Live photos of Electric Wizard

On Wednesday, April 1st of 2015, UK based stoner/doom metal band Electric Wizard played to a sold out crowd at the Baltimore Soundstage. The place was crowded, I’ve never seen it so packed before, but the band put on great show and played those super fuzzy riffs for about an hour and a half. The band had a video projection behind them for the entire show, which mostly showed clips from old exploitation films of nude blond women dancing around with psychedelic patterns superimposed. I didn’t get there in time to shoot locals Satan’s Satyrs, who are opening for the entire tour, but it was cool getting to see their bass player, Clayton Burgess, perform with Electric Wizard. The last time Electric Wizard played the US was also in Baltimore when they headlined Maryland Deathfest in 2012, and they didn’t tour the US around that show, it was a one off performance. Combine that with the fact that Electric Wizard hadn’t played in the US for many years prior to MDF due to problems getting visas, and people were hungry to see these guys in action. Considering that, it isn’t much surprise that their merch sold out very quickly, only a few Electric Wizard tote bags and black light posters remained by the end of their set and all of the t-shirts were long gone. They played a lot of their classics that night, like “Dopesmoker” and “Satanic Rites Of Drugula” and I think most people left pleased with the set list overall (you can see the entire thing here). Whether you got to attend this epic show or not, I hope you enjoy the photos I shot below. If you’d like to see more of them just go here.

Electric Wizard at the Baltimore Soundstage

Electric Wizard at the Baltimore Soundstage

Electric Wizard at the Baltimore Soundstage

Electric Wizard at the Baltimore Soundstage

Electric Wizard at the Baltimore Soundstage

Electric Wizard at the Baltimore Soundstage

Electric Wizard at the Baltimore Soundstage

Electric Wizard at the Baltimore Soundstage

Electric Wizard at the Baltimore Soundstage

Review of Foehammer by Foehammer

Band: Foehammer
Album: Foehammer
Release Date: 7 April 2015
Record Label: Grimoire Records
Buy digital or CD ($7) or cassette ($6) on Bandcamp: Here
Buy vinyl ($15) from Australopithecus: Here

Cover of Foehammer by Foehammer

This post is the debut piece from new DCHM contributor Buzzo Jr. Those of you that already know him can back me up that this guy is really passionate about his metal, and I think that he’ll do just fine here. In this post he’s writing about Foehammer, a new band in our area, though the members have been active in our metal scene for some time. Some of you may remember that they were the opening act at the DCHM Holiday Party last December at the Pinch. So take a few minutes to read his words about Foehammer’s debut and of course be sure to stream some of the tunes at the bottom of the post too.

One of the many things the DMV area is well known for is its fantastic doom metal scene. There is no short supply of bands worshipping at the altar of Tony Iommi with fuzz-fueled riffs in the area. One of the newest releases to do so is the self-titled EP from Foehammer, hailing from Annandale, Virginia. With only three songs on the album, each surpassing nine minutes and the final track at a whopping 14, these guys really know the meaning of slow, heavy doom.

First and foremost, the most important thing in all of doom is you’ve got to have solid riffs. And boy do Foehammer deliver. While very simple in structure, every single riff from Joe Cox’s guitar comes at you with full force, lingering on and setting the stage for the next. At some points the riffs sound almost trance-like, and influenced by drone bands such as Sunn O))). The basslines on the record are equally heavy, providing even more distortion to the already low and deep guitar tone. Many funeral doom acts tend to over-distort the bass in order to add to the overall “heaviness,” but end up sounding way too muddy. Foehammer fortunately avoids this misstep and keeps the bass at a perfect level of fuzz, the result being basslines that are clear and audible, but not overpowering the rest of the instruments. Another thing that sets Foehammer apart from other doom bands playing right now would be the vocals. Jay Cardinell’s vocals are not your typical doom vocals in the realm of Wino or Bobby Liebling, but are more reminiscent of death metal bands such as Incantation. The gurgling, low growls at times invoke images of a demonic cauldron, bubbling with an ominous mixture inside. Quite fitting for a band that takes its name from Gandalf’s sword from the “Lord of the Rings” series. Finally, Ben Blanton’s drumming on this record adds the final much needed element to the mix. Each time one of his sticks hit down they hit hard, creating a pounding procession of tribal-like grooves.

The songs, while limited in number, are all slow, heavy, and relentless; hardly ever straying from the set path of full on distortion-laden riffs and pounding drums. The only time the album does quiet down is during the halfway point of the song “Final Grail,” when a beautiful acoustic passage suddenly comes in. The contrast with the acoustic section demonstrates how crushingly heavy Foehammer’s sound actually is once the riffs come roaring back. A minor gripe I have with the album is that while the songs are great, the acoustic section in the first song is the only time the band seems to mix it up, with the rest of the songs not showing much variety in their structure or sound. Apart from that small issue, the album still delivers on what it intended to, and if you’re a fan of incredibly heavy doom in the realm of Samothrace, Conan, Buried At Sea, or even more melodic acts like Pallbearer, then I highly recommend this album.

Foehammer’s self titled debut is a great offering of slow, fuzzy funeral doom that’s bound to shake your speakers and probably your skeleton as well. You can pick it up on April 7 on CD, cassette, or digital download through Baltimore based record label Grimoire Records, or on vinyl through Australopithecus Records.

Electric Wizard ticket give away

Electric Wizard at Baltimore Soundstage

You may have heard that Electric Wizard is returning to Baltimore, this time to play at the Baltimore Soundstage on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015. And you may have heard that this show is already sold out. These things are true but we here at DCHM wanted to give everyone one last chance to get into this show so we’re giving away a pair of tickets to one of you lucky readers! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what was the best sold out concert you’ve ever been to. At 5pm EST this Friday, March 20th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to enter using 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 within 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. This is your last chance to get Electric Wizard tickets so don’t put it off!

Electric Wizard last played in Baltimore in 2012 as a headliner at that year’s Maryland Deathfest. It was the UK based stoner/doom metal band’s first time in the US in many years. They’ve finally put out a new album since then, last year’s Time To Die, and now they’re finally coming back to the US for a tour. This will be our area’s only stop for the tour and as you can imagine, it sold out pretty quick. The opening band for the tour is actually a local band from our area, Satan’s Satyrs. The throwback band has become a favorite of the guys in Electric Wizard, so much so that Satan’s Satyrs bass player Clayton Burgess is now also playing bass for Electric Wizard. If you’re looking for a night of down tuned fuzzy riffs then you don’t want to miss this concert! This show is going to seriously kick some ass so check out these videos by the bands playing and leave a comment below telling me what your favorite sold out concert was!

Electric Wizard – Satanic Rites Of Drugula

Electric Wizard – Black Mass

Satan’s Satyrs – One By One (They Die)

The Skull ticket give away will give you Trouble

The Skull at the Metro Gallery

The doom/stoner band Trouble has been cranking out the riffs since 1980 but now the band’s original vocalist, Eric Wagner, is back with Trouble’s original drummer, Jeff Olson, and long time bass player Ron Holzner not as Trouble but The Skull. They’ll be coming to the Metro Gallery in Baltimore on Friday, December 12th and they’ll be playing classic old Trouble songs as well as tracks from their killer new album For Those Which Are Asleep. We’re so excited about this show here at DCHM that we’re going to give away a pair of tickets to one of you lucky readers. To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite metal album of the year has been. At 5pm EST this Wednesday, December 10th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to enter using 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 $17 here.

The Skull gets their name from the second Trouble album, sort of like how the later version of Black Sabbath with Dio was called Heaven And Hell. Eric Wagner still has that classic doom voice of his so you won’t want to miss this incredible set (and rumor has it the band has a special surprise for fans at this specific show). And if this wasn’t already enough doom for you there’s some great up and coming bands on this bill as well including Philadelphia’s Crypt Sermon and Conclave from Massachusetts. Be sure to get there early so you can catch locals Gateway To Hell as well (what a name!). Now help me find out which great albums I’ve missed listening to this year by telling me what your favorite metal album of the year is and be sure to check out these videos of the bands playing below.

The Skull – The Touch Of Reality

Crypt Sermon – Temple Doors

Conclave – Lifetime

Exclusive Stream of The Nothing by Fortress

Unto The Nothing by Fortress

Fortress is a doom metal trio from Hagerstown, Maryland, and while I love their three song demo I’ve been waiting for some new material to listen to between their earth shaking live shows and now the wait is FINALLY over! Go ahead and stream the new song “The Nothing” below and be sure to crank up that volume! No seriously, more than that, this is the kind of sludgy, slow motion doom metal you’ll want to blast loud enough to feel in your bones. Fans of bands like Pallbearer, Winter and Sunn O))) are going to love this dark album.

Fortress is now signed to Unholy Anarchy Records and their debut full length, Unto The Nothing will be released on December 2nd on CD and three styles of vinyl (each limited to 100 copies) including black, grey marble and clear with black splatter. Vinyl versions will also include a digital download of the album that contains a bonus track not available on other formats. You’ll be able to buy Unto The Nothing from Unholy Anarchy’s online store here (vinyl) and here (CD) or their Bandcamp here, or from the band at an upcoming live show. And did you see that sweet album art by Aeron Alfrey up there? Well you can click on it to see the creepy, full wrap around version of the art that will be on all versions of Unto The Nothing.

“The Nothing” is some hatred drenched, depressive doom metal so I hope you weren’t already having a great day because you’re about to get bummed out, but in the best way possible!

Review of South Of The Earth by Iron Man

Band: Iron Man
Album: South Of The Earth
Release Date: 30 September 2013
Record Label: Metal Blade / Rise Above
Buy from iTunes (digital) for $7.99: Here
Buy from Metal Blade (CD) for $11.99: Here

Cover of South Of The Earth by Iron Man

Maryland’s Iron Man has been cranking out doom metal for decades around here and they recently released their fifth studio album, South Of The Earth. DCHM writer Grimy Grant wrote the following review of it, I hope you all like reading it as much as I did. Be sure to find him on Twitter at @jgrantd and let him know what you think of Iron Man or any other metal bands. And be sure to check out the videos at the end of the review to give them a listen while you read.

One of the original badasses of doom metal in Maryland, Iron Man, are showing the kids how it’s done with their new album South of the Earth. Iron Man have experienced various hiatus in their career, their most recent break coming right after Generation Void was released in 1999. Since 1988 (according to Metal Archives), they’ve built themselves from being a Black Sabbath tribute band into artists worthy of note not just in our area but around the United States as well. Sleep bassist Al Cisneros said they were “one of the best local bands” from Maryland onstage at Maryland Deathfest this year, which I can only imagine gives you infinite cool factor points. In short, they’re touted as one of the more traditionally heavy bands out there as well as one of the longest-lasting.

South of the Earth is the band’s ode to both modern and traditional doom metal. There are deeper roots, obviously, to the traditional, Sabbath-like fuzz and bass sound in the guitars. This is really impressive on tracks such as the second track, “Hail to the Haze”, and the sixth track, appropriately titled “IISEOSEO (The Day of the Beast)”, where the guitars give off serious electric flair. At moments in South of the Earth, I felt like I was being transported sonically back to some low-lit, dank bar where Iron Man’s lead guitarist and founder, Alfred Morris III, is tripping out the audience of bikers and stoners with his sick riffs. Iron Man has added a new member recently, “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun, and he brings a tendency towards a southern-metal sound. This makes the vocals on some songs such as the title track, “South of the Earth”, sound more like southern metal. Dan Michalek’s vocals on 1999’s Generation Void were way more classic metal sounding, almost a mimic copy of Ozzy Osbourne. This isn’t to put Calhoun’s talent in a bad light – he has a wealth of talent as expressed in “The Ballad of Ray Garraty” where he starts the song off in a traditional, Dio-esque bass harmony. This doesn’t stop the fuzz coming from Morris and bass player Louis Strachan who are both dragging things back into that “classic heavy metal” sound. South of the Earth is the Bud-n-whiskey of the area’s metal: heavy metal that uses old-fashioned guitar chops, solid drums, and belting vocals.

“Hail to the Haze” is a song that honors that kind of heavy rock while also making some poetical thoughts on the subject of psychedelics. Calhoun opens by asking to “Hail to the hallucination – come here to placate/Slip into my mind where I’m confined and take me away.” Backed by fuzzy guitars, it’s easy to follow Calhoun’s words and get lost in the song, just as the singer is possibly getting lost in drugs. Then Calhoun brings a warning that repeats through the song “How much longer – how much longer/How much longer can they hold before they explode… How much longer inside can this monstrosity hide?” The song, like the guitars going back and forth in the beginning, is pulled between reality and escapism. The track ends with a “Hail to the chemicals – ingest my final escape/But how much longer … /How much longer in this state I’ll be awake?” A chilling question that asks whether dying or going fully into a drug-induced coma is better than facing what’s inside the singer.

Calhoun’s poetry makes a lot of the songs intriguing just because of the way the stage is set. “IISEOSEO (The Day of the Beast)” has a lot of that in it. Starting off with a jumbled-up series of guitar notes (no real studio tricks coming from the mix – just straight, old-school guitar noise, which I thought was cool) the song then launches into a ballad about Satan’s last days in paradise. What brought me to think of this song as significant are the choice of words to describe an angel’s descent: “The bracing of foot was a hope burned to soot”, and then: “In this year of the beast the sun dark in the east/With warmth that’s remembered by none/He sits there alone with a heart turned to stone.” It’s a vivid depiction that doesn’t need a whole lot of further interpretation for me. At the same time it could be argued that it’s almost too simplistic and a-typical of traditional metal. Singing about Satan is a go-to for almost any band such as Electric Wizard or Candlemass. Regardless, the way it’s worded shows a lot of thought and genius went into this song.

Classic metal, and I’m talking more specifically about Raven, Saxon, and Pentagram albums from the 1980s and early 90s, is more about listening to the power and might of the music in itself than being grossed out or blown away. That said, there are moments in the album where the music faded into the background of whatever I was doing. It’s only when I’m in the mood for good old-fashioned metal and really listening to everything that I really enjoy South of the Earth. Everything Iron Man does in the album is perfect, but it doesn’t always stand out that well. “Mot” Waldmann, drummer for the band since last year, has only a few moments of flair but otherwise the guitars and vocals take over each song. The rhythm is more similar to blues than anything else – with the drums lightly prodding on the band in the background and not providing as much intensity as in some bands. Sure, Morris and Strachan make up for this more than enough with wave after wave of sweet licks, but I wonder if there can’t be more pizazz from the whole band.

Overall, South of the Earth wowed me with music that sounds like it’s from the very beginnings of 70’s psychedelic rock and metal tradition, while being rooted in today’s metal scene. When it rocks, it really rocks but without blowing up a whole lot of new ground. There are some cool things in here, too – like the “Ballad of Ray Garraty” that talks about the Stephen King novel The Long Walk from the 70’s where teenagers walk to death. There’s another literary reference from H.P. Lovecraft in “Half-Face/Thy Brother’s Keeper.” These points are all very straight-forward despite the poetic writing. It’s as if the band just wants to put on the best show they can without bringing too many new things into the scene. Iron Man delivers exactly what it promises: a really good time listening to what sounds like classic beats from the era of early metal.

Metal Show Of The Week: Hush

Who? Hush
When? Saturday, October 19th
Where? Velvet Lounge (map)
How much? $8 cash at the door

This week’s pick for the metal show of the week goes to Hush at the Velvet Lounge on Saturday, Oct 19th. All of the bands on this bill are worth checking out in their own right even if you can’t make this show. I’m not just saying that to be nice either, it really is a stacked line up. First up the band Hush comes from Albany, New York and brings a dark and angry form of sludgy doom metal to town. If you’ve never heard them before then be sure to download their Untitled I album here (you name the price, even free). If you like slow and heavy metal then you’ll like these guys.

Hush is a good band, no doubt about it, and it’s definitely worth checking them out in a close up live setting like this, but this show has an excellent line up of local metal bands playing as well. The Osedax is a local atmospheric doom metal band and I can tell you these guys are an excellent live band. Their songs are doomy and yet leave you energized. You can download a song of theirs for free here. Also on the bill is Fortress, a local favorite of mine (if you count Hagerstown, MD as local). Their live show is Motörhead level loud but slow and heavy like lava oozing from a volcano. You can download their demo for free here but you’ve really got to see them live to truly experience the force of their sound (tip: bring ear plugs!). And let’s not forget local black metal band Thrain. The three piece has no bass player but they make up for it by not giving a shit about bass and writing some shredding dual guitar black metal anyways. Some of you may recognize the band’s ginger front man James Healy, the guy who fixes up guitars for metal heads around the area at Old Town Lutherie. You can also grab Thrain’s demo for free here.

In addition to the four bands the Philly based indie label Dullest Records will be setting up shop for the night so you vinyl collectors might want to bring a few extra dollars cash. In all, this is a great line up with a dark touring band and three excellent local bands, and it’s just $8! The Velvet Lounge is on U Street right around the corner from the 9:30 Club and as such it’s easily reachable by Metro. Doors open at 9pm and the first band goes on at 9:30. Please note that it is ages 21+ only. I hope to see some of you there, it’s going to be a hell of a dark show! Now check out these clips of the bands from YouTube, a couple of them are live recordings so you’ll have to excuse the low sound quality on those.