• Corey Mitchell


One of the coolest aspects of attending a music (and film and interactive) conference like SXSW is that if you score a badge, you can listen to some incredible professionals discussing their craft. Hopefully, they will inspire you to get off your ass and create that song you always wanted to write, pen that book you’ve meant to finish, or paint that album cover you always knew you had inside you.

In 2011, I create and moderated a panel for the SXSW Film Festival called REEL MURDER which featured former Pantera lead singer and Manson Family composer Philip Anselmo. It was a blast, but a ton of hard work to put it all together. This year, I was looking forward to only having to cover horror films at SXSW for Bloody Disgusting and metal for this here fine publication.

That is, until I got a phone call last week from loyal MetalSucks reader Bobby Nall who just so happened to have landed a gig with SXSW coordinating panels. He asked if I would be interested in moderating a panel about artwork in heavy metal. I, of course, jumped at the chance.

I even had a little bit of experience in coordinating artwork for an album as I had worked with artist J.K. Potter for industrial metal band 16 Volt’s major label debut release, supercoolnothing, back in the day.

Bobby then mentioned that a certain M. Shawn Crahan, better known as Clown from Slipknot, would also be on the panel. Shawn is responsible for most of the extremely cool imagery Slipknot has incorporated into their presence, both on stage and with their albums, videos, magazine spreads, etc. I then picked up the phone and called my friend Mike IX Williams from underground sludge metal legends Eyehategod and asked him if he wanted to join us. I knew he was already going to be in Austin doing select readings from his poetry and also hosting the Century Media party so I figured he would be the perfect addition to the panel, especially since he has handled more than 90% of Eyehategod’s visual presentations. Luckily, he agreed. Finally, Relapse Records in-house album designer Orion Landau will also share his multiple years of artistic wisdom and speak about some of the memorable and genre-defining work he has done for bands such as Cephalic Carnage, Dillinger Escape Plan, Dying Fetus, Jucifer, Nile, Nasum, Origin, Obscura, Pentagram, Revocation, Pig Destroyer, and many more (including the excellent art gracing the top of this article).

The panel is called Seeing Red: Aesthetics and Visuals of Metal, and it takes place on March 15 (my birthday, natch!) in Rooms 11 A & B in the Austin Convention Center starting at 2:45 PM. Gives you plenty of time to properly alleviate any lingering hangover issues.

Immediately after my panel, please check out MetalSucks co-Big Cheese Vince Neilstein, in Rooms 8 B & C, as he moderates the None More Black: How Extreme Can Metal Go? panel. He’ll be joined by Mike Schleibaum, guitarist for Darkest Hour, Century Media A&R master Steve Joh and Relapse Records Director of Promotions Bob Lugowe. It’ll be the ol’ 1-2 MetalSucks combo that’ll get you prepped for the Metal Alliance showcase later that same night.

There are lots of other great panels in store for metalheads including one in the Film Festival portion of the conference about a new sitcom called Holliston which will feature Dee Snider and our very own Oderous Urungus from Gwar (on the show, but not the panel). You can also check out how the MetalSucks beloved in-house band Insane Clown Posse has become a branding phenom over at the Interactive portion of the festival or how another MS favorite, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, has added scoring films to his hugely successful résumé. He recently co-scored the new action film, The Raid, which screens at the SXSW Film Fest and is one of my most anticipated events this year.

Oh yeah, and you can learn to sing from The Cult’s Ian Astbury just hours before he takes the stage in front of 10,000 screaming fans. How fucking cool is that?

All of the metal-friendly panels are listed below with descriptions, and  dates, times, and locales. Click the links for all of the panelist info.

Lots of good shit to check out this year that may just get your brain warmed up for world domination!







Sunday, March 11 – 2:00 PM

Screaming with Laughter: FEARnet TV’s Holliston – AUSTIN SUITE

Horror and genre programming has been on the rise, with dramas including “American Horror Story” and “Walking Dead.” FEARnet debuts its first original series “Holliston,” a new type of horror sitcom.

The show is the brainchild of Adam Green (creator, writer, executive producer, director, star) and best described as “The Big Bang Theory” meets “Evil Dead II.” Set in the town of Holliston, MA, the series follows the lives of Adam and Joe, two friends chasing the dream of becoming successful horror movie filmmakers. They scrape to make ends meet in their post-college jobs at a Boston cable access station where they also host a late night movie program called “The Movie Crypt.”

The panel moderated by Drew McWeeny of HitFix will explore the path taken by Green, Joe Lynch (executive producer, star) and Peter Block (executive producer, FEARnet network president) to make a genre lover’s dream into reality.

