It was Supergroup Awareness Week in the metal world, with some exciting new all-star line-ups launched and an unexpected one-off live date announced by Teenagers Time Killers; collaborators set to appear onstage include Corey Taylor, Randy Blythe, Clutch frontman Neil Fallon, Sacred Reich guitarist Phil Rind, Tairrie B Murphy, Goatsnake/Sunn0))) bassist Greg Anderson, plus Corrosion Of Conformity singer Karl Agell and drummer Reed Mullin, who dreamt up the project. The concert’s in LA on September 12th, so Dave Grohl can’t make it as the Foos are touring, but getting this many of them in one place at the same time won’t happen often.
Meanwhile, three generations of Floridian metal have come together to form Blood Divisions. Fronted by wrestler-cum-Fozzy main-man Chris Jericho, with death metal scene veteran Terry Butler (from Obituary, Massacre and Death on bass), plus twin-guitar tag-team Dave Austin and Ben Meyer from mad cult thrashers Nasty Savage and a further raft of seasoned pros including ex-Deicide axeman Ralph Santolla and ex-Six Feet Under drummer Greg Gall. The heavyweight collective will release a “digital EP” on August 28 via Metal Blade, comprising two cover versions of underrated riff-monsters from heavy metal history: Nasty Savage’s The Morgue (from the band’s raging 1985 debut), and 1975 Scorpions rocker Top Of The Bill. It’s a very promising line-up and song choice, plus a percentage of proceeds will go towards the charity Rock & Rescue and the Warren County Tennessee Humane Society, so streaming this one for free will be a bit out-of order. “Trust me,” says Jericho, “it’s going to tear all of your fuckin’ heads off, in the best possible way.”
Here’s a fearsome, unexpected home-grown supergroup to keep your third eye on: the estranged one-time Electric Wizard rhythm section of bassist Tim Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening – also the concrete backbone of Dorset sludge marauders Ramesses – have joined Cathedral vocalist Lee Dorrian in With The Dead, announcing a self-titled debut album for release on October 16 via Lee’s Rise Above label. “Rising like a fecund creature from the fetid bogs of old England,” runs the lurid promo spiel, “With The Dead is a malevolent beast that lurches and staggers, flattening everything in its path. Guitars moil and curdle, bubbling up through the loam like black tar, while existing fans will surely welcome the return of Dorrian’s distinctly hateful vocals.” No word on gigs yet, but as Bagshaw is handling bass and six-string guitars, it remains to be seen how they’ll tackle live performance.
In other news, there’s some interesting fall-out from last week’s final ever Mayhem Festival. Cannibal Corpse drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz, who played the event last year, had a perspective on the different line-ups: “It just looks like this year it wasn’t strong enough to play to the masses,” he assessed. “In the United States, metal is very big, but I think having a band like Slayer headline Mayhem may not have been the greatest idea. For us, it’s great – Slayer are our idols and our kings – so for them to headline Mayhem is amazing. But in the scheme of popularity and record sales, it was a downsize in a way. When we played it, we were with Avenged Sevenfold headlining, and they are a huge band in America right now, so for that reason alone there should be more people coming to the show. There was Korn, as well, and you got a great whole second stage. It was downsized this year and I think that was the big downfall. If they had a bigger band to headline then maybe it would have been more successful.” Paul shared his thoughts on the future of US festivals, reckoning that travelling events will be superseded by the European model: “It would be cool to have the weekend festivals. They work in Europe very well. It is kind of weird that the United States hasn’t gone that route yet.”
Hellyeah guitarist Tom Maxwell struck a similar note: “I think the travelling festival is probably gonna die – unless some new bands emerge or… unless they start branching out,” he mused, adding: “I think the travelling summer tours are a gamble, man. The promoters, they’re putting a lot out on the line, and there’s a lot of competition. And… you can’t have the same bands coming back every year. It’s just like, ‘oh really? Pizza again?’