very first zombie film. In this film a man goes to a witch doctor to try to find a lure the woman he loves away from her fiance. Instead the witch doctor turns her into a zombie and then turns the man into one soon. The finance of the woman then travels to Haiti to find his lost lover after he finds out she is in fact not dead. Instead of the living dead, this film is about people under the control of voodoo. The film would eventually get a sequel called Revolt of the Zombies.

Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)

Known as Cemetery Man in the states this Italian film is a very distinct one. This genre blender of horror, black comedy and romance tells the story of a young cemetery caretaker who battles undead all awhile looking for love. With great jokes, beautiful atmosphere and visuals and very Gothic feel, this flick is a must watch for all zombie lovers.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Speaking of horror, romance and comedy fusions, Shaun of the Dead is the debut film by acclaimed director Edgar Wright. Shaun is just a man with your typical family problems… he just tries fixing them while a zombie apocalypse is going on! Though this film is normally thought of as a straight comedy, plenty of horror elements still exist.

Zombi 2 (1979)

Though films tied to Romero’s dead series are excluded from this list, Zombi 2 gets a pass for being an unofficial sequel to Dawn of the Dead. Fucli’s first attempt at a zombie film, this film is very gory and has several iconic scenes including one where a zombie fights a shark.

Carnival of Souls (1962)

A woman named Mary is riding around in a car with some friends. The car falls of a bridge and all of them die except Mary. She then gets a job as an organist for a church. She then starts seeing weird and disturbing images including zombies that seem to be coming for her. Layered with atmosphere; Carnival of Souls influenced many and is still shown at festivals to this day.

Re-Animator (1985)

Adaptations of H.P Lovecraft’s stories tend to normally be bad, but Re-Animator is one of the few diamonds in that rough. Herbert West is a new student at a medical school who is trying to find a way to bring the dead back to life. It works but not in the way he’s planned! While really really gory, this film also has a good sense of humor and characters. The film would get two sequels, Bride of the Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator.

The Beyond (1981)

A woman inherits an old hotel and not too long after many bizarre and horrid events happen (including zombies of course). She later learns that this place was built on one of the seven layers of Hell. A horror masterpiece and Fulci’s best work by far, The Beyond is a must watch for anyone into horror. Mixing splatter gore with weird, artsy horror, this film unites both cinema snobs and exploitation lovers everywhere.

Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Directed by film legend Dan O’ Bannon, Return of the Living Dead is the most popular none Romero zombie film. In this horror comedy three men and a group of punks end up having to deal with a horde of the undead. These zombies crave brains instead of human flesh and can only be killed with fire or electricity. The soundtrack includes songs from punk classics such as The Cramps and The Damned. Loads of fun is to be had when watching time capsule of the 1980’s. The film would receive two theatrical sequels and two SYFY channel sequels.

 

Herschel Gordon Lewis is a man who has made films in many genres, but he is most known for creating the horror sub genre known as splatter, a style of horror known for tongue and cheek humor and lots of gore. Because of this he is commonly referred to as the “Godfather of Gore”. Some of his best splatter projects include the 1963 proto-slasher  Blood Feast1964’s redneck horror film 2,000 Maniacs and the bizarre and gruesome, The Wizard of Gore from 1970. Though hated by just about every film critic back when these films were made, Lewis is now considered a horror legend due to his influence on the genre.

Lewis has recently made a film titled Herschel Gordon Lewis’s Bloodmania a horror anthology film involving him and Canadian filmmakers Kevin Littlelight and Melanie Reinboldt. I recently had the chance to email interview the man on this upcoming films as well as his legacy.

On new film:
The full title is “Herschell Gordon Lewis’s BloodMania. It’s four unrelated episodes, shot in or near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I wrote one and directed two. The other screenplays and directors are Canadian.

On filming process:

I’ve never worked with a more dedicated and more talented crew. Funny stories will have to wait. My only negative comment is that I could shoot two more features during the length of time editing has taken up

On becoming a cult icon:
I’m extraordinarily pleased. That’s especially true when I look back at the early days, when the entire motion picture industry regarded me as an outlaw.

