State Of The Art: Florida’s LEVIATHAN CROSS

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Florida.*

“A country divided
A smeared reputation
The veil pulled back
To reveal the death machine” – All Is Dust

This month, I take a look at Leviathan Cross, the three piece band based out of Tampa, Florida who have “a fascination with the occult and the macabre.

The band were formed in 2015 and have released two EPs to date, a self-titled in 2016 and ‘All Is Dust’ in August of this year. The band is comprised of James Herrholz on guitar/vocals, Kyle Weidner on bass/vocals and Brandon Thrift on drums. They have a dark sound, which stretches beyond the three piece format. There is an errie sense of menace in their grooves that would neatly fit into the soundtrack of a horror film.

The music, whilst distorted to some white noise limit on their self-titled EP, has evolved into a riffing maelstrom of monstrous proportion on ‘All Is Dust‘. They have cleaned the production and swabbed the sonic decks with the now crystal clear sound taking them into the stratosphere of Doom Metal.

The latest release really does bite at your ears from the off. It has a nasty claustrophobic vibe that also tingles your senses with aggressive distain. The band are tight and have more hooks than a butcher’s shop. They stretch muscles of music and infuse with spices beyond imagination.

The songs on ‘All Is Dust’ leap out and pull you into the weird layer of pain. sweetened by guitar nuggets and drums that paralyse with an urgency unknown by many who play in this dark arena.

“Ava” ushers in the EP with a choppy piece of alternative guitar and then smashes you with a riff that is a classic. The singing is clean, but emotional. This may be one thing that sets Leviathan Cross apart from many others in the genre. It is a unique sound, full of unexpected melodies and power. The voice should be slightly higher in the mix, but it still sounds fantastic. The fuzzbox distortion solo is great as well.

A bumping bass and drums opener sets off the NWOBHM inspired “Static Regime“. It is another killer riff and I can see these guys playing arenas with this tune.

Beyond The Veil” sparkles with grinding diamonds in its life. “The Well” has some thundering bass drumming and a razor sharp riffing wall. The song speeds along, breaking into territory that was reserved for Speed Metal bands back in the day. This is not your standard Doom fare.

The penultimate track is “K Webster“, which is less of a success for me, as it hasn’t the tunefulness of the other compositions.

The EP finishes with the title track and this is a pretty political song, opening with some of President Trump’s soundbites. It is a call for greater unity and a discovery of division. It is also the only time when Death Metal vocals are used, to great effect. Awesome!

There you have it – Florida produces yet another top band, destined to be remembered in years to come as a serious player. Check them out!

State Of The Art: 100 WATT VIPERS [Official Video & Album Stream]

 

Florida is rich in music. You can hear it throughout the state. Sure, most of what’s being played now is no where near what is once was. One band is set to change that. 100 Watt Vipers is a two piece group made up of DJ Riddick banging the drums and taking vocal duties and Paul Joesph riffing the guitar. Formed in 2013 by the two friends, 100 Watt Vipers have released 3 D.I.Y. Albums; ‘Something Wicked Comes This Way’, ‘Cold Sunday Blues’, and 2016’s release of ‘Hellhound Train Rollin’. Continue reading

State Of The Art: HORSEWHIP [EP Stream]

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Florida.*

St Petersburg, Florida’s grinding hardcore/screamo outfit Horsewhip, founded by musicians with connections to Combatwoundedveteran, Reversal Of Man, Early Grace, Order Of Importance, Sutek Conspiracy, and more. Horsewhip includes vocalist Mike Grantham, guitaris Shaun Drees, Jeff Howe on bass and drummer Alex Bonds. Having played heavily throughout Florida over the past year including shows with Portrayal Of Guilt earlier this year, Horsewhip is booking gigs and hopefully will break outside the confines of Florida and bring their grinding hardcore sounds to surrounding states. Horsewhip just released their self-titled debut EP a few days ago on September 14th. It was released via Financial Ruin w/ exclusive distribution through Dead Tank Records. It was recorded by Dan Byers at Rock Garden Recording and was mixed by Jeremy SH Griffith at Printups Studios. The EP contains 7 blistering tracks that is sure to help the band gain stampedes of new fans.

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State Of The Art: FEAR THE CONCEPT [EP Stream & Official Video]

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Florida.*

The state of Florida is home to a thriving underground Metal scene, with up and coming bands from all different sub-genres. In this installment of State Of The Art, we will be taking a look at newcomer Metalcore outlet, Fear The Concept; there’s definitely something special with these younger bands that are just getting their starts, and this Florida quintet. The ambition these young guys bring within their recordings is a nothing short of a youthful display of aggression and energy that ensures they’re here to stay for a long time. The group was founded in June 2011 out of Orlando, Florida, and, despite some roster changes over the years they have successfully found a group that is sure to continue making music for their fans’ listening pleasure and experience. With one EP release since 2015, they are steadily and surely progressing their careers into a more mature and established group, and we are excited to see what their future is gonna bring. Continue reading

