Friday, June 6, 2014

The Infectious Metalhead and His Dangerous Secret

To the Fort Worth metal scene, 100 Proof Hatred frontman Donovan Warren was the life of the party. To his girlfriends and prosecutors he was something else entirely.

Donovan Warren stands center stage at The Rail Club, looking every bit the part of metal-band frontman: H.R. Giger-inspired motifs tattoo his arms. A pair of dice and an alien eye decorate the back of his hands. The words "Last Call" bleed from his fingertips. His long, blondish-brown beard is braided, and a black bandanna imprinted with brass knuckles wraps around his bald head. A Black Label Society vest over a dark T-shirt, camouflage shorts with chains connecting to a wallet and a pair of black Converse complete the image.

He leans forward and prepares to sing his band's signature song, "Drunk On Blood." Most of his songs are inspired by 48 Hours and other murder shows. But it's 100 Proof Hatred's grueling tone and Pantera-inspired dress that keep people coming back. From bassist Jerry Galvan's black cowboy hat with a skull and crossbones patch in the center to guitaristDave Lewis' Black Label Society ball cap, they were born into the heart of Southern metal in Fort Worth, and its influence is apparent not only in their look but in the power chords that anchor their arsenal.
It's a Saturday night, March 2012. Warren and the guys are plowing through their set before one of the largest crowds The Rail Club has ever seen, many of whom have been watching this band for years. It's the ultimate local metal band.
From the outside, The Rail Club looks like some out-of-business storefront, but it comes alive inside, with dim lighting and metal pounding from the speakers. There are pool tables and dart boards, a wraparound bar and a small stage. There's a dance floor used more often as a mosh pit. A picture of the state of Texas with a red, white and blue calf skull hanging on a guitar neck serves as the club's banner, and a nice reminder of what this place is: a mecca for metal.
Tonight that means playing host to the War of Rock's "Wild Wild West" contest. The winner will be crowned the "New War of Rock Band," a rare chance for a struggling local band to tour "Rockin' The Red Carpet" with Vince Neil, lead singer of Mötley Crüe. There are other perks, and a cash prize of $25,000. Metal bands from as far away as Alabama and Nashville are here, and this is just one of several battles across the region. The winner will square off against the nine winners of each local competition, and the winners of that will go to nationals.
Warren paces across the stage, glaring at the crowd. "What's happening 'War of Rock,' Fort Worth, Texas?" he roars into the microphone. "You're in the right place at the right time. This is a badass party. Everybody get fucked up, and don't go nowhere."
He makes a fist with his tatted hands, moves across the stage and stops at the edge of the swell of bodies surging forward and back like a tormented wave. Warren joined 100 Proof Hatred just as it was forming in 2005. "Play with some damn conviction" was the band's motto, and no one was more passionate about the lifestyle than Warren, who'd perfected his stage presence as a strip club DJ. He works the crowd as if they are customers at one of those clubs. Some of them are.
When the band finishes its set, Warren stands center stage to hear the judges' comments. His hands open and close into fists; his muscles twitch as he clenches his jaw, bleeding aggression, waiting to be judged.Mark Slaughter, founder of the metal band Slaughter, starts.
"All I can say is that Dimebag is smiling his ass off in heaven," Slaughter says. Warren smiles, flexes his muscles and bows, and the crowd screams its approval. To be compared to Pantera's late guitarist, "Dimebag" DarrellAbbot, is the highest honor a person can bestow on a Fort Worth metalhead. "Seriously, man, that was fucking cool," Slaughter continues. "The back half of that was like a dinosaur had just walked through the room. Rock on, man, you guys have got the heart, and you've got where it's coming from. It comes from the street, and it smells like a fucking concert, so that's even better."
Warren leans down and kisses a fan's cheek.
"Y'all rock, man," says judge Greg Ingram, co-creator of War of Rock. "Dime is smiling right now. Are y'all ready? I think you are."
Warren makes the universal metal hand sign and bows again. He appears lost in the moment, as if he's forgotten the disease ravaging him, the accusations, the investigation. To his fans and friends, he's a rock star. He's the life of the party, a "good-hearted" guy who'll give you the shirt off his back, open his door for you, fire up his grill for you.
"Thank you, gentlemen," says the final judge Claudia Rene, an actress and model. "100 Proof Hatred, huh? You guys own the crowd." The crowd screams even louder. "The War of Rock told you to bring it, and you brought it. You and your style —"
She stops and smiles hungrily.
(Click <here> to read the rest of the article)

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Family of Legends

Courtesy of Adrenalin PR
No other family of music artists like the forebears of this legendary name -- Hank Williams -- have captured the heart of what it means to be a country outlaw, a Southern rebel, a despicable bastard in the eyes of our more uppity brothers and sisters. Three generations of this inglorious family have dominated the Southern consciousness since the early 1930s when the name's original bearer -- (Hiram) Hank Williams, Sr. - picked up his Silvertone guitar and stepped in front of the microphone in Montgomery, Alabama, transcending into American Mythology.

Read more of the article <here>

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Rise and Fall of Pantera

Back in the Nineties, Pantera rocked venue after venue, jamming with legendary bands such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Slayer. The Southern boys were known for their crushing Texas blues metal sound. Each mind-blowing show sent fans into a mosh pit that erupted bodies. Jack Daniels, Mexican cigarettes, and strippers were after party condiments. Night after night, it was a Texax-sized party until the stress of touring and an overabundance of drugs and alcohol threatened to separate the band.

Read more of Rex Brown's conversation <here>

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The 10 Heavy Metal Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

In the near or not so-near future, when you're lying on your deathbed, you'll reflect on things in your life that you failed to accomplish; the kiss you never gave, the boss you never slugged and the metal album you never bought because your partner was bitching about the money that you "wasted on an exotic dancer who then sent you a message on Face..."

Well, you get the picture.

In honor of these failed accomplishments, here is a list of 10 heavy metal albums you must hear before Murray drags you kicking and screaming into the abyss.

10. Lamb of God - Killadelphia

One of the best live metal albums ever recorded. Mark Morton and Willie Alder shred at top form, with John Campbell and Chris Adler providing rhythmically loaded bass grooves. Randy Blythe's vocals sound better than some band's studio shit. "When the five of us get together and make music, we get on stage... and it's just absolute madness" and tranquility for the fans. Killdelphia is the band's first live album.

Click <here> to read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

B.B. King Gave the House of Blues His Picks, His Bracelets and a Holy Blues Masterpiece

Tyler Short
"Electrifying," "Magnetic," "Memorable" are just some of the words that people used to describe an evening with B.B. King at the House of Blues in Dallas. His sophisticated style of soul-wrenching guitar playing inspired tears of joy and calls of "Amen," "Preach it, brother" and "Oh Lord, I'm coming home." But the shout heard most often was, "We love you, B.B."

Read the rest of the article <here>

Friday, January 11, 2013

Warbeast Splits EP, Skulls 2013

When Arlington thrashers Warbeast flew overseas to co-headline a tour with legendaryPantera/Down vocalist Phil Anselmo, the band's pulverizing riffs and grueling lyrics slew metal fans across Europe. A joint album seemed like another one of the devil's pipe dreams until the two entities announced their upcoming split EP release, War of the Gargantuas, an album that not only promises to destroy metal fans but also send Bieberites and buttrockers screaming for another hit off Warbeast guitarist Scott Shelby's strings.

Read the rest of the story <here>

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

backwards masking: Ten songs that supposedly contain hidden messages when played in reverse

For years, hidden messages have allegedly been embedded in music, cryptic musings that could only be heard by playing the vinyl backwards. Backwards masking, as this phenomenon became known, centered on songs by bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, acts that supposedly implanted subliminal satanic messages in their music. Keep reading to see which ten songs purportedly contain hidden messages.

Continue reading <here>

the seven sexiest guitars

If there's one thing that starts a guitarist's heart thumping, it's the heat from the fretboard as his or her fingers slide across the strings. It's a sordid love affair that leaves fans screaming and the guitarist's soul longing for more.
In fact, B.B. King loved his $30 guitar so much that he ran into a burning building to save her. Stevie Ray Vaughan was so in love with his Fender Strat he just kept adding pieces of used bass guitars, turning his beloved into a musical monstrosity.
To honor this musical love affair, we've compiled a list of the seven sexiest guitars.
ESP KH-2 Ouija Kirk Hammett Signature Model Electric Guitar (above)
This solid body guitar is bound to help you harness the spirits of rock. Her Floyd Rose original bridge and two EMG pickups allow you to feel her pulse as you run the pick across her strings. Her Rosewood fingerboard with skull and bones inlays promises a night of death grinding.
Read the rest of the article <here>

Thursday, December 27, 2012

rigor mortis and ministry guitarist Mike Scaccia dead at 47

Dallas Observer
On December 23, thrash metal lost another legendary pioneer when Mike Scaccia, lead guitarist for Ministry and Rigor Mortis, died shortly after collapsing during a performance at the Rail Club for Rigor Mortis/Warbeast frontman Bruce Corbitt's 50th birthday celebration.
Scaccia, who suffered from heart disease, died of a sudden heart attack, according to Tarrant County medical examiner's office. He was only 47 years old.
In 1983, Rigor Mortis formed when drummer Harden Harrison and bassist Casey Orr met Scaccia, who shared an interest in horror and metal. The band not only developed a sound that influenced generations of metal bands, but also created an underground metal scene that still inspires generations of North Texans.
Although Scaccia left the band in 1991 to join Ministry, he still had a special place in his heart for his original bandmates and later reunited with the original lineup in 2005, performed at Ozzfest in 2008 and recently recorded their first studio album in 25 years,Slaves to the Grave
"You know I keep thinking about all of this," Corbitt posted on Facebook. "Why this happened the way it did. Why it happened at all. What if I wouldn't have asked them to play for my birthday show? But mainly, I keep thinking of the conversations I had with Mike in recent years. Each close friendship is different... you cherish them all. I talked about things with Mike that I couldn't with some other close friends.
"So what I do know is how happy Mike was at this point in his life. He loved his wife and kids so much. He talked about them all the time. He loved his bandmates from his different bands. He loved his friends... past and present. He loved his job working for Gibson Guitars. So that gives me some kind of comfort just knowing he was enjoying his time on earth until the very end."
Scaccia is survived by his wife Jenny and four children. A memorial will be held on Sunday, December 30 at 3 p.m., at Aristide Event Center in Mansfield, Texas. 
The event is open to the public. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

lamb of god - palladium ballroom - 12/7/12

Jerry Taylor

Christmas came early this year, as Sylosis, Hellyeah, In Flames and Lamb of God imploded eardrums on Friday night. British band Sylosis started the show, offering a modernized version of old-school Bay Area thrash metal, informed by West Coast influences such as Exodus and Sadus.
When Hellyeah took the stage, we visited the bar and ordered a double shot of whiskey, because you can't listen to Vinnie Paul's metal group without offering a toast to the spirit of Dimebag Darrell. Playing new tunes off their 2012 album, Band of Brothers, we thrashed with the crowd and remembered the marijuana nights and tequila sunrises spent banging our heads to Dimebag's riffs. 
Swedish metal band In Flames kept up the thrashing with their melodic death metal. Despite founding member Jesper Strömblad's departure, Niclas Engelin and Anders Fridén kept the sea of moving bodies surging as the crowd awaited Lamb of God's arrival.
Darkness ensued, and the fans went wild, chanting "Lamb of God" like some kind of mantra to a fallen god. More people crowded together as images of exploding buildings seared our minds and Chris Adler's drumbeat ignited our rage. When LBJ's 1964 campaign-winningDaisy Girl/Nuclear Explosion ad appeared, the band stepped from the darkness into the light, sending the mosh pit into a frenzy.
After spending several months incarcerated in a Czech "gated community," frontman Randy Blythe growled through "Desloation," "Ghost Walking" and "Walk With Me In Hell," dropping random "motherfuckas" between song changes. Mark Morton and Willie Adler practiced their dark craft, Adler's riffs and Morton's punk-laced rhythms and solos causing the mosh pit to grow, while founding member John Campbell's bass and Chris Adler's grueling double-bass spurred a slew of metal horns to appear.
As images of U.S. servicemen and women flashed across the screens behind him, Blythe greeted the crowd and paid homage to our heroes. "I'm glad to be back here in the land of the free and the home of the brave," Blythe said. The crowd roared its approval as the opening riffs of "Now You've Got Something to Die For" thundered from the speakers.
"Redneck" revealed all the people who drove trucks to the venue, while "Black Label" set an ominous tone that still resonates through our soul and left us hoping this wouldn't be the last time we see Blythe.
(Article originally appeared <here