Get a free copy of Splitting Sky the new Borracho CD

Borracho is a term for a drunkard in Spanish, but it’s also the name of a kick ass metal band based in Washington DC. They are releasing their new album, Splitting Sky, today and since they’re great guys they’re letting me give away 15 copies of it to the readers of DCHeavyMetal.com! All you’ve got to do to enter in the contest is tell me in the comments below a local band you’d like to see play with Borracho at their CD release show. They’re looking for suggestions so help em out! The contest will end when I have a total of 30 valid entries OR at 6pm EST on Friday 8 July 2011, which ever is first. If the contest doesn’t get 30 entries then less free copies will be given away (I’ll try to keep it so at least half of the entries are winners). Help spread the word so we can get to 30 quickly and more people can get a copy. You can use this short link: http://wp.me/pDCET-Wh When the contest is over I’ll chose, at random from all valid entries, 10 people to get a free digital download of Splitting Sky, and then 4 more to win physical copies of the CD and one grand prize winner to get a physical copy of the CD that is autographed by all four of the members of Borracho as well as a sweet Borracho t-shirt. Be sure to use a valid email address when you make your comments below so I can contact you when you win. The guys gave me an advance copy of their new album and here’s my take on what you can expect from it.

The Splitting Sky album is a heavy mix of stoner rock and doom metal with southwestern influences. Borracho has put a lot of work into getting their songs to sound just right and it shows, from the song writing to the production they’ve done a great job here. There’s lots of crunchy riffs that aren’t just heavy but are also infectiously catchy and memorable. The vocal style is raspy and blue collar, somewhere between Lemmy and James Hetfield, though not over the top so as to detract from the instruments. The rhythm section keeps these songs moving forward even when they slow way down. It’s not all super slow though, for example Concentric Circles picks up the pace quite nicely early on in the album. The album is a very solid 8 tracks long, all but two are longer than 6 minutes which lets the songs really progress well, even when the tempo slows down. The epic 11 minute song Grab The Reins is a great example of this, with a lead in riff that sounds like it would fit nicely on Black Sabbath’s Master Of Reality. Borracho is based inside Washington DC and along with bands like Pentagram, King Giant, and (the now defunct) Salome, they’re helping to remind everyone that this area is still a city for excellent heavy stoner and doom. You can download Splitting Sky right now in a variety of ways, iTunes here, Amazon here, or get a physical copy of the album on CD Baby here. If all that isn’t convincing enough to make you a Borracho fan, check out this song below, titled Bloodsucker, which is track three on Splitting Sky.

Album Review of Heirs To Thievery by Misery Index

Well, this is my first music review blog post. I doubt I’ll do these as regularly as my concert reviews but they will probably show up from time to time. Just for future reference, I’m only going to review material by local bands or bands that at least have some sort of tie to the area, in this case the new album Misery Index just put out May 11th, Heirs To Thievery. If you’re in a local band and want me to check out your stuff for possible review here, you can send me an email with a download link at DCHeavyMetal@Gmail.com Now I’ll get started with the review here, but first some background…

Misery Index was originally formed when most of Dying Fetus left that band, I suppose due to a falling out of some sort, and Jason Netherton, Sparky Voyles and Kevin Talley started a new band. Jason and Sparky are still in the band but Kevin has gone on to be in Dååth, and you may have seen the video of his audition for Slayer floating around on the net several years ago too. Now I have to say when I first heard that Kevin had left I was rather worried because I think he’s just a fucking fun drummer to listen to play. The first time I saw Misery Index after he left I was unsure how a new drummer would fill in those shoes, but Adam Jarvis totally blew me away to the point that he wasn’t just replacing Kevin, he was surpassing him! He really brings the drumming intensity to another level for the band. They’ve also had a few other guitarists go in and out the door too, but their line up seems pretty stable now with the inclusion of Mark Kloeppel several years ago. This album is a good example of how they are moving forward with this line up. Now on to the music on the album itself…

The album starts off with a quick song, Embracing Extinction, and it’s relentless. It’s under 2 minutes long and really sets the tone for the album. Fast, aggressive, brutal and short. The whole album is under 35 minutes long, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A full hour of this sort of intensity can get monotonous and I think they did a good job of giving the album enough variation that it doesn’t get stale and ending it before it does. While some of their previous work had some slower, I guess groovier parts and riffs, there isn’t as much of that on this one. Even one of the slower tempo songs, Carrion Creed, still has a nice rolling drum beat in the back that makes you want to step on the gas petal. There’s certainly a good mix of death, grind and punk in this album, as would be expected in a Misery Index album. And while they will probably always draw comparisons to Dying Fetus, they certainly have more of a punk edge than Dying Fetus does. While that may be so, this is by no means a crossover album, and I think there’s less of a ‘core sound in there than on their previous album, Traitors. This album seems more aggressive than that one too. One thing I don’t particularly like about this album is the way the vocals sound. I don’t know if Jason is using some weird distortion with reverb or a layering effect or what, but sometimes it comes out pretty weird. If you listen to the chorus in The Spectator you’ll hear what I’m saying. Maybe it’s one of the other guys helping out on backup vocals, but combined with the awkward tone the leads have on this one, it’s sort of distracting. The final song on the album, Day Of The Dead, has part of it’s chorus in Spanish and the vocal sound combined with the repetitive lyrics in the chorus kind of ruin that song for me. But this isn’t American Idol music here, the vocals aren’t the main attraction and great songs like You Lose and the title track more than make up for it on this solid album. I really can’t wait to hear some of this material live. I missed their last area concert when they kicked off the Facemelter Tour with Dying Fetus at Sonar in Baltimore this month, but maybe I’ll get to see them play the Ottobar on Friday 11 June 2010 with Goatwhore and Revocation. You can get more info on that on my Upcoming Concerts page.

I’m not particularly big on reading lyrics to metal songs, I tend to like deciphering what I can for the most part on my own through listening, but for this review I looked at them a bit. I think a good way to get a general idea of what an album is really about is to check out the title track’s lyrics. On Heirs To Thievery the title track seems to be a Chomsky inspired critique about how much of what is in the history books taught to us in school is propaganda, particularly in how the US was stolen from the natives. Thus, we who are living in the US now are the heirs to the theft of their land/culture. Well, that’s what I get from it at least, and you can see this in the album cover art too. I particularly liked the line: “Eliminate the natives (and leave them a museum!)” If you’ve ever seen the National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in Washington DC from the outside, you’ll know it looks like modern European abstract architecture, but it’s covered in yellow stucco (or something). I guess the yellow stucco is representative of native american culture? The song’s lyrics sort of remind me of the Iron Maiden song Run To The Hills in that sense, but also because it’s kind of odd hearing that point of view from a band of white guys. In this song they also mention how the expansion of the US was built on slavery. Much of the other songs’ lyrics on the album are pretty typical political death/grind fare, though there is nothing wrong with that. This post is long enough already so you’ll have to find them yourself if you want to know the details. I actually like reading Jason’s blog Demockery, you can check that out here, which will probably give you a better idea of his views which are nothing if not well thought out.

Overall, I wouldn’t call this the best Misery Index album ever, but it’s still damn good and certainly worth getting, especially if you like any of their stuff already because you’ll certainly enjoy this one too. It still has that classic Misery Index sound but they keep progressing as a band too, enough to keep it from getting stale. Fans of bands like Nasum, modern Napalm Death and Brutal Truth will love this, but even if you’re just looking for something to simply bang your head to, their trademark combination of catchy riffs and sheer brutality will definitely do the trick.

First Post

All right you mother fuckers, this is my brand spankin new DC heavy metal blog. I have many names, Chewie, RapeJesus, Butt-Rash, Badass McAwesome, Shutup Asshole etc… but the most popular seems to be Metal Chris so that’s what I’m going to go by on here. This blog template still looks retarded as I write this, and hell I might even switch from this WordPress BS, but  I wanted to post today. It’s September 11th and to commemorate the atrocities religion brought us on this day 8 years ago, I’m starting my metal blog. If you want a description of what to expect here, you can find that in the About section, I don’t feel like repeating it in detail here, but basically I’m sick of not having a good website for all the info on heavy metal in the DC area. I’ve found myself scraping this info together for quite some time simply so I can know what the fuck is going on in regards to heavy metal, and I figured I might as well post this info to the net cause maybe there’s some other people out there who would like this info but are too damn lazy to do it themselves. Well you lazy asses, you’re lucky that I’ve got a metal addiction and spare time! I plan on hoarding relevant links on this page as well, so you don’t even have to bother reading my inane drivel if you don’t want. Also, I’ll try to link band names to their MySpace pages so you can listen to their music there if you want, and I’ll link album names to their listings on Metal Archives, if possible, and I’ll link song names to their pages on Songza so you can stream the song to listen to it, if the song is available that is.

Since this is the first post I’ll be a bit all over the place, normally I’ll try to keep different subjects in different posts for clarity’s sake. Currently I’m listening to the new Dying Fetus album, Descend Into Depravity, that comes out officially on Sept 15th. I just got it as a 320k rip from vinyl today off of the net. Now if you’re looking for it, there’s been a lot of fakes of this floating around, particularly one by a ripping crew going by the initials TRI. That is really just Dying Fetus’ 2007 album, War Of Attrition, with the tracks mixed up and the song and file names changed to the track listing on the upcoming album. Anyways, this is my first listen to Descend Into Depravity and it’s not bad. I really didn’t like their previous album War Of Attrition at all but this one seems better. Not as many break downs as I was expecting, but that’s ok. The drums are pretty standard death metal but they’ve kept the intensity in the guitar work. And for those who don’t know, Dying Fetus is from the DC area, probably the biggest death metal band from the area actually. They really were at their peak with their albums Killing On Adrenaline and my personal favorite Destroy The Opposition, after which most of the band left to become Misery Index, tho the drummer, Kevin Talley, has since left Misery Index also and now plays with Dååth. Anyways, if you want to check them out I recommend Destroy The Opposition before their newer stuff. I don’t believe Dying Fetus has any tour dates in the area any time soon, or I’d mention that here.

OK, so now that I’ve at least talked a bit of metal here, I’ll mention that I totally need to redesign this site’s appearance. I need some Photoshop skills to do that, which I simply don’t have. So until I can get someone to actually put the ideas I have into digital form, and do it for free, it’s not going to be ideal in appearance. Also, I’m still figuring out this WordPress stuff so we’ll see. I may just switch to another website before moving tons of posts to another site becomes a pain in the ass. Also, I need to figure out how to get some nice looking calendar widgets on here so I can have a calendar for upcoming metal shows in the area as well as upcoming album releases of note. I’ve seen a cool one on Bands In Town, but they don’t list every venue (and thus not every concert can be added). Since I don’t have those things set up currently, I’ll just list a bunch of them now. Here’s the upcoming albums of note (I’m probably missing some so deal):

MegadethEndgame (Sept 15)
Dying Fetus
Descend Into Depravity (Sept 15)
Black Sabbath
reissues w/ Bonus Tracks (Sept 21st)
Echoes Of Eternity
As Shadows Burn (Sept 22)
Marduk
Wormwood (Sept 24)
Immortal
All Shall Fall (Sept 25)
Arckanum
Þyrmir EP (Sept 25)
Azaghal
Teraphim (Sept 28)
Arch Enemy
The Root Of All Evil (re-recording pre-Angela material) (Sept 28)
Alice In Chains
Black Gives Way to Blue (Sept 29)
BelphegorWalpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn
Cannabis Corpse
The Weeding EP (Oct 12)
PortalSwarth (Oct 20)
GorgorothQuantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt (Oct 21)
HypocrisyA Taste Of Extreme Divinity (Oct 23)
Dark Tranquillity – Where Death Is Most Alive (DVD) (Oct 26)
PelicanWhat We All Come To Need (Oct 27)
VreidMilorg (Oct 27)
Slayer – World Painted Blood (Nov 2)
KatatoniaNight Is The New Day (Nov 2)
ImpiousDeath Domination (Nov 6)

Note that I list whichever date is earliest for the release date, US, Europe, Japan, whatever. Since the internet makes it pointless for bands to release albums on different dates in different countries, I just go with whichever is first. Most of the important ones leak online before the release dates anyways. Well, here’s some of the upcoming metal shows to the DC area (I’ll list other areas when I get a calendar working):

Samael @ Jaxx on Fri 16 Oct – They aren’t headlining, Moonspell is, but the latest Samael album, Above, was surprisingly awesome!

AC/DC @ the Verizon Center on Fri 16 Oct – Tix are already on sale, so if ya feel like spending over $100 for bad seats, go for it!

God Dethroned @ Jaxx on Sun 18 Oct – The openers suck, but I’ve never seen em live so I’m curious about their live show.

Dethklok @ the Patriot Center on Sat 31 Oct – I think it’s GA only for this show, floor “seats” only for this Halloween show.

Ensiferum, Hypocrisy and Ex Deo @ Jaxx on Fri 6 Nov – I wish Hypocrisy was headlining but oh well, and Ex Deo is basically Kataklysm trying to be the Nile of ancient Rome, but not as technical.

Eluveitie, Belphegor and Vreid @ Jaxx on Thurs 12 Nov – Vreid is basically Windir minus the guy who wrote all the songs (he died), but still I really wanna see them cause they’re pretty good.

Pelican @ the Rock & Roll Hotel on Fri 4 Dec – They’re an instrumental band somewhere between The Fucking Champs and Dysrhythmia.

Gwar @ 9:30 Club Thurs 10 Dec – Good ol Richmond natives Gwar, playing the 9:30 Club in December again.

Well, that’s it for my first post. Hopefully this blog will become more kick ass over time. No idea how frequently I’ll post, it will probably depend on how often metal news in the DC area comes out. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/metalchris and I’ll post links to new entries as soon as I post them here. Keep it brutal DC!