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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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Iron Man band sign to Rise Above Records

For the last several months, fans of the doom metal band Iron Man have been teased–nay–tortured by Facebook status updates about a new album. Then there was a YouTube video previewing songs for this new full-length.  Not long ago, we learned the name of that record– South of the Earth. I have heard most of these songs live, as well as listened to the new recording in its entirety and can attest to the fact that this record will deliver everything the fans have been dreaming about and more. It’s eargasm material.
But more importantly, now we know that this fifth full-length record will not be a self-released affair, as Iron Man announced today that they have inked a deal with Rise Above Records, the London-based independent label launched in 1988 by Cathedral vocalist Lee Dorrian. Rise Above Records host an impressive array of artists whose sound is in keeping with the Iron Man musical mission. This roster includes heavy hitters Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, Blood Ceremony, The Gates of Slumber, Church of Misery, Ghost and many others.
Alfred Morris III of Iron Man. Photo by Mary Spiro.

Alfred Morris III of Iron Man. Photo by Mary Spiro.

The Maryland metal legends, which consists of founding member Alfred Morris III on guitar, Louis Strachan on bass, Dee Calhoun on vocals, and Jason “Mot” Waldmann on drums, have not published a full-length recording since the 2009 issue of I Have Returned (Shadow Kingdom Records).  Devotees have had to make-do during this interim with two self-released EPs, Dominance in 2011 and att hålla dig över in 2012. I spoke with “Iron Man” Al Morris the other day about what signing with Rise Above Records means to the band:

Tell me about the label you are signing with?
Rise Above Records is the heaviest label on the planet! They have an incredible roster of bands.
What is your relationship with the person who runs this label?
Lee Dorrian and I have been very good friends for 20 years! We met at a Cathedral gig in Washington D.C., back in 1993. He had heard “Black Night” and was a fan of Iron Man.
What does this mean for Iron Man in terms of touring, distribution and so forth?
Iron Man will be on Rise Above/Metal Blade worldwide. Touring will also be worldwide! The fans all over the world that have been waiting for years will finally get to see Iron Man for the first time!
What is the timetable for the release of South of the Earth?
Sept/Oct 2013
In what formats will it be released? Digital/LP/CD etc?
All of the above.
What is your assessment of the overall lineup of Iron Man right now?
This line-up is the best. We can write songs at will and perform with lots of energy on stage. Iron Man is now the total package!
How does it feel to reach this point in your career’s history?
It feels good because I am not alone trying to keep things together. We are a group of professionals that can move in any direction that we want to.
What will you do next?
Finish writing the next CD and enjoy the fans!
Is there anything else you want people to know about how this record was written, recorded, mastered or otherwise produced?
The writing method has never changed. I introduce a riff and the guys put in their parts to make a song. This is how each member can be as creative as possible because they create what they feel, not what they are told to feel! We went back to Frank Marchand to record this CD. We had worked with Frank before on, I Have Returned, and knew that this CD would be incredible!! He knows Iron Man music like the back of his hand. Frank is a great engineer/producer. We will use his talents again for the next CD!!
Anything else?
We are looking forward to playing for Iron Man fans around the world!! Thank you so much!
Iron Man, from l-r: Jason "Mot" Waldmann, Dee Calhoun, Alfred Morris III, Louis Strachan.

Iron Man, from l-r: Jason “Mot” Waldmann, Dee Calhoun, Alfred Morris III, Louis Strachan.

Read the official announcement from Rise Above Records here

Play guitar for Pentagram. No, really.

Bobby Liebling with Victor Griffin. Photo M. Spiro/ 2011
Victor Griffin is moving on to other things, and Pentagram needs a guitarist. I don’t know about you, but I think for the right person this is the opportunity of a lifetime. The band just posted this statement on their Facebook page so there’s no need to rewrite it. Read on…

Agoura Hills, CA – October 25, 2012 – Legendary heavy metal pioneers and doom metal innovators PENTAGRAM are auditioning new guitar players. As previously announced, the revered guitarist Victor Griffin is performing his farewell shows during the Oct/Nov European Relentless Tour. He’ll be focusing on his solo career from this point on and the band and fans wish him all the best. Victor will forever be an important part of the “Ram Family.” 

PENTAGRAM is now searching for the perfect player who can easily play the blazing, early blues-based, hard rock, proto-metal of the late Vincent McAllister as well as the doom metal mastery of the one and only Victor Griffin. Tone, chops, appearance, tour experience & availability (US and abroad so a passport is required), song writing skills, and sobriety are all important factors. The band will be writing/recording their follow up to the acclaimed Metal Blade release, Last Rites this coming December and January.

Someone who is close to the Washington, DC area is preferred but exceptions will be made for the perfect player.

For songs and video of the band, visit: www.reverbnation.com/pentagramofficial
Please submit a short bio, a photo, and audio or video of you playing. PENTAGRAM song covers are preferred and the following songs are suggested:
“Wolf’s Blood”
“All Your Sins”
“Treat Me Right”
“When the Screams Come”
“Forever My Queen”
“20 Buck Spin”

Please send submissions to: PentagramAuditions@gmail.com 

In other news, PENTAGRAM is gearing up to tour Europe and the dates will commence with the band’s first ever UK tour. In a celebration of Victor Griffin’s time with the band, PENTAGRAM will be playing the Decibel Magazine Hall of Fame album, Relentless, in it’s entirety. After the doom pioneers first-ever UK show in London in 2011, Bobby Leibling and the boys return for four shows with Gentlemans Pistols as support, kicking off in Bristol at The Fleece.

PENTAGRAM UK Tour Dates
Tour w/ Gentlemans Pistols
10/31 Bristol, UK The Fleece
11/01 London, UK Garage
11/02 Manchester, UK Academy 3
11/04 Glasgow, UK Ivory Black End Tour
11/06 Kopenhagen, DK Loppen
11/07 Gothenburg, SE Truckstop Alaska
11/08 Oslo, NO John Dee
11/09 Stockholm, SE Slakthuset
11/10 Würzburg, DE Hammer Of Doom Festival

What to get your heavy metal mom for Mother’s Day

Acid Queen Jewelry

Every mom is special and so her mother’s day gift should be special, too. If your mom is also a metal head, like me, then it’s can be special challenge finding that thing that reflects her interests as well as her style. The obvious gift for the heavy metal woman is the latest recording of her favorite artist, but why not be more creative? Here are five great gifts besides music for the heavy metal momma (or grandma!)

What mom does not love jewelry? You will find a delightful assortment of custom-designed, hand-made earrings and necklaces at Acid Queen Jewelry, located inside Black Mess Records at 3853 Falls Rd, Baltimore MD 21211. Jewelry designer Alex Camacho creates designs using iconic heavy metal imagery: pentagrams, inverted crosses, skulls, stones and bones galore. Custom orders are available. Mention this article for a 10 percent discount.

Some mothers like to cook. Heavy metal mom’s like to cook recipes from their favorite musicians. You will find these in the book Mosh Potatoes: Recipes, Anecdotes, and Mayhem from the Heavyweights of Heavy Metal by Steve Seabury. Seabury’s book is a collection of dishes contributed from some famous and infamous names in metal. Each dish comes with a back story that any metal mamma will want to read while she’s mixing up a batch of Star Cookies from Dave Ellefson of Megadeth, for example.

If mom’s already a great cook but just could use some cooler cooking implements, try this awesome cheese shredder from Gama-Go. She can shred with the best of them on this flying-V guitar shaped metal grater. Gama-go also makes a devil’s horn barbeque turning fork and a guitar shaped spatula. Cooking has never rocked so hard.

For new moms, Mother’s Day is extra special. Help them celebrate their new mommy status with baby clothes, diaper bags, maternity wear and lots more from My Baby Rocks. These items sport logos from bands like Pantera, Motely Crue, the Sex Pistols, Kiss, The Misfits and many others. Why be a mundane new mother when you can be a metal one?

Extend the fun of Mother’s Day from Sunday until Monday night by taking mom out for a few brews a Metal Monday at the Ottobar, 2549 North Howard St., Baltimore 21218. For $9, mom can drink all she can handle and listen to a variety of current and older metal songs from every possible subgenre. You can even challenge mom to a game of pool. You will probably lose.

Have some extra cash and really want to splurge on your mother? Send her on a heavy metal cruise! There are no less than three heavy metal-themed cruises in existence and there are probably more in the works. Check out Barge to Hell (departing Dec. 3, 2012), the Metal Mayhem Cruise (departing Dec 7, 2012) or 70,000 of Metal (departing Jan. 28, 2013). Each ship departs from Miami and cruises through different parts of the Caribbean. These cruises are not cheap. All-inclusive tickets run $1,000 or more. But it will be an experience your metal mom will never forget.

Countdown to MDF X: (37) October 31

Get your “invisible oranges” ready. Underground legends October 31 play true, uncompromising, epic heavy metal in the vein of more well known acts such as  Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, but with a decidedly thrashy flavor. They perform mid-day on Saturday, May 26 at the Maryland Deathfest.

October 31 has weathered numerous line up changes since its inception in 1995 in Northern Virginia. It’s founding member and vocalist King Fowley suffered a stroke and experienced a lengthy recovery. Still the group has perserved, simply because of their love for this traditional brand of heavy metal. They have established a reputation as a crowd pleaser based on memorable, riff-driven melodies and Fowley’s powerful vocals. Their sound remains constant in the face of many metal subgenre trends.

The current line up, as far as I could confirm, includes Jim Hunter (bass), Jason Tedder (guitar), King Fowley (vocals), Dave Castillo (drums), and Brian Williams (guitar), who is the group’s other original founder. Their most recent recording was an album called No Survivors, which was released in 2005. I have included a track from that album, as well as one from their 2000 recording, Meet Thy Maker. Enjoy!

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