DCHeavyMetal.com vs Inverted Umlaut

I was fortunate enough to be asked to guest co-host on the Inverted Umlaut pirate radio show/podcast last night for a special on heavy metal in the Washington DC area. DJ Young Padawan was really cool and let me pick the playlist too, which I’ve posted below. The show plays metal every Monday night from 9pm to 11pm on Radio CPR 97.5 FM on the radio dial if you’re in North West DC, or you can stream it from their website here (just click “listen live” on the right). If you missed the show last night don’t worry, they post every episode as a podcast the next day, and you can download the episode I was on by going here. Thanks to everyone who tuned in, I wish I could have played dozens more bands but I still think I got a good mix in the two hours I had. I tried to keep the playlist current and most of the songs are from the past year or two, some haven’t even been officially released yet. Check out the playlist below and feel free to click any of those bands’ names to find out more info on them, get more music from them, etc… Also, several of them are featured in my free local band downloads, which you can find version 1 here and version 2 here. Keep supporting our scene, there’s some great bands out there that are worth taking the time to check out.

Download the podcast here.

Playlist:

Oak – Saline

Pentagram – 8
Pig Destroyer – Loathsome
Animals As Leaders – CAFO

Deceased – The Traumatic
Loculus – Hacked Apart
Fierce Allegiance – Devil’s Knight
Magrudergrind – Incapacity Reigns/Stagnant/Heaviest Bombing

Balor’s Eye – Pissing Rainbows
Ilsa – Frosthrower
The Neologist – A Dress Rehearsal For A Funeral

Auroboros – Precarious
Division – Short Attention Span Society
Apothys – Venomcrest

King Giant – Burning Regrets
Wrnlrd – Moonlight Ride
Orgy Of The Damned – Feces Fiend
Gravewürm – Brought Before The Altar

Borracho – Concentric Circles
Hatred – Red Death

Wolfsschanze – Peering Through The Looking Glass Of Hatred

Review of Psycroptic gig at Jaxx

While many people are returning home on the Sunday night following Thanksgiving, I found myself heading down to Jaxx again on the 28th of November 2010. Psycroptic and Keep Of Kalessin, the opening bands on Nile and Ex Deo‘s fall tour were playing a few extra shows without the headliners, and this was the date they came through the area. It wasn’t a long show, only four bands played, and it ended early at around 10pm. Pathology was supposed to be part of the touring line up, but they were involved in a major accident in November (more details here) that ended all touring plans for them. There wasn’t a huge crowd for this show, but that was sort of to be expected. It was still a lot of fun and I finally got to see Psycroptic play live.

The first band to play was local death metal act Orgy Of The Damned. I had seen them play before at the Blood And Fire Festival back in July. They’re still really young, most of the guys had black Xs on their hands. That’s fine though, as again their youthful excitement for the music comes through as a big plus in their set. They played Reanimator which was pretty fun to see live. It’s one of the songs they are giving away for free on my download page if you want to check it out. They also played a cover of the Cannibal Corpse classic Hammer Smashed Face that was pretty cool. In another cue taken from Cannibal Corpse, at the end of their set the vocalist, Jeff Wright, said he “lied” about them not playing Feces Fiend and they closed with that song. The next band up was another local act, Trihexyn. They’re pretty good, just not my kind of metal really. I knew what to expect since I’d seen them before at the State Theatre as part of the second Mandatory Metal night there. They rely heavily on using clean vocals which is something I generally am not a fan of (there are exceptions of course). They are pretty good and have well written songs that they play pretty well so don’t get me wrong here, I’m just not their target audience. They do switch to a more rough vocal style for some parts, and I do find that to be more enjoyable, but I seemed to be in the minority about a few things this evening anyways. Also, the bass player had pink hair, which was a bit weird too but hey metal isn’t supposed to be about fashion anyways (don’t tell that to Cradle Of Filth though!). I’ve got a video of them below so check them out, maybe you’ll like them more than I do.

