Monthly Archives: November 2012

Days of the Doom 3 tickets on sale Dec. 1

Unless you are planning a wedding, June 2013 might seem pretty far off. But for the organizers of Days of the Doomed 3 (or III if you like your numerals Roman), June can’t get here soon enough.

Billed as the biggest doom fest in the midwest, DOTD3 will take place on June 21 and 22 at the Blue Pig in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tickets for this two day celebration of the riff and distortion go on sale December 1, 2012 and are expect to move swiftly! A two day pass is $50 and single day tickets are $30.

The lineup so far includes Penance, Victor Griffin’s new group In-Graved, Dream Death, Iron Man, Pale Divine, The Gates of Slumber, Chowder, Kings Destroy, Orodruin, Earthen Grave, Argus, King Giant, Whaler, Beelzefuzz, Venomous Maximus, Moon Curse, Hollow Leg, and Gorgantherron. According to organizer Mercyful Mike Smith, one more band will be announced sometime in January. You will just have to trust him that whoever it is will be killer.

I can’t think of a better holiday gift for the doom metal aficionado in your life or yourself than some tickets to this event. Besides, Milwaukee in June is reportedly quite lovely. Check out a preview of some of the bands playing in the video below. And then go over to this link and grab a ticket for yourself and a 21+ sexy loved one.

By the way, I wrote about DOTD2 last year. This thing is legit.


REVIEW: Dragged Into Sunlight’s Widowmaker

Dragged Into Sunlight sounds like that thing you do to kill a vampire. The sound of the band, Dragged Into Sunlight (or DIS) could probably kill as well. It would kill complacency, mediocrity and ennui.

Today, DIS released Widowmaker. This new concept recording retains all the intensity and horror of their 2009 debut album, Hatred for Mankind, but the mood has shifted.  Hatred was full of venom and bile, as the name might suggest. Widowmaker starts out with a melancholy and almost suicidal movement. There’s a violin; what a nice surprise. But will this recording crush me like their debut effort?

Dragged Into Sunlight: Not here to rob you. 

By the second movement of the recording, DIS reprises a bit of the brutality that reminds me of Hatred. This time, however, the composition seems refined, more restrained and much more structured, with recognizable hooks and phrasing. Again, I loved Hatred, but I am also loving Widowmaker, for completely different reasons. It still sounds like DIS, it just sounds a little less like noise rock. OK, what else do you have for me?

The final movement of the recording is a full return to the asphyxiating doomage of Dragged Into Sunlight’s first record. Shrill vocals (to make it black metally) slice through the cacophony of guitar distortion and droning bass. It’s almost as if DIS has tempted you with some bitter sweet candy, lured you into the woods for a “picnic” and here in the final movement of the recording, they will molest and strangle you, looking you straight the eye while you gasp for air under the crushing riffs.  The drums are your heart struggling to keep beating as life fades away into the quietus and resignation of the recordings final measures.  Your body will be found in a shallow grave covered by autumn leaves, while the murderer exits thoughtfully contemplating his next kill.

Widomaker, with its three distinct movements, should be consumed in one sitting. It is a thoroughly satisfying, if not disturbing, representation of this subgenre of metal.

Decide for yourself whether you like the new Dragged Into Sunlight recording. Widomaker is streaming here for your aural pleasure.

I first encountered DIS when I was writing up profiles on every band slated to perform at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest. A member of the band agreed to answer some of my questions. Even from the minimal interaction derived from an email q & a, I could tell that this British blackened doom outfit, who remain anonymous, maintained a good sense of humor about themselves–a morbid, blackened sense of humor–but a sense of humor nonetheless. They did not take themselves overly seriously, except as far as they wanted to be superior musicians and excellent songwriters. That’s a fine way to be and probably part of the reason they try to remain anonymous and lead normal lives outside of band life.

You can read my interview with DIS here. It is among the most popular blog posts I have done. I hope DIS comes back to the US again sometime soon. I honestly tried to watch as much of their set as possible at MDF, but I had to leave the room because of the heat and the smoke machines they like to use. 

REVIEW: Early Graves’ Red Horse

Usually when I go to a show, I make a half-assed attempt to listen to the bands on the bill that I am unfamiliar with. Such was the case with the San Francisco band Early Graves when I saw them open for Skeletonwitch last month at the Ottobar in Baltimore.

Early Graves @Ottobar 2012. Photo by M. Spiro

At the time of the show, Early Graves only had two albums in their discography, We: The Guillotine and Goner. So I listened to a few tracks from those albums. I liked it alright; they kind of had a blackened thrash-core thing going on.

What I did not know before the show was that they had lost their original vocalist, Makh Daniels, in a tragic van accident while on tour in August of 2010. Daniels’ voice was deep and rough. Their new vocalist, John Strachan, has a slightly higher pitched and “thrashier” sounding voice. The vocals don’t make a completely different band but they are distinct.

What also did not know, though I could have suspected it from the songs I heard, was that Early Graves’ live performances completely destroy a venue. Everything about their performance that night–from the punchy drums to the crushing riffs and searing vocals–was a flaming ball of utter awesome aural devastation.

So it was with palpable excitement that I awaited the release of Early Graves third effort, Red Horse. I bought the digital copy from iTunes and devoured all 32.6 minutes of it twice in a row. Here is my quick and dirty impression of the album.

Hardcore and thrash are subgenres of metal that can be easily married. A bad marriage results in something barely listenable, but Early Graves merges styles with finesse. Songs like the title track “Red Horse,” with its literal galloping drum beat, possess the right amount of catchy melodic riffing framed by an appropriate structure of visceral brutality capable of branding the chords into your frontal lobe.

Other tracks like “Days Grow Cold” churn through each measure like a guitar-powered locomotive, that pauses briefly to let you reflect before rocketing off again. The track ends like an acoustic balad. Very surprising.

Another track, “Death Obsesssed” wormed its way into my psyche. I found myself playing the song repeatedly before moving on to the next track. There’s something sinister and looming in this song–maybe like death itself–and yet endlessly relentless. This song represents everything that I love about hardcore metal–raw vocals, desperate lyrics, riffs that grab you by the throat and drums that make you want to bang your head.

My favorite song on the album, “Quietus,” is also the longest track. The first two and half minutes plow forward ferociously like much of the rest of the album. Then the song spirals into this melancholic, almost doomy section. The music builds to a soaring crescendo and closes out the album on a thoughtful note.

On the whole, I found the eight tracks on Early Graves’ Red Horse to be thoroughly satisfying and packed with heavy hardcore goodness. As much as one can view hardcore as “catchy” Early Graves has figured out the formula while maintaining music that inspires a respectable mosh pit.

This album is masterful and brutally beautiful. Go check it out.

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