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 – 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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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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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: Virginia – LOINCLOTH

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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 Virginia!

Virginia’s tenure as our featured State of the Art concludes this week, as I present one more noteworthy artist hailing from the Old Dominion – Loincloth. With members in Richmond and Raleigh, perhaps the band could fit in the Virginia or North Carolina State of the Art series. Nevertheless, the instrumental prog trio is a hard-hitting powerhouse to be reckoned with, featuring concise, syncopated movements of progressive metal riffage and dissonance.  Continue reading

State Of The Art: Virginia – Trumpet the Harlot

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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 Virginia!

If you are a fan of the most extreme end of the Metal spectrum, Virginia has a plethora of formidable offerings. Doom, Death, Black and Thrash Metal bands absolutely abound from this month’s state. An interesting feature of Virginia Metal bands that arouse over the course of this month is that they tend to stay together for extended periods of time instead of splintering into other projects on a whim. Usually when searching there are a bevy of brand new bands with limited releases and few that have been together for more than a couple of years or longer. While this does not necessarily relegate to the quality of the music, a focused and fully developed sound can be tough to find from extremely young bands. My State of the Art spotlight falls into the former category, being at least seven years old. This week’s nod goes to Trumpet the Harlot.

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State Of The Art: Virginia – WINDHAND

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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 Virginia!

Flashback to Fall 2015: I’m beginning to expand my musical horizons as a listener, discovering the real power behind Bandcamp… I stumble upon this album called, Grief’s Infernal Flower, a, then, bestseller on the website by a quintet from Richmond, Virginia dubbed Windhand. I saw Windhand’s third album sported some beautiful cover artwork, but it was the sound that I found within Grief’s Infernal Flower that made me admire this band the most. Featuring bludgeoning, thick guitar tones and soaring, ethereal vocals – Windhand has comprised some of the best elements of stoner and doom since their inception in 2008, to produce something so gracefully heavy.

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State Of The Art: Virginia – Freedom Hawk

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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 Virginia!

Week number three covering Virginia in our State of the Art series brings us to the barrier dunes of Virginia Beach, where, in 2005, time traveling rockers from 1970 emerged from the warp portal to create this week’s band, Freedom Hawk.

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State of the Art: Virginia – Valkyrie

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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 Virginia!

After starting our State of the Art: Virginia series off with a bang last week, I would like to introduce or reintroduce a band that has been turning Traditional Doom fans on their heads since 2002. Started by vocalist/guitarist Jake Adams, bassist Eric Seaman and drummer Luke Shafer in Rockbridge County, VA, Valkyrie quickly released a five song EP in 2003 which included the track “Wintry Plains” that was later used in their most recent release, some twelve years in the future. By 2004, Jake’s brother Peter (also of Baroness) was added to the band, sharing guitar and vocal responsibilities. A second demo was recorded at a local radio station shortly before Shafer split with the band and was replaced with Mike Hoke on drums. Sunlight Shines followed along with a 7” split with VOG. By the end of 2004, the young band lost Seaman and Hoke and were replaced by Nick Crabill on bass and Nic McIntrurff on drums. Once being picked up by Twin Earth Records, their debut, self-titled, full length album was released with the assistance and engineering talents of Chris Kozlowski (Pentagram, Trouble, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, The Melvins, Blue Cheer). Changing the lineup once again, bass player Will BarryRec and drummer Gary Isom (Spirit Caravan, Pentagram) were recruited into the band, allowing Valkyrie to play many festivals including the final Emissions from the Monolith Fest in Austin, TX and the Stoner Hands of Doom festival in Phoenix, AZ. Isom left the band in 2007 and was replaced by Warren Hawkins. The next year, Man of Two Visions was released on their own label, Noble Origin. Valkyrie’s debut and Visions were later re-released on 12” vinyl in 2007 and 2008, the year that Pete joined Relapse Records recording artist Baroness which called him away for full time touring. In 2010, Meteorcity Records (The Obsessed, Nebula, Atonic Bitchwax) re-released the first two albums on CD. Joining Valkyrie on bass while still playing with Earthling, Alan Fary released a new split with both bands in 2013. 2014 proved to be a huge year for Valkyrie and its members. With production from Sanford Parker (Nachmystium, Pelican, Voivod), Shadows was released shortly before Pete was asked to play with Glen Danzig’s Samhain where he toured their reunion shows throughout the United States (information from Valkyrie’s online resources).

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State of the Art: Virginia – Iris Divine

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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 Virginia!

Here we go! Onto the great state of Virginia for our March State of the Art series. The tenth state of the union, nicknamed “Old Dominion” by King Charles II of England at the time of the Restoration, Virginia boasts Jamestown, founded in 1607 and claiming one of the oldest cities in the United States, the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents and a prominent place the country’s overall history. Surrounded by Maryland, Washington D.C., the Atlantic Ocean, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky, Virginia covers some 42,774.2 square miles, 65% of which is forestland and has a current population around 8.5 million. In addition, the state contains the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Cumberland Mountains, Allegheny Plateau and Chesapeake Bay. While known for the production of coal and tobacco over time, computer chips have recently surpassed both combined as the top grossing exports. Virginia also has one of the top ten school systems in the States but sits near the bottom of public spending on the arts. Thankfully it has done no apparent harm because the state has spawned acts like Gwar, Iron Reagan, Lamb of God, Arsis, Pig Destroyer, Municipal Waste, Alabama Thunderpussy, Pentagram and many, many other top notch Metal bands. Oh, right, we can now add Iris Divine to this illustrious list of bands.

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