Monday, February 19, 2018

Hades - Rogues March

Ironically, while heavy metal's current musical state as a whole doesn't inspire many rousing endorsements from me, I absolutely love the unprecedented access to old metal from across the world that the internet provides at the moment.  I am regularly happily surprised by the cool reissues and obscure material--both audio and video--that surface.  It is less often that I am truly awestruck something actually exists.

This is one of those times.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Whereabouts of: The Ultimate Revenge interviewers & Major Mayhem

Look, let's not pretend otherwise--The Ultimate Revenge "Whereabouts of:" posts I'm aching to do are for the most colorful characters from the crowd scene.  If some breakthrough happens, great, but I'm also realistic--how do you verify any information on homeless black dude, tit-flashing two-tone hair glam slut, or "UPSTATE MUTHAFUCKAH!" guy easily?  Their few seconds of VHS fame continue to amuse and entertain, but perhaps they're forever doomed to anonymous obscurity.

Luckily, we can look up some of the credited individuals:

Jim Kozlowski 
"Can we say FUCK?"  "Yes.  It's for the home."
This was the gay-sounding Venom interviewer.  He reminds me of a less creepy American version of Jimmy Savile (I may have to eventually do a post about the Iron Maiden episode of Jim'll Fix It), but I must stress that's only due to the voice and haircut, not any perception of kiddy-diddling.

But exactly who was he?  Here's a short Important Records bio:

Here's the full Important "Who's Who" section, with early info on Combat (and Relativity):
Taken from the March 1984 New on the Charts
(note that Barry Kobrin and Howie Gabriel both have Ultimate Revenge production credits)

Jim was a former DJ and music journalist, but it's unclear how much non-business interest, if any, he had in heavy metal, or how much influence he had in role of A&R consultant, particularly since Combat's roster shifted to drastically heavier material by '85.  I found a few articles and liner notes he had authored, but nothing heavy metal-related other than the bio above and the Venom interview.  Information online is mostly limited to how he inspired the use of The Silver Surfer on the cover of Joe Satriani's Surfing with the Alien album.  I could find no concrete info about him since the '80s.

Gene Sobczak
Can't tell if he is trying not to crack up at Slayer's drunk antics or hiding mild discomfort.
Yep, the Slayer interviewer with the leathervest.  I remember looking him up randomly years ago, and Slayer was actually mentioned among his journalistic exploits on some sort of now-defunct bio or resume page.  Although originally from New Jersey, he moved to Colorado--unfortunately, not for any reasons related to Jag Panzer; he's the executive director for Alzheimer's Association of Colorado.  Didn't initially think I'd find anything metal-related to fill this out, but he wrote a Facebook post about Fast Eddie Clarke's passing and non-ironically mentioned liking Motörhead in his youth, so he's a good egg in my book.

Paul Aaronson (the voice of "Major Mayhem")

This one was personally disappointing to me.  I've watched The Ultimate Revenge so much that I have the Combat promo spiel memorized; I do the voice and go for the right phrasing and cadence and everything.  Sometimes in public.  It's just a fantastic over the top showcase for some mighty fine albums.  
As it turns out, Paul Aaronson was just the sales manager at Important/Relativity.  Deep down, that's even what I expected; it's the most logical cost cutting measure--who better budgetwise to do it than an employee?--but it's still anticlimactic to find out it wasn't a metal superfan or a kooky DJ/voice-over guy or some Zazula-type character. 

Apparently he now owns Solid Sender Records, which seems to be a brick-and-mortar place ( doesn't seem to specialize in metal, unfortunately), although all the info I could find online was about him as a dealer at NY area record fairs.  I fantasized for a couple seconds about going to one, finding him, and shouting quotes at him in the voice ("OH MY GOD, SO HIDEOUS, EVEN I DON'T GET TOO NEAR THEM!") until realizing I'd probably be forcibly ejected from the hotel conference room or VFW Hall or wherever.  The walk of shame past gawking vendors and their milk crates full of overpriced LPs doesn't bother me so much--I'd throw out one last "RIDE WITH THESE GUYS, AND THE DEVIL IS YOUR CO-PILOT!" for good measure--as losing an admission fee better spent on bargain bin death metal.  Oh yeah, Paul apparently met Quorthon during his promotional visit to NYC for the first album.  Quite enviable.

If anyone has any additional metal-related info about the guys above or knows the identity of the fellow pictured below, drop me a line!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Cable access metal - Video Underground / Michigan Deathfest III interviews

Let's delve into the weird and bizarre world of metal-related public access TV!

Video Underground (based out of Lansing, MI) did a series of, uh, interviews with Michigan Deathfest III bands, which fortunately were put up on YouTube for posterity.  No doubt you will notice some recurring themes with the, uh, host.

Gorguts - In hindsight, the severe lineup changes and mention of a new sound should have been huge warning indicators for terrible things to come.  The band even seemed fine at the fest--Luc sported a desleeved Ripping Corpse tee, with no clear signs of nonsensical avant-gardeness to be seen.

Coat Hanger - Never heard them, and I don't think these guys ever released anything.  The super-young drummer angle is interesting for about 5 seconds until you realize the Deathkids kid was even younger on their first CD (and also had the advantage of a dad who looked like Glen Benton).  Plus, wasn't Andy Galeon like 11 when he played on the first Death Angel demo?  Anyway, of course I wanted to find out what became of the precocious youngster in the video, one Uriah Baker; he looks like a meth addict now, which is probably beneficial since he plays in a band of the "hobocore" genre.

Fourth Kingdom - One demo and done.  Good DM but not as interesting as drummer Dion Leal's previous thrash band Infect.  I'm shamelessly namedropping them in hopes that a chain reaction will be started that leads to a CD reissue of their demos.


Never heard this incarnation of the band; liked the Disgust demo, though.

Admittedly, the vampire fangs and onstage infant sacrifice conjure up much worse expectations than the decent-but-generic DM their sole demo ends up being.  I found it amusing that the demo title and cover hint at stronger evil/anti-Christian themes than the tape ends up having--the first 3 songs are about Clive Barker's Night Breed, getting tattooed (yep, really), and Jeffrey Dahmer respectively.  A couple riffs and "The Summoning" interlude track may have been attempts at an Acheron type vibe  (that fall quite a bit short), but that could just be wishful thinking on my part.

Mike would later show up in Lucifer's Hammer.  Also, too many clothes on that sacrificing broad.

Much better slow.  Wish they had scrapped the more straightforward DM stuff and gone 100% death/doom.  Surprised Massacre... hasn't been put on CD yet amidst all the reissue mania.

Dysphoria - The bald fellow trying desperately to be more annoying than Ray and succeeding wonderfully is a younger Nick Hernandez of Kommandant/Stone Magnum fame.  You can see the early flair for overblown theatrics that worked well when he was in Kommandant, but he doesn't have the podium, suspenders, or spiffy jackboot uniform here, so it's mostly corny.

Subconscious - Several years prior to anally raping Mary and shitting in the mouth of Christ, Lord Typhus was the unassuming death metal bassist you see here on the left.  JL America stopped putting out releases in '94, so unfortunately the compilation mentioned in the vid never happened.

Love how the attempt to score a free Bleed for Us to Live disc just gets a polite, noncommital nod.

Exhumed - Not to be confused with the east coast Exhumed or the "other" California Exhumed that released the Severely Rotted Dead demo, this is apparently a 4th US Exhumed from Michigan.  I've never seen or heard of them apart from this vid, and they don't seem to have released anything.

Now trying to score a free tattoo?

Interesting to hear about possible interest from Relapse.  I wouldn't classify LH as a cult band, but I wonder if things might have been a bit different for them if they had released an album earlier--The Burning Church demo was certainly musically superior to a lot of DM bands that released full lengths in the early-mid '90s.  I think the demo style would made them a good fit for the Osmose, Turbo, or Lethal Rec. rosters (though in the case of the last two, perhaps it's lucky they weren't signed).  While the doom and atmospheric elements in their music were far more developed on their debut, by the time it finally came out in '97 it didn't seem as fresh, as there were all sorts of bands utilizing keyboards and atmospheric interludes.

Yeah...I don't think the black metal not becoming a trend thing worked out.

Masochist was okay but overall I've always preferred Wind of the Black Mountains and the Summon debut.

While appearing nice enough, as with the majority of promoters, managers, metal "journalists," etc., Metal Mom never seemed particularly knowledgeable or serious to me when it came to the actual music.  Support of metal or involvement in music industry aspects does not equate to actually being a metalhead.

As with Debbie Abono, there's the ironic novelty of an old lady involved with extreme music--but it's not hard to see where a maternal figure would naturally make a great promoter or manager in terms of interpersonal relationship skills and handling the business end of things.  I've never heard anything about Metal Mom being involved in shady practices or stiffing bands (well, not that way at least), and she doesn't seem like a stereotypical skeezy promoter.  Admittedly, I don't know her well enough to say whether it's a facade or not.   Maybe she's a nice lady who fell into helping out younger people in bands and acting as a surrogate mother, or maybe she's some weird cougar who used fests as a guise for getting trains run on her.  No idea.

So in summary: had I been in a death metal band, I would've wanted Sandy as a promoter.  On the other hand, if she was trying to talk to me about music, I would give a polite, noncommital nod while pretending to listen.

If you have even the slightest familiarity with Slayer's audience over the past 25 years or so, you'll know that repetitive shouting and being overenthusiastically loud and obnoxious generally goes hand in hand with being a poser.  So despite all the entertainment he's provided in this post, Ray's destiny wasn't particularly surprising.

Not quite sure how Ray managed to get the VJ gig.  He was the vocalist/guitarist for Destruction Ahead, who were an okay thrash band that released two late '80s demos, and later for Harms Way, whose first demo was similar thrash.  Unfortunately they veered into a '90s trend quagmire of alternative/funk/groove shit (fudgepackers, as Ahriman would say) and ultimately became full-on rap/rock. 

Then a few years ago, I encountered someone spamming to get people to join some retarded Juggalo-esque Yahoo group (perhaps the Detroit NYDM chapter?) and listen to his rap group, and Ray turned out to be the backing guitarist.

Surprisingly, despite all the vocal brutality displayed in the interview clips, as far as I remember Ray never used growled vocals on any of his old metal demos.  Perhaps he used them in the rap groups, but I ain't interested enough to find out.


Here's some news coverage on the first Michigan Deathfest.  You can see Ray (in the Slayer shirt) starting at 1:29, and then again subtly promoting Harms Way at 1:42.  The blonde guy in the hat doing the talking is Destruction Ahead/early Harms Way bassist Dave Waltz.

And finally, a compilation of several news clips about the first Deathfest.  3:02 is amusing because the reporter misinterpreted everyone casually calling Metal Mom "mom" as her being Todd Cushman's actual mother.  7:17 has a rare vintage sighting of the infamous "Megalife through prayer..." tee!

Also check out the "michigandeathfest" channel on YouTube (I have zero affiliation with them) for killer live footage from the first 3 Deathfests.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Just a couple of guys swappin' fluids

This wigger showed up randomly in a chatroom and decided to share his thrilling concert experience after lurking a while.  The screenshot is unedited--there were extremely long pauses between each line while he recounted the bizarre mating ritual, but no one responded or talked to him.  That last line makes it seem like trolling, but I'd prefer to think he was either annoyed or just autistically oversharing as a last ditch attempt for attention.

Was surprised to hear Ringworm mentioned in this context, as I was only familiar with a bit of their pre-reformation stuff--perhaps somewhat metallic, but still definitely HC; I was very confused why this idiot would mention them.   So I did some quick YouTube intel, which cleared things up:

  • Chris Ringworm is long gone
  • They were previously on Victory Records and are currently on Relapse
  • They are fond of making videos in empty warehouses
  • Said videos seem to indicate they want to be Pantera badly

Especially after #2 and #4, it all makes sense now.  Just a couple of fun loving guys letting loose and enjoying themselves at a gig.  You know--making eye contact, spitting on each other, and emptying their bladders together.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Commercial Metal, Vol. 10

This compiles some of the other ads with an additional concert commercial.

As a bonus, some old Sin After Sin print ads...

...and, appropriately, a fantastic ad for Stained Class.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weird Tales of Metal - child geniuses like Rigor Mortis

The Rigor Mortis logo in the intro of Doogie Howser, M.D. is well-documented:

But do you remember this?

Maybe Capitol was reaching for the oft-forgotten child prodigy demographic, but associating a legitimately good thrash metal band with nerds doesn't strike me as a brilliant marketing decision.

Monday, July 4, 2016

An ABSURD mistake

I just got the Absurd Discography '91 - '92 CD, and when listening to the live '92 tracks, I noticed
that the live versions of "Storm of Malevolence" and "Drained of Body Chemicals" (which are both introduced by name) were swapped compared to the tracklisting on the CD itself and the original EP.

Sure enough, listening to track #1 carefully reveals "drained of body chemicals" is right in the chorus!  So apparently all along the first shorter track has actually been "Drained of Body Chemicals," and "Storm of Malevolence" is the second.  I poked around a bit online but could find nothing at all mentioning an out-of-order tracklisting (which struck me as kind of weird given all the dödsmetall reissue mania and Sunlight guitar tone worship). 

Both versions of the original demo tape also list "Storm of Malevolence" first, so I don't know if this mix-up originated with the original tapes or with Seraphic Decay when the EPs were pressed.  I welcome comments from anyone with further info.