Review of The Obsessed at the Black Cat

Last night, Friday the 13th of May 2016, the old school local stoner band The Obsessed “reformed” at the Black Cat to kick off their comeback headlining tour. This isn’t the same line up of The Obsessed that performed at Maryland Deathfest XI in 2013, only Wino remains from that line up. In fact until recently this version of The Obsessed had been the latest incarnation of Spirit Caravan. Dave Sherman stuck around on bass and shared vocal duties in this version of The Obsessed (he had only played with Wino in Spirit Caravan before) however this was drummer Brian Costantino’s first show with the band under either name. The Obsessed might more aptly be called Spirit Obsessed or some other similar mash up as their set list consisted of both Spirit Caravan and The Obsessed classics.

The opener for the show is a personal favorite of mine, Karma To Burn. They’re from the hills of West Virginia and play a very catchy style of rock/metal somewhere between desert rock and stoner with a big helping of that mountain folk twang added. They are almost exclusively an instrumental band and their songs are simply titled numerically in the order they are written. I’ve seen them several times and despite line up changes they were as tight as ever with those catchy hooks and riffs that go up and down all night. They were a great band to start this show off.

Karma To Burn

Karma To Burn

The next band was Atomic Bitchwax, a more traditional stoner band from New Jersey. People seem to go crazy for this band but I’ve got to say they were my least favorite of the night. They had some cool riffs and grooves throughout but the bass was really muddy and the songwriting didn’t put all those cool parts together as well as some bands do. Stoner metal isn’t the hardest music in the world to play so songwriting ability really sets the top tier bands apart, unfortunately these guys just aren’t there. They weren’t terrible though, they definitely had some energy on stage, but by the time they were done I was ready for something else.

Atomic Bitchwax

Atomic Bitchwax

That something else came in the form of this new version of The Obsessed. I had seen Wino and Dave Sherman perform as Spirit Caravan at Hardywood Brewery in Richmond, Virginia back in October of 2015. While I had a great time at the show they played for two hours plus and by the end it was just too much Spirit Caravan for anyone but the most die hard of fans. However at the Black Cat the newly dubbed The Obsessed played a much tighter set with more cohesion. The mix of songs by both bands was a cool change up and the set was about 1 hour and 10 minutes or so, keeping it from going on too long.

The Obsessed

Wino with The Obsessed

The Obsessed songs have a bit more energy than Spirit Caravan, some of the drum beats are almost punk rock in nature and many of the songs are upbeat. This makes sense considering The Obsessed was originally playing around the area during the rise of the DC punk scene. In fact it was Ian MacKaye that introduced Wino to the guys in Saint Vitus years ago. Anyways, The Obsessed played an excellent set that kept the audience hooked all night. I even got video footage of a brand new song, “Be The Night,” that Wino said would be on an upcoming album. Apparently the band has played this song as Spirit Caravan before but I guess it is one of The Obsessed’s songs now. I hadn’t planned on writing a review of this show but it was just too damn good to ignore. This was the start of a long tour for them, it was fitting that it kicked off here in DC. I left super pumped and I can’t wait to see them again.

The Obsessed

The Obsessed

I’ve posted a few videos below of The Obsessed (including the new song “Be The Night”) and at the end a photo of their set list.

The Obsessed – Be The Night

The Obsessed – Freedom

The Obsessed – Sacred (Spirit Caravan)

The Obsessed – Skybone

The Obsessed Set List

The Obsessed Set List 5-13-16

Something new planned on DCHM

I’m always looking for ways to use new forms of social media on DCHeavyMetal.com and this weekend I’ll be doing my first live streaming video interview on Periscope, a free video streaming app for both iOS and Android. On Saturday, May 13th (that’s tomorrow!) some time around 7:30 or 8pm I’ll be at DC Brau with Richard Johnson of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Drugs Of Faith talking about the upcoming ANb show at the Black Cat on May 21st, beer, music and anything else that comes to mind. I’ll also have a free pair of tickets to give to the person with the best question for Richard!

Periscope is owned by Twitter so if you have a Twitter account you’ve already got a Periscope account. The cool thing about Periscope is that it will let people watching ask their own questions that we can answer in real time. And on Saturday I’ll have a pair of tickets to give away to whoever has the best question for Richard. All you need to watch or join in is a smart phone (with the Periscope app) or a computer with a browser and the link to my account conveniently posted right here: www.periscope.tv/metalchris

If you can’t watch live don’t worry, I plan on saving the stream and posting it to YouTube and on the main site for people to watch later. If this goes well then I hope to do more interviews with metal musicians at local breweries and bars around town in the future. I hope you enjoy the first in a series of interviews I’d like to call “Have A Beer With…” so join us Saturday evening and have a beer with Richard Johnson of Agoraphobic Nosebleed!

Agoraphobic Nosebleed at the Black Cat

Voivod ticket give away

Voivod at the Black Cat

This Saturday, February 13th, thrash fans are in for something special when Voivod and Vektor take over the main stage of the Black Cat. After that awesome Exodus show at the Black Cat in November you know this one is gonna be a rager too! In fact, we’re so excited about this show that we’re giving away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky DCHM readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite sci-fi themed band or album is. It doesn’t have to be metal, anything from Ziggy Stardust to Fear Factory to John Williams’ scores for Star Wars are fair game. At 5pm EST on Thursday, February 11th, 2016, the contest will end 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 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 Ticket Fly for just $20 here.

Voivod is thrash band that formed in 1981 in Quebec, Canada. They made a name for themselves by combining a more technical style of playing with thrash metal and have continued to innovate throughout their career. Vektor is a modern trash band from Philly that also dabbles with science fiction themes and some pretty technical guitar playing. You may remember that they headlined the DCHM 4th Anniversary Show at the Fillmore a few years back. Anyways, they always put on a great show and they should be a perfect support band for Voivod. Opening act Eight Bells is an experimental metal band from Portland. The band features three women and combines many different metal elements to create a unique atmosphere with their music. Now check out these songs below by each of the bands playing and let me know what your favorite sci-fi themed music is!

Voivod – We Are Connected

Vektor – Ultimate Artificer

Eight Bells – Hold My Breath

Interview with Steve “Zetro” Souza of Exodus

Last Friday I interviewed another icon of heavy metal, Steve “Zetro” Souza. Zetro is fronting thrash metal band Exodus and they will be playing at the Black Cat on Wednesday. This is one of my shortest interviews but we covered a lot in that time including when we can expect a new Exodus album, what is going on with some of his other projects and how he got the nickname Zetro in the first place. You can stream the six minute interview by pressing the orange button below or download it as a 7.81 mb mp3 here. The transcription is below and my words are in bold.

Photo of Zetro Souza by Bruce Getty

Photo of Steve “Zetro” Souza by Bruce Getty

Hello, this is Metal Chris and today I’ve got Zetro Souza, the vocalist of the legendary Bay Area thrash band Exodus, on the phone with me. Exodus is currently on tour with King Diamond however the band is taking a night off from the tour with King Diamond to play at the Black Cat in Washington DC on Wednesday, November 18th. So how’s the tour with King Diamond been going so far?

It’s great. It’s crazy every night. It’s a good package. The King and us [have] been around forever you know I guess you could say and we’ve been good friends a long time so the tour really works really well. We’re good friends with his band and their crew so yeah, it’s kicking ass. It’s definitely kicking ass.

So will Exodus be playing a different set list at all for the headline show at the Black Cat? Any oddball songs maybe thrown in that you might not be doing on the rest of the tour?

Yeah because we only get 45 minutes with King so we’ll play 90 minutes that night so there’ll be a lot of stuff thrown in. Even the set we have with King there’s a couple of songs in there that we haven’t played in a long, long, long time that we’ve brought up so.

Now I remember when Exodus played at Empire in November of last year, I was at that show and I remember seeing you sing some of the songs from the Rob Dukes era of the band like “Children Of A Worthless God” for example. Do you have any problem playing those songs from his time in the band?

No. No they’re actually really good songs. I actually play a couple of different ones on this tour. I think we play “Children [Of A Worthless God]” but we also play two different ones that we didn’t do on that one. They’re good songs. There’s no reason to take Exodus’ history away. Just because I’m back in the band doesn’t mean the last ten years didn’t count or didn’t matter. Those songs are really, really good.

So the 2014 Exodus album Blood In Blood Out has been a hit with the fans. I know the album was written with Rob Dukes in the band. Are there any plans to do another Exodus album in the future with you involved in the writing process?

Oh yeah. All of the few stints that I’ve done with Exodus I’ve always written songs. Obviously we’re going to keep going. This isn’t just like, get in the band and finish it all. We’re going to keep going. This is what we do. We love what we do.

So is there any kind of time frame on that? Have you guys started writing at all or any kind of studio time scheduled?

Well you know we haven’t started writing. [Exodus guitarist] Gary [Holt] also plays in Slayer so Slayer just put out Repentless a few months ago so they’re touring as well. I would say… probably no sooner than 2017 at some point ’cause we still have 2016 all booked up with tours to do as well.

In July it was announced that you are not going to be doing vocals for Hatriot any more. Do you think you’ll ever rejoin your sons in Hatriot?

You know what he wants to do it. My oldest [Cody Souza] wants to be the singer and he sounds really good. He does a really, really good job at it. So him and I are writing songs together ’cause he’s not a lyricist yet but he’s learning and he’s gonna be great. I’m watching over them. I’m making sure they get going.

That’s cool. Do you think we’ll ever be getting any more songs from Dublin Death Patrol?

Nah. Chuck [Billy]’s too busy with Testament and his management company and I’m too busy with Exodus and trying to write songs with Hatriot as well so probably not. That was kind of just supposed to be a one album thing and then we kind of got talked into the second one and we really didn’t have any time to tour ’cause at that time [the Testament album] Dark Roots Of Earth was coming out so [we] just couldn’t do it. So it was alright. It worked out great. It was fun.

Now have you played Washington, DC before? Do you remember anything special from any shows in this area?

Oh yeah well we played there many times. It was a real small room. I can’t remember what it is [named]. [It] probably doesn’t even exist any more. But it’s been a while since I’ve played in DC. It was back in the 80’s and the 90’s it was a tiny little room. I think we played there with Leatherwolf and Cycle Sluts From Hell. It was actually a really cool gig.

Do you have any bands from the DC area that you’re a fan of?

Minor Threat come on.

Yeah.

Everybody loves Minor Threat.

Pentagram is from here.

Oh they are? I didn’t know that.

Yeah, Pentagram, Clutch

I thought they were from Connecticut.

You’re one of the old guard from the old Bay Area thrash scene. Are you a fan of any of the modern thrash bands that have come out in the last maybe ten years or so like Municipal Waste, Power Trip, Skeletonwitch, Vektor?

Yeah because see I was in Hatriot so I was on that level for a while so Havok you know, Hatchet, those bands are all killer you know. [The] Black Dahlia Murder, [The] Faceless, I love those bands.

So are there any new bands that you’ve been listening to a lot like right now like maybe a new album [that has] come out in the last year or two.

Nothing new. I’m more old school like I’ve been slamming the new [Iron] Maiden, the new Slayer and actually the new Soilwork lately.

Okay, where exactly does the nickname “Zetro” come from?

Oh I was taking some drugs, some acid when I was about 17, no 14, and I just blurted out the word “zet” and from zet it turned into zetro. So they started calling me that when I was like 14 so it’s been around for quite some time.

Haha, alright. Um…

Don’t do acid kids!

Haha. Now there’s tons of metal bands that have been getting an official beer made for them by various craft breweries lately. Is there any chance that Exodus might have an official beer coming out at some point?

I don’t know [about an] official [beer]. They’ve been making non-official ones I’ve seen over in Belgium and in Holland but actually Jack [Gibson], our bass player, was telling me that there is actually a brewery up in Northern California that’s going to make an Exodus beer. So we’ll see what happens.

Oh cool, cool.

That’d be great. Those are all the flattering things in life.

