#1056: This Fear Factory vocalist was in Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ music video

Q #2,052: This Fear Factory vocalist was in Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ music video.

A.

Fear Factory vocalist Burton C. Bell was a Nirvana fan in their pre-‘Nevermind’ days. The band released ‘Archetype’ in 2004, which features a cover of Nirvana’s ‘School,’ from their 1989 album ‘Bleach.’

Bell says that he saw the band many times on the ‘Bleach’ tour, and that he got an early listen to ‘Nevermind’ through a friend that performed on the album, a cellist performing on the track ‘Something in the Way.’ Then, after seeing Nirvana play at the Roxy, Bell got an aftershow flyer asking fans to attend the video shoot of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ Burton appears in the video, but even after some research and Wikipedia-digging I finally found the specific time (2:12-ish if you’re so inclined), but you have to slow down and pause like a teenager with a VHS tape to try and find him. I’m sure we can all take his word for his appearance.

Upon listening to ‘Nevermind,’ Bell said “I saw Nirvana once after that, and I knew it was gonna be the last time I saw them because ‘Smells’ was on the radio and they were blowing up.” I’m not sure if that means he saw the monster emerging that would inevitably have a hand in resculpting the rock and metal scene, or if it just meant he preferred the smaller intimate shows that he knew would no longer be happening.

Fear Factory’s latest release, ‘Genexus’ had a better first week than the band’s previous two albums, which are all a part of what is ultimately the third chapter of lineups in the band’s history. Burton is the only member to appear on all of the band’s releases, and even amidst the most recent three efforts, Burton and Dino are the core on them all.

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#1050: ‘Smoke on the Water’ appears on 1972’s ‘Machine Head’ by what band?

Q #2,046: ‘Smoke on the Water’ appears on 1972’s ‘Machine Head’ by what band?

A.

Deep Purple’s sixth studio album ‘Machine Head’ contains a modest seven songs, clocking in at under 38 minutes. Opening with ‘Highway Star,’ and closing with ‘Space Truckin,’ Deep Purple would have likely still managed to find success with this record, but side two’s opening track ‘Smoke on the Water’ was most certainly the catalyst for a respectable few million in sales.

The band endured mishaps, conflicts, and changes while attempting to record the album, and ultimately ended up using a mobile studio in an empty hotel in Switzerland. The members had to journey through rooms and balconies in order to be able to hear playback of the takes being recorded. They eventually gave up on listening back, and decided on keeping what felt the best after jamming the songs. Can you imagine a band today being told that not only do they have to record the songs in unison in one take, but that they also can’t listen back and have to make a judgment call on what to keep? This would be an excellent reality show for bands of all levels, and I’d be willing to bet most would pass at the opportunity for that sort of “exposure.”

The legendary Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore used his classical guitar training and influence to help shape the sound of what would become modern hard rock and heavy metal. During his post – Deep Purple solo career he managed to piece together Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio. Not too bad.

Deep Purple Vocalists Ian Gillan, David Coverdale, and Joe Lynn Turner have all made their way around the industry outside of their tenures in Deep Purple, with Gillan going on to replace Ronnie James Dio in Black Sabbath. David Coverdale went on to Whitesnake, and would work with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, and Joe Lynn Turner would join Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force.

For an even more in depth game of “6-degrees of separation,” bassist Glenn Hughes has made exceptional rounds as well, recently playing with Black Country Communion which features Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, and Derek Sherinian.

With 100 million in sales, and a seemingly endless web of legendary splinter acts, it is no wonder the band went into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

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#1036: This soundtrack goes with what horror movie?

Q #2,032: This soundtrack is from what 1998 horror movie?

A.

The soundtrack belongs to Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, from the 1998 film, ‘Strangeland.’

Written by Snider, the film’s main villain (Captain Howdy, portrayed by Snider) uses the Internet as a means to lure his victims to his home for a party. Once they show up Captain Howdy inflicts torture through body modifications, including – but not limited to – stitching a mouth shut. This particular image – spoiler alert – is the main cover art for the film. As more of a humorous twist, and I suppose to further separate himself from other films of similar interest, ‘A Nightmare on Elm St’s’ own Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund, portrays an activist set out against Snider’s Howdy. The film grossed three quarters of its budget at the box office, and received almost entirely poor reviews.

Musically you get a veritable “Hall of Fame of MTV” in the late 1990s, with Megadeth, Anthrax, and Pantera supplying the old school, with a few unknown (at the time) up and comers like Sevendust, Coal Chamber, Marilyn Manson, and System Of A Down to help round things out. If anything, the film provides a soundtrack that is a greater time capsule to the era than perhaps the movie itself.

While the main character’s overall image and look (a tattooed, body-modded metalhead) might still provide some scares for small town folk across the country, the Internet isn’t as scary as it once was. Now, the real horror is small town folk gathering and gabbing on the Internet. Wow, we’ve come full circle!

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#982: MOMENT OF METAL 192 (WITH VIDEO!)

Q #1,979: MOMENT OF METAL #192 (watch my newest video here!)

A.

‘Believe In Nothing’ was Nevermore’s lead single off of their catalytic fourth studio album ‘Dead Heart in a Dead World.’ Produced by the legendary producer of all things metal, Andy Sneap (Arch Enemy, Megadeth, Annihilator, Testament) helped to capture the sonic fingerprint of the first Nevermore album to feature the use of seven string guitars. Included on the album is a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence,’ which enters a musical “celebrity death match” versues the newly released Disturbed effort. I have yet to hear back from Paul Simon or Art Garfunkel’s respective camps to get their final say on which is the superior version.

