Undiscovered Gems of the American Metal World
Here in America, the metal scene is a very strange and outlandish place to the general public, as most subcultures are when viewed from the outside looking in. If there is one thing the last 10 years of my life have taught me about the metal scene, is that we’re all just a giant group of misunderstood people. Sure, we have some bad eggs and tarnished role models, but the majority of the people I have met and talked to over my years in social networking have been wonderful, hard-working people, with 9-5 jobs that support their musical habits. Some of the most talented musicians I know work hard for every penny they have, then turn around and spend it on other musicians. It’s a humbling thing, but very true, and very worth acknowledging.
I am lucky enough to have this hobby; writing about music. Reaching out to thousands of people online through social networks and blogs is a dream come true. I get my hands on the biggest releases of the year a month before they come out, then get to spend hours discussing bands and music with other fans. But to be honest, the best part about what I do, is stumbling across the ‘little guys’ on YouTube or through random conversations down the grapevine. I love finding those small bands, with massive sounds, comparable to the metal giants. How many bands that are locally successful, but their international pull is limited, are taken for granted every day? Or what about those guys that spend months in a basement trying to perfect their first EP that only 200 people will ever hear? Stumbling across bands and releases like this is what makes my hobby so worthwhile.
So over the past year I have been keeping an eye out for those people and those bands that work unbelievably hard for what they are and what they have here in the United States. I feel strongly that especially in something so misunderstood, like the world of heavy metal, the people out there that are so appreciative and passionate about their band and their fans, deserve a shout out.
So here are a few bands that you probably have never heard of, but you should have.
These are the true undiscovered gems of the American metal world, not only because of their amazing music, but because of their efforts in moving the music scene that they represent leaps and bounds forward.
Disforia (Progressive Heavy Metal)
Reigning from Salt Lake City, Utah, six-piece Disforia has gained international attention for creating heavy, yet melodic metal music while remaining an independent band. The music is very intelligent with beautiful lyrics, wonderful production quality, and killer artwork and imagery. The band has a very big, professional sound and presence thanks to equally talented musicianship all around. With only a couple releases under their belt, EP “Our Time Defined” is what really rocketed the band to eager listeners everywhere. The music is completely original and creative and deserves to be heard, and if you’re lucky enough to have the chance to see them live, take it! The band recently announced a new album, “The Age of Ether” and is in the process of an IndieGoGo campaign until January 23rd, so if you’d be interested in helping, the link is here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/disforia-new-album.
Enceladus (Power/Speed Metal)
I hope by now, it’s obvious that I am speaking of a band, and not a moon of Saturn, but Enceladus is a self-proclaimed “cosmic metal” band based out of where else but, San Antonio, Texas. This band is a perfect example of classic speed metal revamped with powerful themes and ‘enlightening’ lyrics. Their music is full of wonderfully executed guitar melodies and strong rhythm accompaniment, topped with soaring vocal lines, Enceladus is a power metal force to be reckoned with. I have only heard three songs, but these three songs were enough to prove to me that Enceladus is one of my favorite U.S. power metal bands around. They’re working on a full length, and I couldn’t be more excited!
Garoted (Death Metal)
Garoted is a band that I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for. These guys are what I love about REAL death metal. They have produced an unbelievably raw, misanthropic, and fearless sound in every track, it’s almost too good to be true. These Nebraskans know how to do death metal, and they do it right. Each musician is talented beyond recognition, from the ripping guitars and bass, to the screaming vocals, and then the absolutely insane drumming… I am floored every time I listen to them. They have a full length out, and a great EP, “Evil Personified“, but the real magic is in their upcoming album, “Visions of Death and Destruction“, which is one of my favorite albums I’ve listened to all year. Sad part is, it’s not released yet.
Helsott (Folk Metal)
There is NOTHING like a great folk metal band, and to have such a powerful force here in the United States is something I am insanely proud of. These guys were featured on Paganfest USA this past year so if you’re thinking “That name sounds so familiar!” that may be why. These guys have an amazing ability to write beer-swinging songs that are still so hard-hitting that swinging a beer to them would probably end poorly. This is some seriously high energy music, and I am so ready for some more material. The band is working on their debut album currently, and has an IndieGogo campaign running until January 5th, and if you’d be interested in helping fund the record, the link is here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/helsott
Judicator (Power Metal)
Judicator is composed of some of the hardest working people in the U.S. metal world, and are creating a new standard for U.S. Power Metal (for all of you striving musicians out there… look this way). Tony Cordisco and John Yelland, for all the work they do seriously deserve an award… perhaps the metal equivalent of the Nobel? If it doesn’t exist we should just name one after them and only give it to them every year. The music of Judicator is written intelligently and is pretty flawless, with historical lyrical themes and amazing composition. It’s technically a two-man band but features many other musicians and somehow they always seems to sound like this massive force of metal. They have two albums under their belt, check them out!
Lords of the Trident (Traditional Metal)
As the self-proclaimed MOST METAL BAND ON EARTH, these lords of tridents really know how to make old school heavy metal with high soaring vocals and rocking guitar lines. Their previous albums are well written but more lighthearted, so I was totally blown away by their “Plan of Attack” EP released this year. I did an extremely entertaining interview with the frontman, Fang VonWrathenstein, that had me laughing my ass off the whole time, but more importantly I realized the potential these guys truly had to make it big. Their music, although it sounds straight out of the speed and heavy metal hall of fame, is completely original and well-written. It’s gritty but melodic, and easy to sing along with, and should definitely get a listen or two from heavy metal fans.
MindMaze (Power Metal)
This unbelievable female fronted prog/power quartet hails from Pennsylvania. Listening to their latest release, “Mask of Lies“, is an experience within itself that all melodic metal fans need to hear. This is a self-released album that needs a little boost in promotion around the world for the band to truly take on their deserved attention. Between leg work and social media I have seen this band work their asses off in getting heard – and it’s working. The music is beautiful, and the female vocals fit in perfectly with the melodic keys and string work around them. Each song is unbelievably energetic and catchy and the whole album has a way of sticking with you. Please check out their websites and help get another album produced for our listening pleasure.
Visigoth (Traditional Metal)
Although I have only ever heard four songs by this band, I know supreme excellency when I see it (or hear it). In 2012 the band released an EP “Final Spell” that kicks SO MUCH ASS I can’t even begin to explain, but I will make an attempt. The songs are heavy, straight out of the 1980’s, but unbelievably catchy and well produced. The vocals are perfect and paired with great musicianship all around, these four tracks are some of my favorite songs of all time! The only down side, is there isn’t nearly enough music out there for me to listen to, so the band seriously needs to get me more. They’re working on a new album, but it can’t come fast enough!
Voyage of Slaves (Death/Black Metal)
While traditionally, black metal isn’t famous for guitar technicality, this five-piece hailing from western Kentucky is setting the bar high for technical metal in the blackened death metal world. Mixing their thrash influence with the previously mentioned genres, these killer musicians have managed to release two relentless heavy as hell EPs within just a couple of years. The band has independently recorded and released their material to eager audiences across the country, gaining popularity through social networking and touring. They’re a hard-working group of dudes that deserve much more attention for the music they are creating. The death metal scene in America is heard to break through just because of the sheer volume of bands around the country, but I can guarantee if the right ears hear this music, they’ll have on hell of a successful career.