|Rick's Raging Rant By Rick Harper|
The world, especially my world, can be a strange place. Just a matter of weeks ago I found myself on a Facebook page telling anyone that could read it that Shockwave Magazine stunk. I don't even recall what it was all about. I do still recall exactly what I meant. It always bothered me that Shockwave and I couldn't make a connection.
I know that it can always be said that Shockwave was/is a heavy metal centered magazine. It just wasn't my kind of metal. I like good clean violent fun. Give me the horror, the blood, the guts, screaming & screeching. I like guitar godz, solo's splitting my head in half. I like stage diving, crowd surfing, and a good pit. I like underground metal.
The RBH Stamp of Metal Approval :
* I love indie cd releases, rather than pick all of the lame ones apart, I'd rather point out the really good ones. CDRs are worthless to me. I'm interested in bands that completed the process. A cd only gets the RBH STAMP OF METAL APPROVAL if the cover art is decent, the packaging is proffessional, and most importantly the music kicks my ass.
BET THE DEVIL- s/t - In a word, heavy, just how I like it. This bands been crawling around Baltimore since late 2008. Their guitarist Chuck is an Ottobar icon. They first caught my eye when I noticed they had several past and present members of several bands. After listening to their debut disc I'm not sure any of that matters anymore. Bet The Devil's self titled offering stands on it's own. The cd serves up a cool dozen pounding tracks. On top of the cd kicking ass these guys are hardcore Baltimore. They get my first - RBH STAMP OF METAL APPROVAL !
FALLEN MARTYR - The Six Roots of True Will - Washinton D.C.'s shred-tastic metal machine. Full disclosure. I'm working with Fallen Martyr now in a managerial capacity. But! On July 4th weekend I walked into a club in Frederick, MD to attend an all locals show they were calling Shreddependence Day. Quite a few bands on the bill that day were on my "hit list" of bands I wanted to see. Including Fallen Martyr. One thing leads to another and here we are. I'd be doing them a disservice if I didn't talk about this cd. It's definately one of the reasons I'm in their camp. At this point The Six Roots of True Will is a re-issue of the original EP. Two songs from their forthcoming album "Shadows" round out this version. Fallen Martyr combine two incredible lead guitarists ripping leads like hellions. The guitars are backed up by a thunderous rhythym section of blast beats and bass riffing. On top of all of that the quiet, non assuming J. Ryan Rawlings turns into a crazed mad man providing some of the best vocals I've heard in the Tri-State area. Don't take my biased opinion for truth, listen your damn self. - RBH STAMP OF METAL APPROVAL !
IN ALCATRAZ 1962 - Dream - Amazing cd. The follow up to In Alcatraz 1962's debut EP "Still Strong".
LOCULUS - Sinew - Four songs of unadulterated brutality. Death metal extrordinaire hailing from Ashburn, VA. I know this EP is a year or so old. Death metal is like a rotting corpse though. The longer it rots the more substance flows out of it. You get a deeper appreciation of the stench. With song titles like Chainsaw Disfigurement and Ocular Extirpation how can your average sicko go wrong anyway? The line-up on the cd is spectacular, featuring drum god Albert Born (Pentagram),bassist Andrew Grevey (Wretched), Steve Miller shredding the guitar, and the dominating vocal growls and grunts of Bill Calomiris. The album exceeds my expectations for a 4 song demo by far. The true test of any debut EP is to leave the listener wanting more. I've worn Sinew out. I want the full length cd LOCULUS are currently writing. RBH STAMP OF METAL APPROVAL !
BALOR'S EYE - s/t Another four song EP. From Baltimore! Purely instrumental. But don't think of it that way, rather think of it as a twenty something minute progressive metal mind f*ck. Released in March of 2011 Balor's Eye are closer to dropping their next release than we are to the this s/t EP's release. I didn't have a column then, I do now. I couldn't wait to talk about this disc. My roots are in progressive/power metal. I came up with Mystic-Force. Someone laid this cd on me at the Ottobar. Balor's Eye were opening for Protest the Hero. I was late getting in and missed most of their set. What I saw was enough. Between bands I popped out to the car and popped the cd in my truck's cd player, like the heavy metal junkie that I am. The first track, "Pissing Rainbows" kicks in and I just stared out the front window, transfixxed. Totally blown away. There was disbelief too. A band the caliber of Spastic Ink, and Liquid Tension Experiment in Baltimore? - RBH STAMP OF METAL APPROVAL !
UNDERGROUND SOAPBOX: You know how to tell you're getting royally screwed as a band? A promoter books a local bands only show and requires you to sell tickets. Why should you be forced to sell tickets to play a show with your friends? Especially if it isn't in a major venue. What's even worse is that sometimes you're selling tickets to support another out of town local band with 0% draw. Set up in your practice space and jam for some friends. Get a bunch of bands and find a room, any room, a garage and put on the same gig yourself. For free! Playing an empty room to other bands over and over makes no sense. Sell tickets for National Support Acts. Otherwise tell the promoter to go screw themselves.
I'm sure that most of you in local bands have figured out that the number of LIKES on your Facebook page does not translate into local draw. Your fans are only going to buy so many tickets from you each year. For the most part your people don't give a damn about the other 10 bands on the bill. Don't waste your draw selling tickets to friends. Soon your draw will become 0. Build a following by brining your devout followers to the shows they want to see and they'll follow you forever.
UNDERGROUND METAL SCENES PREVIEW: Reviewing shows seem pretty futile to me. It's more important to talk about events to come. I'm not going to tell you where the metal underground has been, I'm going to tell you what's coming up instead.
Looking ahead - January and early February are shaping up to be fantastic metal months in MD. January 14th & 15th Ice Jam II rolls into Sonar for a two day stint headliners include August Burns Red and ATTACK! ATTACK!. Metal Blade recording artist Jucifer rolls into Frederick MD at Cafe 611. Jucifer finds themselves in Charm City at Sonar on January 20th. January 21st brings a night of local metal to downtown Frederick with Fallen Martyr headlining What We Call Victory's cd release bash. We keep rolling along... Janurary 27th Abigal Williams at Cafe 611 followed by another Abigail Williams show in Baltimore at Sonar. February 2nd and Sonar is hosting the mighty Warbringer. February 10th join me at Ottobar for an evening of moshing and stage diving with English Dogs, The Casualties, Toxic Holocaust and Havok. Last but not least for now February 15th Lock Up (members of At The Gates, Cradle of Filth, Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir and Pentagram), Goatwhore, and Maryland's own Strong Intention.