Ringworm on Van Troubles and New Album, Hammer of the Witch

Categories: Interview, Metal

Scott Schumacher
Ringworm play Thee Parkside on Sunday, April 13.

After 23 years, Ringworm has retained its credibility as a genre-defining powerhouse of hardcore metal through a simple formula: the perverse onslaught of listeners' ears. The Cleveland outfit clobbers through speed-picked, palm-muted riffs -- following in the steps of thrash gods Kreator -- and conjures half-time breakdowns that elicit the hellion mosher in hardcore fans. Vocalist James "Human Furnace" Bulloch spews offensive lyrics like his blood is boiling. Touring behind its latest full-length, Hammer of the Witch, Ringworm is expected to aggravate the audience with tracks like "Bleed" and "Psychic Vampire," along with such classics as "Justice Replaced by Revenge." Ringworm, along with supporting acts Death Before Dishonor, Relentless, and Let It Burn, play Thee Parkside this Sunday, April 13 at 8 p.m. for $10. Bulloch took a break while on the road to speak with SF Weekly about the hardships of touring after 20-plus years in the scene, the new album Hammer of the Witch, and the transition to Relapse Records. Check out their album while you read.

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Metallica's New Song Is an Eight-Minute Bone-Crusher Called "The Lords of Summer"

Categories: Metal

Metallica performing in Bogotá.
Metallica has a new song. The Bay Area metal titans debuted a work tentatively titled "The Lords of Summer" at a show in Bogotá, Columbia, last night, after warning Rolling Stone of its impending arrival. It certainly sounds like Metallica: The new, unfinished work is a long, lumbering, bone-crushing metal epic, with a chorus refrain that goes something like, "the lords of summer have returned." Ulrich warned RS that this is by no means a complete work and may undergo extensive revisions as the bands performs it on tour. But nonetheless, it is a new Metallica song. In between tour dates, the group is working on a follow-up to its last full-length, 2008's brutal Death Magnetic. Like that album, this seems a return to the group's pre-1991, metal-epic form. Hear the new song below:

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How the Hell Is Metallica Going to Perform With a Classical Pianist at the Grammys?

Categories: Metal, The Grammys

Can you imagine a classical piano on this stage?
Metallica can't do anything normally anymore. The band put out a concert film that was also a sci-fi doom story -- whose soundtrack has been nominated for a Grammy. It played a goddamn headphone concert in Antarctica. And now, Metallica is playing at the Grammy Awards ceremony for the first time in 23 years -- but apparently not as the Metallica we know.

Metallica is performing at the Grammys with Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang. And not to pooh-pooh the thing at all, but we just cannot figure out how "Metallica" -- which means pummeling, titanic riffs -- and "classical pianist" -- which means dynamic agility and tonal subtlety -- will go together. And we aren't alone. Over at the NYT, Allan Kozinn said the performance "promises to be either an inspired pairing or a train wreck in the making."

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Kirk Hammett To Perform With Exodus, His Old Band, at Fear FestEvil in Feburary

Categories: Metal, Only in SF

As any self-respecting metalhead knows, Kirk Hammett was not Metallica's original lead guitarist. He joined up after fiery redhead and consummate asshole Dave Mustaine got the boot. And Hammett wasn't just out there in the ether, doing nothing -- he was slinging axes for one of the Bay Area's other thrash metal greats, Exodus.

Nowadays, Hammett, who lives in his native S.F., has a habit of showing up to jam with local metal veterans who happen to be in town. (Remember when he played with Anthrax?) Usually it's a surprise, but today, Hammett announced that he will be rejoining his old band mates in Exodus when they play a big show in S.F. next month.

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The 10 Best Bay Area Metal Albums of 2013

It was a big year for metal in the Bay Area, the year one band caught the attention of pretty much everyone, including the advertising team at Apple. That breakthrough album made our list, of course, but so did a number of other excellent local metal releases you may not have heard. Here's our roundup of the 10 best heavy local records of the year.

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Watch: Best-Ever Slayer Christmas Lights Display Gets You in the Holideath Mood

Categories: Holidays, Metal

The snowman headbangs. The drummer tosses his stick into the air and catches it. The other snowman sings the words. Meanwhile, the whole house -- and the adjacent tree -- flash, whirr, and rush in a stream of colored lights to the tune and rhythm of Slayer's "Angel of Death." The YouTuber known as Slayer Bob has been at this rare magic before; we even posted his handiwork back in 2010. He was going to mix things up this Christmas with a non-Slayer synchronized Christmas light display. But after guitarist Jeff Hanneman died earlier this year, he knew he had to do one last tribute to the thrash-metal greats. And what a tribute it is. Behold:

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Metallica Finds San Francisco Too Warm, Plays Show in Antarctica

Categories: Metal, WTF

Freeze 'Em All
Because San Francisco isn't chilly enough right now, the members of a marginally famous local rock 'n' roll band called Metallica went somewhere a little colder for a one-off show this weekend.


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Morbid Angel's David Vincent on Leaving, and Rejoining, the Band: "I Retreated From Everything"

Steven Chew
Morbid Angel at Slim's last week. Read our review of the show.
As lead singer of the only death metal band your mother might have heard of (she hasn't), Morbid Angel's David Vincent shoulders a not-insignificant privilege. Alongside guitarist Trey Azagthoth, he ushered the Tampa outfit through most of its two-decades-plus career into the first major label deal for a death metal band, past the (good-humoredly) upturned noses of Beavis and Butt Head, and into six-figure album sales. Morbid Angel won this success without any "just kidding" qualifiers attached to the profane imagery and rhetoric that betrayed its earnest involvement in magic and the occult. Both Vincent and Azagthoth attest to the influence of such far-flung pagan inspirations as ancient Sumerian gods, the Necronomicon, and... Tony Robbins.

Vincent, however, took a hiatus from the band after 1995's Domination and joined industrial metal outfit the Genitorturers alongside wife and lead singer Gen. He rejoined Morbid Angel in 2004 and, after a series of reunion shows (and maybe not the most celebrated comeback album of all time, 2011's Illud Divinum Insanus), he's back on the road celebrating his band's crown jewel, 1993's Covenant. 2 Minutes to Midnight spoke with him on Thanksgiving Eve, mere hours before he presented that record to a rabid crowd at Slim's.

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Metal Cellist Jackie Perez Gratz of Grayceon and Giant Squid on Why She Wouldn't Want to Do Music Full-Time

Jackie Perez Gratz with Giant Squid
Jackie Perez Gratz has graced the local metal scene with her electric cello since the late '90s, when she was part of the seminal neo-classical/metal chamber ensemble Amber Asylum. Since then she's helped found Grayceon, arguably the best prog metal trio out there, with drummer Zack Farwell and fingerstyle electric guitarist Max Doyle, and joined Giant Squid, the post-metal juggernaut founded by her partner, guitarist AJ Gregory. In 2011, Gratz and Gregory welcomed their daughter Pearl into the world (whom Gratz commemorated with this year's Grayceon release Pearl and the End of Days) and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. In addition to a handful of tours and recordings with both bands, she is still lending strings to bands like OM and holding down her day job as a production manager at Electronic Arts. In the midst of preparing for three local shows with Seattle epic doom titans Lesbian (including a gig this Thursday, Nov. 7, at the S.F. Eagle), she took the time to tells us why playing the cello is all about hugs.

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The Sad State of Nostalgia-Bound Metal Reunions

In keeping with the rest of the entertainment world's ever-blossoming desire to cling to the warm, fuzzy blanket of existing intellectual property, with its easily calculable returns on investment, it seems like everyone everyone is getting the band back together. And if the band in question never broke up, it's touring on the promise of performing a classic album, often one that dropped in the '80s or '90s, when more people listened to a collection of songs all the way through, and when merely selling tens of thousands of records -- even hundreds of thousands in some cases -- could've been considered a flop. It's the creative equivalent of finding a five-dollar-bill in an old pair of jeans. But when does focusing on old work become a crutch for new bands that haven't got it anymore? And when does fan nostalgia lead bands who are still making interesting music to perform dull greatest-hits sets, instead of pushing their sound (and their fans) forward?

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