Monthly Archives: May 2013

ALERT: All Darsombra gear stolen!

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This 1987 white Gibson Les Paul custom guitar was stolen from Darsombra after a break-in. (Photo: Mary Spiro)

Ann Everton and Brian Daniloski are dear friends of mine and also the excellent performers that make up the group Darsombra. I have written about their specific brand of psychedelic audio-visual space rock here on the blog.

Not long ago they moved into a home in the Garwyn Oaks neighborhood of Baltimore. I have visited their home, and it is located in a seemingly quiet residential part of the city where neighbors tend to know each other. Unfortunately, sometime on May 29, someone kicked in the front door of their home and made off with all the tools the use to create their art.

It is very likely that some of the items taken will be sold quickly for cash. So below is the original posting from Brian listing all that was taken, some of which is quite unique, has been in their family for a long time, and should be fairly easy to spot. Please read on, share this posting and keep your eyes open. If you spot anything, please contact Brian or Ann via the Darsombra Facebook page or through their individual Facebook profiles.

We are saddened to report that our house in the Garwyn Oaks neighborhood of Baltimore city was burglarized yesterday, and almost everything that we use to make our art was stolen.

If you see any of these things for sale, please let us know: 

– 1987 Gibson Les Paul Custom electric guitar (serial number 82317558) white (faded to cream color) finish w/ black pick guard, gold hardware including Schaller strap lock buttons, no pickup guard on treble pickup, without case (pic included)
– late 90’s/early 2000’s era 8-string Rickenbacker bass – black w/ white pick guard, no cover on treble pickup, silver hardware including Schaller strap lock buttons, without case (pic included)
– 2005 Gibson Les Paul Studio baritone guitar (serial number 00055528) sliver finish w/ silver hardware including Schaller strap lock buttons, without case (pic included)
– 2005 Ernie Ball Music Man bass guitar – flat black finish w/ silver diamond plate pickguard, silver hardware including Schaller strap lock buttons, without case (pic included)
– Yamaha acoustic guitar – black, without case
– classical guitar – wood finish, without case
– Rikki Ram student model sitar
– 1930s-era Vega 4-string tenor banjo without case
– Canon Rebel T3i digital SLR camera with a cracked viewing screen
– NEC NP215 projector attached to a small piece of plywood
– 2008 iMac desktop computer
– 2011 Macbook laptop computer (serial number D92GCJRJDRJ7)
– Iomega desktop external hard drive without stand or power supply
– Epson RX595 printer
– tripod

Brian and Ann, I hope that you find your stuff, and I know how heartbroken and violated you both must feel. Hopefully, this blog post will make a difference.

UPDATE 6-11-13:

“We are practically ecstatic to report that all stolen instruments have been returned to us, along with our video projector and camera! This lifts our hearts immensely. We can’t thank everyone enough for your support on this. All of your posts and well wishes and good energy really helped greatly. We love you all!

Brian & Ann

Still missing are the following items:
– 2008 iMac 21.5″ desktop computer
– 2011 MacBook Pro 13″ laptop computer (serial number D92GCJRJDRJ7)
– Iomega desktop external hard drive without stand or power supply
– Epson RX595 printer”


Interview With Evan Harting After Maryland Deathfest XI

Metal Chris asks Evan Harting, one of the organizers of Maryland Deathfest, the tough questions in the aftermath of this year’s festival. Chris really brings up a lot of issues and problems that I never noticed but then again, he was moving about the festival a lot more than I was. What questions or comments would you have had for Evan?

Maryland Deathfest XI ran from Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 through Sunday, May 26th in Baltimore and uncharacteristically there were some issues with the fest which left many people unhappy with the way things were run. I contacted Evan Harting, one of the two co-organizers of Maryland Deathfest, and he agreed to do an interview with me to address many of these issues. The following 30 minute interview was recorded in the evening of Tuesday, May 28th, 2013. My words are the ones in bold. You can listen to the interview by clicking the orange play button on the player below or you can download the 28mb mp3 of the interview by clicking here.

UPDATE: Ryan Taylor, the other MDF co-organizer, made a few clarifying comments about this interview on the MDF message board, which you can read here.

Hi, this is Metal Chris of and it’s just…

View original post 6,173 more words

Ranking the most metal cities in the USA

My blogging buddy Brandon “Johnny” Ringo has compiled a list of the top 10 metal cities in America. Baltimore/Washington, D.C. made the list (although if you ask anyone around here the two scenes can’t really be lumped together). Brooklyn and the glam metal birthplace Los Angeles were appropriately relegated to honorable mention status. But overall there were a few surprises here for me. Richmond, Virginia? OK, I see that as more of a blip, but time will tell. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Czech grindcore outfit Contrastic my MDF surprise

Maryland Deathfest XI is over, and I am having a hard time processing everything. In fact, I am a little depressed.

But I think I will make the effort to mention one of the smaller bands that really affected me. Contrastic, a recently reformed grindcore band from the Czech Republic, played early on Sunday. I had listened to some of their stuff online prior to the show and was really curious. I also was aware that they played opposite of Glorior Belli, whom I also wanted to check out. I had to make some decisions.

Contrastic at #MDF2013. (Photo by Mary Spiro)

Contrastic at #MDF2013. (Photo by Mary Spiro)

Fortunately, Glorior Belli was really boring. So after listening to about two songs from them, I wandered back across the Sonar compound to find Contrastic throwing a heavy metal disco party in the tent.

Generally, grindcore bands are hit or miss for me. Mostly, all I hear is angry screaming and very little recognizable melody. Contrastic has plenty of angry shouting, but they infuse it with funky, jazzy, electronic and industrial samples. The singer was incredibly dynamic and funny, and the band was super tight and on point. It was an amazing blend of death metal with just everything and anything really weird. No rules. There was nothing I didn’t like. The whole place was alive and rocking.

Remember, this is praise coming from a person who listens to a lot of black metal, and hardly any grindcore. Recall, I walked away from Glorior Belli to listen to Contrastic.

Lyrically, Contrastic seem to be tackling lots of social and political ills. The electronic samples give their songs a modern, cyber depersonalized sound, which seems appropriate. I didn’t find any of their CDs (maybe I was not looking in the right places) but would like to find some. I did pick up their t-shirt. If you like Pig Destroyer but have not heard Contrastic, I urge you to give them a listen. Keep an open mind, because I think you will dig them. I’ve included a few tracks.

Preview of Sunday for 2013 Maryland Deathfest

Oh fuck, it’s those guys. Venom.

Ah, the bittersweet last day of the 2013 Maryland Deathfest. Who will you be scrambling to see? There are a lot of good bands today, and if this was the only day you bought a ticket for, you have made a good choice. Entrances open at 1:15 pm

Rumor has it that the members of Speedwolf are the drunkest metal band in Denver. TRVE Brewing has even named a beer after them called Death Ripper Ale. Let’s see how hungover they are from Saturday. 1:50 – 2:25 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

This will be one of the last shows Ilsa will play with their current lineup as they will be using a new guitarist going forward. Or at least, that’s the rumor I heard. Maybe the previous guitarist, Garrett Underwood, has already handed over the duty to Dom Romeo, the “dom” of A389 Records. 2:00 – 2:30 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Cruciamentum equals heavy old school, slightly melodic, death metal. I don’t know if I can handle this so early in the day, but I will try. 2:40 – 3:20 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Tinner comes from Finland. They bring d-beat, masks and a lot of attitude. 2:45 – 3:25 (Baltimore Soundstage)

France’s Glorior Belli recently went through a Southern-fried black and roll phase. I hope they are out of that. I like their “older” more orthodox black metal. I plan to check them out and see. 3:30 – 4:15 (Sonar Stage 2)

Contrastic may be one of the few grindcore bands I like. Experimental and challenging, they seem to be pulling the best from a lot of genres (deathmetal, grind and electronic, industrial, jazz, and the kitchen sink) and creating something really unique. 3:35 – 4:10 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Midnight plays black and roll with speed metal overtones. And they wear black masks. I am never a fan of that look, but they sound pretty good so I will check them out. 4:15 – 5:00 (Sonar Stage 1)

Kromosom came all the way from Australia to play some hardcore punk for you. You should go see them. I wish I could be in two places at once. Maybe I will be. – 4:15 – 4:55 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Gride are super fast somewhat melodic grinders from the Czech Republic. But I don’t speak Czech. 5:00 – 5:40 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Pagan Altar have been around forever honing their special brand of British doom metal, but in all that time they have never been to the USA. So you better check them out. 5:00 – 5:50 (Sonar Stage 2)

Iron Lung are two guys making powerviolence in my living room. Yeah, I wish. But it is astonishing how much aggression and power can come from just two, nice normal looking gentlemen. 5:50 – 6:25 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Sacred Reich plays politically aware thrash metal with a bit of humor and a lot of heart. 5:50 – 6:45 (Sonar Stage 1)

No fest would be complete without some epic power metal. The legendary Manilla Road plays the traditional kind with soaring guitar riffs, beautiful vocals and lyrics you can understand. – 6:45 – 7:40 (Sonar Stage 2)

Integrity is a well-respected hardcore band that has been terrorizing audiences since the late 1980s. They call this hardcore, but I just think they are a great rock and roll outfit. 6:45 – 7:35 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Sleep. What can I say? Slow, contemplative, heavy, unprecedented stoner sludge. You don’t need any “enhancements” to listen to this band, but it helps. 7:40 – 8:40 (Sonar Stage 1)

How many times has Bobby Liebling been brought back from the edge of destruction to play with Pentagram for you? Too many to count. They will be premiering their new guitarist, I would imagine. 8:45 – 9:45 (Sonar Stage 2)

Candles, robes, blood. This is black metal. This is Ascension. 8:50 – 9:40 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Magrudergrind grew out of the prolific Washington, D.C. hardcore, punk and DIY show scene. They have released about a million records and have a strong following and for good reason. Expect continuos stage-diving. 9:00 – 9:35 (Baltimore Soundstage)

I would have given a lung to have seen Venom play on a cruise ship, but all I have is this video. Oh well. They pretty much invented the term black metal. Enough said. 9:50 – 11:00 (Sonar Stage 1)

Citizens Arrest is punk rock the way I remember it. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and nostalgic and like I might even want to stage dive (I won’t). They are godfathers of the NYC hardcore/punk scene. Why are they playing during the set of another band I want to see? Kill me.- 11:00 – 11:45 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Note: Set cancelled due to visa issues. So enjoy this video. The second wave of black metal brought forth Carpathian Forest. This is their first time on American soil. Get in that tent! – 11:00 – 12:00 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

I have seen Converge. Their style of chaotic hardcore is not really my thing. But don’t let me stop you from enjoying their set, which concludes this installment of the Maryland Deathfest. – 12:00- 1:00 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Exhaustive book on metal proves not to be so much

Here’s a well written review of a book on heavy metal that I never plan to read. Any book that gives just a few quotes to black metal is on my “do not support” list. Thanks to Lee Gardner for taking the time out of his life to review the 700+ page of Louder Than Hell:The Definitive Oral History of Heavy Metal by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman. Without your hard work, we would have not known if this book was, indeed, definitive or not. And you say, not so much. And we shall believe you. Here’s my favorite quote from this review:

A whole section devoted to metalcore mostly illustrates that metalcore can be just as tedious on the page as it can be elsewhere.

Read Gardner’s review published in this week’s Baltimore City Paper here:


Preview of Saturday for 2013 Maryland Deathfest

(the) Melvins love you.

Are you ready for the longest day of you life? That’s Saturday at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest. You’ve barely had a chance to recover from Friday night’s mayhem and debauchery when, whoops!, the bands get going again at the crack of noon. Entrances open at 12:00 pm

I don’t know why the video of Baltimore’s Asthma Castle is so bad, but the audio is pretty decent.  See them in real life by getting to the festival early. Just keep in mind that their vocalist is  kinda intimidating, and their drummer claims to play for both Pig Destroyer and Misery Index. Yeah, right. Welcome to Saturday. 12:30 – 1:00 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Disciples of Christ christen Saturday’s shows at Baltimore Soundstage with their DIY brand of hardcore. 12:30 – 12:55 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Wake has some Canadian grindcore for ya, eh.  1:10 – 1:35 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Get your gasmask ready for Kommandant, those storm troopers of blast beats. 1:15 – 1:50 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Like Rats, presumably named for the Godflesh song, play sludge hardcore.  This klean cut krew kills.  1:50 – 2:20 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Slowing things down a bit is Anhedonist with their doom-flavored death metal.  2:05 – 2:45 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Do you like hardcore bands named for comic book characters? Go watch Eddie Brock. Note: the video takes a while to get going but the sound is representative. 2:35 – 3:05 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Loss say they are disappointing live. I don’t believe them. This is beautiful.  3:00 – 3:45 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Iniquity is Danish technical melodic death metal. It does not need any more adjectives. Love the shaky cam. 3:30 – 4:15 (Sonar Stage 2)

Weedeater wants you do know that they do not participate in gossip. That’s refreshing. Here’s a studio clip so you don’t have to think about it. There will be a guy from the band Whore filling in on the drums for MDF.  4:15 – 5:00 (Sonar Stage 1)

Vinterland does not have a lot of live videos that I can find, and I think they only ever made one record. So enjoy some lovely melodic, ambient black metal and this pretty picture. 5:00 – 5:40 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Massgrav sounds like how I remember punk rock sounding in the 70s and 80s. And that’s a good thing. Wish I could be in two places at once. 5:00 – 5:45 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Everyone I know is obsessed with Wino and The Obsessed.  Wino is one man who seems to be able to spread his musical seed far and wide.  5:45 – 6:45 (Sonar Stage 1)

Weekend Nachos cram a lot of aggression and musical drama into 90 seconds. Plus they taste great with beer. Delicious.  6:45 – 7:25 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Do you enjoy French black metal for the discerning palate? Aosoth is served with a side of corpse paint. 6:50 – 7:35 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Expect brutal old school death metal from Broken Hope. 6:45 – 7:35 (Sonar Stage 2)

Quirky, heavy, visual and lots and lots of drums. I love (the) Melvins. Do not miss. 7:35 – 8:35 (Sonar Stage 1)

Once Ihsahn played in a black metal band called Emperor. Now he plays in a band that headlines at the ProgPower USA Fest in Atlanta. He’s an icon and an excellent musician no matter what genre he plays.  8:40 – 9:45 (Sonar Stage 2)

The Canadian war black metal band Revenge rarely tours. You decide how you want to live your life.  8:40 – 9:30 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Something missing from your musical diet? You probably need some hardcore from Vitamin X. Watch out for that boot to the back of your skull.  8:50 – 9:40 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Down  is likely the most “mainstream” group to perform at this year’s MDF.  But maybe you like a little Southern infused stoner/sludge metal led by former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo. Ain’t nothin’ really wrong with that. 9:50 – 11:00 (Sonar Stage 1)

If some of the people in Antaeus look familiar it’s because you saw them earlier today in Aosoth. Which one will you like better? 11:00 – 12:00 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

I will probably get my punk fix for the night with Finland’s legendary Terveet Kadet. Tight.  11:20 – 12:00 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Saturday closes with powerviolence pioneers Infest. Here, hold my beer and watch this.  12:15 – 1:15 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Check out this Maryland Deathfest documentary teaser

“Maybe it’s time that Deathfest took over Baltimore….” Lars Gotrich.

I’ll drink to that!

Check out this teaser for the new Maryland Deathfest documentary.

Preview of Friday for 2013 Maryland Deathfest

Carcass has the best hair.

Friday at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest sees the beginning of outdoor stage shows at the Sonar Compound as well as the first night of punk, crust and hardcore shows at Baltimore Soundstage. The two venues are about a 5 minute walk from each other (or more like 7-8 minutes if you are me), so plan accordingly. The videos below are all live, unless I just could not find a decent live upload.  Entrances open at 3:00 p.m.

I went ahead and uploaded this live video of Baltmore’s Old Lines so you could see what they looked like. But the sound is not ideal as you cannot hear the vocals. Take the extra two minutes and google a studio song off their debut album because it is really great.   3:30 – 3:55 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Ambassador Gun. Fast, crusty grind.  3:50 – 4:15 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Heartless. Angry, fast, break your neck music.  4:10 – 4:40 (Baltimore Soundstage)

How to describe Ahumado Granujo? Weird, fun techno dance music blended with grindcore. Yup. Must be seen to be believed. 4:30 – 5:05 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Full of Hell put on an impressive display of agression at the A389 Fest back in January. I expect nothing less this time around.  5:00 – 5:30 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Convulse will give you  heavy, growly, old school death metal.  5:05 – 5:50 (Sonar Stage 2)

Ingrowing means deathened grindcore in Czech.  5:40 – 6:15 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Benediction passes out old school death metal with tea and biscuits.  6:15 – 7:05 (Sonar Stage 1)

Everyone tells me that Sete Star Sept from Japan are amazing. If I make it over to their set I will find out. Chaos. 6:40 – 7:00 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Pig Destroyer.  Grindcore you know and love. They have a hot dog (both a regular and a vegan version) named after them.  7:10 – 7:55 (Sonar Stage 2)

Evoken is slow. heavy funeral doom. Kill yourself.  7:10-7:55 (Stage 3)

Hellshock. Straight up crust punk from Portlandia before it was overrun by coffee drinking hipsters. No, that’s not true. There have always been hipsters in Portland. 7:15 – 8:00 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Repulsion provided the stem cells that spawned grindcore. Blazingly fast and aggressive.  8:00 – 8:45 (Sonar Stage 1)

Righteous Pigs. Crisp, clear vocals make it apparent this proto-grindcore death metal outfit has some issues.  8:50 – 9:40 (Sonar Stage 2)

Ringworm. Touted as Cleveland hardcore, whatever that is, this band is known for biting lyrics and catchy guitar riffs too. I dig ’em. 9:00 – 9:30 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Carcass is a grindcore band from the UK that grew up to be a melodic death metal band.  9:50 – 11:00  (Sonar Stage 1)

By the time Pelican comes on, you will be ready to listen to wordless post-metal. Engaging and fascinating soundscapes. 11:00 – 12:00 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

I love Rotten Sound of Finland. I am not the biggest grindcore fan but, jeebus, they are fun watch and listen to. 11:25 – 12:15 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Tragedy plays super catchy, head-banging crust punk. If you grew up on punk or like bands such as Social Distortion  and Hellbastard, you will appreciate their hard-edged take on the evolution of this genre.  A nice closer for Friday night. 12:30 – 1:30 (Baltimore Soundstage)

Preview of Thursday for 2013 Maryland Deathfest

Hey, Bolt Thrower. Don’t look so annoyed. You are headlining the first night of MDF.

Here’s an audio-visual preview of what to expect at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest Thursday night. I will try to post live videos for all the previews, unless I just can’t find one or the sound is horrible. Then you will get a studio recording. (Remember that Evoken has been moved to Friday.) Thanks to Carrie Patrick for compiling the set times and locations because I am a slacker this year.

First up, we have Noisem (formerly Necropsy), young death metallers out of Baltimore. Noisem – 4:40 – 5:05 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

What’s this hellspawn from the Philippines? It’s Deiphago. Looking forward to this mayhem. Deiphago – 5:20 – 6:15 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Pallbearer will slow things down considerably but will probably be as loud as the previous band. Hold on to your bowels for this one. Pallbearer – 6:30 – 7:20 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Japan brings us Abigail’s blackened thrash. Or is it thrashened black metal? Abigail – 7:35 – 8:25 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Cobalt has been described as black metal, extreme metal, avant garde metal. Whatever, you want to call this, I am excited to see them. Solid stuff here. Cobalt – 8:40 – 9:30 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

Closing the night is Bolt Thrower, the quintessential death metal band from England. Just awesome. Great way to open the fest. Bolt Thrower – 9:50 – 11:00 (Sonar Stage 3/Inside)

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