All posts by rpolo

Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Photo courtesy of

Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Photo courtesy of

By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)

Often time’s fans get lost in the fact that a musician is just a musician, but in most cases that is the furthest thing from the truth.

Take Chris Robinson Brotherhood guitarist Neal Casal. Though known for his musical mastery in bands such as Ryan Adams & The Cardinals and Hazy Malaze, the guitarist also thrives in photography.

“Photography is my passion, I love it,” said Casal. “Unfortunately now days people use it in impure ways and it ruins the art.”

Though in recent memory the paparazzi and others have used photography as a weapon rather than a tool, Casal uses it to complete the experience of life.

“For me it helps complete the full experience. I take a lot of photos backstage and on tour because a memory is only a small part of the story. With pictures, I can document and see the full experience of what happened,” he said.

In 2010 Casal released a photo-book titled, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals: A View of Other Windows, which documented his time spent within the band.

Though his photography is a constant work, he also finds time to help spearhead the psychedelic blues-rock of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

The band is currently embarking on a tour that will span through the end of the year, which is nothing new for the hard working band.

But does it ever get tedious?

“No not at all, sure certain times of the day are rough, as we are all piled in close together, but overall I love touring and I love my band mates and being out on stage is exciting,” said the 45-year-old. “That’s the best part of the day, especially with this band because the set list is different every night and the songs give us room to experiment and have fun with.”

Chris Robinson Brotherhood will be out supporting their new effort, Phosphorescent Harvest, and will be playing back-to-back nights at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in Cleveland on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10 and 11.

Casal said he and his band mates love the new album.

“We are happy with how it turned out and that comes out of how well we work together as a whole. As far as the reception of the album, it’s hard to tell. When we make an album we make it how we want it to sound, not how the general public may want it to sound,” added Casal.

Later this summer the Brotherhood will be touring along side one of their hero’s, Bob Weir, as he and his band RatDog will be hitting the road, including a stop at Cleveland’s Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica on September 10.

Bob Weir’s influence, as well as his former band the Grateful Dead, on the Brotherhood is undeniable and Casal said their admiration is even deeper than many think.

“The Dead are a huge influence on us, not just musically, but also with their lifestyle and beliefs. All of us have kind of adopted these things from them, we aren’t trying to copy them by any means, but we just highly respect them.”

“There are a lot of bands that have influenced us though, not just the Dead. We even listen to a lot of the jazz bands that influenced the Dead,” Casal added.

After the Chris Robinson Brotherhood wraps up their touring duties at the end of the year, Casal, who has 12 solo albums under his belt, said a number of things are possible.

“After the tour is over we are just going to kind of see what happens next. For me personally, Chris Robinson Brotherhood is number one on my priorities list. We will just see where it goes and maybe we will record some new music once it’s all said and done,” finished Casal.

Kaiser Chiefs. Photo courtesy of

Kaiser Chiefs. Photo courtesy of

By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)

 For well over a decade England’s Kaiser Chiefs have quietly laid the groundwork for what is turning into a rich history of top UK singles. Such hits as “Ruby” and “Never Miss a Beat” has helped catapult the group into one of the UK’s top bands.

Now with a new album under their belt, Education, Education, Education and War, their fifth album to date, the Kaiser Chiefs are invading America this summer with a slew of tour dates, including a stop at the House of Blues in Cleveland on June 17.

Recently bassist Simon Rix spoke with The Raw Alternative about the new album, tour and the Kaiser Chiefs brief appearance at the 2012 London Olympics.

“Curlywand,” as his friends affectionately call him for his curly hair, also talked about new drummer Vijay Mistry and what lays ahead for he and his band mates.

Q: How’s the tour going so far? I see you have played a few promo shows.

A: Everything is going good so far. We have only played some promo shows in Europe, so we are really looking forward to doing a proper tour in America.

Q: What can we expect during the US tour? Any Surprises?

A: We are playing in a lot of new venues that we have never played in before and we will be playing a lot of new songs off the latest record. That’s what we are most excited about, is playing the new songs and putting on a great show for all the fans.

Q: Tell me about the new album ‘Education, Education, Education and War,’ it seems to be doing well.

