Current Role: Managing Editor
Joined: September 2001 as Guest writer.
First Review: Viper-Theater of Fate (September 2001)
First Interview: Denis Gulby of Sentinel Steel Magazine (April 2002)
First Concert review: I can’t recall!
First Book review: Lords Of Chaos (November 2001)
First Video review: We Sold Our Souls For Rock and Roll (November 2001)
Favourite interview: Interviewing Doro Pesch on 70,000 tons
Favourite concert: Covering the first 70,0000 Tons of Metal for MR.
Best band discovered through MR: Pathfinder
Number of CD reviews: 1460
Number of Book Reviews: 314
Number of DVD Reviews: 131
total (as of Dec 2015) 1905
Number of interviews: Dozens, but oddly enough very few major Metal bands. I primarily up and coming underground bands to give them some exposure and I like to interview Metal people that most other sites ignore, authors, artists and various industry people.
MR has been a huge part of my life for so many years now, I can’t easily describe all of the events and things that have happened. It all started back around the summer of 2001. I was a fan of the site and decide I wanted to contribute. EvilG said I could write as a guest contributor and I found I really enjoyed writing. Early on I decided I would not be a music critic. There are too many pretentious, arrogant, music snobs and critics out there so I choose to write positive reviews about bands I feel deserve support. Why waste me time insulting or denigrating a band I don’t like when I can take the high road, use my time more productively, and support a band I do like? Let those other bands I don’t like fall by the wayside and live or die on their own merits.
Secondly, when I started I choose I would support True Metal to the best of my ability. Back in the mid-90’s it was hard to find good info about REAL Metal. The internet was still quite young, all the major Metal mags had switched formats or embraced trendy bands, and times were tough for bands with little to no coverage. The bands were there all in the early phases of their careers; Symphony X, Iced Earth, Hammerfall, Gamma Ray, Kamelot, Rhapsody, Blind Guardian, Angra, Heavens Gate and many more but you could not easily read about them. I knew I had to defend the faith, join the fight and wage war in the eternal battle against crappy music. That is why I take the MR tag line ‘Promoting Real Metal Online Since 1995’ very seriously. So it became part of my mission, one that has continued for about 15 years now. I promote Real Metal and will continue to do so hopefully for another 15 years!
Joined: November 1999 as Staff Writer
Metal Rules! It’s a fact of music and, for many of us, a fact of life. It’s equally true for the website I’ve been lucky enough to contribute to for 16+ years. There’s been a lot of evolution in metal since 1995 but MR and its forward-looking staff have been there through it all to help weed out the weak and wave the flag of real heavy metal.
Personally speaking, it’s given me the opportunity to discover amazing new bands, hear music I may have otherwise missed, meet and work with a bunch of great people, and discover myself as both a writer and a metal fan.
There’s been so many cool things over the years that I could mention…the annual heavy metal Christmas of seeing all of the staff year-end lists…the sadly short-lived Metal Rules Records…developing friendships with many of the staff members (the old-timers among us especially)…the albums, the shows…the list goes on and on.
All of this because 16 years ago (1999) EvilG was brave/silly/cool enough to give an untested, unproven metal fan a shot a being a staff member. Somehow it stuck! MR has accomplished a lot over the years (I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg above) but speaking as one of the longest-tenured contributors, the coolest thing of all has got to be experiencing the growth MR’s experienced in becoming one of the most well-known & visited sites dedicated to heavy metal in the world. So without getting too long-winded and sappy – thanks EvilG for the opportunity! It’s been a blast contributing to MR’s corner of the metal-verse and I fully expect MR to keep kicking ass in many ways for another 20 years!
First Review: Amon Amarth – The Avenger (November 1999)
I still stand by my 3/5 rating on that one! Of course, the band would go on to much bigger and better things.
First Interview: Wow, I can’t recall…I did a bunch all within my first year, but I’m 99.9% sure that the first one was with Cleveland’s Breaker back in December 1999.
First Concert Review: Another one I struggle to recall…I should really keep better track of this stuff. If I had to guess I’d say June 2001 when I reviewed one of Lacuna Coil’s first shows in Toronto (w/Daylight Dies in support) from the previous month.
First Book Review: From The Minds Of Madness: The Origins Of Heavy Metal Band Names (February 2012). That was my first, and so far only (!), book review.
First Video Review: Necronaut – Vomitous Vertigo Home Video (August 2001). A VHS tape no less! Can I lay claim to being the only MR staffer to review a VHS video as a new release?
Best Interview: Hmmm…this is a tough one as I typically don’t conduct too many interviews. My personal favorite was probably talking with Corpsegrinder Fisher, before a show about three-quarters of the way through Cannibal Corpse’s tour for BLOODTHIRST. I remember two distinct things; 1) The guy was so hoarse he could barely speak but fought his way through the interview like a pro, and 2) wondering exactly where his neck ends and his shoulders begin…haha, I’m kidding of course…
Best Concert: Wow, that’s a tough one. I’d probably pick Iron Maiden’s reunion tour with Adrian & Bruce. Or perhaps King Diamond’s return tour in 2014? Or was it the epiphany that was seeing Blind Guardian for the first time after standing in the freezing cold & of snowy Toronto in January for 2 hours?
Best Band Discovered Through MR: Discovering new bands is undoubtedly one of the best parts of being on this team. I’ve discovered so many amazing groups (and some truly terrible ones). Oldies that I may never have bothered to check out (Breaker). New bands that may have slipped past me (Zero Down). There’s always a cool new band around the corner. It may not be the “privilege” it once was due to the proliferation of music downloads etc. but even after 16 years, there’s still new bands that surprise me. Worst band? Well…
Number of Reviews: 955, wow! I know it’s not that much compared to say, JP (you’re crazy dude, haha), but I’m pretty proud of the number of reviews I’ve done. I’d also like to think that they’ve gotten better-written over the years. I look back at some of my earlier ones and just cringe and am amazed that I was allowed to stay!
Joined: I first joined in 2008 and have been running the UK team since 2010.
I am greatly proud to have represented Metal-Rules.com in the UK for many years now. I have a deep and intense passion for music, so for me, Metal-Rules.com is a great platform that spreads real metal across the globe.
Personally, I like promoting the unsigned and lesser known acts just as much as the big guys, because we always need to keep looking ahead and finding new talent! However, it’s also great to be able to meet the bands I have loved for years, see the ‘behind the scenes’ action and get great new albums and get into some amazing gigs too.
It’s great to work with so many dedicated and professional people in the UK team which I founded in 2010 as the site began to grow in popularity over here. It can be stressful and time consuming, but I love it!
I’d like to thank EvilG for his hard work and dedication to metal over the past 20 years. I’d also like to mention Hann Ng “Hanntu” (RIP) who convinced me to join in the first place and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now. He will always be remembered. It’s been an honour to be able play an active role in what remains one the largest and well-known metal webzines going. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for MR and may it continue on for another 20 years! \m/
I always joke that Metal Rules is my non-paying job. In a way it is partially true. While we don’t get paid in cash, the benefits are immeasurable.
My time at Metal-Rules began in the late 90’s once I connected to the internet. EvilG has been a friend of mine since grade school and thus I started to help with a few short CD reviews (340 to date on Main Site) and it snowballed from there. Some of the first interviews I did for the site forged friendships that remains to this day. Through these friendships I have met some amazing people that have become great friends as well. How can you put a price on that?
Over the years Metal-Rules has given me the opportunity to see some fantastic shows, talk to some of the bands I enjoyed as a youth, photograph those bands, discover loads of new music, meet some amazing people and the list goes on. Meal-Rules has been an integral part of my life for many years. It’s a passion for the music that makes me do it. I love reading and posting news articles as they are released, hearing albums before the street date (and sometimes working mixes), the behind the scenes…etc. It is a job like no other that makes you feel good about what you are doing. There is a lot of work involved that is sometimes frustrating but the end result is worth it.
While I wasn’t there from the beginning to witness the full growth of the site I have seen many upgrades and changes. The site has grown significantly and continues to on a daily basis. Working for one of the largest and most respected webzines gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. Here’s to another 20 years!
Joined: Around June of 2000 as a photographer/interviewer/reviewer.
First Concert Review: Tuska Open Air, Helsinki in 2000 feat. Gamma Ray, Satyricon, Nightwish, Children of Bodom and much more. To be honest I don’t have much memories left about that festival anymore.
First Interview: For me, the first interview arranged under the Metal-Rules.com name was Gamma Ray with Kai Hansen and Dirk Schlächter. That interview was arranged during the Tuska festival in 2000. Before that I had arranged/been a part of some interviews for local Finnish magazines including a chat with Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice in 1998 etc.
Back in the early days it was just amazing to get an opportunity to meet and discuss with your favorite artists, ask the questions you always wanted to get the answers to and then share your work with people around the world. In the year 2000, the world was quite different to present. Not everyone had Internet access and good-quality web magazines were a rare thing. The more I worked for M-R the more I became interested photography, and soon it became my main interest – but I still enjoy doing interviews and other stuff as well.
I’ve done a lot of stuff during my 15 year journey with Metal-Rules.com. I don’t have actual numbers to show but I can estimate that I have during these years, published hundreds of articles and thousands of photographs. I want to say that most of time it has been only positive to work with M-R but unfortunately there’s been some negative things as well like a few ill-ended personal relations with certain people in the business. You know who you are and that’s about it.
But now I put the negative things aside for good and try to remember the bright side only. During my time with Metal-Rules.com I’ve seen so many great shows and done so many wonderful interviews that it’s impossible to remember everything at once. But I’ll try to list some of my favorite ones here.
The first positive thing on my list would be the mighty Sweden Rock festival. I’ve been working there every year since 2001. I’ve seen hundreds of great shows there including many one off and reunion shows from the bands I thought I’d never get to see. During the years I’ve arranged more than 100 interviews in Swedenrock including; Scorpions, Tesla, Queensryche, Accept, Madam X, Slaughter, Krokus, Sepultura, Grim Reaper, Fastway, Doro, Rage, Talisman, Derringer, Carmine Appice, Ufo, The Rods, Hanoi Rocks, Raven, and much more.
Speaking about regular shows, the list of remarkable shows is long. It was amazing to witness and review several Heaven & Hell’s shows during 2006 – 2010. Anthrax’s re-union in 2005 with the classic line-up was just killer and some interviews made during that time became almost “immortal”. Iron Maiden has always been a spectacular live band and so are another legend – AC/DC. No matter who’s been behind the mic stand – Accept has always been one of my favorite live bands and they’re always a great band to arrange interviews. Motley Crue was amazing on their RED WHITE AND CRUE tour and King Diamond never disappoints. Savatage at Wacken 2015 was one of the best shows in years. The list of great shows is almost endless but at least Saxon, Slayer, Alice Cooper, Testament, Scorpions, Motorhead, Skid Row, Slash, Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Helloween, WASP, Dio, TNT, Ratt, and Judas Priest must be mentioned here.
KISS is of course completely its own thing for me. Some might have noticed that I’ve been a huge KISS for my whole life and working with Metal-Rules.com has made many great things possible for me. Three interviews with Paul Stanley, two with Tommy Thayer and two with Eric Singer have been definite highlights for me. The list continues with Ace Frehley, Bruce Kulick and KISS related musicians Richie Scarlet, John Regan, Anton Fig, Dana Strum, Bob Kulick and Mark Slaughter so it’s been a great ride. Although we nowadays often need extra help from other media’s (THIS IS ROCK and Inferno) to make these great things happen, it would not have been possible to do these great things without M-R. The KISS concert highlights from this fifteen year period are KISS Symphony, Melbourne (2004), the intimate club show in London 2010 (for press and guests only), Monster tour opening show in Stockholm 2013 and of course the KISS Kruises in Miami (2010-2015).
What’s also been a great thing about working with Metal-Rules.com is that through this I’ve discovered some great new bands and genres. To be honest, I’m a fan of old school bands, so it’s never easy for me to accept new bands. But there are exceptions of course. Australian high energy rockers Airbourne are definitely one of those. Swedish hard rockers Hardcore Superstar is another great find and they’re currently one of the best band of their own genre. It’s funny to think how different the music scene was fifteen years ago. I still remember the time when Children of Bodom and Nightwish were new bands. Not to even mention all those other great bands which have been formed after year 2000. For example Five Finger Death Punch performed a club show in Helsinki 2009 in front of just handful of people. But anyway, it’s been great to be in the frontlines and see many future giants doing their first steps/tours in small intimate clubs.
