2011 Recap, 2012 Preview

2011 is coming to a close and it has been another great year for DCHeavyMetal.com! The site has been growing and I’m glad I’ve made it through another calendar year of running this site and I have to say thanks for all the support I’ve gotten from the metal community here in DC. None of this would be worth doing if it wasn’t for all the awesome bands and fans in this area and you guys have made it so that after over two years I’m still as excited as ever to be running this site. This year I was lucky enough to see some of my work appear in other places online as well, including guest posts I wrote on MetalUnderground.com and Heavy Uber Alles. I started writing about international metal on SceneTrek.com and I’ve had my photography appear in lots of places, including on NPR’s website and TBD.com and MetalSucks.net. I was also allowed to guest host an episode of the pirate radio show Inverted Umlaut and pick a play list made up of all local metal bands. Probably the coolest thing Apocalyptica during my Metal Marathonfor me was having the Washington Post Express do a small piece on me and the site back in May. I’ve also had a new shirt design made with art by Joshua Brettell, the drummer for local death/doom metal band Ilsa. Shirts are for sale now for $12, find me at an area show to get one. I should have a bunch for sale at the merch booth for the King Giant show at Jaxx on January 21st if nothing else. Back in March I had my Metal Marathon where I went to 11 metal concerts in 9 consecutive days, that was intense. And this year I went to over 100 concerts total, the first time I’ve ever done that in a single calendar year. I got to see a lot of great bands play and hang out with a lot of cool people at many venues all around the area. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do 100 shows in a year again, but I can at least say I did it once in 2011!

This post isn’t just to review 2011 for my site though, there were a lot of interesting stories in local, national and international metal this year. One of the first that comes to mind is all the venue changes that have gone on in the area. The legendary Fillmore opened up a new 2,000 capacity venue in Silver Spring and they have already held a few metal shows. A new venue opened in the inner harbor area of Baltimore as well, the Baltimore SoundStage. The State Theatre in Falls Church has been expanding its upstairs balcony to hold more people, you can see a shot of the unfinished construction here. Jaxx in Springfield, Virginia, the long time metal stronghold in the DC area, has new owners taking over in 2012. They also recently purchased Alley Katz in Richmond, and have renamed that venue Kingdom after a renovation. They have remained quiet so far on their plans for Jaxx but you can expect to see some changes there in 2012. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you up to date on that. There were a couple closings as well, Bourbon Street in Baltimore closed, though the staff seems to have mostly moved to the new Baltimore SoundStage. In what is probably the most tragic venue closing of 2011, the Corpse Fortress in Silver Spring, Maryland was shut down after five years and the residents of this awesome DIY house were all evicted at the end of September. I saw a lot of great bands play there, touring and local, and it really is a blow to the local do it yourself music scene, metal or otherwise. So Addictive Lounge, which had been having weekly metal nights on Mondays in Herndon decided to turn into a full fledged gay bar seven days a week and so they no longer hold local metal shows. However there are a few venues that have started hosting metal shows as well. The DIY house Cellar Door in Annandale has been getting bands occasionally. There is also the unlikely venue Asefu’s, an Ethiopian bar in the U Street area of DC, which has been hosting some local metal shows lately. The Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring has also held some matinee metal shows on the weekends. Old Firestation #3 in Fairfax City has been hosting a few metal shows as well. Golden West Cafe has also been getting some great doom and sludge bands coming through Baltimore. Of course this year we had that whole fiasco with Sonar in Baltimore ‘shutting down’ Steve Von Till of Neurosisabout three weeks before Maryland Deathfest was to be held there. Luckily it turned out to be just a big, and very public, management tantrum. The venue reopened in time for MDF but they sure looked bad. That wasn’t the only story involving Maryland Deathfest in 2011, which isn’t surprising considering the festival has become not only this area’s but also North America’s biggest non-touring metal festival. The Neurosis outdoor performance this year right after a thunderstorm that almost canceled their set was just incredible. And the mysterious Swedish band Ghost played their first ever US show as the final band on the final day of Maryland Deathfest this year. Sadly there was a bad situation that ended up with security guards spraying random people in attendance with pepper spray after their set which made the otherwise awesome festival end on a sour note. There were also issues with the video footage that had been shot at Maryland Deathfest, much of which is explained here, and apparently there will not be a Maryland Deathfest The Movie for the 2011 festival. However, there is a movie coming out that some of you old school metal heads in this area might find interesting. No, not a sequel to Heavy Metal Parking Lot, that already came out this year as Heavy Metal Picnic. The now defunct DC concert venue The Bayou has a documentary film about its history coming out soon and you can see the trailer for it here.

There were a lot of interesting stories in metal this year, from the hilarious to the bizarre to the downright tragic. We saw the big four of thrash metal hold their US shows, the closest one to us being the performance at Yankee Stadium in New York City that was so awesome that a guy in a wheelchair was crowd surfing. And way back in January of this year Jef Whitehead, aka Wrest, the man behind the one man US black metal bands Leviathan and Lurker Of Chalice, was arrested for criminal sexual assault and aggravated domestic battery for allegedly attacking his girlfriend, including sexually assaulting her with a tattoo gun (details here). He has denied all the charges and even put out a new Leviathan album that seems pretty obviously to be directing anger at her with the title True Traitor, True Whore. In January we also heard Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King of Slayerthat Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman became infected with a flesh eating bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis. He had to sit out most of Slayer’s shows this year because of it, including their big four shows. He seems to be making a full recovery though, because, as he put it, “Satan had my back.” In July the lead singer for Life Of Agony, Keith Caputo, announced that he was transitioning into life as a woman and should be referred to as Mina Caputo now. It takes a lot of strength to come out in the metal world, and while I’m not a fan of Life Of Agony’s music this did lead to another one of my favorite quotes in any interview this year when Mina stated, “just because I’m wearing a skirt doesn’t mean I don’t got big balls.” And who can forget the bizarre story of the bass player for Coheed And Cambria getting arrested for armed robbery after holding up a pharmacy in Boston just before the band performed there live (check it out here if you want the details). There were also two big stories this year about how people find and share music, including metal. Namely Spotify coming to the US and Google Music starting up, the latter of which has made it so any band, regardless of if they have a label or not, can get their music in the Android Marketplace for a one time fee of just $25 (info on that is here). There was also the story this year of the big Chaos In Tejas fest announcing their 2012 line up and afterwards people started noticing there were some bands with nazi or other racist ties on the bill, namely Nyogthaeblisz, Black Witchery and Disma (get more details on this here). This led to an uproar on the festival’s Facebook page and several other bands set to play the fest started threatening to pull out if those bands weren’t dropped from the festival. All three are now off of the fest, however it should be noted that both Black Witchery and Disma are on the lineup for Maryland Deathfest in 2012 and nobody seems to be saying a thing about that. In what has sadly becoming surprising, Metallica actually did something cool when they held four 30th anniversary concerts in San Francisco. They played some brand new tracks for fans as well as bring in a slew of guests to perform with them, including people like Glenn Danzig, King Diamond, Ozzy Osbourne and even Dave Mustaine, among others. It’s cool they did something for the fans for once. In 2010 it was announced that Nergal, the main man from the Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth, had been diagnosed with leukemia. He raised a lot of awareness for the need for bone marrow transplants, and in January 2011 he was released from the hospital after being the successful recipient of one. In October 2011 Behemoth even did a small tour in Poland, the band’s first live shows since Nergal was hospitalized.

Sadly not everyone in the metal world fared as well this year and some people were lost to us. Cory Smoot, the most recent person under the Flattus Maximius costume as a member of the gory shock metal band Gwar, had heart problems and passed away at the age of 34 while on tour with the band in early November. This story touched a lot of people in this area since Gwar are Richmond, Virginia natives and also because he left behind a pregnant wife. A benefit show is being held for them on January 7th in Richmond, info on that is here. There was also Seth Putnam, the main guy behind the always overly offensive grindcore band Anal Cunt, who died in June at the age of 43 due to heart failure. In March Mike Starr, the original Alice in Chains bassist, was found dead in his home at age 44, apparently due to a lethal combination of Xanax and alcohol. He had been on VH-1’s show Celebrity Rehab in 2010. There was also the death of Phil Vane, one of the original members of the English band Extreme Noise Terror. He died from a stroke at the age of 44 after being one of the founding members of not only ENT but of the entire crust sub genre. Just last week David Gold was killed in a car accident at age 31. He was the main guy behind the Canadian black/doom band Woods Of Ypres. I’m sure there are others I have forgotten to mention so feel free to make note of them in the comment section below if you’d like.

