Monthly Archives: October 2014

Manilla Road invades The Circuit November 21

Wherever Manilla Road goes, it is Shark Week…Mark “The Shark” Shelton that is. On November 21, Metallomusikum and The Circuit, a new club in Essex, will host the heavy metal legends, along with A Sound of Thunder, Iron Man, Witch Hazel and Maximum Oversatan. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door and available on missiontix.com. The venue is 21+ (sorry young’uns).

If you call yourself a metal head, you should be familiar (or become familiar) with the work of Manilla Road, which stretches back to the late 70s in Wichita, Kansas. Those windswept plains yielded some of the most powerful riffs and soulful harmonies metal has ever heard. Not only does Manilla Road hail from Kansas, but Salina, Kansas is also hometown to Iron Man guitarist and founder Alfred Morris III. Must be something about the threat of tornadoes and a whole lotta nothing else that makes people want to pick up the guitar and play.

The Circuit is a newer venue on the east side of Baltimore city and a show this size is helping put them on the map. If you have never been there, the venue has about a 300 person capacity, a full bar (next to a liquor store so you basically can have anything they have), a bar food menu (burgers, chicken strips etc.) an outdoor patio/second stage, nice lighting and sound and plenty of free parking. It is located in the suburb of Essex, so it’s a residential area mostly. There are several hotels within 10 minutes.

Don’t miss this event of the season. Metallomusikum probably won’t be hosting a big show like this again, or at least not for a very long time. As a rule, I like to specialize in smaller, homegrown events with local and regional talent, but I could not pass up the chance to see Manilla Road again after their phenomenal performance at Maryland Deathfest in 2013.  Let’s do that again!

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Abysmal Dawn, or when I am more excited about an opening band than a headliner

Tomorrow night, Oct. 7, the infamous Deicide plays at Empire in Springfield, Virginia. The other bands in the lineup include Inquisition, Carach Angren, Septicflesh and Abysmal Dawn, along with some local death metal bands, such as Tortile. Of these, I am particularly excited to see Abysmal Dawn.

I first caught Abysmal Dawn in December 2011 when Sonar was still a club in Baltimore. They opened for German tech death band Obscura. I saw them again with Origin at The Ottobar. Technical death metal is something that I choose carefully, and Abysmal Dawn fits all my criteria. The lyrics are smart. The melodies are memorable. The rhythms are driving but also have something of a swing to them. And Abysmal Dawn’s stage performance is engaging, thanks, in part, to their front man and chief songwriter Charles Elliott, who challenges the audience with his expert guitar shreddery and intense gaze.  Abysmal Dawn has a new album coming out, “Obsolescence,” and Charles replied via email to a few quick questions about the new record and touring. Here’s the transcript.

Charles Elliott of Abysmal Dawn @Sonar Dec. 2011

Charles Elliott of Abysmal Dawn @Sonar Dec. 2011

Hi Charles, it’s been a long time since we have heard anything from you or Abysmal Dawn. I know you did a stellar job in your role on the North American Death to All tour. But musically, what else has been going on in your life since the release of “Leveling the Plane of Existence”?
Well, the making of our new album “Obsolescence” took up most of the time in my life for the past year and a half or so. Musically I haven’t been up to much else since BEREFT is on hold as well. BEREFT is my doom band with a couple of other well known musicians. We released an album in 2012 but since then we’ve been on hiatus.

The video for “In Service of Time” surfaced about a year ago. Why did that video take so long to complete?
It was self-financed but it was also done using a lot of favors. Aside from all the sets and actors you see all the green screen CGI shit took forever. We were just in over our heads. We plan on being a little more to the point this time.

How are you feeling about the upcoming tour with Deicide and others? I am particularly curious to see what Carach Angren sounds like live. What about you? Anything you are especially looking forward to with this unusual lineup?

I’m excited to hit the road again with some great bands. Nothing against Carach Angren, but I’m not really familiar with them. I’m sure we’ll have some great times together though. I’m just excited to be touring again and playing for people. That’s what I love most about being in a band and I’ve missed that.

I am excited to hear the new album. I see that former-Obscura guitarist Christian Muenzner has a guest spot on the new record, as does Bobby Koelble who performed on Death’s Symbolic. Who else is performing on the new album? And who will be going out on the road with you?
Those were the only two guests on the album. Other than that it’s just the band and they’ll be hitting the road with me as is customary for bands to do haha.

Tell me about the songwriting process this time. And where are you deriving the themes?
It’s a very personal record for me, but then again so were the last two. With each album though I feel it draws more from my life experiences. This one has maybe one song based lyrically in science fiction, the rest is social commentary and existentialism.

What challenges have you faced that have put so much time between this new album and the last?
Our drummer moved up north about 6 hours away, so that was a tough one to work around. I basically just bought a new computer, recording software and improved on my drum programming skills to make the best of things. That wasn’t fun but the songs might sound more thought out because of it. Of course, Scott added his flavor and made the songs better in the end. We sort of recorded when we had the free time and studios were free as well. With the budget we had, and how we write, it was the only was to make it happen. My mother passed away during the recording process as well and that wasn’t easy for me.

What’s next after the US tour?
Not sure yet but probably another US tour and possibly a run in Europe.

Do you have any other projects brewing?
Not really. As I said, Bereft is sort of on hold. Sacha from Intronaut is totally focused on their new album and touring and now I’m going to be promoting the new Abysmal Dawn record. Maybe we’ll do another album some day but not anytime soon.

Anything else you want people to know about you or Abysmal Dawn?
“Obsolescence” comes out on October 27. I hope your readers enjoy the album and pick up a copy. Support the music you love!

Check out a video of a track from the new Abysmal Dawn album.

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