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Unearthing The Metal Underground: The New York City Scene

Photo of Tiger Flowers

Band Photo: Tiger Flowers (?)

Most unsigned bands I talk to, regardless of their location, seem to uniformly agree on one thing: their local scene sucks. While I'm sure that's sometimes the case, I'll bet that it often isn't; it's a commonly held misconception by struggling bands that somewhere in the world there are magical cities where ordinary folks flock to see local bands in droves. While this is a nice little fantasy, such a place doesn't actually exist, but it doesn't mean that all of your local scenes suck. Bands are just looking at it the wrong way. Any strong scene is made up of the BANDS themselves, not random non-musician fans. It's about bands supporting other bands, putting together shows, coming out to see each other, teaming up. That's what makes a strong scene, not how many hot girls show up.

NYC's metal scene is currently brimming with talent. This doesn't mean, of course, that folks flock by the hundreds to see local band bills. For the most part, audiences are comprised of bands coming out to support other bands, and on any given night you'll find a modest but strong crowd at a number of simultaneously happening metal shows.

To showcase the caliber of talent in NYC's metal scene to the rest of the world, we at MetalSucks decided to release a free digital compilation called "NYC Sucks." We had so many great bands on the table that we were forced to split it up into two volumes, to be released a month apart. Metal Underground.com has graciously given me the opportunity to showcase three of the bands on the comp never before covered on this site. All of the bands covered today are on Volume 1, available now.

Wizardry

The first time I saw Wizardry, their costumes and performance were so over the top that I was seriously convinced the dudes who set up their gear were hired roadies. That the venue was the dark, dank basement of Lit Lounge -- which holds 30 people in front of the stage, tops -- made this premise even more ridiculous. Of course it turned out that it was just the dudes in the band, pre-costume, but that should underscore how much effort they put into their live show. Wizardry plays a brand of metal that's a healthy mix of traditional and stoner, like what White Wizzard (see what I did there?) might sound like if they smoked crazy amounts of weed.

Tiger Flowers

Tiger Flowers’ brand of visceral, angular noise metal is moody without being brooding and crushingly heavy without beating you over the head with blunt force trauma. Tiger Flowers challenges your intellect with ever-shifting key centers, tempos and time-signatures but they’re never assholes about it.

Meek is Murder

Meek is Murder is the brainchild of ex-The Red Chord guitarist Mike Keller. Combining grindy bits of spazz with unorthodox song arrangements, Meek is Murder can switch from schizoid freakouts to bluesy grooves at the drop of a hat and not be awkward about it in the slightest. We were so impressed with Meek is Murder's unique blend of metal and intense live shows that we decided to pick them up for the second proper album release via MetalSucks (the first being The Binary Code). Look for their new album Algorithms on March 22nd.

There are a ton more quality underground metal bands in New York, so go grab a download of "NYC Sucks: Volume 1" to check even more of them out, and keep an eye out for Volume 2 next month.

Check back every Monday as we delve into a different scene or genre to unearth some new underground metal bands.

VinceNeilstein's avatar

Vince Neilstein is a founder and co-editor-in-chief of MetalSucks.

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1 Comment on "Unearthing The Metal Underground In New York City"

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zMETALlica's avatar

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1. zMETALlica writes:

Interesting take on the NYC scene. There is definitely a good amount of support from other bands, but that's part of what i dislike about it, there's all this support, but in the end a lot of the people at the shows are from previous bands that night (which as i said, support them by sticking around and helping them get future shows), the girl friends of some of every band's band member and maybe a roadie or two, but fans? rarely. this is how it is everywhere from what i hear. Great selection of bands too Vince!

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