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The BROS Gründlehämmer returns and goes on tour

Metal. Theatre. Awesome. How about all three?

“The Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS) is launching their first touring production: Gründlehämmer. Dedicated to over-the-top theatrics and mind-boggling spectacle, the BROS are excited to bring their craft on the road for the first time, with performances in Baltimore, Alexandria, and Philadelphia.”

I am hitting the March 16 show in Baltimore. Why don’t you meet me there? Last year, I did an extensive review of Murder Castle, which you can read here. I can’t wait to see their first production, revisited.

For more information, and for tickets to the show (running March 14 – April 6), please visit http://www.baltimorerockopera.org

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Podcast 3: Our show about nothing and everything

Apparently we were having way too much fun with this podcast because it is 95 minutes long. However, our guests Mike Walls of Queen Wolf and Jason “Mot” Waldmann of Iron Man (who also happens to be married to Mary), were quite engaging and had lots of cool things to talk about.  So give this one a chance.

We set out to discuss whether Baltimore had a sound and really just characterize what the music scene in the area is like. We never really answered that question, but we had some fun along the way.  You just might learn something as we attempt to establish our credibility as people who have any right talking about music at all. These are after all, just our opinions. Our views are as valid as yours!

We did find out a little about Queen Wolf and what their future holds. Mike was such an interesting guest, we hope he comes back again to hang out with us! And Mot, well he lives here so you know he will be on again. He’s our resident researcher, even when he is not in front of the mic.  Enjoy!

P.S. Despite what the podcast says, Gaahl will not be at Stella Natura.

Here’s a link to the podcast, now hosted on MixCloud.

Here is a link to the song Small Hadron Collider, a song from Queen Wolf’s  forthcoming album.

Here’s a link to the first single of of the Iron Man album, South of the Earth, set to come out Oct. 1 in North America on Metal Blade/Rise Above Records.

Ranking the most metal cities in the USA

My blogging buddy Brandon “Johnny” Ringo has compiled a list of the top 10 metal cities in America. Baltimore/Washington, D.C. made the list (although if you ask anyone around here the two scenes can’t really be lumped together). Brooklyn and the glam metal birthplace Los Angeles were appropriately relegated to honorable mention status. But overall there were a few surprises here for me. Richmond, Virginia? OK, I see that as more of a blip, but time will tell. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Exhaustive book on metal proves not to be so much

Here’s a well written review of a book on heavy metal that I never plan to read. Any book that gives just a few quotes to black metal is on my “do not support” list. Thanks to Lee Gardner for taking the time out of his life to review the 700+ page of Louder Than Hell:The Definitive Oral History of Heavy Metal by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman. Without your hard work, we would have not known if this book was, indeed, definitive or not. And you say, not so much. And we shall believe you. Here’s my favorite quote from this review:

A whole section devoted to metalcore mostly illustrates that metalcore can be just as tedious on the page as it can be elsewhere.

Read Gardner’s review published in this week’s Baltimore City Paper here:

http://citypaper.com/arts/books/em-louder-than-hell-the-definitive-oral-history-of-heavy-metal-em-1.1492779

 

Podcast: Lita Ford’s no longer "Living Like a Runaway"

Lita Ford

Guitarist Lita Ford performs Tuesday, July 10 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., in support of Def Leppard and Poison. I had the chance to talk to Lita Ford about life, music, her kids and her future. A full recording of my interview with Lita Ford can be heard here or you can click on the widget below. What follows is NOT a transcript, but more a review of her new CD, so you will have to click the link to hear the interview.

Now, when someone says, “Do you want to interview Lita Ford?” naturally, the answer is  “yes.” And when you hear the phrase The Queen of Metal, naturally, the only name that should come to mind is Lita Ford. Since the mid 1970s when she was recruited to play for the all-girl rock band The Runaways until this day, Ford has focused first and foremost on being one of the world’s best guitarists, determined to perfect her art.

Like any woman vying for respect in a male-dominated realm, Lita Ford has worked hard to establish herself as the talented and innovated guitarist and songwriter that she is, and I think for the most part, she has attained the level of credibility she deserves. It’s frustrating when true artistry is obscured by the blatant pandering to sexuality so common in the marketing of female musicians. Stevie Ray Vaughan was no GQ model, but no one cared because he could groove and shred.  Well, Lita Ford can shred and then some.
Living Like a Runaway, Ford’s most recent recording released June 19 on SVP/Steamhammer, is being heralded as THE Lita Ford comeback album. The collection certainly delivers hard driving rock and roll from start to finish and features the Lita-riffs that fans of this genre of heavy metal/hard rock have come to love.
Stripped to the essentials of guitar, bass and drums with few keyboards, Ford’s album underscores that you don’t need a rack of effects pedals or a degree in computer science to kick out the jams. The lyrical themes of Living Like a Runaway focus on heartbreak and hated, frustration and sorrow: the kind of emotional terrorism that many people experience through five decades of living. Ford is still clearly shaken about her recent divorce and obviously heartbroken about being separated from her children. The music paints a story of survival and as her pain has proved to be an inspiration. The songs possess a timeless quality, and the album should have staying power, providing many fist-pounding anthems for present day and future rock and roll fans.
Favorite tracks on the album include “Hate,” which describes the life and death of a Columbine-like killer, and “The Mask,” which demands that a Jekyll-Hyde character own-up to his true character. Ford says the album’s title track has become a crowd favorite during her current tour. Another one of my favorites, “Relentless,” with its chugging groove, seems to state Ford’s manifesto for her professional and personal life.

“I am relentless like a freight train coming to the driving rail
Relentless like a fighter in arena I don’t feel pain,
I am relentless, all you try to do is drive me insane
And you’re never gonna keep me down,
I am relentless.”
Among all the grinding riffs, the album pauses for the sweet ballad, “Mother,” in which Ford is clearly singing to her estranged children.  If you are not misty-eyed by the end of this track, you might be a robot.
In the final analysis, Living Like a Runaway is a superlative work of rock and roll. It is not a cheesy retrospective of 80’s hair metal, but tastefully crafted and thoughtfully produced. If you miss the best of what 80’s metal had to offer, you should definitely check out Lita Ford’s new album. The recording is available in CD as well as in a limited edition, stunningly beautiful cherry (bomb?) red vinyl double album.
Visit Lita Ford’s website here.

INTERVIEW: Red Fang’s Bryan Giles with podcast

My first exposure to Red Fang was on a Relapse Records sampler. The song was “Number 13” from their album Murder the Mountains. As someone who listens to a lot of death and black metal, Red Fang’s massive, swinging sound stood out to me as somehow “Southern.” It wasn’t what I usually listened to but, hey, I really liked what I heard. I can listen to both kinds of music, HEAVY and METAL, can’t I? And Red Fang was definitely heavy.

Only later did I learn this stoner metal group hails from Portland, Oregon. I put them on my list of bands I needed to see live. And I hate myself for missing their sold out show at the 9:30 Club in the fall of 2011 when they toured with Mastodon. What did it matter that I had a final paper to write?
I can nearly forgive myself now, as Red Fang embarks on a short tour with another heavy stoner metal band, The Sword, form Austin, Texas. The combination of Red Fang with The Sword should bring out an interesting crowd of PBR-drinking, long-haired biker types. 
Red Fang starts off June with a short headlining tour before meeting up with The Sword on their home turf. The duo plays Baltimore on June 21 at Sonar, which is where I will see them,. For this show, and a couple others, they will be joined by Liquid Metal favorites, Kyng from Los Angeles.
Again, these three bands sharing one stage is almost too much to comprehend. The evening will be ruled by beer bellies, big beards, heavy guitar riffs and clean melodic masculine vocals. If this show only had a BBQ going in the alley and a burnout contest in the parking lot, my sweaty, rocking’ redneck-y evening would be complete. 
I had the chance to speak with Red Fang’s guitarist Bryan Giles recently, and he told some interesting stories about their recent European tour with Black Tusk (another band I need to see live). The conversation ranged from the importance of funding art in public schools to wardrobe and hygiene while on tour. Thanks for the chat, Bryan.
You can listen to the entire conversation at this the link below. 







Red Fang headling dates include:
June 1: Seattle, WA @ Highline

June 12: Boise, ID @ Neurolux
June 13: Salt Lake City, UT @ Bar Deluxe
June 14: Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
June 16: Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves


Red Fang mini-tour supporting The Sword dates include:

June 17: Houston, TX @ Fitzgeralds (feat. Honky)
June 18: New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues Parish (feat. Honky)
June 19: Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (feat. Kyng)
June 20: Raleigh, NC @ Kings Barcade (feat. Kyng)
June 21: Baltimore, MD @ Sonar (feat. Kyng)
June 22: Westchester, PA @The Note (feat. Kyng)

Days of the Doomed II to crush heartland this June

UPDATE- NEW VENUE!!!!!!!!!

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 http://www.daysofthedoomed.com. “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 http://www.daysofthedoomed.com 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. 

Iron Man posts new song video on Facebook

Louis Strachan (left) and Alfred Morris III of Iron Man
Traditional doom metal aficionados will be happy to learn that the legendary group, Iron Man, is working on new material. Today on their Facebook page and YouTube channel, they released a video of a new song performed recently at a benefit show in Brunswick, MD.  The song, “A Whore in Confession,” is still a something of a work in progress, says original Iron Man Al Morris III. “What you hear in the video may not be exactly how it ends up sounding on the recording,” Morris says.  Even so, the band wanted to give its fan base something new since, their last recording, a self-released EP called Dominance, came out in January 2011.  Morris says 2012 looks like a busy year for the doom metal stalwarts. A new drummer, Jason “Mot” Waldmann, came on board in January 2012. The group is slated to perform with Blizaro, Blood Ceremony, Loviatar, Monobrow and Revelation at All That’s Heavy II festival in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on May 12. They will be heading to the studio to record a full-length album and more extensive touring is in the works. Their next local show will be at Lallo’s in Brunswick, MD on March 3 with Trifecta and Children of the Grave.

I am a big metal fan

Do you have a vest as awesome as this? Do you show your devotion to metal in your clothing? This vest, made by Chris Woodford of Pittsburgh, is among the best I’ve ever seen anywhere. Can you beat it? Send me your photos and maybe I will feature it here.

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.
THE LINE-UP

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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