Premiere of Lost In Time music video by Borracho

Cover of Atacama by Borracho

It’s the holiday season and what’s the best gift every year? New Apple products? World peace? Of course not! The best gift is brand spankin’ new heavy metal tunes! Washington DC’s own Borracho are three wise men who are stuffing your stocking with extra helpings of stoner riffage this year. Their brand new album, Atacama, just dropped today and you can download it digitally ($8) or get it on CD ($12) from Bandcamp right here, right now! If recordings of these tunes just aren’t enough for you be sure to catch Borracho in action at their CD release show on Thursday, December 15th at Slash Run. You can get all the details on that show here.

Can’t wait until the 15th for that sweet Borracho live experience? Well then you’ve got to check out the music video for their new song “Lost In Time,” one of my favorite tracks off of Atacama. This video was recorded at the Velvet Lounge on U Street and I’m going to have to warn you, if you’ve ever been a bit buzzed watching Borracho perform live then this video may trigger some flashbacks of the face melting kind! Well what are you waiting for, click play on the video below, crank it to 11 and drift off to the land of riff.

Saint Vitus ticket give away

Saint Vitus

Many years ago Scott “Wino” Weinrich was told, by Ian MacKaye (of Minor Threat and Fugazi fame), of a doom metal band out in LA called Saint Vitus. Wino ended up moving from the DC area to California to become the front man for Saint Vitus and doom metal history was made by this perfect matching. Now Wino and Saint Vitus are coming back to the area to play a show at Empire on Sunday, October 20th and we’ve got a free pair of tickets to give one of you lucky readers! To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what song you’d like to hear Saint Vitus play live the most at this show. You can see their discography here if you need some help. At 5pm EST this Friday, October 11th, 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 $17 here.

Along with Saint Vitus on this tour there will be psychedelic sludge band Zoroaster performing as well as a high energy set by punk/metal/rock band The Hookers. Local support will be from DC’s stoner riff masters Borracho. In all that’s a damn solid line up! Now check out these songs below by the bands playing and tell me what song you want to hear Saint Vitus play live.

Review of Oculus by Borracho

Band: Borracho
Album: Oculus
Release Date: 18 July 2013
Label: Strange Magic Records
Buy From Bandcamp for $5: Here

Cover of Oculus by Borracho

Several weeks ago I put up a post asking if people would like to write album reviews of local metal bands on DCHM (read the post here). Please welcome Grimy Grant as the first of those submitters to get a post up on the site. You can follow him on Twitter at @jgrantd. I’m still taking submissions and for those who have inquired but haven’t heard back yet, I may still contact you. Borracho’s official release show for the album is this Friday night, the 19th of July, at the Rock & Roll Hotel and you can get all the details on that here. Now on to Grimy Grant’s review…

Slow, deep bass notes sound out in a bare, cavernous space. They are then joined by the equally slow but perfectly spacy guitar riffs. Atmospheric choir voices join in the mix and more layers are brought in – until the drums start to bring it down in a crushing blend of Southern Rock and advaitic chants. This is how the opening song “Empty” starts off Borracho’s second full-length album of their career, the ominously named Oculus. The rest of “Empty” goes on to develop a kind of overture to the story: A man is spurned by a friend/relative who “gets the girl and the glory”, loses the girl to the hero who, “Will come out better than you”. The album goes on through its brief but rocking set of five songs to describe the hero’s journey. I was impressed from the start by this kind of conceptualization – not something that I expected from a band named after the Spanish word for “Hammered” or “Lush”. Even the word oculus has layers: a reference to large openings in the domes of Pantheons where rain and sunlight could both cool, light, and heat inner places. They also represent openings into the otherworldly: the godly realm that looks down on us, and we up at “them”.

Oculus talks a lot about deep issues, starting with comparing the glory of one man with the depression of another as being similar to the distance between gods and humanity. At least that is what is conveyed through the epic sounds coming from Steve Fisher’s guitar and Tim Martin’s bass. Yet while that comes out musically the message doesn’t always sell very well for me through the album’s lyrics and vocals. Some of this may be due to the departure of their original singer and guitarist, Noah Greenberg. The vocals in “Empty” for example, felt a little too twangy for the psychedelic, sonically expanding opening of the song. There is so much musically being carried through in the opening – a kind of widening of the imagined space – a space that perhaps an actual oculus is punching a hole through. Wailing guitars bring up the rear in the grand chorus of slow, stoner noise. Then we’re greeted with a steady, regular stoner rock beat coupled with Fisher’s voice singing “This depression/Is killing me”. The words and emotions conveyed seem too cliche in comparison to the complex structures of the song.

Not to say there aren’t gems in the lyrics. Fisher sings a lot about “Family tree” and having to “cut [it] down to be free” in “Stockpile”. He goes on to talk about “Searching for lead” in order to exact his revenge on the story’s villain. We’re put in the shoes of someone who wants blood. This is where Fisher, the guitarist and vocalist for Borracho, shines for me, when he puts in the voice of a tough-as-brass, true hometown friend helping out in “Stockpile”. He sings about being “consigned to form a team” and:

“Make a stand, You know I’d like to help if you I can
Give it time, give yourself a chance, You know, Just because of circumstance,
You know I swallowed it all”

Fisher is also screaming against the person that tormented him through the album and who is now going to get the comeuppance they richly deserve. This blends perfectly with the heavy, pulsating riffs in the background that helped create a vision of the oncoming battle. We’re marching toward victory.

The last track, “I’ve Come for it All” follows a trippy riffage from the song “Eye”, a reference to the oculus looking in on us. Airy guitar noise coupled with the screams of Fisher going through what must be some kind of fight with his inner demons, or perhaps with the gods themselves. In the end, we’re presented with the conclusion in “I’ve Come for it All”, with Fisher calling out his opponent:

“Chosen path/Slippery slope … You wanted it all/Now it’s time to die”

Without shame I will say those words give me goosebumps, even though they may be a bit over-the-top. Fisher’s guitar licks carry a lot of power throughout the song as well, helping back up his intention to wreak havoc. I was really banging my head towards the middle point of the song’s breakdown.

Musically, Oculus knocks it out of the park. Far after listening to this album I found myself humming the tunes to myself. Borracho’s lineup is tight – it’s not easy to create so full a sound with a three-piece band. Still, it doesn’t really kick in until the last three songs of the album. The first two tracks feel out of place with the album as a whole. Metal Chris wrote previously about Black Sabbath’s 13 (here) and how the track listing can hurt an album and I feel that this may also be the case on Oculus. The first track, “Empty”, and the second track, “Know the Score”, do follow the overall head-banging structure of each of the other songs, but with such a small track list I wonder why they can’t flow together tightly like the other songs. “Empty” ends with a kind of hard stop. “Know the Score” starts strong with a steady beat but then quickly goes into focusing on the lyrics, which in that song are tad weak for my taste.

The third track, “Stockpile” is where things ramp up into a steady continuum and it is where Oculus seems to make a decision on the direction it is going. We’re lead through a sludgy, grim and down-tuned sonic realm into a fierce, upbeat fight in “I’ve Come for it All” – a fitting soundtrack for some serious ass-wompin’. “Stockpile” really expands musically with the album, bringing in maracas and tribal drums in the middle to add some spice to the song. I found this an interesting point in the song that made me pause and think a bit. Oculus has a lot of these interesting bits in the album – something that shows some maturity and exploration by Borracho.

There are many reasons that I love Oculus: the solid, straight-up rock that founded metal in the first place is alive and well here. However I feel that Borracho is relying a bit too much on that to carry the album. The lyrics feel like they’re slapped on to some of the songs – “Empty” in particular. This won’t stop me from playing it in the car on road trips, head-banging along I-95 – gawkers be damned. Oculus goes deep in many ways, particularly in trying to mature and change the sound of a band that’s been around for about 6 years. Experimentation is a great thing and hopefully it will bring forth a new era of drunken, crazy exploits from Borracho.

Free Borracho show at the Pinch

Borracho at the Pinch

This Saturday, the 18th of May 2013, DC’s own stoner metal riff masters Borracho will be headlining a free concert at the Pinch in Columbia Heights! And this isn’t just any show, it’s also a beer release show! The awesome folks over at Port City Brewery, based in Alexandria, Virginia, have worked with the guys in Borracho to make the band their own signature beer! The Borracho Smokin’ Brown Ale is, as the name suggests, a smoked brown ale. The ale was made with an alcohol percentage of 6.66%, which is fitting for a metal band whose name translates from Spanish to mean a drunk or lush. The supply of this beer is extremely limited and won’t be sold in any stores. In fact it may be gone by the end of the night, so be sure to get out to this show if you want to try it. In addition to the beer being on draft at the show, there will also be lots of free prizes given out to people who attend. I’ll have a pair of tickets to see Kylesa at the Rock & Roll Hotel on June 19th up for grabs and there will be other prizes as well including merch from Borracho and Port City and also a growler (a 60 oz jug) full of the Borracho Smokin’ Brown Ale that one winner will get to take home! The growler is being provided by D’vines, an excellent beer/liquor/wine store also in Columbia Heights that even fills beer growlers on site.

So here’s some details about the show. Doors open at 8pm and it’s all ages. Obviously you’ve gotta be 21 with an ID to drink. The venue is called The Pinch (address and map here) and it’s in Columbia Heights, which is a pretty nice neighborhood in Washington DC. There’s street parking but unlike some of the hotter areas in DC, like U St and H St, the parking is pretty ample even on a Saturday night and since it’s a good area you don’t have to worry about your car. The Pinch is also metro accessible, you can take the yellow or green line to the Columbia Heights stop and the venue is about half a mile north on 14th Street from the station’s exit (see it on a map here). The Pinch has a pretty normal bar/restaurant upstairs but the show will be taking place in the downstairs level since that’s where the stage is. The stairs down are right by the front door, you can’t miss them. There’s also another bar downstairs so you won’t have to keep going back and forth all night.

There are going to be four stoner metal bands playing this free show and, in addition to Borracho headlining, there will be sets by Cortez from Boston, Wasted Theory from Delaware and the new project of Dave Sherman (of Earthride and Spirit Caravan fame) named Weed Is Weed from Maryland. You can check out any of those bands by clicking their names of course, and be sure to watch the awesome Borracho videos that I’ve embedded below. You can also get more info on the Facebook event page for this show here.

One Inch Giant at DC9

Last night I saw the Gothenburg, Sweden based stoner band One Inch Giant perform in Washington DC at DC9 between two great local acts, Borracho and Auroboros. The turn out wasn’t great but the bands still all put on solid performances. Borracho and One Inch Giant are both heading up to the Stoner Hands Of Doom festival this weekend in Connecticut and this was one of their warm up shows as they hit the road for the big fest. Borracho’s vocalist, Noah Greenberg, is out of the area for a while but they’ve still been playing as a three piece and their set is mostly instrumental, but I love instrumental bands so that’s not a bad thing to me. Plus their killer riffs are what you should be focused on anyways! One Inch Giant was fun, their singer even did a motorcycle dance during one tune and their bass player had a Suffocation shirt on. Not something you usually see guys in stoner bands wearing but that was pretty sick. I’ll keep this post short but you can check out my photos from last night below. You might recognize the first band, Auroboros, from my last post as they played with Hull last weekend as well. Now check out these shots and get out to some metal shows to support the scene you’re a part of!

Auroboros:

Auroboros at DC9

Jake Smith of Auroboros at DC9

Auroboros at DC9

Brian Blickle of Auroboros at DC9

One Inch Giant:

Filip Åstrand of One Inch Giant at DC9

One Inch Giant at DC9

Filip Åstrand of One Inch Giant at DC9

Filip Åstrand of One Inch Giant at DC9

Filip Åstrand of One Inch Giant at DC9

Gabriel Lugo Méndez of One Inch Giant at DC9

Gabriel Lugo Méndez of One Inch Giant at DC9

Filip Åstrand of One Inch Giant at DC9

Axel Berglund of One Inch Giant at DC9

Axel Berglund of One Inch Giant at DC9

Gabriel Ek of One Inch Giant at DC9

Gabriel Ek of One Inch Giant at DC9

Borracho:

Tim Martin of Borracho at DC9

Steve Fisher of Borracho at DC9

Steve Fisher of Borracho at DC9

Mario Trubiano of Borracho at DC9

Borracho at DC9

Ben Bones’s Birthday Bash Ticket Give Away

On Tuesday, July 24th of 2012 there is going to be a birthday metal concert/party at the Red Palace for Ben Bones, the head of security at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Luckily Ben has some great musical taste as the night’s line up will be Balaclava from Richmond as well as locals Auroboros, Borracho and Above The Silence. You don’t have to know Ben Ben Bonesto go to this kick ass show though, you just have to be 21 or older. Since Ben is a friend of mine and I like you all so much, DCHeavyMetal is going to be giving away a free pair of tickets to this rare metal show at the Red Palace. All you’ve got to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me which of the bands playing you want to see the most (you can pick more than one if you’d like). Be sure you enter with an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win, and as always I won’t put you on any email spam lists or anything like that. On Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 5pm EST I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all the valid entries to win the tickets. If you are under 21 please don’t enter because even if you win this contest they still won’t let you in the door. There’s more info on this show, including set times, on the DCHM upcoming concert calendar here. Also, the artwork with the woman on the sofa will be printed on posters that will be for sale at the show for about $5. [UPDATE: Turns out the posters will be given away for free upon entry, first come first served.] The artwork is by El Jefe Design, a local company who does great work. I’m pretty psyched for this kick ass line up and seriously, what else do you have to do on a Tuesday night? Get your ass out to this!

Auroboros

But wait, there’s more! This show is also the EP release show for my friends in Auroboros and the winner of the tickets will also get a free copy on vinyl that is signed by all of the band members as well as a digital download of the EP. The prize will be awarded at the concert so please don’t enter if you cannot attend. Even if the Auroboros guys weren’t friends of mine I’d recommend you pick this up because it sounds great! I pretty much have to mention that the band features ex-members of Baroness and Salome, but the pasts of its members isn’t what makes a band great. It’s the songs and Auroboros really comes through big on those. Check out the song Tired Grip from the new EP below and see for yourself. You can pick up the EP on vinyl from Australopithecus Records right here for $13 (includes a digital download) or get a digital copy in the format of your choice for just $3.50 from the band’s Bandcamp page here. Of course they’ll also have copies for sale at the show.

What the hell are you reading this for? Enter the contest by leaving a comment below!

King Giant tickets and album give away

Hey everyone, I’ve got another contest for you this week. Local southern metal act King Giant is playing Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield, Virginia this Saturday the 21st of January and DCHeavyMetal.com is giving away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky readers of the site. This isn’t just any ordinary King Giant show though, in addition to headlining it is also the release show for their new album Dismal Hollow. At the show they’ll have copies of it on both CD and vinyl and to sweeten this week’s contest I’ll be giving away a copy of it as well. You get to pick which version you want, CD or vinyl, and I’ll get the entire band to personally autograph it for you! And since I’m feeling so generous this week I’ll throw in a free DCHeavyMetal.com t-shirt with the Joshua Brettell artwork! So that means this week’s winner gets a copy of the new King Giant album in the format of their choice signed by the band AND two free tickets to the show on Saturday AND a free DCHeavyMetal.com shirt! All you have to do to win is tell me why you want to go to this show in the comments below and I’ll pick a winner at random using Random.org to win the prize package! Your reason can be to pick up the new album, to hear some of the new tunes played live, to get loaded at the bar or anything you want really. The winner will be picked at 5pm EST on Friday 20 January 2012. Be sure to use a valid email address you check regularly when you post a comment so I can contact you if you win, though the email address doesn’t have to be in the comment itself. And don’t worry, I won’t add you to any lists or spam you in any way, I hate that shit too.

King Giant puts on a great show however there’s a kick ass line up for the whole night so be sure to get there early and check out some of the other bands playing. Starting the night off will be a band called Weed Warlock and I honestly don’t know much about them but I’m going to guess they’re a stoner band just from the band name alone. After them will be Auroboros, one of the area’s rising sludge bands. You sort of have to mention that the band features former members of both Baroness and Salome, however they’re a great band even if they didn’t have a pedigree. I’ve also heard they have just made t-shirts and this will be the first place you’ll be able to get one at. After they play there’s The Crimson Electric who are coming up from the Virginia Beach area. You may recall that they played with King Giant at the State Theatre back in January of 2011. So I guess this is becoming an annual thing for them but that’s not a bad thing at all because they put on a great show. The final opening act before King Giant plays will be Borracho, a stoner/doom band from DC. Their name is Spanish for a drunk or lush and as you’d guess they write some great riffs to knock a few back to between rounds of shots. This is really an excellent line up of similar yet distinct and talented bands. If you don’t end up winning you can get a ticket online from Amped & Alive for $13.50 here OR you can buy a ticket at the door $12 (add $2 to that if you’re under 21). This show is all ages and the doors open at 6:30pm. I’ll also be selling DCHM shirts and hopefully have a new batch of DCHM stickers in by then and I’ll be giving those away for free to anyone who wants one. Now check out this kick ass King Giant video for their new song Appomattox and enter the contest below it: