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Podcasting from the Sidebar seemed like a good idea

The Metallomusikum podcasting team of Derek and Mary haven’t done a podcast together in a while, but since we were both headed to the same show at the Sidebar last night we decided to get there a little early and see if we could record one on the fly among the goings on. It turned out ok, and we have special guest appearances from Steve Harris (The Day of the Beast, Pestuary) and Bobbie Dickerson (Black Rose Metal Heart Prodcutions).

Steve Harris of Pestuary

Steve Harris of Pestuary

Topics for the show include a wrap up of Grimscape, upcoming shows and Maryland Deathfest. We also discovered that pizza by the slice from Supremo’s on “The Block” is cheap and edible if you are hungry enough and that it only takes two to make a mosh pit, apparently.

Listen to the podcast here.

Check out Metallomusikum’s next two promoted shows for the summer:

Blackfinger, Beelzefuzz, Kings Destroy, Iron Man and Mountainwolf on Saturday, August 2 at The Sidebar. $12. Doors 7 p.m. First band at 7:30 p.m.

The Day of the Beast, Myopic, Skyless, and Immaculate Deception on Friday, August 15 at The Sidebar. $8. Doors 8 p.m. First band at 9 p.m.

Check out a few shows of Cyaegha and Pestuary from the show last night:






Maryland Deathfest XII recap and photo gallery #1

It is taking me forever to go through some of my photos from Maryland Deathfest XII. But I wanted to get some of them out there, because I got some really good ones.

I also wanted to mention that this was, by far, my most fun MDF. I saw 37 bands! That’s amazing!! I thought the set up worked really well and made getting around  much more efficient for me. Even if I was not actually watching a band with my eyeballs, I could hear them clearly from anywhere on the Edison Lot grounds. The sightlines were good at the outdoor space if you stood further back. Or you could perch on one of the shaded picnic tables and still hear and see OK.

As far as the indoor venues went, both the sound at SoundStage and Rams Head was pretty good and the sightlines decent for a short person like me. I was very happy that the entire Rams Head was opened up on every level. Sitting in the bleachers at the tip-top of was kind of a cop out but if your feet were killing you from all the standing it was some welcome relief.

Walking between venues was not a problem. It took about 7-10 minutes for me to walk from Edison lot to Soundstage if I walked briskly and caught the lights. Mother Nature cooperated by keeping the rain away and not letting it get too hot.

Nice changes this year were shorter lines to get in, for vendors, and for bathrooms. The wait time between bands at Edison lot was negligible. I really appreciated being able to get my four-day pass at the Ottobar pre-fest (which was awesome).

There were a few things I wished they had been done differently. Here’s a starter list of suggestions. I might think of others later.

Water should have been free. I saw several people passing out from dehydration. $2-$3 for water, depending on who you were buying it from, was too much to keep yourself hydrated. Alternatively, people should have been allowed to bring in a couple of sealed water bottles.

Misting tents would have been nice if it had been a any hotter.

Sunscreen samples would have helped. I had plenty of sunscreen on, but I am sure a sunscreen company would be happy to pass out coupons and free samples. Let’s not get skin cancer.

I wish the entrance to Edison Lot had been at the south end and not the north, but it wasn’t a huge hassle to walk all the way to the other side to enter. Still, when trucking over to the other venues, minutes sometimes counted.

The Edison Lot layout was set up like a V. It would have been nicer if it had been more of a circle so that you didn’t have to walk back up out of the vendor spaces to get to the stages. But again, you could really hear pretty well anywhere in the lot.

I would like to see one very obvious and centralized place for bands to display their merch. Several had theirs at the MDF merch tent, but others were scattered throughout the vendor area at their relative labels. As far as I could tell, there was only one table for short-term merch display. Finding merch was like a scavenger hunt. Merch was better displayed at Rams Head and Soundstage.

Rams Head and Soundstage charge way too much for drinks and food. But this was easy to rectify,  just don’t buy anything from them.

That’s it for now….more later.

Check out some of my shots below.




Podcast: Maryland Deathfest recap #3 from Sunday

Here’s our final installation of our Maryland Deathfest podcasts. We made it and no one died! We determined that Derek won MDF with most bands seen (47); most merch purchased, out latest, at the rail or in the pit for most bands seen and most unshowered (honorary crust award). William came in second with most bands seen and most merch purchased. He also wins the straight edge award.

From left Mary, Will, Chris, Sam and Derek.

From left Mary, Will, Chris, Sam and Derek.

Sam V wins for worst and weirdest shaped sunburn and also for loudest snoring. He was also the funniest on the podcast! Go Sam. Woodford wins for best death metal growl and most ladies talked to. I win for best white vest and most selfies taken with crowd members and I also win for most people who came up and bowed down before me (I can’t explain this).

This was by far the most fun we have had at Deathfest. Staying in a hotel within closest walking distance of the venues was the best idea. I love my friends. I would not have wanted to try this with anyone else. Hail CampMDF.

Listen here.



Podcast: Maryland Deathfest recap #2 from Saturday

Saturday was the big death, thrash and grind day at Maryland Deathfest. What did we think of it? What crazy stuff happened to us? You will have to listen here to the podcast to find out. This time we spend more time talking about the fest and a little less time talking about poop or moms, but not much. Also, this time Christopher was awake for the entire time but William nearly fell asleep.

Rober Bustabad of Machetazo.

Rober Bustabad of Machetazo.

Podcast: Maryland Deathfest recap #1 from Friday

We stayed up till 3:30 a.m. making this podcast about the events of Maryland Deathfest XII from Wednesday to Friday. This needs no introduction. Just listen to it. We spent a lot of time on not editing this at all. Everything you hear is true.

Guests include: Mary Spiro, Derek Beam, Sam Vietmeier and William Harnish. Christorpher Woodford slept through this, somehow.

Click the link to listen.



Putrisect bringing old school metal back to Baltimore

Baltimore’s Putrisect brings together elements of old school death metal, hardcore and crust. They open the stage tonight, May 23, at Rams Head at Maryland Deathfest. I have only seen Putrisect on smaller stages, so it will be exciting to see them on the big Rams Head stage, I am sure they will blow everyone away!

putrisect2Combining the talents of members of several other bands, Putrisect will surprise listeners with a heaviness reminiscent of old Morbid Angel and the swift guitar riffage of classic Slayer. Their sound, however, is not a rehash of old sounds and has a freshness and energy all its own. I sent vocalist Ren Megna a few questions. Here are his replies.

Please list all the band members names/instruments.

Ren-vocals, Jackson-drums, Paul-guitar, Arturo-guitar and Matt-bass.

When and how did Putrisect get together (if you we all in other bands people would recognize, mention that)?

Putrisect was formed out of spare parts of Marrow (death metal) and Burning Axe (crust) in the summer of 2013.

I didn’t see any recordings at your merch table and I found only one song on BandCamp (I got a patch though!). What is your recording history? What are you plans to record?

We’ve recorded a four-song demo with Kevin Bernstein at Developing Nations studio. The label Cemetery Cricket is releasing a tape really soon, and a 7 inch is scheduled for after Deathfest. (Note: Chaos Awaits is now on BandCamp! Listen here.)

You are playing Maryland Deathfest on Friday night at Rams Head. That must be super crazy exciting! How did that come about and how do you feel about it?

We have all been going to or working Deathfest for years now and have always wanted to be in a band with big enough chops to make the cut. I put our early recordings in (MDF organizer) Evan Harting’s ear, and he threw us right onto it. We are all stoked on the opportunity and immensely grateful.

Where do you see yourself in five years (isn’t this the standard job interview question? Hahaha! Just say whatever you want!)

In five years, I hope to be recovering from our third European tour on the beach

If you were not playing music, how would you spend your free time?
Me personally, I would be drawing, drinking, eating, and fucking.