On being called “The Godfather of Gore”:
I do agree. Blood Feast was, regardless of film making quality or the lack of it, the first “splatter film.” Looking for a theme the major film companies had avoided, I decided to experiment. I spent as little money as I could without abandoning blood and guts beyond anyone’s expectations. The “experts” laughed and ridiculed … until box office results shocked them into reality.

On personal favorite none splatter film:
She-Devils on Wheels… and The Uh-Oh Show, a semi-gore film which in my opinion has been painfully amateurish in its distribution.

On being an author:
My books all are related to marketing. The best-seller, now in its fourth edition, is titled “On the Art of Writing Copy.”

Advice to young filmmakers:
Don’t let your ego take command. Don’t cast any friends unless they’re professional actors. Constantly remind yourself that you’re entertaining people who don’t know you.

On film he would like to see turned into musical:
Two Thousand Maniacs. Put an investment group together and you can be the producer.

 

2005 was one of the best years of the last decade for metal as well as one of its most diverse. Many current bands would release their most well known albums and several classic bands showed the world they were back on their feet. Here in no order are 10 of the best metal albums from that year.

Kreator – Enemy of God

In 2001, thrash icons Kreator showed the world they were coming back strong with the album Violent Revolution. Four years later they proved it even more with the even better Enemy of God. Like the previous album it combines the band’s aggressive old school thrash sound with melodic death instrumentation. These reused elements were more perfected on this album, creating a record that almost rivals the band’s early work.

Devourment – Butcher the Weak

Slam is a micro genre of death metal that tends to be more miss then hit. Nothing hits harder in this genre than Devourment’s older albums. Butcher the Weak is the band’s finest hour. The album is simplistic and brutal without being generic. The track “Babykiller” is now the band’s most well-known song.

High on Fire – Blessed Black Wings

Blessed Black Wings is the third album from Californian sludge elites High on Fire. Like most of their releases, this album fuses sludge with thrash and contains complex drumming. Legendary producer Steve Albini’s touches give this album a raw and dirty sound. This is so far the band’s best work. If you like this album also check out Witchcraft’s Firewood from the same year.

Hypocrisy –Virus

Hypocrisy’s Virus is the band’s 10th album and one of their most diverse. The album’s sound is based in melodeath like most of the band’s work, but elements from thrash, black metal, industrial and punk can be heard. Guitarist Gary Holt of Exodus even plays on the track “Scrutinized”.

Gojira  – From Mars to Sirius

2005 was a year that saw many solid prog oriented metal releases. Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Akercocke, Nevermore, and Strapping Young Lad all had great albums that year, but they all paled in comparison to From Mars to Sirius. Playing an ultra-heavy, riff driven, and groove influenced (without the tough guy attitude) style of progressive death metal, Gojira are one of the most original bands of the last decade and this album is their opus.

Taake – Hordalands doedskvad

Taake’s third album is the best black metal from that year. On this release Norway’s famed one man black metal outfit brings dreamy atmosphere mixed with raw energy. To this day he has yet to top this album. Other great black metal albums from 2005 include Naglfar’s Pariah and Axis of Perdition’s Scenes from the Transition Hospital.

Bolt Thrower –  Those Once Loyal

The band’s eight full length is also still their latest effort. This is because Bolt Thrower feels they won’t record again until they know they can write a great follow up. Crunchy riffs layer this release and not a single song is forgettable. Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, who played drums on this album has sadly recently passed away. May this album live on in his memory!

Kamelot – The Black Halo

Power metal is a genre that tends to be flooded with cheesy bands. Kamelot is a major exception. Here on their greatest album the band continues the dark Faust inspired story that started on the previous offering Epica. The dark feel of the music and progressive song writing make this an album that could appeal to even the harshest of power metal haters.

Napalm Death – The Code if Red…Long Live the Code

Grindcore creators Napalm Death’s eleventh studio album is one of the best of their more recent work. Like a lot of later Napalm Death albums, the sound combines the grindcore of their early days with their early 90’s death metal sound. The track “The Silence is Deafening” is now one of the band’s most popular tracks.

Nile – Annihilation of the Wicked

This fourth entry in the Nile saga is still to this day the band’s most iconic. This album also features some of the band’s most well-known songs such as “Lashed to the Slave Stick” and the title track. The band’s trademarks such complex drum fills and epic Egyptian vibes are turned up to eleven on this record. Ten years later and Nile is still a household name to death metal fans.