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!

Review of Blood And Fire Festival at KC’s

On Saturday the 10th of July, 2010 I headed down to Fredericksburg to a gathering of bands from Washington DC and Northern Virginia. This was the first Blood And Fire Festival and was held at KC’s Music Alley. The doors opened at 2pm but there was no way I was going to get down to Fredericksburg that early. I got there a little after 6pm and found the parking lot packed. I’d never been to KC’s before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I hadn’t counted on the lot being completely full. I did find a spot eventually, and made my way inside. Orgy Of The Damned was on the stage when I went inside. I had met their drummer back in May at Maryland Deathfest and I’m glad I got there in time to check them out. They were a group of pretty young guys with a lot of youthful excitement and seemed to really be enjoying themselves on the stage. They had some technical difficulties (an unfortunate theme for the night really) and someone mentioned to me that their vocalist had been sick, but they made the best of it. During one of the breaks to fix equipment they played an impromptu cover of Napalm Death‘s one second song You Suffer, that was pretty entertaining. I thought it was kind of funny when the singer got a member of the audience to sing into the mic “I’m a fieces fiend”, haha. They also played a cover of Belphegor‘s ridiculously titled song Bondage Goat Zombie when they were told they had time for one more song.

The next band I saw was a black metal band from Leesburg, Virginia called Immortal Decay. Their bass player was in full corpse paint, and they had some deer antlers on the mic stand. Their singer had a lot of fun poses to watch, and the band had a lot of energy on stage. It was during their set I realized just how shitty the sound set up was at this venue. For most of their set I was standing in the middle very close to the front of the stage. From there you couldn’t hear the vocals at all. I didn’t shoot any video of these guys because I thought the mic was just out and didn’t want to make a shitty recording. At the end of their set I moved around a bit and realized that if you moved to the sides of the stage near the speakers you could hear the microphones much better. By the time I figured that out their set was almost over. I did enjoy their set though, and even if I couldn’t hear the vocalist he was putting on a good show. While most bands would try to get the audience moshing by spinning their hand or just telling the crowd to, this guy actually jumped off the stage and ran into the mosh pit, mid song! Now that is getting the audience into the show, haha! One of their guitarists, who was rather tall, was also helping with the showmanship. Between him and the vocalist it was hard to keep your eyes away from the stage. Their sound was certainly black metal, heavily distorted guitars making a wall of sound with rather aggressive riffs and fast paced drumming. They were pretty entertaining and I wouldn’t mind having some of their mp3s on my iPod. UPDATE: Immortal Decay posted a video of them playing the song Rotting Altar at the Blood And Fire Festival on their YouTube page here.

After they finished playing I went to the bar area for a bit. The entire venue is divided down the middle, one side with the stage area and the other had the bar and pool tables, as well as a foosball table and a lonely Tekken Tag arcade game. This created a bit of a problem, since you really couldn’t drink while watching the bands. I asked the bartender about this, and she said that apparently the guy checking the door was just looking to see if people were over 18 and not if they were over 21, so they didn’t have a way of knowing if people underage were drinking or not if they allowed people to bring their alcohol into the stage area. They had pretty cheap beer, I’d forgotten how cheap it is to drink the farther away you get from the city. They had $1.50 PBR drafts, and $2 Corona bottles, can’t find that anywhere inside the belt loop. Since I wanted to eat, drink, and talk to people a bit, I had to miss a few of the bands because of the set up though.

Anyways, the next band I watched was Apothys. They’re probably the most popular death metal band in Northern Virginia these days, and for good reason. They put on a good show and play some cool tunes too. I certainly got into the show when they played their song Venomcrest. They moved around on stage quite a bit, and kept the audience excited with their guitar solos and general stage presence. They had the largest size crowd of the night, partly because they’re fun to watch, but also because when their set ended, everyone under 18 was kicked out of the venue. I don’t know if Fredericksburg has a curfew or if the Virginia ABC has a law about it or maybe it was just the venue’s decision. Regardless, the bands who played after certainly had a smaller crowd to play for, and since the place was divided, this meant just as many people were left hanging out in the bar area, including me! I found myself talking to various locals, fans, band members, girlfriends, and pretty much anyone in my vicinity. I got the bartender to put one of my bumper stickers on the edge of the shelf holding up the TVs over the bar, which was pretty cool, and I handed out a bunch more of my stickers to people. It’s always cool when people recognize me from the site too, especially since you can’t really see my face on there since I’ve got corpse paint on. After a couple more bands played it was time to check out the final act of the night, Hatred.

Hatred has been playing the DC area since the early 90s. They’re a sort of old school thrashy death metal band. They were pretty fun to watch, as usual. Most of the people in the bar area moved out to see them play too, which was cool. It was nice to see people had stuck around to watch them. They played songs from most of their back catalog, not just stuff from their 2009 album Burning Paradise. At one point during the set they switched bass players, I’m not sure what happened there but that was kind of strange. The second guy sure had a lot more stage presence, as evidenced in the videos I posted below. They played a rather long set and the people there were chanting for them to come back after the last song was played. I don’t know if it was scheduled or not, the set list didn’t mention it, but they came back to play a final song that ended around 1am. That wrapped up the first Blood & Fire Festival, which I have to say was a pretty fun experience. I don’t know if anyone ever claimed the ticket raffle prizes (the winning ticket numbers were 55 and 57) and I didn’t even know there was a raffle until Apothys announced they were picking the winners on stage. They did have some of the coolest concert tickets I’ve ever seen, much nicer than the generic blue & white from Ticketmaster. They were black and red with flames and shit, pretty metal. There were certainly sound problems throughout the event, and the curfew thing was strange, but in all it was nice to see a bunch of local bands take some initiative and get together like this. I know Apothys had a big hand in organizing it, I’m hoping they put another one together in the future, just maybe not as far away as Fredericksburg next time. With that, I leave you with the videos I shot at the concert, the first is Orgy Of The Damned, the next two are Apothys and the rest are Hatred. Enjoy!