There were also some long running bands who broke up this past year as well. There was the above mentioned Anal Cunt and Woods Of Ypres of course. Also God Dethroned Henri Sattler of God Dethronedfrom the Netherlands decided to finish the band after 20 years, well they still have to play on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise in January but that will be it for them. The Bay Area band Ludicra broke up just as they seemed to really be gathering steam which reminds me of Salome‘s demise last year. Long time Swedish death metal act Dismember broke up after 23 years in the scene. Back in May at Maryland Deathfest we got to see the New York based death metal band Skinless play their final live set ever after having been together since 1992. There were also some major line up changes in a few bands that didn’t break up, at least not yet. I think the biggest has to be K. K. Downing, guitar player and founding member of Judas Priest, leaving the band in April after over 40 years with the band. Also in April the Seattle based Nevermore announced that their guitar player, Jeff Loomis, was leaving the band as well as long time drummer Van Williams. Both had been in the band since the band’s first album and Nevermore is currently on hiatus though vocalist Warrel Dane insists they are not broken up. The Tampa, Florida based power metal band Iced Earth saw their lead singer, Matt Barlow, leave the band for a second time in March. However Iced Earth didn’t miss a beat and quickly recruited Into Eternity vocalist Stu Block into the band. Swedish black metal band Dark Funeral saw long time members B-Force, Dominator and Emperor Magus Caligula all leave the band in 2010 but it wasn’t until 2011 that the band started filling these gaps. Dominator decided to return on drums, Zornheym replaced B-Force on bass, and after 15 years with Magus on vocals the band has found a new vocalist in Nachtgarm from the band Negator.

This year there were a few bands who got back together as well. Those who Coroner at Maryland Deathfestattended the final day of this year’s Maryland Deathfest got to see Coroner play a headlining set. This was the Swiss technical thrash band’s first US show since reforming in 2010 after a 14 year break up period. After the fallout of the aforementioned Nevermore, Sanctuary has been reformed by the remaining members of Nevermore. There was also the two song performance by Swedish death metal band Bloodbath as an encore at the Opeth and Katatonia show in Baltimore back in early November. The so called super group only played at one show on that tour, and we were lucky that it was the one in Baltimore! Not really a reunion but his return to metal in general, we got a solo album by Demonaz who has pretty much been absent from the metal world in any major role since he left Immortal in 1997 due to tendinitis so bad that it prevented him from playing guitar. Another sort of return this year was ICS Vortex putting out a solo album as well after having been booted unceremoniously from Dimmu Borgir in 2009. Lets just say that album was a lot better than the last Dimmu album, though that’s not saying much. Also this year there was the return of Kyuss, who played both the 9:30 Club in Washington DC and Rams Head Live in Baltimore. The band has all the original members back, except for the glaring lack of Josh Homme on guitar. It’s not too surprising as I’m sure he is making much more money with the Eagles Of Death Metal, Them Crooked Vultures and Queens Of The Stone Age, though it’s a bit of a let down for the fans. There has also been news that Pepper Keenan has rejoined Corrosion Of Conformity, so I hope to hear him on a new album with them in 2012. This year we also saw the return of Polish death metal band Decapitated, sort of. In October 2007 Decapitated at Jaxxthey were in a horrible bus wreck while on tour which killed their drummer and put the vocalist into a coma. The band broke up but guitarist Vogg recruited all new members to reform Decapitated and this year they put out a new full length as well as went on tour, including a stop at Jaxx in October. Some musical returns are hardly worth noting but are too big of a flop to not mention, such as the first album by death metal legends Morbid Angel in 8 years, also their first album with David Vincent in the band since 1995. It was not what anyone expected, and not in a good way. I mean there are bad albums and then there are albums that make you just wonder who the hell heard this crap and thought it was worth putting out? I’m still not convinced it was the worst metal album of the year though. I mean, Lou Reed with Metallica‘s album Lulu is pretty damn awful as well, but I guess you sort of expected that before you heard it. Let’s just hope 2012 has nothing close to these two stinkers in store for the metal fans out there.

