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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Life Of Agony: Brooklyn Legends

Brooklyn's Life of Agony surfaced in 1989 when singer Keith Caputo, guitarist Joey Zampella, and bassist Alan Robert, took the New York underground scene by storm. They quickly perfected their angst-filled hybrid of Heavy Metal and Hardcore, obtaining a devoted audience in the process. On the eve of signing with Roadrunner Records, the band recruited former Type O Negative drummer Sal Abruscato as a permanent member. The end result was the first Life Of Agony album “River Runs Red”, which became an instant classic. Thanks to their straight-up energy and aggression in a crossover format, the group toured extensively upon its release.

Once the tour was completed, Life Of Agony went back into the studio to work on their next album titled "Ugly", which signaled a complete change of the band's signature Heavy sound. The album resembled the sounds of the alternative stars of the day, especially Stone Temple Pilots, which the record-buying public didn’t favor. Regardless of the record sales, Life O Agony was still able to retain their audience and the resulting tour was a success. Evidence of this success were their tours with Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Type O Negative, and Anthrax. After the end of the tour, drummer Sal Abruscato exited the band and was replaced by Dan Richardson (formerly from Pro Pain/Crumbsuckers). Their next release was "Soul Searching Sun", which followed the same formula as its predecessor, and was again met by a varied response.

Before the band was scheduled to go on tour, singer Keith Caputo left the group because his heart was no longer in the music. The other band members were crushed, but because of their commitments with the record label, they needed to fill the spot right away. Former Ugly Kid Joe vocalist Whitfield Crane, who had told Joey Z during an Anthrax show about his intentions to play heavier music, filed Caputo’s shoes.

The new lineup only had one week to rehearse and get to know each other musically. Once the tour ended, they went back to the studio and decided that they didn't want to continue as Life of Agony without Caputo. They even flirted with the idea of having their bassist Alan Robert singing and having Stuck Mojo bassist Corey Lowery fill his spot. This strategy never worked and the band disbanded in April of 1999.

In 2003, the original lineup reunited for two shows. The reunion led to a live album titled "River Runs Again", followed by a studio album titled "Broken Valley" (released in June 2005).

In 2009, Life of Agony performed their legendary debut album "River Runs Red" in front of a sold out crowd in Brussels Belgium. They filmed the concert in its entirety, and later released a CD/DVD package titled "20 Years Strong: River Runs Red, Live in Brussels".

Now on a more personal note: In January 1998, I went to see Life Of Agony in Toronto not to long after coming back from Italy. Excited as I was about finally going to see the band that got me through some very rough times in my life, everything from addiction to dealing with my father’s death. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience on that stage. That night I saw two amazing bands: Megadeth and Life Of Agony...

So the show starts with “River Runs Red”, but what I heard was totally noticeable. Everyone started saying: “Hey that’s not Keith!” “What the fuck?!” Apparently no one was informed that Keith had left the band, man was I pissed! After waiting for so long to see Life Of Agony... and I get Whitfield Crane instead of Keith Caputo. I was never a fan of Ugly Kid Joe and I certainly was not going to like him singing Keith's songs. There was only one thing left to do to show my frustration, and this is when I noticed one thing: everyone was just as frustrated as I was! So what do I do next? I start a “We want Keith” chant. Crane definitely saw and heard the crowds discomfort, as Toronto raised their middle fingers instead of their horns, demanding Keith Caputo. I had no choice but to enjoy the instrumental aspect of the show. With that being said, I hope that Life Of Agony can come back to Toronto at and give me the concert I so badly want to see.

No matter what, I am and will always be a fan of Life Of Agony for life! And for that I raise both hands in the air and give this band the Horns Up!!!! Cheers.

Related links:
Life Of Agony

Johnny Demone (Horns Up Rocks correspondent in Toronto, Canada) \m/

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kirk Windstein (Crowbar, Down, Kingdom of Sorrow) is one of the godfathers of the New Orleans Heavy Music scene, and since the inception of Crowbar in 1989 he’s kept his craft intact. Kirk has been a fundamental asset to the ever changing New Orleans Heavy Music scene, which has brought us bands like Crowbar, Down, Acid Bath, Goatwhore, Eyehategod, Soilent Green, and many others.

What sets the NOLA scene apart from other scenes in the country is that the scene was not created around a particular genre; it was created around the musical paradise that is only present in New Orleans, Louisiana: a city that gave birth to Jazz, Sludge Metal and to the New Orleans Saints (current Superbowl champions).

Sludge Metal became an important genre, thanks to musicians like Philip Anselmo (Pantera, Down) Pepper Keenan (COC, Down), Jimmy Bower (Eyehategod, Down), Ben Falgoust (Goatwhore, Soilent Green), and Mike Williams (Eyehategod), who’s goal was to create a musical movement in which everyone unites and challenges each other’s creativity. This movement has lead into a very unique sound, which Windstein has helped to create and establish.

It is evident from the moment Kirk steps on any stage, that everyone loves the “old man” (as Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed calls him). One of the elements that has made Kirk loved by millions of fans worldwide, is the passion and soul he delivers through his music. Whither it’s Crowbar, Down, or Kingdom of Sorrow, Kirk is always the same humble guy who found music as a creative and therapeutic outlet.

Last weekend Kirk brought his “baby” Crowbar to New York City’s Santos Party House, and made it an unforgettable night of Heavy southern Sludge Metal! Crowbar has never disappointed, and wherever they go they make sure everyone leaves with a wide smile. What impacted us the most about Crowbar is how fans of different musical styles always unite at their shows, groove their bodies uncontrollably, and got their soul Crowbent.

What’s in the agenda for Kirk Windstein in 2011?

- New Crowbar record (February 8th through E1 Music).
- US tour in March with Crowbar.
- Recording of the new Down record in the summer.
- Touring with Kingdom of Sorrow in the summer.

We are pretty sure that what you really want to do right now, is watch our EXCLUSIVE interview with Kirk Windstein inside Santos Party House, right after Crowbar's New York City takeover. \m/

Related links:
E1 Music
Kingdom of Sorrow

IMPRINTED by Jo Schüftan (Founder of Horns Up Rocks)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Pale Horse Named Death

Sal Abruscato, former drummer of Type O Negative and current drummer for Life of Agony, decided to leave his comfort zone behind the drums and to pick up the guitar. With his guitar work in A Pale Horse Named Death’s new record, titled “And Hell Will Follow Me”, he has proven that he is more than just an amazing drummer. On songs like “As Black As My Heart” and “Die Alone”, you can clearly hear his Type O Negative roots. I am glad to hear this in his music, it makes missing Peter Steele a little easier. Sal is currently in Europe with Life of Agony, but word on the street is that A Pale Horse Named Death is holding auditions in February 2011 for the drummer and bassist spots. Right now the band consists of Sal on lead vocals/guitar and Matt Brown on guitar/backup vocals. Once this band finalizes its lineup, they will be ready to go on tour and to kick some ass on stage! This will be a good time for all concert goers.

Right now you can visit their website and enter contests to win prizes. Currently there is a contest for winning a signed copy of their new record titled “And Hell Will Follow Me”. I suggest that you listen to it from beginning to the end, and pay close attention to the very last track “As Black As My Heart”, which I personally think is their best song.

According to various sources, Sal is already writing the next album. It is refreshing to see how much dedication Sal and Matt are putting into this band for the fans, for themselves, and for the ones they miss dearly. In the sleeve there is mention about Peter Steele R.I.P. I am sure that Pete is very proud of Sal. I strongly believe that A Pale Horse Named Death will get more exposure and that they have the potential of being one of the best bands of 2011...Cheers

You can listen to the whole album right here!

