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: 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 – 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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Review: DEATH TRIP ‘Professional Asshole’ [Stream]

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I hope this isn’t the first you’ve heard of Death Trip. If it is, let me tell you now I’m highly disappointed in you. Death Trip is from the Big Stone Gap, Virginia area of the Appalachian Mountains and while the area may be rural their music certainly echos outside of the hills of Southeastern Virginia. Their first release was 2013’s ‘Distracted’, followed by the sophomore effort ‘So Far, No Good’ in 2015. The band of course wastes no time and now have released their new record, ‘Professional Asshole’, on October 29th. The album is 13 delicious tracks of brutal punk with a side order of hardcore. They meld these styles so well that it is hard to decipher where one ends and the other begins. The style in which they play music seems a bit chaotic at times but that chaos has developed into a finally wrapped gift when it’s fully unveiled to their fans. Continue reading