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RIP Eric Wagner of The Skull, Trouble and Probot fame

Posted by Morgan Y Evans - Walking Bombs on Monday, August 23, 2021 at 6:22 AM (PST)

I saw Lee Dorian and Orange Goblin posting RIP messages about Eric Wagner and then saw confirmed on Blabbermouth, so it sure seems like the worst news is true. Eric Wagner, high priest of “white metal” doom (for spirituality, not race), has left us after a battle with Covid.

The Skull recently dropped off its tour with The Obsessed, citing “the ongoing and growing COVID situation sweeping the nation again, particularly in the South.” The band said that it would “reschedule as much as we can and tour again properly when things calm down.”

Please everyone be as safe out there as possible. I know it is delusional to think everyone will choose to do the same thing, so we have to communicate to one another and not create even bigger, horrible rifts in society. Whatever your beliefs on vaccination or faith or not, please bare minimum mask and be cautious. It is the tiniest thing SOME of us can agree on, so let’s please do that. We need more love to get through this horrible time or we will push ourselves even further apart. We need solutions that can work for all of society to function, so please everyone focus on that and stop downplaying Covid is even a risk or treating one another as subhuman and shunning anyone who doesn’t agree, cuz that won’t convince anyone of anything.

And also, before you call them the Flu Fighters again maybe think Dave Grohl is being cautious for a reason.

RIP Eric.

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Album artwork by: Daniel Rusilowicz

On October 15th, Hate will release their new album, Rugia, via Metal Blade Records. For a first preview of the record, the title track can now be heard at: metalblade.com/hate .

“It was clear to me that it should build upon and evolve from our previous record, ‘Auric Gates Of Veles’ (2019), both musically and lyrically. However, every Hate record stands as a separate journey, and never twice to the same place. You never know exactly where it will lead you,” states vocalist/guitarist ATF Sinner, who has led the band since 1991. Hate also have a new drummer Nar-Sil (Neolith, Virgin Snatch, Embrional), who sounds decidedly hungry on the ominous new single. “Working with a new drummer this time around was a fascinating experience for me. Nar-Sil’s technique and presence are quite different from Pavulon’s, and that definitely comes across. I believe we managed to construct a refreshing new chapter to our discography, composing nine truly sinister onslaughts of pure rage.”

 

 

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After dropping off their run with The Obsessed due to safety concerns, it is more bummer news for the rad band The Skull as doom vocalist legend Eric Wagner’s Covid has taken a turn for the worse. Please remember that even if many people have lived from Covid that is by no means cause for being dismissive or that it can’t have long lasting effects or a reason to downplay that many amazing people have NOT survived.

 

Pop Evil, Korn and now The Skull all with singers struck with Covid? It is almost like we should ease back on shaky live shows right now and instead support bands in other ways.

 

The band released the following statement
Hey All.
More bad news….
We will not be able to play Psycho Vegas this Thursday. Eric Wagner’s bout with Covid has gotten worse and he was admitted to the Hospital yesterday with COVID pneumonia .
All the other members have tested Negative.
Positive thoughts and words will be helpful.

On behalf of Metal Riot we hold our highest hopes and energy intentions that Eric will be back amongst us all soon.
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end of an era

Wow, big energy shift of one of the best and biggest bands in melodic death metal as Dark Tranquillity have reported the departure of both founding drummer Anders Jivarp and bass player Anders Iwers . Cranking “Identical To None” from the triumphant, pandemic gloom defying Moment to honor their footprint tonight.

Filling in for the pair on immediate shows will be Joakim Strandberg Nilsson and Christian Jansson.

A clearly emotional Dark Tranquillity vocalist and co-founder Mikael Stanne said the following:

“Times have truly changed. This last year and a half has been challenging to say the least, and we’ve all had time to think over our decisions and motivations in all aspects of life. When removed from what you take for granted, it becomes clear that you realize what is truly important in life. And this is different for everybody.

“Anders Jivarp and Anders Iwers have decided to move on to other things and not be a part of the band anymore. These are two of the most amazing, loyal and dedicated friends and musicians you could ever find and as sad as we are seeing them go, we know that if passion leads you elsewhere you should follow it.

“Anders Jivarp has of course been there from the very beginning, being instrumental in creating the sound that eventually became our own. His songs are some of our most beloved and with the exception of one insane evening in Istanbul 20 years ago he has played every single show since the band’s inception. We’re excited to hear what will come out of Anders’ future musical projects.

“Anders Iwers has been with us for the last six years but since we have known each other from the very early days of the band it felt like he had always been there. He played on our two latest records, not to mention being an integral part of our live shows.

“We love you guys so much and we wish you the absolute best in everything that you do.”

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Photo by Joe Diaz, Black Room Portraits

Death metal vocalist Mallika Sundaramurthy (ex-Abnormality) has made an announcement about no longer being involved in underground death metal band Castrator. Here is the announcement, grabbed from Facebook:

***Important Announcement***

I will no longer be working with CASTRATOR. Unfortunately, things with the band have ended up in a hugely disappointing way for me. I’m not going to go into details. I prefer not to spread any drama publicly.

The vocal tracks I recorded back in January will NOT be used on the band’s future release. I’m very sorry to all the fans and followers who have been waiting for years for the full length album. I was really looking forward to sharing all the hard work we had done with you. However, this is now the reality and I will move forward.

I have decided I’m going to take the creative vision I had for CASTRATOR, my lyrics and ideas, and put it towards a new project.

Introducing EMASCULATOR. The name is based on the song title and lyrics I wrote. I am now forming a lineup for this new project and already started working on new songs. Follow these pages for updates!
Facebook: Emasculator

Instagram: @emasculator_bdm

Sundaramurthy is by far one of the best vocalists in death metal, easy pick for the top ten for me or even higher. That is a big loss for any band.

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Via the Fuck The Facts Facebook:

 

We are saddened to share the news that former FTF guitarist Tim Audette recently passed away after fighting a long and courageous battle with M.S.

 

Tim was there at the very start of the band formation of Fuck The Facts in 2001, and played on the albums ‘Mullet Fever‘ and ‘Backstabber Etiquette‘, as well as our splits with Ames Sanglantes and Sylvester Staline.
Even though he had a much more traditional metal background, Tim always embraced every wild idea that was brought to the table, and had a big part in the all the music that we created and released during his period in the band. We are lucky to have known him and shared so many adventures together.

 

Our hearts go out to all of his family and friends. RIP Tim.

Sending love from Metal Riot to the band during this sad time. Those are some classic records he was part of and it is a tragic day. Cranking “A Few Words For The End” as we speak in his honor.
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“I am a pink guitar and threaten grown ass men”

So I was on the old Fartbook today when I saw a post from the band Lecherous Nocturne. Always thought they were pretty decent from what I had heard, though I was definitely a casual fan and not an expert on this group. I noticed the band had made a statement they were going to stop using Facebook. Due to censorship.

Fair game. Facebook and a lot of tech companies are VERY bad at actually moderating their platforms for homophobia, doxxing or all manner of shit. They have algorithms which can’t tell the difference between Murphy’s Law and fuckin’ Skrewdriver. I will be the first to acknowledge that. I even know someone who wrote about a type of dessert they didn’t like and caught a Facebook ban for it! Not even joking.

My own gf the psych folk artist Globelamp was a Swiftie who was doxxed by Taylor Swift fans on Twitter for “turning on her” by criticizing Taylor headlining Amazon Prime day during a worker’s strike (among other things). Oh, and for trying to get Taylor not to work with a label conglomerate – Secretly Group- and their outrage selective ladder climbing artists (cough…Skeevy Bridgers, Cherry Glazzer, Bright Eyes and many more) which help lend cred to labels that shield her “alleged” – I have to include that phrase even though I know he is a complete fucking scumbag – abuser. Instead she lost her account for blocking too many of them and for them reporting her in bad faith- with no appeal- even though she was verified. And tons of people from the ‘silence breaker’ fandom were mocking her abuse story and saying she was a liar and Taylor doesn’t know that label…which she now has collabed with like three artists and counting from for indie clout. Fuck y’all.

So suffice to say, my partner cares a lot about freedom of speech and is more wary of deplatforming than I am. I am all for it in the case of a Milo or some other fash apologist, though I also think we should have paths to redemption in society for truly apologetic people… as long as they weren’t whining on Bill Maher too many times, haha. Cuz that dude has become a fucking joke and an edgelord slob compared to his better days (Bill, not Milo. Milo has always been fash trash).

AND I fully understand all the nuances around the debate that sometimes people like Bernie or whoever will go on not the best platforms, not so much to lend them revenue or credibility, but to try to reach people who they hope they can change the minds of with info that cuts through their usual propaganda bias consumption.

But anyway, back to Facebook. So then I notice that some trucknuts in the Lecherous Nocturne comments leaves them a response: ‘Woke culture is AntiMetal. Stay Brutal.” Which I am pretty sure a band member liked.

Stay brutal?

Oh Jeez. Fucking gimme a break, dorks. Here comes some brutal truth. If ‘Woke Culture’ is killing your metal boner by pointing out we can be more inclusive and evolve and fucking not be stuck in 2nd wave black metal forever or pornogrind mutilation of women art like we just freshly popped zits on our faces and the pus got all over the severed booby drawings on our 6th grade class binder in 199-wank, maybe you actually just aged into the Cialis-bracket anyway.

I am sorry, for the 8 millionth time, that D666 fans might have to have some self-reflection these days before cheering when the singer calls people ‘pooftahs’. Fuck off.

A gay man named Rob is more metal than any of the rest of us will ever be. Literally ever.

Fact checking Donald Trump for blatant disinfo is not the same as your rights being taken away, however. And yes, I am aware that it can also lead to abuse of power if a precedent was set and suddenly someone decided to say the sky is orange and not blue and fact check me if I say it is blue, but then I would advise my confused friends to…look up.

Sorry you might get called out in 2021 if you try to have a fucking Confederate Flag on your merch or guitar, kids. That doesn’t mean their aren’t metal lefties like me who have seen Gwar sixteen times and can put their jokes into context (except for, y’know, touring with Madball during a pandemic. They must really want to end the human race after all, hahaha). What? That’s offensive? How do you propose we solve this?

I have been a hot mess many times in my life and guess what? Have worked hard to improve. Being criticized for something doesn’t mean all metal is suddenly your wimpy idea of a vegan, or something…which, it frankly should be. Nothing goes against the status quo more than NOT participating in the factory farming, chemical induced destruction of the world and celebrating a primal respect for nature.

I was reading about how comics legend Frank Miller was dropped from Thought Bubble due to participants rightfully remaining uncomfortable with his abysmal Holy Terror Islamophobic rabid dog-era. A time when he really lost the plot and caused serious harm.

I was a huge Miller fan for years and met him at a signing around when the first Sin City came out. Caroline Keene Kelley is my favorite (and the first female) Robin. What I am saying is people can do good and bad in their lives. and even get better over time or come back from bad decisions. Or make new, inclusive art. Cursed for Netflix was terrific and I am bummed it was over after one season, for example.

Anyway, this utter fucking dipshit at Bleeding Fool (wow, what an original name) wrote some clowncar piece saying how everyone against his convention appearance had pronouns in their bio. Jamison Ashley writes: “Could there be any correlation between those who virtue signal their preferred pronouns and the easily triggered, emotionally immature, adult-children who require public safe spaces?” 

I am linking to it above because I actually want you all to see how fucking dumb they sound and also not be accused of “keeping them down” or being a coward, but suffice to say some of it is triggering to some, if not more so just annoying af and idiotic.

First of all, ‘virtue signal’ is a fucking alt-right seeded phrase to discredit the importance of social justice movements as trivial and disingenuous. Secondly, even Miller has said he can barely look at Holy Terror anymore and not see it as consumed by anger and that he also wasn’t thinking well during the time he attacked Occupy Wall Street. Last I checked I was AMAB and am an enby person currently GROWING FUCKING TITS and when I look under them I can still see the faded Sin City Miho tat taking up my entire ribs on the right side of my body . S/O to Devon Aoki. But GUESS WHAT?!! It is easy to admire some of Frank’s work and also to not be cool with Holy Terror, which was a toxic shitshow.

I donate monthly to Ilhan Abdullahi Omar and think she is one of the most important politicians in modern society and I can still appreciate some of Frank’s Daredevil run and also be disgusted by Holy Terror. See how that works?

Stop generalizing. You edgelord fucks hate it when people do it but then you perpetuate it with your ‘the woke mob’ bullshit. No group of people is a monolith. Most do some good and some bad, but aren’t all exactly equivalent in evil. AND in many cases you are called out for being an asshole, which is social consequences. Metal doesn’t mean no one will ever think you are a prick if you…are one?

Chances are you might not even be ‘cancelled’ forever if you genuinely aren’t just a defensive shit.

If you think metal is dead because of inclusiveness and ‘woke culture’ you clearly haven’t noticed that the best black metal lately has been indigenous or trans or includes cis women or is Zeal & Ardor. Seriously, shut the fuck up and listen to more Feminazgul.

And yes, even Gwar.

 

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FULL OF HELL have announced Garden of Burning Apparitions (LP/CD/CS/Digital) out October 1st on Relapse Records. Check out the blistering and brazen abrasive song “Industrial Messiah Complex” HERE, another micro anthem for you noise loving bastards!

The band state: We are proud to announce our latest full length album, Garden of Burning Apparitions. Produced by Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and featuring artwork by Mark McCoy. Stream our new song, “Industrial Messiah Complex”, and pre-order the album now at orcd.co/foh-goba
*Mailorder exclusives come with a 24×24 album art poster*

RIYL Napalm Death, DeafBrick, Dead Cross.

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In all the silence, Finnish death doom masters, SWALLOW THE SUN, have written, recorded and mixed a new album called “Moonflowers”. It is done and ready and will be released on November 19th, 2021.

 

Along with some of the album formats, there will also come a full bonus album featuring very special instrumental versions of all the regular album tracks. This instrumental album has been composed for strings and recorded at Sipoo Church in Finland. The strings were performed by the group called “Trio NOX” from Finland.

 

Starting today, all these instrumental songs will be launched as animated videos, which were created by Dronicon Films. One by one every week, leading up to the first single release of the main album.

Juha Raivio comments:
“I know well that I should not say this, but I deeply hate this album. I hate where it takes me, how it makes me feel and what it stands for me personally. I wish it wouldn’t. But for all its honesty I got no option than also love it. That is all that matters to me with the music anyway and it doesn’t matter how it makes me feel, as long as it does. For me this album is like a mirror of a deep self-disappointment. Even I still want to believe that there is and could be more than this in me. But I don’t need or want to talk more about it. After all music means so different things to each one of us by how we have walked our own paths, and that is a beautiful thing about music. There is no right or wrong.

 

After I had finished writing all the music for this record in the fall of 2020 I started to write these small instrumental versions of the album songs for the violin, viola, cello and piano. Mostly because I was wondering how it would feel like to hear all these songs first as these intimate versions instead of a full band album. It was really beautiful to see and hear these songs come alive in this way and form, recorded live in this big church in Finland. To be able to hear the echoes of this music reflecting from the church walls and feel the very soul of these old wooden instruments played by real people in this sacred place. Something about hearing the strings breathe this fragile beauty into these songs that carry so much pain otherwise. Now looking back, maybe I wrote these versions just for myself to be able to hear and feel at least some kind of a beauty and solace in these songs, maybe…

 

I wanted to create the cover art of this album myself this time, so it would stand as brutally honest for me as the music is. So I painted the moon on the ‘Moonflowers‘ cover with my own blood and I decorated it with the flowers I picked up and dried on the spring of 2016. Maybe it isn’t the most outstanding looking piece of art ever made in this world, but for me it is everything. I wasn’t going to write any new music before I would have moved towards the right direction in my life, but finally all this music just forced itself out of me during the long nights of this hope crushing and neverending lockdown prison. Something grew out from that void eventually and writing these songs made me think a lot about moonflowers that bloom at the darkest hour of the night, so that name felt right to call the album also.

 

 

All my love to you, take care.
-Juha Raivio-“

“Moonflowers” tracklist:
1. Moonflowers Bloom In Misery
2. Enemy
3. Woven Into Sorrow
4. Keep Your Heart Safe From Me
5. All Hallows’ Grieve (Featuring Cammie Gilbert)
6. The Void
7. The Fight Of Your Life
8. This House Has No Home


Raivio further states, “In other news, unfortunately our busy brother Jaani will step aside from the band at least for this new album cycle, but we are happy to tell that you can hear Jaani’s backing vocals on the new album anyway.”

 

Jaani Peuhu adds, “Sadly, Corona virus messed up everything including the release schedules of my bands. Both the Mercury Circle and Swallow The Sun albums are being released at the same time, making it impossible for me to tour with both bands. For this reason, I decided that it’d be better for me to solely focus on MC for this release cycle.

 

 

That being said, the upcoming Swallow The Sun album will be amazing, and
I am so happy we could still do it together. I wish the best of luck to
StS on their tour with it!
See you in the audience!
LOVE,
-Jaani”
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In the wake of the Matt Damon self-own and the All That Remains singer not getting why normalizing the F slur “in another context” is still harmful, it was concerning to hear the new Limp Bizkit song “Dad Vibes” kind of sound like it drops the F slur in the chorus. It is hard to make out.

Does Fred say ‘Sag’ or ‘FxG’ in the chorus? The infamous Nu Metal band’s set at Lollapalooza was fun and almost weirdly wholesome, the part with Durst in full Beastie Boys “Sabotage”-mode dancing with the sign language guy was frankly endearing. So I hope the new song played to the crowd over the PA didn’t blow all that up. And that Fred isn’t planning to smirk and say he meant a cigarette or some shit. We aren’t going back to the ’87 Cro-Mags bullshit.

It would especially piss me off as I was just defending Bizkit as John Scher’s unfair scapegoats for all the many problems of Woodstock ’99 in the new HBO documentary. Scher is a complete gaslighting shitbag throughout the doc (and I am a lifelong Woodstock kid who grew up there). Scher also victim blames women for their assaults as if nudity was, y’know, never a thing at Woodstocks. Fuck off.

But back to the present…Frankly, after DaBaby rightfully was dropped for horrible Aids comments, it would be pretty racist to let Limp play if they were gonna just play a song that uses the word ‘F+g’ in the fucking chorus to a huge crowd of adrenalized potential Delta carriers, but what do I know?

Other than that, the set was pretty off the hook and so I hope I am wrong. “My Generation” will always be a bop.

Anyway, stream “Industry Baby” , Russian Circles (I remember when Underoath supported George Bush, yuck) and Apricitas, ttys.

Rudy Sarzo returns to Quiet Riot

Posted by Morgan Y Evans - Walking Bombs on Monday, August 2, 2021 at 3:39 PM (PST)

Legendary bassist (and swell animal advocate) Rudy Sarzo is returning to glam rockers QUIET RIOT! The band has also been playing with Type O Negative/Danzig’s thunderous Johnny Kelly and the idea of him and Rudy together is very exciting. It is great in the wake of Kevin DuBrow and Frankie Banali’s deaths in recent years and the recent return of Jizzy Pearl that the group still will have a pretty rock solid line-up currently (which I by no means mean as a slight to Chuck).

QUIET RIOT is set to welcome RUDY SARZO back into the band after an 18-year absence. Rudy was one of the original founding members of the legendary Metal Health lineup. He played bass on the “Metal Health” album, which sold over ten million copies and spawned the hits “Cum On Feel The Noize” and “Metal Health” and on the follow-up record “Condition Critical”. He appeared in the most notable music videos in the MTV age and toured with the band until 1985 and again from 1997 to 2003. During his years out of the band, Rudy Sarzo was a member of Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Dio, Blue Oyster Cult, Queensryche, and The Guess Who. Rudy is looking forward to recording and touring with Quiet Riot beginning in 2022.

 

With the move, longtime Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright is graciously stepping aside to continue his recent solo efforts while heightening his role with his award-winning residency show, “Ultimate Jam Night” at the legendary “Whisky A Go-Go” which all the members of Quiet Riot fully support.

The band and their management would like to formally thank Chuck Wright for his many years of dedication and perseverance and, most importantly, his distinguished talent. Wright has served off-and-on with Quiet Riot for nearly 40 years, appears on nine albums, and is known as the bassist for Quiet Riot’s mega-hit “Metal Health” (Bang Your Head) and “Don’t Wanna Let You Go”. He was a contributing songwriter on 1986’s “QRIII” and appeared in the band’s video for “The Wild And The Young,” among others. Wright has been one of the band’s longest touring and recording members and will continue touring with the band through the end of 2021. Chuck is and will always be an invaluable member of the Quiet Riot family.

Rudy Sarzo said “I’m excited to be back home and celebrate the Quiet Riot Legacy, which began 40 years ago next year with the recording of “Metal Health”, the first heavy metal album to reach #1 on the Billboard top 200 albums chart.”

By now it is safe to say most metal fans are counting down the days to August 27th when the new Jinjer release drops. The band have always been cool but the new material finds them considerably upping their game, technicality, intensity and emotional impact to new heights and dark depths. You’d have to be a pretty cynical fucking snob to not be able to grab ahold of some of the intensity of this banger and get taken for a thrill ride. Precision, groove, melody and even some Gojira-worthy clobber…it’s all there!

Jinjer state: “With years getting older, we often realize that the world around us is far from what we expected it to be. Through the eyes of a kid everything seemed way more colorful, better and optimistic, didn’t it? When did it all turn wrong? When did it all turn so gray? Is this really the world’s fault? Or it is only about us chasing the wrong goals… the wrong careers, ambitions and achievements, rather than embracing one important truth… Rephrasing John Lennon, if one chases something else other than happiness, then they didn’t understand life at all …”

No word yet from Tatiana Shmaylyuk and company if, as Sepultura and Metropolis have taught us, the “Mediator” Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart. We’re too dumb from headbanging right now to be philosophical!

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It has been a heavy few days for rock and metal fans with alumni of ZZ Top, Metal Church and Slipknot crossing over, but today we have a little bit of good news. Let’s celebrate life and ambition today with a progressive rock album announcement about possibility.

Dream Theater, giants of prog metal, have announced their 15th record. A View From The Top Of The World is the name of the newest from this esteemed act of tireless creators, due via InsideOutMusic/Sony Music on October 22.

“We just love to play our instruments,” says guitarist John Petrucci to Louder Sound“That never goes away. I love to be creative, write, and exercise that part of my mind. We’ve been able to do this for a long time, and we don’t take it for granted. Whenever we get together, we know we can’t disappoint ourselves or our fans, so we manage to try even harder.”

“We approach every album like it’s our first,” adds frontman James LaBrie. “It’s been such a great ride, but we’re not going to stop.”

1) The Alien (9:32)
2) Answering The Call (7:35)
3) Invisible Monster (6:31)
4) Sleeping Giant (10:05)
5) Transcending Time (6:25)
6) Awaken The Master (9:47)
7) A View From The Top Of The World (20:24)

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Wow, fucking shitty week for metal. Heartbreaking news, fam. I just learned on Acey Slade’s Facebook that another great has left us for the great gig in the sky. Shit, man. This feels unreal. RIP Joey Jordison. Numb with shock.

