Review of Maryland Folk Fest

Metal Chris here. In the past I’ve written all the concert reviews on DCHM and usually I shoot all of the live photos as well. For this post we’re trying something new as long time DCHM album reviewer Tal went to the first Maryland Folk Fest last weekend and put together this review. I wasn’t able to attend so I had to ask for photos from those who attended, so big thanks to Tigran Kapinos and the Dogs And Day Drinkers photographer Aubreii Dove for letting us use their images in this post. And as usual, you can read more of Tal’s writing on his blog In My Winter Castle. Now, on to this in depth review and recap of Maryland Folk Fest!

Earlier this year, Paganfest America announced that their gigantic folk metal tour would not be happening in 2015. Folk metal fans all over North America were distraught – and Sarah Stepanik, fiddler and vocalist of Sekengard, decided to do something about it. With the help of other local metalheads, she pulled together this mini-festival of East Coast folk metal (and folk metal-ish) bands at Metro Gallery in Baltimore on Saturday, August 22nd. And Maryland Folk Fest was phenomenal.

Maryland Folk Fest

Metro Gallery seemed like a small place to hold a festival, but then again maybe they weren’t expecting a huge turnout, and Metro Gallery’s capacity is 240 (which sounds like it’d be jam-packed!). At the peak of the festival, the place was comfortably full – there was enough room that you weren’t right up against your neighbor, but there wasn’t much empty space, either.

When I went in, I handed my ID to the guy at the door and said half-jokingly, “Don’t judge me” — because the name and photo on my ID don’t match my look nowadays (although this was the last time dealing with that because I received the legal document changing my name two days after the show). He said, “No judging here. This is a Safer Space.” And he pointed to a sign in the window (I think it was this one). So that was awesome. While I feel pretty comfortable as an LGBT person in the DC area metal scene, it was still nice to know that respect and decency are codified in the venue’s policy.

I got into the venue about 6:45; I thought I was late, but the show wasn’t actually starting till 7. There were maybe 30 or 40 people there then. I figured most of them were band members and their significant others.

Around 7, Heimdall, a band from Lynchburg, VA got started. I haven’t had any spare brain cells for months, so I didn’t have a chance to check out the bands I didn’t know ahead of time, and so I knew nothing about these guys before the show. They played a fast and furious mix of thrash and death metal, with vocals ranging from a Black Dahlia Murder-esque scream to low growls, some thundering thrash riffs and some groovy or churning death metal parts. They looked very young, and rather 80’s/thrashy, with battle vests and wavy chest length hair. There were maybe 50 people standing around during their set. This was definitely not a thrash crowd — the floor was practically still. There was no pit nor even any vigorous headbanging, just a few bobbing heads. Then again, the singer didn’t ask for a pit; based on later events, people might have obliged if he had. He didn’t really interact with the crowd at all, just growled the names of songs, but I have no idea what he said. The band seemed tight and professional though, and sounded good. If I were into thrash or traditional death metal, I would follow them. I was not sure why they were on the bill, though, since the only folk things about them seemed to be their band name and rune-ish looking logo.

Heimdall at Maryland Folk Fest

Heimdall at Maryland Folk Fest by Tigran Kapinos

Heimdall at Maryland Folk Fest

Heimdall at Maryland Folk Fest by Tigran Kapinos

Isenmor was the first of the four bands on the bill that I was familiar with ahead of time. Isenmor was just formed about a year ago in the lovely, tiny town of Savage, MD, and released an EP this past June, which I recently reviewed for DC Heavy Metal. At the fest, they played all the original songs from their EP (though not in order), a cover of Eluveitie‘s “Havoc,” and some new original songs. At least one of these new songs, “Furor Teutonicus,” I’d heard them play last month when they were supposed to open for California’s Helsott at Cafe 611 and unexpectedly got to play a long set when Helsott walked out. This time at Metro Gallery, the sound for Isenmor was clearer, so I was able to get a better feel for the song. It started with a furious barrage of buzzing notes on the two violins, and kept up the fast pace with a volley of harsh vocals. The song I enjoyed most, though, was my favorite from the EP, “So Willingly Deceived” — even though they seemed a little out of synch at first, and the violins sounded a bit out of tune at the end. It’s a slow song, but very grand and melodic. The crowd had grown, and there was a five-person pit during one of the new songs. But the fun was short-lived, because someone got hurt, possibly broke a leg and had be helped out of the pit (and I later found out she was taken away in an ambulance). That put a damper on the moshing for a while. Toward the end of the set, Nick called for a circle pit during “Death is a Fine Companion,” and one started up again, this time with a few more people – maybe seven :P Isenmor made a big finish, and the crowd cheered enthusiastically. They’d be a hard act to follow, I thought.

Isenmor at Maryland Folk Fest

Isenmor at Maryland Folk Fest by Luna Rose Photography

Isenmor at Maryland Folk Fest

Isenmor at Maryland Folk Fest by Luna Rose Photography

The next band on the bill was Dogs And Day Drinkers, hailing from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I’ve seen this band numerous times over the past few years, and they’ve really come far. They seem to have finally hit their stride and found their sound, maybe partly due to their new vocalist, who seems to have a stronger voice than their previous singer. At times the band sounds like early A Sound Of Thunder — the charging heavy metal riffs, the powerful female vocals. But Ashley Marie’s voice isn’t exactly same as that of Nina Osegueda of A Sound Of Thunder (of course); Ashley’s voice has more edge to it, and the band’s overall sound is more straight-ahead heavy metal than A Sound Of Thunder ever was. One thing they do share are blazing guitar solos, although Dan Wise’s are more shred and not bluesy like those by A Sound Of Thunder guitarist Josh Schwartz. The band played a new song that they’d never played before, which Ashley said that people wouldn’t like, but it was actually was one of their best songs. It started off with a very “Barracuda”-like riff and then got more creative. Another song was introduced as “that one folk metal song we wrote one time,” and it had a much more epic, Viking-metal sound. They closed with “Battle Hymn,” whose chorus (“We march, we die, leave the bodies where they lie”) has been getting stuck in my head the last few times I’ve seen the band. The floor emptied a bit during their set, with a lot of people sitting down, which was unfortunate since they’re getting pretty good.

Dogs And Day Drinkers at Maryland Folk Fest

Dogs And Day Drinkers at Maryland Folk Fest by Luna Rose Photography

Dogs And Day Drinkers at Maryland Folk Fest

Dogs And Day Drinkers at Maryland Folk Fest by Luna Rose Photography

Next up was another band I had never heard of before, Yonder Realm from Long Island. They reminded me of Eluveitie at first, with a strong death metal flavor to their sound under the folky touches of keyboard and violin and a similar style of harsh vocals, but they also sometimes used lower growls (surprisingly low for the willowy vocalist) or core-y choruses. Their recordings feature a flute as well, which adds to the Eluveitie vibe. Live, they were quite heavy on the guitars, and the keyboard (and I think also a backing track of other folky instruments) was drowned out by the guitars at first. This was fixed after the second song, but then the keyboard was kind of loud and overwhelmed the rest of the band, making the guitars just background noise. The whole band sounded their best when keyboardist Dana Lengel switched to the violin — at that point the acoustic violin balanced nicely with with the other, electric strings. In keeping with the two following bands, the vocalist/guitarist Jesse McGunnigle was a bit of a jokester — he said one song was about “eating all the bitches” (when actually it was called “Pillars of Creation”) and later joked about the fact that there were two “Realm” bands on the bill: “We’re thinking of changing our name to Yonder Aether, or maybe Realm Realm.” The last song they played, “Moonbeam Road,” was very cool, with a dreamy atmospheric beginning before going into epic melodic riffs and then a frenzied fast section in the middle. I was very impressed with the band, and picked up both their album and EP.

Yonder Realm at Maryland Folk Fest

Yonder Realm at Maryland Folk Fest by Luna Rose Photography

Yonder Realm at Maryland Folk Fest

Yonder Realm at Maryland Folk Fest by Luna Rose Photography

Sekengard was in the second slot, but probably played the longest, and liveliest, set of the night. They started off with a polka and invited the crowd to dance — so we obliged! They had the most energetic crowd, with lots of dancing and moshing, and about tied with Isenmor for size of crowd. I believe they also played everything from their recent EP, again not in order though. In addition, vocalist/violinist Sarah Stepanik sang “Where did You Sleep Last Night,” which she introduced as an Appalachian folk song that was covered by Nirvana, and I realized that she can really sing! She started out with a sweet voice, but pretty soon she was belting and snarling the words, giving the song quite a creepy feel. The instruments gradually built up while she was singing, and the band launched right into “Striped Paladin” after the Appalachian song. In between other songs, mandolin and guitar player Dan Paytas made us groan with bad jokes. Sekengard ended with their “two craziest songs,” inviting the crowd to mosh. First was “Howling of the Fen,” so I guessed that “Time Flies When You’re Having Rum,” a song originally performed by Dan and Sarah’s other band Pirates For Sail, was going to be the last one, and so I saved myself for that one (I had already taken a blow to the ribs that knocked the wind out of me early in the set, so I didn’t want to push myself too hard). I was right, and the floor went wild with dancing, spinning and moshing for this rousing and fast-paced song. I think we ended the song with a jig line, and the crowd was wildly appreciative when the band finished.

Sekengard at Maryland Folk Fest

Sekengard at Maryland Folk Fest by Tigran Kapinos

Sekengard at Maryland Folk Fest

Sekengard at Maryland Folk Fest by Tigran Kapinos

Sekengard at Maryland Folk Fest

Sekengard at Maryland Folk Fest by Tigran Kapinos

I can’t remember if this happened before or after Sekengard’s set, but in further silliness that night, Sarah introduced us to the Maryland folk scene’s signature drink: When you combine Sekengard and Isenmor, you get — Isengard. And Sekengard sells shot glasses and Isenmor sells pint glasses, so if you fill one with spiced rum and the other with dark beer, and drop the first into the second, you get — “Taking the Hobbit to Isengard.”

Closing out the night was the other “Realm” band, Aether Realm from North Carolina. Like Yonder Realm, they have a melodeath-ish sound, but theirs is somewhere between Ensiferum and Amon Amarth. I think their time might have been shorter than planned, as they only played about five songs. They were heavy and brutal to rival the first band, and unlike the other bands, turned off the stage lights so they were in darkness, lit only by colorful flashes of light like constant rainbow lightning, which heightened the atmosphere. They started with the single they released this spring, “The Chariot,” which has a catchy melody and chorus. For “Swamp Witch,” they had a guest vocalist, Stormblood of Distoriam, who did even more extreme harsh vocals – lower and growlier – making it even more brutal (video footage of that song is posted here). Aether Realm vocalist/bassist Vincent “Jake” Jones opined that Distoriam ought to have been on the lineup. Another impressive song was “One Chosen By the Gods,” which was very dramatic. It was a massively heavy show, but didn’t show off their melodic side well since it was so loud and distorted that the melodies were mostly lost. The crowd thinned considerably during their set (it was after midnight), but there were still a solid fifty or so people for them, including the other bands. They had Jon Teachey from Wilderun filling in on drums because their drummer had family obligations, but with the noisy sound, I couldn’t hear any difference. Jake said that after a show in September, they were going to take a break from performing for a while since they want to concentrate on writing another album.

Aether Realm at Maryland Folk Fest

Aether Realm at Maryland Folk Fest by Tigran Kapinos

Aether Realm at Maryland Folk Fest

Aether Realm at Maryland Folk Fest by Tigran Kapinos

Aether Realm at Maryland Folk Fest

Aether Realm at Maryland Folk Fest by Tigran Kapinos

With six bands including two unknowns, I had worried there might be some duds or dull moments during the evening, but such a thing never happened. Some sound issues aside, every band delivered an excellent, captivating performance. Before Aether Realm’s set, Sarah gave a little speech thanking everyone, especially the rest of her band and local promoter Bobbie Dickerson, and promised that this will possibly, no, definitely happen again next year. If folk fest were to become a Maryland tradition (à la our other yearly metal festival), this was an awesome start. At least from a fan’s perspective, this first Maryland Folk Fest was an unequivocal success. There is very little I would change — maybe only things I would add, like a food vendor (although that’s perhaps not necessary with all the excellent options outside, and it’s good to support local businesses), and vendors selling folk related stuff. The biggest question of course is, what will next year’s line-up be?

