Nekrogoblikon – Power (2013), Dethlehem – Destroyers of the Realm (2015)

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NekrogoblikonPower (self-released, 27 August 2013)

 

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DethlehemDestroyers of the Realm (self-released, 06 January 2015)

 

Hey, folks. Today’s theme is going to be fantasy-RPG-inspired metal. I know that sounds oddly specific, but there are a couple bands in that realm I’d like to discuss, and they both just happen to be playing a show together later this week. First, Californian horde Nekrogoblikon, as you may have guessed, write songs that are based on goblins — those devilish inhabitants of folklore, who in this instance resemble the nasty green creatures of Warhammer and later fantasy games, more so than the bumbling little muppets from Labyrinth, for example. The band has been around for a few years — the EP I’ll soon talk about was released nearly three years ago, in fact — but since they’re currently on a raid across the country, it seemed like as good of a time as any to share their music with you today. Nekrogoblikon‘s tour will be storming through Pittsburgh in just a few days (accompanied by Urizen from Fort Worth), and when it does, rest assured that a ragtag band of local heroes will be ready for them.

Regular readers of this website are already familiar with Pittsburgh’s own Dethlehem, perhaps from the time we did an interview with them, or from any number of other times the band has been mentioned here. For those who somehow managed to miss out on these guys previously, imagine a group of musicians who have gathered together in precisely the way a typical Dungeons & Dragons adventuring party would: someone who has good fighting skills, someone who knows magic, people who can specialize in lead guitar or rhythm guitar or bass guitar, someone who is good at sneaking around quietly and gathering information or stealing things, folks with vocal skills and drumming know-how, and so on. Basically, a group of people whose strengths and weaknesses can complement each other, and who can work together harmoniously.

 

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The Bloody Seamen – Ahoy, Motherfuckers (2013)

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The Bloody SeamenAhoy Motherfuckers (self-released, 19 September 2013)

 

Hello there, friends and fans of great music! Here’s something I’d been planning on sharing with you last week, but I didn’t have a chance to get any writing done all week because shit got crazy at work. Between someone on vacation, someone at a week-long conference, someone having to go to the hospital, and a temp who doesn’t know how to do much yet, my department was reduced by about half. Which means instead of doing the work of two people, I was actually working for like three or four. No fun.

But really, this review is way more overdue than that — the album I’m telling you about was actually released nine months ago (coincidentally, last year’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day), and I’ve been listening to it over and over since then. The debut album by Pittsburgh’s premier pirate rock band, The Bloody Seamen, impressed me and exceeded my expectations so much, it gained a spot on my list of 2013’s best releases. And today (finally!) I’d like to tell you why.

 

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The List of 2013 Year-End Lists

Photo Collage - 2013 Shows - by Asya Yanyo

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Hey folks — a very Happy (Belated) New Year to all of you! 2013 definitely turned out to be an interesting year for me, with lots of big changes, new projects, new responsibilities, etc., but an unfortunate side-effect of some of that was (as you’ve surely noticed) that the amount of time I’d been spending writing really tapered off as the year went on, to the point where I didn’t post
anything here for the last few months! Well, as you may have seen, I’ve started writing reviews of some new 2014 releases — and as time allows I promise I will also be sharing plenty of older stuff I’ve missed writing about, because believe me there has been a TON worth sharing!

But more on that later. As I started doing last year, I’ve once again put together a collection of various people’s “best of” lists from 2013. Admittedly I sort of got a late start on this (I didn’t even put out the open invitation until after most websites had already finished with publishing all their year-end stuff), but several people have answered the call and contributed some really interesting lists that you’ll want to check out…

 

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Solarburn – 13

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Solarburn13 (self-released, 14 September 2012)

 
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you — in my opinion — the #1 CD from all of 2012. Not only one of the best bands I’ve ever heard in Pittsburgh, but one of the best bands I’ve ever heard. And I stumbled into being a huge fan of theirs, almost by accident. Or some might call it fate.

See, these guys had included one of their songs (“C-Section”) on the Innervenus Music Collective‘s free Pittsburgh metal sampler, Iron Atrocity V.2 — a collection which I heard and wrote about when it was released last summer.

At the time, I was impressed by the Solarburn track, given that I’ve always been fond of instrumental metal music anyway, and (as I said in that article about the compilation), this song sounded “way heavier, more ballsy, and well, just plain more interesting than a bunch of the aimless noodly shit that’s out there.”

I also recall somebody involved with Innervenus talking about this particular song when the compilation was made public — I can’t find the exact quote, now, so I will paraphrase — playing the song for another person, that other person reportedly said something about how the song was absolutely perfect, and he kept hoping that nobody would start singing and fuck things up.

I was also intrigued to learn that the band had been working on a full-length album (which was to be unveiled at a show in mid-September), and thought that I might want to check that out — the new CD at least, even if I ended up not being able to make it to that show.

Anyway, within the next few weeks I heard about what was called the R.A.N.T. (Rock All Night Tour) in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I wrote an announcement that this all-day free music festival was happening, and what really caught my eye was the fact that the renowned local pirate rock band, The Bloody Seamen, were playing a show that evening. I’d been wanting to get a chance to check them out ever since I’d seen a few of their videos, so that’s just what the wife and I had planned on doing.

Well once we got to the Thunderbird Cafe, where the “punk” show was taking place, it was already extremely crowded for such a small area — and people just kept coming and coming, to the point where we felt pretty claustrophobic, and couldn’t find anywhere to stand where we weren’t constantly getting stepped on. Frankly, it was kind of miserable, so we were talking about just heading back home — when I pulled up the Valley of Steel post about R.A.N.T. on my phone. I saw that the “metal” show was taking place at a bar called Cattivo, just a few blocks away, and it had a slightly later start time — so we decided to see what that was like, before just giving up on the evening.

It happened to be much more spacious there, and there weren’t nearly as many people (at least at first). So we grabbed a couple drinks, found an empty table, and waited for opening act Solarburn to take the stage.

 
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The Huge List of 2012 Year-End Lists!

Well, friends, here we find ourselves in the waning moments of 2012. It’s been an interesting, eventful year that’s had lots of high and low points — a ton of excellent new music has been released and quite a few brand-new bands have emerged that I’d fully expect to be making some serious waves in the near future.

One of the best things about 2012, for me personally, was that I found myself (and my wife) going to lots more shows than in recent years, and as a result I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of new people — as well as starting to take a way more active role in the local music scene.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I had a suggestion from one of those people I’ve gotten to know in the past year (I won’t say who — he said he preferred not to be given credit for the idea, although I will say that it’s somebody who contributed to this). The idea was to collect top-ten lists from various folks in the Pittsburgh metal community.

So I put out an open invitation for any musicians or other people who are involved in the scene in some way — I was looking for anything, whether it was the traditional “Top Ten Albums” or something totally off-the-wall like someone’s ten favorite sandwiches they ate during the year. Really, the only rules were that it had to be a list, and involve something from 2012.

 
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What To Do In Pittsburgh Tonight (21 November 2012)

What’s up, readers! It’s Thanksgiving Eve, which around these parts is officially the BIGGEST party night of the year! That’s right, bigger than Saint Patrick’s Day, bigger than Cinco de Mayo, bigger even than New Year’s Eve.

Believe me, I spent enough of my younger years working overnight in a 24-hour convenience store — one that is famous for its “Made To Order” food, and in particular, one that was located in a small town where the ratio of bars to houses is practically one-to-one — so I’ve got enough empirical data to back up this claim.

Anyway, if you’re looking for somewhere to go tonight, I’ve got you covered. Just please be careful out there, and please be safe getting home! I’ve got lots of exciting new content planned for the near future, and you won’t want to miss any of it. (I know it seems like I’m making light of the situation, but seriously, go out and have a good time — but for your own sake and everyone else’s, just don’t be stupid, ok?)

Here we go…

 
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What To Do In Pittsburgh Tonight (30 October 2012)

Hey out there in Iron City land! Trick-or-Treat cancelled or postponed in your neighborhood and now you’ve got nothing to do tonight? Why not try this on for size…

 
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