Johnny Demone (Horns Up Rocks correspondent in Toronto, Canada) \m/

Related links:
A Pale Horse Named Death website
You can listen to the whole album right here!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Today marks the death anniversary of two of the most influential Rock N’ Roll figures in history. We are talking about John Lennon from The Beatles, and "Dimebag” Darrell Abbott from Pantera and Damageplan. Coincidentally, they were both assassinated by delusional fans of their music. In order to celebrate the legacy of this two amazing artists, we decided to recap both of their lives. So raise your horns way up for Lennon and Dimebag, clear your eyes, and read on...

John Winston Ono Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool UK. Lennon gained worldwide fame when him and Paul McCartney formed The Beatles. In our opinion the Lennon-McCartney duo, is the most successful and influential songwriting partnerships of the 20th century. Lennon's first band was The Quarrymen, which evolved into The Beatles in 1960. By the end of the decade the group started disintegrating, and Lennon embarked into a solo career. This is when he released the highly acclaimed albums “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” and “Imagine”, with iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine”. In 1975, Lennon took a break from the music industry to devote time to his family. After 5 years he re-merged with an album titled “Double Fantasy”.

Three weeks after the release of “Double Fantasy”, Lennon was shot it in the back 4 times by Mark David Chapman as he was entering his apartment in Manhattan NY. Lennon was taken to the Emergency Room of Roosevelt Hospital, but was pronounced dead upon arrival at 11:07 pm. His wife Yoko Ono released the following statement the next day: “There is no funeral for John, John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him.” Lennon was cremated in Hartsdale New York and his ashes were scattered in New York’s Central Park, which is where the “Strawberry Fields Memorial” can be found.

You may be wondering what this has to do with Heavy Music. Well, John Lennon and The Beatles are direct influences of Black Sabbath, which ultimately influenced every single Heavy Music band including Pantera!

Pantera’s guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott was born on August 20, 1966 in Ennis Texas. Influenced by his father Jerry Abbott who is a country musician and producer, Dime and his brother Vinnie Paul fell in love with music at a young age. At first Dimebag wanted to play the drums but his older brother Vinnie took over the drum kit. This was tough for Dime, who eventually started playing the trombone. However, his father was not having it, and convinced Dime to try playing the guitar. Goddamn, was his father right!

Dime’s first guitar was a Hondo Les Paul, which he got with a small amplifier. At the beginning all he did was pose in front of the mirror with Ace Frehley (Kiss) makeup, and his guitar in hand. Vinnie needed someone to play with so he started harassing his little brother. One day, Dime goes into the jam room and tells Vinnie: “Hey dude, you want to jam?” Little did they know that they were planting the seed of what would later become Pantera, which is arguably the best Heavy Metal band of the 90’s.

After a few months of jamming classics like Deep Purple’s “Smoke In The Water” with Vinnie. Dime started competing on local guitar competitions, which he usually won. On one of these competitions he was awarded a Dean ML. Coincidentally, his father Jerry had bought him a cherry burst finish Dean ML standard, the same morning of the competition. At another competition, he won a Randall Amplifier. As we all know, this became Pantera’s signature sound. Eventually, the organizers barred Dimebag from competing, because they wanted to give other kids a chance to win.

In 1981, Dimebag formed Pantera with his brother Vinnie. The two recruited vocalist Terrence Glaze (replaced by Philip Anselmo in 1987) and bassist Rex Brown. After releasing 4 albums that were produced by their father, who also owned a studio called “Pantego Sound”. Pantera got their big break, and things would never be the same in the Heavy Music World. Signed by Atco Records, who had already turned them down, the story about how Pantera got signed is very unique.

After being stranded in Texas due to a hurricane, Mark Ross (Atco Records) was asked by his boss to go check out Pantera, who were playing a birthday party in Dallas. After experiencing the insanity of Pantera (there was birthday cake all over the floor), Mark called his boss and told him: “We have to sign this guys!” Next thing you know Dimebag heads over to Philip Anselmo’s house and shows him the record contract.