There were some good metal releases this year of course. I don’t write “top 10” album lists or whatever because I don’t really like ranking music (or art in general) as though it is a competition. However, I’d like to just note that we had new material by a lot of bands from this area (this isn’t a complete list but I tried to remember everyone!). DC’s doom legends Pentagram put out Last Rites, an album surprisingly good considering how long this band has been around. Mike Schleibaum of Darkest HourThere was The Human Romance, a new album by DC’s biggest metalcore band Darkest Hour. Deceased put out Surreal Overdose in 2011 to show that they’re still going strong for over 25 years. Dying Fetus put out an EP of mostly 90’s death metal band covers called History Repeats this year. Maryland’s most famous djent band, Periphery, also put out the Icarus EP this year to tide fans over until they release two full length albums in 2012 (more on that below). If you really like them I recommend checking out the instrumental Baltimore based band Balor’s Eye who put out their debut as a self titled EP this year. Aurora Borealis put out surprisingly good melodic black metal effort this year, even though it seems to have gone mostly overlooked for some reason. They’re even giving it away as a free download (here), what the hell else do you want people? On the more grindy side of things Drugs Of Faith put out a really good album, Corroded. Local death/doom band Ilsa put out a split with Sweden’s Hooded Menace this year as well, totally crushing. Local stoner act Borracho released their debut full length this year as well, titled Splitting Sky. And Polkadot Cadaver, made up of members of the broken up band Dog Fashion Disco, put out their second album this year and have started touring nationally to support it. Baltimore band Bet The Devil put Iris Divine at the State Theatreout their self titled debut as well in 2011. Death metal band Visceral Disgorge put out their debut album, Ingesting Putridity, in 2011. And last but not least there was the progressive band Iris Divine who put out a full length album this year. So if people think this area’s metal scene is dead or simply doesn’t exist they’re just not paying attention because that’s a hell of a lot of metal output there!

Well that’s my recap of what happened in 2011, and as if this post wasn’t long enough already, I’ll tell you some of the things you can look forward to in 2012. As far as this site itself goes, I’ve got some awesome new contests coming up where I’ll be giving away tickets to see Graveyard, Ghost, King Giant and Lamb Of God, and those are just in January! I’ll also be doing some interviews with some people I hope you guys find interesting. I’m going to try to keep this different than the typical ass-kissing promo interviews on every other music website but actually ask some questions people want to know the answers to. I also plan on revamping my venues page with even more info on each venue, and possibly even adding a section with contact info for various small venue promoters so you can get in contact with them to set up shows much more easily.

