SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST: Lord Almighty Joins Lineup; Festival Merch Designs Announced

GENERAL_SWMF LOGO  (66x18)-4SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST, Maryland’s open-air metal camping party, announces that Boston black metallers Lord Almighty will join the lineup this Fall. Other newcomers to the fest include Germany’s sludge masters, Mantar, North Dakota’s eerie Ghost Bath, Canada’s frosty Numenorean, who opens the fest on Thursday September 15th, and New Jersey’s Iberian folk-metalists Windfaerer, who play Saturday.

The three-day event continues through the morning of Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland, about thirty miles north of Baltimore. Now in its second year, SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST strives to showcase the best in underground metal from diverse subgenres, on three stages at the same charming summer camp where the fest was held previously.

“Lord Almighty has a raw, fresh approach to black metal,” says festival organizer Mary Spiro of Woods Productions LLC. “They display both aggression and beauty when they perform, and we are super stoked to have them!” Lord Almighty replaces Chicago’s Empyreus on Saturday night.

Friday night headliners include Brooklyn’s post black metal pillagers Tombs, Mongolian folk metal warriors Tengger Cavalry, Detroit’s horror-death conjurers Acid Witch, and a special reunion performance from Philly’s blackened doom two-piece Sadgiqacea. Saturday headliners include black-thrash alchemists Blood Storm, Pennsylvania death metal stalwarts Sadistic Vision, Maryland’s doom metal godfather Scott “Wino” Weinrich with friends from Faith In Jane, and Long Island ritualists Teloch Vovin. The fest will close with the return of Maine’s black metal-blues shredders Zud.

Other performance highlights this year include blackened space-rock duo Lotus Thief from San Francisco, which features drummer Otrebor of Botanist, and Colorado’s Helleborus, powered by the Houseman brothers (Akhenaten; ex-Execration), who specialize in psychedelic black metal tinged with sexual mysticism. The complete lineup (listed below) displays some of the most innovative and surprising acts in the metal underground.

This year’s festival merch designs include the ghostly twins created by Brian Sheehan of Legerdemain and Maryland’s own cryptid, the Goat Man, as illustrated by Fred Grabosky (FTG Illustrations). The twins appear on the band shirt and the goat man will appear on a t-shirt, hoodie and a limited edition silk-screened art print. Legerdemain’s work, which has been featured on Cvlt Nation, uses manipulation of original and vintage photography to create is ghastly images. FTG Illustrations are hand-drawn creations have been used by Yob, Heavy Temple and Brimming Horn Meadery, among others. Both created art for Shadow Woods Metal Fest 2015. SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST merch can be preordered for pickup at the fest RIGHT HERE.

Marketplace vendors include record label Season Of Mist, Crucial Blast, Anthropic Records, and festival co-producers Grimoire Records, the Baltimore-based hybrid recording and distribution label who have several bands featured on the fest. Other vendors include original artworks and handcrafted items from Alleged Candles, Barnacle Bones Bindery, The Dark Arts Collective, Fiber Party knitted art; FTG Illustrations, Necronomicharm jewelry, Runk the Skunk Jewelry, Dylan Garrett Smith, and Mt. Vernon Body Art. During the festival, Fiber Party will conduct a silent auction of a one-of-a-kind, hand-knitted Shadow Woods themed shawl. The shawl took five months to complete and is comprised of 100% Peruvian Highland Wool. Proceeds will be split 50/50 with the creator and the fest.

Food vendors this year include Baltimore-area coffee mavens Zeke’s Coffee, Headbangin’ Hotdogs (vegan), pit beef, and other festival specialties from Pond View Farms and new vendor Funtastic Foods. Beer will be available for sale. Unlike last year, local laws have determined that the fest cannot be BYOB. Coolers will be checked.

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST was founded by Shadow Woods Productions, LLC and is produced through the work of many volunteers putting in countless hours of work. Promotional help comes from partners in Lokvlt Productions out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Leftover Pizza Productions from Frederick, Maryland, as well as Washington, DC area metal hype-machine LCnK Promotions and online metal blog Metal Junkie Zine.

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST is 21+. Weekend Passes are available for $130 at Tent camping is included with the weekend pass. People who want to reserve cabin beds can do so for an additional $20 for the duration of the fest. Only 400 weekend passes will be available. Single-day passes are now on sale.

Set times for Shadow Woods Metal Fest!

Now that single day tickets are available to Shadow Woods Metal Fest, It makes since to post the set times. Check out these lovely charts detailing all the activities designed by Brian Sheehan. Come out to probably the only edition of this fest ever, just 30 minutes north of Baltimore. It would be dumb if you missed it. Really, it would.

You can get tickets here and the event page on Facebook is here. Tickets are only available in advance, no gate sales. There are weekend and day passes. Food vendors on site to keep your tummy full. BYOB for the drinks. This event is 21+.



How Facebook chokes out your personal posts

Recently, I conducted a very unscientific experiment on Facebook. At 1:14 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, I posted a simple message.



I didn’t post anything else on my wall for one week. I did, however, interact with other people’s posts, liked statuses and photos and I posted to my FB pages (I manage three). But my own personal profile page fell silent. During this time I started posting on Twitter. Not nearly as much as I had on Facebook but more than I usually do. I posted more personal stuff there than I had previously. One person asked where I went because they were used to seeing my posts show up in their feed.

At the end of the week, I took note of how much engagement my last personal post had had.
There were 383 likes. Of those likes, 45 of the people who saw the post are not my “friends” on Facebook. The post was public, so that shows you that whatever you post publicly really is seen by people who don’t interact with you.

The remaining 338 were likes from friends. In addition there were 23 comments made on the post, some coming from people who said they didn’t want to have to like the post. Such scofflaws! Anarchists! LOL. Anyway. Of those comments, 19 were unique and were not from me. So let’s add this to the 338, giving me 357 engagements. But 12 of the comments had also liked the status update, so let’s subtract those out giving a total of 345 unique engagements, either as a like or as a comment only, not both.

As of today I have 2,246 friends on Facebook. So a little more than 15% of my friend list engaged with this post. If I include the people who are not my friends, there was 17% engagement. As for the rest of my friend list, there are three possible reasons they did not hit like: 1) they have my feed muted; 2) the FB algorithm prevented the status from coming up in their feed; or 3) they saw it but didn’t feel like participating. I will never know the answers to these questions.

Why did I conduct this experiment? Because it is important to note that no matter how much we put out on social media, especially FB, we are only ever going to reach a very limited number of people. This is important for people who are trying to promote events or themselves or who are just looking to interact with friends. Not a lot of people see your stuff, and more than likely, the ones who do are the same handful of people that you engage with in real life.

If I had included a photo or link with my simple status, marketing studies have shown that more people see those posts. In fact, you could post a terribly sad status with a cute animal photo and get tons of likes from people who never bothered to read the words. This holds true whether you are posting on your personal profile or a page you manage.

So don’t be fooled. Your message only goes out to so many people, and more than likely it’s the people who already know what you have to say anyway. Facebook wants to you pay to reach more people. They choke out your posts and you get less engagement, just like they would on a page you manage. Facebook is a fraudulent representation of your actual engagement with humanity. Don’t let it get you down if only one or two people like your posts. It isn’t real.

My silent week on Facebook was nice. I had plenty of engagement, but I was much more outwardly focused, thinking and responding to other people’s statuses and photos and less about pushing out my own personal agenda, whatever that may be at the moment. I will probably do it more often. Enjoy your lives. Love in real life. Watch the videos below.

Shadow Woods Metal Fest: because nothing goes better with metal than camping

This September marks the first (and hopefully not the last) occurrence of Shadow Woods Metal Fest, a first-of-its-kind in the US mini-version of the Euro style open-air fests. The fest will be held in White Hall, MD about 30 minutes north of Baltimore. Thirty-six bands will perform over two days beginning September 25 and attendees can camp through September 27.

We, that is the makers of Metallomusikum, have been working on this fest for more than a year with the help of a crack team that includes Lokvlt Productions from Philadelphia, Leftover Pizza Productions in Frederick, MD and WinterForge Promotions in Pittsburgh PA.  Our sponsors are Grimoire Records, the hybrid recording studio and record label based in Baltimore, MD, and Music For The Dead, an independent label also from Baltimore that specializes as they say, “in music no one living would want to hear.” In addition, another dozen more friends and colleagues were recruited to help with things like security, food & beverage, vendors and sound/stage/lights.

While every band selected for this curated list is outstanding, there are a few performances that should prove especially memorable. Headliners for Friday include Falls of Rauros, Occultation, Velnias and Immortal Bird. Headliners for Saturday include Midnight, Iron Man, Dweller in the Valley and Wormreich. Regarding Wormreich, this fest will be their first live performance since their fatal van accident on April 6, where they lost two band members.

We have 12 arts vendors, including Poison Apple Printshop and Runk the Skunk Jewelry, along with several record distros/labels, such as Crucial Blast, Salvation Distro and of course, Grimoire Records.

This fest will also have some workshops, which is pretty different from what you might encounter at other open air fests. Old Town Lutherie will teach a workshop in guitar maintenance, an expert in Scandinavian history and culture will present a workshop on Runes. And each morning different yoga instructors will hold sessions for those interested. Bring a mat and comfortable clothes if you want to try it out. There will probably be some other last minute surprises.

Along with all this, we have two exclusive t-shirt designs and one beautiful art poster created especially for this inaugural fest.  Only 350 tickets will be sold to Shadow Woods and no tickets will be sold at the gate. Repeat: everything is pre-sale. Don’t wait. When the fest is sold out, it’s sold out. And we fully expect it to.

Our location is Camp Hidden Valley, a children’s camp on private property managed by the Harford County Boys & Girls Club. The landscape is beautiful and heavily wooded. There is plenty of room for tent camping, a huge dining hall where our vendors and one stage will be located, and men’s and women’s bathhouses with flush toilets, showers and running water. There are even outlets to charge your phone.

Shadow Woods Metal Fest is 21+ and BYOB.  You can read all about it on the fest website. See all the related links below. We will be featuring short write ups on the bands in this space and on the fest website. See you in September!

Related Links:

Shadow Woods Metal Fest




Grimoire Records

Music for the Dead

Old Town Lutherie

Poison Apple Printshop

Runk the Skunk Jewelry

Crucial Blast

Salvation Distro

Second Grimscape defies odds and slays anyway

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t give up on things I care about that easily. This year’s Grimscape show was a trial by fire. First we had to move venues. Twice. And we lost our original headliner. But, that said, we found a home and regrouped and the results were nothing short of amazing. Thanks go out to The Depot in Baltimore and their sound guy Greg Serio as well as DJ Neska for keeping everything running smoothly and on time.



Rest assured that there will be more shows of this caliber in the months to come. We look forward to Grimscape #3 in summer of 2016.

I suggest that you keep these bands in constant rotation on your playlists:


Cladonia Rangiferina

Torrid Husk


Sloth Herder



Below is a link to some photos I took at the show, even the crappy blurry ones. Whatever.  Enjoy and be sad if you missed it.  Next shows coming up are Aug 16 and 17. More on that later.

Windfaerer journeys into the unknown with Tenebrosum

New Jersey’s Windfaerer plays atmospheric “folkened “ black metal. I started listening to them when my friend Annie mentioned how amazing they were, and that I should probably book them sometime. I am still wondering why I have not done that yet. That said, until the right opportunity comes along, I thought it would be a good time to cast the spotlight on them and give them some of the attention they deserve.



My description of their music as atmospheric “folkened “ black metal is somewhat tongue is cheek (music writers like to play around with genre hybrids, don’t we?). But the truth is I think it is totally accurate. The snarling plaintive vocals put the band definitely in black metal territory. Melodically, their tunes soar through some epic aural landscapes that qualify as atmospheric. And as for the “folkened” part, the use of violin certainly lends more traditional sounds to the compositions, but not in in the commonly understood paradigms of folk metal kind of way. In my opinion, I think a lot of folk metal sounds like electrified polka tunes, and I absolutely hate it. This stuff that Windfaerer puts forth is aggressive, grim and haunting. It has an organic and emotional aesthetic that makes it seem like it comes from another time. There’s a reason the violin is Satan’s preferred instrument. That instrument can scream, wail and weep like a human voice.

I thought I would send the band some off-the-wall questions. Michael Gonçalves gave me some off the wall answers. Make sure to check out their new song “Celestial Supremacy” from their forthcoming self-released recording Tenebrosum, which will be available in its entirety on September 22. If “Celestial Supremacy” is any indication of the music on the rest of the album, Tenebrosum should be Windfaerer’s breakout recording. Labels should take notice.

Now on to the basics and Q&A.

Hails! This is Michael Gonçalves, the frontman of Windfaerer, answering these questions on behalf of the band.

Members/Instruments they play?
Michael Gonçalves handles the guitars and vocals, but on all recorded material thus far also plays the bass. Benjamin Karas handles the violin (acoustic and electric) as well as some vocal contribution. JP Andrade plays the drums. In a live setting, the band is rounded out by Peter Lloyd on guitar and Michael Munoz on bass.

Year formed?
Active since 2009.

Various parts of Northeastern NJ.

Label/ if any?
None, though some releases have been put out through our own imprint, Noire Perpetua.

Glorybound (demo, 2009)
Tribus (full length, 2010)
Solar (EP, 2012)
Tenebrosum (full length, 2015)

Why should people check out your band?
I think people should check out our music because it is sincere. We stand behind this art in full force. I feel a shroud of emotion draping me when performing our music. We are playing music we want to hear, paying homage to artists we respect, and driven by an ancient essence. If listeners notice that, then we are forever grateful.

Where do you think your music fits genre-wise?
This has been a tough question to answer because, to me, I feel an all-encompassing “Heavy Metal” would be fitting, but that wouldn’t be satisfying. Undoubtedly metal. We fall into the Black Metal spectrum, specifically influenced by Viking and Pagan Metal, and definitely slathered in a coating of Gothenburg-style Melodic Death Metal.

If your music could appear on any television or movie soundtrack, what would you want it to be?
Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, The Wrath of God or The Last of the Mohicans.

If you could go on tour with any band, who would it be, and why?
Sepultura circa 1991 because at that point in their career they were untouchable. Have time machines been invented yet? In today’s music, probably, Vallendusk from Indonesia because I think our music works nicely together or Metallica because then we could play giant stages and use pyrotechnics.

If you could add an additional guest member to your band from any era in music history who would it be and why?
Valfar (Windir) because he is a big influence on our music.

Upcoming shows include:
7/24/2015 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
8/01/2015 Pocono Folk Metal Fest – Stroudsburg, PA

My birthday show!

Get tickets now!

Iron Man and Yesterday’s Saints engage 11-city death and doom tour

Maryland doom/heavy rock statesmen Iron Man and Virginia’s energetic death-power metal upstarts have teamed up for an 11-city tour of destruction through New England and the Midwest that begins in Washington, DC on March 12. It’s a literal tour of death and doom. Get it? Anyway…. see cool tour poster below!

Iron Man Yesterday Saints US 2015If you’ve been to a metal show at Northern Virginia’s Empire, you’ve likely caught Yesterday’s Saints melodic take on the genre hybrid, as they are one of the venues favorite opening bands. Followers of Maryland’s storied doom legacy should be well versed in Iron Man’s 25 year history and the crushing power of guitarist Alfred Morris III’s legendary riffs. Together this touring package will showcase the treasure trove of metal goodness bubbling up along the Baltimore/Washington corridor.

Iron Man continues to find favor with audiences and listeners since the late 2013 release of their fifth full-length album South of the Earth (Rise Above Records/Metal Blade). Yesterday’s Saints is touring in support of the February launch of their sophomore recording, the concept album Generation of Vipers (Draconum).

This tour is unusual and not likely to be repeated. Don’t miss out!

Iron Man with Yesterday’s Saint 2015 US tour dates:

3/12: Washington, DC @ The Pinch
3/13: Allentown, PA @ Jabber Jaws
3/14: Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
3/15: Brooklyn, NY @ The Paper Box
3/16: Providence, RI @ Dusk
3/17: Salem, MA @ Koto
3/18: Buffalo, NY @ Broadway Joe’s
3/19: Ft. Wayne, IN @ Skeletunes – formerly Berlin Music Pub
3/20: Detroit, MI @ The Sanctuary
3/21: Columbus, OH @ Ruby Tuesday Bar CLUB IS ON OSU CAMPUS
3/22: Dayton, OH @ Courtyard Lounge – Englewood
**3/27: Baltimore, MD @ The Sidebar Iron Man only with Savagist, Demon Eye, Foghound and Musket Hawk

Related Links:

Booking provided by Extremity Retained Booking.

Shadow Woods Metal Fest invites bands to campout in the Appalachian wilds

The concept of the open-air heavy metal music and camping fest, so popular in Europe, seems to be a rarity in America. Organizers of Shadow Woods Metal Fest plan to change that with their inaugural fest happening Sept 25-27, 2015 in Fannettsburg, Pennsylvania.

Shadow Woods Metal Fest features lead performances from Midnight, Falls of Rauros, Occultation, Menace Ruine, Velnias, Wormreich, Iron Man, Anagnorisis, The Flight of Sleipnir, Stone Breath and 24 other acts. Ninety early-bird weekend passes go on sale February 12 at noon for $82. After this initial sale, the remaining tickets will be $92. The fest showcases bands on two alternating stages all day Friday and Saturday. Workshops on topics such as runes, guitar maintenance, yoga and more will be offered and are included in the ticket price. Artists and record labels will be vending alongside several onsite food stands. Shadow Woods Metal Fest is BYOB and age restricted to 21+. Only 350 tickets will be sold. Get tickets here.

Read the rest of this entry

Exclusive video and podcast premiere: VON’s Architects of Death

VON has been long recognized as one of America’s first black metal bands. And while co-founder Jason Ventura, known as VENIEN!!!, has remarked that that was really never the original intent of the band’s mission, VON remains squarely rooted in the history of USBM, whether they like it or not.

architects of deathMusically, today’s iteration of VON, seems to bear little resemblance to the primitive thrashing that VENIEN!!! and Goat laid out in the early 1990s. VENIEN!!! continues on bass and primary vocals, but he is now accompanied by guitarist Carter “HangMan” Grant and drummer Tony “Dirty Fvkn! Pistols” Mainiero.

A careful listen to the recent episodically released singles that the group has been unleashing on unsuspecting listeners since December 2014 will reveal the that heart of VON remains as twisted and malevolent as ever. This music is dark, threatening, aggressive and laced with the lyrical evilness that are trademarks of VON. Want to hear a musical reflection of the depravity of humankind in the 21st Century? Listen to some of the new VON songs.

Today, Metallomuskum is pleased to present an exclusive premier of the lucky 11th installment in VON’s musical diary from the album Dark Gods. This new track, “Architects of Death,” can be heard here.

The overall vibe of “Architects of Death” is highly reminiscent of early VON. But the mid-tempo pace and nerve wracking tension created by the interplay between the hissing cymbals and the airy guitar melody give it a more doomy aesthetic. Lyrically the track bodes of impending chaos: a common theme for VON.

The single “Architects of Death” can be purchased as a limited edition CD at and comes with two bonus tracks “Death” and “Burn” packaged inside of a limited edition, hand numbered 56-page Dark Gods comic book, illustrated by VENIEN!!! himself.

I spoke with VON’s delightful and candid drummer Dirty Fvkn! Pistols on Saturday afternoon. We covered important questions such as “is VON black metal?” and “how many guitarists do you really need in a band?” But seriously give the interview a listen here!

Check out VON at their official website is

Architects of Death Lyrics:
Abandon the constructs that haunt your mind
Accept the darkness the chaos inside
The black eyes watch over us as we destroy!
The heard overpopulates infections will grow
Release the plague, death has come
The ancients return to claim their sons
The Architects of the Black Death heed their call
Masters, creators, destroyers of all
The Architects of Death
The Architects of Death

Taken from Dark Gods: Architects of Death (Comic Book+Audio CD Ltd Ed 25) from upcoming Volume II of III from the Dark Gods Trilogy.
Vocals: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura
Background Vocals: Anthony “Dirty FvKn! Pistols” Mainiero & Carter “HangMan” Grant
Bass: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura
Guitars: Carter “HangMan” Grant & John “Lord Giblete” Gonzales
Drums: Anthony “Dirty FvKn! Pistols” Mainiero
Lyrics & music written by: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura
Produced by: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura
Engineered, Mixed, & Mastered by: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura at The PIT (Litchfield Park, AZ)
Recorded at: The PIT (Litchfield Park, AZ)
Release Date: Feb 9th 2015
Format: Exclusive Comic Book Audio CD
Label: Von Records
Buy at


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