Maryland Deathfest X Recap

Maryland Deathfest is the area’s biggest metal event every year and while it has taken me a few weeks to get through the mountain of photos and videos I shot at Maryland Deathfest X but I’m finally done! There’s so much stuff that I’ve actually broken this post up into several posts, this one and then one for each of the four days. You can see all of my MDF X photos and videos, including things that aren’t posted here, by going here for photos and here for my videos on YouTube. Also, I came across a site run from Las Vegas called Total Fucking Mayhem (check it out here) and they’ve got some quality video footage, sometimes much better than mine, that they’re are allowing me to use in this post as well. They also have some from bands I didn’t see so check out their YouTube page for those videos here.

Keep in mind I didn’t get a press pass for the fest so all the footage I shot was from the audience, moshers and crowd surfers going overhead just like everyone else. I did a lot of waiting to get up front for specific bands so I could get some good shots, but even so there are some I simply couldn’t get up close for since I still haven’t figured out how to be in two places at once. Also, I was pretty much stationary so I had to shoot whoever was on the side of the stage I was most of the time. Some bands I took more time to shoot for whatever reason, usually because they are a personal favorite of mine, and for some bands I don’t really love any of my shots of but hey when you shoot this many bands at once some are going to be much better than others.

I had a lot of fun at this years Maryland Deathfest, it was great meeting some fans of the site and handing out stickers, meeting people from all over and talking metal with them, and of course getting to see some rare and just plain kick ass performances. If you’d like to read the whole post you’re awesome and please start here, but if you’d just like to skip ahead to any one day you can do so below, or you can even just click on a band’s name below to read my paragraph about them and see my photos and videos of them as well.

Day 1: Thursday
Rorschach
Dying Fetus
Absu
Eyehategod
Agalloch
Autopsy

Day 2: Friday
Macabre
Napalm Death
Godflesh
Unsane
Setherial
Nasum

Day 3: Saturday
Looking For An Answer
Dragged Into Sunlight
Hellbastard
October 31
Morbid Saint
Archgoat
Horna
Brujeria
Morbid Angel
Tsjuder
Haemorrhage
Winter

Day 4: Sunday
Coke Bust
Disma
Demonical
Morgoth
Rwake
Ulcerate
Church Of Misery
Pentagram Chile
Saint Vitus
Electric Wizard
Sargeist
Bethlehem
Mortuary Drape

Maryland Deathfest X Day 1: Thursday

Back to the MDF menu page here.

When I arrived at MDF on the sold out first day, Thursday, the band that was playing was Rorschach. They’re an old school hardcore band from New Jersey that broke up in 1993 and didn’t reform until 2009. I didn’t get close enough to get any decent photos but I did shoot this video of them covering King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man. They were good but I didn’t really get into the show until the next band.

The next band to play was Maryland’s own death metal kings Dying Fetus. Their set wasn’t super long but they did play two songs from their upcoming new album, Reign Supreme. The band recently released a music video for the song From Womb To Waste featuring live footage shot at Maryland Deathfest that you can see here. I happened to shoot video of the same song, posted below, so think of it as a sort of preview for the official video. The song is good but really picks up at about 2:42 into the video when they launch into one of their famous break downs. I’ve seen Dying Fetus several times and while this set was a bit short it was still enough to get me into the whole MDF weekend mode.

John Gallagher of Dying Fetus

Sean Beasley of Dying Fetus

The next band to play was Absu, a black metal band from Texas and one of the staples of American black metal (or USBM for short). Their drummer, Proscriptor, is the main man of the band and it always cracks me up a bit how he constantly uses his “metal” voice on stage, even when addressing the audience between songs. Regardless, they put on a good show but were really just a small tease of the epic black metal that would be coming up later in the weekend. I shot a video of them playing Earth Ripper, the first song off their 2011 album Abzu.

Ezezu of Absu

Ezezu of Absu

Absu at Maryland Deathfest X

Ezezu of Absu

Vis Crom of Absu

Next was the New Orleans based sludge metal band Eyehategod. The crowd had been turning over a lot as I stood on the rail for band after band, and when Eyehategod was coming on the black metal heads made way for the crusties who got really rowdy for this performance. It was fun to be in the middle of but hard to shoot much so I didn’t get a lot of shots off. The show was good but I don’t think they played anything special really. I shot the first two videos below but the next two are from Total Fucking Mayhem.

