Paradise Lost ticket give away

Paradise Lost at Baltimore Soundstage

The legendary Paradise Lost is coming to Baltimore Soundstage on Tuesday, October 2nd, along with Sólstafir and The Atlas Moth. Their dark style of doom metal is perfect for this season where the weather starts to turn so we’re giving away a pair of tickets to this show to a lucky one of you DCHM readers. To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite metal band to listen to in the Autumn months. Then on Friday, September 28th at 5pm EST the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. The winner will get two free tickets the show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that, I hate spam too. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Master for $27.50 here.

Paradise Lost formed in Halifax, England, in the late 80’s and is one of the Peaceville Three, along with Anathema and My Dying Bride, who all formed a much darker take to doom metal in the early 90s while all signed to Peaceville Records. In fact it was Paradise Lost’s sophomore album, Gothic, that the genre of gothic metal gets its name from. They’ve influenced countless bands yet somehow Paradise Lost, who still features all their original members aside from the drummer, manage to put out solid material. This isn’t an old band that just plays their old classics, they still put out solid material, including their 2017 album Medusa, which was #1 on Decibel Magazine’s top 40 albums of 2017. In addition to the rare chance to see Paradise Lost in the US the tour has some excellent support acts. Sólstafir from Iceland blends post rock with viking metal, adds a pinch of country western and a heavy dose of melancholy. The opening band is The Atlas Moth, a post metal band from Chicago that has been getting better and better with every album. Now check out these videos of the bands below and leave a comment letting me know what your favorite metal band to listen to in the Autumn is.

Paradise Lost – Blood And Chaos

Sólstafir – Silfur-Refur

The Atlas Moth – Holes In The Desert

Obiligatory Maryland Deathfest XVI post

Maryland Deathfest XVI starts Thursday and while I’m not doing my Survival Guide this year I still wanted to make a post about MDF. This year I’m going to focus on things you don’t want to miss, including a big section and the end highlighting two bands from each venue on each day of the fest. None of the highlighted bands are headliners so hopefully you’ll check out some bands that you might not have otherwise.

First things first, below you’ll find the most current set time schedule I’ve got. It’s a link so click/tap it to see it full sized. Of course it’s subject to change but as of this writing it is the most up to date.

Be sure to check the official Maryland Deathfest Facebook page (here) which is usually the first place they post updates on things like cancellations, though I really hope there aren’t any more. Also be sure to follow their official Instagram account (@deathfests) for beautiful live photos of the bands while the fest is still running. And of course be sure to follow my Instagram account (@dcmetalchris) and/or Twitter account (@MetalChris) for unofficial photos and commentary throughout the fest.

The official Maryland Deathfest Pre-fest show is tonight at the Ottobar! Headlined by the meme-tastic Mortician, an old school death/grind band originally from Yonkers, New York. Their sound is defined by its ultra downtuned guitar tone, programmed drums and the extensive use of clips from horror movies. However the band is having a recent resurgence in popularity, if you want to call it that, due to the massive amount of memes that have sprung up around the band (you can get in on the fun here). The pre-fest show is already sold out but you can get all the details about it on the Facebook event page here. Just know that if you are in town and don’t have a car, the Ottobar is not within walking distance of the other venues that MDF will be happening at so you’ll need to get a ride/cab/Uber to get there.

If you’re not going up to Baltimore a day early for the pre-fest show but still want to see a metal show tonight be sure to head over to Atlas Brew Works and catch Howling Giant, Borracho and Caustic Casanova. Howling Giant is a doom/stoner band from Nashville, Tennessee and this is the DC stop of their tour. Also, it’s a rare chance to see Borracho live. You may have noticed they haven’t been playing as many shows lately and that’s because their drummer moved to Peru for work. On the rare occasions he’s back in town they tend to play a show so see them while you can! It should be noted that the brewery will have the Capitals/Lightning game 7 on the TVs so you won’t have to miss the game if you’re at the show. Get all the details about this show on the Facebook event page here.

Pentagram Pancake Brunch is back this year! Nurse your bangover on Saturday and/or Sunday with brunch at Baltimore Soundstage starting at 10am and running until 1pm (Sat) or 2pm (Sun). It’s an all you can eat breakfast of bacon, pentagram pancakes and eggs plus bottomless Bloody Marys, blood orange mimosas or Irish coffees. There will also be guest DJs playing metal. Each day is $20 or for just $30 you can get a 2 day pass. Buy at the door or in advance. Tickets for Saturday can be purchased here and tickets for Sunday can be purchased here. Both links will let you buy the 2 day pass if you’d prefer. More details about the Pentagram Pancake Brunch can be found on the Facebook event page here.

Speaking of food, there’s plenty around the venues but if you want some of the best craft beers and American food in town try walking over to the Pratt Street Ale House at 206 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201. They’ll be giving a 10% off all food and drinks discount to all Maryland Deathfest attendees during the entire fest, just show them your wristband for the discount.

