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.

For a band with not much biog detail, they have released five thundering albums/EP’s of rocking goodness.  In 2015, they released their self-titled debut, which introduced the band’s grave sincerity.  This was followed by the more polished ‘In Space’ in 2016.  2017 found the band releasing the awesome sounding ‘Diabolical’.   The six track ‘Delta Mud’ (2018) added depth to Clawhammer‘s catalogue with greater use of keyboards and sound effects.  And that brings us to the fire-powder keg that is 2018’s ‘Sons Of Sabbath’.

The latest long player  powers out the tunes with a touch of sludge and a side of classic metal.  The riffs flash through the molten grooves and the vocals of Paul Craig growl and soar with aggression.  Songs such as ‘The Fire Burns On” and “Beat The Beast” drill into your core, but the band aren’t done.  Clawhammer find a way to add finesse into their palette with the unforgettable battering that “Crazy Again” gives you.  Best song on the whole freakin’ album bro!

There is a laid back urgency (an oxymoron eh?) to the whole catalogue, but the more you listen, the better it all sounds!  It makes for a real gem of a find and I look forward to more from these prolific rockers.

 

State of the Art: Oklahoma’s LOST EMPIRES [Tracks Streaming]

Since 2011, Lost Empires have been fusing together a new breed of metalcore straight out of Oklahoma City, OK. One could say, fantasy metalcore? A healthy blend of sharp and tight traditional riffs with a power metal element, the melody along with the synthesizers. This is really something cool.

The five piece consists of Kilby and Brad on guitars, drummer Jeremy, Luke on bass and Lawrence on vocals. “Death, the Unveiling of Eternity” EP was released in 2016. It’s like God Forbid and Blind Guardian are dating. It’s a fabulously unique metalcore EP. The standout track is undoubtedly “Standing at Death’s Door.” Song structure is interesting, catchy and elaborate. The power metal elements really stand out on this particular track. Some cleans throw in the background really compliment the growls. Another favorite, “Hameln” has the eerie synth magic happening with a really evil and driving riff over top. It’s just a solid track. Fans of mid-2000’s metalcore will certainly be interested in Lost Empires, and power metal fans that don’t mind more aggressive vocals.

The band is pretty quiet on their socials, but after a bit of poking around it seems as they are taking a break at the moment but have future plans to write new material. Their 2016 EP is available for streaming on Spotify. 

State Of The Art: Oklahoma’s OUTSIDE THE SHADOWS [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 Oklahoma.*

Outside the Shadows was formed originally as a Praise and Worship band, but that band split up and in 2013.

They sweated blood and released the first album ‘Forgiveness’ in October of 2013. They then released their second album ‘Ignite’ in October 2015. They have played with some amazing bands such as Screaming for Silence, Sons of Texas, Sleep Signals, and so many more!

The band name means to shine a light from the outside into the darkness and share Jesus with every individual possible. Outside The Shadows is made up of Preston Bell (vocals/guitar), Randy Stroud(drums)and Sam Krempl (bass/vocals).

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State of the Art: North Carolina’s AMERICAN EMPIRE [EP Stream]

 

Fans of old-school Epica and Within Temptation are going to lose their minds over North Carolina’s best kept secret; American Empire. North Carolina has bred some top notch metal over the years but nothing that sounds quite like this. With the exception of Kamelot, most North American symphonic metal bands just seem to be missing something. But think again, American Empire is packing some seriously fantastic Euro-sounding metal down in Durham.  Continue reading

State Of The Art: AGONAL BREATHING!

Agonal Breathing either is or will soon be one of your favorite slam bands, with their album ‘Bloodthirsty Mutilation’ announced and read to spawn somewhere this year and the nasty ‘Pure Agony’ already being part of my daily routine they really are the State Of The Art of the state Kansas!

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State of the Art: MARSH OF SWANS [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 Kansas.*

Black metal and a history lesson? Get your pencil and paper out, Marsh of Swans are about to school you in downtrodden riffage and local history. The black metal duo call Lawrence, Kansas home. They go by CJ and BC, sharing the writing and production duties. BC is the voice that is heard on the tracks and CJ does the drum work, however. Continue reading

State Of The Art: EXISTEM [Official Video & 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.*

Originally forming in May of 2010, Existem have emerged as a progressive force in the Kansas City music scene, combining bursts of technicality, subtle progressions, ambient instrumental passages and jazz phrasing to express their unique sound. Existem was formed by Brad Trinkl on guitar, Chris Gochis on guitar/vocals, Ben Chipman on bass/vocals, and Matthew Chipman behind the drum kit. The band released their self titled debut EP on April 21, 2011 that consisted of 4 tracks. The band went on to release their first full length ‘Years Of Winter’ on September 14, 2012. They would follow that up with another EP in February of 2014 titled ‘Phoenix’ and also a single “Closed Eyes” in November the same year. Continue reading

State of the Art: Hawaii’s GORGOS

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

Ever wonder what the soundtrack of mutilation might sound like? Pretty sure it’s Gorgos. Hailing from a beautiful place like Honolulu, Hawaii, yet they have no shortage of brutality. It’s death metal, it’s slam, a little bit of grind thrown in the mixer. What churns out is blood soaked and meaty riffs. This is carnivorous music. Continue reading

State Of The Art: Missouri’s SORRY, SCOUT [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 Missouri.*

Sorry, Scout describe themselves as an “Indie rock/pop punk/ Americana” hybrid out of St. Louis that write songs about “love, gentrification, police brutality, bigotry and survival in an increasingly oppressive reality.

The band is made up of Randi Whitaker (vocals), Nate Jones (guitar), David Anson (bass) and Zack Schultz (drums).  They are fresh, melodic, powerful and driven. They hammer home their ideas about society with the charm of a well versed poet, armed with a supreme sense of purpose.  Their one release to dste is the anthemic artistically authentic EP ‘Never Asked For It’, which was issued in August 2018. Continue reading

State of the Art – Missouri’s SAVAGELAND [EP Stream]

Hungry and visceral with a hint of southern edge. SavageLand is a beautiful sip of aged bourbon, followed by a punch in the face. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri they sound more like they are straight from the heart of New Orleans. The band was formed in 2016 and has since released one six song, self-titled EP, with tremendously impressive production value.

Picture groove riffs with guttural stoner vocals. Fans of Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity meet fans of Baroness and also meet a calloused hard working slide guitar player by a campfire. The EP opens with said slide guitar, and a Mastodon quality riffs. SavageLand crafts these pseudo-stoner anthems with such ease. Down and Pantera influences, too, leak into the blueprints of their songwriting. “Animal Kingdom” has a wiry riff strung through the verses, swelling behind the chorus. The kind of jams to smoke a joint and enjoy a beer to. It’s aggressive but not disruptive.

SavageLand teased the early stages of new material mid 2018, after stating in 2017 they are inactive. Fingers crossed that 2019 will be the year the band gets in gear and releases some new music because this stuff is really something.