The OC Man Behind Inside Metal: The Pioneers of L.A. Hard Rock and Metal

Categories: Metal

John Totten
Bob Nalbandian

by John Totten

The late '70s and early 1980s was an exciting time in the history of music in Southern California. From Reseda to Pomona to Anaheim, young rock bands and musicians learned their craft and plied their trade in the live music clubs that flourished in the region.

In Huntington Beach, a young Bob Nalbandian started a fanzine called The Headbanger that covered the local rock and metal scene. In an era before the internet and blogs, Nalbandian would print the fanzine himself and then deliver it personally to music stores and record shops.

By this time, disco was also done and Southern rock had faded from the scene. Major record companies were falling all over themselves to sign the next Boy George. Meanwhile, the rock and metal scene was flourishing just under everybody's radar.

More »

Top Ten Heavy Metal Bass Players

John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
Lemmy from Motorhead

In the past, we've brought you the best of what heavy metal has to offer in terms of guitarists, and drummers, but now we look to a role that is sometimes under rated but always under appreciated.

Metal's four-string instrument provides a solid foundation of rhythm, centering the music and allowing the guitar, drums and vocals to take center stage. But the following ten bass players rise above their mere musicianship to provide more than just a backdrop. They provide a pivotal creative, driving force behind the music that cannot be denied.

We now present the top ten bassists in heavy metal:

More »

Day of the Shred Summons Rockers to The Observatory

Metal fans gather to see one of many bands performing on The Reaper Stage. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

Day of the Shred
The Observatory
November 1, 2014

Another musical festival has shown that The Observatory hosts some great parties. On November 1, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Santa Ana venue hosted a peculiar collection of bands from around the country. The most evident commonality between them was that they were all guitar-centric bands, they all used distortion, and they were all heavy. This was Day of the Shred.

Though a decent cross-section of the bands did not resonate a particularly dark image, the fancifully displayed (and in some cases custom) hearses, which were positioned in front and in back of the venue, confirmed that the pun on the holiday name was meant to emphasize that the music was related to death's morbid connotations, rather than having anything to do with honoring lost relatives -- as the holiday intends.

However, given the atmosphere surrounding the venue was a mixture of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, cigarettes, and marijuana, and most attendees were attired in black rock t-shirts, it is not likely that anyone was too upset about the indiscretion.

More »

Knotfest - October 24-26, 2014 - San Manuel Amphitheater

Rachael Mattice
Corey Taylor of Slipknot at Knotfest

October 24-26, 2014
San Manuel Amphitheater

Thank the Dark Lord the temperature in San Bernardino was only in the 80s on Saturday, as an estimated 50,000 metalheads, campers and revelers flocked to the San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore for Knotfest -- three days of camping and a dark carnival/heavy-metal music festival curated by Slipknot (who were inspired by European metal festivals) to bring a musical and cultural event of this magnitude to San Bernardino. For three days, fans explored dark art, fire, carnival rides, roller coasters music, and more.

The party got started Friday evening with Suicide Silence and The Black Dahlia Murder opening a nighttime show. Combined, Saturday and Sunday featured over 20 bands on a total of five stages per day. Saturday included bands such as Carcass, Testament, Fear Factory, Prong, Butcher Babies and In This Moment. Sunday offered bands like Napalm Death, Devildriver, Miss May I, Of Mice and Men, Killswitch Engage and Whitechapel.

Both nights were headlined by Slipknot, and night one featured main stage acts Black Label Society, Hatebreed, Black Label Society, Anthrax and Danzig. Night two also featured main stage acts Hellyeah, Atreyu, Tech N9NE, Volbeat, and Five Finger Death Punch.

More »

Anthrax's Scott Ian Talks new DVD, Knotfest and Interviewing Ozzy

Categories: Metal, festivals

Anthrax guitarist and founding member Scott Ian has become a man who wears many hats. As most artists tend to explore different realms of the spectrum, some awaken new, unfound talents while others flop. For the 1980s thrash-metal musician, becoming an author, television interviewer, spoken word performer and storyteller seems to fit well into his visionary potentiality.

In coordination with his live spoken word performances titled Speaking Words that have started in the last few years, Ian's releasing a longer and demonstrative tour DVD called Swearing Words in Glasgow that encompasses a performance in Scotland. The DVD is set to release on Nov. 13 via Megaforce Records. Ian's autobiography I'm the Man: The Story of That Guy from Anthrax, which was released on Oct. 14, holds similar stories told in the live performances, but in an elongated narrative.

Amid the autobiography and DVD releases lies Anthrax's final show of 2014--according to Ian--this weekend during Slipknot's Knotfest at San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino. According to Ian, the remainder of the year will be focused on writing the new Anthrax album.

Ian spoke with the OC Weekly on his new DVD, his autobiography, Knotfest and his experience interviewing Ozzy Osbourne for Rock Show while he was dressed as Gene Simmons.

More »

Slipknot's Corey Taylor Talks Knotfest, New Album and Paranormal Experiences

Categories: Metal, festivals

M. Shawn Crahan
Despite the chaos that the Des Moines, Iowa band has gone through in the past few years, Slipknot's duality of the release of their fifth studio album .5: The Gray Chapter and eponymous three-day heavy metal festival Knotfest are noteworthy events to look forward to.

Sponsoring Knotfest and the release of their first new album in six years signifies another new chapter in the band's career, one that most would say is a positive migration after the last few years, which included the departure of drummer Joey Jordison in December 2013 and the untimely death of founding member and bassist Paul Gray in May 2010.

After both incidents, Slipknot fell silent and their future as a band was suddenly in question. However, the band channeled their blended emotions to successfully produce a traditional and deranged Slipknot compilation of music for eager and supportive fans. The full album was released on Tuesday.

We talked with Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor about all of the above, from how the dynamic changed within the band after Gray's passing to how it feels welcoming a new member to his own family.

More »

Glen Benton of Deicide: Not an Angry Person, But Still Scary as Hell

Categories: Metal

Glen Benton has undeniably been one of metal's most controversial, and misunderstood front men. As a dual vocalist and bass player for Florida's pioneering death metal band Deicide, Benton has withstood religious protests and death threats, numerous line up changes and inner turmoil over the years within the band, and media hype labeling him as satanic and evil.

But, after more than a quarter of a Century since the band formed, Deicide (featuring Benton on bass and vocals as well as guitarists Jack Owen & Kevin Quirion and drummer Steve Asheim) rages on, having unleashed its unholy wrath upon the world in the form of a fast, violent blast of Hellish death metal with brutal drumming and sped up shredding riffs and inhuman, guttural vocals. Angry, violent Anti-Christian, even satanic themes have been prevalent throughout each of the bands 11 studio albums.

Recently, Benton took time to speak with the Weekly about the band's current tour, his feelings about living life with no regrets, being the father of teenagers, the nature Evil in the world, living life with no regrets, his concern about the Ebola Virus, and the bands that got him into playing heavy metal music in the first place.

More »

Mastodon Are Too Busy Head Banging to Talk About Twerking

Categories: Metal

Coming up in the murky, humid climate of the South, Atlanta-based metal band Mastodon create a heavy sound that swallow listeners whole using crushing drums, dual vocalists and thunderous guitar riffs. Mastodon's music is dense and filled with layers of jazz, death metal, hard rock, prog and experimental noise. The band has shoveled through six epic albums since forming 15 years ago, including the most recent record, from this year, Once More 'Round The Sun.

Guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher join bassist Troy Sanders and drummer Brann Dailor in Mastodon, to create sonic slabs of monstrous music that can educe trance like states of meditation, and simultaneous episodes of head banging. Mastodon has established itself as a pioneering force among metal today, and the band's sphere of influence can be clearly seen and heard, especially bands like Isis, Intronaut, Baroness, Kylessa and tons more.

The band is currently on a U.S. tour in support of the new album, and Dailor took time to speak with the Weekly about the new album, last month's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, playing the role of drummer and vocalist, as well as the current tour's opening bands, why he doesn't want to keep making a big issue about the music video for the song "The Motherload." We also talked about how the bands Today is the Day and Neurosis were crucial in shaping Mastodon from the early stages of the band. Be sure to catch Mastodon tonight at the Fox Theater in Pomona.

More »

The 10 Best Prog Metal Bands

Categories: Metal

Dream Theater
Progressive Metal, unlike other sub genres of heavy metal borrows heavily from hard rock, classical rock and early heavy metal influences. Although several of the bands on this list might not technically considered metal, we group hard rock and metal under the same umbrella for the sake of clarity. Progressive metal (prog metal for short) is less about brutality and speed, as is the case with extreme metal or thrash. And the focus is not so much on evil or satanic themes, much like black metal. Instead, listeners can hear everything from classical music, symphonic metal, speed metal, power metal and traditional heavy metal in many 'Prog Metal' bands. The focus has always been in the proficiency of the musicians, epic song writing and sounds that aren't neatly categorized into only one type of metal. As this list will show, even extreme metal bands can lean more towards the Prog Metal side. We now present our list of the 10 Best best Progressive Metal/Hard rock bands.

See also: The 10 Best Metal Drummers

More »

Nope, Godsmack Still Aren't Going Anywhere

Categories: Metal

The rising tide of '90s nostalgia continues to prove that some bands just don't know how to quit. And that the more out of vogue they seem to get with the mainstream, the more rabid their true fans get. Although Godsmack just released their sixth full-length album over a 20-year career, the hard rock Boston, Mass. quartet is still considered a formidable force as they continue a packed year of touring, headlining the Rockstar Energy Drink's Uproar Festival. Southern California fans, including the diehards that tattooed the band's signature flaming sun emblem around their navel, can see Godsmack, Seether, Skillet, Buckcherry, Pop Evil, Escape The Fate and more on two stages at the tour's stop at Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine tonight.

Godsmack's tough guy rawk hits such as "Keep Away," "Voodoo," and "Stand Alone" are sure to be the highlight of the band's Uproar set, but fans can also expect to hear tracks from the band's August, 5th release, 1000hp out via Republic Records. After a four-year hiatus, the songwriting chemistry moved the band back into the spotlight with the support of 3.9 million Facebook followers and packed live show attendance during their previous tour Mass Chaos. The band's celebrated album release and enduring music career was even recognized and applauded by the mayor of Boston, declaring August 6th "Godsmack Day." With only a few select dates left performing on Uproar Festival, vocalist Sully Erna spoke about the band's breather, the new album and Godsmack's worst touring experience ever.

More »