Bandcamp event recommendations

On Friday, May 1st, Bandcamp has decided to not take their cut from all sales of music and merch on their platform in an effort to help support the many bands that are struggling right now due to coronavirus shut downs. Bands can’t tour nor can’t properly record so there’s been a big financial slow down for them, and many of them bought lots of merch to sell on tours and at festivals that just aren’t happening now. Anything you buy on Bandcamp will go straight to the artists without Bandcamp’s usual cut so if you’ve been meaning to buy something from a band, go ahead and do it May 1st. I’ve put together this lengthy list of suggestions completely made up of new material from around the world, country and even locals too, for those of you looking for some great new tunes to buy on Friday (or whenever really).

UlcerateStare Into Death And Be Still
Tech death from New Zealand

Atmospheric black metal from Siberia

Yuri GagarinThe Outskirts of Reality
Instrumental stoner metal from Sweden

Creative WasteCondemned
Grindcore from Saudi Arabia

Oranssi PazuzuMestarin kynsi
Psychedelic black metal from Finland

Black CurseEndless Wound
Death metal from Denver featuring members of Spectral Voice, Khemmis and Blood Incantation

Borracho with Jake Starr EP
Stoner metal from DC

Seasick GladiatorThe Hanged Man
Instrumental stoner/doom from Washington DC

dirt eaterStorm King Mountain
Stoner/sludge metal from Northern Virginia

ImmiserationAlienation of Humanity
Death metal from Baltimore

Ripped To ShredsLuan
Death metal from San Jose

Reeking AuraBeneath the Canopy of Compost
Death metal from NY/NJ

Live BurialUnending Futility (Name Your Price)
Death/thrash from England

UltharProvidence Pre-Order
Black/death metal from the Bay Area

WakeDevouring Ruin
Crusty black/death from Calgary

Internal RotGrieving Birth
Grindcore from Australia

WvrmColony Collapse
Grindcore from South Carolina

CalligramThe Eye Is The First Circle
Crusty black metal from London

Spectral Lore & Mare Cognitum split Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine
Black metal from Greece & Oregon, respectively

Путь (Pathway) – Холодная весна (Cold Spring) (Name Your Price)
Black metal with an accordian from Russia
This song was written about, and recorded during, COVID quarantine

VelniasScion of Aether
Cascadian style black metal from Colorado

Black/post metal solo debut from Rae Amitay, vocalist of Immortal Bird

Behold The ArctopusHapeleptic Overtrove Pre-Order
Instrumental tech/prog from New York City

Rotting KingdomA Deeper Shade Of Sorrow
Death/doom from Kentucky

Paradise LostObsidian Pre-Order
Gothic doom metal from Halifax, England

KhemmisDoomed Heavy Metal
2 covers, 1 original and 3 live tracks recorded Dec 28/29 of 2018 at Larimer Lounge in Denver
Doom metal from Denver

Inter ArmaLive at Club Congress (Name Your Price)
Recorded on 8/24/17 in Tuscon, Arizona
Post metal from Richmond

Orange GoblinRough & Ready, Live & Loud
Captured live at various shows between 2016 and 2019
Stoner doom metal from London

PelicanLive at the Grog Shop
Recorded 9/15/19 in Cleveland
Instrumental post-metal from Chicago

PanopticonLive Migration Pre-Order
Recorded 7/29/18 at Migration Fest in Pittsburgh
Appalachian black metal from Minnesota

Last but not least DC’s own No/Más is re-posting their debut EP for this one day only, then they’re taking it back down so if you want it get it on Friday! Details from the band here.

Review of Altar Of Plagues gig at the Black Cat

When I heard there was going to be a black metal show at the Black Cat I have to admit I was intrigued. This is a venue known for getting punk and indie rock bands mostly, though they do get metal shows from time to time. I’ve never heard of a real black metal band playing there before, so Friday the 30th of July 2010 I had to be in attendance. The line up was set to be Altar Of Plagues, Castevet, Velnias and local doom trio Salome, but they canceled just days prior. Apparently their guitarist, Rob Moore, was mugged Wednesday night in Springfield and was unable to play. I hope he recovers quickly and they can play again soon. As a side note, you can read my take on Salome when I saw them play with Jucifer in January here. The turn out wasn’t very large for this concert, unfortunately, and I wonder how much of that was due to Salome canceling. It was held on the upstairs main stage of the Black Cat but really it probably should have been on the smaller backstage. Regardless, one band off the bill wasn’t going to keep me from showing up and I’m glad I was there.

I got there at about 9:30pm, the time the first band was supposed to be playing, though they were still setting up when I walked in. They didn’t start playing until about 9:45 which was fine by me, gave me time to grab a beer. This band, Velnias, is from Colorado. They were definitely the most doomy of the three bands. Their barefoot red haired bass player started the set by crouching on all fours and screaming something over and over while rocking back and forth. They didn’t face the crowd much, most of the time everyone (except the drummer) was facing toward the amps, which I found kind of odd. The first few minutes of their set was so slow it was almost drone, though eventually their music built up in intensity. The microphone on the left, being used by one of the guitarists, was pretty impossible to hear in the mix (and I was pretty centered). This wasn’t a huge deal as he split the vocal duties with the bass player. Regardless of minor technical issues, they were pretty entertaining and their sound combined a sort of atmospheric black metal with the slow build up and sudden crashing of doom metal. They only played for half an hour but I could have watched them play for a full hour. They ended their set by doing the old Motorhead trick of putting the guitars in front of the amps to rain feedback onto the audience, while the bass player again rocked on his knees screaming a chant of some sort. Rather powerful way to end a set I have to say.

The next band up was New York City’s Castevet. I enjoyed their latest album, Mounds Of Ash, so I was curious about their live show. They are a three piece band who does the wall of sound rather well, though the vocals this night were turned way up in the mix. This wouldn’t be that big of a problem if I didn’t find them rather monotonous to the point of being annoying by the end of the set. On their studio work the music was much more front and center, but here the vocals were up rather high in the mix. This might have simply been the fault of the venue, I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever was doing the sound at the Black Cat had no idea how to mix black metal. It could have been overcompensation for the low mic level the previous band had too. A few times I found myself getting into the music a bit, but then the vocals would come in and jar me back out. I wouldn’t say they sucked live, but this set up wasn’t ideal for these guys, unfortunately. Since they’re from New York I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up coming by this way again at some point and I’d like to see them again, though in a more ideal setting.

Next up was the headliner, Altar Of Plagues, coming all the way from Cork, Ireland. I felt kind of bad that there was such a poor turn out for these guys after coming from so far away. They were certainly my favorite band of the night to watch. Their sound isn’t far removed from Wolves In The Throne Room. Very atmospheric black metal with lots of build ups of momentum in songs that had some rather catchy riffs too. I wouldn’t say they were exploring any new territory with their sound, but they were very good at what they did. I noticed their drummer was using a hihat which is not something you see a lot in black metal. He was a very proficient drummer though, really punching it when he had to but also keeping interesting beats when the tempos slowed down. The band didn’t have much lighting just three red lights on stage and it was kind of hard to see them since the light from the bar was keeping the room lit more than anything. They didn’t move around a lot on stage, but they didn’t really have to, their music was easy to get caught up in. Their set was very distortion heavy and it was very loud, one of the loudest sets I’ve seen at the Black Cat, though part of that might have been due to the lack of people filling the room. They started going a bit crazy during their last song when they ended up also putting their guitars in front of the amps to do the feedback loop thing Velnias had done earlier. While Altar Of Plagues didn’t have a lot of surprises in their set, they were playing some great atmospheric black metal, and I’m glad I made it out to this show, it was a nice black metal warm up for the Enthroned show coming to Jaxx next week. I didn’t shoot any video at this concert because the lighting was so poor I didn’t think it was even worth it. Hopefully I’ll get some better footage soon, as I’ve got a few concerts lined up here in the coming week.