#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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#1044: What current Anthrax singer had a role in 1988’s ‘Pledge Night?’

Q #2,040: What current Anthrax singer has a role in 1988’s ‘Pledge Night?’

A.

Current, and formerly former, Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna makes his film debut in the 1990 indie horror release, ‘Pledge Night.’ Seen briefly in the trailer being submerged into a tub full of acid on a fraternity initiation prank gone awry, Joey’s character Sid is back for revenge in this campy endeavor.

‘Pledge Night’ was marketed as containing music by Anthrax, but it does not appear that any new music was created specifically for the movie. One can likely assume that there was some sort of deal made to package some Anthrax in alongside Belladonna’s agreement to appear. Despite his most excellent portrayal of “the hungry one” on Married With Children (Joey and the rest of the band would later make a television appearance on a 1992 episode of Married With Children entitled, ‘My Dinner With Anthrax’), Joey’s dismissal from the band in 1992 did not see him go onto Jon Bon Jovi levels of acting, as seen in ‘U-571.’

Every Anthrax album released with Joey Belladonna handling vocal duties has had a higher chart position than the previous, with this year’s ‘For All Kings’ reaching the #9 spot. By these projections, it may be a safe bet to put some money down now for an Anthrax #5 album on the next go around.

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#985: MOMENT OF METAL #193 😃

Q #1,982: MOMENT OF METAL #193 – watch my video here for the clue!

A.

Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ is perhaps one of the most historically revered metal albums ever to be released. Having been certified 6X Platinum by the RIAA in the United States (and their first Gold record), their third studio album has continually received similar accolades around the world. Sadly, it’s the last studio album with bassist Cliff Burton, who passed away on September 27th, 1986 while the band was traveling in Sweden while touring in support of this album.

The album was recorded with producer Flemming Rasmussen at Sweet Silence Studios in Denmark. Metallica wanted to up their production game, and take their songs to another level after their previous two successful albums. They entered the studio with much of the album completed in high grade demo form, and only did minimal arrangement work to the songs in the studio. Despite taking longer than expected to complete the recording, the band was not hung up on writing, just the execution of the material.

For an album that has become so important to influence and shape generations of metal musicians and fans alike, not everyone was as keen on the release when it came out in 1986. Yes, it seems that purists were a thing before that giant megaphone called the Internet! Spin Magazine tipped their hat to the band’s production and experimentation, but ultimately felt it was a disappointment. There is no truth, however, to the rumor that that particular reviewer is now on a bowling team with the visionary who said the Beatles would never amount to anything, or the folks who said the iPod would flop.

Aside from the millions of records sold, and the inclusion on a massive amount of “Best of” lists, the United States Library of Congress recently added the album to be preserved in its National Recording Registry. Less than 500 albums have ever been included, and Metallica is the very first of any metal-leaning acts.

The focus of today’s Moment Of Metal was the song ‘Disposable Heroes,’ which opened Side B of the album and punches you right in the face. The opening riffs compounded by some thunderous drums, really stand out on an album full of greatest hits material. The sound of the track really captures the essence of the vocal passages, where the two seem to really gel and help create more of a sonic landscape as opposed to music juxtaposed to lyrics.

At some point over the years I remember hearing that a bridge section of ‘Disposable Heroes’ was removed and ended up being used in ‘Battery.’ Maybe I heard this at the same conspiracy theorist convention where Dave Mustaine previously laid claim to parts of ‘Leper Messiah.’

There was even a conversation between Lars Ulrich and Rush legend Geddy Lee about working together, before the release of ‘Master of Puppets.’ So there is an astronomical butterfly effect – would ‘Master of Puppets’ have tanked with Lee at the helm? Would the band’s already progressive tendencies on the record have been overly indulged, or mastered? Could Geddy Lee have been to Metallica what Steven Wilson was to Opeth on ‘Blackwater Park?’

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#973: The last album the Melvins recorded for a major label was…

Q #1,970: The last album the Melvins recorded for a major label.

A.

The last major label Melvins release was the 1996 album ‘Stag.’ Signing with Atlantic records, after the booming success of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind,’ the band would make their major debut with the 1993 album ‘Houdini,’ with Kurt Cobain landing guitar, production, and mixing credits across the release. ‘Houdini’ landed the band at #29 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, which you would think a fairly positive endeavor for a new signing during this era of the music industry.

The following year the Melvins would release two albums, ‘Prick’ and ‘Stoner Witch.’ At face value this sounds like a very ambitious undertaking, in a very Beatles sort of release schedule. However, ‘Prick’ was supposed to be an experimental spin off of sorts, and was released through the label Amphetamine Reptile, under a mirrored version of the Melvins moniker, SNIVLEM. Releasing this album one year after a major label debut, under a rival label, more or less under the same name just to dodge contractual obligations could not have made the suits over at Atlantic happy. Their major label counterpart to ‘Prick,’ ‘Stoner Witch,’ failed to reach a chart position. Then, the following year the Melvins released the ‘Tora Tora Tora’ EP through X-Mas Records.

Not knowing any details of their contractual workings, I can only speculate on how things went down. That said, it is more than possible that Atlantic was concerned with the band as a brand, and wasn’t keen on subsequent material being released without their consent, regarding maintaining the overall ‘product.’ I say this because by the time the Melvins made it to their third (and ultimately final) major label release with ‘Stag,’ they managed to regain a chart position, hitting the Heatseekers again at #33 in 1996. The album was co-produced by GGGarth (Garth Richardson), who has worked with Nickelback, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Testament, and Chevelle to name a few (I’ve talked about GGGarth before, on his work with Testament’s ‘Low,’ and Chevelle’s ‘Chevelle – Wonder What’s Next‘).

So, with such a well seasoned producer to keep things solid, and a chart position to boot, it’s a wonder as to why this album would result in the band being dropped. It’s likely a three album deal fulfilled, with the contractual acrobatics not sitting well at Atlantic. Melvins mainman Buzz Osborne has also made it no big secret that he is far more into the legacy of punk rock, as opposed to having dreams of arenas. It makes the band’s signing with a major quite the head scratcher in the first place, and doesn’t likely end with the band being disappointed at their release from the label.

All things considered, it was probably still an good career move to capitalize on the popularity of the Seattle / Aberdeen music scene, likely gaining a few new fans and a few extra dollars from the deal. Feel free to tweet me (@JohanssonShreds) if this period of years qualifies as a “sell out” move, weighing on material vs. belief systems. Sure, the band kept up their no frills experimental nature, but that was more on the side releases, and much less notable on the major label efforts.

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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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