Support Music And Charity At Once

Today, Friday the 4th of August, Bandcamp is donating the entirety of their 15% share of all sales on their website to the Transgender Law Center. The benefit runs until midnight Pacific time, which is 3am for us on Eastern time. You can get more info on Bandcamp’s benefit here. If the benefit is over when you read this but you’d still like to donate, or you’d just like to donate directly to TLC, you can do that here.

This means anything you buy on Bandcamp will help support TLC as well as the bands you buy from. Because of this I thought I’d throw together a list of some of the best local metal I’ve found on Bandcamp this year, as well as a few other metal bands outside of the area that are actively participating in today’s benefit here. If you’d like the full list of the 200+ bands and labels that are participating, metal and non-metal alike, you can see that here.

Who Do You Think We Are? by A Sound Of Thunder

First up it should be noted that locals A Sound Of Thunder are actively participating in the benefit and for today only they are selling a “trans pink smoke” double vinyl variant (limited to 100 copies) of their covers album Who Do You Think We Are? for $25. The album will also be available on CD ($18) and digital formats ($8) for the first time. They have previously only been available to those who participated in the crowd funding campaign, however the CDs and digital downloads of the cover album will only be available publicly today. You can find all formats on Bandcamp here.

Chicago based Immortal Bird isn’t really a local band, though their vocalist, Rae Amitay, did go to high school in Fairfax, Virginia. Today they are also donating $1 of any Bandcamp sales to TLC, in addition to Bandcamp’s donation. I highly recommend their 2015 album Empress/Abscess which is just $7 digitally on their Bandcamp here.

Some other non-local metal bands that are participating include Ghoul who are donating all sales Friday and Saturday to TLC. You can download their latest album Dungeon Bastards for $7 here.

Massachusetts based thrashers Lich King put out a killer album this year in The Omniclasm and you can download it from Bandcamp for $10 here. Lich King is donating all of their proceeds from Bandcamp today to the benefit.

The Brazilian/Italian operatic metal band Ruins of Elysium has made a point of standing up for LGBT rights (just check the lyrics to their song “The Birth Of A Goddess” for starters) so it makes perfect sense that they’ll be donating their share of all Bandcamp sales today. Check out their latest album Seeds Of Chaos And Serenity which is available for download for $11.88 on Bandcamp here.

Immortal Bird and Ghoul and Lich King and Ruins of Elysium

If none of that stuff floats your boat feel free to scour the list I’ve made below of some of my favorite local metal albums on Bandcamp of 2017. You can help support a local band and the Transgender Law Center when you buy any of these today!

Alluvion – Psyche/Stoner from Fredericksburg, VA. $5 gets you their 9 track album .​.​.​Of the One Consciousness that released in May here.

Alluvion and Ashes of Mankind

Ashes of Mankind – Death/thrash metal from Baltimore, MD. $6.66 gets you their 8 track album A Scene in Hell that was released in May here.

At The Graves – Doom/sludge from Annapolis, MD. Just $1 gets you a download of their 8 track album Wrecked that was released in late July. You can also get it on CD or cassette for $6 each. Digital and physical versions are all available here.

At The Graves and Blood Mist

Blood Mist – Sludge/stoner metal from Baltimore, MD. $5 gets you a download of their 5 track self titled album that was released in February. You can also get it on CD for $7. Digital and physical versions are both available here.

Cab Ride Home – Thrash metal from Northern Virginia. $10 gets you a download or the CD version of their 11 track album Crash The Gate. Released in April, this is the band’s final album since their vocalist, Danica Roem, is now running for a delegate seat in Virginia. Digital and physical versions are both available here.

Cab Ride Home and Earthling

Earthling – Thrash metal from Harrisonburg, VA. $7 gets you a download of their 6 track album Spinning in the Void that was released in July here. This album shreds guys, highly recommended! Features Alan Fary who also plays in Valkyrie.

Full Of Hell – Death/noise from Annapolis, MD. $6.35 gets you a download of their 11 track album Trumpeting Ecstasy that was released in May. You can also get it on CD for $8.74. Digital and physical versions are both available here. This has been one of the most talked about albums from our area this year and it lives up to the hype!

Full Of Hell and Inhumation

Inhumation – Death metal from Frederick, MD. $6 gets you a download of their 6 track EP Ontogenesis that was released in April. You can also get it on CD for $8. Digital and physical versions are both available here.

Lord – Sludge/stoner from Fredericksburg, VA. $7 gets you a download of their 6 track album Blacklisted that was released in May. You can also get it on CD for $10. Digital and physical versions are both available here and they also have some packages that include tshirts with Mark Riddick art.

Lord and One Slack Mind

One Slack Mind – Stoner/groove metal from Washington, DC. $8 gets you a download of their 10 track album Both Sides Against the Middle that was released in July. You can also get it on CD for $10. Digital and physical versions are both available here.

Pain Tank – Grind/death metal from Northern Virginia. $8 gets you a download or the CD version of their 13 track album 97​,​901​,​726 Confirmed Kills. Released in March, the album’s name is meant to be the total number of fatalities in all wars that the USA has been involved in. Digital and physical versions are both available here.

Pain Tank and Sickdeer

Sickdeer – Black metal from Washington, DC. $7 gets you a download of their 7 track album The Wretched of the Earth that was released in March. You can also get it on CD for $10. Digital and physical versions are both available here and you can read the review of this album on DC Heavy Metal right here.

Sloth Herder – Grind/black metal from Frederick, MD. $5 gets you a download of their 14 track album No Pity, No Sunrise that was released in March. You can also get it on CD for $7 or cassette for $6. Digital and physical versions are all available here.

Sloth Herder and Virginia Creep

Virginia Creep – Stoner/Indie from Washington, DC. OK so this one actually came out in October of last year but it didn’t show up on my radar until this year. It features JR Hayes of Pig Destroyer as you’ve never heard him before, so that alone makes it worth listing here. $2.99 gets you a download of their 3 track self titled EP, just go here.

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

Review Of The Lesser Key Of Solomon by A Sound Of Thunder

Band: A Sound Of Thunder
Album: The Lesser Key Of Solomon
Release Date: 9 September 2014
Buy digital ($4) or CD ($10) on Bandcamp: Here

Cover of The Lesser Key Of Solomon by A Sound Of Thunder

Northern Virginia based A Sound Of Thunder, a band with classic metal elements that does not like it when I call them a power metal band, has put out their fourth full length album in as many years. The band funded this album via Kickstarter back in November of last year and it’s finally available to the masses. The album review below is by Tal and if you like his writing you can also find his blog here. There’s a kick ass animated video for their song “Udoroth” below and be sure to come out to Empire in Springfield this Friday, Sept 19th, for their album release show (details here).

I’ll confess, I tend to obsess over A Sound Of Thunder’s fast, heavy, thundering songs – like their theme song “A Sound of Thunder,” or “Walls,” which generally shakes the walls when they play it live. But listening to this album, I had to admit I’ve been living in a fantasy world; raging heavy metal in the vein of Accept really doesn’t define A Sound Of Thunder. They’re much more varied and complicated than that, from bluesy musings to heavy riffs, with lyrics that are more than just a fist-pump chorus.

So while I was initially disappointed that there’s only one thundering song on this album – the first song, “Udoroth” – I was able to enjoy the album a lot more once I realized the fault in my perception. Not that “Udoroth” isn’t a great song, with its charging classic guitar riffs and Nina’s powerful vocals – sometimes belting out high notes, sometimes venturing into a lower throaty sound, and gracing us with a few harsh screams and high wails. It does, however, set a tone that’s not representative of the album.

In stark contrast to their energetic 2013 release Time’s Arrow, most of the new album actually hearkens back to A Sound Of Thunder’s first full-length, Metal Renaissance. In particular, Nina’s jazzy vocal stylings on songs such as “Fortuneteller” and “House of Bones” on The Lesser Key of Solomon remind me of songs like “Flesh and Blood” or “The Buried Truth” from Metal Renaissance, as does the overall slower pace of the album. Of course, Nina’s vocals and the band as a whole sound more polished, developed and mature on the new album than on their debut, but the stylistic resemblance is strong.

And not unlike their previous work, The Lesser Key of Solomon focuses heavily on storytelling, which comes through particularly strongly with the clear vocals and more relaxed pace. Even the trudgingly heavy “Master of Pain” is brought above the standard serial killer fare with lines like “The horror of your actions/ Has torn your soul in two,” which hint at underlying story. But the peak of the album is the nine and a half minute epic “Elijah.” Most of the story is told through Nina’s evocative lyrics, including parts delivered in a vicious shriek for the evil “mother” character, but the climactic part of the story is told as much through music as through words. When the mother’s dark secret is revealed, tension builds as the bass begins to gallop; then the guitar paints the narrator’s agony and determination as she decides what to do. A tense instrumental interlude follows, then launches into heart-pounding adrenaline as the climactic moment arrives. Frantic guitaring depicts a chase scene, and then soars into epic riffs, perhaps depicting escape and or the inferno that ensues. Nina’s vocal line rises epically too as she proclaims the rise of a veritable army of ghost girls to take their vengeance on their “mother.” It’s a hair-raising experience, all right. Check out the lyric video at the bottom of this post to experience it for yourself.

Almost as haunting is “The Boy Who Could Fly.” It begins with acoustic guitar and dreary vocals that seem at first to depict a lost love, the references to a boy flying away hinting that this may be Wendy longing for Peter Pan. It sounds like a nostalgic romantic song, almost pop-like in its simple sentiments and the catchy vocal line of the chorus – until I listened more closely to the lyrics and caught the twist at the end of the song, when we find out what really happened to Peter Pan. Suddenly the sad beauty of the song is completely turned on its head. Moments like this bring a new level of interest to these songs that aren’t necessarily catchy on the first listen. They’re worth savoring and listening closely.

Unfortunately, the last third of the album suffers from the same problem as Metal Renaissance – after all those slow songs, it’s hard to pay attention by the end of the record. The last two tracks, “One Empty Grave” and “House of Bones” seem like they might have interesting stories, but I never seem to be able to keep my mind on them by the time we get there. Just one more well-placed thundering song would probably have done wonders for keeping me “fighting till the end.”

It took me a few listens and an adjustment in perspective, but I gotta admit, The Lesser Key of Solomon is a solid album. It isn’t the skull-crushing record that “Udoroth” may have promised, but it’s still an intriguing journey into the band’s darker fantasies, and amply shows off their talents.

Udoroth:

Elijah:

Pentagram ticket give away

Pentagram

Pentagram is one of the oldest doom metal bands not only from the DC area but in the history of metal and they’re playing at Empire (formerly Jaxx) in Springfield, Virginia on Saturday, August 3rd! DCHM is psyched to give away a pair of tickets to see these guys rock the stage the night after Black Sabbath plays to be the second half of an old school doom metal weekend. To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what song you’d like to hear Pentagram play live the most at this show. You can see their discography here if you need some help. At 5pm EST this Friday, July 26th, a winner will be chosen 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 Amped & Alive for $20 here.

Along with Pentagram there will also be a performance by locals A Sound Of Thunder. I have a pretty good feeling they’ll be busting out some of their more Sabbathy stuff for this show and they’ve been known to cover some obscure Black Sabbath tunes too. Sons Of Eddie will be playing Iron Maiden cover songs at this show as well. And you’ll want to get there early to make sure you catch Virgina based Dirt Merchant‘s fuzzy guitars and Despite Charm who are coming down from Baltimore to play. Now check out some of these cool songs by Pentagram and A Sound Of Thunder below and tell me what song you want to hear Pentagram play live!

Updates And Concert Photos

Sometimes it seems like I run a shit load of contests on here and not much else. While I’m constantly working on updating the Upcoming Metal Concert Calendar the actual written posts haven’t been coming up as much lately. I have plenty of excuses like car trouble and getting sick and march madness, but I have gotten so far behind on some things that it is a bit ridiculous. I just recently finished going through all my concert pics from January, and I’ll post some of them below with a few notes about the shows they were at. You can of course click those images to see more of those bands. There are still more contests coming up soon. I love giving away free concert tickets and other stuff to the readers of the site and I hope I can continue to do so for a long time. There have been a lot of great performances by some of the area’s local acts this year and a few have even put out some high quality music videos. I did a post on that in February that you can read here though now there is another to add to the list, the below video for A Sound Of Thunder‘s song Murderous Horde. They’re having their CD release show this Saturday at Empire (formerly Jaxx).

This Sunday, April 1st (no joke!) a local black metal band, Fuchida, will be performing live for the first time at the Black Cat of all places. The venue is mostly known for appealing to the indie rock and alternative scene and I’m hoping there is a good turn out for this show so maybe they’ll consider hosting more extreme metal bands. You might be thinking that there are already places for local metal bands to play live in this area but how many of them aren’t pay-to-play? This is a local metal act headlining a show at an area venue that doesn’t make them sell tickets or sign a contract that involves them giving the venue money. We should be supporting that, even if we don’t know what the band sounds like yet.

The following Sunday, April 8th, there is another venue in Washington DC that will be hosting a metal show that doesn’t usually have them. The U Street Music Hall is normally home to dance and techno music (sort of filling the void left when Nation closed). They’re hosting their first metal show on this Sunday night, the old school UK thrashers Onslaught and a band you may not recognize by name, Mpire Of Evil, that features two ex-members of the legendary Venom. Not only that but they even play some Venom songs in their set list (details of their first show on this US tour here). The venue is said to have a great sound system (you just know those electronica DJ guys are good at setting up speakers) and it isn’t very often you get to see 80s thrash metal in a club with a great sound system set up. And really, when are you going to get to hear live Venom classics sound better than this? One of the venue’s owners even posted to Twitter (here) that he’d like to see more metal shows at the U Street Music Hall so I hope a good amount of you come out to show it is worth it! To make this all even sweeter, DCHeavyMetal.com will be giving away a pair of tickets to this show next week, so keep an eye out for that.

