2012 Recap, 2013 Preview

2012 has been a hell of a year here at DCHeavyMetal.com, in the area’s metal scene, and in the world of metal overall. As usual around this time of year, I like to make a post with a wrap up of the things that have gone on throughout the year, or at least those that I can remember. This year has been DCHeavyMetal.com’s best year by far for site traffic and numbers, and that is all thanks to you who keep reading this site and telling your friends about it. DCHM requires a lot of my time, and I don’t get paid for this, so if you want to donate some beer/camera gear money to me you can do so via Paypal (even if you don’t have a Paypal account) by going here.

In 2013 I’m planning on overhauling the venues page to have totally updated and more detailed info, and have it look more like the upcoming concert calendar. And be sure to check out more upcoming album reviews from DCHM’s new album reviewer, Sniper Dan. I’ve already got my 4-day all inclusive ticket to Maryland Deathfest, so keep an eye out for me there in May. Of course this year the Washington Post Express Night Out asked my opinion on the 2012 installment of MDF here back in May. In February 2012 the Washington City Paper wrote an article about me here. I had some of my photos appear in places besides DCHM this year too, including my photos of Ghost, Mastodon and Opeth at the Fillmore in the DCist here and my shots of Slayer, Motorhead and Anthrax from this year’s Mayhem Fest at Jiffy Lube Live in the Vinyl District here. However, nothing was as awesome as seeing one of my photos of Cannibal Corpse on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC during their coverage of the RNC in Tampa. You can see that at 4:52 into the video clip posted here. I seriously doubt there are many heavy metal concert photographers that can list political news channel MSNBC in their publishing credits!

In 2012 a lot of local metal bands put out albums, too many for me to really even list (and I’m sure I’d accidentally leave someone off the list!) but even cooler there were 12 local metal bands that put out music videos this year! I’m not talking shitty live footage on an iPhone videos, I mean real music videos. I’ve put all 12 of them together here. 2012 also saw the legendary local doom metal band Pentagram part with their guitarist, Victor Griffin. Their last US show with him was fittingly at the Fillmore in Silver Spring in September which I reviewed here. Back in January of 2012 the Springfield, Virginia venue Jaxx changed ownership and is now officially known as Empire. Unfortunately the Red Palace on H Street is shutting down on January 1st of 2013. I think the most bizarre local story, and one that certainly seems like it is straight out of The Wire, is the one about how Baltimore’s venue Sonar was shut down. In the Summer of 2012 the club’s principal owner, Daniel McIn­tosh, was arrested (and convicted in early November) on drug distribution charges stemming from allegations that he was selling massive amounts of marijuana through the venue. He’s now awaiting sentencing in April with a mandatory 10 year minimum sentence. You can get all the details on this crazy situation here. Don’t worry though, the new owners of the venue, which has apparently been renamed Paparazzi Club, will still be hosting Maryland Deathfest there. No word yet on if they’ll be hosting any other metal shows though. The Howard Theatre, which re-opened in April after millions of dollars in renovations, hosted its first four metal shows ever this year, and the U Street Music Hall, a venue that normally houses DJs and dance parties, hosted its first metal show this year as well when Onslaught and M-Pire Of Evil played there.

As far as national stories in the world of metal, I’ll try to recap them here. I think the biggest story in the metal press this year was probably about Randy Blythe, the lead vocalist for the Richmond based band Lamb Of God. While the band was touring Europe he was arrested upon entry of the Czech Republic for an incident involving a fan that jumped on stage at their concert there in 2010 and then died after being kicked off the stage. He was incarcerated from June 27th to August 2nd, when he was released on bond. He is currently getting ready for his trial which will begin on February 4th. Nergal, frontman of the Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth, is facing blasphemy charges in his homeland for comments made about the Catholic Church and the bible, details of that are posted here. Kyuss Lives also found themselves in court, eventually being forced to stop using their name. They have no renamed themselves Vista Chino and you can read the details of that here. Black Sabbath announced that their long awaited full length album with Ozzy Osbourne back on vocals would be delayed while guitarist Tony Iommi battles with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. He seems to be doing better now so hopefully the album will be out in 2013 with a full US tour as well. Unfortunately, it looks like the band’s original drummer, Bill Ward, will not be participating. This year saw metal record label Roadrunner Records deal with severe cutbacks after being acquired by the Warner Music Group. The label’s offices in the UK, Canada and The Netherlands were all completely closed and the label’s founder, Cees Wessels, stepped down as CEO. The label Hydra Head Records announced here that it will be shutting down as well. The always outspoken Peter Dolving posted a very informative rant on Facebook here about why he left The Haunted a second time this year. Definitely worth the read to all fans of The Haunted and At The Gates. Cattle Decapitation dropped off the Autumn Apocalypse Tour after their vocalist Travis Ryan was punched by Chris Barnes, vocalist of the headlining act Six Feet Under. Details on that are posted here. Long time Suffocation drummer Mike Smith left the legendary death metal band back in February, more details on that here. Nightwish also had a line up change, though theirs was mid-tour after their vocalist, Anette Olzon, wrote a post on her blog that the band didn’t like. Details on that split are here. I think the scariest moment of 2012 was when the tour bus carrying the band Baroness fell 30 feet off a bridge in the UK. There were several injuries but luckily nobody was killed. The details of that are posted here.

Well that last paragraph lists a lot of grim shit that happened this year, but there were some more upbeat events as well. Anthrax’s cover of the Joe Jackson song “Got The Time” was used to wake up the Mars rover Curiosity one day this year, making it the first metal ever song played on Mars! Details on that are posted here. The Anti-Defamation League wrote the band Hatebreed a letter of apology after one of the league’s directors wrote an article for CNN’s website listing Hatebreed as a “white power” racist band. It’s not every day you get defamed by the Anti-Defimation League! Details on that are posted here. There were two super gross metal videos that came out this year, one by Rwake for their song “It Was Beautiful But Now It’s Sour” which is posted here. The other is by Cattle Decapitation for their song “Forced Gender Reassignment Surgery” which is posted here. Gwar revealed their new guitarist this year, Pustulus Maximus here and they are currently working on a new album. We also saw a new album by Soundgarden, King Animal, their first in 16 years. There was also the much anticipated new Wintersun album Time I, the follow up to the band’s highly regarded self titled debut that was eight years in the making. Local grind act Pig Destroyer put out Book Burner, their first full length since 2007. Former Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis put out a solo album this year, Plains Of Oblivion, that was well regarded by fans. God Seed, the remnants of the version of the black metal band Gorgoroth that included King Ov Hell and Gaahl, FINALLY put out their first album this year, I Begin. And after the return of guitarist Jon Levasseur, Cryptopsy put out a self titled album this year that *gasp* wasn’t some sellout bullshit like their last one. Oh and we must not forget that Broken Hope has reformed and said they will be recording a new album. Convulse also reformed and is putting out their first new material in 18 years, which you can hear some of here. I’m sure there’s more but this is what I remember. Now on to the only award I’ll be issuing for 2012…

This year there were a lot of people competing for the coveted Lars Ulrich Award (that I just made up) for being the biggest asshole in metal. Dave Mustaine of Megadeth made so many uninformed and sometimes even bigoted comments in the press this year that I’m not even sure where to begin. How about when he blamed President Obama for supposedly staging the shootings at the Aurora, Colorado Batman movie and the Sikh temple in Wisconsin to pass gun control laws (here). Or maybe when he said he is against gay marriage and supports Rick Santorum for President here. Or perhaps when he said starving women in Africa should “put a plug in it” here. Then there was the outburst by Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate just minutes before playing their show in São Paulo, Brazil on April 14th. He punched and spit on several band members while they were on stage just before the curtain was drawn to start the show. He kicked over drums and other equipment and delayed the show considerably, and when they finally did start playing he continued to spit on the other band members, in front of all the fans, during the show. You can read all about it here. And of course there was Mitch Lucker, the vocalist for Suicide Silence who, after his wife begged him not to leave the house and drive drunk Halloween night, proceeded to kill himself while riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle drunk at night, leaving his five year old daughter without a father. More details on that here and here. Still, I think the biggest asshole in metal award for 2012 has to go to Ronnie Radke. Sure he’s had his troubles in the past, including being kicked out of his band Escape The Fate in 2008 after being sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He is back with a new band, Falling In Reverse, but he still can’t seem to stay out of trouble. In August he was arrested for beating his girlfriend and then in October he became so furious with the audience at his own concert at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey (If I told them once I told them a hundred times to put Falling In Reverse first and puppet show last!) that he threw several microphone stands into the crowd, injuring two audience members. You can read more about it here. Injuring your own fans, on purpose, definitely takes being an asshole to another level.

Thanks for reading all of this! I know that was a big sea of text up there so I’m going to leave you with a few of my favorite photos that I shot at concerts in 2012 to give your eyes a break. You can also check out my post where I asked 17 of the area’s metal heads what their most metal moments of 2012 were here. If you can think of something I should have mentioned in this post but failed to, feel free to mention it in the comments at the end of the post. Stay metal everyone and let’s make 2013 the best year for metal in the Washington DC, Baltimore and Northern Virginia area ever!

Amber Valentine of Jucifer
January 21st at the Black Cat in Washington, DC

“Dixie” Dave Collins of Hail!Hornet
February 7th at the Black Cat in Washington, DC

Andy Laux of Warbringer
March 13th at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC

Mantas (ex-Venom) of M-Pire Of Evil
April 8th at U Street Music Hall in Washington, DC

Murat Dirlik of Caltrop
April 19th at Fat Tuesdays in Fairfax, Virginia

Papa Emeritus II of Ghost
May 9th at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland

Dragged Into Sunlight
May 26th at Maryland Deathfest at Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland

Nag of Tsjuder
May 26th at Maryland Deathfest at Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland

Peter Hyde of Whitehorse
June 15th at Golden West Cafe in Baltimore, Maryland

John Haughm of Agalloch
July 28th at Empire in Springfield, Virginia

Scott Ian of Anthrax
July 29th at Mayhem Fest at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia

N. Palmirotto of Hull
August 25th at the Cellar Door in Annandale, Virginia

September 5th at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

September 12th at Empire in Springfield, Virginia

September 16th at RAS Hall in Washington, DC

Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral
September 24th at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

Kirk Windstein of Down
September 30th at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland

Coady Willis of Big Business
October 3rd at DC9 in Washington, DC

Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer
October 19th at the Ottobar in Baltimore, Maryland

Simone Simons of Epica
October 23rd at the Howard Theatre in Washington DC

Barney Greenway of Napalm Death
October 26th at Empire in Springfield, Virginia

Jeanne Sagan of All That Remains
November 2nd at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland

Adversarius of Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult
November 18th at El Caracol Bar in Silver Spring, Maryland

Michael Shrives of Biipiigwan
November 30th at Casa Fiesta in Washington, DC

Corpsegrinder of Cannibal Corpse
December 1st at the Rock & Roll Hotel in Washington, DC

David Davidson of Revocation
December 7th at Empire in Springfield, Virginia

Black Table
December 15th at the Cellar Door in Annandale, Virginia

Mlny Parsonz of Royal Thunder
December 17th at DC9 in Washington, DC

Most Metal Moments of 2012

2012 is coming to a close and I thought it would be fun to reflect on some of the cool shit that’s gone on in the DC/Baltimore/Northern Virgina area’s metal scene this year. Rather than try to compile a list myself I decided to ask a bunch of people involved in our area’s metal scene in one way or another to do it for me! I asked some musicians and fellow music writers and a bunch of other people too, from record store owners to beer brewers to concert promoters. Each person was asked two questions: What was your favorite metal album of the year? And what was your most “metal” moment of the year? The answers I received were as diverse as the people I asked and I suggest reading all of them if you’ve got the time.

Richard Johnson, aka The Grindfather, is the main man of the Northern Virginia based grindcore band Drugs Of Faith and he also runs the ‘zine turned blog Disposable Underground.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Koloss by Meshuggah
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: Arriving at the Pig Destroyer record release show in Baltimore in semi-dapper attire, I was invited backstage to go over details on Kat Katz (from Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and mine’s guest vocal slots in the Pig Destroyer set. The question as to whether I should wear my blazer on stage came up, with two voting for and two against.
When JR Hayes [vocalist of Pig Destroyer] introduced me onstage, I came on with the blazer to keep the opposition guessing, and slipped out of it. Scott Hull [guitarist of Pig Destroyer] immediately seized the moment and insisted on wearing it during the song I was singing. In other words, he stole my thunder.
When Napalm Death came around with Municipal Waste, Exhumed and Vektor, I wore the same blazer to the tour stop at Empire in Springfield, Virginia. I ran into Barney Greenway [vocalist of Napalm Death] soon after getting into the club, and, as a man of taste, he complimented me on it.
That blazer is metal!

Josh Schwartz is the lead guitarist of the Northern Virginia based power metal band A Sound Of Thunder and will gladly debate anyone about what is or isn’t considered heavy metal!
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Stalingrad by Accept
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: In September my band, A Sound Of Thunder, gathered a bunch of fans and friends at Omega Studios in Rockville, Maryland to record gang vocals for our new album and EP. We brought the “Thunder-Choir” into the main recording room (the big one that they use for orchestras) and arranged them in a big circle, with everyone facing inward. Everyone was set up with headphones and mics. When we got to the gang vocals for our song “Queen of Hell”, our producer Kevin Gutierrez called over our lead singer, Nina Osegueda, and had her stand in the center of the circle. He then directed everyone to summon their inner demon voices, and we proceeded to record the whole group chanting “hail, queen of hell” over and over again. If someone had walked into the building at that moment, they would have thought they’d discovered a coven.

Chris Penrod is better known to DC and Baltimore’s metal concert going regulars as the Chicken Man. Any time a brutal band comes through the area you’ll find him wearing his full body chicken costume while he’s tearing it up in the mosh pit and crowd surfing.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Reign Supreme by Dying Fetus
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: I’d have to say my most metal moment of 2012 was at Maryland Deathfest during Suffocation’s set. The crowd was in a complete and utter frenzy, Frank Mullen [vocalist of Suffocation] was on his A-game, and the icing on the cake was nailing that hardcore dancer in the center of his face with my left fist.

Chicken Man at Maryland Deathfest X in May 2012

Will Cook is assistant brewer at the Alexandria based craft brewery Port City Brewing Company and is the man behind the occasional Metal Night events held there. Follow him on Twitter at @PCBCBrewMetal
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Phantom Antichrist by Kreator
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: During a weekend blitz in mid-November, I actually had a continuous slew of metal moments that started with area metal-heads converging on my brewery during Metal Night to drink beer and listen to heavy metal. That night I met dozens of cool like-minded metal heads and beer lovers including band members of Yesterday’s Saints and A Sound of Thunder. The one and only Metal Chris helped me pull-off this event by giving away tickets to local metal shows and merch from the mighty King Giant! That night was an awesome sight and sound to behold! The very next day I went to see Sylosis, Hatebreed, and Lamb of God play at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. Before the show, I got to meet fucking Hatebreed! To top it all off, my great friend Steve—fellow Jarhead and rabid metal head—drove all the way down from Connecticut to join the chaos all weekend!
The most un-metal moment of 2012: When some asshole walked off with the seven-string guitar belonging to Yesterday’s Saints guitarist Witt Black. They had to cancel the show.

Evan Harting is the co-founder and co-organizer of the annual Maryland Deathfest held in Baltimore over Memorial Day Weekend every year. MDF has become the biggest underground metal festival in the US and draws bands and fans from all over the world.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Effigies Of Evil by Hooded Menace
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: My good friend Dave Tedder died this year, and it crushed many people in the metal community. He wasn’t in a band or anything, but he was loved for being one of the most genuine, kind-hearted, and selfless people in metal, among many other great qualities. I’d have to say that the most metal moment for me was when people from all over the country converged onto Baltimore for his service, which consisted of only long-haired, bearded and metal-patch covered vest wearing folks. The service ended with everyone’s horns in the air and yelling “Hail Dave Tedder”, followed by a marching band leading to a nearby music venue, where metal bands played and people gathered to celebrate the life of our fallen friend. It was great to see everyone come together like that.

Todd Ingram, aka TI, plays guitar in the Northern Virginia based southern metal band King Giant. They’re playing at Empire on Sat, Jan 26th (details here) and you’ll be there if you like good times!
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: The Hunt by Grand Magus
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: September 30th at The Fillmore Silver Spring – It was Pentagram’s last tour of the US with original guitarist Victor Griffin. The crowd was electric and Pentagram was delivering a hot set full of favorites. They launched into “Relentless” and during the intro [Pentagram’s vocalist] Bobby Liebling seemed to be stumbling around and then started to unbutton his pants. I was thinking, “Oh no… this could all go horribly wrong right now.” But much to everyone’s surprise, Bobby delivered his Magic Mike moment and ripped down his pants to reveal what I can only describe as red pajama bottoms with Flying Eyeball graphics on them. It was hilarious. The crowd responded with a roar of approval. It was the epitome of a great Pentagram show, the band rocking out and Bobby bringing his own quirky, decidedly unserious sense of humor to DOOM Metal.

Bobby Liebling drops trou at the Fillmore in September 2012

Kim Dylla runs Kylla Custom Rock Wear where she creates custom clothing that you have probably seen worn on stage by members of bands such as Slipknot, Machine Head, Watain, Death Angel, Dragonforce, Dimmu Borgir and more! She can even make you custom clothing to wear on stage or to just bring out your inner rock star.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: With Hearts Toward None by Mgła
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: Alexi Laiho [of Children Of Bodom] and I got locked into Harborplace Mall in Baltimore 15 minutes before he was supposed to go on stage at Ram’s Head Live. Alexi is a dear friend and client of mine, and we went to Hooters for dinner before the show. It took forever to get our food and we lost track of time, realizing shortly after we received our entrees that he was supposed to play in just a few minutes! We threw some money on the table and ran through the mall to the opposite end near where I had parked. The mall was undergoing renovations and we got all the way to the other side to realize the door we had come in was locked. We frantically ran up and down the hallways and every exit door we found was locked. We finally had to go back to Hooters and have someone let us out the staff exit onto the balcony. At this point there were 5 minutes remaining until show time. We ran to my car, and I was driving so fast that I failed to notice that the street I had pulled down by the back of the club was one way. A car was coming straight at us, and of course it was a cop car! I fishtailed up into a driveway across from the buses, assuring everyone watching that I had taken good care of their star. Whoops! Luckily the Baltimore cops have better things to worry about than people driving recklessly the wrong way down one way streets.

Toby Gomez is the man behind the Monthly Metal at Balls Bluff concert series showcasing local, regional and national metal bands each and every month at Balls Bluff Tavern in Leesburg, Virginia.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Dark Roots Of Earth by Testament
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: In August my mother broke her hip and I, being her only full time “care giver,” was scheduled to be out of the country during her recovery. My band at the time, at least one member, didn’t share my zeal for never selling tickets and loving to play shit bars and small audiences and I was getting some really shitty emails. My most metal moment was choosing my mother, family, and the girlfriend that was helping me to be a nurse and a father over a band that I was not good enough for (not my opinion). My most metal moment was picking Monthly Metal at Ball’s Bluff and the scene that I love over part of a band that thought they were too good for it. My most metal moment was standing by what I have always said I believed in and cared about, kicking three years of lyric writing and performing to the curb. All that and taking my daughter to her second Iron Maiden show.

Mark Hensch is a Washington Times digital editor and freelance reporter writing about heavy metal, MMA and D.C. nightlife. Check him out at MMADieHards.com and ThrashPit.com.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Book Burner by Pig Destroyer
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: My most metal moment in 2012 was seeing Pig Destroyer play a record-release show in October. Taking place in their hometown of Baltimore, the crowd was rabid, the energy furious. As far as sets go, it violently summarized an extraordinary career in grind metal. Every song, old or new, was played with mastery of craft. Watching the band cast their magic was like seeing Michael Jordan race towards a slam dunk. It was at that level. As a long-time fan, it was a memorable experience witnessing heavy metal history firsthand.

Pig Destroyer at the Ottobar in October 2012

Pat Trainor runs the Arlington based metal record label and distro Australopithecus Records.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Sickness Will Pass by Stoneburner
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: A few friends and I went up to Baltimore in September to see The Atlas Moth and Altar of Plagues [play upstairs] at the Ottobar. After the show we were hanging out front talking to The Atlas Moth guys when they realized the short bus they tour in was blocked in by a van belonging to the shitty power metal band playing downstairs. Altar of Plagues had 20 minutes to get to the bus station to catch a bus up to NY where they were flying out of. Next thing I know there are two drunk (and remarkably tall) members of an Irish black metal band in the back of my car and we’re having a discussion on gun violence in America while I’m navigating through Baltimore to the bus station!

Josh Sisk is a photographer who shoots all kinds of bands around the Baltimore and DC area, including tons metal bands. You can see some of his work here. He’s also recently become the heavy metal columnist for the Baltimore City Paper.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Vanitas by Anaal Nathrakh
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: It’s hard to pin this one down… Seeing Sunn O))) play in an opera house at the stroke of midnight in Raleigh? Watching a kid crowd-surf while eating a slice of pizza at A389 Fest [at Sonar]? Slipping in blood while taking photos of Ghoul? No… the most metal moment for me in 2012 had to be at the end of Maryland Deathfest, under the overpass. I had stepped out to see what things were like out there, ran into a guy who was bare from the waist up and covered in cuts. I asked if he was okay, he said “I’m okay but I think my car is dead.” I looked over and realized that his car looked like the Hulk had jumped up and down on it. The whole cab was smashed in, smooshed down like a huge weight had been dropped on it, glass everywhere… and I was like “Shit, man, who did that to your car?!” and dude looked up at me (he was getting medical attention by this point) and said “Who did that to my car? I DID!”

Hannah Clancy-Thompson works as a promotions/new media assistant at Relapse Records. She also works with various unsigned local metal bands through her Baltimore based management company Break Open Management.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Autotheism by The Faceless
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: One of my favorite metal moments was at Maryland Deathfest this year: As usual, the weather was gloriously hot… So hot that you had to alternate Gatorade between beers to survive. I was helping out the sales team at Relapse Records’ merchandise booth, drenched in sweat. Finally, Electric Wizard came on stage around 9:30 pm and we could relax and watch their set. Wouldn’t you know it but that was the moment for the heavens to open and pour with rain. “Cover the vinyl” we yelled as we ran back to the tent drenched again, but at least the merch was saved.

Brandon Skall is one of the two co-founders of DC Brau, the first beer brewery actually inside Washington DC since 1956. They make some great craft beers and often have some pretty metal beer names and bottle label artwork.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Timing Of The Void by Eagle Claw
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: We were sponsoring the recent The Sword/Eagle Claw/Gypsyhawk show at Rock & Roll Hotel. I had not heard of Eagle Claw before the show. I was standing up front with John Solly from Solly’s U Street Tavern. Eagle Claw took the stage and proceed to play an incredible seven minute long opener of just killer instrumental madness. Then the second tune… no vox. As they started the third song I leaned over to Solly and said, “I think were about to get a whole set of instrumental metal!” We did. It ruled. Oh yeah and also when I puked all over Rory from Warchild at Ice Co. That was pretty metal too.

Lars Gotrich writes about heavy metal, and some less heavy genres of music, for NPR. You can check out his full list of 2012’s top metal albums on NPR by going here.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Sorrow And Extinction by Pallbearer
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: Jucifer at the Black Cat on January 20th – What is it that compels Jucifer to tour with a literal wall of amps like they do? It’s both empowering and limiting at once, with a volume and intensity like no other, but what band wants to to ride along for that set-up? In the end, it’s Jucifer’s passion that gets the best of them, spreading the distorted sludge gospel. But on the Friday night that D.C. literally froze over, the nomadic duo played to a small, yet devoted crowd at the Black Cat. I don’t remember what was going on in my life, but I NEEDED THIS SHOW. My entire being and thus my entire body raged to every downbeat, literally slamming my torso to the stage. At one moment, Amber Valentine and I locked eyes/spirits/hair. My body was in pain for a week.

Jucifer at the Black Cat in January 2012

Rockin Ruby is the managing editor at Underground Web World, a website that focuses on underground culture such as metal music, biker culture, science fiction art, photography and tattoo art.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: As Above, So Below by Angel Witch
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: So you want to know my most metal moment of 2012? Well I must say this was definitely a tough one to choose because there were many awesome events this year. I’m going to have to narrow it down and say my most metal moment was from Maryland Deathfest. This year’s lineup of bands were the best I’ve ever experienced, mainly because I’m a huge fan of the metal classics. Seeing bands like Hellbastard, Artillery, Morgoth, Morbid Angel, Morbid Saint, Anvil and October 31 on the bill (which were the main bands I wanted to see) really made the year for me. The highlight of the festival was being able to meet [vocalist] Pat Lind from Morbid Saint right after his performance. After 20+ years, they still kick ass! I thought I would never see this band live. Seeing [Morbid Saint’s album] Spectrum Of Death played live in its entirety was a dream come true.

Jo Gonzales runs Black Mess Records in Baltimore, a record store specializing in extremely underground heavy metal from around the world. They’ve also got patches and other merch that you just can’t find anywhere else in the area.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: The Doom Skeptron by Desecresy
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: Hmmm that’s a tough one there were so many!!! I mean Maryland Deathfest had an array of fantastically ridiculous as well as crucial not to be missed metal moments… I mean Pentagram from Chile slayed as well as well as Bethlehem and of course Sargeist!!! But what destroyed all else was seeing Imprecation from Texas play with Mortem from Peru at El Caracol in Silver Spring!!! That was truly the most metal moment of 2012 for me!!! Thanks to Chris of DCHM and keep an eye out for some releases due out in 2013 on Black Mess Productions!!! WE also have a few killer shows in the works for 2013!!!

Simon Callahan books DIY metal shows in Washington DC and manages to get some great underground bands from around the country to play with top local metal talent through his Metal Squad Party Force. He also plays guitar and sings in his band Midnight Eye.
Favorite Metal Album Of 2012: Eremita by Ihsahn
Most Metal Moment Of 2012: I saw and played a bunch of great shows the past year, but the most metal moments for me were probably: getting to do sound and fog for Sunn O))) when they played the Black Cat; falling off of the couch while hanging out with Nashgul after their show at Ras Hall (and asking them impressively annoying drunk questions, like whether they understand sarcasm or listen to Judas Priest); and playing at JR’s in Philly, with Rubbish, a.k.a. “the worst band in Philadelphia.” Oh, and my band also drove to play a Richmond show in a hybrid while eating sushi, so I guess that kind of negates everything metal I mentioned here.

Warchild & Black Clouds ticket give away

So Xmas has come and gone again and every year there always seems to be one present you really wanted yet you somehow didn’t get. Maybe it was a bb gun one year, a Tickle Me Elmo another year, or even an iPad. Well DCHeavyMetal.com has your ass covered this year cause we’re giving away a pair of tickets to see Warchild and Black Clouds on Saturday December 29th at the Rock & Roll Hotel! While you were faking laughs at the stupid gag gifts you got and pretending to be really thankful for the Olive Garden gift card you received, DCHM was working behind the scenes with Satan’s Claws to be sure you still had a chance at the must have gift this holiday season! That’s right, you’ve gotten your fill of jolly holiday jingles, now it’s time to fucking thrash! This isn’t some pregame for New Year’s Eve, this is going to be a full on party loaded with beer chugging, head banging and general chaos! You know you’ve got some post-holiday angst you’ve been keeping pent up while you had to deal with relatives, and now you know how to get it all out! But wait, there’s more: the winner will receive not only a free pair of tickets to the show, but also a Warchild t-shirt and a Warchild beer coozy! This might just be your best Christmas yet! Now check out this awesome video flyer and get all the details on how to enter below!

To enter just leave a comment at the end of this post that tells me about your worst holiday experience ever! Maybe your grandma cussed out your new girlfriend one year, maybe your mom made you wear the ugliest sweater ever, you tell me! One lucky winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries once the contest closes at 5pm EST on Friday, December 28th. Be sure to enter using a valid email address that you check regularly so I can contact you about the tickets once you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or anything like that, I hate that shit too. If you know you can’t make the show please don’t enter, I want to give these to someone who is in need of a post holiday party!

If you don’t know Warchild (what the fuck is wrong with you?) then you already win, cause their six song demo is available to stream and download free here. They sound like Kill ‘Em All era Metallica if they partied like they were in Municipal Waste! Of course there’s another local band playing as well, Black Clouds. They’re not thrash but they’re damn good. The band is moody as hell and sure knows how to suck and audience into their mind melt world of doom and gloom. Check out their song Santorum Sunday School on YouTube below, it features Neil Fallon, frontman of Clutch, doing spoken word vocals and it’s intense! Now enough of what I’ve got to say. Check out this sick Warchild video and that killer Black Clouds song I was talking about. Give em a listen as you enter the contest below because YOU HAVE BEEN SUMMONED!

Interview with Neil Fallon of Clutch

Neil Fallon, frontman for the band Clutch, was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time to do an interview over the phone. We covered a wide range of topics such as the band’s new album, Earth Rocker, how being in the DC area has influenced Clutch, beer and even the Newtown massacre. You can read the 13 minute interview below or you can download it as an 12mb MP3 file here or stream it from Soundcloud by clicking the orange play button below. My words are in bold. Enjoy!

Hi, this is Metal Chris from DCHeavyMetal.com and I’m speaking with Neil Fallon the lead singer and rhythm guitar player for the Maryland based band Clutch. The band’s tenth studio album, Earth Rocker, is set to come out in March 2013. So my first question for you, Neil, is what can fans expect from the new album?

Well I think as a whole this record is probably faster than most of our recent albums. Maybe compared to some other bands it’s not the fastest thing on planet Earth. For us it was definitely a step up in the tempo. And I think the other thing that kind of stands out about this one is the blues influences that we’ve been flirting with over the past couple records is more or less absent in this record which didn’t really happen intentionally until we looked back at it. As a whole it’s just much more of a straight up rock and roll record.

Now do you have a specific date for the album release yet? I know it’s coming out in March. Do you know what day exactly?

Right now it is planned to come out March 19th.

Awesome. This will be the second studio release for Clutch on your own label, the Weathermaker Music label. Why exactly did you guys decide to ditch say a traditional label and instead create your own and put your own music out this way?

Well we’ve tried it many many times with many different iterations with labels and just to be frank about it the major labels are in the business of selling platinum records and even a gold record probably in their eyes is considered somewhat of a failure. Clutch is a band that, we’re happy to be a touring band and continue to do what we do but I don’t think we’re that band and we never were. But in the 90’s it did give us an opportunity to do a lot of touring, tour support and kick down a lot of doors that way to eventually put us in this position that we have now. And because of the internet and how easy it is to connect with people it’s very easy to cut out a lot of middle men and sell directly to the people that want to buy our records. It’s more work and you can make mistakes but if something goes wrong you know who to blame and it’s a lot easier to fix. And I think if any artist is in a position to do this, you know whether they be a writer or comedian or it doesn’t matter, you’d be foolish not to. Because it just makes more sense. I don’t see why you would subscribe to the kind of antiquated model of a major label. I think some people look at that as some kind of patron or home but we never certainly thought that way.

So has it changed the way you put your albums out, like the way you record it or anything like that as well?

Um, I don’t want to say it complicates it but we have to kind of wear both hats. You know on one hand we want to be the band and say well we want this amazing package. We want this to fold out. We want to do this, we want to do that. But at the same time we’re also the label and we’re looking, well that’s going to cost X amount of dollars, that’s going to cost Y. So we have to kind of find a happy compromise between those two. We certainly haven’t changed any of the writing aspect of it, or the recording. We haven’t tried to cut corners because of it. If anything it’s made our ability to do cool packages easier because it’s much more cost effective. But other than that not a lot has changed. It’s going very well.

Well you talk about the packages, you guys put out the Blast Tyrant, you re-released it with some bonus material and stuff. A whole nother disc actually. Are you planning on doing that with any of your other older albums in the future?

Well we’ve kind of exhausted that. Blast Tyrant and Robot Hive/Exodus and Beale Street were out on a label called DRT that was the last label we were signed to before we went out on our own. And to make a long story short they just stopped paying us our royalties and we had to go to court to get the money. We won the case but they still couldn’t pay us so in lieu of paying us what we were owed we were awarded those masters for those records. It was sort of a windfall to Weathermaker to get these three records back and we could re-release them. But the ones prior to that when you’re talking about Pure Rock Fury and Elephant Riders and the self titled, maybe in the distant future those records will revert back to us just because of the terms of the contract will expire. But that’s not on our to do list because trying to talk to Sony’s lawyers is like launching a spacecraft.

So no hope for an Elephant Riders vinyl any time soon?

No, sadly. That would be a great thing to do though but you never know. I mean, I think 25 years is going to come around quick for all those records. So, I’ll never say never but just not in the immediate future.

In September of 2011 you guys played a free acoustic show at the Red Palace in Washington, DC and I was there and it was pretty awesome getting to see you guys up close in a really personal setting like that. Do you ever miss playing venues that size or do you have any plans to play some smaller shows like that again any time soon?

I find at those smaller clubs the energy and intensity is much more concentrated. It seems easier to play a room like that than it would be a much larger room. Having said that, the 9:30 Club‘s pretty big but still has the character of being a small room in a lot of ways. When we go to Europe we play much smaller clubs there than we do here so they haven’t gone away. And playing acoustically is a good exercise because it’s a bit terrifying because you can hide behind distortion and you can hide behind gain but when you’re playing at a lower volume it’s a much more honest representation of what you’re doing. But it’s a good learning exercise.

Ok now that show was also a promotional tie in with the New Belgium Brewing‘s Clutch Dark Sour Ale. And it was a delicious beer but it was a very limited run. And I was wondering do you have any idea if they’re going to make any more batches of that or maybe you’re going to make another Clutch beer at some point down the road?

Well I would certainly hope they would entertain doing it again. I know somebody actually contacted them just a week ago and was trying to start up a petition to make that a regular brew over there, which we would be over the moon about if that was the case. But we don’t really have any say in it because it’s all New Belgium’s doing. We’ve got a lot of friends in breweries around the country [that] come to shows and drop off beer and if any one of their breweries wanted to do something like that I’m sure we would jump at it.

That’s awesome. I actually know a few guys at local breweries here in the DC area that are fans of yours as well.

Yeah we seem to have a lot of fans that work in the beer industry which is a good problem to have.

Yeah those are not bad friends to have.


You guys played the Artscape in Baltimore this year. What did you think about the crowd there and the experience of the show there? I know that’s probably a different audience than what you’re used to. Did you feel you won some new fans there or maybe you were just playing to a bunch of soccer moms with their kids or how did you feel about that show?

I felt good about it. I mean I had that kind of trepidation beforehand cause I was looking around saying “Well this is a bit out of our element” but when it came time for us to play there was certainly a large contingent of Clutch fans there that came and helped support the band as they always do. It’s good to get out of one’s comfort zone. You can’t always preach to one’s own choir day in and day out. It was fun. It sounded good where we were at and the weather cooperated and it’s nice to do something like that, kind of a casual more stripped down family affair than let’s say your gnarly nightclub half past midnight.

Now you guys have a show coming up at the 9:30 Club on December 26th and it will be the first show of a short US tour here before you head over to Europe in 2013. You guys have played the 9:30 Club many times over the years. The last time I think was when you did the live DVD in 2009 that you shot there. Does performing there have any kind of special meaning to you guys?

Well I consider it my home club as far as when I want to go see bands play that’s where I might want to go see them. And we’ve been playing there for as long as the band’s existed and even when the 9:30 Club was at it’s former location. And I saw a lot of good shows there growing up even before I was in Clutch. It made a big impression on me. So that club’s near and dear to my heart and having been around the country to see what most night clubs are like I can safely say that we’re fortunate that we have this club because it really is one of the best in the country if not the world. To be able to call that our home club, if that’s the case, then even better. I have nothing but good things to say about the people that run that as well.

The first time I ever saw Clutch live it was at the 9:30 Club and that was in 1998 when you guys were playing with, I think Slayer headlined and the opener was an at the time unknown System Of A Down. Now those other two bands are considerably different than your sound. Do you remember anything interesting from that show or just the tour with those guys?

I remember that tour well because I got to watch Slayer every night. And we became friends with System Of A Down and I’d still consider them friends after all these years. They worked hard and you know have been enjoying the benefits of that labor. And Slayer, they were gentlemen. I’d heard stories about the Slayer crowd. I’d seen Slayer crowds before I went on tour with them but it was actually not nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be. That was an excellent tour. I had a good time on that one.

All four members of Clutch have been with the band since you guys formed in 1990. So I was kind of curious, what’s the secret to keeping a band together like that for so long?

A collective fear of getting day jobs is one. A sense of humor. I mean there’s been feast and famine but I think because we never talked about what kind of band we wanted to be we couldn’t really fail because we never set up a goal. And just a love of playing live music. I mean even if we were having troubles with the label or something was amiss in our camp we could always play live and I think if a band has that in their corner as part of their identity they can go as long as they see fit.

Alright now how did you guys actually settle on the name Clutch?

We were huge Prong fans and we liked the sound of the name Prong. We also we fans of a local band in DC called Swiz and we liked that name too. The mono syllabic thing I guess was really tickling our fancy at the time. And I know we’d intended to change the name at some point because we just kind of threw it on a flyer because we needed to and then maybe it was just a mixture of laziness or people started coming to our shows and we thought well it’s kind of too late to change the name, just keep it as it is. Who actually suggested it? I couldn’t tell you at this point. I know it was probably spoken about in the basement of Tim’s [Sult, lead guitarist of Clutch] parents’ house.

Now do you think being from Maryland and the greater DC area in general has influenced the sound of Clutch and the general direction of the band over the years?

I think we’ve been pretty fortunate to grow up here. Washington DC of course has a legendary music scene. Both harDCore and punk rock and metal, we listened to all those things growing up weather it was Bad Brains or Pentagram or Fugazi and Minor Threat. I know Jean-Paul [Gaster, drummer of Clutch] is a huge gogo fan and I think that’s informed his playing. And DC, you’re close enough to other cities you can go see shows outside your town but it’s not overrun so much like you find in New York and LA where you just get completely lost in the shuffle. It’s a manageable sized city. So I think that definitely played a big part in helping us out in the beginning.

So are there any bands from the greater you know DC, Baltimore and Virginia area that you’re a fan of right now?

Well let’s see here. Well we do quite a few shows with a local band from Wheaton called Lionize. Which they’re much more of a rock band. Initially they had a big reggae influence in their music but as they progressed they’re becoming much more of just a hard rock band. I’m a big fan of theirs. They’re good guys. Um let’s see who else? There’s another band called Black Clouds which is really good. I did some work with them not too long ago [specifically on their track Santorum Sunday School]. I know they play around. Those are the first two that come to mind immediately.

I’m actually going to see Black Clouds soon. They’re playing the Rock & Roll Hotel on December 29th.

Oh no kidding.

Yeah. With Warchild.

Oh dammit when I’m out of town, of course. That’s usually the way it goes.

Now there’s one thing that’s kind of been all over the news and stuff. In Newtown, Connecticut last week there were 20 children and seven adults who were murdered and I’m not asking for any kind of political statement here or anything but I was just kind of wondering if you had any kind of comment you’d want to make on that national tragedy.

Well I guess all those politics and things go right out the window for me because I’m a new parent. I have a two and a half year old son and just trying to even begin to relate what that must be like is impossible and in this day and age with the internet everybody’s got free advice on how to do things better. I just kind of opt to keeping my mouth shut and just letting this work its way out but like other people something’s got to give. I don’t think there’s any quick fix solution to it obviously but it’s no longer acceptable that that’s just a thing that happens here.

Well I know it’s kind of on a low note, but that’s for taking the time to speak with me here Neil. I know you’re hard at work mastering the album Earth Rocker right now and it’s pretty cool that you took the time out to let me speak with you for a minute and I can’t wait to see you guys play at the 9:30 Club on the 26th.

Yeah stop by and say hi if you have a moment.

I definitely will in fact I should be photographing you guys from the photo pit I think.

Ok, well I’ll see ya right there.

Keep an eye out for the guy in the Abraham Lincoln in King Diamond corpse paint shirt on cause that’ll be me.

Haha, alright that’ll be hard to miss.

Well thanks and have a good evening here and I’ll see you guys soon.

Alright, take it easy.

Have a good one.


Review of Book Burner by Pig Destroyer

This review was written by: Sniper Dan

Band: Pig Destroyer
Album: Book Burner
Release Date: 22 October 2012
Label: Relapse Records
Buy From Amazon: Here
Buy From Relapse: Here
Check out the DCHeavyMetal.com interview with JR Hayes here

Cover of Book Burner by Pig Destroyer

In a genre that is often associated with incessant pig squealing and sometimes unintelligent writing, both musically and lyrically, grindcore legends Pig Destroyer‘s highly anticipated fifth full length release, Book Burner, is a welcome break. Not to suggest that there is a single second of idleness on this record, except of course in the rests written into the guitar parts by Scott Hull, a founding member of both Pig Destroyer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. His technical yet still groovy riffs feature rests throughout and even they are loaded with the tension and savagery that fills this album. Washington DC’s Pig Destroyer have not released a full length album since 2007’s critically acclaimed Phantom Limb. Their rabid fan base and critics alike have created a ton of hype for this release. The guys in Pig Destroyer have certainly lived up to it. With 19 songs in the space of 31 minutes, the tracks range from the swift bludgeoning of “The Underground Man” to the damn near flirt with doom on “Permanent Funeral.” Along the way Hull manages to get in a vast array of styles into the riffs running from thrash to black metal to hardcore, but he never loses the essence of what makes good grindcore: never lingering for too long on any one thing to keep it swift, brutal and fresh. While the jumping of time signatures and tempos can keep the newly acquainted guessing when to head bang at times, the stretches of soon-to-be classic neck snapping riffs that lie between will ensure that you will keep listening to it until you know every rest and tempo shift.

The longtime search to replace former drummer Brian Harvey ended in 2011 when Adam Jarvis, also of Misery Index, joined Pig Destroyer. This is Jarvis’ first recording with Pig Destroyer and his addition certainly aids in “Book Burner” living up to its hype. He doesn’t simply ride the double bass throughout the entire recording either, but uses his entire kit to bring the mad rhythms to life. There is machine gun bass a plenty though, fear not! The track “The Diplomat” best reflects both of these aspects while the following track, “All Seeing Eye,” is a show of pure endurance as Jarvis blasts through a relentless, and no doubt breathless, 42 seconds of classic grindcore mayhem. Album closer “Permanent Funeral” shows that Pig Destroyer can really hold a groove and Jarvis carries it throughout the opening. I foresee many nights of head banging with a beer in my hand while this blares from my speakers. To be honest, just about every song on Book Burner oozes with the trademark head banging moshability of Pig Destroyer. I can’t wait to see “Iron Drunk” live because the pit for that song is going to be the most fun you can have wearing pants (unless you are that guy who takes off his pants in the mosh pit).

Pig Destroyer laughs at the conventional thinking that says to be brutal you must have lots of bass drops or at least a bassist of some sort. Pig Destroyer notoriously has no bassist yet that has never detracted from their sound in the slightest. What they do have is sample-man Blake Harrison. I understand that using words like “sampler” when listing band members is anathema to many metal heads out there, but the samples used throughout the album are well thought out and executed. The sample that stands out the most is on “The Bug.” The track opens with television legend Walter Cronkite reading an excerpt from Henry Miller’s Tropic Of Cancer. This is brilliant in many ways and I believe reflects the level of thought and inspiration that went into this album. To have an internationally known TV star reading from a famously banned book on an album titled Book Burner is indeed clever, especially in light of the lyrics on the album’s title track. The samples are not there simply to link the songs to create an album that never stops for 31 minutes, but to add layers to the dark atmosphere that drips from from this album.

The production value of Pig Destroyer’s discography seems to increase with each record, yet Book Burner has a bit more of a raw feeling to it. Frontman J.R. Hayes’ vocals are less processed but have a proper coating of violence and aggression that can easily take hold of the listener. Known as one of the better wordsmiths in the metal world, J.R. Hayes’ lyrics on Book Burner live up to his reputation. It is obvious that Hayes takes his literature seriously. His ability to set up the situations through the beginning of the songs and then end them with a forcible point is crucial to the shortened songs of grindcore. You can check out the lyric video to “Burning Palm” at the end of this post to see for yourself. This album also features several guest vocalists, most of whom come from the greater DC area. This includes Kat Katz, who is also in Agoraphobic Nosebleed and ex-Salome, on “Eve” and “The Bug” and Richard “The Grindfather” Johnson of Drugs Of Faith and Agoraphobic Nosebleed on “The Underground Man” and Jason Netherton of Misery Index on “The Diplomat.” It is also worth noting that the deluxe edition of the album includes a short story written by J.R. Hayes titled The Atheist which is a thrilling ride into a dystopian future where America is run by the Christian church which, in the story, is really more of a totalitarian regime. There is no direct tie in with the album, other than some name references and the same theme of distrusting and resisting organized religion. You can read the entire story over at Cvlt Nation here.

Pig Destroyer have been hailed as kings of grindcore with Scott Hull’s brutal-yet-somehow-catchy riffs, sometimes complex and sometimes direct song writing, and their well written lyrical content. Book Burner is yet another jewel on their crown. Pig Destroyer continues to be at the forefront of grindcore with this album that features performances by what can almost be called a who’s-who of grindcore today. The addition of drummer Adam Jarvis was a great move as he greatly contributes to the band, as does the dark sampling of Blake Harrison. The vocals of J.R. Hayes stand out as dirty and savage and the lyrics are a highlight of the album. D.C. is lucky to have a band this innovative and who produces such quality music with each release that they put out. Pig Destroyer has long been known to be a gateway band for those new to grindcore, and Book Burner may be more so than any of their previous albums. In fact every copy of the album should be clearly marked – Warning: Pig Destroyer’s Book Burner may lead to a serious grindcore addiction!

Video for “The Diplomat”

Lyric Video for “Burning Palm”

Listen to “Baltimore Strangler”

Album Reviews and Sniper Dan

Album reviews are finally coming to DCHeavyMetal.com! I don’t like writing album reviews myself so I found someone to do them for me. Things didn’t work out as expected so I had to find someone else. Finding that someone else took me some time and caused the delay. Now that I’ve got someone to write them I’m looking to get things back on track. The first album that will be reviewed on the site will be Book Burner by Pig Destroyer. I know it has already been out a little while now but I hope to catch up on a few recent releases then hopefully we’ll be posting these reviews before the records hit stores. For any foreseeable future, DCHeavyMetal.com will only be reviewing albums by metal bands in the DMV area that this site covers.

So let me take a minute to introduce you to the guy who will be writing these reviews. We can call him Sniper Dan. He spent quite some time in Baghdad with the Army, hence the nickname. Now he can be found travelling around either on his own or helping out various bands or spending his free time building and shooting rifles or rocking out with his melodic tech-death band “Thank You, Citizen”. (Name subject to change). He also told me to mention that if anyone has a Tyranid army they want to challenge the Imperium’s best with to drop him a line, whatever the hell that means.

Keep an eye out for Dan’s Book Burner review that will be posted either later today or some time tomorrow. I hope you all enjoy his album reviews, I’m excited to finally get these reviews going on the site. If you’d like to submit your band’s FINISHED ALBUM (no demos) for him to review send me an email at DCHeavyMetal@Gmail.com You don’t have to be signed to a label but please note that NOT ALL SUBMISSIONS WILL BE REVIEWED. Deal with it. Stay brutal everyone and support the scene you’re a part of!