Gearified: NAMM 2014

Matt Olivo of Repulsion Gearified

**Matt Olivo is the founding guitarist of extreme metal trailblazers Repulsion, whose Horrified LP ranks as Decibel's #1 grindcore album of all time. Because we know that every reader ever plays guitar, we brought his print column to the Deciblog. In issue #114 Matt took a trip to NAMM 2014, where "metal gear is indeed solid."

Outside NAMM
Outside NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants, or NAMM, or “The NAMM” (careful—only if you’re a vet) is a massive four-day convention held annually in Anaheim, CA. It exists so that music gear companies from every rank, tier and division can present their latest designs in hopes of making deals to distribute them for financial gain. Fortunately for us, the smell of new music gear is practically a clarion call for tattooed longhairs and hessian beardfolk. They crawl out from under manhole covers in all directions and make their way to the venue. Once inside, they sprinkle metal, lice and everything vice into the crowd, thus making it much more festive atmosphere.

Mastodon at NAMM
Mastodon at NAMM

Happily, we can report that companies across the board have embraced the fact that metal musicians need gear specific to their genre. Gone are the days that any acceptable amp, pedal or instrument design has a generic metal “setting” or “finish” as an afterthought. For example, Lace recently unveiled new signature pup sets for both guitarists in Mastodon. Seymour Duncan released a pickup set called “Black Winter,” made for extreme metal. Peavey has unleashed a new version of the XXX series amps that are designed for flamethrowing guitar tone and hellish appearance. Even Randall has a new metal amp head, aptly named “Satan!” And so it goes for many other companies, including Jackson, Kramer, Vigier, Schecter, Gibson, Marshall, Orange and ESP.

Randall Satan! at NAMM
Randall Satan! at NAMM

We also met with reps from several big-name firms who have metal brothers working deep within the system to design and release more authentic gear in the future. Furthermore, metal artists are routinely endorsed and granted signature gear because companies smartly realize it sells product. Indeed, over half of dB’s readers are musicians! It’s simply engrained within our culture to not just be passive listeners, but to actually write and record the music we love, or get involved in the scene by supporting bands, starting labels and zines.

Drum Tree at NAMM
Drum Tree at NAMM

Some say these are the end times—we say these are the golden years. We’ll be working hard to bring you reviews on this exciting new metal music gear very soon. Until then horns up, keep it metal and stay Gearified!

Kerry King at NAMM
Kerry King at NAMM
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