Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Agalloch @ Sonar (Baltimore), 3/21/11

All photos courtesy of Agalloch

On Monday, I drove up to Baltimore to check out Agalloch, rising stars in the American black metal scene. You know, I try to defend DC’s metal scene, but what does it mean when a critically acclaimed band passes us by? Are we not metal enough for a band from Portland? Are our local venues discriminating against the longhairs?

Anyway. I usually scoff at black metal as being too Satanic, too repetitive, or too grim – but Agalloch bring something unique to the genre, mixing in elements of folk (including acoustic and orchestral instruments), psych metal, and post-rock. It coalesces into something heavy and complex, something that rewards multiple listens. Despite some weak opening bands and a late set (running past 1am), I left the show sold on their vision for the future of black metal.
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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Abigail Williams/Melechesh/Rotting Christ @ Jaxx Nightclub, 03/09/11

all photos by Michael Darpino

Guest reviewer Mark Hensch is a freelance writer based in Washington DC. He has been writing about Heavy Metal since he was in High School back in Michigan. He currently contributes to the Washington Times online as Heavy Metal Hensch and is senior editor of Thrash Pit.

The “Apostles of Darkness Over The Americas” tour launched their nationwide sonic assault at Jaxx Nightclub on Wednesday night. The first stop on a two-month tour, the lineup read like a roster from the embassy of evil: leading the charge were the grim ghouls of Abigail Williams, followed by the Middle Eastern heavy metal of Jerusalem’s Melechesh and the battle-ready anthems of Athens’ Rotting Christ. It was a concert of musical carnage that wasn’t just great it was global; fire-breathing proof that the heavy metal scene still thrives at home and abroad.

Thanks to Jaxx’s layout, DC-area heavy metal fans were treated to a trio of intimate performances. The crowd was small but vocal, filling the floor space in front of the raised stage with an energy that surpassed their numbers. There wasn’t much space between band and fan, letting the two collide in uproarious confrontation. Guitar necks brushed past thrown devil horns as the fans and bands became one in an extreme metal meltdown.

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The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: Rotting Christ/Melechesh/Hate/Lecherous Nocturne/Abigail Williams @ Jaxx, 3/9/11

Northern Virginia’s Heavy Metal bunker, Jaxx plays host the Black Metal concert of the year on Wednesday night with an international line-up that is as exotic as it is extreme. It isn’t very often that you get titans of the genre from Greece, Israel, and Poland in a room together, but somehow that is what Jaxx has managed to pull off. If that isn’t enough to lure you to the dark side, they’ve tossed in a trio of great American bands to sweeten the deal with the devil.

Hate hail from Warsaw, Poland and have been one of Eastern Europe’s most extreme groups for over a decade. Melechesh, (“fire king” in Hebrew) are a band literal on the run. Outlawed for blasphemey in their hometown of Jerusalem, Melechesh have been developing their own sub-genre of “Mesopotamian metal” in exile in Amsterdam for years. Rotting Christ are the band that brought black metal to Greece and they have been assaulting the senses with their Ancient Greek-refrencing, extreme metal for over twenty years. All three of these bands play with brutal intensity and speed, dark as night theatrics, and old world mythologies that shred the veil of civility to expose the hypocrisies of modern society.

Along for the ride on this black metal rollercoaster, is Ziggurat, Abigail Williams, and Lecherous Nocturne; three up and coming U.S. black metal bands that will have their work cut out for them opening for three of Europe’s heaviest hitters.

Rotting Christ
w/ Melechesh, Hate, Lecherous Nocturne, Abigail Williams, Ziggurat
3/9/11 – 6pm