On Saturday Goatwhore will be playing a free show at Angels Rock Bar, located inside the Powerplant area across from Rams Head Live and just upstairs from the Leinenkugel restaurant/bar. It’s a matinee show and the local Baltimore band Emerge A Tyrant will be performing as well. It will be ages 21+ only. The doors open at 4pm, Emerge A Tyrant plays at 5pm and Goatwhore will go on about 5:45pm. If you RSVP to the Facebook event page (here) you can get $3 Miller Lite drafts, $4 Smirnoff cocktails and $5 Smirnoff bombs from 4pm to 7pm on Saturday.

Maryland Deathfest XVI ends on Sunday night but Monday you can still catch a few grind bands that played the fest doing a post show at Atlas Brew Works. Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition, Viscera Infest and Pulmonary Fibrosis will be goregrinding the night away with support from Myxoma, a band fronted by Evan Harting, one of the MDF organizers. SCD and PF are both French bands and VI is from Japan, so it’s a rare chance to catch these international bands here in DC.

Thursday Band Suggestions

Gateway to Hell Thurs 5:25pm Rams Head Live – The first band to go on stage at this year’s MDF is a great local stoner/doom band called Gateway to Hell. They band has a real sense of rhythm and they jam out some sweet riffs. Don’t miss the chance to see this local Baltimore band on such a big stage. Check out their song “Scorched Earth” from their 2017 EP Clovers.

Khemmis Thurs 6:20pm Rams Head Live – Khemmis is a band from Denver that really broke out in 2016 with the release of their sophomore album Hunted. The band sounds like something of a cross between older Opeth and Pallbearer. Their songs use both clean and harsh vocals, like Opeth, and they play some really great doom riffs too. Also of note, their drummer, Zach Coleman, is the head brewer at the black metal themed brewery Trve Brewing out in Denver. Khemmis has a new album coming out in June titled Desolation but for now give a listen to their song “Three Gates” from Hunted.

Gutted Thurs 7:45pm Baltimore Soundstage – Gutted is technical death metal the fast and brutal way. This relentless Hungarian band gets their name from the Cannibal Corpse song on the Butchered At Birth album. Maryland Deathfest XVI gives us a rare chance to catch this underground band live. Check out their song “Into Oblivion,” featuring guest backing vocals by Attila Csihar of Mayhem, from their 2016 album Martyr Creation.

Defeated Sanity Thurs 10pm Baltimore Soundstage – Defeated Sanity is a tech death band from Germany that is really brutal yet they’ve also got a very strong Focus era Cynic influence. The influence is so strong that they even have former Cynic vocalist Max Phelps doing vocals for them now. You may also recognize Max from his days filling Chuck Schuldiner’s role on the Death To All tours or from his locally based band Exist that was direct support on the 2017 Gorguts tour. Check out the song “The Mesmerizing Light” from the Dharmata section of their 2016 release.

Friday Band Suggestions

Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition Fri 6:25pm Baltimore Soundstage – SCD is a death/grind band from Paris, France. They manage to write catchy songs despite being so fast and heavy and you know that’s going to result in some crazy pits at MDF. Note that they are also playing Atlas Brewery in DC on the Monday night after Deathfest. Check out the song “Apostate Angels (Ritual And Taboo)” from their album Raping Angels in Hell which was released in September of 2017.

Blood Incantation Fri 8:45pm Rams Head Live – The new style of “cavernous death metal” is all the rage right now in the world of underground metal and Blood Incantation is one of the hottest bands of the trend. Rightly so I might add, they have managed to blend that crushingly heavy gloominess of the cavernous style and combined it flawlessly with the technicality and excellent songwriting that every death metal fan craves. Check out “Chaosplasm” from their 2016 instantly classic album Starspawn and do not miss these guys live, they always put on an excellent performance.

Integrity Fri 10:30pm Baltimore Soundstage – Integrity rose out of the Cleveland hardcore scene in the 90s and is noted for being one of the pioneers of blending hardcore with heavy metal. Locals will recognize Domenic Romeo, formerly of the band Pulling Teeth and the owner of A389 Recordings, on lead guitar for Integrity these days. It should also be noted that Integrity worked with Baltimore brewery Oliver Ales to make an official beer (that you might still be able to find cans of at Pratt Street Ale House during MDF). Check out the song “Die With Your Boots On” from their 2017 album Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume, showing that they still got it!

God Dethroned Fri 11pm Rams Head Live – The Dutch band God Dethroned was a rather middle of the pack death metal band in the 90’s. Then in the late 00’s they shifted their focus from blasphemy to military history similar to fellow Dutch band Hail Of Bullets. In 2009 they released their album Passiondale about the bloody World War I battle of the same name. This was a massive shift for the band, in all the right directions as the album marks not just their change in lyrical direction but better songwriting and production as well. Listen to “Poison Fog” from Passiondale, a song about the horrors of mustard gas in trench warfare during WWI.

Saturday Band Suggestions

Blurring Sat 5:05pm Baltimore Soundstage – Blurring is a death/grind band from Rochester, New York, that is the current project of a quite familiar face at Maryland Deathfest, Dan Lilker. Dan has graced the MDF stage with bands like Nuclear Assault, Autopsy, Brutal Truth and probably others I’m not remembering right now. Blurring might be the most intense of all these bands, their speed and brutality make them a stand out even at Maryland Deathfest. Check out their song “November” from their 2017 EP Cloud Burner.

The Ruins of Beverast Sat 7:40pm Rams Head Live – The Ruins of Beverast is a German black metal band started in the early 00’s. The band has a dark atmospheric and shamanistic bent to their sound. They have played MDF before back in 2014 but they played on the outdoor stages and I’ll be honest, their sound mix was pretty awful that day. It will be great to see them on a proper stage this time around and I’m sure it will sound better. Check out the long build up in their song “Towards Malakia” from their 2017 album Exuvia.

Pig Destroyer Sat 9:20pm Baltimore Soundstage – Local band Pig Destroyer became one of the premiere grindcore bands with the release of their boundary pushing 2001 album Prowler in the Yard. The band has continued to innovate with each new album and the intensity of their live shows is legendary. They’ve got a new album coming out later this year and while I don’t have any insider knowledge of their MDF playlist, maybe we’ll get lucky and hear some new material. For now check out their song “The Diplomat” from their 2012 album Book Burner.

Master’s Hammer Sat 11:10pm Rams Head Live – Master’s Hammer is one of the oldest black metal bands from eastern Europe, they predate the 2nd wave from Norway. The Czech band formed in the late 80’s and is one of the first bands to bring symphonic elements to black metal. They also incorporated Czech folk elements and their lyrics are still entirely in Czech. I don’t think they’ve ever been to the US before and this is a rare chance to catch one of the genre’s early underground innovators live here in the US. Check out the song “Geniové” from their classic 1991 album Ritual.

Sunday Band Suggestions

Neolithic Sun 4:40pm Baltimore Soundstage – Let’s face it, Neolithic is probably on this bill because their vocalist is Evan Harting, one of the two main organizers of Maryland Deathfest. However Neolithic actually fucking rips and this new death/crust band is definitely worth seeing at MDF regardless of their ties to the organizers. Check out their song “Cult of Ignorance” on their just released EP of the same name.

Thantifaxath Sun 6:40pm Rams Head Live – Thantifaxath is a mouthful to say but the Toronto based black metal band that is just… eerie. They were added to this year’s MDF line up when Darkspace was forced to drop off. Even so, they’re a great band that is worth seeing even if they weren’t originally meant to play MDF this year. Be sure to check out their song “The Bright White Nothing at the End of the Tunnel” from their 2014 album Sacred White Noise.

Wormrot Sun 10:40pm Baltimore Soundstage – Wormrot is a band that came out of left field, or more accurately, they’re from Singapore. To date they’re released three albums of some top notch grindcore. It’s kind of amazing how they keep this level of quality up in their releases and right now I think it’s safe to say they’re one of the premiere grind bands in the world. You won’t want to miss the rare chance to see them live here in the US. Listen to their song “Fallen into Disuse” from their 2016 album Voices.

Opera IX Sun 11:15pm Rams Head Live – Opera IX is an Italian melodic black metal band once fronted by the enigmatic Cadaveria before she went solo. The band continued on and added folk elements to their sound over the years. I remember going to the Tower Records in Tysons Corner in 2000 to pick up the Behemoth album Thelema.6 and I picked up this Opera IX album on a whim. I have been a fan ever since and to say I’m excited to see them at MDF is an understatement. Check out the epic song “Act I: The First Seal” from that album I bought in 2000, The Black Opera: Symphoniae Mysteriorum in Laudem Tenebrarum.

Cradle Of Filth ticket give away

Cradle Of Filth at Baltimore Soundstage

This Friday, April 6th, the infamous Cradle of Filth will be performing at the Baltimore Soundstage! To help get you guys pumped for the show we’re going to give away a pair of tickets to the show to one of you lucky DCHM readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me who your favorite band or musician from the UK is. Then this Thursday, April 5th at 12pm EST the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. The winner will get two free tickets the show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that, I hate spam too. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for $30 here.

Cradle of Filth really stepped up their game with the release of their 2015 album Hammer of the Witches. The come back has kept up with their follow up album in 2017, Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay. If you haven’t listened to the band in many years I highly suggest you check these albums out as they’ve brought the band back to relevancy. Also performing is Jinjer, a Ukrainian band that reminds me of something like a cross between Arch Enemy and Periphery. The opening act is Uncured from New York City. They play a somewhat proggy style of deathcore and should bring some good energy to get the night started. Now check out these videos of all three bands and leave a comment telling me what your favorite band from the UK is!

Cradle of Filth – Heartbreak and Seance

Jinjer – Cloud Factory

Uncured – Opium Den

Mayhem ticket give away

Mayhem at Baltimore Soundstage

Thanksgiving has come and gone and the holiday season is officially upon us. That means it’s the perfect time for a church burning ticket give away! Let the notorious Norwegian black metal legends Mayhem darken your holidays this Friday, December 1st, when they play the Baltimore Soundstage with Immolation and Black Anvil. We know you’ve got presents to buy on top of bills to pay so we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets to this show to one of you lucky readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite black metal song is. Then this Wednesday, Nov 29th at 5pm EST the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for $23 here.

Mayhem is one of the original bands from the infamous second wave of black metal that arose out of Norway in the early 90s. On this tour they’ll be performing their classic 1994 album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in its entirety along with some of their other songs too. Also performing will be Immolation, a death metal band from New York that has managed to keep their sound intense without getting stale over the 30 years of their existence. New York City based black thrashers Black Anvil will open the show. Now check out these videos from the bands performing and let me know your favorite black metal song in the comments!

Mayhem – Freezing Moon (live)

Immolation – Fostering The Divide

Black Anvil – May Her Wrath Be Just

Hatebreed ticket give away

Hatebreed at Baltimore Soundstage

This Sunday, November 26th, metalcore masters Hatebreed are playing the Baltimore Soundstage with local death metal legends Dying Fetus! We’re so excited for this show that we’re giving away a pair of tickets to this show to one of you lucky DCHM readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what metal band you’re most thankful for. Maybe they’re your favorite band, maybe they helped you through a rough time or maybe they did something super awesome for their fans or a charity or something. This is a short running contest due to the holiday this week so don’t wait to end because at 6pm EST on Wednesday, November 22nd the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for $23 here.

Hatebreed formed in the late 90s and released their 8th studio album, The Concrete Confessional, last year. It was their first release on Nuclear Blast Records and it peaked at 25 on the Billboard charts, showing that they’re still hitting hard after all these years. Dying Fetus is bringing the slamming riffs to this show as well. They just released their latest album, Wrong One to Fuck With in June so we’ll finally get to hear some of those sick new tunes live. Code Orange is a hardcore punk band from Pittsburgh who released their third album, Forever, on Relapse Records earlier this year. Opening the show will be the Los Angeles based Twitching Tongues, a band that blends doom metal with hardcore. Be sure to check out these videos from the bands below and leave a comment telling me which metal band you’re the most thankful for!

Hatebreed – Something’s Off

Dying Fetus – Die With Integrity

Code Orange – Forever

Twitching Tongues – Disharmony

Interview with Mantas of Venom Inc.

Recently I was given the opportunity to speak with Mantas, a founding member of the highly influential band Venom. These days he’s playing guitar in Venom Inc., a band with two other former Venom members. Venom Inc. is wrapping up their US tour at Baltimore Soundstage this coming Monday, October 2nd, and I hope this 18 minute interview helps shed some light on one of the founders of black metal and helps to get you pumped for the show. You can stream the interview by pressing the orange play button below or you can download the interview as an mp3 for free here or you can read the transcription. As always, my words are in bold.

This is Metal Chris of DCHeavyMetal.com and today I’ve got Jeffrey Dunn, better known as Mantas, on the phone with me. Mantas is one of the founding members of Venom but he’s also playing guitar in Venom Inc. right now who just released their debut album, Avé, in August on Nuclear Blast Records. Venom Inc. is currently in the middle of the Bloodstained Earth North American Tour with support from Goatwhore, Toxic Holocaust and the Convalescence. The final date of that tour will be at the Baltimore Soundstage on October 2nd. So to start things off here Mantas, what can fans expect from the Venom Inc. live performance?

I suppose what you’ve always expected from us. It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be fast. It’s going to be chaotic. Everything you want from a Venom Inc. show I suppose plus the fact we’re including some of the new songs off of the new album and so far everything’s going really well. We’ve had, I think it was, three sold out shows so far, the rest have been absolutely packed, just below sold out. First show in Philly, oh it was incredible. They actually oversold that show and they opened the side doors of the venue so that people on the street could watch the gig as well. It’s just gotten crazier and crazier as we’ve been going on so it’s going really, really well so far. Very, very pleased with it.

Mantas of Venom Inc.

Mantas of Venom Inc.

That’s cool. The Venom albums Prime Evil, Temples Of Ice and The Wasteland had [a] very similar line up to the line up that Venom Inc. does right now. That era of Venom also consisted of Demolition Man [Tony Dolan] and Abaddon [Anthony Bray] as well as yourself. Do you consider Venom Inc. sort of a continuation of that era of Venom?

Personally I don’t know. I mean, a lot of people have said obviously that it is because it’s essentially the same line up but I just think that we’ve got a good, strong, legitimate line up here. And I think personally I don’t look at it as a continuation. I think you might get a different answer from the other guys, cause we hadn’t been together for so long. But obviously when we did come together, which was purely by accident and none of this was planned. We did not plan to continue this long it was going to be a one off show in Germany. There was certainly no plans for an album. Everything’s just been fan driven, promoter driven, and it was only in the later stages that Jon Zazula came in as management as well. And he was the one that said, “one great album could change everything for you guys” and really we’d never thought about that. But yeah, we’ve had a few people saying it’s good to see the Prime Evil line up back together again and I suppose yeah, it is, but I don’t know if I’m looking at it as a continuation because it was such a huge gap. It has taken us a long time to come together again but it’s rolling and to quote a cliché we’ve all just strapped ourselves into the roller coaster and we’re seeing where it takes us now. So far, so good.

Do you still talk to Al Barnes at all? Do you think there’s any chance that he could end up joining Venom Inc. to complete that Prime Evil era line up?

Ohhh no, no. Al is all settled down with a family and everything now. Got a really good job. I think he still does some sort of little acoustic gigs and things just by himself but I don’t think we could drag Al out. Maybe a one off if we’re in London or something like that and he jumps up and plays one of the Prime Evil songs with us but as a permanent member I don’t think so, no.

So do you see Venom Inc. staying as a three piece for the foreseeable future then?

Oh definitely. Yes. Absolutely. It’s working great and you know the old saying, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. No we’ll continue the way we are. It’s good.

In April of 2012 I saw you perform with M:pire Of Evil at the U Street Music Hall in Washington DC along with Onslaught on that tour. You guys put on a great live show with lots of energy. M:pire Of Evil played a mix of old Venom songs as well as new material. Do you guys play any of those M:pire Of Evil original songs still or is that something you’ve kind of moved on from and you just stick to the Venom and the Venom Inc. stuff now?

Yeah we just stick with the Venom and the Venom Inc. stuff. We have thought about that but we thought no, M:pire is a completely separate entity for us. There is a new M:pire album ready. It’s ready to go it just needs bass and vocals put on. I think in January Tony [Dolan] is coming over to my studio and we’re going to finish the album off. It’s been sitting there in the can for a couple of years now. It would have been out and done by now if it hadn’t been for the Venom Inc. tour. We sort of have put M:pire on hold but it’s definitely not over. We still plan. We had a great time doing that band so that’s something that we want to continue but at the moment it’s difficult to do anything else to be perfectly honest, because of the live work that we’re doing. Even recording Avé we had to take time away from live shows to get the recording done because the deadline was tight but now that we’ve started touring again I mean, we’re going to be on the road forever I think. There’s offers coming in all the time and when we get back, I think we get back on October 6th, and we’ve got about a week or so off and then it’s European festivals then the first week of November we have a UK tour which spreads into a European tour and that won’t see us home until December 18th and then February we’re going to Japan and Australia and possibly back to America in March. That’s the plan that Jon Zazula had anyway but the Japanese shows are definite. So everything is just forging ahead. There’s going to be no time for anything. Even fitting another Venom Inc. album in is going to be difficult. We’ll have to take time away from touring again.

Cover of Avé by Venom Inc.

Cover of Avé by Venom Inc.

One thing I’ve been curious about is the line up of Venom Inc. is very similar to M:pire Of Evil. Of course the main difference, I think everyone knows, is that Abaddon is now on drums with you guys. So how did he end up connecting with you again and joining Venom Inc.?

It all came about when Tony Dolan did a Atomkraft show in Newcastle, our home town. And it was a sort of North East festival called Brofest which is a sort of old school new wave of British heavy metal festival. So he was asked to do an Atomkraft set and at that particular point I was still living in Newcastle so he said to me, “do you fancy jumping up for a couple of songs?” so he came to Newcastle, we went [to] our rehearsals. We went though a couple of the Atomkraft songs and I joined them on stage and there was a Canadian band I believe called Cauldron who do [a cover of the Venom song] “Die Hard” in their set and they asked me to jump up and do “Die Hard” with them so I did that. And there was a promoter from the Keep It True Festival, Oliver Weinsheimer, he was at that festival and so was Abaddon and he spoke to Abaddon and said, “I’m surprised that you didn’t get with those guys.” Well, to be brutally honest, at that point, myself and Abaddon, and Tony Dolan and Abaddon, we hadn’t spoken since 1998 after the big split in Venom. Tony received a call from Oliver and he said “Look, I’d like to book M:pire Of Evil for Keep It True.” It was at that point that Tony says, “Oliver has asked if Abaddon was there would you consider doing a few Venom songs?” and I have to admit at that point I said no. It was going to be a no go for me. But we spoke again and we sort of said, look it’s only going to be for five songs, maybe six and it’s just for the fans and we do the songs and then that’s it. It’s going to be a one off. So we all agreed to do it. We flew into Germany. We had no rehearsals whatsoever we just got the songs and rehearsed them at home. Went on stage, did the set. The reaction was incredible and then Tony’s phone was ringing off the hook the next day from promoters and agents that we had worked with and that’s when really we were booked for China and Japan. Then we got the call for Heavy Montreal Festival. And then it was a European tour and an American tour and like I said none of it was planned. We had to speak again and say, “look are we going to do this?” because I’ve got a life beyond what we just planned to do. So we all said, “Ok then, let’s just get on the bus and see what happens” and to me that’s what we’re doing, haha, just getting on the bus and seeing what happens. And now that we’ve got management and things obviously we’ve got guidance but up until that point it was nothing you know we were just doing it by ourselves. So it was all fan driven and it’s totally exceeded my expectations all together, including the album. It’s overwhelming to be perfectly honest, to think that we’re in such demand. This tour that we’re doing now which will be our third tour of duty in America and at the end of this tour that will be sort of 90 shows in America within I think a year, 18 months, something like that. And so we’re just working hard and whatever offers come in we look at them and nine times out of ten we say yes. But like I said, totally unexpected. We’ve got to thank the fans for that. It’s great.

One thing that’s been a bit of a point of debate among fans is Venom’s genre classification. Obviously you guys coined the term black metal but I’ve also heard you guys called by various people as speed metal, thrash metal, new wave of British heavy metal, all kinds of stuff. So what kind of sub genre of metal do you consider the music you play to be?

You know, obviously we gave the name to black metal, if you want to say we created it, we did. We had an album called Black Metal, we had a song called “Black Metal,” and what followed on after that was exactly the same as what we did to our heroes. Bands were looking at us and thinking “we can take it a stage further.” So black metal has evolved into what it is today. Without evolution you become extinct. That’s one thing I’m quite proud of, is to think that black metal is still around today and it’s very, very strong. Classification wise, do you know what it is? I think there’s too many genres and sub-genres around these days. Let’s get back under the flag of heavy metal. Me personally, I look at ourselves as just a heavy metal rock n’ roll band. That’s all I see us as. It’s all about the music for me. I’m not talking about the genres or sub-genres whatever people call us. I’m in a heavy metal band. It’s as simple as that.

That’s a cool way to look at that. There’s been a few metal bands with multiple incarnations recently like Entombed, Gorgoroth and Queensrÿche for example. Most of those bands seem to be tied up in lawsuits fighting over bands’ names. That doesn’t seem to be the case with you guys. Are you still amicable enough with Cronos? Is that something you’re not worried about or…?

No, no, no. I’ll stop you in your tracks right there. There’s absolutely no contact with that guy whatsoever. The bridges are firmly burnt. Yes we did receive a couple of lawyers’ letters at the beginning and I responded to both of them and we haven’t heard anything since. The thing is that I’m the founding member of Venom. Abaddon designed and hand drew the original Venom logo and Cronos was the last person to join, by invitation, and it was my invitation. And when he went out as Venom in 2005 I think it was when he started Venom, it was at that point that Cronos had called me regarding the license of an album and I just didn’t care. My head was firmly embroiled in family. Everything was about my mother at that point. She had cancer and essentially she was dying and she passed away in December of that year. And it was during the course of the conversation he asked me if I was ok with him continuing the Venom name and at that point I said “I don’t give a shit. I really don’t care what happens with the Venom name.” I wasn’t thinking about bands or anything. However he did not ask Abaddon and he said, “well if he had asked me I would have said no immediately. It just needs to be buried.” So that’s why I think it’s the fans and the promoters and the industry who are turning around now and saying that we are the real Venom. We’ve never once said that unlike Cronos who’s trying to stamp that point. I really don’t care about that. He can go out there and do what he wants to do with his two hired guns and we’ll go out and do what we do. And I mean Tony Dolan said, “Is it not better that you can go and see this guy and then you can come and see us?” And he just plays big festivals. We go into the smaller venues and we’re right in your face. So I don’t think there’s any confusion any more, let’s put it that way. People know who he is and what he does and people know who we are and what we do and that’s fine by me and that’s as far as it goes as far as I’m concerned.

Well for what it’s worth, I’ve seen you at least with M:pire of Evil and I thought you guys were fantastic live. I’m really excited to see you as Venom Inc. If it’s anything like the show I saw in DC about five years ago it should be really exciting. I’m looking forward to the one coming up here in Baltimore on October 2nd.

Oh don’t worry we will deliver. We will deliver.

Mantas at U Street Music Hall

Mantas at U Street Music Hall

Venom has been a huge influence on countless other metal bands over the years however I would like to know what your biggest influences are as a musician.

Ohhh. Well, the thing that changed my life was 1979, May the 28th, and it was Newcastle City Hall and it was Judas Priest on the Killing Machine Tour. My musical growing up occurred during the 70s so I came up through Slade and T.Rex and the Sweet and you know the sort of glam rocky era that was going on in England. And for me it was always something which was guitar driven. If there was guitars in the band I was fascinated by it as a kid. The first 7″ single that I ever bought with my own allowance money was “Seven Seas of Rhye” by Queen which I suppose was the first sort of dipping the toe into heavy rock. And then I remember being in a department store with my mum and there I just saw Kiss. I’d seen the Alive album and I was absolutely fascinated by these guys on the front but I couldn’t afford it at the time so there was a beaten up old copy of Hotter Than Hell behind it so I bought that. I’ve been a Kiss fan ever since, well you know, early Kiss obviously. But then, the guy that I started the band with, we met at a tae kwon do club, we were training together, and he had a guitar. He had a lot of metal. He was a little bit older than me so he was sort of into Deep Purple and stuff like that. So I discovered Purple through him and then we used to go to concerts all the time. The first concert I’d ever seen was Blue Öyster Cult. That was around ’77 I think. We went to everything, we’ve seen Rory Gallagher live. Like I said, anybody who had a guitar. But seeing Judas Priest, and I just remember being in the audience and looking at stage left as I’m in the audience and K. K. Downing was on and fucking, *pff* that was it. I just thought to myself, “this is what I want to do.” He just became like a distant mentor if you like. I was fascinated by his playing. He looked the epitome of a heavy metal guitarist. It was just all that kind of stuff and you just gotta hold up people. If someone said to me you could only listen to one guitarist for the rest of your life it would be Gary Moore. [I’m] a huge, huge Gary Moore fan. And I discovered Frank Marino on a Mahogany Rush album Mahogany Rush Live. I think he’s a phenomenal guitarist. And my other favorite guitarist is Zakk Wylde. So that whole sort of blues based guitarists that I like cause honestly I’m pretty old school when it comes to stuff like that. I’m not so much into the neoclassical shredders and all that kind of stuff. I’ve said many times in interviews now that I’ve got no desire to be looked upon as a virtuoso guitarist. When I’m on stage I see myself [as] more of an entertainer interacting with the crowd than some guy who stands there playing at a million miles an hour. But if someone was to offer me either one of two gifts, one would be to be the greatest guitarist the world had ever seen or to be the greatest songwriter the world had ever seen, I would choose the songwriter every single time. But yeah influences with all those tastes you know, Judas Priest, Motörhead. You know when I first heard Motörhead I was blown away by them as well. And I just used to search out anything I possibly could. So anything that was up and coming, anything that was going around. New wave of British heavy metal was around then obviously. At [the] time my favorite new wave of British heavy metal band was Samson, again a sort of more bluesy kind of a band. But yeah it was anything guitar driven I was just fascinated by it and I sort of made that decision and just gave it no option but to happen I suppose so here we are and it’s not over yet.

Are there any bands around, like newer bands today that you’re a big fan of?

I must admit I love Machine Head. I really do like Machine Head. You know you said newer bands, Machine Head is hardly a newer band, and I still like the Metallica boys as well. I still like that stuff but again they’ve got a few years under their belt, everybody has. I think metal went through a phase where it all started sounding the same to be perfectly honest with the production side of it and all that kind of stuff. Like I said I’m pretty old school. If I’m going to put something on at home it’s still going to be a Priest album or an early Kiss album or Gary Moore or something like that. I do like Dimmu Borgir but I’ve never really explored a lot of the newer bands. The time that I hear a lot of it is when we’re on tour and I have heard some good bands. Goatwhore are really good that we’re out with now but there’s an Australian thrash band called Desecrator. Everybody should check them out they’re really good and an English thrash band called Divine Chaos. They’re really good as well. We’ve been out with both of those bands and they’re excellent so check those two bands out.

Yeah I definitely will. Do you have any favorite song to play from your whole history of you know songs you’ve played?

Um, do you know what it is it’s difficult to choose. I mean, I still love doing “Countess Bathory,” I still love doing “Witching Hour,” “Black Metal,” “Live Like an Angel,” “Die Hard,” “Don’t Burn the Witch.” I don’t think I’ve got a particular favorite to play. They’re all just great fun to play. To see the audience reaction is phenomenal. It’s not a case of getting bored with those songs because some of those songs are like 35, 36 years old. I’ll never get bored with them. They’re just a joy to play. I mean who knew that people would be calling them classics these days. I was just a kid from Newcastle who wrote some songs and people dig them. That’s the way I look at it. But the things that surprises me is when I meet fans and they tell me that the effect that these songs have had on their lives it’s, it’s overwhelming. It’s great. Some days I can’t take it in because naturally I’m quite shy and I just stay in the background. On stage is a release for me but meeting the fans afterwards you got telling me all these things. All I’ve got to say is thank you. [It] comes from the bottom of my heart. It’s a big thank you because without those guys we wouldn’t exist. But I still enjoy doing all the songs, all the old songs.

Venom Inc. at Baltimore Soundstage

That’s about it for my questions here. I wanted to say thank you for taking time out of your day to talk with me and answer some questions here.

No problem.

It’s been really cool getting the chance to talk to one of the true legends of underground heavy metal and again I’m very excited to see you guys play at the Baltimore Soundstage on October 2nd. I know when I saw you with M:pire of Evil, one of the cool things I thought about your live performance, it’s just really cool seeing how much fun you guys are having on stage playing together. That’s something you can’t really fake. There’s a lot of bands, they’ll go out there and they’ll just go through the motions but you guys, like the way you interact with the crowd and the energy you’re putting out there, it’s a lot of fun to watch and a lot of fun to be at.

Yeah. I don’t think we could do it any other way because that’s who we are. That’s genuinely us on stage. We’re not play acting on there. I think that heavy metal fans, they’re very knowledgeable and if they know that you’re faking it, they know, and we don’t fake it. We go out there and we enjoy every moment on stage. I enjoy all the interaction with the crowd. It’s great. Like I said, for me it’s a release and that’s my point to meet the fans really. But nah we love it. We have such a blast playing together as well. So when you come down to Baltimore you’ll have to introduce yourself so we’ll have a chat.

Oh for sure, for sure. That would be my honor, thank you heh heh.

No problem.

Alright well thanks again for your time and I can’t wait to see you guys in Baltimore. It’ll be great.

Ok then my friend. I’ll see you very soon.

Alright. Take it easy.

Cheers now. Bye bye.

Bye.

Review of Exodus and Obituary at Baltimore Soundstage

Tampa took on San Francisco when the Battle of The Bays Tour came to Baltimore last weekend. DCHM contributor Metal Nick was there and he wrote this review of the show and shot all the photos and videos posted here as well.

On Saturday September 16th, 2017, the Battle Of The Bays Tour came through Baltimore, Maryland, at the Baltimore Soundstage. Power Trip, Obituary and Exodus make up the tour’s line up. Dust Bolt were scheduled to open the tour but, according to their statement, they were forced to cancel the first few shows due to Hurricane Irma delaying the German band’s travel plans.

First up was crossover rising stars Power Trip who are based out of Dallas, Texas. They are are currently supporting their latest album Nightmare Logic which came out in February of this year on Southern Lord Records. This is a great tour for these guys because, as they stated numerous times on stage during their set, they are huge fans of both Obituary and Exodus. They opened with the new record’s first track “Soul Sacrifice.” They played several older songs as well. When the breakdown during “Heretic’s Fork” hit the crowd certainly reacted in a good way for them. The band themselves had a lot of stage energy and their performance was on point. Right before Power Trip played their final song of the night, “Manifest Decimation,” you could tell that they had won over this Baltimore crowd already as a “POWER TRIP” chant had started up. This set was much better than the last time they played Baltimore Soundstage back in March during their headlining tour, mostly because their sound was lot better this time around.

Next up was Tampa Bay death metal legends Obituary. This was my fifth time seeing Obituary live and I must say, I feel they have revived their career over the last two albums they have released. On this tour Obituary is supporting their self titled release that came out on Relapse Records back in March. They opened their set with “Brave” the first track off that album. There was a lot of energy coming from the crowd as soon as Obituary started to play which made it easier for them to perform. Most of Obituary’s set consisted of songs of the self titled album, but as soon as they started to play “Chopped in Half” the pit opened up and there were bodies flying around. I felt that they have never sounded so good live. Maybe it is because Joe Cincotta was doing sound for them. Joe has done live sound for bands like Suffocation and Body Count and runs Full Force Studios. You know you are in for a good show if you see Joe doing sound. The crowd roared when Obituary started to play “Slowly We Rot” and a very large smile came across the face of vocalist John Tardy. All in all I feel this was the best performance I have seen from Obituary. I can’t wait to catch them on a headlining tour. Hopefully they will play more Cause of Death songs next time.

Last up was San Francisco Bay area legends Exodus. Drummer Tom Hunting hit the stage wearing a Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant jersey. Tom quickly stood on both his bass drums hyping the crowd up before the rest of the band took the stage. Much to my surprise Gary Holt took the stage next. I know sometimes he has to skip Exodus tours due to his latest gig in Slayer, but it was great to see him with the band he started. One by one the other members took the stage and the band kicked right into “The Ballad Of Leonard And Charles” off their album Exhibit B: The Human Condition. The Baltimore crowd greeted Exodus with loud roars and plenty of head banging and crowd surfing. The crowd did not hold back at all from showing their love and support for Exodus on this night. When the the song “Blood In, Blood Out” was being played the crowd was singing along for the entire chorus of the song. I love to hear stuff like that at a metal show. It shows that metal is still alive and well in our scene. This was only my second time seeing Exodus live so I am not sure if they play this song often, but they played “War Is My Shepherd” and that was another tune that the Baltimore audience was really into. The second to last song they played was one of my favorites, “The Toxic Waltz.” When I was a kid I would see that video on Headbanger’s Ball and I always remember the scene where a fan did an inverted stage dive. Unfortunately there was a barrier up tonight so no stage dives. When the bridge to the chorus of “The Toxic Waltz” came up the crowd was at their loudest singing every word with frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza. My only complaint about their set was that they did not play “Piranha” which is easily my favorite Exodus song, but I guess they can’t play them all. Their sound was great, I feel like they didn’t hold back at all for this rowdy Baltimore crowd. I loved their performance and wish I could catch this tour every night.

This was an amazing tour package. You had three bands that each had a different sound ranging from hardcore/crossover thrash, death metal and thrash metal. I had a great time at this show. It is very rare that I leave a show and say that all three bands sounded and performed great, but last night was definitely one of those times.

Power Trip – Crucifixation

Power Trip – Conditioned To Death and Heretic’s Fork

John Tardy of Obituary

John Tardy of Obituary

Donald Tardy of Obituary

Donald Tardy of Obituary

Trevor Peres of Obituary

Trevor Peres of Obituary

Tom Hunting of Exodus

Tom Hunting of Exodus

Gary Holt of Exodus

Gary Holt of Exodus

Steve 'Zetro' Souza of Exodus

Steve “Zetro” Souza of Exodus