Live photos of Arch Enemy and Kreator

Thursday of last week, October 23rd, I headed up to the Baltimore SoundStage in, you guessed it, Baltimore, Maryland to catch Arch Enemy and Kreator. Starkill and Huntress also opened the show, but I couldn’t get up there in time to see them. In fact, German thrashers Kreator were already two songs into their set when I walked in. I did get a few shots during their third song though. Their set wasn’t bad, pretty typical for Kreator really. A mix of older classics with more popular modern songs thrown in. They had a ton of fog up there and their light show was very bright as usual. I ended up buying a Kreator bottle opener but the merch girl didn’t give me any change back so I ended up paying $10 for something that should have cost $3. After arguing with her about it for a few minutes (and failing to get my change back) the negative experience took me out of their show. They didn’t play their song “Flag Of Hate” either, which was a bummer, but otherwise the set was good overall.

Next up was Arch Enemy. This was the Swedish death metal band’s first US tour with new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz fronting the band, and not only that, the Baltimore show was the first date of the tour. I wasn’t sure what to expect, the band’s previous vocalist, Angela Gossow, left some pretty big shoes to fill. Arch Enemy was around before Angela joined in 2000, but they really rose to prominence once she joined the band. She was one of the first women to front any kind of death metal band, and she wasn’t just up there as eye candy either, she was really good at it. She could growl and had great stage presence and it earned the band many fans over the years. I didn’t love Alissa’s performance on the new Arch Enemy record, War Eternal, her voice seemed very flat and digitally tinkered with in the studio. However this night she really was incredible live. She had excellent stage presence and great energy, fans reacted immediately to her charisma, and her voice held up really well throughout the entire set. While she is certainly the main focus while the band is on stage she still made sure to step back and let guitarists Michael Amott (of Carcass fame) and Nick Cordle (a Virginia native) draw the audience’s attention from time to time. You could tell she had studied old Arch Enemy live footage as she used many of the same moves that Angela did, but Alissa had plenty of her own too. It was really fun photographing her not only because of her model-like looks but because she was always doing something on stage and I never felt like I was getting the same shot twice. The one thing I really didn’t enjoy much was when she instructed the audience to start pogo hopping in place, something you usually see at a pop punk show, not a metal show. I have to admit I was impressed overall though, and I think Arch Enemy fans are going to love seeing Alissa front the band for some time.

Below are some of my photos from the show. You can see these photos much larger, and many I didn’t even use here including both bands’ set lists, on Flickr by going here.

Kreator:

Kreator at the Baltimore SoundStage

Kreator at the Baltimore SoundStage

Kreator at the Baltimore SoundStage

Kreator at the Baltimore SoundStage

Arch Enemy:

Arch Enemy at the Baltimore SoundStage

Arch Enemy at the Baltimore SoundStage

Arch Enemy at the Baltimore SoundStage

Arch Enemy at the Baltimore SoundStage

Arch Enemy at the Baltimore SoundStage

Arch Enemy at the Baltimore SoundStage

Arch Enemy at the Baltimore SoundStage

Arch Enemy at the Baltimore SoundStage

Arch Enemy at the Baltimore SoundStage

Samhain ticket give away

Samhain at the Howard Theatre

When Glenn Danzig left the Misfits in 1983 he immediately formed a new band, Samhain, to continue his music but this time with a more hard rock/metal approach. This Halloween, that’s Friday, October 31st, Danzig brings Samhain to the Howard Theatre in Washington DC! The band gets their name from a Gaelic festival that traditionally starts at sundown on October 31st, meaning this is your chance to actually see Samhain during Samhain, how cool is that? Since Halloween is the most metal holiday of the year, we’re going to be giving away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky DCHM readers to this very show. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Halloween costume of all time is. I’m looking for some last minute costume ideas so help me out! At 5pm EST this Wednesday, October 29th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. Please don’t enter if you know you can’t attend, the contest ends just a few days before the show so I don’t have a lot of time to keep picking winners and waiting to hear back. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets right now for $42.55 from Ticket Master here.

When Samhain performed at RiotFest in September they played their debut album, Initium, from start to finish. I’m not sure if they plan on doing that for this show as well, but I do know that they’ll have Peter Adams (of Baroness and Valkyrie) on guitar for this show. But Samhain isn’t the only band on this bill, there will also be a set by New Orleans based Goatwhore, a band that always gets the crowd moving. And you will want to make sure you get there early enough to catch the excellent opening act, Midnight. The Ohio based blackened speed metal band is a personal favorite of mine and fans of old school Motörhead and Venom are going to love them. Still not convinced? Then check out these awesome videos by the bands playing and leave a comment telling me what your favorite Halloween costume is.

Samhain – The Howl

Goatwhore – Apocalyptic Havoc

Midnight – Violence On Violence

Review of King Diamond at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Monday, October 13th of 2014 saw the long awaited return of King Diamond to our area at the Fillmore Silver Spring. Based in Denmark, King Diamond hasn’t played in our area in about a decade and the last time I saw King Diamond live was back in 2003 at Jaxx (now Empire). There was just one opener for this show, Jess And The Ancient Ones, which I had checked out online previously and didn’t really enjoy much. I didn’t complain when I got there just as they were finishing up their set. The band is from Finland and sound like a gothy version of Jefferson Airplane to me. Despite the band sharing a member with the kvlt tech death band Demilich, I don’t think you could classify Jess And The Ancient Ones as metal by any stretch of the imagination. When they finished a curtain went up to obscure the stage as King Diamond’s crew got to work.

It was a long break before the curtain dropped, and people were getting excited for the show. It finally did come down and the first keyboard notes of “The Candle” filled the venue as the show began. And what a performance it was! Even if you aren’t a huge King Diamond fan, the sheer spectacle of the show was something you couldn’t keep your eyes off of. The stage, the most elaborate I have ever seen in a club setting, had a second tier behind the drum kit with stairs on either side, with large upside down crosses at the tops of each stair case that would light up. The center backdrop changed a few times from a large pentagram with a goat head to a photo of King Diamond. And for the first four songs the front of the stage had a large iron fence, I suppose meant to look like something you’d see around an old cemetery, which the band played behind. Unfortunately for those of us lucky enough to get a photo pass, that meant shooting through the fence the entire time since photo passes only allow you to shoot for the first three songs (this is an industry standard, not just a King Diamond thing). It was a unique challenge to say the least. The issues with the fence aside, this was one of those nights you really wished you could shoot the band’s entire set because so much was going on. There were characters that would come out on stage (including Grandma from the “Them” and Conspiracy albums, and Miriam Natias from Abigail), a side show style magic trick and the whole performance seemed larger than life.

When I had seen King Diamond before it was on the Puppet Master tour and while the stage then was nowhere near as elaborate at Jaxx, the performance was just as theatrical. That show at Jaxx was a bit more cohesive, it almost felt like you were watching some macabre heavy metal musical since the performance had a start, middle and ending (then followed by three encores with various classics). In contrast, the show at the Fillmore was more of a “best hits” style set list, and while Grandma made a few appearances, it wasn’t really a retelling of the albums she was on so the performance didn’t quite flow the same way. That wasn’t a major problem though and I’m betting half the audience hadn’t seen King Diamond before anyways. The band also played a couple songs from Kind Diamond’s original band, Mercyful Fate. This seemed to be the highlight of the show for a lot of people, and the crowd went wild for the back to back performances of “Evil” and “Come To The Sabbath.”

When King Diamond is on stage all attention is focused on him, he’s just a natural performer that way. The rest of the band stayed mostly in the background, though they did pump fists and look excited to help keep the crowd’s energy up. There was also a woman off to the side doing back up vocals, but she was pretty much out of most people’s view the entire night. At first I thought she might be helping King hit those high notes he is so well known for, but after watching when she would sing I was certain she was not. I really didn’t know what to expect of King Diamond’s voice going in, the guy is 58 years old, but with this being just the second night of the tour (and he had the previous night off) his voice held up incredibly well.

Despite the very crowded room (and I didn’t even bother going upstairs cause I know how obscured the views are up there) everyone seemed to love it. When the band returned to the stage for the first of two encores they pulled a stunt from the Alice Cooper bag of tricks. While the band played the instrumental song “Cremation” King stuffed his wicked Grandma into some sort of cremation machine that had been brought out on stage. This became a magic trick making it appear as though she had been burned alive by removing the walls on the cremation machine to reveal a smoldering skeleton that resembled Luke Skywalker’s late foster parents in Star Wars. After another encore break the band was introduced and they played a couple more songs, ending with the fan favorite “Black Horsemen.”

The show was entertaining on every level and I think even uninterested significant others that got drug along to this would have found it fun to watch. From the set to the theatrics and characters to the band being on point, this was a performance big enough to fit on a major outdoor pavilion but stuffed into a club setting and it was a masterful performance by King Diamond, one of the true legends of heavy metal.

King Diamond at the Fillmore Silver Spring

King Diamond at the Fillmore Silver Spring

King Diamond at the Fillmore Silver Spring

King Diamond at the Fillmore Silver Spring

King Diamond at the Fillmore Silver Spring

King Diamond at the Fillmore Silver Spring

King Diamond at the Fillmore Silver Spring

King Diamond ticket give away

King Diamond at the Fillmore Silver Spring

The Danish king of metal, King Diamond, finally returns to tour the US with his eponymous solo band and they’ll be playing the Fillmore Silver Spring this Monday, October 13th! It’s not every day one of the European legends of metal comes to town so we’re giving away a pair of tickets to one of you lucky DCHM readers. To enter leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite King Diamond or Mercyful Fate song is (if you need help you can see their discographies at these links: KD and MF). At 5pm EST this Friday, October 10th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. Please don’t enter if you know you can’t attend, the contest ends just a few days before the show so I don’t have a lot of time to keep picking winners and waiting to hear back. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets right now for $43 from Live Nation here.

Aside from his incredible vocal range, King Diamond is also known for elaborate stage designs and theatrical live performances making this is a show you don’t want to miss! This will only be the second show of the tour so his voice should be in great form, and you can bet he’ll be playing a few classics from his previous band, Mercyful Fate, as well. And let’s not forget Andy LaRocque will be there shredding on lead guitar. The opener for this show is Jess And The Ancient Ones, a new band from Finland that sounds more like they’re from San Francisco in the 60’s. Perhaps this is what a gothy version of Jefferson Airplane would sound like. They’re not really “metal” per se, but they do have an evil vibe going on and they should be an interesting opener. Now check out these awesome videos of the bands below while you tell me what you favorite King Diamond or Mercyful Fate song is in the comments!

King Diamond – Sleepless Nights

King Diamond – Welcome Home

Jess And The Ancient Ones – Astral Sabbat

DC’s 99 best metal show posters of the past 5 years

September is the 5th anniversary of DCHeavyMetal.com and I wanted to make a post looking back at the past five years of metal in the area. I figure that since I run the upcoming metal concert calendar that I’ve probably got the best collection of metal concert poster and flyer art of anyone in the DC area, so I’ve waded through the thousands of images I’ve acquired over the years to put together the below gallery, what I’m calling DC’s 99 best metal show posters (and flyers) of the past 5 years. They’re not in any particular order, you can decide for yourself which are your favorites. All of the images are for specific dates that happened in the DC, Baltimore and Northern Virginia area, so nothing with a list of tour dates on it. I tried to credit the artists when I could find out who they were, but if you know any I missed let me know and I’ll update it. There have been a ton of great metal shows in our area in the past five years and I hope this gallery helps remind you of some of them. Click on any of the thumbnails below to open the slideshow viewer (you’ll have to manually switch to the next image). Keep it heavy everyone, and remember to support the scene you’re a part of!

Live photos of Coliseum, Cloud Rat and Nervous Mothers

On Saturday, September 20th, 2014, I went to the Rock & Roll Hotel at about 5pm to catch a free show by the Kentucky punk rock band Coliseum. This was part of the H Street Festival’s festivities, which had the street shut down for the day. Standing in line just to have my ID checked I was a bit worried that the place would be really packed. The sidewalks outside all the bars had little temporary fences that were packed shoulder to shoulder with hipsters drinking cheap beer as they screamed in each others faces trying to talk over each other. I guess drinking on the sidewalk in a pen is really fucking exciting to some people, but I was here to see Coliseum, a great band I’d seen play a sold out DC9 show with Pelican last November. I had no problem making my way to the front as the main show room was almost empty, except for the people in line to talk to the bartenders. The place did fill up, somewhat, when they started playing. They played for about 45 minutes and their set included a few new songs. It was a lot of fun and you can’t complain about seeing a great band for free. There were several other bands playing that day but after Coliseum played I headed over to Little Miss Whiskey’s to talk to the DC Brau folks (always a fun time).

Coliseum:

Coliseum at the Rock & Roll Hotel

Kayhan Vaziri of Coliseum

Ryan Patterson of Coliseum

Coliseum at the Rock & Roll Hotel

Later the same night I grabbed dinner and then picked up a six pack (which turned into a 4 pack due to the cardboard handle breaking in the parking lot of the store I had just bought it at) and I went to another show. This was a house show at a place called the Dougout in Northeast DC. I’d never been there before but it was pretty nice for a house venue, especially one that was hosting grind bands. I missed local death/grind band Genocide Pact, which sucks cause they’re good, but I’m sure I’ll get the chance to see them again at least. The first band I did see was Nervous Mothers, a powerviolence band all the way from Belgium. I’m not sure how it’s financially possible to fly all the way over from Europe to play a bunch of gigs in basements but they actually were pretty good. However next up was the band I really came to see, Cloud Rat. The grind trio is from Michigan and they released Moksha, one of my favorite grind albums of 2013 (click the name to give it a listen). They combine brutal riffs and sheer intensity perfectly and their frontwoman, Madison Marshall, has a voice that just drips frustration. In all it was a really great show at a cool DIY venue, I hope they get some more brutal bands there in the future.

Nervous Mothers:

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Cloud Rat:

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Earth ticket give away

Earth at the Rock & Roll Hotel

Earth, the originators of drone, are coming to the Rock & Roll Hotel this Sunday, September 21st and since the band is a must see we’re giving away a pair of tickets to catch them at this very show! Earth isn’t really super intense so to enter leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite metal (or metal-ish) song/album to chill out to is. Not everything has to be brutal right? At 5pm EST this Friday, September 19th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. Please don’t enter if you know you can’t attend, the contest ends just 2 days before the show so I don’t have time to keep picking winners and waiting to hear back. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets right now for $14 from Ticket Fly here.

Earth is from Seattle, Washington and they play a unique style of instrumental drone that experiments with various instruments and sounds but is always very sloooow. As a bit of extra trivia, the band’s main man, Dylan Carlson, was a noted close friend of Kurt Cobain. Apparently they were room mates at one point and Carlson even gave Cobain the shotgun he would later famously kill himself with as a gift. Note that Carlson is prone to seizures so all flash photography is banned at this show, even from your phone. If you do use a flash they will stop the show and you’ll be kicked out. It’s ok though, Earth shows are an experience and the loss of random flashes going off during their set is not a bad thing. The opening act on this tour is King Dude, who you may remember opening for Ghost at the Fillmore back in May. King Dude is also from Seattle but they’ve got a bit more of a rocking attitude and sound. Be sure to check out these awesome songs by Earth and King Dude below as you tell me what metal you like chilling out to the most in the comments below.

Earth – Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon

Earth – Rise To Glory

King Dude – Fear Is All You Know

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