The next band to play was Norway’s black metal band Keep Of Kalessin. I really didn’t like their newest album, Reptilian, and sadly (for me) their set was mostly made of material from it. It’s all about dragons which wouldn’t be so bad except there’s a lot of that clean vocal singing going on again. So yeah, I’ve become that fan of theirs, the guy who likes only the old stuff. I seemed to be in the minority about that because the audience was reacting well to their performance. And they did play Crown Of The Kings, which is one of their older songs that is totally awesome, but they didn’t play Come Damnation, which is my favorite song of theirs. Their set was only about 40 minutes or so, so I guess they were just doing the same basic set list of songs from their Nile tour, mostly just supporting their new album. I thought they would have played a bit longer, and while I figured they’d play a good amount of their newer material, I also thought they’d play some older stuff since they had the chance to play a longer set. They closed with Kolossus which is a solid song, so overall it wasn’t bad, just not my favorite material for most of the set.

The final band of the night was Psycroptic coming all the way from Tasmania. I’ve wanted to catch them for a long time, as they’re probably my favorite technical death metal band these days (Decrepit Birth is up there too though) and I’ve waited a few years now to catch them live. I didn’t see them earlier this year at Sonar with Nile because I knew this show was coming up and I’d rather go to the closer venue, for less money when they headline. They did play an awesome set, though again it was short. I enjoyed the show a lot and got so caught up with it that when it ended I was kinda mad I’d only shot video of two songs! For me the highlight of the evening was when they played (Ob)Servant, which is just a kick ass metal song. Really, all the songs they played are pretty damn sick. It was like they were putting on a tutorial how you do tech death! I was hoping that since they were headlining they’d play a longer set but they didn’t really. They didn’t play The Colour Of Sleep nor Alpha Breed, two of my favorite songs of theirs. Same as with Keep Of Kalessin, I really wished they’d taken advantage of the headlining slot to play a longer set and included more older material. Their vocalist was a temporary fill in on this tour while their normal singer was staying home to be with his newborn. He did a decent job, his stage presence wasn’t bad and he had a hell of a lot of energy up there, literally jumping around and helping to keep the audience excited. Really though, nobody goes to see Psycroptic because of the vocals, their guitar work is crazy and the drummer is pretty damn tight too. They didn’t have a huge crowd and Keep Of Kalessin seemed to have a larger audience when they played. That didn’t matter to me, I was there to finally see Psycroptic play, and other than the set being so damn short, they didn’t disappoint at all. And I’ve got the videos below to prove it, check em out:

Review of Blood And Fire Festival at KC’s

On Saturday the 10th of July, 2010 I headed down to Fredericksburg to a gathering of bands from Washington DC and Northern Virginia. This was the first Blood And Fire Festival and was held at KC’s Music Alley. The doors opened at 2pm but there was no way I was going to get down to Fredericksburg that early. I got there a little after 6pm and found the parking lot packed. I’d never been to KC’s before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I hadn’t counted on the lot being completely full. I did find a spot eventually, and made my way inside. Orgy Of The Damned was on the stage when I went inside. I had met their drummer back in May at Maryland Deathfest and I’m glad I got there in time to check them out. They were a group of pretty young guys with a lot of youthful excitement and seemed to really be enjoying themselves on the stage. They had some technical difficulties (an unfortunate theme for the night really) and someone mentioned to me that their vocalist had been sick, but they made the best of it. During one of the breaks to fix equipment they played an impromptu cover of Napalm Death‘s one second song You Suffer, that was pretty entertaining. I thought it was kind of funny when the singer got a member of the audience to sing into the mic “I’m a fieces fiend”, haha. They also played a cover of Belphegor‘s ridiculously titled song Bondage Goat Zombie when they were told they had time for one more song.

The next band I saw was a black metal band from Leesburg, Virginia called Immortal Decay. Their bass player was in full corpse paint, and they had some deer antlers on the mic stand. Their singer had a lot of fun poses to watch, and the band had a lot of energy on stage. It was during their set I realized just how shitty the sound set up was at this venue. For most of their set I was standing in the middle very close to the front of the stage. From there you couldn’t hear the vocals at all. I didn’t shoot any video of these guys because I thought the mic was just out and didn’t want to make a shitty recording. At the end of their set I moved around a bit and realized that if you moved to the sides of the stage near the speakers you could hear the microphones much better. By the time I figured that out their set was almost over. I did enjoy their set though, and even if I couldn’t hear the vocalist he was putting on a good show. While most bands would try to get the audience moshing by spinning their hand or just telling the crowd to, this guy actually jumped off the stage and ran into the mosh pit, mid song! Now that is getting the audience into the show, haha! One of their guitarists, who was rather tall, was also helping with the showmanship. Between him and the vocalist it was hard to keep your eyes away from the stage. Their sound was certainly black metal, heavily distorted guitars making a wall of sound with rather aggressive riffs and fast paced drumming. They were pretty entertaining and I wouldn’t mind having some of their mp3s on my iPod. UPDATE: Immortal Decay posted a video of them playing the song Rotting Altar at the Blood And Fire Festival on their YouTube page here.

After they finished playing I went to the bar area for a bit. The entire venue is divided down the middle, one side with the stage area and the other had the bar and pool tables, as well as a foosball table and a lonely Tekken Tag arcade game. This created a bit of a problem, since you really couldn’t drink while watching the bands. I asked the bartender about this, and she said that apparently the guy checking the door was just looking to see if people were over 18 and not if they were over 21, so they didn’t have a way of knowing if people underage were drinking or not if they allowed people to bring their alcohol into the stage area. They had pretty cheap beer, I’d forgotten how cheap it is to drink the farther away you get from the city. They had $1.50 PBR drafts, and $2 Corona bottles, can’t find that anywhere inside the belt loop. Since I wanted to eat, drink, and talk to people a bit, I had to miss a few of the bands because of the set up though.

Anyways, the next band I watched was Apothys. They’re probably the most popular death metal band in Northern Virginia these days, and for good reason. They put on a good show and play some cool tunes too. I certainly got into the show when they played their song Venomcrest. They moved around on stage quite a bit, and kept the audience excited with their guitar solos and general stage presence. They had the largest size crowd of the night, partly because they’re fun to watch, but also because when their set ended, everyone under 18 was kicked out of the venue. I don’t know if Fredericksburg has a curfew or if the Virginia ABC has a law about it or maybe it was just the venue’s decision. Regardless, the bands who played after certainly had a smaller crowd to play for, and since the place was divided, this meant just as many people were left hanging out in the bar area, including me! I found myself talking to various locals, fans, band members, girlfriends, and pretty much anyone in my vicinity. I got the bartender to put one of my bumper stickers on the edge of the shelf holding up the TVs over the bar, which was pretty cool, and I handed out a bunch more of my stickers to people. It’s always cool when people recognize me from the site too, especially since you can’t really see my face on there since I’ve got corpse paint on. After a couple more bands played it was time to check out the final act of the night, Hatred.

Hatred has been playing the DC area since the early 90s. They’re a sort of old school thrashy death metal band. They were pretty fun to watch, as usual. Most of the people in the bar area moved out to see them play too, which was cool. It was nice to see people had stuck around to watch them. They played songs from most of their back catalog, not just stuff from their 2009 album Burning Paradise. At one point during the set they switched bass players, I’m not sure what happened there but that was kind of strange. The second guy sure had a lot more stage presence, as evidenced in the videos I posted below. They played a rather long set and the people there were chanting for them to come back after the last song was played. I don’t know if it was scheduled or not, the set list didn’t mention it, but they came back to play a final song that ended around 1am. That wrapped up the first Blood & Fire Festival, which I have to say was a pretty fun experience. I don’t know if anyone ever claimed the ticket raffle prizes (the winning ticket numbers were 55 and 57) and I didn’t even know there was a raffle until Apothys announced they were picking the winners on stage. They did have some of the coolest concert tickets I’ve ever seen, much nicer than the generic blue & white from Ticketmaster. They were black and red with flames and shit, pretty metal. There were certainly sound problems throughout the event, and the curfew thing was strange, but in all it was nice to see a bunch of local bands take some initiative and get together like this. I know Apothys had a big hand in organizing it, I’m hoping they put another one together in the future, just maybe not as far away as Fredericksburg next time. With that, I leave you with the videos I shot at the concert, the first is Orgy Of The Damned, the next two are Apothys and the rest are Hatred. Enjoy!

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