A: We are very happy with how it turned out; we feel that with this record we got better as a band. We kind of felt like we hit a plateau a few years back, but now with this album we feel like we are soaring upward again. It has us all very excited about what’s next for the band and to keep working hard on improving and getting better as a whole. The record is currently doing well in the UK and getting a lot of radio play.

Q: I have to ask you about the title of the album, where did it come from? I would imagine it has a lot to do with the lyrics?

A: Yes the Album is about personal education and personal war. All of us kind of felt we were fighting for the band and with ourselves. Throughout the songs a recurring theme of education and war comes up in the lyrics and we captured a bit of a new sound.

Q: This is the first album without founding member and drummer Nick Hodgson and first with new drummer Vijay Mistry. What new dynamic does he bring to the band?

A: He’s a great new member and everything feels kind of fresh again and exciting. We get to see things through his eyes and that helps us see some things differently. He’s a very enthusiastic and exciting person, which is great because we are all from Northern England, which means we are never happy (laughs).

Q: Lets backtrack to the 2012 Olympics in England, what was it like playing “Pinball Wizard” at the Olympics in your home country?

A: It was great, a good day, but also an insane day. We kind of waited around and were very nervous because we were going to play for millions of people watching the event on television plus the ones in attendance. It was a little hard to get into a groove because we were only playing for about three minutes and then it was time to get off the stage, but we still enjoyed it. Being a part of the Olympics in our homeland was very special.

Q: What will the rest of 2014 and beyond bring for the Kaiser Chiefs?

A: We will continue to promote the album, do some festivals and probably come back to America for another tour as well. We are looking to get back into the studio fairly soon to maybe record another single, or even do an EP so stay tuned!

Quorthon with Bathory, circa 1988.

Quorthon with Bathory, circa 1988.

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

After Trad/Doom and NWOBHM really laid down their roots, some sub-genres began to form in the 80’s. Most commonly brought to mind are death and thrash metal but it was with the term “Black Metal” that British band Venom gave us which helped form a more descriptive concept of what was to happen next.

Some of the early bands which really helped shape Venom’s new term/sound were Hellhammer and Celtic Frost (Swiss) and especially, Bathory (Swedish) With this arsenal of influences, new bands were then inspired, namely in the Scandinavian lands into the 90’s and the infamous Norwegian Black Metal movement came about including MayhemEmperorDarkthroneImmortal and controversial to this day, Burzum. These are the most pivotal in the phenomenon which in turn inspired the rest of the world to turn to black metal and then begat scenes throughout Europe and America, though usually they still had the predominant aforementioned death or thrash overtones. (Death SSMercyful FateBlasphemyMorbid Angel, SabbatRootMaster’s Hammer and Rotting Christ are prime examples.)

Since it is arguable among some passionate fans who is really the first Black Metal band, (many say Venom since they coined the term) it is perhaps most reasonable to mention the aforementioned bands first, from the region that fostered it to its “blackest.” And to examine why this occurred. Though in fact, many artists are/were nihilists or misanthropic at worst, satanic references abound in black metal lyrics, themes and supposed activities.

Aside from the infamous murders, suicides and church burnings, it is interesting to note that Quorthon, lead singer and lyricist of Bathory, a hallmark black metal band, eventually swore off these so-called satanic themes which came to originally define Black Metal and its lyrical content. And it was around this time (in the 90’s) when he rediscovered Viking and Norse mythologies and from then on embraced his country’s Pagan roots which led to the rise of yet another sub genre, Viking metal. Was he put off by his brethren’s behaviors? Did he truly have a deep experience with Norse paganism? It is difficult to say, but oddly even though it would seem that he as a leader in black metal his statements were taken out of context and other artists would go on to burn churches and do away with anything that was seemingly not of Scandinavian roots.

This is officially when Black and Viking Metal were divided in two… Oddly with Quorthon as a king of both realms.

However, also at this time, within the second wave of black metal artists who were already long standing and still performing had to contend with additional contemporaries such as Enslaved and Carpathian Forest who went on to embrace even more extreme theatrics. But it was Norwegian act, Gorgoroth, that became the ultimate visual culmination of the genre and seemed to outdo even their predecessors. It would seem that there was nothing left to do but get back to the music.

