2013 has had a lot of great moments this year so again I thought I’d ask a small sample of the various people, personalities and characters from around our area’s metal scene about theirs. I asked everyone two questions, what is your favorite album of the year? and what was your most “metal” moment of 2013? Feel free to leave a comment with your own answers to these questions, you readers of this site are part of the scene too!
Grant Dickie is better known around these parts at Grimy Grant and you’ve hopefully read some of his album reviews on this very site. You can check out his posts here. Also be sure to add him on Twitter at @jgrantd if you haven’t already.
Favorite album of 2013: Soma by Windhand
Most metal moment of 2013: When I started to really get into metal a few years ago, it was because I listened to Ilsa. One day I noticed a curiously named band called Bolt Thrower on Ilsa’s MySpace page in their “influenced by” section. Learning more about Bolt Thrower I found out that they’re a band based off of the table-top game Warhammer 40k. This piqued my nerdness and enticed me to get more into the band. Years later, they’re one of my main go-to bands and when I found out they were playing at Maryland Deathfest on May 23rd I nearly tore my shirt off and yelled out in my cubicle chair. Karl Willets and his merry band played onstage for only about 50 minutes due to some logistical problems with the Maryland Deathfest, according to their official band page. Still, when the fog erupted onstage and those four recognizable and epic figures emerged, when I somehow managed to squeeze near the front row, when I saw Willet’s sweat, it was just as good as any amount of time that they could have played. During the first chords of “World Eater” I completely flipped out, went raging in the pit, and then did a first-ever crowd surf – things a respectable adult would never do. Then again, Bolt Thrower brings out the most valiant and rocking in all of us.
Milla Lindqvist is the other album reviewer on DCHeavyMetal.com though she’s known as Tal on the site (see her posts here). She also runs a blog called In My Winter Castle where she reviews concerts she attends and other things.
Favorite album of 2013: Pelagial by The Ocean
Most metal moment of 2013: I really love the Russian folk/pagan metal band Arkona, and I’m kind of crazy about their vocalist, Masha Scream, with her long blond hair and just slightly Asiatic features, her outfits of furs over a traditional Russian tunic, her beautiful clean vocals and most of all her vicious growls. So it was pretty amazing getting to see Arkona play a headline set at Cafe 611 in Frederick, Maryland on October 28 – not just because I got to see Masha up close and to headbang and push people around to over an hour of Arkona’s music, but also because some other fans mistook me for Masha – not once, but twice. I could hardly believe it when a guy came up to me between two of the openers and asked, “Are you Masha?” It was probably the best compliment I’ve ever gotten – certainly the most metal one!
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 the local band Midnight Eye.
Favorite album of 2013: Sky Burial by Inter Arma
Most metal moment of 2013: This year had a bunch of memorable metal moments, but some of the most memorable were probably: Midnight Eye’s release show on August 8th at The Pinch where we managed to fry both of our guitar amps the first night of the tour. And booking Absu there November 14th was one of the biggest, craziest shows I’ve ever booked in DC. And of course, the DC Heavy Metal 4th Anniversary show at the Fillmore Silver Spring on September 26th was fantastic. Years ago the first DC shows I played or booked involved Earthling at the now-defunct Corpse Fortress, just a few blocks away from the Fillmore. So getting to drink DC Brau while backstage with Earthling at DC’s biggest venue was a nice highlight and poetic touch to my time here.
Photo of Downfall Of Gaia performing at The Lab by Metal Chris.
Justin Woodward, aka Hollow Lung, plays guitar and does vocals for the local metal band Permafrost and also books DIY shows through his Hybrid Hearing Productions.
Favorite Album Of 2013: Valonielu by Oranssi Pazuzu
Most Metal Moment Of 2013: Four years ago Permafrost played a show with a band called Empier from New York. They became our first out of state friends. Soon after they became Black Table. Our styles were now more similar and we had a strong connection. This year I started booking shows at The Lab in Alexandria and I was presented with an amazing opportunity. Riff Lifter Booking and Black Table contacted me to book the German black metal band Downfall Of Gaia with Black Table for a Virginia date on their US tour. Stepping back and seeing a full room of all new faces while watching a band from half way across the world that I also love was my most metal moment. Being able to orchestrate shows with amazing bands is very surreal. Booking has been such an awesome experience and has made my life more fulfilling. Thank you everyone. Stay Metal.
Mary Spiro runs the blog Metallomusikum, is a Baltimore metal music contributor at Examiner.com and she runs the Black Metal Baltimore Facebook group. In addition to all that, she’s a staple at metal shows in Baltimore.
Favorite album of 2013: Valonielu by Oranssi Pazuzu
Most metal moment of 2013: One of my most metal moments of 2013 began on Halloween night when I sludged it up in my viking costume with Black Tusk and Inter Arma at The Sidebar Tavern in Baltimore. The next night I was thrashing with Death Angel and 3 Inches Of Blood at Mojo 13 in Wilmington, Delaware. That Saturday, I enjoyed some post-this and some post-that at Washington’s DC9 with Pelican and Coliseum. I concluded my show marathon on Sunday, where I celebrated a black and death metal “ritual” with Watain, In Solitude and Tribulation at Baltimore Soundstage. A stretch of shows like that, each one different from the last, represents the diversity of my musical interests. It also proves that I don’t have to travel more than 100 miles from home to find that diversity. I love living here!
James Healy is the vocalist and guitar player in local black metal band Thrain and now, after working for a local music shop for years, he has started Old Town Lutherie doing guitar repair and tweaks for many of the area’s metal musicians. If you want a real pro who is a metal head to make your guitar sound great, he’s the best guy to talk to in this area.
Favorite album of 2013: Vermis by Ulcerate
Most metal moment of 2013: This is a pretty tough one! 2013 as a whole has definitely been the best year in metal for me personally. It’s hard to choose just one “metal moment” as there were so many awesome moments to choose from! Well I’d have to say first that watching the D.C. scene grow bigger than I’ve ever seen it is a mighty contender that overshadows any one event. But, in the spirit of this write up the most metal moment I experienced was having the opportunity to share the stage with one my all time favorite bands, Battlemaster, on December 7th at The Lab. I’ve been a huge fan of those guys for what seems like a lifetime and D.C. always shows them a warm welcome! Here’s to an even better 2014!!
Adam Jarvis is a great drummer and he’s a busy one too. He’s currently a member of Misery Index, Pig Destroyer, Fulgora and Asthma Castle and he’s also worked with many other bands.
Favorite album of 2013: …Like Clockwork by Queens Of The Stone Age
Most metal moment of 2013: I’d have to say this year’s Maryland Deathfest was the most metal thing that happened this year. Not the obvious awesomeness of bands and friends united in the slums of Baltimore for a great weekend of boozin and blast beats. But this moment has to do with some events that happened that weekend. Down headlined on Saturday night and my other sludgy southern fried band Asthma Castle opened the fest that day. We ended up acquiring a massive bottle of Jameson. I filled up my flask and kept it in my care package for Phil Anselmo which also had some records from my other bands Fulgora, Misery Index, and Pig Destroyer. I handed the bag off to Jimmy Bower when I was super wasted and it still had the flask in the bag. This wasn’t just any plain Jane flask: it was a flask that my high school girlfriend gave me!! It had my name engraved on the front of it and “I Love You” engraved on the back!!!! So I brought it up when I ran into Phil at Hellfest in France, that I accidentally gave him my flask, and he just looked at me weird and then we just kept on drinkin!! That flask is now gone hopefully sitting in Phil’s room with my name on it and I love you!!!
Photo of Adam Jarvis of Pig Destroyer performing at Gwar-B-Q by Josh Sisk. Click it for the larger version.
Josh Sisk is a photographer who shoots all kinds of bands around the Baltimore and DC area, including tons of metal bands. You can see some of his work here. He’s also the heavy metal columnist for the Baltimore City Paper.
Favorite album of 2013: Return To Annihilation by Locrian
Most metal moment of 2013: Early in Pig Destroyer‘s set at the Gwar-B-Q in Richmond on August 17th, there was a palpable moment where the crowd and the band suddenly locked into sync together before turning it up SEVERAL notches. Everyone started screaming, mobbing the stage, knocking into the band, each other. Band members fell down, everyone fell down. Suddenly people started hauling themselves up into the rafters of the gazebo-like outdoor structure they were playing in, hanging upside down, stomping their feet along with Adam Jarvis’ breakneck drumbeats, making the “building” shake and causing a fine mist of white particles – I assume birdshit? – to rain down on the band and everyone. The security tried in vain to get the kids to come down, but pretty much failed, overwhelmed. The band, feeding off the crowd, ripped through the rest of their set in rare form. A highlight of a great day, and something that made a big fest feel, just for a second, like a grimey, intimate warehouse show.
Chris Penrod is better known as the Chicken Man and if you go to many metal concerts in the area you’re sure to spot him sooner or later tearing it up in the mosh put in his bright yellow chicken suit. The more brutal the band playing, the more likely you’ll find him there.
Favorite album of 2013: Passages Into Deformity by Defeated Sanity
Most metal moment of 2013: I’d have to say the my most metal moment of 2013 is a draw between Pig Destroyer‘s set at Gwar-B-Q. When everyone was hanging off of the ceiling rafters in that little gazebo. I thought that thing was gonna fucking collapse. Or at Dying Fetus at Empire on November 2nd. I wound up taking a hard fist to my nose and I’d have to say, that was the most blood that has ever poured out of my face at once. This year was very metal.
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 album of 2013: Surgical Steel by Carcass
Most metal moment of 2013: Dave Witte asking me to play a song with his band Brain Tentacles (along with his musical partner Bruce Lamont) for the D.C. date of their tour on November 4th. A string of musicians played with the band, each sitting in on a different date of the tour, but I was just honored to be asked. Having borrowed Taryn from Drugs Of Faith‘s bass, I got down to the Black Cat in DC, and using his saxophone, Bruce showed me the riff I was to play. What I didn’t know was that Agata from Melt-Banana (Brain Tentacles was opening for them) was going to improvise on guitar as well for the song. So not only was I performing on stage with Dave and Bruce, two awesome musicians themselves, but with the guitarist from Melt-Banana as well, for me it was a show to remember!
Photo of Mark Osegueda of Death Angel performing at Empire by Metal Chris.
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, Children Of Bodom, Kreator and more! She can even make you custom clothing to wear on stage or to just bring out your inner rock star.
Favorite Album Of 2013: IV: An Arrow In Heart by Aosoth
Most Metal Moment Of 2013: I’ve been making custom stage clothes for bands with my company Kylla Custom Rock Wear full time for about two years now and I’d have to say the most metal moment of 2013 for me would be seeing two of my favorite bands, Kreator and Death Angel, wear my pieces on live on stage in the same night, October 30th. Somehow the Kreator/Overkill tour date at the Baltimore Soundstage and the Death Angel concert at Empire in Springfield were booked on the same night, and my assistant and I were determined to go to both. Kreator purchased a whole stage wardrobe from us and when it arrived, Kreator guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö told me that for the first time they felt like a “real band,” which was quite a compliment coming from the thrash legends I had been listening to for my entire adult life. My assistant Laurie and I met with them about some new wardrobe pieces and went on a very Baltimore adventure with Kreator’s Mille Petrozza to a vegan restaurant. Our cab driver was right out of Grand Theft Auto. We had to leave the show early in the set and speed down to Springfield to catch Death Angel’s set. Unfortunately we walked in after the first few songs had been played. Death Angel vocalist Mark Osegueda got on the microphone as I walked in to tell me how much he loved the vest I made that he wears on stage. Being a die hard old school thrash fan (in addition to my true love of black metal), nights like this really blow my mind, and I feel so privileged that through the clothing company I get to actually be a contributing part of the music that I love and give back to metal.
Mario Trubiano is the drummer for the local stoner metal band Borracho. If you like fat riffs then check these guys out!
Favorite album of 2013: Earth Rocker by Clutch
Most metal moment of 2013: Earlier this year, we (my band Borracho) met and became friends with Port City brewer Will Cook and before long we were talking about collaborating on a beer. From that first conversation, through several pilot batches, and after many beers together at tastings at the brewery, we finalized and approved the recipe for Borracho Smokin’ Brown Ale. The beer debuted in super-limited quantities at a party we threw at The Pinch in Columbia Heights on May 18th. We organized a killer show with our buds Wasted Theory from Delaware, Weed is Weed from Maryland, and Cortez from Boston to mark the occasion. The beer sold out, the bands threw down, and it was a drunken good time for all involved. Metal through and through.
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 album of 2013: Earth Rocker by Clutch
Most metal moment of 2013: Apparently my submission for 2013 Most Metal Moment was the same as Mario Trubiano’s from Borracho. We even picked the same favorite album of 2013. Our virtual mind meld is now my favorite metal Moment of 2013! And oh, fucking Slayer and Gojira played at the Fillmore Silver Spring on November 19th, my birthday! It was awesome: “Chop” gave me a ride, folks bought me DC Brau beers, my old ass survived the pit, and a good friend crossed the brutal circle pit to deliver me a much needed glass of water – without spilling a drop. Bad ass! Most unmetal moment of 2013: Constantly missing great shows because I have to wake up at 4am to brew beer.
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 album of 2013: Satanae Tenebris Infinita by Imprecation
Most Metal Moment Of 2013: The most metal moment in 2013 was December 13th when I choked on the fumes of burning flesh at the Satan’s Unholy Abomination Fest II in Hyattsville, Maryland. The perpetrator was the vocalist for a great new sickening black metal band Ritual Decay. He was burning his beard and his hand badly, it was pretty fucking disgusting. I felt like someone had burned hot peppers in a pan, the way it was macing the whole crowd was really unbearable. Their music was solid and original as well!!! I’ve seen a lot of crazy shit at shows but that was a first for me choking on burnt flesh and burnt beard smoke… I felt bad for the venue!!!
Photo of Nina Osegueda performing with A Sound Of Thunder at Metal Quest II by Sako Tumi. Click it for the larger version.
Nina Osegueda is the lead singer for the local band A Sound Of Thunder and she also sets up some metal shows from time to time. Some would call her the Queen Of Hell.
Favorite Album Of 2013: Valkyrja by Týr
Most Metal Moment Of 2013: My dream has always been to put on a show with as many “nerd” themed bands as I could find. I was able to pull it off in 2012, so I wanted to do it again in 2013 during Otakon. Growing up, I used to be an otaku [Editor’s note: fan of Japanese culture, particularly their comics and cartoons]. I cosplayed and would go to conventions well into my twenties, but having joined a band after college I no longer had the time. I decided that this would be the year I fixed that. I scheduled the show for August 10th at the Sidebar (which I later realized was within walking distance of the convention center), and planned a Nathan Explosion of Deathklock costume. The bands were: Burning Shadows, Aries, Cassandra Syndrome, A Sound Of Thunder and Dethlehem. It went off without a hitch. The bands came, but more importantly, the people came. More people than we could really fit into the place, to be honest! The Sidebar is such a tiny spot, but it has such great character. People came from the convention (I had passed out flyers with the help of some friends), and people even came in costume. Imagine a bar full of costumed nerds rocking out to metal songs about dragons. This was my dream, and I was able to make it happen! It doesn’t get much more metal than that.
Metal Chris is me! I’m the guy who runs this whole DCHM thing!
Favorite album of 2013: Soma by Windhand
Most Metal Moment Of 2013: So many great metal moments for me this year, Phil Anselmo taking over my Twitter account to directly answer fan questions, Pig Destroyer‘s beer release show, the return of Black Sabbath with Ozzy, Maryland Deathfest and Gwar-B-Q were all super fun and of course getting to interview Kerry King of Slayer was something I’ll never forget. My favorite moment of all had to be the DCHM 4th Anniversary show on September 26th at the Fillmore Silver Spring with Vektor, Earthing, Borracho, Midnight Eye and Asthma Castle. Seeing so many of you fans of the site come out and support the bands and this site was just incredible! This wasn’t just a show with the DCHM name slapped on it either. It was a lot of work to put together but it was a success and the venue was so pleased that they want to do another DCHM show in 2014 and I can’t wait to do it all again!