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Tonight prog-rock invades House of Rock

Most of the bands I have seen booked at White Marsh’s House of Rock have been in the traditional or hair, glam or sleaze metal category. So it was nice to see something I actually wanted to go to slated for  tonight, May 2.  Here’s the line up:

922994_582145685139340_236136976_nI listen to a ton of death and black metal. Like a lot of it. But I have a soft spot for the prog rock, especially when masterfully done.  Somewhere in between Taake and Marduk, I will slip in a little Opeth or Rush just to make sure I still know what a traditional melody sounds like. So I look forward to taking a break from my grim and frostbitten realm to check out these groups, and hopefully I will come back with some great photos and maybe an interview or two. This will be my first time at House of Rock. You should come too! Doors at 7. $25.

Pain of Salvation captured my attention a couple of years ago with their thoughtful cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.  Their original work is outstanding. If you miss them, you are fucking up. Seriously.

I have been following Baltimore’s Fallen Martyr for about a year, and I am anxious to see what new material they have to present. Guitarist Gabriel Luis has always impressed me.

Kingcrow is new to me, but the material that I have heard so far has blown me away.  They combine heavy prog riffs with an 80s sensibility. I need to become more familiar with their music, but the Italian accents are cute!

Imminent Sonic Destruction is out on their first major US tour.  Fans of Dream Theatre should check them out. Lead vocalist Tony Piccoli has some pipes!


Marduk brings black metal juggernaut to Empire

Marduk and friends played Empire in Springfield, Virginia on February 20. Here are my general impressions of this crushing juggernaut of sound that is probably coming to a town near you.

First off, it was grim and frostbitten outside and waiting in line for even two minutes was excruciating. I got in line at about 5:45 and doors did not open until after 6 p.m. Strangely, the first band had already started playing to a practically empty room. Empire, why do you do this stupid shit?

The first group Helgardh are from Bluefield, West Virginia. They performed in full corpse paint and presented very traditional old school style black metal. They sounded solid, especially the vocals, and I would have been happy to have seen their entire set. I didn’t notice any merchandise or demos at the merch table. But since they are regional, it’s likely I will get another chance to see them.

Next up was Deathwolf from Sweden, founded by Marduk’s Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson  who plays bass for this group. Musically the group was entertaining but I found the songs uninspired. I felt like I was watching a really competent biker bar band that might appear on an episode of Sons of Anarchy. The vocals were really strong though. Unfortunately, I was just not into the genre they were playing. They did seem to have a small following in the audience.

The Foreshadowing, a gothic metal group from Italy took the stage next, after what seemed like an unnecessarily long sound check. Again, the musicianship was excellent, but if I want to listen to the black metal version of Depeche Mode I will just listen to…um, no…I will just listen to Depeche Mode.  This band’s work has been nominated for all kinds of awards, so apparently people like them, but I find it incredibly hard to comment on a band that did not excite me. If I met them, I would say, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Inquisition from Colombia/Seattle was the main reason I drove 70 + miles in rush hour traffic to this show on a weekday night, and I was very excited to see them perform. They did not disappoint. There is something hypnotic about the way the drums, Dagon’s guitar and his reptilian-affected vocals come together, and I think the rest of the audience could feel it. I had watched several YouTube videos of live Inquisition shows and none that remember can capture the real deal. They sounded great, they looked great and they got everyone revved up! They played one of my favorite songs, Cosmic Invocation Rites. Evening complete.

Portugal’s Moonspell like to sing about werewolves, apparently.  At one point, I think the singer howled. I don’t know, whatever they were singing about, I thought they were really good. They also fall roughly into the category of gothic metal, but they exude so much aggression and power that it feels more like melodic black metal to me. The band interacted well with the audience, who seemed to love them. I would go see them again.

Marduk arrived on stage about 30 minutes later than the set times indicated, which made me realize that I was not going to be able to stay for their entire set.  (Some people have to work in the morning.)  The last (and first) time I saw Marduk was at the former Sonar in Baltimore. During that show, which was held on a Saturday night, the entire room was packed and quickly turned into a mosh pit. This show seemed to lack that level of vigor. Should we expect black metallaers to throw down on any night of the week? Heck it was only 11 p.m.  There was some moshing, but for the most part the audience was pretty inert. I think, although I obviously can’t get inside his head, that vocalist Daniel “Mortuus” Rostén was really frustrated by the lethargy. At one point I felt like he was chastising the audience for not being more metal or something.  At any rate, the sound for Marduk was horrible compared to how it had been for the other bands. From where I was standing I could  hear the bass and drums pretty well but the vocals were overwhelming. I could not hear Morgan at all, which was why I love Marduk.  So I moved to his side of the room. Better, but still pretty bad. So sad, I was. I can always listen to them on CD.

This was the very first day of Marduk’s second North American trip in support of their latest recording Serpent Sermon. I know the first few shows of a long tour are kind of like dress rehearsals, a chance to work out all the kinks and get things right for “more important” shows like Saturday night’s appearance in New York.  Still I thought all the bands brought their A-game to  Empire. I was annoyed that the sound didn’t work out for Marduk and was only just a little bored by a couple of the bands I wasn’t into. But at least I finally got to see Inquisition, who blew my mind, and I enjoyed Moonspell, who played the Barge to Hell cruise last December.

The rest of the dates for Marduk’s tour are listed below. After that, they take a little break and start their summer shows in Europe.

February 21 Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
February 22 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
February 23 New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
February 24 Montreal, QC @ Club Soda
February 25 Toronto, ON @ Wreck Room
February 26 Millvale, PA @ Mr. Small’s Theatre
February 27 Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
February 28 Saint Paul, MN @ Station 4
March 1 Winnipeg, MB @ Osborne Village Inn
March 2 Regina, SK @ The Exchange
March 3 Edmonton, AB @ Pawn Shop
March 4 Calgary, AB @ TBC
March 5 Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
March 6 Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
March 7 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
March 8 Oakland, CA @ Oakland Opera House
March 9 Los Angeles, CA @ The Vex
March 10 Tempe, AZ @ 910 Live
March 11 Albuquerque, NM @ TBC
March 12 Dallas, TX @ Tomcats West
March 13 San Antonio, TX @ Korova
March 15 Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
March 16 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade

20 Best Concerts of 2012

Radical Discharge – Photo M. Spiro

Going back through my Google Calendar and my events list on Facebook caused so many concert memories to come rushing back from 2012. It looks as though I attended well over 60 music-related events this year—from large multi-day festivals to little bar shows. I even left the country for one show, something I have never done before. For another one, I took off from work in the middle of the week. Random.

Defining what qualifies as the “best” shows was difficult. Sometimes best meant that the show itself was great. Sometimes best meant that the venue or company I kept at the show was great. There were a few shows that were actually kind of bad for one reason but good for another. I tried to only list the ones that were both great musical events and also good times. I left out some very good ones, though.

Primitive Weapons – Photo by M. Spiro

Venue-wise I saw my first shows at Golden West and Rams Head OnStage and one of the last shows at Sonar before it imploded in upon itself. I spent the majority of my concert cash at shows at The Ottobar and Sonar. Hopefully the season pass I purchased to The Ottobar will be worth it. I also pray something decent is resurrected on the site of the old Sonar location. The Sidebar has added new lighting and I believe is in the process of upgrading their sound system, which together makes shows there more pleasurable. Some venues I did not visit at all this year. I did not see any shows at The Recher, Charm City Art Space, The Rock and Roll Hotel, The Howard Theatre or the 9:30 Club. Usually I go to the 9:30 Club a few times a year, but I was surprised to realize that I didn’t see a single show there in 2012! I hope to check out some new venues in 2013.

Here we go:

1. January 15 – Graveyard, Radio Moscow and Daniel Davies at Golden West, Baltimore. First show that I had seen at this restaurant that turns into a venue after 10 p.m. While the opener was nothing special, Radio Moscow and Graveyard were stellar. Also made some great new friends from the band Witch Hazel. Read previous write up here.

2. March 28 – Alcest, Deafheaven and Arbouretum at Golden West, Baltimore. Another great show at Golden West. Seeing Alcest was like witnessing some kind of black metal fairy tale unfold. More details on this show here.

Martyrdöd – Photo by M. Spiro

3. May 5 – Behemoth, Watain, The Devil’s Blood, In Solitude and Evoken at Rams Head Live, Baltimore. Every single one of these bands is amazing. Plus, I had a photo pass so was able to get up close for each band. Happy birthday to me.

Nergal (Behemoth) – Photo by M. Spiro

4. May 12 – All That Is Heavy 2 Fest at Mavericks Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with Blood Ceremony, Iron Man, Blizaro, Monobrow, Loviatar and Revelation. Since my husband is the drummer in Iron Man, it was kind of required that I tag along for this one. Hosted by Jennifer and Derek Bradshaw of the show Crossing Boredom on Ottawa’s radio station CKCU, this fest featured some of the best in Canadian and American doom. I fell in love with Blood Ceremony and Loviatar especially and I got to see some friends who live in the area who actually came out to the show! All around wonderful, it was a great time.

Young And In The Way – Photo by M. Spiro

5. May 22 – Meshuggah, Baroness and Decapitated at The Fillmore, Silver Spring. Meshuggah is always a life-changing experience. Pre-bus accident Baroness and Decapitated made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

6. May 24 to 27 – Maryland Deathfest X at Sonar, Baltimore. Highlights from this endurance festival of heavy metal included Agalloch, Absu, Negura Bunget, Hellbastard, the Devil’s Blood, Dragged Into Sunlight, Tsjuder, YOB, Demonical, Godflesh, Church of Misery and Ulcerate. What made this fest even more interesting was the fact that Hellbastard stayed with me for five days. FIVE DAYS! Friends for life.

7. June 2 – Marduk, 1349, Withered, Weapon and others at Sonar. There were a bunch of bands playing but I was most happy to see the ones I’ve listed here. Withered was a wonderful discovery, and I have never seen an entire room turn into mosh pit. Nowhere to run! Someone stomped on my foot and an attractive young man bought me a beer. Win!

The Temper Trap – Photo by M. Spiro

8. June 5 – The Temper Trap at Terminal 5 in New York City. This show was more for my daughter who loves this band but overall it remains one of my favorite concert memories of 2012. The Temper Trap are an intelligent pop band with great skills and a lot of energy. Opening bands were kind of funny and unmemorable but The Temper Trap erased all thoughts of them. Terminal 5 is a cool, spacious venue and you can see from everywhere, although we were right in the front. We had no problem walking back to our super cheap hotel on Times Square at 1 a.m. (about 1.3 miles) stopping halfway to eat a late meal at a diner. NYC is a pain in the ass to get to (we took the Megabus), but once you are there, it would be very VERY easy to never, ever leave.

9. July 4 – Black Breath, Martyrdöd, Enabler, Heaviness of the Load and others at Sonar. This show constituted my bachelorette party. (I got married July 7). I am aware that this is a very nontraditional event for a bachelorette party, but it was exactly what I wanted to do. I only had had two other official party members with me, but hearing the four bands I have listed above made for a perfect night. Someone even bought me a beer. Imagine that.

Dick Dale – Photo by M. Spiro

10. July 26 – Dick Dale at Rams Head on Stage, Annapolis, MD. Aside from the MDF four-day pass, this show was my most expensive. Why? I don’t know, because it was surf guitar legend Dick Dale and he might die soon? Maybe. He’s a wonderful performer, a bit of an egomaniac and definitely cranky when it gets past his bedtime, but I am glad I made the trip midweek to see him. I went alone (as I so often do) and sat at a table with strangers. Rams Head On Stage is an odd venue like that; they expect you to buy dinner, which I did. But I won’t regret seeing the man who perfected the tremolo guitar picking sound purloined by so many black metallers.

11. August 5 – Pilgrim, Primitive Weapons, Mares of Thrace at Ottobar (upstairs). Seeing bands upstairs at The Ottobar is a little weird. There is no stage and the bands are essentially in front of your face. But that just made the intensity of these three groups all the more visceral. Good times.

12. August 11–Ringworm, The Infamous … Gehenna, Young And In the Way, Oathbreaker ILSA and Eddie Brock at The Ottobar. No year is complete without a significant hardcore show. I had only previously seen YAITW (in Raleigh NC at the DIVE bar in January), but I had listened to them all. Hardcore is so much better live and on recording.

Tyr – Photo by M. Spiro

13. September 21 – Korpiklaani, Tyr, Moonsorrow, Metsatöll and others at Empire. I hate traveling to Northern Virginia for a show but gladly did so for this line up. I even took off from work. Just an amazing collection of Viking folk metal and superior musicianship. Good friends in tow were icing on the cake.

