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!