From that moment on Pantera put the pedal to the Metal and started taking over the world. The band got their big break when the Metal God Rob Halford, invited the band to tour with Judas Priest in Europe. Soon after, they were asked to play the “Monsters of Rock” festival in Moscow Russia in front of 1,000,000 people. That day they outperformed Metallica, AC/DC, and the Black Crowes. During their successful career, Pantera also shared the stage with legendary bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Megadeth, Motörhead, and Venom.

After 13 years of hard-hitting success, and releasing classic albums such as Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, and Far Beyond Driven (which charted #1 on Billboard). Pantera’s career came to a halt, mainly because of Anselmo’s addiction problems. After various failed attempts of communicating with Philip, Dimebag and Vinnie decided to start a new band called Damageplan.

In order to complete the lineup, Dime and Vinnie recruited former Rob Halford guitarist Pat Lachman to perform vocal duties, and Bob Zilla on bass. Damageplan released “ New Found Power” in the US on February 10, 2004. When writing music for Damageplan, Dimebag said that: "Damageplan wanted to stretch out and expand our capabilities to their fullest.”

On December 8th 2004, Nathan Gale shot Dimebag Darrell Abbott on stage, while Damageplan was performing at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus Ohio. Dime was shot six times (four times in the head), which killed him instantly. Gale continued shooting, killing four others and wounding a further seven. Jeff “Mayhem” Thompson (Damageplan’s head of security) was killed after tackling Gale, as was Alrosa Villa employee Erin Halk. Nathan Bray (a fan of the band) was killed while trying to perform CPR on Dimebag and Mayhem. Gale was finally shot dead by officer James James D. Niggemeyer. Dimebag Darrell was laid to rest at the Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Texas. From that moment on Heavy Music was never the same.

“I remember when I met Dimebag in Cologne Germany after Pantera’s spectacular performance. We see Dime in the distance (at least 20 feet away); we call him up and next thing you know he stumbles towards us. He was drunk as hell, and said that we were way too sober for being at a Pantera show! He calls Bobby (Pantera videographer) over, and tells him: “get this kids some blacktooths and get them on the new home video.” Lo and behold Bobby came back with some blacktooths, which we all put back fast. To this day I think of Dimebag every day, because he is the driven force of the lifestyle that we Metaleros share and are proud of.” –Jo Schuftan (founder of Horns Up Rocks)

We want to dedicate this piece to Dimebag Darrell Abbott and his family, John Lennon and his family, and Juan Carlos Posada (who committed suicide 2 years ago). Juan Carlos was Jo Schuftan’s best friend in High School, and together they lived some of the best and hardest years of their lives in Colombia. RIP brother, I love you so much and hope to see you again some day! \m/

Related links:
The Beatles

IMPRINTED by Jo Schüftan (Founder of Horns Up Rocks)


After 40 years of influencing thousands of bands worldwide, legendary British Heavy Metal Judas Priest announced that they are calling it a day. Here is the OFFICIAL press release:

"After storming the world for nearly 40 years and taking its very special brand of heavy metal to all four corners of the planet, JUDAS PRIEST (one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time) has announced plans to embark on a final world tour. However, the mighty PRIEST will certainly be going out strong as it rocks the planet starting in 2011 on the massive "Epitaph" trek, hitting all the major cities throughout the world where it will play the songs that helped make the name JUDAS PRIEST synonymous with heavy metal."

Whatever you do, do not miss this tour! Here are some facts about the METAL GODS:

\m/ Judas Priest are originally from Birmingham, UK.

\m/ They were formed in 1968.

\m/ Judas Priest's core line-up: vocalist Rob Halford (THE METAL GOD), guitarists Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing, and bassist Ian Hill.

\m/ The band has gone through several drummers over the years, though Scott Travis has held the position since 1989 and is the band's longest-serving drummer.

\m/ They have been cited as an influence on many heavy metal musicians and bands after Black Sabbath.

\m/ Their popularity and status as one of the definitive heavy metal bands has earned them the nickname "Metal Gods" from their song of the same name.

\m/ They have sold over 40 million albums worldwide.

\m/ The band got its name from the Bob Dylan song "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest", according to original vocalist Al Atkins.

Related links:
Judas Priest

IMPRINTED by Jo Schüftan (Founder of Horns Up Rocks)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday bashing with Horns Up Rocks

We just wrapped up an amazing holiday bashing weekend, which once again proved the importance of Horns Up Rocks. From the No Mercy Metal bash at Public Assembly in Brooklyn, to the Bronx takeover with Brutal Bitches Productions at Gleason’s Bar, to Death-Mas at The Trash Bar in Brooklyn, to getting Crowbent with Crowbar at Santos Party House in Manhattan… all we can say is holy f%#k Heavy Music is alive and strong here in New York goddamn City!

Thursday's bash at Public Assembly was organized by Tim Martinez (AKA DJ Tim 37), and the Gotham Rocks team. The party got kicked off by Desolate, who brought their usual face melting kick in the ass cowbell Metal. Then we all got burned by Eyes Like Cyanide, a band who recently switched singers without losing a notch of their craft.

All of a sudden we were all forced to find out what Lies Beneath, and what lies beneath is some head crushing furious Metal! Next up, was a band that always ignites the party Metal with the use of Heavy artillery and beer funnels: Slam One Down. Finishing the night was Fin’Amor, who laid down every part of their set with extreme precision. All in all, another night of bringing people together for some head-banging exercises.

On Friday we were invited by Alissa Shimansky of Brutal Bitches Productions, to experience some punishing brutality at Gleason’s bar. After cranking some tunes and getting the house warmed up, our founder Jo Schuftan dedicated the night to Dimebag Darrell Abbott (Pantera/Damageplan) and John Lennon (The Beatles), who were shot on the same date (December 8). Soon after, he introduced Resolution 15: a band that always proofs that violins are Metal as hell! Following Resolution 15 was Everything’s Ruined, who displayed some hard hitting skills that made the bar shake like an earthquake. Then Perish the Thought laid down the law, with some hard hitting shredding sounds. Finishing the night of brutality was Karnage Krew, who brought various flavors of Heavy Music, including Thrash Metal, Hardcore, and good ol' Punk rock. The event was followed by a chaotic after party, and a brutal hangover.

"Brutal Bitches Productions has come a long way since forming in January. Last week's amazing show has proven that heavy music still thrives in the Bronx. The amazing line up of bands absolutely K-I-L-L-E-D I-T. There is so much underground talent out here, and we are glad to be putting our own dent in the history of the Metal scene. We look forward to continuing the tradition for the hungry fans and skilled bands of our area throughout 2011 and beyond" (Alissa Shimansky of Brutal Bitches Productions)

Saturday night we took over The Trash Bar, and the vibe couldn't have been better. From the moment our founder Jo Schuftan started the night with some Lamb Of God, the venue started getting packed. The first band of the night was Death Immortal, who immediately got the crowd going furious thanks to their stage presence and musical power. Then Thinning the Herd did what they do best: make bodies groove with their heavy sludge! Then Delaware's The World Lost rocked the fuck out and managed to leave the crowd hungry for King Hell. The Funk Metal masters always deliver the horns and the leather. Saturday was no exception. They sounded crisp, and made sure nobody stood still. After the intensity of King Hell, the crowd needed some energy. Thankfully, Ikillya made sure to inject every person in the crowd with a lethal dose of adrenalized Death Metal. Ending the night was Oddman In, who delivered a fun and Heavy performance. Once we wrapped things up, we headed to Duff’s Brooklyn and celebrated the life of Dimebag Darrell Abbott. What a night!

