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Black Metal Friday: Tsjuder “Norwegian Apocalypse (2006 Live DVD)
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Tsjuder Band Photo

Norwegian extreme metal band Tsjuder has had a rocky history. Their numerous line-up changes, break-ups, and other assorted misfortunes have resulted in the band only releasing five full-length albums in its tumultuous 23-year career.

But, when they’re active they are super influential, as evidenced in today’s Black Metal Friday selection. Tsjuder’s 2006 live DVD Norwegian Apocalypse shows the band in all of its live glory.

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Massive Metal Monday: Meshuggah “Clockworks”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Meshuggah Band Photo

Swedish Metal juggernaut Meshuggah has just released its eighth studio album, The Violent Sleep of Reason, via Nuclear Blast Records. The album is true to the band’s pummeling, polyrhythmic pedigree. Definitely not easy listening, but well worth the journey for the truly progressive metalhead.

“Clockworks,” the album’s jarringly massive opening track, clocks in at over seven minutes, so naturally they made it also the first official video. The visually morphing landscape of the clip is a perfect analogy for the music that accompanies it. But then trying to describe either the music or the visuals is roughly equivalent to trying to describe the power and devastation of a hurricane to someone who’s never been through one.

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Massive Metal Monday: Metallica’s Cliff Burton “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Cliff Burton of Metallica

Thirty years ago tomorrow, September 27, 1986, the metal world lost one of its brightest stars. While on tour in support of their magnum opus Master of Puppets, Metallica were involved in a tragic bus accident that claimed the life of their 24-year-old bass prodigy Cliff Burton.

Burton was asleep in a top bunk near the open escape hatch when the drive of the tour bus lost control on an icy road, causing the bus to flip over. The bassist was ejected through the hatch and crushed by the rolling vehicle. It was a tragic end to a brief but stellar career for a man that many consider to be the greatest metal bassist of all time and the unquestionable heart and soul of one of metal’s most beloved bands.

So, to commemorate this somber anniversary, this week’s Massive Metal Monday is dedicated to the memory and legacy of the immortal Cliff Burton. Here is the master performing his signature song live in 1983. This is “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth).”

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Black Metal Friday: Carach Angren “When Crows Tick On Windows”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Carach Angren Band Photo

Carach Angren means “Iron Jaws” in the Elvish language of Sindarin and appears as the name of a mountain pass in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is also the moniker of one of symphonic metal’s most celebrated modern bands.

Hailing from The Netherlands, Carach Angren (the band) has released four full-length albums and two extended plays since their formation in 2003. All of the band’s records so far have been horror-themed concept albums. The latest of those endeavors is the 2015 album This Is No Fairytale.

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Massive Metal Monday: Lizzy Borden “Give ‘Em The Axe”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Lizzy Borden Band Photo

Lizzy Borden may not be the most famous band to emerge from L.A.’s Sunset Strip glam metal scene in the ’80s, but it is certainly one of the longest-running and most influential. Starting out in 1983 and first gaining notoriety when their track “Rod of Iron” appeared on Metal Blade Records’ Metal Massacre IV compilation, the shock rockers would go on to create some of the greatest and most influential and enduring metal of the era.

Despite numerous lineup changes (including those brought on by the deaths of two members in separate traffic accidents), the singer and mainstay who also happens to be named Lizzy Borden (after the notorious 1800’s figure Lizzie Borden who was accused and later acquitted of killing her parents with an axe) continues to write, record, and tour to this day.

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Spotlight On Local: Once Bitten, Twice Shire
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Marissa Bergen   |  
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Alan Santalesa and Izzy Stradlin in Shire

Anyone who’s ever watched a rockumentary on hair metal in the mid 80’s probably has a pretty good idea of what the night life was like up on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles… the spandex and leather… the drunken debauchery… But let’s back up a few years to a time when the hair was not quite so high, and the eyeliner was not quite so thick.

To start at the beginning would be to tell the tale of so many other 16-year-old kids with a rock n’ roll dream — rehearsing in their parent’s garage and playing the Hollywood High Battle of The Bands. Singer David Anthony and guitarist Alan Santalesa were getting frustrated after spending a year looking for a perfect rhythm section, and soon settled on some kids from the South Bay… and so Shire was born.

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Massive Metal Monday: Meshuggah “Born In Dissonance”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Meshuggah Band Photo

Meshuggah is widely considered to be one of the most important bands in the extreme metal world. Amongst the first bands to use eight-sting guitars and featuring chaotic polyrhythms and dissonance, Meshuggah’s music has redefined what it means to be “heavy” in the 21st century.

It has been over four years since the Swedish powerhouse has graced us with a new record. But that’s all about to change on October 7, 2016 when the eighth album of their nearly 30-year career drops. The disc is titled The Violent Sleep of Reason and will be released via the Nuclear Blast label.

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Black Metal Friday: Darkthrone “Tundra Leech”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Darkthrone Band Photo

You know it’s going to be a good week whenever there is a new Darkthrone track. When said track is a return to form that harkens back to the band’s ’90s heyday, you know it’s going to be a great week. And that is where today finds us. The Norwegian gods of black metal have gifted us with the first single from their upcoming sixteenth studio album Arctic Thunder, which will be released on October 14, 2016 via Peaceville Records. After nearly a dozen year diversion, Darktrhone have decided to cast off the black-n-roll and crust punk diversions and get back down to their black metal roots.

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Massive Metal Monday: W.A.S.P. “Sleeping In The Fire”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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W.A.S.P. Band Photo 1984

Los Angeles shock rockers W.A.S.P. burst onto the scene in 1984 with what remains to this day one of the greatest debut albums in metal history. The self titled disc was raw, powerful and visceral. This, combined with their legendary live shows, seemed to make the band an overnight sensation.

In reality, the foursome were long-time veterans of the L.A. metal scene. Leader Blackie Lawless had once been Johnny Thunders’ replacement in the New York Dolls and later been a member of legendary underground bands Sister (which also included future W.A.S.P. guitarist Randy Piper) and London (also featuring future Motley Crue leader Nikki Sixx). Guitarist Chris Holmes had grown up with the Van Halen brothers in Pasadena and had even loaned Eddie Van Halen many of the guitars with which he was photographed for many of the early VH promo photos.

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Massive Metal Monday: Allegaeon “Gray Matter Mechanics”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Allegaeon Band Photo 2016

Colorado’s Allegaeon is one of the most exciting bands the technical death metal genre today. That’s why fans were given cause for concern when the band announced last year that they had parted ways with founding member, vocalist Ezra Haynes. But recently those concerns have been laid to rest with the release of the first advanced single from their upcoming fourth album Proponent For Sentience. The track is titled “Gray Matter Mechanics” and is our first glimpse of new vocalist Riley McShane. The new frontman seems to be a perfect fit with Allegation’s particular blend of goofiness and scientific nerdy-ness. This is thinking man’s metal that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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