Metal Thunder Radio broke ground this past Saturday, January 12, 2013, when they broadcast their first ever live underground metal concert on online radio. Hosts Brian, Scott, and Ron, with cooperation from Wendigo Productions were streaming live from New York's St. Vitus bar Saturday bringing an entire live show to the homes of many fans worldwide. The lineup included Thorn Constellation, Sacrificial Blood, Midnite Hellion, Prime Evil, Deceased, and headlining act; Malignancy.
Metal Thunder Radio is live every Tuesday from 9:00 - 10:00 PM eastern standard time on mixlr.com. The online radio website allows users to stream the live radio show and chat with the hosts and other users at the same time. Saturday's broadcast live concert was the brainchild of the hosts for some time and was finally made a reality with cooperation from Wendigo Productions. MTR chose a stellar lineup of their favorite bands from the New York metal scene along with a few faves from surrounding states. The entire show was broadcast with witty banter from the hosts and live interviews between the sets. Your humble narrator was able to attend the show from right here in central Ohio. Many other metal heads joined as well from other parts of the nation including Philadelphia, Illinois, and many fans from places abroad like; El Salvador, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Brazil, Asia, and England.
The show started with a mind boggling set by NY's Thorn Constellation, who could not have hit the ground running any harder. Their set was so tight, and full of energy it set the bar very high for the rest of the night's performances. Thorn Constellations music is gritty and raw, right on time, yet not over produced. Any fan of Burn the Priest, or early Lamb of God would appreciate this band as something to fill the gap left when LOG changed their artistic direction and started working for the money. Singer, John Alaia's vocals are reminiscent of a young Randy Blythe but with ten fold the power. MTR host Brian raved after the set about how absolutely awesome and energetic TC's performance was. John Alaia was interviewed before and after the set and even took time to thank some of the online listeners, by name, between songs. What a way to start the night!
The next two sets while rocking in their own way, fell a little short of the bar set by openers Thorn Constellation. Perhaps TC would have been best saved for later in the show? The second band to take the stage was Sacrificial Blood, another NY native. This is a very old school death influenced outfit with raspy guttural vocals and a very fun pace. This examiner would definitely show them some support! Sacrificial Blood was followed by Trenton, New Jersey's Midnite Hellion. Singer Bill Dripps announced that Saturday was Midnite Hellion's fourth performance at St. Vitus, and with each performance there had been a different singer. Dripps being the fourth singer, fourth show. Hang in there buddy! MH's sound is a bit like early "NWBHM" (new wave of British Heavy Metal circa the 1970's-1980's). Fans of Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead, etc would like Midnite Hellion. They are a very grass roots band with a lot of local support in the underground metal scene. Everyone raved about MH's performance. Malignancy's Danny Nelson said he and his bassist Monty Mukerji were getting down to their set in the back at the merch booth, even busting out the air guitar.
Before Midnite Hellion took the stage Metal Thunder interviewed Ron Kachnic, the sole guitarist from Malignancy. Many chat users gave Ron shout outs and were even able to ask him a few questions through the hosts. Ron talked a bit about some of Malignancy's line up changes over the years, and the recording of their recent release, Eugenics. The highlight of Ron's interview was the news of the projects he has in the works for future release. Look forward to a project called Placenta Garden featuring Ron, Monty, and Danny from Malignancy with head Trauma's Desmond Tolhurst (former member of Malig and Mortician), and David Dement from Short Bus Pileup, on drums. This will be shredding grindcore with Danny performing a range of different vocal styles. Also soon to come from Ron, Desmond Tolhurst, and Malignancy's 2012 tour drummer, the infamous jazz professional Alex Cohen, is the Pallisade Power Trio. This will be an experiment in progressive music featuring Ron on a 12 string electric acoustic Ovation guitar. Very exciting things to look forward to from the Malig family!
Two more artists were interviewed before the fourth set of the night. King Fowley the drummer/vocalist of the legendary Deceased. He was ill but spoke briefley about the bands 29th year together and big plans for upcoming tours. Then MTR spoke with Sacrificial Blood's Mike Keller who says the band is planning to sign soon with a label. Keller did not divulge any information about which label the band will soon call home, telling fans rather to keep their eyes open for the news coming soon.
New York's own Prime Evil was the fourth to take the stage. Their set was great! Very old school American death metal with a fast trotting pace that warmed the crowd up for the upcoming brutal set from Deceased. First however the MTR hosts, lively, and full of libation, got a chance to talk to Drew Rizzo about what is going on with Midnite Hellion. The band has a bunch of news for the metal world. MH will have a new guitarist in 2013, Matt Runge. They are also recording their first full length EP this year and have a tour planned with a big name act whose identity will be released to the public all in due time kiddies!
The pinnacle of the evening's interviews came next when Scott, Ron, and Brian got a chance to chat with Danny Nelson, the singer, founding member, and brainchild behind Malignancy's lyrics and album themes. It was quickly agreed between the users in the chat room that Danny is one of the most down to Earth and honestly likeable musicians in the business. The all around good guy and goof-off was quick to renounce his opportunity to discuss Malignancy choosing rather to personally thank Metal Thunder Radio for what they are doing, as a fan. He gave props to MTR for filling a much needed gap in the music scene. "Metal Thunder Radio are very good at what they do, which is promote and play underground music." said Nelson genuinely. When probed to talk about himself, Danny said he doesn't let the bit of fame Malignancy has experienced go to his head. He likes to have fun without the egos and pretentious attitudes that some bands adopt. Metal should be about friends having fun, playing/listening to the music they love, drinking beers and grabbing each other's wive's butts.
In a brilliant precursor to Malignancy's performance Deceased finally takes stage. Formed in Virginia in 1984 by drummer/vocalist King Fowley, Deceased was the first band to sign to Relapse records. Though the band has evolved, adding layers of skill to their music over their 29 years together, they stay true to their original gritty hardcore/thrash roots. Amongst their charms are the lyrics and themes of the songs which are centered mostly around zombies and classic works of horror. The Deceased set was phenomenal Saturday night. King was good enough to dedicate a song to a fan in El Salvador, Jorge who was listening with us on mixlr.com. Unfortunately the show then went off air for 3 minutes in the first of a few moments of buffering. Surely Jorge was losing his mind with delight and frustration.
At last Malignancy takes the stage in possibly the area's only performance with drummer Mike Heller. As the band gets set, front man Danny Nelson cajoles the audience while the Inspector Gadget theme rolls in the background. When the music starts Nelson is transformed into a savage, growling beast. If there really was something in the closet in your room at night, this is what it would sound like. Of course Malig's set was amazing! Ron and Monty nailed it, and Mike was so absolutely sick, he may have even sped the timing of some of the songs up just a bit. As usual Danny kept it fun tossing props like a saxophone and some hats into the crowd during the set and ranting about a simpler time when women wore unshaven pubic hair and thong underwear.
Though there were a few moments of silence for online listeners overall the entire show went very well. The sound was really very good. Mixlr users provided feedback to the MTR hosts as the night progressed about the sound and adjustments were made frequently. When interviewed after the show Ed from Wendigo productions was ecstatic. He said the show was a big success with St. Vitus selling out beyond capacity. Actually the best metal show he has ever produced, to date. MTR and Wendigo Productions brought the metal community much closer Saturday night, giving die hard fans in places like Mexico, El Salvador, and the UK access to a full night of live music. Fans of underground music, and Metal Thunder Radio can only hope Brian, Scott, and Ron will want to do this again and again.