State Of The Art: Florida’s ELEMENT OF ECLIPSE [Album Stream]

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Florida.*

Hailing from Tampa, Florida, Sin Scythe (Kevin Nichols) is the one-man mastermind behind the brutally dark and aggressive, blackened death metal project Element of Eclipse. On wax, you’d never know by the immense atmospheric sound that it was created and performed solely by one person. Scythe recorded his first demo for Element of Eclipse back in 2003 and has since released five full-length albums, with 2015’s ‘HeretiKvlt Manifesto’ being the most recent. The first album ‘Apocalyptic Life’ (2006) was an all-acoustic project with synth and vocals that began laying the groundwork for much heavier things to come. As a distinct evolution from his acoustic beginnings – and packed with high-speed, distorted riffing and blast beats – ‘HeretiKvlt Manifesto,’ is one of Scythe’s most refined and crushing works to date, improving upon the format that was solidified on the previous two records. With a sound that’s equal parts Immortal and ‘Alters of Madness’-era Morbid Angel, Element of Eclipse delivers powerful extreme metal with a well-executed and crisp production value that propels the music’s power and atmosphere to the limits. Continue reading

Aftershock 2018 Spotlight: WAGE WAR [Video Stream]

*This is part of our “Aftershock Festival 2018 Spotlight” where we branch out and focus on some of the up-and-coming bands that fans can see at this year’s Aftershock Festival on October 13th & 14th.  This week, we’re checking out WAGE WAR.*

Wage War are slotted to bring their unique form of melodic metalcore to the Northern California stage at this year’s Aftershock Festival. The band has been bringing the heaviness since their inception in 2013 in Ocala, Florida. The lineup for the quintet includes Cody Quistad (vocals/guitar), Briton Bond (vocals), Seth Blake (guitar), Chris Gaylord (bass), and Stephen Kluesener (drums).  Signed to the Fearless label, Wage War has two full length records under their belt – ‘Blueprints’ (2015) and ‘Deadweight’ (2017), which are both produced by Andrew Wade (Neck Deep, Motionless in White) and Jeremy McKinnon (A Day to Remember). They are currently in the process of working on new material that they discuss, among other topics, during their recent interview with Talk Toomey: The Metal Nexus Podcast – which you can check out here. Continue reading

CD Release Party for SuckerPunch’s “Underground Anthem”

First show in a while, and ohhhh, what a doozy! Gotta love supporting such a huge variety of incredible bands ranging from Rap to some of the heaviest Metal has to offer and everything in between! Some of the best music available today remains in the underground and, invariably, right around the corner, no matter where you live. Well, June 1st at 1904 Music Hall served as the launch point for SuckerPunch’s release of Underground Anthem reviewed here. Not only was I stoked to hear some bands that I have heard and loved again, but also for the bands I have not heard of. Not only are they beyond talented, but I made some new friends and hope that you will give them a shot once you read my review of the CD release party. Enough chatter. Let’s get down to it!

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Review of “Dark Matter” By Auditory Armory

Auditory Armory is:

April Rose – Vocals and Guitar
Oscar Garcia – Drums
Dennis Burns – Guitar
Justice Maynard – Bass

Dark Matter

Auditory Armory is a female fronted Alternative Metal band that manages to take the best of Hard Rock, Metal, Progressive Rock and even some Jazz and cleanly distills them into a sound that can only be identified as theirs. This is the advantage of taking on music with wide, curious and wandering eyes instead of within the confines of what is and what should be for any certain genre/sub-genre of music and the die-hard fans that constantly in-fight these categorizations to death. This has always been a pet peeve. Categories should be used simply as a way of describing a sound to someone that has not heard of the band, not as some confining boundary of what music should sound like. Imagine, if you will, a musical landscape where Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bach, Gershwin, Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, The Beatles, Elvis, Hendrix, Yes, Rush, Michael Hedges, Pink Floyd, Eddie Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judus Priest, The Big 4, Chuck Schuldiner, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse and Venom chose not to think outside of the box. Got it worked out? Not a pretty picture, huh? This is precisely the reason I actively search out and share bands that throw the whole “writing within a box” thing to the wind. Auditory Armory is, obviously, one such band that fits the mold of not fitting in one.

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Review: MORBID ANGEL – ‘Kingdoms Disdained’ [Official Track Stream]

Steve Tucker & Trey Azagthoth

Morbid Angel’s latest studio album, released December 1st, 2017, ‘Kingdoms Disdained’ is a return to form following their previous, polarizing release, ‘Illud Divinum Insanus’ which left many longtime fans feeling alienated. As part of the original Florida death metal scene, Morbid Angel was formed in Tampa in 1983 by guitarist Trey Azagthoth, the only remaining original member, and original vocalist, Mike Browning. Since their inception, the God-hating, Satan-loving death metal pioneers have released nine studio albums to date and are regarded as being among the forefathers of American Death Metal. Their 1989 debut album, ‘Alters of Madness’ is frequently recognized as one of the greatest death metal albums of all time. Continue reading