Up to this point black metal was typically under produced, lo fi and somewhat hard to come by – especially in other countries. Therefore, the performances, the shows, complete with corpse paint and hell fire was what grabbed fans. By the 2000’s, however artists such as Dimmu Borgir basically made Black Metal more of a “norm.” Interestingly enough, it was because of their theatrics. But with that they added symphonic elements to the music and really made it a more complicated genre which developed and that many finally had accessibility to. Such music was made more common perhaps because they adopted a more polished version of the sound. (As with many other types of music). It is not to say that such acts lack substance but rather that they simply put such music into a sort of limelight for many listeners, in their regions of the world and most notably into the ears of American teenagers who before maybe only knew of a few bands).

While this was indeed influential, it in a way marked the end of Black Metal being the original Scandinavian phenomena that it was. And up to now other places in Europe developed more cohesive pockets of their own attempts at the genre. In France, there was a group know as Les Légions Noires which included artists: MütiilationVlad Tepes, Belketre and Torgeist. In neighboring Belgium, there were acts such as Ancient Rites which split a disc with the perhaps more well known, Enthroned. Bands emerged in the US such as Black Funeral and Judas Iscariot alongside any other metal genre. And still as always, back to metal’s birthplace, England with the most famous example of all these: Cradle of Filth.

A place that really put black metal back on the radar in one particular pocket is the Slavic lands. However, yet another subgenre would occur with their own interpretations of it, which would develop with the term blackened death metal and along with their own paganism, Slavic Metal. Stay tuned.

In addition to the some of the Black Metal classics that I chose for Picks of the Week, here is another list of picks for your consideration.

Interview with Bathory’s Quorthon

 BathoryEnter the Eternal Fire from Under the Sign of the Black Mark


 GorgorothOf Ice and Movement


BurzumFallen-Jeg Faller


Dimmu BorgirProgenies of the Great Apocalypse



King Buzzo

King Buzzo

By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)

For more than 30 years Buzz Osborne has been the King of everything weird, heavy and sludgy with his highly influential band the Melvins.

Now, King Buzzo is looking toward another outlet as he’s releasing an acoustic solo album titled This Machine Kills Artists set for a June 3 release via Ipecac Recordings.

To the casual fan, this raw, bare bones record may seem strange. But to any hardcore Melvanite, this will come as no surprise.

“Nothing we do is universally accepted, to be honest sometimes I think we drive away as many people as we bring in with every new album,” said Osbourne. “We’re not a band that sells millions of records, I would find it hard pressed to find someone who’s three favorite bands were Nirvana, Green Day and the Melvins, you know?”

Osborne admitted he knows the Melvins aren’t the type of band you would hear played at the prom.

“I can’t imagine any of our songs have ever been played at a prom or anything, but I bet they have proms themed around Green Day or bands like that. I don’t know though because I didn’t go to my prom, I hated teenagers then and I still do now,” said Osbourne.

Osborne’s hatred of some critics also strikes hard within him, as one writer recently bashed his guitar skills by saying, “he needs to listen to Jimmy Page.”

“I thought that was really funny, I mean really, does he think I have never listened to Led Zeppelin?” laughed Osbourne.

On This Machine Kills Artists, the singer shows his knack to make any guitar, acoustic or electric, sound heavy and sludgy. And Buzz’s distinct booming voice sounds heavier than ever overtop of the acoustics. This is something Osborne was aiming for and he nailed it, especially on songs such as “Drunken Baby” and “Instrument of God.”

Folk rock has never sounded so good.

“It certainly works well and I’m happy with how it turned out,” Osbourne said. “Some people have told me how it sounds like the Melvins, well I’m in the Melvins so what the fuck did you expect? (Laughs) But there will always be people bashing my music and bashing music in general, no one is ever 100 percent happy.”

Though undoubtedly countless musicians have influenced King Buzzo, he said that he really can’t pinpoint just a few. He certainly found some inspiration from Woody Guthrie, whom he gave a nod to with the album title, as well as everyday life.

Some things stranger than others.

“I can’t really say I have any particular influence, really anything can influence a person, from a barking dog to a bowl of cereal, I just try to do something different every time I make a record,” said the 50-year-old.

One glaring difference on his upcoming tour will be the fact that Buzz will be up on stage alone, without his drummer and close friend, Dale Crover, or anyone else for that matter.

But when Osborne got into the music business a little over 30 years ago, he knew that sometimes he would have to go on stage prepared to make a complete idiot out of himself.

“If you’re scared to go on stage and look like a complete moron, then you shouldn’t be in this business. I’m up for the challenge and I always look like an idiot on stage anyway,” Osbourne said.

Buzzo will have plenty of opportunities to embarrass himself as he will be playing nearly 70 shows across the US, Europe and Australia.

Touring almost stopped completely for Buzz and side kick Dale 28 years ago after a tour in 1986 took them through the south.

States like Texas and Florida weren’t very accepting of the band, as insults such as “Faggots!” were hurled at the band.

After being roughed up by some skin heads, Buzz and Dale decided not to do a full tour of the states again for a while, it wasn’t until around 1989 that they hit the road on a full out tour again.

While on tour, Buzz unwinds by watching and listening to baseball games. Anyone who follows Buzz knows of his love for the Los Angeles Dodgers and baseball in general. Early on in our conversation Osborne went on about how much he loves the game.

“Baseball is really the only sport I can watch, I mostly enjoy watching it in person. As much as I love the Dodgers I have to say I just enjoy watching the sport no matter who is playing, especially National League ball,” he said.

He even shared a Cleveland Indians story as well.

“Back in the 90’s when Cleveland was a powerhouse we were in town and wanted to see them play, but they were always sold out. So we had the opportunity to buy really shitty tickets for like $60 a piece and at the last minute we decided not to pay that much. But I would love to go to the stadium sometime and see them play,” Osborne said.

Despite the extensive touring behind his new disk, Melvins fans need not worry that their front man is going to focus solely on solo material.

The band will be releasing an album sometime in October (Their fourth in under two years) and are planning a tour and some other surprises.

Stay tuned, as the Raw Alternative will be sure to talk to King Buzzo this fall.

By Frank Myers (Opinion Nation)

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}

Artist: Masked Intruder

Album: M.I.

Release Date: 5/27/14

Rating: 8/10

Back in 2012, our hearts and attention were stolen by a group of four guys who had just gotten out of prison. Whether released on good behavior or a successful escape is still unsure! The guys I am talking about are Masked Intruder if you were unaware. Having broken out and stolen our hearts and attention already, they have returned to do it again with their newest album, M.I.

After their self titled first release, most if not all of their fans questioned their ability to be able to keep up with the amazing things they pulled off. The first album was full of witty lyrics, awesome guitar, bass, and drum tracks, and the harmonizing was just impeccable. Even I myself was very doubtful that they could ever put something else out worth listening to after coming on so strong with their debut release.

Well, about a week ago, M.I. was released and it was time for the fans to see if their doubts were valid. After hearing the first single “Most Beautiful Girl,” I will admit I was becoming less enthused and less hopeful on the outcome of what I was going to hear. After sitting and listening to the new album three times straight when I got it, I was disappointed, but only in myself and the fact that I wasn’t expecting anything great. Masked Intruder somehow was able to put together a follow up album that was actually almost as good as the piece of gold they have us back in 2012. I will not say it is as good, but it is damn close and I have listened to over 12 times within a week! If you are a fan of the first album and putting off listening to the new one for fear of disappointment,

I will tell you to go into listening to it with that attitude because on first listen you will be mad at yourself for doubting them. I know I was. If you have never heard them before, you definitely have to give these guys a listen, they are a great shot of originality and fun in the vein of punk rock today!! So, get online and buy yourself a copy of M.I. You won’t regret it.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)


Artist: Godflesh

Album: Decline and Fall

Release Date: 6/2/14

Rating: 9/10

Many of the down-tuned, guttural vocal bands that dominated the scene of the late 90’s, owe their entire career, and then some, to Godflesh. The pioneering industrial metal act, led by mastermind guitarist and vocalist, Justin Broadrick, burst onto the scene in around 1990, just as the industrial sound as it came to be was reaching it’s creative peak. Whereas acts like Ministry and KMFDM where fusing sampled drum loops with thrash metal guitar riffs, Godflesh choose a similar path, only using slowed down, low-tuned doom and sludge metal style riffs.

Their innovative style, an entire song or a good portion of a song revolving around a repeating heavy riffs and mechanical grove, proved to be a huge influence on nu metal acts like KoRn and Coal Chamber several years later. With successful albums such as Streetcleaner, Pure, and Songs of Love and Hate, Godflesh also helped push future industrial acts like Fear Factory and Static-X in a more metal-dominated direction.

After retiring Godflesh for nearly a decade and striking out with the more indie/shoegaze project Jesu, Broadrick resurrected the band four years ago and now returns with a new EP.

Decline and Fall is the Godflesh fans have been yearning for. It represents a refreshed, mature and even more angry unit, with the energy and passion of a new act on their debut release. The EP kicks off with the single “Ringer,” a slamming industrial-sludge grinder that boldly sets the tone. From there, the ferocious “Dogbite” and the droningly melodic “Playing with Fire” return Godflesh to their heyday, but with an even darker and heavier take. Finally, the closing track, “Decline and Fall,” shows Broadrick and bassist G.C. Green hitting a creative high.

The best thing about Decline and Fall is that it sounds like an industrial metal from the genre’s heyday without feeling dated. Perhaps Godflesh was always a few steps ahead of their time, and only to be imitated, and in some cases ripped off, by acts who would achieve far more mainstream success. Still, if anything, Decline and Fall boldly proves that Godflesh are, and always have been innovators and originators.

The only flaw is that the EP ends abruptly. It rises, nearly climaxes, but drops. However, despite the tease of an EP, a full-length is scheduled for the Fall of this year. In the meantime, fans from back in the day, as well as fans of industrial and the growing sludge and doom scenes will appreciate Decline and Fall, as it is truly a return to their gloomy glory!


By Frank Myers (Opinion Nation)

Another month in the books and a few of the shows that rocked my May to tell you about. So, I caught a few shows this past month, not quite as many as I’d of like to have made it out to, but the ones I did see I am very glad I caught. The music scene is pushing right along and taking no prisoners on it’s path . I am glad to see so many of the local bands putting in so much effort and time to keep the scene moving forward. A huge shoutout as well to all the touring bands that grace our stages throughout the year, greatly appreciated.

So, I kicked my month of music off one hell of a rock and roll party people!!! May started for me with The Spastic Hearts, The Idle Shades, and Voice of Addiction from Chicago. This show was a masterpiece of rock at its finest. The bands all pulled in a great turn out and Cedars provided the perfect venue for the show. The sound was on the money, the beers were cold and so was the bottle of Champagne I drank. The Turbo Lovers were billed to play but due to last minute circumstances were forced to back out, and they were missed on stage, but the Idle Shades stepped up and did their thing.

Big thank you to those guys, always willing to step up and lend a helping bass riff, drum beat, and kick ass song when needed. Voice of Addiction had an amazing set as well and had the crowd enjoying themselves. Also, a great group of guys off stage as well, would love to see them back in Youngstown in the future.

Then the Spastic Hearts owned the crowd and the stage as always, drawing everyone in with eyes I tell you!! But, seriously the music definitely speaks for itself with that band.

Cedars strikes yet again in May with another great show for everybody. This time it was Baroque Monody, Harnessing the Sun, and Pilot the Mind. Another great crowd, and just an all around good time. Harnessing the Sun started things off and rocked the stage with their own brand of rock and roll. Always looking so intent on mastering their set, while at the same time just having a great time up their performing for the fans. They were great as always.

Then Pilot the Mind played and drew a nice size crowd. The gave their version of a rock show and killed it. Keeping the momentum that Harnessing The Sun started going throughout their set.

Last that night was Baroque Monody, who just keeps getting better with every set. They played their hearts out and showed no problem taking the crowd for a journey with lyrics that give the feeling of personal situations and struggles in life. It is dark but at the same time just helps take your mind on a great rock and roll rollercoaster. The set was great, the whole night was amazing.

Chippers jumped into the ring with a great show of their own, featuring Deaf Eyes, New Diaries, Amnesty for Astronauts, Baroque Monody, and Token. I caught Deaf Eyes from about the middle to end of their set and thought they were pretty good. Didn’t get enough of it to give it a fair review unfortunately. Hopefully catch them in the near future though. Next up was New Diaries, whom did not exactly appeal to my taste in music. They did have a nice crowd of fans who were very much into what they were doing. They put on a strong set and stayed pretty steady in their style and performance. Kudos to them on that!! Keep up the hard work. Then Baroque Monody took stage. They did not let minor sound issues prevent them from giving 100% and doing what they needed to do to keep the crowd into the music.

Next was Amnesty for Astronauts, who bring an energy all their own to the stage and have a very care free, lets have a good time attitude. They too experienced some technical difficulties with the sound, but they kept the momentum, belting out the lyrics and keeping the energy thriving in that bar!! Unfortunately do to a prior engagement I did not get to catch any of Token’s set, I hope to also catch them very soon at another show.

All in all, despite the police presence on the roads due to it being a holiday weekend and the heat in the bar the crowd showed up and the bands rocked! The end of May I caught a bit of the Guilty Pleasures set at the boxcar lounge. My first time in the Boxcar Lounge located at the B&O station, nice little place I must say. The Guilty Pleasures were very entertaining as always and the crowd was into it. Never a bad night with these guys and gal playing. Definitely have to check them out some time. Well, just like May this is the end of this months recap. Hope you all enjoy and I hope to see you all out at future shows supporting the local scene !! Bands and venues included.

New Diaries live at Chipper's in Austintow, Ohio. Left to right: Jeremy Babel, Aedan Martinez, Eric Pigg and Joh Piscitelli Jr. Phot courtesy of Firestorm Images.

New Diaries live at Chipper’s in Austintow, Ohio. Left to right: Jeremy Bable, Aedan Martinez, John Piscitelli Jr. and Eric Pigg. Photo courtesy of Firestorm Images.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

For many, Youngstown is well-known for hosting a number of small sub-scenes within it’s vast music scene. From it’s early punk and post-punk to its long-standing metal and stoner rock scenes, the city reaches across the entire spectrum of rock and roll. And modern rock is certainly no stranger to the scene; from the soaring, sing-along anthems of early 00’s act Alias-X right up to modern groups like Amnesty for Astronauts and Phoenix Rising, and now to emerging act, New Diaries.

Of all the city’s crowd-pumping modern rock acts, New Diaries certainly has the heaviest edge. An undeniable Pantera-meets-Disturbed metal influence is prominent throughout the band’s riff-heavy rockers. With the twin guitar attack of Jeremy Bable and  John Piscitelli Jr., the driving low end of bassist Eric Pigg and the widely-ranged, sing-to-scream powerhouse vocals of Aedan Martinez, New Diaries are a force to be reckoned with.

Despite their raw and aggressive sonic assault, Martinez said they are looking to reach as wide of an audience as possible with New Diaries.

“What I try to do with my music is to aim for a larger audience. Not just the young generation but older generations as well. With that said, I try to put a lot of influences to show musicality rather than sound just one way,” said Martinez.

Guitarist Piscitelli added that the band is still growing as musicians and still learning from one another as they continue to move forward with their song-writing.

“I know there’s parts of me that I feel the rest of us are still absorbing. I think we still haven’t even found what our sound is. We’ve been writing more music together, seeing how it blends, and we’ve come up with some interesting stuff,” expalined Piscitelli.

Currently, New Diaries’ live set is an arena-sized face-melting explosion of heavy rock scaled down to a club setting. The band takes no prisoners slamming through hard-hitters like “Dear Jane” and “Leeches and Spiders” while coming up for air with their seminal power ballad, “For You.”