Another thing I’d like to mention is that this month, March 2012, has been DCHeavyMetal.com’s best month ever in regards to total hits. You people who read this site, even if it’s just for the calendar, who spread the word to your friends, passed along the link of Facebook and Twitter, or even just stumbled upon it with Google, have made it worth all the work and time it takes me to run it. I don’t really make any money doing this (I do sell a few shirts here and there) and I refuse to put any paid ads on the site so if you’d like to donate a few bucks to the site you can send money via Paypal to the email address: DCHeavyMetal@Gmail.com Any donation is appreciated of course and will be put towards either making the site better or paying my way to get into more metal shows. Now, on to the photos…

Jucifer
I saw Jucifer back on Friday the 20th of January 2012 at the Black Cat and as always they put on a great show. This husband and wife duo truely live the lifestyle as they tour the country in their RV bringing their brand of sludge metal from city to city 12 months a year. And if you couldn’t tell from the mountain of speakers in this photo, they take the wall of sound thing quite literally. Be sure to see them next time they come through the area and bring ear plugs!

King Giant
The next night, Saturday the 21st of January was a big night for Northern Virginia’s metal scene. One of the area’s biggest bands, King Giant, was having their CD release show for their sophomore album, Dismal Hollow. On top of that, this was the grand re-opening show for Empire, the new name of the venue formerly known as Jaxx. Not my best night of shooting photos but I mean, with a line up of Auroboros, The Crimson Electric, Borracho and King Giant, it would have just been wrong for me to not be drinking beer and whiskey all night. I shot a couple videos that night including the one below of King Giant playing Pistols And Penance off of the album. I also added a photo below showing some of the interior changes they have made at the venue if you haven’t seen them yet.
Empire (formerly Jaxx)

Hail!Hornet
Tuesday the 7th of February found me at the Black Cat again, this time to see southern sludge metal band Hail!Hornet play on the back stage. There was a showing of the film Slow Southern Steel at the beginning of the show, a movie about heavy metal in the American south, but I missed that. The Atlanta, Georgia based psychedelic sludge band Zoroaster played after they did with a really trippy light show, and finally Hail!Hornet took the stage and killed it. They’re a band featuring members of Buzzov•en, Alabama Thunderpussy and Sourvein so you knew they were going to bring some great filthy sludge metal and they didn’t disappoint.

Windhand

Now I’ve got to skip a few bands because I simply haven’t gotten to sorting all of their photos yet. The above image is of Dorthea Cottrell of the Richmond based doom band Windhand when they played at St. Stephen’s Church in Columbia Heights on Saturday, March 3rd. I won’t write much about that show here because I did a review of it covering all four bands who played it here.

Warbringer

On Tuesday March 13th I found myself at the 9:30 Club to see California thrash act Warbringer and Floridian power metal band Iced Earth. I had been given a photo pass for that show, though for some reason it was only valid for Warbringer’s set. To add to my frustration I was feeling sick and while it was cool too see Warbringer play on a bigger stage, I just wasn’t up for Iced Earth by the time they played. When Iced Earth’s new singer, Stu Block of Into Eternity fame, started making juvenile sexist comments about giving the shocker to the women in the audience I decided I’d had enough and took my infected self home.

Alcest
I’m skipping over talking about an excellent Dysrhythmia show I saw in Baltimore here but I wanted to mention last night’s Alcest show at DC9. They put on a excellent performance of a set list made up of mostly their new album’s material. It did go on a bit long I thought, but it was still a pretty great experience. The lighting was pretty dim though making it hard to take photos, and the fog machine was jacked up the entire show making it even harder to get any great shots. Because of this I decided to make some animated gif images from some of my series of shots. I did see Alcest open for Enslaved in September last year so you can see some higher quality images of the band I shot by clicking the gif if you’d like.

Well, that’s all for now, thanks for reading DCHeavyMetal.com and if you’d like more updates on things like when local bands are making announcements or area venues and media have things to say about metal be sure to check out DCHM on Facebook and Twitter (your choice, I post most things to both). Keep it metal everyone and remember, support the scene you’re a part of!

Mega Sized Metal Concert Recap

Recently I’ve not been able to write as many concert reviews as I’d like to. I’m considering doing some shorter ones in the future. Believe it or not, my average concert review takes me 10-14 hours to put together. I have been going to a hell of a lot of shows and that just makes things back up a bunch and it can be hard to even get through just sorting through all my concert photos. However, I’ve been to some great shows since my last concert review, the Cavalara Conspiracy show review I posted back on October 14th, and I thought I’d just post a few pictures, videos and notes from those shows to give you an idea of what has been going on with live metal in this area from my point of view. Each paragraph below is about a different concert so you can skip ones ya don’t care about and move to ones you find more interesting easily. You can click any of the pictures below to see more of my photographs of the same band, and I’ve added some of my videos from the shows that I shot them at in this post as well, though as always I’ve got more on my YouTube page here.

