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Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Solo Extreme Metal Scene Part 2

Photo of Autumns Eyes

Band Photo: Autumns Eyes (?)

Each week in "Unearthing the Metal Underground," we spotlight a few quality unsigned bands in an attempt to spread the word and expose acts that make the underground great. This week we’re returning again to the realm of solo extreme metal to uncover three more one-man bands.

Unlike our last foray into the world of solo musicians, these three groups aren’t restricted entirely to the black metal style. Instead we’ll be covering a wide range of musical projects that showcase how creativity and professional musicianship can flourish in the unlimited freedom of a solo band.

Autumns Eyes

There are an untold number of bands out there that label themselves as “progressive” or say that they don’t conform to any particular sub-genre, and most of them are absolutely wrong. Autumns Eyes uses the tag line “a new season in music,” and for once it’s an identifier that actually means what it says. While the project made a point of heading straight into symphonic black metal territory in the ”Surrender the Fire” EP, there were still influences heard from across the musical spectrum and more experimentation than would be expected. Many of the other Autumns Eyes albums contain fragments of black metal vocals or guitar work, but their overall style is a genre all its own. The “Abandoned Expression” album is a perfect example, as it blends multiple styles together and frequently brings to mind some of the Gothic works of famous composers such as Danny Elfman.

Forgoing the support of a major label, Autumns Eyes offers several full albums and EPs for free download via the band’s official website. Originally scheduled to be a Halloween 2009 release, the new album “Please Deceive Me” was pushed back due to the artist breaking his arm. A teaser trailer for the upcoming release can be viewed below.

“Feast of the Dead” is off the “Surrender the Fire” EP, and shows off the project’s black metal side and its horror roots.

“Artificial Light” heads in a completely different direction than “Feast of the Dead,” giving a taste of the sort of diverse sounds that can be heard from an Autumns Eyes album.

Mortiferous Scorn

Alexander Oden is the brain behind Iowa based act Mortiferous Scorn, which swings much more heavily towards the death metal end of the extreme metal spectrum. The most surprising aspect of Mortiferous Scorn is that it doesn’t sound like the cookie cutter death metal that is produced by so many full bands with more resources. Repetition is strangely absent, and each song is clearly distinct from the others. Oden’s tracks manage to maintain brutality without sacrificing melody and experimentation, which puts it leagues ahead of many big name death metal acts.

The project’s new album “Masochistic Therapy” is currently scheduled for a Summer 2010 release. Both the 2008 EP ”The Perfect Impurity,” and the 2009 full-length album “Schizophrenic Revelations” are available for free download through the Mortiferous Scorn MySpace page.

Dryden Sagoth

Spain’s Dryden Sagoth heads in yet another direction with extreme metal, this time with a sound that is heavily ambient and strongly influenced by horror stories and gothic novelists. The sound quality is significantly more raw than the two previous bands, but it definitely has its own style and substance. Songs from the ”Long Dark Corridors” demo, along with several other tracks, can be heard at this location.

In an interview with Metalunderground, discussing what sets one-man bands apart from the rest of the metal flock, Dryden Sagoth concisely explained why solo musicians are important to the scene. He commented “I feel that they work hard to make themselves known and try to live by their music, which is in essence what every musician wants… Today the music scene is in an advanced process of decay and one day the music industry will change.”

Certainly there are more quality solo black metal acts across the globe. If you'd like to recommend some other good underground bands, please feel free to discuss them in the comments below. Check back every Monday as we dive into a different scene or genre to unearth more underground metal bands.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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