Thursday, May 3, 2012

Countdown to MDF X: (17) Coke Bust

 There are a bunch of sweaty teenagers down in the basement knocking into mom's storage containers and stage diving off of the washing machine. Must be a Coke Bust show.

Coke Bust describe themselves as a straightedge hardcore punk band. And being from the Washington, DC area I would say they have some big shoes to fill in that arena, the nation's capital being the birthplace of such iconic punks bands as Fugazi, Government Issue and Minor Threat. They seem to be doing pretty well though. And, no they don't always play in basements.

Since 2006, when they put out their first demo, the group has released a little something --a cassette, a 7 inch split, an EP--every single year. They play consistently and are ready to go to Europe to play the Obscene Extreme Fest in the Czech Republic this summer.

Coke Bust is Nicktape (vocals), James (guitar),  Jubert ( bass) and Chris (drums). They play the 2012 Maryland Deathfest on Sunday afternoon, May 27.

Countdown to MDF X: (18) Agents of Abhorrence

Agents of Abhorrence is a three-piece grindcore act from Melbourne, Australia. They play Sunday afternoon, May 27 at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

Members include Ben Andrews (guitars), Max Kohane (drums), and Grant Johns (vocals). This group plays really fast, short songs. Just as you are getting into them, they are over!

It should be fun to see how many songs they can cram into their 30 minute set. Because I could not find a ton of information about this band, this preview is as short as one of their songs. If they respond to my request for more information, then I will update this posting.

Here are a couple of longer songs to give you a taste of what they are like. I am sure they are lovely fellows, but this pushes my limits of grind core. That's probably part of their appeal.

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.

Win free passes to see Behemoth at Rams Head Live

Y U No Enter Mary's Contest?
The kind folks at 24-7 Entertainment have given me two passes to GIVE AWAY to see BEHEMOTH! Saturday night, May 5 at Rams Head Live in Baltimore.

So here is what you have to do: it's a two step process. Go to the Facebook page for Metallomusikum and like that page. Then post on the wall that you want to enter the contest. If you already like the page, just post that you want to enter.

From all the people who do both by 5 p.m. on Friday (that's tomorrow) I will pick one winner and you and a friend will get to see Behemoth! Go!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Countdown to MDF X: (21) Brujeria

Brujeria means witchcraft and this Mexican death metal band will want to put you under their spell Saturday, May 26 at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest. First formed in 1989, the lineup of the group changes, the members conceal their identities and they use stage names. There could be six  people on the stage when they play, maybe more. Sometimes so many people have microphones it can seem like a rap show.

Brujeria writes songs about sex, drugs, satanism, the occult and of course La Migra (you know, immigration police). This is crushing death metal with heavy riffs and crashing drums, sometimes dipping into the doom or grind genres. There is also a good bit of humor (as in their "Macarena" spoof "Marijuana").

I listened to a lot of Brujeria trying to choose a couple of representative songs. Every new album is different from the last. I think the music changes somewhat with whomever happens to be playing in the band at the time. So think of Brujeria as a collective, or coven if you will, of like-minded artists dedicated to presenting a united front of sound with a consistent philosophy.

I finally decided to post three of the songs I liked best and leave it at that. Brush up on your Spanish and throw up your horns. Brujeria ha venido por ti!

Countdown to MDF X: (22) Anvil

If you get a chance before Maryland Deathfest, see the movie Anvil! The Story of Anvil, which documents the rise and fall and rise of this Canadian heavy metal band. I was inspired by the dedication and determination of this uncompromising group of metalheads when I saw the movie in 2009, and I think I will be equally inspired when I see Anvil perform live on Saturday night, May 26 at MDF.

Although Anvil is cited as influencing bands such as Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, Motorhead and Guns 'n' Roses and were among headliners like Bon Jovi and Van Halen in 1984 at the Super Rock Festival in Japan, the band never really attained the greatness they deserved. The band essentially fell off the radar. Underground interest in the band never waned amongst the diehards, and they never stopped playing, even if just in some small Canadian clubs. The release of the documentary of their journey into obscurity helped relaunch the band's career.

The current lineup for Anvil includes founding members Steven "Lips" Kudlow (vocals and lead guitar) and Robb (Geza) Reiner (drums). Newest member Sal Italiano has been playing bass for them since the beginning of 2012.  Make time to hear Anvil's special brand of heavy, heavy metal. Their time is now.

Monday, April 30, 2012

2012 Maryland Deathfest set times spreadsheet

The 2012 Maryland Deathfest has posted the set times for all the bands over the four days, May 24-27, at Sonar in Baltimore, MD. This is great news! I can't wait for this festival. This is also horrible news, because now I must make choices about who I will and won't see.

The set times can be found at this link on the MDF X website OR because I am such a nerd and need to see things differently, I recreated the list in a Google  spreadsheet which you can see here. Actually four sheets, one for each day. Go ahead and say it, I am a nerd.  For some reason this helps me see the schedule better.

My spread sheet only gives the start times. That's because once I commit to  seeing an act, I don't plan to wander off and see what is happening at another stage half way through. I am there for the duration.

Either way, I hope the links will help you plan your days. Remember, all the bands are being profiled here at Metallomusikum. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Countdown to MDF X: (23) Tsjuder

Norwegian true black metallers Tsjuder (pronounced shoe-der) have a mission statement posted on their Facebook page: "to create the rawest form of Black Metal, and continue that for the lifetime of the band." No doubt, Tsjuder plays relentlessly raucous, blasphemous music designed to promote all that is evil, impure and brutal. The fact that the songs are as catchy as "helvete" only helps their cause.

Tsjuder actually sometimes sounds like some kind of awesome hybrid of black metal and speed metal. The pace is breakneck, the riffs furious and the vocals shrill, but dammit if  those blazing guitar solos don't put a smile on your face. I dare you not to want to clutch some invisible oranges to the sky during the guitar solo in "Ghoul". You will not want to stop head banging! The melodies are literally spine-tingling! Listen to "Mouth of Madness." You will hear some Motorhead in there. You will hear Slayer and Anthrax. This music was built on the best and purest of metal foundations.

I know this joyous response may not be the intended effect, since Tsjuder takes their music and performances super seriously. This is all done for the glory of their Dark Lord, you know. But their songs just kick major ass, and that makes me happy. I don't care what mythology their lyrics support. It should be evident by now that I really like this band.

Performance-wise, expect some spikes and corpse paint. Like many black metal bands, the members use pseudonyms. The current line up includes Nag on (frighteningly harsh) lead vocals and bass, Draugluin on (amazing) guitars and vocals, and AntiChristian on (phenomenal) drums. Unlike a lot of black metal bands, however, Tsjuder is cyber-active. They maintain a Facebook page, Facebook fan pages for each band member and someone representing the band even participates in Twitter. Hails the Tsjuder Tweet!

See Tsjuder live Saturday night, May 26, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

Countdown to MDF X: (24) Confessor

Strong harmonies, melodies filled with pregnant pauses, usual time signatures and interesting lyrical subject matter make Confessor's progressive technical death metal an interesting choice for MDF.  I played a song by the group for a friend. He's impression was that they were a little Queensrÿche-like. I thought they seemed a bit Alice in Chains-y. Either way, this North Carolina group should get a reaction from the audience Saturday, May 26, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

The current lineup includes Cary Rowells (bass), Steve Shelton (drums), Brian Shoaf (guitar), Chris Nolan (guitar) and Scott Jeffreys (vocals). Founded in 1986, Confessor developed an underground following. Even when they split up in 1994, interest was sustained in their music. Their final recording sessions eventually resulted in the post-breakup release of the album, Unraveled, from which the song "Wig Stand" in the video clip below was taken. I've also included a clip from their 1991 full-length Condemned that perhaps more clearly demonstrates their progressive leanings. The group reunited in 2011 and is ready to hit the road.

Countdown to MDF X: (25) Winter

I love Winter, and I don't mean the season (although I love that, too.) No, I mean New York's, slow-as-molasses doom metal band founded in the late 80s. Named for an Amebix song, you can hear some of that band's influence on Winter, but it is not overwhelming.

While a band like Backslider might be one of the fastest you've ever heard, Winter may be among the slowest. Even their faster songs, such as The Hour of Doom, are restrained by the low, echoing vocals of bassist John Alman.  Drummer Joe Goncalves makes every beat deliberate and contemplative and guitarist Stephen Flam marinates every riff in sludge-y goodness. Just when another band might pick up the pace, Winter slows it down even further.

Winter disbanded for many years, reuniting only a couple of years ago to perform for festivals such as Roadburn. Apparently, like another famous (though fictional) New Yorker, Rip Van Winkle, they have awoken from long a Winter's nap to find the music scene ready to receive them. Let Winter lull you into a pleasant, yet slightly disturbing, dream-like state on Sunday afternoon, May 27, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

Countdown to MDF X: (19) Backslider

Need a small band to play you some big, fast music in under a minute? Philadelphia's grindcore, fastcore, something-core act Backslider should fit the bill quite nicely. This two-piece, comprised of Logan on guitar and vocals and Patrick on drums, will kick off the final day of the 2012 Maryland Deathfest, Sunday, May 27.

Backslider put a smile on my face because they reminded me of all those un-named punk bands I watched tear up smokey clubs and basements in the late 80s. All the spit and vinegar is there, except these guys are, at times, just a bit doomier and sludgier.  Don't plant them too deep, water them just a little, and they might grow into something like Dragged Into Sunlight.

Check out their Bandcamp here. Don't worry, it will take less than two minutes.

I am not sure, but this video seems to be sped up a little. Either way, it's totally worth watching as the moshers and the drum set nearly collide on several occasions.

Countdown to MDF X: (20) Morbid Angel

Morbid Angel has seen some controversy of late, what with the mixed reaction by fans and critics to their most recent album, Ilud Divinum Insanus. However, this does not take away the fact that this Florida band helped shape the sound of death metal. They close out Saturday night, May 26, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

All references to their most recent recording aside, Morbid Angel dominates when it comes to crushing riffs, ear-splitting leads, heavy vocals and impressive live performances that more than make up for any concerns anyone might have had about them becoming a techno industrial metal band. I am sure that bassist and vocalist David Vincent will whip the crowd into a sweaty frenzy before the night is over. Morbid Angel founding member and death metal guitar god Trey Azagthoth won't disappoint either, as I expect him to set the stage ablaze with his mighty solos.

Pete Sandoval is Morbid Angel's phenomenally talented drummer, however, it has been confirmed that Tim Yeung will perform with them live as Pete's back is still recovering from surgery. Also touring is guitarist Destructhor (Thor Anders Myrhen), who has done live work for 1349.

Here's a charmingly creepy track from Morbid Angel's first full-length recording, Altars of Madness, and a clip from a live show in 2011.

Countdown to MDF X: (26) Horna

I would like to think that Horna is the music that would have been created, had early pagan cultures had access to electrified instruments.  The roots of this Finnish group's music certainly dates back to bygone centuries and old "country" ways.

Formed in 1993, this highly melodic black metal group stays true by singing in their native language and sticking to themes like paganism, the occult and satanic philosophy. Their music has evolved over the years. I particularly like this quote in their Facebook bio, which sums it up well: "Throughout the years the lyrics of Horna ventured from harsh anti-christian hatred, paganism and fairy tales to severe exultations of the occult, the mysteries of the dark side of mankind and Satanism - from youthful outbursts of anger to ever more maturing inner enlightenment."

Horna plays "trve" black metal in the traditional sense. The vocals are harsh, the guitar picking fast, the drumming relentless. But they write thoughtful, contemplative melodies that are accessible and memorable, too. It's not all about blast beats and growling, but much more complex. And somehow, the music is meditative and comforting. Another thought, I think this black metal must be how all rock music sounds to the infant in the womb: filtered and distorted by the mother's own heartbeat and breathing. I know, weird, but I am funny like that.

The current lineup for Horna (which means abyss or hell, by the way) includes founding member guitarist Shatraug with vocalist Spellgoth, drummer Vainaja, guitarist Infection, and bassist Qraken. Their "ritual" will be performed Saturday night, May 26, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest. If some of the early satanic acts have chased you away, Horna should invite you back in.