Speaking of covers, ‘Believe In Nothing’ was covered by two separate bands in the same year; both Gus G’s Firewind and All That Remains covered the track in 2008. I’m inclined to think that Firewind wins the death match on this one, for a few reasons; the two driving forces of this song are the uniquely dark and melodic vocal lines of Nevermore’s Warrel Dane, and the powerful guitar melodies found in Jeff Loomis’s lead lines and guitar solos. While both Firewind and All That Remains seem to easily tackle the musical instrumentation, Firewind seemed to combine that Dane-esque vibe within their own style.

Also, it is greatly worth noting that this style of guitar work could be very easily mistaken for Arch Enemy’s Mike Amott. The wah-pedal sing-songy lead style counter balancing the vocal is something that Amott really has locked in. Both Gus G (briefly) and Nevermore’s Jeff Loomis (currently) have gone on to do time in Arch Enemy alongside Amott, so while this particular track doesn’t feature anything too techincal on this side of the seven strings, it is a great Arch Enemy cover waiting to happen. It would be delightfully humorous to see Amott take the lead on this one, with Loomis providing the rhythm backing.

To recap: ‘Dead Heart in a Dead World’ featured a cover, spawned a few other covers, and it set the bar for Nevermore as far as production was concerned in the eyes of the band’s fans. Three years later the band followed up with ‘Enemies of Reality’ in 2003. This was recorded as the band’s contract with Century Media was ending, and negotiations were ongoing. The two sides struggled to reach an agreement to re-sign before the album went into production, and the label cut their budget down to a mere $20,000. Believe it or not, this was seen as unacceptable to the band, with Jeff Loomis saying the budget was “a nothing deal to do a record.”

Andy Sneap was called back to remix the album in 2005. As I have said before in what feels like 278 Skull Toaster emails at this point, the album was plagued in reviews over the production. Warrel Dane said, “I find it really strange that the production on that album got reviewed more than the songs did.” The songs were different, the production was different, and the band felt they weren’t going to play it safe with attempting to recreate ‘Dead Heart.

The follow up to ‘Enemies, and revered as an instant classic, was 2005’s ‘This Godless Endeavor.’ With Sneap back at the helm, many attributed this to the band’s return to form, but it’s certainly not a Dead Heart knock off. The band has always embraced the “progressive” side of writing, and not limiting themselves to one particular blueprint. Would Enemies have been seen as another “instant classic” if Sneap had handled the mix the first time? Should the mix really determine the quality of a song? Personally, most people should stick to worrying about how they mix their drinks!

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#959: What South Carolina death metal band takes its name from a river in Africa?

Q #1,956: This death metal band is from South Carolina, and takes its name from a river in northeast Africa.

A.

Nile is the technical death metal brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders. Where some bands develop concept albums, or work with musical or lyrical themes for specific work, Nile embraces Ancient Egyptian and Eastern culture through their entire catalog. As Wayne Campbell would say, “Then it’s not just a clever name.”

Aside from their unique lyrical and musical take on the subject matter found in their albums, Nile employ multiple vocalists within the band. Both guitarists, Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade handle lead vocals, as have many of the bassists who have been in the fold over the years. This lends itself to multiple vocal textures and a layered heaviness that one could argue serves to better enhance the material. Some very successful bands have exploited the ability of multiple vocalists, including KISS, the Beatles, and Dying Fetus.

Another integral piece to Nile’s pummeling technical elements is the drumming. It’s exceedingly difficult to take the extreme metal world by storm if the drumming isn’t up to par, and Nile have had more than a few members behind the kit who have helped to raise the bar up to new heights. Currently engaged in battle with the band’s maniacal guitar riffing and lead work is Greek drummer George Kollias. Kollias released an instructional DVD back in 2008, aptly entitled ‘Intense Metal Drumming.’ He is also the first drummer in Nile’s history to perform on all drum tracks on more than one album. Original drummer Pete Hammoura only made it onto one track on the band’s second full length album, the rest of which was completed on a session basis by the legendary Derek Roddy. Roddy had already worked with Divine Empire and Malevolent Creation at the time, and would join Hate Eternal shortly after his work with Nile.

Coming in hot on the lightning fast heels of Derek Roddy was another fairly well known monster by the name of Tony Laureano. Laureano has worked with a host of bands that include Dimmu Borgir, Malevolent Creation, God Dethroned, 1349, and has even sat behind the kit for All That Remains, and most recently Megadeth. When you have drummers like this to compliment your wildest guitar fantasies, it is no wonder that Nile are able to paint a sonic landscape worthy of the darkest pharaoh’s tomb.

Nile’s latest album, ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’ was released nearly a year ago, on August 28th, 2015. Their lyric video for the opening track, ‘Call to Destruction‘ is accompanied by a legal disclaimer, stressing to the viewer that neither Nile nor its label Nuclear Blast condone or endorse any political or religious agenda within its imagery pulled from recent newsreel footage. Despite the inverted point of view from the lyricist, one would hope that any Nile fan worth their salt would never believe the band to revere the destruction of ancient historical artifacts.

P.S. “Nile was one of the first death metal bands to have a theme, it being Egypt. Most people know them now as the band that insane drummer George Kollias was in.” Jacob Frebe (@jfrebe)

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