Review of Cannibal Corpse gig at the Rock And Roll Hotel

This tour had, without a doubt, the best death metal line up of any North American tour this year. Devourment opening for Vital Remains, local favorites Dying Fetus and the kings of death metal themselves, Cannibal Corpse. On Sunday the 21st of November they all brought their combined brutality to the Rock And Roll Hotel in Washington, DC (you thought I was going to say Jaxx, didn’t you?) and aurally assaulted this venue like never before. Now I’ve seen a few metal shows at the Rock & Roll Hotel before, but they have not had any death metal, and what a great tour to bring in for their first extreme metal show at the venue! They didn’t have any local support, but luckily I’d just gone to see a great set of local death metal the night before at Jaxx, (my review of that show is here) so it was sort of like the openers played the night before.

When I first got to the venue, Devourment was already playing. I’m not sure how long they played but I saw them play four songs. There was already a good size crowd amassing so I stayed to the back of the room near the soundboard so that I wouldn’t damage my nice camera (they wouldn’t let me use it so I had to store it during the other bands’ sets). Because of all this I wasn’t in a great place to get video or still shots of these guys. They had the crowd already going though when I got there, and between every song I saw, and also in the middle of half of their songs, the lead singer, Mike Majewski, would instruct the crowd to mosh in a circle pit. The set seemed to focus on older material, I remember them playing Choking On Bile as well as closing with Babykiller. This was kind of odd though, since the band is hardly the band it used to be. Choking On Bile is from the band’s first full length, Molesting The Decapitated. That album totally rules, don’t get me wrong, and if you want to hear some of the best underground death metal there is, check that album out. But the band playing this night only had one member remaining from back then, the bass player, and he was now on vocals! This and the fact that Devourment will also be playing again in May at Maryland Deathfest (much more info about that on my calendar here) made me not so upset about missing some of their set this night. Also, their guitarist put on a white horse head mask for the final song, I have no idea why.

The next band to play was Vital Remains. No, Deicide‘s Glen Benton was not playing with them, though their bass player was wearing a Stench Of Redemption shirt. I’d put my DSLR away and had my point and shoot camera ready and was standing in the front by the time they took the stage. The vocalist, Scott Wily, had on these spiked Immortal-esque bracers and was again telling people to keep a circle pit going. Ok, really? I remember thinking how dumb it was watching hardcore kids do laps in circle pits, why are these death metal bands encouraging this instead of straight up brutal mosh pits? Whatever, it was all to my back for the most part anyways. They did play a great set made up mostly of material from their two most recent albums, Icons Of Evil and Dechristianize. That’s fine by me, even though I often want bands to play older songs I’ve always enjoyed their more recent material as I think they really refined and defined their sound. Plus it’s fucking faster than their old stuff, and trust me they don’t slow it down live. Most of the people near me seemed to know most of the words to Dechristianize and were screaming along with it, which goes to show the power of getting an iconic vocalist like Benton on those studio albums. Of course with their long songs, their set seemed to fly by and since there were still two more bands to play their set was shorter than I’d have liked. They also didn’t play the song Shrapnel Embedded Flesh (a personal favorite of mine) but other than those two minor gripes they really did a kick ass job of taking the brutality up a notch.

The next band set to play was Dying Fetus. Now, before I make my next statement here, let me first say that I haven’t seen them in quite a few years and that might have something to do with my opinion on the matter. That said, Dying Fetus fucking killed it this show and really, I think they showed up Cannibal Corpse. Their setlist was great from start to finish, and while their stage time was shorter they didn’t talk a lot between songs. For the most part they just played some brutal fucking death metal, of course with all those grind elements and breakdowns their sound is known for. Dying Fetus is from the DC suburbs of Maryland and I don’t know if that was the reason why, but they did play a lot of older material, including two songs off of the Killing On Adrenaline album, which was awesome. Some of these songs I hadn’t even listened to in years and I really enjoyed remembering them as they played songs from their entire back catalog. They even played the song Eviscerated Offspring from their 1994 demo! The mosh pit went crazy, combining brutal death metal with catchy breakdowns will do that, haha. There are a lot of bands who do that now of course, to the point it can get really annoying really quickly, but after seeing this gig there is no question in my mind that Dying Fetus are still the best at it. They opened with Praise The Lord (Opium Of The Masses) which really set the tone of the show from the start, and the intensity didn’t let up until they finished their set with Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog. In all, it was a great performance by one of the leaders in death metal.

Finally it was time for the headliner, Cannibal Corpse. They played the area not too long ago, when they came to Jaxx back in April (my review of that is here) and this concert wasn’t a whole lot different really. There are some things you can expect at a Cannibal Corpse show these days, brutal music is one of them of course. But you also know that when their vocalist, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher says the next song goes out to all the women in the audience, they’re going to play Preacher Of Sodom (used to be Fucked With A Knife but that song doesn’t seem to be part of their set list any more) and you know when he says Hammer Smashed Face is their last song of the night, after it’s done he’s going to say he lied about it being the final song as they start playing Stripped, Raped And Strangled. This show had all that of course, but there were a few surprises. For one, they played the song Gutted off of Butchered At Birth, and Corpsegrinder said that he grew up in Baltimore so the show was a sort of coming home and he reminisced about coming to see concerts at the 9:30 Club and the like and he said the Rock N Roll Hotel had a similar feeling to those places back then. He also challenged the audience to keep up with his extreme headbanging during the song I Cum Blood, and I’ve got video of that below you can watch. A few touches like those aside, the show was fairly typical for Cannibal Corpse, and while I’ve seen them play a hell of a lot of times, you could tell by all the X’s I saw on people’s hands that many of those in attendance probably hadn’t seen them before and the aspects of the show I see as becoming a pattern were all new to them. The venue was pretty packed and I saw the guy in the full body chicken suit in the mosh pit (hadn’t seen him around in a couple years!) as well as a guy in a V For Vendetta style Guy Fawkes mask. Yeah, Cannibal Corpse draws an odd crowd. Their set was intense and sweaty and brutal as always, and it was a lot of fun. And I know I’ve seen them play at least 10 times before, but I’ll never get tired of watching Cannibal Corpse play Hammer Smashed Face and Stripped Raped And Strangled back to back while standing two feet in front of me. Those are two of the most iconic death metal songs ever written and essentially define the band, if not the death metal genre itself.

At this concert I could tell the District is hungry for more metal and several people asked me about my site after seeing the logo on my shirt, all basically saying the city needed something like that. Even the manager of the venue told me he’d be interested in having a regular metal night there. I sure as hell would like to see something like that happen. Even though the bands were crammed on the stage, this was a great show to bring death metal back into the city with. I know a lot of the people there won’t head out to places in the suburbs like Jaxx for concerts a lot due to transportation and other issues. It was another good turn out, reinforcing the fact that heavy metal is on the rise in the entire area, not just the suburbs. It was also my second great death metal concert in a row, what more can you ask for? Now check out the videos I shot of the final three bands below.

Review of Loculus gig at Jaxx

Ashburn, Virginia based Loculus headlined a local metal night with openers Above The Altar and Apothys at Jaxx on Saturday the 20th of November 2010 and it was pretty damn awesome. This was the release party show for Loculus’ new EP, Sinew, which they were giving away copies of for free to everyone in attendance. Not only that, but it was a great showing of the local death metal community. There was a great turn out for such a late show with no national headliner and hell, I’ve been to Jaxx plenty of times to see touring bands with far less people in attendance. I’d never been to one of these “late” shows at Jaxx before, where they have one concert going on earlier in the afternoon/evening and another later that night, and this one seemed a bit disorganized, though that was no fault of the bands involved. Apparently the earlier show got out late, and while the first band of the late show was supposed to go on at 10:30, they didn’t hit the stage until 11:30. I talked to a few members of the bands playing after I got there and they not only had no idea when their sets would start, they didn’t even know how long they would be allowed to play if at all! Though once the bands did start playing, the show really was worth the wait.

