Don’t Miss: Darkest Hour @ Black Cat, 2/17/17

Darkest Hour by Pete Duvall
Darkest Hour (Photo by Pete Duvall)

DC metalcore quintet Darkest Hour come screaming back into our streaming services with their ninth studio album, Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora on March 10 via Southern Lord Records. In support of the album, Darkest Hour will launch a tour at the Black Cat on Friday, Feb. 17.

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Snapshots: Swallow the Sun @ The Fillmore Silver Spring — 11/7/16

Swallow The Sun @The Fillmore, Silver Spring 11/07/2016Swallow the Sun performs at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Photo by Paivi)

Swallow the Sun is a Finnish doom metal band currently touring United States with Sonata Arctica, Dark Tranquillity, Leaves’ Eyes, Omnium Gatherum, Enforcer and Starkill. The bands performed at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Monday, Nov. 7.

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Don’t Miss: Swallow the Sun @ The Fillmore Silver Spring, 11/7/16

Swallow the Sun (Photo by Jussi Ratilainen)
Swallow the Sun (Photo by Jussi Ratilainen)

About a year ago, Finnish doom metal band Swallow the Sun released their sixth studio album, Songs from the North I, II & III, via Century Media. It was extremely well received! Metacritic aggregated its overall critic score at 78/100 and AllMusic rated it 4.5/5 stars.

“Each disc is a separate album, though all were conceived, written, and recorded as a single project with the band exploring different aspects of its sound. What unites them musically is a pervasive melodic sensibility, no matter the setting,” said AllMusic critic Thom Jurek.

Swallow the Sun produced a music video for “Rooms and Shadows,” a song from the first of the three discs (a disc subtitled “Gloom”). Watch it on YouTube:

Vocalist Mikko Kotamäki really growls with gusto in this epic song of loss! And his bandmates guitarists Juha Raivio and Markus Jämsen, bassist Matti Honkonen, keyboardist Aleksi Munter, and drummer Juuso Raatikainen, trully fill your very blood with their roiling, dynamic melodies. Kerrang! rated Swallow the Sun’s latest effort 5 stars (or 5 “K”), hailing it as “one of doom metal’s finest moments to date.”

You can see how the six men come together so well yourself, as Swallow the Sun are on tour, opening for fellow Finnish metalmen Sonata Arctica, who released a brand new album last month. The tour comes to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Monday, Nov. 7 with a very full bill, but you’ll want to pace yourself to make it there for Swallow the Sun!

Tickets are available online.

Swallow the Sun
Opening for Sonata Arctica
Fillmore Silver Spring
Monday, Nov. 7
Doors @5pm
All ages

Music Park: Baroness @ Howard Theatre — 8/12/16

Baroness perform live (Photo by Jimmy Hubbard)

Heavy metal quartet Baroness released a new album last year, following a transitional phase that began in 2012 when their bus fell off a viaduct in England, severely injuring some of the members of the band. Co-founder and drummer Allen Blickle along with bassist Matt Maggioni suffered severe injuries and subsequently left the band, leaving the other half of Baroness with two spots to fill.

(A quick Google search will pull up quote’s from Baroness frontman John Dyer Baizley describing the moments during and after the accident, among other things. We won’t discuss those quotes here, and I will warn you, they are pretty gruesome so read at your own risk!)

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Don’t Miss: Baroness @ Howard Theatre, 8/12/16

Baroness (Photo by Jimmy Hubbard)

Heavy metal band Baroness thundered back with their fourth album, Purple, 2015. Although it is the fourth full-length from the band, led by vocalist John Baizley, it also is full of firsts!

It’s the first album from the band’s own label Abraxan Hymns. And it’s the first album with new band members in bassist Nick Jost and drummer Sebastian Thompson. Critics clearly liked what they heard, as Metacritic gives the album high marks for “universal acclaim.”

Well, you don’t have to trust the critics, because you can hear it for yourself when Baroness come to DC to perform live. Baroness launch a new tour on Friday, August 12 at the Howard Theatre!

Purple is full of pulse-pounding rhythms and rolling drums, such as those found in the latest Baroness single, “Shock Me.” Watch the official music video for “Shock Me” by Baroness on YouTube:

“Shock Me” ranked #10 on Entertainment Weekly’s Top 40 Songs of 2015, while Purple hit #5 on Pitchfork’s list of Best Metal Albums of 2015 and #7 on Rolling Stone’s 20 Best Metal Albums of 2015.

“The cathartic experience of playing live music has not changed over the 13 years of performing,” John said in a recent interview with the SF Weekly. “But the sense of relief and release I feel as an adult is as intense, if not more than, when I was younger. The response to this record has been really, really overwhelming. There have been some pretty dramatic changes in the way that our audiences react to our songs, and I couldn’t be happier about that.”

Arkansas doom metal quartet Pallbearer open for Baroness. Tickets are available online.

w/ Pallbearer
Howard Theatre
Friday, August 12
Show @7pm
All ages

Music Park: Def Leppard @ Jiffy Lube Live — 7/2/15

Def Leppard
Def Leppard (Photo courtesy the band)

There was a remarkable moment in the latter half of the Def Leppard concert at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va., on Thursday.

It was toward the end of the main set of the show, and the famous hard rocking quintet were shaking things up a bit with an instrumental number, “Switch 625” from their second album, High ‘n’ Dry.

The song comes to a close with a stomping drum solo from Rick Allen, who infamously lost his left arm in an auto accident on New Year’s Eve in 1984. It’s one thing to hear the tale of the well-regarded one-armed drummer from Def Leppard, but let me assure you that it’s another entirely to see the man in action.

I wish there were official, or even good quality unofficial, video to show you because it’s a thing of grace to see Rick projected on the big screen as he bangs away at the end of the song with his right arm and his left leg providing fluid drumming throughout the song. To see and hear the flawless piece of work is to admire the symmetry of the human body and to fully appreciate the hard work and pride that Rick puts into his drumming.

Rick’s “Switch 625” drum solo was one of many high points during a solid show from the heavy metal men from Sheffield, England. They performed many perennial favorites including “Foolin’” from hit third album Pyromania, which really first made them a household name in the United States, and “Love Bites” from its powerful follow-up Hysteria.

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Music Park: Torche @ DC9 — 3/29/15

Torche (Photo by Janette Valentine)

Steve Brooks, frontman of Torche, celebrated his birthday Sunday night at DC9. And DC bought him the best gift ever — a very solidly sold out show.

Concert-goers were packed in like sardines for the hard rock quartet’s last night in support of their new album, Restarter.

Although this was Torche’s fourth album, it was my first encounter with the group, formed in Florida more than 10 years ago. So I’m going to focus on talking about the new album and the strong performance Torche brought in support of it.

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