National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2019 Show Report

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!

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National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2018 Show Report

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.
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National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2017 Show Report

Engl Marty Friedman ampThe 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.
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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).