14. Sept 22 – Iron Man, Wrath of Typhon, Witch Hazel and Jason Barker at Wilcoms Inn, Ijamsville, MD. Wilcoms Inn is like a roadhouse. It’s a little honkytonk. But the chemistry between these bands performing live together is undeniable. Pure energy and heavy metal love fest.

15. October 19 – Pig Destroyer, Ilsa, Necropsy, Royal Thunder and Wargames at The Ottobar. Royal Thunder was an odd addition to this show, but I fell in love with them. Ilsa sounded better than I’d ever heard them before and Pig Destroyer’s performance featured lots of interesting guest appearances. My heart was warmed.

16. October 20 – Sus Domesticus, Sloth Herder and Horde of the Eclipse at Fat Cat Tattoo, Chambersburg, PA. Would you care for some black metal in the cold, unheated basement of a tattoo studio in south central Pennsylvania? Yes, please.

Sus Domesticus – Photo M.Spiro

17. November 6 – Deicide, Strong Intention, Extermination Angel, Existentium (Alhazred), Visceral Violation, March to Victory, and True Unholy Death at The Ottobar. I could think of no better way to spend my night of avoiding election results. And I developed a wee crush on Steve Asheim. Drummers: why do I love them so much?

18. November 14 – Torche, Radical Discharge, Iron Man, and Passage Between at The Ottobar, Baltimore. People warned me that Torche put on a great live show. It was so great, in fact, that I had the wind knocked out of me as I was thrown to the ground in the mosh pit. But it’s all good, all very, very good.

Steve Asheim (Deicide) – Photo by M. Spiro

19. November 20 – Atriarch, Wolfnuke, Night Sins and Ophidian at The Sidebar, Baltimore. I am not sure what Night Sins was doing but the other three groups on this bill were speaking my language. I loved Wolfnuke already, was just getting into Atriarch and am looking forward to hearing more from Ophidian in the future.

20. December 15 – Satan’s Unholy Abomination Fest at El Oasis, Baltimore. This was a great way to end 2012. See my full review of this show here.

Black Witchery and me. Happy New Year. Photo by some friendly guy who was standing there! 

Start a mosh pit in your living room with StageIt

The other day, a friend on Facebook used the term “couch gravity” to describe the reason why he didn’t attend as many live musical performances as he’d like.  But what if you could attend a live performance and support the musicians you love from your couch? You could even start a mosh pit in your living room.

Washington, DC area pianist Al Baes knows the challenges of the gigging musician.  He has been playing classical music since he was five, studied jazz at the University of Maryland College Park,  has played around the DC area for more than two decades and is the keyboardist for the R&B jazz group Soul-Rhythm.

“One of my most memorable performance on stage that I had the pleasure to jam with was the group, Heatwave. This was back in 1997 in Virginia. We did their popular tune “Always and Forever.” They had happened to drop by a nightclub where I was performing with my band,” Baes recalls.

This holiday season, Baes is trying something new.

On Sunday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. Baes will play on a virtual performance platform called StageIt. With StageIt, performers set a date and time for their show and sell tickets to a one-time-only event. All a fan needs to do is buy a ticket and log on at the appointed time. Performances are not archived; they happen once, just like a show you would travel to attend. StageIt also allows concert viewers to tip the performers during the show, using a credit card or PayPal account. Any type of musical genre is welcome.

“I only discovered StageIt a couple of weeks ago and thought of just trying it out,” said Baes. “Actually this first performance is just an experiment. I am just trying to see how it goes.”

Baes says his show “A Paradise Experience” will be short– just 30 minutes —  and “will consist of some of my own original material which I use in piano lounge settings. I am also bringing some cover tunes as well.”

In the spirit of the holidays, Baes has decided to donate any proceeds from Saturday night’s performance.

“Since the StageIt broadcast service requires payment from viewers, and since my objective is not to make money from this, I decided to forward the funds to a charitable entity, DC Central Kitchen. Viewers can pay what they can using a credit card or debit card.”

What does he think about a virtual concert venue?

“I think this online broadcast service is a great idea especially since it’s really hard for musicians to find venues to perform their music, and also (it gives you) the opportunity to gain exposure and to promote (your) material.”

Some of Baes’ favorite musicians include Al Jarreau, Joe Sample, Bobby Caldwell, Anita Baker, Quincy Jones, and Grover Washington Jr. They are likely to influence his performance on Sunday.

To attend “A Paradise Experience” on Sunday night, follow this link.

To view Baes’ profile in StageIt go to this link.

The Facebook event page for this show is at this link.

Doomantia founder must be spared from actual doom

There’s a saying that most of us are just one paycheck away from being homeless. In the case of Ed Barnard, mastermind behind the doom, sludge, psychedelic, stoner, sludge metal website Doomantia, it was a $10,000 medical bill.

At last report on his webiste, Ed was indeed homeless in the state of Washington, splitting time between a tent and an occasional motel room.  Somehow he continues to post record reviews and so forth on the site, aided by his companion in doom, Sally Bethall.

The doom community is a tight knight bunch and several members have stepped forth to spearhead an effort to raise money on Ed’s and the website’s behalf.  Nine bands will gather at a small club called Lallo’s in Knoxville, Maryland to perform a benefit show. The line up includes Against Nature, War Injun, Fire Faithful, Ghutt, When the Deadbolt Breaks, Lord Fowl, Foghound, Ninety Ones and Akris. The show starts at 2 p.m. and costs $20. (Note: Ghutt is unable to appear at this show.)

Lallo’s, located at 853 Jefferson Pike, Knoxville, MD 21758, bills itself as a pizza joint, but really it is a Mexican restaurant and the food is pretty good. It is located kind of near nothing at all, but once you get there, there will be no reason to really leave because these bands are all stellar. I can personally vouch for Against Nature, War Injun, When the Deadbolt Breaks and Akris since I have seen all of them live. Your doom aesthetic will be rocked at this show.

A digital compilation is also in the works and should be available for order by the end of October. The benefit compilation is slated to include the works of 35 bands who contributed their time and effort. They include Bongripper, Order of the Owl, Demonaut, Halmos, Switchblade Jesus, OceansRainbow, War Iron, Fister, Iron Man, Screaming Mad Dee and Alex Vanderzeeuw, Wizard’s Beard, Gorgantherron, Bastard of the Skies, Wolfpussy, Sludgethrone, Undersmile, Beelzefuzz, Vulture, The Departure, Spyderbone, Blackwolfgoat, Low Gravity
Križ, At Devil Dirt, In the Company of Serpents, Hollow Leg, War Injun, Dope Flood, Compel, Heathen Bastard, and Chowder.

I have heard of many of these bands, but several are new to me. I am admittedly less schooled in this subgenre of metal than some others. Either way, both the concert and the compilation are great ways to pay back someone who has donated a great deal of personal time and energy to support the music and bands he loves. Hard times can befall any one of us at any time, so it is nice to know that people care about someone they have never met but who has impacted their lives.

Plus, according to JB Matson, drummer for Hagerstown, Maryland band War Injun, doom metallers have good reason to support Ed Barnard and Doomantia. “The average doom fan checks the Doommantia website for reviews BEFORE buying unfamiliar music,” Matson said. As for Ed, Matson added, “Without him forming one of the most powerful media voices for the genre of doom and screaming doom from the mountain tops, the genre wouldn’t have nearly the amount of exposure it has gained.”

So get out to Lallo’s on Oct. 13 for a day of doom then follow that up by getting ahold of the $7 Doomantia compilation download available soon through the Doomantia website. Pay the doom forward.

Behemoth to unleash fury on Rams Head Live


Few extreme metal bands are surrounded by as much controversy as Behemoth, who play Rams Head Live in Baltimore on Saturday, May 5. Together with their tour mates Watain, The Devil’s Blood and In Solitude, concert goers should expect an evening of fire, brimstone and rock and roll.

In their home country of Poland, Behemoth has gained a reputation of pissing off religious groups. In 2010, Behemoth lead singer Nergal (Adam Darski) faced a possible prison sentence for a 2007 concert incident in which he ripped pages from the bible and accused the Roman Catholic Church of being a murderous cult. The act of offending the RCC is a crime in that country. Although the courts later cleared Darski of any wrong doing, saying his act was a work of artist expression, controversy remained. Later, pressure from the Polish Catholic church caused a television network to dismiss Nergal as one of the judges on that country’s version of the talent show The Voice.

The Devil’s Blood
Even on this current Decibel magazine sponsored tour Behemoth and crew have met with trouble. The owners of the venue, The Brewmaster’s Gate, where they were to play on April 11 in Columbus, Ohio decided to cancel the booking due to religious conflicts. The show was quickly moved to a notorious venue, Al Rosa, the club where Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott was shot and killed by an audience member in 2004.

Nergal’s reaction to the banning was somewhat comical:”… WOW! We are facing a legendary moment: Amerika, the land of the free, is banning Behemoth coz of religious beliefs. The madness starts in Ohio, but of korz we are playing anyway. Nothing can stop us now. God, please save me from this freedom.”

Behemoth was not the only group on this tour to face difficulties. Watain’s visas were delayed, and they were not in the US in time to perform for the first five shows of the tour. Some of those cities are being rescheduled, so if you are follower of the Watain “ritual,” then you should be checking their Facebook pages for updates about when those will occur.  The Devil’s Blood reported on their Facebook page that after their show in San Antonio, their driver ran off with some of their money. And In Solitude has reportedly had some travelling woes as well.

No matter, come this Saturday all should come together for one “hell” of a show. And that is hell in the literal since, as the groups on this lineup all espouse, to one degree or another, anti-religous or satanic view points. What does that have to do with the music? Nothing, in my opinion, but not everyone would agree.

This tour is actually quite diverse. Behemoth plays crushing death metal with Nergal’s aggressive vocals and pounding memorable riffs. Watain’s music is a bit more guitar driven with complex melodies that rely heavily on the flatted fifth, aka The Devil’s Interval. The Devil’s Blood sound something like a cross between the Jefferson Airplane and Coven, that is, strong psychedelic tunes with a bold female vocal. In Solitude is a straight up rock and roll band with a heavy nod to Blue Oyster Cult , Black Sabbath and even Kiss.

Attendees should be advised that Watain (when permitted) use rotting animal carcasses and blood in their performance. The smell can be overwhelming, though, like any smell you continue to inhale, you stop smelling it after a bit. The Devil’s Blood also uses blood in there performance. Candles will light the stage for much of this show. Overall, the evening should be one of intense aural, visual and olfactory stimulation.

Tickets are $20 in advance online or $25 the day of the show at the Rams Head Live box office.
Or you can enter to win two free passes here.

Days of the Doomed II to crush heartland this June


This news just in on Days of the Doomed 2 from Mercyful Mike Smith:

“Just so everyone is getting the info, here it is again! Update: DAYS OF THE DOOMED FEST II will be moving to the Milwuakee area this June, and is now scheduled to take place at The Blue Pig on June 15th and 16th!!! Please make a note of this. More details soon! I am forced to do this due to the fact that the new owners of the building that houses DOTD Fest are Jedi-Masters at blowing smoke up people’s asses. After constantly offering to pay for the hall since last NOVEMBER, the new owners (who own L&M Meats in Kenosha by the way) let me know that the hall will not be available just this past Thursday. They don’t even have occupancy, and now plan on remodeling. Uh, they didn’t know this back in November??? For those of you who have already booked rooms, purchased tickets, or scheduled flights, please feel free to contact me and I can help you out any way I can. The show will go on…”

I’d never thought of Kenosha, Wisconsin as a hub for doom and heavy metal music. When I think of Wisconsin I think of cheese and the cows that give the milk to make it. And when I think of Kenosha I think of my sister-in-law Kathy who grew up there. She’s pretty musical, so maybe she’s been hiding something from me.

However, it was through my associations with various Mid Atlantic doom bands that I learned about a fairly young metal festival called Days of the Doomed and “met” organizer Mercyful Mike Smith on Facebook.

This year’s Days of the Doomed (DODT II!) will be held June 22 and 23 at a place they are calling The Hall of Lore on 4902 7th Ave. in Kenosha.  Twenty doom metal bands are slated to play this two-day extravaganza, including some of my regional favorites War Injun, Beelzefuzz and Argus, as well as other favorite acts such as Earthen Grave, Blackfinger, Revelation, Solace, Earthride and many others. Tickets are only $50 for the weekend.  If I left from Baltimore on a Friday night and stopped over in Cleveland, Ohio and then continued on the next day, it would be totally possible to make it to Kenosha before the first band took the stage at 3 p.m.

I wanted to find out more about DOTD so I asked Mercyful Mike to grant me an interview. He showed “mercy” and did. Here is the result of that Q &A.
How did the festival get started? What’s the story behind that?

I had attended several shows and fests over the years, most notably Templars of Doom and Born to be Doomed, and I had always flirted with the idea of doing a fest of my own. After much discussion with the likes of Jason McCash (TGos) and John Brenner (Revelation), I decided to proceed! I got lots of encouragement from Ron Holzner, Tony Spillman, and Michael Lindenauer along the way as well. The rest is history.

What is your vision for the festival? What do you hope happens?

My vision is to have our own version of Roadburn  stateside. I’d really like to see Days Of The Doomed Fest grow considerably each year to the point where it sustains itself. This will take a lot of time and patience, and there are no guarantees. I am optimistic though!

How do you select who plays? Who would be your dream groups to come play?

Well, several bands contact me in regards to playing, so I consider who would work out the best and represent the scene, but I also tend to pick out whomever I would like to see as well. One of the selfish perks of being the promoter! Haha! Dream groups? Pagan Altar, Lord Vicar, Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, the list goes on…

Why Kenosha? 

Well, Kenosha is basically in the middle of Chicago and Milwaukee, so it geographically lends itself to two very good markets. Also, because Kenosha is my hometown, I like to give back to the community. Several local business located close to the Days Of The Doomed Fest venue did outstanding sales last year. I like to hear that.

What are the challenges of putting on a festival like this?

Wow… lots. Am I promoting enough? Are we advertising in the right places? Could I have cut costs here? Challenges are everywhere you look, but this being our second fest, I’ve learned from some mistakes I made last year. Slightly less stress this year. Slightly.

Who are you especially excited to have at DOTD II ?

I’m really, honestly excited about every single band on the roster this year. Seeing Revelation is going to be killer, as is While Heaven Wept and Blood Farmers. Having Ogre back on stage is going to be awesome as well. I can’t really name just one.

One of the cool things I noticed about DOTD is that you actually can participate in the festival without coming to the show through your Raffle of Doom.  (The raffle ends March 31 so buy your raffle tickets now!) What a great idea! Where did the raffle prizes come from?
All the prizes involved came from bands affiliated with the fest, as well as some not. The generosity displayed by these bands is beyond words. All of the items up for grabs are stellar, and the loot just keeps rolling in. So many signed LPs, and rare items. I hope the winner is happy!

Are their any raffle prizes that you want to draw attention to?

All of them! Photos of prizes so far can be seen at “Raffle of Doom” tickets can also be purchased there!

Anything else?

I encourage everyone planning on coming out to Days Of The Doomed Fest II to plan ahead!!! Tickets are moving along, so don’t be left out in Lake Michigan while the rest of us are getting our heads caved in by the DOOM! Visit for tickets, time slots, and lodging options! Hope to see you all in June!!! Thanks, Mæry! Really appreciate the interview!

Many thanks to Mercyful Mike Smith for taking the time out to answer my questions.  Below is the running order for the bands for DOTD II, although that is subject to change.
Bands/Time Slots
FRIDAY, JUNE 22nd, 2012     DOORS OPEN AT 2:00 PM

3:00 – 3:35      SNAKE DANCE
3:55 – 4:35      SUPER INVADER
4:55 – 5:35      SANCTUS BELLUM
5:55 – 6:35      WAR INJUN
6:55 – 7:40      RITUALS OF THE OAK
8:00 – 8:55      LAS CRUCES
9:15 – 10:15    EARTHEN GRAVE (featuring former Trouble bassist Ron Holzner)
10:35 – 11:35  BLACKFINGER (featuring former Trouble vocalist Eric Wagner)
11:55 – 1:00    REVELATION

SATURDAY, JUNE 23rd, 2012     DOORS OPEN AT 12:00 PM

1:00 – 1:40       CYRUS
2:00 – 2:45       BLIZARO
3:05 – 3:50       BEELZEFUZZ
4:10 – 4:55       APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE
5:15 – 6:00       ORODRUIN
6:20 – 7:05       ARGUS
7:25 – 8:10       BLOOD FARMERS
8:30 – 9:15       EARTHRIDE
9:35 – 10:20     OGRE
10:40 – 11:40   SOLACE
12:00 – 1:30     WHILE HEAVEN WEPT

Unable to attend the Days of the Doomed fest, but would still like to be included?  Leave your mark on the fest by helping us out with a donation!  Any amount will be greatly appreciated!  All of those who are kind enough to donate will have their names displayed at the days of the doomed fest on our “sponsor board.”  Donations of $25.00 or more will receive a special gift. 

Metal concert set for Feb 11 to benefit sick baby

Parents know that raising children presents challenges. But when your child has a chromosomal imbalance like 8-month old Delainie Simpson of Waynesboro, PA, every day can seem like a marathon with no finish line in sight.

It was a seemingly uneventful pregnancy. Yet within minutes of Delainie’s birth, her need for nearly constant medical care has kept her father Steve and mother Kelly guessing as to when they could stop running this dreadful race long enough to enjoy a few minutes with their little girl. Monitored-care in a neonatal intensive care unit, middle-of-the-night trips to the emergency rooms, and lengthy hospital stays have taxed the family emotionally and mentally, but also, obviously, financially.
To help the Simpson’s, Steve’s long-time friend, Matt Dayton, has gathered musicians from Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina to put together the Delainie Simpson Benefit show. Festivities begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 11 at the Brunswick Fire Hall 223-225 West Potomac St., Brunswick, MD 21716. Admission is $15 at the door with 100 percent of the proceeds going to support little Delainie.  Brunswick is approximately 60 miles west of Baltimore.
Kelly explained that while chromosomal imbalances are not uncommon in humans, how they are expressed, if at all, varies greatly from person to person. For some children, a chromosomal imbalance results in an extra 21st chromosome and is expressed as Down syndrome.
In Delainie’s case, Kelly explained that many of her symptoms are similar to those found in premature infants. Delainie, for example, had trouble breathing in her first few weeks of life and needed surgery to open up her airway. She also has profound hearing loss. When she takes a bottle, she frequently aspirates (breathes in) a little bit of formula into her lungs.

It seemed like with every passing day, Delainie exhibited a new problem presumably associated with her genetic imbalance. In time, Delainie’s entire genetic makeup was mapped, Kelly said, and physicians now know exactly where the imbalance occurred.

Furthermore, Delainie has not reached many of her developmental milestones, such as sitting up. Kelly attributes some of this delay to her daughter’s genetic glitch, but also does not discount the fact that Delainie spent many weeks confined to hospital cribs attached to monitors. She basically has not had a chance to explore her world the way other children would.  Even so, Delainie now is at home full-time with her family and is improving daily. She coos sweetly and seems to be close to turning over, Kelly reports.
Meanwhile, initial response to the announcement of the benefit concert has been phenomenal, Matt explained. He reported that he had to turn bands away because so many were requesting to be on the bill. He added that this show has inspired him to become more active in the local music scene. He manages the band Trifecta, listed below, in addition to Earth Ride and Weed is Weed.
You can hear samples of many of the bands slated to play here.
If you can’t attend but want to make a donation, Paypal is accepted at the benefit’s website.

Acts scheduled to perform fall within the heavy metal subgenre of doom with some distinct variations. The bands in likely order of appearance include:

The Civil will kick start the show with funky rhythms and guitar jams distilled from the tie-dyed purple haze emanating of the summer of love.
This Too Shall Burn boasts clear vocals, straightforward melodies, and a relentless backbeat will propel this group through their early set.
Despite Charm should impress listeners with their modern spin on traditional rock and metal.
Trifecta will transport listeners to the British blues and rock origins of metal with their Zeppelin and Cream inspired melodies.
Akris defines experimental sludge musically with the voice of angel crying overhead.
Admiral Browning paints a cerebral landscape with their more progressive,  melodic approach to doom metal.
Ghost of War presents soaring vocals over a backdrop of traditional guitar driven heavy metal.
Doom legends Iron Man plan to assault the audience with grinding guitar riffs and a thunderous rhythm section, framed by thoughtful lyrics.
War Injun layers aggressive vocals upon a foundation of fuzzy guitars and thrashy downbeats.
Pale Divine closes the show with music that harkens back to psychedelic the days of Iron Butterfly and early Black Sabbath.

RSVP to the event of Facebook here.

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