DOTD II Fest Day 2 @ Blue Pig, Milwaukee (US)

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SOLACE / EARTHRIDE / THE SKULL / EARTHEN GRAVE / BLACKFINGER / BLOOD FARMERS / ARGUS / APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE / BEELZEFUZZ / BLIZARO / DIE MONSTER DIE

Date: 16th June, 2012
Venue: The Blue Pig Bar
Ticket: $50 (€41) (two days)
Promoter: Days Of The Doomed Fest


DimK: Yeah, it was expected that we would be exhausted by the end of the festival’s first day despite the (annoying) fact that we only watched two bands. But the excellent performances took the pain away until the lights had gone out since the not that hospitable hotel did not help in recharging our already worn out batteries. The hearty breakfast (long live pancakes!) and the slightly cooler weather did their job and got us on our feet and off we went to catch day two from the very beginning. It was going to be a looong day for METAL KAOZ inside ‘DOTD’ battlefield and we liked it!

DimK: DIE MONSTER DIE was the last minute addition to the festival’s billing and entering the venue I quickly decided it was a good one. I mean, it was 01:20pm so the energy pumped Horror Punk from this Kenosha-based band was the best remedy to kick out hangover, noon laziness and whatever psychological or physical obstacle was in the Doomhead’s way. The MISFITS influenced music was straightforward with the trademark chord progressions having in the driver’s seat Dr Destruction wearing make-up and a long hat being a perfect match to the band’s aesthetics. The sound was loud as it should and since I am an old MISFITS fan, I had a good time watching DIE MONSTERS DIE and I had the chance to pick “Dorian Gray” and “NY Mess” as my favorites from their 30-minutes set. This was a most positive omen for what was about to follow in the second Doom-filled day.

DIE MONSTER DIE setlist:

01. “Mortuary Girls”
02. “Blood Run S Cold”
03. “Desotation”
04. “Snake Pit”
05. “Dorian Gray”
06. “NY Mess”
07. “Sin City Rockers”
08. “Skeleton Dance”

DIE MONSTER DIE

Die Monster Die @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Die Monster Die @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Die Monster Die @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: Next it was time for all the horror Doom 70s prog lovers who still watch Dario Argendo’s and Lucio Fulci’s cvlt (giallo) films and need some horror aesthetics in their music dish. Having ORODRUIN’s John Gallo behind the mic, the guitar and the keyboards, the surprise named BLIZARO stepped onstage at 2:20pm, spreading their music wisdom to the gathered crowd. In fact, the presence of the keyboards enhanced the overall 70s aesthetics and fit like a glove to Gallo’s singing (really love his vocals!). After the first couple of songs, the band had to stop due to a broken bass guitar string that, I have to admit, killed the already built atmosphere, but sh*t happens, especially during our most beloved moments. So, after a rather awkward and definitely turn-off break, the show was back on track and I have to say it almost started from where it was interrupted. “Are there any PAUL CHAIN fans here tonight?” asked John as a preamble to the cover version of VIOLET THEATRE’s “Voyage To Hell” that put the icing on the cake and in some extent made everyone forget about the broken-string thing. As John said at the end of the BLIZARO set, “keep it real”!

 

BLIZARO

Blizaro @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blizaro @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blizaro @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blizaro @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: Apparently there was a change in the festival’s schedule and the stage crew was setting up the APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE drum kit instead or preparing the equipment for BEELZEFUZZ. I had seen APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE on the stage in last year’s version of ‘Days Of The Doomed’ and even though their show was very good, I got the feeling that was something missing. But this time everything looked and sounded extra-solid! Corey Webb gave a hell of a performance with his merciless drumming, the two axemen were in really great shape, while Chuck Brown revealed some of his more melodic vocal range in the new songs. The APOSTLES are currently working on a new album and this might have something to do with the massive performance of that evening. Chuck was in a top mood and despite the Doom ID of the band was bouncing jokes with the audience who had gathered in front of the stage, even if the high temps were already battling us. The 40 minutes set went by really fast raising my expectations even more for the band’s upcoming album.

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE setlist:

01. “Blackest Of Times”
02. “Hunter Sick Rapture”
03. “Death By Misadventure”
04. “Die Vicar Die”
05. “Wash This Death”
06. “Confess”
07. “The Messenger”

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE

Apostle Of Solitude @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Apostle Of Solitude @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Apostle Of Solitude @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Apostle Of Solitude @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Apostle Of Solitude @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: I don’t believe ARGUS need a special introduction since they have proved their worth with the excellent “Boldly Stride The Doomed” that brought some classic Heavy Metal in their Doom. ARGUS took over the stage and delivered their Doom/Heavy Metal with impressive dexterity and I think this lineup has matured from the last time I saw it onstage. Once again Butch Balich was the band’s driving force nailing all the vocal lines at ease and at the same time getting a loud reaction from the audience who occasionally joined him in singing, while Eric Johnson and Jason Mucio spit their galloping riffs with confidence and great expertise. ARGUS began their set with the amazing “Pieces Of Your Smile”, dedicated to Mike and his wife by Balich, and when the time for “Durendal” came, his performance was simply amazing re-producing the song’s epic atmosphere to the maximum. ARGUS did add a new and untitled song (mentioned as ‘...’ in the setlist) that was mid-tempo with several faster breaks and a nice teaser for the upcoming album that Butch said it will be entitled “Beyond The Martyrs”. “Raise your Doom claws” Balich said right before “The Damnation Of John Faustus” and the venue was filled up raised hands in a Doom unofficial salute. Before leaving the stage, they treated us with the cover song that last year had to be deleted from the setlist due to time restrictions. So, without further ado we got served with a killer cover in CANDLEMASS“At The Gallows End”, but in a faster version (many kudos go to Kevin Latchaw for the earth-shaking drum work here). Of course, everyone was singing along but still I got the chance to enjoy the vocals that were perfectly adjusted to Butch’s voice. That was definitely a great finale to one of best sets of the evening – can’t wait to watch these guys in a headline show!

ARGUS setlist:

01. “Pieces Of Your Smile”
02. “Durendal”
03. “42-7-29”
04. New Song
05. “Devils, Devils”
06. “The Damnation Of John Faustus”
07. “At The Gallows End”

ARGUS

Argus @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Argus @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Argus @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Argus @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Argus @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: The ‘DOTD II’ supporters were up for a special treat since BLOOD FARMERS were about to take over the stage. The combination of heat and humidity had eventually taken its toll, so the METAL KAOZ crew had to take a short break outside the -otherwise- hospitable bar and talk to some Doom brothers that had the same idea. So, with replenished mood we returned inside, moments after the occult Doomsters had appeared onstage. The band’s performance seemed flawless but their stationery onstage presence took away some of the atmosphere’s thickness. Plus, the guitar could have been louder since during the solos were a step behind the bass in the final mix. BLOOD FARMERS treated us with the new song “Headless Eyes” (great guitar work here), followed by the head-crushing “Bullet In My Head” that rouse the crowd’s good mood even more. The surprise of their set was the excellent cover on JUDAS PRIEST’s “Cheater” (if you don’t know this awesome track, please do your homework or stop using the word metalhead to describe yourself) that caught me off guard since Eli Brown did not announce what was about to follow. The band is working on a new album, so listening to their tight setlist and performance is something more than a good sign.

BLOOD FARMERS

Blood Farmers @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blood Farmers @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blood Farmers @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blood Farmers @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: Eric Wagner and his band BLACKFINGER were included in the festival’s billing like it did in last year’s edition. Watching the band setting up the gear, I realized that there wouldn’t be a contrabass besides the ex-TROUBLE singer and, to be honest with you, I was happy about this. Having a bassist on the lineup, the band looked and most importantly sounded heavier closer to Eric’s background doing also justice to his trademark vocals. The sound was just amazing, the crowd got as close to the stage as possible and the atmosphere inside the Blue Pig became even greater, filled up by nice-delivered psyched melodies and Eric’s characteristic voice – really, could we ask for more? BLACKFINGER are putting the finishing touches on the upcoming debut release, so it seemed the sestlist was recently rehearsed. And that was evident from how it flowed during the 25 minutes set and I will repeat that I did enjoy it more than the previous times I’ve watched BLACKFINGER. Now, I am extremely curious how this band will be sounded in the studio, but I guess I will get my answer pretty soon.

BLACKFINGER setlist:

01. “I Am John”
02. “All The Leaves Are Brown”
03. “So Many Coloured Days”
04. “…New Generation”
05. “Why God”
06. “Here Comes The Rain”
07. “Till Death Do Us Part”
08. “Yellow Wood”

BLACKFINGER

Blackfinger @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blackfinger @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blackfinger @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blackfinger @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Blackfinger @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: If you do a short search on METAL KAOZ archives, you will stumble on the EARTHEN GRAVE moniker many times. And this is not such a great surprise, since the Chicago-based band managed to turn us as into fans from the first contact, back in 2010. This is a most talented band with musicians that work their arses off in every concert, trying to make the sound statement as loud and clear as possible. Even though that evening the conditions were not optimum, the band with Rachel Burton onstage left, took fully advantage of the time given and presented the tight setlist putting the pedal to the Metal. Mark did his thing fronting powerfully the band, while Rachel spread some violin magic torturing the strings like a true metalhead. After a couple of songs EARTHEN GRAVE managed to get everyone on its feet despite the heavy indoor air and join the energy surge. Once again I enjoyed the love song “Blood Drunk”, the epic “Dismal Times” and the greatness of “Fall In”. Even though Tony’s solo right before “Beneath A Shovel Load” was not as good as it was the last time I saw them, EARTHEN GRAVE proved for once more they can support big festivals as the headlining act. Of course, “Relentless” was the highlight of their set with the violin taking over the trademark riff, giving a slightly different taste, plus this time EG were backed up by EARTHRIDE’s Dave Sherman throaty vox, blowing everybody’s mind that night! I will be gravely disappointed if this band won’t break the US boundaries.

EARTHEN GRAVE setlist:

01. “Death On The High Seas”
02. “Dismal Times”
03. “Burning A Sinner”
04. Beneath A Shovel Load
05. “Blood Drunk”
06. “Fall In”
07. “Relentless”

EARTHEN GRAVE

Earthen Grave @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthen Grave @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthen Grave @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthen Grave @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthen Grave @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: This was meant to be one of the festival’s main attractions since THE SKULL would feature three ex-TROUBLE members. But things did not work out as planned and JeffOly’ Olson took his name out of the lineup a couple of weeks before the festival’s day (no further comments needed…). Thankfully this did not disheartened Eric Wagner and Ron Holzner who went on with the planned appearance enlisting one session and BLACKFINGER’s drummers who had little time to practice the TROUBLE-based setlist. Sure, there was a level of awkwardness and a different kind of stagefright but all these were vanished in thin air during the first minutes of “Psalm 9”. For some musicians playing music is almost like riding a bike; once you have learned this, you never forget it. So, both Wagner and Holzner took us by the hand and dived deep into TROUBLE’s past with a setlist drawn from the wildest dreams of the die-hard fans of the legendary Chicago based band. The stage had that TROUBLE smell all over, while the band’s fans who have traveled across the US to watch this live were standing already in the front lines. So yes, for every TROUBLE fan this was a special moment and I feel pretty fortunate being inside the Blue Pig that night.

I’m not going to talk about TROUBLE reunions and stuff like that; these decisions are for the members’ minds to be taken. Since the calendar on the wall shows it’s 2012, I’m not having delusions and I want to take things the way they are. Having already the chance to watch Eric, Ron and Oly playing TROUBLE songs in last year’s ‘DOTD’, I knew that this could work somehow. And a year later, here we were: watching some of the past TROUBLE classics that the original band for some reason doesn’t include them in their rare live sets anymore. So, yes, we were fortunate to be there. I feel I can’t thank Mike and his crew enough for making my dream come true watching Eric again onstage to sing these tunes with his exquisite and soulful voice. And the blows were coming one after the other: “The Skull”, “Another Day”, “Pray For The Dead”... Watching everyone singing the lyrics when was not headbanging, I realized the need to have a band like THE SKULL playing songs that there is a small possibility to listen from TROUBLE nowadays. After all, playing music is all about expressing feelings, channeling emotions and on top of everything, having fun. And that’s exactly what happened during the almost one hour set during which we and THE SKULL enjoyed to the maximum... I am sure we will be getting more from THE SKULL in the near future.

Side note: I can’t find the words to describe how touching was to see all the fans singing the first “At The End Of My Daze” refrain. I just can’t.

THE SKULL setlist:

01. “Psalm 9”
02. “Bastards Will Pay”
03. “Assassin”
04. “Revelation”
05. “The Skull”
06. “Another Day”
07. “Pray For The Dead”
08. “Plastic Green Head”
09. “The Tempter”
10. “At The End Of My Daze”

THE SKULL

The Skull @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Skull @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Skull @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Skull @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Skull @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: The sky suddenly got darker just 30 minutes before midnight andthe wind started blowing really hard giving a really hard time to the day’s humid heat and everybody remained at their spots, since outside was about a summer storm to burst out. Inside The Blue Pig all seemed perfect to welcome Maryland’s groovy doomsters EARTHRIDE, showing that the party had already started for good! Since I hadn’t the chance to watch Dave Sherman and his gang live onstage before, I was pretty curious to see how this man deliver the band’s MOTÖRHEAD-esque pumping energy while onstage. Believe me, ‘Sherm’ did a hell of a job!

I don’t know if Maryland has lots of swamps in its beautiful landscape, but if it has, that night EARTHRIDE had taken them all with them; of course the characteristic sound of this band was perfectly-delivered onstage, making our ears joyfully hurt. From the aggressive “Hacksaw Eyeball” which rudely introduced the band to the most unversed fans till the rest of the setlist, EARTHRIDE carried us away holding on hand two shot-guns: the first one was the fast guitar riffage with that unbursting PANTERA-esque feeling laying light-heartedly in the background, and the other one was Sherman’s stage presence. His constant onstage biker poses and the non-stopping moving, furrowing every inch of the stage were there, filling up like a biker’s leather glove the entire EARTHRIDE pack. My favorite moments of EARTHRIDE’s 50-minutes set was “Earthride” with Sherman giving so much meaning to the chorus lyrics “so loud, so alive/all heavy, the earthride”, and “Fighting The Devils Inside You” which is a so personal song for me.

I strongly believe EARTHRIDE was the perfect choice to stand right after THE SKULL’s set, since their powerful bulk-y melodies and this band’s groove is unbeatable, even if the majority of the crowd was already half-hearted by the looong day. EARTHRIDE is here, suckers!

EARTHRIDE setlist:

01. “Hacksaw Eyeball”
02. “Vampire Circus”
03. “Something Wicked”
04. “Earthride”
05. “Taming Of The Demons”
06. “Blackbeard’s Scorn”
07. “Black”
08. “Fighting The Devils Inside You”
09. “Weak End”

EARTHRIDE

Earthride @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthride @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthride @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthride @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthride @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: It took almost 20 minutes to prepare the stage to welcome the last band of this 2-day Doom-laden fest, after EARTHRIDE’s invasion and that band was SOLACE. I’m not going to hide that I had no clue for these guys before hitting the stage, so I didn’t know what to expect. Besides, the Stoner moniker was never my thing really, so I was quite concerned about the success that the ‘DOTD II’ end was going to have. Something was telling me that the best was kept for the end, and thankfully my intuition didn’t go wrong; SOLACE’s doomy Stoner New Jersey style Rock pumped the rest of our adrenaline up and we enjoyed more than we expected from the heavy riff-driven quintet. Jason’s squeaky high-pitched vocals did a perfect contrast with the full, heavy guitars that in times I was thinking that the speakers would not last to handle them. From the very first moment, SOLACE started to headbang and didn’t stop till the excellent cover version in PENTAGRAM’s “Forever My Queen” that took the last drop of our strength that night.

The clock was set at 01:30am and everything had ended with SOLACE being the perfect headliners for the second day of ‘DOTD’ fest. I’m pretty sure that made lots of jaws to drop. Then it was time for us to hit the highway, saying goodbye to the hospitable Wisconsin who welcomed us for the second time under ‘DOTD’ fest’s arms.

SOLACE setlist:

01. “Khan (World Of Fire)”
02. “Man Dog”
03. “Wistle Pig”
04. “Burning Fuel” / “Indolence”
05. “The Disillusioned Prophet”
06. “2-Fisted” / “King Alcohol”
07. “Forever My Queen” (PENTAGRAM cover)

SOLACE

Solace @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Solace @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Solace @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Solace @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Solace @ The Blue Pig Bar Milwaukee (photos Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: This was really a turning point for this festival taking into account the whole frustration due to the change of venue and date. Plus, this was the second edition of 'DOTD', so the promoters had to show that they could meet the fans’ expectations and then do something more. I am extremely happy to say that not only did they meet our expectations and went beyond that. If you consider just the fact that ‘DOTD’ attracted more people than last year, then you get do the math why it was so successful. After the end of SOLACE’s set you could only see happy (ok, and tired) faces all around and I am pretty sure there were no complains. After all, the promoters cannot manipulate the weather... yet. Will METAL KAOZ be at the third edition of the fest? Do bears shit in the forest?