“If Music Is Such Big Business, How Come I’m So Skint?”

“If Music Is Such Big Business, How Come I’m So Skint?”
Some Thoughts on the History of the Music Business, and Why Nothing Has Really Changed Since the 20th Century.
By Simon Black

“If Music Is Such Big Business, How Come I’m So Skint?” I hear comments like this from many of my peers these days (although often more fruitily worded), many of whom, like me, have been involved in the music business in some way for most of their adult lives. Of the people on my social media feed for example, I would say that applies to about two thirds of them. Of that number, only about 10% actually seem to make any kind of consistent living out of this game. Of them, only a smaller handful of them you may ever have actually heard of in Rock and Metal circles as either fellow writers, musicians or producers. They may be successful in their fields, but they are far from rich and have known both feast and famine in their years. The majority however either struggle on or above the bread line, or actually make a living doing something completely different (as indeed do I).

That is insane when you consider the size of the music industry….

So, You Wanna Be A Rock Star…?

According to Statista, the Global Music Industry had a whopping global 28.8 billion US Dollar turnover in 2021 (2022 has yet to be published as of today), of which $18.5 billion of those are from streaming revenues, but leaving a still fairly sizeable $10.3 billion of revenue from touring, physical media sales, merchandise, TV rights and publishing royalties. There are whole countries out there with smaller Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures than that, yet most musicians struggle to make even a basic living no matter how many times you stream their music. Then there’s the army of publicists, labels big and small, pressing firms, publishing houses, managers, music publishers, venues and crews out there, although to be fair most of them seem to do better than the actual musicians around whom everything depends, because unfortunately that’s because the whole deck is stacked against the poor bastards.

Nothing illustrates the plight of many professional musicians more than the heart-warmingly tragi-comic 2008 documentary movie “The Story of Anvil”. Coming across here as a real life example of “This Is Spinal Tap”, this Canadian band have been grinding at this for over forty years and while quite influential in their early days, only really started to get any traction after this film was released and people started taking them a little more seriously. In the intervening time they have produced endless albums at great expense (that no-one really bought), toured the toilet venues of the world (for bowls of goulash as fees) and all this funded by blue collar day jobs and using every day of annual leave (and no doubt a fair few unpaid ones) to continue to strive for their dream. 

It’s funny; it’s sad. But in reality, they are far from alone…

The Privilege & Plight Of Music Journalism

A slight diversion if you will indulge me. It is relevant…

I never intended to be a writer, but it’s something that I have done off and on for what will be thirty years in 2023. I am conscious that I get to hear a lot of new music for free, to watch live shows for free, to talk to bands in person, yet I do not receive a single penny for the many hours of work that goes into turning that content into the words you read.

It started as a means to keep busy during breaks in my day job, which back in the early 90’s meant working as a lighting contractor for a number of lighting hire firms doing band tours, TV and theatre work on a freelance basis. That didn’t always pay the bills, so in between gigs I would DJ at various Rock pub and club nights around the East Midlands in the UK, dabbled at being a promoter and wrote pieces for a long defunct free regional music paper (which survived on advertising revenue alone), before starting my own music web page back when that was still a real novelty. During this time, I had somehow managed to buy a house. Sadly, I couldn’t actually afford to live in it, so rented it out as a student let and limped back to my mum’s with my tail between my legs until times got better. 

As far as the music side of my early career went, they  didn’t. 

Eventually an ‘in-desperation’ full time job in IT support grew legs and turned into a proper career. Like many, I left all things musical behind at the grand age of twenty-seven, realising that I was never going to make a living from it. That was over twenty-five years ago, and it seems like very little has changed in the intervening years since I was persuaded to start writing again by a good friend who runs another music site. I’m lucky that IT does indeed pay the bills, and so I now do this for fun when I have spare time, and because I would probably only blow all the spare cash I had from the day job on music and gigs anyway…

I recently read Jason Arnopp’s excellent “From The Front Lines of Rock” and it was most insightful about how very different his experiences as a journalist for Kerrang! at the tail end of the glory days was from my own experiences as a writer around the same time. The book reprints a number of features and interviews Arnopp conducted for the magazine in the previous century, and although he himself was joining in at the point where the tide of excess was starting to turn, it’s still an amazing peek into how life at the top end of the music writing profession was lived back then. Many of these features were the product of all-expenses trips from his modest flat in London to far-flung places such as L.A., paid for by record labels out of their PR budgets, with non-steerage class flights, luxurious hotels and liberal expenses. Oh, and of course gigs, interview slots and hang-out time with some of the absolute stars of the day at a time when being a rock star actually meant this kind of lifestyle was possible (even if, as the artist, the eye-watering bill for all this would eventually be laid at your door and as the jobbing recipient of all this expenditure, your actual paid salary and standard of accommodation fell someway behind that of the trips). 

Needless to say, although Arnopp was a peer when we were both writing in the 90’s, someone I would talk to over a pint when we met at gigs through our shared love of music and Doctor Who, that wasn’t how those of us in the free publication end of things lived. This is important, because the music business is very much a tiered hierarchy then and now. Jason was then and is now a thoroughly nice guy, as well as a damned fine writer, but some of his colleagues from the big papers very much looked down their noses at people like me at the time, not because of my abilities as a writer but because I, an upstart from a free regional paper, was even allowed to rub shoulders with them. But then the times were a’changin’ in the 90’s.

Sadly, that attitude still prevails throughout the business, whatever you do within it. Many have clawed themselves out of the crowded lower rungs the hard way and are wary of anyone who hasn’t. If you are in the top tier, you’re in the club; if you are not in the top tier, watch your back. And that’s just us journos – what about the poor artistes?

Screwed, Blued and Tattooed

My first inclination at just how rigged the system was (and still is) came not long before I walked away from it all. A friend loaned me a book to read that I have been trying to track down ever since by a member of the Manfred Mann band (and whose title eludes me despite much Googling). It wasn’t a long book, but alongside all the anecdotes about electrified mic stands and backstage ‘doctors’ dishing uppers and downers to align worn out bodies to show times, it basically outlined how all the finances worked in the business and how little the percentage an artist received actually was. And this was at a time when there was comparatively a lot of money sloshing around the actual musicians in the 70’s and 80’s for physical copies of their recorded output. The numbers went something like this:

An artiste having worked themselves out of the mire of the underground scene and achieved notice is spotted by an A&R talent scout, gets signed to a major record label and gets an advance on their future earnings. Let’s say that sum is £20,000 (a fortune for most musicians in the 1980’s). They give up their day jobs, turn professional and set about writing and recording an album. 

They’re gonna be Rock stars… 

That deal is for something like 13% of future sales for the artiste. “Hey”, thinks the artiste, “We’re on the gravy train here” and goes crazy ape bonkers in the studio and replacing clapped out music gear, not understanding what the 13% was actually of. 

That 13% was the per unit sale cost of the artiste’s product. Now most musicians think that their ‘product’ was something that sold for upwards of £10 in a record shop in those halcyon days, and whilst not a huge slice, 13% of that price times by how ever many hundreds of thousands of disks they dreamed of selling seemed like a huge improvement on splitting £30 between six of you after a gig (minus van hire cost, petrol, a few beers and a bag of chips to share on the way home).

It was anything but…

To keep the calculations simple, I will ignore taxation and VAT (but they always came along and usually were the final nail in the coffin). What it actually was equaled 13% of what the label sold the product for, which was nowhere close to the retail price you and I would have paid then. That’s because labels sold to distribution companies; distribution companies then sold on to retailers. The label’s price to the distributor was actually only about £1 a unit for an album back then. The distributor, with all the costs of warehousing and delivery would then probably crank that up to about £5 a unit as the price to retailers, who would then double up again for Joe Public. So, the label kept 87% of that original unit price, the rest going to the artiste – all 13 pence of it. 

The artiste was being shafted straight away here, because what they won’t have known is that both the label and the distribution company would have actually been different legal entities of the same parent company, which means whilst the unit price may have quintupled before it got to the retailer, effectively the same parent company has taken £4.87 of the total middleman price, whilst the artist still only had 13 pence a pop.

As if that was not bad enough, the label then deducted any costs against the artiste’s account (such as advances or paying for journalists to swan around the globe in business class) and whatever was left would be sent to the artiste’s manager. Here’s an example:

The manager would then deduct their fee (usually about 15%) and any costs, and whatever was left would be divided between the band members. Oh, and that’s pre-tax, just to rub it in. This is how artistes could be selling millions of units and still have no money from the sales of their music or, more likely wind up in debt to the label if it bombed. If you’ve ever seen the mockumentary “More Bad News” when the band realise that they’re paying for an army of people working to film their music video and start running around eating every bit of food from the caterers you may have laughed hard, but I can guarantee every band with a major label deal in the 70’s and 80’s will have had a similar experience at some point.

Fortunately, the musicians had things like music publishing and merchandise as additional revenue streams, but if they had been unwise enough to let the label steer them to their preferred choice of publisher, merchandiser and indeed manager then they could be well and truly screwed if all those dotted lines led eventually back to the same parent holding company as the label and distributor. This is why so many bands folded under the pressure of ‘musical differences’ and debt to the label and their management company, along with a huge back tax and VAT bill, declared bankruptcy and got a job in a factory. 

“But that was thirty years ago” I hear you say? In reality, nothing much has changed other than the way the product is consumed and the addition of another skimmer of the pot in the form of the streaming platforms, who make the 13p a unit revenue look like the glory days compared to the pittance they pay an artist per play currently. More about them later…

The Green Shoots Of Hope – Independent Labels In The 90’s

Most of the above relates to the way things were structured in the 1970’s and 1980’s when I was growing up, and during that time little changed apart from a few slight tweaks to the type of plastic commodity people were physically buying. Digital downloads didn’t become a thing until this century, but the 1990’s did see a massive shift in the commercial landscape due to the rise of the Independent (or Indie) record label. To be fair this couldn’t really have happened without the arrival of the Compact Disc (CD) the previous decade, as suddenly not only was there a cheaper and physically smaller means of consumption available, but the ability to press them was no longer the exclusive purview of the major labels and their giant record pressing plants. Literally anyone with a personal computer could start cutting their own disks (albeit at a really slow rate of production) but also the machinery to press them in higher volumes was comparatively cheaper to purchase than the sheer amount of space and machinery you needed for the equivalent for vinyl. 

This meant smaller labels were able to start pressing themselves with lower costs of entry for the hardware, and suddenly bands had a lot more options to choose from with regard to where they took their music. For a few thousand pounds of outlay, pressing machines with faster rates of production were commercially available, meaning smaller labels could produce small batches on demand without risking getting stuck with huge amounts of unsold product if an album didn’t sell well.

Not only that, but being smaller operations started in the main by entrepreneurial music fans who had felt squeezed out by the business tactics of their larger rival, they not only had a point to prove but generally offered their much smaller roster of artistes much more personal attention and significantly more generous royalties. This varied enormously but offering the band up to 50% of the product unit sale amount was a huge improvement on 13 pence. In addition, quite a few of them either managed their own distribution (and therefore gave the band a bigger slice anyway by cutting out the artificial middleman) or worked through specialist distributors who worked only with small independent labels and were doing so in a more co-operative model. Going further, the more entrepreneurial bands might choose to do all of this themselves and capitalise on the enthusiasm of a receptive crowd by selling a couple of boxes of CD’s after a gig…

The major labels dealt with this sudden threat of new entrants to their closed shop marketplace in the way they always have and will in three ways. Firstly, they ignored it. Well, up until it became impossible to ignore them that is. A good example of the watershed moment in the UK was when Britpop band Oasis, signed to independent Creation Records suddenly became the biggest things since sliced bread in the charts. Secondly, they tried to flex their muscles and shut them down by bully boy business tactics. This meant upscaling their investment in marketing for whatever equivalents they had on their roster who suddenly found themselves getting a huge amount of attention. 

Now in principle this is fine, but your average music fan is a discerning beast, especially in non-Pop circles, and can spot a fake construct band drowning in hype a mile away. Market forces win out when it comes to live show reactions and what that used to do to record sales in those days. Consequently, despite the cash outlay, the major label competition wasn’t denting the sales of the independents, leaving these big label executives to scratch their heads, and the poor artists in the middle of it to wonder how the hell they were going to pay for the huge marketing deduction from non-existent sales. 

Thirdly and finally, they went on a spending spree. The back end of the 90’s saw many of these small labels snapped up for huge sums by the bigger labels, their owners suddenly found themselves sitting on significant lump sum buyouts and, if they wanted them, Executive positions of the now subsidiary label on the boards of the majors. If they didn’t fancy the latter, they could always start again with that handy sum of cash. 

Rinse and repeat… well, until the world truly changed that is.

Oh Great, it’s The Internet… Oh F*ck, it’s the Internet…

As someone who created one of the first internet Music mags back in 1995, I can tell you for a fact that the behaviour of the labels was a variant on the way they reacted to the independents. It started as an idea for an online version of the free paper I was regional editor for, but that didn’t appeal to the editor owner. This chap to be fair was a bit of a luddite and a technophobe, who scorned desktop publishing software in favour of big sheets of A2 paper and a big jar of glue to paste his pages ready for the printers. In addition, I suspected that part of the magazine’s raison d’être was actually to get away from his family for three weeks out of every four delivering the physical paper copies of the mag, collecting advertising monies in cash, going to gigs and getting hammered, so the thought of an online version left him cold. I went ahead and did my own thing anyway, and his magazine did not survive the decade, because you can’t fight the future.

Now to be fair my site was really, really basic by today’s standards. These were the salad days of the internet, when it first started moving out of the labs and universities of the world and those few people with MS-DOS or early Windows based Personal computers started dialling into the internet on noisy modems and with download speeds that make remote mobile network coverage today comparable with a direct fibre connection. The point is the mobile phone was still a novelty the size of a brick at this point, and the smart phones, tablets and home laptops most people use today were a long way off, so the internet was still very much a niche thing, but clearly the direction of travel.

A few CD reviews, some gig reviews with photos courtesy of my then partner (very limited because of the way download speeds were back then) and a few interviews was the limit of the site, but there really was no-one else doing it, as music journalism still firmly belonged in print and audio-visual domains. As a DJ, journalist and occasional talent scout prior to that, I knew a fair number of people in press and A&R departments back then and attempted to use that to schmooze my new, funky online thing in through the doors and start getting CDs, gig guest invites and interviews to publish, because that was and is the whole way the business worked. It was new, and it was funky, so that must be cool, so the CDs came through the letterbox, our names were on the guest lists at gigs up and down the area for reviews and interviews. 

Then one day it all just suddenly stopped. The .mp3 file had arrived…

Let’s Get Digital, Baby…

Music piracy has been around since music publishing in any form enabled wider circulation. Go back far enough in history, and you will find tales of composers furious thanks to the 15th Century invention of the Gutenberg printing press meant almost anything could be printed and circulated both by the artist and their parasites. Music composers naturally wanted to earn a crust selling copies of their work, and did, but that meant there was always someone not far away with access to the same tech able to do a knock off version and make a fast groat or two. And so it has continued ever since. 

The .mp3 was a game changer though, as we all can tell with the benefit of historical hindsight. Around the time I had really started to get somewhere with my website, Napster and the other peer-to-peer file sharing sites happened. All PC’s had CD drives in those days (as that was how you got software on them) and that meant a small piece of software could quickly digitise a purchased CD into a digital version without all that endless mucking about changing pieces of plastic around when you wanted to listen to something else. You can see the attraction – a hard drive the physical size of two or three CD boxes tucked inside your computer could now hold the contents of a couple of hundred of them. Starting in the university community, where students usually had access to decent bandwidth networks before anyone else did, the file sharing sites sprang up everywhere. Users could upload their meagre collections of CD’s and download what everyone else had posted, and suddenly they were filling up their hard drives with everything they could get their hands on, regardless of whether they actually got around to listening to them. 

Now the reality was that for most PC users without access to a decent network, the cripplingly slow download speeds for dial-up users in the pre-broadband age (that only arrived in 2000 here in the UK) meant that it would take longer to download the latest Metallica opus than it would to catch a bus into your nearest record store and buy one as well as bumping up the cost of your phone bill by a pretty penny, but the times were a changin’ and the labels started shitting bricks at the thought that people might stop buying their physical products completely and download them for absolutely nothing. They panicked, went straight to stage two and refused to engage with anything to do with the internet for quite a few years. My site was included even though I was there to promote and help them sell stuff, but to be honest by then I had started to move away from the whole business, and so left them to it.

You can’t stop progress and the axiom “If you can’t beat them join them” finally dawned on the execs. Eventually the labels realised they had to engage and monetise this before someone else did and they were wiped out, so threw their weight behind the emerging digital stores such as Apple, focussed on copy protection through Digital Rights Management (DRM) and how they could make a buck.

The Fall of the Physical Product

Once the technology caught up and downloading became a realistic possibility, most people needed something to play it on, and at this point Apple changed the world in 2001 with their iPod – a portable device that could hold several GB of music and fit in your pocket, which was a lot easier than lugging a laptop around on the tube. Intended to be the portable player only for the songs purchased on their music store, these devices were a challenge to get material not bought from Apple onto their using the much-maligned iTunes application, but with the cat out of the bag it was not long before competitors entered the market with products that worked with a simple copy and paste in Windows. Eventually the smart phone merged these functions as applications and still holds the dominant position today, but from the early days the labels now had a storefront to sell their digital versions of music on without the need for the middleman distributor. 

The product retailed at a slightly lower price for the end user to encourage the uptake to this new platform with non-existent production and distribution costs, with the two big co-operating corporations continuing to take a massive slice of the pie. The artist still got their meagre sliver of course, but of a much-reduced pie, because for every person legitimately buying a copy from the Apple or the equivalent store, there were probably half a dozen sharing a ripped version via external drives. Some unsigned acts might also be able to sell .mp3 versions directly for users to buy of course, and did, but without the sophisticated DRM protection the likes of Apple used meant that one legitimate purchase could very quickly be shared more widely.

For once, the technology had actually shifted in favour of the user. The labels survived and adapted of course, despite being burned but the artists continued to receive a pittance from legitimate sales, which were now a fraction of the volume of material actually in circulation and therefore much diminished. 

More Technology = More Bands, Right?

As a side effect of everyone having computer power and cheap and easily accessible software, it also became possible for bands to go it alone. This has proven to be both positive and negative ultimately. If you are a band just getting off the starting blocks, suddenly the possibility of being able to record music to a professional standard without the need for expensive production costs was a very real possibility. From the perspective of the underground scene this has been hugely positive, allowing bands to pull together demos for labels and to have something to sell at shows without having to risk getting ripped off by anyone, with the upside that every penny came straight back to them. 

To put in perspective, in the 70’s and 80’s here in the UK it was really hard for a band to claw their way out of the underground, particularly if they wanted to play original material and that meant slogging things out the hard way, forking out a fortune to do showcase slots in London because that’s where the press and labels were based, forking out for decent demo and grinding at it until you either succeeded or folded, and a great many more folded than succeeded. With the ability to record and distribute suddenly available at home inexpensively, and with journalists shifting away from print to online in the 2000’s it suddenly meant that getting noticed was a lot, lot easier. 

Making a living however, suddenly became a lot, lot harder.

With most of the money from music sales shifting online, and shrinking, bands had to start making their live offerings worthy of note. Shows meant people, and a successful show meant merchandise sales, and suddenly this became far more important than the sales of the music, which is probably just as well given what was around the corner. Everyone thinks this was a post-millennial phenomenon, but wise owl Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood spotted this twenty years previously, which is why Iron Maiden made and continue to make a fortune from shows and the shit-tonne of shirts they sell at them regardless of music sales or streams. The rest of you are just catching up…

The ease of recording and increase in market size has a downside though. There was a huge explosion in the sheer number of acts out there, and this has not meant an increase in the overall size of the market, but a dilution of the amount of money it can generate amongst a much larger selection of bands. More artists competing from a smaller share of the pot means less to go round, and guess who loses out?

No Matter How Many Times Your Band Gets Streamed, Joe Rogan Gets Paid…

Almost overnight the digital album died a death at the start of the 20th Century, mere months after it liberated us, because after all for the consumer why would you continue to pay £9.99 for each album you bought when for the same amount you could have access to an unlimited selection of music? Streaming platforms literally changed the world once again, but as always little changed for the artists.

There’s been a huge amount of debate about how little of the revenue generated by streaming platforms in recent years end up with the actual musicians (that’s $18.5 billion remember in 2021). Whilst I welcome the debate and the fact that the issue is now widely known, I do wish people would get their facts right. 

In 2021, the rights paid to the actual artist per stream had been estimated at about $0.0033 to $0.0054, which at the lower end of that spectrum means that you need to have had 303 plays of a song before you literally would see a penny of that (before tax). Then you have to remember what actually counts as a stream. If you don’t play more than the first thirty seconds of a song, it does not count, and for the purposes of stream revenue you have to divide the consumers into two groups anyway.

The first group are those that pay actually for the monthly charges. The second are those who listen to these platforms for free and have to put up with constant advertisement interruptions, which used to be a bearable twenty seconds every third or fourth track, but now come thick and fast and mid-song, just before that really neat guitar solo you’ve been waiting for. In reality, the second group doesn’t really count for streaming number purposes, as that model is actually funded by the advertisers, so they are effectively paying the streamers on your behalf. Plus, it’s so off-putting most people abandon it very quickly, so statistically it’s so small a percentage of the streaming volume as to not count.

So, the people paying the monthly platform fees are the ones most weighted in the numbers, and no doubt the source of the size of the pot used for the per stream calculation that is so often erroneously bandied about. Whilst translating a problem into such a literal model, this calculation is doing more harm than good. Although it has spawned a whole barrage of debate around upping that number to a more generous model per play, in reality the way the revenues work for the artist is not by actual stream at all. That is because the labels and the streaming platforms have the whole deal sewn up nicely between them, with the artist having very little say in it, with the problem being different depending on whether you are signed to a label or independent.

If you are a truly independent unsigned act, then just loading stuff up yourself would seem to be the way forward, but there is a cost to that for them. If you take Spotify as an example, then the platform proudly claims that they do not charge artists to upload their material, but there’s a catch. Currently you cannot do this yourself without a digital distributor such as DistroKid or TuneCore. This is allegedly for formatting and technical reasons, but in reality it’s because limiting the access means more opportunity to throttle the revenues. $29.99 is what it will cost you to upload an album that way, so you need 10,000 streams before you’re in the black. Needless to say, for unsigned acts that amount of streams is as far away a target as headlining Wembley stadium, so many acts work through independent or major labels and there lies the rub.

The model for the labels is very different to the concept of the per stream payment most people think is in place. In reality Spotify pays the rightsholder the per stream revenue for both recording and publishing royalties. It’s there in black and white on their Spotify For Artists page (https://artists.spotify.com/en/help/article/royalties) and whilst that applies to both premium or ad-supported revenue customers, the reality is it’s the same business model for the artist as ever was. Spotify pay 70% of that revenue to the rightsholder, and the rights holder pays the artist according to the contract between them. Whilst I can’t quantify a percentage royalty rate labels use currently, I know from my peers how little this translates into actual artist income, because let’s face it never has and the 13% model of latter decades is remembered fondly in comparison.

Then you have to remember that the 70% revenue figure they laud will actually refer to 70% after costs. Now you might think that for a product that costs peanuts to upload, then that would be a big slice to divide up, but then you have to remember what else the platform will count as costs. It’s 5-6000 staff on the payroll for a start, then all the development costs for the tool and its various apps, its hosting costs, and any charges the likes of Apple or Google charge for making that app available on their App stores and let’s not forget the huge wedges of cash they pay for exclusivity rights to certain artists who can only be found on their platform. Which is why no matter how many times you stream the new Obituary album, Joe Rogan is actually the one getting paid…

DIY or Die

For many acts the only way to make this work is to do everything yourself. But that’s a full-time job in itself and one that needs to be balanced against the dwindling opportunities for revenue. I can think of a few acts who have been very successful of late whilst still remaining fiercely independent. Dragging yourself up by the bootstraps as a band takes time. You’ve got to get a band together, write stuff, tour stuff and people need to like it. Then you need to keep that up to have a hope at longevity, and that means being in it for the long haul.

If you are starting out here in the UK, maybe you will get lucky and win a regional round of Bloodstock’s highly lauded Metal To The Masses competition and get a slot on the New Blood stage at the festival. Maybe you will use that as a springboard, and get your ten best songs down on record, press a pile of them to sell and get out on every support slot you can get up and down the country until people start showing up just to see you. Bear in mind that once you get to that point of being a headliner, you won’t be able to tour too often without a fresh record, so many acts who get into this do so on a three to four year cycle of write record, tour album, play festivals and repeat. And that’s if you’ve got an audience. Then you need to learn the art of working with promoters, being technical experts on your stage, backline, sound and lighting requirements (plus someone you  trust in tow to man them), becoming your own PR machine, or paying a PR firm to do it for you (which needs so much monitoring it’s sometimes better to just do it yourself), running your own website and social media accounts, designing, ordering, marketing and distributing merchandise, doing interviews and occasionally eating and sleeping.

Most can’t do it without a full-time job behind them, and the challenge then comes even if they can all keep at it with family commitments and the like sustainably, they can’t break the glass ceiling to the next level of European break out without going out on the road doing the toilet graveyard support slots for a year to break each territory without staying away from your home market for too long. Then everything listed above scales up even more, with the added complexity of no longer being in the EU. The reality is they don’t, so getting signed is the only way to reach those audiences, and we all know how the cards are stacked there.

You do have to ask yourselves why they continue to actually do this?

Who Is Responsible For This Mess?

The answer is everyone is. 

You, me, them, every one of us at any level of the business or in consumption of it is in some way contributing to the situation and maintaining the status quo. But the biggest blame probably lies elsewhere. The music industry is a business. It exists to make money and nothing else. They offer us products and services; we buy them. Whilst we continue to pay for what they offer and for them to make money out of it, they will continue to deliver. If we stop buying (as you can see from some of the examples above), the business reacts until it can find a way to make money out of the new paradigm shift.

The trouble is at the bottom of the stack is the actual musician, who writes, records and tours this stuff we all pay for, and seems to get the rawest deal unless they manage to claw their way up the greasiest of poles to a level of success when the business has to be more reasonable. The business is there to make money; the musician just wants to make music, and that’s where the real problem is, because the whole of the business knows that and has created a toxic shark pool ecosystem where success, recognition and money are there but always tantalisingly out of reach for all but the chosen few. 

Musicians bust a gut to achieve this, and if they don’t, they soon burn out and are left on the scrap heap because there’s always some other new starry eyed naïve set of fools sitting behind them waiting to take their place. And woe betide you if, when you are only part way on the journey to success, that you make the mistake of trying to negotiate something marginally better for yourself. The business will just bury you and accelerate your demise, because there’s always more waiting, desperate to get a foot in the door.

As long as musicians and everyone else in the game is complicit and allows this to happen, then it will continue. So yes, it’s your fault. And mine, for taking the free music and like a mug giving up my free time to write this stuff for no money. You for not bothering to go to that underground gig, for not buying stuff direct from the band, for ignoring the merch stall at a gig or trusting that because you paid your streaming fees you were doing your bit. The labels for absolutely ruthlessly screwing the bejesus out of the weakest link in the chain, along with every one of their little helpers.

And yes, the musicians, for letting us all get away with it.

Disclaimer: This article is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this article, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

It Might Not Be Metal But It Makes Metal What It Is

It Might Not Be Metal But It Makes Metal What It Is
By Dark Juan

It might surprise you all to hear that you are just as likely to find me listening to Cabaret Voltaire or Siousxie And The Banshees or some obscure Disco classic, as you are to discover me spinning the latest Metal platter. This is because it took me rather a long time to understand that most forms of music have some redeeming qualities, and that it furthers and broadens your understanding of the righteous faith and the One True Path that is Heavy Metal to listen to other styles and forms of music – as an example, all round superb gentleman, rock singer extraordinaire and my musical hero Mr. Graham Bonnet, a man whose CV is peerless and includes stints with Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Impellitteri, and MSG as well as being a solo artist beyond compare, started his musical career being a backing vocalist for the Bee Gees as well as performing in the decidedly not Metal The Marbles, before finding the One True Path. 

I have frequently trumpeted my thoughts about the Metal fan who confines him / her or their self only to Metal missing out on some of the things that made Metal what it is (the likes of Sir Lord Baltimore and Coven, Free and The Doors, Ten Years After and Atomic Rooster, Blue Oyster Cult and Iron Butterfly) and form the bedrock for everything that is Metal today – whether or not that might be Five Finger Death Punch or Anaal Nathrakh. This music of the past is still relevant because it is the living history of Metal and without it, and the bands and performers who played it, Metal would not exist.

There’s hardly any species of music out there which has had close to zero, or at least a marginal influence on Heavy Metal, and I am here to tell you that all forms of music are just as viable and exciting as Metal if you listen with an uncritical ear. Disco and Funk are ridiculously complex compositions that require incredible dexterity and skill from the musicians playing them. Disco and Funk is where the bass player shines, as some of the basslines are phenomenally complicated and they are what drives the whole platform-soled shebang. 

Synthwave is the neon-dripping sound of the 80’s action movie and the musclebound lead man quipping his way through the thousands of enemies he is mowing down with his M60 machine gun and leads you down paths of nostalgia for early 80’s TV shows involving customised helicopters / cars / motorcycles or soldiers of fortune being captured and fortuitously imprisoned in a large metal barn with a fully functional vehicle and all the scrap metal and welding and cutting gear (including masks and gauntlets) you could ever wish for if you had a requirement to escape said capture in an armoured battlewagon. And they are left alone to do this without any form of check on them because they are making so much noise while they do a bit of frontier metalwork. 

Psychedelia took the basic building blocks of the Blues and Rock ‘N’ Roll, then ingested a bath-load of LSD and then recorded the subsequent, cosmic, rainbow-hued results and used them to foment social change in an America that was rooted in traditional values and violently opposed to any form of social development that didn’t involve women knowing their places and a shirt and tie being worn. See McCarthyism. Without the hippie, you wouldn’t have the Metalhead, so remember that the next time you’re sparking up a joint and having a beer and give thanks for free love and respect. After all, they are still values that the Metalhead cherishes, otherwise the mosh pit would be a brutal and anarchic place where injury and suffering would be commonplace, rather than the good-natured bump-a-thon where everyone helps if someone goes down. Apart from pit killers. Those tiny-dicked buttnuggets can get to fuck. 

Without the Post-Punk, the Goth Rock and New Wave, you wouldn’t have the entire Gothic or Emo aesthetic and love of exploring the darker side of humanity and feelings that are a central plank of just what this thing called Heavy Metal is. Without the initial explorations into electronics that Delia Derbyshire, Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse pioneered there would be no Industrial, no Nu-Metal, no Neue Deutsche Harte, no Stadium Rock, no Limp Bizkit (granted, this would not be a bad thing. Dammit, Delia Derbyshire, why couldn’t you have picked up a skillet instead of a Moog?) or Linkin Park, or Ministry. 

Even Pop has its place within Metal, when you hear backing vocals or a particularly perfect melody – Bon Jovi, for example, and to a lesser extent Ghost owe lots of their sound to Pop music – ABBA are a pervasive influence on those worthy Swedish Satanists as they are to Bon Jovi and other stadium-friendly rockers and metallers. Roky Erickson is an influence on any Metal band who has listened to guitar music at any point in the past fifty years – Even Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) can be proved to have had an impact on contemporary Metal at some point when Ugly Kid Joe of all people covered ‘Cats In The Cradle’. Just look at some of the Metal covers of classic Pop songs:

  • Rammstein covering Depeche Mode’s ‘Stripped’.
  • Ghost covering ABBA’s ‘I’m A Marionette’ and Roky Erickson’s ‘If You Have Ghosts’.
  • Disturbed butchering…. I mean covering Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound Of Silence’ and Genesis’ ‘Land Of Confusion’ and very famously, Tears For Fears’ ‘Shout’.
  • Marilyn Manson covering every Pop song ever written – Soft Cell’s ‘Tainted Love’, Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’, Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’.
  • Nine Inch Nails covering Adam Ant’s ‘Physical’.
  • Urge Overkill covering Neil fucking Diamond’s ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’.
  • And, of course, the best cover version of all time, being a gloriously over-the-top Scandinavian Folk Metal band covering a British/ German Disco Funk song – this being Turisas doing their barnstorming version of Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’.

Even the more extreme side of Metal has got on the Pop bandwagon – Surely the absolute, arse-puckering horror that was the cover version of Heaven 17’s ‘Temptation’ by Cradle Of Filth and their priapic little howler monkey of a vocalist is burned on the psyche of every Metal fan, never to be spoken of again? My Dying Bride turning Simon and Garfunkel’s version of  ‘Scarborough Fair’ into a miserable Yorkshire dirge? Well, my friends, I can easily fucking top that psychological torture for you – Even The Berzerker, erstwhile hyperextreme Australian blenders of Grindcore and Gabba Techno decided to hop on to the Pop cover bandwagon with a most esoteric choice of song. 

Yes, The Berzerker elected to do a cover version of ‘All The Things She Said’ by Russian faux-teen, school uniform-wearing pretend lesbians T.a.T.u. This went exactly as you might imagine. It sounded like someone putting up a metal shed really quickly with a man grunting in a most inappropriate fashion considering the subject matter of teenage schoolgirl lesbian shenanigans.

My point, then, is that Metal has a lot of diverse and, upon initial inspection, undesirable influences. The ultimate point is that there are NO undesirable influences, regardless of what your viewpoint is on Trap Metal. If you want Metal to not be stagnant, then you must accept that Urban music is going to creep in there, as well as other styles. I mean, hell, if you’re prepared to accept a bunch of shrieking Japanese fake-teen idol girls battering the senses with a mix of kawaii J-Pop antics and Metal, and I know a lot of you are, you can accept Nik NXK or Sam Astaroth roaring at you over Urban beats. 

Metal EVOLVES. Metal has sucked in everything from the Blues to Classical music over the decades (Whitesnake, The Quireboys, The Black Crowes, Guns N’ Roses to Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Nightwish, Dream Theater, Rhapsody Of Fire), twisted them out of all recognition (Stoner and Doom have strong links to Blues music) and they have become new versions of Metal. Look at the explosion of Rap Metal in the 90’s – Public Enemy and Anthrax discovered that the two styles can mix and mix explosively, leading to a flurry of copyists, but with a few unique and viable bands coming out of it. Thrash Metal is Metal and Punk colliding and the likes of Carnivore and Nuclear Assault amply demonstrate this by sounding distinctly different from traditional Metal bands like Accept, Iron Maiden or W.A.S.P. Hell, even the band that supposedly started it all, Black Sabbath, don’t believe that they are all that Metal, with Tony Iommi himself describing their sound as “Heavy Blues”.

It is instructive to listen to music other than Metal in order to further your understanding of Metal and Extreme music. Henceforth, I would like to share with you a few of the songs that I enjoy, that aren’t anything to do with Heavy Metal per se, but have had an influence upon it, but most importantly, they are just absolutely brilliant music.

‘Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)’ – ABBA. The absolute pinnacle of 70’s Pop music. Lushly produced with an absolutely earth-shaking chorus and hook and performed with gusto and enthusiasm by a bunch of people who had raided the bonus bins of Nylon clothes manufacturers for their stage outfits.

‘Young Girl’ – Gary Puckett & The Union Gap. Listen to the lyrics. They are well dodgy and a precursor to Dark Angel’s ‘The Death Of Innocence’. It’s also a superb vocal performance throughout the song and it has uncommon power and presence. Even if it is slightly uncomfortable listening to the protagonist contemplating boffing jailbait, but as a misguided but ultimately well-meaning attempt to drag the horror of paedophilia into mainstream thought it’s a good one.

‘Animal’ – Aurora. Neurodiverse Norwegian semi-feral pixie is dragged out of her native forests, still with leaves in her hair, and proceeds to beguile and panic the listener with cheerful-sounding tinkly-bop Dance Pop with a lyric that could only be described as “Fucking Metal”. Should be well known to the Metal fan because of her contributions to Wardruna. See also ‘In Boxes’ and listen carefully to the lyrics there too. The lass is a bit of a dangerous one.

‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’ – Neil Diamond. A powerhouse vocal performance on this song, again about a young lady not yet being legal for shenanigans of a sexual nature, shows the versatility of a simple melody and guitar line intertwining and clearly demonstrates that less really can be more when it comes to composition.

‘One Night In Bangkok’ – Murray Head. An utterly batshit song from a batshit musical (Chess), performed in a batshit fashion by Murray Head, and written (incredibly) by ABBA’s Benny and Bjorn, this is an absolutely out to lunch song about playing chess around the world set to some of the most danceable Electro-Pop the Eighties had to offer. A proto Hip-Hop Rock crossover because of Head’s vocal performance on the verses, it’s a curiosity that absolutely has a grip on my musical tastes.

‘Tokoloshe Man’ – John Kongos. A clear contender to show just where Rock music and Psychedelia first crossed over, this is a muscular and dynamic tune that is a close, yet utterly different contemporary to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with a strong Folk and Blues bent underneath the amplification, yet it is clearly a bona-fide attempt to create Hard Rock.

‘Baker Street’ and ‘Night Owl’ – Gerry Rafferty. The eight-bar sax line on the former by Raphael Ravenscroft is well known, but I wish to draw your attention to the absolutely incendiary guitar solo by Hugh Burns. A man who brought emoting on that instrument to a whole new level, it is an absolute piece of guitar mastery that showed that even Rock music had oodles of soul and feeling, and the lyrics occupy a very bleak place in the human psyche. ‘Night Owl’ is similar. The subject of the lyrics is a lonely soul indeed looking for an indefinable SOMETHING and is therefore easily able to elucidate the alienation that most fans of Extreme music have suffered at some point in their lives.

‘Whip In My Valise’ – Adam Ant. A song that is sleazy and scary in equal measure. The influence on Metal of the album ‘Dirk Wears White Sox’ is small yet pervasive. Without Adam Ant, there would be no Nine Inch Nails, Society 1 or Genitorturers. Lo-fi Punk production plus the limitations of Ant’s voice limit the impact of the whole thing until you listen to it carefully.

‘Das Modell’ – Kraftwerk. The starting point of all modern German Pop music and the precursor to all Neue Deutsche Harte, along with NEU! Experimental and curiously detached from humanity, yet still capable of surprising warmth, Kraftwerk were true innovators in music and their influence is still heavy in Electronica of most forms.

‘House Of The Rising Sun’ – The Animals. I don’t need to tell you about this all-time classic that has been covered by many a Metal band with varying degrees of success. Even Five Finger Death Punch have had a stab at it. Poorly.

‘California Dreamin’’ – The Mamas And The Papas. When hippies finally went proper Rock ‘N’ Roll and created a song that transcended itself in so many ways it was comfortable with a mainstream audience, rockers, hippies and even parents.

There are many, many more songs and artists in my collection that I could tell you about that have had some form of influence on our beloved Metal, but I shall leave you with this – 

“There’s so much music for you to choose, so don’t just be a Metal dude. It’s cool, fool.”

This from American Thrash maestros Sacred Reich, on their clunky, ham-fisted but ultimately well-meaning Funk song, ‘31 Flavors’ that was released on their classic album “The American Way”. They said it better than I ever could.

Go and expand your minds and you’ll find a new appreciation of Metal sitting at the end of your musical rainbow. Goodnight.

Disclaimer: This article is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Exclusive Video Premiere – Playhouse – Dancing At Funerals

Exclusive Video Premiere
Playhouse – Dancing At Funerals
RFL Records
Release Date: 12/08/2022

Today, Playhouse, Canada’s melodic hard rock masters, drop a new video for ‘Dancing At Funerals,’ the title track from their brand new album that released on July 22nd. And here at Ever Metal, we are privileged to have the exclusive video premiere!

The video offers a deep and emotional look into the fine line between life and death. It encompasses everything about this album, and it is best explained by Playhouse vocalist Peter Cat: “The Song Is About Death Celebrating Life.” It is a dark, yet well-conceived video that touches plenty of emotions. 
And here it is!

‘Dancing At Funerals’ Official Video

About the band:

Formed in 1987, five high school friends set out to be the biggest rock band to ever come out of Canada. With a reputation for their high-energy shows and big anthems, they quickly began filling every club & theater that they played.  The band was destined for global success, selling thousands of copies of their two EPs; 1988’s “Little Monster” and 1990’s “Tongue, Tied & Twisted.” Just like so many bands in the early ’90s, the success that seemed to be theirs for the taking never fully manifested, and after almost a decade of decadence and steady touring in support of such bands as ExtremeKiller DwarfsLee Aaron and Harem Scarem, the band decided to call it quits. It was an end of an era………but some things never fully come to an end.
Fast forward to 2016, and the band reunited and entered the studio with veteran producer and guitarist of Slaves on Dope; Kevin Jardine, to record new songs. In 2017, for the 1st time in 25 years, Playhouse returned to the stage with a sold-out comeback show in Montreal, Canada. Many high-profile shows followed, including opening slots for The Dead Daisies, L.A. Guns, Buckcherry, Dizzy Reed’s Hookers & Blow, Helix, and Warrior Soul. The band also releases their first album “The Rock N’ Roll Circus” to critical acclaim in 2018 and followed that up with a single and video, “Revolution Tonight,” in 2020!
The band has joined forces once again with legendary Canadian producer Kevin Jardine(Faith No More, Mastodon, Run DMC, Cypress Hill, Anthrax, Korn, Sepultura, Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, Men Without Hats). This album is sure to turn a lot of heads and will open the ears of the core fans as well as new listeners alike.

About the album:

The album “Dancing At Funerals” presents a mature and classic-sounding Playhouse, and a very diverse ride through 13 original, yet different tracks; it’s a musical journey through life.
Peter Cat explains: “Dancing At Funerals” is a beautifully-crafted, dark record. Inspired by the dead and written for the living. It’s our best record so far!
The album release has been preceded by the release of 3 singles, ‘The Storm,’ ‘Hell’s A Long Way Down’ and ‘Champagne,’ all have which have been receiving critical acclaim from media and fans alike. ‘Hell’s A Long Way Down’ is a great example of a more mature Playhouse and has been a front-runner for the album. 
Peter Cat gives some background about the track:  
“Danny sent me chords and music to a beautiful country song. I wrote a melody and lyrics about a sinner in Memphis, Tennessee who confesses on his death bed to a priest who also happens to be his younger brother. “Hell’s a long way down,” the priest says!
The track was recorded between September 2020 and May 2021 at Uplift Studios and produced by Kevin Jardine, written and performed by Playhouse. The video was filmed and directed by Jared Pollack of Jared Pollack Media.
Peter Cat: “This is a beautiful country rock song and we are really proud that it’s tasty like a Tennessee Whiskey”
The video for ‘Hell’s A Long Way Down’ can be viewed here:
The most recent single from the album, “Champagne,” features rapper Annakin Slade who delivers a cool and subtle piece to the song. The latest single switches gears from the band’s usual hard rock vibe and throws an emotional twist into a cool, summer, classic. The band offers some incite into the single:
Bassist, Danny Williams: “Pete came over to my place one night, we had some wine and ended up writing Champagne. Our producer Kevin Jardine suggested we get Annakin Slayd to lay down a rap and when all was said and done, we ended up with a feel-good summer song.”
Video for ‘Champagne’ can be viewed here:
Peter Cat: ‘Champagne’ is a quirky summertime love song inspired by a Greek goddess and written for the lovers and dreamers.”
“Dancing At Funerals” is now available in all digital formats at:
 Order The CD Now at:

Tour dates are being announced for the “Too Old To Die Young” Tour. Updates for everything that is Playhouse can be found at the links below.

Peter Cat – Vocals
Danny Williams – Bass
KK – Guitar
Eric “Freak” Westergard – Guitar
Steve Creep – Drums


Disclaimer: This article is solely the property of RFL Records, released to Ever Metal for the purposes of the video premiere of ‘Dancing At Funerals.’ It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this article, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Pressure – ‘Pressure’ Single Premiere – 03.12.2021

Pressure Single Cover Art

Pressure – ‘Pressure’ Single Premiere

Swedish Rock band, Pressure unleash another explosive track, premiering here, on Ever Metal!

This new self-titled single features on the upcoming self-titled album, “Pressure”, which is due out in June 2022.

What is the first thing that hits your mind when you hear the word Pressure?

We all live under different kinds of pressures,  and we all handle it differently! A thing that usually makes us feel beaten or feel that it’s hard to carry is the feeling of loneliness. The soul crushing emotion that you are fighting the world alone, no one gets you, no one has your back!

Well PRESSURE are here to tell you that you’re wrong! In every pressure, in every single hardship. They will help you handle the Pressure! And the song ‘Pressure’ is about just that! A reminder that you are never alone. “Just call out our name, put on a hard and heavy hitting Pressure song and soon you will feel better!”

Who are Pressure I hear you ask? Well, if you had to tag them with a genre, the one that fits best is Melodic Rock, but they are so much more than that. Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, and with vocalist Olof Jönsson, you can always guarantee soaring, athletic and committed vocals. And this joins together with a twin guitar sound, coming from songwriter and lead guitarist Simon “Siirpo” Forsell, and Emil Salling. And the addition of vocalist Olli Violet is a definite asset to the band. 

“We at Pressure have welcomed the beautiful and mesmerizing, succumbing and metal voice of Olli Violet, from the Republic of Belarus, to the band and the Pressure family. Have you seen the dark mistress of the Shadows? The one who commands the darkness with her burning eyes and enchanting voice? Olli Violet – the Shadowess of Pressure is our beautiful and strong female vocalist! With her fantastic talent and spellbinding voice, she brings soul and a dimension that are unmatched in the metal scene!”

And the future of Pressure has forever changed. Their work often focuses and embraces the pressures felt from everyday existence. Their lyrics ably demonstrate that there are two sides to every story – the good and the bad. Every song has a double meaning, and they truly see music as a tool to handle the different pressures thrown at us from the modern world.

The band began their journey together in 2018, and since then they’ve worked tirelessly developing their sound and live performance. Their aim? To make memories with their fans and to an epic musical soundtrack. A quote that can summarize their lyrics is: “How can you tell a story about life if you haven’t dared to live life to its fullest! Pressure is all about every story, every moment, every Pressure!”

‘Pressure’ Official Lyric Video

Pressure are:
Guitars, drums, backing vocals–Simon Forsell
Lead vocals–Olof Jönsson
Guitar–Emil Salling
Vocals – Olli Violet
Bass – Ignacio Arrúa

Check Out Pressure on: 
Website: http://www.pressure.band/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pressuresweden/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pressuresweden
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pressuresweden
ReverbNation: http://www.reverbnation.com/open_graph/artist/6524461
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/pressuresweden
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7a9rKp03MYJv4leDN7Mm8k
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/Pressuresweden

PR: Samantha Dodson at SamBonePromossambonepr@yahoo.com

Cover Art by Cigdem Keser
Written and composed by Pressure

Pressure Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This article is solely the property Samantha Dobson at SamBonePR, created for the purpose of the video premiere on Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.


By Maggy Von

GW Productions and Killsound Productions in collaboration present this amazing online festival with great bands from all over the world.

The purpose of the festival is it’s a big union between countries and combinations of different metal genres, no divisions.

With big names and new projects such as CRS, Savanth, Hada de Beng, Rithiya Khiev, Parazit and more.

The festival will take place on December 4th and 5th, 2020, and there will be much metal intensity.

Metal Heroes Online II bring and support many groups with women like: IOG, Young Lust, la Cattrina, La Leyenda de Eva and many more.


YouTube Channel:

FB Event:


Here is the list of bands who will give life and power to the Fest:

SCURYTALES – Thrash/Death Metal – San Luis Potosí/Mex

La Leyenda de Eva – Folk Metal – Zacatecas/Mex

Cigarette Band – Hard Rock/Heavy Metal – San Luis Potosí/Mex

Nexoasis – Post Grunge/Rock Alternative – Valencia/Venezuela

Getcha’ PULL – Hard Rock/Groove Metal – Guanajuato/Mex

BAGHEERA – Melodic Death Metal – San Luis Potosí/Mex

DØGMA – Heavy Metal – San Luis Potosí/Mex

Godless In Grace – Metalcore/Nu-Metal/Rock/Blues – Oruro/Bolivia

The Hero’s Rise – Post-Hardcore/Metalcore – Querétaro/Mex

Miniatures – Progressive/Death Metal – Aguascalientes/Mex

Arturo Ocampo Music – Classic Rock/Heavy/Power Metal – Tijuana/Mex

Enertron – Instrumental/Progressive/Fusion/Djent – Tulancingo Hidalgo/Mexico

Fecalator Mexico – Porno Grind Gore – Orizaba Veracruz/Mex

Anorexia Isan – Rock – Caracas/Venezuela

Hada de Beng – Rock Fusión – Ciudad de México/Mex

Next – Metal – Nezahualcoyótl, State of Mexico

Alma Eterna – Metal – Potosí/Bolivia

CRS – Death Metal – Obregón, Sonora/Mex

Parazit – Instrumental Prog Rock/Metal – Guadalajara, Jalisco/Mex

Rithiya Khiev – Solo Artist – Epic/Symphonic/Progressive/Instrumental Metal – Boston/US

Alexx Mattey and the Freak Show – Rock/Industrial/Metal – Venezuela/US

Dräven – Gothic Rock/Industrial Metal – Barcelona/Spain

Berzerk- Metalcore – Tijuana/Mex

Back – Hard Rock – Salta/Argentina

She No More – Hard Rock/Metal – State of Mexico /Mex

Sefirot – Melodic Metal – Santiago del Estero/Argentina

La Cattrina – Folk Metal/Mexican Folk Metal – Ciudad de México/Mex

Sotako Anime Rock Band – JRock/Anime – San Luis Potosí/Mex

Rebel – Power Metal – Budapest/Hungary

Red Calling – Hard Rock/Metal – Tampa, Florida/USA

Victory Or Death – Metalcore/Metal – Burzaco/Argentina

Young Lust – Hard Rock – Monterrey/Mex

Postnecrum – Symphonic Black Metal – Zacatecas/Mex

SilentEnd – Melodic Thrash Metal – Monterrey/Mex

The Outsider – Avant-Garde Symphonic  Extreme Metal – Mexico City /Mex

Savanth – Rock/Hard Rock/Heavy Metal – San Luis Potosí/Mex

Corners of Sanctuary – New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal – Philadelphia/US

Illusions Of Grandeur- Theatrical Hard Rock – Philadelphia/Lancaster Pennsylvania/US

Disclaimer: This article is solely the property of Maggy Von, Killsound Productions, and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

A Response to Misogyny

A Response to Misogyny (By Association, On The Grounds Of Being Female)
By Beth Jones

If you had “Blatant and Inexcusable Misogyny in Printed Media” on your 2020 Armageddon Bingo Card, then you can now cross it off, as the year that just keeps on giving has done it again! This month’s issue of a fairly well followed print format rock and metal magazine, who shall remain nameless, have firmly cemented that entry into the “Turned The World Off and On Again, It Seems to be Fucked” annual; With their editor using incredible lack of judgement, and outdated views of what is acceptable, clearly clouded by unsatisfied testosterone running wildly though his system.

His two-word article title faux pas has not only managed to degrade, demean, and undermine the integrity of women in music, especially Rock and Metal; It has also incensed me, the least feminist person I know, to write this. Regardless of the content of the article, or indeed the accompanying editorial which ‘championed women in rock and metal’, this act of disregard brings, once again, to the forefront an ‘ism’; an inequality that all women experience. But this is the tip of the iceberg.

For women in many walks of life, being met with surprise and disbelief that they can do something competently, other than cook and clean, is a daily occurrence. And it’s also a regular occurrence for assumptions to be made as to our roles, purely based on the lack of external appendages within our trousers.

In the Rock and Metal world, women are used to being looked at when they turn up with their band, and the assumption being made that they’re a girlfriend of a male band member, rather than an  accomplished musician, and integral part of the band. When performing on stage, women are used to being seen as ‘only there for a bit of eye candy’, and dealing with being groped, manhandled, or commented upon, because of what they choose to wear, or simply the fact that they’re a female in a band. They’re also used to getting plenty of hate regarding their size, hair colour, choice of makeup, etc, etc, ad infinitum. When they start playing or singing, women are also used to being met with surprise that they can actually do it just as well as their male counterparts. And they’re also used to it being pointed out in articles that they are female, or that the band is ‘female fronted’. I will hold my hands up, it’s something I have done on one occasion in the past, because it was ‘the done thing’ and I failed to question it. Rookie error. But why was it, and why is it still, the done thing? What is its benefit? There are only two reasons I can think of – for the benefit of those poor souls who may get confused, and wonder why a prepubescent teenage boy is being exploited in a band full of bigger boys, or so that the Neanderthals can prepare their “fun sock” before they check out the band’s videos on YouTube.

As women, we’re used to all those things, and we’re used to rising above them. But that doesn’t make any of them right, and it doesn’t make any of them grate our gears any less.

Inequality is everywhere. Inground into, and accepted in, every fabric of society. And despite the efforts of activists, and the apologetic agreement, whilst attempting to hide the problem under the carpet, of governments globally, these problems are getting worse. Racial inequality, gender inequality, homophobia, transphobia, and every other inequality or phobia aimed at making someone feel smaller than the perpetrators of hate. And the only way we can stop it is for everyone to just get real. Like any problem, the first step to curing it is admitting that it’s a problem. That has started to gain momentum, but to actually accomplish anything, EVERYONE has to get on the bus.

Pulling it back to our subject matter here, the intrenched, low-level misogyny that women are forced to endure through every step of their lives is not something that women alone can solve either, sadly. As the old saying says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” It’s going to take every man, and I do mean EVERY MAN, to step up to the plate, and start thinking with their brains. YOU need to make the ones who refuse to see it feel like the outsiders, in the same way that women are made to feel all. The. Time.

So come on chaps, put your big boy pants on and let’s work on making everyone equal, regardless of what’s hanging between their legs, (or whatever driving force is behind every ‘ism’) yeah? Have the courage that so many are forced to employ every day, in order to survive in the global dominant patriarchy. Because no matter how much anyone tries to talk it down or laugh it off, that’s what it is. And we’ve had enough.

And before you ask, I’m not blowing things out of proportion because I’m a feminazi/ hormonal/ menopausal/ too emotional/ a woman*. This is reality.

*Delete as appropriate to indicate which one makes you feel better about your reasons for continued ignorance.

Disclaimer: This article is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Article – Illusions Of Grandeur: The Siren Saga

Illusions Of Grandeur: The Siren Saga
By Maggy Von

Illusions Of Grandeur is a Theatrical Hard Rock/Fantasy Metal band based in Lancaster, PA.

The band is now part of Killsound productions as their booking agency.

I.O.G. took the PA and NJ scenes by storm, starting in 2015, and debuting “The Siren Saga” live show.

The Siren Saga is a story of the journeys, perils, and triumphs of the Siren and her warriors. The story mixes facts and fiction combining Greek and Norse Mythology, Sirens, Viking Warriors, Archangels and Kharon “The Ferryman”. The first part, “The Songs of the Siren”, was released on Pavement Records in 2019.

Since their formation, Illusions of Grandeur have toured in the United States as well as across the UK and Europe, and made appearances at various festivals including Sav Fest, Dewey Beach Music Festival and Witney Music Festival. I.O.G. has shared the stage with artists as varied as DOPE, Motograter, September Mourning, New Year’s Day, Puddle of Mudd and Otep. Illusions of Grandeur’s fierce and energetic live show has gained them a legion of fans dubbed “The Siren Nation” who follow them worldwide, at live shows, and on social media.

New video ‘Crossing Over’

The Story of The Siren:

The Siren was a winged creature with the body of a woman, feet and arms of a bird. She perched high on the flowery hilltops where she watched over and protected the Goddess Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter. From the tops of Mount Olympus, the Siren soared as a God. One warm, sweet spring solstice, Persephone innocently wandered off through a field of flowers. Intrigued by one in particular, a magical glowing flower, she reached out with both hands. The ground beneath her began to quake and opened into a large hollow. Confused from the fall, Persephone did not see Hades, God of the Underworld, until he was already upon her. Her screams echoed out of reach as Hades pulled her back to the Underworld where he intended to marry her.

The Siren failed in her sworn duty to protect Persephone. She was stripped of her wings by Goddess Demeter and banished from Mount Olympus to a tiny island off the coast of Sicily. She would remain on earth until she found Persephone and returned her home safely. This is now the Sirens journey. She must venture the Underworld and take Persephone from Hades. Frightened and unsure of her powers, she was lured to the seas, like a longing, calling to her soul. Once she reached the rocky cliffs, the mists from crashing waves, shown the shine of her new flesh, the scales and fins of a mermaid, a water Siren. Bound by this new skin, she must determine her new-found abilities and set forth to the task ahead. The Siren would learn that when she sang, she was irresistible to mortal men. She pillaged for their lives and used them to build an army, facing peril and surprises along the way. The challenge was unlike any she had faced before. Alone and haunted by her past, if she was to have any chance of success, it would mean pushing herself towards her own self-destruction.

The Siren – Maggie Carlton – Vocals
Archangel Michael – CM Carroll – Bass
Julian Yeager – Guitar
Ares – Ted Domzalski – Drums