I am not sure that The Circuit, a relatively new music venue in Essex, has had a concert as large and as amazing as the one that will occur in just a few hours. I hope you all come out to witness this destruction. This epic heavy metal event is hosted and sponsored by Metallomusikum and The Circuit. Please note that this is a 21+ show.
Here’s the lineup.
Playing a full 90-minute set!!!!
A Sound of Thunder
Iron Man Band
Maximum Oversatan 8:30-9:00 (30 min)
Witch Hazel 9:20-9:50 (30 min)
Iron Man 10:10-10:40 (30 min)
ASOT 11- 11:40 (40 min)
Manilla Road 12-1:30 (90 min)
Buy tickets from Missiontix.com until 5 p.m. today or just get them at the door.
$15 online; $18 at the door.
Check out some videos from the bands below!
The Northern Virginia/DC/MD area band A Sound of Thunder has a new album out called The Lesser Key of Solomon. On Friday, November 21, they open for the legendary Manilla Road at The Circuit in Essex, along with Iron Man, Witch Hazel and Maximum Oversatan. Tickets to the show can be purchased here.
I thought I would give the record a spin and see what it was all about.
I must preface this review by reminding my dear readers, who probably already know, that I listen to very little modern metal or music with with clean vocals. I listen to a ton of black metal and death metal, along with some hardcore, grindcore and punk. Giving a legitimate evaluation of a record like this is an extreme challenge for me. But it’s not like I haven’t heard this sort of music before.
The first time I saw A Sound of Thunder was at The Sidebar in Baltimore, and I didn’t like them. The Sidebar can have good or bad sound depending on who is running the board. In that case, Nina Osegueda’s got lost under the guitars. You couldn’t hear her at all. Also, the stage at The Sidebar is small and there’s not much room for the performers to engage the audience unless they move onto the floor. Lastly, Nina was wearing her signature steampunk-style goggles pushed back on her hair. I wanted to rip them off. I didn’t understand why she was wearing them, but I wanted them to go away.
The second time I saw ASOT was at Empire in Springfield, Virginia with Ashes of Ares. In this case, I thought they sounded pretty good. What was the difference? It was probably the venue. Empire has a better sound system and a better stage. I could hear Nina’s vocals more clearly and the guitars better. She played a Theremin, which was very cool. I was standing far enough away from the stage that I didn’t have to focus on those goggle pushing her hair back or the fact that she apparently broke a heel that night. Overall, the group went from meh to OK.
That said, I still am not a huge fan of this style of metal. But if one is to review music at all, one must grasp an understanding of the difference between a band of lousy musicians and a band that can actually play their instruments, but who perform a style of music that is not your favorite. A Sound of Thunder falls into this latter category for me.
Now, let’s talk about the album. A Lesser Key of Solomon, named for a spell book, was funded with a Kickstarter. They raised more than $23,000 to fund this record (greater than two times what they needed), Depending on the backer’s level of support, the band handed out perks that included everything from an early bird digital download of the new record to a choice of a song covered. The financial vote of confidence that ASOT received for this project from their fans gives evidence of their popularity.
The production quality in A Lesser Key of Solomon is solid. It’s really a joy to listen to and sounds great in my car stereo and at home. I have to mention this because when listening to so much black metal, one gets used to the virtue of shitty production and learns to like it, nay expect it. This album is clean, possibly too clean.
The album starts off with the strange 2-minute intro “Nexus of Realities” with the vocalists reading sequential numbers. Not sure what is going on in this trippy track, but when they get to the number 23 it launches into some epic riffs and plows straight into the next song “Udoroth”. This track features powerful vocals and familiar heavy metal guitar chord progressions. Nina’s vocals soar to eardrum piercing heights and the melody is catchy in that radio-metal friendly sort of way. Why is this song not on the radio?
“Fortuneteller” is a song about a … wait for it…a fortuneteller booth. The lyrics are not anything overly creative (“the crystal ball has spoken, all your dreams are broken”) but the vocals really got to me. I found myself wanting to sing along. And oh man, I love bassist Jesse Keen’s keyboards! There is a lot of old-school proggy Brit rock in this song. At times Josh Schwartz’s guitar riffs trick me into thinking I am listening to an Iron Maiden song. The only thing I didn’t care for here was the abrupt ending. Even so, it is a memorable song that made me want to replay it.
The next song, “The Boy Who Could Fly,” also struck an emo nerve with me, which made me want to hit replay. The moody acoustic guitar at the beginning reminds me of Opeth but then turns into this lush, swirling tale of lost love. I think Nina’s voice sounds lovely here because she is not straining to reach those high notes. Riff-wise, the song has a 80s power metal vibe to it. I could see an audience filled with lit lighters. Ugh, I think there’s something in my eye. Again, why are these songs not on the radio?
I get the feeling that “Elijah” is supposed to be the album’s “hit.”. There are parts of this song that possess almost King Diamond-like melodies and vocal styling. It wants to be scary and creepy. It’s not bad, but I think it meanders on for far too long and loses focus. The vocal harmonies remind me of a Christian group I used to listen to middle school: The Second Chapter of Acts. (Hey, go look up their song Rejoice right now because it will blow your mind, and then remind me that I listen to satanic black metal all the time now.) I find no fault in the superb guitar work on this track because it is really well executed.
“Master of Pain” doesn’t really move me much. At first, Chris Haren’s drumming makes me think this song is going to take off into a real rock anthem. But then it kind of develops into Lita Ford song. For some people that would be a good thing, but for me it was not. Lyric-wise, it’s a bit cliché.
“Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb,” however, steers the band back to epic storytelling mode. For the most part, Nina’s voice floats over the melody, and the lyrical content is poetic. When she is most aggressive, her vocals seem a bit strained. But musically, you can hear the influence of Deep Purple and Iron Maiden. The chorus is memorable, and the guitar solo midway rambles somewhere between wanting to sound like David Gilmour and Jerry Garcia. Overall, this is one of the albums standouts, but probably goes on a bit too long with too many thematic changes.
Speaking of Jerry Garcia, the beginning of “Black Secrets” could have been the main riff of a Grateful Dead song. Very quickly though, the band reverts to 80s style chugga-chugga rock and roll and an almost southern groove sound. With a few tweaks, this could be a country song.
The album takes a weird dystopian turn with “One Empty Grave.” I think this song might be about the Civil War battle at Devil’s Den. Or maybe it isn’t. But until Nina starts hitting those high notes, this song almost sounds like a completely different band. I liked the soaring guitar solo a lot.
The last song on the album “House of Bones” begins with some creepy, jazzy piano and reversed vocal sampling. Then it unfolds into this 70s bluesy rock and roll essay. Clocking in at just shy of nine minutes, the song should feel long but it doesn’t. It deftly showcases the band’s best songwriting skills. It’s not like A Sound of Thunder is doing anything new or groundbreaking with this tune or even on this album, but what they are doing, they are doing well.
In the end, great music stands the test of time. I am not sure if The Lesser Key of Solomon will still sound relevant in 10 years. But at this moment, A Sound of Thunder has crafted an album of hard-hitting rock and metal that will appeal to many people. One or two of these songs could make it onto mainstream rock radio, which for many musicians is a desirable goal. And I believe they have attained the rare achievement of sounding distinctive enough to allow the mention of influences but not the naming of direct comparisons. It is quite possible that A Sound of Thunder’s magnum opus lies ahead. Let’s hope so.
Check out a song from the album below.
In order, we talk about the following:
Exhumed – Necrocracy (death metal)
Inquisition – Obscure Verses for the Multiverse (black metal)
Kylessa – Ultraviolet (sludge)
Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed (blackened thrash metal)
Red Fang – Whales and Leeches (heavy metal)
Corrections House – Last City Zero (experimental drone)
Iron Man – South of the Earth (traditional heavy metal)
In Solitude – Sister (hard rock)
We also talk about Halloween, but we don’t reveal our costumes! You’ll have to come out and find us on the streets of Baltimore.
Maryland doom engineers Iron Man have released a video single from their forthcoming album, South of the Earth. The track “Hail to the Haze,” is posted below.
Iron Man recently signed to Rise Above Records in Europe and will be distributed stateside by Metal Blade Records. You can pre-order your very own copy (CDs, for now) via the Metal Blade website here, which will be shipping in the USA on Oct 1. Vinyl will be available but it is as an import and kind of pricey. Still if you want it, it’s can be found on Amazon.
There are lots of exciting things on the horizon for these east coast doom stalwarts, including the possibility of some international show dates. I am glad to see them finally getting the recognition that they deserve. Guitarist Alfred Morris III has kept this dream alive for more than 25 years, and all I can say is better late than never.
Upcoming show dates include:
Iron Man has an upcoming show on Sept. 11 at Cafe 611 in Frederick with Keefshovel (members of Elder), Admiral Browning and Rhin.
With Saint Vitus, Pallbearer and Hookers on Oct. 13 at Metro Gallery in Baltimore. The event page is here.
Autumn Screams Doom festival, Oct 25 -26 at the Ottobar. Iron Man plays Friday. The full line up and ticket info can be found here.
As if Delaware were not doomed enough, Snake Charmer Booking has announced a new doom metal music festival “The Eye of the Stoned Goat 2” for Saturday, February 9. Set at JB McGinnes Pub in New Castle, the show features 10 stoner rock and doom metal bands from the mid-Atlantic. Tickets are $10 and doors open at 5 p.m.
The festival line up includes Delaware locals Wasted Theory and Heavy Temple along with Maryland heavyweights Iron Man, Blackhand and Beelzefuzz. Pennsylvania acts include Wizard Eye, Clamfight, Skeleton Hands, Thee Nosebleeds and Pale Divine.
What was your inspiration for organizing this fest?
I wanted to do a smaller version of the Stoner Hands of Doom festival basically. I just love the idea of a three or four day long show where you can see so many great bands at the same time. So, it had occurred to me that between Delaware, Philly and Maryland, that I could do a miniature festival of my own, with some of my personal faves from the area. And that’s really what inspired me.
What was the first Eye of the Stoned Goat Festival like?
Last November I did a five band show at Mojo 13 in Wilmington with Black Cowgirl, Borracho, Wizard Eye, Wasted Theory, and Behind the Ghost. It was really just me testing the waters to see if anyone besides me enjoyed this type of music enough to fill a venue. The turnout was decent, not jam-packed like I was hoping, but decent. All the bands had a great time, and I just liked the name of the event so much that I decided to continue with it.
Tell me about the vendors. Why are you including them too?
What about the venue?
Unless you are planning a wedding, June 2013 might seem pretty far off. But for the organizers of Days of the Doomed 3 (or III if you like your numerals Roman), June can’t get here soon enough.
Billed as the biggest doom fest in the midwest, DOTD3 will take place on June 21 and 22 at the Blue Pig in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tickets for this two day celebration of the riff and distortion go on sale December 1, 2012 and are expect to move swiftly! A two day pass is $50 and single day tickets are $30.
The lineup so far includes Penance, Victor Griffin’s new group In-Graved, Dream Death, Iron Man, Pale Divine, The Gates of Slumber, Chowder, Kings Destroy, Orodruin, Earthen Grave, Argus, King Giant, Whaler, Beelzefuzz, Venomous Maximus, Moon Curse, Hollow Leg, and Gorgantherron. According to organizer Mercyful Mike Smith, one more band will be announced sometime in January. You will just have to trust him that whoever it is will be killer.
I can’t think of a better holiday gift for the doom metal aficionado in your life or yourself than some tickets to this event. Besides, Milwaukee in June is reportedly quite lovely. Check out a preview of some of the bands playing in the video below. And then go over to this link and grab a ticket for yourself and a 21+ sexy loved one.
By the way, I wrote about DOTD2 last year. This thing is legit.
Earlier this month I wrote about Doomantia.com’s founder Ed Barnard and how he had fallen on financial hard times due to medical expenses. Today the 39 song Doomantia Vol. 1 compilation was released and man, I am only four songs in to listening, but it totally crushes.
Bands appearing on this compilation are from across the country and across the globe. Some of the songs featured are available elsewhere on the respective band’s previous recordings. Some though, such as Iron Man‘s acoustic version of Choices, were recorded expressly for this project.
The compilation is available only as a digital download from Bandcamp. But for $7 you get more than four hours of music. All the bands donated their time and recordings and all the proceeds go to Ed. Genres range from stoner to sludge to drone to psychedelic. But if you are a fan of Doomantia or even if you are not, the price is well worth the music featured!
Get it here.
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.