Review of Land Of The Setting Sun by Isenmor

Band: Isenmor
Album: Land of the Setting Sun
Release Date: 21 June 2015
Buy CD ($7) or digital ($5) from: Bandcamp

Land of the Setting Sun by Isenmor

Folk metal is starting to get a foothold in our area. European folk bands have been coming through on their tours for years but we’re starting to see some local folk metal bands pop up. DCHM writer Tal has put together this thorough review of the debut release by one of these bands, Isenmor. You can stream a few tracks at the bottom of this post and listen while you read. You can also check out Tal’s blog In My Winter Castle for more of his writing.

Isenmor, of Savage, Maryland, is the second folk metal band to spring up in the greater DC area in recent years (after Baltimore’s Sekengard). On June 21, Isenmor released a surprisingly mature debut EP (considering that the band was formed a little over a year prior) titled Land of the Setting Sun.

The album title refers to the band’s “Vinlandic” identity. What grounds could a band in the “New World” have for performing European folk music? Well, the Vikings once sailed west into the setting sun and explored the place we now call North America; they called it Vinland. Isenmor takes their inspiration from this to perform Old World music mixed with modern metal, using Viking and Germanic themes. The band’s name, Isenmor, means “iron wasteland” in Old English, and according to vocalist and violinist Nick Schneider, refers to the aftermath of battle, with broken and discarded weapons strewn all about. And I guess that’s fitting since the first two songs on the EP are about the results of battle – death, and the funeral pyre. The lyrics draw on a mix of Germanic and Norse inspirations — while they sing about Wodan and Donar instead of their Norse counterparts Odin and Thor, they also quote from the Viking poem Hávamál (“cattle die, kinsmen die…”). Their sound, meanwhile, is dominated by the two violins (and a viola, according to the credits), which weave folky melodies with English and Celtic inspirations.

The violin-playing is probably the most proficient and appealing part of the EP. The rest of it is enthusiastic and interesting enough, but can’t help sounding a bit amateurish — there’s an unpolished feel to the clean vocals, and a kind of fuzzy sound to the guitars. Of course, this is the self-produced first release of a new band, so an unrefined sound can be forgiven. And some of the roughness may also be purposeful, such as the sawing and scraping of the violin in many parts – a sound which I actually find not unpleasant. Korpiklaani has a similarly scratchy sound to the violin on their first album, Spirit of the Forest, and it gives that album a coarse, earthy feel, which seems fitting for the genre. It makes it really feel like folk, the music of the people.

It took me a few listens to get into Isenmor’s album, possibly partly due to the unpolished sound, but now I love this release. Beneath the violins, there’s a good deal of black metal sound and influence — waves of atmospheric, tremolo-y guitar, screamed vocals delivered at high speed by Nick Schneider. That isn’t all, though; there are also chugging death metal riffs in “Land of the Setting Sun,” thick, heavy-hearted doomy guitar in “So Willingly Deceived,” and furious riffage à la Swedish melodeath in “The Old Mead Hall.” The vocals on the album are also highly varied — besides the screamed vocals, there are also clean vocals by several different band members, grandiose choruses sung by almost the whole band together, and raspy harsh vocals done by Tim Regan (who is also the guitarist). The album begins aggressively, with an energetic violin melody, blastbeats, and an extended scream starting the furious first song, “Death is a Fine Companion,” but most of the album goes at a much slower pace.

