Greetings and salutations from sunny California! Once again, another amazing National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention has come and gone! There were a few surprises along the way, and as always, we had a great time checking out all the gear!
Greetings from the 2018 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Convention AKA the NAMM Show, where things have been changed up a bit from years past. For starters, all the booths were in different locations, including some booths that were outside the normal convention center area. While there was still an insane amount of people, it felt a bit less crowded due to the new format and wider areas between booths. Let’s not delay any further and get to some of the products we particularly enjoyed!
Sonor displayed the beast of a kit, the SQ2 “The Book of Souls,” made specifically for Nicko McBrain (IRON MAIDEN). Witnessing it up close and personal was truly astonishing. Crafted in Germany, the shells were made to Nicko’s specific specifications, complete with Eddie inlays. Beautiful stuff.
Paiste had a 90” giant gong on display. Yes, a 90” gong. Not sure how practical that would be, but that’s a whole lot of gong going on.
While not exactly metal related, some of you may remember the old Roland TR-808 or TR-909 drum machines, and now they have been officially reintroduced as virtual plug-ins. Note that you’ll have to use the Roland cloud, however, this is extremely cool and a great throwback for those nostalgic drum sounds.
The 2017 edition of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Convention has concluded, and it was mostly filled with updates/improvements on past products, but there were a few items of interest to the metal community! Let’s gear up (pun intended) and see what 2017 had to offer!
First and foremost for heavy metal fans, Paiste introduced its limited edition Nicko McBrain (IRON MAIDEN) “Treasures” set – impressive looking cymbals with the artwork of the sun god, Tonatiuh, and of course with the Paiste logos in the classic IRON MAIDEN font. When the company says this set is limited edition, it truly is limited, as there were only 83 sets produced worldwide! For all you OCD freaks out there, Paiste also announced the Color Sound 900 series, with a variety of new colors to match the color of your kit. I saw purple, blue, black, and red on display, and the color scheme was a delight for the eyes.
Honorable mentions included the Soultone booth, where they showed a picture of the late Nick Menza (OHM, ex-MEGADETH), which was a very touching and cool thing for them to do. Yamaha drums celebrated their 50th anniversary, and were displaying a few of those solid kits on display.
NAMM is always top-heavy on guitars, and the APESHIT crowd loves to hear about new guitars on hand.
The Mayan Theater in Los Angeles certainly looks like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, but on this night, pure death metal was held at this venue.
ABYSMAL DAWN returned home to butter up the crowd with their technical brand of death metal. Emphasizing a few tracks off their latest album, Obsolescence, Charles Elliott and company delivered an enthusiastic set that kicked off this wonderful show.
A buzz was in the air as fans were awaiting CRYPTOPSY’s return to Los Angeles, and the Canadian death metal quartet did not disappoint. Despite their short set, the band blasted through some brutal classics, notably fan favorites such as “Slit Your Guts” and “Phobophile.” Vocalist Matt McGachy pleased old Lord Worm-era fans with his guttural delivery, and bassist Olivier Pinard showcased his fantastic skill on bass. Of course, the highlight of the band is to watch Flo Mounier’s precise delivery on destroying the drum kit with his intricate fills and sheer bad ass mastery of the kit. Wish they played longer – maybe next time.
Those who are familiar with the swamp groove masters, OBITUARY, know that the band always delivers live. They punished the crowd with old classics, which only sound heavier in the live setting. Guitarist Trevor Peres’ one-of-a-kind distortion is always great to hear, and the band was firing on all cylinders. Glad to see these classic bands are still on top of their game. “Chopped in Half/Dying” and “Slowly We Rot” brought the crowd into a frenzied, bloodied mess…leading the way to the headliners…
The crowd was getting anxious for CANNIBAL CORPSE, and while some songs sounded a bit slower than normal, they ripped through their gems from all eras of the band, from “Born in a Casket,” “Covered With Sores,” the love ballad “I Cum Blood,” to “Unleashing the Bloodthirsty,” and tracks like “Kill or Become” from the latest album, A Skeletal Domain.
CANNIBAL, while a bit older and slower, still deliver the goods, and the boys are still going strong. Kudos to Rob Barrett for wearing MONSTROSITY’s Imperial Doom shirt, which was Corpsegrinder’s first band (for the uninitiated).
This was definitely one of the more killer packages with four great bands, so be sure to check this tour out if you haven’t already!
This year at NAMM 2016, (an industry-only global music product trade show) everything seemed to be scaled down a bit, but the show still had plenty of new items on hand that were related to the Metal genre and community. Let’s dive into some of the exciting products that were on display!
On the drumming front, Tama had the new Iron Cobra (HP900PN) and Speed Cobra (HP910LWN) pedals with new features such as a new Super Stabilizer Design and Para-Clamp II Pro, which in essence, the lighter weight allows you to increase velocity with minimal work to pound on those bass drums.
As always, Yamaha had a myriad of new drums on display, but as technology moves forward, digital drums have become the norm, and one of those products like the DTX-760, delivers an exceptional sounding drum kit that can be fully utilized for recording or music production.
Paiste introduced the Big Beat cymbals which sounded quite crisp and you have to experience these cymbals first hand. Pictures won’t do them justice, so check them out if you get a chance.
Sonor once again welcomes Nicko McBrain from IRON MAIDEN back to the fold and his kit looks awesome. The toms and bass drums all come in a beautiful black finish, which really accentuates the aesthetically pleasing look of the kit. Can’t wait to see this kit in action at upcoming MAIDEN shows!
Guitars have always been a huge part of the show, and there have been some awesome axes announced in 2016!
ESP guitars showcased their amazing custom shaped guitars (most of which aren’t for sale, unfortunately), and some new signature models. METALLICA’s Kirk Hammett had his Nosferatu (LTD KH-Nosferatu) axe on display and James Hetfield’s Vulture was also a sight to see. Other notable signature LTD models were introduced from Mille Petrozza (KREATOR) and Max Cavalera (SOULFLY). However, the most impressive and unique item unveiled was the brand new Gary Holt (SLAYER/EXODUS) guitar with the body painted from his own blood! The “wow” factor for this piece was simply incredible.
Schecter guitars brought out a few new Jeff Loomis (ARCH ENEMY) signature models including the JL-7 and CYGNUS JLX-1. The huge unveiling however, was for the brand new signature Zakk Wylde models, including the Viking V FR and Odin models. Taking the design from his older Gibson models, the new Wylde models look more updated and sleeker on the Schecter versions.
Ibanez introduced Nina Strauss (ALICE COOPER) signature models such as the S5521QDPB, which may impress some of the badass female guitar players in the world, and new Paul Stanley (KISS) and Steve Vai models were updated as well.
Not completely new news, but recently Praxis Musical Instruments took over the B.C. Rich line and the brand was set for a complete reboot for the 2016 year. Hopefully the quality does not suffer and the B.C. Rich continues to make sweet looking axes for Metal players worldwide (Kerry King, Lord Ahriman, etc.)
Coinciding with MEGADETH’s new album Dystopia, both Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson had announcements of their new signature models. Mustaine introduced his Dean “Zero Dystopia” model, complete with cover art of the new album, and Ellefson introduced a few of his new Jackson CBX IV and V models. Great looking guitars and basses on the Mega-front!
The goons here at APESHIT will continue to provide annual NAMM product updates related to the Metal world, and once again thank the great people at NAMM for letting us cover the show!
NAMM amped up (pun intended) everything in 2015 – from the delicious lunch trucks outside to the amazing performances at the end of each day by GEORGE CLINTON & PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC and other artists. Oh yeah, did we mention that there are also the amazing new products on display? As always, there’s too much to talk about so let’s highlight a few items that caught our eye.
For the drummers, a few great items were released. Tama announced the Tama Star hardware consisting of snare stand, tom mount and straight and boom cymbal stands. The Star line has been a hit with drummers of all genres already, and the new hardware will compliment their kit nicely. Another great item is Tama’s SLP or Sound Lab Project snare line, which will offer optimum configurations for every type of drumming style, including extreme metal. Add this with the new line of colors, such as the walnut kit, Tama has once again proved why their brand is so coveted by professional drummers.
Since we’re discussing legendary drummers, Paiste has launched the signature Dave Lombardo 22” Rude Power Ride cymbal, aptly called The Reign. Inspired by the original cymbal which Lombardo used on Reign in Blood, this heavy ride features not only a piercing, metallic ping, but stays clear in extreme conditions – note to extreme metal drummers, as this ride would surely cut through the downtuned guitars on featured album recordings.
Speaking of ride cymbals, Sabian introduced the Big and Ugly cymbals which produce a dry and organic sound, which cuts through more than the typical run-of-the mill cymbals, especially since we’re living in a 100% digital recording world now. Check out the following models from this line: King, Nova, Pandora, Phoenix, Apollo, and Monarch Rides.
One of the coolest drum kits that we have seen must have been from Schlagwerk – a German percussion company. At first glance, these Cajon drums looked like cardboard boxes, but they packed quite a punch and looked crazy and awesome (see our pics for more detail). Innovative and awesome!
Most of our readers are interested in the new guitars, so let’s talk about the some of the new guitar products!
Since THE HAUNTED’s last album Exit Wounds was my favorite album of 2014, I had to check out guitarist Ola Englund’s signature Washburn line, and the Swedish flag model was my favorite one. A beauty to see in person, and I’m sure it plays just as beautifully.
ESP recently acquired a new endorser, none other than EXODUS/SLAYER axeman Gary Holt! Holt was previously with Schecter, but has ditched them for ESP, and they belted out a new signature axe for him. The new GARY HOLT EC is a pretty sweet axe I must say, with crisp and clean highs to produce amazing solos, and nice action for that thrash attack. The blood red finish and red pickups are definitely a nice touch to the signature model, and retails for a cool $9,118.40. There are more affordable models as well, the GH-600 and GH-200, so check them all out!
Shredder Gus G. (OZZY OZBOURNE/FIREWIND) also debuted a few new signature models, most notably the ESP Gus G. As always, ESP had some amazing and gorgeous custom models for display. Most were not for sale, but the few that were went up to a dizzying $70,000.
Jackson introduced a few Dinky models in various finishes, and one new model that stood out was the signature Scott Ian (ANTHRAX) Thraxagram Soloist model, full with pentagram and U.S. flag. Of course a few new colors for Jackson Randy Rhodes V’s and David Ellefson (MEGADETH) models were available as well. Phil Demmel’s (MACHINE HEAD) signature guitars had some cool black/gray and black/red combo finishes on the body, and they looked pretty damn sweet.
Since announcing the famous Dave Mustaine line a few years ago, Dean had a few new models on display, such as the In Deth We Trust, United Abominations, and Rust in Peace axes. I loved the original Dimebag Dean design, but unfortunately, it seems like Dean has been milking any and all new Dimebag designs to death – new color schemes and the many Razorback designs just seems in bad taste just to generate some extra interest in what was already a great designed guitar. Anyway, at least Dean was gracious enough to have Dime’s original Dean from Hell on display.
Last but not least, Ibanez of course, had sick new models to show off to the world. New Steve Vai Jem models were beautiful, and guitar virtuoso counterpart Joe Satriani also was rockin’ his new line as well. KISS fanatics definitely appreciate the brand new Paul Stanley models, like the PS120, with chrome hardware, black finish, and sweet inlays. There was even a RG Iron Label 8 string Prototype on display too…craziness!
One last honorable mention was the limited edition MÖTLEY CRÜE “Final Tour” Marshall fridge. With authentic Marshall parts, genuine MÖTLEY CRÜE logos, this thing would be a conversation starter for sure, and there’s even a limited run of hand signed versions of the fridge as well. Killer!
The convention keeps getting better every year and we are extremely grateful to the NAMM folks for the opportunity to cover these sick products! Stay heavy!
“Slammin’” would be an accurate description of this year’s Carnival of Death tour featuring INTERNAL BLEEDING, PYREXIA, JUNGLE ROT, KATAKLYSM, and the almighty SUFFOCATION! The interesting back story to this tour is that Guy Marchais (SUFFOCATION) used to be in INTERNAL BLEEDING and PYREXIA;Doug Bohn (PYREXIA) was with SUFFOCATION; and Keith DeVito (INTERNAL BLEEDING) was withPYREXIA and SUFFOCATION! Don’t forget that INTERNAL BLEEDING and PYREXIA have been hailed (or dismissed) as SUFFOCATION clones in the past!
INTERNAL BLEEDING opened the show and finally returned back to Southern California! Vocalist Keith DeVito has injected a death metal/hardcore style to the groove/slam act. The band showcased a few crushing tracks from the new album, Imperium, and the older fans were treated to classics such as “Anointed in Servitude.” I.B. warmed the crowd up with their short but sweet set – they were like a delicious appetizer, with SUFFOCATION being the main course!
A throng of old school fanatics (myself included) were anticipating PYREXIA to hit the stage. Drummer Doug Bohn, who played on SUFFOCATION’s masterpiece Pierced From Within, now crushed the skins for PYREXIA. The crowd got a tasty treat when Keith DeVito, who sang on PYREXIA’s System of the Animal, performed the controversial track, “Confrontation” with the band. The pinnacle of the set, of course, was hearing the crushing slam riffs of “Inhumanity” and “Sermon of Mockery” from their debut album.
JUNGLE ROT had a tough task to keep the energy of the crowd up, but the pit indicated that the fans seemed to enjoy the ultra-groovy mid-paced heavy riffage. While JUNGLE ROT doesn’t play anything new or crazy, they never fail in their delivery with their no-nonsense death metal groove attack!
KATAKLYSM, the beast once known as the “Northern Hyperblast,” has changed their style a bit to a more groove/start-stop type of band, but they still played to the crowd’s delight. Their set was quite a diverse one and spanned their lengthy career, with old classics such as “The Awakener,” to a few tracks off the new album, such as “If I Was God…I’d Burn It All” and “Fire.”
SUFFOCATION finally greeted the raucous crowd, but to some slight confusion and disappointment. Unfortunately, vocalist Frank Mullen has a limited amount of days he can take off from his regular day job, so he is unable to do some of the tours. If you have been a long time SUFFOCATION fan, this is not new news, as DECREPIT BIRTH‘s Bill Robinson, DYING FETUS’ John Gallagher, and even INTERNAL BLEEDING’s Keith DeVito have filled in before. This time SUFFOCATION went with an interesting choice, as DISGORGE drummer, Ricky Myers, has stepped in to do the vocals on this tour.
Beginning with “Thrones of Blood,” the thundering bass, technical blasts/beats of Kevin Talley (also a surprise on this tour to some), and amazing riffs whipped this Tuesday night crowd into a frenzy. Brutal classics like “Catatonia,” “Effigy of the Forgotten,” and “Liege of Inveracity” all sounded tight and sick as ever. Frank was sorely missed, however, as Ricky’s vocals sounded forced, and while talking in between songs, he sounded like he was losing his voice. Frank’s signature hand chop and hilarious stage banter was missed as well, but again, these were tough shoes to fill. Ricky did an admirable job, but out of a scene of so many great death metal growlers, it was in interesting choice to hire him for this tour. Nevertheless, SUFFOCATION gave 110%, and before you knew it, “Infecting the Crypts” closed out the seemingly short set, and the Carnival of Death tour stop for Los Angeles had concluded. We haven’t seen a great package like this in a while, so if this tour has not made it to your town yet, be sure to check it out!
The month of January brings excitement to the City of Anaheim every year, and the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) 2014 show is no exception! Let’s cut to the chase this year! A few highlights of the gazillions of musical instruments and gadgets are found below…enjoy!
The No Salvation Tour had made its way to Los Angeles, and by the looks of things outside the world famous Whisky A Go-Go, it would be a packed house inside. There were tons of fans lined up outside the venue, but since the show was sold out, they had no choice but to stand outside and hang out all night!
The opening act for this brutal tour package was NECRONOMICON, but alas, they did not play, as their RV broke down and sadly, did not get to the venue in time to perform. The crowd grew restless, and wanted some brutality…
After a few miscues with their intro, San Diego’s DISGORGE proved why they are still one of the most extreme and violent acts out there. The band plowed directly into “Atonement” with new vocalist Angel Ochoa up to par with legendary ex-DISGORGE vocalist Matti Way. The crowd started up the pit, and the band fed off the swirling hair and circle pit nicely, delivering the most ferocious, extreme, and ultra low guttural death metal possible. They went through their “hits” such as “Womb Full of Scabs,” “She Lay Gutted,” and “Cranial Impalement” just to name a few. The crowd gave them an excellent response, and this tour should definitely take the band to the next level in terms of gaining more fan base and support.
NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) 2013 has now concluded, and many new and innovative products were featured on the massive lot at the Anaheim Convention Center. Many of these products pertain to musicians in the Metal scene, and some of the products are just plain cool.
The turnout was crazy as usual – some were there to do business, while others were there to be seen. Metal remains one of the best represented genres of music, as members of SLAYER, ANTHRAX, CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, NILE, MONSTROSITY, MEGADETH, and more were checking out the latest and greatest gear as well. Without further ado, let’s get started with what APESHIT thought were the best products NAMM had to offer for our metal fans out there.