However… Metal-Rules.com… 20 years and still going strong!!!
Name / Nickname: The name is Arto Lehtinen and I don’t use any weak nickname as I want to stay 100% behind the stuff with my own name. Besides, as seen from the narcissism side, the use of a real name it is kind of interesting and gives the ultimate satisfaction to find your name in some weird obscure site.
Joined: I joined the Metal-Rules.com back in 2000 by releasing the great Gamma Ray interview with Dirk and Kai, collaborated with my long partner in crime Marko Syrjälä.
First Review: It has to be Dark Funeral or something like that.
First Interview: It was Gamma Ray, done at Tuska 2000. As already stated above, Marko Syrjälä and I did that particular interview at a hotel located in the center of Helsinki. We were sitting in the hotel restaurant and were ready for kicking the interview off. But both Kai and Dirk weren’t, they were still eyeing the menu list without understanding any single word. Without understanding any word they decided to order something so that we could start the interview. The interview went on some minutes until a waitress brought a plate with a full of salad and parrots. Kai and Dirk were stunned watching each other, then at the plate, and finally us. We were smirking and asked you then ordered the rabbit food. Kai was like “Okei guys, could you translate the menu for us so that we could eat something.” We helped and they got a beef steak and Finnish beer.
First Concert review: Jeez I can’t remember as I have done a plenty of gig reviews since 2000. Besides the older database of 2000-2003 is partially lost. One of them was Tuska 2001 when Amon Amarth was a relatively small combo. In Flames sounded all in all solid and Anders Friden had long hair. But all in all, a lot of festival and gig reviews have been released during these years.
Blurb: Geoff, aka EvilG, must have gotten a lot of unexpected headaches, managed to obtain some grey hair, and lost some years in his age because of the uncontrolled chaotic events that have happened over these years. The Finnish Metal-Rules.com team has been full of fiery and rough, and of course heavy shitstorm happenings. Obviously, our editor-in-chief must have loved to see all these out-bursting emails, hate talk and crazy phone calls. Even his mum got the taste of the Finnish hospitality…
I have interviewed several bands and musicians over these years. One of the greatest interviews was the one with Messiah Marcolin of Candlemass, then David Lombardo, Mantas and Tony Dolan from Venom Inc., Onslaught, Gene Hoglan, Machine Head/Vio-lence axeman, John Bush, and the list goes on forever.
One of the funniest press conferences was Sebastian Bach at SwedenRock. The man was out of control, restless, and wild. Another crazy one was Ted Nugent, whose nonsense redneck speeches were superb and utterly beyond control. Meeting Dio, Lemmy, Demaio, the Slayer guys, and a number of heavy metal legends. Why I say heavy metal – it is a base for several subcategories.
Obviously the most known interview ever happened was the one with Dan Spitz. That interview done by Marko, and it caused an insane incredible brutal and sadistic shit-throwing and crap talking and back and forth email and phone calls. After all the whole mess got solved and the case is closed…almost.
Another hilarious interview session was with Anders Kisser at 11.00 am at Swedenrock. The timing was perfect for doing an interview after a rough night. Finally, Marko and I started arguing to each other in the middle of the session. Kisser followed our beef like fooled.
Another hassle happened when I was about to interview Steve Digiorgio. All of a sudden a recording device ran out of the batteries and threw the device back to my bag. Steve’s eyes were rolling and wondered what the heck now – no batteries I replied. Steve was like ok, let’s eat then. Since then, whenever meeting in some corner of the world he still remembers it even though I have interviewed him a couple of times after that.
I can’t help recall a weird press conference at Wacken back in 2006. At that time, Celtic Frost had been resurrected from a long long sleep. The whole trio was at present in the press conference. The lovely Australian writer Brat asked a nice polite question about the songs why they don’t play some other songs etc.. Well Tom G. Fischer – aka Warrior – literally freaked and picked on Nat quite nastily. I was standing in the back and was quite surprised to see and hear Fischer’s rant. Oh my…
There have been “some” brutal clashes between the staff of Metal-Rules.com resulting some members withdrawing from writing activities. Even though some members have left for one reason or another, that is pretty much logical and understandable for sure. Despite some ego clashes during these years, I find Hanntu’s death in a car pile-up was the most horrible thing for sure that has happened in the history of Metal-Rules.com. I still, from time to time, check out some pics from the funny never-to-forget week at Metaldays. I miss him for sure.
All in all, these years since 2000 have been a total amazing metal journey with the joy and some sadness. I have witnessed every metal legend on the stage, and some of them have already left this world behind. Would I change things and re-do something? Maybe yes, and maybe not. What about the next 15 years, only time shall time.
Joined: October 1999.
My Metal-Rules.com career started innocently enough. I was a voracious listener and student of metal. My path was always delving deeper into the underground of the metal culture so that I could hear new and exciting bands. This was 1999 and the internet was in its infancy. Few people had high speed internet connections and downloading a single .mp3 over dialup could take hours. I was trying to find some like-minded metalheads with which to trade CDs. A friend said that he had a buddy who was a huge metalhead and liked much of the same stuff that I did. He gave me an email and I set up a meeting with my new contact. When he opened the door I thought “Holy Fuck! This guy has longer hair than me! This is awesome!” He invited me in and we started talking about metal. We hit it off and seemed to share a love for the same types of metal. Out of the blue he asked if I would like to write a few reviews for his webzine. I guess by now you have figured out that the person I met was EvilG, the creator, owner and visionary behind Metal-Rules.com. I had come across Metal-Rules.com and been reading it for a little while and to now be standing with the man who created it was a little surreal. Who knew that St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador was the home to what would become one of the biggest and best metal zines in the world?
I did the reviews assigned me which that led to more reviews which lead to interviews and throughout the process I was learning about new metal and helping open up the genre to others. Through hard work EvilG, myself and our small staff grew Metal-Rules.com review by review and section by section. Some of the best metal writers joined the staff and Metal Rules.com became a zine that set the bar high for editorial integrity as well as excellent content. The biggest names in the genre have been interviewed by Metal-Rules.com including Iced Earth, Testament, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Ronnie James Dio, King Diamond, Primal Fear, Blind Guardian, Dream Theater, Accept, Marduk, Pantera, Savatage, Arch Enemy, Paradise Lost, Megadeth and the list goes on. Metal Rules never forgot about the underground as well. I reviewed as many demoes and independent releases as I could get. My mailbox would be full with bands sending demoes looking for a chance to get their music reviewed by Metal-Rules.com.
A couple of the more interesting things Metal-Rules.com dabbled in were the creation of our own label Metal-Rules Records and our own weekly radio show on Snakenet Metal Radio. Metal Rules Records was a lot of lot of work but at the same time a lot of fun. Though it was short lived we managed a number of releases. The first of interest was METAL-RULES.COM VOL1 which was a compilation of 16 up and coming bands mastered by Mark Briody of the legendary Jag Panzer. Putting together this compilation was again lots of hard work but it was great fun as well. Getting to hear so many new and exciting bands was awesome because these were bands that were hungry and were looking to get ahead and in some cases were offering a unique sound to the metalscape. The process of assembling the disc and getting it produced was also an eye opener and a great learning experience. The Metal Rules Radio Show holds some of my fondest memories of working on the webzine. Each week EvilG and I would assemble an hour show which would then air on Snakenet metal radio. Through this process I learned a great deal about mixing music, cutting promos, speaking for a diverse audience and just a ton of little things that went into creating a successful show. My favourite episodes were those that EvilG and I sat together and produced. They were often special holiday specials where we would bring in special guests to be interviewed and to play their favourite songs. Our favourite guest was Satan. He would show up for the Christmas and Halloween specials and would just turn the show on its ear. My favourite memories are myself and EvilG in the fits of laughter trying to record our speaking parts while Satan was talking about lava and cloven hoofs and doughnuts! I still throw on those episodes every now and then to have a great laugh. Special times for sure.
Some of the best things about being involved with Metal-Rules.com are the friendships created with other likeminded metalheads. A chance meeting in 1999 found me a lifelong friend in EvilG. The relationships with the other writers both past and present are something that I will always have. Though I am not as active now as I have been in the past, I take pride in the part that I played in helping Metal-Rules.com become the best Metal Zine on the web. The passionate work and vision of EvilG, and the staff both past and present, has brought Metal-Rules to this point in history. 20 years is a very long time by any estimation. Even longer when we consider the changing face of the metal world and the internet in the last 20 years. Here is to another 20 years of Metal Rules!
First Review: Riot – SONS OF SOCIETY (November 1999)
First Interview: Steamroller (December 1999)
Best interview: I have interviewed quite a few bands for Metal-Rules.com. I have done it all from established acts to up and coming and underground bands but the one that to this day still resonates with me and gives me goose bumps was the day I got to speak with Zak Stevens of CircleIICircle and Savatage. To top it off, Savatage was, and still is, one of my all-time favourite bands and Zak one of my all-time favourite vocalists. I still have the tape at home of the interview. I remember Zak being very professional but at the same time being a very cool down to earth guy who wasn’t playing the rock star at all. He seemed genuinely interested in being there and doing the interview and in answering all my questions. It was an excellent interview. I have done lots of interviews and it was always a thrill to speak to a “hero” of mine or a “star” of the genre.
Best concert etc… Best Concert is a tough one. I haven’t covered a lot of concerts for Metal Rules be cause where I live we don’t get a lot of big tours going through. If we want to see a big band we normally have to fly to Montreal or Toronto. I have traveled to see some of my favourite bands and have erased them from my bucket list including Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and AC/DC. I think my best concert would have to be Alice Cooper with Motorhead in support at Memorial Stadium in St John’s, NL Canada March 2, 1988. This was my first concert and it set the bar high. It solidified my love for metal and set me on my course which brought me to Metal Rules. Motorhead were absolutely on fire and Alice had just resurrected his career with Kane Roberts on guitar. It was a phenomenal night.
I do have to make an honorable mention here. This is the best of the few concerts I have reviewed for the site. In 2001 EvilG and I headed off to New Jersey to take in Metal Meltdown 3. It was an excellent festival held at the Asbury Park Convention Center. The lineup for the show was excellent with some true legends playing such as Anvil, Exciter, Cathedral, Amorphis, Impaler and Raven. The highlight of the festival was the North American debut performance of the one and only Primal Fear!! This was the main reason we headed down south and Primal Fear did not disappoint. They put on 50 minute clinic of metal mayhem that was hard for any band on the bill surpass. http://www.metal-rules.com/concerts/MetalMeltdown/MM3_2_Rick.htm
Best band discovered through MR. Thunderstone. This is a great Finnish band who I discovered when they sent me a demo for review in October of 2001. Who would have thought that I would remain a big fan 14 years later? With 5 releases to their name and 1 on the way Thunderstone has managed to stand the test of time.
Number of reviews: 336
Number of interviews: 40+
Joined: I began contributing to Metal-Rules.com in July of 2006 as a Guest Contributor. For years I started most mornings cracking open a caffeinated beverage and checking the Metal-Rules.com website for news, reviews and interviews from my favorite metal bands and I also enjoyed the camaraderie and reading the occasional debate on the Metal-Rules.com forum, though I’ll admit I always observed more than I participated.
There was a NAMM convention here in Austin, Texas for the music retailer industry and it was closed to the public. You had to be involved in the industry or have a press pass to get in. I faked my way into the convention by saying I was a writer for Metal-Rules.com.
It worked, they gave me a badge with my name and website on it and I gained entrance into the convention. I checked out all the latest gear and mingled with celebrities and turned down every single person who requested press coverage “I’m sorry, but I only cover metal.”
This worked like a charm until I met death metal vocalist Brian Werner (who was singing for Monstrosity at that point in time) outside of the convention center on a smoke break. He saw my badge that said”Robert Williams – Metal-Rules.com – Writer” and started telling me about touring with Monstrosity and his new band Infernaeon. At this point, my back was against the wall. Either I agreed to check out Brian’s new band and interview him for Metal-Rules.com or I was just some phony-hack, asshole of a writer. So I did… I interviewed Brian and I emailed it to Geoff and Geoff was kind enough to extend an invitation to come on board as a “Guest Contributor”.
First Review: Not sure what my first review or even favorite review would be. I have submitted a fair amount of CD and DVD reviews over the years but I will say I enjoy conversing with an artist during an interview about their music a great deal more than I do critiquing it or fumbling for words to describe it.
Text: Brian Werner (Monstrosity)
Video: Geoff Tate (Queensryche)
There was plenty of time to put together my first text interview with Brian. I believe we corresponded through e-mail until the interview was completed. My first video interview (my preferred medium) was with Geoff Tate and I was very, very nervous, and he was a totally cool, really nice guy who was very patient with me and he totally carried the interview with his charisma and well thought out answers.
Favorite MR project: Years ago, when I had more time to contribute to the website we put together some really special features including massive tribute pieces for Ronnie James Dio and Chuck Shuldiner. One year I interviewed every single band appearing at the Warriors of Metal festival for a gargantuan feature on the festival.
Also, I archived video content from every band I interviewed over the course of two or three years to compile a Halloween special where band’s discuss their personal Halloween playlist, favorite horror movies and favorite Halloween memories for a special we dubbed “A Metal Halloween”. That was a massive project and I’m still very proud of how it turned out!
Blurb: I can’t say enough good things about writing for the Metal-Rules.com website/zine. Earning the title “Senior Staff Writer” was a personal goal of mine that I was able to attain after years of dedication and hard work and I’ve learned a great deal about the publicity side of the metal industry along the way and have been fascinated with all of the ins-and-outs of the metal music industry since day one.
All I can say is that if you think contributing to the Metal-Rules.com website is something that you’d be good at, give it a shot! Our staff is really supportive and welcoming and the metal memories you’ll make are all priceless, irreplaceable and unforgettable.
Best interview: I can’t pick a “Best” interview. That’s a very subjective question. On one hand I’ve had the opportunity to chat with a lot of my favorite metal artists face to face including Judas Priest, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Ross The Boss Friedman, Paul DiAnno, Accept, Dave Mustaine, Saxon, Raven and on and on and on and those were all experiences I’ll never forget as a metal fan.
On the other hand, one could argue that the content or what is actually being said during the interview is what makes for an unforgettable chat and I’ve had some pretty classic chats with guys like Attila Csihar from Mayhem, Ravn from 1349, Erik from Watain and so on.
The interview I probably received the most feedback for was a 2008 interview with the late, great Oderus Urungus of GWAR. Oderus’ responses were so animated and over the top and hilarious. I’m really fortunate to have had the opportunity to chat with him while he was still with us.
Joined: January, 2009
First Review: Withered – Folie Circulaire
First Interview: Alex Staropoli, Rhapsody Of Fire
First Concert Review: Helstar, The Brass Mug Tampa Florida
Best Interview: Hansi Kursch, of Blind Guardian
Best Bands Discovered Through Metal-Rules: Circle II Circle, Knight Fury, Delain
Number of Reviews: 322
Favorite Hell’s Heart: Halloween/Horror Songs
Most Accurate Prediction: Calling Kreator’s Phantom Antichrist album of the year 6 months before the voting took place. It did in fact win Metal-Rules.com album of the year in 2012.
Most Inaccurate Prediction: Predicting Slayer’s Repentless would suck. It turned out to be a damn fine album.
Favorite Moments At Metal-Rules: Contacting an unknown band to tell them that their album was featured on the site with a high rating. They are always so excited and thankful. It is nice to be able to tell musicians that work so hard to get recognition that you appreciate their work and that you are in fact listening, and not just tossing their CD in the trash or deleting the promo kit.
Least Favorite Moments: Telling (numerous) bands that we do not review Nu-Metal, Metalcore, Mathcore, Hardcore or any kind of core damn it!
Obviously it is with great pride that I have had the opportunity to contribute to Metal-Rules. The site has always more or less aligned with my tastes in metal, but it has quite a diverse bunch that gives Metal Rules a wide appeal to fans across the world. One of the best things about writing for Metal Rules is that it has helped my tastes continue to evolve with the times. Yeah, I still am a sucker for golden-aged 80s metal, but I have come to appreciate so many more styles like female-fronted metal and Gothic Metal to name a few. It is a nice gig to receive more music per month than I can possibly listen to (though I do try). The year-end staff lists are where I usually find at least a couple of gems that I missed during the year, and I look forward to them every year as one of the highlights of Metal-Rules.
Hanging out with bands has definitely been an eye-opener. So many are down to earth folks, and huge metal fans just like the rest of us. Twenty years is a long time, and only people with a genuine passion and commitment to metal maintain a site of Metal-Rules caliber for that long. Hats off to EvilG for what he has done with Metal-Rules and JP for all the reminders. Especially thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the Metal-Rules team.
Joined: 2002 as a guest writer
First CD review: EDGUY Age of the Joker (fan edition) 2011
First interview: Zachary Hietala from TAROT at Rock to the River, Imatra Finland
First concert review: EDGUY Australian tour 2002
What Metal-rules.com means to me:
I was always involved in the Sydney metal scene as a publicist, promoter or photographer and of course, punter. The internet was just starting to become a household requirement and Raul Alvarez of DARK ORDER told me about metal-rules.com when I asked how people were keeping up with the latest international metal goings on.
I spent a bit of time on the forums meeting people and sharing opinion which somehow progressed to my covering the EDGUY Australian tour 2002.
Together with my faithful kangaroo (Spot) and her Joey, I covered overseas metal festivals while on holidays (Wacken, QStock, Graspop) as well as local events like Australia’s Metal for the Brain festival, an Australian metal legend.
I have no one favourite concert or review I have written. They’ve all been special, well maybe with the except of Wacken 2005 which took my leather pants two weeks to recover from.
Metal-Rules.com opened a new metal world to me and expanded my metal family.
Joined: January 2012 as a guest writer
First album review: Deathhammer – Asphyx
First concert review: Anvil at the Sellersville Theater
First interview: – Donald Tardy of Obituary
Statement: 4 Years ago I needed another outlet for my heavy metal passion, other than going to a ton of concerts and buying a ton of CD’s. Metal Rules gave me the opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings about metal and share them with the world. I try to write my reviews from the fans’ perspective, not like a journalist. I’ve met a lot of people through my reviews and made a lot of contacts by covering concerts and doing interviews.
Coolest person I’ve met through Metal Rules – Jim Nickles of Hellcannon. I did a review of a Malevolent Creation gig in late 2013 and Jim did a guest appearance at the show. I got his name wrong in the review and he politely reached out to me to ask me to fix it. We became friends and I am always a welcome guest in Buffalo because of Jim. I’ve been out to Buffalo twice to cover his Vile Records Open Air Fest and I always have a great time up there.
Best interview: Steve DiGorgio of Testament
Best concert – Delaware Death Fest II
Best Band Discovered through Metal Rules: Hellcannon
Number of concert reviews: 45
Number of interviews: 6
Joined: March 2013
First Review: Thorngoth- Schwarz-Karg-Kalt (album review)
First Interview: I’ve done so many now it is hard to say! I remember Chron Goblin was the first band I actually chatted to for Metal-Rules though, rather than just doing email interviews.
Concert Reviews: I didn’t get to do many concert reviews for Metal-Rules until sometime after I joined. This last year or so, however, I’ve been doing a lot. My favourite has been reviewing really sweaty extreme metal gig at smaller venues. Highlights include Marduk and Belphegor, and Sodom, both at Camden Underworld in London.
Book Reviews: The most recent and the most interesting was when I reviewed a book by one of our old writers! It was called ‘Insanity by Increments’
First Video Interview: Pelle Ahman from In Solitude.
Why I Write for Metal-Rules.com:
I always respect websites that have a strong sense of identity and purpose, and Metal-Rules definitely does. Sure, I like to read about lots of different types of music and sub-cultures, but when it comes to true heavy metal- you don’t need to go much further than MR. The writers are as dedicated to the music as they are their writing, and I think that is what makes us stand out.
Joined: October 2012 as Guest writer.
First Review: A Life Once Lost Ecstatic Trance (December 2012)
First Interview: Devin Townsend (October 2012)
First Concert review: Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival (July 2015)
First Book review: The Merciless Book Of Metal Lists (May 2013)
Comments: Writing for Metal Rules ensures my e-mail box stays full of promos from metal bands from the farthest corners of the globe – which can be a blessing and a curse – and has given me the chance to come in contact with other writers with a shared interest from around the world, which is always a good thing. Only here can I interview a band from Virginia, have the text published from Canada and then have photos added from Finland – as was the case with my Slayer interview in October 2013.
20 years with metal-rules.com
Joined: I can’t really remember but I think it was somewhere around 2000/2001.
First Review: I think it was Debase “Domination” back in the late 2001.
First Interview: I’m not 100% sure but think it has to be the interview with Dimension Zero singer Jocke Göthberg.
First Concert Review: One of the first ones have to be the review of The Haunted with support act Debase at Malmöfestivalen in Malmö, Sweden in 2001.
Why I Write for Metal-Rules.com: I think I wrote to EvilG and asked if I could be a a part of the Metal Rules crew and he said yes. I have lived and listened to metal/hard rock since I was a child and know a lot about the music and it doesn’t hurt that Sweden has some top notch well known metal/hard rock acts. I think that it is nice to be a part of metal-rules.com where you are able to support bands, big as well as small ones, to a large amount of readers around the world. Congratulations on your 20th year birthday metal-rules.com! I wish you all the best in the future and hope to be around to celebrate your 30th birthday.
Best concert: I have been to a lot of shows during the years but one of the first ones was Judas Priest live at KB in Malmö, Sweden, 2001 and what a show that was. Tim “Ripper” Owens did a very good work as a singer, it was too bad though that Debase wasn’t support at the show as they were in the rest of Sweden.
Another great and special show was Heaven and Hell live at KB-hallen in Copenhagen Denmark 2007. As for festivals, Metaltown Festival in Gothenburg Sweden 2007 was very fun to be at and the same goes for the first Getaway Rockfestival 2010 at Gasklockorna in Gavle, Sweden.
Best band discovered through MR. There is a lot of band’s that I have gotten into via metal-rules.com, but one band that has stuck with me from the first album is Dream Evil with the album “Dragonslayer”. The debut was sent to me and I was blown away with how good it was and still is.
Another album sent to me was Volbeat “Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil” I didn’t know about the band at first, but the first moment I heard the album I loved it at was convinced the band was going to be huge. This is one of my favorite bands still today and hail the Danes for providing the world with Volbeat.
Nickname: Dimmu Wulfenhume (My blog, My Metal Archives page)
Joined: September 2013
First Review: Ancherontas – Amenti (Catacomb Chants and Oneiric Visions)
First Interview: Petri Lindroos – Ensiferum
First Concert Review: Ensiferum @ O2 Academy, Islington
Blurb: I’ve always wanted to tell the world what I think is good or bad. I use my writing talents to tell people what’s a nice alternative if they’ve become bored with the normal things in life – especially music.
Whenever I post something online, I feel happy knowing what I’ve done might mean something to a total stranger out there and it’ll help them find something new; just like how I discovered metal through the glorious wonders of the internet.
But above all, I like writing about metal because I feel I’m keeping the underworld alive and well. Attracting new blood is something I want to do because I’m reaching out and telling kids in every town around the world: ‘you’re not alone.’ I can still recall feeling like there was nobody else like me, but once I found the right music; I was told there was a place for me too. Through metal I’ve found the best friends I’ve ever had and I hope that what I scribble will aid in helping other kids find a path through life.
Best Interview: Petri Londroos
Best Concert: Belphegor @ Bloodstock 2015
Number of Reviews: 68
Number of Interviews: 1
Lord of the Wasteland
Joined: July 2003 as Guest writer.
First Review: The Devin Townsend Band Accelerated Evolution (September 2003)
First Interview: Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil (August 2003)
First Concert review: In Flames/Soilwork/Chimaira (July 2003)
First Book review: Sean Delaney’s Hellbox (October 2004)
First Video review: KISS Symphony (October 2003)
Congratulations to EvilG and the rest of the current and former staff members of the hallowed Metal-Rules.com on the site’s 20th anniversary!
Way back in the summer of 2003, I found a link on Blabbermouth about a controversial interview done with Motörhead drummer, Mikkey Dee at Metal Rules. I clicked to read the full interview and realized that, like myself, the site was based in Canada. Being a metal fan with a background in writing, I sent EvilG an email asking if he was looking for any new writers. After a few exchanges back and forth, I was taken on as a Guest Writer. My first task was to transcribe an interview he did with then-Nevermore guitarist, Jeff Loomis, a rite of passage if there ever was one! Soon after, I began contributing my own original reviews, interviews and concert reviews. Over the course of the next six years, I devoted a tremendous amount of time to the site. Covering the world of metal quite literally took over my life. For six years, countless hours were spent attending concerts, editing photos, researching and transcribing my own long-winded interviews, listening to CDs, watching DVDs, and even helping Rick program the Metal Rules Radio show. Then, a change in jobs and a move to a new city in July 2009 put what I hoped at the time to be a temporary halt to my contributions. As real life took over, that temporary halt became a permanent one and after a full year taken off from contributing, I had to officially “retire” from the site in 2010 due to a lack of time.
I look back on my time writing for Metal Rules fondly. I immersed myself in both the Vancouver metal community and global online community fully, meeting a lot of interesting people and finding myself in so many unreal experiences along the way. There is no way that I imagined myself one day interviewing Tom Araya of Slayer or Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, shooting the very first show of the Heaven & Hell tour with Dio and the rest of Black Sabbath, being asked by popular print magazines for approval to use photos I took, travelling to San Francisco and Seattle to cover shows, or stirring up a tornado of controversy surrounding the coverage of a Slipknot concert. So many memories, so little space…but knowing that I have Evil G and Metal Rules to thank for making that happen and for giving me a creative outlet to share my love of heavy metal cannot be put into words. Cheers!
(Staff member 2000-2005)
First Review: Dispatched—Motherwar (September 2000)
First Interview: I can’t even remember; it may have been Eric Adams of Manowar. I was interviewed by EvilG in June or July, 2000.
First Concert Review: Wacken Open Air 2000
It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since I wrote for Metal-Rules, and fifteen since I joined the site. It seems like yesterday. Congratulations to Evi G and the whole team for 20 wonderful years at the forefront of the worldwide heavy metal scene. The site’s legacy is a valuable contribution to the history and culture of heavy metal. It’s wonderful to see that it’s endured and grown over the years, and especially that it still maintains the character it’s had since the very beginning: a labor of love by dedicated fans, for dedicated fans, for no other reason than their passion for the genre and the desire to share it with others.
Metal-Rules first came to my attention when I was promoting my first self-published book, Fire, Metal, Blood and Money. I sat for an interview with EvilG and liked him immediately. I wound up joining the staff because of the sudden possibility of getting press/VIP passes for the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany, which I was already planning to attend—getting to go as a member of the press, my first time, was truly a gift! Though I did not know it at the time, this trip and my association with Metal-Rules changed my life. I went on to attend the Wacken festival eleven more times, sometimes covering it for the site, sometimes for other publications, and sometimes I went as just another fan. The people I met at Wacken and through Metal-Rules have had a profound effect on my life, demonstrating why heavy metal is not just a hobby or a “phase,” but a force that can profoundly shape and enrich someone’s entire life.
I recall a lot of really fun times on the M-R staff. I remember covering an arena show in Portland in early 2001—Pantera was the headliner—which was something of a comedy of errors, but a fantastic show and a lot of fun. My all-time favorite interview was Tobias Sammet from Edguy/Avantasia. We talked for a long time, laughed a lot, and he shared some wonderful stories. This was in late November, I think the year was 2002, and I remember that on Thanksgiving morning Evil G sent me a message letting me know that Tobias had sent a message to him, thanking me for the interview and expressing how pleased he was with how it turned out. Years later I later met Tobias in person, actually by random chance, and he still remembered this interview fondly.
Looking back on some of my old reviews I feel a lot of nostalgia, a lot of pride, and occasionally a little embarrassment. I’m certainly a different person than I was 15 years ago. I have different opinions, about metal and a lot of other things, and a lot has happened since then; I’ve written for metal publications elsewhere in Canada, the USA and even China, and I’m now retired from metal writing. But so much remains the same. My CD case is still full of the same albums I used to listen to then, which have remained comforting friends over the years. I even still have a box at the back of my closet filled with promo CDs that used to arrive in my mailbox in little padded envelopes with Evil G’s handwriting. One thing that has not changed is Metal-Rules’s high standards and its devotion to the institution of metal. Congratulations for 20 years, and here’s to 20 more!
Kudos From The Industry
Are you a former contributor to Metal-Rules.com? Has your band been interviewed by or in some way helped by Metal Rules? If so, and you’d like to share a story for possible inclusion here. Contact us!
“Horns Up to metal-rules.com and their 20th anniversary. Keep the metal alive and thanks for always being a competent & trustful partner! Lets go for another 20!”
Mat Sinner & Ralf Scheepers, Primal Fear
“EvilG is metal. Very few people earn that title. Everything we like and love about metal music, you can apply that to G himself. I’m looking forward to the next 20 at Metal-Rules!”
Mark Briody, Jag Panzer
“Happy 20th anniversary to Metal-Rules.com!!! The ONLY way we survive in the world of music is to always do it for the LOVE of the music. It doesn’t work any other way. You do, I do, we do. Thank you for you being our supporters for two decades. Now let’s get rockin’ into decade #3! We’ll see you there!”
David Ellefson, Megadeth
“Two decades online is a feat of Joey De Maioan proportions. Congratulations Metal Rules, and long may your broadswords glisten!”
Joel McIver, author
“Dear Evil G and all those contributing to Metal Rules!
Thank you for all the passion you have given over the past 20 years, the dedication, the hours and hours of work ! Thank you for giving a platform to established names, but also to upcoming bands. Your work has become so important during the downfall of what we once called “the music industry”. The industry is dead, but the music is alive and YOU make sure that bands get heard !”
Here’s to the next 20 years ! Cheers \m/
Marjo Verdooren, Metal Revelation
“A big thanks to Metal Rules on their 20th anniversary and for supporting Canadian rock, especially Helix, over the years. When traditional radio ignores us, it’s heartening to know there is still someone like METAL RULES in our corner.”
Brian Vollmer, Helix
“Congrats to EvilG on blasting the metal message loudly and indelibly from The Rock. You guys have basically been there from the beginning of the net, and now you are worldwide renowned. That’s quite an accomplishment. Please keep spreading the gospel.”
Martin Popoff, author
“Joshua and Metal-Rules have been enthusiastic supporters of various projects of mine over the years, and I’m grateful for that. It’s no surprise they’ve been around 20 years, because that’s what burning passion and diehard dedication will get you.”
Jeff Wagner (Author & former Editor of Metal Maniacs)
“Congrats to Metal-Rules for keeping the torch raised high and the flames of Metal burning for 20 years now! Here’s to 20 more years of true
underground dedication!, HAILS!”
Mike Hrubovcak (Monstrosity / Visualdarkness.com)
“Congrats to Metal-Rules for 20 years. You guys rock to work with and I look forward to 20 more!”
Jon Freeman, Freeman Publicity
“Metal-Rules.com ended up being quite an integral part of my youth when I first dove into the world of metal. The majority of bands that I discovered were first from reviews and articles that were posted on the site. The forum also was a huge part of my life for many years and where I’ve built amazing friendships that I still have to this day. In later years, MR has supported me as an artist with interviews/reviews for our band LORD which has had a great impact and pushed the band to new audiences. I’ll forever be thankful for everything that EvilG and the entire MR crew have provided through the website. Congratulations and I look forward to the next 20 years! Bring it!”
“Celebrate 20 years of flying the flag for metal with metal-rules there’s a metal god shining down on us all. Cheers to 100 more years. Thanks for supporting the greatest bands on the greatest site, you really make all the difference in the world. Heavy metal forever!”
Maria Ferrero (Adrenaline PR)
“It’s already in the name! Metal-Rules! Rules the metal realm! I want to thank you for all the years of supporting Canadian metal to be discovered by the masses! and I look forward to many more working with the immortal beast that you are! Hails Horns!”
Jon Asher – Asher Media Relations
“Happy 20th anniversary metal-rules.com proving many great things come from the Great White North. Thank you for all the support of Music online to worldwide fans!!!”
Tom Mathers – Perris Records
“Congratulations to Metal-Rules.com! 20 years of kicking ass in metal writing, thanks for your continuing commitment to covering metal of all genres from across the globe!”
Sarah Kitteringham, Shrapnel Editor at BeatRoute Magazine, Writer for Iron Fist, Noisey & Exclaim
“20 years! Fuck! That’s a long time! I have been involved in metal recordings since the late 80’s and as soon as Metal-Rules was on board, you have supported the stuff I have mixed for others and my own bands and projects, for this I send my congratulations and my eternal gratitude! To 20 more years, and then some!!”
Dan Swanö – Unisound AB, Witherscape, Nightingale, ex-Edge of Sanity, ex-Bloodbath and many more
“From a western voice way down in the lowend of music, I want to thank Metal-Rules for all the support over the years! I wish everyone there who contributes to spreading interest in extreme music the best going forward another 20 years. Happy Fucking Twentieth!! SDG”
“Queensryche would like to send a huge congratulations to EvilG and all of the staff at metal-rules.com for the continued support of hard rock and heavy metal music around the globe. It is people like you and organizations such as yours that help promote and keep this music alive! Best wishes to you”
Todd LaTorre of Queensryche
“Congratulations to my favorite metal site of all! Since our first album was released in 2002, I’ve been following Metal-Rules.com news, interviews and all the other cool stuff they have been writing about.
During all these years I have met some of the staff of Metal Rules like Arto, Luxi, and last but not least, my brother of metal, Rick Maloney. After the cool interview I did with Rick while promoting our debut album, we’ve been friends even though we’ve actually never met in a real life. There have been tons of metal sites that never survived but Metal Rules is still going strong 20 years later! I’m sure there will be many more years to come for this great site! My best wishes goes to veterans of metal! You guys really RULE!”
Nino Laurenne of Thunderstone as well as Sonic Pump Studios
“Congratulations EvilG on 20 years of promoting the greatest bands and music in the world! That music is “Heavy Metal”. It is because of you that new generations of Metal Warriors are fighting the good fight and spreading the word.
I can only say that I am very honoured and appreciative of the fact that you have given us the support you have over the years on www.Metal-Rules.com!
May the Power of the Hammer Be With You!”
THOR – The Metal Avenger
“Metal-Rules has always been a long time, reliable A-list webzine, and one of a handful that has stood the test of time. Before blogging, social media, and a slew of DIY webzines started popping up in the last several years, Metal-Rules stood proud as a go-to zine for coverage…and continues to be to this day. ClawHammer PR salutes you!”
Scott and Ryan / ClawHammer PR
“Horns way high to EvilG, Waspman and the entire staff at Metal Rules for helping keep the Heavy Metal Underground Community alive for 20 years! Through all the trends and changes in the Music Industry you guys have never wavered in your commitment to helping us Metal Heads have a place to go and get the latest gospel. We in ZERO DOWN can’t thank you enough for all the support you have given not only us but all the Metal bands out there! Throwin the goat! Cheers!”
Lenny and Zero Down
“Just want to send out a big “Happy Anniversary” and thank you to my friends at Metal-Rules. Through the years you have supported me on all of my projects, and I am so grateful for all you do to keep the horns up in Canada! Continued success my friends!”
“Congratulations EvilG on 20 years in covering head bashing metal. Metal-Rules.com is one of our top media outlets and it’s a huge accomplishment to surpass this anniversary. Thanks for all the support over the years and looking forward to the next 20!”
Sarah @ Metal Blade Records
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