What motivates you? I mean, as a person, as a band? What is your inspiration?

Our motivation stems from an abject hatred for humanity. We are a misanthropic bunch of drunks and that sort of fuels the furnace of evil for us. I’m always wondering how we can make our songs sound like we hate people more. I want this to be a window into our disdain. I see the world as a sort of waking nightmare … I want other people to see that, too.

If you could drive any kind vehicle, what would it be and why?

I would drive and 1984 anniversary edition 300zx, because I love feeling like a bad guy in a 1980s B movie. The other guys … well, I think Arturo would drive an El Camino cause he’s a Mexican or some shit. Matt would drive a station wagon cause he’s a principal. Paul would drive some kind of pickup truck that didn’t work, and Jackson would drive his girlfriend’s car.

Anything else you want people to know about the band?
Our name is meaningless.

Putrisect will play the Adam Savage birthday show at Metro Gallery on June 7 with Pig Destroyer, Magrudergrind, Inter Arma and Cemetery Piss. Event link here.

Check out my gallery of Putrisect below.

Cemetery Piss: spreading that vulture love tonight at Sidebar

Cemetery Piss are a raw, blackened heavy metal outfit out of Baltimore. They play tonight at 11:30 p.m, May 22, in a free show at the Sidebar  as part of the Maryland Deathfest VII festivities. Here’s the event link.

The first time I saw Cemetery Piss, I went in not knowing what to expect, as their visual appearance is fairly unassuming. No spikes or corpse paint here, but maybe a bullet belt and a couple patch vests. If anything, I expected something a bit trippy. But the name — Cemetery Piss — hinted at something more extreme.

I know Adam Savage as an easy going promoter of shows in Baltimore and their drummer Derrick Hans of The Pilgrim, which is sort of a stoner-doom rock group. But the moment the band started to play and Adam let loose with some of the the rawest, sharpest and most gut-punching vocals I’d heard since Bathory’s Quorthon, I knew this was a band I needed to pay attention to.

Drummer Derrick and bassist Rebecca Chernoff lay down a black-thrash influenced rhythm section, and guitarist Dirck Ober blazes through some fuzzy toned pscyhedelic speed metal-esque riffs that are catchy as hell. Adam ties it all together with a highly physical performance.

I sent the band some questions since I was unfamiliar with their history and pre-history. These replies have been sitting in my “to-do” list for a little while (all apologies to CP), so a couple of the answers are dated, but the facts remain. Here’s what Dirck had to say.

When and how did Cemetery Piss get together (if you were all in other bands people would recognize, mention that)?

Cemetery Piss started out as a solo recording project. In around 2006 or 2007, after my band Crypt of Raix had folded, I was in a place where I’d resolved to make some music on my own. I had no set expectations or plans. I just set out to make the music I wanted, by myself, and see what happened. Before too long, I had four instrumentals recorded on a four-track. Adam Savage and I were already playing together in Vincent Black Shadow, so I enlisted him to lay down vocals. These four songs came together as the Rest in Piss demo, named after the title track, which framed what Cemetery Piss was about then. After we’d passed that thing around for a little while, we re-recorded it in a proper studio with Kevin Bernsten, and Timpaler (Tim Snodgrass) of Diabolic Force Distribution released the Rest in Piss EP on cassette. The tape gave us our first real audience, and by the time Adam and I were recording the Such the Vultures Love 7”, Rebecca Chernoff of Spoilage/Icefox had heard it and expressed interest in playing bass in a live incarnation of the band. Encouraged, we approached Derrick Hans of Oak/The Pilgrim/Deathammer about playing drums, and lucky for us he was into it.

Do you consider yourselves black metal or something else? Are there other bands you think you may sound similar to?

We’re not devout black metallers, but there’s a strong influence there. I’m trying to channel that point where thrash was breaking its own boundaries, pushing both aggression and atmosphere as the music evolved into death metal. Possessed’s Seven Churches, Morbid’s December Moon and Necrovore’s Divus de Mortuus were all in heavy rotation when I started writing for the band. Of course, Bathory’s Blood Fire Death, Mayhem through De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and Darkthrone are all influences, as well as bands like Von, Absu, Sarcofago, Blasphemy and Beherit. I also really like Funeral Mist, Ofermod and Malign. If I’m going to get to the root of what we do, though, I have to say that Riot, Saxon, Priest and Maiden are just as crucial to our sound. Our mission is to stand firmly rooted in the traditions of metal while trying to break our own boundaries to darken, brutalize, and dement the music.

What are some exciting shows you have coming up? Who would you like to tour with?

Our next show is April 16 with the legendary Satan, and we’re super excited about that. After that, we’re playing a Maryland Deathfest Sidebar show with Bastard Sapling from Richmond, with whom we also played Cemetery Piss’ first live show. (Note: Bastard Sapling moved to Friday night.) (Playing at MDF) is awesome because it gives us the chance to play for an audience from around the world who might never hear of or think to even check us out otherwise. On top of that, getting to actually play puts my annual Deathfest experience on a whole other level. We also have our singer’s birthday show coming up on June 7 with Pig Destroyer, Inter Arma from Richmond and Putrisect. As far as bands we’d like to tour with, I guess I already gave you my dream list in my last answer. It’s so hard to choose. I don’t know how this would ever be possible, but there’s this death metal band from Brazil called Divine Death that I would love to join forces with. They’ve been around since the early 90’s and they’re so sick and yet somehow relatively unknown outside of Brazil. Really, I’d like to tour with any band that carries the spirit of the music we love, especially if they’re a few steps ahead of us and can help us move forward in our own path.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I see Cemetery Piss reaching a much larger audience. I want our records to take us traveling the world. Order of the Vulture worldwide takeover!

If you were not playing music, how would you spend your free time?

That’s a tough question. Everything I do revolves around music. I think that’s true of everyone in the band. Derrick is in several bands. Adam’s work revolves around music, too. Maybe Rebecca might spend more time on her motorcycle. I might spend more time reading, hand-binding books or traveling. We might all party a little bit more.

What motivates you? I mean as a person, as a band? What is your inspiration?

When I was a kid, my cousin Bryant played me Kill ‘Em All and then let me play his electric guitar. It was pretty much over for me then. Now I’m inspired by a need to keep my spirit free. A little chaos can loosen the grip of the regulating rank and file. Embracing mortality and shedding the idea that life should follow some peaceful order and fit some happy image means shedding the bonds of a lot of mundane worldly bullshit, too. That’s what inspires me and I pull from the furthest reaches of my imagination to express that with due conviction in our music.

If you could live anywhere in the world, at any time, where and when would it be and why?

I think the obvious choice would have to be the Bay area during the golden age of thrash. My other choice would be Belo Horizonte, the metal capital of Brazil, in the late 80’s/early 90’s so I could rage with the likes of Sarcofago, Sepultura, Mutilator, Holocausto and so many other awesome bands.

Anything else you want people to know about the band?

Right now we’re working on our first full-length album as a full band. We’ve already recorded four songs with Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations Studio, and we’ll be back soon to finish. Beware the Order of the Vulture!

Check out some photos from Cemetery Piss’s March 20 performance with Obliteration at Metro Gallery.

Listen to Cemetery Piss on Bandcamp.

Sixty Watt Shaman schools listeners in guitar tone

This time on the Metallomusikum podcast, we chatted with members of the group Sixty Watt Shaman just prior to their performance at the second Moving the Earth Fest II held in Baltimore. Sixty Watt Shaman plays a unique blend of bluesy, metal-y, hardcore-infused Maryland rock. They been around a while, since the mid-1990s in fact, but have been on a break while members worked on other projects.

2014-03-23-00.35.56-1-web-SWSCurrent members of Sixty Watt Shaman include Daniel Soren on guitar and vocals, Todd Ingram on lead guitar, Jim Forrester on bass, and Chuck Dukehart on drums. The band present a distinctive sound –the Sixty Watt sound– that has set them apart form other bands in their complex genre. Soren says it call comes down to the development of a guitar that they have honed and refined over the years together and from their collective experiences in other groups.

Sixty Watt Shaman have the gears in motion to write and release new material, as well as to dig into their archives and release never-before heard music. They also recently returned from gigs at DesertFest with one date in London and another in Berlin.

Check out the podcast here.  Quality was a little weird this time. Not sure why.

Here are a few photos from their show at Moving the Earth Fest II, which was organized by Chuck Dukehart and hosted by The Windup Space.

Chatting with the owner of The Sidebar

Sidebar owner Travis Hunt. Photo by Gary Fry.

Sidebar owner Travis Hunt. Photo by Gary Fry.

Baltimore has a few good music venues that I frequent. One of the smaller ones, The Sidebar Tavern at 218 E. Lexington St.,  also books some of the most underground touring and regional acts I have ever seen. The people who book shows there consistently bring music in a variety of genres nearly every night of the  week.

The first time I ever stepped foot in The Sidebar was probably in 2004 or 2005. The capacity maxes out at about 100, but when there are more than 60 people in there, it really starts to feel full. The Sidebar shows feel intimate and intense. The stage is low and so is the ceiling. There’s nothing like standing just a couple feet away from the band if you can squeeze your way to the front.

During the 2013 A389 Anniversary shows, The Sidebar hosted memorable hardcore matinee shows that had me sitting ON TOP OF the bar to avoid being moshed upon. During the Maryland Deathfest, The Sidebar puts on sold-out before and after parties that extend the fun with some of the bands from the MDF lineup and others that didn’t make the cut.

Ownership of The Sidebar changed hands recently, and the new proprietor, Travis Hunt, has become a good friend of mine.  In this latest podcast, I talk to him about the history of the venue, which sits just across the street from the center of Baltimore’s City Hall and Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. courthouse.  We discuss the role the tavern has played in the Baltimore music scene and also highlight some of the cool events coming up in the near future.

Have a listen!

Metallomusikum Podcast Number 5

Podcast 4: Autumn Screams Doom

Doom, stoner metal and sludge seem to be what the kids wanna hear these days. So this time on the podcast, we talked to Hasan and Dan about the fall fest Autumn Screams Doom, October 25 and 26 at The Ottobar. Specific details of the fest can be found on the Facebook event page here. There is even a matinee Saturday upstairs at the Ottobar, featuring a screening of the movie “Last Days Here,” which is a documentary about Bobby Liebling, vocalist for Pentagram. Details about the day event can be found here.

I have seen only seen four of the bands slated to play, so much of this music will be new to me.

Philadelphia’s Wizard Eye puts on an unforgettable performance. I’ve seen them only one other time. Who doesn’t love a band that features the theremin? They open up the show on Friday, so don’t be late.

Loss at Stella Natura. Photo by Mary Spiro.

Loss at Stella Natura. Photo by Mary Spiro.

One of the most interesting bands playing is Saturday night’s headliner, Loss. This band fascinates me because, although their lyrical themes are very dark and despondent, they also seem to project a sense of hope in their music. In general, I am not a fan of depressing music, but Loss is different. Can’t wait to see them again. It will be the third time for me this year. Read a previous interview I did with vocalist Mike Meacham prior to their show at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest.

Listen to our podcast here and then check out a few videos from some of the bands that will play. We welcome your feedback on the podcasts. We drink a lot along the way and sometimes things get a little weird. Well, mostly I just get weird.

Autumn Screams Doom promises blues inspired, doomy heaviness with a good dose of “hey brothers” and high fives all around. Simply put, it will be two days of freaky, crushing madness. Tickets are $15 for each night (so $30 for the weekend) and the Saturday Matinee is $8. Tickets can be purchased at the ASD website.

Metallomusikum Podcast 4 by Metallomusikum.Com on Mixcloud

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