APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2016

VirusAnother strong year is in the books for heavy music, so strong that making a year end list seemed unfair to every release that we did not include in our lists.  The underground continues to thrive with releases from legendary bands such as DARK FUNERAL, VADER, and NEUROSIS that will stand the test of time. Actually, most of the long running bands did not fail to meet or exceed expectations.  Thrash metal pioneers, MEGADETH, VOIVOD, and TESTAMENT, certainly released excellent records.  What is more important is that 2016 saw a lot of great releases from less trendy, more obscure bands.

Trees of EternityThis past year is personally notable as lost a dear friend and contributor, Brandon Stratton AKA rocknro11chef13.  As a small tribute, we’ve included albums that he would’ve likely picked for his year end list.  Life is short, my friends.  Embrace it.

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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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MACHINE HEAD’s Robb Flynn to Lead All-Star BLACK SABBATH Tribute Band at Benefit Concert

Members of MACHINE HEAD, METALLICA, SLAYER, TESTAMENT, EXODUS, DEATH ANGEL, FORBIDDEN, SPIRALARMS, SUICIDE SILENCE, and RUBBLE will perform classic songs by BLACK SABBATH as part of an all-star tribute band that will headline the Robb Flynn & Friends Benefit Concert on Friday, January 17, 2014 at the Oakland Metro Operahouse in Oakland, California.

FORBIDDEN and SPIRALARMS guitarist Craig Locicero, who organized and will also take part in the event, had the following to say about how the idea for the benefit concert came about: “A good friend of ours and all around great person, Nikki Davis, was in a motorcycle accident with her husband Jeff. Sadly, Jeffdied at the scene. Fortunately, Nikki survived but she was unconscious for a few days. She awoke to the daunting reality that her husband, soulmate and best friend had passed away.  It was heartbreaking to all of us in the Bay Area scene.

“Robb Flynn and I have known Nikki for at least 25 years and she is a huge supporter of the Bay Area’s metal and punk scene.

“I wanted to help Nikki out a year ago, but most every band was busy on tour and unavailable. A few weeks ago, I had approached Robb about doing a benefit for Nikki and he thought it was a great idea.

“Robb has gone above and beyond to help bring together something very special and memorable to helpNikki on January 17th. He’s been the catalyst for getting this thing off the ground so quickly and Nikki is very thankful.

“We hope to raise enough money to help Nikki continue to get back on her feet because the healing is not finished. She still has medical bills to pay and we want to do anything we can to help our old friend.”

For those who can’t attend the concert, donations can be made to Nikki‘s PayPal account at [email protected].

Video of the Day: TESTAMENT Takes Over Wacken 2012

Were you one of the lucky people over in Germany last year to watch TESTAMENT play a great set at Wacken 2012?  Well, most of us weren’t there so via the magic of the web, here is their entire set.

It’s great to see drum god Gene Hoglan with his drastic weight loss and still playing as great as ever.

In related news, TESTAMENT took some time to share their favorite Christmas memories while growing up.  Check out all the videos at their Youtube page.

Leg Two of ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL U.S. Tour Announced

The second leg of the ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL U.S. tour has been announced.

“The first leg of the tour with TESTAMENT and DEATH ANGEL was an amazing way to end a great year for ANTHRAX,” said ANTHRAX‘s Scott Ian, “and it went above and beyond my expectations! Sold out shows, raging crowds and EPIC war dances! So we figured what better way to start 2012 than to continue this thrash-fest into the new year!!! Thank you all for giving us this privilege to come and play for you. See you soon!”

Tour dates:
January
22 House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV
23 House of Blues, Anaheim, CA
24 Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ
27 Egyptian Room @ Murat Center, Indianapolis, IN
28 Piere’s Entertainment Center, Fort Wayne, IN
29 Expo Five, Louisville, KY
30 The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC

February
2 Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
3 Promowest Pavilion, Columbus, OH
6 Crocodile Rock, Allentown, PA
7 Rams Head Live!, Baltimore, MD
8 Best Buy Theatre, New York, NY

In New Murder in the Front Row Book, MACHINE HEAD’s Robb Flynn Recalls Growing Up in SF Thrash Metal Scene

MACHINE HEAD guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn joins Gary Holt of EXODUS, Alex Skolnick of TESTAMENT, and other Bay Area thrash metal luminaries contributing written material to the deluxe upcoming photo book Murder in the Front Row: Shots From the Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter, by Harald Oimoen and Brian Lew. This massive volume is due December 2011 from Bazillion Points Books, and sneak peeks and preorders are available at this location:

http://www.murderinthefrontrow.com

In the book, Flynn recalls his initiation into the local scene via highly-energized gigs like RAVEN, METALLICA, and EXODUS at the Berkeley Keystone; Texas transplants D.R.I. at the Mabuhay Gardens; and EXCITER at the Stone. “I became totally obsessed,” Flynn writes. “I punched a kid and broke his nose at an ANTHRAX show at the Kabuki for saying [EXODUS guitarist] Gary Holt sucked. Yes, I was a thrasher, willing to fight and bang and bleed for my thrash metal gods.”
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ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL Set for Fall 2011 U.S. Tour

ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, and DEATH ANGEL will be teaming up for a U.S. tour this fall.

“We’ve been tight with the guys in TESTAMENT for a long, long time,” said ANTHRAX‘s Charlie Benante. “So we’re really looking forward to hanging out with them on the road. And all of us in ANTHRAX are big DEATH ANGEL fans, so this is going to be a monster of a good time – for all of us and for the fans. Plus, with the incredible success of The Big Four shows over the last year, we wanted to tour with some of the ‘second wave’ of thrash bands.”

The tour will follow ANTHRAX‘s Big Four “hometown” appearance at Yankee Stadium on September 14, with METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH.

“We’re excited to do this tour because ANTHRAX was actually the first band we ever toured with,” adds TESTAMENT vocalist Chuck Billy. “It’s an accomplishment 20 odd years later that we’re going to do it again. The tour kick-off date is actually about five days difference from the kick off date of the first tour 20 years ago. The first time we performed with ANTHRAX, we only had a total of ten songs, so obviously now we have many songs to pick from so it will be very different. It’s good to see that a lot of the faces in the bands are the same as back when we first did this original tour 20 years ago.”

Tentative tour dates:
October 2011
14 Orbit Room, Grand Rapids, MI
15 Congress Theatre, Chicago, IL
16 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
18 The Cotillion, Wichita, KS
19 Summit Music Hall, Denver, CO
22 Nokia LA Live, Los Angeles, CA
23 Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA
24 House of Blues, San Diego, CA
26 Sunshine Theatre, Albuquerque, NM
28 South Side Music Hall, Dallas, TX
29 Emo’s East, Austin, TX
30 Warehouse Live, Houston, TX

November 2011
1 House of Blues, Orlando, FL
2 Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
4 House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, SC
5 Fillmore Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
6 The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD
8 Northern Lights, Clifton Park, NY
10 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
11 Palladium, Worcester, MA
15 Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY
17 Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA
19 Rave, Milwaukee, WI

SLAYER, MEGADETH, and TESTAMENT @ The Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ (08/15/10)

While most of WARBRINGER‘s fans had yet to be conceived, these metal masters were carving up cities with sheer volume, speed ,and intensity establishing the blue print for countless imitators to follow, and now some 20 years later, little has changed with each band showing the up and comers how it’s done with a night of shredding thrash. To celebrate the 20 year anniversaries of two of the more important thrash records of the 90’s (arguably two of the best in metal/thrash ever in my humble opinion) SLAYER and MEGADETH would be performing the classic Seasons in the Abyss and Rust in Peace albums in their entirety, much to the delight of the fans who caught the bands on the Clash of the Titans Tour back in the day, as well as those who missed that historic tour.

As the sun went down, a decent crowd slowly filled in to witness the arrival of TESTAMENT, who got the evening off to an explosive start with “More than Meets the Eye” from their latest, The Formation of Damnation. As an opener, the band was given a limited of time (unfortunately, The Legacy or The New Order would not be getting the same treatment as the headliners). But they made the most of it, mixing up classics, “Into the Pit” and “Sins of Omission,” with the near-death metal stylings of “Dog Faced Gods” and “D.N.R.” before closing out with the title track of Formation delivering a short, but killer set to get the get crowd started.

Dave Mustaine immediately arrived after a short changeover to launch in to the scorching “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due.” Seemingly effortless in their performance, the band delivered spot-on renditions of the entire album with drummer Shawn Drover and former JAG PANZER/NEVERMORE shredder Chris Broderick filling in admirably, almost as if they had played on the album all along. Dave Ellefson marked a welcome return with simple “Dawn Patrol,” which led into Drover‘s tom pounding of the rarely heard “Rust in Peace (Polaris).” The band could have left after that since they had just delivered a pyrotechnic display of technical speed metal that challenged any guitar virtuoso band in the world in terms of technicality, while still retaining that cutting thrash edge. Luckily for the crowd, MEGADETH offered up a mini encore featuring “Trust,” “Head Crusher (the sole new track from Endgame),” “A Tout Le Monde” before Ellefson unleashed that all too familiar bass line from “Peace Sells.” Normally after such a set, it would time to split, and what band would want to follow such a charged performance?

The band that inspired everyone from HATEBREED, WATAIN, PUBLIC ENEMY, as well as a countless glut of thrash, death, grind, black, and hardcore bands…the mighty SLAYER that’s who. Getting down to business, SLAYER delivered “World Painted Blood” and “Hate Worldwide” from their newest album, quickly clearing the new material out of the way so the fans could hear the coveted “old shit.” The blistering “War Ensemble” got the pit swirling with bodies and beer crashing in to one another with reckless abandon. I’ve always found it amusing how often any number of black metal, death metal, and hardcore bands desperately try to demand that fans “get a pit going” while SLAYER simply unleashes flurries of double bass, evil, sinister riffs and twisted bizarre guitar solos that their fans need no encouragement to cave each other skulls in. As a fan favorite, many of the Seasons in the Abyss tracks have never been performed numerous times, so it was great to catch the band whip out rarities such as “Expendable Youth,” the piercing “Hallowed Point,” and the plodding, possibly slowest song in their catalog “Skeletons of Society” – which while slow, rumbled through like a tank plowing through the crowd. The catchy, but little played “Temptation” also delivered, setting up the headripping “Born of Fire” and the ominous closing title track. For the encore we had “South of Heaven,” “Raining Blood” and a classic from the first album, “Aggressive Perfector,” before “Angel of Death” did what is does, which is crush everything in sight. Hands down one of the best shows of the year thus far, and felt more like an event as opposed to “some bands playing.” Witnessing veterans who helped create a genre nail it in their prime is always rewarding, so if you haven’t already, get tickets ASAP and witness three headliners deliver at the height of their powers before time runs out.

TESTAMENT’s Chuck Billy Appearing in Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Exhibition

TESTAMENT vocalist and Native American activist Chuck Billy is pleased to announce his inclusion in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s new exhibition, “Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture.” The exhibition is located on the National Mall on the second-floor level of the Sealaska Gallery, and is open until January 2nd, 2011.

Quoting the Smithsonian official press release, “Up Where We Belong” tells [Native artist’s] stories and histories and provides visitors the opportunity to hear music and discover artists with whom these exceptional musicians collaborated. Visitors will also learn of the musical greats who inspired these artists, as well as the growing number of contemporary performers who follow in their path.”
Chuck Billy is featured in the “Encore” segment of the exhibition, which features artists who represent the span of Native achievement in mainstream music over the past half century, according to the Smithsonian. Other musicians featured in this segment are saxophonist Jim Pepper, and singer Debora Iyall.

For more information about the “Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture” exhibition, please visit this website.

SLAYER to Perform Seasons in the Abyss, MEGADETH to Perform Rust in Peace Live

MEGADETH and SLAYER have confirmed that they will each perform, start to finish, their 1990 releases – SLAYER‘s world-wide, million-selling Seasons In The Abyss and MEGADETH‘s Platinum Rust In Peace – on the upcoming Canadian and American Carnage Tours. The six-date Canadian Carnage kicks off July 23 in Quebec City, while the 19-city American Carnage dates begin August 11 in Glens Falls, NY (complete itinerary is below). With SLAYER and MEGADETH co-headlining, TESTAMENT will be special guest on all dates.

“Right after the surgery,” said Tom Araya (SLAYER), “I could tell that the issue was fixed. There’s no more pain, it just feels really good. I’m really excited and I’m anxious to get together with the rest of the guys and start rehearsing again. We cancelled two tours, and I don’t feel great about that, but I couldn’t deal with the pain anymore, and that’s now completely gone. I know the fans are excited to see the band – the tour is on, we’re keeping our word, there will be no more cancellations.”

Complete dates are as follows:

Canadian Carnage
July
23 Pavillon de la Jeunesse, Quebec City, QC CANADA
24 Heavy MTL, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal, QC CANADA
26 Metro Centre, Halifax, NS CANADA
27 Moncton Coliseum, Moncton, NB CANADA
29 Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, ONT CANADA
30 John Labatt Centre Center, London, ONT CANADA

American Carnage
August
11 Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY
12 Izod Center, East Rutherford, NJ
14 Tsongas Arena, Boston, MA
15 Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
16 Chevrolet Theatre, Wallingford, CT
18 Tower City Amphitheatre, Cleveland, OH
19 Joe Lewis Arena, Detroit,MI
20 UIC Pavillon, Chicago, IL
21 Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Minneapolis, MN
23 Cap Fed Park @Sandstone, Kansas City, KS
25 Magness Arena, Denver, CO
26 Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, NM
27 Dodge Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
29 Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre, San Diego, CA
30 Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA
31 Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA

September
1 Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA
3 Wamu Theatre, Seattle, WA
4 Washington County Fairgrounds, Portland, OR