The Metal Files

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Satan, Cauldron & BAT Concert Review, Richmond, VA, October 23, 2016

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Upon waking up Sunday morning, totally parched and tired, Kelz and I got our stuff together and headed South towards Richmond.  He was a little slower than me that morning so I drove us to Vienna, VA to stop at Vienna Music Exchange.  I had met the owner, Mike, the night before and had been wanting to stop in there for quite some time.  After some traffic snags headed down that way, we finally got to the store and I scored some cool stuff.

From there it was down to Richmond to Petey’s and Amy’s house.  By that time, I was starting to fade a bit.  I didn’t sleep that well and was quite tired by the time we got to Richmond.  Petey was ready to party by the time we got there and I succumbed to doing a shot, which helped immensely even though it was tough to get down.   After a couple of hours of catching up, we decided to head towards the venue and grab some quick grub at the restaurant next to The Broadberry.  Our other friend, Danile, was supposed to come up for this one but unfortunately had to back out.

Upon arrival in the venue, I see Ryan and Felix from BAT.  Good dudes.  Richmond locals, Humungus, opened the show and musically and vocally I thought they were great.  Petey said they had a bit of a Heathen vibe and I don’t disagree.  Both the singer and guitarist did great harmony falsetto work and the bassist and drummer held the rhythm down just fine.  The only thing I didn’t like about them was their lyrical content.  Pretty silly for the some of what I could make out.  Shark CastleDrinkin’ Beer.  Solid band overall and I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.

BAT was up next and delivered their Venom-esque set flawlessly as they always do.  I love watching Felix Griffin play drums as he’s just a mean machine back there.  I was getting pretty tired so I sat for part of their set.  As I was at the table in the back of the venue, got to hang out with Mr. Ross a bit more.  Sorry again, Brian, but no more Jager mixers for me!

I didn’t go up front for Cauldron.  I just can’t get into them.  As I mentioned in a previous review, their sound is just too thin.

And then…Satan.  They had a bigger stage this time and could move around a bit.  Since Danile couldn’t make it, Petey drew his face on a plastic cup and we set it at the end of the stage so he could be there in spirit.  Satan got a couple of songs in and then Steve blew his head.  During the change out, Russ and Sean just did a little Voodoo Child rendition and then it was right back into the set.  We got a full set that night as they were shortened by a curfew or anything.  Again, they were awesome.  The crowd had thinned out a bit as it was a Sunday night but we remained up front for the whole set.  Much like the Philly show, I had to get barraged by a person who smelled like hell.  This guy smelled like a chicken house.  It was fucking gross, especially when he started swinging his dreadlocks around.  Luckily he only stayed up for a couple of songs, but goddamn, bathe please.

And just like that, it was over.  I could already feel that little bit of sadness coming on.  But it was a wonderful weekend overall with 2 of my lifelong closest friends.  I couldn’t ask for much more than that.

I called for a Lyft ride to get us back to Petey’s and NWOBHM legend, John Gallagher of Raven, was our fucking driver!  I saw him at the show as he’s old chums with the Satan guys.  We were totally surprised and happy to have a familiar face take us home.  I’ve met John several times and he’s always a gentleman.  I think it was a fitting ending to the night.

Back at Petey’s house, we sat up and hatted for a bit longer and finished off his wife’s homemade beef jerky.  Delicious!   Then off to bed.  Kelz had to get up and be on the road to Raleigh by 830, Petey had to work and Amy, Petey’s wife, had an appt, so not much sleeping in time.  Amy took me the airport and that was that.  Mitchfest over.  I had a lengthy layover in Atlanta and my flight got delayed.  Part of me was hoping for a cancellation as Satan was in town that night, too.  It would have been great to catch a third show, but alas, no luck.

Long live Satan.  Hope they come back in 2017.  I’m hoping to catch Graeme and Steve in the Slyclad reunion in Germany and will definitely see Brian’s Alice Cooper tribute next fall in Newcastle.

Satan Concert Review, Richmond, VA 04/15/2014

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What a whirlwind of shows I have been though in the last couple of weeks.  I’m tired.  So tired.  But it’s a good tired and my music fetish is being well served lately.

So ‘back in the day’ cerca 1984, my friend Daniel (Danile) bought Satan’s Court in the Act and shared it with Kelz, Petey and me and the rest is metal history.  I’ve loved this album since it first hit my ears.  Brian Ross’ vocals mixed with those awesome NWOBHM styled riffs made for a perfect album.  The 4 of us have always been close friends, played in bands together and never lost touch over the years.  We’re bound by metal, friendship, life events (good and bad) and have always been there for one another as needed.

Flash forward 30 years and the 4 of us still adore this album.  When Satan announced a small US tour, there was no way I was going to miss it.  I knew that I’d have to travel somewhere and luckily Richmond, VA was on the list…surprisingly so.  So we started planning the trip.  Kelz and Danile have kids and going out of town on a weeknight was going to be a little more difficult because of family and work obligations but they made it happen.  I’m sure there was some sort of bribery or Jedi mind tricks with their wives.  And that was that.  Another MitchFest was in the works, this time with all 4 of us.  I flew into Raleigh and stayed Monday night with Kelz and the fambly.   Always great hospitality at their house.  Tuesday morning we headed to Suffolk, VA to grab Danile and quickly headed up ti Petey’s house in Richmond.  Unfortunately the wife and kids were out on errands so I didn’t get to see them this time.  The car ride was as expected.  Mama jokes, old stories of our younger years, gushing about metal etc.  Before getting to Richmond, we decided to stop and grab a bite to eat at a BBQ place in Chester, VA.  I love the NC/VA style of pork  BBQ.  I can’t get it in Texas.  My sandwich was perfect, exactly what I needed.

We get to Petey’s and are greeted by his awesome wife, Amy.  He gets home shortly after and after some adult conversation and life and things that matter, the roundtable of silliness begins again.  We’re perpetually 13 years old when we’re all together and it’s a great time.  Now it’s time to get ready for the show.

Satan are playing Strange Matter in Richmond which used to be Twisters and then later Nancy Raygun.  I’ve seen a handful of shows there since the mid-90s and always like the place.  It used to be a bit of a dump, but it had its charm.  It’s been cleaned up quite a bit and I’m glad that location is still doing shows.  Before going in, we park then grub at a pub on the next block.  Just a good time having a meal and a couple of beers with my best friends.

We walk back over to the venue, get our swag out of the car and go in.  I see my pal Tony “Dio” from NC who I’ve known since about 1997 when we met at a Judas Priest show in Norfolk.  I had just seen him the week before at Rangarokkr.  As we’re standing around jibber jabbering, I see John Gallagher from Raven walk in.  How cool is that?  I’ve never been a fan of the band but I did have lunch with him and his brother and their families in 2000 before their show at Jaxx in Springfield, VA.  Nicest guy.  I check out the merch table to hopefully get a Satan shirt, but no luck in my size.  The cool thing was seeing my band’s 7″ on the merch table.  Our label was managing the Satan tour so it was great to meet those guys.

The first band to go on is Salvacion, a band from NC which has the drummer for Volture.  They were OK.  I couldn’t quite gauge exactly what they were going for.  The did a very uncomfortable version of Dokken’s Unchain The Night.  I think I would have enjoyed them more if it wasn’t for the drummer.  I get into that a little bit more when I talk about Volture.

Next up was BAT which features Felix Griffin (DRI) on drums and Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste/Volture) on vocals/bass and Volture’s Nick Poulos on guitar.  They come on and run through a blistering set of thrash/speed metal songs that were all about 3 minutes long.  Old school style.  They were solid and Felix really ripped it up in single bass style on a 4 pc drumset.  I enjoyed it and would love to see them again.

Right after BAT played, I feel a hand on my shoulder and hear a voice say my name.  I turn around and it was a girl that I had dated briefly in 1991 and that I hadn’t seen since right around that time.  She had seen on Facebook that I was in town and just stopped in to say hello.  She couldn’t stay as her husband and kid were outside in the car.  I swear she was only there for about 3 minutes and even paid to get in.  I was floored by the gesture.  The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  That’s the type of person she always was.  Very thoughtful.  It was a special moment for sure.  I’m still a bit “wow’d” by the whole thing.

Volture comes on next and I hadn’t really paid much attention to them in the past.  There’s just so much out there that I can’t keep up any more.  The members are a mishmash of members from Municipal Waste, Immortal Avenger, Twisted Tower Dire, BAT etc.  I really liked the vocals.  The guy has some great pipes and the guitarists are perfect.  But the drummer…I just can’t take it.  He was doing way too many Rikki Rokkett type moves instead of worrying about keeping good time.  I’m a drummer as well.  I’m hyper critical of other drummers that I see.  When he was just playing the beat and not doing dumb stick tricks, his timing was fine.  But when he’d go into circus mode, the timing would fluctuate, he wasn’t hitting the snare cleanly and it would drop out of the mix and he tended to keep time on his bass drum to where he’s hitting the bass and snare at the same time.  Sorry, it just annoyed me to no end.  Obviously his band has no issue with it, but I would for sure. :)  But again, overall they sounded killer.

And then…Satan…SATAN.  I never ever thought in my lifetime that I’d get to see them live.  Right as Volture ended we made our way to the front of the stage.  Danile and I were right on the barricade and Kelz and Petey were right behind us.  Satan opens up with Trial By Fire and Ross’ vocals are on point.  He skipped the first scream in the song and I though ‘uh oh, he can’t do it any more.’  And then there it was.  His patented high notes came on cue everywhere else in the song and the rest of the set.  I was completely in awe as to how well he still sings.  He sounded perfect.  They ran though a mix of songs from Court in the Act, Life Sentence, a couple of early demos and one from Into the Future of which Brian wasn’t the singer.  They added No Turning Back mid-set which was a nice surprise.  Of course we were hoping to hear the whole Court album but I have no complaints whatsoever about the set.  They were incredible.  Ramsey/Tippins are still a formidable guitar duo and the songs on their latest album prove that.  It was just such a powerful set.  Still blown away as to how good Ross’ vocals are.

After the show, most people leave and we stick around to meet the Satan guys.  Success!   They all come out after a little break and sign swag, take pictures with us nerds etc.  It was especially nice to be sitting between Sean Taylor and John Gallagher listening to them talk about gifts they’ve sent to each others kids and some “back in the day” kinds of things.

It’s been a week since the show and I am still buzzing about it.  Really a once in a lifetime show.  Even more, I got to spend some quality time with my three best friends.  That was as important as the show.  It’s really nice knowing that even if we don’t see each other that often these days, we can always pick up right where we left off.  Love those guys.

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File found: Gene Hoglan

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This is the accompanying photo to this previous blog.

Written by The Metal Files

February 8, 2010 at 7:31 am

Found this today…

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while going through some boxes…

Metal Church!  Craig Wells, me, Mike Howe.  1989, Blessing in Disguise Tour @ The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA.  Fun bunch of dudes.  Man, I was 19.  Simpler times for sure.

Written by The Metal Files

February 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm

My Life With Lizzy Borden

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“Hello suckers!” = Lizzy Borden

The first time I had seen or heard of Lizzy Borden was from a little photo and small article in Circus Magazine.  It was a cool shot of the band in black and white standing on the roof of a building and Lizzy had a big axe proppoed on his toe.  Would love to find that photo somewhere.

I think I first heard them on one of the old Metal Blade Records compilations but it wasn’t really until 1986 that I got into them via a former friend from high school.  I remember going to his house and he had the Give ‘Em The Axe EP on vinyl.  I was hooked.  In subsequent years we all got into Love You To Pieces and the Muderess Metal Roadshow thanks to the VHS they put out,  Good times!  That former friend from high school and I did Give “em The Axe for our junior year air band contest.  I think we won because everyone else was a bit scared.

Sure Lizzy and the band always looked a bit silly and even more so now, but they’ve never really done a bad record.  I finally got to see them play at the NORVA in Norfolk, VA back in 2004 opening for Yngwie, not long before their guitarist, Alex Nelson, was killed in a car wreck.  He was a killer player.  They were all very cool folks.   I couldn’t believe they didn’t play Give ‘Em the Axe though!  I felt cheated!

So, here’s the review that you’ve so anxiously been waiting for.

Give ‘Em The Axe EP – 1984

This was a cool EP.  The title tracks rules.  No Time to Lose and Kiss of Death are cool.  I never liked their cover of Long Live Rock and Roll (Rainbow).  7/10

Love You To Pieces – 1985

Oh man.  This album rules.  There’s not a bad track on it but the highlights ae Warfare, American Metal, Rod of Iron and Red Rum.  I listened to this tape so much.  No telling how many copies I went through over the years.  10/10

Menace To Society – 1986

Another fantastic record by Lizzy Borden but it suffered severely from poor production.  It was very tinny and I don’t really know that a bass was used on it.  I’m one of the few Lizzy fans who actually thinks this one is as good as the previews album.  My faves are Notorious, Ursa Minor and Love Kills.  10/10

Terror Rising EP – 1987

Ugh.  This really was a bit of a waste of petroleum based materials.  Catch Your Death was a cool tune but the cover version of the Tubes’ Don’t Touch Me There with Betsy from Bitch, the title track and the god awful cover of White Rabbit makes me with I could get my $5.98 back from the Music Man.  2/10

Visual Lies – 1987

Another Lizzy album that I love but it’s a lot different than their previous albums.  It’s a little more polished in production terms and a little more palatable for the MTV crowd.  They had a video for Me Against the World and the song was featured in the terrible movie Black Roses.  I dig the album though.  There are some really great tracks like Lord of the Flies, Shock Treatment, the title track and Eyes of a Stranger.  Worthwhile listening for sure.  By the way, this featured Joe Holmes on guitar who was in Ozzy for a brief time.  9/10

Master of Disguise – 1989

This is where started losing me a bit.  While it’s not a bad album, it was missing something.  I could never put my finger on it.  I think that this was supposed a solo album by Lizzy…allegedly.  I haven’t listened to this one in years and years.  I won’t anytime soon!  1/10

Deal With the Devil – 2000

This was a good comeback album for the guys.  I like this one a lot and still spin it a few times a year.  There Will Be Blood Tonight is a good track.  Their cover of Alice Cooper’s Generation Landslide was pretty decent too.  I really dig Zanzibar and The World Is Mine.  7/10

Appointment With Death – 2007

I haven’t listened to this one since it came out but I don’t remember it striking me like the previous album did.  Can’t really even name any songs off of it…so there you go.  0/10

So, as it stands, I always recommend Love You to Pieces, Menace to Society and Visual Lies to everyone.

Buzzard – Exercises & Transmutations of the Applicable Techniques for the Chrome-Plated Mystical Squeegie of Destiny (1998)

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OK, this Buzzard album is even more rare and obscure than Churp!!! I have heard many of these songs live at shows and at their practices and hearing the studio versions for the first time today is absolutely making my brain hurt.  Patrick Walsh & Co. deliver another fine prog-metal-jazz-science fiction teenage crap album that really should get a proper release on CD and not just around the blogosphere.

The songs on here are all very short but transition into each other a lot like they did on Churp!!!  It’s an album that certainly needs to be heard from beginning to end.  I hear some things on hear that I didn’t really hear on the previous album…Goblin!  You know Goblin, right?  Italian prog rock band whose music was used for a ton of classic Italian horror flicks?  Maybe it’s just me, but I can hear some of that in there.

If you’re into odd timed, whacked out, progressive jazz, fusion, metal etc, then this album may even appeal to you more than Churp!!! does.

  1. The return of the Son of the 35-8Solution
  2. Blind daughters of Polyphemus
  3. Harvestors of Cust
  4. Cranial fist stench
  5. The dreaded deep doodoo motif
  6. Pythagoras
  7. The 35-8 solution
  8. Peeyurmp
  9. The coronation of King eggplanthead
  10. Exile for the house of flounderface
  11. The sun of flounderface as the rightful heir
  12. Full brown exile
  13. The Lament of simon Magus
  14. Quantum flux bedris field
  15. Probe M 87
  16. Pungent crust metaphor
  17. Circus Plantia – I. Watched them fall from the sky
  18. Circus Plantia – II. Time is like water to him
  19. Circus Plantia – III. The Corinthian picks his teeth
  20. Circus Plantia – IV. Light still bends to him
  21. Sweet grey Chitterlings
  22. Blind daughter of Polyphemus
  23. Mr.Spocks ancient vulcan secrets
  24. I.  ChicknFingrFuckr
  25. II. ChicknFingrFugato
  26. III. The stuccato Fugato Mulato
  27. The potato wedgie Mulato
  28. Mr Spocks Fragant Vulcan secret

Guitars – Patrick Walsh
Drums – Mark Henry
Bass – Kevin Anderson

Thanks to hofee (Germany) for getting these in my hands.

Download it here.

Paul Dianno is coming back the the USA?!

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According to published reports, Paul got his visa cleared to do a US tour.  I guess I will try to go since he will be playng a few blocks from my apartment.

My history with seeing Paul live is pretty interesting, well to me it is. 

The first time was Battlezone/Obsession in 1987 at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  I loved the Battlezone records and got stoked on seeing 2 bands that I loved.  The whole time Battlezone was on stage, we were hanging out with Obsession and I never really got to check them out.  Pity.

The second time was in 1993.  The bill was Paul Dianno’s Killers and Solitude Aeturnus at the original Peppermint Beach Club in Virginia Beach, VA.  At this point, I was a HUGE Solitude fan and was more stoked on seeing them than seeing Paul.  I thought his Killers stuff was terrible.  I get to the venue early that afternoon as I was always prone to do to get some stuff signed and Solitude was inside hanging out.  I had them sign both of my cassettes(!!!).  Super cool guys.  Shortly thereafter Paul and his band came in and I had him sign my Battlezone LPs, Iron Maiden’s Live +1 (Greek pressing) and a compilation called The Best of British Rock which featured Dianno’s first post-Maiden band “Dianno” doing Antigua which was a great song.  That album also had Persian Risk on it which featured some of the guys that were in Battlezone/Killers.  Paul called his bandmates over and they all signed it and we hung out for a while.  Paul asked me if I played pool and drank beer.  Yes!  We shot pool together and drank a few pitchers of beer and just talked about stuff.  I never talked about Maiden with him other than to say that I was a big fan.  He was pretty cool.  Now, if you’ve read his book “Beast”, you’d see the other side of Paul that it seems most people saw and I got to see later than evening.

After Solitude Aeturnus played to a crowd of a whopping 30 people or so, I helped them get their gear offstage and ended up hanging out backstage with them during Dianno’s set, missing him play one more time.  About ¾ through the set we hear the music stop suddenly and one of the Solitude guys opens the backstage door.  On stage you see Graham Bath holding his jaw and Dianno says, “We’ll start playing again as soon as my guitar player stops playing like a c*nt!”  I remember looking at John Perez of Solitude and thinking WTF?  John said it was a common occurrence.  Paul talks about his habit of fighting people over stupid stuff quite a bit in his book.  I feel lucky to have survived my few hours with him unscathed!

So…2 times I’ve gone to see Paul play and missed him both time.  Hopefully in February I’ll actually get to see him play.