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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Oddbody’s Host UD Metal Conference after Show with Alex Skolnick

mike RitchieFrom The Pit – Music and Show Reviews

By Mike Ritchie

There was an addictively contagious energy in Oddbody’s on Saturday November 8th. Maybe it was due to the night being the top off, after party to three days of multi diverse and cultural information given by respected academic scholars at the University of Dayton on the global impact and culture of metal music and its growing community of supporters.

Maybe it was because each of the three bands that performed on stage were handpicked from a group of over a dozen hopefuls from around the state to play for a crowd of appreciative metalheads and also….because one of the distinguished conference guests of the day was in attendance to watch them throw down.

Alex Skolnick_03The three full days of lectures and presentations were a true international experience for the 85+ in attendance. With 32 of the 36 presenters being from esteemed collegiate institutions bringing their knowledge and expertise to the eyes and ears of over 50 undergraduate/graduate students and a few select pillars of the local community.

Seven countries were represented including the US, England, Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Puerto Rico with Ohio, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Utah, Missouri, Texas, California, Florida and Illinois also represented.

Alex Skolnick_01Over the course of the conference over 40 attendees averaged each presentation so all information brought and taught was welcomed, wanted and assimilated by ‘suit and tie guys’ and ‘long haired metal heads’ possibly at the same table. Mr. Skolnick averaged the biggest audience with over 50. The film March of the Gods on opening night drew 32 attendees and the art exhibit "Mask: Face Paint, Head Coverings, and Masks in Popular Culture" drew approximately 35 for the formal showing plus more during the week.

Conference topics included: "Queer Metal Matters: Metal, Sexuality, and the Future", Metal and Religion, Community and Metal, Extreme Metal and the Aesthetics of Community, Metal Under Totalitarianism, Metal and Culture, Cultural Legitimation of Metal, Metal and Education, Metal to the Extreme, Women and Metal, Metal as Performance, "Louder Education-Alex Skolnick," Defining Metal, and "Heavy Metal: A Business, A Lifestyle, Past, Present, Future"

It’s not every day an Ohio band gets to play a show with a man who’s traveled and performed on the world’s stages with the roaring bellow of Chuck Billy and Bay Area thrash legends Testament. A man many on stage with a guitar idolized and many within the crowd grew up head banging and moshing to his music. On the evening of Saturday November 8th, Alex Skolnick was at Oddbody’s.

Alex Skolnick_02The event helped raise money for Project Read of Dayton and the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. Each band played with sincere strength, passion, energy and vigor representing their scene and the Ohio scene as a whole. As the night progressed the musicians performed as if standing in front of a packed, screaming arena.

Cleveland’s Lick the Blade brought the second coming of Iron Maiden from the north with the soaring, searing Ted Anderson hitting Manowar pitch notes with a power metal groove. Dayton reps Engine of Chaos brought the middle ground dividing the night with a slower, smoother bluesy groove mixed in its Dio meets Cornel Seattle sound and finished with the always intense mammoth thrash attack of Forces of Nature.

An arena sized passion was present and played from the beginning with a collective unity showing visitors from other cities, states and countries what Dayton can deliver.

lick the blade_01Cleveland’s Lick the Blade brought the modern day classic sound of Iron Maiden mixed with power metal sounds and the endlessly high octaves of vocalist Ted Anderson who ranged from Dickinson, to Halford to Tate peaks. Formed in 2004, they decimated locally, going through a few member changes before acquiring Anderson and songwriter/guitarist Brian French. Signing with Cleveland based metal label Auburn Records in 2006 they released their debut Graveyard of Empires in 2009. From growing popularity overseas they were invited to perform at the sold-out Headbanger’s Open Air Festival in Brande-H√∂rnerkirchen, Germany. “Royal Blood,” from Graveyard, earned spots on compilation CDs from both Germany’s Heavy and Poland’s Hard Rocker magazines and Lick The Blade was voted “Best Metal Band of 2009″ in Cleveland Scene magazine’s 2010 issue of its annual “Cleveland Music Awards” feature. They’ve opened for Loudness, Exodus, Vader, and 3 Inches of Blood and more currently with a certain amount of musical irony, former Iron Maiden vocalists Paul Di’Anno and Blaze Bayley. Their second album The Sun and Time is out now.

lick the blade_02The “Mark of Nero” opened with galloping guitars as Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens aka Anderson owned on old school early Dickinson era maiden. There was history in them riffs on “Guns, Germs and Steel” as they went back to the Di’Anno club days when Eddie was just a face on a sign. They headed back to the inspiration of Ra and the Powerslave era on “Blood-Soaked Majesty.” The chalice runneth over with glorious crimson on the celebration table. “Voyage of the Damned” could be their “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as the ship traveled through the sea of madness through murky fog, where spirits of dead pirates waited to steer their vessel a foul.

A majestic opening with Anderson singing a soft wail of woe of land not seen till forever’s end. “Twilight of the Idols”, it’s metaphysical with twilight in the sky of the ancient and eternal idols. The hooded Charon the Ferryman made an appearance, pointing his oar to all souls looking for transportation after adding to his pouch of coins. “Charon’s Obol” gave protection to the soul with safe passage to the next world. Album title track “The Sun and Time” was next followed by “Thanatos” bringing the death of us all riding the battle plight of “The Trooper.”

engine of chaos_01Engine of Chaos came out ready to deliver the midsection of the night’s metal from Ohio selection with a set heavy with jam, groove and blues. Sirens went off as guitar reverb filled the speakers and bass thundered in. The first crunch of the almighty riff hit with the thunderous melodic yell of Scott Toops. Title track from Uncover the Bones brought forth some dirty buried secrets straight from the depths of Nola, LA. They went down with conformity playing the warriors call, marching with stained feet from “Blood on the Shore.” The guitars got slow, moody and melodic with their own super-“Unknown.”

Engine of Chaos_02The silence of the swamp was mucked up and smashed by the “Tug River” as watery guitar notes slithered down the river like hissing snakes venom. The bouncy thrash infused blues of “The One” was fused and followed by the dark tale of the “Deceiver.” Some bitches were born to deceive.

They got a lil’ Sabbathy on the “Change” then the premiere of the new/unreleased “Dream the Past.” Dude Mounts guitar chugged and marched with searing notes, telling them God-Damned “Lies.” “7 Demons” finished up the set with special guest vocalist Joseph Palmer.

Then a special encore happened with the world renowned guest guitarist. “This song needs no introduction. If you’re a metalhead you’ll know this.” Toops proudly proclaimed. “Are you guy’s metalheads out there? Are you mother------‘s metalheads out there?” The opening notes of one of the greatest metal anthems began. “I wanna hear ya Dayton Ohio, get the f- up off your chairs (in the back) and get up here!” Tonight Dayton gathered in their masses, to see Alex Skolnick on stage, shredding Sabbath, kicking our asses.

Forces of Nature_01Forces of Nature came forth and played with the power and passion of the gods and goddess’s. Marc Godsey took the mic speaking with genuine, heartfelt emotion about how incredible the last few days had been, the knowledge gained at the conference and the feeling of true love, unity and dedication displayed by the local scene. Not to mention meeting one of your guitar idols and being on stage with him. He stamped the statement with “and I CAN’T WAIT to play this set.”

Forces of Nature_02The opening iron welding riff and yelling notes of “Magnus Lee” shot out of Jimmy Rose and Marc Godsey’s guitars laying inflamed ground work for Tate Moore’s screeching serpent’s tongued dark demonic delivery. It was a sharp, hard punch to the face with a warm hello, saying we’re here, now f-----g pay attention! It started raining blood in the “Forest of Corpses” from a lacerated sky. Drums hit guitars grinded and riffed upward in a tale of tortured self-hate. Mary’s one messed up bitch, in a moshed up f’n mess.

“Throwing Fists” in a cage or a concert, you’ll get hit back either way… and the cage is safer. Drums tapped ushering in the ram-rodder guitars smashing TV’s with wrecking balls, sledgehammers and other hardcore fist shaking plunder. It’s the only way to get that crap off “A.S.O.T.” “Nevermore” slows it down ‘a bit’, enough for a short pit-break before your personal “Apocalypse” comes on reentry. Get ready you stupid, stupid, stupid son of a bitch! Rose shined on the six minute instrumental opus “Dark Carnival” bringing the addictive emotional darkness and thrash poetry from his fingers. Something wicked as shit, this way came. The heavy pair of double D’s was shown in public again with “Deception” and “Devices.”

After the show Rose got his guitar neck signed by Skolnick and enjoyed a few surreal, inspirational moments with the guitar legend as did other members of Forces and other audience members throughout the evening.

Read more from the pit articles and reviews by Mike Ritchie on his web site

More about the amazing and multi-Talented Alex Skolnick at

Visit for more great show line ups and see how you can help find a cure, visit

Images by Mike Ritchie


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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Driftwood Records – Buy Independent / Support Music



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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

MONOPRICE 600850: A Sound Investment in Audio Perfection

monopriceAudio Equipment Review: Monoprice 600850 “Lollipop-Style” Large Diaphragm Condenser

Ever have to make a decision of what type of microphone you need for recording the perfect audio track, having a very limited budget, but not wanting to settle for 2nd rate or “cheap” quality. Now you can enjoy the flexibility of multiple polar patterns in a single microphone and a price where it is not only the affordable option, but the most intelligent.

The Model600850 “Lollipop-Style” Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone from Monoprice is a completely Class-A microphone, featuring a generous 32mm capsule with cardioid, figure-8, and Omni polar-patterns, 10dB pad, and high-pass filter.

This microphone is designed to rigid specifications and can compete against competitor microphones in price ranges that surpass a $1000.00 cost level; however, Monoprice offers this fantastic piece of technology at a retail price of only $349.00.

monoprice 2This unit features a 32mm gold-sputtered, 8 micron diaphragm with switchable Cardioid, Figure 8, and Omnidirectional polar patterns, allowing you to tailor the microphone’s response to each specific recording requirement.

monoprice 6






Featuring both a switchable High Pass filter set to 6dB per octave at 150Hz, to reduce the proximity effect, a switchable -10dB pad prevents overloading or damage to the microphone when in the high SPL conditions. The Monoprice 600850 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone is not just systematically flexible but built of sturdy construction, making it one of the most durable products to be released today.

monoprice 3As with all other condenser microphones, this mic requires +48V Phantom Power (±4V). It comes with a shock mount, which isolates the microphone from any vibrations present in the mic stand and comes in a beautiful metal-reinforced hard case for storage and transport, being designed to withstand use in the studio or on the road.

In our studio, we tested the unit in every conceivable manner with our resident artists ranging from Instrumental and Jazz to Hard Rock and Metal Vocals, sounding instruments in proximity and single “Mic to Room” variables and collected the ambient wave patterns that we got from room acoustics. The Monoprice 600850 was able to pick up every sound element with complete clarity.



We plan on continuing our review with more depth in the weeks to come, including a Video review and sound samplings, in the meantime, please check out the reviews from the Monoprice website, they are very accurate and coincide with our findings. You can check out more about the Monoprice 600850 “Lollipop-Style” Large Diaphragm Condenser at the Monoprice Website.


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Lollipop-Style Large Diaphragm Condenser MicrophoneLollipop-Style Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Product ID: 600850



Byzantine Bring the Release and Resolve Tour to Dayton


mike Ritchie_thumb[6]

From The Pit – Music and Show Reviews

By Mike Ritchie

Oddbody’s brought the metal October 25th, from New York, Rhode Island, West Virginia and of course Dayton with four bands of different types and styles but all screaming for metal.

One of the rock-solid pillars of the Dayton metal scene Forces of Nature owned the stage as only they can playing set staples “Mary Hates Herself”, usual opener “Magnus Lee” and the newer enchanted “Forest of Corpses”. They gave what every male and some female metal-heads love with a set of double D’s playing “Deception and Devices”.


New York’s IKillYa touring on their second release Vae Victis, naming their outfit after the boiling point where you just can’t take the stress, bullshit, stupidity and hopelessness of a situation anymore and go do something constructive about it. So it was fitting they started out loud, roaring and angry with a “Godsize” problem. The warrior spirit came out with a vengeance tearing up the stage with a DevilDriver rasp and Danzig’s yelling throat. “And Hell Followed With Him”…engraved upon these knuckles the frantic need to escape a car wreck before the flames attack, OH! The tempo changes of “Driven” were enough to trip up any mosh pit to fall into each other. “E.H.R”, screaming is just vocal therapy that must be exhaled to sooth the tortured voice of Jason Lekberg. “Jeckyl Better Hyde” was the good and the bad of dueling personalities always at war. Can’t let the darkness win. They finished with “Vae Victis” and woe ye to the vanquished and the conquered.

Thy Will Be Done , began with the severe head beating, ear bleeding “Solemn Oath”. With the brutal tastes and stage tactics of Machine Head and Hatebreed they blasted and banged through eight throttle churning road burners. J. Costa had an eerie presence which probably had nothing to do with his odd resemblance and stage charisma to a late 60’s hippie guru. “Unto the Sanctified” spilled the blood of Rob Flynn’s fret fingers down the Nile with enough growling to appease the gods and enough gear rattling guitar work to keep the machine roaring. Taking a piece of the temple “The Apathy Divine”’s was a chug, head stomper leaving debris on the dance floor. YouTube video “Earth’s Final Embrace” was three minutes of pre-apocalypse warning. Crush the distracters, naysayers and spirit draining vampires with the strength and passion of “A Lion and A Lamb”.

The groove metallers of the underground have achieved cult status after a 2013 comeback after half a decade away, playing support to their upcoming 2015 release To Release is to Resolve early next year. Byzantine opened with The Fundamental Components of “Hatfield”, reviving the family feud, the metal way. The metal mathematicians went to work making us earn our penance the hard way by the “Stick Figure” and “Slipping on Noise”. They broke out the serpents on “Justica” and “Taking Up Serpents” and traded screeching/clean vocals on the sizzling groove thrash and bluesy melody of “Jeremiad”. Oblivion Beckons on “Nadir” then they came current on “Efficacy” and style defying “Signal Path”, finishing with the black tar grin of the “Soul Eraser”. A throwing wall of death of personal conflict and self-made chaos get thee behind me Satan.

Images by Mike Ritchie

Forces of Nature will be with us again on Saturday the 8th at Oddbody’s with Engine of Chaos and Columbus’s Lick the Blade for the University of Dayton Metal and Cultural Impact Conference Aftershow featuring legendary guitarist, Testament’s Alex Skolnick . All door profits are being donated to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund and Dayton's Project Read! Come out and support the bands, the charities, and have a banging good time.

Read more from the pit articles and reviews by Mike Ritchie on his web site

Trini Lopez, “At PJ's” Special 50th Anniversary Numbered Limited Edition on 200g Vinyl

image"...raw, energetic, live music - this is Trini at his absolute best…Wonderful songs, brilliantly performed that STAND THE TEST OF TIME...”

Exhibit Records announces the release of a Special 50th Anniversary Numbered Limited Edition album of Trini Lopez, "At PJ’s." The 200 gram vinyl record is beautifully presented in a sturdy old style gatefold jacket featuring the original album art work and for the first time includes the lyrics to all the tunes. The back of each album is foil-stamped with its unique number.

With the release of this album in April 1963 Trini Lopez became one of the biggest singing stars of the Folk Revival. Trini Lopez, "At PJ's" made it to #2 on the Billboard charts and stayed in the Top 40 for over a year. The album included the chart-topping "If I Had a Hammer" which reached number one in 36 countries and was a radio favorite for many years. The hit single sold more than 4 million copies and the album sold over a million and was awarded a gold record.

This was the album that made Lopez an instant success and the live party-a-go-go atmosphere of the record did much to put Trini's likable energy over the top. What Lopez did, at the head of a trio was to make folk-pop swing. Other songs include "This Land Is Your Land," and "Gotta Travel On." It could be surmised that by treating such material in this fashion, Lopez had a tiny influence upon the subsequent folk-rock movement...though, Lopez was more the all-around entertainer with a Latin lilt than he was a pure folk singer, so you also get "America" (from West Side Story), "La Bamba," Ray Charles' "What'd I Say," "Volare," and "When the Saints Go Marching In."

The emergent Exhibit Records has rapidly curated an eclectic catalog of classic recordings and gaining notice for exquisite mastering, high quality pressings and detail to the fine art of exceptional package design.

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