Review of Sowing The Seeds Of A Worthless Tomorrow by Wake

Band: Wake
Album: Sowing the Seeds of a Worthless Tomorrow
Release Date: 26 February 2016
Record Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Buy as CD ($8) or cassette ($7) or digital ($5) from: Bandcamp
Buy on vinyl (€13) from: Bandcamp

Cover of Sowing the Seeds of a Worthless Tomorrow by Wake

As 2016 comes to a close you’ve probably seen countless end of year lists of albums, often listing many of the same popular releases. We don’t like ranking music here at DCHM (our album reviews aren’t given a score for this reason as well) so at the end of the year I always give my album review writers the chance to pick an album of their choice from the year that they feel deserves more attention than it received. It doesn’t have to be a local band, and in fact this year they have both chosen bands from outside the US. DCHM reviewer Buzzo Jr. chose to review the latest release by Calgary based Wake. Be sure to stream the tracks at the end of the post to give it a listen while you read and be sure to check out Tal’s review of Chinese black metal band Demogorgon’s debut here if you haven’t already.

2016 has been another great year for heavy underground music, and like the previous year, there are a good amount of hidden gems that went unheard by a majority of people. One of the many records I saw missing from far too many album of the year lists was Wake’s Sowing the Seeds of a Worthless Tomorrow. Formed in Alberta, Canada, in 2009, the band’s third full length album is a furious onslaught of grindcore mixed with crust punk, sludge, and black metal.

The album’s opening track “Burn Well” begins with a short, yet foreboding ambient style intro that soon erupts into a full on assault of blast beats and frenzied riffage. The opening track soon fades into silence, but the chaos almost immediately resumes with “Wretched Tongues;” a track that comes rushing out at top speed and then slows down in the middle section for a heavy sludge style breakdown. Kyle Ball (also of Canadian tech death band Kataplexis) showcases his insane vocals on this track in particular; punctuating the breaks in the instrumentation with ear piercing shrieks and gut churning growls. “Wretched Tongues” picks up the tempo once again near the end and terminates with a droning, industrial style outro. The album continues on with “Drones” and my personal favorite track “Better Living Through Apathy.” These third and fourth tracks are rife with dissonant black metal style guitar passages that flow brilliantly with Brian Serzynski frantic d-beat style drumming; creating a fantastic fusion of the band’s influences.

The second half of the record is kicked off by “Low,” and at over three and a half minutes, it’s certainly an epic in the context of a genre with songs barely averaging two minutes in length. It opens with a clean guitar melody that lasts just long enough to lull the listener into a false sense of security, only to explode once more into a barrage of sludge tinged riffs and hyper-speed blast beats. The usage of violent vocal overlays on this track makes it a definite standout and creates an atmosphere of total pandemonium. As one may have already guessed from the album’s title, this is a nihilistic album; both in sound and in message. “Unrelenting Hate” sums up the misanthropic tone of the album perfectly during the song’s breakdown; “We don’t deserve this, we are all hypocrites, we are all arrogant, we are all worthless. We are all scum.” No artsy metaphors, no beating around the bush. Wake’s message is plain and simple: humanity sucks. The album soon comes to a close with the final two tracks. “Vultures” is definitely the fastest track on here, zooming through with hardly any changes in speed and before the listener knows what hit them, it’s already flowed seamlessly into the final track of the album, “Endless Decay.” The final track starts off with a dark vocal sample accompanied by slow, heavy riffs and tribal drum beats. The band once more goes into full on overdrive at the halfway point, putting everything they have left into the final minute before the album comes to a final, screeching halt.

Finally, the production on the album also deserves a mention. Recorded and engineered by Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust fame, the production manages to land right at that perfect spot in between raw and overly polished. Rob Lachance and Arjun Gill’s guitar tones are phenomenal, being both grime-ridden and filthy while also being perfectly clear. This goes for the vocals as well, with Kyle’s screams being extremely harsh while still having a large amount of clarity to them. A large amount of grindcore acts tend to go all the way to one side or the other when choosing between super raw or super polished album prosecution, so it’s great to see a band that manages to find a good compromise between the two. The main, and possibly only gripe I can manage to think of concerning this record is that it’s relatively short running time of 20 minutes will definitely leave you wanting more. But apart from that, there isn’t a bad song on here and it’s an album practically begging for multiple listenings in one sitting.

Wake’s Sowing the Seeds of a Worthless Tomorrow is a furious vortex of crust soaked grindcore, and is an absolute must have for fans of the genre. Happy New Year to everyone, and once again, here’s to 2017 being yet another year of great music!

