Maelstrom – Of Gods and Men (self-released, 22 May 2020)
Hey, folks. Better make sure you’ve got yourselves strapped in, because we’re taking a trip in the “Way Back Machine.” Although Of Gods and Men, the debut full-length album of Long Beach (Nassau County NY)’s Maelstrom, was released mere days ago, this is a story that starts off much, much earlier than that.
Here at Valley of Steel I first became aware of this trio back in October 2012, when I checked outThrashHead Magazine‘s second A Gallery of Rogues compilation. (As an aside, the magazine doesn’t appear to exist anymore but that 45-song collection is still free to download.)
At that time, one of the tracks that I pointed out as a highlight was “Arise” — which also appeared on the band’s EP It was Predestined, which was being re-released that same month by IME.
I hadn’t been aware of it at the time, but the mini-album had initially been released independently several years earlier (in 2008), by a newly-reformed Maelstrom. The group had called it quits fifteen years prior to that, after having produced a pair of demo tapes (in 1989 and 1991) that collectively featured the original recordings of the three songs that would later become It was Predestined.
The EP, out of print by now, had grabbed my attention back in 2012 just as much as that first song had done — and so when I recently learned that there would finally be a full-length record (32 years after the band was founded), well, that was certainly some exciting news I just had to share with you lucky readers.
Friday 21 February through Saturday 22 February 2020
at Clarion Inn Frederick Event Center, 5400 Holiday Dr, Frederick MD 21703
Weekend pass $89; single-day tickets $30-60 each; hotel stay not included in ticket prices.
So you keep reading about the annual Shadow Woods Metal Fest, that huge outdoor festival held at a Maryland summer camp, and you’d love to attend except you’re completely averse to camping and summertime and anything outdoors. What a quandary!
But not to worry, the Shadow Woods folks have got you covered — with an indoor gathering in the relative luxury of a hotel’s ballroom, right in the dead of winter! Shadow Frost will feature a selection of bands from the local region as well as all over North America, plus art/music/craft vendors, and lots of games and activities, aiming for a similar vibe to a comic con or horror con type of event.
See below for lineup of bands; updated 16 February to include set times.
All right, people. Today we’re going to kick it old school.
Please accept my apologies for such a lame introduction, but honestly it’s all I have the energy for right now. After a busy weekend that was capped off with watching the Penguins seal a Stanley Cup victory late last night, I barely managed about three hours of sleep.
So anyway, here’s what I’ve got for you: a pair of newly reissued classics by two bands who — while I definitely wouldn’t call either of them unknown or obscure — have never seemed to achieve the level of recognition that they each seem to deserve …
Six Questions with Grisly Amputation/Vulture Guitarist Gene Fikhman
by Mrs. Valley of Steel
My second Person or Persons Unknown is with Gene Fikhman, guitarist for Grisly Amputation and Vulture (one of my personal favorite bands EVER), horror and gore movie enthusiast, and all around cool and collected kind of guy. I must admit that I don’t know Gene very well, but in my personal interactions with him it has always seemed like he was the type of person who knew lots of information once you scratched the surface. I’ve had a lot of men in my life that are like this — in fact, I am married to one — and it’s been my personal experience that you are never disappointed when you get to know these kinds of guys. They are usually extremely intelligent, full of useless knowledge, helpful in all kinds of situations and hell to play trivia against. This is what made me want to interview him, not about just GrisAmp or Vulture, but about him personally so I could see if I was correct and I think you’ll see from this interview that I wasn’t disappointed. I hope you won’t be, either.
Hello, friends. Regular visitors to this website have surely noticed that recently the volume of writing I am putting out there has significantly decreased. I apologize for that. But it hasn’t been the result of laziness, I assure you. I’ve been getting myself involved with a few other things — as I keep alluding to in several new posts over the past few weeks — and finally I want to let you know about one of those.
So, I have been asked to join the Pittsburgh-based record label The Innervenus Music Collective to help out with their PR and publicity. It’s a pretty exciting opportunty for me — first of all, as a writer I’ve been working with a variety of PR people and representatives from other labels, so I understand what’s involved, and it’s cool to be getting some experience from the other direction now. But even more than that, now I get to work directly with a group of people who do so much to support our local music scene — between planning shows and giving away the Iron Atrocity compilations, not to mention releasing albums from some really talented bands (Vulture, Invader, Fist Fight in the Parking Lot — just to name a few examples that I had written about last year)!
And so this new position has been using up a lot of my free time recently, mostly because we’re gearing up to put out two CDs in February: the debut full-length by grindcore/death dealers Grisly Amputation, and a self-titled EP by death-thrash-groove-sludge-core band Lycosa. I’ve been sending out promo materials to a whole slew of websites and magazines, so we should start seeing some reviews trickle in shortly, but I figure I wouldn’t really be doing my job (EITHER job – as a writer OR a publicist!) if I didn’t also inform you about the releases here on Valley of Steel!
Hello there, readers! Hope your day is going well — or at least, as well as a Monday can be expected. Even though I’m at work, I’m not in a terrible mood, which is pretty unusual for me. Maybe because I feel like I actually got some stuff accomplished over the weekend. More likely, I’m just (still) not awake enough to really feel anything yet. Well anyway, I don’t know about you, but I need some music while I work. Today (just like I do every Monday) I’m heading over to the “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records” website to look for something good, and then I’ll share whatever I find with you!
A short while ago, I got a message from a Canadian band called Patron Saint of Plagues, who describe themselves as “a twisted concoction of ominous tones and eerie melodies melded into dark story-tale like songwriting that touches on the very essence of the darkside of humanity and the terrifying thoughts that plague the mind of a psychopath.”
That, coupled with the photos of the quartet (guitarist Dead Boy, bassist Robbie Graves, drummer Bonez, and founder/frontman/vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Opi Saint) looking like a cross between The Spooky Kids and The Misfits on Halloween, definitely let me know that we’re in for a fun ride today.