EYEHATEGOD, Valkryie and Mountain of Wizard hammer the Ace of Cups

Ace of Cups

I have long wondered where the hard-core metal fans of Columbus hang. The fans, that sport “Lamb of God” tee’s, “Slayer” jackets, “Killswitch Engage” shirts, and “Motorhead” patches go when they are not at the big venues enjoying the major label bands. Well last night I found them all at Ace Of Cups, 2619 N High St, Columbus, OH. The club is formally a Huntington Bank Branch, one of the old ones, and it still has the massive bank safe in it. The atmosphere is cozy, but very rock & roll and metal. It offers a friendly helpful bar staff, an upper room to chill out in, and a private outdoor patio for fresh air, smokers and vapors. If you haven’t checked out Ace of Cups, plan to do so soon. Their schedule is jam packed with bands, and as time passes this club will make its mark on the local, regional and national music scene.

Mountain of Wizzards

Starting out the night was Mountain of Wizard out of New Orleans. Now I have to give this band some serious props. Parking at the Ace of Cups can be challenging, but hey, a little walk never stopped a headbanger, right? I was running late, and was lucky to score a spot in the little lot next to the Ace of Cups. As I parked I spied a small SUV pulling into a spot reserved for the bands by show promoter Christopher Wood of Starwood Presents. Out popped the guys from Mountain of Wizard. They were about 20 minutes late for the gig. (Traffic SUCKS in Columbus!) Being the hard rock monsters they are, the band furiously unpacked their gear, and literally ran into the club where they hurriedly geared up for their set.

Grant Tom – Mountain of Wizard – Photo Credit: Sean Sellito/Frame the Stage for – The Rust Belt Chronicles

no sound check……

With no sound check, tuning or anything, Mountain of Wizards plugged right in and took off into what can only be described as a Heavy Metal Tank rolling straight up on the Ace of Cups Stage. To say the instrumental four-piece band is energetic and talented is an understatement. They transition easily from the speedy and heavy riffs to more technical almost melodic riffs with no effort at all. I was unable to obtain a set list from the band, and it appeared they performed without one. Instead, with very little pause between songs, they turned their opening set into a heavy metal jam set that would have most Dead Heads jealous. The crowd was energized by this band, and that is no easy trick these days for an instrumental band. Mountain of Wizard pulled it off however. I recommend checking them out next time they come through and check out their music online. You won’t regret and I promise you will become a fan.  Mountain of Wizards formed in 2008 is Grant Tom – Guitar,  Aaron Hill – Drums, Paul Webb – Guitar and Isidore Grisoli – Bass.

Mountain of Wizard Photo Gallery


Next up was Valkyrie. Formed in 2002, Valkyrie is considered a “Doom Metal” band out of Harrisonburg, VA. The band is made up of brothers Pete Adams – Guitar/Vocals & Jake Adams – Guitar/Vocals along with Alan Fary – Bass and Warren Hawkins – Drums.

Spectacularly HEAVY

Jake Adams – Valkyrie Photo Credit: Sean Sellito/Frame the Stage for – The Rust Belt Chronicles

Valkyrie took the stage with thunderous riffs, booming through the small club and I am sure spilling over into the streets. Valkyrie is a very heavy guitar band, yet melodic in the same vein of early Black Sabbath. Subtlety is not the calling card of this band though. With Pete and Jake sharing the vocal duties Valkyrie’s set is heavy from the first notes to the last. Spectacularly HEAVY I might add. The band was added to the bill late, and I didn’t have much time to catch up on them. I was pleasantly surprised with their set and the positive vibe coming from the crowd.

Valkyrie brought out its heavy metal credentials with songs like “Winter Plains” and “Golden Age”. “Mountain Stop” living up to its title was simply heavy from start to finish and had the crowd almost standing on its collective head. “Shadow of Reality” added a bit of psychedelica to the mix, still heavy though and without any hippies sticking their head in the venue. Valkyrie musically may have been the heaviest band on the bill, and left the crowd wanting more. We are looking forward to their return in a headlining slot.

Valkyrie Photo Gallery


EYEHATEGOD (EHG) took the stage on time. Formed in 1988 EHG hails from New Orleans. They have since become one of the best known bands to emerge from the NOLA metal scene. Their current lineup includes founding member Mike Williams on vocals, co-founder Jimmy Bower on guitar, Brian Patton on guitar joined in 1993, Gary Mader on bass came in 2002 and Aaron Hill on drums was added in 2013.

Mike IX Williams – EYEHATEGOD – Photo Credit: Sean Sellito/Frame the Stage for – The Rust Belt Chronicles

EHG is touring in support of their self-titled LP, released in 2014 by Housecore Records. (owned by Phil Aneselmo, Pantera) Celebrating their thirtieth anniversary next year EHG is on a thirty-nine date US tour. The tour is front man Mike IX Williams longest trip since undergoing liver transplant surgery this past December.

deafening mix of distortion, reverb and feedback

EHG was the band the crowd paid for and came to see. They hit the stage with a deafening mix of distortion, reverb and feedback, which quickly tore into the “N’awlins” sound that I was expecting to hear and see. It was hard to see any signs from front-man Mike IX Williams recent surgery. The man has chemistry with his band and quickly bonded with the crowd. EHG gave us a heavy tuned down show punctuated with reverb and feedback, heavy guitars awash in distortion and of course the tormented screams of Mike IX Williams. All this, including a heavy rhythm section that may have caused cracks in the old bank vault. This is Sludge Metal and EHG are the masters.

EHG rocketed through their hour and half set, feeding the all-Metal crowd with songs, “New Orleans Is the New Vietnam”, “Jack Ass in the Will of God”, “Left to Starve” , “Sisterfucker” and “Serving Time in the Middle of Nowwhere”.

songs of addiction, hopelessness, rebellion and victory over defeat.

EHG stage attire gives the impression these guys could have walked in off the street in Anytown USA, pick up instruments and start playing. They relate to a working-class crowd with their songs of addiction, hopelessness, rebellion and victory over defeat. This is the New Orleans sound, and we all know how New Orleans can be the underdog against a bully. Remember Katrina?

EHG wrapped up their show with a minutes long deafening assault of distortion, reverb and feedback, just as they started the show. They came in, delivered a very heavy punch to the appreciative crowd and then dropped the mic. Fans mingling around after the show, were treated to a gracious and friendly band ready to interact with some very loyal fans. Who would expect anything less of a band that is in its thirtieth year?

EYEHATEGOD Photo Gallery


I want to thank our staff photographer Sean Sellito for the awesome shots. Special thanks to show promoter Christopher Wood of Starwood Presents for the access, and to the hospitality of the Ace of Cups staff! We look forward to returning soon!

Mac on Music“Tell me what ya know, tell me what ya hear, send me your thoughts!”


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Mac About Mac

Today Mac lives in Dublin, OH. The father of a 19-year-old son, he works as a Home Improvement contractor, but his first love remains music. Mac can be found at many Rock Shows in the Central Ohio area and always looks for forward to the annual Rock on the Range music festival each May at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus.

On his play list today you find a very diverse lineup on Mac’s playlist. From the Jazz Fusion of Al Di Meola, the Ambient sound of Michael Conn, the beauty of Miranda Lambert to KORN, RATM, The Beastie Boys, Shinedown, Red Sun Rising, Stone Sour, Amon Amarth to Lady GaGa, Mac loves a wide range of music and continues to listen to the classics while leaving a wide-open mind to recent music

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