Ektomorf & Dead Horse Trauma on European tour March 2018

This package that startis to tour straight on March 2nd promises to be a cool package. While Ektomorf should be well known to metal maniacs with their classic and full blast thrash performance it's cool to see they give a unusual opening act a chance.

This time the slot is taken over by Dead Horse Trauma. The band surprised me with the vocal performance on the song "Left Unsaid". It's not too often to be found that the vocalist transport's the message with such great undertones that add his inner feelings to the sound. It sounds as if the performs more from the heart than from the strict formula. The other band members add a pounding and compact riffing sound to the package that make the whole song push straight forward. It feels round and moves me inside.

Come and give these two band's a loud and great welcome on their shows in Europe.
Tickets and more info can be found at http://DHTtour.com and http://DeadHorseTrauma.com

Update 09/03/2018: The show at Zollhaus Leer  / Germany on 22.03.18 has been cancelled. All purchased tickets will be refund at the place of purchase. A replacement show at a different location is in the makings. More info on this will hopefully be available at the event page on Facebook.

3/02 - Pitcher - Düsseldorf, Germany
3/03 - Markthalle - Hamburg, Germany
3/04 - Klub Muzyczny Liverpool - Wroclaw, Poland
3/05 - Aching - Colmar, France
3/07 - Altherax - Nice, France
3/08 - Palazzo Bowling & Beat Club - Chur, Switzerland
3/09 - Metbar - Lenzburg, Switzerland
3/10 - Woody's - Schleiz, Germany
3/11 - Viper Room - Vienna, Austria
3/13 - Barrák Music Club - Ostrava, Czech Republic
3/14 - Nuke - Berlin, Germany
3/15 - Rock Café - Prague, Czech Republic
3/16 - L.A. Cham - Cham, Germany
3/17 - Das Rind - Rüsselsheim, Germany
3/18 - De Verlichte Geest - Roeselare, Belgium
3/19 - From Hell - Erfurt, Germany
3/20 - Chemie Fabrik - Dresden, Germany
3/21 - Alte Zuckerfabrik - Rostock, Germany
3/22 - Kulturzentrum Zollhaus - Leer, Germany
3/23 - Factory Event Center - Magdeburg, Germany
3/24 - Baroeg - Rotterdam, Netherlands
3/25 - Rock Fabrik - Ludwigsburg, Germany
3/26 - Backstage - München, Germany
3/27 - Vègàllomàs Klub - Szombathely, Hungary
3/28 - Form Space - Cluj-Napoca, Romania
3/29 - Narancs Rock Cafe - Békéscsaba, Hungary
3/30 - Sypka - Morkovice, Czechia
3/31 - Hellraiser - Leipzig, Germany
4/01 - MC Fabrika - Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

Here's the flyer if you'd like to have a copy of it as quick reminder.

GerSwitzer Dead Horse Trauma’s new album, LIFE can be found here:

Physical: https://goo.gl/PlHJ4p
iTunes: https://goo.gl/k2kEko
Google Play: https://goo.gl/IL9lyC
Amazon: https://goo.gl/6FIuyv

Check the band's homepage or Facebook for constant updates.




What would Jesus sell?

Also Metal music is often associated with darker parts of life there is in fact a sidearm that has a look upon the christian side of our music. It's called White Metal and I became most aware of it when I went to a show of Narnia.

They opened up for Dio and had this lion as a backdrop. I remember they played "The Awakening" that evening and it talked about the spiritual side and how we start to face it.

Back in present day I nearly forgot about this until this documentation knocked on my door. There are some guys out there that call themselves BadChristian. They want to take a sharp and critical look upon how Christianity is connected with (Metal) music. What is going on behind the curtains of this business? This is what the documentary will be about in my eyes. It will be told from the view of those who have been involved into this business themselves.

The campaign picture of "What would Jesus sell?", (c) by BC Media, used with kind permission

 A quote of the Kickstarter page tells more details about what this documentary aims to be:

"As the music industry has declined over the past few decades, dwindling returns have incentivized the profit-securing practice for Christian artists and labels to project an image that is often contrary their individual values.

Our goal is to craft a documentary that

    Uncovers the truth about dishonest image control
    Explores the profit motives that influence faith-based music
    Redeems the honest aspects of the industry & artists involved"

Matt Carter, CEO of Bad Christian, explains, “I’ve been involved with the Christian music industry for 15 years. There are these huge gulfs between the insiders and the consumers, and between the consumers and the general mainstream  public. This creates so many weird, interesting, and often depressing realities and stories. We are excited to bring some of it out into the light of day.”

The documentary is being directed by James Wightman, a long-time filmmaker for Emery and BadChristian. “Internally we’ve been brainstorming and developing this idea and proof of concept for almost two years, and it seems like the perfect story for BadChristian to be able to tell like nobody else can. Everyone involved with this project has at different times, benefitted from, believed in, and been burned by this crazy industry. The whole goal with the documentary is to tell those stories honestly, because it seems that the public is largely unaware of the inner-workings and the nature of it, both good and bad.”

Have a look at the trailer for a better idea of the project.

Currently a Kickstarter is running asking to support them on their mission. Producing quality stuff takes money no question but the team has already started to work on the project out of their own pockets. By now the time has come to go into final production stages so more cash is needed to finish things. In return there's a wide range of rewards. They go for a reasonable price that's compareable to what needs to be paid at local stores.


How to survive the music industry in 2018

Music is a fine thing. It makes you feel great, it heals and often reveals truth for me. The dark side is that it doesn't pay off the same way for those who create it. How can I have my costs covered at least and which things do I need to take care of? There are so many things to choose from...

Noah "Shark" Robertson had a sit down and deep reflection about this topic. He wrote up his experiences and thoughts in the following lines. Noah is a full time touring musician, he runs two record labels called "Zombie Shark Records" plus Swimming With Sharks Records and is involved in other ways in music like being a Teacher, Writer, Marketer, Promoter  You can contact him through the mentioned links of his record companies.

Heavy Metal Underdogs is glad to have been given permission to publish this article which hopefully will have lots of helpful hints for you. As for me it had some new information in it which I think more people out there should know. I've included some music showcasing Noah's abilities on the drums with the text so it won't be too silent all around you. It's a long read but worth it.

It’s no secret that the music industry is constantly changing at an incredibly rapid rate. Labels, artists, and other music business professionals who don’t pay attention to the ever-evolving landscape can easily get left in the dust. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve and recognize what’s new. But it’s even more important to remember the small things that yield big results. This applies to everyone trying to achieve success, not just music personnel. Here are just a few tips to surviving the music industry:

Pay attention.

Learn what the current trends are and what you can do to meet new demands. The music industry is a living, breathing organism and it is fickle! Research what the top players in the industry are doing and ensure that you remain competitive. Read articles, watch videos, subscribe to magazines… do what you have to do to stay relevant. Keep up!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Some people have too much pride. There’s no shame in asking others for guidance. This is how some of the most successful people in the world have achieved success. Having the courage to ask for help, could save you tons of time. Ask somebody who’s been there and done that. The worst that can happen is they tell you to get lost. But most of the time, they are glad to share their knowledge and expertise. Try it out!

Be passionate.

As technology makes music production (and pretty much everything) more accessible to the average person, we are seeing a massive surge in the number of bands and artists out there. The problem is a lot of these “artists” aren’t true artists. They’ll be gone in a flash. One easy thing you can do to separate yourself from the crowds is to just love what you do. If you love it and you’re passionate about it, it will come through in your art and others will take notice. It’s simple!

Surround yourself with successful people.

This should be a no-brainer. Look around you… Are your friends and peers successful? This is one of the most commonly overlooked pieces of advice. Take a note from highly successful entrepreneurs, actors, and rock stars by surrounding yourself with people that are successful. Cut out the negative, pessimistic people from your life who will only drag you down and surround yourself with positive, optimistic people who are actually working towards their goals. Success is contagious!

Be Careful Who You Take Advice From.

It’s easy to want to seek advice from people who have been unusually successful. It just makes sense. But remember, the best kind of advice comes from people who have failed miserably and are aware of their mistakes and what they did wrong. They will have more to teach about what NOT to do and the processes and obstacles involved with reaching your goals and finding success. Beware!