Hahaha. Well that’s all my questions. Thanks a lot for your time here it’s been really cool getting a chance to talk to you. Can’t wait to see you perform with Exodus at the Black Cat on Wednesday, November 18th. Anything else you’d like to say to the metal fans in the DC area right now?

The DC and Virginia fans always supported us man we love that pit so come out and see Exodus next Wednesday. We’ll kick your ass for sure.

Alright man. Well thanks a lot.

Thanks Chris. See you then.

Exodus ticket give away

Exodus at the Black Cat

Old school Bay Area thrashers Exodus are taking a night off from their tour with King Diamond to play the Black Cat on Wednesday, November 18th! It’s not every day that an old school metal band plays the Black Cat so we want to help get as many of you out to this show as possible, that’s why we’re giving away a pair of tickets to this show! To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite thrash band is. At 5pm EST this Monday, November 16th, 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 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 Ticket Fly for just $15 here.

Exodus was one of the first bands of the infamous San Francisco thrash metal scene of the 1980’s. Long time Exodus vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza is back in the fold and the band is currently touring in support of their first album with him in 10 years, Blood In Blood Out. Don’t expect to just hear new material though as the band will also be playing classics from their entire back catalog at the Black Cat. The opening band is a local noise band named Jail Solidarity. I know this is out third ticket give away in a row but we do have some other great posts coming up soon, including an interview with one of the members of Exodus, so stay tuned! Until then, check out these videos and let me know what your favorite thrash band is!

Exodus – Toxic Waltz

Exodus – Blood In Blood Out

Exodus – Salt The Wound

Goatsnake ticket give away

Goatsnake at the Black Cat

Metal fans are not going to want to miss Goatsnake when they make a rare East Coast appearance at the Black Cat on Wednesday, October 14th, 2015. We’re so excited for this show that we’re going to be giving away a free pair of tickets to this show to one of you loyal DC Heavy Metal readers! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite stoner, doom or sludge metal band is. At 5pm EST this Friday, October 9th, 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 $15 from Ticket Fly here.

Goatsnake is from Los Angeles and features members of bands like The Obsessed and Sunn O))). Goatsnake have made a name for themselves with their blend of southern rock and doom metal and this summer they released their first album in 15 years, Black Age Blues, and it rips! They have a high energy live show but they rarely make it to the East Coast to play live so you don’t want to miss this rare chance to see them right here in Washington, DC, one of just three of their East Coast dates. Also on the bill is YDi (pronounced Why Die), a reformed old school hardcore band that started in Philadelphia in the 80s. The opener is Big ‡ Brave from Montreal, Canada, and they play a strange experimental style of metal. Now check out these videos of the bands playing the show and let me know what your favorite doom, sludge or stoner metal band is in the comments!

Goatsnake – Elevated Man

YDi – Black Dust

Big ‡ Brave – On The By – And – By And Thereon

Metal Show Of The Week: Agrimonia

Who? Agrimonia
When? Tuesday, November 26th
Where? Black Cat (map)
How much? $12 cash at the door or on Ticket Fly

Two DCHM posts on the same day? Well there’s a really cool show coming up on Tuesday and I just couldn’t let it go overlooked. That’s why this week’s Metal Show Of The Week is Agrimonia at the Black Cat on Tuesday, November 26th! Agrimonia is an excellent band from Gothenburg, Sweden that just put out their third full length, the excellent Rites Of Separation, last spring on Southern Lord Records. Although Gothenburg is associated with melodic death metal acts like At The Gates, In Flames and Dark Tranquillity the band Agrimonia doesn’t fit in that category at all. They play a really dark version of sludge metal that has some energetic highs and heavy lows. Also on the tour is Take Over And Destroy (TOAD for short), a blackened sludge band from Phoenix, Arizona. They’ve got an old school sound with some catchy riffs and you’re going to want to be sure you get there early enough to see them too. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that there are any locals on this date of the tour. So head on over to the Black Cat and check out Agrimonia before you travel the next day (or await visitors) for Thanksgiving. Please note that this all ages show is in the downstairs back stage of the Black Cat and NOT the upstairs main stage. I’m keeping this post short today but be sure to check out the songs below, they’ll surely do more convincing that I can with words!