State Of The Art: Montana’s THRONE OF MALEDICTION

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

2007 and the darkness came to Montana, with the blackest of Metal becoming legendary with the formation of Throne of Malediction.  I was really looking forward to writing this for Montana, as my Facebook buddy Eric Sartana Horner (a super nice dude) is leading the charge for the band.  He plays a mean guitar, sings like a Dark Prince and plays some keyboards and bass, to boot.  The sound is deeply emotional, broken spirits littering the etheral world and coming with power to charge the soul.  Eric is a musical genius, with a close grasp of European Black Metal and alternative rock across the globe.  His singing ranges from a beautiful baritone to a frenzied growl.  His guitar work is brutal and sublime in equal measure.

Continue reading

State Of The Art: North Dakota’s FINEST LINE DIVIDES [Album Streams]

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

Around the year 2000, Nate Hockett, Lance Meoricke, Andy Fuchs, and Josh Renner formed a band they called Memory Work in Bismarck/Mandan, North Dakota. They eventually parted ways with Andy Fuchs, bringing Nick Just in on bass. The band subsequently changed their name to Finest Line Divides. Nick would later move to guitar and Matt Chalcraft would come in for bass duties. They unfortunately broke up in 2002.

10 years later, Nick Just, Lance Meoricke, and Josh Renner decided they wanted to play music again. It started with reworking old songs, which lead to new material being written. Nick would take over vocals and stay on guitar. A friend of the band recommended Keenan Miller for the vacant bass position. In 2013, Lance decided to bow out, which left the band’s future in question. Chris Vetter stepped in.  This led to two releases in 2014 and 2019’s masterwork, ‘The Ghost That’s Chosen Me’.  They are alternative, rock, metal and thoughtful. I absolutely adore the experimental approach and the completely reflective nature of their music.  It is like waking to a vista of vibrant strands of sound and a world that embraces rock, metal, rap, pop and alternative.

Continue reading

State Of The Art: North Dakota’s FROSTHELM [Album Stream]

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

Originally formed in 2009 within the dark, icy realms of where thrash and black metal collide emerges Frosthelm. Contributing in no small part to their sound is the extreme cold and bleak environment experienced by band members Dakota Irwin (guitar), Billy Zahn (guitar), Brian Helm (drums), Tyler Pfliger (vocals), and Jimmy Cherry (bass), hailing from the frozen plains of Bismarck, North Dakota. Drawing much inspiration from their surroundings, in 2015 the band released their full-length debut, ‘The Endless Winter,’ which Irwin aptly describes as “bitter, dark, angry, and disgusted.” The LP was critically-acclaimed, landing on numerous “best of 2015” lists, and receiving multiple glowing reviews by respected metal publications. Seeking to top their monumental debut, Frosthelm has just released their second album ‘Pyrrhic’ in March of this year. ‘Pyrrhic,’ defined as “(of a victory) won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor,” illustrates its bleak theme powerfully through punishing riffage and horrifying vocal imagery. Continue reading

State Of The Art: Delaware’s BASTION’S WAKE [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 Delaware.*

This is a change of pace from my usual metal fare, but Delaware’s Bastion’s Wake are an enigmatic power/symphonic band that piqued my interest with the fantasy artwork of their first album, ‘Sea Creatures and Sky Pirates’. Continue reading

State Of The Art: Mississippi’s CLAWHAMMER [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 Mississippi.*

Clawhammer is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Mississippi formed by Paul Hill and Paul Craig.  The outfit is rounded out by Stephen McNeer on rhythm guitar, Pete Lindsey on drums and Brad Litton on bass.  Normally, there would be more detail about the group, but I can’t find any!  However, I can speak to the music and it really is classic metal, forged from the steel of the South and the artistic ethic of the doom/goth scene. Continue reading

State Of The Art: North Carolina’s STELLAR CIRCUITS [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 North Carolina.*

STELLAR CIRCUITS formed in 2015 in order to create progressively-minded music. The name “Stellar Circuits” is derived from the eight-circuit model of consciousness, a theory proposed in the 1970’s about expanding consciousness and understanding the process of our mind as it relates to existentialism.

Continue reading

State Of The Art: STORIES THROUGH STORMS [Album Stream]

Photo Credit: MDKC Photography

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

The clouds clear after a devastating hurricane has hit.  Life has changed beyond recognition.  You are left with with vivid recollectionsAssuming that this scenario is played out, the band Stories Through Storms from Kansas City has a vivid name and certainly are lodged in my brain as being a band telling stories in the storm of Metalcore.  They bring the thunder, the power and the freshness that follows.  On the melodic end of Metalcore, they are very welcome.

Continue reading

State Of The Art: Kansas’ YOUNGBLOOD SUPERCULT [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 Kansas.*

Hailing from Topeka, Kansas, Youngblood Supercult brings the type of stoner rock that’s well-worthy of being more than just a local gem. Combining genuine seventies classic rock styles with more modern influences, their sound delivers the fuzz-laden doom of Black Sabbath along with the vocal soulfulness of Bad Company, wrapped up with the modern-day grit and grunge of Queens of the Stone Age. At times delving deeply psychedelic, the music never fails to immerse the listener into its ultra laidback, hazily smoke-filled atmosphere. The band’s newest album, ‘The Great American Death Rattle’ (2017) opens with the killer opening title track that features Led Zeppelin “No Quarter”-style bass effects and jaw-dropping guitar soloing. Check it out below. Continue reading

State Of The Art: Hawaii’s THE GRANITE SAINTS [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 Hawaii.*

From Honolulu, Hawaii, The Granite Saints are, according to their biog, “a three chord homage to the bands of their youth.”  They are snotty-nosed punks with the attitude of them against the world.  They talk and walk their way and anyone who doesn’t like it can just get out of their way.

Forged in the fires of 2013, they are made up of Lonesome James on rhythm guitar/lead vocals, Brian on bass/backup vocals, Shane Taylor on lead/rhythm guitars and Chad Taylor on drums.  They released a self titled EP in 2017, with some awesome beefy riffing on tunes like “Juju Mama” and “Run The Night.”  However, 2018 saw them really open up the Pandora’s Box of punk rocking music with ‘Red, White & Screwed.’

Continue reading

State Of The Art: Hawaii’s NESTA [Track Stream]

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

In the land of tropical paradise with its picturesque beaches, near perfect weather, and aloha vibes, it may be hard to imagine heavy music coming from the Hawaiian Islands. It was certainly no easy task finding metal amidst the vast sea of island reggae and ukuleles for this month’s SOTA, but this pick from the Honolulu underground is one I’m sure metal fans will enjoy. Hailing from Waianae, Hawaii, Nesta proves that their volcanic brand of metal can not only compete with its mainland contemporaries, but also push the envelope in some unexpected and highly innovative ways. Continue reading