Archive: Unearthing the Metal Underground Columns
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality underground artists that haven’t gotten the exposure they deserve. This week I am exploring the shred scene in the tri-state area.
Now I wouldn't exactly call it much of a scene here, but there are quite a few talented guitarists in New Jersey and New York. From people posting their own solos/songs on youtube out of a bedroom studio to veteran musicians who book at high class studios to record their album. Today I'll be discussing three acts from across the spectrum. More...
Each week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we take a look at three bands that haven’t had a chance to make as big an impact in the music scene as they should. Whether due to lack of label support, remote location, or just simple obscurity, there are many bands in the underground well worth the time of any serious metal fan.
Rather than looking at three bands in the same region or connected by a similar style, this week we’re delving into three groups that are all relatively unknown side projects of Norwegian prodigy Ihsahn. Probably best known for his work in black metal legion Emperor (which was covered as part of our “Black Metal History Month” at this location), Ihsahn has since headed out on his own to release three solo albums. But before the stage handle Ihsahn was a name known by itself, Vegard Sverre Tveitan was involved in many different projects ranging from freezing cold black metal to the entirely symphonic and even into more bizarre territory with sounds rarely, if ever, heard elsewhere.
After releasing his first solo album “The Adversary,” Ihsahn took a year off to work with other acts and continue to write new music. As black metal fans took in his new solo direction and decided if it stood up to the Emperor material, the musician looked to an entirely unexpected source for his latest collaboration. Teaming up with Norwegian hardingfiddle player Knut Buen, the Hardingrock project was born.
Heading in a vastly different direction than would be expected, Hardingrock’s only album “Grimen” (reviewed here) mixes fiddle heavy folk music, keyboards courtesy of Ihsahn’s wife, spoken word segments provided solely in the Nynorsk dialect, and yes, even some blistering black metal screams. If you are willing to try something vastly different than the standard fare, head over to the band’s MySpace page or checkout the songs “Fanitullen,” “Faens Marsj,” or “Daudingen” in the clips below.
Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. This week we’ll be looking at three bands from the West Country (the Southwest of England.)
First up on the agenda is From Ruin, a melodic thrash metal band from the small town Warminster, which is close to Stonehenge. Having only formed in 2009, the band can be seen as newcomers to the scene but have been rapidly increasing their fan base in their two years they’ve been around. Acclaim has already been flooding in for the band for their blend of soulful vocals with pounding instruments.
From Ruin - "Crimson Tears"
From Ruin - "Fear To Tread"
Many years ago, I grew up and graduated from High School in this small Central American country. Nestled between the political hotbeds of Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica has maintained it's status as a democratic bastion while it's neighbors are plagued by coup'd'etats and upheaval. Only a couple hours either way from the capital city of San Jose to both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Costa Rica has the ideal party atmosphere. The breathtaking beauty of the country coupled with the cultural tolerance they exhibit has awakened a phenomena in the metal scene.
Back in the old times, Costa Ricans ("Ticos" - as they are referred as) would clamor to several AOR stations to listen to Budgie or Judas Priest, or be found in a downtown bar shooting darts to Saxon. Yes, the Ticos love their metal every bit as much as any salsa or folklorico music. Nowadays they have definitely evolved with the times and share plenty of love for foreign metal and all things imported. Restrictions are not so hard on entrance visas to foreign musicians hereby opening the floodgates to plenty of stellar international talent. Big name acts are a monthly thing now, especially since Costa Ricans have a good standard of living and can afford to buy tickets and fill the clubs. Bookings into such venues as Pepper's Disco Club and a whole host of local bars is routine.
Back in the 80's, I had only seen Santana and Sting ever come down and perform. Since Iron Maiden played in 2008, visits from such luminaries as Anthrax, Moonspell, Therion and countless others ( Slayer this June) are now the norm. In fact, Marduk raised the hairs on the Catholic Church's neck with their visit last July. But even the priests are of a gentle nature in Costa Rica. "Don't use religious artifacts in an obscene manner on stage," implored a local monsignor.
Perhaps the godfathers of the local scene, a lot of credit must be given to Mantra. Formed nearly twenty years ago, these guys made so much possible for the younger crop of Tico musicians. Their 2003 release "Creature" marked the zenith of their creative career, spawning a couple of classic local death thrash songs. Unlike their younger counterparts, Mantra preferred to sing in Spanish and continue to do so. Nowadays, as with many bands that have been around for a long time, they have changed members and their style of metal a bit frequently. To listen to the classic track "El Ojo de Dios" from Mantra, click here.
Similar respect must be given to Sight of Emptiness who brought Costa Rican metal to the forefront with their win at the UK Open Air Bloodstock festival in 2007. They are usually the opener for most of the international acts that come, and we have posted plenty of news articles and videos about them in the past five years. If you are not familiar with their melodic techno thrash sound, listen to the video for "Desolation Whispers" here. Last week they were one of 27 bands to inaugurate the new National Soccer Stadium.
In January, the Documentary "Heavy Metal 506" was produced, showcasing the talents of Costa Rica's heavy hitters in the metal scene. (The title, incidentally, gets it's name from Costa Rica's country calling code). You can listen to the trailer right here. Also, the four part compilation "Costa Rican Metal" includes twenty bands from genres ranging from commerical metal, symphonic black metal, demonic thrash, brutal death and atmospheric. The first part has links to the other three parts and can be listened to here. Today we will take a look at a few of the bands that are also stirring up the Costa Rican scene.
Advent of Bedlam
You may have heard of Advent of Bedlam, who hail from the town of Heredia, or as they have called it before, "Hell-redia," by their previous name. Together over a decade, they used to be known as December's Cold Winter. Under that name, they put out some nice symphonic black metal and an album of enjoyable tunes. Deciding to go for a more blackened thrash sound, they changed their name to Advent of Bedlam a couple of years ago and have contined to receive great mentions, attaining an ACAM Award Songwriter of the Year nomination and a win for their "Ablaze all Shrines" LP. Their song "Manipulating Human Emotions" also appeared in Zero Tolerance Magazine's covermount CD. They produced their whole new album themselves, since the average Latino producer possibly wouldn't understand where they were coming from. Check out the new one from their "Behold the Chaos" album below, along with a few others.
Advent of Bedlam - "The Stench of Your Faith"
Advent of Bedlam - "The Darkest Alliance"
December's Cold Winter - "The Alabaster Corpse"
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we give our readers a look at a few underground bands from scenes around the world to help spread the word about them. In March, I had the chance to do a short tour in Japan, and one of the tour stops was the city of Nagoya. While there, I had the opportunity to share the stage with and meet some of the prominent members of the Nagoya scene.
The members of Deaflock, formed in 2000, spend their days breaking their backs and risking their digits in the factories of Nagoya's industrial wasteland outskirts, and their nights breaking their necks in the city's downtown metal clubs with their own brand of Bay Area thrash. Bringing to mind acts such as Exodus, Heathen, Vio-lence, and Forbidden, Deaflock has an impressive knack for drawing out the rumbling hook and face stomping rhythms, with hints of melody and progressive elements as well. Signed to Arctic Music Group in the U.S. and Alkemist Fanatix in Europe for the re-release of its debut full length album, “Reality of False Pasts,” which first saw the light of day in April of 2008, Deaflock is now looking to break out in a big way, with plans for the next installment of their catalog to be released sometime next year. The band has also appeared on locally released compilation albums put out by various underground labels in Japan. More...
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground we take a look at unsigned bands gracing a given locale. This week we will glance at the scene from Connecticut. Often viewed as the vast wasteland between New York and Boston, Connecticut often gets overlooked in terms of it's metal scene. Particularly distressing, considering many acts such as Fates Warning, Nasty Disaster, The Breathing Process and Liege Lord have heralded from there. Currently there are well over a couple dozen unsigned indie metal acts actively blazing the scene, but today we will take a look at three of the best.
Curse the Son
Coming at you from Hamden is stoner doom metal monster Curse the Son. Fronted by scene veteran and NWOBHM aficionado Ron Vanacore on vocals and guitar and completed by Cheech and Rich Lemley respectively, they describe their music as "the sound of dinosaurs walking the earth." Laying down slabs of riffs and mind-warping song lyrics, they purport to be influenced by valium, MJ and zoloft. Their music will take your higher conscious into one trippy journey. They released a full-length, "Klonopain," on their own last year. To listen to Curse the Son's music, check out the band's My Space Page.
Curse the Son - "Pulsotar Bringer"
Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. This week we'll dig into three rocking outfits all hailing from The Republic of Ireland.
Great Britain may be more well known for their heavy metal, but a short trip West finds that the Republic of Ireland has just as strong a heavy metal background. One could even argue that the Irish metal underground is much more varied than the British, boasting a large number of thrash, black, death and in particular doom metal bands. This week we’ll be taking a look at three of the country’s lesser known bands.
Proudly claiming themselves to be the world’s only Gaelic doom metal band, Dublin’s Mael Mordha, who take their name from the King of Leinster who led a gruesome rebellion against the High King of Ireland, Brian Ború in 998, formed exactly one thousand years after their namesake’s revolt. They signed with German label, Grau in 2005 and released their first full length album, "Cluain Tarbh" the same year, along with a split record with fellow Irishmen Primordial. Since then, the band has released two more studio albums, with the most recent being, "Manannan" in 2010.
Mael Mordha - "The Serpent And The Black Lake"
Mael Mordha - "Godless Commune Of Sodom"
Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. This week we'll dig into three rocking outfits all hailing from Croatia.
Croatia isn't typically the first band one thinks of when looking for new bands, but metal is famous for being an international phenomena with amazing groups coming from the least well known places. We'll start off our look at Croatian extreme metal acts with two bands heavily influenced by black metal and one that heads into much more groovy territory.
J.W. Pozoj is an act that mixes the old school black metal vibe with a series of avant-garde and artsy song arrangements. From the abrasive and harsh vocals to the atmospheric clean segments, there's a little of something for everyone from this fantastic act that should be more well known among black metal fans.
The group has a trilogy of linked albums going through the cycle of “Birth,” “Escape,” and “Return.” You can check out Metalunderground.com's review of "Escape of Pojoz" at this location or read our interview with the band members discussing their music here.
To get a taste of what J.W. Pozoj has to offer, check out the band's MySpace page or listen to the songs “I Am The Forest," “Careless Are Your Souls," and “Hisperia” in the clips below.
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week I am exploring the Austin metal scene.
Austin, Texas is often referred to as the live music capital of the world. While country and indie rock have often dominated the city’s musical legacy, the Austin metal scene is alive and well. A stroll down Red River in downtown will reveal many metal-dedicated clubs: Emo’s, Red 7, Headhunter’s, and Mohawk. The following bands are some of the best I’ve discovered playing within those venues.
Iron Age’s hardcore brand of metal caught my eye before I even moved back to Austin. Their album, "The Sleeping Eye," is full of great riffs and piercing vocals that border on black metal stylistically. On stage, Iron Age brings a raw energy that’s part punk, part metal, and all awesome. I’ve seen them open for Baroness, Corrosion of Conformity, and play last year’s SXSW. Needless to say, the crowd was always very warmed up after their set.
Besides being black history month, February also happens to be black metal history month at Metalundergound, and we’ve already taken looks at bands like Emperor and Immortal. Each week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we look at several quality acts that haven’t managed to make it big yet. To get the month back to its originally intended purpose, we’ll know delve into a series of underground metal bands composed primarily or even entirely of black members.
Heavy metal, of any sub-genre or style, is a worldwide musical phenomenon that easily crosses racial and ethnic boundaries. While it would seem that many metal bands are composed entirely of lanky white dudes with long hair, that’s by no means the only type of group to be found among the metal hordes. Sepultura, Killswitch Engage, God Forbid, and Suffocation are some of the most well known acts to feature black musicians.
Rather than rehash bands you already know and love, instead we’ll unearth several acts that haven’t had a chance to be exposed to the wider metal world.
To start off our look at metal bands composed of black members, we’ll head over to Botswana, Africa to be pummeled to pieces by the death metal act Crackdust. Hailing from a country that hasn’t exactly made it on the musical radar yet, Crackdust still has a well developed and crushing sound that deserves a mosh pit full of metal heads. Details on the band can be found here, or you can check out the songs “Fate,” “Ruptured,” and “Deranged Psychopath” in the clips below.
In honor of black metal history month, Metalunderground.com has been looking back at bands that influenced the genre as well as some of the biggest names in the style, most recently examining famous Norwegian act Emperor in the "Sunday Old School" column.
Each week with Unearthing the Metal Underground, we look at a handful of quality bands championing the underground and carrying metal forward. This week we'll spotlight three one-man black metal bands that fans of the genre may not have had the chance to hear yet. You can also check out our previous look at solo black metal bands here, as well as solo musicians from a variety of genres at this location.
Italy's Hiems is a band worth watching for black metal fanatics who want occasional respite from the non-stop frozen atompshere and rasping screams. Although both of those elements are found throughout solo artist Algol's music, the songs also feature a black 'n roll vibe and even dip into Opeth style prog metal. A sample from the "Worship or Die" album (reviewed here) can be found in the clip below.
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be shedding some light on a few quality underground bands in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week we'll be delving into the Egyptian metal scene.
Egypt has long been a subject for many internationally renowned bands, such as Dio, Mercyful Fate, and Symphony X, and with acts like Nile being well known for utilizing Egyptian mythology in their lyrical themes.
Over the past few weeks, Egypt has become a media hot spot due to current events inspired by the recent Tunisian revolution. For two weeks, protesters have been retaliating against the 30 year regime of former president Hosni Mubarak, demanding his immediate dismissal. It all finally came to an end on February 11th, to the sound of millions of Egyptians cheering for a new era of democracy.
The country's metal scene has been active since the early 90s. While it tends to face controversy from mainstream media and traditionalists; it still manages to progress and offer a diverse line up of bands, playing a variety of sub-genres.
We thought with all that, it's time we begin digging into the Egyptian metal scene to see what it has to offer.
Originally founded in 2001. Scarab (formerly known as HATESUFFOCATION) have been one of the most active bands in the Egyptian metal scene. Scarab is one of the country's veteran acts, known for their crushing mix of technical death metal and defiant lyrics.
Back in 2009, Scarab released their debut full length album, "Blinding The Masses," through Osmose Productions, and the follow-up to 2007's EP, "Valley of The Sandwalkers." 2009 also saw the band tour outside Egypt, performing for the second time in the UAE (Dubai Desert Rock Festival) and for the first time in Germany (With Full Force Festival).
Scarab is currently recording its second full length album, titled "The Afterlife Illusions," scheduled for a late 2011 release.
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. Some time ago, I offered some suggestions on bands to check out in the Chinese metal scene. Well, China is a big and indescribably populous country, so it should be self evident that the nation has a few more hidden gems interspersed amongst its many teeming megalopolises. Let's kick off the Chinese New Year with three more Chinese metal bands worth a listen:
Brutal death metal in the Middle Kingdom? Believe it. Renchei, which translates to “human pig,” is named after an unspeakably cruel and unusual punishment invented by none other than Empress Lu Zhi, according to historical texts. When one of the royal consorts displeased her, the empress forced poison down her throat, cut off her hands and feet, scooped her eyeballs out of their sockets, cut out her tongue and, as a final humiliation, forced the debilitated woman to live in a toilet as a human pig, languishing in other peoples' filth until her death. That pretty much sums up Renchei's sound—brutal and unforgiving. Taking cues from the likes of Devourment, Dying Fetus, Skinless, and American brutal death metal in general, Renchei offers up a Chinese take on the western technical, guttural, slamming sound. Operating out of Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, the band released a six song EP in 2010, “Relic of Disobedience,” featuring five originals and a Disgorge (U.S.) cover. Renchei is currently signed to BrutalReign Productions, a Chinese death metal label established in Xuzhou in 2009 that has begun to acquire acts in China and as far abroad as the U.S.
With ladies like Angela Gossow and Vibeke Stene fronting bands with primarily male members, the heavy metal scene has shown that women can just be as bad ass as men. While the female fronted band has gone from curiosity to accepted member of the metal kingdom, heavier acts still tend toward having mostly men among their ranks. Breaking that trend are a few groups that buck the established norm and bust out the girl power. With this week’s edition of the Unearthing the Metal Underground column we’ll take a look at three bands that rock out 100% wang free.
Kittie is probably the most well known group to feature only women handling the instruments and vocals, but there are plenty of all-girl bands that show up the kittens in terms of brutality. There’s no purr and all claws to be found in Greece’s Astarte, which leans heavily towards the black metal side of the spectrum.
Currently signed to Avantgare Records, Astarte has released five full-length albums so far, and even managed to catch Dimmu Borgir’s attention. Symphonic black metal icon Shagrath appeared in a guest spot on the “Ring of Sorrow” song off the band’s “Sirens” album. To get started with this all-girl act you can check out the video for the “Mutter Astarte” track, the collaboration with Shagrath, and the song “Black Mighty Gods” in the clips below.
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.
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.
The big names in metal get a lot of press and are famous for a reason, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a treasure trove of high quality metal bands hiding out in the underground. Each week with the Unearthing the Underground column we take a look at unknown bands in a specific genre or location that deserve to be heard by a wider audience.
Metal is unique in the musical world for the many different varieties to be found within it’s overall borders. “Experimental” or “Avant-Garde” metal bands are those groups that head outside the standard boundaries of the stylistic breakdowns, combining different sounds or even making up entirely new ones. Whether it’s extremely discordant vocals, a meshing of non-metal music with heavy atmosphere, or even random bouts of circus music, experimental metal typically has something that prevents the mainstream from recognizing it. These bands usually manage to get a small, but devoted, cult following that enjoys the odd juxtapositions and flagrant disregard for what’s socially acceptable in music.
In the last Unearthing the Experimental Underground we looked at the Czech Republic’s Oblomov, Poland’s Furia, and Italy’s Viscera///. This time around we’ll dig into U.S. based act Hallowed Butchery, as well as Virus and Source of Tide from Norway.
Maine based multi-instrumentalist Ryan Fairfield is the mastermind behind solo act Hallowed Butchery, which was previously known as Hallowed Butchery of the Son. Metalunderground conducted an interview with Ryan, in which he discussed the name change and the project’s upcoming work.
Hallowed Butchery frequently uses the stylistic elements of doom, with long, lingering guitar tones and slow moving music. There’s also a good deal of black metal to be heard in the music, along with some truly odd sounds that often defy easy description. One of the project's more experimental works is the fourteen minute epic “Coffin Life,” which was included on a recent split with New York’s Batillus. The song chronicles the life, demise, and surprising afterlife of a man who commits suicide, going through several distinct changes in style. A clip from the epic song can be heard at the band’s MySpace page.
The video below also contains the track “The Kennebec” from the band’s debut EP “Funeral Rites for the Living.” More...
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground we take a look at lesser known bands that are keeping metal alive and kicking in their respective regions and hometowns. This week, we introduce you to three bands from Kuwait: a country that has seen wars fought on its own home ground and in neighboring regions, as well as becoming a home to families trying to get away from conflicts. It has also become a small hub of high quality heavy metal, in both terms of production and originality.
Voice of the Soul
While Voice of the Soul may be better known as a song from the purveyors of death metal, Death, it also happens to be a progressive/melodic death metal band from Kuwait. With the typical line up of influences such as At the Gates, Carcass, Arch Enemy and the aforementioned Death, Voice of the Soul has set about creating a sound that is both intensely heavy and technical, but melodic enough to create memorable and satisfying songs.
Formed in 2007 by three like-minded metal heads who wanted to cover some of their favorite songs, Voice of the Soul eventually started to write and record it's own material, which brought about the release of their its EP, “Winds of Apprehension," in 2009. It included 3 original songs and a cover of Death’s “Empty Words." With this first EP, Voice of the Soul took a very straight forward melodic death metal approach. The release of the second EP, “Eyes of Deceit," in 2010 saw the band take a more progressive approach to it's sound.
The band’s song “Farewell to Hope” was featured on the Metality Compilation alongside Norther and The Empire Shall Fall. The same song was also voted as the top metal track of 2010 by the readers of Rockability Magazine.
While the band members are currently all based in separate countries due to school, Voice of the Soul is working on a full length album. You can download the “Eyes of Deceit” EP here.
When it comes to American metal strongholds, New York, California, and Florida never escape mention, but Texas remains the wild card. Not only has the state produced a number of influential bands, but the fan base is famously strong. It's true that no scene is what it used to be, but Texas continues to turn out new and varied acts whose names reach far beyond its borders. San Antonio Metal Examiner Jacob Holmes did the first round up for Metal Underground, but it's a big state and there's still a lot of ground to cover.
Guitarist Wes Weaver has become something of a Texas metal folk hero in the last twenty years. Operating out of Houston, he co-founded Dark Reign in the early '90s, which soon morphed into the much-loved death metal juggernaut known as Imprecation. The band made a name for itself as a cult phenomenon, but they never broke out into the larger arena and finally disbanded. In the meantime, Weaver continued to boost the Texas scene with his venerable radio show, and he also appeared in the short-lived Infernal Dominion, which was regarded as a departure from his classic brand of crepitus death metal.
In 2004, the Texas metal community was surprised to hear that Weaver was spearheading a new band called Blaspherian. Their approach was a pummeling return to the Imprecation model, and the debut EP, "Allegiance to the Will of Damnation," was the antidote to an increasingly stagnant Houston scene.
Like most veteran metal musicians, Blaspherian eschewed the current standard of soulless digital production in favor of a traditional analog soundscape. There are no typewriter drums or varnished guitar tones here; Blaspherian specializes in the booming, fuzzed-out death marches that reveal the blackened heart of true death metal. The riffs are efficient and linear even at the fastest moments, and nothing about the writing is rushed or overplayed. Chords hang, drums rumble, and evil all but drips from the speakers.
Blaspherian is important not only as a revival band, but because it points back directly to the groups that sired it. If younger fans are inspired to dig into the vaults of Texas' metal history, then "Allegiance to the Will of Damnation" has succeeded in its mission. The band makes semi-regular live appearances around the the state in the name of converting newcomers and flying the flag for the best days of death metal.
Each week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we take a look at quality underground bands in an attempt to spread the word of lesser known acts. This week we're diving into a divisive and controversial subject: Christian "unblack" metal. Also known as "white metal" or "holy unblack metal," the genre twists the standard Satanic or anti-religious themes and instead presents a pro-Christian worldview.
Say the phrase "Christian black metal" to the average metal head and you're likely to be met with a confused giggle or a baffled comparison to Jewish Nazi metal bands, but believe it or not there is a thriving religious black metal scene. While many of the black metal legions may see Christian lyrical themes as an irreconcilable contradiction, there are quite a few unblack bands with music every bit as dark and menacing as anything from the likes of Mayhem or Dimmu Borgir.
As a companion to this look into three unblack metal bands, we also have an editorial dealing with the subject of Christianity in black metal.
Destroying any preconceived notions of unblack metal lacking the force of an anti-religious band, Finland’s Renascent is a thrash-influenced symphonic black metal power house that equals or exceeds many secular bands. The level of fury present in the music is pretty astonishing, and the band doesn’t slouch in the melody department either. It’s a shame the band isn’t better known in the extreme metal community, as the aggressive symphonic tones are sure to please fans of acts like Dimmu Borgir or Dragonlord. Several Renascent tracks are available for streaming through the band’s MySpace page, with “In Hell” and “Exodus” being the most potent examples of crushing brutality mixed with keyboards. The songs “Scenes of a Tragedy” and “Through Darkness” can also be found in the video clips below.
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week I am looking into the Singapore scene once again.
In our previous article, we talked about three bands, namely Draconis Infernum, Xanadoo and Meza Virs. For this article, we will talk a bit about three death metal bands from Singapore.
Formed in early 2006, Assault has been a regular performer in local gigs. After four years and finally having a stable lineup, they are finally about to release their debut EP, "The Exceptions of the Rebellions." Assault plays a brand of melodic death metal, citing influences ranging from Arch Enemy to old school death metal bands. Covers of Bloodbath songs are a staple on their live shows, often drawing curious onlookers and instantly converting them into fans of the band. Vocalist Clarence’s vocals range from deep growls all the way to high pitched screeches. Backed by a solid instrumental section, they are definitely one band to watch out for. Check out Assault’s MySpace page here. Their debut EP is expected to be released in mid-January, 2011. More...