What people are saying about Death-Mas 2010:

"Thanks to all you King-Hellions and all the other killer bands we played with Saturday at The Trash Bar: IKILLYA, Odd Man In, Death Immortal, World Lost, and THINNING THE HERD. Also, special thanks to Jo Schuftan and Horns Up Rocks for the excellent promotional work. Everyone involved made it an AMAZING, SOLD OUT F@CKING NIGHT!!! In gratitude, we bought you all a bitchin' bouquet. See ya at Ace Of Clubs on 1/14!" (King Hell)

"Thanks to everyone who came out to the Trash Bar last night! Great show and some awesome bands. See you all soon!" (IkillYa)

"Brooklyn was amazing! We need to thank Evil Steve, King Hell, THINNING THE HERD, IKILLYA, Death Immortal, Odd Man In, and Wyld Chyld Brooklyn. You Packed the house for us and treated us as if we were one of your own. We will not forget that. We can't wait to come back and kick some more ass with you guys and we will be bringing you all to Delaware to kill it with us! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!" )The World Lost)

"Last night at Trash Bar was amazing! So inspiring to see the hard work put in by the artists and the dedication of the crowd to create such an incredible night. Big time thanks to everyone that sweat for this event! To all you headbangers that crowded the place, you 'effin rule \m/" (Daniel Martinez from King Hell)

"The best Brooklyn crowd we've EVER played for... METAL LIVES IN BROOKLYN!!!" (Doc Thompson from King Hell)

"Death-Mas at trash was Awesome! Thanks to everyone who played and came to hang with us." (Bryan Dundon from King Hell)

"Yo! Saturday was off the chain. Thanks for everything!" (Gavin Spielman from Thinning The Herd)

"The gig at The Trash Bar on Saturday night was out of control! Thanks to all the bands that played and hung out with us! Big ups to Evil Steve, Snarky Mamacita, Todd Dupee, Nancy (Kink Magazine Owner), Horns Up Rocks for putting it all together, and of course, all the fans that showed up in full force! Thank you all! :D" (Death Immortal)

"Dude, last night was fucking awesome!!" (Mark Johnson of Death Immortal)

"You fucking rock!!!!! Full house at the Trash Bar!!!! I'd like to thank Joseph Schüftan from Horns Up Rocks for a FANTASTIC night. The Trash Bar was filled to the rim!" (Nancy from King Magazine)

"Great night at the Trash bar. I have NEVER (in the 4 years I've been doing this) seen The Trash Bar that full! What a blast! Awesome job! HORNS UP!" (Bob Marino of FN Radio)

"We get to The Trash Bar and the place is PACKED! I’m talking wall to wall, front to back, shoulder to shoulder packed. We make it into the back room for the show and we had to muscle our way to the bar for a drink. I see some people I know as well as the people who are running the show. Jo Schuftan from Horns Up Rocks and ‘Evil’Steve Ventura who booked the show as a fund raiser for Toys for Tots." (Judge McPoach of Slam One Down)

For videos, pictures, and more about these events, PLUS the Kirk Windstein (Crowbar, Down, Kingdom of Sorrow) interview, stay tuned to HornsUpRocks.com!!!

We want to thank the No Mercy Metal Crew, the ladies from Brutal Bitches Productions, the staff at The Trash Bar, the Death-Mas crew: Daniel Martinez (King Hell/Alekhine’s Gun), Jason Lekbergh (Ikillya), and Alex Dementia (The Resurrection Sorrow). Billy Deluso (Wyld Chyld Tattoo), Evil Steve (OFN Radio), Jimmy Duff (Duff’s Brooklyn), all the bands that participated, the fans, and of course the Horns Up Rocks familia! \m/

Related links:
No Mercy Metal
Slam One Down
Eyes Like Cyanide
Lies Beneath
Brutal Bitches Productions
Carnage Krew
Resolution 15
Everythings Ruined
Perish the Thought
King Hell
The World Lost
Thinning The Herd
Odd Man In
Death Immortal
FN Radio

IMPRINTED by Jo Schüftan (Founder of Horns Up Rocks)