This panel reaches beyond genre and horror. It speaks to anyone who has ever felt that undeniable spark to pursue a creative passion.

Monday, March 12 – 3:30 PM

AICN Presents: Todd & The Book of Pure Evil – ROOM 16AB

Join Ain’t It Cool News’ uber-fan Harry Knowles as he leads a panel about the insane machinations that brought the cult TV series Todd & The Book of Pure Evil from a short film to television screens all over the world. Taking its influences from teen comedies and horror films of the 80’s, Todd & The Book of Pure Evil shines a humourous light on the horrors of high school. Harry will pepper the showrunner and stars with questions about the show’s humble beginnings, its unique tone and what it’s like to work with an 18-foot penis monster. With the second season premiering on FEARnet in March, get to know Todd & The Book of Pure Evil before it becomes too cool for its own good.

Tuesday, March 13 – 11:00 AM

Juggalos: Rabid Branding, a Case Study – CAPITAL BALLROOM B

The Insane Clown Posse, a Detroit gangsta rap group who literally dress like clowns, have leveraged a rabidly devoted fan base to become the best selling indie band of all time (for REAL). They’ve accomplished this without radio airplay, major label endorsement, or any mainstream media exposure. In addition to selling millions of albums for decades, they make millions in merchandising every year. The group’s brand is so far reaching that millions of people who have no interest violent clown rap have watched their viral videos.

We’ll look at what the band did historically to garner such a devoted fanbase and how you can do the same for your brand. If these clowns can make 7 figures a year, so can you!

Tuesday, March 13 – 3:30 PM

Artists Scoring Film: New Trends in Composing – ROOM 18ABCD

What do Trent Reznor, Daft Punk, Linkin Park and The Chemical Brothers have in common? They are recording artists who have crossed over into the world of film composing. This panel will discuss why more filmmakers and studios are turning to musical acts to give their project a distinct original sound and the importance of diversifying as an artist. From collaborating with filmmakers vs. band mates, developing soundtracks and blending their unique sound into score, artists will give a first hand account of their experiences and their significance in the marketing of the film. Key players will be defined, what role they play in the scoring process, how to grab their attention and land the gig.

Wednesday, March 14 – 12:30 PM

SXSW Featured Speaker: Martin Atkins – ARTIST CENTRAL IN BALLROOM E

Martin Atkins, author of ‘Tour:Smart’ and ‘Welcome to the Music Business: You’re Fucked,’ is both extremely funny and very smart. If you or someone you know is a touring musician, Martin will arm you with strategy and tactics necessary to maintain sanity and keep gas in the van. Blueberry muffins will be served.

Thursday, March 15 – 2:45 PM

Seeing Red: Aesthetics and Visuals of Metal – ROOM 11AB

From album art to posters, video, and performance, the visual aspect of metal has always provided the much needed counterpart to the heaviest of genres. Brutal to gory, intense to stark, these images reflect, influence and enhance extreme music – but creating them (and keeping it unique) isn’t easy. Hear from some of metal’s highest regarded artists on their creative processes and check out some of their nastiest work.

Thursday, March 15 – 4:00 PM

None More Black: How Extreme Can Metal Go? – ROOM 8BC

Metal music and culture has, from the beginning, intended to push the boundaries of socio-political-religious discourse and sound ever-darker and ever more extreme. But where has that put the genre, and where does it go from here? At what point do we hit the sonic extremes/limits and devolve into chaos? Is that okay? Is that the point? What does the future hold for extreme music?

Friday, March 16 – 2:00 PM

How Indie Metal is Surviving and Thriving – ROOM 12AB

Horns Up: The metal community continues to thrive in a world beset by piracy and falling revenues as the loyal fans of the scene continue to support the artists and label brands that support their artists. How does the metal world connect their loyal fans to their artists and how do they use social networking and touring to break bands and engage collectors? What makes the metal world go round?

Saturday, March 17 – 3:30 PM

Artist Central Clinic: Vocals – ARTIST CENTRAL IN BALLROOM E

Legendary vocalist for The Cult, Ian Astbury, will deliver an hour-long clinic-style presentation on the the voice as an instrument. This once-in-a-lifetime discussion will range from tips, techniques, warm-ups, how to keep healthy on tour, frontman advice, and stories – a treasure trove of info that fellow vocalists could walk with, all from a singer who will play to thousands of fans that very night!


Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books and is currently helping Philip H. Anselmo write his autobiography.

Join Corey at FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

Come up and say “Hi” if you see me at SXSW.

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