Burn Well:

Better Living Through Apathy:

Live photos of Coliseum, Cloud Rat and Nervous Mothers

On Saturday, September 20th, 2014, I went to the Rock & Roll Hotel at about 5pm to catch a free show by the Kentucky punk rock band Coliseum. This was part of the H Street Festival’s festivities, which had the street shut down for the day. Standing in line just to have my ID checked I was a bit worried that the place would be really packed. The sidewalks outside all the bars had little temporary fences that were packed shoulder to shoulder with hipsters drinking cheap beer as they screamed in each others faces trying to talk over each other. I guess drinking on the sidewalk in a pen is really fucking exciting to some people, but I was here to see Coliseum, a great band I’d seen play a sold out DC9 show with Pelican last November. I had no problem making my way to the front as the main show room was almost empty, except for the people in line to talk to the bartenders. The place did fill up, somewhat, when they started playing. They played for about 45 minutes and their set included a few new songs. It was a lot of fun and you can’t complain about seeing a great band for free. There were several other bands playing that day but after Coliseum played I headed over to Little Miss Whiskey’s to talk to the DC Brau folks (always a fun time).

Coliseum:

Coliseum at the Rock & Roll Hotel

Kayhan Vaziri of Coliseum

Ryan Patterson of Coliseum

Coliseum at the Rock & Roll Hotel

Later the same night I grabbed dinner and then picked up a six pack (which turned into a 4 pack due to the cardboard handle breaking in the parking lot of the store I had just bought it at) and I went to another show. This was a house show at a place called the Dougout in Northeast DC. I’d never been there before but it was pretty nice for a house venue, especially one that was hosting grind bands. I missed local death/grind band Genocide Pact, which sucks cause they’re good, but I’m sure I’ll get the chance to see them again at least. The first band I did see was Nervous Mothers, a powerviolence band all the way from Belgium. I’m not sure how it’s financially possible to fly all the way over from Europe to play a bunch of gigs in basements but they actually were pretty good. However next up was the band I really came to see, Cloud Rat. The grind trio is from Michigan and they released Moksha, one of my favorite grind albums of 2013 (click the name to give it a listen). They combine brutal riffs and sheer intensity perfectly and their frontwoman, Madison Marshall, has a voice that just drips frustration. In all it was a really great show at a cool DIY venue, I hope they get some more brutal bands there in the future.

Nervous Mothers:

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Nervous Mothers at the Dougout

Cloud Rat:

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Cloud Rat at the Dougout

Review of Book Burner by Pig Destroyer

This review was written by: Sniper Dan

Band: Pig Destroyer
Album: Book Burner
Release Date: 22 October 2012
Label: Relapse Records
Buy From Amazon: Here
Buy From Relapse: Here
Check out the DCHeavyMetal.com interview with JR Hayes here

Cover of Book Burner by Pig Destroyer

In a genre that is often associated with incessant pig squealing and sometimes unintelligent writing, both musically and lyrically, grindcore legends Pig Destroyer‘s highly anticipated fifth full length release, Book Burner, is a welcome break. Not to suggest that there is a single second of idleness on this record, except of course in the rests written into the guitar parts by Scott Hull, a founding member of both Pig Destroyer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. His technical yet still groovy riffs feature rests throughout and even they are loaded with the tension and savagery that fills this album. Washington DC’s Pig Destroyer have not released a full length album since 2007’s critically acclaimed Phantom Limb. Their rabid fan base and critics alike have created a ton of hype for this release. The guys in Pig Destroyer have certainly lived up to it. With 19 songs in the space of 31 minutes, the tracks range from the swift bludgeoning of “The Underground Man” to the damn near flirt with doom on “Permanent Funeral.” Along the way Hull manages to get in a vast array of styles into the riffs running from thrash to black metal to hardcore, but he never loses the essence of what makes good grindcore: never lingering for too long on any one thing to keep it swift, brutal and fresh. While the jumping of time signatures and tempos can keep the newly acquainted guessing when to head bang at times, the stretches of soon-to-be classic neck snapping riffs that lie between will ensure that you will keep listening to it until you know every rest and tempo shift.

The longtime search to replace former drummer Brian Harvey ended in 2011 when Adam Jarvis, also of Misery Index, joined Pig Destroyer. This is Jarvis’ first recording with Pig Destroyer and his addition certainly aids in “Book Burner” living up to its hype. He doesn’t simply ride the double bass throughout the entire recording either, but uses his entire kit to bring the mad rhythms to life. There is machine gun bass a plenty though, fear not! The track “The Diplomat” best reflects both of these aspects while the following track, “All Seeing Eye,” is a show of pure endurance as Jarvis blasts through a relentless, and no doubt breathless, 42 seconds of classic grindcore mayhem. Album closer “Permanent Funeral” shows that Pig Destroyer can really hold a groove and Jarvis carries it throughout the opening. I foresee many nights of head banging with a beer in my hand while this blares from my speakers. To be honest, just about every song on Book Burner oozes with the trademark head banging moshability of Pig Destroyer. I can’t wait to see “Iron Drunk” live because the pit for that song is going to be the most fun you can have wearing pants (unless you are that guy who takes off his pants in the mosh pit).

