A sneak peek at this year's A389 Bash, which kicks off tonight

Veteran purveyors of all things dark and heavy, A389 Recordings return this year with a scaled-down but still-crucial edition of their annual A389 Bash. A tradition that is now over a decade strong, the Bash is organized by the hardest-working man in Baltimore's heavy-music scene, label owner Dom Romeo*.

It may have started small, but in recent years the Bash has grown and grown, with the last few taking the form of a multiday fest at a larger venue (Soundstage in 2014), usually with satellite shows at smaller venues such as the Sidebar and Charm City Art Space. After last year's epic event, Romero decided to scale it back but, true to form, his idea of "scaled back" is still pretty big: four shows featuring 21 bands at three venues over three days.

Here's a breakdown of all the shows with a few highlights:

Thursday Jan. 15 at Sidebar Tavern
Starkweather
Ilsa
Pharaoh
Castle Freak
Condemn The Infected

Friday Jan. 16 at Sidebar Tavern
Haymaker
Sex Prisoner
False Light
WarXGames
Ampallang Infection

Haymaker's live shows are crazy—think crowdsurfing with pizza, roman candles, and smoke bombs in the pit. Can't imagine what it will be like seeing them in such an enclosed space. Don't sleep on the opening band: Maryland grinders Ampallang Infection are good—fast, frenetic, blink-and-you'll-miss-it grind.

Saturday Jan. 17 at Charm City Art Space (matinee)
In Cold Blood
Magrudergrind
Like Rats
Of Feather And Bone
Lifeless
Iron Price

In Cold Blood reunite again this year, a treat for fans. But I'm most looking forward to seeing Magrudergrind playing in a small, all-ages venue, like the old days. Iron Price deserves mention for being the first of many bands to name themselves after "Game of Thrones." How long 'til there is a band called The Red Wedding?

Saturday Jan. 17 at Metro Gallery (Night Show)
Weekend Nachos
Full Of Hell
Noisem
Homewrecker
Genocide Pact

Insanely stacked show. If you have somehow skipped Weekend Nachos up until now, SEE THEM. They manage to merge brutality, humor, and technical chops in a way few bands attempt, much less pull off. Also, don't skip out on Maryland's Full of Hell or Noisem, both rising stars in previous years who have since come into their own in the wake of high-profile tours and critically acclaimed albums.

*A previous version spelled Romeo's last name as Romero. City Paper regrets the error.

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