Onslaught and M-Pire Of Evil Concert Review

On Easter Sunday, the 8th of April, I headed over to the U Street Music Hall in Washington DC to see Onslaught and M-Pire Of Evil play the final show of their 2012 North American tour. This tour was the first time either Onslaught and M-Pire Of Evil at U St Music Hallband had ever been to the US and this show was the first heavy metal show ever at the venue which has only been open for about two years. The U St Music Hall is usually home to techno DJs and dance music but recently the 9:30 Club, which is only a few blocks away, has started booking some shows for them on off nights. Normally the U Street Music Hall does not allow photography at their shows but apparently when the 9:30 Club books them those rules don’t apply, so even though they have no photos signs literally painted on the walls, it was ok this night. This was an early show, the venue wanted it to be over by 10pm for some reason, and when I arrived it was still daylight out. There were no local openers and the crowd was pretty thin, I’d figure due to that and a few other factors. For one it was not a venue metal heads generally know about, secondly it was a holiday and third neither of these UK based bands are particularly huge in the US.

The first band to play was the awfully named M-Pire Of Evil, formerly known as Prime Evil. You may remember that Prime Evil was the name of the legendary first wave black metal band Venom‘s 1989 album and this is no coincidence. Two members of M-Pire Of Evil were in Venom on that Demolition Man of M-Pire Of Evilalbum, bass player/vocalist Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan and Venom’s original guitar player, Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn. The band was touring with a relative unknown behind the drum kit in Marc Jackson but he did fine. M-Pire Of Evil was actually pretty damn good live, their set list (photo of it here) was very heavy on Venom covers from the era that both Mantas and Demolition Man were in the band together, and they only played three songs from their band’s debut album, Hell To The Holy. That’s ok, I think most of the people who had gotten there in time to see them were just hoping to hear classic Venom covers and when they played the only non-Demoltion Man era Venom song of their set, Black Metal, the crowd was singing along with them. Their set was fun, though short, and they ended after playing for only about 45 minutes. I would definitely recommend seeing these guys again, especially if you’re into hearing some old Venom classics played live in much the same way Heaven And Hell played Black Sabbath classics.

The headliner of this tour was Onslaught, a British thrash metal band from the 80s that never really developed a big following in the US. They are most known for their classic 1986 thrash album The Force though after breaking up in 1991 they dropped off of most people’s radars. Well they reunited in 2005 and put out two albums of new material in 2007 and 2011. The only two members left from the old days are vocalist Sy Keeler and guitar player Nige Rockett, though Nige now only plays rhythm guitar despite having done all of the band’s leads before the split. The new material is pretty killer though, their latest album, Sounds Of Violence, fits right alongside bands like Slayer and Kreator and they sounded even better live. Thrash tends to do well in a live setting, playing thrash songs faster usually makes them more exciting and they tend to have tons of what I like to call, mosh friendly riffs. Sadly there couldn’t have been much more than 50 people at this show by the time Onslaught was playing though there were a few people trying to start up pits from time to time throughout their set. Maybe he was worn out from the tour but Sy Keeler didn’t really impress me much as a front man. Nige Rockett of OnslaughtHe missed a lot of his high notes and sometimes would just walk off to the side of the stage to relax a little. That’s fine between songs but come on man, get people pumped even when you’re not singing! The bass player and drummer, Jeff Williams and Michael Hourihan, both were very charismatic up there however, and even Nige threw the horns a few times. Lead guitarist Andy Rosser-Davies looked like he was ready for the tour to be over and really wanted a nap, haha. Still, the material was very solid, a good mix of older classics and newer songs that made for a fun performance. The show ended right on time, just before 10pm, and Sy Keeler said they would have a new album out next year and would be back to tour in support of it. You can check out the video at the end of this post to see/hear the band’s final three songs that night. There was no encore performance.

It was cool to see a metal show at a new venue like this, it seemed like something Empire/Jaxx would have gotten normally but I enjoyed seeing some Mantas of M-Pire Of Evilold school metal bands playing in the city. It would have been nice if they booked a local opener or two since it was just a two band bill, it probably would have helped with the turn out as well. Regardless it was a fun show, especially for a holiday night. If it had been up to me M-Pire Of Evil would have headlined as I enjoyed their show more than Onslaught’s, though they were both worth coming out for. Hopefully the U Street Music Hall will get some more metal shows, they have a great sound system there and the 400 capacity venue certainly was as nice as other area venues of comparable size (think Empire/Jaxx and the Rock & Roll Hotel). And while the bar selection wasn’t bad, be sure to eat ahead of time as all they had on the menu (photo here) to eat was various styles of hot dogs. Well, that’s it for this concert review, now I’ve got to get to work on the upcoming concerts calendar and be sure to come back and check out the new ticket contest that will be running all next week. Stay metal everyone and remember, support the scene you’re a part of!

Onslaught ticket give away

DCHeavyMetal.com has another chance for you to win some free tickets. After decades, the 80s UK thrash metal band Onslaught are on their first ever North American tour and they’re bringing along Mpire Of Evil, a new band with two former members of the legendary Venom. Mantas and Demolition Man even play some of those old Venom classics in their live set. The tour’s only area stop is this Sunday, April 8th, at the U Street Music Hall in Washington DC, a venue that generally caters to fans of dance and electronic music. To commemorate this first metal show at the venue, DCHeavyMetal.com is giving away a free pair of tickets to one of you Onslaught at U Street Music Hallmetal heads reading this. To enter just tell me in the comments below which band you’re more excited to see, Onslaught or Mpire Of Evil. You can get more info about each band in the paragraphs after this one. At 5pm EST on Friday the 6th of April a winner will be picked at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. Make sure you enter in a valid email address you check regularly when you submit your comment so I can contact you if you win, though it doesn’t need to be in the comment itself. Don’t be a jerk and enter multiple times or I’ll disqualify all of your entries. And please don’t enter if you can’t make it to the show. If you don’t want to wait to see if you win or this contest is already over when you read it, you can get tickets from Ticket Fly here for $20.

Onslaught was originally a hardcore band that shifted to a thrash metal style early in their career. Don’t think they sound like D.R.I. though, they sound more similar to bands like Slayer and Kreator. Onslaught broke up in 1991 before ever having come the the US and now, after reforming in 2005, they are finally touring the states. Onslaught isn’t one of those old thrash bands who just puts out shitty new songs and plays a bunch of their old tunes live, they have some killer new material as well. Just give a listen to the song below, Born For War, off of their album Sounds Of Violence which came out in 2011.

Mpire Of Evil is a band that formed in 2010 and they’ve only got one full length album out, Hell To The Holy, and it was just released last week. Don’t worry though, you’ll be sure to recognize some of their tunes as former Venom members Mantas and Demolition Man perform some of the old Venom classic songs in their set list as well. That said, their new material isn’t bad either, and you can give it a listen on the video embedded below.

Review of Windhand at St. Stephen’s

On Saturday the 3rd of March 2012 I headed over to Saint Stephen’s Church in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington DC to catch a great line up of metal bands. And while drinking wasn’t allowed at the venue this wasn’t some sort of Christian rock concert, upside down crosses and other metal standards were on display on stage throughout the night. The excellent Richmond, Virginia based doom band Windhand was touring with Natur and Pilgrim and this was the DC stop. To make the show even better DC’s own death/doom masters Ilsa were on the bill as well. Midnight Eye was supposed to open the show but they had to drop off and were replaced by Satan’s Satyrs, a Northern Virginia based sludge/stoner type of band. $10 for 5 bands is normally a pretty good deal on most nights, but this was a killer line up that gave back a lot of quality metal for your buck. That was $10 well spent!

Satan’s Satyrs was the first band up. The crowd was pretty sparse during their set but people were still coming in. The trio were decked out in bell bottoms and played a throwback style of stoner/sludge metal though it had quite a bit of energy as well. The problems with the PA system were a recurring issue throughout the evening and their set was no different. They were loud in the large square rec room space though the faster parts of their songs sounded pretty muddy. This wasn’t the band’s fault, the sound just wasn’t great that night. However it wasn’t bad enough to ruin the music overall and their performance was still entertaining, especially for a last minute add on.
Satan's Satyrs

The next band to play was Pilgrim, a three piece doom band from Rhode Island. I was unfamiliar with them but they were pretty good live. They were very heavy and most of their songs were slow paced. They weren’t very flashy but they played some quality tunes, often times just slowly grinding along. They finished their set with a faster paced song that was pretty cool as well. Apparently this was their first tour and this was a good showing.
Pilgrim

The next band to hit the stage was Natur, a sort of thrashy metal band from New York City. They had a lot of energy on stage and I was really blown away by how well the executed live. Lots of catchy memorable riffs and wailing guitar solos with some solid song structures that tied it all together. I couldn’t hear the vocals for most of their performance from where I was standing. However things seemed to get sorted out a little bit by the end of their set and honestly they were so fun live the poor sound quality didn’t come close to ruining it for me. I was very impressed by these guys to say the least.
Natur

Next on stage was Windhand, one of my favorite underground bands from Richmond. They are a really heavy doom band with a woman on vocals but this is no girl power gimmicky band. I’ve seen them perform a few times before but this was certainly the biggest of those shows as far as attendance is concerned. The whole of Windhand were in great form for this show. Their sludgy doom even brought a few onlookers from the square dance event going on in another section of the church. My only complaint was that the set seemed too short, and judging by all of the applause I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wishing they had played longer.

Windhand

Locals Ilsa played last. They’re one of the leading bands in Washington DC’s underground metal scene and they were spotlighted in an article in the City Paper last week (here). They play a very crusty style of death/doom metal that isn’t particularly technical but is incredibly crushing. Their sound is dirty and full of great riffs and they got the biggest mosh pits of the night during their set. Ilsa plays pretty regularly around the area and they seem to always put on a good live show. This time they mixed up the playlist a bit and I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen Ilsa where they didn’t play their song Frostthrower. It’s usually a staple and often their closer. I’m glad they aren’t happy just staying put with what they have already done so well and they’re willing to keep moving forward and keep things fresh. The vocals were basically inaudible from where I was standing in the front but the songs are still pretty awesome on their own anyways.
Ilsa

In all this was a great show with a lot of quality bands. It sucks that you can’t drink or order food there, but it also makes it so that some of the younger fans who can’t get into the 21+ shows can get out and see killer line ups like this when they happen. The sound left a lot to be desired but really, I’ve heard worse at plenty of local “professional” venues as well. The lack of any real back stage means the members of the bands are out in the audience (or behind the merch table) most of the night which means anyone can go up and talk to them, which I think is pretty cool not only for the fans but also to help build up a band’s fan base on a more personal level. This wasn’t the first show I’ve been to at St. Stephen’s and if you hear of a good show coming there you shouldn’t hesitate to go, just be sure you eat before you get there. Thanks for reading all of this, and while the winter has been a bit slow around here I hope to have more concert reviews up this spring and summer. Also, be sure to check out (here) the newest contest running on DCHM right now where you can win quality seated tickets to Rammstein in Baltimore AND Iron Maiden/Alice Cooper in Northern Virginia and tomorrow I will be posting a new ticket contest as well. I do love giving away stuff to the readers of this site. Stay metal everyone and remember, support the scene you’re a part of!

New Local Music Videos

I know I usually write really long posts but today I thought I’d just do a short post featuring a couple of very professionally produced music videos by two kick ass local metal bands. Both of them are brand new, released in January 2012. I was going to have a third music video on here but apparently someone’s record label got all pissy about a video being too offensive or violent so that one has been delayed. In its place I’ve posted a video that I shot myself of a local band playing a new song live on January 21st. Now, on to the videos…

First up is this killer new Fierce Allegiance video for their song Devil’s Knight. They’re a thrash band based here in Washington DC and they have a new full length album coming out later this year. They’re giving away an mp3 of the song in this video which you can get here. While you’re there, go ahead and give them a like on Facebook as well so you’ll know when they’ve got more new material.

Next we’ve got this zombie filled video by the guys in King Giant, a local southern styled stoner/doom metal band. The song is Appomattox, off of their brand new album Dismal Hollow. I highly recommend it (and their first full length, Southern Darkness, is really good too). You can buy Dismal Hollow on CD or vinyl here or buy it as an mp3 download from Amazon.com here. This epic video is 8 minutes long so sit back and enjoy the bloodbath!

While the last two videos were not only visually stunning but had great studio production as well, you’ll have to excuse the next video’s quality as I shot it myself on my little Panasonic handheld camera. This is the Northern Virginia based sludge band Auroboros playing their new song Tired Grip. It’s a great song that really builds up well and the song is going to be on their new EP which is scheduled to be out this spring. Sorry you can’t see the band’s frontman, Brian Blickle, too well in this video, the stage lighting was on everyone but him! However if you’d like to see them live yourself they’re scheduled to play with the French band Alcest at DC9 on Thursday, March 29th (more details on the concert calendar). Now give these guys a listen and become a fan of one of the area’s rising metal bands!

I hope you all enjoyed this post. Be sure to check back soon because tomorrow I’ve got a big new ticket contest to announce. Stay metal DC and remember, support the scene you’re a part of!

Mega Sized Metal Concert Recap

Recently I’ve not been able to write as many concert reviews as I’d like to. I’m considering doing some shorter ones in the future. Believe it or not, my average concert review takes me 10-14 hours to put together. I have been going to a hell of a lot of shows and that just makes things back up a bunch and it can be hard to even get through just sorting through all my concert photos. However, I’ve been to some great shows since my last concert review, the Cavalara Conspiracy show review I posted back on October 14th, and I thought I’d just post a few pictures, videos and notes from those shows to give you an idea of what has been going on with live metal in this area from my point of view. Each paragraph below is about a different concert so you can skip ones ya don’t care about and move to ones you find more interesting easily. You can click any of the pictures below to see more of my photographs of the same band, and I’ve added some of my videos from the shows that I shot them at in this post as well, though as always I’ve got more on my YouTube page here.

On Friday, October 14th, 2011, I drove up to see Wabringer and Landmine Marathon at Sonar in Baltimore. This was Warbringer’s first headlining tour and while they are one of my favorite bands of the modern wave of thrash metal, I really wanted to see Landmine Marathon play. I’d never seen them before but had heard they were good live. Their vocalist, Grace Perry, was on the cover of the always controversial Hottest Chicks In Metal issue of Revolver magazine in 2009, but I didn’t care about any of that. She was absolutely ferocious on stage, really a sight to behold regardless of her gender or hotness or whatever. At one point she told the audience they better start moshing harder or she’d jump off the stage and kick everyone’s asses, and you believed it when she said it. Warbringer was fun live as usual, they played Living In A Whirlwind so I was happy. This was also the first time I’d seen them play anything from their newest album, Worlds Torn Asunder. Vocalist John Kevill did a stage dive into the audience at the end of the show. Lazarus A.D. played between those two bands but I don’t really care for them so I took that time to drink a couple Lancaster Milk Stouts in the other room. They’re delicious and Sonar has em in bottles at the bar, highly recommended when you’re thirsty at Sonar!
Grace Perry of Landmine Marathon

Warbringer

The next night, Saturday the 15th of October 2011, I found myself back at Sonar to see a black metal band from Singapore, Impiety. However, as a late addition to the bill I got to see a band I’ve been wanting to see for years, Ohio’s black/speed metal act Midnight. They came out in the executioner’s hoods that they’re known for and just shredded the place. They’re a fierce three piece and their sound reminds me of something of a cross between Motörhead and Darkthrone. After their awesome set Impiety hit the stage drenched in pig blood, and man did it stink like something awful. The pit was fierce for their entire set and the band never let up either. It was really a great show I’m glad I didn’t miss it. Considering where they’re from, who knows if you’ll ever be able to see them play around here again.
Midnight

Impiety

On Monday the 17th of October 2011 I found myself at Jaxx in Springfield, Virginia to check out local power metal band A Sound Of Thunder play support for the Swedish power metal band Sabaton for the final show of their tour. The audience was thin this evening, Dream Theater was playing at the Warner Theatre the same night and I’m sure that had an effect on the turn out. However A Sound Of Thunder put on a solid set and kept the audience’s attention. They were a good warm up act for Sabaton. I’d never seen Sabaton before, and honestly I’m not that familiar with their music, but I’ll tell you they were entertaining as hell to watch live. You could just tell that the band was having a lot of fun playing for the audience and even though the turn out wasn’t huge the people who were there really gave a lot of energy back to the band. They played a prank on their new temporary bass player when the rest of the band started playing a song they hadn’t taught him to play. It was a really fun experience from a band I didn’t really know what to expect from.
Nina Osegueda of A Sound Of Thunder

Sabaton

Skip ahead to Friday the 21st of October and I was at a kick ass Deceased show at Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC. The opening acts were two I really enjoy, DC’s own stoner band Borracho and Richmond’s doomy/sludge band Windhand. Borracho went on first and they didn’t start until after 10pm. They put on a good show and the audience that came to see Deceased, different than the normal stoner band crowd, seemed to be into it. Next up came Windhand. This band is HEAVY and this set was no different than usual. Finally Deceased hit the stage well after midnight. Deceased has a lot of ties to the DC area, originally based out of Northern Virginia they are the kind of band that draws people out of the woodwork when they play in the area. It was good to see such a big crowd for them. They didn’t have a bass player, which made their sound a bit tinny and took some getting used to. King Fowley used to play drums but now was just doing the lead vocals, and he was having a lot of fun with the audience and even came out into the crowd a couple times. I got home really late that night, but it was worth it!
Borracho

Windhand

Deceased

Sunday the 23rd of October, 2011, I went on a road trip up to Philadelphia to catch a band I’d been wanting to see for several years, Kvelertak, play at Johnny Brenda’s. When I got there the Georgian psychedelic sludge metal group Zoroaster was playing and I saw them do a couple songs. Skeletonwitch, a thrash band from Ohio, was after them and they put on an energetic show, they’re definitely a better live band than when I saw them in April 2010. Not that they were bad then, but they’ve definitely got their live show down better now and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them doing a headlining tour sometime soon. Finally Kvelertak, the Norwegian punk/metal band I drove all that way to see, was up and they put on a hell of a wild show. There was a lot of stage diving and beer drinking and the show just had a crazy amount of energy going on. It was definitely worth the 6 and a half hours of driving there and back that night, so much fun! Hopefully they won’t skip the DC area on their next tour. Also, I met two other people, who didn’t know each other, who had both come up from the DC area for this show. That was kind of cool.
Skeletonwitch

Kvelertak

On Thursday the 27th of October I went to see a Sepultura cover band made up of members of various local bands, namely Disciples Of Christ (D.O.C.), Drugs Of Faith, Magrudergrind and Mind As Prison. This was at a small Ethiopian restaurant and bar called Asefu’s just a couple doors down from DC9 in Washington DC. Local guitar shredders Midnight Eye opened the set up and they were awesome as usual. They played a cover of Megadeth‘s classic Rust In Peace that was pretty slick as well. Local band Auroboros was next to play. They’re a great live band, with ex-members of Baroness and Salome in the group you know it’s just a matter of time until they really take off. During their set the drummer got caught in the fake spider webbing while playing, he even lost a stick to it, haha! The Sepultura all stars played next and while their set was mired with some technical difficulties at first, it was a lot of fun. I was a huge Sepultura fan in high school so it was cool hearing them play some of those old classics. They only played about four or five songs though, I wished it had lasted another hour! The final band of the night was Inter Arma from Richmond. Sadly a lot of people left after the cover band played but they played a powerful set regardless, I’m glad I stuck around to watch them.
Midnight Eye

Auroboros

Sepultura cover band

Inter Arma

I had another stop at Jaxx on Sunday the 30th of October 2011 to see Decapitated play. There were a lot of other bands playing this night, however I only saw the final three bands. Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse came out in their tuxedos and really got the mosh pit going, including a few guys in drag for Halloween that were in there. Next up was the California based tech death band Decrepit Birth. I really like this band a lot. They remind me of the band Death a lot, but with a more modern sound. Their vocalist, Bill Robinson, is a bit of a head trip but he really got the audience into the show. At one point he held up a copy of their latest CD and told the audience anyone could have it if they took it from him. This caused a wave of people to climb over the railing onto the stage and Bill kept pushing them back to stage dive onto the audience. Then came the headliners, the Polish death metal band Decapitated. This band had a tragic bus accident on October 29th 2007 while on tour. Their drummer was killed in the wreck and the vocalist was critically injured. Decapitated broke up for a little while, though guitarist Vogg decided to get them back together, with all other members of the band being new, and put out a new album back in July titled Carnival Is Forever. However, this band just isn’t the same, it was almost sad seeing them play. Spheres Of Madness, their closing song and most famous, just wasn’t the same, it was almost like seeing a cover band play it. Combined with their short set, they only played for about 45-50 minutes, they were a let down. I’m glad I got to see them a few times before their accident. Also of note, this was their final show of the tour and on the return flight their airplane had to make an emergency landing with no landing gear. The story with video of the landing is posted here. The band is fine but damn, maybe they should start walking when touring.
Fleshgod Apocalypse

Decrepit Birth

Decapitated

On Tuesday the 1st of November, 2011 I went up to Baltimore to see Opeth play at Rams Head Live. Their set was a rather laid back performance, even by Opeth’s standards. Their new album, Heritage, has no harsh vocals on it, and this tour was certainly to promote that album. The show was fun, and being that it was the last show of the tour the guys were kind of goofing off a bit. They let the audience in a short singalong to the chorus of Harvest at one point, and had a few pranks going on stage throughout the night. However the highlight of the evening was the encore. Members of the opening act that I didn’t get there in time to see, Katatonia, joined Mike Åkerfeldt and Martin Axenrot of Opeth to reform the Swedish death metal super group Bloodbath! They played two songs, Soul Evisceration and Eaten, in a very rare public performance by Bloodbath. Mike hinted that they might be back together for real, though he didn’t say if that meant a new album, tour or if it was even definite. Their short and brutal encore set was quite a contrast to the Opeth show that had gone on just before it. This was the only concert of the tour that Bloodbath made an appearance at, and I felt very lucky to be in attendance. Definitely one of my concert highlights of the year! You can see video footage of Bloodbath’s performance (not shot by me) posted here.
Opeth

Bloodbath

The next night, Wenesday the 2nd of November, found me in Baltimore again for the first show of tour by the infamous Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. When I got there the show was running a bit behind schedule though and I saw the end of Abigail Williams‘ set. Then the polish blackened death metal band Hate performed. They were pretty good if not overly original, sort of like a Behemoth junior. I have to say their guitarist had some of the worst corpse paint I’ve ever seen though. Then the Norwegian melodic black metal band Keep Of Kalessin played. I watched a couple of their songs but soon found myself in the next room drinking Lancaster Milk Stouts again. Keep has gone down hill in my book over the years, now they seem to be a sort of singalongy kind of band and they’ve lost the bite I enjoyed of their older material. Finally Mayhem was up next, their first area appearance since they played at Maryland Deathfest in 2009. Vocalist Attila Csihar came out looking like some sort of satanic vampire and it was awesome! He’s known for his wild stage costumes but this was just over the top. The band played a kick ass set heavily loaded with material from their classic albums De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and Deathcrush and it got the place going crazy. There were tons of fights, even a woman got thrown out of the show for being to crazy in the pit, it was intense! I got some bruises but it was worth it to get some awesome shots of one of metal most notorious bands.
Hate

Keep Of Kalessin

Mayhem

On Sunday November 6th, 2011 I was at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland to watch Death Angel, Testament and Anthrax play there. However there was a problem with the photo passes that night and rather than risk leaving my camera in my car where it could be stolen, I had to head home after I already had my tickets in hand. Very frustrating let me tell you. I still haven’t been inside the new venue, I hope they get things straightened out next time. I really wanted to have some photographs up for you guys from that show, and have a nice big concert to end this long recap on but sadly, no dice. I might do more of these long recaps in the future, if you people like or don’t like them let me know. I’ve got a lot more metal shows to go to coming up and this might be a good way to try to cover more of them, starting with Torche tonight at DC9. Also, I should have some shirts with my new t-shirt design on them for sale very soon so keep your eyes peeled for that. They have new Abe Lincoln artwork drawn by DC based metal band Ilsa‘s drummer Joshua Brettell and they look awesome! Thanks for reading DCHeavyMetal.com, stay brutal everyone!

Anthrax ticket give away

Anthrax at the Fillmore in Silver Spring

Legendary 80’s thrashers Anthrax are coming to the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland this Sunday, the 6th of November! Support on this show will be by not one, but two, awesome Bay area metal bands, Testament and Death Angel. I’m giving away a free pair of tickets to one lucky DCHeavyMetal.com reader and all you’ve got to do is post a comment below telling me which of these bands you’re most excited to see play. I’ll pick one lucky winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries at 6pm EST on Saturday 5 November 2011. Be sure that when you post you use a valid email you check even on Saturdays because I’ll need to contact you if you win. You can only enter once, multiple entries will be disqualified. However, you can get your friends to all enter and have them bring you along if they win.

Anthrax has been playing with the Big Four a lot lately, but since they were playing first at those mega shows they’ve been playing shorter sets. If you’d like to see them play a full headlining set, this show is for you! Of course Testament is going to kick ass as well and if you haven’t seen the opening act, Death Angel, play live before you should, they’re pretty damn awesome. That’s three thrash bands that will leave you will one hell of a bangover on Monday morning. If you can’t wait to get tickets, or you just end up not winning the contest, you can buy them online for $30 each here.

Recap of King Giant gig at the State Theatre

Saturday the 29th of January 2011 was a big night for metal at the State Theatre. On that night they hosted their first metal show that wasn’t part of the Mandatory Metal series. King Giant headlined the show and it was pretty awesome. The band was joined by The Crimson Electric from Virginia Beach, Throwdown Syndicate from DC and Death Penalty from Falls Church. There was a good sized audience and even a few special appearances on the stage by some noteworthy members of the area’s metal scene. I’ve been to all the metal shows at the State Theatre and this was probably the most fun for me, though really I have enjoyed them all. Here’s my recap of what went down that night, band by band, with some of my photographs throughout as well as all my videos of the night embedded at the bottom of this post.

The first band to play was Death Penalty. They’re a thrash band with a big 80’s era influence, which was pretty obvious when they did covers of Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden. Apparently they don’t usually cover so many songs, but they’ve had line up issues of late that necessitated them for this show. Matt Aub, the singer/guitarist from Timelord came out on stage and sang with them for The Trooper. I’ve got video of that below but for some reason my camera cut it off about 3 and a half minutes in. They played a few original songs too, and their thrashing energy made for a good opener to get the audience into a metal show. Death Penalty has posted the audio from this show on their Facebook page here (it’s in the column on the left in the “music player” section).

The next band up was Washington DC’s Throwdown Syndicate. They are a three piece band that describes themselves as “ghetto metal” and vocally has a lot of rap and hip hop elements. Now before you start thinking of those 90s era rap metal bands, they weren’t like that. More like a hard core metal band with a street style rap and vocal patterns. I’m really not knowledgeable enough of that genre to get more descriptive than that though. Rap has never really been my thing but I can see there being an audience for this. I could see them sharing a bill with Magrudergrind, another DC metal band who uses hip hop influences. I think people in the audience were a bit mixed, probably reflecting their like or dislike of rap more than of the band itself. Still, they did have a heavy sound and I could hear a bit of that Bad Brains style DC hardcore sound in there.

The Crimson Electric was the next band to hit the stage. They came up from Virginia Beach and had played a show with King Giant the night before in Richmond. I’d never seen them before and didn’t really know much about them other than they were a stoner band of some sort. They put on a good show and I really enjoyed them. The singer wandered around on the stage a bit, but always seemed to hold my attention. The band seemed very laid back and relaxed on stage, almost like you were catching them at a normal band practice except they were on the State’s big stage with great lighting and all these people watching them. Though the singing is much less coarse, the band is really a great pairing of stoner/doom to go along with the headliner, King Giant. They also have posted a bunch of their music for free download here. Go get some of that, it’s definitely worth it!

By the time King Giant hit the stage the venue was getting pretty full. They’re always a fun band to see live, and while they didn’t play Burning Regrets at all (a personal favorite of mine) they did play a new song to start the show off. They played another great set of their southern doom metal and the audience response seemed to be great, they got lots of applause and cheers after every song. On stage they mentioned Jon, the contest winner from DCHeavyMetal.com, as they introduced their final song of the night. He asked them to play Needle And The Spoon, a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover that is a bonus track on their full length album. They surprised me and just about everyone in attendance when they brought out Victor Griffin of Pentagram to play a third guitar for that song (I’ve got video of that below, must see!) and even had him play a solo too. That song was by far the highlight of the night, and a great way to cap an excellent performance and dammit, that was just a great DC metal moment. If you haven’t seen these guy play live yet, you really need to get off your ass and check them out.

As always you can find more of my concert photography on my Flickr page with shots from this and tons of other metal concerts. And I don’t know if the turn out for this concert was the reason why or not, but the State Theatre put up on their Twitter page that they will in fact NOT be canceling their local metal shows. You can see that post here. I’ll keep you all posted as to any future events for that of course, and hopefully will have some more contests too. For now, check out the videos I shot at this awesome show: