Category Archives: concert photography

On The Road//Doomed and Stoned Fest 2018//Chicago

This time On The Road, we attended the first annual Doomed and Stoned Event in Chicago, IL, for three days of the very best in heavy metal! Featuring some of Chicagoland’s greatest bands, as well as other band features from across the country! This is a community-driven festival that aims to recognize local musicians, artisans, and merchants.

“In DOOM we trust. Praise the RIFF!”



Official site:
I coincidentally arrived at Reggie’s at 4:20PM where I met with the crew out back to get everything settled in for the weekend. I was parked right under the train where there was a back alley covered in beautiful graffiti, and I could even see the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in the distance. This was like a microcosm of everything you have ever heard or seen about Chicago. I then met with Lara, the promoter and the organizer of Doomed and Stoned Fest, who gave me my passes. She briefed me a bit on the event and where about everything was located.


Photo featuring: Lara McGlynn
Lara also mentioned that Shane, a Chicago promoter for Empire Productions, also helped her on the event. Doomed and Stoned Fest was birthed two years ago and existed as an annual event in Indianapolis, but was expanded to add the first Chicago event, making this experience a biannual rendezvous for metalheads everywhere. The event showcases 20 bands in three days as well as many artists, including Nick Gurly who designed the poster art for the even as well.

As I proceeded into the building, I could tell it was something made from what appeared to be a renovated old theater. I was able to meet with all of the employees at Reggie’s personally. They were all friendly, cooperative, and helpful. They really brought the show to life and made my experience at the event very enjoyable.
Day one of Doomed and Stoned Fest featured the following bands in this order starting at 7P.M
Pale Grey Lore
Shadow Witch
Black Road
Black Pyramid
Inter Arma
Pale Grey Lore showed up and immediately began to unload onto the stage having travelled all the way from Columbus, OH. They did their sound check and the festival began! Their performance was the perfect way to get the vibe of what Stoned and Doomed fest was going to be like. They were very engaging with the crowd and welcomed all the bands as they continued through their set list. After Pale Grey Lore was Shadow Witch, of Hudson Valley New York.
Prior to their performance, I was able to speak to the bass guitarist and vocalist Dave Pannullo. He told me all about how excited he was to be a part of the festival as we welcomed each other to the weekend ahead. Dave told me a bit about Shadow Witch stating that they were under the record label Salt Of The Earth; however, they are putting out a vinyl that was self -romoted under the label called Broomstick. He informed me about the albums of Shadow Witch including their first album Sunkiller, which came out in 2016, and their album, Disciples Of The Crow, which came out in 2017. Shadow Witch was inspired by bands such as Red Fang, Alice In Chains and Mastodon, and I could see that reflected in their performance.
While Shadow Witch was on stage, the venue really began to fill up. The other bands began to arrive and the festival started to kick into full swing. Next was Attalla, who had just pulled up and had to get right onto the stage. Codi laughed, “That’s how we like it. Just roll up, unpack and go straight from the highway!” Chicago appeared to really like Attalla and they made Wisconsin proud. They had a ton of energy in their performance and got the crowd super hyped. I was glad to see them once again for their performance is really strong. Being really familiar with our Wisconsin scene it was nice to see them bring our energy to the south as well.
I took a moment away from the stage to watch the merch table for Black Road’s lead vocalist Suzi Uzi while she recorded Attalla for a live stream on the internet. Suzi told me that Reggie’s was their home venue, and you could tell when they hit the stage that she truly felt in her comfort zone there.
Black Road hit hard and heavy representing the Chicago doom and stoner metal scene extremely well. They held everyone’s attention as they brought a stellar performance to Doomed and Stoned. At the end of the performance, Suzi humbly announced that their performance was dedicated to her father. All of us who know Suzi knew that he had recently passed away and it was very touching to see her love for him.
After Black Road was another dark,doomy band called Black Pyramid , who describe themselves as “Psychedelic War Metal”. They hail from western Massachusetts and made it very clear that they were NOT from Boston. I spoke with the two Andys: Andy B. and Andy K., who informed me that their latest album release was Black Pyramid II. The inspiration of Black Pyramid comes from many types of bands including 13th Floor Elevators, Neurosis, High On Fire, Black Sabbath, Black Flag and the occult in general.
The headliner, Inter Arma, was up next. Drummer T.J Childers told me that they were from Richmond, VA. They are with Relapse Records, releasing their most recent album Paradise Gallows which came out in 2016. Currently, Inter Arma is working on writing new music while touring. It was at this point that T.J asked me if I was a cop, which made me laugh because I realized I had forgotten to introduce myself. He described their sound as dirty, mystical, hillbilly metal, which I loved. He was a great guy with a lot of personality. He told me that their overall inspiration are acts like ZZ Top, Led Zepplin and classic rock over all. They owned the night, so it was no wonder they were the headlining act. This was a full force band that was definitely the stoner part of Doomed and Stoned Fest. To me, they were a band for big venues. They also have a European tour coming up!
Thus, the first day of Doomed and Stoned Fest was concluded. It was a great evening full of cool and dedicated fans, bands, and others who support the music scene. I was impressed with everything that had gone on so far, including the hard work that Lara had clearly put into putting everything together. The evening went without a hitch, and I couldn’t wait until day two.

After leaving my hotel room and picking up coffee and a crescent at Dunkin’ Donuts, I was off to get an early start to day two of the Doomed and Stoned Festival. I arrived at 2:30 PM, which was a bit before anything really began.

Day two acts of Doomed and Stoned Fest included:


Of Wolves





The Skull


When I returned to the venue, I met up with the members of the band Age Of Truth from Philadelphia. They are defined as garage-style stoner metal. I was unfortunately unable to attend for the third day of the event, which was the day they were to perform, but I did get to speak with them about their career, which lead to us being “event buddies” for the weekend. First I talked with their drummer, Scott Frassetto. I found out he was the newest member of the band and had only playing with them for seven months. Their latest LP is Threshold, which came out in 2017. Age Of Truth is in the process of a new album and he said that he feels this style is leaning more to a progressive style. Scott said they were invited by Lara to be a part of Doomed and Stoned Fest, and continued to tell me how the drive was smooth and they were planning on being there the entire weekend. I spent the majority of my time at the festival with the members of Age Of Truth thrashing to the other bands.

Thorr-Axe, from Bloomington, IN, kicked off day two and it was like the festival never stopped. As Of Wolves entered and it was as if they brought the pack with them and the whole venue was buzzing once again. Of Wolves guitarist and vocalist Steve took the time to speak with us. He told us about the album release for Evolved, and then on the fly decided to include us on an exclusive title announcement for their album release this September: Balance. A company they work with, Decibel, will be releasing a single and a video to go with this album. For Steve, the influence for Of Wolves is politically driven because he is angry and frustrated about having to raise his family in the world as is, and he said he finds it to be emotional therapy. They put on a great show and all of their fans filled the venue to the brim.

During the time that the band WAFT was up, I had left to take a break. I had just realized I hadn’t eaten all day and by this time it was 9PM. However, from what I had heard they really brought it, and kept they show rolling. To check them out, be sure to click the link we provided above.

The food at Reggie’s was spectacular, great service, great eats, and the atmosphere was amazing as well.

When I re-entered the venue, Brume from San Francisco, CA, had taken the stage. Jordan, the drummer, talked about how Rooster was their first L.P., and was engineered by Billy Anderson. He told me that Brume was heavily influenced by the bands Yob and High On Fire. They too talk up Doomed and Stoned Fest, talking about how good everyone was to them and so on. They were really full for a three-member band. The haunting quality of the female vocalist/bassist Susie stole the show. I have seen many female vocalists attempt to achieve this sound, but she really perfected the style. Her voice along with the rest of the talent of the band brought everything together so beautifully, it was a memorable moment for everyone at the festival.

Next was Huntsmen, one of Chicagoland’s very own. They released their last album in February of 2018, called American Scrap, under Prosthetic Records. They described their brand of doom as Americana metal, which is story telling. Bands that inspire them are Sleep and High On Fire.

I was able to sit with the band Sixes, which is featured in the video below. This band is sludge-doom with very heavy bass. They kept the pace of the festival with a heavy performance.

Lastly, there was the headliner for night two– The Skull.

I was able to spend time with guitarist Rob Wrong, who is not only in The Skull but was also in a band called Witch Mountain. He told us how he spent a lot of time flying between gigs with the two bands. He said he’s been very busy, which we found as no surprise. You could tell Chicago was the hometown of The Skull because they were surrounded by fans from the moment of the arrival. You can tell they are very loyal to their fans. Below is some live footage of their amazing performance.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend day three, but I really wish I could have stayed. I watched the live feed from home and it had continued to be a success. This festival was extremely successful. There were no hassles for the fans or the bands and everyone was extremely down to earth. It felt something similar to a family reunion, but one where you got along with everyone who was there.

I want to give a special thank you to Tim and Suzi for inviting us down to cover the Doomed and Stoned event, as well as give special thanks to bands Attalla and Black Road. Thank you as well to the band Shadow Witch for being the biggest contributor to our giveaway, but of course thank you to all the other bands who contributed as well. Thank you especially to Lara once again for working endlessly to put the festival together as well as all the others who worked over that weekend and beyond it as well.

***Don’t forget to enter our Doomed and Stoned Fest giveaway!! We have 13 package deals to win!! Like and share this article to enter!***

Don Niesen

Edited by- Cat Sullivan

Video/photo edits by- Emily Mae

On the Road// Route 20- Udo Dirkschneider/Elm Street/Wrath

On March 9th, I made my way with fellow Music Maehem contributors Mitchel Fulcer and Don Niesen down to Racine, Wisconsin, to see three amazing bands: Midwest local band Wrath, Australian band Elm Street and the legendary former Accept front man Udo Dirkschneider.

We arrived at the Route 20 just in time for sound check. We were greeted by Gary Golwitzer (front man of Wrath from Chicago, Illinois) as well as Scott Nyquist (guitarist of Wrath). After we said our hellos, we then made our way around the venue while they did as well, as the other members in Wrath finished up getting ready for the evening ahead.

We made our way to the back of the venue where we attempted an interview (over the very loud hums of the tour bus behind us). We all laughed and talked about what was all to come for the band in its near future. This was my first time seeing them since their sign onto Combat Records, so I was excited to hear all about that!

Soon, Wrath commanded the stage opening with “Conflict”, and everyone gathered with excited energy. They played several of their well-known tunes including “Test of Faith” and “Insane Society”, as well as an amazing cover of “Ace of Spades” in honor of Lemmy Killmister of Motorhead.

Wrath Facebook:

After Wrath, coming all the way from Melbourne, Australia was the heavy metal band Elm Street! With brutal force and shredding leads, they really brought the room to life.

This was my first time seeing them live. I had heard a few of their songs before attending the show, such as “Elm Street Children”, however much of their material was new to me. They played an amazing cover of the Quiet Riot classic “Metal Health” and closed out their set with a heartfelt dedication to another fallen metal legend Ronnie James Dio.

Elm Street Facebook:

After they went on, the stage crew took a few minutes to gather and set everything for the arrival of Udo Dirkschneider. This is his last tour, signaling to me even more now than ever that it seems like we are closing in on an end of an era in metal. However, with the end of something comes the beginning of other amazing things, so this certainly is just only one chapter in that in which is the metal music scene.

After putting my camera back in the car, I made my way back inside and started to take the opportunity to take in the show as well as the venue. The Route 20 was a great place! They offered food prior to the show, which was indeed very good and welcomed after a long day of travel on my end. Over two hours of road time plus Milwaukee traffic, I was more than ready to eat. They had a balcony area with tables you could reserve for the show, as well as plenty of floor space while the show was going on, although with all of the people in attendance it certainly seemed to be a bit tight. However, when it comes to seeing a live show, the more intimate the environment, the better.

Mitchel and I headed towards the back of the venue where there sat a crescent-shaped fire ring where people gathered to share conversations about the show over cigarettes and drinks. We ended up spending quite a bit of time there participating in several conversations throughout the revolving door of metal fans. One was a close friend of Wrath’s, another was a metal fan from the 80’s (as I am sure many people there were) that we had actually met when we saw Anthrax prior at The Rave in Milwaukee, and members of Elm Street themselves also joined in, including Nick Ivkovic (bassist) and L.A hired gun, Luke Man. It was cool to get a chance to talk with them for a while about what was going on and to thank them for giving me the opportunity to take photos as well. They were all as kind as they are talented!

I spent the rest of the evening with a few of my family members that came out to spend time with us and see the show (their very first metal show in fact!) and talked with Wrath and other concert goers while Udo sang many of his hit songs from his career. The venue would echo back lyrics to him including the hit we definitely remember from his days with Accept “Balls To The Wall”.

Concerts are always a good time, but I have to admit I was very much a fan of how personal this show really was. It’s not every concert these days that you get to spend real time getting to know the musicians face to face. I personally recommend that you take some time to catch a show at the Route 20 in Racine. I am sure you will enjoy yourself as much as I did.

So, as always, get out there and make some memories! The music scene needs fans like you to survive! Show your support!

To keep an eye on what is new at the Route 20 you can follow them on Facebook in the link below!

Live footage and photos:

Emily Mae

Front Row//In Dying Hours

In Dying Hours is a metalcore band hailing from our capital in Madison, Wisconsin. Founded originally in 2009, In Dying Hours has since been making a name for themselves in the Madison scene in particular, spreading brutality and melting faces from every stage they step on.

With influences such as Trivium, All That Remains, and As I Lay Dying, In Dying Hours is sure to stampede over any audience in front of them with their pounding rhythms, throbbing basslines, fierce guitar riffs, and ruthless guttural vocals.

If you plan on going out to an In Dying Hours show, you better come wearing your war face and be ready to mosh! They have quickly become a Madison favorite with good reason– be sure to check out their Facebook so you don’t miss their next show!

Cat Sullivan 


Extended Play//Orange- Floyd Turbo


Welcome once again to Extended Play, where we feature some of the hottest EP’s on the scene!

We introduce you to Floyd Turbo out of La Crosse, Wisconsin! These guys are definitely a true Wisconsin band with one of their listed interests being beer and also classifying themselves as middle- aged rock and roll. Although we can get a good laugh out of that, I can assure you their music is no laughing matter. Dean, Mark , Jim,and Nick really give it their all when they perform live. I had the opportunity to see them for the first time at Orangefest in 2017. I remember going over to the merch table and asking a bit about them. I liked what I heard, so I used my last few dollars to get myself a sticker so I wouldn’t forget to find them when I got back (and of course, snapped a few pics of them as well).



Orange was released in 2017 and made its debut live at the Brickhouse in La Crosse, where Floyd Turbo shared the stage with Seisma and Droids Attack. Since then, they have made several appearances especially in Madison, Wisconsin. Floyd Turbo has been on the scene for 3 years, but the members have played in many other bands before this, so this is far from any of their first experience with being on the music scene and it shows in the EP.

Orange really has what I could describe as “soul”—it can be found in the familiar blues influence within all of the greatest presentations of rock n’ roll. The cool thing about rock n’ roll is that it moves you. You can always feel the stories and emotions being told within.

Floyd Turbo has a very tight sound which I have always found as something that definitely comes with time and experience. This EP has very powerful vocals as well as lyrical content. The lead guitar is very well-placed and backed up by solid bass lines and drum beats. I just can’t get enough of these progressions, which you simply have to experience for yourself.  When you listen to the tracks “WGMCGR” or “Shadow”, you can feel a similar tone to that of Soundgarden or Stone Temple Pilots. Both of these artists have very powerful messages that reflect through the soul of rock n’ roll and I feel that Floyd Turbo shares this with them as well.

My favorite track personally is “The Delirium Complex”, which opens with an epic guitar solo that guides you into the hands of the drums and bass. This song is a passionate and powerful one that really gets you moving. I love fast music, as most of you know I am a thrasher at heart, but I have noticed a trend in metal known as groove metal that has shown us thrashers to slow down a bit and this tune definitely hits the mark. I also love tunes with a deep message and attitude as well. This is an EP I can sit all the way through and enjoy every track, which in reality can be a struggle at times, even for the biggest acts out there.


When speaking with Floyd Turbo, they also informed me that they are working on new material, and I so cannot wait to hear!

“We’re all extremely proud of our new material we’ve written and the recording is going very well. We’re looking forward to playing in front of anyone willing to listen this summer.”

Floyd Turbo is a truly talented and impressive band. If you haven’t see them live, you need to! So for those of you out there looking for a great rock band with just a hint of metal, your life is incomplete without this EP, I promise!

You can find Floyd Turbo here:

or on Facebook:

They are also on Youtube! Below is The Delirium Complex 



Back Stage Pass//State of Euphoria- My First Professional Assignment//Emily Mae

Welcome to Back Stage Pass. This is where we get to meet the people who stand behind the musicians in the scene and help bring everything together. Photographers, booking agents,production companies, road crew, stage crew, artists and more! Stay tuned for more interviews about all of these amazing individuals.  This time we get to hear from our very own here at Music Maehem- Emily Mae.

I am a concert photographer. Basically what that entails is going where the musicians are and capturing them in the moment. I do all kinds of photography but realistically the only community that has ever shown me any kind of respect has been the music scene.

It all began because I decided to take my camera with me one night while I was selling merch for the local Wisconsin metal band All Kings Fall. All I did was plug “Camera settings for concert photography” into Google search and the rest is history. I can tell you that I did get decent photos that very first night; however, they really needed improvement and that is where I began to study techniques and so on to get to the level that I am today. There is a lot of trial and error as I progress through the career. There is so much I could still learn before I have to even upgrade my equipment and even more things I have to learn after that.

Concert photography is definitely not for those who are looking to get rich– at least, not in the traditional sense. I gain so much more through experience. Sometimes, shows that I photograph change my life forever and this last weekend was one of those times.

A while ago, I was tagged in a post by Overdrive Music Magazine by my husband. They were looking for contributors to their team. At first, I wasn’t sure I was actually good enough to apply at the professional level. Then, I had one of those “eh, fuck it moments. I submitted my resume and 5 of my best shots. Not too long after that, I was accepted and then I received my very first show assignment which was at The Rave/Eagle’s Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


I was hired to shoot Anthrax and Killswitch Engage for their Killthrax tour.

I already had a lot of anxiety about going to Milwaukee. I definitely hate the city and a lot of the time I end up having a panic attack at the thought of going. Before I left my house I actually gave myself a pep talk:

“You can do this. This is what you have been working for. This is what you were meant to do.”

I couldn’t even eat the entire day, which I’m sure didn’t exactly help my situation. I was very lucky to have the support of my husband, my father and my brother. Without them, I am sure I would have just hidden back in my room. This was my dream opportunity, and I wasn’t going to let it leave my grasp.

When I arrived at The Rave and finally got inside to the box office, they hadn’t received their list yet so I was already kind of in a panic. To me it seemed too good to be true so I had anxious thoughts like, “What if I didn’t actually get on the list?”

To my right, I noticed a girl looking on her phone who seemed to be a little anxious as well. She made a gesture for me to approach her so I did.

“Are you waiting for the list too?” she said. I felt a bit of panic wash away when she addressed me.

“Yeah,” I said. “This is my first time doing this kind of thing so I’m not sure how this all works.” I chuckled a bit, and told her, “My name is Emily by the way.”

“No way!” she exclaimed,” My name is Emily too and this is also my first time!” We were both blown away by this set of coincidences. After some small talk, we received our passes and went our separate ways.

The venue was packed and only getting more so as the night progressed. I have been to The Rave many times, however this perspective of the venue was quite different. I made my way down to the pit and met the security guards. As a concert-goer, usually the security guys just felt something like policemen. But this time, I was working there. This time, they were technically my coworkers, and they were all very kind and respectful.

When they let me in I met up with three women, one of whom being the other Emily I had met earlier. I asked them all kinds of questions and they told me the basics. The main deal was we were only allowed to shoot for 3 songs and then we had to leave immediately and wait until the next band. I wasn’t surprised by this fact. As I mentioned earlier I have been learning this craft for some time. For bigger bands, that is the usual protocol.


The first band on was Havok, and I just used it as an opportunity to get myself ready and figure out what the lighting was like and so on…but when Anthrax came to the stage, it was an entirely different experience.

I have been listening to Anthrax since I was 13 years old…and now here they were right in my face! I was taking pictures of them and it was wild. 

I could feel the excitement as well as the panic. I collected myself: I took a breath and raised my camera and prepared to shoot. I really got in the zone here so I could distract myself from getting star-struck. After the first song, I’m not afraid to say I nailed most of my shots. 

“Caught In A Mosh” began and I could not help myself. I was shouting the lyrics and Joey Belladonna pointed at me in approval. I got extra pumped and started singing it with the fans on the other side of the rail as well. I just took in the moment and came to the realization that– yes, this was real!

I regained focus and began to finish my shoot while the security guards protected myself and the other photographers from the crazy crowd surfers entering from the mosh pit. It was insanity. It definitely made the shoot much more challenging.

All of a sudden, the three songs rule made more sense to me on a few levels. I was legitimately in danger of being injured there! Though, for some reason I still felt very comfortable and very much in my element.

After I exited the pit, I was able to be reunited with my husband. We went to the merch area, got some water and took a break. There, we met with some old school metalheads and shared stories. We even ended up meeting the drummer Pete Webber who was kind enough to sign our tickets!

We enjoyed the rest of the Anthrax set, then up I went to take my photos of Killswitch Engage and the night concluded.


I could go on and on about how amazing this night was, but instead I will end with this final thought:

The biggest thing that I gained from this whole life-changing experience is that I could now confirm that this is where I wanted to be.

I am certain I want to be a concert photographer more than I have ever wanted to do anything in my entire life!


To check out Overdrive Music Magazine follow the link below:

You can view the gallery I did for Overdrive Music Magazine here:

To visit my personal gallery please click the link below:


Gear-view Mirror//Evoked Lead Guitarist Dan Finnegan


Hello local reader! Mitchel Fulcer here and thanks for checking out my first article of “Gear View Mirror”. The intention here is simple. I am going to do my best to get backstage and get the lowdown on all the gear used by our local musicians.


January 27th 2018 “All Kings Fall” played a birthday show celebrating the love, support and birth of our friends Steven “Redbeard” Vertz, and Jason Mansavage. They hand picked two bands to entertain the evening and headlining the night was the all mighty “Evoked”! These local legends have been tearing up the scene for years and have a sweet stage setup that has always caught my eye. So I decided to spend time with Dan Finnigan [lead guitar] and Jason Schumacher [rhythm guitar and vocals] after their set to get the lowdown on their on stage gear so we can all get a closer look at who these dudes are and where their minds are looking to go.


First I pulled Dan aside and I knew I was in for a treat! If you have seen Evoked before you may have seen as many as three separate stage setups. Just like myself, as well as every other guitarist out there, there is an ever growing hunger to find your musical niche and identity in the music community. That being said, Dan’s setup is not your typical thrash setup. First of all he uses an Orange 55 watt amp head which I must admit caught my eye right out of the gate. “A Lot of people give me shit for using Orange to play thrash metal, but this first gen. Amp has the tone of the vintage 800 that so many thrash players chase.” Dan eagerly explains “I use a 50 watt head because you’ll never need any more than that! If your sound guy is worth his salt you don’t need crazy stage sound. Having 100+ watts is like having a Ferrari and never driving over 60 mph. Just a waste.”


Underneath his Orange head is an Orange 4/12 cabinet with vintage 30’s speakers for that classic british warmth. Don’t let that fool you though this puppy sounds well managed for thrash and kranks!!!


I continued to be impressed as we moved from the halfstack to the gorgeous LTD Alexi Laiho signature V’s. Full force with amazing tone of the single seymour duncan pickup, a body caressing cutaway and of course floyd rose bridge and whammy bar.

From the guitar he’s running into his wireless receiver mounted straight to his pedalboard. Followed by a TC Electronics Polytune tuner.

wirelessply tuner

A personal favorite of mine: the Dimebag Darrell signature “Crybaby From Hell” wah pedal. By far the most versatile wah pedal I have come across.

cfh wah

The modern staple Ibanez Tube Screamer overdrive distortion pedal. Asking for details, he informs “I use no extra gain or distortion. Just simply boost my existing tone.”

tube screamer

His collection of MXR modular/time based effects was a sight to behold. Running this all right out front rather than through his effects loop,Dan focuses heavily on how his chain is set. (as all guitarists should be).

Beginning the MXR chain is his Carbon Copy analog Delay. Running a long time length and low level on the pedal allows for a more full sound. It also has a crazy dial ability that lets you make crazy dystopian, Sci-Fi like sounds for those that like to get weird.

mxr carbon copy delay

Next in line is another thrash staple : the phase 90 used by 1000’s of thrash bands around the globe it was no surprise to see it made its way to Dans board.

phase 90

An MXR BLS Zakk Wylde Chorus pedal. (Definitely wanna try one out now!)

bls chorus

Topping the chain off with an MXR Noise Gate. A must have for any live player. Suppressing extra unwanted noise and feedback to riff transitions and muting on a dime.

mxr noise gate

All in all I think Mr. Dan Finnigan has discovered an amazing modern thrash twist on a vintage outlook, impressing myself and so many others in the scene.

Tune in for the next article to get an up close look at the unique and partially hand crafted gear of the rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist of Evoked Jason Schumacher.

Thrash fast and headbang hard!!


Album Review// A Silent Truth//Ascension

A Silent Truth is a metal band based out of the Chicago Area. The first time I saw them live in concert was in 2017 at The Annex/Red Zone in Madison Wisconsin. They opened up for the band Letters From The Fire and I was captivated by their performance. They really had a great presence that followed them offstage as well. I did have the opportunity to speak with them a bit after their performance and I found that they were all very respectful and welcoming to all of their fans eager to meet them at their table. Band influences such as Killswitch Engage, Periphery, Metallica, Staind, Cold, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, and Sevendust are really reflected in their new album Ascension, which is to be released in March.

I took some time with A Silent Truth’s John Partipilo to talk a little bit about the album inspiration.

“The concept of the album is almost an emotional rollercoaster, taking things that we all have experienced as a band personally by each member and tapping into it. We had several ideas for the album name and when Ascension finally clicked for us, it was because we were all feeling like we were going through this upward fight. We were ascending to another level as a band that we didn’t think we would be doing. So this is our ‘Ascension’ into this world and it’s only the beginning for us.”


These are the tracks off of Ascension that I was able to experience for myself. All of the tracks have very powerful introductions. They all get you instantly hooked and ready to rock. You can feel real emotions and they all stand true to the definition of the title of the album.

“Voiceless” To me, this really hit the spot. My favorite kinds of metal songs are always those with attitude. Perhaps its my heavy punk influence as well, but I am always captured by tunes like this one. This tune is about standing up for what is right. It definitely got me moving and I could instantly picture an entire crowd thrashing about.

“Marble” Is a track that is still filled with that raw energy and the feelings one has when you can’t ‘Save someone from themselves’. The pain of hopelessness is definitely one that I can relate to personally.

“Rayovac” A heavy song with cool melodic tones. All in all, it gives a voice to what it’s like in modern society. It expresses our much suppressed frustrations that I feel like everyone is feeling today as we watch society collapse before us, no matter what your political view or otherwise.

“Angel” This is a very empowering song. It is an outlet for those who have dealt with heartache. The particular lyric that stood out to me was “you’re never coming home.” The very idea of home is a place where we come to be secure and safe from the outside world; we think of everything we love and cherish in our lives. So, when we think of someone never coming home it creates another depth of what our loss really is. The emotion is really constructed beautifully in this song by the vocals as well as a smooth guitar solo. I definitely got a classic Chevelle kind of vibe from this song.

“Chariot” This track really showcased both vocalists. It was a great balance between the harsher type of vocals and the more melodic styles. Both really came together to bring this song to life. We are reminded that anything is possible and to grab on to our destiny no matter what that calling may be. No dream is too big and we shouldn’t let anyone tell us otherwise.

This album was a very uplifting experience, which I think we are all in need of, especially in the world today.

Get tickets to A Silent Truth CD Release Show with Orion Nine & Spec… at B House Live, Lombard, IL on 03/17/18


Tickets are on sale now here:

A Silent Truth has set up several tour dates so far, listed below. For more dates be sure to follow them on their Facebook page to see when they will be near you!

February 2nd Cobra Lounge Chicago
Feb 3rd The Looney Bin Bradley
Feb 9th The Forge Joliet
Feb 17th Cheers South Bend
March 2nd The Looney Bin for round 2
March 3rd Brewski’s Kentucky
March 10th Frank’s Powerplant Milwaukee
March 17th Brauerhouse Lombard
March 24th Penny Road Barrington
March 31st Fort Wayne
April 14th Bada Brew Crest Hill
April 21st Springfest
April 28th the Warehouse Melrose Park
May 12th Whiskeys Rockford
May 18th The Looney Bin round 3
May 19th The Redzone Madison
May 25th Music Lynx Mentor Lake
July 14th Bogg Hull Tavern Des Moines
July 15th the Hive Collective Cedar Rapids
July 21st TBA



Weekend Warriors // Metal Interviews // Mitchel Fulcer

Most people here in the Wisconsin metal scene know Mitchel as the Guitarist for the upcoming metal band All Kings Fall. Although, he has actually been in the music scene for quite some time. Anyone who has seen him play will tell you of his unique talents and shredding leads on the guitar as well as his insane amount of energy. He just comes to life on stage and is always up front giving his all for the other local acts as well. Some people have even referred to him as the “Ginge-nado” because of his long red hair and thrashing abilities. However, anyone who takes the time to get to know Mitchel will tell you he is one of the most humble individuals you will ever meet. Respectful and inspiring, I thought he would be a great example of the metal under ground scene. So I decided that he would be my first interview for my blog section Weekend Warriors.

First, tell me a bit about your background, let the people get to know you a bit.

Alright, well as a kid I was first inspired by the British Invasion type metal, like Iron Maiden.  I picked up the bass guitar, inspired by my brother, and began to play along to the tunes of Iron Maiden with my lame little karaoke box haha. I started getting  in the music scene with my dad in a cover band. After playing classic rock with my dad for 4 years I started to venture out on my own. At first with friends and also my brothers, but none of those things worked out and I went through 13 bands and projects until currently becoming a part of AKF.


Okay, of course the classic question, your inspirations and influences. You talked a little bit about your family and Iron Maiden is there anything else you would like to add?

Yeah, well my influences kind of vary between each era of my life. While I write music, I continue to find new people to influence my style. I’m known mainly for metal, but I do learn and like all kinds of music. Most of all I continue to be influenced by talented local musicians as well as watching documentaries. As long as they haven’t been spoon fed their career, really, I can find inspiration in really any musician. I’m inspired by strong opinions because popular or not, there’s always a story to tell.

I know this is a little broad, but what is music to you?

Uhhhh….everything?? Haha. Everything people love can be united through music, I mean sound is literally  how everything is held together. I mean it is a pretty loaded question, but I can mostly say it has given everything I have in my life. Without it I would probably just have died another druggie statistic.

What is it like to be a musician today? In your experience.

Honestly the community as a whole is a lot more welcoming than one would expect. However, it is very frustrating because I feel like with so much going on through social media you gotta trek through a lot of mud to really stand out. Especially in small town Wisconsin or really small town anywhere. I mean if I were in Seattle or something it’d be a lot easier to come across someone with a studio or someone who knows someone and etc of a larger label. In a small town everyone who is in music almost has to work twice as hard and travel twice as far, especially when you are in a metal band it’s more of a challenge to find your fan base. I mean plus the typical shit of where ever you are from probably doesn’t like you haha.


How has taking the, what some people consider to be, a risk, to become a professional musician, affected your day to day life or relationships?

As a musician, sometimes I feel like the, for lack of a better term, “common people”  tend to put you on a pedestal at times. Its pretty much 50/50. Either you are “untouchable” because they feel you are doing something they can’t do, but the other half sees you as dumb or naïve or that you think you are so “special” that you don’t have to work a job like everyone else or whatever and often times treat you with spite. A lot of the time as well, friends and family who are not musicians tend to not understand that in order to be a professional musician you are busy and may not have the time you once had for them which also tends to create a lot of friction. They really push you away because of the lack of available time and they start hating you. You get to meet some of the most amazing people in the world and even though you hardly see them, they mean more to you than anyone else you ever even saw in your everydays like high school. There does tend to be a struggle with all of the feed back, especially when it is positive. You don’t want to come off as arrogant. However it is a really great feeling to be welcomed at a “higher status” at a show. You’re no longer the bystander, so you are not held to those standards. You get a taste of what its like to be like on the “red carpet” or whatever. I never had any recognition in my youth so it’s hard not to let it get to you.  At the same time though, you gain a lot of responsibly to others. You are held accountable for every word that comes out of your mouth, so being careless with your words will not only hurt the individual but yourself as well. It’s really all about respect man. We all share a common goal, so there are no enemies only brotherhood and that’s how it should be. Always show your support, even to people you don’t know. Its really not hard to just be cool haha.


Anything you would like to say about these past couple of years with All Kings Fall?

When I think about my years with AKF, I really got to experience what I thought I wanted. Like, as a kid, I always knew I wanted it, but you really don’t know if you can until you actually are doing it you know? Like, the big picture shit. This past year, I really feel like I can. It just really solidified it for me. It showed me that it is possible and hanging with people who are motivated like Jon and Ian (my band mates) really helps pave the way and keep you focused. I feel like after all those years I have really proved my worth and showed what I can bring to the music community. It’s a surreal feeling to finally have something worthy.

What are some really basic short/ long term goals?

  • First of all, get out our second album, Grip Control.
  • Go on first tour
  • possibly find a manager or at least an agency
  • Then the big stuff, over seas stadiums.. you know dream shit

Are you thinking about a record lable?

Well, yeah and no. There is all the pressure of them investing in you and if you don’t perform like they see fit you get in some serious debt. But, if you are independent you have to work harder, but you may find someone interested enough in you rather than you just being interested in them.

Any final advice for future musicians out there?

Again, just be cool.  Support your local scene! Even if you are not playing a show, go catch a show! The best thing you can do to keep music alive is to just be there. Show your love!


Well, there you have it everyone, Mitchel Fulcer of All Kings Fall!

You can find his band All Kings Fall on Facebook here:

This was my first Weekend Warriors segment. I hope you enjoyed it! All the photographs are  my person photos! Check out my gallery on Facebook here:






Vulgar Display of Wisconsin “Remembering Dimebag”

In Columbus, OH December 8, 2004, the metal community lost a true legend unexpectedly. “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and three other people during a Damageplan concert were shot and killed by a young obsessed fan. The metal community was turned completely upside-down and all were devastated by this unfortunate and tragic act. 13 years later, we all are still paying tribute to Dimebag here in the Wisconsin  local scene.

The show was hosted by Shane Keddell, the well respected Promoter and sound technician at Grave Marker Music. Located at the Xtra920, a venue in Appleton WI, metal heads from all over the area braved the snow storm to gather together in honor of their fallen hero. There was even a raffle held to win either a Dean guitar (the brand in which Dimebag supported) and tickets to the up coming event Savagefest.  I set up the Merch table for All Kings Fall right next to the opening band Squid Hammer Metal, a Wisconsin metal band based out of Watertown, WI. They always have an impressive table. Lots of cool tees and other things all guarded by a dead squid in a jar, which is pretty metal.

As soon as the doors opened everyone shuffled in eagerly from the cold to get ready to rock out. Sound check was over and Squid Hammer Metal stepped up to the stage.

Along with their originals, Squid Hammer Metal played a few Pantera cover songs in honor of Dime. They then held up their drinks for a toast and introduced All Kings Fall to play next. Ian Gray ( bassist of AKF) shared a story about when he heard the unfortunate news about the tragedy of Dimebag.  ” I remember in 2004 I was at a Cradle of Filth and Type O Negative concert at the Rave in Milwaukee. There was this woman out side shouting hysterically ‘Dime’s been shot! Dime’s been shot!’ ” He took a breath and continued “Everyone thought it was a joke of some kind..but sure enough when I got home the next day it was all over the news and I was shocked” I could tell he was reflecting on those feelings again and everyone was with him in that moment, remembering how they felt at the time.

After All Kings Fall there was a KISS Tribute band by the name of Paul and The Destroyers. To me, this was a great tribute to Dime. His favorite band was KISS when he was growing up. So much so in face that he had requested in his will that he be buried in a “KISS Kasket”. It was sent to the Dimebag by Gene Simmons himself. (He was buried with the Bumblebee’ guitar from Eddie Van Halen as well if you didn’t know that) It was a really special thing to be able to get a taste of what Dimebag loved and was inspired by and we all sang and danced along with the classic tunes.  They were really fun and full of energy and enthusiasm. There was fog and lasers as well. I definitely felt like I had been transported to the 80’s for a short while.

The end of the night was one of the most beautiful parts of the show, its called the Vulgar Display of Wisconsin. Several bands from the scene all had picked one song that Dimebag had played during his career to share with everyone. We all gathered around with our Pantera tees and red dyed beards to say our farewell. The first band was Evoked and they started it of with “Domination” after that they were followed by Shane’s band Headstone. They played a very passionate tribute with “This Love”. Then it was Shield the Survivors and they changed it up by being the only band to pay tribute with a cover from Dime’s band Damageplan. All Kings Fall followed with a cover of “Mouth for War” and finally the night ended with the band LEAD.

Its really quite amazing to me that everyone still has the respect to honor Dimebag Darrell. The fact that one man was so inspiring to so many really unbelievable. He was so young and made such a large impact on the world. His fans, his friends, his family, and many people who worked right beside him all miss him dearly. People die, but legends live forever.

“Music drives you, it wakes you up, it gets you pumping and, at the end of the day, the correct tune will chill you down”

“Metal is what I am into. Shit that moves you. Shit that has heart and soul”

Dimebag Darrel (August 20, 1966 to December 8th 2004)