Bandcamp event recommendations

On Friday, May 1st, Bandcamp has decided to not take their cut from all sales of music and merch on their platform in an effort to help support the many bands that are struggling right now due to coronavirus shut downs. Bands can’t tour nor can’t properly record so there’s been a big financial slow down for them, and many of them bought lots of merch to sell on tours and at festivals that just aren’t happening now. Anything you buy on Bandcamp will go straight to the artists without Bandcamp’s usual cut so if you’ve been meaning to buy something from a band, go ahead and do it May 1st. I’ve put together this lengthy list of suggestions completely made up of new material from around the world, country and even locals too, for those of you looking for some great new tunes to buy on Friday (or whenever really).

UlcerateStare Into Death And Be Still
Tech death from New Zealand

GlooshTimewheel
Atmospheric black metal from Siberia

Yuri GagarinThe Outskirts of Reality
Instrumental stoner metal from Sweden

Creative WasteCondemned
Grindcore from Saudi Arabia

Oranssi PazuzuMestarin kynsi
Psychedelic black metal from Finland

Black CurseEndless Wound
Death metal from Denver featuring members of Spectral Voice, Khemmis and Blood Incantation

Borracho with Jake Starr EP
Stoner metal from DC

Seasick GladiatorThe Hanged Man
Instrumental stoner/doom from Washington DC

dirt eaterStorm King Mountain
Stoner/sludge metal from Northern Virginia

ImmiserationAlienation of Humanity
Death metal from Baltimore

Ripped To ShredsLuan
Death metal from San Jose

Reeking AuraBeneath the Canopy of Compost
Death metal from NY/NJ

Live BurialUnending Futility (Name Your Price)
Death/thrash from England

UltharProvidence Pre-Order
Black/death metal from the Bay Area

WakeDevouring Ruin
Crusty black/death from Calgary

Internal RotGrieving Birth
Grindcore from Australia

WvrmColony Collapse
Grindcore from South Carolina

CalligramThe Eye Is The First Circle
Crusty black metal from London

Spectral Lore & Mare Cognitum split Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine
Black metal from Greece & Oregon, respectively

Путь (Pathway) – Холодная весна (Cold Spring) (Name Your Price)
Black metal with an accordian from Russia
This song was written about, and recorded during, COVID quarantine

VelniasScion of Aether
Cascadian style black metal from Colorado

erranterrant
Black/post metal solo debut from Rae Amitay, vocalist of Immortal Bird

Behold The ArctopusHapeleptic Overtrove Pre-Order
Instrumental tech/prog from New York City

Rotting KingdomA Deeper Shade Of Sorrow
Death/doom from Kentucky

Paradise LostObsidian Pre-Order
Gothic doom metal from Halifax, England

KhemmisDoomed Heavy Metal
2 covers, 1 original and 3 live tracks recorded Dec 28/29 of 2018 at Larimer Lounge in Denver
Doom metal from Denver

Inter ArmaLive at Club Congress (Name Your Price)
Recorded on 8/24/17 in Tuscon, Arizona
Post metal from Richmond

Orange GoblinRough & Ready, Live & Loud
Captured live at various shows between 2016 and 2019
Stoner doom metal from London

PelicanLive at the Grog Shop
Recorded 9/15/19 in Cleveland
Instrumental post-metal from Chicago

PanopticonLive Migration Pre-Order
Recorded 7/29/18 at Migration Fest in Pittsburgh
Appalachian black metal from Minnesota

Last but not least DC’s own No/Más is re-posting their debut EP for this one day only, then they’re taking it back down so if you want it get it on Friday! Details from the band here.

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