National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2016 Show Report

namm shirtThis 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.

yamaha drumsAs 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!

kirk hammett esp guitarESP 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.

jeff loomis schechter guitarSchecter 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!

MARTY FRIEDMAN – Inferno

Marty Friedman - InfernoAs a fan of metal, you love Marty Friedman by default.  But since his move to Japan 10 years ago, can we all say that we’ve kept up with what he’s been up to?  Thankfully for everyone Marty has come to us with his best solo record to date.  Inferno is full on metal or said in another way, full on Marty Friedman.

The title track starts things off and he wastes no time in blowing up your mind with a roller coaster of guitar wizardry.  The song quickly re-reminds you that Marty can smoke any guitarist on the planet.  Inferno is about diversity of flavors as many of the songs are co-written with some of today’s most well-known artists.

Wicked Panacea” features RODRIGO Y GABRIELA doing what they do best mixed in with Marty‘s frenetic playing.  It makes for a very unique and excellent hybrid.  “Meathook” with SHINING (NO)’s Jorgen Munkeby on vocals and saxophone is a balls out, off the wall number not unlike SHINING‘s work.  Hearing Marty and Jorgen trade leads is a thing of beauty.  “Hyperdoom” is a mere 1:55 and takes a little less than a minute to build up before Marty just goes off (pun intended).  While the vast majority of Inferno is pretty damn heavy, REVOCATION‘s Dave Davidson and Marty take it more extreme places with “Sociopaths.”

The beauty of the album lies in not only its diversity but also running order.  Just the listener may need a change up from all the full-out metal, the slower, mellower “Undertow” comes in.  Huge, melting melodies say so much with way less notes than are found on the previous songs.

The biggest deal surrounding Inferno has to be “Horrors,” which was co-written with still guitar god, Jason Becker.  This epic has it all – the peaks and valleys, acoustic guitars, and mind bending leads.  Simply awesome.

Inferno is an immediate and overwhelmingly clear reminder that we have indeed been pining to hear from Marty Friedman.  (Prosthetic Records)

National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2014 Show Report

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!
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National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2013 Show Report

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.
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MEGADETH – Countdown to Extinction – 20th Anniversary Edition

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since I first blasted MEGADETH‘s Countdown to Extinction on my cassette players as a high school freshman.  Those were good times in my young life as a metalhead which Capitol Records/EMI is hoping to bring back for everyone with the 20th Anniversary Edition.

Looking back, there are a lot of interesting aspects about the record.  First, it follows in the footsteps of the stylistic shift between successive fourth and fifth albums of Mustaine‘s former band.  After coming off a fourth record that showed the band at its absolute technical and ambitious peak, the fifth record was a blatant ploy at gaining more commercial success with a substantial watering down of the brilliant thrash that was laid in the previous record.  MEGADETH have never been dishonest about their motives for Countdown.  The record also stands as the peak of the band’s success as well as the last time this classic line-up would play this fast.

Nevertheless, Countdown still stands the test of time as a very modern and sophisticated piece of metal influencing bands such as NEVERMORE.  The songwriting was more direct, poignant and was packed with technical brilliance.  The guitar duo of Mustaine and Marty Friedman easily proved why they were the best guitar duo in thrash.  Their guitar work is still untouchable.  While songs like the cheese of “Sweating Bullets,” the hit “Symphony of Destruction,” and the title track are still the most popular, the true crown jewels lay in “This Was My Life” and “Ashes in Your Mouth.”

It’s important to note that the 20th Anniversary Edition is the original release of the record and not the remixed, remastered version that Mustaine produced a couple years back.  Also, Los Angeles natives will get a kick out of the liner notes which try to portray the record as being recorded in the midst of a warzone AKA the LA Riots.  Truth be told, the band recorded in the San Fernando Valley, which was very far from any action or violence of the LA Riots.  Yeah, MEGADETH are not a dangerous or socio-political band.

The second disc on the 20th Anniversary Edition is the complete show from the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1992.  While select songs from the show have been released on various singles and EPs during that era, this is the first time it’s been available in its entirety.  This is easily the band at their peak.  Just a scorching performance that will never be duplicated by later incarnations of MEGADETH.  The production is killer with Dave Ellefson‘s bass as clear as the guitars.  His performance is just godly. Mustaine‘s banter in between songs has its unintentionally amusing moments.

If you long for a time when all Dave Mustaine was doing in the press was talking trash about METALLICA and MEGADETH were one of metal’s most relevant bands, then take a stroll down memory lane with the 20th Anniversary Edition.  (Capitol Records/EMI Music)

National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2012 Show Report

Every year, NAMM bestows upon us shiny new toys for musicmakers of all genres to make new (and old) sounds with. NAMM 2012 was no less a musical heaven for the products, gadgets, and innovations that help make metal happen. We took a spin through the showroom floor at Anaheim Convention Center to check out some new equipment that our metal cohorts use and abuse. Full report after the jump.
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MOTÖRHEAD to Release New Live DVD, Appear on Gigantour

In celebration of MOTÖRHEAD 35 years on the road, on January 24th Motörhead Music/UDR is proud to present: The Wörld Is Ours-Vol 1 – Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else, a blistering DVD containing some of the finest moments from the band’s last tour, including the entire performance from Chile’s Teatro Caupolican, shot and filmed in classic black and white by Banger Films and Sam Dunn.

Songs from the shows in Manchester and New York are also included on the triple-disc digipack set, along with a series of extensive, in depth and exclusive interviews with the band, a bonus double live CD of the Chile show (including selected tracks from NY & Manchester), plus a photographed booklet documenting life on the road during the tour.

On January 26, MOTÖRHEAD make their return to the U.S. and Canada on the multi-bill festival, Gigantour, with MEGADETH, VOLBEAT and LACUNA COIL. The tour will kick off on Jan. 26 in Camden, NJ and run through Feb. 28 in Denver, and will include stops in NY (Jan. 28) and Los Angeles (Feb. 24).

Concert Memories: MEGADETH, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, KORN, FEAR FACTORY @ Santa Monica Civic, Santa Monica, CA (08/12/95)

After witnessing my first MEGADETH show earlier in the year on February 27, 1995 with openers CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, I was ready for more MEGADETH. The first leg of their Youthanasia tour featured a great setlist where staples from Rust in Peace like “Holy Wars…” and “Hangar 18” were performed absolutely flawlessly. It was a warm Saturday night in the middle of another beautiful Los Angeles summer and I was pumped up.

In hindsight, 1995 was probably one of the last years that metal in the mainstream was huge in the U.S. before Load and nu metal hit. However, the zealous crowd of metalheads didn’t know or care of this impending doom. As soon as my mom pulled into the parking lot to drop my younger brother and I off, you could see a sea of long hairs (back when long hair was the norm for metalheads). My younger brother got too intimidated by the look of the various misfits and miscreants in the parking lot and quickly told me that he couldn’t do it. So I jumped out of the car and quickly sold my brother’s ticket and went inside the Santa Monica Civic.

I worked my way near the front of stage left to watch tour openers, FEAR FACTORY. It was safe to say that the majority of the audience had never heard of the band nor knew that their recently released album at the time, Demanufacture, would later be recognized as a landmark album. After a couple songs, the crowd began getting into it. It was the first time that I heard such machine gun riffing used in such an aggressive and attacking fashion. At one point during their set, guitarist Dino Cazares gave a shout out to all the fat Mexicans in the audience. That gave everyone a good laugh. After the show, I made it a point to track down FEAR FACTORY‘s albums and subsequently, became a huge fan.

Next up was some little known new band called KORN. They were the most un-metal looking band possible – baggy jeans, adidas track pants, white t-shirts, dreadlocks, and bouncy stage movements. When they started playing, a lot of people didn’t know what to do, including me. Do I dance? Do I bounce up and down? Do I just headbang? With their charisma and chunky heavy grooves, KORN quickly won over everyone who was quickly moshing like crazy. And when vocalist Jonathan Davis busted out the bagpipes for their final song, the crowd went apeshit (pun not intended).

Arizona speed metal vets, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, went on next but had the unenviable task of following KORN. KORN had made such an impression on the audience that FLOTSAM didn’t get as much love as they had hoped. They performed well though and the only song I remember was “Smoked Out.”

The wait for MEGADETH to come onstage seemed like an eternity. In anticipation, the crowd pushed forward as much as possible to get closer to the stage. This resulted in everyone in the front of the crowd to get smashed like sardines. Finally, when the band took the stage with “Skin ‘O My Teeth,” the insanity started. Tons of testosterone was unleashed via pushing, moshing, headbanging, punching, elbows flying, and random crowd surfers floating around…you know, the usual shit.

Just staying very aware of your surroundings was the key to survival. Also, as a tip for all you rookies: It always helps to stand behind a big, tall guy because he will likely be able to deflect all the people that try to run into him. As a result, you’ll be able to shield yourself from the chaos. Another technique that works well is to surround yourself with heavy girls. Their natural cushion works wonders in the middle of a frenzy. Also, guys are less inclined to smash into them. Thus, leaving you with more energy to just enjoy the music.

I don’t recall the setlist too well but I just remember it being very well balanced between Youthanasia, Countdown, and Rust in Peace. Of course, they played the obligatory staples like “Peace Sells” and “Anarchy in the USA.” Bassist Dave Ellefson played a bass solo, which is not common among today’s younger metal bands.

One thing that I will never forget was just how crazy the crowd was in the front. I was right near the barrier in front of the stage and it was just mayhem. Sure, I got to watch Marty Friedman up close all night but what a physical price I paid for that. Random boots and shoes from crowd surfers would constantly smack me in the head. At one point, the people behind me were pushing forward so hard that I thought I was going to pass out from lack of oxygen. I even contemplated asking the security guards to pull me out because I was gonna lose it. Man, good thing my little brother didn’t come with me to this show. Haha.

At the end of the show, the band members each threw out guitar picks. Unfortunately, I got Nick Menza‘s. Haha. Once the house lights came on, people were all high fiving each other and showing some of the camaraderie that made going to big metal shows fun back then. I was soaked in sweat from head to toe, most of which was not mine. I quickly bought a “Reckoning Day” concert shirt and searched for my uncle outside, who was my ride home. He had been in this country for a while up until that day but had never seen a metal crowd. As soon as we got in his car, he turned to me and said, “Crazy shit!”

METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX to Bring “The Big 4” to New York this Fall

After last week’s successful The Big 4 concert in Indio, California, the heavy metal foursome of METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH, and ANTHRAX have announced an East Coast edition of the show at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York on September 14th, 2011.

Tickets go on sale Friday, May 6th at 10am through Ticketmaster. Pre-sales for MetClub members and Yankee season ticket holders go on sale Wednesday, May 4th.

Follow “The Big 4” on Facebook for all the latest info:
http://www.facebook.com/TheBig4