On Friday, October 14th, 2011, I drove up to see Wabringer and Landmine Marathon at Sonar in Baltimore. This was Warbringer’s first headlining tour and while they are one of my favorite bands of the modern wave of thrash metal, I really wanted to see Landmine Marathon play. I’d never seen them before but had heard they were good live. Their vocalist, Grace Perry, was on the cover of the always controversial Hottest Chicks In Metal issue of Revolver magazine in 2009, but I didn’t care about any of that. She was absolutely ferocious on stage, really a sight to behold regardless of her gender or hotness or whatever. At one point she told the audience they better start moshing harder or she’d jump off the stage and kick everyone’s asses, and you believed it when she said it. Warbringer was fun live as usual, they played Living In A Whirlwind so I was happy. This was also the first time I’d seen them play anything from their newest album, Worlds Torn Asunder. Vocalist John Kevill did a stage dive into the audience at the end of the show. Lazarus A.D. played between those two bands but I don’t really care for them so I took that time to drink a couple Lancaster Milk Stouts in the other room. They’re delicious and Sonar has em in bottles at the bar, highly recommended when you’re thirsty at Sonar!
Grace Perry of Landmine Marathon

Warbringer

The next night, Saturday the 15th of October 2011, I found myself back at Sonar to see a black metal band from Singapore, Impiety. However, as a late addition to the bill I got to see a band I’ve been wanting to see for years, Ohio’s black/speed metal act Midnight. They came out in the executioner’s hoods that they’re known for and just shredded the place. They’re a fierce three piece and their sound reminds me of something of a cross between Motörhead and Darkthrone. After their awesome set Impiety hit the stage drenched in pig blood, and man did it stink like something awful. The pit was fierce for their entire set and the band never let up either. It was really a great show I’m glad I didn’t miss it. Considering where they’re from, who knows if you’ll ever be able to see them play around here again.
Midnight

Impiety

On Monday the 17th of October 2011 I found myself at Jaxx in Springfield, Virginia to check out local power metal band A Sound Of Thunder play support for the Swedish power metal band Sabaton for the final show of their tour. The audience was thin this evening, Dream Theater was playing at the Warner Theatre the same night and I’m sure that had an effect on the turn out. However A Sound Of Thunder put on a solid set and kept the audience’s attention. They were a good warm up act for Sabaton. I’d never seen Sabaton before, and honestly I’m not that familiar with their music, but I’ll tell you they were entertaining as hell to watch live. You could just tell that the band was having a lot of fun playing for the audience and even though the turn out wasn’t huge the people who were there really gave a lot of energy back to the band. They played a prank on their new temporary bass player when the rest of the band started playing a song they hadn’t taught him to play. It was a really fun experience from a band I didn’t really know what to expect from.
Nina Osegueda of A Sound Of Thunder

Sabaton

Skip ahead to Friday the 21st of October and I was at a kick ass Deceased show at Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC. The opening acts were two I really enjoy, DC’s own stoner band Borracho and Richmond’s doomy/sludge band Windhand. Borracho went on first and they didn’t start until after 10pm. They put on a good show and the audience that came to see Deceased, different than the normal stoner band crowd, seemed to be into it. Next up came Windhand. This band is HEAVY and this set was no different than usual. Finally Deceased hit the stage well after midnight. Deceased has a lot of ties to the DC area, originally based out of Northern Virginia they are the kind of band that draws people out of the woodwork when they play in the area. It was good to see such a big crowd for them. They didn’t have a bass player, which made their sound a bit tinny and took some getting used to. King Fowley used to play drums but now was just doing the lead vocals, and he was having a lot of fun with the audience and even came out into the crowd a couple times. I got home really late that night, but it was worth it!
Borracho

Windhand

Deceased

Sunday the 23rd of October, 2011, I went on a road trip up to Philadelphia to catch a band I’d been wanting to see for several years, Kvelertak, play at Johnny Brenda’s. When I got there the Georgian psychedelic sludge metal group Zoroaster was playing and I saw them do a couple songs. Skeletonwitch, a thrash band from Ohio, was after them and they put on an energetic show, they’re definitely a better live band than when I saw them in April 2010. Not that they were bad then, but they’ve definitely got their live show down better now and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them doing a headlining tour sometime soon. Finally Kvelertak, the Norwegian punk/metal band I drove all that way to see, was up and they put on a hell of a wild show. There was a lot of stage diving and beer drinking and the show just had a crazy amount of energy going on. It was definitely worth the 6 and a half hours of driving there and back that night, so much fun! Hopefully they won’t skip the DC area on their next tour. Also, I met two other people, who didn’t know each other, who had both come up from the DC area for this show. That was kind of cool.
Skeletonwitch

Kvelertak

On Thursday the 27th of October I went to see a Sepultura cover band made up of members of various local bands, namely Disciples Of Christ (D.O.C.), Drugs Of Faith, Magrudergrind and Mind As Prison. This was at a small Ethiopian restaurant and bar called Asefu’s just a couple doors down from DC9 in Washington DC. Local guitar shredders Midnight Eye opened the set up and they were awesome as usual. They played a cover of Megadeth‘s classic Rust In Peace that was pretty slick as well. Local band Auroboros was next to play. They’re a great live band, with ex-members of Baroness and Salome in the group you know it’s just a matter of time until they really take off. During their set the drummer got caught in the fake spider webbing while playing, he even lost a stick to it, haha! The Sepultura all stars played next and while their set was mired with some technical difficulties at first, it was a lot of fun. I was a huge Sepultura fan in high school so it was cool hearing them play some of those old classics. They only played about four or five songs though, I wished it had lasted another hour! The final band of the night was Inter Arma from Richmond. Sadly a lot of people left after the cover band played but they played a powerful set regardless, I’m glad I stuck around to watch them.
Midnight Eye

Auroboros

Sepultura cover band

Inter Arma

I had another stop at Jaxx on Sunday the 30th of October 2011 to see Decapitated play. There were a lot of other bands playing this night, however I only saw the final three bands. Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse came out in their tuxedos and really got the mosh pit going, including a few guys in drag for Halloween that were in there. Next up was the California based tech death band Decrepit Birth. I really like this band a lot. They remind me of the band Death a lot, but with a more modern sound. Their vocalist, Bill Robinson, is a bit of a head trip but he really got the audience into the show. At one point he held up a copy of their latest CD and told the audience anyone could have it if they took it from him. This caused a wave of people to climb over the railing onto the stage and Bill kept pushing them back to stage dive onto the audience. Then came the headliners, the Polish death metal band Decapitated. This band had a tragic bus accident on October 29th 2007 while on tour. Their drummer was killed in the wreck and the vocalist was critically injured. Decapitated broke up for a little while, though guitarist Vogg decided to get them back together, with all other members of the band being new, and put out a new album back in July titled Carnival Is Forever. However, this band just isn’t the same, it was almost sad seeing them play. Spheres Of Madness, their closing song and most famous, just wasn’t the same, it was almost like seeing a cover band play it. Combined with their short set, they only played for about 45-50 minutes, they were a let down. I’m glad I got to see them a few times before their accident. Also of note, this was their final show of the tour and on the return flight their airplane had to make an emergency landing with no landing gear. The story with video of the landing is posted here. The band is fine but damn, maybe they should start walking when touring.
Fleshgod Apocalypse

Decrepit Birth

Decapitated

On Tuesday the 1st of November, 2011 I went up to Baltimore to see Opeth play at Rams Head Live. Their set was a rather laid back performance, even by Opeth’s standards. Their new album, Heritage, has no harsh vocals on it, and this tour was certainly to promote that album. The show was fun, and being that it was the last show of the tour the guys were kind of goofing off a bit. They let the audience in a short singalong to the chorus of Harvest at one point, and had a few pranks going on stage throughout the night. However the highlight of the evening was the encore. Members of the opening act that I didn’t get there in time to see, Katatonia, joined Mike Åkerfeldt and Martin Axenrot of Opeth to reform the Swedish death metal super group Bloodbath! They played two songs, Soul Evisceration and Eaten, in a very rare public performance by Bloodbath. Mike hinted that they might be back together for real, though he didn’t say if that meant a new album, tour or if it was even definite. Their short and brutal encore set was quite a contrast to the Opeth show that had gone on just before it. This was the only concert of the tour that Bloodbath made an appearance at, and I felt very lucky to be in attendance. Definitely one of my concert highlights of the year! You can see video footage of Bloodbath’s performance (not shot by me) posted here.
Opeth

Bloodbath

The next night, Wenesday the 2nd of November, found me in Baltimore again for the first show of tour by the infamous Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. When I got there the show was running a bit behind schedule though and I saw the end of Abigail Williams‘ set. Then the polish blackened death metal band Hate performed. They were pretty good if not overly original, sort of like a Behemoth junior. I have to say their guitarist had some of the worst corpse paint I’ve ever seen though. Then the Norwegian melodic black metal band Keep Of Kalessin played. I watched a couple of their songs but soon found myself in the next room drinking Lancaster Milk Stouts again. Keep has gone down hill in my book over the years, now they seem to be a sort of singalongy kind of band and they’ve lost the bite I enjoyed of their older material. Finally Mayhem was up next, their first area appearance since they played at Maryland Deathfest in 2009. Vocalist Attila Csihar came out looking like some sort of satanic vampire and it was awesome! He’s known for his wild stage costumes but this was just over the top. The band played a kick ass set heavily loaded with material from their classic albums De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and Deathcrush and it got the place going crazy. There were tons of fights, even a woman got thrown out of the show for being to crazy in the pit, it was intense! I got some bruises but it was worth it to get some awesome shots of one of metal most notorious bands.
Hate

Keep Of Kalessin

Mayhem

On Sunday November 6th, 2011 I was at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland to watch Death Angel, Testament and Anthrax play there. However there was a problem with the photo passes that night and rather than risk leaving my camera in my car where it could be stolen, I had to head home after I already had my tickets in hand. Very frustrating let me tell you. I still haven’t been inside the new venue, I hope they get things straightened out next time. I really wanted to have some photographs up for you guys from that show, and have a nice big concert to end this long recap on but sadly, no dice. I might do more of these long recaps in the future, if you people like or don’t like them let me know. I’ve got a lot more metal shows to go to coming up and this might be a good way to try to cover more of them, starting with Torche tonight at DC9. Also, I should have some shirts with my new t-shirt design on them for sale very soon so keep your eyes peeled for that. They have new Abe Lincoln artwork drawn by DC based metal band Ilsa‘s drummer Joshua Brettell and they look awesome! Thanks for reading DCHeavyMetal.com, stay brutal everyone!

Metal Marathon – The First 3 Days

Well it’s Tuesday the 8th as I write this, and I’ve been to four metal shows in the last three days. I saw two metal fests in Richmond on Saturday, the Virginia Extreme Metal Festival at the Canal Club and A Rockin Massacre at Alley Katz, both are just blocks away and I walked back and forth between them all day. Sunday I headed up to Bourbon Street to see Cradle Of Filth and Monday night I was at the Metal Mondays/La Noche De Metal weekly metal spotlight at So Addictive Lounge in Herndon, Virginia. With seven more concerts in the next six days (starting tonight!), I just don’t have the time now to do full reviews of these shows, but here’s some highlights of my metal adventures the past three days.

As I mentioned in my last post, my car is not sounding good and Monday morning I brought it to the mechanic for what is going to be at least a few days worth of work (ugh!). Because it has been sounding bad, I got myself a ride down to Richmond on Saturday with the very cool Clinton Eickelberg, the bass player of local thrash act Death Penalty. His band was playing the Rockin Massacre at Alley Katz that afternoon so we left early to get there in time for the bands to load in. Everyone seemed to get there a bit late due to traffic but I think everything started pretty much to schedule at Alley Katz at least. The first band of the day I wanted to see was Loculus. They’re a pretty sick death metal band from Northern Virginia and they were playing second at the Canal Club. Their drummer is the new drummer for the legendary Pentagram, and their bass player will be touring with Wretched this spring, but that’s not what makes them cool. Their brutal death metal assault on the ears is! They played a tight but short set and when they finished I found myself headed up the street to catch Death Penalty who were just starting. Their set was pretty much the same as when they played at the State Theatre with King Giant in January (my review of that is here), though this time when they played a cover of Iron Maiden‘s The Trooper they had Nina Osegueda of A Sound Of Thunder doing vocals with them. After they played I headed back down to the Canal Club and talked with a few people and watched a few random bands. The schedule for the Virginia Extreme Metal Fest was not the same order as they had posted, so it was a bit crazy catching the bands I wanted to see. I ended up missing Ethereal Genocide, who I wanted to see, but I got to check out Hatred again at least. Then I saw a band called Blood Tribe which was a sort of metalcore band I didn’t have much interest in. I headed back up to Alley Katz after that and watched the last few bands there, A Sound Of Thunder, Chopper Trike Rebels and Division. A Sound Of Thunder vocalist Nina had recently been in a car wreck and she did a pretty good job of hiding how sore she was, though it you’ve seen them before you could probably tell she was a bit less crazy on stage than usual. Their set wasn’t bad though I noticed they had to cut off a few songs from their setlist to keep the show on schedule. That kinda sucked cause I wanted to see them play My Name Is Doom but that song was axed. I ended up bumming a ride back to NoVA from their guitarist, Josh Schwartz, at the end of the night so a big thanks goes out to him on trusting that I wasn’t a serial killer. Yes, I went down to Richmond not knowing how I’d get back, haha. The Chopper Trike Rebels were up next and while their guitarist had some pretty cool custom guitars on display through their set, the sound mix was pretty shitty and you couldn’t hear them that well. They had a LOT of fog on stage, and their singer ran around and had good stage presence but unfortunately the mix was too poor for me to fairly judge their sound at all. The final band of the night was Division who actually had a pretty good mix. They really killed it and while a lot of people had gone home by the time they played, it was worth sticking around to catch them. They’re a great local band and Catherine Lewis of the Washington Post named their latest album one of the top five local metal releases of 2010 (link here). In all it was a great day for two metal fests, I just wish the promoters/venues had worked together to make everything more cohesive. After Josh gave me a ride back up to the area I was really tired, that was a long day and I still had 8 more days of metal shows ahead!

Sunday I again needed help getting a ride out of town to a show, this time to Bourbon Street in Baltimore to catch Cradle Of Filth. One of my followers on Twitter, Sarah aka @murrainofswains, decided that I probably wasn’t a crazy murderer and gave me a lift up to the show with her. Really awesome of her and she had some cool stories about seeing music festivals in other countries and working with Iraqis. Neither of us had been to this venue before, but it was pretty nice. More deep than wide, they had a great lighting system set up and the stage was really high too. When I got there the venue couldn’t find my photo pass until luckily someone I’d contacted weeks ago came into the will call booth and got me set up. He told me they were only allowing the photographers to shoot from the photo pit for the first two songs, but after the band’s opening song, Heaven Torn Asunder, they kicked us all out! Not sure what happened there, I think perhaps the bouncers didn’t know the band’s material at all and since Cradle has long songs, they assumed when the first ended it was actually two songs. The lighting wasn’t great for shooting though and I felt kind of rushed since I got up front just as the band was heading on stage. After watching a couple songs from the side of the stage I figured I’d shoot some video for you guys and headed back into the crowd a bit. Their set was really great, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Cradle Of Filth show these days. I am not really a fan of their more recent releases and I kind of expected them to play a lot of their newer material. I was pleasantly wrong though as they played a nice mix of tunes from all eras of the band, even a couple from the first album. I saw them last about ten years ago at the 9:30 Club and that show was really over the top, contortionists on stage and some girl doing acrobatics from these rings hanging over the stage. The whole thing was sort of a goth circus. This show they turned down the ridiculous a lot. No goofy side show shit on stage but they did have their normal uh, costumes on and corpse paint and such. Dani Filth has a short hair cut, which while not really metal, it’s better than fucking neon blue dreads and crap like that. His voice isn’t holding up and he couldn’t scream like he used to though. He isn’t able to sustain for as long that high pitched scream he’s known for, but that’s bound to happen with age. He did still scream a lot though and the show was really entertaining, especially because of their great set list.

Monday the 7th of March was day three of my nine day Metal Marathon and I found myself getting a ride out to So Addictive Lounge in Herndon, Virginia for the weekly local metal showcase there called La Noche De Metal. I got there a bit late and missed the first band, Wolventhrone, apparently a black metal act. Next up was the band I came out to see, Wolfnuke, who are a pretty kick ass blackened thrash act that just doesn’t slow down on the energy level. Check these guys out if you haven’t already, great stuff and even better live. They probably should have played last though as they seemed to have the largest audience of the night and the longest set too. After they played another black metal act was up, Xeukatre. They’re a very raw black metal band obviously drawing from the Darkthrone school of keeping it “trve”. Their show was VERY dark, only a strobing set of colored lights on stage lit the room, which they also filled with smoke. I took a few shots but nothing too great due to those conditions. I think they were wearing corpse paint, and their drummer may have been a woman, but it was so dark you couldn’t really tell any of that. They’re so kvlt that their lighting is so dark that you can’t see their theatrics, haha! The last band of the night was Palkoski. They were the only band not from Maryland this evening and they’re a pretty good grind act. They were formerly a band called The Seventh Gate but they have since changed their format to a grindcore concept band where the lead singer plays the persona of his alter ego, a fictitious serial killer named Frank Palkoski and their live show is supposed to be a sonic representation of that. While some grind can get pretty damn stale by the end of a set these guys always keep it entertaining and mix things up a bit throughout the set. They aren’t the kind of band that’s going to stage dive and have lots of breakdowns, they’re going to basically shred your face off in raging bursts of aggression. They also set up a table with free stuff for anyone to take, and I got what appears to be a previously used flask with a bumper sticker on it with a bunch of nekkid dudes bound in duct tape on it, haha! It was another great Metal Monday at So Addictive and I’m glad I got to see such great metal for just $5!

It’s been a crazy first three days and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this adventure goes. My car is totally MIA right now but I’m doing my damnedest to keep this metal marathon alive! If anyone wants to give me a ride to Baltimore on Thursday to see Atheist at Sonar that would be awesome, please don’t rob/kill me and I promise the same in return (and I don’t mind chipping in for gas or whatever). If you’d like to help me buy beer/gas/fix my car feel free to kick a couple bucks my way via Paypal here. I’ve made a set of pictures on Flickr of all the shots I’m taking during my Metal Marathon and you can see those here, more will be added as I go to more shows. I’ve posted one video by each band I’ve seen so far on my Metal Marathon below but you can see the rest on my YouTube page here, I particularly recommend checking out the Cradle Of Filth videos as I think they came out rather well. So it’s three days down, six more to go!