During last summer's Ozzfest, a disturbing yet somewhat amusing tradition of sorts was birthed — one several second-stage acts ritualistically ended their days with.
After the shows, some bandmembers would plop themselves down in a long line of lawn chairs situated across the street from the parking lot of whatever venue they'd just collectively rattled. There, the musicians would sit and chug cans of lukewarm beer while brutally taunting the hundreds of kids — who'd just paid good money to roast the day away in the blistering sun and take in the metal — as they returned to their cars.
The bands dubbed it "Lurker's Row." Bob Meadows, frontman for Philadelphia metalcore extremists A Life Once Lost, witnessed these nightly roasts from time to time — but as a spectator, he said.
"It was kind of funny, but really, I was always like, 'Dang — I can't believe we're sitting here, just belittling all of these people who came out to a festival that we just played. This is how we're treating our friends and new guests — let's just torment them and make fun of them while they're leaving,' " he said. "Don't get me wrong — I will make fun of someone if I know them. But I think that kind of stuff is a little weird. I was made fun of in school a lot, so I try to stay away from making fun of people I don't know. I need positivity in my life."
"Lurker's Row" was just one of the ways the bands battled the boredom that comes with touring. Whether it returns in '07 remains to be seen; its revival rests solely with Hatebreed, the one act that'll be coming back for this summer's rendition.
While A Life Once Lost don't condone such tomfoolery, on their forthcoming LP — the head-crushing, incredibly abrasive, self-produced Iron Gag — Meadows does call out a few of the people who've pissed him off in recent years. But not by name, of course.
"There's just a lot of things I've wanted to say to a lot of people on this record," he explained. "Even within a song, there could be two or three people I'm talking about. It was just inspired by a lot of things I've wanted to say but haven't because I had to watch myself. There are so many ugly things going on in the music scene and life, and I was just like, 'F--- it, if I say something that's going to piss someone off, then it wasn't meant to be anyway. Let me just get this all off my chest.' So, this album's just really pissed, and it's just very vicious."
The songs on Iron Gag — like "Ill Will," "Firewater Joyride" and "Worship" — take jabs at womanizers, racists, addicts and those who Meadows believes aren't living up to their full potential. The singer said Iron Gag "sounds nothing like [2005's] Hunter," adding that, "the recording quality, to my ears, is just a million times better.
"The songs are just way more fierce," he continued. "There's just an element about it that Hunter didn't have, and I think maybe that was just us doing it ourselves. It was us learning from [Hunter producer and Anthrax guitarist] Rob Caggiano how to actually approach the songs and my working with [Lamb of God's] Randy Blythe on the vocal production, which taught me how to approach the songs well. And with all of that working together, we've definitely put out a record that's going to move a lot of heads — make people turn around and be like, 'Holy sh--.' It's a monster of a release."
The band spent four months — or more specifically, six hours a day, five days a week — working on Iron Gag, and Blythe's guidance helped Meadows turn in what he says is the best performance he was capable of.
"Randy came in, and I would say it was more like he helped me with certain accents on the words — certain ways of approaching my delivery," he said. "The lines and the phrasing, that was already done before we met up. To me, to come into the studio and to have him sitting in there and never hearing the songs before and being like, 'Dude, that's pretty sick. I never would have thought of that,' or, 'I like what you're doing there, but how about you bring that word up a little higher at the end, to give it that extra oomph.' "
The band also benefited from Blythe's past work with the producing likes of Machine and Devin Townsend. "You can just hear it coming out of him," Meadows said of the noticeable influence the producers have had on the Lamb of God frontman. "This guy's been wrapped up in it for years, and he really knows what he's talking about. I knew exactly how I wanted it to sound like, and how pissed I wanted it to be, but having someone like Randy come in only adds so much more intensity to it."
Look for Iron Gag to land in stores in August, Meadows said.
The rest of the week's metal news:
Necrophagist have a new drummer in Marco Minnemann. He replaces Hannes Grossmann, who left the band earlier this year. "The band is absolutely stoked to announce that Minnemann will be drumming on the new Necrophagist album, due in 2008," read a statement from the German technical death metallers. "We can't wait to work on arranging the new songs with such an incredibly talented, proficient and complete musician." ... Behemoth's forthcoming LP The Apostasy is in the bag. Recorded in the Polish band's hometown of Gdansk with frontman Nergal and longtime sound engineer Malta behind the boards, the disc is due in July. ... Swedish metal titans Soilwork continue to work on their next opus, which should surface later this year. Frontman Björn Strid is currently in Canada tracking vocals for the yet-untitled LP with producer Devin Townsend, who helmed 2002's Natural Born Chaos. The band does admit, though, that it's still got "a long way to go" before the album is completed. Look for the disc to include "Your Beloved Scapegoat," "Light Discovering Darkness" and "The Pittsburgh Syndrome." ...
Nile, who'll spend this summer playing Ozzfest's second stage, have entered the mixing phase for their forthcoming LP, Ithyphallic. "There are nine songs and one short acoustic piece," writes the band, "yet overall, a wide range of tempos, some doomy, exotic elements as well as some unbelievably fast and catchy metal." The record will boast "Language of the Shadows," "Even the Gods Must Die" and the brevity-challenged "Papyrii Containing the Spell to Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From He Who Is in the Water." ... If you're craving something more extreme and violent than Sounds of the Underground or Ozzfest, you might wanna check out the Summer Slaughter tour. The gore-drenched traveling fest features Necrophagist, Decapitated, Cephalic Carnage, Cattle Decapitation, Beneath the Massacre, the Faceless, As Blood Runs Black, Arsis and Ion Dissonance. Dates run from June 1 in Clifton Park, New York, through July 8 in New York. Careful in the mosh pit: Spilled blood is way slippery. ... Thine Eyes Bleed, the Canadian thrash band featuring bassist Johnny Araya (brother of Slayer frontman Tom), are hard at work on their second full-length album. The band tracked the disc at Beach Road Studios in Goderich, Ontario, with producer Siegfried Meier and are getting ready to mix. "Things couldn't have been better this time around," singer Justin Wolfe said. "We were able to listen and create without the pressures of budget and time and it's really going to show." The yet-untitled album is scheduled for release this summer. ...
Austin, Texas, black-metal band Averse Sefira will remain on tour with 1349 through Monday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, then they'll return home to continue working on their next album. While the release of the disc is still many months away, the band has already hired Jos. A. Smith — best known for painting the goat on Bathory's 1984 self-titled debut — to create the cover art. Earlier this month, Averse Sefira reissued their long-out-of-print debut album, Battle Clarion. ... Riverside, California, hardcore-metal band Suicide Silence have just finished recording their debut album, which was produced by John Travis (Static-X, Zebrahead) and mixed by Tue Madsen (Witchery, Kataklysm). The yet-untitled disc will be released this summer. "Working with John Travis was definitely an amazing experience," singer Mitch Lucker said. "He had us track everything live in order in order to capture the intensity we were aiming for." The disc will feature guest vocals by new Through the Eyes of the Dead singer Nate Johnson. Suicide Silence are on tour with Stick to Your Guns through Wednesday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Two days later they'll launch a tour with Bury Your Dead in Rochester, New York, with dates running through June 3 in Chicopee, Massachusetts. ...
Terror have been added to the Monsters of Mayhem II tour, which also features Hatebreed, God Forbid, Evergreen Terrace and the Acacia Strain. "Overall, this tour has a great lineup," Terror frontman Scott Vogel said. "For starters, we are very excited to be going out with Hatebreed again. They are influential and inspirational, and there is no other band we would rather tour with. And God Forbid is a band we always thought we should tour with, so we are glad to finally be going out with them." The tour launches May 18 in Rochester, New York, and runs through June 7 in Omaha, Nebraska. ... Lacuna Coil have posted the new video for "Within Me" on their MySpace page. The clip was shot in February in Italy. The band will remain on the road with the Jägermeister Music Tour, which also features Stone Sour and Shadows Fall, through May 4 in Des Moines. On May 7, Lacuna Coil will launch a headline tour in Louisville, Kentucky, with Within Temptation, In This Moment and Stolen Babies. Stolen Babies will support LC throughout, while the other bands will only play select shows — as will the Gathering and Kylesa. For the tour, Lacuna Coil are inviting fans to choose the set list — right here. Voting ends April 20. ...
Industrial-metal band Hardwire: The Industrial Hardcore Tech will write a song for an upcoming horror film tentatively titled "The 3rd Night on Winter Drive." Guitarist/singer Mike Marsh is currently scoring the film, which he also co-produced, co-wrote and acted in with costar Patti Tindall ("Machined"). "The film centers on a paranormal investigator who is hired to investigate a house where an upstanding religious family lived and was murdered," Marsh said. "It's like a cross between 'The Amityville Horror' and the television show 'Ghost Hunters.' " Postproduction is expected to be completed in May in time to submit the movie to film festivals. ... Testament singer Chuck Billy, ex-Exodus singer Steve "Zetro" Souza and Laaz Rockit's Willy Lange have re-formed their '80s Dublin, California, outfit Dublin Death Patrol. Over the past six months, the guys have been rearranging and restructuring old songs and working on new material. An album recorded with Vinnie Wojno is forthcoming. "This is what we have to give to the metal world," Souza said, "a kick-ass, straight-up, aggressive and in your f---ing face album of music by guys just from Dublin, California."