The band does not take their music lightly, especially when it comes to conveying the meanings behind the songs and their lyrics. Martinez explained that music is a gift to the individual, and the one true source of expression.

“Music is an expression of one’s soul. It’s the one thing that binds us together. It doesn’t matter what type you are playing or how you are playing it, it’s an expression of who you are and what you’ve been through as a person,” said Martinez.

As most of the area’s modern rock bands, New Diaries have a sound fit for the mainstream, but still raw, powerful and beautiful; still real. They have an undeniable passion backed by a driving heavy rock sound that has the potential for wide, crossover appeal.

New Diaries are currently working with new drummer Daniel Pearl and plan to continue their rise throughout the scene. Be sure to check back here for updates and visit their Facebook page for updated events and live performances.


Veteran Punks get Off! on ‘Wasted Years’



Ms. Rose




Black Sabbath circa 1974. Photo courtesy of

Black Sabbath circa 1974. Photo courtesy of

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

From the heavier progressive music of the 70’s came what we now we know as Heavy Metal in its most pure form. Traditional Metal, Doom Metal and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal all had their beginnings in England. Grandfathers of all Metal with a specialty in Doom, Black Sabbath, defined the darkness, thickness and heaviness that was with obvious roots in blues and psychedelic rock. Other bands that helped forge heavy metal showcased these elements as well as proficient guitar skills and extended soloing that many of the experimental genres artists before them engaged in.

The first proto-heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple attracted arena-sized shows similar to the previously examined prog rockers and arena rockers. However, the grandiosity was more focused within the size and scope of the riffs more so than the technicality of the musicians. As such artists began to rise in popularity and Black Sabbath really began to set the “tone” for darkness with Tony Iommi’s sound and slow heavy sound and Ozzy Osbourne’s lyrics provided a blueprint for overall themes in much of early metal. By the mid 70’s, Judas Priest helped the genre evolve a bit past where the forefathers derived most of the heaviness, the blues. It was more “straight up” like what many would describe as “hard rock” today. Around the same period, Motörhead reintroduced the speed in rock not dissimilar to some of the early punk rock.

But it was with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that metal gods such as Iron Maiden and Saxon followed in a similar vein but with the original heaviness and darkness paramount yet again. As such, NWOBHM came to dominate the heavy metal scene of the early mid 1980s. Bands such as Def LeppardDiamond HeadTygers of Pan TangTankRavenDemonSamsonSweet SavageJaguarAvengerBlitzkriegGirlschoolAngel WitchWitchfynde,  Persian Risk and White Spirit featured the fast upbeat songs thought of when many audiences think of Metal in a general sense. The distinct mysterious harmonies, power chords, solos and melodic vocals with themes based on mythology returned similar to founding fathers’ Zeppelin and in addition sometimes the dark mystical lyrics similar to Sabbath and often went a step further.

However, Iron Maiden continued on to become extremely progressive, and other places in the world picked up on this music especially into the 80’s. As the English movements lead up to what would become the first to call themselves other subgenres in other countries, one remained the same to this day. Doom, which is where Metal came forth after stewing in blues and experimental rock, such as psychedelic and prog, and will remain undead in Tony Iommi.

Doom is the root of Metal just as Blues is the root of Rock. Pagan AltarWitchfinder General and of course, the previously examined My Dying Bride are great British Doom acts. Of course other countries went on to produce some great doom, in United States, PentagramSaint VitusTrouble and in Sweden, Candlemass and Count Raven, all acknowledge a reverence for doom and traditional metal the sub-genres that they are known for now (US – Thrash, and Sweden – Black Metal) both of which will be examined as geographical phenomena later in this series.

Indeed with Metal in general, Doom and NWOBHM, several sub and sub-sub-genres evolved and will be discussed as phenomena in specific geographical regions. Though England’s Venom brought us the term Black Metal at roughly the end of the NWOBNM movement, we’re going to see how it became a phenomenon in the Scandanavian lands next.

For now, enjoy these essential tracks spanning many Traditional Metal/Doom and NWOBHM and check out the previous Picks of the Week which I played on the radio.

Black Sabbath:

Angel Witch:

Iron Maiden:

Pagan Altar: