Monthly Archives: September 2012

Baby Metal: Not babies, not metal but very Japanese

Well. kids this exists. Someone asked me if Baby Metal was real. All I can say is, it’s Japanese so of course it is real. It’s very “kawaii” if you are a pedo I guess, but it is not very metal.

Now if you are really in the mood for some Asian metal, go listen to some Gallhammer or Cthonic (see below) to get this out of your eyeballs. Happy Friday.

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Nachzehrer: wicked good black metal from Boston

This week I decided to spend my local show dollars on a black metal show at The Sidebar Tavern, featuring Boston band Nachzehrer. I did not know too much about this band but had listened to them a bit after stumbling across a news item some weeks ago about the singer in the band being detained on a train platform because of his bullet belt. (Apparently there really are fashion police out there.)

Anyway, The Sidebar, which is now under new ownership, has been booking some great shows lately, perhaps in an effort (consciously or not) to fill the void left by the demise of another smallish venue the Talking Head Club. So naturally, if they are going to go to the trouble to book some black metal, I am going to go despite having to get up for work early the next morning.

The other bands that played deserve separate blog posts so I won’t go into much detail about them here. But I will mention that  the bill also included Wolfnuke (black metal from Hagerstown, Md.), At the Graves (ambient blackened doom from Baltimore), and Necropsy (Baltimore death thrash).

So back to Nachzehrer. According to the Wiki, a Nachzehrer is a vampire that devours its family and sometimes itself. We all have one of these in our family I am sure. The particular iteration of the band I saw had drums, guitar, bass and vocals, though their Facebook page lists an additional guitarist.

I am a lousy show reviewer, I must admit, mostly because I am more of less caught up in the moment and not taking notes or anything. But here’s my impression of this group.

Overall the songs are solid, semi-melodic traditional black metal. The drummer and bassist are completely in sync with one another, providing a solid head-banging foundation. Riding atop the bassline are some searing guitar melodies, threatening. The effect is punishing and raw, which is exactly how black metal should sound.  The songs mirror the structure of everything you would call “TRVE” black metal. Sometimes the tremolo guitar picking even reminded me of my beloved Tsjuder, minus the breakneck speed metal pace.

Nachzehrer’s vocals, unlike traditional black metal singing, are more in the grindcore style. Anytime a singer stands out in front of a band and is as physically active as Nachzehrer’s singer is, it reminds me of grindcore. That is not a bad thing, it just is what is it. Obviously if you were listening to the music on a CD or otherwise, this would not be an issue.

Unfortunately, the band did not have any CD or tapes available.  Many of their songs are uploaded on their Facebook page if you want to check them out. I did get a t-shirt.

Nachzehrer produced some brutal tunes and got the small audience revved up. I am glad they were able to stop by Baltimore on their mini-tour this week.  Hopefully, they will come back again and bring a full-length recording.

Maryland Deathfest XI: more awesome every day

Hole in the sky left when my mind exploded.

Announcements about who will be performing at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest XI have come in fits and spurts over the last few weeks. And the venue has not been announced yet. But organizers have just updated the list of confirmed performers and my mind has exploded! Seriously, come clean up this mess!!!

Confirmed bands are as follows:

!T.O.O.H.! (Czech Republic)
ABIGAIL (Japan)
AHUMADO GRANUJO (Czech Republic)
AMBASSADOR GUN
ANHEDONIST
ANTAEUS (France)
AOSOTH (France)
ASTHMA CASTLE
BENEDICTION (UK)
BOLT THROWER (UK)
BROKEN HOPE
CARCASS (UK)
CARPATHIAN FOREST (Norway)
CONVULSE (Finland)
CRUCIAMENTUM (UK)
EXODUS
GLORIOR BELLI (France)
GRIDE (Czech Republic)
IHSAHN (Norway)
INGROWING (Czech Republic)
INIQUITY (Denmark)
INTEGRITY
KOMMANDANT
LOSS
MANILLA ROAD
MIDNIGHT
MORGION
PAGAN ALTAR (UK)
PELICAN
PENTAGRAM
PIG DESTROYER
REPULSION
REVENGE (Canada)
RIGHTEOUS PIGS
SLEEP
SPEEDWOLF
VENOM (UK)
VINTERLAND (Sweden)
WEEDEATER
According to the MDF Facebook page: “It looks like we’ll be announcing the venue info sometime next week. It’s impossible to put a precise date on that announcement, but everything is coming together. The final announcement of bands will be sometime between October 8-10. Until we get to the end of the booking process and see what comes together or not, we don’t know who is headlining other than Venom (between Fri-Sun) and Bolt Thrower (Thurs). Tickets will go on sale by mid-October. We’ll keep you posted on a precise date. NOTE: The Thursday show will be inside only, so once again, 4-day passes and Thursday only tickets will be extremely limited.”
I am super curious about where in Baltimore this will be held. So please continue to visit the MDF page and Metallomusikum for more details on the festival. Like last year, I plan to interview or at least profile every single band slated to perform. That was fun, wasn’t it? Well, it was for me. Carry on….

New Pig Destroyer song released!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything is excrement? Pig Destroyer quite possibly wrote the soundtrack to that day. Their new album, Book Burner, will be available in the US on Oct. 22, but Relapse Records knows you PxDx fans can barely wait to sink you teeth into this meaty grindcore masterpiece.

The deluxe edition of this release will include 2-CDs, a 19-song compendium of misanthropy. And if that were not enough to set your teeth on edge, the package will also include bonus disc collection of punk covers called The Atheist.

Pig Destroyer have several shows coming up in support of Book Burner, including an appearance at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest. Those days include:

Sept. 28:      Calgary, Canada Noctis Fest
Oct. 18:       Brooklyn, NY MetalSucks/Metal Injection CMJ showcase @ Public Assembly
Oct. 19:      Baltimore, MD Ottobar (w/ Royal Thunder)  (CD Release Show)
Nov. 1:       Brighton, UK The Haunt
Nov. 2:       London, UK The Garage
Nov. 3:       Leeds, UK Damnnation Festival
Jan. 19:      Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer w/ Municipal Waste, Repulsion, Tombs
May 23 – 26:    Baltimore, MD Maryland Deathfest XI

You can pre-order Pig Destroyer’s new recording here. But until then, they have thrown you a bone. Gnaw on this lyrical video below.

Leave money on the nightstand for ‘Call Girl of Cthulhu’

Chris LaMartina

For a kid who grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Chris LaMartina makes pretty good films. You should give him some money so he can finish his latest project “Call Girl of Cthulhu.”

That, in a nutshell, is the gist of LaMartina’s latest plea on Kickstarter, where he and colleague Jimmy George are trying to raise a whopping $25,000. The truth is, LaMartina and George REALLY DO make pretty good films. And 25K is nothing in terms of a film budget.

I first met Chris about four years ago when he was screening his movie “Grave Mistakes” at the Creative Alliance. Since then I have seen his films”President’s Day,” “Witch’s Brew,” and the “Book of Lore.” The stories are suspenseful and full of all the great plot twists and devices you want to see in a good horror movie–without being cheesy. The dialogue, for the most part, is believable. The casting  and acting are stellar and the special effects and production impressive for these super low budget films. To me, each one of their films has gotten better, tighter, more well developed than the last. The films possess that distinctive alluring campiness that makes them simultaneously charming but also relegates them to that category of DIY films. This does not mean they are bad! You just have to set your bar at a certain height and appreciate what they have been able to achieve with a next-to-nothing budget.

LaMartina and George know that they can make make much better films, but that takes money. Their previous projects were family, friend and self-funded. “Witch’s Brew” was partially funded through a Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $14,000. Until some Hollywood producer decides to throw a couple millions dollars at them, they will be forced to rely on the kindness of strangers to support their film making habit. Or, as they put it in their recent Kickstarter campaign, they are “whoring” themselves out to raise the dough for this project. Appropriate enough, given the film’s title.

The Kickstarter campaign for “Call Girl of Cthulhu” ends on October 3, 2012. Currently, the project is only half funded. The way Kickstarter works is, if you don’t make your funding goal, then you don’t get any of the pledge donations! With the clock ticking, I asked Chris to answer a few questions about his film making history and his current endeavor. This is what he had to say.

Tell me about your first film. And I mean FIRST FILM!
Hmmmm. As in first feature or first short? I’m going to assume short film here and it was probably an embarrassing experiment at stop motion animation that I did with action figures around age 11.

How did you and Jimmy George meet?
Jimmy and I met through a mutual friend in the punk scene circa 1999. At the time, I was camcorder-swinging hooligan who taped local bands and made little horror movies. Jimmy was a bit older and was hammering out scripts. We became friends then, but Jimmy moved to L.A. for a bit, and we lost contact. We re-connected years later and began writing/producing together.

Chris and Jimmy George (right).

Who else is critical to your film making process?
There is a definite “team” that has evolved with Midnight Crew Studios. Ryan Thomas is our frequent associate producer and casting director. Our special effects team is Aftermath FX, run by the illustrious Jason Koch and Kaleigh Brown. Other essential crew members are Nate Spivey, Jonathan Boushell, Clint Kelly, and we have steady relationships with actors and actresses like George Stover, Nicolette Le Faye, Shawn C. Phillips, Ruby LaRocca and many more…

I loved”Witch’s Brew.” How has that been received since its release?
We haven’t gotten a bad review yet so it’s been fantastic, and the film is slated for DVD release this fall. We’ve got accepted into two festivals (Killer Film Fest in Massachusetts and Fear Fete in Louisiana). I won “Best Director” at KFF, and we won “Best Comedic Horror Feature” at Fear Fete.

Which of your other previous films have received critical acclaim? 
“President’s Day” has played the most festivals and “Book of Lore” has gotten some solid reviews. The short films don’t have a wide reach because in the United States, there is not a solid platform for short films to find an audience.

Which has been your favorite to make so far?
All of them had their moments of glory, but in general… I don’t think making movies is especially “fun”. It’s a lot of hard work and while we have a positive, goofy demeanor on set… we try to stay focused and serious about keeping things moving. Shooting in a high school for “President’s Day” was a blast, but the heat and long hours made it quasi-miserable. “Witch’s Brew” was definitely the toughest shoot for us… from both a production standpoint and the personal life experiences I was going through at the time.

Where did the idea for “Call Girl of Cthulhu” come from?
The title came first. Both Jimmy and I were huge Lovecraft fans and I grew up with stuff like “Re-Animator” and “From Beyond”. The title was originally an idea for the October installment of “Lost Trailer Park: Never Coming Attractions” (a faux movie preview web series we produced in 2010-2011), but Jimmy pushed the issue, telling me that it was too good to just be a two-minute fake trailer. Ironically, this how the idea for “President’s Day” bloomed too.

Is the project completely cast?
We haven’t cast anything really. We’re not shooting this sucker until the spring. We will probably cast in February.

Where are you filming?
Most of the production will be in Baltimore (city and county).

Insanity sets in.

This is also your biggest budget. Why the bigger budget?
Jimmy and I have joked about this quite a bit. In “President’s Day”, we killed the student body in a high school. In “Witch’s Brew”, we massacred the residents of a town. In “Call Girl of Cthulhu”, we’re ending humanity as we know it. So there’s lots of monster, tentacles, and some insane effects… we need the money just to tell this story correctly.

OMG, what if you don’t make the Kickstarter goal?
If we don’t make the Kickstarter goal, we wont make the movie. No joke. It’s that simple. We can’t make this film for under $25K. It deserves a budget.

What is your day job?
I’m lead editor at a video strategy firm in Hampden. I also teach an editing class at Community Media of Baltimore city. Before that, I was a producer/director for the government TV channel that the Mayor’s Office in Baltimore operates. They pay the bills (and my health care costs). We make movies because we have to. I live to tell stories and film making is a great avenue for storytelling. I can’t stop. I just can’t.

What life experiences have prepared you for this particular moment in time?
Every film gets bigger (and, hopefully, better )… we believe we’re in a spot where we can use this money efficiently and effectively to produce a Lovecraft-inspired horror flick that will please fans of his work and tell a fun, gory story that is a little better than most of the low budget dreck out there already.

You are also a musician. What instruments do you play? Tell me about how music plays a role in your projects.
I play guitar, bass, drums, and a little bit of keys. In regard of our own films, I’ve scored every feature (and short) since “Grave Mistakes”. Sometimes I’ll edit to my scores, other times I will write compositions based on edits. John Carpenter and Robert Rodriguez are two huge influences in this regard. Being an editor/composer is the perfect mix to creating a solid tempo for a film.

What music do you like to listen to?
Mostly punk rock/classical/jazz/bluegrass.

Where do you hope to see yourself in five years? 10 years??
This is always a tricky question. I don’t know. Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, I’ll still be telling stories in some fashion. Whether it’s movies, comics, or fiction… it’s inconsequential as long as I’m still creating.

Is there anything else you want people to know about your project?
Donate to our Kickstarter or else it won’t happen (!!!)

CONTEST: Design my blog header image

Do you have graphic design skills? I would like a banner/header thingy designed for my blog athttp://www.metallomusikum.com/ incorporating the name Metallomusikum. Right now it is just the template and a photo of Amon Amarth I took.

I believe headers on Blogger blogs are 900 px wide and 450 px high, but you might want to poke around on Blogger to determine that. This blog is closing in on 20,000 hits and I would it to have a more professional presence. 
Think you can come up with something appropriate for the content of my blog? Submit your ideas to me in at mary_spiro@yahoo.com. The winning design will receive $25, a feature story on the blog about you, your design, your business or whatever you want to feature. 
I will also send you some random CDs from my CD collection and my undying devotion. Deadline is Oct 31, but I will extend it if there is still no design I like. GO!!
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