Meshuggah ticket give away

Meshuggah at Fillmore Silver Spring

Mother’s Day is a special day and this year it falls on Sunday, May 12th. There’s no better excuse for forgetting to call your dear ol mum than going to see the mother of all technical djent bands, Meshuggah, at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Mother’s Day! We’re pretty psyched every time Meshuggah makes the trip from Sweden to tour the US but this time around they’re bringing The Black Dahlia Murder with them so you know it will be a killer show from start to finish! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Meshuggah or TBDM song is! Then on Friday, May 10th at 4pm the contest will close and I’ll pick the contest winner from all valid entries using Random.org. The winner will receive a free pair of tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email 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 Live Nation here. Now check out these videos of the bands and let me know what your Meshuggah or The Black Dahlia Murder song is!

Meshuggah – Clockworks

The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers

Review of Meshuggah at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Many of you that go to concerts regularly in our area may know Metal Nick for some of the awesome photos and videos he shoots of metal bands. Well last Sunday he was at the Fillmore to photograph the Meshuggah and High On Fire tour for DCHM and he wrote up this review to go with them. Enjoy!

On Sunday, November 6th, 2016, Meshuggah and High On Fire rolled through Silver Spring, Maryland, at the Fillmore Silver Spring. This was the final show of the tour to support Meshuggah’s latest album, The Violent Reason of Sleep. High on Fire opened the show. The building had filled in quickly so they performed in front of a large crowd. Their live shows have always been full of large, crushing, sludgy guitars and drums which set the mood with the crowd almost immediately. After they finished their first song vocalist Matt Pike yelled out “Hello Baltimore!” I am not sure if that was a joke or he really thought he was in Baltimore. Once the drums started rolling in the beginning of “Turk” a huge roar of joy came from the crowd, it seems that was the most anticipated song of the night. They played for 35 minutes and surprisingly the Meshuggah fan base was really welcoming to their sound.

Meshuggah went on next and came out to a really creepy sounding intro that fit the vibe of their live show. They opened with the first track off The Violent Reason of Sleep titled “Clockworks” which made the audience at the Fillmore go crazy. It wasn’t long before the crowd surfers started coming over the rails, even Ant Scot, the famous wheelchair crowd surfer, made an appearance. Their progressive metal sound was complimented well with their flashy strobe light that very rarely contained any color lights. All in all their set was very enjoyable consisting mostly of songs off their last three albums with a few older tracks sprinkled throughout the set. One tune I was surprised to hear was the 9 minute song “Dancers To A Discordant System” off the Obzen album. Throughout the night there were a lot of chants for “Bleed” and when Meshuggah finally played it the pit became more aggressive. They closed their set with their classic song “Future Breed Machine,” off of the 1994 album Destroy Erase Improve, which is always a huge crowd pleaser. I would say that if you haven’t seen this tour go check it out, but this was the final date of this particular tour, hopefully both bands will hit the road and come through again in 2017.​​​​

Matt Pike of High On Fire

Matt Pike of High On Fire

Jeff Matz of High On Fire

Jeff Matz of High On Fire

Des Kensel of High On Fire

Des Kensel of High On Fire

Ant Scot riding high

Ant Scot riding high

Jens Kidman of Meshuggah

Jens Kidman of Meshuggah

Dick Lövgren of Meshuggah

Dick Lövgren of Meshuggah

Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah

Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah

Opeth and The Sword ticket give away

Opeth and The Sword at the Fillmore Silver Spring

The legendary Swedish prog metal band Opeth is touring with Texas based doom metal masters The Sword which comes to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Friday, September 30th, 2016! We’re so psyched to see these two great bands together that we’re giving away a pair of tickets to this very show to one of you lucky DCHM readers! These bands are from two very different subgenres of heavy metal so to enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite heavy metal subgenre is. From traditional to funeral doom metal to crabcore to brutal slam sci-fi tech death metal, any metal subgenre is valid as long as it is your favorite! On Tuesday, Sept 27th at 5pm EST the contest will close and I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email 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 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 Live Nation for $35 here.

Opeth have been one of the leading bands in the progressive metal world since they released their debut album, Orchid, back in 1995. The band’s 12th studio album, Sorceress, is being released on the very same day as this show. That means we’ll be some of the first to hear these new songs live, as well as some of the band’s older classics from throughout the years as well. But let’s not forget the opening act on this tour, The Sword. Normally a headliner in their own right, The Sword will be opening shows on this tour with their catchy brand of doom metal. It’s not every day you get to see two great bands from such different subgenres on the same bill so this is not a show to be missed. Check out these videos from the bands below and tell me what your favorite heavy metal subgenre is!

Opeth – The Wilde Flowers

The Sword – Lawless Lands

Opeth – The Grand Conjuration

Devin Townsend ticket give away

The Devin Townsend Project at the Fillmore Silver Spring

In case you didn’t know, DCHeavyMetal.com turns 7 years old this weekend. To celebrate we’ll be doing a bunch of give aways throughout September. It just so happens that the Devin Townsend Project is playing the Fillmore Silver Spring on Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 and we are giving a pair of tickets away to the show! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Devin Townsend song is. It can be from any of his eponymous projects, Strapping Young Lad, even Casualties Of Cool is fair game. Then on Monday, Sept 12th at 12pm EST the contest will close and I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email 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. Please don’t enter if you can’t go, this contest ends so close to the show time that I might not have time to pick another winner if you can’t go. 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 Live Nation for $25 here.

I suppose guitar virtuoso Devin Townsend can be called a legend of progressive metal, though really his music is more “out there” than what is typically considered prog. The brand new DTP album, Transcendence came out today (Fri, Sept 9th) and this tour will be our first chance to hear Heavy Devy play some of those songs live. Also on the bill is the North Carolina based progressive Between The Buried And Me. BTBAM seems like a perfect support band for Devin Townsend, I’m surprised I haven’t seen them tour together before. The opening act is Fallujah, a proggy deathcore band that is actually from San Francisco, not Afghanistan. Check out these videos of the bands below and let me know your favorite Devin Townsend song!

Devin Townsend Project – Failure

Between The Buried And Me – The Coma Machine

Fallujah – Abandon

Empire’s final concert

It was the best of venues, it was the worst of venues. Empire, Jaxx, Zaxx, whatever you called the movie theater turned concert venue located at 6355 Rolling Road in Springfield, Virginia, it was certainly one thing: the most important venue in Northern Virginia to heavy metal fans. It had been a club that transitioned through a few names and hosted many bands of various musical genres but it wasn’t until Jay Nedry took it over in 1994 that the venue became Jaxx. Jaxx became a place to see rock and heavy metal bands come through on tours and they would regularly book performances by underground and European metal bands that you just couldn’t see anywhere else in the area. In January 2012 new ownership took over Jaxx and rebranded the nightclub Empire. I personally attended literally hundreds of concerts at Jaxx/Empire over the past 20 years or so, far more than I’ve seen at any other concert venue.

It was pretty surreal going to Empire/Jaxx’s last concert on Sunday, May 3rd of 2015. I wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t the venue’s final show ever and I think a lot of people there would have said the same thing. I said hi to lots of friends, most of whom I’d been to concerts with at the venue in the past, and I talked to a lot of the staff throughout the night. I had a lot of great concert memories at this place. I remember seeing Arch Enemy on their first US tour with Angela Gossow on vocals there and people were blown away by her stage presence. I remember seeing David Vincent’s sweaty return to Morbid Angel there, a sold out show where the AC didn’t work. I got drunk and saw Napalm Death play there on Easter one year. I saw Electric Wizard open for Macabre and Enslaved there (the only metal show I ever convinced my mom to attend with me). I saw plenty of other shows with eclectic line ups like when King Diamond played with Entombed and when Cannibal Corpse, Dimmu Borgir, The Haunted and Lamb Of God all shared the stage for a night. I remember taking a piss in that awful men’s room troth while talking to Lord Worm of Cryptopsy as he cleaned live worms in the sink to feed to fans from the stage. It was at Jaxx that Rob Dukes, at the time the vocalist for Exodus, stage dived right on top of me while he was wearing a cheerleader costume during Kreator’s encore, all while I was shooting video. These memories and more floated through my head at the final show.

But it was a show, not some flashback montage, and while my mind often wandered throughout the night there was plenty to remind me that hindsight isn’t always 20-20, it has a way of looking at things through those rosy lenses of nostalgia. The same old problems the venue had were still very apparent at the final show. The farewell show itself had way too many bands on the bill, a total of eight, only two of which were on the tour package. I had brought my nice camera hoping to take some shots of the final show but the lighting was so bad for most of the bands I didn’t even feel like bothering. And of course the same old issues of bands not being allotted enough time, or being put in the right order, were glaring. Locals Iris Divine and Oberris had been on the bill for several weeks before the announcement on April 23rd (here) that Empire would be closing on May 5th, though once word of that got out bands started jumping on to the line up. I can understand that, but the bands that were already busting their asses to promote the show shouldn’t have been bumped to play earlier and had their amount of stage time reduced. The sound guy cut off Iris Divine’s set mid song, which I thought was a technical issue at first. Then Yesterday’s Saints played, and their set wasn’t bad but I’ve seen grindcore bands put on longer sets than they were allowed to play, something like 15 minutes. A shame since they had driven home from Louisville, Kentucky the night before to be able to play this show. The final local to play, A Sound Of Thunder, was also cut off while on stage. It was all just handled poorly and left most of the locals feeling slighted to differing degrees.

After a longer break than Yesterday’s Saints was even allowed to play the first touring band came on. Next To None is a lesson on what nepotism can get you. The Pennsylvania based prog band is made up of teenagers aged 15 to 17, the most notable being Max Portnoy, son of the famous ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy. Mike was even on hand to introduce his son’s band at the start of their set. I guess they were technically proficient but like most bands made up of kids, they don’t really do much besides mimic other bands. There wasn’t anything new or innovative about what they were doing, it was well rehearsed and safe, but they’re just teenagers so I guess you have to cut them some slack. I could totally see them touring with Unlocking The Truth and playing shows for younger kids.

After Next To None finished it was time for Haken to perform. I had heard they were planning a two and a half hour set this evening, which I suppose is fairly normal for prog bands, though it actually ended up being a little under 2 hours. The band is based in London and I believe this was the final date of their first US tour. I wish they had gotten a band that had played Jaxx many times over the years to close the place out, or even one that had played it once before, but that wasn’t really a practical request. The Haken vocalist, Ross Jennings, made some comments between songs about the closing a few times, wondering why the place was closing because it was so awesome and commenting that it was a strange privilege to be the last band to play there. The crowd had thinned out quite a bit by the time Haken got to their scripted encore, though the final two songs were definitely the highlight of their set. To close out the venue they played a cover of Metallica’s “Fade To Black” then Mike Portnoy got behind the drum kit and Haken covered “The Mirror” by Dream Theater to end the set, their tour, and the venue’s history of concerts.

At the end of the show I hung out and talked to a few friends while the bands tore down their gear. Eventually I said goodbye to the staff as well, who have always been good to me (going back to the Jaxx days) but that probably has something to do with the blog I run, local bands seem to have mixed reviews. The show was over but I didn’t want to say goodbye to the venue, I think I was the last person to leave that wasn’t an employee or part of the tour. I’ve spent a lot of time in that place, complained about plenty of its problems over the years, but I still kept coming back. When I first started going to see concerts that weren’t at giant amphitheaters or arenas Jaxx was there to let me see the bands I was into perform live, and to discover more bands as well. Jaxx was there showcasing locals from around the region before I even knew of any of our local bands. When I first started attempting concert photography, several years before I started this blog, the first shows I shot were Behemoth and Watain at Jaxx. I lived about a mile down the road from Jaxx for a few years as well, sometimes if I was bored on a particular night I’d check their calendar for what was playing that night and head over if it sounded interesting, or at least not terrible. Empire/Jaxx had a lot of problems though. The room wasn’t a great shape and the speakers were set up in a way that the sound was really bad in several areas of the room, and there were the days the AC would be turned off in the summer to increase drink sales at the bar. On some nights Empire would actually charge for water at the bar, a practice that isn’t illegal but is pretty underhanded and potentially dangerous. However the most polarizing aspect of the venue was always its pay to play policy, which had the local bands pre-selling tickets to the shows they were added to. It was great that they allowed locals to play on a stage that size but it was awful that they had to shake down their friends time and again to do so. Many bands boycotted playing the venue because of this policy, and many people refused to even see shows there because of the policy. The fact that after the closing announcement was made so many people took to social media to comment about it, even people that hated the venue and were glad to see it go, is a testament to the impact it had on our area’s metal scene.

Empire/Jaxx definitely wasn’t perfect, no concert venue is, but it is the one we had for so many years, a constant in our metal scene. This is officially the first day that there is no Empire, no Jaxx, in Springfield. It has been bought by the kabob restaurant next door, they want to expand to add a banquet hall for weddings and other special occasions. There is a part of me that is sad to see the end of Empire/Jaxx. I made a lot of friends and memories there, I saw many bands close up, and I probably wouldn’t be the metal concert addict that started a local metal blog if it didn’t exist for all those years. But like the overdue end to a long term relationship, I’m also glad that I don’t have to put up with its bullshit any more either.

Behemoth at Jaxx in 2007
The first concert I ever shot, I’d like to think I’m a little better by now

Rob Dukes stage dives on me while Kreator plays at Empire

Animals As Leaders ticket give away

Animals As Leaders at the 9:30 Club

Instrumental progressive band Animals As Leaders are headlining the 9:30 Club on Saturday, May 17th. This is a show will be an instrumental music fan’s dream come true as none of the three bands playing have a vocalist. I love instrumental bands and to help get you into them too we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets to this show. To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite instrumental song is. From Metallica’s Orion to Watain’s Lawless Darkness to Animals As Leaders’ own CAFO, any instrumental song will count as long as you love it! At 5pm EST this Friday, May 2nd, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email 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 right now for $20 from Ticket Fly here.

Animals As Leaders members Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes were both from the DC area originally before relocating to California to form Animals As Leaders. Their incredible musicianship and technical prowess has earned them fans all over the world though you can bet this show will feel something like a home town show of sorts. Also playing is Conquering Dystopia, an instrumental band featuring guitar wiz Keith Merrow and Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore) on guitars, Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse on bass and Alex Rüdinger, drummer for The Faceless. This band has quite the pedigree but their self titled debut album shows that they not only live up to expectations, but exceed them with a level of technicality and aggression few can match. The opening act is Chon, a progressive instrumental band from San Diego. All three of these bands can really play and this show is on a Saturday night so you don’t have the school-night excuse for missing this one. Now check out these killer tunes by the bands playing and tell me what your favorite instrumental song is!

Animals As Leaders – Lippincott

Animals As Leaders – CAFO

Conquering Dystopia album teaser

Chon – Sketch