Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Connecticut Metal Scene Pt. 2
Band Photo: Priapism (?)
We've done a Connecticut scene report before, but the volume of bands coming from this third-smallest U.S. state is incredibly big - so today it merits another look. Connecticut has a long history with metal music, due to the vast number of colleges and radio stations promoting the scene in the eighties and beyond. The Constitution state also has a rich hardcore history that ties in with the metal scene, which dates back prior to the existence of that legendary club The Anthrax in South Norwalk. The classic metal and hardcore shows played there became the subject of the book "Everybody's Scene: The Story of Connecticut's Anthrax Club," which was penned by Chris Daily. Check out that book trailer here. Even the fabulous Forced Reality (a band with members of the now disbanded Skeletal Ambitions) has reformed and is playing oi punk rock again, recently doing a few shows down south.
Nowadays, many of the scene elders in Connecticut are pushing 40-50 and helping to usher in new bands, continuing the tradition. Many of the clubs that were around in the eighties are still around, like the El 'N' Gee club or Toads Place, standing right aside the growing numbers of arenas and clubs that have popped up all over the place. The result is a forum for such diverse acts as Dead By Wednesday, Kali Ma, Crossing Rubicon in New Britain or old school metallers Graven Image up in Waterbury. The industrial metal band Circus of Dead Squirrels makes its home in Hartford these days, now pretty successful due to such over the top videos as "Bible Thumpers". The scene respects its local bands and keeps it vital through many shows and support gigs.
Connecticut even has a new record label that is signing many of the new and recognized metal bands. The label Ear One Productions was started up earlier in the year by veteran scene man Mike Z Livingston. Mike used to produce, engineer and mix bands in the studio and do a half hour of only Connecticut bands on a radio program he used to do a quarter century ago. Years later, he's still supporting the scene, and started up the record label with Jay Reason as the A&R man. Jay used to run Stillborn Records with Jamey Jasta and most recently worked in the digital division of Sony Music (Jive Records).
Ear One just put out the new one from Bonded Through Hate and the debut EP from When Waters Rise and recently signed scene bands Sinners and Continuum. Ear One will also be releasing the entire discography of Connecticut hardcore band Voice of Reason in the summer. This new label giving a voice to several of the bands, plus the decent club scene, gives musicians from Connecticut a viaduct for expressing their music. Look through a number of bands that this New England state has to offer when we once again unearth the metal underground in Connecticut today.
Symphony Of Malice
Guitarist and vocalist Gustavo Sinaro founded Symphony of Malice in 2008. The four-piece has already released one EP, 2010's "Judgement Day," on its own, plus the band is currently laying down tracks for the next one in the studio as we speak. They describe their style as metalcore, but in many ways they are pure old school melodic metal with leanings towards thrash. Symphony of Malice is based out of the central city of Meriden and plays many gigs throughout the tri-state area, most recently at the Lucky Break Bar and Grill in Stamford. Check out a live song and one from their EP below. Symphony of Malice should put its debut full-length album out by the summer.
By the time you read this, Priapism will be set to unleash its debut "Pray Pay Obey" on the Ear One label. Founded in 2000, it has only taken them twelve years to put this out. They plan to unveil the CD at a release party at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford on June 23rd. In the three demos that Priapism has put out throughout the years, it has managed to build a good audience with the steady number of shows it plays. Hailing from the ocean town of East Haven, Priapism plays a blend of progressive death metal and hardcore and has landed in the top spot of the Hartford Advocate's 2005 Best Metal Band poll. A couple songs from Priapism follow below.
Eyes Of The Dead
New Haven band Eyes of the Dead was formed from the remnants of Aggressia and the vocalist from Deadwait in 2004. They used horror-inspired lyrics and extreme metal as the foundation of its debut "What Nightmares are Made Of." Eyes of the Dead then toured the east coast opening for many big name acts. That ten-track album and subsequent 2006 tour with Carnivore got the attention of Life of Agony's Joey Zampnella, who ended up producing their second album "The Weak and the Wounded." That album was delayed a couple of years and finally got released in 2009 on Black Picket Fence records. Listen to a couple of tracks from them, including the official video for "Cannibalistic Slaughter."
Connecticut may be small, but it is a virtual microcosm of music and arts. It is surrounded by large metropolitan areas and has a tradition of listening to and producing metal bands since the days of Fates Warning or Liege Lord. The now-defunct local bands from Connecticut, TT Quick and Obsession, produced vocalists who went on to sing for Accept and Loudness down the road. You walk down a street and chances are that a couple of the people you encounter will know someone who is in a local band. Hopefully you found a group that you like in today's selection, and join us next week when we unearth more metal bands in another location or genre.
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