|Posted by karlsmetal on January 13, 2010 at 12:06 AM|
On Sunday 1/10/10, I traveled 130 miles to attend a 5-band concert broadcasted live and hosted by WMUC 88.1 FM University of Maryland radio. Burning Shadows was the band that drew me there, I had seen them before in NJ, but I was turned on to several other bands that I heard for the first time, all of which were from that area.
I arrived an hour early, so I could find my way there before it got dark. When I found the third floor studio next to the broadcasting room I was greeted by Walter, bassist for Acid Queen who was already geared up and ready to go. They even shared a beer with me. I learned Acid Queen did not perform original music, but played various songs by NWOBHM (new wave of British heavy metal) bands.
The concert studio was a small room, maybe 18 feet by 18 and the walls were littered with band stickers and graffiti as well as the hallways leading up to it which gave it a musical anarchist's decor. And it smelled like a bar with all the beer people brought. If you didn't have any, they were happy to share.
Things got started around 6:30pm and didn't stop until 12:15am. Acid Queen was on first. Fronted by a female (we need more women in metal!) vocalist, Laura gave an enthusiastic performance, marked by gruff lows and screaming highs. The band sounded excellent behind her. They opened with the classic Grim Reaper "See You in Hell". I was impressed and amazed by the variety and obscurity of the bands they covered: Witchfinder General, Diamond Head, Angel Witch, Venom, Tank, and Savage, to name a few. If you want to learn where metal came from and discover some lost classics, see these guys. I think it's safe to say Acid Queen is the only tribute band of it's kind.
The set changes were surprisingly quick, even though each band brought their own equipment and drum sets. The WMUC staff was also on the ball, keeping things rolling. The sound quality was very good and WMUC even recorded each band's performance and gave them a CD.
Second up was Trihexyn, hailing from Gaithersburg, MD. Performing as a 3-piece, they are currently looking for a bassist. Their performance in no way sounded lacking, however. Their music grabbed me from the get go. Cool riffs, headbanging rhythms, and sweet harmonies in both the guitars and the vocals. Vocal duties were shared by Greg and Shawn Staub, both on guitar as well. Their vocal onslaught was fueled by a vinegar-hot sauce and I forget what else concoction that they drank throughout, because it's "good for the throat". Hey, whatever works! Joe Baker was impressive on drums and was it fun to watch him beat the heads. Trihexyn features mostly melodic vocals with some throat singing (which works OK with their songs, though I'm not much of a fan of this vocal style.) I highly recommend picking up their album "Omni Contemptus " through them or on iTunes.
Extermination Angel played a short but heavy set. Brutal thrash with an onslaught of throat/scream vocals. They had a lot of fans there who quickly formed a mosh pit (in a tiny box of a room yet!) and they performed their material well. Vocalist Shawn put on an animated performance before his band's aural assault.
Fourth on the roster was Shokkher, whose classic NWOBHM influenced sound was infectious. These accomplished and talented musicians played a fun and entertaining show. They had a good stage prescence, Niels Vilhelmsen on guitar in particular was a great showman, flailing his axe up at just the right moments and even jumping up and strumming on top of a chair on more than one occasion. Dan Johnston looked and sounded the part of a classic 80's vocalist. Let's get the album out guys! I want it!
Last but not least, was Burning Shadows. A band I had seen only once before, but never the less drew me 130 miles to see again. The first time I had heard them live, the sound system wasn't quite right, unfortunately, but they were crisp and clear at the WMUC studio. Lead guitarist Greg Jones had been handling lead vocals and is featured on their album "Into the Primordial" While his vocals are adequate, he must have realised the band's awesome sound needed something more. That they have found, in new lead vocalist Tom Davy who made his Burning Shadows debut performance at this show. His voice is melodic, powerful, and operatic in style. His personal flare and gesturing made a strong visual impression as well. And, thanks to Tom, KarlsMetal.com got it's first radio ad. After Greg recognised me for having traveled so far to see them, Tom said, "and you have a website" as he handed the mike over to me to give a plug on air. Their songwriting is strong and original. The music is powerful in scope and diverse in character. Their showmanship is good, Tim Regan on rhythm guitar and Aaron El-Zeftawy on bass are especially lively performers. Torin Blatt on the drum set has focus and fun beating out the beats. The band opened with their seminal track "Second Son" and also premiered a new song which was as yet unnamed, but was, as I heard one fan describe it, in a word "epic". An EP with new material is forthcoming.
Many thanks to the WMUC crew for hosting the show and for cleaning up the mess that I'm sure was left behind! You rock!
Until next time,
Metal On! -----Karl