You may notice that my annual concert tally is down a bit from last year, but that’s what happens when life gets in the way. This is by no means a ranking. Rather, it is just log of shows I went to in 2019. Although, admittedly, the Iron Maiden gig would top my all-time list. And yes, the personal bias is strong on that one. How many did yinz make it to? List them in...

I normally don’t rank or put too much stock in EP’s, but I heard enough memorable and hopeful ones this year that they deserved to be honored in their own list for 2019. History has shown that EP’s can jumpstart band’s careers, and I think that may happen in at least some of these cases. Let’s begin! Royal Honey-Hype Money, and Misbehavior  Riparian-s/t Cianide-Unhumanized Dusk-The Toll  Beastmaker-Eye of the Storm   Feverhawk-Nocturnal Urge  Leather Lung-Lonesome, On’ry...

I’ve dreaded having to compile this list for a few years now as I almost found it too daunting and risky. What would I be leaving out? Which albums would prove to be controversial inclusions? What haven’t I heard? However, in curating this roll call of greatness, I was reminded of the stylistic diversity and strength heavy metal possesses and how it seems to constantly branch out into endless tributaries. We bore aural witness to...

Welcome to yet another year-end metal albums list, and what a 12 months it has been! Older bands and newcomers from myriad subgenres fought alongside and against each other for honor and the common hessian cause. Veteran acts said farewell and young lions bathed in baptismal, Promethean fires. Yes, I listed 80 albums this year, making for an unprecedented roll call! Paring it down proved to be far too difficult. The numerical rankings are fairly...

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When the underground was young, black and death metal were synonymous with each other. Those days are no more. However, these genres have crossed streams quite often since then and remain kindred to this day. Tonight’s gory revue was an opportunity to examine and celebrate that. In one corner, hailing from Austria, we had the occult death/black metalists known as Belphegor snorting brimstone and kicking with cloven hooves. In the other, hailing from Long Island,...

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A casual Hard Rock Café-style venue in the unassuming Pittsburgh suburb of Baldwin was where crypts opened, sandstorms raged, curses were realized, and long-dead pharaohs were resurrected last week. Nile, led by founder and metal archaeologist Karl Sanders, were in town to support the release of their latest opus Vile Nilotic Rites and represented it duly as “Long Shadows of Dread,” “Snake Pit Mating Frenzy,” and the title track proved to be highlights of the...

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  Epic, Pittsburgh traditional metal power trio Legendry recently let slip their third full-length concept album within a four-year span, The Wizard and the Tower Keep telling a harrowing, musical fantasy tale of virtue challenging evil in a far-off land that time has forgotten. The album begins with an earnest medieval folk tune and never looks back, its Manilla Road aspirations effectively filling a void left by the death of that band’s key member Mark...

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  Throwback metal dominators Savage Master have been campaigning ruthlessly within the underground metal scene for the past 6 years, their Bitch/Exciter alchemy entertaining audiences at large festivals and intimate club gigs alike with a NWOBHM verve to compliment their leathery, spiked, shock-rock showmanship. A mere stroke of luck is not the reason for Savage Master’s growth in stature as a sought-after support act for bands such as High Spirits and even GWAR! Rather, Savage...

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  The unseasonably humid air was thick with fog and mystique that wafted into the underground lair of Cattivo as two bands who have dueled before in Pittsburgh chose to engage each other once again, on a Monday night no less. Warbringer and Enforcer are each intensely devout regarding their respective metal denominations, the former worshipful of German thrash as the latter prays to the gods of the NWOBHM. Having seen them on two other...

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The air outside was arid and the overall climate broiling, making the gentrified neighborhood of Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville seem as if it were a battlefield in a hellscape of a forgotten world and therefore appropriate for the conclusion of a music festival that Robert E. Howard himself may have dreamt up had he lived in our era. White Alice broke the champagne bottle with a set of Sunn O)))-like sounds in the vein of yesterday’s opener...

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Mollie Black (Clea Cutthroat) from local shock rockers Hot Pink Satan emceed what would be yet another decathlon for Steel Town hessians, her risqué, dominatrix image and hip-wiggle giving Descendants of Crom III a fun, classy, Midnight Special vibe. She was the hostess with the mostest for sure and was the siren who led us to our collective doom. Chris Tritschler from local trad metal stars Lady Beast opened the first official day of Descendants...

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  A proper prelude to the third annual Descendants of Crom took place at Howlers yesterday evening, tingling spines with an eclectic mixture of bands doom and stoner and some that strayed far from that particular Venn diagram. Motometer, a quirky hometown power trio, broke the seal for the festival with a set of groovy, progressive 70’s fuzzrock that put Budgie, Primus, Led Zeppelin, and the guitar mathematics of Robert Fripp into a tornado. The act’s...

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To whet appetites for Descendants of Crom 3, which occurs this Saturday and Sunday at Cattivo in Lawrenceville, Howler’s Coyote Café in Bloomfield will host a pre-party featuring Icarus Witch, Fox 45, Enhailer, Motometer, Void King, and Submachine. Icarus Witch’s trad/power/prog will do battle with Enhailer’s doom/stoner/sludge, Submachine’s punk attack, Void King’s rock-n-roll Sabbath twist, Fox 45’s cosmic molasses, and Motometer’s nameless, genre-defying blues. While DOC may lean towards the slower end of the heavy...

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Desecendants of Crom III begins this Friday night with a pre-gala at Howler’s in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood and continues at Cattivo in Lawrenceville for the remainder of the weekend. One of the many bands that will grace the fest with its collective presence is New York’s Sun Voyager.   Self-reporting as “earthy heavygaze rockers,” Sun Voyager simply wail regardless of what they call themselves and do so with a bent towards the more unusual 70’s...

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Scott “Wino” Weinrich has found himself darkening the corridors of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area numerous times with his many bands, but it his particularly free-wheelin’, easy ridin’ biker doom vehicle The Obsessed that will roll into Cattivo next weekend. Yes, Pittsburgh’s Descendants of Crom III festival has seen a change in its lineup for its 2019 edition. ASG were to headline Day 1 (Saturday 9/21), but due to unforeseen circumstances, The Obsessed are taking their...

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Beginning the evening of Friday September 20th at Howler’s and running through until Saturday September 21st and Sunday September 22nd at Cattivo, Pittsburgh’s third annual Descendants of Crom festival brings doom and stoner metal to the forefront while touching on some other sub-genres and leaving no hessian dissatisfied. I chatted with the event’s organizer, Shy Kennedy, who also fronts the band Horehound and heads up Blackseed Records when she’s not promoting shows. Here’s what she...

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  Iron Maiden are my most treasured band bar none, so expect some bias in this review. But instead of being euphoric about seeing them this past Saturday night, I was a tightly-wound ball of nerves. Would I have a problem getting into the venue? Would their ticketless anti-scalper entry procedure thwart me? Would my old iPhone 5c betray me (it’s no longer compatible with the Ticketmaster mobile app)? Would I get a decent vantage...

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One could say that nascent  promoter Steel & Bone Productions has a Marshall Plan in store for the Pittsburgh underground metal scene. To kick off their campaign, we were given a seven-act Saturday night showcase at Cattivo featuring a number of bands that played last year’s Migration 2 Festival, allowing fans to sample what they may have missed out on or relive it if they attended it. Note: Migration returns in 2020. Abysme, a local act...