My favorite song is one of the slow ones, actually: “So Willingly Deceived,” which is about the conversion of the heathens to Christianity. I have to admit, I probably connected to this song so strongly because it reminded me of the Saxon Stories books by Bernard Cornwell, whose protagonist, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, is a Saxon lord in 9th century England who resists being converted to Christianity. That connection made the sorrowful keyboard and violin melody especially poignant, the verses praising the pagan gods more grandiose, and the anguish of the verses about those who were “willingly deceived” more real. The melody and vocals are underpinned by doomy guitar, long distorted tones during the verses and disconsolate chugging during the violin bridges, which heightens the sense of nostalgia. I really like the clean vocals in this song, which are performed by Nick — while he sounds untrained, he has a commanding voice which further reminds me of Uhtred of Bebbanburg. The lyrics of the song take surprisingly pointed (for folk metal) jabs at Christianity with lines like “You gladly pledge yourselves/ to a tyrant’s bastard son” and “a poorly conceived lie/ of a coward’s paradise.” Along with the first two songs, this song gives the album a decidedly serious feel, so much so that the drinking song that follows it, “The Old Mead Hall,” sounds a bit silly (it is a fun song, though).

After the five original songs on Land of the Setting Sun are two covers drawn from among the best international folk metal bands out there. The first one, a cover of Eluveitie’s “Havoc,” is enjoyable if not novel – it basically sounds like a rough-hewn version of the original. The warmer and simpler sound of the violins in Isenmor’s version, as opposed to the violin, tin whistle, and hurdy-gurdy that Eluveitie use for the furious folk barrages of the song, gives the cover a homelier sound than the tight, clear sound of the original.

The second cover is Ensiferum’s “In My Sword I Trust.” I was initially disappointed in this choice of cover song. It’s not that Isenmor did a bad job; but I don’t like this song or the album it’s from, 2012’s Unsung Heroes, in general. It’s just not up to the high standard and unique style of previous Ensiferum. (This year’s One Man Army redeemed Ensiferum, in my opinion, but I digress…) While “In My Sword I Trust” isn’t a good song for Ensiferum, it is pretty decent as a generic folk metal song, and Isenmor actually sounds really good playing it. Like the rest of the album, it took me a few listens to get into, but now I actually enjoy their rendition of it, certainly more than the original. Isenmor’s violin sounds much more strident playing the melody than the keyboard in the original – especially when both Nick and Miles are playing. The vocals are a bit gruffer, and after the solo (which is carried by the violin rather than the guitar in Isenmor’s cover), when the guitar and growled vocals hammer down on us, the band actually sounds pretty brutal. While not as polished in technique or recording quality, Isenmor’s cover is a lot more interesting than when Ensiferum plays this song.

And that’s not all. You get more than your money’s worth and then some with this EP, as the two covers are followed by acoustic versions of “Pyre” and “So Willingly Deceived.” I won’t deceive you; when I first picked up this album, I groaned inwardly upon seeing two acoustic versions, figuring they wouldn’t hold my interest. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They’re not boring, seeing as the violin melodies, which are a key element of the music, are still there, and with acoustic guitar, bass, and drums added to that, the acoustic songs are even a bit heavy in their own right. The acoustic songs give us more of a chance to appreciate the violins and hear the lyrics a bit better, and so they actually enhanced my appreciation of the metal versions. My opinion here is helped, of course, by the fact that I enjoy just plain folk music as well as folk metal, but I’m pretty sure that most folk metal fans are in the same Viking longship with me there.

Last but not least, the album is further enhanced by the artwork. The cover, showing a small silhouette of a helmeted man with a spear standing on a crag before the sea, in front of a turbulent dark orange sky that dominates the picture, is an oil painting by 19th century Norwegian painter Knud Andreassen Baade, “Scene from the era of Norwegian Sagas.” The CD is printed with “The Ride of the Valkyrs,” an illustration by John Charles Dollman from an early 20th century book of Norse mythology, showing Valkyries in their winged helmets riding horses that seem to leap over the viewer, the gray color and muscular figures making them look like statues. It was pretty clever of the band to use some great public domain artwork for their album – it looks very professional, and really cool to boot, and also fits the nostalgic, history-oriented tone of their album. They should put that cover image on a T-shirt, because I, for one, would give them money for it.

