North Jersey Notes: Fiakra, Freehold, NJ

My girlfriend and I were getting gas at a WaWa in Freehold, NJ, one night and I heard the gas attendant listening to some pretty good metal, so I asked him who he was listening to. He told me that it was his band. Turned out, he was the drummer of this band Fiakra out of Freehold. I told him that I wanted to hear more. So, he gave me the band’s website, and they are awesome! My Dungeons And Dragons friends will love these guys because from I heard, they dress in body armor on stage. I also recognized bassist Matt Wheeler. The guy is my neighbor down here in Lakewood! The songs “Give Me Metal Or Give Me Death,” “Live To Ride, Ride To Live,” and my favorite track, “Invasion,” are old school metal through and through with metal riffs, metal screams, and metal chops! Where has Fiakra been hiding?

Fiakra formed in late 2000 under the name Hexen by singer and lead guitarist Kenneth “Warlord” Burdge III. Kenneth had a vision to bring back that old school style of metal, which was made popular by bands like Iron Maiden, Dio, and Judas Priest back in the ‘80s. Drummer Greg “Blackboots” Guarini joined the band in 2003, which helped the band to get out and start playing shows. Fiakra released their first demo in 2005 simply titled Spring 2005 Demo. They continued to play local shows for the next year until they recorded their first EP, A New Age, under Kenneth’s own record label, Eternal War Records. With a revolving door of band members, one constant stuck and that was Kenneth and Greg. The two would spend the next year writing songs and finishing the recording of their first full-length CD. It was during this writing period that guitarist Andy “Wulfhere” Sherman and bassist Matt Wheeler (my neighbor), both formerly of the band Endless Lament, joined Fiakra to finalize its current line-up, which took the band into their Dark Ages themed stage show as they perform on stage dressed in full armor, swords, and battle axes. In October of 2008, still going under the name Hexen, their debut CD, Dark Crucible, was finally released on Kenneth’s Eternal War Records locally and online.

Last year, Hexen had to change their name to Fiakra for trademark reasons. Fiakra is an alternate spelling of the ancient Irish word for “raven.” The boys from Fiakra have been hard at work recording their second CD with five songs being released as a demo. They are currently searching for a record label or distributor to release their next CD worldwide. Keep your eye on Fiakra as that old school power metal sound makes its way back! Give them a listen at

North Jersey Notes Updates:

My brother, Luke “DJ Cloak Dagger” Rizzo, brother of Soulfly guitar wiz Marc Rizzo, will be hosting another one of his Metro Art Expos at the Mexicali Café in Teaneck, NJ. Luke will be the deejay throughout the night under his stage name DJ Cloak Dagger, while Thank You Scientist and World Sound Traveler will be performing. This will also be an art exhibit showcasing some of the best artists in North Jersey. For more info, log onto

I recently got a few emails from some local bands asking me to vote for them to help them win an opening slot for Bon Jovi at their East Rutherford, NJ, show on July 9. So, I’m just letting the gang from Beatrix Kiddo, Filter Effect, and Tasting Grace, know that I voted them. So, good luck to all of the bands participating, and I hope one of you guys gets the opening slot! To vote, log onto

And finally, I just got an email from my bud, Rob from the band Downshallow. Rob just wanted to let me know that the band’s latest CD, The New Fashion, will hit the online retailers this month, but he did, however, deliver some bad news. After Downshallow performs their show at McKeages in West Milford on May 15, it will be the band’s last show together. They’ve decided to pack it in, and not press the new CD for store release. Rob assured me that he wasn’t done with the music scene just yet, though! He is currently working on a CD with his new project Dead Fish Handshake. So, be on the lookout!

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140 Little Falls, NJ 07424, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next. No cover bands, please! Also, if you haven’t checked out my podcast yet, do it now at!

Just remember….We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!

NJN Concert Calendar

5/5—Bern and the Brights—Ceol, Brooklyn, NY
5/7—Diablo Royale—The College Corner, Elmira, NY
5/7—Bound Alive/Marc Rizzo (Bound Alive CD Release Party)—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
5/8—Pain of Days—The Cup Entertainment Complex, Linden, NJ
5/8—Hollywood Kills—The Clash Bar, Clifton, NJ
5/9—Will Killmore—Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY
5/14—Long Gone Day—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
5/15—Bern and the Brights—The Lakeshore Inn, Hewitt, NJ
5/15—Downshallow—McKeages, West Milford, NJ
5/15—John Rango and Friends—The Mason Jar, Mahwah, NJ
5/18—Eve To Adam—Santos Party House, NYC
5/21—ZO2—The Edge, Rocky Point, NY
5/22—ZO2—Rocks Off Concert Cruise, NYC
5/25—Bern and the Brights—Van Gogh’s Ear Café, Union, NJ
5/27—Evan Toth—The Brown Room at Congress Hall, Cape May, NJ
5/29—Black Water Rising—The Vibe Lounge, Rockville Centre, NY