Be persistent.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. Most of the time, musicians and artists never make it because they gave up too early. Some of the biggest artists in the industry were struggling in a van for years before they struck it big. You have to stick with it and truly believe in what you are doing. Never let anything get in your way or stop you. Go for it!

Build a strong team.

You can’t do it all yourself. You’ll need to put together a team of people who can help you. This may take some time, but every successful band has an entire team behind what they do. From booking, to management, to press and marketing… Build a great team of people to take over some of these duties so you can focus on what you truly love to do. Make music!

Treat your band like a business.

You have a name. You’re selling merchandise. You’re selling your music. Like it or not, your band is a business. Most musicians know nothing about business and it ends up hurting them immensely. People come along and take advantage of them or they make poor business decisions because they simply don’t know anything. And whether you view your band as a business or not, the government surely does. It’s important to obtain a business license (which is simple to do) and protect yourself. It can prevent other bands from using your name and provides a million other benefits you may not be aware of. This will also allow you to obtain a Tax ID Number. The more successful you become, the more responsible you must become for your actions. It will help you in the long run to just learn this stuff now. Otherwise Uncle Sam could come after you once you start selling a lot of albums and merch. In reality, everything you do as a band should be documented. Most bands aren’t even aware of the fact that pretty much everything they spend money on – band equipment, promotional materials, flyers, travel and touring expenses, insurance, gas, hotels, and even food – is all tax deductible! Learn it!

Get incorporated.

It’s expensive being a musician. EVERYTHING costs money. Incorporate your brand, so you can receive tax breaks and manage your expenses properly. It can help protect you as an individual and can be majorly beneficial to your positive financial growth. It may seem difficult, but it’s way easier than you think. There are a ton of resources and websites out there to help you out. Incorporating will establish your band as a separate legal entity and you and your bandmates will not be held personally liable for the band’s debts. There are many other benefits as well. Do it!

Know your rights, get registered.

Most musicians and artists have no idea what copyright laws are and how they work. Protecting your art from theft is easy! And if you’re recording and writing your own music then you will want to have a clear understanding of what Performing Rights Societies are and how they collect money for you. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of BMI and ASCAP, but aren’t sure what they even do. Find out! And be sure to only register for ONE of them. These entities monitor your works, such as when your song is played on the radio or on TV or in a film, and they make sure you get paid for it! Another popular one is SoundExchange, similar but not the same as the others. Registering is easy and fast. Do some research!

Don’t be afraid to spend money.

I see a lot of bands out there with horrible logos, horrible album covers, horrible websites. A lot of bands actually think that if they have to pay money for something, then it’s a “rip off”. This is a dangerous mentality. As with any business, it costs money to make money. Most bands just don’t want to spend the money. But these things can make or break your band. It’s all about first impressions. Whether it’s a fan or a record label, you want to make the best first impression you possibly can. If you’re not willing to spend the money to improve your image and look, then at least invest time in learning how to do it yourself. Look better!

Connect on Social.

These days, most of us are already on top of this one. Everyone is a social media expert! But some bands and artists need to be reminded to engage with their fans and represent their brand effectively. Not every single thing has to be selling to your audience or about your music. Be sure to post about other things as well, such as your favorite artists or things you love as an artist, etc. People love behind the scenes and getting insight into your lives. It makes a difference!

Take Care of Yourself.

What good are you to your fans if you’re dead? Eat healthy and exercise regularly. It will help your endurance, performing live shows and moving around on stage effectively without tiring out. It will also keep you around longer, so you can create more art. Duh!

Email Marketing.

This is a big one that a lot of bands miss. It’s a huge opportunity that every band should be taking advantage of. As thousands of posts scroll past in your news feed on your favorite social media platform, it’s easy to see how something could get lost or be missed by your fans. An email is delivered directly to the “customer”, waiting for them to open. Direct email marketing is one of the biggest things you can utilize to grow your business. Offer a free song to your audience, in exchange for their email address. Or put out an email sign up sheet at your merch table and start building your email list. This will allow you to update fans on what’s new with the band and offer them new products as they become available. If somebody gives you their email address, they are asking you to contact them. Don’t miss out!

Focus on details.

They say, “The devil is in the detail.” It’s true. I see so many bands with terrible bios and info sections of their websites. And most of this is due to just not proofreading and going over your work. Check, double-check, and recheck everything. If you send an email to a manager or record label that is riddled with spelling errors and grammatical errors, chances are they won’t take you seriously. It’s literally the lowest common denominator of being successful. Details!


Many musicians and artists believe they are god’s gift to music and/or art. They think they’re already good enough and they don’t need to improve. This is a dangerous way of thinking and can land you in a “rut”. Progress is an important part of the journey. Take pride in honing your craft. Get better!

Stay Humble.

Artists and musicians can have a very egotistical view of their music and career after they receive even a little success. They become cocky and disrespectful and begin making unusual requests of labels, venues, and members of their team. You’ve heard of the term “diva”? Nothing good can come out of this. It usually results in having a horrible reputation. Word will get around quick and people won’t want to work with you. Don’t be that guy or gal!

Give Back.

Up and coming musicians need your help, advice, wisdom, and support. Teach, mentor, donate to good causes… do whatever you can to give back to the music community. There is nothing more satisfying or rewarding than watching another artist or musician flourish from what you have shown them or taught them. If you are experiencing success, donate to a cause that provides opportunities to other people less fortunate than you. There are a lot of organizations and charities out there that provide instruments and music lessons for kids who can’t afford it, and that’s just one example. There are many ways to give back. It’s important!

Of course there are millions of ways to become successful, but hopefully these tips helped you along in your journey to excellence! Think better, live better, do better, be better!

Article by Noah “Shark” Robertson


CD Review: Metalsteel - Beyond The Stars (Clasic Heavy Metal, 2017)

A concept record taking things back to basics. No heavyweight production, no special effects overload. Just pure music crafted directly of the instruments of those loving Heavy Metal music

The wonderful frontcover artwork for Metalsteel's "Beyond the Stars" album, (c) by Metalsteel, used with kind permission
This album has set a view on the power of the songs alone. You can feel that the composers of the slowenian band Metalsteel prefer their art to be pure and to be delivered this way to the listener.

Thus said the songs need to stand stronger than ever to reach the audience and they do with much ideas, variations and sing-along choruses. The last element like all the music stems from the musicians themselves. There are no choirs pushed up to sound big on this record but the backing vocals introduce the message with such emotion that they will adress you instantly and invite to sing along. Think of being at a show and you just can't help but need to add the choir all around you.

The songs span a wide sort of feelings, from softer half-ballads (End of the World) to straight midtempo tracks but most of the duration the double bass power set's the motor for the music and keeps it coming fast. The lead vocals change on some parts to the more rough direction, something warmly welcomed because it brings in a fresh touch.

My favorites are the title song making me imagine being on a journey beyond the stars myselves and the track "Materialist No More" with it's more edgy guitars and hard riffing mixed up with variations ranging from fast to midtempo and even soft parts.

Purchase-Link & Preview-Track
Fans that love the pure but also modern sound will welcome this silver disc the same way I do. Let's have some good feelings and rock out to this straight. The hardcopy in a beautiful digipack package comes around for ten Euros directly out of the band's hands at www.metalsteel.net

Listen to one track with the video below to get a idea of Metalsteel's sound.

Contact and Tour Dates
Make sure to see them live starting end of February 2018 in their homecountry Slowenia. All dates are up on their homepage or tune in to the social world of Facebook to be notified of a show near you.


Who brought paradigm shift to the guitar player world?

As some of you may've read in previous interviews here on the Underdogs page inspiration can be sourced of various things. But paradigm shift? Something that changed things for times to come? That doesn't happen often I think.

Today we have a nice little article preview for you out of the hand's of the Rock Candy magazine talking about this subject. The mag is a print product available online and in many shops worlwide. It is put together by respected UK rock journalists Derek Oliver, Howard Johnson and Malcolm Dome, all frontline writers for the legendary Kerrang! magazine in the golden era.

The cover of the February / March 2018 edition of Rock Candy magazine, (c) by Rock Candy magazine, used with kind permission
It talks about iconic as well as more unknown acts of past and present days (for instance the making of Judas Priest's "Screaming for vengeance" album). You can get your copy from the papermag's homepage and follow them on Facebook.

Read on and find out what Steve Vai say's about paradigm shift in the world of guitar players.

Speaking exclusively about his deep appreciation of Edward Van Halen in the new issue of Rock Candy magazine, Vai told editor Howard Johnson, “There are so many guitar heroes I love, and maybe even prefer over Edward in a sense. But the two guitar players who really created a paradigm shift in my opinion were Jimi Hendrix and Edward Van Halen. Everybody else has contributed wonderfully to the art form. But when you look at scope of their individual contributions and how they became pivotal turning points for guitar playing, those two guys were the most effective.”

In a wide-ranging interview all about the Van Halen legend that forms part of Rock Candy mag’s 14 page VH feature in the current issue, Vai recalls hearing Edward’s playing for the first time when he was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston in the late ‘70s.

“’You Really Got Me’ came on the radio, with the ‘Eruption’ solo tagged on at the start,” he explained. “We were just all completely stunned.”

In a long and illustrious career, Steve Vai has produced some of the most loved guitar music ever recorded, while also bringing his outstanding combination of flash and technique to some of rock’s greatest acts, including Whitesnake and, of course, David Lee Roth. Between 1985 and 1989 Vai performed a number of Edward’s songs alongside the former Van Halen frontman during the height of Roth’s solo career.

“Playing Van Halen songs is such a hoot,” he told Rock Candy. “Especially when you’ve got David Lee Roth singing them! ‘Panama’ is just great. ‘Unchained’ and ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’ too. We’d play a whole lot of Van Halen tunes and they were always wonderful. The parts were constructed perfectly, because Edward has real completeness as a guitar player.”

The full interview can be found in the issue February / March 2018 of Rock Candy magazine. Other bands also featured in this issue are:



We lost track show T-Shirt artwork creation process

Have you ever thought about how difficult and time-consuming it is to draw a T-Shirt design, one of the many that we love to wear everyday? Melodic metal band We lost track have taken up this topic and put together a timelapse video that shows that.

While you can listen to a powerful yet very direct and not too complicated track of the female fronted combo you can spot the creator Timon Kokott drawing the band's T-Shirt design. I never thought this would take so long and require so many detailed work to have a finished product in the end. It's always impressive to see how dedicated creating art is.

Find out more about the band We lost track with a look upon their website or check 'em out on Facebook.


New Model Army announce Nights of 1000 voices

To sing along together to a song is awesome. It gives a special feeling as if you're a part of something bigger that is all around you. This event may hold a lot of those moments.

New Model Army have announced a revolutionary two-night event at the Round Chapel in Hackney, London, April 13th/14th/15th 2018.

You know those moments when a band plays quietly and the whole audience sings the words? Sometimes, these are the most emotional experiences - because singing together is the oldest and most basic form of human art, something primal and truly shared. So we are planning two nights of just this, which, to the best of our knowledge, has never been attempted by any band ever.

We have chosen the Round Chapel in Hackney both for its amazing open acoustics and for the circular layout of the room, which we believe will be perfect for the spirit of the event.

A picture of the Round Chapel in Hackney

These are not concerts as such; this is a community singing event for all those people who love our songs, who love singing and love the feeling of singing together with others. The venue will be fully seated around a small stage constructed in the centre of the room; the whole band will be playing but the arrangements will be deliberately stripped down and very quiet - there will be no big PA system. The nights will be all about the participation and voices of everyone who comes.

While we are open to suggestions, ultimately we will choose the songs that lend themselves best to the idea – strong melodies and slower, easy vocal rhythms will suit best and we will vary these over the two nights. We will issue song-books (included in the price of the ticket) as we understand that people often know particular lines and choruses but usually not all the lyrics; and, of course, we plan to record and film both nights.

If you love singing and love New Model Army songs and love the sense of community that we have created over the years, we hope you’ll join with us from all different corners of the World for these special nights.

Tickets went on sale from the band’s own website at www.newmodelarmy.org (in order to undercut crazy ticket agency fees) on two weeks ago and sold out within an hour.

UPDATE: A further Sunday matinee show on the afternoon of April 15th has now been announced. Tickets here https://shop.newmodelarmy.org/product/nights-of-a-1000-voices-sunday-april-15th-2018/

Here is one of the newer New Model Army tunes to have a idea of what could be: