Category Archives: Concert Review

Nukem Melted Down the Brick

Nukem ALL!
(L to R: Vocalist/guitarist Steve Brogden, drummer/birthday boy Norm Leggio, guitarist Laura Christine and bassist Don Lauder)

Nukem were on a mission to make their biggest explosion yet! Nuclear hellfire and all, we were not on a mission to find a fallout shelter because we wanted to absorb whatever they launched at us. Radiation and Geiger meter be damned! On June 3 the Brick By Brick housed an unforgettable night filled with balloons, thrash and cake? That’s right CAKE, not only to commemorate Nukem’s fifth anniversary as a band but to also celebrate and surprise one of their band member’s birthday milestone.

Jenny Oh: The cool kids finally invited us to their surprise birthday party Chuggo! Which means we’re FINALLY cool! Right?

Chuggo the Klown:  That never stopped the Klown! ‘Cause then they be like “OH! Please get us beer! Please gets us weed! Watch out for my dog, he doesn’t know you!” Then usually I would say “Nah man, I’m cool.”

J: My god they sound so damn needy! And…

C: I know right!? That’s why the Klown charges to make appearances

J: Oh I was gonna say that you finally referred to yourself in third person, you freak! Perhaps you will finally stop embarrassing me, especially in front of all my new friends!

C: You mean in front of Malison? The guys don’t even know you!

J: Or you ‘cause you suck and you smell!

C: Well their newest member Sharky would beg to differ!

Malison’s newest edition, guitarist Sharky, will shred and chomp ya down while drummer Nick Mafi pounds you down!

J: He was just being polite!

C: No he just knows greatness when he sees it, that’s why he joined Malison!

J: I will only agree with the second part of your statement! I didn’t know what to expect from these guys but I gotta say, they blew me away. Their sound is a whole new different kind of thrashy breed with some power metal elements.

C: They brought some Bay Area thrash influences with a touch of SoCal groove. The Klown understands why Holy Grail handpicked them!

J: Malison not only brought a great set with great and catchy music but their members were so fun to watch especially your new friend and guitarist Sharky. It was a good time whether we were laughing at the jokes vocalist/bassist Steven Rondina would make or watching Sharky get down with his axe.

Never a dull moment with Malison!
(L to R: Vocalist/bassist Steven Rondina, drummer Nick Mafi, guitarist Mario Lovio, guitarist Sharky)

C: Speaking of friends and Sharky, my bestie, Temblad managed to surprise the Klown. They surprised the Klown not just because he got to see them again but because of one of their newest additions.

J: You mean you know the new guitarist Dave Calhoun and the bassist Kyle Netland? Damn Chuggo, you’re such a socialite!

C: The Klown was not expecting a high school reunion but there he was, their new guitarist/ex bassist Dave Calhoun. We obviously missed the first reunion but I guess not this time!

temblad band logo pic
For the first time in forever, we see Temblad again! (L to R: guitarist Dave Calhoun, vocalist/guitarist Lorenzo Kemp, drummer Marlon Matthew and bassist Kyle Netland)

J: You’re doing first person again?! You must be sober! So you didn’t know the other new member? Nevermind I guess you’re not that cool. Anyway, it was so great to finally get our Temblad fix…it’s been too long! *Stares off into the distance*

C: I’ll say! The Klown finally got to hear “The Murderous Fifth” and “Mockery of the Fanatic” in real time! But the real treat was the Klown’s favorite song “Ship of Traitors.”

J: Temblad sounded fresh, vocalist/lead guitarist Lorenzo Kemp slayed his performance and was so happy to be there especially after sharing with fans their journey as a band and assembling their current lineup.

Lorenzo Kemp of Temblad shivered our timbers!

C: They made me tremble. Speaking of shivering me timbers, vocalist/lead guitarist Lucas Kanopa of Void Vator…that voice though! I know it’s meant for the ladies but damn!

J: Okay Klown, because you are now objectifying Mr.Kanopa…I shall now partake in this vulgar display of affection! His angel face matches that voice and rhythm, he is sure to lure demons towards the righteous path with his skills and looks.

C: Settle down, Pastor Jenny Oh! It was rock show not a sermon…but I agree! Because the “Time Has Come.”

Lucas Kanopa of Void Vator will lure demons into the light side of the moon.

J: For what? More objectification of this beautiful angel?! Ok! These LA rockers brought the spirit of the Sunset Strip to us minus the broken dreams and starving artists because we have plenty to spare here.

C: Sometime I hear the spirit of Vince Neil roams around the Sunset Strip crying about being barred from the Rainbow Bar & Grill because the powerful spirit of Lemmy doesn’t fuck around.

J: Yes, I shall contact Buzzfeed…again to investigate this, Rumor is you can know hear Vince’s spirit at the Brick but I don’t man. Now that we shed light on the ghost of Vince Neil, Void Vator did a great combo of old and new LA rock offering a new and invigorating take on this genre.

Void Vator brought the Sunset Strip to us.
(L to R: Bassist Ian Shea , drummer German Moura, vocalist/guitarist Lucas Kanopa, guitarist Erik Kluiber)

C: Major props to guitarist Erik Kluiber because he managed to make two trips to our humble abode in one month for the inaugural Metal Assault Vol.1 SAN DIEGO EDITION! *Jazz hands* Not only did he not miss a beat but his voice helped accompanied and amplified Kanopa’s angelic voice.

J: Keeping the spirit of of influential genres alive were the headliners Nukem. To make this celebration extra special, Jack Kwiatkowski, the co-host of the now defunct “Another State of Mind” segment (from the radio station San Diego’s 105.3), made the big reveal to the drummer Norm Leggio that the show was a surprise birthday party.

C: AND a commemoration of the band’s fifth anniversary. Jack also shared the fun stories Leggio and him had during their times hosting the awesome but lost show “Another State of Mind.” Enough memories! *Wipes away tears, smears makeup*

J: They assembled with badass/guitarist Laura Christine in tow! Christine along with vocalist/guitarist Steve Brogden slashed us with ear splitting thrash and riffs.

Guitarist Laura Christine and bassist Don Lauder of Nukem showed off their riffs.

C:  Aww shiiiiah! The lady of the shred. Just like she can tame any beast, she can tame any guitar string!

J: Stop embarrassing me in front of her and the rest of Nukem!

C: “Evelyn’s Awakening,” WE FINALLY HEARD IT LIVE! Since we didn’t have a chance last time because the set had to be cut short L

J: Yeah but we always have The Unholy Trinity and a killer video to binge on this song and then some!

C: That’s true but it’s not the same, you’ll almost feel like “The Deceiver” when you recommend to people to listen to the album instead of the show.

J: No! I’m telling people if they had the misfortune of missing their show, check out their album to nurse the feels of missing the show.

C: The best part of this show was that bassist Don Lauder was in great health and spirits. We were unexpectedly invited to Leggio’s birthday and for once the cake was not a lie! What better way for him to embark on his other professional endeavors. If Leggio happens to be reading this, on behalf of Ugh Metal, break a leg and have a great tour!

The battle of the axes! Steve Vs. Laura…who will win?!

J: And thanks for the sick shirts! We wish you the best and many more birthday! Though we may be a tad late on these tardy wishes but Chuggo’s sex accident was to blame…again.

C: Hey! The guy wanted to verify my sex because he didn’t believe I’m all man!

J: Any excuse to pull down your pants huh?

C: I don’t need an excuse! On that note, close this out sister of mine. SAY SOMETHING WITTY!

J: OK! I’ll give it the ol’ college try! *Clears throat, does quick vocal exercises* No amount of darkness could dim Nukem that night and went out with a bang. ‘Tis gonna be a long year without a Nukem performance but I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait! We can’t wait to see what these individuals will offer to the metal scene when they come back in full force.

Within radius of Nukem’s fallout.
(L to R: Vocalist/guitarist Steve Brogden, drummer Norm Leggio, guitarist Laura Christine and bassist Don Lauder)

Helheim Soldiers On

Helheim strutting their axes.
(L to R: Vocalist/bassist Ørjan “V’Gandr” Nordvik, guitarist/vocalist Tom “H’Grimnir” Korsvold, and Noralf “Reichborn” Venås)

America was SO ready for the second coming of iconic Norwegian black metallers Taake. With corpse paint and leather spiked bands in tow, fans were prepared to follow frontman of Taake Hoest in to the enchanting metaphorical forest of Norway but then a YUUUUGE wall sprung out of the earth and said “STOP THERE BAD HOMBRES!” jeopardizing Taake’s American tour dates till another set of legends stepped up to the plate. These badasses in question are none other than fellow legends Helheim who not only performed their first American show on May 26 at the Brick By Brick but also salvaged the North American tour with black metal acts from our Golden State.

The first artist to step in to make this black metal mass possible was local one man band Morphesia. The Ugh Metal team has had the pleasure of seeing frontman Zombie Thirteen in action twice before. As opposed to the last time we saw Thirteen perform a predominantly instrumental set (April 1), the vocalist/guitarist balanced his set with both instrumentals and resonating growls. Morphesia built anticipation for his upcoming 2017 album I Forever End (TBA) and performed tracks from the album such as the hauntingly serene “The Moon,” “Towards the Sea” and “I” to name a few.

Vocalist/guitarist of Morphesia, Zombie Thirteen, is still embracing the light.

Thirteen continued to shine amidst his reinvention by performing his slow burning but climactic black metal hymns to the Egyptian gods and the elements. Gone are the days where Thirteen dawned the corpse paint and “black metal” regalia to usher a more intimate set where his bare face is now lit up with ambient imagery from his projector. Before the frontman wrapped up his set, he shared the wealth and announced that there were free 3 track samplers from I Forever End by the merch stands. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Morphesia, you are missing out my friend. I Forever End is shaping up to be quite the album based on what we’ve heard that night and in the sampler. Don’t believe? You can check out what the Klown thought about it so far.

The venue soon became a dark alley where the order of black metal assassins known as Sicarius ditched their cloaks and busted out their daggers. Not even the Great Wall would be able to contain frontman Kurt Karcass’ militant vigor. Karcass stalked the eager crowd in front of him while he released his growls and reaped their souls with his antagonistic glance. That look the vocalist always brings to every unholy gathering is a feature no black metal prop will ever match up to when it comes to setting the mood.

Sicarius ditched their cloaks and busted out their daggers.
(L to R: Guitarist Merihim, vocalist Kurt Karcass, drummer Brandon Zackey and guitarist Argyris)

Karcass jumped right into the jaws of the pit to get a closer look at his prey and encircled his targets while his harsh vocals blared in the mic, fueling the thrilling atmosphere. The frontman unloaded his melodic fury on the crowd which was fed by Argyris and Merihim’s riffs. Bassist Carnage along with drummer Brandon Zackey maintained their rhythm sneakily devouring your ear drums. The Californian quintet prevailed once again and continued to wow with another unforgettable performance and are sure to lure new spectators in to their creed.

The newly signed symphonic black metallers Empyrean Throne rolled in with the ceremonial and cinematic strings of “The Twilight Order” with vocalist Andrew Knudsen wearing a medieval doctor’s mask while gently swinging a thurible. After Knudsen marked everyone with the incense and finishing the first song, the quintet appropriately transitioning to “The Devouring Mark.”Empyrean Throne knew that fresh blood was needed for this sacrifice and busted out a newer song “None Shall Rise” which will enchant the masses on August 11 in their debut LP Chaosborne.

The newly signed Empyrean Throne reign in their court.
(L to R: Guitarist Mike Brennan, vocalist Andrew Knudsen, drummer Leviathan , and guitarist Spencer Strange)

Though the animal skull and the four sets of candles they had on display conspired against the band to steal the show, Knudsen and company didn’t let that stop them from continuing their dark ritual and shared a few laughs about it with fans. M-Audio Theory Records’ latest talent brought a fresh and fun attitude that some black metal bands would shy away from. These guys can make you the main offering and you won’t even know it because their playful attitude will distract you and you will see them grow dark when it’s too late …we ain’t even mad at all. We can’t wait to see what this Californian quartet will do next.

After Empyrean Throne finished their black metal ceremony, Helheim took the American stage for the first time! Whoa…How lucky were we?!! The Norwegian black metallers were surprised by the reception and love they received from the intimate crowd, making that moment a testament of quality over quantity. Helheim wasted no time and kicked off with “Madr” and “Jernskogen” and shifted to their latest material such as “Synir af heidindomr,” “Rista blodorn” and the haunting “Ymr.”

Ørjan “V’Gandr” Nordvik and guitarist Noralf “Reichborn” Venås of Helheim have a little showdown.

“Ymr” was sure to reach your core because of the emotion Ørjan “V’Gandar” Nordvik evoked by expertly transitioning back and forth between clean and harsh vocals which are sure to give you chills when it seeps in to your ears. In the instrumental parts of the song, V’Gandar spread out his arms with his eyes shut like a holy man channeling turning this song into a dark and beautiful incantation.

Helheim continued to craft and charge the atmosphere with more mysticism by letting loose the battle hymns “Raunijar,” and “Baklengs mot intet” and paid homage to the great Bathory by covering “Home of Once Brave.”

V’Gandr is in a reverie.
(L to R: Vocalist/bassist Ørjan “V’Gandr” Nordvik, lead guitarist Noralf “Reichborn” Venås and rhythm guitarist/vocalist Tom “H’Grimnir” Korsvold )

Before wrapping up their set, Nordvik addressed the situation that threatened to dismantle this tour and thanked those that attended the show. The vocalist promised Taake would return and we hope to see Helheim back as well for a second coming to take us through another stroll into the Norwegian black metal forest.

Ugh Metal Joins The Brotherhood Of Testament

Testament show us their power!
(L to R: Guitarist Alex Skolnick, bassist Steve Di Giorgio and vocalist Chuck Billy)

Legendary thrashers Testament brought some of that bay area thrash to our shores at the House of Blues on May 16 on their first California stop. This show’s a little extra special because not only was it a Testament show with an impressive lineup with seasoned metallers in tow such as Prong and Sepultura but because it was on the eve of our first anniversary (May 17)! That’s right, one year of murdering grahmmur and counting, sweet cheeks! Before you ask, yes, we are accepting gifts but please settle down guys, not all at once! Now enough about us and back to the unofficial Ugh Metal birthday pre-party!

Assuming mercury was in retrograde that day, we sadly made it a little over halfway to Prong’s set due to a few setbacks…I know, we are ready for the “BOO, YOU WHORES!!” The Ugh Metal stooges arrived just in time for the song that they were shouting at the Ugh Metal mark #2 a few minutes before hopping on the Ugh Metal mark #1, “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.” We will not confirm nor deny that it was actually the other way around, since the U.M.M.2 was allegedly not complying and laughing at them while they pushed its lifeless ass and parked it… you know what, back to the show. YAY!

Prong soothed the Ugh Metal stooges’ sore, decrepit bodies and made everyone come alive with their 1994 hit. Though frontman/ guitarist Tommy Victor remained faithful to his mic stand, he expelled a lot of passion and intensity for this rabid anthem while bassist Mike Longworth buzzed around and drummer Art Cruz was merciless at the drum kit. We hope to see the trio back in our neck of woods and hope to be there for the WHOLE set.

Prong play the song we were shouting at the Ugh Metal mobile mark 2 earlier in the evening, “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.” Thanks for giving us the shitty spot U.M.M.2 -_-
(L to R: Drummer Art Cruz, vocalist/guitarist Tommy Victor and bassist/backing vocalist Mike Longworth)

The co-headliners don’t need an introduction, it was the renowned Sepultura cover band called Sepultura 2.0! TROLOLOL! Assuming this grabbed your attention and you fell in to the trap and are still reading all I have to say for myself is, don’t get your band tees and vinyls in a bunch and grow up! TROLOLOL’ing aside, the iconic name alone had the warm and sweaty bodies around us grow closer in a non sexual way… for once… ‘cause we totally get that all the time ‘cause we’re Ugh Metal, betch! Anyway, now that its increasingly quite right now, let me tell you that it was anything but quiet especially when Sepultura’s Derrick Green unleashed his growl for “I Am The Enemy” with the instrumental chaos blaring.

The string of new material didn’t end there! Machine Messiah was there to stay as the band dove right into “Phantom Self” and later in the set played the theatrical “Resistant Parasites” and “Sworn Oath” which Green fueled with intensity as he passionately expelled the lyrics. Sepultura knew that fans were gonna be craving the old stuff and they delivered and sandwiched “Kaiowas” from Chaos A.D. in between the newer stuff.

Sepultura show us who are the “Messiah”
(L to R: Bassist Paulo Jr., vocalist Derrick Green, drummer , and Eloy Casagrande and guitarist Andreas Kisser)

That’s not all! It’s not a Sepultura show without their iconic hits but they weren’t gonna unload the goods so early into the show. The thrashers wrapped up their set with their iconic songs “Refuse/Resist,” “Ratamahatta” and of course “Roots Bloody Roots.” Though Green’s take on these hits felt slightly tamer than Max Cavalera’s because they are obviously two different artists with their own style, the frontman made them his own. Green’s version may (personally) feel slightly mellow but they will slowly burrow itself into your brain and muscles and then BAM! You’re in the pit or raising some hell! Whereas Cavalera’s immediately slaps you silly and makes you ready to fuck shit up.

Having seen Cavalera not once but twice this year gave me this personal feel and better insight in this half assed elementary level compare and contrast. To be clear though, I am NOT bashing on Green or Sepultura. In fact, it was such a tremendous honor to finally see these legends perform in our hometown. It’s still borderline surreal that the Ugh Metal team was so fortunate to be intoxicated with Green’s melodic but harsh vocals and see THE Andreas Kisser shred live and in Technicolor before our eyes and a few feet away from us.

Derrick Green of Sepultura sounds off the military drums!
(L to R: Bassist Paulo Jr., vocalist Derrick Green, drummer Eloy Casagrande and guitarist Andreas Kisser)

Kisser is gifted to say the least and you can watch him play for hours, as he rightfully deserves to be the metal living legend. Lest we forget OG supreme member and bassist Paulo Jr. slapped that bass like his life depended on it while flashing his warmest smile to their faithful legions. Maybe someday we’ll be treated to a duet with Green and Cavalera and the rest of Sepultura jamming, a girl can dream, right!?

Now that the crowd was riled up and rejoicing in their bloody roots, Testament officially inducted us all to the “Brotherhood of the Snake” and had us “Rise Up” in our invisible seats and ended their first set of new songs with “Centuries of Suffering” with a mesmerizing guitar solo from Alex Skolnick. Skolnick was not the only one to show off his skills that night, throughout the performance guitarist Eric Peterson, drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Steve Di Giorgio had their moment in the sun and created a melodic supernova.

Alex Skolnick of Testament promises more cool riffs for those that join the brotherhood…AND pies!

The thrashers busted out the big guns and dusted off classics that they had not performed live in a long time.  The pit grew when vocalist Chuck Billy announced “Low” and their ode to the sweaty whirlpool “Into The Pit” and “Souls of Black.” Billy kept the nostalgia alive by sharing a personal anecdote when they were touring and trying to think of an album title for their follow up to The New Order.

Billy reminisced how drunk they had gotten during the filming of a music video when they were in Texas, and how they attended the local bar where a little known band by the name of Pantera was playing. After meeting and living it up with the up and coming musicians, inspiration struck Billy and named their follow up Practice What You Preach and performed the titular song.

Testament induct us into the “Brotherhood of the Snake”
(L to R: Guitarist Alex Skolnik, bassist Steve Di Giorgio and vocalist Chuck Billy)

Testament wrapped up their fantastic set with the super classic “Over The Wall” off of their debut The Legacy. It was Ugh Metal’s first time in seven years watching these bay area thrashers live and it was worth the wait. If San Diego had their own version of Clash of the Titans show, we’d hope to see these icons in our backyard again!      

Soulfly Adds Brazilian Touch to Cinco De Mayo

Max Cavalera of Soulfly adds a Brazilian touch to Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Drink-o, America’s third favorite drinking holiday is a time where most Americans pretend to be Mexican for a day regardless of what the first clown president thinks about Mexico. The Klown and the Ugh Metal team busted out their Mexican side and took our American asses to the Brick By Brick to kick off the Cinco de Mayo weekend with Soulfly and company.

First up was none other than the local quintet known as Godhammered. The moment front man Ray Garcia got on stage while wearing a green and red Rey Mysterio luchador mask with a beer in one hand and a mic on the other, the Klown knew three things at that moment. One, Garcia was prepared for the occasion and about to body slam us with a heavy dose of metal of the 6-1-9 variety, two: he could command with that presence and lastly, that it was going to be a great night.

Ray Garcia of Godhammered got la fiesta started by kicking ass and honoring his fallen comrade’s initials.

The group kicked us off with some new material that night with “Declare War” and “Ravenous” which the Klown not only enjoyed but saw why these guys have a strong following. Garcia’s harsh vocals not only can interchange from screaming to growling but has energy of his own to keep a party going. Rey Mysterio’s masked cousin took it down a bit for some quick hydration before the band shared a moment with us by announcing that the songs performed were originally composed by their fallen comrade. By that point everyone, including those that were drunk, sober and on stage paid their brief respects to their fallen brother. Towards the end of the performance, Garcia unmasked himself and the group finished their set with “Beneath the Tyrant” and “Pandemic” from their 2013 EP The Illusion of Voice.

As the locals cleared the stage, Max Cavalera’s boys proceeded to take the stage. If you haven’t figured it out or you just dunno who the Klown is speaking about, he is talking about Lody Kong. This is the second time that Ugh Metal sees the Phoenician based band at the Brick with Soulfly.  For those who have never heard or seen the Cavalera boys in action, they are quite interesting in terms of what they classify themselves as. The boys claim themselves to be sludge metal but when you see them in action; they have more of a punk element about them when it comes to attitude, sound and appearance. However, unlike last year’s performance, Igor and Zyon Cavalera’s band was now one less member and had Igor Junior sporting bass duties.

The second generation of Cavaleras take the stage with Lody Kong and take after their father and give the fiesta some attitude.
(Pictured Lody Kong vocalist/bassist Igor Cavalera and drummer Zyon Cavalera

Throughout the night, Igor oozed more confidence in terms of showmanship and as a bassist despite of having one less member. The trio treated us to some of their material from their first and current album, Dreams and Visions which was released last year. They performed some “Venomous Kool-Aid,” “Chillin’, Killin’” and “Pig In The Pen.” The band capped off their time on stage with the announcement of a new album sometime later in the year or the next, which for the Kong faithful was some joyous news.

As the young Cavaleras vacated the stage, the Klown was pretty stoked for the upcoming group, Gruesome for two primary reasons. The first being that although the Klown isn’t the biggest Death fan, he is still enjoys them and  lastly, it is the closest thing that a lot peeps, including the Klown himself, will ever get to a Death tour or hear vocals in real time that resemble the late great Chuck Schuldiner. The Cali/Floridian quartet treated us to “Trapped in Hell,” “Seven Doors” and “Forces of Death” from their Savage Land and Dimensions of Horror EP. The Klown and all in attendance were in a bit of awe as the front man/guitarist Matt Harvey not only commanded the stage but also how similar his harsh vocals and the music sounded to that of Death. Harvey himself would actually address what the Klown had already stated regarding how close a lot of us were to an actual Death show.

Matt Harvey of Gruesome has us feeling brootal with his Schuldiner-like vocals!

The quartet ended their set by paying homage to Schuldiner’s legacy by performing “Open Casket” from Death’s famous breakthrough album, Leprosy and had Soulfly’s bassist Mike Leon take over bass duties for Robin Mazen. Gruesome’s time on the stage not only brought about nostalgia and what-ifs to all but they also gave some exposure to the classic sound that Schuldiner helped establish to newer generations, and reintroduce it to those who were fortunate to see Death in its prime.

As Death 2-point-oh departed, the Cinco de Mayo pachanga continued with a touch of an Brazilian-American style of metal courtesy of Soulfly. The Klown was stoked to see Cavalera once more, not just because he was Max f’n Cavalera but because this last year alone, he has managed to surprise the tribe. This time Soulfly opened with one of the Klown’s personal favorites “Blood, Fire, War, Hate.” He then followed up with the anthem for every diehard metal head in the world, “We Sold Our Souls to Metal” from the latest album Archangel. When the majority of Soulfly took a break, Max allowed lead guitarist Marc Rizzo to bask in the spotlight by showing off his skills through a long, stand alone solo.

Marc Rizzo of Soulfly had his time to shine!

The surprises began to pop out when Max invited Asesino’s bassist/frontman Tony Campos to join him on stage to perform bass and backup vocals for “Plata o Plomo” just like the Enslaved album. Max revisited his lesser known side project Nailbomb by performing “Wasting Away.” Even though Max’s departure from Sepultura seemed like forever ago, it doesn’t stop him from treating us to some of the classics that he wrote and put on him on a living legend status. He first started by treating us to “Slave New World” and “Troops of Doom” much later. The night of guest musicians didn’t halt with Campos for one song, he alongside Gruesome’s Matt Harvey and Thrown Into Exile’s guitarist Mario Rubio, joined the stage to honor a legend by performing “Ace of Spades.” Not only did the crowd go nuts but it also brought down whatever was left from the Brick, figuratively.

Max Cavalera and Matt Harvey of Gruesome pay homage to St.Lemmy.

Superjoint Puts on a Lit After Party

Superjoint kick off the San Diego Metal Swap Meet After Party!
(L to R: Guitarist Jimmy Bower, vocalist Phil Anselmo, unimpressed security dude, bassist Stephen Taylor, and guitarist Kevin Bond)

If you don’t keep up with any form of social media or Ugh Metal, April 29 was a very busy but fun day. First a pre party was held at the Soda Bar featuring Ugh Metal alumni Sergulath a day prior. Sadly, the evils of adulthood got in the way and Ugh Metal couldn’t attend. The day after (April 29), the eighth annual San Diego Metal Swap Meet took place in Downtown San Diego at the Quartyard and featured legendary power metal band Jag Panzer (stay tuned) as a performing act, both official and unofficial meet and greets, and of course great vendors and consumptions.

Lastly, the after party which took place later that night after the Metal Swap Meet at Ugh Metal’s home away from home, Brick by Brick. The night featured both locals, and known acts who were miles away from home, and the guests of honor Phil Anselmo and the rest of Superjoint. This whole thing was so yuuuuuuuge, the Klown had to call in some assistance for the show.

Jenny Oh: By assistance you mean me, right? Of course, I’m always here to save the day and clean up your mess.

Chuggo: Don’t get too full of yourself! The Klown called an actual assistant to the mix… a friend!

J: Oh… you mean the slave in training, Jason? Oh yeah… I guess.

C: Right… anyway the night started off with the local quintet known as Sight Unscene which the Klown can say that is the metalcore of the Killswitch variety.

J: I did feel like I was a teenager again listening to them.

C: Emo and cheap make up of the Hot Topic variety?

J: No, you dumbass. Angsty and no makeup! I refused to conform and I was making a statement…I was also too broke for makeup.

Sight Unscene stirs all sorts of emotions and the get us ’cause no one gets us!
(L to R: Guitarist Mike Halsdorff, Vocalist Anthony Dedrick, bassist William Buckwalter, guitarist Tony Lamarra)

C: I guess some things never change. But yes, the Klown can agree in the sense that it felt like a time in which metalcore was at its zenith.

J: It may not have been my cup of tea, now as an adult, but it is a nice band to listen to on a chill day and if you want to reminisce about your high school days. I will drown out my reemerging high school angst with Anthony Dedrick’s voice!

C: They get me. *chugs down a 40* They ended their time in the after party with a very feel good song with “Wait to Breathe.” Dedrick’s vocals along with the killer guitar riffs and solos left a balance between craze and appeasement amongst the already excited crowd.

J: The crowd was so excited that they disturbed the hive and brought forth Beekeeper.

C: Yes, the Klown was looking forward for some honey in the form of their brand of metal since the last time we saw them at the Brick. This time though the queen bee known as Ally Levine not only cranked the power to 11 but had a commanding presence to her. Not to discredit bassist Adam Wollach and drummer Dylan Marks.

J: They managed to do what not many openers can do, start a pit on the first song!

C: Damn straight! The Klown believes that Beekeeper may have been inspired by his former volatile roommate or the circus the Klown should have joined in the first place, “Vargas.”

Beekeeper made us into rabid metal junkies!
(L to R: Vocalist/lead guitarist/KWEEN Ally Levine, drummer Dylan Marks and bassist Adam Wollach)

J: Not everything is about you, Chuggo! Or your string of failures. This “Vargas” was anything but failure! They poured sugar on us for sure. Levine made us believe with “Fictitious” which not only kept the crowd alive but it’s riff kept buzzing in our ears.

C: The pit that these trio had going looked like a swarm of angry bees protecting the queen from possible danger. The Klown would also like to point out that our non metalhead intern, Jason, became an instant fan by this time.

J: I was surprised the slave… I mean intern in training, really dug them considering it’s not the type of honey he puts in his tea. Even he couldn’t resist KWEEN Ally’s ferocious campaign, who continued to shine with those riffs and interchanging vocals. Disney’s got nothing on her voice which has the ability of taking you deep into the scary forest and quickly bring you back to the beautiful castle.

C: That was beautiful, man. But now venturing out of Disney territory, Levine took us to the world of Dragonball Z and invoked the spirit of “Vegeta” which left the performance with a power of over 9000! The Klown also enjoyed Wollach’s performance as he rocked out with his bass and played like the late great Cliff Burton of Metallica.

KWEEN Ally Levine from Beekeeper stirs the hive with her growls and high notes and killer riffs

J: Too bad they shut off Beekeeper’s supply of honey prematurely, we were all screaming like a bunch of rabid junkies. But alas, it had to be done. Beekeeper may have blown off the roof of the Brick but Child Bite glued it back together… just not back in its place.

C: Yeah… Dylan Walker’s (Full of Hell vocalist) volatile father took the stage proving that he could throw a tantrum like a child on a sugar high.

J: Who dafuq…? Oh! You mean Trevor from GTA 5? It was great to see that he found a creative outlet and that the meds were kicking in. I do miss fucking shit up with him in Los Santos though.

C: Right you are! The best part was that they played the Klown and Ugh Metal’s theme song!

J: Ah yes, the song we recite, especially, right before a family gathering, “Still Fucked Up After All These Years.”

C: A timeless classic, it’s right up there with “Belle.”

Ever wonder how it would be like if Trevor from GTA V found a creative outlet for his outlet? Look no further!
(L to R: Bassist Sean Clancy, vocalist/contortionist Shawn Knight and drummer Jeff Kraus)

J: The Beauty and The Beast song? I… I think you may have inhaled too many Superjoint fumes already, Chuggo. Way to commit yet another “Molestation of the Arts,” Klown! Anyway, Trevor…Oh right I mean the vocalist Shawn Knight was bouncing off the walls and showing off his contortionist skills. Also how could I forget Knight playfully getting in my face and asked “What are you looking at?” My defense mechanism kicked in and stuck my tongue out at him. I can totally be a bodyguard! *Flexes*

C: Ah yeah, it was pretty entertaining and a unique experience but then we went off to battle!

J: We were starving for blood so Battlecross delivered a meal with “Force Fed Lies”

C: Indeed. Although they fed us they still said that they’re “Not Your Slave.”

J: Kyle Gunther was fun and seemed very happy to be there especially after seeing the selection of hot girls with ugly guys, according to him. This may motivate him to be a San Diego resident soon.

C: Yeah he said he has hope for himself. Either way Battlecross’s performance was “Beast!”

Battlecross serenaded to hot girls and dudes alike in this grand celebration.
(L to R: Guitarist Tony Asta, vocalist: Kyle Gunther, bassist Don Slater and guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala)

J: Kyle Gunther was figuratively the embodiment of “Flesh & Bone” because he gave that song some oomph. He may not have yet won the hot San Diegan girl he hopes to find but he won our respect dammit! ‘Cause he’s a strong, independent front man that don’t need no woman!

C: ….. Umm, Okay…Gunther’s performance didn’t just end with the set, he continued it by convincing everyone to crowd surf him to his merch stand. At first everyone was thrown off until he really dove in!

J: AND AWAY HE WENT! *Cues this anthem* Great set by these guys and they delivered. The quest we had with Battlecross was great and all but after a long hot day, we just had to wind down. So it was time to sit back, relax, drink and take a hit of Superjoint.

C: More like several, ‘cause it’s legal now. We burned something alright, but not what we were supposed to burn in the first place.

J: That’s right Phil Anselmo started “Burning the Blanket” but don’t worry, no actual blankets were sacrificed in this performance.

C: He blazed through his performance to the already lit show, or whatever the kids are saying these days. But he took it down a notch with “Ruin You.”

Phil Anselmo singing the Ugh Metal staff anthem “Asshole”
(L to R: Vocalist Phil Anselmo, bassist Stephen Taylor and guitarist Kevin Bond)

J: Hmm, that’s tame for you huh? Makes sense considering our ear drums weren’t ruptured, ‘twas a chill show I guess.

C: ‘Twas indeed. Then he dedicated one towards the Klown! Even though he “dedicated” the song to himself.

J: “Asshole,” Ah yes. I totally saw him looking at you before I nudged you so we wouldn’t make eye contact with him. We are not worthy! But you know what I think he totally dedicated another song to you, Chuggo.

C: Again, the Klown is NOT an alcoholic. He is “The Alcoholik” and even then he does not have a problem, other than why is his beer mug empty?!

J:  Anselmo added a dash of darkness in this audible trip with “Ozena” but quickly bounced back to festivity mode by inviting Sean Knight back on stage. Together they performed “It Takes Guts” and added more intensity with Anselmo’s fierceness and Knight’s hyperactive contortions. Good shit!

C: Knight was as good as any cocktail, a Molotov that is! It was nice though when Phil would slightly toned it down by sharing some of his personal anecdotes especially when he recalled the time he met Brian May from Queen in 1991.

Child Bite frontman Shawn Knight and Phil Anselmo tell us why “It Takes Guts”

J: The shock in Phil’s face when he realized he met May in 1991! That had to be his best and funniest story especially when he thought May was a delusion caused by the fever he had at the time. The shock factor didn’t stop there especially when May was surprised that Phil knew  who he was by naming prolific Queen songs. After that anecdote, it led Phil, Shawn and fans to sing the first verse of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

 C: The Klown was amongst that group. It was fun to let it all out, I worked out those pipes. A shocking twist would occur towards the end of his stories. Phil was very transparent about a band’s concept of an encore and made it clear he wasn’t going to leave the stage because he knew they were going to come back anyway. But most importantly, his final message was feel good and spoke louder than the show itself.

J: Phil’s message was “be kind and respect everyone because all we have is each other” and added to be kind and respect yourself. The string of messages the iconic vocalist shared throughout the night, weighed heavier than Chuggo’s keg. Anselmo’s words were filled with more wisdom than the Klown’s drunken rants considering everything Anselmo has been through and done. Amidst the metal, the surmountable amount of people, and the good time Superjoint provided, it became a show seething with intimacy. Anselmo became a self professed cautionary tale seeking atonement who is on a mission to inspire both fresh and seasoned metalheads.

 

Werk it Phil!

 

Mictlantecuhtli Appeases The Masses

Mictlantecuhtli resurrecting the spirits of both the dead and the living.

April 1 is the American pranking day known as April Fools. Of course, unlike the days when the Klown was growing up, the day of fooling has toned down and is more innocent by comparison like local radio station 91X posting on their Facebook about a Rage Against The Machine reunion tour in 2018. One thing that wasn’t a joke was the Southern Californian based black metal euphoria that was held at The Merrow. This black mass featured bands that were both local and North of the 5 freeway.

The night commenced with the local one man band that has made a previous appearance in Ugh Metal’s domain, Morphesia. Unlike the first time Ugh Metal lent their ears to this man, the artist known as Zombie Thirteen kept it… simple. How? Thirteen simply got on stage with no corpsepaint or the “usual” black metal regalia and performed. It was almost reminiscent to the time KISS ditched their outfits and signature facepaint or, for recent memories, Corey Taylor when he’s doing Stone Sour instead of Slipknot. In lieu of Satan, Thirteen treated to us some Egyptology by invoking the king and god, “Ramses.” It would be one of the few performances that had Thirteen’s black metal vocals. In an act of charity as well Thirteen’s new straightforward approach, he gave away merch such as CDs he’s released, stickers, buttons and his stage banners with the pentagram.

Zombie Thirteen of Morphesia trades in the corpse paint and black metal regalia for a fresh face and Ancient Egyptian gods.

After the royal introduction, Thirteen played “Osiris” which would be one of several instrumental songs. The Klown will admit that it was nice to hear the strictly instrumental songs because it felt like we had a glimpse in the mind of an artist when they are brainstorming or getting ready for a recording by jamming out. The night was closed with “Bast,” and though the night wasn’t filled with “traditional” black metal tunes, the night seemed rather intimate especially for a kick off. The Klown and Ugh Metal will stay tuned for what Morphesia will bring to the table next.

After the one man band cleared the stage, the quintet from Inland Empire,CA known as Sicarius took the stage and unleashed some black metal fury. The Klown is not exaggerating but if you haven’t seen these guys live, words alone cannot describe what a treat these guys were. The quintet opened the night with “Apocrypha” and followed with “Shadowalker” from their EP Scorch The Earth. When the Klown saw frontman Kurt Karcass, he believed that he may have summoned his inner Per “Dead” Ohlin (of Mayhem fame) for his performances.

Speaking of Mayhem, the quintet treated us to a cover of Mayhem’s “Funeral Fog” from the infamous De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album, making this the second time this year the Klown has heard this song live. Karcass not only had a presence but also did something not too common with front men; he joined fans in the pit. Karcass paced within the crowd like a tiger stalking its prey, and circled around two dudes with punk band shirts and people lacking metal attire.

Kurt Karcass and Merihim of Sicarius invoking the spirit of old school Norwegian black metal.

After the vocalist spared his prey, he hopped back on stage to unleash his strong screaming vocals which were strengthened by guitarists Merihim and Argyris’ growling backup vocals. Lastly, before the Klown moves on to the next set of performers, if you missed these guys or don’t take the Klown’s words seriously, you’re in luck! You’ll get a chance at redemption on the 26th of May when they join the legendary Taake at the Brick!

After Sicarius cleared the stage after a jaw dropping performance, the local blackened death metal band known as Greenskull kept the night going. The residential quartet took us to another worldly realm with their performance and manifestation. Greenskull commenced with an appetite for that otherworldly realm by satiating us and themselves with “Worldeater.” Front man/ lead guitarist Travis Whiting had a towering aura shining amidst the fog fit for a superior. Bassist/ backing vocalist James Jungman and rhythm guitarist Zachary Simsay also flashed their auras to fans as the fog rolled in and covered the stage.

Vocalist/lead guitarist Travis Whiting and bassist James Jungman of Greenskull shine brighter than any crystal skull.

The group indulged us with “Ain Soph” and took it old school with “Primeval.” Greenskull would have felt rather negligent if they wouldn’t have performed the fan favorite “A Skull Shining in Darkness.” This song, which the Klown can say was blacker than death in terms of metal, featured Whiting’s mastery of the stage and talents. Not necessarily leaving Jungman completely behind, the Klown can say that he was energetic and gave a feel of a lieutenant ready to strike on command.

Local black metal trio called Necrochamber flung back the otherworldly aura that was left behind to a time when Norway began sprouting legends. Something worth noting is that Necrochamber has been around since 1998, the Klown was looking forward to see what the seasoned black metallers brought to the table. The group initiated their set with “A Ceremony for the Dead,” and immediately followed up their ritual with some black metal fit for an overlord in the form of “Lord of the Deceased.” Although the front man known as Nocturnal Overlord barely moved, the Klown shall note that what he lacked in motion was made up with his authoritarian charisma and music.

Local black metallers Necrochamber show the masses Norway ain’t the only ones that can black metal, bruh!
( L to R: Bassist Titan, vocalist/guitarist Nocturnal Overlord and drummer Tyson Wotan)

Necrochamber’s live sounds were nearly identical to Darkthrone and not just instrumentally. There was a time when the Klown thought that he was listening to the distinct vocals of Fenriz or Ted “Nocturno” Skjellum. The band kept the momentum going and treated us with “Necrochamber” and finished strongly with “The Fleshripper.” If you really fancy yourself kvlt, the Klown recommends that you keep your eyes peeled for these guys because they will indulge your black metal craving.

Although Necrochamber took us on a black metal ride to die for, the Los Angelino headliners went in for the kill. The five lords of the underworld known as Mictlantecuhtli (which is named after the Aztec manifestation of death) have been reigning the underground scene since 1998. As soon as the majority of the group took the stage, front man Cuauhtemoc would then manifest like a warrior’s spirit seeking retribution. Cuauhtemoc’s appearance seemed like that of a resurrected Aztec general that returned from Mictlan (the Aztec underworld) to prepare a rite fit for a jaguar warrior.

Cuauhtemoc of Mictlantecuhtli dons his armor.

Part of the ritualistic motif can be attributed to the clay chalice filled with smoke incense the  vocalist took out in the middle of the performance. Throughout the night, there was a blend of metal and folkloric style influences in their songs and were accompanied with Cuauhtemoc’s powerful screaming vocals. Going back to the Klown’s allegory, the group treated us to the black metal narrative “Night of Sorrow” from the Warrior of the Black Sun album.

Staying true to the Aztec roots, the group invoked the god of the sun, Tonatiuh, with “Heart of the Sun” from their debut album, Pillars of Silence and brought a bit of sunshine to the night. Mictlantecuhtli continued to celebrate the Aztec warrior culture by playing “One Last Battle” and as the group left, everyone in attendance fevered like the plebes after witnessing a sacrifice for the gods.

Behold the clay chalice of the underworld!

The collective returned to soothe the masses with their encore performance of “Broken Shields.” The Klown and everyone who was at the show were spoiled rotten and overindulged and the Klown really hopes to see these gents again in our humble abode.

Why… Grindmother What Great Vocals You Have!

The Grindmother hath cometh!!!!
On March 30, Ugh Metal took a trip to see the most metal grandmother of them all! We paid a visit to the Grindmother at our home away from home known as the Brick By Brick. Although not the same tale, the Brick proved to be a formidable house to keep the wolf at bay along with her powerful vocals. The night was rather cozy and intimate much like an actual visit to a grandmother’s house. But before we talk about Grindmother dearest, we shall talk about the other set of grindchildren that performed that night.

Chuggo: The night began with the local thrash band known as Sergulath. The Klown knew something was about to go down when front man/ lead guitarist Daniel Correa had a Dean Dimebag ML guitar in his hands.

Jenny Oh: Yes, the most outgoing grindchild of the group. They burst out onto the Brick By Brick stage for the first time and man were they happy to be there!

C: So… I guess this is a collab. But yes he was quite energetic and it was rather contagious. Sergulath gave a strong start by beginning with Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard.” Which, the Klown will admit, sounded a bit more energetic when thrash overtones were applied.

J: Sergulath may have started out with a classic but they unloaded quite a bit of new material on us such as a “Very Dark Place Indeed” which is sure to ignite the pit!

C: Oh yeah… they did, didn’t they? I forgot the name of the other songs, do you remember them?

Daniel Correa of Sergulath unloads all sorts madness in the mic.
(L to R: Keyboardist David Correa, vocalist/guitarist Daniel Correa, and bassist Henry Necochea)
J: Of course, silly. I’m glad you asked, *looks into a nonexistent camera for dramatic effect* they set the mood with the “Massokisst” and won us over with “Power Speech!”

C: I see… the more you know because knowing is half the battle.  *cues GI Joe PSA moment.* On that note, the group treated us and finished their set with another cover. Unlike the first one, the cover they performed was from the underrated Norwegian black metal band Old Man’s Child’s “Doommaker.” It was pretty bitchin’ to hear it since not a lot of peeps think of Old Man’s Child when it comes to black metal.

J: It was awesome seeing Sergulath live and can’t wait to see what other new goodies they have to offer. These guys may have been the fun and upbeat grindchild, but we switched gears and wrote a manifesto with Pissed Regardless.

C: Ah yes, the band that describes the Klown!

J: Still bitter about being kicked out of Clown College and the Railing Brother Circus, huh?

C: It was Ringling Brothers and yes!

J: The business card read Railing and you’re like the first song, “Not So Swift.”

C: I guess but the Klown thinks that front man Matthew Gerken tapped into the spirit of the Klown’s empty stomach when he brought up “Hot Dog without Mustard.”

A fan tries to make sense of Matthew Gerkin’s (from Pissed Regardless) manifesto.
J: But I thought you said that your doctor told you start “Takin’ It Easy,” you “Shit Sack.”

C: Well, first, it was a special occasions and in time for “Easter.” Secondly, the Klown has been taking it easy unlike you, you “Alarm Clock Bitch.”

J: Say what you want Klown, we’re both “Fucked Since Birth!” Great song. Their set was too damn short but, man, it was awesome! Don’t be surprised if you see these hooligans pop up in more shows and rattle the establishment, one hot dog at a time!

C: Indeed, after the hardcore punk revolution left a strong presence, our Grindmother dearest took the stage and spoiled us throughout the night.

J: *creepily hissing like a snake* Yeth! Together we brought forth the “Age of Destruction!”

C: Via a moshpit because “Dreams Become Reality!” Although the Klown’s dream involve a new a keg with good beer and the Grindmother’s famous cookies!

J: She promised she would bring some more the next time she comes back and sing hymns for the moshpit, as long as we didn’t get hurt!

Grindmother dearest will star a pit… as long as you don’t get hurt!
C: Oh Grindmother, what is a bloody nose and couple bruises? We is grown ups now… even if we live and depend on our parents but still! You can’t take the grandmother out of The Grindmother.

J: Seeing the Grindmother was like “Healing the Mind” because it was refreshing…

C: It was like a new take on an elder’s wisdom and knowledge passed down to a brand new generation and audience with an open mind.

J: I agree Klown-fucious. She not only offered us insight of ourselves but to our surroundings and got us in touch with “Mother Nature.” It was appropriate considering the new green shade of our state.

C: Speaking of which her son, RainForest stayed true to his green roots and didn’t shy away from requesting some of that green of the Sublime selection.  After all “History Repeats” itself and he wanted some at “Any Cost!” *winks*

J: How clever of you, Klown. But not on the Grindmother’s watch! They may not have gone completely green because she was so generous she gave us, her ever expanding grindchildren, a special green treat.

C: What was that Jenny Oh!? Tell me!!!

Grindmother didn’t have any more cookies to give us but she had more GRIND!
J:  To commemorate this new crisp new chapter in California and to further celebrate the Roots album…

C: Ah yeah… they brought the Klown’s childhood back for this one.

J: Yeah…? But this time they went further back by covering Sepultura’s Chaos A.D. and unloaded a fierce and grindcore version of “Slave New World.” It was an extremely pleasant surprise and a great way to end our Grindmother’s visit.

 C: Indeed, although there weren’t any cookies, the night felt right. We were treated to some stories and some songs from the Grindmother and tucked us away before we all heading to bed… But metal!

The Grindmother sparta kicked us to a new and brootal version of “Slave New World”
Join the dark side, ’cause they got Sergulath on full blast! While you’re at it, get your creative juices flowin’ for your manifesto with Pissed Regardless and their sick ass material and give Grindmother some love and check out her hardcore lullabies