By the time Apothys hit the stage you could tell the crowd was starting to get restless. Originally the band Shotgun Surgery was supposed to play, but they had to cancel and were replaced on the bill by Apothys a week or two before the concert. Apothys always seems to put on a good show live and this time was no exception. They kept the crowd fired up the entire set and the band looked like they were having as much fun up there as anyone in attendance. I noticed that they didn’t play Of Writhing Eyes, a killer song which they have been closing shows with the last couple of times I have seen them. I wonder if that was due to time constraints because the show was running so late. I had just seen them the previous Monday at So Addictive (my review of that concert is here) and while that show was kind of cool for it’s lack of a stage so the band really mingled with the audience, it was nice to see them up on a proper stage with decent lighting again. Sadly the camera I shoot video with had its SD card take a shit and the video I took of them playing Terminus at this show has some error that makes the file unplayable. I didn’t know this until I got home that night and the card also lost one of the videos I shot of the headliner, Loculus. Sucks but what can ya do?

The next band to play, Above The Altar, is a death metal band from Loudon with a lot of thrashy elements and even a few breakdowns giving them a sort of ‘core element to their sound. I had never seen them play before, but they were a good addition to the night’s line up, putting a bit of variation (but not too much) between the two other more standard death metal bands in the line up. Their songs were pretty well put together though they didn’t really grab me too much. Maybe if I was familiar with some of their material beforehand I’d have been a bit more into it. Their lead singer, Toby Gomez, was pretty entertaining with his banter between songs and he helped to keep the mood light between the heavy songs. By the time they ended their set it was getting late though and I was wondering how much time the headliner would have to play.

The next band to hit the stage was Loclus and it was already after 1am when they started playing! They had a big, professional banner with their logo and some artwork up behind the stage that must have cost a bit of money to have made. It was pretty cool looking though. Their guitarist, Steve Miller, had given me their demo a few months back that I really enjoyed, but I still hadn’t had a chance to catch them live yet. I’m glad I made it to this one as they were really on fire. You can tell they had put a lot of work into getting this show together and when they hit the stage it really paid off! They took the stage and really played a no-nonsense very tight set. This was some fast, brutal death metal and Loculus really killed it on the stage here. They were well practiced and they executed their material very well (from what I could tell at least). The drums were pummeling, the guitars were furious and the vocals were out of control. They didn’t talk much between songs, I’d guess that was partially due to the fact that time was becoming an issue this night. However, they did pause at one point to tell everyone to pick up a free copy of the four song EP they were releasing. The mosh pit was going strong the whole set and I think everyone in the room could feel the intensity of their performance. The worst part was that it was so short, they only played five songs, though I think if it was any longer they’d have run out of time for the venue to be open.

It was a great show, and while it wasn’t the first for Loculus it had a sort of debut feeling to it. If you were there and didn’t get a copy of Sinew for some reason, the band has said you can bring your ticket stub to their next concert (date and venue still to be determined as of this post’s writing) and they’ll give you a copy. It was great to see so many people come crawling out of the woodwork to a late gig for local death metal acts. It sort of reminded me of that first State Theatre metal show (my review of that is here) back in August where it was also cool to see how many people came out in support. These kinds of concerts, plus the Blood & Fire Fest, various weekly and monthly metal gigs starting at venues around the area, and the willingness of more and more local venues to host metal concerts are showing this scene really start to come together! I’m glad so many people came out, and glad Loculus not only set this show up, but really killed it Saturday night when everyone was watching to show people this isn’t all just hype. Metal in the greater DC area is on the rise! Now check out the videos from the night that my SD card didn’t corrupt below, and be sure to check back later in the week for my review of Sunday night’s Dying Fetus and Cannibal Corpse as well as the re-opening (finally) of the Downloads page on the site that will have free mp3 downloads of over 20 different local metal bands of various sub-genres.

Recap of the first Metal Night at the State Theatre

Wow what a night for local metal! Friday the 20th of August 2010 was the first metal night at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia and it was a pretty fun time. Four local bands played, Invader, Croatoan, King Giant and Timelord, and the event was organized by an employee of the State Theatre, Alan Margazano. Since this was the first of hopefully many local metal nights at the State Theatre, I didn’t really know what to expect. Word from management was that if they could sell 200 tickets the night would be considered a financial success and more metal nights would be scheduled in the future. This meant that it was important that people actually came out to this event and showed that there is a real interest in metal in the area. There was no way that I was going to miss this call for local metal heads to assemble, even if I wasn’t running this blog I’d have gone.

I got there at about 8:15 and the first band, Invader, had already started playing. I didn’t know if there would be like 20 people there when I walked in or what, but there was already at least 75 people inside the venue at that point. Invader had also recently played at the Blood And Fire Festival in July (you can read my review of that here) but they had played before I arrived then. I’m glad I got to see them this time, they put on a fun set of thrashy death metal including a cover a Slayer‘s crowd pleasing classic Raining Blood where the vocalist and drummer switched roles. Even if you don’t include the cover, their set consisted of a lot of mosh-friendly riffs and a ton of raw energy coming from the stage. You could tell they were having a lot of fun and were happy to be playing. Their set was long enough you could get a good idea of what they were about, and they were a great band to start off the event on a high note.

The next band up was Croatoan. I didn’t know much about these guys. They weren’t bad, but they seemed to have not really found their sound yet. Different songs seemed to be in different genres. One more more death oriented, one more traditional thrash, another doom. Don’t get me wrong, they were fun to watch, and they were certainly having fun entertaining the audience. Their vocalist, Emil Poss, had a good banter with the crowd going between songs, and they didn’t lose my interest through their entire set either. I just think a more defined direction would help these guys out. There’s certainly room for them to grow and I look forward to seeing them again in the future to see how they’ve progressed. They did get the pit going a few times, and I have to admit it was kind of surreal seeing a circle pit at the State Theatre.

After Croatoan played there was a long break before the next band, King Giant, started. This made it a good time to get a beer and/or order food from the bar. There wasn’t a whole lot of food to chose from on the menu, pretty standard burgers and fries (there was a veggie burger too) with the only thing a little different being the hummus. I’ve got a pic of the menu here if you want to check it out. The beer menu was certainly more filled out, though there were a couple draft beers that had run out. They did have a decent selection of bottled beer too, including a couple non-alcoholic options, as well as a fully stocked liquor bar too. You can check out the picture I shot of the beer list here. After each band played they’d hide the stage with a movie screen that dropped down and displayed various images on the screen. Often logos for the band playing next, or a funny images from the internet. They would also play samples of music by metal bands selling merch in the back of the room. These were local bands who weren’t playing this evening, but were hoping to play future metal nights. The upstairs balcony seating was closed, so people were confined to the downstairs main floor, which had tables as well as a standing room only pit area directly in front of the stage. Alan would get up on stage before each band played and introduce them as the movie screen raised up behind him revealing the next act.

When King Giant hit the stage the venue was really alive. They had the largest draw of the evening and probably should have been playing last. I won’t get into a long description of the band and their sound here, I reviewed them playing at the 9:30 Club three weeks ago and you can read that here if you want that. In short their sound is a very polished and distinctly southern heavy metal. They have a clear vision of their sound and they bring it to the stage very well, this night being no exception. They were a bit different in sound than the rest of the bands playing, but I think that’s great. Part of the draw of Metal Night, at least for me, is seeing a mixture of bands from different sub-genres exposing each other’s fans to new music they wouldn’t have heard before. I’m sure there were some people who didn’t like the sound as much, there always is, but I talked to several people who were impressed with King Giant and they certainly won some new fans this night. Their set wasn’t as long as it had been at the 9:30 Club, but it still had fan favorites like Solace and Mississippi River in there. In all, it was another good live performance by one of the area’s best unsigned metal bands.

Next up was the final band of the night, Timelord. I’ve seen them on the calendar opening for bands at Jaxx before, but never gotten the chance to see them. Alan introduced them as an Iron Maiden influenced band and he wasn’t kidding. Vocalist Matt Aub certainly has a likeness to Bruce Dickenson in his vocal tone, though he is also playing guitar while singing. These guys definitely knew how to play their instruments and their set was full of killer guitar solos and even a drum solo at one point. I think calling them Maiden influenced thrashy power metal would probably best describe them. Unfortunately, power metal isn’t my favorite metal sub genre and while their set wasn’t bad by any means, it was probably better suited to fans of the genre more than myself. The songs didn’t have a lot of variation, which isn’t always a bad thing, but when paired with my lack of interest in power metal I found myself getting distracted and talking to people. Fans of old school heavy metal, NWOBHM, and power metal in general would probably enjoy these guys a lot more than I did. At one point a couple of the guys from Invader showed up on stage with them and started headbanging. After their final song, Cult Of The Dead, people were chanting for them to play more but the movie screen started lowering and people knew the concert was over.

The first metal night ended a few minutes shy of midnight. Afterwards Alan announced over the PA system that the night had been a success and the next “Monthly” Metal Night at the State Theatre would be held in October. The event was hell of a lot of fun, and I spent a good amount of time talking to people. Throughout the night I saw a lot of familiar faces from the area’s metal scene and got the chance to meet some new people and bands too. I picked up some new music and also got to check out some bands play that I’d never seen before. On my way out the door Alan told me over 230 tickets had been sold, plenty more than the 200 needed to ensure more metal nights at the State Theatre in the future. They’ve got a big stage with great lights and a good sound system too, it’s very cool that they’re giving real metal a chance to use it. It’s really amazing that this all came together from it’s beginnings as a Facebook group page (join it here for updates on future metal nights). They’re already starting the search for the next event’s band line up and you can make suggestions for that here. I’d like to see more genres represented at the next one, maybe some black and doom and a bit less thrash. Also, you can check out videos I shot of each of the four bands who played at the end of this post and view the photos I’ve posted here. The event’s turn out was good and while Alan deserves a lot of credit for putting this all together as well as the bands who played, all the people who got off their asses and came out and bought tickets for a night of local metal deserve a big thanks for making it not only possible but successful enough to ensure another metal night. Lets keep this ball rolling and get even more people to come out to the next one on October!

Review of Iron Maiden gig at Jiffy Lube Live

This is a review of their 2010 concert at Jiffy Lube Live, for the 2012 concert review go here.

Whenever Iron Maiden comes to town you can bet most of the metal heads in the area are going to find their way to that concert. Tuesday the 20th of July 2010 was no exception when Iron Maiden played the horribly named Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia. The concert was fun as always, though there were several problems with it too. Also of note, it was the final show of the US leg of the Final Frontier Tour. I totally missed the opening act Dream Theater. This was partly because of the weather, partly because of some minor navigational issues getting to the venue, and partly because (or so I was told) they played a short set.

When we got to Jiffy Lube Live (formerly known as Nissan Pavilion) it was pouring rain, though by the time we actually got the car parked it had mostly let up. The rain never got that bad again, but it was still a damp and humid night, and the lawn area had a lot of mud on it that only seemed to get more slick as the night wore on. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a large venue concert like this one. Part of that is because there aren’t a whole hell of a lot of bands that play arenas and amphitheaters that I actually want to see, and part of it is because the experience kind of sucks. Sure seeing the band is fun, but paying $11 for a can of beer that would cost me $2 at a 7-11 is ridiculous. Leaving the venue is always horrible too, and Jiffy Lube Live is known for being one of the worst. Things like finding your friends can be tough in such large places, and of course these outdoor shows leave you vulnerable to the elements. On top of it all, the ticket prices are astronomical if you want to be anywhere halfway close to the stage. Now I understand the whole supply and demand part of it, but I’m sorry I’m just not willing to pay a few hundred bucks to see a band one night, I don’t care who it is. This concert expectedly had all the same problems, at no fault to Iron Maiden, though I suppose they could make tickets a bit cheaper if they wanted, but they were pretty typical in price. They did have a rather elaborate setup on the stage, and I like how they have a backdrop that changes for just about every song, and that stuff costs money to do. At one point they brought out some guy in a full body costume of the newest space alien version of the band’s mascot, Eddie. Kinda goofy and a bit Gwar-ish I suppose, but entertaining none the less. The band’s singer, Bruce Dickenson, is always entertaining on stage, jumping around and climbing on the elaborate stage sets as well as getting everyone to sing along with him on those classic chorus lines Iron Maiden is known for. At one point between songs he asked the audience who was there for their first ever Iron Maiden show. I don’t know if people weren’t paying attention and going along with the herd, or if they were all just n00bz or whatever, but most of the audience put up their hands and yelled. Bruce didn’t seem to believe it and made a comment about how this can’t be EVERYONE’s first Maiden gig. He also dedicated the song Blood Brothers to the late Ronnie James Dio which also pleased the crowd. The three guitarist attack of Iron Maiden is pretty fun to witness too, the guys really know how to make solos fun to watch AND listen to at the same time. If you’re not up close it can sometimes be hard to tell which of the 3 guitarists is playing the solo, especially when they start switching off, but that’s part of the fun of watching an Iron Maiden show. The stage was set up to look like the inside of a space ship along the lines of something you see in the Aliens movies. It had a door that Bruce would occasionally duck into to let the focus of the audience stay on the rest of the band for certain parts of songs, such as the aforementioned guitar solos. He’d later appear on top of the set materials above the band or run back out the door just before his next line. The showmanship was great and all, and the concert was really awesome except for one thing, the setlist…

Iron Maiden Setlist Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA, USA 2010, The Final Frontier Tour

The setlist was not what I had been hoping for, and I’d imagine many of the people in attendance would agree. If you’re a big fan of Iron Maiden’s material from the year 2000 on, you were in luck. If you wanted to hear lots of their old classics and maybe a few newer songs sprinkled in for good measure? Well, this wasn’t your night. Do you know how many people went to this concert hoping to get a chance to hear The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg instead of The Trooper? Zero. You’ll notice in the setlist posted above which was actually played though. This was the biggest problem with this show. Yeah, it was Iron Maiden and they are damn fun to see live, but where were all the songs? No Wasted Years? No Powerslave? They didn’t even play Run To The Hills and I thought for sure they’d play that one. They played ten songs that were released in the years 2000 to 2010, including the new single El Dorado which was expected, but come on! They played just one song released between the years 1983 and 1999, Fear Of The Dark. That’s a huge part of their discography that was completely ignored. They only played one song from 1980 to 1982 until they closed the show with four straight songs from that era, three of which were part of the planned encore. Those songs were great to watch live, don’t get me wrong, but aside from Wrathchild being played early, where the hell were these classic tunes during the first hour or so of the concert? When I last saw Iron Maiden, in 2003 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, they basically played their best hits CD live. That was an awesome experience, everyone knew all the songs and everyone sang them like they were in the shower or driving in their car alone. People were playing air guitar to songs they’d learned to play when they were growing up and banged their heads to beats they have loved for many years. That nostalgia, that’s what everyone (well, at least me!) wanted at this concert too, but unless you’d been following their more recent material, you didn’t really get that experience. As I said above, it’s always fun seeing Iron Maiden, but the set list really left me feeling glad I hadn’t decided to fork over a few hundred dollars for a spot up close. I did get to shoot a couple videos while there, and you can see them below. They’re a little shakey as I was doing my best to hide the fact that I was shooting video, though midway through The Number Of The Beast I grew some balls and tried to keep the camera steady. I hope you enjoy them! I know a lot of people who will read this were there, feel free to tell me about your experience at the concert in the comments below.

2009 Wrap Up and 2010 Preview

First I would like to say that I’m not going to do an obligatory top 10 list of albums of the year nor decade. It’s rather pointless and I doubt anyone cares about my favorite albums of the year and whatever arbitrary numbering system I’d assign them. That said, there were a lot of good metal albums put out this year, and if you’re looking for some metal to check out that you might have missed (the real purpose of all those top 10 lists) here’s some for ya. A new Black Sabbath Heaven And Hell album, The Devil You Know, that had music as good as the cover art. I’m a sucker for anything with Tony Iommi on guitar though, so maybe I’m a bit biased. There were some stand out albums in various metal sub-genres, like Anaal Nathrakh‘s In The Constellation Of The Black Widow, PsyopusOdd Senses, Monoliths & Dimensions by Sunn O))), Shrinebuilder‘s self titled album, the unpronounceable ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ by Arckanum, the Blue Record by Baroness, Black Cascade by Wolves In The Throne Room, Winter Hours by Tombs, Dark Castle‘s Spirited Migration, Existence Is Futile by Revocation, Urgehal‘s Ikonoklast, Syrach‘s A Dark Burial, Hypocrisy‘s excellent A Taste Of Extreme Divinity, Milorg by Vreid and the totally underrated A Pyre Of Lost Dreams by Black Wreath. If you can’t find something new to check out from all that, well, you’ve got similar metal taste to me, congrats.

2009 also had some great come back albums, Unanimated‘s In The Light Of Darkness, Alice In ChainsBlack Gives Way To Blue, Immortal‘s All Shall Fall, Beherit’s Engram, Pestilence‘s Resurrection Macabre, Goreaphobia‘s Mortal Repulsion and Asphyx‘s Death… The Brutal Way all lived up to fan expectations (for the most part, can’t please everyone of course). I really liked the new sound Samael has on their Above album, not really a come back or return to form, but they are definitely worth listening to again after years of screwing around with an industrial sound. 2009 was a huge year for thrash. There were albums released by 80s thrash legends such as Slayer‘s World Painted Blood, Megadeth‘s Endgame and Kreator‘s Hordes Of Chaos which led the way for a neck spraining mob of newer thrash band releases such as Skeletonwitch‘s Breathing The Fire, Blood Tsunami‘s Grand Feast For Vultures, Warbringer‘s Waking Into Nightmares, Mantic Ritual‘s Executioner and Havok‘s Burn. And while it’s not a metal sub genre in and of itself, there were quite a few good instrumental albums out this year that I found myself listening to a lot, the self titled Animals As Leaders album, Russian CirclesGeneva, Pelican‘s What We All Come To Need, Dysrhythmia‘s Psychic Maps and Scale The Summit‘s Carving Desert Canyons are all worth listening to. There weren’t too many releases from the local DC metal scene this year, but there were some of note. There was a new album from Dying Fetus titled Descend Into Depravity, Hatred released Burning Paradise, Gravewürm released Funeral Empire, Ol Scratch released The Sunless Citadel, Magrudergrind released a self titled album and there’s also the previously mentioned Animals As Leaders instrumental album.

Now that’s not to say there weren’t any duds though. Without a doubt the biggest disappointment of 2009 had to be Reveltaions Of The Black Flame by 1349. This album is hardly even black metal any more, hell, there’s a fucking Pink Floyd cover on it. It was co-mixed by Tom Gabriel Fischer of Celtic Frost, which a lot of people seem to think was a big reason it stunk, but he wasn’t the one writing the songs. The record is uninspired, the songs are not well thought out and for a band with Frost, one of the best drummers in all of metal, they squander his abilities. I can handle bands trying something new and changing their sound, and I can deal with slower and more abstract music, but this let down of an album is up there with Cryptopsy‘s wet turd The Unspoken King and Metallica‘s self titled “black” album. Another disappointment this year was the Root Of All Evil album by Arch Enemy. I really like the older Arch Enemy material and was hoping this album would make newer fans more familiar with the pre-Angela songs, thus allowing them to add more of these songs to their live set. Sadly this album of re-recorded songs will probably not do well with newer fans because, honestly, it stinks. It’s over produced to the point of a loss of all emotion, energy or intensity. It sounds like a band just going through the motions like a bunch of robots. The new Suffocation album, Blood Oath, was a bit of a let down to me too. For a band that is known for having revolutionized the death metal genre, basically merging brutality with technical musicianship, their new album goes for a simplified, catchier sound that just isn’t on the same level as their older material.

Now lets get past 2009 and take a look at what 2010 has got coming up for us. Fear Factory has reunited with a new line up (including Gene Hoglan on drums) that could be interesting. Their new album is to be titled Mechanize and should be out in early February. The new black metal ‘super group’ of sorts, Ov Hell, has their debut album, The Underworld Regime, out in early February also. The Crown has reformed with almost all of the original members back, but they have a new guy on vocals, Jonas Stålhammar. Hopefully they’ll have a new album out this year (or at least tour). The infamous Varg Vikernes will have a new Burzum album, Belus, out in the spring, his first release since being released from Norwegian prison for the murder of Mayhem‘s guitarist Euronymous. Darkthrone was recording in the fall so they should have a new album out soon. Japan’s Sigh will have a new album out on January 19th titled Scenes From Hell. This will be their first album with their female vocalist/saxophone player, Dr. Mikannibal and I’m curious what this already bizarre sounding band will come up with next. Overkill will have their new album, Ironbound, out at the end of January. Greece’s Rotting Christ has a new album, Aealo, out February 15th. Borknagar will have a new album, titled Universal, out in late February. Early March will see the release of Dark Tranquillity‘s new album, We Are The Void (I guess the album cover artist is a fan of goatse). Catamenia says their new album will be out in the spring, and Watain says their new album will be out by the summer. The reunited Atheist said they would record their first album of new material since 1993. Autopsy is reunited so maybe if we’re lucky they’ll put out some new material too. Local band Misery Index should have a new album out in May and hopefully Modulus will make their newly finished album, Perfection Through Manipulation, available to the masses soon.

As far as metal concerts in 2010, the biggest story by far is going to be the festivals with the big 4 thrash bands all playing together, but so far these are just scheduled to be festivals in Europe. Of course everyone is hoping a tour with Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax will come to the states, maybe these European fests are just to test the waters, see how well the bands work together before they all decide on a true tour. The reformed Decapitated should make their way to the US to tour at some point (one would think). Hypocrisy has said they have gotten their US work visas approved so they should be setting up another tour soon. Surely several of the bands with upcoming releases that are mentioned above will be touring to support their new albums in 2010. There’s already several tours scheduled to come by the DC area, which you can find out about on my Upcoming Concerts page. The biggest will of course be the Maryland Deathfest in May but there’s still plenty of of good shows before then too. Of course venues like Jaxx and Sonar will have their share of metal shows coming to the area, but there are also some gigs coming to less likely venues in 2010, like the Black Dahlia Murder at the Rock And Roll Hotel and Jucifer at the Black Cat. Hopefully they’ll get good turn outs and the venues will continue to host more metal shows.

Thanks for having read through this marathon of a post, it’s almost done, you’re in the home stretch. I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I’m hoping I’ll still be running this blog and get to write another one of these year end wrap ups next year. I recently got rid of that ugly old logo but I still want to work on the site’s appearance more and possibly buy a URL to redirect to here so I can make like bumper stickers with an easy to remember web address that doesn’t end in “”. I’d also like to propose a resolution to all the other music bloggers, commentators, critics, etc… out there. Stop calling metal bands “the mighty”! Really, it’s stupid and half the time you say it about lame ass bands like “the mighty Dragonforce” or some shit. There’s plenty of adjectives to describe metal bands with that actually make them sound distinct from every other metal band on the planet, like brutal, technical, atmospheric, minimalist, energetic, grim, thrashy, etc… Seriously, stop it with “the mighty” crap unless you want to start calling every non-metal band “the pussy”. Come to think of it, that might actually be a pretty awesome trade.

Well, that’s about it. I probably won’t have another post until some time in January unless something interesting before then really needs a post about it. I will keep the Upcoming Concerts page up to date, and I’ll continue to keep an eye out for any new torrents for the Downloads page. I should be going to see Behemoth at Jaxx in early January so I should have a review of that up if nothing else before then. I guess if you’ve got any questions, suggestions or requests for things you’d like to see on DC Metal in the new year, or if you just want to tell me how much the site (or me) sucks, leave a comment below.

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)
Wormwood (Sept 24)
All Shall Fall (Sept 25)
Þyrmir EP (Sept 25)
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 and I’ll post links to new entries as soon as I post them here. Keep it brutal DC!