Mike Williams of Eyehategod

Eyehategod at Maryland Deathfest X

Brian Patton of Eyehategod

Brian Patton of Eyehategod

The next band to play was Agalloch, from the Pacific Northwest, as they put it, though I think they’re from Portland more specifically. I thought their performance was the best of the night, and their set list was mostly songs from their first two albums, which was great if you ask me. The only real problem I had with their set was that John Haughm’s clean vocals were just off. Regardless, they played one of my favorite songs of theirs, Hallways Of Enchanted Ebony, and they also played You Were but a Ghost in My Arms for the first time ever live, even though it is from their second album, Mantle, that was released in 2002. I’ve got video of both of those songs below, so check em out. They certainly weren’t the heaviest band playing MDF but they got people moshing anyways.

Jason William Walton of Agalloch

John Haughm of Agalloch

John Haughm of Agalloch

Agalloch at Maryland Deathfest X

The final band of the night was the headlining act, Autopsy, a death metal band from the Bay Area. They had their reunion show at Maryland Deathfest two years prior, but since that show they aren’t a touring band and only play one off gigs here and there. I’m sure there were people who came out Thursday just to get to see them. Unfortunately there were technical difficulties that led to them starting their set 45 minutes late. They ended up getting cut off by the venue before their set was done, which was pretty shitty. The delay was pretty unprofessional, the MDF guys should have any and all back up gear ready for a headlining act so this lengthy of a delay doesn’t ever happen. However, they wouldn’t be the only headlining act to be delayed over the weekend and it was probably my one big complaint with the fest this year. Anyways, check out the four videos I shot of them below, as well as one more by Total Fucking Mayhem.

Eric Cutler of Autopsy

Eric Cutler of Autopsy

Joe Allen of Autopsy

Chris Reifert of Autopsy

Eric Cutler of Autopsy

Continue to day 2: Friday here.
Back to the MDF menu page here.

Review of Cavalera Conspiracy gig at the Rock And Roll Hotel

I was excited to see the Cavalera Conspiracy play the Rock & Roll Hotel on H Street in Washington DC on Wednesday the 12th of October 2011. The Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor, were founding members of one of my favorite bands when I was growing up, Sepultura. Sepultura, the Portuguese word for grave, formed in Belo Horizante, Brazil, in the early 80’s and by the mid-90’s they had become one of the biggest metal bands in the world. They arose from nothing to sell millions of records, and while the band changed their musical style several times I always enjoyed their material. That is until Max Cavalera left the band in December of 1996. He started his own band, Soulfly, which I never cared a whole lot for. Igor continued on with Sepultura for another 10 years (during that time he was not on speaking terms with his brother Max) though their output simply wasn’t as high quality nor interesting without Max. When Igor left Sepultura in 2006 he began talking to Max again and eventually they decided to form a new band. They were originally to be called Inflikted but even with the alternate spelling another band had already taken the name. They decided Cavalera Conspiracy at the Rock & Roll Hotelto rename the band as Cavalera Conspiracy and title their first album Inflikted. I thought the album was great, however I thought their second album, this year’s Blunt Force Trauma, wasn’t as good though it does have a few songs that stand out. I knew this concert would feature a mix of some Sepultura songs as well as their own material and I was really psyched. The Cavalera Conspiracy has played Baltimore a couple times, but for various reasons I couldn’t get to those shows. I hadn’t seen the Cavalera brothers play together since their last US tour with Sepultura in 1996 and to say I was fired up for this show is a bit of an understatement.

The concert started at 7:30 but I wasn’t interested in seeing any of the opening bands, Otep, Earth Crisis and local support act An Obscure Signal. Luckily I walked into the Rock And Roll Hotel right as the Cavalera Conspiracy was taking the stage, perfect timing. There weren’t as many people as I had expected at this show, maybe about 200. This was their Igor Cavalera of the Cavalera Conspiracyfirst ever DC appearance people! Anyways, the main thing I noticed about this show was that the sound SUCKED. This was probably the worst sound mix I’ve ever heard at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Now maybe it sounded better by the soundboard, as is often the case with clubs, but this was a metal show dammit. We push to get up front and mosh and go nuts up by the band, not stand in the back staring at our feet wondering why nobody loves me like it’s some hipster band. I get the feeling they had someone who isn’t familiar with mixing heavy metal bands just come in and jack up the bass because, y’know, it’s a metal band. At first I was watching the show on the right side of the stage and I couldn’t even hear the other guitarist, Marc Rizzo. Midway through the set I shifted to the left side of the stage which was better but still not great. All of the videos I shot (you can see them at the bottom of this post) were taken from that area, and you still can’t hear Rizzo’s guitars very well. The high ends were almost completely washed out in the mix, it was terrible. Luckily I know most of their songs, and all of the Sepultura songs, well enough to fill in parts in my head.

While I had a fun time at the show, Max seemed a bit out of it. When the band was playing Sepultura’s classic song Territory, he walked off stage and into the dressing room for about a minute. He came back Max Cavalera of the Cavalera Conspiracytowards the end of the song and finished it up with the band. However most of the night he seemed a bit, I dunno, like he was mostly just going through the motions maybe. Marc Rizzo was having a blast and just exuded energy, Igor was smiling at the audience between most songs and even the band’s bass player, Johny Chow, looked really excited to be there. Max may very well have been sick though, the band canceled their New York City show the following night, though I haven’t seen an official reason as to why. Regardless, it was cool seeing the Cavalera brothers back in action together and hearing them play some old Sepultura songs. They even played Troops Of Doom from their first album in 1986! There was also a sort of mash up medley of Arise and Dead Embryonic Cells. Sadly, they didn’t play anything from the Beneath The Remains or Schizophrenia albums. The song selection of their non-Sepultura material was pretty good as well. The early part of the set included a lot of songs I would just call ok off their latest album, however they did play some of my favorites like Sanctuary and I Speak Hate later in the set. Max did constantly insist to the crowd to fuck the place up and mosh, and most of the time the crowd obeyed however the strongest audience reactions were for the Sepultura covers. At one point Max introduced some guy Cavalera Conspiracy at the Rock & Roll Hotelnamed Richie and said he was a new member of the Cavalera Conspiracy family, and the guy did the vocals for one song. I have no idea who he was but he was tending the merch booth after the show. After playing for about an hour the band walked off stage to do the encore, and it seemed like they were waiting for the crowd to start chanting but it resulted in a sort of awkward state for a minute or two. Cavalera Conspiracy has far too many syllables for an audience to chant in unison and some people were looking around confused about if the show was over. The band did come back to play two more songs though, the final song being Roots Bloody Roots.

After the show Marc Rizzo came out and took tons of pictures with any fans that wanted one. I spoke with him for a couple minutes and he said Marc Rizzo of the Cavalera Conspiracyhe wants to come back with his solo act soon. If you’ve never heard his solo material you really should, it’s a bizarre hybrid of metal guitar shred and flamenco style guitar that would probably sound like shit if anyone else tried to pull it off. His technical prowess really makes it work and his transitions are seamless. He has a few albums but I think The Ultimate Devotion is his best if you’re interested in checking his solo stuff out. Anyways, in all I had a fun time at the show but due to the poor mix it still left me wanting to see them again soon, hopefully in a better setting. It was still really cool getting to see the Cavalera brothers play together again, something a few years ago I would have never thought possible. There’s just something I love about Igor’s very primal and tribal style of drumming combined with Max’s pissed off, revolutionary vocals and guitars that will keep me a fan of theirs for life. I can tell this is going to be one of those shows where I now go and listen to a bunch of their back catalog for the rest of the week. If you’d like to see more of my photos from this show, check them out on my Flickr site here. And if you’d like to hear how shitty the sound was at the venue, just watch the videos that I shot below.

Cavalera Conspiracy ticket give away

Cavalera Conspiracy is coming to the Rock & Roll Hotel on Wednesday 12 October 2011 and DCHeavyMetal.com is giving away a pair of tickets to a lucky one of you readers. All you have to do to enter to win is in the comments below post a classic old school Sepultura song title you’d like to hear them play that night. I’m sure they’ll have to play a few covers. If you don’t know any old Sepultura song titles (you call yourself a metal head?) you can check out their discography on the Metal Archives here and don’t pick any songs after 1997. On Monday the 10th of October 2011 at 6pm EST I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all the valid entries below to win the pair of tickets to this show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you when you win. And I won’t add you to any email lists or anything either, I hate spam as much as you do.

When I was in high school Sepultura was one of my favorite bands. The Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor, were founding members and in my opinion the backbone of that band. The Brazilian band really started taking off in the 90s, they had several videos all over MTV (back when MTV not only played music videos but metal ones even) and the band’s popularity was going upwards with each new release. However, Max ended up getting married to the band’s manager and she basically Yoko’d Sepultura and convinced him to go solo, forming his own band called Soulfly. I’ll just say they weren’t nearly as good as Sepultura. Sepultura didn’t fare much better, their popularity greatly diminished due to weaker releases after Max left. Igor didn’t talk to Max for years after the split. That is, not until after Igor himself eventually left Sepultura in 2006 and the two not only reconciled but to the delight of Sepultura fan boys like myself formed a new band together. Their first album, Inflikted, I really enjoyed and recommend checking that out if you haven’t. Anyways, the brothers haven’t played in DC since forming, though they did play Baltimore a couple times. I’m really psyched about this show! The opening acts will be Otep and Earth Crisis as well as Maryland based An Obscure Signal. If you simply can’t wait to get tickets you can pick them up from Ticket Alternative here for $22, they go up to $25 the day of the show. The doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:30. This is going to kick ass!

After you’ve entered the contest check out this wild video of Cavalera Conspiracy playing their song Sanctuary. Sorta reminds me of those beef jerky commercials with Bigfoot in them, but with more blood and that weird guy Sloth from the Goonies.

Psst… If this isn’t enough Sepultura nostalgia goodness for you, members of local bands Disciples Of Christ (D.O.C. for short), Mind As Prison and Drugs Of Faith, will be playing a special set of Sepultura covers the Thursday before Halloween. You can get more info on that at show’s Facebook event page here.

Three ticket give aways!

That’s right, in celebration of DCHeavyMetal.com entering its third year of existence, I’ve decided to hold a mega contest giving away a pair of tickets to three different upcoming metal shows! There will be three different winners, not one person getting all three. Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling me which of the three concerts you’d like to go to and I’ll use Random.org to pick three winners, one for each concert, on Monday the 19th of September 2011 at 6pm EST to win tickets. You can only win for one concert but you can enter to win for all three or whichever ones you’d like. Be sure to use a valid email address when you enter so I can tell you that you have won, though it doesn’t have to be visible in the post itself. Don’t worry I won’t add you to any email lists or anything annoying like that. Read below to see what the three metal concerts are, and choose wisely!

Choice One

On Wednesday the 21st of September the West Virginia based Karma To Burn is coming to the Rock & Roll Hotel. Karma To Burn is an excellent sludgy stoner band and they play a lot of instrumental songs, though some have vocals. To make this show even better, DC’s own Borracho will be opening. They are an excellent stoner act that you should be sure to check out if you haven’t already. Borracho recently put out their first LP titled Splitting Sky and this show would be a great chance to save on shipping and pick it up after seeing them play live. Local act King Giant was supposed to play this show but due to an injury to one of the band members they have had to cancel their appearance at this concert. If you don’t win or you just can’t wait, you can get tickets to this show here for $10.

Choice Two

On Friday the 23rd of September the brand new 2,000 person capacity Fillmore in Silver Spring will host its first ever metal concert! British metalcore band Bring Me The Horizon headlines a night of some of the best core bands coming from the UK and Australia such as Parkway Drive, Architects, While She Sleeps and Deez Nuts. And come on, if you win you can spend all week telling people you won tickets to see Deez Nuts. The Fillmore will have just opened on September 15th so this will be the first chance to destroy the place with some insane mosh pits! If you don’t win or you just can’t wait, you can get tickets to this show here for $23.

Choice Three

Kyuss Lives! is the name of the reformed version of legendary stoner band Kyuss featuring all the original members of the band except Josh Homme (he’s busy playing with super group Them Crooked Vultures these days). So now the band has Bruno Fevery on guitar but what’s really exciting is that they have been working on a new album and, assuming they play some of that on this tour, this show will be the first chance this area is going to have to hear new Kyuss material in over 15 years! To make things even better Texas based doom masters The Sword and Atlanta’s Monstro are opening. This show is on Saturday the 24th of September at the 9:30 Club and you know it’s going to be awesome. If you don’t win or you just can’t wait, you can get tickets to this show here for $30.

Metal Marathon – The Final 3 Days

Well this is the final post in my series covering my 11 metal concerts in 9 straight days, aka my Metal Marathon. Friday I finally got my car back so I could actually drive myself around to shows in my own damn vehicle, what a concept. This was good because the last three days of my Metal Marathon would see me going to four concerts that were each in a different venue.

The first show I was headed to was at Firehouse in Fairfax, Virginia to see a little known band from New York City called Meek Is Murder. Their debut album, Algorithms, wasn’t even out yet and I went into this show with no idea of what to expect of them musically. When I got there apparently none of the bands had arrived yet, so there was a bit of down time before the first act started. They were a local grind/experimental act named Gradius, I suppose after the old video game. They opened their set with an instrumental song I liked a lot. They all seemed to switch off doing back ups but the lead singer of the band was their drummer. He kept making faces the entire set while still pumping out some crazy beats and screaming too. They put on a highly energetic set and I didn’t mind the wait so much by the time they were done. Next up was the touring act Meek Is Murder. These guys were really something! I didn’t know what to expect but they played short songs with outbursts of raw brutality with some dissonant parts tying it all together. They seemed to play several songs all back to back and since I was not familiar with their material at all, it was hard to tell where one song ended and the next began, but that was ok, it worked well that way. There weren’t a lot of people there to see these guys, but it didn’t matter, they put on a killer show. The guitarist/vocalist Mike Keller was running around all over the place and at times I thought he might fall into the drum kit. The set ended a bit abruptly but it was certainly the highlight of the night for me. The next band to play was local grind act Drugs Of Faith. I had seen them play before, but the trio had a new bass player since then. Their set was about the same as I had remembered them, typical grind with a political bent. It wasn’t a bad set, but it was pretty hard to go up after Meek Is Murder that night. They did ask who was going out to the Dropdead show the next night in DC, which of course I already had my ticket for.

Saturday the 12th of March I headed to another venue I hadn’t been to before, St Stephen’s Church in Columbia Heights in Washington, DC. The headliner was the famous 80’s vegetarian power violence band Dropdead. Though I knew who they were the real reason I was there was to see some of the excellent local talent that was opening. Ilsa started the show off with a short but powerful set of their death/doom metal sound. It was a bit odd seeing them on such a big stage, but they pulled off their set really nicely. Their vocalist, Orion, still hardly looked at the audience, instead keeping his back to them most of the show. At least he didn’t puke anywhere this time! I’m pretty sure they played the same set on this night as they had when I saw them at the Corpse Fortress a few nights before (read about that here). The next band to play was Richmond’s Cough. They’re a doom band that really just crushes. They’ve got some very slooow parts that are just heavy as hell and they put on a really fun show too, lots of super slow motion headbanging. Great stuff and you like doom you should really check out their latest album, Ritual Abuse, if you haven’t already. The next band to play was a hardcore act that I was totally unfamiliar with named Wasted Time. They sure got the crowd going nuts instantly and there were big mosh pits and stage divers the rest of the night when they played. They weren’t really my thing though, just seemed like standard hardcore that didn’t stand out to me, but I’m no expert on the genre anyways. Apparently there were a few fights at the show during and/or after their set, and before the next band performed a woman who was helping to run the event told everyone that if people were drinking, doing drugs or fighting that shows would not be allowed to continue at the church. Someone else came up and gave a speech about voting for gay rights in Maryland and then finally DC’s best grindcore act, Magrudergrind, hit the stage! I’ve seen them a few times, including at Maryland Deathfest last year, but this was the best set I’ve ever seen them play live. They were even more energetic than usual and the band seemed like they were trying to outdo the audience at being out of control. Vocalist Avi Kulawy even did a stage dive into the crowd at one point (video of that below), eventually getting thrown back onto the stage just in time to start screaming into the mic again. The intensity was broken up once in a while between songs and Avi would talk about political issues, tho he didn’t make anything sound too preachy. In the end it was a great set and my favorite of the night. Next up was Dropdead, who was pretty entertaining but again, not really my thing. The vocalist was constantly moving about on stage and doing things with the mic cord, simulating hanging himself with it and swinging it around like a helicopter over the audience and other things like that. The songs were high energy and the audience seemed to eat it up, but I ended up leaving early to grab a (non-vegetarian) bite to eat.

Sunday the 13th of March 2011 was the ninth and final day of my Metal Marathon, but I had a double header lined up, and this time the venues weren’t just blocks away like they were on the first day in Richmond. First I was going to see Trap Them and Gaza play at Jaxx. The actual headliner for the show was The Red Chord but I didn’t care about seeing them and was going to see Apocalyptica at the 9:30 Club afterwards. The 9:30 Club had two concerts that day too, so the Apocalyptica show’s doors didn’t open til 10pm and there was also an opener. But I’m getting ahead of myself, first I got to Jaxx to see the new band To The Teeth open the show at Jaxx. I’d been meaning to catch these guys and I’m glad I finally got a chance to. Not really sure how I’d define them exactly, sort of a thrashy hardcore band (but not the chugga chugga breakdown kind) with some death metal elements in there too. They were pretty good for such a new band, I look forward to catching them again and recommend them to anyone reading this. The next band was another local act, this time a grind band named In Hell With Traitors. They had three members, a vocalist, a guitar player with fake blood dripping down his face and the drummer/backup vocalist who was wearing some bloody surgeon scrubs. They were ok for grind, they certainly had their violent outbursts and brutal riffs and all, but in the end they didn’t really stand out a whole lot to me. They were a good opener for this show though, and Gaza was up next. Gaza had been on the schedule as the second to last band but I guess Trap Them was going to play after them. Their singer is a very tall and lanky guy who seemed to pace around the stage like a caged daddy long legs. He had a suit tie wrapped around his head and enjoyed making lots of jokes about Christianity between songs. At one point he jumped off the stage without his microphone and walked around, not in the audience but behind them, while yelling out “there is no future in this” over and over. I’m not sure if that’s how one of their songs is supposed to start or if he was just spazzing out, either way it was something I hadn’t seen before. Gaza was good live, but next was the real reason I came to this show, Trap Them. Their latest album, Darker Handcraft, is just totally awesome and one of the best metal albums I’ve heard so far this year. These guys came out with a fire raging that never left during their entire set. They have some kick ass songs with various levels of brutal, catchy and just plain aggressiveness in each one. They were not easy to watch and just stand there and shoot pictures of. I really wanted to be running around smashing shit during their entire set (the Jaxx staff should be glad I was carrying cameras!). Their vocalist, Ryan McKenney was going nuts the entire show and even climbed one of the amp stacks during the set and continued to bark out vocals from up there. The drummer was getting so pumped he’d actually stand up during parts of songs while still playing and never missing a beat. The tunes were great, the performance was great and the energy was awesome, this was definitely one of the best sets I saw on my entire Metal Marathon. Sometimes you get lucky and catch a band when they’re at their peak both performance wise and with their material, and this was one of those concerts. When they finished I resisted the urge to run down the street kicking trash cans and instead headed out to get some food and then made my way to the 9:30 Club.

I got to the 9:30 Club a bit later than I wanted, but I still found great parking right by the venue and got my photo pass set and went into the show before they started playing. There was a three song limit for the photo passes, which means us ‘pro’ photographers have to be out of the photo pit when the third song is over. That’s kind of annoying but I think I got some great shots anyways. This wasn’t the first time I’d seen Apocalyptica so I had an idea of what to expect, a cello based band that plays metal covers as well as some original material (some with a vocalist, some without) and a few classical pieces as well. This show’s setlist was just that, with the original material focusing on the latest album, 7th Symphony, and a few singles. They had a different guy singing for them now, and there were only three guys playing cellos, they had four when I’d seen them in May of 2008. The band is nothing if not showmen, and they love posing for the audience as well as throwing their hair around like a helicopter, picking their cellos up over their heads and various other things to really get the crowd going. The main thing I’ve always liked about these guys are their covers. They played three by Metallica and two by Sepultura. It was funny how the audience all sang along to Apocalyptica’s version of the Metallica song One yet when they played the next song, Refuse/Resist by Sepultura, everyone seemed to stare blankly, haha. The show was entertaining, even during their original songs, which are the ones I tend to be the least interested in. After getting kicked out of the photo pit I shot several videos (Apocalyptica is one of those cool bands that doesn’t mind fans shooting video of them at the 9:30 Club) and I even shot their entire encore set, which you can see below. The show ended late but it was a great way to end my 11 metal concerts in 9 days Metal Marathon. My car broke down, I hitched rides to other cities, but I still made it to every show! I hope you guys have enjoyed it as much as I have on this adventure, it really was a fun experience not just going to all the concerts, but meeting people and overcoming the shit life throws at you to get to every concert. Perhaps I’ll do another one sometime, but until then you can enjoy these selected videos from the final three days of my Metal Marathon. If you like the photos scattered throughout this entry you can find more of those on my Flickr page, I even made a special set just for the Metal Marathon concerts here and I’ve got a lot more videos on my YouTube page here. I’m a bit behind on my reviews and calendar right now, but keep an eye out for an Agalloch concert review next. Stay metal everyone!

Recap of King Giant gig at the State Theatre

Saturday the 29th of January 2011 was a big night for metal at the State Theatre. On that night they hosted their first metal show that wasn’t part of the Mandatory Metal series. King Giant headlined the show and it was pretty awesome. The band was joined by The Crimson Electric from Virginia Beach, Throwdown Syndicate from DC and Death Penalty from Falls Church. There was a good sized audience and even a few special appearances on the stage by some noteworthy members of the area’s metal scene. I’ve been to all the metal shows at the State Theatre and this was probably the most fun for me, though really I have enjoyed them all. Here’s my recap of what went down that night, band by band, with some of my photographs throughout as well as all my videos of the night embedded at the bottom of this post.

The first band to play was Death Penalty. They’re a thrash band with a big 80’s era influence, which was pretty obvious when they did covers of Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden. Apparently they don’t usually cover so many songs, but they’ve had line up issues of late that necessitated them for this show. Matt Aub, the singer/guitarist from Timelord came out on stage and sang with them for The Trooper. I’ve got video of that below but for some reason my camera cut it off about 3 and a half minutes in. They played a few original songs too, and their thrashing energy made for a good opener to get the audience into a metal show. Death Penalty has posted the audio from this show on their Facebook page here (it’s in the column on the left in the “music player” section).

The next band up was Washington DC’s Throwdown Syndicate. They are a three piece band that describes themselves as “ghetto metal” and vocally has a lot of rap and hip hop elements. Now before you start thinking of those 90s era rap metal bands, they weren’t like that. More like a hard core metal band with a street style rap and vocal patterns. I’m really not knowledgeable enough of that genre to get more descriptive than that though. Rap has never really been my thing but I can see there being an audience for this. I could see them sharing a bill with Magrudergrind, another DC metal band who uses hip hop influences. I think people in the audience were a bit mixed, probably reflecting their like or dislike of rap more than of the band itself. Still, they did have a heavy sound and I could hear a bit of that Bad Brains style DC hardcore sound in there.

The Crimson Electric was the next band to hit the stage. They came up from Virginia Beach and had played a show with King Giant the night before in Richmond. I’d never seen them before and didn’t really know much about them other than they were a stoner band of some sort. They put on a good show and I really enjoyed them. The singer wandered around on the stage a bit, but always seemed to hold my attention. The band seemed very laid back and relaxed on stage, almost like you were catching them at a normal band practice except they were on the State’s big stage with great lighting and all these people watching them. Though the singing is much less coarse, the band is really a great pairing of stoner/doom to go along with the headliner, King Giant. They also have posted a bunch of their music for free download here. Go get some of that, it’s definitely worth it!

By the time King Giant hit the stage the venue was getting pretty full. They’re always a fun band to see live, and while they didn’t play Burning Regrets at all (a personal favorite of mine) they did play a new song to start the show off. They played another great set of their southern doom metal and the audience response seemed to be great, they got lots of applause and cheers after every song. On stage they mentioned Jon, the contest winner from DCHeavyMetal.com, as they introduced their final song of the night. He asked them to play Needle And The Spoon, a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover that is a bonus track on their full length album. They surprised me and just about everyone in attendance when they brought out Victor Griffin of Pentagram to play a third guitar for that song (I’ve got video of that below, must see!) and even had him play a solo too. That song was by far the highlight of the night, and a great way to cap an excellent performance and dammit, that was just a great DC metal moment. If you haven’t seen these guy play live yet, you really need to get off your ass and check them out.

As always you can find more of my concert photography on my Flickr page with shots from this and tons of other metal concerts. And I don’t know if the turn out for this concert was the reason why or not, but the State Theatre put up on their Twitter page that they will in fact NOT be canceling their local metal shows. You can see that post here. I’ll keep you all posted as to any future events for that of course, and hopefully will have some more contests too. For now, check out the videos I shot at this awesome show: