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Unearthing the Metal Underground: the New Orleans scene

New Orleans is known worldwide for its legendary music of every genre. Myths have been created about what could have possibly happened here that made it such a hotbed of musical creativity. To quickly debunk those false myths; a lax government combined with a mixture of fun-loving people of all ethnicities led to a freedom of expression, and one off-shoot of that was music. Rock n’ roll was created in-part by the citizens of New Orleans. Therefore, metal would soon find its way into the dive bars and clubs that fill our streets. Sludge was our specialty, but all kinds of metal started pouring out of the amps, and some bands became famous, spreading “New Orleans Metal” around the globe. That first wave of musicians is still performing, and they’re still amazing. Exhorder is playing their first show in eight years this month! But the scene is thriving and alive; new blood mixing with the more established bone structure of Crowbar, Soilent Green and Eyehategod. Here is just a few of the bands keeping the spirit of New Orleans metal new and ever-growing; in the same position that the most popular of bands were in 20 years ago.

Black metal Serpentis plays often and has gained a steady fanbase from it. Drummer Will pounds the drums like a madman, drenched in sweat by the third song because he forces his soul out through his arms for the crowd. The guitars are strummed so fast, they could set a fire instantly. Vocalist Heretic growls and gestures violently to preach his word to the people; not preach so much as shove down their throats relentlessly. Already these gentlemen have gotten on the bill of big acts such as Cannabis Corpse and Marduk. They are surely headed for notoriety at their break-neck pace. Check out more of Serpentis' music on their Myspace page.

Serpentis at Saturn Bar 10/15/09 from Emily Hingle on Vimeo.

The first thing you’ll notice about Tirefire is not the music; although they play awesome music. It will be the antics of frontman Matt. Standing well over six feet tall, he throws his body on the floor or into the audience kicking and screaming the lyrics to the songs. His reckless abandon reflects the crust-punk that they play. Scary and crazy as hell; you try to inch away so you won’t get seriously injured when they try to smash your face. My personal favorite of their repertoire of music is “Eyehateweed” because it really annoys the pot-smokers, and those who don’t care for grass don’t have to feel scrutinized for not being cool. Oh, if you stop by their merch booth, you can see what Asian cobra whiskey is. Visit Tirefire's Myspace page for more info on the band.

haarp has such a great sound that they have caught the attention of Phil Anselmo who has signed them to his label Housecore Records. Their music is just extremely heavy, and it has the more traditional sludge sound. During their shows, the walls rattle hard and keep your ears buzzing for days. “Soothsayer” demonstrates their prowess for dark instrumentation and how to make an atmosphere that can frighten anyone if done correctly. Guitarist Grant is a master of his craft, spinning riffs that help to propagate the darkness. Fortunately for NOLAbites, they play regularly, and we can have an amazing live music experience each time. If you can’t make a trip to NOLA to see them live, you can always order one of their EPs, which I recommend. Check out haarp's Myspace page.

buickmckane's avatar

Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.

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