Pig Destroyer laughs at the conventional thinking that says to be brutal you must have lots of bass drops or at least a bassist of some sort. Pig Destroyer notoriously has no bassist yet that has never detracted from their sound in the slightest. What they do have is sample-man Blake Harrison. I understand that using words like “sampler” when listing band members is anathema to many metal heads out there, but the samples used throughout the album are well thought out and executed. The sample that stands out the most is on “The Bug.” The track opens with television legend Walter Cronkite reading an excerpt from Henry Miller’s Tropic Of Cancer. This is brilliant in many ways and I believe reflects the level of thought and inspiration that went into this album. To have an internationally known TV star reading from a famously banned book on an album titled Book Burner is indeed clever, especially in light of the lyrics on the album’s title track. The samples are not there simply to link the songs to create an album that never stops for 31 minutes, but to add layers to the dark atmosphere that drips from from this album.

The production value of Pig Destroyer’s discography seems to increase with each record, yet Book Burner has a bit more of a raw feeling to it. Frontman J.R. Hayes’ vocals are less processed but have a proper coating of violence and aggression that can easily take hold of the listener. Known as one of the better wordsmiths in the metal world, J.R. Hayes’ lyrics on Book Burner live up to his reputation. It is obvious that Hayes takes his literature seriously. His ability to set up the situations through the beginning of the songs and then end them with a forcible point is crucial to the shortened songs of grindcore. You can check out the lyric video to “Burning Palm” at the end of this post to see for yourself. This album also features several guest vocalists, most of whom come from the greater DC area. This includes Kat Katz, who is also in Agoraphobic Nosebleed and ex-Salome, on “Eve” and “The Bug” and Richard “The Grindfather” Johnson of Drugs Of Faith and Agoraphobic Nosebleed on “The Underground Man” and Jason Netherton of Misery Index on “The Diplomat.” It is also worth noting that the deluxe edition of the album includes a short story written by J.R. Hayes titled The Atheist which is a thrilling ride into a dystopian future where America is run by the Christian church which, in the story, is really more of a totalitarian regime. There is no direct tie in with the album, other than some name references and the same theme of distrusting and resisting organized religion. You can read the entire story over at Cvlt Nation here.

Pig Destroyer have been hailed as kings of grindcore with Scott Hull’s brutal-yet-somehow-catchy riffs, sometimes complex and sometimes direct song writing, and their well written lyrical content. Book Burner is yet another jewel on their crown. Pig Destroyer continues to be at the forefront of grindcore with this album that features performances by what can almost be called a who’s-who of grindcore today. The addition of drummer Adam Jarvis was a great move as he greatly contributes to the band, as does the dark sampling of Blake Harrison. The vocals of J.R. Hayes stand out as dirty and savage and the lyrics are a highlight of the album. D.C. is lucky to have a band this innovative and who produces such quality music with each release that they put out. Pig Destroyer has long been known to be a gateway band for those new to grindcore, and Book Burner may be more so than any of their previous albums. In fact every copy of the album should be clearly marked – Warning: Pig Destroyer’s Book Burner may lead to a serious grindcore addiction!

Video for “The Diplomat”

Lyric Video for “Burning Palm”

Listen to “Baltimore Strangler”

Pig Destroyer at the Ottobar

On Friday the 19th of October 2012 I headed up to the Ottobar in Baltimore to see Pig Destroyer perform at their album release show. Their new album, Book Burner, is their first full length release in over 5 years and anticipation for the album has been high not only in the DC area, which the band is from, but in the overall world of metal fandom. I missed the opening act, Wargames, though they’re a Baltimore based hardcore band so they’ll probably be playing in the area again soon. Royal Thunder was the first band I saw play. They’re a slow paced hard rock/metal band from Atlanta and while I didn’t think they were all that bad, they were certainly out of place on this bill. The crowd who showed up to see a spastic grindcore band wasn’t really interested in seeing a drowsy southern rock band with clean vocals. Royal Thunder, along with Pig Destroyer, is signed to Relapse. I guess they were just trying to get Royal Thunder more exposure by adding them to this line up but they really sucked the energy out of the place. Luckily the next band, Baltimore natives Necropsy, came to the rescue with their set and got the mosh pits started. They play some catchy death/thrash and they are really fun to watch live. They’re all pretty young, I’m not sure if any of them are over 21, but they are certainly worth checking out if you haven’t seen them yet. They’ll be opening the first day of Maryland Deathfest next May. The next band to play was Washington DC’s own Ilsa. I’ve seen them a ton of times and as always they brought the heavy, chugging riffage doused in crusty filth. They started their performance off by throwing stripper glitter on the people standing close to the stage and I have to say that was rather unexpected. Just when you think you’ve seen it all at a metal concert… Anyways, Ilsa was in really good form, mostly playing songs from their upcoming album Intoxicantations which is due out on Black Friday (Nov 23rd) from A389 Records. I’ve got the set list posted here if you’d like to see it. They didn’t play the song Frostthrower, a personal favorite of mine, but it didn’t matter, they’ve got a lot of great songs and you could tell the audience agreed. They were loving the weight of the band’s sound and I’m sure Ilsa won some new fans with their performance.

After Ilsa’s killer set it was time for Pig Destroyer. They don’t play a lot of shows in the area and there was a good sized crowd out for this rare appearance by the local grindcore legends. Vocalist JR Hayes (who I recently interviewed here) was rather jovial between songs then like a light switch he would just turn on his pent up rage and funnel it through his throat. He was like a caged wild animal suddenly set free into the confusing world with his microphone as his only weapon. Guitarist Scott Hull stayed pretty cool on the left side of the stage, grinding out his bizarrely unique riffs as the songs jarringly started and stopped. This was the first time I had seen Pig Destroyer with with their new drummer, Adam Jarvis (also of Misery Index) and apparently it was his birthday as well. Even after taking birthday whiskey shots on stage he still ripped through those crazy Pig Destroyer songs with total precision. The band doesn’t have a bass player but they do have Blake Harrison who basically “plays” some sort of DJ console making noises and adding clips and samples to their songs. Since a lot of what Blake does is basically prerecorded he spends a lot of time on stage essentially acting as a hype man by helping pump up the crowd and keep them into the show. There were also a few guest appearances during the set. Kat Katz (vocalist for the now defunct DC doom band Salome) performed vox on a few songs and the Grindfather, aka Richard Johnson of Drugs Of Faith, did some guest vocals as well. Pig Destroyer’s set list didn’t include a whole lot from the new album though they did play a cover of a Void song. You can see their full set list here. Overall it was a great performance by one of DC’s biggest bands and it was awesome to see them in a local venue. During Pig Destroyer’s set I was up front trying to get some photos and videos and, unsurprisingly, the crowd was wild, hyper and just violent overall. I’m lucky I didn’t damage my camera but I think it was worth it to get some straight on, close up shots from this rare show. The videos are all the way at the end, I hope you enjoy them. Until next time, stay metal everyone and support the scene you’re a part of!

Royal Thunder:

Mlny Parsonz of Royal Thunder

Royal Thunder at the Ottobar

Necropsy:

Tyler Carnes of Necropsy

Travis Stone of Necropsy

Necropsy at the Ottobar

Sebastian Phillips of Necropsy

Sebastian Phillips of Necropsy

Ilsa:

Ilsa at the Ottobar

Ilsa at the Ottobar

Ilsa at the Ottobar

Garrett of Ilsa

Ilsa at the Ottobar

Orion of Ilsa

Pig Destroyer:

Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer

Pig Destroyer at the Ottobar

J.R. Hayes of Pig Destroyer

Pig Destroyer at the Ottobar

Pig Destroyer at the Ottobar

Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer

J.R. Hayes of Pig Destroyer

Maryland Deathfest IX Recap

I’m not doing a super detailed Maryland Deathfest recap this year because I missed all of day three, Saturday, so I could attend the wedding of a good friend. However, I was there for day one, two and four and I shot a ton of pictures and video footage, including 70 minutes of the Neurosis set and 82 minutes of Coroner’s set (that footage is below). Each band I saw gets a blurb and a photograph and a video and you can hover over any image to see which band it is if you just want to skip to the ones you like. You can click on any of the photographs to see more images that I shot of that specific band. I hope you all enjoyed Maryland Deathfest as much as I did, or at least enjoy checking out all this stuff I shot for ya. You can see all the other pictures and videos that I didn’t use one this post on Flickr (here) and YouTube (here) if you want more of those. So anyways, here’s Maryland Deathfest IX over Memorial Day weekend 2011 as seen through my eyes (and lenses).

Day 1 – Thursday

The first day of the fest was all indoors on the main stage at Sonar and it was the only day that sold out. Most of the early sets were grind bands. Miasmal was playing when I got there. I didn’t know anything about them but they really impressed me. I was too far in the back to get any decent shots though so my first pics and videos from the fest are of Southern California grind act Lack Of Interest.

Lack Of Interest at Maryland Deathfest IX

Next up was Flesh Parade, a reunited grind band from New Orleans. Their vocalist made a lot of anti-gay comments and talked about how he loved smoking weed between almost every song. Flesh Parade had a bunch of people come out in various costumes (Santa, a surgeon, a Teletubby, a ketchup bottle, etc…) and start a crazy circle pit that involved dozens of glow sticks and inflatable animals and penises being thrown around the audience and onto the stage. These characters, dubbed the Party Patrol (picture here), would show up during various sets throughout the rest of the festival.

Flesh Parade at Maryland Deathfest IX

The next band was grind act Extortion who came all the way from Australia to play Deathest and they were pretty intense stop and start grindcore. When they finished playing the vocalist for Lack Of Interest came out on stage telling everyone to give them a bigger hand because he liked them so much (and he told us we all should too!).

Extortion at Maryland Deathfest IX

Extortion was followed by North Carolina based stoner act Buzzov•en, quite a contrast from the previous acts. These guys looked and talked like they walked out of a backwoods scene in Deliverance! The band isn’t super heavy but more of a groove base, sorta rough around the edges and definitely southern in sound. They were a lot slower than the grind bands before them and it seemed they would have fit better playing just before the night’s headliners, Cathedral.

Buzzov•en at Maryland Deathfest IX

Next to play was Tragedy, a rare appearance by a band people had been waiting to see. They’re not really a metal band at all but a very aggressive punk band along the lines of Discharge or early DRI. The band is originally from Tennessee but relocated to their current hometown, Portland, Oregon. People were pretty psyched to get to see them live and the audience energy level was at a peak for day one while Tragedy played.

Tragedy at Maryland Deathfest IX

Finally the headliner of the first night was Cathedral. They are from Coventry, England and their lead singer, Lee Dorian, is a legend of the doom metal genre (he was also the original vocalist for Napalm Death). The band had recently announced their plans to break up at the end of the year and this one off concert would be their last performance ever in the US. They played a set with a lot of their old classics as well as some fairly obscure material for fans to commemorate the occasion. It was a good start to the fest, and although the last three bands weren’t grind it still felt like a pre-fest day instead of being part of the rest of Maryland Deathfest proper, mostly due to the single indoor stage I suppose.

Cathedral at Maryland Deathfest IX

Day 2 – Friday

Day two of Maryland Deathfest IX was the first day to use the two outdoor stages. I didn’t get there as the doors opened so missed the early bands but I did get there in time to see the Norwegian blackened thrash band Aura Noir play. They didn’t bring along the former Mayhem guitarist Blasphemer to play with them so they were a three piece. However Apollyon, the current bass player for Immortal, was there and he introduced the band as the ugliest metal band in the world! The set was fast paced and pretty straight forward and what you’d expect from them, just sold black thrash metal.

Aura Noir at Maryland Deathfest IX

The next band I watched was the Raleigh, North Carolina band Corrosion Of Conformity. Their sound is somewhere between stoner rock, southern rock, thrash metal and punk. The band has been around since 1982 and this was their classic line up of Mike Dean, Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin but they were noticeably missing Pepper Keenan (he has been a member of the super group Down for some time but is still considered an official member of C.O.C.). The band seemed to really enjoy themselves on stage, the drummer, Mike Dean, seemed to be smiling the entire show. I guess they had more time to play than they had expected because at one point they asked if they could do another song and they were told they had another 20 minutes left to play!

Corrosion Of Conformity at Maryland Deathfest IX

After Corrosion Of Conformity played the sky looked like it was getting ready to storm. I wanted to see the Italian grind act Cripple Bastards playing on the indoor stage but I skipped it because I didn’t want to lose my spot in the front row to see the day’s headlining act, Neurosis. The Oakland, California based band rarely plays shows due to medical reasons of one of the members, and this was their first east coast concert in 10 years or so. When they were supposed to start playing the sky opened up and a thunderstorm rolled through, but the crowd didn’t disparage and actually started chanting Neurosis. I was worried they might not play because the outdoor stage’s roof was leaking water onto all the equipment. Their show was delayed but they did come out and the rain soaked crowd roared with approval. The lighting during their show was poor, the big lighting rigs had been covered due to the storm, but they did have a projector displaying all kinds of stuff on the band and the stage. The set was really awesome, and the vibe in the air after the storm only enhanced their performance. This was by far my favorite set of all of Maryland Deathfest IX. Neurosis has never been a highly technical band, they’ve got a sound you just sort of experience and their mastery of mood manipulation was in peak form during this rare performance. It’s hard to describe but luckily I’ve posted about 70 minutes of footage of them performing, check it out below.

Neurosis at Maryland Deathfest IX

Although Neurosis headlined the day there were still a few bands left to play inside after Neurosis. Their set ran later than expected because of the rain so I didn’t get to see a lot of Kylesa‘s set, who was already playing indoors. I’ve already seen them twice this year so that wasn’t the end of the world for me. The spiraling lights they have on during their show looked really good on the black walls at Sonar. Next up was Exhumed, a gore grind/death metal band from San Jose, California. This was their first US show in six years! To start their show they held up the backs of their guitars with each having one word of “Gore Fuckin’ Metal” on the back of it. Their set was brutal, as to be expected. Quite a fun show really. They brought out a real chain saw on stage at one point and I laughed as the guy swung it low in the photographer’s pit, making them all duck to avoid the whirring saw! At the end of the set Matt Harvey decapitated some dummy Gwar style on stage that sprayed blood all over himself. A nice way to end the set!

Exhumed at Maryland Deathfest IX

The final band to play on day two of Maryland Deathfest IX was the Swedish black metal band Marduk. The stage was very dark and I wasn’t close enough to get any decent photos of them but I did shoot some video. They played mostly newer material (read: slower) and as usual they didn’t play my favorite song of theirs, Infernal Eternal. Their new stuff isn’t bad, I really liked their Rom 5:12 album, and they did play a song off Panzer Division Marduk, but the band has lost a lot of it’s raw energy and aggression over the years. Still, they’re pretty tight live and since their set started late they ended up playing right up to 2am! The venue even put on their last call lights while they played their final song, which you can see video of below.

Day 4 – Sunday

I got to Maryland Deathfest on Sunday just in time to see Anaheim, California’s Gravehill playing on one of the outdoor stages. These guys love fake blood! They’d eat random fake blood capsules throughout the show and it got all over them. Matt Harvey was back on stage with these guys (he also played with Exhumed and Cretin at the fest) but he broke a string midway through the set and didn’t come back for a few songs. And although he dumped blood all over himself at the end of Exhumed’s set, he was the only member of Gravehill who wasn’t covered in it at the end of the set. Anyways, their songs were black and thrashy with a bit of a punk attitude thrown in and the vocalist’s self deprecating banter between songs was entertaining too.

Gravehill at Maryland Deathfest IX

The next band I saw perform was the Texas based death/thrash three piece act Nokturnel. They were alright though they didn’t really do much that stood out to me. Their lead singer/guitarist was saying he felt particularly inspired after seeing his favorite band, Voivod, play the fest the night before but still they didn’t really do that much for me. It was death/thrash alright but I didn’t really find much interesting about it. Maybe I’d have liked it more if I knew some of their material.

Nokturnel at Maryland Deathfest IX

Next I caught some of the Czech punkish thrash band Malignant Tumour playing, again with the party patrol people in the mosh pit. These guys looked right at home with the party patrol, wearing ridiculous costumes, fake beards and wigs that seemed like they were taken from the set of a Cheech And Chong movie. Their bass player was running all over the stage and it was such a spectacle to see that it was hard to take your eyes off them when they were on the stage. These guys were really a lot of fun live!

Malignant Tumour at Maryland Deathfest IX

Next I had a problem, there were two bands I wanted to see playing at exactly the same time. I decided to try to catch some of both of their sets, and I started by watching Orange Goblin play on one of the outdoor stages. They’re from London, England and I’m pretty sure this was their first US concert. They’re a doom metal/stoner band and I’ll tell you they were totally awesome live! The vocalist, Ben Ward, had a great charisma on stage and got everyone pumped when he jumped off the stage and ran up to the crowd yelling “Let’s start a fucking riot!” at the beginning of their set. They really blew me away live and I didn’t want to leave their set early but I did because I wanted to catch another band indoors.

Orange Goblin at Maryland Deathfest IX

That other band playing at the same time was the brutal death metal act Skinless from upstate New York. This was the band’s last concert ever and they were breaking up once the show was over. For this special show they had the original line up play. I missed the early part of the set to see Orange Goblin but I wanted to make sure I saw the end of their last set. They kept the intensity turned up to the max while I there and the lead singer even did a stage dive into the crowd, chorded microphone still in hand, and continued to grunt lyrics until he was pushed back to the stage. They finished up their last brutal set and then they thanked the audience for the fun over years and then they all left the stage for the last time.

Skinless at Maryland Deathfest IX

The next band I saw was the reformed hardcore punk band Citizens Arrest. I really only saw a bit of their set because I needed to head out and get some food so I could make it back in time to get a good spot for the night’s headliner, Coroner. They were ok but I didn’t really know much of their material but I could tell the punk fans were enjoying the chance to see them live.

Citizens Arrest at Maryland Deathfest IX

When I got back from eating I the 80s thrash band Nuclear Assault was starting their set on one of the outdoor stages as the sun was setting. They played some of their old classic songs mixed with newer material. Their bass player Dan Lilker mentioned he remembered playing in the exact same spot last year, though he was performing with Autopsy then. The set was good but I left early because I wanted to be in the front row for the night’s headliner, who was up next.

Nuclear Assault at Maryland Deathfest IX

The last night’s headliner was the Swiss technical thrash band Coroner. They had broken up 15 years before and though they had recently played a festival in Europe this was their first US concert in 20 years! The trio was the original line up, though they also had a guy playing keyboads on the stage but I don’t know what his name is as the band doesn’t list him as an official or even live only member. They were on the same stage Neurosis had been two nights before but they had all the cool lighting rigs working as well as fog machines. That stuff all helped set the mood for an awesome set by one of the legends of underground metal. Their set was never boring and they really killed it live. They performed two encores at the end of their set, one of which was a cover of the Jimi Hendrix song Purple Haze. I shot a lot of video of them live from up front, over 80 minutes worth actually, all of which you can see below.

Coroner at Maryland Deathfest IX





After Coroner finished their headlining set outdoors there were still a few bands left to play indoors. The first of these last three bands was the one I was most excited to see, the technical death metal band from Spain, Wormed. I never thought I’d have the chance to see these guys play live so this was pretty cool for me. They played what was the heaviest set I saw all weekend. Nonstop brutality from start to finish and just a crazy amount of energy. I’m really glad I got to see these guys tear up the stage, totally awesome!

Wormed at Maryland Deathfest IX

The next band was the Dutch grind act Last Days Of Humanity. They were pretty damn intense but by this point I was starting to get a bit tired (it had been a long four days!). I shot a bit of video before I went and hung back a bit during their set in the hopes that I could rest my feet and get up closer later for the last band of the night.

Last Days Of Humanity at Maryland Deathfest IX

The final band of Maryland Deathfest IX was the mysterious band Ghost from Sweden. Unlike pretty much any of the bands at Maryland Deathfest they sing all their songs with clean vocals. They aren’t very brutal and their sound lies somewhere between Mercyful Fate and 70s Ghost at Maryland Deathfest IXrock. The band stays anonymous though you could see members of In Solitude and Repugnant (both bands who played the fest this year) on the stage during sound check which would lead one to believe Ghost is made up of members of those also Swedish bands. Anyways, I thought the crowd for Ghost would be a bit more laid back due to their type of music as well as it being the end of the fest and people just being tired but I was wrong. The crowd was really psyched to witness the band’s first US concert and they became really rough, while at the same time singing along to every word. It was all a bit ridiculous really, and the costumes on stage just sort of added to that. Apparently Ghost has a rather ravenous fan base and I simply don’t care enough about them to deal with that just to see them up close so I ended up hanging a bit farther back by this guy in an elaborate Cthulhu costume. That’s right, hanging out with Cthuhlu was safer for all my cameras than getting fairly close to Ghost performing live, wtf? I was hoping the set would be more impressive but with the audience singing along so loud it was drowning out not only the singer, Papa Emeritus, but the rest of the band as well. The set was short too, lasting only around 40 minutes. They have released just one album and I was hoping they’d play maybe some covers or something to fill out the set list some but they didn’t (though they did play a Beatles cover two nights later in New York). For a band with so much hype I was hoping for a better show, but it was just OK.

After the show was over I quickly left the venue and got to my car. Apparently after Ghost played there was an incident with security guards beating someone and then pepper spraying innocent bystanders for whatever reason. I luckily avoided that and only read about it online the next day. A shame that the fest had to end on a sour note like that, perhaps they’ll have better security next year. In all the fest was fun as usual and while I missed seeing some of the bands on Saturday I still had a great time at this year’s Deathfest. I got some cool merch, drank some beers, got some good footage and ran into a bunch of friends all over the place. They’re saying that they are planning something really special for next year since it will be the 10th anniversary of the festival and I can’t wait to see what that entails (and don’t worry, I’ll pass on the info to you all too as soon as I find out). Sorry this post has taken so long to get up but I had thousands of pictures and videos to sort through to put this together. Thanks for reading it and stay tuned for more going on in the local metal scene from DCHeavyMetal.com

Recap of Eyehategod gig at Sonar

So on Thursday the 17th of February 2011 the New Orleans based sludge act Eyehategod was coming to Sonar in Baltimore. I’m really not a huge fan of their albums, though they are influential in the sludge scene. I probably wouldn’t have gone but they were playing with a few bands I do really like, Misery Index, Magrudergrind and Cough specifically. Unfortunately the flyer for the show didn’t list the bands in the order they’d actually be playing and I ended up missing Cough, who apparently played first. Someone said they had played too long and so the rest of the show was being rushed. I did catch one of the local openers, Surroundings. They were ok I guess, pretty standard grindcore with a frontman that was really energetic, even crowd surfing during the set. The audience moshed for about a song or two at the beginning, but considering it’s grind that means about 30 seconds, haha. The next band to play was Strong Intention but I wasn’t really in the mood for hardcore so I went into the other room to have a couple beers and talk to people while they were playing. They do play the area a lot and I’m sure I’ll see them sooner or later though.

The next band to take the stage was Washington DC based grindcore act Magrudergrind. They made a stir last year when they gave their new album away for free (get it here) since the album was sponsored by Scion, a branch of Toyota. Apparently all the anti-corporate grind people took issue with this and so yeah, people were actually complaining about getting a free album. Anyways, I caught them last May at Maryland Deathfest, but this setting was a bit better to see them in I think, for one it wasn’t so crowded but it was also a local crowd so that was cool. Their set was fun, full of people jumping off the stage while the band played their spasmatic outbursts of DC grind. The main problem was they only played for 20 minutes! That kind of sucked, but was probably due to the time constraints the show was having.

Next up was the band I wanted to see the most, Misery Index. They’re from Maryland and the band was formed by ex-members of Dying Fetus. Only one of those guys are left in the band, and in fact this was the first show I had seen them play with their new guitarist, Darin Morris. Any fear I had of how the band would play with the line up change was quickly dispelled. As usual they played a very tight set showcasing their extremely brutal songs and even managing to play them faster live. Most of their set consisted of stuff from Heirs To Thievery, their latest album. They were told to stop playing at 12:20 am even though they had more songs left to play.

The headlining act, Eyehategod, is a band that I never really got into. Figured it was worth seeing them once though since ya know I run a metal site and all. They played a new song (video of that below) though they didn’t say its name. Their set was very downtuned and while I know plenty of people there were psyched to see them, it got monotonous to me after a while. I kept thinking that it was getting so late they’d have to end soon, but after thinking that for a few songs I checked the time around 1:45 and decided to call it a night even though they were still playing. As I said before I really was there to see the openers anyways. It sucks that their sets were all cut short after I drove up to Baltimore though! Anyways, I’ve got videos of the bands below, though most are dark the Eyehategod guys did have good lighting for me to shoot video in. The final song is their new one that I’d imagine will be on their next release, enjoy!

Review of Metal Monday at So Addictive

So Addictive Lounge is a small venue out in Herndon, Virginia that’s been having a weekly Metal Monday showcasing mostly local metal bands. As such, I’ve heard a lot about this place since most of the local bands I try to follow seem to play there sooner or later. This evening, Monday the 15th of November 2010, they were having a free show so I figured I’d head out and catch the bands playing and finally get to check out the venue. So Addictive isn’t a very large venue, it’s really more of a bar with a small stage set up. The stage wasn’t large enough for anything besides the drum kits, so for all the bands playing everyone but the drummer was on the floor with the audience. It’s kind of cool because the audience is right there with the band while they play. The room got very dark, but that wasn’t bad considering the bands playing this night. The beer selection wasn’t good for a bar though, they had nothing on tap and their bottles were almost all yellow beers (they did have Guiness and Yeungling, but when I ordered one of the latter, it tasted so skunky I didn’t bother getting another). Also, this was the night the Washington Redskins were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football to the tune of 59 to 28, so the metal was a good way to become distracted from that disaster on the TVs in the bar.

The first band up was a band called Frank Palkoski, or Palkoski, or the Seventh Gate (or all of those?). I’m not really sure what they prefer to go by really but that’s not a big deal. I thought they were going to be a black metal band judging by their logo on the flyer and the other bands playing, but they were actually a three piece grind band more similar in sound to Pig Destroyer than any of the other bands playing that night. They cranked the fog machine up and really let loose with the intensity. They started the show off like a blaring alarm clock on a morning you don’t want to wake up, if that alarm clock was an air raid siren. Their sporadic bursts of raw energy were broken up by some cool guitar riffs and drum beats, often suddenly interrupted with screams of anger. It was entertaining and a good way to start off the show. They had some burned CDs of their material they were giving out in clear plastic Ziploc bags they’d placed on the floor in front of the mic stands and I made sure to pick one up. They also threw a couple of shirts to random people in the audience, which was cool.

The next band up was Archael, who I’d also never seen before. They are a standard black metal band heavily influenced by the early 90s Norwegian scene and they had some catchy riffs. The singer got a bit rowdy and jumped in the crowd a bit to mosh I guess, which was fine until he came over to the side and pushed me holding my camera. I put the camera away and grabbed a beer after that, I’m not trying to damage my gear. Regardless, they did have a lot of energy and the lead guitarist was getting people as excited about the music as the vocalist was. They’ve got their sound down pretty well, though they could use a bit more variation in the songs. They were good songs, but you can tell they are still growing as a band and I think once they change up the formula a bit they’ll have a really interesting set to play. I’d like to see which direction these guys go as they stray more from their influences and form a more distinct sound for themselves in the future, as they really do know how play some fast and brutal black metal.

The next band to play, Apothys, I’ve seen a few times now, and I will see them play again next weekend at Jaxx. That’s not a bad thing at all since they’re really fun to watch live. I won’t get too into the details here as I’ll probably cover them more in the next review (and I’ve already reviewed their set at the Blood & Fire Festival here). This set was pretty fun though, it was cool to see the band interact with the audience due to the lack of a proper stage. I mean just look at this shot of guitarist Eddie Misery leading the crowd members at headbanging, while standing in the audience and playing guitar! They played their own style of blackened death metal very well and the crowd really got into the show. Their final song, Of Writhing Eyes, seemed to really get everyone going nuts. It was another great performance by the leaders of Northern Virginia’s death metal scene.

The final band of the night was Immortal Decay, another band I’ve seen a few times now. By this point it was getting pretty late and there weren’t as many people there. That’s a shame because these guys are really starting to come into their own as a band. The room was very dark when they played, and the band didn’t screw around talking between songs too much. They played a cover of Satyricon‘s classic Mother North which everyone seemed to enjoy (how can you like black metal and not?). Their vocalist, Viktor Osorio, kept it interesting, even rolling around on the ground a bit (careful with those spikes!). The set seemed short though and sort of abruptly ended, maybe due to time constraints at the venue as it was well after 1am by the time they finished. They were fun as usual, and you can catch them opening for Watain at Sonar in Baltimore on Nov 30th (more details on my upcoming concerts calendar page) if you want to see them in action. If you can, buy a ticket from the band members as they have them for sale without service fees.

In all the show was a lot of fun. Not a bad way to spend a rainy night in Northern Virginia, even though Herndon is a bit of a drive for me. It’s nice to see more of these local metal nights popping up around the area, and I hope to attend more in the future, just wish I could bring my own beer to this venue! I’ve got videos posted below, but since it was so dark for most of the sets, and my camera doesn’t adjust to low lighting well, they’re mostly just good for getting a chance to listen to the bands yourself. Enjoy!