Friday, November 11, 2011


(self-released, 2003)

In honor of today being National Metal Day, or something, I will be featuring one of my favorite lesser-known metallic ensembles. On a side note, why the Hell is 11-11-11 a metal day? All I can think is because the numbers add up to 6, as in 666, the number of the beastie. But, if that's the reasoning, then today should be International Patrick McGoohan Day. Hmph.

Math time!

Don't'cha' love Venn Diagrams?

I do! Or, I should say, I did when I was a wee schoolboy. I think. That was a while ago.

Anyhow . . .

My friend Elizabeth, whom I've mentioned before, informed me sometime in the late '80s that she'd seen God. As it turned out, she meant she'd seen Avail play in Richmond, Virginia (an hour away) the night before. Embarrassed as I am to admit this, I have to admit I've never heard them. I've heard plenty of positive stuff about them, however, and Elizabeth generally has excellent taste. One day, I will check them out. I promise.

What does this have to do with anything?

Well, Richmond musician Erik Larson first made a name for himself as Avail's drummer, Erik Larson (see above diagram). Yes, I wrote that intentionally. I don't think he was playing with Avail when Elizabeth saw them, but that is beside the point, dammit. He went on to play guitar in the stoner metal band Alabama Thunderpussy, who were also from Richmond, which is not now, and has never been, in Alabama. Unless someone has been lying to me.

'Round about 2003, three fifths of ATP started the side project Axehandle (see above diagram). They toured a bit and released one album, the eponymously-titled Axehandle. They originally released it themselves as a professionally duplicated CDR, and I bought a copy when I saw them that year. Their setup was rather unique, I must add. The aforementioned Erik sang and played rhythm drums, ATP drummer Big Shirley (AKA Bryan Cox) played lead drums, and ATP guitarist Ryan Lake stood behind them, playing a single guitar (a Les Paul, if I remember correctly) through two massive Marshall stacks. It was awesome, so I bought their CDR. The CDR also turned out to be awesome, and Small Stone Records apparently agreed, as they did a proper release on regular, regulation CD the following year. I've chosen to use the cover from the CDR version above, though, as I bought it first, and I like it better than the new cover down here. A lot better, actually.

Tragically, Axehandle never released anything else. Tragically 2 (The Electric Boogaloo), they never released their horrific cover of Phil Collins' I Don't Care Anymore. Seriously, it was menacing as Hell when they performed it at that show. Lyrically, it fit right in with their other anger-and-psychosis-and-violence drenched material; it was a good fit percussively, as well.

BTW, I saw Brass Castle for the first time that same night. They rapidly became my favorite local band, amidst a ton of great local bands, and will most definitely be featured here at some point.

3 biased opinions:

Virginia said...

Is 11/11/11 being metal day related to Spinal Tap somehow?

Biki Honko said...

Nifty song. And I'm pleasantly surprised he's not the least bit nasal! LOL

Brass Castle? Id I miss something or was that just an extra non sequitur?

Lightning Baltimore said...

@Virginia: D'oh! That must be it. I'm so ashamed.

@Biki: Not a non-sequitur, really, I just happened to notice when I looked up in Quicken (yes, data from eight years ago) when I bought the Axehandle CDR, it was the same night that I bought Brass Castle's kick ass debut CD, Get on Fire.