Early November Concert Recap

I went to a few shows last week that were all great and I shot a lot of photos and videos and thought I’d share them here with you all. Mercyful Fate, Katatonia and the Dave Sherman Benefit show were all great experiences, I’m so glad live concerts are back this year.

Mercyful Fate

First up was the return of Mercyful Fate at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Tuesday, November 8th. Teutonic thrash legends Kreator were the first band I saw as it took me 25 minutes (and cost me a bottle opener on my key ring) to get into the venue leading me to miss opener Midnight. King Diamond has toured the US several times since Mercyful Fate’s last US tour in 1999 but fans have long been whispering rumors of a proper Mercyful Fate tour. With a blood moon lunar eclipse in the sky and midterm election results coming in time was standing still as Mercyful Fate took the stage. You never really know if a band as old as Mercyful Fate is going to live up to the hype live but I think it is quite safe to say that this show did. King Diamond’s voice held up well and the band had great energy on stage along with a beautiful stage set up and lighting. They played a set list full of classics and a new song off an upcoming album that is yet to be named. I didn’t have a photo pass for this show, all my shots were from the audience on my phone, but I think I got a few decent ones, and I got video footage of the new song “The Jackal of Salzburg” as well as my personal favorite Mercyful Fate song, “A Dangerous Meeting.”

Click here to see all of my concert videos on YouTube.

Click here to see all of my photos from this concert on Flickr.

Mercyful Fate – The Jackal of Salzburg

Mercyful Fate – A Dangerous Meeting

Kreator – Flag of Hate / Pleasure to Kill

King Diamond of Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Mike Wead and Hank Shermann of Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Mercyful Fate set list 11/8/2022

Katatonia

The next night I found myself at the Black Cat to see Swedish doom band Katatonia along with the German prog band The Ocean. Again I missed the opener, Cellar Darling in this case, and I’m starting to wonder if it is just me or if shows are starting earlier now since the pandemic. This was the first night of the US tour and I wasn’t sure what kind of set list Katatonia would play, mostly newer stuff or and older “best of” style set. They played a pretty good mix with 5 songs off of The Great Cold Distance album and they even played their new song “Atrium” live for the first time ever at this show. Jonas Renkse’s voice sounded great and the band seemed fresh and really into the entire 90 minute show. The lighting has never been stellar at the Black Cat and since I just had my phone with me I didn’t get many decent shots of either band, but I did get some great video footage of Katatonia, which you can peruse below.

Katatonia – Old Heart Falls

Katatonia – Deliberation

Katatonia – Teargas

Katatonia – Leaders

Katatonia – Atrium first time ever played live

Katatonia -Evidence

Katatonia at the Black Cat

Katatonia at the Black Cat

Katatonia set list 11/9/2022

Video clip of The Ocean Collective

Dave Sherman Benefit

The following Saturday, the 12th of November, I headed up to Frederick, Maryland, for the Dave Sherman Benefit show at Cafe 611. The gig was a benefit show for the family of the late, great Dave Sherman. It was also something of a memorial show for the legend of the Maryland doom metal scene after his untimely death in September, but I’ve gotta say it was a pretty uplifting and positive experience. People were happy to see each other and most of the bands played some sort of cover or tribute to Sherm during their sets. The first band went on at 3pm, which was way too early for me to get there, but I did make sure I left in time to catch Victor Griffin and his band Place of Skulls. I guess they took too long setting up because several songs were cut out of their set and they ended abruptly after playing a cover of Pentagram’s “Relentless” (which wasn’t even on their set list). Still, it’s always cool to see Victor Griffin play live. Next up was Foghound and they put on a super high energy set and got everyone in the audience to raise their hands like how Dave Sherman would imitate riding a motorcycle. After they played it was time for another great set by Borracho. The DC based stoner band has been working on some new material and playing some of the songs live here and there and I managed to get video footage of a brand new song the first time they ever played it live that night. They closed their set with a Spirit Caravan cover, one of Dave Sherman’s bands, and I’ve got footage of that below as well. Faith in Jane closed out the show and the crowd was dwindling by the time they took the stage a little before 1am but the people that were there still had some energy! Faith in Jane had some technical difficulties but even so they still somehow seem to get better each time I see them, and this time was no exception. I wish I had been able to catch Pimmit Hills and some of the other earlier bands but I still enjoyed every minute of the sets by the four bands I did catch. I’m not one to believe in any kind of afterlife but I know that Dave Sherman would have been happy and proud to see all the joy in the room and on stage that night because of him.

Place of Skulls – Lost

Foghound – Turn Off the World

Borracho – Architects of Chaos – Part 1 first time ever played live

Borracho – Fang Spirit Caravan cover

Faith in Jane I don’t know this song’s name

Victor Griffin and Place of Skulls at Cafe 611

Foghound at Cafe 611

Borracho at Cafe 611

Steve Fisher of Borracho at Cafe 611

Faith in Jane at Cafe 611

Faith in Jane at Cafe 611

Faith in Jane at Cafe 611

Local picks for Bandcamp Friday

I just thought that I’d throw together a list of some recent local metal releases for Bandcamp Friday (or whenever you’re reading this).


BorrachoPound Of Flesh
Release date: 6 August 2021
It’s hard to believe that it has been 5 years since DC’s best stoner metal band has released a full length but Pound of Flesh is finally here!


So Be ItLet The End Begin
Release date: 6 August 2021
So Be It is a death/thrash band based out of Silver Spring that is dropping their second full length today for Bandcamp Friday. Cathy riffs abound on these mosh pit friendly songs.


GrishkaDeath Throes Radio Vol 1. – Grishka Live Set
Release date: 6 August 2021
Grishka is a new extreme metal band that actually formed during the pandemic era of no concerts. They did live perform on a Death Throes Radio livestream event back in April and the audio from their entire 17 minute set is now up on Bandcamp. Be sure to check out their debut album (here) if you haven’t yet!


Misery IndexCoffin Up the Nails
Release date: 20 July 2021
This release by death/grind band Misery Index isn’t a proper album but a collection of covers and demo versions of other songs scattered among b-sides and such of previous releases. The Bolt Thrower and Sepultura covers are worth the price of admission alone though!


Spiral GraveLegacy of the Anointed
Release date: 16 July 2021
When Iron Man founding member Al Morris passed away in 2018 the remaining members of his band regrouped with Willy Rivera of Lord to form Spiral Grave. This is the doom band’s debut full length and while it has a freshness to it you still get that classic Maryland doom metal sound too.


Blunt Horse / Grilth – split
Release date: 16 July 2021
Blunt Horse is a proggy sludge band from DC and this split with Grilth (who are from upstate New York) includes three tracks of the band showing their wide range but always keeping it weird.


UnendlichParadox of a Broken World
Release date: 9 July 2021
Unendlich is a local one man black metal band that plays in a more aggressive style of the genre. This fourth full length album is the band’s first since the pandemic took hold in early 2020 and it was worth the wait!


Honey Spreader / Reeking Cross – split
Release date: 2 July 2021
Honey Spreader is a harsh noise duo consisting of Blake Harrison (Pig Destroyer, Zealot R.I.P.) and Alex Cha. This split with Reeking Cross, who is a more powerviolence/grind style band, is short but brutal and I think the Honey Spreader song titled “Cement Mixer of Emotion” sums up this release pretty well.

Bonus tracks! Here’s a couple of upcoming releases by local bands that you can preorder on Bandcamp right now.


Zealot R.I.P.The Extinction of You
Release date: 10 September 2021
Guitarist Mick Schleibaum (Darkest Hour), Blake Harrison (Pig Destroyer) and Jason Hamacher (Frodus) make up the core of Zealot R.I.P. which has a sound somewhere between DC hardcore and Entombed. This is their debut EP and it is sure to be a rager!


Full of HellGarden of Burning Apparitions
Release date: 1 October 2021
Ocean City based grind band Full of Hell have been getting more and more experimental with each release while keeping the heavy on full blast. I can’t wait to hear the rest of this upcoming release this fall.

The New Metal Embassy podcast episode explores The Simpsons with Dr Colossus

I wanted to do a light hearted episode this time and what could be better for that than talking to Jono Colliver of Dr. Colossus, a stoner/doom metal band from Australia that is dedicated to the Simpsons TV show. They just released a new album in May titled, “I’m a Stupid Moron With an Ugly Face and A Big Butt and my Butt Smells and I Like to Kiss My Own Butt” and as you’ll quickly be able to tell by listening to the track “Pickabar” at the end of the episode, unlike most funny theme bands, they’ve actually got some sick riffs!

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by searching for Metal Embassy in most podcast apps (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartRadio and more). We’re on Bandcamp now too!

Metal Embassy – 008 – Dr. Colossus (Australia)

Third episode of Metal Embassy podcast is live

On the third episode Metal Chris interviews Matt Hyde, vocalist of the New Zealand based band Beastwars, and talks about how his bout with cancer brought the broken up band back together resulting in Beastwars recording a new album just a few weeks after his final chemotherapy treatment. Sorry if you hear a bit of clanking during the interview, he was wearing bracelets that made noise when he moved his hands and I should have asked him to remove them but I guess I’ll know for next time.

Metal Embassy is now on Bandcamp (here) and Pandora (here) along with plenty of other podcast apps (see the full list here). You can also just click play below to listen to the episode.

Metal Embassy – 003 – Beastwars (New Zealand)

DCHM gets a podcast: Metal Embassy

With the shutdown of concerts it has been pretty quiet here on DCHM. So with my spare time I’ve decided to try making a podcast for DCHM since there just aren’t enough of those right now. I’m calling the podcast Metal Embassy since I’m still based out of DC but will be changing things up a bit on the podcast and focusing on metal bands from around the world. Each episode will feature an interview with a member from a metal band but unlike the regular interviews here on DCHM I won’t be transcribing them. I’ll play a tune by the band and hopefully expose people to some new music out there as well as explore some of the stories that aren’t being covered very much in the metal press here in the US. I’m still working on getting Metal Embassy registered with all the podcast apps like Apple, Google, Spotify and such, and I’ve got three episodes ready to go but for now you can stream the first episode from the podcast at the end of this post or go to the Metal Embassy page on Podbean (here) where it is being hosted. You can also download it and all future episodes from the Podbean link.

Anyways, this first episode features an interview with Kris Lesiński, the guitarist and cover artist for the Star Wars themed instrumental stoner/doom band Bantha Rider. They’re based in Poland and we have a nice little convo about Star Wars, metal, and the metal scene in Poland. Give it a listen and feel free to give me some feedback as I’m still figuring it all out.

Metal Embassy – 001 – Bantha Rider (Poland)

Metal Chris’ favorite doom and stoner albums of 2020

It’s the end of the year so it’s time for my end of year album lists! I’m posting several lists, each for a different subgenre/category, and ordered by release date instead of ranking them. 2020 has been a unique year with unique challenges, to say the least, and I fully expect that to be reflected in my lists. This stoner and doom list is my second of these lists and you can find my black metal list here.

OcclithGates, Doorways, and Endings
Released 1 May 2020 on Transylvanian Tapes
California based Occlith plays a style of blackened funeral doom metal that is slow and drenched in hopelessness but also has a mystical vibe of dark rituals being read from dusty ancient tomes. Each of the five tracks are over 10 minutes long but there’s enough variation here to keep them from getting boring.

Paradise LostObsidian
Released 15 May 2020 on Nuclear Blast Records
I’m not sure what Paradise Lost’s secret is but a band this old has no business putting out material this high quality this late in their career. They coined the term “gothic metal” almost 30 years ago but now they’re writing modern gothic doom songs using elements of that entire career, shedding what didn’t work and perfecting what did. The songs on Obsidian are varied yet consistent in their dark beauty.

GoatsnakeBreakfast with the King b​/​w Deathwish
Self-released 5 June 2020
The two songs on this EP were originally recorded for the Los Angeles based band’s 2015 album Black Age Blues but weren’t released until this year. They’re both total bangers and the only “new” material we’ve gotten from Goatsnake since 2015. George Floyd was murdered 11 days before this release and the band is donating all of the proceeds from purchases of these songs to the Color Of Change charity.

ValkyrieFear
Released 24 July 2020 by Relapse Records
Virginia’s Valkyrie returned in 2020 with the follow up to their 2015 Relapse debut Shadows. The albums are quite different though, despite both being excellent. Former Baroness guitarist Pete Adams and his brother Jake exchanged dueling solos relentlessly on Shadows whereas Fear has a much more laid back attitude, letting the songs build up and focus on their Appalachian twang. Don’t worry there’s still some great dueling solos, but the band has grown a lot in the five years between releases and they’re only getting better.

AtramentusStygian
Released 21 August 2020 on 20 Buck Spin
Phil Tougas of death metal Chthe’ilist wrote the Stygian album back in 2012 though he didn’t get around to forming a band and recording it until 2018. Finally released in 2020, the plodding funeral doom found here still has that cavernous aspect Chthe’ilist is known for, though this time at a much slower pace. I really hope it doesn’t take the Montreal based Atramentus another 8 years for us to get a follow up album.

Sergeant ThunderhoofDelicate Sound of Thunderhoof
Released 4 September 2020 by Pale Wizard Records
This is an odd album for this list because it’s all acoustic versions of earlier Sergeant Thunderhoof songs. Somehow this transformation, which doesn’t come across nearly as moneygrabby as those old MTV Unplugged albums did, worked wonders here as Dan Flitcroft’s vocals really take center stage. The English band wasn’t the only stoner/doom group to release an acoustic album this year with genre heavyweights like Tony Reed of Mos Generator and Wino also doing so, but against all odds Sergeant Thunderhoof’s was the one I kept coming back to.

various artistsVol. 4 [Redux]
Released 30 October 2020 by Magnetic Eye Records
I don’t usually include things like covers albums on these lists but this one is so good it had to be included. This “redux” version of the entire 1972 released Volume 4 album by Black Sabbath sees a different band covering each song, and the fact that they even made the songs “Changes” and “FX” fun to listen to just solidifies their place on this list. Top talent like Spirit Adrift, Thou, Matt Pike, Wino and even Zakk Wylde make this one of the best Sabbath cover albums of all time.

Mountain CallerThe Truthseeker
Released 6 November 2020 by New Heavy Sounds
This London based trio’s debut is almost entirely instrumental doom with a bit of a proggy edge. Despite the lack of lyrics, the album plays like the soundtrack to some coming of age tale of epic adventure with all the ups and downs that entails. I’ve never really heard a concept album executed like this before but they pull it off quite well and I can’t wait for the sequel.

The Re-StonedThunders of the Deep
Released 19 November 2020 on Clostridium Records
The Re-Stoned are Moscow’s answer to Earthless. They’re an instrumental trio with a Russian spin on psychedelic stoner jams. Guitarist Ilya Lipkin is the mastermind of The Re-Stoned and on Thunders of the Deep, their 9th full length album since 2010, he has added some blues elements and slowed things down in parts while managing to keep the songs interesting throughout.

Bantha RiderBinary Sunset Massacre
Self-released 4 December 2020
Another instrumental stoner band from Eastern Europe, Bantha Rider blends desert rock vibes with the sand dunes of the desert planet Tatooine from the Star Wars universe. It might sound like a funny gimmick but there’s some serious riffs to be found on this Polish band’s debut full length.