All in all, Isenmor is off to a very strong start with this EP. I’m excited to see where they go — at a live show in Frederick on July 11, they played some new songs which seem to indicate they’re charging full speed ahead with faster and heavier songs. This bodes very well for the folk metal scene in the DC area, as does the Maryland Folk Fest happening at Metro Gallery on August 22, featuring Isenmor, Sekengard, and other folk metal bands from up and down the east coast. We’re becoming a bastion for folk metal, and with Land of the Setting Sun, Isenmor joins the front ranks of this fledgling scene.

Review of B.C.G.C. by Clay Davis

Band: Clay Davis
Album: B.C.G.C.
Release Date: 11 August 2015
Record Label: Grimoire Records
Buy cassette ($5) or digital ($4) from: Bandcamp
Buy 7″ vinyl ($6) from: Fake Crab Records

B.C.G.C. by Clay Davis

Next week there’s another new release coming from local label Grimoire Records! DCHM writer Buzzo Jr got his hands on a copy and reviewed it, though you can stream the release at the bottom of this post. It comes in a few different formats (listed above) and all are pretty cheap so if you dig it then send them a few bucks and get your very own copy.

Taking their name from the corrupt, profanity spewing senator from The Wire, Baltimore powerviolence two-piece Clay Davis make their full length debut with “B.C.G.C.” As the name of the genre may suggest, powerviolence is a genre that is built upon a foundation of tumultuous anger, furious noise, and relentless aggression, much like the similar genre of grindcore. Clay Davis fully deliver on all of these fronts, putting forth what is one of the best local releases this year so far.

It’s become almost standard nowadays for powerviolence and grindcore bands to either bury the bass in the mix or reject the idea of having a bassist altogether, opting for a drum and guitar setup. Clay Davis does the reverse of this, and instead goes without a guitar and lets the bass do the work. The lack of a guitarist doesn’t hold the sound back at all, with Thor Buntin’s monstrous bass lines and thick sludgy tone pummeling through and doling out incredibly intimidating riffs. The drumming is fantastic, with Mike Barth’s explosive blasts and hyperspeed fills giving a frenzied feel to the songs. Mike also switches up his style on the songs “Hit with a Brick” and “Construct of Ruin,” playing at a much slower pace. These tracks may not be as fast as the the others, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re any less intense. If the faster tracks are a series of stab wounds from a butterfly knife, then these slower tracks are a blow to the face with a steel toed boot. Thor and Mike’s alternating vocals go between belted hardcore-style shouting, pained, high pitched shrieking, and deep deathgrind style growls. The variety in the vocal styles keeps the flow going, and prevents the tracks from blending together.

A good description for “B.C.G.C” is that it’s the sonic equivalent of getting beaten down in a seedy alleyway. It’s grimy, filthy, and pissed off. While some listeners may be left wanting more due to the short running time, I personally feel that the short length is what makes it so effective. At only ten minutes long, with tracks averaging just under a minute, this album kicks you square in the teeth and leaves you wondering what the hell just happened. I probably listened to this in full four times back to back, loving it more and more each time. The majority of the tracks on “B.C.G.C” whiz by at an incredibly fast pace, offering the listener little to no room to catch their breath and prepare for the next round of chaos. A track that definitely stood out to me was the humorously titled “Poser Disposer,” which starts out with a great breakdown and then erupts into a full speed barrage of crushing riffs and insane blast beats.

I definitely recommend you pick up this record if you’re a fan powerviolence and grindcore similar to Weekend Nachos and DC’s own Magrudergrind (who are now based out of Brooklyn). Clay Davis’ “B.C.G.C” does not mess around. This album is gritty, vitriolic, and straight up angry. Look no further than right here when you need a soundtrack to getting jumped for your wallet and shoes in Pigtown. There’s a pretty good chance that the first thing out of your mouth upon hearing this record will be senator Davis’s favorite exclamation.

Summer Slaughter ticket give away

Summer Slaughter at Rams Head Live

The annual Summer Slaughter tour is one of the biggest heavy metal summer tours in the US every year and 2015 will be no different! Arch Enemy is headlining the tour this year and we’re excited to be giving away a pair of tickets to the one of you lucky DCHM readers when the Summer Slaughter tour comes to Rams Head Live in Baltimore on Thursday, August 13th. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post naming which band you’re most excited to see on this year’s Summer Slaughter tour! At 5pm EST this Friday, August 7th, a winner will be chosen at random (using from all valid entries to win the pair of tickets. Be sure to enter using 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 within 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. 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 from Ticket Fly for $12 here.

Arch Enemy returns to Baltimore when Summer Slaughter comes to town and this will be the first time they play our area with Jeff Loomis playing guitar opposite Mike Amott! Born Of Osiris is a deathcore band from the Chicago area and they’ve just released a new song from their upcoming album, maybe they’ll play more from it live as well. Veil Of Maya is also a deathcore band from Chicago, though their sound has a Periphery-esque djent sound as well. The Acacia Strain from Massachusetts will be bringing their brand of metalcore to the stage on this tour as well. California based vegetarian death metal band Cattle Decapitation has a new album coming out and they’ll surely be playing some of that brutal new material for you at this show. And definitely get there early enough to see Beyond Creation from Montreal. The tech death band has one of the most incredible bass players in metal right now! So check out these videos by each band on the Summer Slaughter tour below and leave a comment telling me which band you most want to see when the tour comes to Baltimore next week!

Arch Enemy – War Eternal

Born Of Osiris – Throw Me In The Jungle

Veil Of Maya – Mikasa

The Acacia Strain – Cauterizer

Cattle Decapitation – Manufactured Extinct

Beyond Creation – Omnipresent Perception

Brutality At The Brewery II

I’m teaming up with Brewer Will over at Fair Winds Brewery again for another Brutality At The Brewery metal night event this Saturday, August 1st from 7pm to midnight! It’s free to get in and we’ll be playing metal tunes all night, drinking delicious craft beer and hanging out with metal heads as we take over the tasting room. There’s a new set up this time so it will be much louder than the first Brutality At The Brewery was! The guys in Yesterday’s Saints will be on hand as we tap the Yesterday’s Saint’s black kolsh beer, Seas Of Annihilation, brewed specially for this event! It will be available until it runs out so don’t drag your feet getting there.

Fair Winds Brewing is located just off I-95 where it intersects with the Fairfax County Parkway on the border of Springfield and Lorton. The address is: 7000 Newington Rd, Lorton, VA 22079 (Google Map here).

You can RSVP on the Facebook event page here.

And did I mention that I’ll be there giving out tons of prizes, including concert tickets to many upcoming metal shows in our area. We’ve got so many prizes that it’s going to be hard NOT to win something if you show up! You can see the list below (for most of them we’ll be picking 2 winners that will each get their own pair of tickets):

Dying Fetus at the Pinch on 8/6

Summer Slaughter (Arch Enemy headlines) at Rams Head Live on 8/13

High On Fire/Pallbearer at Baltimore Soundstage on 8/20

Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth guitarist) at Baltimore Soundstage on 9/9

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats at Baltimore Soundstage on 9/11

Godflesh at Rock & Roll Hotel on 9/13

Ghost at the Fillmore on 9/22

Overkill/Symphony X at the Fillmore on 10/16

Kamelot/Dragonforce at the Fillmore on 11/18

Mayhem/Watain at Baltimore Soundstage on 11/25

We’ll also be giving away a 24″ x 36″ poster for the beer’s artwork, seen below.

Power Trip ticket give away

Power Trip at Rock & Roll Hotel

When Power Trip and Foreseen play at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Wednesday, July 29th of 2015 you’ll get to see two of the hottest bands in thrash metal right now! We’re so pumped for this show that we’re going to give away a pair of tickets to it to one of you lucky DCHM readers! To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite thrash metal song is by any thrash metal band. You can go old school, newer or totally obscure, just as long as it is thrash! At 5pm EST this Friday, July 24th, a winner will be chosen at random (using from all valid entries to win the pair of tickets. Be sure to enter using 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 within 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. 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 from Ticket Fly for $12 here.

Power Trip is a Dallas, Texas based crossover thrash band known for their high energy shows! Their 2013 album Manifest Decimation was a hit with fans and critics and now they’ll be headlining the Rock & Roll Hotel for what is sure to be a sweaty night of moshing and headbanging! Foreseen is a thrash band from Finland that came out of nowhere when they released their debut album, Helsinki Savagery late in 2014, one of the year’s best metal releases. Those two bands playing this show should be enough to get you out for this but there will also be sets by local crossover thrash band Red Death and local harDCore band Protestor. Now check out these sick tunes below while you decide tell me in the comments what your favorite thrash metal song is!

Power Trip – Crossbreaker

Foreseen – Bonded By United Blood

Red Death – Permanent Exile

Protestor – Self-Conflicted

Review of Black Ocean Waves by King Giant

Band: King Giant
Album: Black Ocean Waves
Release Date: 30 June 2015
Buy on CD ($10) from Big Cartel: Here
Buy mp3s ($7.92) from: iTunes or Amazon

Black Ocean Waves by King Giant

Yesterday locals King Giant released their third album, Black Ocean Waves, which you may have heard previewed at our Metal Night at Fair Winds Brewing back in early May. DCHM writer Buzzo Jr got his hands on an advance copy of the album and below is his take on it. Be sure to check out a couple of the songs on the album at the bottom of the post too!

Pimmit Hills, VA quintet King Giant is back with their third album, Black Ocean Waves. This record is a follow up to their release of Dismal Hollow, released back in 2012. King Giant continues with their familiar brand of southern influenced stoner metal on Black Ocean Waves. Fans of the band will find it does not stray much from the path set by the band’s first two albums, but as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Like their DC counterparts Borracho, King Giant’s sound is deeply rooted in the blues, and boasts tons of great guitar work. Todd Ingram (also of Sixty Watt Shaman) and David Kowalski make an excellent team here, with their guitars churning out heavy riffs filled with that southern groove, and vibrant solos that compliment the darker parts of the album’s sound. Todd and David often change the pace of their playing on the record, going from mid paced stomps on “Red Skies” and “Blood of the Lamb” to faster paced gallops like on the song “Trail of Thorns.” The basslines are unfortunately lacking in effect, often being just barely audible over the rest of the band. This is kind of disappointing, seeing as one of the reasons I love stoner metal is how much the bands utilize the bass guitar. The drums make up for this however, with Keith Brooks laying down beats that are somehow laid back and energetic at the same time. While relatively simple, the drumming on the album works well by adding to the swampy atmosphere of the record.

The part of this album that stands out the most here are the vocals. Dave Hammerly’s vocal style has been compared to Glenn Danzig’s style of singing and while the resemblance is undeniable, Dave manages to make the style his own. With his brash, bellowing shouts, and his deep drawls, he brings the record to life by encapsulating the sounds of the filthy south, perfectly meshing with the rest of the elements on the album. Like most music based in the blues, Black Ocean Waves is filled with emotion. Each track has its own tale, whether it be anger and lament towards past addictions on “Requiem for a Drunkard,” perilous journeys at sea on “Red Skies,” or mournful farewells to loved ones on “There Were Bells.” The album’s overall mood is far more melancholy than your standard stoner rock release, but that’s also what makes this album stand out among every other stoner album that’s been released this year. The brilliant mix of catchiness and grit culminates in a fantastic album that is one part Black Sabbath with its doomy riffs, and one part Lynyrd Skynyrd with its melodic twin guitar lines. A standout track for me on this album was one of the album’s most aggressive songs; “The One that God forgot to Save.” The track showcases some of the best drumming on the album, and Hammerly at his most intense; belting out lyrics like a madman.

King Giant don’t reinvent the wheel with Black Ocean Waves but they do bring forth a great record comprised of heavy riffs, soul, and attitude. If you like loud stoner rock with a southern twinge, don’t miss out on this record.


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