What's up with heavy music

Spring brings changes, and this year's changes start with the news that local record store Celebrated Summer is expanding in May. Residing in the back of Atomic Books in Hampden, the store will move next door when Atomic Books itself expands into an adjacent storefront. The additional floor space will allow for a larger selection of new and used records, as well as what owner Tony Pence describes as a "living museum" of Baltimore punk-show fliers, posters, and other items on display.

There's been a lot of buzz about the up-and-coming Baltimore metal band Noisem. Local label A389 Records recently sent out word that they signed the band, who made the decision to change their name at the same time (they might be more familiar to readers by their old name, Necropsy). Lead guitarist Sebastian Phillips says the name change is due to "the thousands of other Necropsys out there." He adds, "our new name Noisem is inspired by the term 'noisome,' which means unsettling or discomforting, disagreeable. . . we all really liked it, as it isn't so generic." The newly branded group has an album titled Agony Defined on the way in June.

Noisem will also be playing the 11th annual Maryland DeathFest, which thunders into downtown Baltimore May 23-26, along with other local acts Pig Destroyer, Ilsa, Old Lines, Eddie Brock, Full of Hell, and Asthma Castle. In a first for the fest, it will occupy not only the former Sonar nightclub (now known as Paparazzi) but also the parking area beneath the JFX overpass. There will also be a punk and hardcore stage at nearby Baltimore Soundstage nightclub (124 Market Place), a significant expansion.

Among the national and international bands playing Maryland DeathFest this year are Britain's Bolt Thrower (in a rare U.S. appearance), Carcass, Down (featuring Phil Anselmo of Pantera), Venom, and a reunion performance by powerviolence pioneers Infest. Bobby Liebling's Pentagram will be playing as well, their first area appearance since the release of the Liebling-focused 2011 documentary Last Days Here, and it's a chance for them to share the stage with fellow '80s doom-metal luminaries the Obsessed, who is reuniting for a set at the fest. Between these appearances and sets by Sleep and the Melvins, this year's MDF appears to be the doom event of 2013. Of course, there are also plenty of young acts to see, including Pallbearer (whose 2012 album Sorrow and Extinction topped many of the year's "Best" lists), Rotten Sound, D.C.'s Magrudergrind, and Weekend Nachos. While many ticket options are sold out, others remain for sale at marylanddeathfest.com, where you can also find the running order for each stage.

There are plenty of other notable shows coming up besides MDF: the Wayward, Big Christ, and Headwounds play with Dangerous Ponies at Club K on Wednesday, April 24. On the same night, experience an '80s hardcore revival with Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I., and Sick of It All at Baltimore Soundstage. Grind-lifers Triac play with Inter Arma and Earthling Sunday April 28 at the Golden West. Also at the Golden West, on May 2, one of D.C.'s best punk bands, the Shirks (who has a new album out on Grave Mistake Records) plays with Baltimore bands Hard Dads and Gutterhooks. The next night, May 3, the Grey march plays the Ottobar with John Stabb of Goverment Issue's band History Repeated. During DeathFest weekend, May 24, Kentucky hardcore band Coliseum plays right around the corner at the Sidebar with D.C.'s Give and Red Hare (featuring members of classic hardcore band Swiz).

In upcoming record news, Drugs of Faith is in the studio recording a new as-yet-unnamed EP, to be released later this year by Malokul Records; Disciples of Christ is recording for an upcoming release on the label as well. Strong Intention and Coke Bust are also working on new records.

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