The 10 Best Metal Solo Acts

Categories: Metal

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for beverast-screen-grab2.jpg
The Ruins of Beverast
What image automatically pops in your head when you hear the phrase "One man band"? Perhaps you imagined an attention-whoring drifter who plays acoustic guitar on street corners, antagonizing tourists. Maybe you visualized a blemished, virginal Elliot Smith imitator singing curdled odes to the women who reject him. Or you imagined a noise artist, that sadistic breed of loner who creates sound collages between stints in the mental hospital. Finally, there are DJs, those pretend musicians whose rapid-fire wrist movements and acumen with the Mac are coincidentally the same talents needed to quickly locate and masturbate to Internet pornography.

If you are fan of metal, in particular extreme metal, you had none of those folks in mind. Thanks to its inherent can-do attitude and a nearly paralyzing attention to detail, metal has spawned solo acts whose music is just as explosive and engaging as the efforts of an entire band. Read on for our list of the Ten Best Solo Metal Acts.

See also: The 10 Best Metal Duos

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The 10 Best Metal Albums of 2014

Categories: Metal

Travis Shinn
Machine Head
There's no doubt that headbangers enjoyed another banner year in 2014. From the many tragic losses, unexpected reunions and come back albums, these last 12 months proved to be a successful for many established, and up-and-coming metal bands from various sub genres. Through it all, we've been keeping track of our favorites and the bands that surprised us the most.This was not an easy list to compile, but we now present our year-end list of the 10 Best Metal Albums of 2014.

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The 10 Best Metal Duos

Categories: Metal

Scott Stewart
By: Damian Bloor
Historically, duos have been music industry oddballs, existing as either wincing surf bands blinded by their Zach Morris bangs or incoherent garage rockers who had to register with the police every
time they moved to a new practice space. That changed about 20 years ago as metal duos proliferated in music scenes around the world. Employing technical skill and generous amounts of atmosphere, the best metal duos sound not like their crude rock brethren but entire armies of guitarists and drummers (if a black metal duo, those armies have painted faces, which is all the better). We list our 10 favorite metal duos below.

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The Greatest WTF Moments in Metal This Fall

Categories: Metal

YouTube screenshot
Why the hell is Tom Araya driving a Scion?
By: Damian Bloor
The news and personalities surrounding Metal are just as varied and fascinating as the genre itself. Keeping up with it all can be overwhelming for even the most committed fan. For those of you with greater things to do, like peruse the Adult Jobs section of craigslist or teach your parrot how to use a Ouija board, we have rounded up this season's greatest WTF moments in Metal.

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The 10 Best Local Underground Metal Bands

John Anthony Photography
Abysmal Dawn
The underground metal scene in the greater LA area is so vast and the borders between LA, the OC and IE are so porous, that it makes no sense to always clump bands into a city, or county only basis, or association. Many of the bands on this list contain members who live throughout Southern California, and almost all of them have played many times in Orange County, enough that we might consider them to be local metal bands. We now present out favorite local extreme metal bands.

See also: 10 Death Metal Albums to Listen to Before You Die

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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