Archive: Unearthing the Metal Underground columns
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...
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. For my second article (read the first one here) I am going to look at three bands of three distinct genres in Heavy Metal, but in the emerging Halifax Underground you can find these three bands playing together on any given night.
Nova Scotia, with its small population and many rural areas, might not be considered the hotbed of metal, but when you look into the underground you see a very different story. With all styles of metal being accepted and embraced, the underground is growing each and every late night.
Black Moor consists of: Eric Hanlin – Guitar & vocals, Nick Jones – Lead Guitar, Rob Nickerson – Bass, Sylvain Coderre – Drums, and yes they are young. In fact I’m sure they are sick of people talking about how young they are, but why we as media are so amazed at their baby faces is because of the music that comes out of them.
The band rips tunes that are inspired by such heroes as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, and Metallica. When you are writing and playing music that has the sound of those amazing legends then you are going to have great show, especially when you pull it off as well as Black Moor. I can use all the adjectives here: hard hitting guitar riffs, raunchy vocals, blast beats! That’s all crap that as reviewers we use every day so if you need that at least I said it. In my opinion though Black Moor far outweighs those clichés. Their music is Raw Thrash that speaks to you on a level that I haven’t experienced since I was 14 and heard “Seek and Destroy” for the first time. As Heavy Metal Momma would say Black Moor is more of a feeling then a band. You can get that feeling at their MySpace page.
I will be the first to admit that having someone who could be my kid play music that takes me back to the days when thrash was king is weird, but hell I’m going to roll with it. What amazes me about them is they could certainly make some dollars standing up and doing cover songs, but they write and play what they like instead. That’s ballsy and what old-school thrash is all about.
When a metalhead moves into parenthood, a whole new world of challenges is unveiled, as with any new parent. Likely not the first on your mind is what music you can play for them. You presumably don’t want them growing up a wuss, listening to pop music. You want them to ROCK!
Cannibal Corpse and Slayer might be a little much for babies or toddlers, however. In fact, the biggest challenge to finding good metal to play for kids is the profanity. You could resort to some Christian metal, which is usually free of profanity and violence, or search through your collection for the few clean albums or make your own mix of kid-safe metal. Instrumental metal, especially Powerglove, is a decent option, if a little limiting.
Or you could search for some metal music that’s made just for kids. Yes, there are a few bands doing this, but perhaps just one who has done it best. For fear that you’ll skip this entire article when you see the others, let’s start with the best:
(Warning: If you take yourself and your metal too seriously, this is not for you; this is for metalheads with a sense of humor and can see the fun in these bands. After all, it’s for the kids!)
The promo says it pretty well: “What would happen if The Wiggles met Rob Zombie backstage at a Gwar concert and decided to form a band together? I'm not really sure, but I'd bet they would sound a lot like The Thunderlords!”
The Thunderlords is an entirely original Viking-themed “band” making original loud and heavy songs for kids. The band released their only album, Noisy Songs for Noisy Kids in 2005. The album features nine songs with song titles like “I Like Dirt,” “Eat Vegetables” and “Ice Cream Headache.” In fact, I Like Dirt" and "Ice Cream Headache" were featured on the soundtracks for the bestselling video games “Tony Hawk's American Wasteland,” “Tony Hawk's Project 8” and “Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land” respectively.
Check out the video for “I Like Dirt” and a stream of “Ice Cream Headache” 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 revisiting Vancouver, Canada’s underground metal scene. While last time we gave some of the city's death metal bands the spotlight, this time I'm taking a look at the city’s more experimental metal acts. There is no doubt that this west coast Canadian city is abundant in metal talent, but beneath the piles of death metal and hardcore/metalcore acts lay a handful of exceptionally talented progressive and experimental bands. This week we will be taking a closer look at three of these bands.
Nylithia is an absolute force in every aspect. Its music is insanely technical and vastly diverse. While being labeled as a death metal act, Nylithia combines stylistic elements from many different areas. Technical death metal, progressive metal, ambient and melodic thrash metal are all combined into one fluent sound. The members who come together in Nylithia are also exceptionally young and are one of the youngest active bands in the Vancouver metal scene. A debut EP was released in 2008 by the name of “Infector,” and the band is currently setting up some studio time to record its second album and debut full length for a mid-2011 release. Nylithia has already made news around the world when they debuted a music video for its adaptation of a Super Mario theme song, which Metalunderground.com covered. Do not be surprised if you start to hear alot more about Nylithia in 2011. Its extremely entertaining debut music video for the track “Replicants” is available for viewing below. Nylithia may be underground today, but could easily become a household name in extreme metal in the years to come.
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. In the dawn of what some call “The New Wave of Asian Heavy Metal,” we have unearthed bands from countries such as South Korea, China, Sri Lanka, Singapore and India. This week, I will be showcasing metal’s biggest Asian supporters – Japan.
There is no doubt the metal scene is enormous in Japan. It is home to Tokyo’s Sigh and Chiba’s X-Japan, the latter of which pioneered the glam-rock movement known as Visual Kei and recently completed a successful first-ever North American tour. In addition, the Loud Park Festival is held in Japan every year and has featured bands such as Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, among many others. Also, there is a manga, turned anime, turned live-action movie (with a cameo by Gene Simmons) based on a fictional band named Detroit Metal City. (I highly recommend to Metalocalypse fans.)
Although there is a plethora of talented J-metal bands, I can only focus on a few this week. Here are three “ichiban” (that means "top" or "number one") bands worth checking out:
Blood Stain Child
Osaka’s Blood Stain Child formed in 2000 with vocalist Ryo, guitarist Ryu, keyboardist Aiki and drummer Violator. The Child, in its early years with the debut "Silence from Northern Hell," has been likened to melodic death metal bands Children of Bodom and In Flames; however, BSC has since matured and separated itself from the pack with its unique blend of electronica, industrial and trance, although still retaining some Gothenburg-influenced roots. The band recently recruited vocalist Sophia from Greece and drummer Gami to replace the previous members Sadew and Violator, and are expected to release a yet-to-be-titled fifth studio album in 2011.
Check out Blood Stain Child at its MySpace.
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we shine a light on promising bands coming out of the darkness of the underground. Nashville, TN is the music business center of the United States, and isn’t without its fair share of shadows where bands outside of the mainstream get their start.
This week we feature the best classic speed/thrash metal band you’ve never heard of – Nashville’s “Intruder,” whose roots date back to 1984. We also have a classic metal band by the name of “Oblivion Myth,” and a female-fronted modern band known as, “Love’s Tragedy.”
Because Nashville is such a draw, most of the metal scenes from around the state of Tennessee tend to spill over into Nashville in order to gain exposure. Nashville also boasts more music venues than the surrounding areas. The Exit/In, The Muse, The End, and The Rutledge are popular venues for Nashville’s heavier side.
Formerly known as “Avatar” and “Transgressor,” Intruder made their bones during the heyday of the 1980s, at the same time the “big four” were making theirs. The band released three albums in total and made a brief run with Metal Blade Records before formally splitting up in 1992. Without much support from Metal Blade, the band still enjoyed moderate success with a legion of fans and reunited in 2002. Since then, they have headlined the Headbangers Open Air in Germany and have played the Classic Metal Festival in Ohio and Keep It True Festival in Germany. Their albums feature artwork designed by comic artists Fastner & Larson.
Currently lying in wait in the Nashville underground, Intruder are looking at recording updated versions of their classic songs for a future release, alongside a few new songs. Vocalist Jimmy Hamilton’s style is a classic blend of metal styles, backed up by gang vocals from the rest of the band. Drummer John Pieroni pens most of the lyrics and boasts a distinctly thrash drumming style with fast footwork and progressive leanings. Guitarists Arthur Vinnett and Greg Messick have a highly technical coordinated assault and bassist Chris Veach rounds out the band. Songs from their albums, “Live to Die,” “A Higher Form of Killing,” and “Psycho Savant” can be heard at their MySpace page More...
Metal has long been defined by a variety of regimented and easily recognizable genres, such as thrash, death, black, etc. Most bands bring in a few outside influences to keep the music fresh and prevent a total adherence to one particular idea, but there is now a rising tide of bands that ditch the idea of a single style altogether. Going by names such as “avant-garde” or “experimental” or “post-any genre you’d like,” they may start with a base that is familiar, but their overall sound is far too fluid to stick to one identifier. Bands such as Peccatum and Unexpect are some of the most well known in the style (“well known” being entirely relative here), but a growing number of underground experimental bands are still out there, waiting to be found by the metal masses. More...
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to expose them to the world outside their respective scenes. Although the Los Angeles scene is anything but unified, this apocalyptic city has produced more than a handful of quality bands. This week I’ll be exploring the Los Angeles old school death metal scene.
The L.A. scene is hardly known for authenticity in its death metal, mainly because the current scene is dominated by fad-jumping metalcore and glam throwback acts, but there are other more subtle reasons for its staying underground. For example, there is the fact that while bands in the Florida and New York death metal scenes, for example, were releasing genre-defining full-length albums, LA bands such as the ones below had to make do with short format releases, such as demos and EP’s. Compare Morbid Angel, who, by 1993, had released four full-length albums, to Sadistic Intent, who have yet to release one. Nevertheless, a limited output doesn’t necessarily equate a lack of talent, and so without further ado, here are three of the most talented bands to have graced the LA scene past and present.
Without doubt L.A.’s best underground band, and quite possibly one of the world’s most underrated metal acts of all time, Sadistic Intent plays fierce death metal that borrows from various traditions in the vast heritage of heavy metal. One can discern a range of influences, from Dark Angel and Slayer to Possessed and Morbid Angel, tucked within the unique tapestry that forms the band’s sound. They write long, involved, and esoteric death metal songs with occult lyrics and a truly sinister atmosphere, making them absolutely essential for lovers of morbid, underground metal. Try their EP’s "Resurrection" and "Impending Doom" for obscure and esoteric death metal, or go for "Ancient Black Earth" if fast and blasting percussive madness is more along the lines of what you crave.
If you live in the greater Los Angeles area, seeing Sadistic Intent live is a must, and lucky for you they play at least several shows a year. (Also note that the band members, along with vocalist Jeff Becerra, fill out the current lineup of Possessed.) In a live setting, the band is truly professional, and always live up to their moniker (and then some). Check out the video below to see what you’re getting yourself into.
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 we’re going to be taking a look at the young, yet thriving, metal scene in the United Arab Emirates which is probably more commonly known for its immense wealth from oil drilling, and its Islamic culture. While the UAE is made up of seven Emirates, which are basically like states, Dubai is probably the most well known out of all the seven because it hosts the largest building in the World and is thought to be a great holiday destination. Hopefully after you’ve checked out these three bands, you will be putting it at the top of your holiday destinations as well.
Starting with oldest band first, Perversion has been around in the Dubai scene since 2006; playing a very straight up style of perverted death metal in the vein of bands like Dying Fetus and Aborted. Friends and band mates, Mahmud Gecekusu (bass/vocals) and Rhama Al Rhama (guitars) have been the driving force behind the band from the word go. While they were once a four piece, with Mahumd’s younger brother covering lead guitar duties, they were forced to become the only three piece death metal act in the UAE when Ahmet Gecekusu left Dubai for higher education.
Sticking to their guns, Perversion started to accumulate fans, or as they like to call them “perverts,” by playing local gigs, and with the release of their EP “The Origins of Horror” in 2008 people were able to enjoy such deities as “Venomous Semen” and “Dementia of Devourment” in the privacy of their own homes. They are currently working on their debut album “Pillars of the Enlightened”. You can check out songs on their Youtube channel as well as on their MySpace. Here's a video of the band playing "Pillars of the Enlightened":
Do a little digging and you’ll find a metal scene in just about every country around the developed world. So it should come as no surprise that there is, in fact, a thriving underground swell of support for the dark arts known broadly as metal in South Korea. From the southern port city of Busan to the sprawling capital of Seoul, metal lives in the southern portion of the Korean peninsula. Here’s a look at three of the bands keeping the scene alive and growing in Seoul.
Melodic black metal band Oathean is one of, if not the longest running metal act in South Korea. Oathean was founded in 1993 as a death metal band, then known as Odin, and didn’t adopt its current sound until 1997. A year later the band released its first album under the Oathean moniker, “The Eyes of Tremendous Sorrow.” Since then, Oathean has released four more full-length albums, the latest a self-titled effort that came out this past summer. Oathean enjoyed a brief glimpse of broad exposure in 2005 when their album, “Falling Away into the Grave of Nothingness,” was released in North America via The End records. All other Oathean records bar their debut have been released on band founder, vocalist, and guitarist Do So Kim’s own label, Jusin Productions, marketed as the first extreme metal label in South Korea.
Kim is also the man who brings many of the major touring metal bands to Seoul, as well as being the driving force behind the Asia Metal Festival ongoing series of concerts featuring bands from around Asia and further abroad. What’s more, he is the owner of a rock and metal bar in the trendy Hongdae district of the city, Sapiens 7, and he also owns a large concert hall located in the Sangsangmadang building in the same area, making him an all but indispensable part of the local metal scene as both a promoter and performer.
Oathean’s sound incorporates traditional Korean instruments and, at times, haunting operatic backing vocals into lengthy compositions inspired by the likes of Dissection and Emperor to create a truly compelling mix of Scandinavian and Korean soundscapes. The band has toured to Taiwan and Japan several times, and shared the stage with the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Kreator, and Graveworm. Oathean currently has a lengthy European tour in support of their latest release in the planning stages, their first sojourn to the continent in the band’s history.