The original drummer and a founding member of Slipknot, has died. He was 46. Nobody played like that dude and with all due respect, no one can quite replicate him.

The heavy metal artist’s family announced Jordison died in his sleep on Monday, July 26. His cause of death was not disclosed.

“We are heartbroken to share the news that Joey Jordison, prolific drummer, musician and artist passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 26th, 2021,” they wrote in a statement.

“Joey’s death has left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow,” Jordison’s family continued. “To those that knew Joey, understood his quick wit, his gentle personality, giant heart and his love for all things family and music.

“The family of Joey have asked that friends, fans and media understandably respect our need for privacy and peace at this incredibly difficult time. The family will hold a private funeral service and asks the media and public to respect their wishes.”

Fucking crank this now. Right fucking now. Fuck!!

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METAL CHURCH vocalist Mike Howe passes away

Posted by Andrew Johann Datoush on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 7:28 AM (PST)

photo by Morgan Y. Evans at The Chance in Poughkeepsie

We are very sad to convey that the energetic, funny and incredible Mike Howe of METAL CHURCH has died.

The band posted the following yesterday: “It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music. Mike Howe passed away this morning at his home in Eureka, California. We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the Howe family’s privacy during this most difficult time.”

Mike Howe was Metal Church‘s vocalist between 1988 and 1995, and then again between 2015 and present day.

Our resident biggest Metal Church fanatic Andrew Johann Datoush (‘Drewdas Priest’), who covered the band for us a few times over the last decade, has some touching words about Mike:

I am absolutely devastated right now and I can’t believe that I’m actually having to write this. This sucks so much. The metal world lost a true giant today. An incredible front man with a voice unlike any others. I’ve said it many times over the years that METAL CHURCH was always a top favorite band, even with all their singer changes over the years, I always remained a hardcore fan. The Mike Howe albums were especially instrumental in converting me to the ‘Church’ when I picked up my first album of theirs on a whim at our local FYE Store. That first album for me was Blessing In Disguise , and that opening track “Fake Healer” immediately smacked me in the face and hit like no other band I was listening to at the time ever had before.

I recall getting it shortly after I had entered the 8th grade. I remember that well because it was Mrs. Cooke, my 8th grade science teacher, who started writing me up for listening to music in class rather than listening to her go on about whatever the hell she was talking about. From there, I got every album I could get my hands on, which at the time weren’t very many. A couple with David Wayne singing, but the Mike Howe albums were the ones that really did it for me at the time, and those were sadly limited to only a few albums. (We didn’t start getting METAL CHURCH albums again til the mid 2000s, but nothing involving Mike’s voice again til 2016!).

I was fortunate to meet Mike Howe a few times over the years, and he was always a pleasure to be around. Always willing to stop and shoot the shit with fans, take pictures, and even be accepting of that overgrown starstruck fanboy who went right in for the hug immediately upon meeting him. I had no idea I was even doing it until we were right in the midst of it, and he laughed it off, patted me on the back and joked “so this is how we’re doing this, huh?” Really funny moment for me that made my awkwardness in meeting him ok.

The next time I met him, it was the Nuddy in Poughkeepsie. They were having a pre-show meal. I was finishing up and paying my bill when I saw them, and walked past just saying hello, and when Mike looked up, I jokingly said “I’ll get you on that repeat hug later”, which he laughed at, and he mentioned it to me again later after the show when I went up to get some merch signed. “I guess you’re here for that hug, right?” So, I guess that kinda sums up my personal relationship with Mike. Grow up idolizing his band, eventually see him when he comes back to the scene, make an awkward but hilarious first impression, meet him every time he’s in town since, and have a series of jokes about an awkward hug every time we met since. While I am deeply saddened that the party is over, I’m overly thankful to at least have been accepted into the party at all. Mike Howe was a tremendous talent that leaves behind a hell of a legacy. – AJD 7/26/21

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