2010 Recap, 2011 Preview

2010 has been a hell of a year here for this blog. It’s been the first full year I’ve had this site going, and it’s been getting bigger and better! I’ve reviewed 32 area concerts this year, all with pics and videos. I got a new camera this fall and am finally shooting with a Nikon DSLR to get better pics on DCHeavyMetal.com This December I’ve held the site’s first two contests, giving away tickets to a couple metal shows at the 9:30 Club. There will be another in February giving away tickets to see Apocalyptica for their stop there in March. I tried getting two interviews on the site, but apparently I’m not good at getting people to talk to me when they say they will. Maybe I shall try this again in 2011. I did manage to get the Downloads page up and running, lots of free local metal there for anyone to try listening to. I also had one of my posts picked up on Blabbermouth (and a few other news sites). I had Ozzy post the link to one of my videos on his Facebook and Twitter pages, and even found myself quoted on Wikipedia. Most of all, I have gotten a hell of a lot more support from people than I ever thought I would, and the readers of this site have kept me motivated to keep working on it. I do everything on here myself, writing reviews, shooting photographs and video, buying concert tickets, updating the calendar and other pages, but it’s all worth it to help support the metal scene in the area here.

Speaking of which, the metal scene here has also had a great year! The first Blood & Fire Fest really kicked off a wave interest in local metal acts in the area. Many venues are holding regular metal nights, the State Theatre in Falls Church, Balls Bluff Tavern in Leesburg, So Addictive Lounge in Herndon, the Ottobar in Baltimore, and we’re also starting to see more and more metal shows at venues that never really had them before. The Velvet Lounge has been hosting more metal gigs, often of local acts. Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Vital Remains and Devourment played the Rock & Roll Hotel for what was by far that venue’s heaviest concert ever. Bourbon Street in Baltimore has been booking a lot more metal acts, and I saw Slayer and Megadeth at the 1st Mariner Arena, their most metal show in a long time. Hell, even Ozzy showed up on the National Mall for the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear. There’s also been a few local acts that are really starting to get noticed outside of the area, Salome and Periphery both had very good years by putting out great releases that have really gotten them widespread attention. Also, Ilsa was recommended by Fenriz of Darkthrone on his metal blog (here) this year too. All these things show that metal is on the upswing in general and in the DC area in particular. Sadly, it wasn’t ALL great news though. The very talented local doom band Ol’ Scratch broke up, which sucks. There was that rather ridiculous incident at Maryland Deathfest where the bass player for D.R.I. got on stage during Watain‘s set and was swiftly taken down by the members of the band, mid-song. And for some reason when local grindcore act Magrudergrind had a free album put out that was sponsored by Scion, everyone called them corporate sell outs and they seemed to get a lot of heat for that. Not really sure why people are complaining about getting something for free, who gives a shit if a car company put their logo on it, it doesn’t change the music. There was also the incident at DC9 after an Agnostic Front concert this autumn that left someone dead, allegedly at the hands of DC9 staff. I’m not sure what happened there at all, the police seemed to have announced information to the press before it was even verified, and that seemed to put the Ethiopian community into a frenzy. I just hope the best for the club and the family of the victim. Lets hope nothing like that happens in DC again in 2011. On a more positive note, we did see the merging of the two venues The Red & The Black with The Palace Of Wonders to create the new Red Palace. This new space has really opened up and is a great place to see a show, hopefully they’ll book more metal gigs too.

In the overall, non-local metal scene, there were a lot of great albums, too many for me to even attempt to get into all of that here. And I don’t do those year end best of lists because they’re arbitrary and you can make up your own mind about what albums kicked ass this year. However, there were some interesting stories in the world of metal in 2010. I think the biggest story was that the big four of thrash, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, shared the stage together for the first time. Unfortunately, these concerts were all at festivals in Europe. It would be cool if they toured the US together, though Slayer Megadeth and Anthrax already did in 2010. There were several bands who released their first album in a long time this year, some being better than others. Fear Factory released their first album in 5 years, Mechanize, after an awkward break up period. The Crown got back together and put out their first album in 7 years, Doomsday King. October Tide put out A Thin Shell, their first album in 11 years. Atheist, who has been reunited and touring for a couple years now finally put out their first album in 17 years titled Jupiter. And of course there was the Autopsy reunion at Maryland Deathfest in May. This lead to their first release in 15 years, an EP titled The Tomb Within. It’s pretty awesome and has everyone excited about the full length that is supposed to be coming out in 2011. We also saw Decapitated tour the US again this past year, the first time since their awful bus wreck in 2007, though the band has only one of the members from before the accident left. There were two albums put out by so called black metal super groups this year, The Underworld Regime by Ov Hell as well as the excellent Monument To End Time by Twilight. There were several bands who called it quits this year, I think most notably Isis, Abscess and Xasthur. There are probably more that I’m not thinking of though. Unfortunately there were some deaths in the metal family this year, I believe the most notable were that of Ronnie James Dio and Peter Steele. There was also the story about Nergal of Behemoth‘s fight with leukemia and his successful attempt at finding a bone marrow donor match (more info here). It was pretty amazing to see how much he spread awareness of the need for bone marrow donors with his situation. If you told me a year ago that metal’s most heartwarming story of 2010 would involve Nergal I’d have called you an idiot, but here we are. I hope he has a swift and full recovery. There was also some overly dramatic bullshit that played out in the metal press, I think the biggest story in that category this year has to go to Mike Portnoy quitting Dream Theater to play drums in the unlikely choice of a band Avenged Sevenfold (later to be booted from A7X, ask for his DT job back and be turned down, more info here).

Looking ahead to 2011, I don’t know what the biggest stories will be, the best albums and tours, but I do know the biggest metal event in the area, hell all of North America, will be Maryland Deathfest IX in Baltimore in May. This year it expands to four days! Some of the highlights for that will be sets by Neurosis and Exhumed as well as the reunion of Coroner and rare appearances by various metal bands from around the world and from almost every metal sub-genre. There’s also Immortal coming to Sonar in February, their first area appearance in many years. The Black Cat will be hosting two metal shows in January, headlined by Jucifer and Kylesa. Pretty cool for a venue known for indie, punk and alternative music. The State Theatre in Falls Church will be hosting it’s first ever metal concert that’s not part of the regularly occurring Mandatory Metal series. That show will be King Giant headlining with Death Penalty and Throwdown Syndicate opening. The Flight Of The Valkyries Festival will be in Baltimore again some time in the fall and there should be the 2nd annual Blood & Fire Festival at some point this year too. Local doom legends Pentagram just signed with Metal Blade records and considering they were playing some new tunes the last time I saw them, they’ll probably have a new album out in 2011. So there are already a lot of things to look forward to in 2011 if you’re a metal head in the DC area.

Now I’d like to thank a few of the people who have helped me out and been especially supportive to me this year. Marie and Dave and Jaxx Nightclub, Alan Margazano and the State Theatre, Leila Regan-Porter of Ticket Alternative, TI and the guys in King Giant, Steve Miller of Loculus, all the guys in Apothys, Leah Potok at the 9:30 Club, Lars from Inverted Umlaut, and especially my mom, who not only helped me out with the new camera but has been really supportive of the site from the beginning. Check out her cool photography and Photoshop blog (here) if you’re into that stuff. And most of all thanks to all the readers of this site, the bands who have played shows and/or helped me spread the word, anyone who has bought a shirt or asked for a sticker or told a friend about DCHeavyMetal.com or bought me a beer at a gig. It’s you guys that have helped this site and this metal scene grow and that’s great because it’s you who the site is for. I probably forgot some people so don’t get pissy with me if you weren’t mentioned. This post took forever to put all these links in, so I hope you click a few you find interesting. I added a few of my favorite pictures (not used in previous posts) and videos from 2010 for your viewing pleasure. I’m hoping that 2011 will be an even better year for the blog and heavy metal in the greater Washington DC and Baltimore area as well, and I have a good feeling that it will.

Ozzy live from the 10th row! I always love seeing Ozzy.

First Autopsy gig in 15 years!

I shot the first footage of this brand new song by DK, first new song since 1986!

Entombed singer rips up a bible on stage in this one.

Incantation covering Black Sabbath in tribute to RJD

This was the first time Fear Factory ever played this song live

Division shredding out a killer Metallica classic at the State Theatre

Final song of the tour, the bands got crazy on this one

Apothys at Blood And Fire Festival, killer!

First US concert ever for Melechesh, I waited years to see them live!

Recap of Mandatory Metal 3 at the State Theatre

Mandatory Metal 3 was the third local metal night at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia held on 16 December 2010. This was the first Mandatory Metal to take place on a Thursday night, instead of a Friday, and that combined with the fact that it snowed a couple inches that day unfortunately kept the turn out rather low. For those who did make it out though, it was a really entertaining show. As usual there were four local bands who played and this time they were Scream/Ruin, A Sound Of Thunder, Iris Divine and Division. While the previous Mandatory Metal show had been more death and black metal based, this one was more melodic and most of the bands used clean vocals (aka non-growling/screaming) at least some of the time. Now if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that’s not usually my preference, but of course there are exceptions and this show was a great way to stay out of the cold.

The first band of the night was Scream/Ruin, a hardcore band with some thrashy elements based in Loudoun, Virginia. They had a lot of heavy breakdowns and some nice shredding in parts. The vocals were mostly somewhere between shouting and screaming. One thing that sort of set them apart from your typical hardcore metal band is they had atmospheric keyboards in parts of some songs. I’m generally not a huge fan of most hardcore, but these guys were entertaining. The drummer seemed to come from the Lars Ulrich school of drumming, not really too fast but high drama most of the time. I really enjoyed the parts of their songs that had the faster drum beats most, but that might just be my bias for extreme metal talking. Their stage lighting was very dark, with a couple of flood lights on stage that blinked on and off throughout the set. I was right up front most of their set but I’m not sure how well people farther back could see the stage. The video I shot of them is pretty dark too, but the audio is still decent. They were a good opening act and started the show off with a lot of energy.

The next band to play was A Sound Of Thunder. Their lead singer is a very charismatic woman named Nina Osegueda. While they may have a female lead singer, they don’t really sound anything like other local bands that also do, like say Todesbonden, This Means You or Rain Fell Within. This band is more in the vein of traditional and power metal stylistically. While Nina sings very cleanly, it’s not in that operatic style but more of a female rock or metal style. The band itself was more talented than the bulk of the metal bands that have a woman up front just as more of a gimmick. The guitarist had a cool solo with the spotlight on him for a bit at one point, and you could tell the band was really in tune with each other on stage. While they did rock out a lot they had some slower and more melodic parts too, showing some range in their songs. The stage was still fairly dark for them, and since my camera sucks in dark lighting you don’t really get as good of an idea of how they looked on stage, but the audio is listenable enough. They were certainly fun, and while I wish I’d gotten to record their song Walls, probably my favorite song of their set, I did get their closing song Wings Of Steel at least.

The next band to play was Iris Divine from Alexandria, Virginia. They’re a more progressive style band, though that genre label has always seemed a bit vague to me. They reminded me a lot of Maryland’s Periphery, though I wouldn’t call them a djent band. They do have some complex song structures that are also catchy, not a lot of bands seem to be able to do both. The songs have lots of rhythm changes, and the vocals alternate from a rough yelling to singing. Their keyboard player, Farhad Hossain, would step away from the keys to play guitar in some parts, as well as share the singing with their other guitarist, Navid Rashid. Probably the biggest issue I had with their set was that sometimes they had problems harmonizing their voices on the parts where they were both singing together. Either one by himself sounded fine though. Really that’s a minor issue as this band is one that you focus more on the musicianship anyways. The clean vocals as well as the programming and keyboards did seem to fill their sound out with some atmosphere, and there were some more heavy and energetic parts too. You could definitely tell they had put a lot of thought into all these songs. In all I was impressed by them, as this was the band that I knew the least about going in to this show.

Next up was the fourth and final band of the night, Division from Woodbridge, Virginia. I met some of the band members at the first Mandatory Metal show back in August and they had given me a copy of their latest CD, Control Issues (buy it here). It’s definitely grown on me and I was glad I knew some of their material by the time I got to see them live. They opened with their song Hunt, which is probably my favorite song of theirs. Their setlist wasn’t only songs from the new album, but also songs I didn’t recognize from older albums. Both were fun to watch live though. They really put on a show, members of the band were constantly shifting position on stage and their showmanship certainly made it easy to watch them as they walked around on the stage like they owned it. The thrashy and heavy riffs were fun to listen to as well. The two guitarists seemed to be playing dueling solos at points too. I guess you could call them power metal, but vocalist Nick Kelly doesn’t overdo it in that annoying way that reminds me of 80s hair bands like plenty of power metal bands do. He has a good voice and knows when to sustain and when not to, the latter being noticeably rare in the world of heavy metal. They were my favorite band of the night, and they were a great headlining act. The highlight of the entire night was definitely their closing song, a cover of Metallica‘s Disposable Heroes. They really had the audience participation going, and also had Alan Margazano (the guy who organizes the Mandatory Metal shows) of Death Penalty singing back up vocals on that. Those of you who missed the show or left early are lucky that I shot video of it and have posted it below. They really put on a great show, my only gripe was that they didn’t play their song Short Attention Span Society, which is another tune I really like of theirs. But that’s ok, gives me something to look forward to the next time I see them.

In all it was another great night of local metal at the State Theatre. I enjoyed all four bands, none of which I had seen live before. I just wish more people had shown up, the bands really deserved it. I suppose nobody can control the weather, but people really should have come out, it wasn’t THAT bad out. Alan told me there were a lot of people who had bought presale tickets and didn’t even show up! If you missed out though, you can check out three of the bands that played, Scream/Ruin, A Sound Of Thunder and Division, who all have free mp3s you can download on my Download’s page here. You can also see A Sound Of Thunder, Iris Divine and Division play with a few other bands in Richmond at Alley Katz on March 5th, 2011. There will also be another metal show coming to the State Theatre, though not a Mandatory Metal (the next one will be in February). In late January King Giant and Death Penalty are playing a gig, the State Theatre’s first non-Mandatory Metal concert. Details are on the calendar of upcoming concerts. AND don’t forget I’m giving away a pair of tickets to see Gwar on 29 December 2010 at the 9:30 Club, you can enter here for free. You can check out the rest of my pics from Mandatory Metal 3 on my Flickr account here, and as usual I’ve posted all the videos I shot at the show below. Enjoy!

Gwar ticket give away

Gwar, Richmond’s masters of insane on stage antics, land their spaceship in Washington DC on Thursday the 29th of December 2010 at the 9:30 Club. If you’ve never seen them then you just don’t know what you’re missing. And you don’t have to take my word for it, even the very non-metal Moby said Gwar is the best live band ever (here) just last year. They are certainly entertaining and offensive. I mean, at what other concert this holiday season are you going to see Sarah Palin murdered on stage? I know you want to see that. This, the Bloody Pit Of Horror Tour, also brings along opening acts The Casualties, Infernaeon and Mobile Deathcamp.

And luckily the 9:30 Club is again letting me hold a contest to give a pair of tickets away to one lucky reader of DCHeavyMetal.com. I held a similar contest for the Sword a couple weeks ago and it went really well. This time to enter all you have to do is tell me which celebrity you’d like to see get the Gwar treatment on stage in the comments below. Keep it civil though, I don’t need to get sued for hosting threats to people’s lives on here. On Christmas day, December 25th, at noon EST I’ll pick one of the commenters below at random to win the free pair of tickets as the most metal gift you’ll get this year. Be sure to use a valid email that you check regularly when you post your comment as that is what I will use to contact the winner (you don’t have to put your email in the comment itself though).

Gwar at the 9:30 ClubMultiple entries will be disqualified, so don’t be a dick and enter more than once. I’ll know if you’re using multiple email accounts! If I haven’t gotten a response back from the winner within 24 hours, I will pick another winner Sunday the 26th at noon. Note that this concert is at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC so if you cannot make it to the show there on a Thursday night please don’t enter. Also of note, I will not add your email address to any mailing list or sell it to junk mail spammers or anything annoying like that. I hate that shit too. I just need it to get in contact with the winner. If you just can’t wait to get tickets, or if the contest is over when you read this, you can purchase tickets via TicketFly here for $22. And while I can’t enter my own contest, I’d like to say Michael Vick gets my vote. Please note that I, Metal Chris, am not an actual celebrity so I cannot be entered below, though if ya gotta go dying by the hands of Gwar is a pretty metal way to do it. Now check out this funny Xmas video where Gwar goes Christmas caroling.

UPDATE: There were 27 entries into the contest, and I used Random.org to generate a number, each commentor given the number their comment appears in. The lucky winner is #2 Metal Dave! Don’t worry though, you can still get tickets to the show through Ticket Fly for $22 here. Also, it looks like Justin Beiber was the run away winner in votes for who you all want to see mangled by Gwar. Happy holidays, festivus, necro-Kwanzaa or whatever it is you feel like celebrating/drinking to.

Review of The Sword gig at the 9:30 Club

Monday the 6th of December 2010 was a damn cold night, but not cold enough to keep me from going to see The Sword play at the 9:30 Club. It is Washington DC’s most well known non-seated music venue, and also the largest. They don’t get a whole lot of metal bands there, so when they do I usually try to get to the show. This concert was different than any I’d been to before at the 9:30 Club because I had been given a photo pass by the band. This meant I could get up in front of the audience and shoot pics with my “pro” camera, so I really spent a lot of the show focused on that. That’s not to say I wasn’t paying attention to the band, but I just wanted to get that out there as it changed my perspective of the concert a bit, and I generally try to write these reviews from the point of view of the average person in the audience, not some guy with special access or whatever. The show was a lot of fun, and it was cool getting a chance to test out a lot of the settings on my camera. I think I got some really great pictures, and while I see lots of room for improvement, I’m still proud of how some of them came out. Anyways, on to how the show went…

I missed the opening band Mount Carmel though I heard they were a bluesy band. When I walked in Karma To Burn was playing their first song. These guys are from West Virginia and I’ve heard a few of their albums. Mostly instrumental metal, and that’s great to me because I’m a fan of instrumental metal bands. They’re a very groove based sort of doomy or stoner band, and I’d say they are pretty similar in sound to Pelican. They did play several songs with lyrics, though I’m not familiar enough with the band to give you a set list or song titles. They put on a good show with some fun songs, they were a really good choice for a support act, really helped warm up the crowd. I shot a few pics of them from the second level, but apparently my photo pass didn’t allow me to shoot any video and I was told to stop after having captured just one song. This also means I have no video of the headliner, a first on this blog, sorry! I await the day that all bands stop telling their paying fans they can’t make their own pics or videos at concerts. People aren’t bootlegging/stealing from you, we’re trying to have something to remember the experience with, and share them with our friends. Hell, I’m trying to use them for the purposes of a review, which is promotion at best and fair use at worst. Well, before this turns into a rant, I’ll start talking about the Sword.

The Sword is a doom metal band from Austin, Texas. Their sound is almost 70’s rock-ish with fantasy, and on their latest album, science fiction themed lyrics. You’d almost think this band spawned straight from a Frank Frazetta painting. They have caused a bit of a stir among music critics, some praising their classic style of metal with it’s epic heavy riffs and crushing grooves, while others say they’re basically reinventing the wheel and haven’t really done anything to deserve all the attention. I’d never seen them live before, and while I like their music, and their latest album, Warp Riders, has really grown on me, I wouldn’t say I absolutely love their studio work. That said, I really enjoyed their live show, much more than the studio material. Maybe it’s just the studio producer they’ve got, but the songs really came alive on stage in comparison. You could tell the band was glad to be playing and having a blast up on stage, and the songs just seemed to have an extra energy that seemed to be lacking in the studio. While I was there to take pics, sometimes I just had to put the camera down and headbang to some of those tunes. The setlist was very heavy on Warp Riders material, they played eight of the ten songs on it, though they didn’t play the song “Lawless Lands.” I find that odd since they just released a music video for that song (see it at the bottom of this post). I really liked how the song “Night City” sounded live, and their encore performance of “Winter’s Wolves” was fantastic, a perfect way to end the show. The new drummer, Kevin Fender, did a great job executing, especially considering how short he’s been playing with the band. In case you didn’t know, this concert was supposed to happen back in October but the old drummer abruptly quit and the tour had to be rescheduled. Also, this was the first concert I held a ticket give away for on the site (here), and I hope the winner Matt had a blast! It did so well I’ll be holding another contest with free tickets for the Gwar concert coming up on December 29th, also at the 9:30 Club. I’ll have a post with details about that up soon, so check back in a few days. Now, here’s the one Karma To Burn video I managed to get before I was told to stop shooting video, followed by the Sword’s official video for “Lawless Lands.” If that’s not enough you can check out some more of my pics of the Sword on Flickr here. Enjoy!

Review of Ozzy Osbourne gig at 1st Mariner Arena

So Monday the 29th of November 2010 started off pretty normally for me, normal routine of going to work and all. I’d just seen Psycroptic and Keep Of Kalessin play Jaxx the night before, so I had a review to work on (you can read that here) but otherwise it was a normal day. Then my girlfriend called me to tell me she’d gotten me an early Xmas present, a 10th row ticket to see Ozzy that night at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena! Well the work day couldn’t go by fast enough at that point. The venue actually granted me a photo pass for Rob Halford‘s set (the opening act) but Ozzy’s people wouldn’t give me one. It didn’t really matter as I didn’t have my nice camera with me at work and I couldn’t make it to the venue early enough if I went home to get it. I did get to the venue around 8pm and I had been told Ozzy would hit the stage at 8:45 so instead of going through security to buy an expensive dinner, I hit up a little deli across the street. I got myself a pastrami sandwich, cheaper and better than anything inside the arena I’m sure, and headed into the venue. After sneaking my camera through security I headed to my seat. And again for the second time now at 1st Mariner Arena, the second I got to my seat I looked up at the stage and right then Ozzy came out to start the concert. Perfect timing again! The first time this happened was when I saw Slayer and Megadeth there in October and you can read my review of that here.

Since I completely missed Rob Halford’s set I won’t comment on that. I wasn’t too upset though since I’m not much of a Judas Priest fan anyways. I am, however, a huge Black Sabbath and Ozzy fan. The reason I’m such a huge metal head has a lot to do with Black Sabbath and the fact that I even run this website does too. That said, I know he’s past his prime, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love every second of this concert. The last time I saw Ozzy was almost three years ago in January 2008 at the Verizon Center. That wasn’t the greatest show, he had been sick and it was a short set and they all seemed to be just going through the motions. This concert fully made up for it though! This was the first time I have gotten to see the new guitarist, Gus G, play live with Ozzy, and the band definitely seemed more energized than when I saw them in 2008. Gug G did a great job of playing songs by each of his four main predecessors, Tony Iommi, Randy Rhodes, Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde, and they played one of his own songs, Let Me Hear You Scream, too. I have video of him playing songs by each of these guys from this concert posted below so you can see how he handles them, so check them out at the end of the post. There was also a second guitarist on some songs, I think mostly the Black Sabbath songs really. This was actually the keyboardist Adam Wakeman, who also has played with Black Sabbath. He didn’t have any guitar solos and only played rhythm guitar and stayed out of the spotlight for most of the show. Ozzy’s voice started out a bit rough this show, but after his voiced dropped out a couple of times early on, he seemed to get it together and mostly stay on track for the rest of the show. He was entertaining as always, and he brought out his big foam-shooting hose several times throughout the night to spray the audience as well as himself. He really seemed to have a lot of energy up there, much more than the last time I saw him. There were a lot of loud booming fireworks and a sort of fire-rain pyrotechnics thing at the beginning of Mr. Crowley. All of this showed why after 40 years Ozzy is still headlining arenas, his shows are always over the top.

The setlist focused mostly on what are probably the two most popular albums of Ozzy’s career, Paranoid by Black Sabbath and Blizzard Of Ozz, his first solo record. The only Randy Rhodes era songs were from Blizzard, and they played the staples Mr. Crowley, Suicide Solution, Crazy Train and I Don’t Know. The only Black Sabbath songs played were all from Paranoid, and they of course played Iron Man, War Pigs, Paranoid as well as Fairies Wear Boots and they even incorporated the instrumental Rat Salad in the band solos. That was actually pretty damn awesome. They started it off as a sort of all band jam doing Rat Salad that morphed into a killer guitar solo by Gus G. He didn’t play with his teeth or behind his head like Zakk did the last time I saw Ozzy, but it was nice to hear a different style of guitarist up there shredding (and none of those pig squeal things Zakk does every fucking 5 seconds). They went back into a full band jam for a brief bit, before drummer Tommy Clufetos started on a pretty crazy drum solo of his own. They raised the platform the drums were on and his extended solo was pretty damn impressive, and included a bit of audience participation and fireworks too, which was all pretty cool. I had actually seen him do a big drum solo like this at the last Ozzy show I saw, but he was playing with the opener Rob Zombie then. The whole solo wrapped up as the band finally finished their rendition of Rat Salad. That was such a fresh take on that song, and was really one of the most fun solo/jam sessions I’ve seen at an Ozzy show since I saw Joe Holmes do a crazy guitar solo based around Symptom Of The Universe in the 90s. Hell, this might have been better than that actually. Anyways, I wasn’t missing Zakk Wylde at this point, and I’m not sure if he meant it that way or not, but Ozzy didn’t seem to be either when he stated between songs that the old material was the best! They did play a few Zakk songs, most notably the track Fire In The Sky from No Rest For The Wicked in 1988. The crowd seemed bewildered when he played this, I don’t think most people there knew this song at all. I got video of it though as I knew how rare this was for him to play, and you can see most people just sorta standing around like zombies. I don’t think that song has been in the live rotation for almost 20 years, so that was something pretty cool for the Ozzy die hard fans out there, instead of just playing all hits.

In all I had a great fucking time. The show was fantastic, 100 times better than the last really, and he played for the better part of 2 hours. Getting to see Ozzy is always a concert highlight of the year for me, and this was really one of the best shows I’ve seen him do in a very long time. I did like Zakk but I very much welcome the new guitarist, Gus G, to the fold and really I can’t wait to see them play again. Well, thanks for reading this whole thing. And don’t forget I’ve got a contest going on right now to give away a pair of tickets to see The Sword at the 9:30 Club on Monday, the 6th of December 2010. Go here to enter to win. You don’t have to sign up for anything to do it. Once you’re done with that check out the videos below that I shot from the floor, some of my best video footage yet (they even posted my video of Fairies Wear Boots to the official Ozzy Facebook and Twitter pages!). I’m really glad the venue wasn’t strict about using cameras down there. I recommend checking out my video for War Pigs as that should give you a good idea of my view at the concert. Enjoy!

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: