Atsushi Onita: Hardest of the Hardcore

Atsushi Onita is generally credited with bringing the deathmatch style of professional wrestling to Japan.  Most American pro wrestling fans are familiar with Japanese deathmatch wrestling thanks to Mick Foley (competing as Cactus Jack), who famously took on Terry Funk in the finals of IWA’s King of Deathmatch tournament on August 30, 1995 at Kawasaki Baseball Stadium, but Onita was having deathmatches in Japan as far back as 1989, even going so far as to create his own promotion, the legendary Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, or FMW.  FMW might be the very first hardcore wrestling promotion, as ECW didn’t go “extreme” until 1994 and Combat Zone Wrestling wasn’t even founded until 1999.

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Misfits – The Devil’s Rain (Misfits Records, 2011)

Over the past several years, Jerry Only has been both lauded for keeping the Misfits alive and demonized for continuing to milk the Crimson Ghost cash-cow.  To say that I’ve been skeptical of the Jerryfits would be an understatement; aside from the Project: 1950 covers album, I hadn’t checked any of the band’s post-Michale Graves discography until this year.  Sure, Project: 1950 was a fun little experiment, but there was just something about Only continuing to front the band that didn’t sit well with me.

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Misfits – Wasp Queens (Sonic Boom, 2017)

Given how revered the Glenn Danzig-lead incarnation of the Misfits is and how few people had the opportunity to see them in concert during their heyday, it seems more than a bit unusual that there is only one official live album from that era, the rough and ragged Evilive.  Thankfully, there are a ton of unofficial releases floating around out there, the latest of which is Wasp Queens, a full 1982 live set from NYC’s Irving Plaza with a radio interview from 1981 tacked on for good measure.

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Doyle – II: As We Die (EMP / Monsterman Records, 2017)

Back in 2017, ex-Misfits (Current?  What exactly is the status of the Misfits following the Riot Fest reunions?) guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein released one of the year’s best under-the-radar metal albums in the form of Abominator, a groovy, crushing disc that came off like the bastard child of Danzig and Pantera.  Collaborating with Cancerslug frontman Alex Story, Doyle was finally able to fully step into the spotlight and out of the respective shadows of Glenn Danzig and his brother Jerry Only.

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Kane Roberts Attacks!

The early eighties was a rough time for Alice Cooper.  After releasing a string of commercially unsuccessful albums that he to this day can’t recall making due to heavy substance abuse (Special Forces, Zipper Catches Skin and DaDa), the shock rockin’ son of a preacher opted to take a three year break from writing and recording music.

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Body Count – Bloodlust (Century Media, 2017)

Back in 2014, Body Count emerged from eight years in the shadows with all guns blazing in the form of Manslaughter; one of the year’s best metal albums, not to mention one of the year’s biggest surprises.  It was a bludgeoning yet precise aural assault that deftly mixed mosh-ready riffage with lyrics that were by turns over-the-top violent, darkly humorous and delightfully un-PC.

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Internal Bleeding – “Final Justice”

I had been looking forward to writing about Internal Bleeding’s new single “Final Justice,” but given recent events, I now find myself doing so with a heavy heart.  On April 20, 2017, IB’s drummer and founding member William Tolley died while serving his community, battling a two alarm blaze as a fourteen year veteran of the Fire Department of New York, who had previously assisted with the September 11, 2001 rescue efforts as a volunteer fire fighter. “Final Justice” is to my knowledge his last recorded work with the band.

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