As egotistical as I’d like to be, there’s plenty more to be excited about in the world of metal in 2012 besides what is going on with my site. I think the biggest story of all has got to be that all four original members of Black Sabbath have reunited and announced not only a full world tour, but a new full length album as well. Rick Rubin is producing it, and while he has an extensive history of producing all kinds of music, he was behind the board for Slayer’s classic Reign In Blood album though more recently he has produced Metallica’s 2008 album Death Magnetic. It certainly has the potential to be a horrid album or a great one, and I’m sure no matter what there will be people who claim either side, but it’s still pretty amazing that they’re putting a new album together now after over 30 years. Another big story is that grind legends Terrorizer will be putting out a new album. However David Vincent has been added to the band’s line up and I really hope he doesn’t make them sound like modern Morbid Angel. Local grind act Pig Destroyer has been rather quiet since their 2007 album Phantom Limb, but I’ve heard that Misery Index drummer Adam Jarvis has been added to the line up so hopefully we’ll finally hear some new material from them in 2012. Locals King Giant have their King Giant at Jaxxsophomore album, Dismal Hollow, coming out in January and they’ll be holding a CD release show at Jaxx on the 21st for that. The line up for that show is great and I’m glad they’re going to be holding another contest on DCHeavyMetal.com to help promote it. Djent band Periphery has announced that they’ll be putting out not one but two full length albums in 2012. The first is a concept album titled Juggernaut that is tentatively scheduled for release in May. Not much info has been told about the second album, however it has been announced that is it not a concept album and is scheduled for release in November. Baltimore’s Knives Out have an album scheduled for release in February titled Black Mass Hysteria. Local power metal act Nina Osegueda of A Sound Of ThunderA Sound Of Thunder is supposed to put out a full length this year, titled Out Of The Darkness, a follow up to their 2011 album Metal Renaissance, so keep an eye out for that. In what seems to be a bit strange, the band Control Denied, formed by Chuck Schuldiner of Death fame and broken up after his death in 2001, will have a second album released in 2012. It is to be titled When Man And Machine Collide. Apparently it is the album Chuck had been working on when he died so I’m not sure who ‘finished’ it and it sort of stinks of the kind of cash grab that is usually reserved for Elvis and 90s rap fans. Oh and remember how I mentioned above that I hoped there wouldn’t be an album as bad as either the latest Morbid Angel or Metallica efforts? Well, Morbid Angel has decided to put out a double album of dub step remixes of their 2010 album, Illud Divinum Insanus. Seriously, after all the backlash they got they thought THAT would be a good idea? There’s a couple tours coming in 2012 I’m already excited for. Lock Up, featuring members of bands At The Gates, Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir and too many more to list, was supposed to make their US debut at Maryland Deathfest in 2011. They had last minute visa issues and so didn’t make it into the US. However they now have a full US tour scheduled and they’ll be playing in Baltimore in February. I’m also excited to see Hail!Hornet and Zoroaster play at the Black Cat in February the same night as a screening of a movie about heavy metal in the south, aptly titled Slow Southern Steel.

Well, thanks for getting to the end of the post, it’s been a damn long one and it took me what seems like forever to pull all these links together. 2011 has been a hell of a year and 2012 looks promising already. If you’ve got any suggestions for the site or you noticed something I totally overlooked that should have been mentioned above go ahead and mention it in the comment section below. Stay safe everyone and remember if you’re out partying this New Year’s Eve, the entire DC area (including the Maryland and Virginia suburbs) has free cabs from 10pm to 6am. Just call 1-800-200-TAXI or check out the Sober Ride program’s website here. Stay metal everyone, go out and see some metal shows and support the scene you’re a part of!

Another Mega Sized Concert Recap

Well, I haven’t posted any concert reviews lately, but as usual I’ve still been going to lots of concerts. Things have slowed down a bit here in late December concert wise but this is normal since bands don’t usually like touring during the holidays. I’ve been to some great shows since my first mega sized concert recap. I’ve set each show as a separate paragraph so if you don’t care about a particular gig you can easily skip to the next one. And of course all the band names will link you to a place you can stream that band’s music. Click on any picture to see more of my photos of that band as well. Now, on to the awesomeness that is going to see metal shows in the DC area.

On Saturday the 12th of November 2011 I headed out to the Velvet Lounge on U Street in the District. Warchild was headlining a show and I had heard they were good live, though I hadn’t gotten a chance to see them yet. I got there right when their set was starting and the upstairs of the Velvet Lounge was absolutely packed! I’ve never seen it that full before and it’s cool so many people came out to see a local metal band play there. Warchild is a thrash metal act who likes to party hard. Everyone in the band was shirtless and sporting lots of tattoos. The vocalist, also from the 80s throwback rock band Rattler, told everyone in attendance to not hold back and stage dive and crowd surf as much as they wanted. The audience complied and people were even hanging from the fan in the middle of the room, just going nuts. They brought some people on stage to pound beers in a beer bong and even had two guys race to see who could smash the a can of beer open on their head and then drink it the fastest. And you thought Municipal Waste was a party thrash band, this show was crazy. They played a solid thrash set and ended it with a kick ass cover, with plenty of crowd participation, of Metallica‘s old school classic The Four Horsemen. Such a great show, I can’t wait to see them live again. Highly recommended!
Warchild

Beer Eating Contest

The following Thursday, the 18th of November, I went to the Black Cat in Washington DC to see Fu Manchu play. The opening act was the Austin, Texas based three piece Honky. Somewhere between hellbilly and stoner, they were a pretty solid opener. Their bass player is JD Pinkus who is better known for having played in the Butthole Surfers. They had some hilarious song titles and subjects, which you’d expect more from a humorous grind band. My favorite was their song about masturbating at work called Gittin’ It. They were fun and obviously didn’t take themselves too seriously and they made for a good opener for Fu Manchu. On the final song of Honky’s set Fu Manchu guitar player Bob Balch came out to play a tune with the band. Fu Manchu is one of the main influences in stoner rock and metal, and most of their songs deal with modes of transportation like souped up cars and skateboarding. They had played the upstairs main stage at the Black Cat in September of 2010 but this concert was in the smaller back stage downstairs. The place was pretty crowded when Fu Manchu hit the stage, but the crowd wasn’t too rowdy. They started the set off with a few of their 90s classics before launching into this tour’s main draw, performing their entire 1996 album In Search Of… straight through. They walked off stage for the encore thing and came back to play a couple more songs, finally ending the set with King Of The Road which was still stuck in my head as I drove home. King of the road says you move too slow!
Honky with Bob Balch

Scott Hill of Fu Manchu

On Tuesday the 29th of November I found myself at the Cellar Door in Annandale, Virginia to see the Chapel Hill, North Carolina based band Black Skies play. There were four bands playing that night but I only caught two of them. The first band that I saw was Admiral Browning, a Frederick, Maryland band that was formerly an instrumental band with four members. To my surprise, at this show they had vocals and only three members. A bit of a change, and although I have a fondness for instrumental metal bands, the vocals fit in to place with the rest of the music. They were entertaining but the main reason I came to this show was to see Black Skies again. I saw them play back in September and they blew me away. This show was no less exciting. Even in the tight basement of the Cellar Door they just burst with energy. They’re the only band I’ve seen someone play a guitar solo with their teeth in a basement, and I’ve seen them do it twice now! I ended up buying a poster and it came with a free download of their debut album, On The Wings Of Time. This is a band worth checking out and I can’t wait to see them play in the area again.
Admiral Browning

Michelle Temple of Black Skies

Skip ahead to Sunday the 11th of December and I was at Jaxx to see the notorious Norwegian black metal band Mayhem again. I had seen them on the first show of their tour in Baltimore on November 2nd, but now they were back in the area playing the final show of their tour. The set list was the same as the first show, however vocalist Attila Csihar had a different costume on (he is known for having a wide range of stage costumes). This time he did not have any fake blood, and he held a skull in his left hand for the entire set. The audience seemed much more dead than the crazy pits that happened in Baltimore a month before, and the band didn’t seem to get into the show as much either. Being the final show of the tour they were probably a bit worn out. The audio mix at Jaxx wasn’t as good either. Overall I wouldn’t say the show was bad, it just wasn’t great, and the Baltimore show definitely felt more like a real Mayhem show. The fog machine was on thick all night though, and camera conditions weren’t optimal, however I still got a few decent shots and Mayhem even posted one of my photos from this show on their Facebook wall.

Mayhem

The following Thursday, the 15th of December, I found myself at the Black Cat once again, this time to see the killer line up of The Body, Zoroaster and Black Cobra. The first band to play was The Body, a two man doom band from Rhode Island (though I hear they are relocating). They set their gear up in the middle of the flood of the Black Cat’s back stage area and just played there on the ground, with the audience around them. They were very loud, a theme that would recur throughout the night. After they played Zoroaster took the stage. They’re a psychedelic sludge metal band from Atlanta, Georgia. They have a really trippy vibe while being heavy as well. They had a bunch of lasers shooting around not just the stage but the entire room and it looked pretty cool. Midway through my favorite song of theirs, Odyssey, the power abruptly cut out and the lights came back on for a few minutes before the band finished their set. Then came the headliner, Los Angeles, California based Black Cobra. They’re a sludge metal duo and their latest album, Invernal, is heavy as all hell. They ended up playing every song off of it, though not in order, as well as some of their older songs mixed in. A truly crushing set, it’s amazing how much heavy just two people can make. Take note all you folk bands with like a dozen members, these three bands on this tour had just seven total members between them, and they kicked major ass. Sometimes less really is more.
The Body

Zoroaster

Black Cobra

The next night, Friday the 16th of December, I went to the Velvet Lounge to catch a show I spent a good deal of effort promoting here on DCHM. Borracho was headlining an album release show, the official launch of their LP Splitting Sky. However, there were other bands who played before them. First was a band from Glen Echo, Maryland called Rezin. The guys seemed nice and all but I have to say they weren’t very good. Most of the crowd who had assembled had left by the time their set was over, and honestly I can’t really blame them. The band was very monotonous and they just didn’t do it for me, or apparently that many other in attendance. They didn’t seem to fit with the two other acts on this bill either. However, the next band to play, Kingsnake from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was simply outstanding on stage. They played a style of stoner that was almost southern, though rather dark as well. They had fine tuned their songs and obviously put a lot of effort into practicing them as well. It was a great performance by a band I didn’t really know anything about going in. After they played I got up on stage and swore at the audience about giving out free shit, and then Borracho started their set. The guys were on point this night, really putting on a great show. I’ve seen them a few times this year and this was definitely my favorite of their performances. Before I’d always seen them open for someone so it was great getting to see them play a full length set live for once. Also, it was a good turn out for the second metal show in a row at the Velvet Lounge, which is awesome. Hopefully they’ll continue to let us metal heads take over their spot on U Street more often on the weekends.
Rezin

Kingsnake

Borracho

On Saturday the 17th of December I went to my third metal show in as many days, this time to see locals Ilsa and Midnight Eye play with two Harrisonburg, Virginia bands, Earthling and Orthrus. They were playing at a small Ethiopian bar, named Asefu’s, that is just a few doors down from DC9 and the U Street corridor. I got there as Midnight Eye was setting up though I really only saw their first song. However, it was a brand new song and it was pretty sweet! I went a few doors down to eat dinner (I was starving) and came back while Orthrus was playing. The thin venue was packed and so I watched the show from the doorway and didn’t take any pictures (the band wasn’t facing my direction anyways). Regardless, they were pretty awesome. They play a sort of catchy black/thrash with death metal style deep vocals. Next up was Earthling, a band I had seen before at the now defunct Corpse Fortress back in March. They were just as fun to see live and I had forgotten how catchy I their tunes are. The final band of the night was DC’s own masters of doom/death metal, Ilsa. They have a dirty and crushing sound, very raw and primal and yet still very listenable. Some of their songs slow almost to a halt but the intensity never wanes. Ilsa is always fun to see live and this show was no different. However, at the end of their set they also played a new song for the first time, titled Man Made Monsters. Lucky for you who missed it, I’ve posted video of both Midnight Eye’s new song and Ilsa’s new song below. You might not be able to see much but you can at least hear them well enough.
Earthling

Ilsa

Well that wraps up another mega sized concert recap. I have a couple more shows to see before the year is done. You might be wondering why I didn’t cover the Mastodon show at the 9:30 Club in late November, and that’s because I’m not a Mastodon fan. I wanted to see Obscura and Abysmal Dawn play on December 7th but the weather was horrible that night and I didn’t want to drive to Baltimore in it as I knew traffic would be bad (Kyuss played the same night in Balti as well). Also, my camera’s lens was damaged during this time period and I had to wait a few weeks for it to be fixed (wasn’t cheap either!). And no, it wasn’t damaged at a show. Next week I plan on posting a big recap of 2011, from the local scene to the biggest metal stories of the year and it will include a preview of 2012 as well. Until then be sure to check the upcoming metal concert calendar and remember, support the scene you’re a part of!

Borracho CD release show!

Tonight is going to be a big night for the DC based stoner act Borracho, they’re finally having their big CD release show at the Velvet Lounge. You may recall that I gave away a few copies of their new album, Splitting Sky, in a post back in June and tonight, Friday the 16th of December, they’re finally having the big release show for it. They’ll be headlining the show with support by Philadelphia based Kingsnake and Rezin, a band from the DC suburbs of Maryland. Click any of the bands’ names if you’d like to hear them. There’s also going to be a DJ playing doom, stoner and sludge metal between the live bands. If that wasn’t cool enough, I’ll be the MC of the night and I’ll be introducing the bands and making a general ass of myself. Since it’s the holiday season you can expect some freebies to be given out at random (or possibly attached to a ridiculous contest or something). This show is just bursting at the seams with awesome, so head on down to the Velvet Lounge tonight. It’s at 915 U Street NW, Washington, DC 2001 (click to see it on a map) and is about 1 block away from the 9:30 Club. This is a late show, so don’t give me that crap about having to work late. The doors open at 9pm and the first band hits the stage at 10 so it’ll be raging for a while. $8 gets you in the door, however it is ages 21+ only.

While I’m in the middle of this shameless self promotion post, I might as well let you guys all know that at tonight’s show I’ll be selling DCHeavyMetal.com t-shirts with the new design by Joshua Brettell, drummer of local doom/death band Ilsa! The image is below, featuring the DCHM mascot Honest Abe in King Diamond style corpse paint and the logo in a wavy font similar to that on the cover of the Black Sabbath album Master Of Reality. Supplies are limited so get em while ya can, I can’t really reserve any for anyone but I will have sizes S thru XXL at the show, and they’re just $12!

Well if I haven’t given you enough reasons to come out to the show I don’t know what the hell will convince you. I’m sure this is going to be a fun show for everyone so let’s all have a blast and show DC that people will come out to metal shows inside the district. If you pay any attention to DCHM’s Facebook or Twitter accounts you’ve probably seen me talking up this concert so sorry if you’re tired of seeing this everywhere, however I’m really excited about tonight and I would be even if I didn’t have any part in it. Oh and one more thing, you can get free cabs tonight from the Sober Ride program to get you home even after the Metro closes. Call 1-800-200-TAXI (8294) or go here for more info. I hope to see some of you out there tonight! Now check out this rifftastic Borracho song, Concentric Circles.

Death and Memories

I don’t mean to dwell, but I can’t help myself. 10 years ago today the father of death metal, Chuck Schuldiner, died at the age of 34 after struggling to fight a brain tumor. He had been undergoing chemotherapy when he caught pneumonia and his body simply couldn’t take any more. While the nation still reeled from the September 11th attacks and the fallout they caused, the international metal community lost one of its greatest visionaries.

So today I ask that you play your favorite Death album in remembrance of all he did for the underground metal world. I don’t even know how to attempt to list all the things he did for fans of extreme heavy metal and I’m sure Chuck Schuldinerif I tried I’d just make a fool of myself for missing so many obvious things. Instead I’ll tell you a favorite memory I have with my favorite Death album, Symbolic. One night in August 2005 I was at a bar with a very old friend, one of my friends that I had grown up through childhood with, and I remember on the way home he put the Symbolic CD on in his car. I distinctly remember him saying how he loved this album and it was one of those albums you just never get tired of. I agreed, though I feel that way about most Death albums anyways. Unexpectedly, a week later my friend suddenly died. Now every time I listen to Symbolic I think of him, and today I thank Chuck Schuldiner for creating music that means more to me than just the notes being played and the words being said. Symbolic, as well as being a great album, is a gateway to memories of good times with an important person in my life who is now gone, and a way to make sure I don’t forget those times or the great person he was. Music is powerful in the way it attaches itself to memories and emotions like that, and that is one of the main reasons I love music so much.

I know this post hasn’t really had anything to do with the DC area’s metal scene, but today is an important day of remembrance in the entire metal world, or at least it should be. So think of your favorite Chuck song or album or even memory and post a comment here or on your Facebook wall, on Twitter or wherever you like to be heard. I’m not really sure how to wrap this post up so I’ll just end it with a few lines from Symbolic’s opening and title track that always resonate with me when I hear them…

Savor what you feel and what you see
Things that may not seem important now
But may be tomorrow

Guest post on Heavy Uber Alles

The blog Heavy Uber Alles is a place for all things heavy. Among news, concert reviews and other heavy topics, every week on Tuesday they put up six songs (that you can stream) as a sort of play list they aptly call the Tuesday Six. Heavy Uber Alles has decided to start letting some guests post their picks on occasion and I was lucky enough to be asked to be the first to do so. The post went live today and you can check out my six picks on Heavy Uber Alles here. It was so hard narrowing down to six songs so I picked a theme, I hope you all enjoy it!

Heavy Uber Alles