"It's two days of brutality," says Sandy "Metal Mom" Newton, a Michigan promoter who also organizes Indiana's Rigor Mortis Fest and the roving annual International Metal Fest. "Everybody kept saying, 'What happened to the Ohio Death Fest? You should do it.' So many kids loved the fest. They love the bands. They go nuts for them."
Founded in 1997, the Ohio Death Fest returns to the Phantasy after four years at Lorain's Flying Machine. The festival didn't happen last year; founder Brian Baxter left the business. This year, the show will expand -- slightly -- from its demon-growl death-metal and bludgeoning grindcore roots to include somewhat more melodic death-metal groups for the first time. Such genre leaders as Incantation, Funerus, and Acheron will headline the show, with more major bands to be announced. Regional acts will include Parma's Soulless and Michigan's Mutilated. The festival will host acts on two stages, in addition to vending booths. For tickets and details, visit www.OhioDeathFest2005.homestead.com.
"This is the extreme, extreme underground," says WJCU's Metal Show host Bill Peters. "The bands make Cannibal Corpse look like a Top 40 band. It's a great festival, and it's internationally respected. It makes Cleveland look great. It's a cool show."
· Canton's Lovedrug has made the previously unreleased single "Narcoleptic" available as an exclusive iTunes download. The melodic rock band has also made live acoustic versions of four tracks, including the title cut from last year's Pretend You're Alive, available through Sony Music's website, www.musicstore.connect.com.
· Cleveland hip-hop star Bizzy Bone recently told website Philly.com that he plans to release a cover of Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" this summer, as part of a rock album culled from his archives.
· Ripper Watch: Former Judas Priest and current Iced Earth frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens will debut his new side project, Beyond Fear, May 5, during the opening night of the Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles Six Pack Weekend at the Odeon. The power-metal band also features 13 Faces guitarist John Comprix. The group will headline a night of regional acts.
· The Odeon (1295 Old River Rd., the Flats) will host a listening party for the new Nine Inch Nails album, With Teeth, at 9 p.m. Monday, March 29. The disc is set for May 3 release.
· Cuyohoga Community College and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will present the third annual RAT at the Crooked River Groove Concert Wednesday, March 30, at the Rock Hall (1 Key Plaza). RAT stands for Tri-C's Recording Arts and Technology program, which recorded Xela's 2004 Xelakooshtick CD. Songwriter Xela will perform at the free show, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and features rockers Cherry Monroe, the Billy Morris Band, and Jaded Era. The concert will introduce the first CRG Blues Guitar Summit. Axemen Alan Greene, Butch Armstrong, Mr. Downchild, and Bob Frank will perform.
· Oreon, the post-hardcore band featuring At Wits End signer Pants Pantsley, has already secured three dates on this summer's Warped Tour. The group will play Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati.