State of the Art: Pennsylvania – Chronostasis

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State* 

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

So, with this week, our State of the Art: Pennsylvania series is comes to a close. So much good music to choose from and from a scene that is bursting at the seams with new ideas, creative concepts not heard anywhere else and a diversity that is nothing short of stunning. Finding interesting and engaging bands was never a problem but choosing among such a large swath of sounds did become a rather daunting task; and this week was no exception. I was down to three or four bands that fit my bill this week until I came upon Chronostasis. This is exactly what I was looking for. Once I got my chin out of my lap, bought their debut CD and got over my initial shock and awe, I got to work.

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State of the Art: Pennsylvania – BLACK URN

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State* 

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

 For those that have missed it for one reason or another, Monday marks the day that the staff here at Metal Nexus aims to shine a light on a previously unknown/undiscovered band from a certain state. Currently on Pennsylvania, I, your beloved Mstr, have got one hell of a find for YOU, our precious readers.  Hold on to your horses, my friends, because the boys in Black Urn are raring to have you drawn and quartered in the public square.  Hailing from the City of Brotherly Love, Black Urn are artists painting on a complementary canvas to counter that idealistic nickname (even though the nickname is just the literal Greek translation, and not a reference to the abundance of eros in Philly).  There’s a number of (insert sub genre category) metal to have emerged from the Keystone State, although sadly, in my eyes, the best of what it has to offer is often getting overlooked. 

Cover Art for 2017’s split album with Moros

Along with Black Crown Initiate and the as-of-the-first-of-this-month disbanded Brontide (if you’re reading this, I beg y’all to reconsider), Black Urn are mastering manipulating the depths of darkness into songs that feel as heavy on the listener as a death shroud made of concrete, albeit in different ways. Black Urn dives through the swampy thick throes of sludge and doom, and rather than having a flat, straight genre approach, they pepper in influences from a variety of metal styles that manages to lift them above your run of the mill, just doing it for the bills feel of those that stay safely within the confines of the genre. Founded rather recently in 2014, this quintet sounds like they’ve known and played together for years.  There’s a nicely creative yet cohesive touch to their songs, often spotlighting thrash, grind, and black metal in a way that is owed to the band’s je ne sais quoi.

Vox: John Jones Photo Credit: SoundShooter

 

Black Urn’s Alex Ouderdonk slappin’ da bass at the Doomed and Stoned Festival. Photo Credit: SoundShooter

When vocalist John Jones gets busy ripping his vocal cords to tatters, one can FEEL it, much like the ever present and nicely fuzzed out bass provided by Alex Ouderdon k. With the backbeat fleshed out by drummer Tim Lewis and sometimes dueling guitar work by Jordan Pierce and Ryan Manley (who also provides some backing vocal duty), I am genuinely surprised that these guys remain independent and unsigned. Since forming, they’ve released recorded material every year, and after getting a chance to listen to their entire discography, I absolutely must formulate a plan to go see these guys live, and SO SHOULD YOU.  Their next show is June 11th at the Barbary in Philadelphia.  If you’re even a casual fan of sludgeoned doom, I’m willing to wager a buck or five that it’s worth the trip.  They have a split with Portland’s Shrine of the Serpent that is scheduled for release this summer (cd, cassette, and vinyl) to sate you thirsty bastards until the release of their 2nd full length sometime later this year.

Photo Credit: SoundShooter

Photo by SoundShooter

Curious yet? Still haven’t checked out their Bandcamp?  Here.  Because I love you, I’ll make this easy.  Just click here to experience the track that I’m obsessing over, or maybe even here for “Empty Handed Lord”, another personal favorite, one that demonstrates their skill in burying thrash in amongst sorrowful layers of sludgeoned doom, with a passage that would get even the most stubborn circle pit going.  Even better? Grab your headphones (not your earbuds or that crappy set of desktop speakers, either) and listen to every.thing.they.have. (check out the media player below) and in the process,  getcherself a new, favorite sludge band to follow obsessively.  We’ll be keeping up with Black Urn as their career develops, and we’ll keep you up to date as well as we receive the news!  Give ’em a follow on the book of Face here and on Instagram as well to help spread the word!

BLACK URN – “Spindle of Spines” (Live from Doomed and Stoned Fest)

Chicago Open Air Spotlight: HELL OR HIGHWATER [New Song Stream]

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*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

This week’s artist is Hell Or Highwater.

Friday, July 14th, Hell Or Highwater will be one of the first bands to hit the Chicago Open Air stage in 2017. The band was formed originally as a solo project by Atreyu vocalist/drummer Brandon Saller in 2011 when Atreyu went on a brief hiatus. This material is definitely more upbeat and rock’n’roll while Atreyu was on the darker, metalcore side for most of their career. Hell Or Highwater will be at the festival promoting upcoming new material from their album ‘Vista’ which comes out on May 19th. You can check out the artwork for that and a few tracks below. Continue reading

State of the Art: Pennsylvania – Tungsten

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

Week number three of our State of the Art: Pennsylvania series takes us back to Philadelphia where we find an extremely unusual band that pulls influences from all over the musical landscape: Metal, Psychedelia, Progressive Rock/Metal and everything in between to create a sound like no other. My spotlight band this week is Tungsten.

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Chicago Open Air Spotlight: DRAGONFORCE [New Song Streams]

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*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

This week’s artist is DragonForce.

On Saturday, July 15th, these power/speed metal legends will be taking the Chicago Open Air stage for their first Danny Wimmer Presents festival. Like many from the States, I became familiar with DragonForce sitting at home as a kid playing their songs on Guitar Hero like “Through the Fire and the Flames” and “Fury of the Storm”. They’ve produced epic material consistently with symphonic elements while Herman Li is shredding at the speed of the light. There is also something in their sound that makes you think of old school video games tunes (some have even referred to them as “Nintendo Metal”). The band has went through several lineup changes since forming in 1999 but original guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman still remain a part of the group. DragonForce is releasing a new album titled ‘Reaching Into Infinity’ this year and details can be found about it here. You can stream two tracks off of it below right now! Continue reading

State of the Art: Pennsylvania – Gun Metal Gray

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

Week number two of the state that brought us bands like August Burns Red, Halestorm, Poison, Cinderella, Britney Fox, A Life Once Lost, Motionless in White brings us a kick ass Metal/Thrash band out of Pennsylvania’s capital of Harrisburg. Winning the QWIK Rock 105.9 Battle of the Bands at the Arena Bar and Grill in State College just a few weeks ago comes Gun Metal Gray.

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Chicago Open Air Spotlight: PIG DESTROYER

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*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

This week’s artist is Pig Destroyer.

On Saturday, July 15th, one of the heaviest bands on the planet is set to take the stage at Chicago Open Air in Bridgeview, IL. Pig Destroyer is a deathgrind five-piece hailing from the city of Alexandria, VA that was formed around 20 years ago by J.R. Hayes and the legendary Scott Hull. The music consists of a high mix of brutality and ferocity sure to annihilate anyone in its path. There are highly disturbing lyrics sure to appeal to any horror lover as the band blasts through a ton of songs on each record (there are 23 tracks on ‘Prowler in the Yard’ in under 40 minutes). Continue reading

State Of The Art: Pennsylvania’s RUMPELSTILTSKIN GRINDER [2017 Live Footage]

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

There is a secret underground crime syndicate called RUMPELSTILTSKIN GRINDER. Though the word “grind” is in their name, don’t make the mistake of referring to the band as grindcore. RUMPELSTILTSKIN GRINDER is a red-blooded thrash album with roots in crossover. Founded in 2002 the band has released 3 studio albums, 1 live album and 4 split albums. Their first studio album ‘Buried in the Front Yard’ dropped in 2005 via Relapse Records. This album seen Guitarists Matt Moore and Ryan Moll with their dueling riffs. Fiery fret work and precision riffage is abundant in all 8 tracks of their studio debut. Moll showcases his solo work throughout the album and Moore let’s his talents shine in a solo on “Stealing E.T.”. Needless to say the album almost comes off as a thrashing guitar clinic. Vocalist Eli Shaika and Bassist/vocalist Shawn Riley share the microphone at times. Riley adds his own string work on the bass but together they vocally encase the bands true thrash sound with a rapid vocal delivery. The harsh undertones of his they dispel perfectly bond with the conglomeration of riffs. Continue reading

State of the Art: Pennsylvania – Assayer

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

April takes our State of the Art series to Pennsylvania. One of the first thirteen colonies of the United States and becoming a state in 1681 and second to ratify the United States Constitution, Pennsylvania is bordered by Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario; being split in the center of the state by the Appalachian Mountains. Of the fifty states, Pennsylvania is the 33rd largest, 5th most populous (pop. 12,802,503) and is the 9th most densely populated. With its large population and density, Pennsylvania boasts the 5th highest gross state product of $644,000,000 and houses about fifty Fortune 500 companies. Named after William Penn, the state was originally organized as a Colony of New Sweden along with what is now Delaware. Pennsylvania covers some 46,055 square miles, 490 of which are covered by inland waters. While the capital is Harrisburg, I take you to the largest city of Philadelphia where we find one helluva destroyer band called Assayer. Continue reading

State Of The Art: Pennsylvania – BURIAL IN THE SKY

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

There was a plethora of great releases in the tech death realms last year. Obviously, not all of those technical death metal albums of 2016 were shown the love they deserve on Metal Nexus… With that said, I am currently kicking myself in the ass for not covering Burial In The Sky’s jaw-dropping debut LP last year. The absolute least I can do now is have Burial In The Sky as the first featured artist for this month’s State of the Art: Pennsylvania series! Since the band was birthed in 2013, they have only delivered solid material. Now – with a demo, EP, and full-length, under their belts – the future could not look any brighter for Burial In The Sky. The Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania natives, Will Okronglis (guitars, vocals), James Tomedi (guitars, bass) and Sam Stewart (drums), produce a unique brand of death metal with appeasing, technical guitar licks and a dreamy, celestial atmosphere.

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