Who am I? As you can see above, my name is Jared Lubawski. I’ve played in a few local bands; Hellisher, Beneath the Remains, and most recently Rottrevore. I am a metal head. Like many of you, I live for this stuff. It gets in the way of my outside life on a daily basis. That doesn’t stop any of us from doing what we do though.
You may ask, what are Jared’s goals for this… what is he trying to do? My goals are simple. I want this to be a community driven, monthly circular that talks about the happenings in the community. I think there are a lot of good things that are taking place; The Pittsburgh Scene website, Iron Atrocity compilation, the attendance of shows is on the rise, as well as the rise of some communities on Facebook, just to mention a few. There have been awesome CD releases this year, Dethlehem, Crown the Lost, Beneath the Remains, Iron Atrocity Vol. 1, Molasses Barge, Argus, as well as many others. There are also many records in the works from Leprosy, United by Hate, Liquified Guts, Basick Sickness, Rottrevore, and again… many others.
Please, take some time to check out your local music scene. There is a lot of good stuff out there to listen to that isn’t the same garbage funneled through the radio every day.
Iron Atrocity Kicks Off
By: Scott Massie
In June of this year, the Innervenus Music Collective put out it's 16th release, a compilation exclusively of Pittsburgh metal music called Iron Atrocity Vol. 1. Since it's release, the compilation has created quite a buzz, and rightfully so. It boasts a 24 page booklet of photos and bios, and 16 blistering tracks from Hero Destroyed, Complete Failure, Storm King, Invader, Fist Fight in the Parking Lot, Molasses Barge, Sistered, Dethlehem, Brutal Epidemic, Beneath the Remains, Ten of Swords, Torrential Bleeding, Metacide, Leprosy, Abysme & Vulture. Oh, and it was handmade and given away totally for free.
The following is an excerpt from the liner notes of the CD, written by Innervenus founder, Scott Massie.
"...The thing I've always appreciated about the Pittsburgh underground music scene in general, is that it's working class, dirty hands, Iron City rock. You can hear it in the sound and you can see it on the stage. There are of course exceptions, but for the most part, if you go see a band play in Pittsburgh, the members will probably look like they just finished a 10 hour shift. I like this. It just feels more real to me and I can get down with it on a personal level because there's a good chance I just did a shot 5 minutes ago with that guy who's now on stage, wiggling his cord around to figure out why his guitar doesn't work. That's pretty much how we roll. Laser lights and fog machines, not so much. I'm not bashing all that – after all, I grew up on Guns N' Roses – these are just my personal experiences and observations.
I started thinking about doing this comp in 2008. There were a lot of new bands coming out around that time, my band being one of them, and I thought it would be pretty cool to document it. As far as I know, there hasn't really been a good collection dedicated specifically to the PGH metal scene since the Steel City Aggression series back in the late 90's. A lot has changed since then and, one way or another, this just needed to happen. In February 2011, I figured that we'd waited long enough, so I set the wheels in motion by contacting a list of my favorite bands..."
To read more, physical copies of Iron Atrocity can be obtained from any of the bands (if there's any left), or you can get one with purchases from the Innervenus Merch page at www.innervenus.org. It is also available for free download at www.ironatrocity.com.
Interview with Rick Topping
Rick, you've been part of the scene for a long time... tell us about your current status?
I keep my hands in as much as I possibly have time for, but my main two focuses right now are Basick Sickness and Blackmarket Bodyparts.
I joined Basick to play guitar about a year ago and have been really enjoying what were coming up with. We released a record this year, Before it's too Late, as well as 3 videos from it. Its been great so far. Live shows have gone over well with the rock crowd and the hip-hop crowd. Its not rocket science. It's Rap/Rock... its a good time and we have fun doing it. I'm sure a lot of people are going to be filled with hate about it... but come out and see us, its interesting for sure. We're going to be putting a new record out end of 2011/early 2012 that’s going to change things even more.
As far as Blackmarket... its real simple. We do two shows a year. July and December. Our drummer Jeff lives in North Carolina, so its tough to do more. We've decided to NOT find a replacement drummer and really just treat it as a Pittsburgh only tour. Twice a year we throw a big show and have a blast doing it. The show at The Smiling Moose in July (With Lycosa, Basick Sickness and A Prior I) was a sold out show... so I'd say doing two shows a year is working out pretty well.
When I get time, I also do some acoustic open-mic nights here and there... but those are few and far between.
So, two shows a year seems to be effective for Blackmarket. Do you think more bands would benefit from this instead of playing out many times a month?
It really depends. Blackmarket used to play a lot of shows. We were doing 4 or more a month and gaining a lot of fans. Then we slowed it down and went out of town half of the time. It seemed to help but, I’m not sure if it would have had we not already done a lot of local shows.
As we all know, its hard to get people out to shows. It’s even harder multiple times a month.
With Basick Sickness, were trying to keep it to one show a month and we've steadily seen greater attendance at each show.
So I guess the answer is... Don’t overdo it on the "tour de Pittsburgh". Get out and do Washington, Greensburg, Ohio, Maryland, etc. People will be happy to come out... just not every week.
I agree with you, one or two shows a month in the 'area' works well. What are some of your favorite clubs to play at in and outside of Pittsburgh? And, what’s the craziest thing that happened at a show?
Places to play... It's interesting. It really depends on the crowd. I love to play small bar/club shows because it’s always intimate and when people get into it, it gets crazy. Sometimes the larger places are so "intimidating" when there isn’t a capacity crowd that it gets lame... With all of that said, my favorite places to play are The Smiling Moose, Diesel, 31st Street Pub, Spencer’s Down Under, and I’d love to play at Altar, but haven’t yet.
Craziest thing at a show... I have tons of stories, but ill share the two that stand out the most.
2008-ish - Ohio show with Shipwreck, I Promised, and some other bands. The stipulation was that there were supposed to be strippers on stage all night. Well, when Blackmarket got on stage... I didn’t see one stripper. I mean, I know we're ugly dudes, but come on! So I called out "where are the whores?" - Apparently the sound guy didn’t like it... whatever. A girl did come on stage and all went great.
Shipwreck comes on next and the same thing happens, so Joe Mack begins the same comments that I did... with more force. The sound guy got involved, told him to settle down and there was an exchange of words. Sound guy turns off the mic and the band turns up and just starts ripping it up. I decided to start a pit, Joe Mack decided to rip the ceiling fan out of the ceiling and chaos ensued. I remember someone trying to fight me, but then a band member grabbed a broken beer bottle and threatened the dude... We all packed up and got out of there. Great show.
The other story is 2009 at the Smiling Moose. We’re playing a song called "Jesus Saves"; which is a bit sarcastic, etc. So... anyhow. One of the female audience members decide she doesn’t like the message that I’m conveying... she decides to start spitting on me in mid song. Now, I don’t notice this. I’m sweating and the lights are in my face. After we get off stage, someone tells me about what happened. So... I went up to the table where her and her man friends sat and asked if there was a problem. The guys didn’t way much but she felt like pushing her agenda on me... so I let her finish. Then I unleashed some hell about my opinions; none of which insulted her religion in any manner; but just instead pointed out that I was doing a show, playing a part, etc. etc. 10 minutes later, she comes up to me crying and apologizing; and for the coup de grace... says; "Can I come see your band again?"
Hah! That's crazy dude. Blackmarket and Basick are two completely different styles of music. Do you write music for both bands? Is it hard to separate the two?
I do write for both bands. Blackmarket usually consists of myself or Kevin coming up with riffs and structure and then Kevin will take it and tweak it all around to make it difficult to play... haha.
Basick writing has been a combination of Joe the drummer/programmer/producer along with myself and Basick himself. More recently I've been doing all of the riff writing, etc. and Joe has been concentrating on the programming end. It's a different world all together for me. The other guys are used to writing something, recording it and then playing it out. I'm used to writing, playing out and then recording. Its strange to me, but it works either way. It's not as hard to separate as I had thought. Im purposely trying to not write really heavy thrashy songs and it seems to be working... although the new music we have is a lot heavier than the stuff that was out before. I see us going in a lot of directions and with the backgrounds of the band members, we can really do anything we want. Dont be surprised if you hear a thrash song with hip-hop style lyrics in the near future...
Good deal man. I think this should wrap it up for now. Is there anything you want to talk, rant, or bitch about?
Hell on Earth 07-23-2011
|Credit: Kelly Reinhart|
Last night the Hell on Earth tour made its stop in Pittsburgh at Stage AE, bringing all the madness and mayhem one would expect from a tour supporting Rob Zombie, Slayer, and Exodus. Unfortunately for me, Stage AE is about a parking lot's length away from PNC Park where the Pittsburgh Pirates were busy getting manhandled by the St. Louis Cardinals 9-1, so open parking spaces were few and far between. By the time I got into the venue, Exodus was already halfway through their set.
From what I was able to catch of Exodus, they commanded the stage with authority. Walking in while the band was playing Bonded by Blood, I got the impression that I missed one hell of a performance. I was able to watch them finish off their set with The Toxic Waltz and Strike of the Beast, before the band made their way of stage, the fans still pumping their fists in the air wanting more. Not bad for a band that formed 30 years ago in San Francisco.
It was now time for the first part of this killer co-headline show, and for Pittsburgh, that meant that it was now time for Slayer. Making their entrance onto the stage with World Painted Blood, the crowd went into an instant frenzy, as blood and beer spilled onto the concrete. Taking the place of founding Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who is out due to a hand injury, was Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, putting in double time for the night. Holt held his own on stage though, not many could step into that role and duel out solos with the likes of Kerry King, but if you didn’t know any better you wouldn’t have even known there was a stand in. Never one to talk too much, front man Tom Araya’s voice was spot on for the night, including the intro scream to the set closing Angel of Destruction.
Slayer showcased a set list the spanned their entire 30 years as a band. What surprised me the most is that they threw in some classics that I haven’t heard from the band in some time. For instance, when was the last time you saw Dittohead live? Probably not since the Divine Intervention Tour. Other highlights were Postmortem, Seasons of the Abyss, and Black Magic. Surprisingly though, Slayer didn’t visit either God Hates Us All or Christ Illusion albums on this tour, but I don’t think anyone noticed because they never gave the audience a chance to catch their breath.
After the dust had settled and the weak were carried off, it was time for the night’s main attraction. When Rob Zombie gets ready to take the stage, you know it. Fire sparked in the back of a giant robot as Call of the Zombie introduced us to what was in store. The robot’s chest opened up and Zombie walked onto stage dressed like a circus ringleader from hell. Opening with Jesus Frankenstein, Zombie waved a clawed robotic arm towards the audience to let them know that this evening’s headliner had taken the stage.
Anybody who has seen a Rob Zombie show before knows what they can expect from this generations shock rock master, a high energy performance with non-stop pyrotechnics, robots, monsters and horror movie imagery. Whether it is visiting cult classic films like Lady Frankenstein during the opener, or just go-go dancers shaking their exposed breasts to a high energy Thunderkiss ‘65, it is almost a chore to try to choose between watching the madness and monsters on the stage, or the insanity on the big screens……
Matt Reinhart is a writer for the Pittsburgh Metal Music Examiner. To read the rest of this article, please visit
Also, be sure to look him up on Facebook.
By: Drew Jordan
This is a riff from a song that I've been trying to work on for years titled "String Theory". The song was actually named by Rob Geisler of Shattered Soul fame and the Ethereal Process. Words behind the song were going to be along the lines of not needing to know 1000 things about music theory and still able to pull off a good, and somewhat technical song for all the techy's out there. It took me some time to finish this song and was intended to be recorded for one of my previous bands the Ethereal Process. Look for this song to appear in my up coming self titled project.
Okay so the reason why I'm presenting this particular riff is because it's a good exercise in palm muting and alternate picking. At first it may appear to be a real complex riff, but like most riffs by most technical metal bands it's all about positioning yourself appropriately. The riff is based on two simple A 5th and B flat 5th chord or what we simply call power chords. The 3rd chord is a C octave with an F# note added, the diminished 5th . So with positioning yourself on the fret board using those these chords along with a little finger acrobatics, this riff will easily be played. What I mean by finger acrobatics is by playing each note of a chord individually and deadening (or mute) the note immediately after being played. Get into the habit of alternate picking, this is key in improving your guitar skills. Unless you choose to go to the Kerry King school of thrash metal which is entirely up to you, however you're going to use up twice the amount of energy needed and tire out quickly. So once you have the alternate picking down and able to play each note of the 3 chords I've provided individually using that alternate picking, the last thing you need to complete this riff is the palm muting. Simply palm muting every single time you strike the E string and now you have this unique sound that accents the higher notes being played and poof you get this real cool sounding riff. And by speeding it up...now we're talking tech metal.
Drew Jordan is a guitar player from north of Pittsburgh. He’s played in a couple local bands, most notably The Ethereal Process and is currently getting ready to make his debut in another local band.