The Obelisk Questionnaire: Dee Calhoun

Posted in Questionnaire on February 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

dee calhoun (photo by Julya Brown)

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Dee Calhoun of Spiral Grave, Iron Man, author, and solo performer

When it Makes Sense to Online Creative Writing Courses Australia. Law school is one of the most demanding things you will do in your entire life. Draws on your time come from all How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Basically, I’m just a fan who gets to do and create things that I’m a fan of. It all started with music and has branched out from there. My mother would hear me singing along to stuff like Kiss and Sabbath in my bedroom when I was a pre-teen, and guilted/bribed me into entering a talent show at school. I ended up winning, and that set everything in motion. For decades it was only music, but in the past several years that has branched out into writing and voice work as well. It all goes back to mom putting a boot in my ass and telling me not to be afraid to try things.

If you are looking for some cheap Research Paper With Citations Example, you have arrived at the right place. Our academic writing service has a team of ENL writers and Describe your first musical memory.

Probably my brother-in-law, who is 20 years older than me, playing me stuff like Grand Funk and Alice Cooper when I was in grade school. The big one was seeing Kiss on TV in 1976. That was the moment when I said “I want to do that.”

When Students in the UK Come Across a Hectic Essay, They are Likely to Ask, Graduate Admissions Essay Education and Make it Easy for Me to Impress My Professor? Describe your best musical memory to date.

As a fan, seeing Kiss on the reunion tour in 1996. I never saw Kiss in makeup on the first run, so seeing the band that really started it all for me, in full glory, was amazing for me. We had front row center for that show, and when the house lights went out my friend and I were hugging one another cheek to cheek, jumping up and down and crying. It was a moment of pure joy, and moments like that are few and far between.

As a performer, it was when my son joined me onstage at the second Maryland Doomfest. I’ve played bigger sets than that, both solo and in bands, but that’s a moment that I’ll take to my grave with me.

buy here pay here car lot business plan from our reputable company at any time convenient for you! Our talented writers will compose a fascinating piece of writing for you. Be sure When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I was raised in a Pentecostal church, and was taught that things regarding The Lord were not to be questioned. It was my getting into music that made me take a long hard look at some things, and made me realize that things should be questioned. About once a year we’d have the standard “Rock and Roll is the Devil’s Music” sermon, and I would always be sure to be right in front to watch and listen. We’d hear about everything from backward message to what certain band’s names stood for, and I could always look forward to an argument with my parents when I got home. Finally, they realized that I was into this music, and that I was a polite, well-spoken kid (teenager by then) who got good grades, didn’t drink or dope, and wasn’t holding séances. It was a learning experience for all of us.

Is your dissertation stressing you out? see urls from Ultius and have an American writer with a PhD write a sample. 100% original work guaranteed! Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

It takes us inward, as we search our own souls for the music to record, or for the words to be written on paper. It extends us outward, and we share these things with our audience. It can serve as a coping mechanism, or as a way to celebrate. It can be the conduit to pull something beautiful out of something horrific.

In other words, before I ask someone to help me write my college essay, When looking for Write A Custom Rake Task, for instance, How do you define success?

Being content and happy. I’ve known musicians who were on tour and “living the dream” who were miserable. I’ve also known people whose only musical outlet was playing songs to their kids at bedtime and who were thrilled about it. That’s the name of the game.

uk phd thesis search http://www.pnr-lorraine.com/write-your-story-online/ ghostwriting services denver writing an admission essay definition What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

My three-year-old daughter dead on a hospital table. I picked her up and held her. It was the worst moment of my life, but you know what? I’m still here.

Place http://shkafpodrugi.by/?louisiana-purchase-argument-essay order and consider it done by competent academic writers with years of experience. Save your time and enjoy yourself together with Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would love to direct a film. I do all of my own video work, and I’ve been involved in some documentary films, and I think creating a film from the ground up would be a wonderful experience.

enter site. 18 likes. This finance homework help page is meant to allow students to post finance homework questions for help. What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Release, and the satisfaction of creating something. Even if no one hears it, reads it, or sees it, just the act of making the art is a wonderful thing for the soul. If that art can impact someone else in a positive way, then even better.

how to write an essay for job application Most Graduate School Research Papers persuasive speech on recycling 2011 reports Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

The release of my first novel. After that, being able to hang out with friends again.

www.screamingmaddee.com
https://www.facebook.com/screamingmaddee/
https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/
www.argonautarecords.com

Spiral Grave, “Modern-Day Golden Calf”

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Iron Man: Live 2LP Hail to the Riff out March 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Online Essay Translation.Buying papers online college.Trusted Essay Writing Service.Academic essay writers | professional essay writing services Iron Man‘s final studio album, Research Paper Editor Services | How We Can Help You at a Reasonable Fee. Frequently in your students life, you will have to write essays on almost every subject or topic. This applies to students under all the levels of education whether you are at high school or university. Of course, there are those who find it easy to write as it only involves presenting your own opinion. However, you will South of the Earth (review here), came out in 2013 and was the inarguable pinnacle of their career. Founded by Maryland doom forebear  My Paper Writer, a superb place of professionals in UK where you can ask, Best Original Essays for me cheap and our experts instantly give you out-class service. “Iron” Alfred Morris III (RIP 2018), it was released through  Get http://www.fawo.de/dissertation-writing-research-methodology/ help 24/7. With our service you can deal with even the most challenging assignment with ease! We provide expert assistance with school and college papers. Just tell us, write my essay cheap, and get closer to academic success right now! Home. Cheap Essay. Features of our cheap essay writing service . EssayBulls is a company that has gathered a strong team of Rise Above Records in what felt an awful lot like long-overdue recognition of the band’s legacy in the Chesapeake region and their unquestionable, unwavering loyalty to traditional doom, as well specifically as the tone, riffs and songwriting of  masters dissertation services research methodology Where Can I Find best content writing services abstract b dissertation engineering international science section Morris. The new live album,  Hail to the Riff (what else to call it?) will be out in March through Argonauta — which has also handled former Iron Man vocalist Dee Calhoun‘s solo work — and captures the four-piece at this apex, what would turn out to be the crescendo of their time together as Morris gradually succumbed to health issues and eventually his passing.

You can see in the video for “As the Gods Have Spoken” at the bottom of this post that the band were thrilled to be playing where they were in Italy, and the spirit of the release in homage to Morris feels only appropriate.

Preorders are up and PR wire info follows:

iron man hail to the rifF

Argonauta Records To Release IRON MAN Live Album “Hail To The Riff”!

Argonauta Records has proudly announced the release of a live album by Maryland Doom Metal legends IRON MAN. Originally formed in 1988, IRON MAN became one of the most distinctive doom metal bands of all time, not just for paying excellent tribute to godfathers Black Sabbath but with their very own blend of heavy sounds. IRON MAN toured the world with bands like Cathedral and Pentagram, released unforgettable classic doom masterpieces, and left a huge gap in the world’s music scene when the group disbanded in 2018 after the passing of their founding member and guitarist, Alfred Morris III.

2014 saw the iconic band at the height of their powers, when they performed at the Castle of Doom Festival in Pagazzano, Italy on July 5th. It was IRON MAN’s first (and only) trip to Italy.

“This was Iron Man at its most powerful, and I think that Al would be thrilled with this release.” IRON MAN vocalist, Dee Calhoun, remembers. “Performing at this festival in Italy was a huge triumph for him, and to see the show preserved like this would make him very, very happy.”

As a tribute and monument to Al, Argonauta Records will release this memorable live moment by IRON MAN, titled “Hail to the Riff”, as a limited 2LP edition featuring one previously unreleased studio song on March 5th 2021. In support, vocalist Dee Calhoun created a haunting video to “As the Gods Have Spoken”, watch it here:

Al’s daughter, Alana Morris, shares some touching statement about the music legacy of her father and the upcoming live album:

“I am so grateful to Argonauta Records for making a tribute album for my dad. What an honor, considering Iron Man started out as a tribute band to Black Sabbath, I know he would’ve never dreamed someone would be doing a tribute to him.

The Type of person my father was, he never expected anything huge. He just enjoyed doing what he loved. Music was in his blood; part of his DNA and he wasn’t complete without it. He was open to all genres of music and receptive to all types of people. No matter who you were, if you asked him to jam with you, he would ask you ‘when and where’.

As long as I can remember, Iron Man was a large part of my dad’s life, and mine. My first rock show? My dad’s band. The first live show I ever saw was Iron Man. Watching my dad perform, I saw him transform. He had this amazing stage presence. An effortless grace when he played guitar that was mesmorizing. Even though I had seen him play a thousand times, I was always impressed!

I was nevery really interested in playing the guitar, oddly enough. Probably because I was satisfied enough just by watching my dad play, but he is the reason I play the bass and violin. I started playing the violin first and a few years later, my dad bought me a bass for a Christmas present. I was familiar with the bass because it’s similar to the violin as far as the string set up, but with the way my dad taught, he definitely helped me to develop my playing ability. Some of my favorite memories involve him and I jamming out together, either with him on guitar and me on bass, or me playing the violin part while he played the guitar part to Dust In the Wind. I believe these would have been some of my late mother’s favorite memories of us as well.

I am beyond words about this record being released in 2021. I am so excited and my heart is so full, knowing how much people admired and loved my dad. I will be anxiously awaiting the release, and I know Argonauta Records will release one AMAZING record! With the crazy year we’ve all had in 2020, I know this will certainly help usher in a new year with positive vibes and some incredible and timeless riffs!”

“Hail To The Riff” Tracklist:
01. The Fury
02. Run From the Light
03. The Worst and Longest Day
04. Ruler of Ruin
05. South of the Earth
06. Grown
07. As the Gods Have Spoken
08. Hail to the Haze
09. Sodden With Sin
10. A Whore in Confession
11. On the Mountain
12. Fallen Angel
13. Black Night
14. Black Morning (previously unreleased studio track)

The track “Black Morning” was recorded in late September 2013, just days before “South of the Earth”, the final IRON MAN album, was released on Rise Above Records.

The pre-sale of “Hail To The Riff”, a must-have live monument featuring one of the greatest and most charismatic doom metal guitarists of all time, is available via Argonauta Records at THIS LOCATION!

https://www.facebook.com/IronMan666MarylandDoom
http://www.ironmanband.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Iron Man, “As the Gods Have Spoken”

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Spiral Grave Sign to Salt of the Earth Records; Premiere “Nothing” Lyric Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

You knew someone was going to step up and snag Spiral Grave for an initial release, whether it was Argonauta Records, with whom frontman Dee Calhoun works on his solo stuff, or Shadow Kingdom, which has in the past released outings from Iron Man, or somebody else. The label pulling this oh-so-doomly rabbit out of its hat is Salt of the Earth Records out of Connecticut, and they’ll release the band’s debut single, from which you can hear the premiere of the track “Nothing” in the lyric video at the bottom of this post.

A debut album is slated to follow either late this year or early in 2020, but Spiral Grave have been gearing up with live shows over the last month in their native Chesapeake region, and they’ll make their first appearance outside those geographical confines next month at the New England Stoner and Doom Festival, in which Salt of the Earth also has a hand. Given the band’s pedigree in Iron Man and Lord — a perennial favorite who were underrated from their outset to their demise — to say I’m looking forward to their set would be something of an understatement.

The PR wire has the signing announcement:

spiral grave

Spiral Grave – Salt of the Earth Records

SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS is proud to announce the addition of Maryland Doom cult SPIRAL GRAVE to their roster.

Spiral Grave is comprised of the three surviving members of IRON MAN in vocalist “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun, bassist “Iron” Louis Strachan and drummer Mot Waldmann, as well as former LORD guitarist Willy Rivera, whose sharp-edged riffing sets the mood for the band as heavy-as-hell aggressive doom.

“The music Spiral Grave is creating is some of the most ferocious doom metal I have heard. Ever. They take tradition and fury, and melt them together for a devastating ride.” – Scott Of The Earth

SPIRAL GRAVE recently recorded two songs for an upcoming CD single release, which will be followed by a full-length release late-2019/early-2020. The band will be performing at The New England Stoner and Doom Festival next month (May 3-5) at Altones Music Hall in Jewett City CT. Tickets are available at www.NewEnglandStonerAndDoomFest.com

Preorder your CD Single @ www.SaltOfTheEarthRecords.com

Spiral Grave live:
May 3-5 Altone’s Music Hall Jewett City CT – New England Stoner & Doom Fest II
June 8 Guido’s Speakeasy Frederick MD

Spiral Grave is:
Screaming Mad Dee – voice
Willy Rivera – guitars
“Iron” Louis Strachan – bass
Jason “Mot” Waldmann – drums

https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/
www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec
www.saltoftheearthrecords.com

Spiral Grave, “Nothing” lyric video

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Spiral Grave Announce First Live Shows Including New England Stoner & Doom Fest and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

spiral grave

With members of Iron Man and Lord coming together for the first time on stage, Spiral Grave will make their first live appearance tomorrow night, March 15, at The Depot in Baltimore. The four-piece were in the studio last month putting together a single previously teased in a rehearsal clip on thee social medias, and I’m not saying I heard the results of that session or anything, but yeah, that is what I’m saying and if their intent was as stated to capture the feel of “doom meets Dehumanizer,” they’re well on their way to that. I don’t know if they just did the one song or what — I think so, but don’t quote me — but either way, they must have at least a few songs together, since they’ve got two shows this weekend and they’ll be at New England Stoner & Doom Fest II in May and playing sets requires, you know, a set.

Still looking forward to more from these guys, and to seeing them in Connecticut:

We’re hitting the ground running…

Spiral Grave Upcoming Shows:
Friday March 15 The Depot Baltimore MD
Sunday March 17 The Pinch Washington D.C.
Saturday March 23 Bricks Staunton VA
Friday March 29 VFW 9724 Falls Church VA
May 3-5 Altone’s Music Hall Jewett City CT – New England Stoner & Doom Fest II
Saturday June 8 Guido’s Speakeasy Frederick MD

Spiral Grave is the collaboration of the members of two legendary mid-Atlantic bands: Iron Man, who disbanded in early 2018 following the death of their guitarist and founder Al Morris III, and Lord.

In mid-2018, former Lord guitarist Willy Rivera reached out to longtime friend and former Iron Man voice “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun about forming a new project, something that Willy described as “doom meets Dehumanizer.” Former Iron Man rhythm section “Iron” Louis Strachan (bass) and Jason “Mot” Waldmann (drums) came onboard, and Spiral Grave was born.

Spiral Grave is:
Screaming Mad Dee – voice
Willy Rivera – guitars
“Iron” Louis Strachan – bass
Jason “Mot” Waldmann – drums

https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/

Spiral Grave, “Abgrund” rehearsal clip

Spiral Grave, “Nothing” rehearsal demo

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Spiral Grave: New Band Brings Together Members of Iron Man and Lord

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The surviving members of Iron Man have announced a new project together, as vocalist “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun, bassist Louis Strachan and drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann have joined with guitarist Willy Rivera, who until this past summer was one of the essential figures behind heavy thrashers Lord. The new band is called Spiral Grave, and it will mark the first outing from WaldmannStrachan and Calhoun together since the death last January of Iron Man founder “Iron” Alfred Morris IIICalhoun and Strachan — the latter of whom seems to have inherited the “Iron in front of his name, and rightly so — have continued working together on Calhoun‘s solo-project, but Spiral Grave seems much more of a full-band entity than the singer-songwriter-gone-metal-isms of Dee‘s two to-date records.

Iron Man‘s final album was 2013’s South of the Earth (review here), issued by Rise Above Records and a fitting-if-unfortunate capstone on the band’s career of more than 20 years. Lord meanwhile announced their breakup last year even as they were getting ready to release their finest album in Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men (review here), which found their oft-chaotic approach on its most solid ground while giving up none of it razor-sharp edge. Spiral Grave would seem to draw from both sides in terms of its groove, though at least in the posted rehearsal room demo for “Nothing,” the band seems to lean much more toward doom than extreme sludge or thrash, as Lord sometimes would.

But they’re a new band, so it’s up in the air where their sound and exploration of influences might take them. They’re reportedly set to hit the studio next month for a single, and then I suppose it’s on from there. The start of a New Year is always supposed to hold some kind of promise of good things to come, so here’s this:

spiral grave

Spiral Grave is the collaboration of the members of two legendary mid-Atlantic bands: Iron Man, who disbanded in early 2018 following the death of their guitarist and founder Al Morris III, and Lord.

In mid-2018, former Lord guitarist Willy Rivera reached out to longtime friend and former Iron Man voice “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun about forming a new project, something that Willy described as “doom meets Dehumanizer.” Former Iron Man rhythm section “Iron” Louis Strachan (bass) and Jason “Mot” Waldmann (drums) came onboard, and Spiral Grave was born.

In February 2019, Spiral Grave will record their first single, and will take to the live stage.

Spiral Grave is:
Screaming Mad Dee – voice
Willy Rivera – guitars
“Iron” Louis Strachan – bass
Jason “Mot” Waldmann – drums

https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/

Spiral Grave, “Nothing” rehearsal demo

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“Iron” Al Morris III Benefit Shows Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Two benefit shows have been announced in Maryland to honor the memory and help with the medical and memorial expenses for Iron Man founder and guitarist Alfred Morris III. The first is Jan. 27 at The Depot in Baltimore and the second is Feb. 17 at the Patriotic Club in Frederick. Neither city locale, in being centers of Maryland’s doom underground, would seem to be a coincidence, and in addition to acoustic performances by Wino and members of Iron Man — presumably that’s vocalist Dee Calhoun and bassist Louis Strachan taking the stage together — the shows will feature sets by Witch Hazel, Bound by the Grave, Mind’s Eye, Wrath of Typhon, and others.

Morris passed away Jan. 10 after a long fight with diabetes and along with the benefits, a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to accept donations in his memory. Info on all of the above follows the graphic below, which, if it wound up on a t-shirt, I would proudly wear:

iron man al morris memorial

“Iron” Alfred Morris III Benefit Shows

JAN 27 – Benefit Show For Alfred Morris III, doom metal legend

The Depot
1728 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21201

We have assembled a stellar lineup to honor Al Morris III which demonstrates how much he was loved by the music community of all genres. $10 at the door.
Electropathic
Witch Hazel
Thee Iron Hand
BOUND BY THE GRAVE
Members of the Iron Man Band performing an acoustic set
and Scott “Wino” Weinrich performing an acoustic set
We still seek raffle donations: Please contact Greg Serio or M A Spiro to arrange that. Spread the word!

Al was a great father, mentor, brother, and friend to many. As a guitarist and founding member of The Iron Man, his influence was legendary. This benefit is to help the family with the funeral expenses and also to honor a legend in The Doom Metal community..
https://www.gofundme.com/doom-metal-hero-al-morris-iii
We are seeking any donations for a raffle that will be held at midnight at the event on Saturday, January 27th at The Depot in Baltimore. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

https://www.facebook.com/events/177563542842460/

Feb. 17 – Al Morris III Benefit Concert

Patriotic Club
300 E 4th St, Frederick, Maryland 21701

We are hosting a benefit concert to celebrate the life of a local legend, and Doom genre icon Al Morris III (Iron Man). Al was recently taken from us after battling health issues, and being a loyal brother within the local scene, the local scene now has the opportunity to help with this worthy cause to provide some relief to Al’s already grieving family with funeral, and preexisiting medical bills.

I’ll be providing many details in the coming days, including band lineup with set times, raffle information, etc.We will be charging a $10 donation at the door, and drink/ food specials will be made available at this comfortable, family friendly environment. Would like to thank Jackie from the Patriotic Club for agreeing to host the event on short notice, and Dave Davidson for once again displaying his heart by donating his time to run sound for us.

Thank you to all the bands that contacted us with interest, and we are determined to incorporate acts that not only knew Al personally, but also shared the stage with him over his remarkably rewarding musical journey.

Will update as information becomes available. This second show is being requested so those who knew Al and can’t make the cold journey to Baltimore for the 1st benefit, can have a chance to show their support.

We want to treat this second show as a family friendly event, and less about the theatrical impact.

We hope you will join us….

Set Times:
Children of the Grave – 6:00 – 7:00
War Mask– 7:15 – 7:45
Mind’s Eye – 8:00 – 8:45
Wrath of Typhon – 9:00 – 9:45
Wino w/ Brian Costantino – 10:00 – 10:45
Members of Iron Man w/ Bill Miskowitz– 11:00 – 11:30

https://www.facebook.com/events/1277913502323853/

https://www.facebook.com/IronMan666MarylandDoom/
https://ironmanband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ironmanband.com/

Iron Man, “Black Morning”

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R.I.P. “Iron” Alfred Morris III, 1957-2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

iron man (photo by JJ Koczan)

Devastating news out of a Maryland doom community already reeling this afternoon. The passing of Iron Man founder, songwriter and guitarist “Iron” Alfred Morris III has been confirmed by the band:

It is with profound and immeasurable sadness that we let you know that Alfred Morris III passed away this morning. There are no other words at this time.

Morris, who would have turned 61 on March 9, had been dealing with declining health effects from an ongoing battle with diabetes over the last several years, and reportedly had an extended hospital stay in 2017 following the amputation of his left leg. While it is unknown as of this writing if this directly contributed to his death, Morris’ issues had been a major contributing factor to a stretch of inactivity on the part of the band following the release of their last full-length, South of the Earth (review here), in 2013.

Issued by respected UK purveyor Rise Above Records, that album represented a pinnacle for the long-running and influential Maryland doom outfit. With Morris’ riffs and solos ever at the center of their approach, Iron Man — founded as a Black Sabbath tribute band following Morris’ time in proto-doomers Force — issued their first demo 30 years ago in 1988 and would follow it in the subsequent years with four LPs prior to their final one: 1993’s Black Night (discussed herereissue review here), 1994’s The Passage (discussed here; reissue review here), 1999’s Generation Void (reissue review here) and 2009’s comeback outing, I Have Returned (review here), as well as a slew of EPs and other limited offerings along the way.

In addition to bringing Iron Man to a new level of prestige in terms of its release, South of the Earth also gave the band their first opportunity to play internationally, at Rise Above’s 25th anniversary celebration in London in December 2013. The band continued to make regular appearances thereafter at Maryland Doom Fest and other regional events, but would never embark on wider touring in support of the album, and word of a follow-up through Rise Above or any other label never materialized.

What the loss of a figure of Morris’ status means to the Maryland doom community can hardly be overstated. One of the longest and most loyal practitioners of the Chesapeake region’s particular brand of downtrodden riffing, in his tone and construction, Morris has served for decades as a blueprint for others to follow. To watch his smooth-grooving presence on stage and bask in the warmth of his guitar tone was to know a singular joy of traditional doom in its finest Sabbathian spirit.

On behalf of myself and this site, I wish condolences to the family, friends, current and former bandmates and fans of Alfred Morris III. He brought something special to Maryland doom that, to put it simply, will never be replaced and will be deeply missed.

“Iron” Al Morris. 1957-2018. The Riff.

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Friday Full-Length: Iron Man, The Passage

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Iron Man, The Passage (1994)

Originally issued on Halloween 1994 by venerable and long-defunct purveyor Hellhound Records — see also: The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Count Raven, Wretched, Blood Farmers, Unorthodox and Revelation; woof — the second full-length from Iron Man, The Passage (reissue review here), should rightly be considered among the defining documents of Maryland doom. It is a record so direct in conveying its influence from and love for Black Sabbath, so unabashed in its worship, that it serves as a near constant reminder that guitarist “Iron” Alfred Morris III started the band back in 1988 specifically to pay homage to the metallic overlords. Formed roughly concurrent to the winding down of Morris‘ prior outfit, Force — whose lone long-player was issued in 1991 and whose discography was compiled onto a single limited release earlier this year by Blood and Iron Records (want) — Iron Man made their debut just one year before The Passage showed up, offering an early mission statement in 1993’s Black Night (discussed here; reissue review here).

Morris‘ guitar tone and ultra-Iommic riffing style, even at that most formative stage of the band, was the defining element of the group. That remains the case today, but a key difference between Black Night and The Passage was a swap in frontmen, and where Black Night was vocalized by Rob Levey, who would later found and curate the Stoner Hands of Doom series of festivals, the 11-track/43-minute The Passage brought in Dan Michalak as singer, and introduced a different style to the context of Iron Man‘s Sabbath worship. One doesn’t have to go far to hear it — and by that I mean it’s evident on the first riff of opener “The Fury,” which draws directly from “Neon Knights,” the corresponding launch-cut of Sabbath‘s 1980 LP, Heaven and Hell (discussed here), which was the beginning of the band’s era fronted by Ronnie James Dio. That’s a considerable shout for Iron Man to make, and would’ve been even in 1994 — Sabbath having reunited with Dio for the triumphant Dehumanizer, which seems to be referenced on The Passage in the foreboding synth of the titular interlude that precedes “Iron Warrior,” in 1992 before working once again with Tony Martin to issue Cross Purposes earlier in ’94 — but Michalak‘s lyrical patterning brazenly follows suit from Morris‘ set rhythm. We hear “Ride out,” references to “the night,” “fire,” hidden knowledge, and other Dio-style themes. Throughout the rest of The Passage, the play seems to be intended to fluidly move between the Ozzy and Dio eras. In the second half of “Unjust Reform,” a sudden stop brings a no less full-on take off from “Snowblind,” while the bit of finger and grander unfolding of “Waiting for Tomorrow” recall some of the more epic Dio-fronted tracks ahead of “Tony Stark” — get it? they didn’t call it “Iron Man” — shooting into the void and evil minds plotting destruction in closer “End of the World,” which caps with canned crowd noise to answer that at the beginning of “The Fury.”

These are just a few of The Passage‘s more Sabbathian moments, but they’re by no means the only ones, and even in the general perspective of judgment from which the social commentary of “Unjust Reform” and the later “Waiting for Tomorrow,” “Time for Indecision” and “Freedom Fighters” stems — notions of man’s inhumanity to man, and so on — Iron Man are willfully adopting the methods of their forebears. Yet, The Passage is more than derivation. At a time when their chief inspiration was crisp and overproduced with a huge echoing snare like so many of their era, Iron Man took a grittier approach, and their identity was cast as much in the raw thrust of “Iron Warrior” — a highlight performance there from drummer Gary Isom, whose CV includes stints in Pentagram, co-founding Spirit Caravan and a current position as guitarist in Weed is Weed, among many others — as in the cover art with a lighting effect that seems to show Morris in flames as he plays guitar. I’ll gladly argue that image stands among the most righteous in American doom, every bit worthy of the gray-on-black logo of Saint Vitus‘ self-titled debut or the line-drawing that would adorn Pentagram‘s Relentless album in iconic terms, but the point is that for Iron Man, even the artwork shows what it’s all about. Yes, it’s a full band, with Michalak responsible for conveying the lyrics, Isom pounding away behind the chug of “Time for Indecision,” and bassist Larry Brown (also ex-Force) in the Geezer Butler role anchoring the low end, but it’s Morris‘ project through and through, and he leads the way accordingly.

The guitarist remains among the most pivotal figures in American doom. Though Hellhound Records is long gone, Shadow Kingdom Records has stepped up to reissue many of Iron Man‘s earlier works (it’s their version of The Passage in the Bandcamp player above) and Iron Man released I Have Returned (review here) through the label in 2009 before swapping out singer Joe Donnelly for “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun and signing to Rise Above for 2013’s South of the Earth (review here), which remains their latest offering. They got to the UK, playing internationally for the first time to support that album, and continue to perform local shows in Maryland with the lineup of MorrisCalhoun, bassist Louis Strachan and drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann, but don’t really tour, and a series of health concerns seem to have sidelined larger activity. I’m not 100 percent sure what the situation is there, but obviously one wishes Morris and the rest of the band nothing but the best and a full return to stage and/or studio productivity soon. As anyone who dug into South of the Earth could tell you, Iron Man still have plenty more to say, and in a world that’s finally caught up to their ethic of Sabbathian homage, they’ve never been more relevant than they are now.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading and for listening.

Next week is the Quarterly Review. I’ve been working on setting up the back end for the last few days, and this weekend, as I also travel to the NY/NJ area to see a Yankee game (tonight) and family (tomorrow), I’ll be starting the actual process of digging into the 50 records that will be covered between next Monday and Friday. It’s already been a lot of work but I immediately regret not doing a sixth day this time around and maybe even a seventh. As I’ve been so busy the last couple months concerning myself with things like losing my job and the impending Pecan due in October, there’s a buildup of album folders on my desktop and mail piled high on my actual desk of records that want covering.

I wish I could get to everything. Sincerely.

But I’ll do the best I can and because I’m a flop at scheduling, there’s already other stuff slated for the days early in the week of the 17th where the otherwise extra Quarterly Review days would go. Fair enough, and at least it’s good. I’ve also got a bunch of premieres and whathaveyou slated for this week coming, so here are my notes as they stand now, subject to change without notice:

Mon.: Quarterly Review day 1; Fungus Hill video premiere.
Tue.: Quarterly Review day 2; Demon Eye track premiere/album review.
Wed.: Quarterly Review day 3; Salem’s Bend video premiere.
Thu.: Quarterly Review day 4; Arduini/Balich Six Dumb Questions
Fri.: Quarterly Review day 5.

If I can, I might just give myself a break on that last day and not slate anything else, roll with whatever news I’ll inevitably be behind on by then and the Friday Full-Length post, but we’ll see what comes in. I’m already about two weeks later on the Quarterly Review than I’d prefer to be, but whatever. Nobody cares except me. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Constantly. Nobody knows the arbitrary schedules I try to keep, and even if they knew, it wouldn’t matter. No one cares.

There’s a sad kind of freedom in that.

Speaking of sad freedom, if you’re in the US, I hope you had an enjoyable and safe July 4 celebration and that nobody got their hand blown off, etc. The Patient Mrs., the Little Dog Dio, the impending Pecan and I have been at the beach all week — the plus side of not having a job is being able to get up here and see sunrises like this one yesterday — and though I’m out of clean laundry and will be day-twoing it in these socks, it’s been an utter pleasure. We’ll be here until early Monday morning and then back home to Massachusetts, where no doubt copious errands will need to be run.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope it’s a great and also safe time. I’ll be writing in the passenger seat along the I-95 corridor if you need me, so yeah, that should be interesting. Thanks for reading and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

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