Listen to the new Death Penalty song War

Electric God by Death Penalty

Short post today but the Northern Virginia based thrash metal band Death Penalty is having their album release show tonight at the Sidebar in Baltimore (details here). The full length, titled Electric God, will be available at the show but you can stream/download the first track off it, titled “War” below. If you can’t make the show you can message them on Facebook (here) to grab a copy as well.

Review of Morbid Saint at American University

Last Friday, the 31st of January 2014, was a good night for the area’s metal heads. Attila sold out Empire in Springfield and Amon Amarth, Enslaved and Skeletonwitch played the Fillmore Silver Spring. However I decided to skip both of those shows for the rare chance to catch Morbid Saint play a DIY show on the campus of American University. So who the hell is Morbid Saint?

Well they were a thrash metal band from Wisconsin that in 1988 put out their only album, the underground classic Spectrum Of Death. They were a frequent opener on Death’s tours in those days but unfortunately broke up in the 90s. In 2010 they reformed and if you went to Maryland Deathfest X in 2012 then you got to see them play Spectrum Of Death from start to finish on one of the big outdoor stages there. That was a pretty great performance in the midst of many at MDF X but last Friday’s show at the Kay Spiritual Life Center at American University was something else altogether. There was no lighting rig, no barrier between the bands and fans, no big stage, hell there wasn’t even a stage. The room was small, packed, and hot and you couldn’t hope for a better DIY setting to see an old school thrash band in. Most of those old thrash bands from the 80s have either blown up like Slayer and Megadeth, disbanded after the rise of grunge, or regularly come through the area to places like Empire promoting whatever new album they may have. Those shows are all good but this show wasn’t like any of them and I knew it going in. Basically, I couldn’t let myself miss this show!

I showed up a bit late but apparently there had been an issue with the electrical box at the start of the night and everything got delayed. The show was sold out when I arrived but I had ordered tickets online ahead of time cause I knew it would. The room was basically a big oval with merch tucked into a small room on the side opposite the venue entrance. Normally it is used as an on campus religious center for any religious denomination that wants to use it but this night it would become a place to worship metal! When I got there the first band, Genocide Pact, was still playing. Genocide Pact features members of another local band, Disciples Of Christ, but isn’t quite as grindy as D.O.C. is and instead has more focus on the death metal sound. They were fun but since the room was already packed I didn’t get up front to see them. The next band up was Baltimore’s Noisem, formerly known as Necropsy. These guys are young but ever since getting signed to A389 Recordings they’ve really started to garner attention, and not just locally. They opened on a run of 22 shows for The Black Dahlia Murder and Skeletonwitch last fall and they’ll be the opening act on the entire upcoming Decibel tour with Carcass headlining. They’re definitely getting better in the live setting, that showed even when performing at a DIY show with no stage. Their high energy death/thrash really got the audience into the show and the pits got pretty intense a few times. Next up was another A389 band, the (mostly) DC based Ilsa. They play a crusty style of death/doom that is full of mosh friendly riffs and very heavy slower parts as well. It has been a little while since I’ve seen Ilsa live and in that time they’ve replaced one of their guitar players with a guy who used to play with several of them in a band called Time Of The Wolf that was a precursor to Ilsa’s formation. Their set was heavy but I do wish the band members would face the audience more. Most of the show they formed a circle facing inward at each other, aside from vocalist Orion who looked all around the room with his vice grip on the mic he was screaming into.

Finally it was time for Morbid Saint to play and after the delay and several sets you could tell the audience was getting a little restless. The audience wouldn’t settle for a bad performance from the headliner at this point and Morbid Saint delivered. The crowd erupted into a mosh pit from the first note played and frontman Pat Lind really kept the intensity up the entire show despite the heat that was becoming overwhelming. The band did not play Spectrum Of Death start to finish as they had at MDF but instead kept the set list pretty varied, they even played songs off their never officially released 1992 demo Destruction System and some other obscure material as well. They had a few extended pauses between songs because the drummer was overheating but they mostly played songs back to back to back. There were crowd surfers and people flying in and out of the mosh pit the entire set with the intensity reaching its apex when Morbid Saint played “Lock Up Your Children.” Maybe I’m just getting old but by the time it was over I was feeling pretty drained and headed straight to the water fountains. A big thanks goes out to Mariana and the AU Independent Arts Collective for making this show happen. I hope they put on more awesome metal shows in the future. Getting the chance to see one of the classic old thrash bands up close in a small, sweaty, sold out room was like stepping into a time machine back to the days of Heavy Metal Parking Lot and despite the other options that night, there’s nowhere else I’d have rather been.


Noisem at American University

Noisem at American University

Noisem at American University


Ilsa at American University

Ilsa at American University

Ilsa at American University

Morbid Saint:

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Review of On The Edge by Volture

Band: Volture
Album: On The Edge
Release Date: 13 September 2013
Record Label: High Roller Records
Buy from Bandcamp (digital) and name your price: Here
Buy from High Roller Records (CD or vinyl): Here

Cover of On The Edge by Volture

One of the best new things here at DCHM this year has been the addition of two new writers doing album reviews on the site. We try to keep our album reviews focused on local bands, that’s kind of the point of the blog, but for the end of the year I told them both that they could pick any album from 2013, local, national or international, that they thought didn’t get enough attention this year to write a review of. The following is Grimy Grant’s pick for his favorite unsung album of the year, On the Edge by Richmond natives Volture. Of course be sure to follow Grimy Grant on Twitter at @jgrantd if you don’t already and be sure to read Tal’s choice for unnoticed album of 2013, Echoes Of Battle by Caladan Brood, here.

Volture is a band I’ve grown attached to recently. Their loyalty to old-school metal doesn’t stand out much in the crowd of current throwback bands worshipping at the shrines of Raven, Judas Priest, or Motley Crue. What makes them unique to me is their focus on tight, quick hard rock that is good old fashioned fun. Brent Hubbard, the former vocalist for the band, and Jack Bauer, the current lead singer, both seem to be imitating Rob Halford as they belt out tunes referring to motorcycle rides and the deadly Volture – an electric steel bird similar to the one on the cover of the Judas Priest classic album Screaming For Vengeance. A recognizable face in the group is Ryan Waste, lead guitarist for one of Richmond’s major metal bands, Municipal Waste. When I saw Volture play at GWAR-B-Q this year, Ryan Waste seriously plucked his bass and didn’t do the stage banter that he usually does with Municipal Waste vocalist Tony Foresta. Considering the ‘Waste is a huge asset to the RVA music scene, it’s commendable that Ryan Waste sticks to being just a member of the gang in Volture rather than the “star talent.” That could be on purpose since most of Volture’s themes are about being a gang of brothers as well as a band.

On the Edge is the band’s 2013 release and to me it’s the best thing they’ve put out yet because it goes over the top and doesn’t look back. The first track, “On the Edge,” kicks the album off with an image of soldiers “Raging onward / … / taking back what’s ours” and living by the code of “No surrender, no return” to their homes. Nick Poulos and Dave Boyd, the guitarists for the band, shred out a number of quick solos that help energize the song with the kind of speed and excitement of a battle. It’s a thrashy sound that goes overboard and which I really got into from the start. “Ride the Nite” follows immediately with Bauer joyfully singing about “Kick start the weekend / Going for a ride.” It’s a simple lyric but a sincere one sung by Bauer, whose voice doesn’t show any irony. Barry Cover drums a quick, solid beat through both of the first two tracks while Ryan Waste keeps the beat going steady with his bass. Performing classic fantasy themes tied with speed metal may be a bit laughable and tongue-in-cheek when performed today, but it’s pulled off well due to the commitment from the band and their skill.

Simplicity is both an engine for making On the Edge a perfect party album but also teeters on the side of being forgettable. Volture’s main issue is the same as Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse, and the other bands under the RVA punk and metal scene: they are consistent, keep their songs simplistic yet fun, and can be taken for granted as just another party band. On the Edge tries to raise the bar a bit in songs such as “Deep Dweller,” where Bauer paints a world of living underground in a post-apocalyptic Earth and surviving on the basics. That’s an interesting twist on the “band of brothers” theme that the album depicts in songs such as “On the Edge” and “Brethren of the Coast” and I like that it’s included as the last track on the album. The song before “Deep Dweller,” “Rock you Hard,” is the most light-hearted song on the album, something that reminds me of Manowar’s “Kings of Metal,” since both boast their respective band’s prowess and skill to their own fans. Volture’s version is overwhelmingly positive and traditional, referring mostly to the power and volume of their music rather than being brutal or overly technical. On the Edge is a great example of a classic metal album keeping it positive, powerful, and most importantly – timeless.

Ride the Nite:

Brethren of the Coast:

Review of Slayer at the Fillmore Silver Spring

On Tuesday, November 19th of 2013 I went to the Fillmore Silver Spring to see Slayer and Gojira. Although I arrived over 15 minutes before Gojira started, the will call line was so slow I didn’t get into the venue in time to photograph them from the photo pit (at most big shows photographers only get to shoot during the first three songs each band plays). I finally made it in and the venue was already uncomfortably packed. I’m not sure if the show was sold out but I’ve never seen the venue this packed before. There wasn’t really anywhere to stand without being shoulder to shoulder with people on the main floor so I headed upstairs to try my luck. Unfortunately if you’re not on the rail on the Fillmore’s second floor the sight lines are, well, pretty much nonexistent. The French band played a pretty similar set to the one they played at Rams Head Live in Baltimore back in February so I didn’t feel like I missed too much. Backbone is always heavy as hell but as much as I enjoy Gojira’s music, I was really here for Slayer.

The curtain came down in front of the main stage while Slayer set up and this is when things started getting better. I worked my way to the front of the stage. I noticed there were some very large boxes for shipping gear in the photo pit area which made it so the guard railing was pushed farther away from the stage than usual. This certainly made things on the ground level more crowded but at least for three songs I got to have some space up front and shoot the band. They actually ended up giving us an extra song to shoot (I think the stage hands just miscounted) and I’ve gotta say being between the wild crowd and intense band performing at a show like this is a bit surreal, like being in the eye of a hurricane. After my songs were up I assimilated back into the audience and got to enjoy the show as a regular fan.

Exodus guitarist Gary Holt has been playing with Slayer since the late Jeff Hanneman left the band in early 2011 due to an infection from a spider bite. Original drummer Dave Lombardo was recently booted from the band as well, to be replaced by Paul Bostaph who had previously replaced Lombardo in Slayer from 1992 to 2001. Of course I was worried going in how these line up changes would affect Slayer’s live sound. Luckily I needn’t worry at all, the band was as tight as ever! In fact, the last time I saw all four original members of Slayer play together, in 2010 at 1st Mariner Arena, Jeff Hanneman was obviously drunk and his playing was pretty sloppy. The version of Slayer we got at the Fillmore was really tight once again. Everyone in the band was in sync, there was very little stage banter between songs as they only paused between songs four times. That all combined with the intensity of their “old school” set list (see it here), which featured no songs written after 1990, showed everyone that Slayer wasn’t slowing down at all. The set list was pretty similar to the one on the excellent live double album Decade Of Aggression though it did feature some different songs, such as an old favorite of mine, “At Dawn They Sleep.” As a nod to Gary Holt being in the band they played a Slayer-ized version of the Exodus classic “Strike Of The Beast” too! Any problems I had with the venue prior to their set were far from my mind as I thrashed in the pit during Raining Blood. This show was overcrowded, sweaty, intense and had almost non-stop shredding from these gods of heavy metal, just how a Slayer show is supposed to be. I really can’t wait until they come around again. If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind before, this night proved to all in attendance that in a live setting Slayer still fucking rules!

I only shot photos of Slayer at the show but I think some of them turned out pretty good. See the full set, including some images that I didn’t post below, by clicking here.

Kerry King of Slayer

Tom Araya of Slayer

Gary Holt of Slayer

Slayer at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Kerry King of Slayer

Tom Araya of Slayer

Slayer Fans

Gary Holt of Slayer

Slayer Set List

Interview with Kerry King of Slayer

I got to speak with Kerry King of Slayer this week and it marks another first on Previously I’ve only interviewed people from the area that this blog covers however when you’re offered an interview with a member of Slayer you accept it! I did try to ask several questions with a local focus though. There was some crackling on the phone and I did my best to reduce that in editing without making the recording sound too choppy. Our entire 10 minute conversation is transcribed below (with links, photos and videos) and you can stream it by clicking the orange play button below or if you want to download the 9.78mb mp3 file you can do that here. As usual my words are in bold.

Kerry King photo by Metal Chris

This is Metal Chris from and I’ve got Kerry King, guitar player for the legendary thrash metal band Slayer on the phone with me. Slayer will be playing at the Fillmore Silver Spring this Tuesday, November 19th with opening acts Gojira and 4Arm. Now I’ve heard there’s going to be some sort of old school set list on this tour. What exactly can fans expect from Slayer this Tuesday?

It’s going to be Seasons In The Abyss and prior. It’s pretty fun, [the] set goes by in no time.

So we get to hear some old stuff like “Black Magic” and “Hell Awaits” on there?

Uhhh… yeah. I had to think about that, I’m like ah man. We just played a show in Austin, we played Fun Fun Fun Fest and we had to make our set shorter so I was just trying to remember what’s on the set list. Yeah, it’s really cool. We came up with this idea ’cause we played two nights in LA and they wanted something special for the second night. I came up with this idea and then I realized right away everybody was going to want us to do the old school set. And it’s cool timing. This is the last tour before new music and we’ve never done anything like that before so the timing’s cool, it’s fun to do and people dig it.

Now this will be the first time that Slayer has played in the DC area with the new line up, which includes Gary Holt of Exodus and Paul Bostaph. What have these guys brought to Slayer’s live show?

Well Paul, this is what the third time he’s been in the band. Hopefully he sticks around this time. And Gary, he’s just an old school thrasher like I am so it’s really as close as Slayer can come to not missing a beat, I think, as it could possibly be. It’s just as good as everybody ever wants it to be, you know?

Now you’ve said [in previous interviews] you were talking about going back to the studio I guess with this line up. When exactly are you planning on starting the recording process?

Well you know if you ever read my interviews I’m always the optimist, haha. It just never always pans out but my plan is to be in [the studio] in January. That’s what I want to do. Me and Paul have, I think we’ve demoed like eleven songs and I think there’s parts of fourteen, fifteen that are just mine. We just gotta get a plan set and follow it. But we’ve got way ahead of the game. I’ve got seven songs done lyrically and I’ve never had that many before we hit the studio so it should be, whenever we get in it should be a quick process.

Now Paul Bostaph, since he’s back behind the drum kit here for Slayer and you know on one of the Slayer albums that he was on, Undisputed Attitude, there were a few covers of a famous DC harDCore band, Minor Threat. Is there any chance we’ll hear Slayer play a Minor Threat song for us on Tuesday?

I couldn’t play one if I had to hahahaha. It’s probably been since then that I’ve played those. We might have played some of that stuff on that tour in like ’96 but I would definitely have to go and do some homework.

Do you have any favorite bands from DC?

I don’t really pay attention to where bands come from. I mean it sounds kind of silly when you think about it but I don’t even know who’s from DC. Help me out here.

Well we’ve got you know Pentagram and The Obsessed. We got a lot of old doom bands from here. Pig Destroyer is from here, Darkest Hour and then of course all the old harDCore bands like Minor Threat, Fugazi, Bad Brains.

Yeah Pentagram is one of those painfully obvious names. Cool as shit hahaha.

Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King photo by Metal Chris

Unfortunately Jeff Hanneman who was the other original guitar player for Slayer, he passed away in May of this year. This was a big blow to the metal community as a whole but I’d actually like to know how this affected you personally.

Ummm… Well you know it just… Untimely death just sucks and it’s the guy that I made music up with for thirty years. That super sucks. He went early. It sucks. Heh, that’s all I can say, it sucks. My guitar tech died the year prior so death has become no stranger to me and you just gotta deal with it. You know I’m not set up to where I can just go away and live in my house and not work ever again. You just pretty much gotta tighten your belt a little bit and get on with life. It’s a horrible thing but we gotta trudge forward.

Now Slayer’s last appearance in the DC area was July of 2012 when Mayhem Fest came to Jiffy Lube Live. I heard a lot of older metal fans complaining that legendary bands like Slayer, Anthrax and Motörhead, that they shouldn’t be opening for a band like Slipknot. What’s your take on that?

You know I understand that perspective and everyone knows I believe that sometimes but whether you’re playing in front of us or behind us– sometimes I even think it’s even harder to play after us so I just go up there, I do my show. I don’t put a lot of thought into the politics of it and say all right we’re done. Now your turn. Have fun buddy.

Now in 2002 Paul Bostaph had just left Slayer and you guys were holding drumming auditions and one of the guys you did an audition with was Kevin Talley who DC area metal heads will know for having played with Dying Fetus and Misery Index for years. There’s video of this that’s gone around on YouTube and other places on the internet for a while. And I was kind of curious what were your thoughts on his performance and is there any reason he didn’t get the job?

He was definitely in the final one or two and I think that was the first time Paul left that we did that. The second time Paul left Dave [Lombardo] came back so we weren’t doing the auditions then. It had to be the first time, probably like ’97 but yeah I remember him playing with us. He was definitely one of my top choices but the guy that we picked just seemed like the better fit.

Washington DC is something of a craft beer town these days and several of our local breweries have metal heads working there and running the places and brewing beer. And with bands like Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Amon Amarth and even locals Pig Destroyer, they’ve all got their own official beers. Have you ever thought about making an official Slayer beer?

I know it’s been brought up and I know we have Slayer wine over in Scandinavia and I don’t really understand exactly what it all takes to get the permit to sell that stuff here. You know that’s not something I worry myself about all day but I’m sure it’s going to be getting world spread. And then there’s been talk of beer, there’s been talk of spirits. You know it’s just gotta get it all thought out and then be presented to us in a way that it’s ready to go. I’m totally into it.

You know I could probably get one of these guys to bring some great local beer backstage if you want on Tuesday.

Oh Gary would be into it. I’m not a beer drinker.

Alright man, what would you rather have some Jäger I guess?

Nah we got plenty of that, hahaha.

There was a recent commercial on ESPN with sports analyst John Clayton wearing a Slayer shirt and I saw you guys recently posted a photo with him backstage I think in Seattle. And apparently he’s actually a really big Slayer fan in real life, it wasn’t just on the commercial.

I know that’s when I found out too. I was like, ah he’s really into us, haha.

That’s pretty cool. So I was wondering do you know any other public figures or celebrities that are Slayer fans that people might not expect?

Oh I’m sure I do. Um… But I mean it’s more like people you’d expect like Josh Barnett the MMA fighter he’s big time into metal. I always see him in the pits actually at my show or anybody else’s show you can always pick Josh Barnett out cause he’s the biggest guy out there.

I don’t think I’d want to be in a mosh pit with him at a Slayer show, hahaha.

He doesn’t have to worry about getting his ass kicked, that’s for sure. So you know that, you know ball players, but that’s kind of obvious you know. Anybody that gets pumped up before they do anything Slayer pumps you up as well as anything you know, gets you fired up.

Yeah it definitely does that.

John Clayton one was definitely crazy. We didn’t know he was coming to the show. We’re warming up and our tour manager says “hey, John from ESPN” and Gary says “John Clayton?” hahaha and he comes in and we’re like “ah man that’s cool” and he had the shirt on that he wore in the commercial. It was rad.

Alright so what’s your favorite Slayer song to play live? You know it really does get people pumped up but what’s your favorite?

Probably “Raining Blood.” There’s so many musical changes in that song and when you hit the opening riff the place just becomes electrified. It’s awesome.

That’s an awesome song. You know I’ve always loved that song too because it sounds like a thunder storm ripping through the area. So here’s another question about music: What’s your favorite new band putting out music right now?

I don’t have one. That’s a question I really struggle with. You know and I’m not really checking out new music right now because when I’m working on new material of our own I don’t listen to things I don’t know so it doesn’t outside influence me. And I know that sounds crazy for a guy that’s been doing this thirty years but I mean your subconscious is a strange thing. You might hear this riff and it ends up in your song kinda. You know even now it’s five, the last ten years I don’t have anybody. I wish I did. Most [of] the stuff I listen to is old.

Kerry King photo by Metal Chris

Alright. You know DC is the seat of political power in the western world. Is there any kind of statement or anything you’d like to say to any of our politicians or about policy here?

Not really. I’m not a big political evangelist type person. I make music, they play with the law.

Alright. The last time you guys came really anywhere near here with the original line up was when you played 1st Mariner Arena [in Baltimore] in 2010 and that’s when you guys were doing [the] complete album Seasons In The Abyss and I think Megadeth was on that and they were doing Rust In Peace as well.


You did Reign In Blood years before that as well and I was wondering are you ever going to do South Of Heaven straight through?

I don’t think so. South Of Heaven‘s got great songs on it but it’s also got a cover on it and even though we sometimes do covers… doing a whole tour… I just don’t think that’s as strong a record as Reign In Blood and Seasons. I think we picked the right two to play. I don’t like “Cleanse The Soul.” I think that’s one of the worst songs we ever made up.

Oh really?


Another thing I was wondering is, I know last year Slayer put out those Christmas sweaters that were so popular. Do you have any other ideas for off the wall Slayer merch coming up?

It always comes up man and I know they’ve got new ones this year because they just made a limited amount last year and they were gone before you could blink an eye which I thought was ironic because I vetoed that to start with. But yeah they’re going to have more this year. They planned on making more so people would be able to get them I know that. They’re always coming out with different shit that we’ve gotta approve. I just approved a coffee mug. I don’t even know where they sell those things but you know the ones you put in your little cup [holder] in the car so they don’t tip over.

Oh yeah like the traveler mug.

Yeah, yeah. If it’s cool I approve it. [If it] sucks I don’t hahaha.

Alright well that’s about all of my questions here. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans of DC?

I’m stoked to come to DC man. Always a good show there.

All right man. Well thanks for taking the time to do this with me. This has been a cool experience for me so thanks a lot man.

Cool brother. Come say hello in DC.

I shall. I’ll be up in the photo pit too so I’ll be taking pictures.


Well alright man. Have a good one.

Testament ticket give away

Testament at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Old school Bay Area thrashers Testament are returning to the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 and has a free pair of tickets to give to one of you lucky fans. To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Testament song is and at 5pm EST on Friday, February 8th I’ll pick one lucky winner from all valid entries at random (using to win the pair of tickets. If I don’t hear from the winner in 24 hours then I’ll randomly pick another person to get the tickets. Please don’t enter if you cannot attend. Be sure to enter with a valid email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or anything like that, I hate spam too. If you enter more than once then all of your entries will be disqualified. If the contest is over when you read this or you simply can’t wait to find out if you win the contest you can buy tickets from Live Nation for $27.50 here.

Testament played the epic first metal show ever at the Fillmore Silver Spring back in November 2011 with Anthrax. Now they’re back to headline the area’s only stop on the Dark Roots Of Thrash Tour which features some classic thrash metal bands to keep your head banging all night long! In addition to Testament there will also be sets by New Jersey’s Overkill and Flotsam And Jetsam, a Phoenix, Arizona band you might remember as being Jason Newstead’s band before he joined Metallica in the late 80s. The night’s opening act will be the Australian thrash band 4ARM. You can check out a song by each of these bands on YouTube below as you decide which shredding Testament song you love the most!