Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fresh Blood - (Some of) Exhumed's favorite opening bands

As a guy that plays in a heavy metal band, I hear a lot of heavy metal. Because Exhumed is always on the road, I'm attending about 150 shows a year. So one thing that I don't really do is track down new heavy shit to listen to because I just get to be totally saturated with it – just like the guy that works at the Twinkie factory probably doesn't eat that many Twinkies. Okay, who am I kidding? That guy probably eats Twinkies morning noon and night – I know I would. Anyway, to balance out the heavy shit I'm bombarded by day after day, I listen to a bunch of different music – some of it sentimental, some of it funny, some of it atmospheric, some of it funky, whatever. That said, I always love listening to the classics, many of which I covered a couple of blogs ago, and every so often I come across a new band that really catches my ear. I've decided to dedicate a blog to spreading the love for some of the coolest regional openers (not bands we're touring with, you should hopefully know who they are by now) we've come across that are unsigned, marginally signed, or just not that well known. Hopefully I've talked enough about our original drummer's band with our old guitarist Mike Beams Mortuous enough that some of you have checked them out and the Decibel review for my buddies in P.O.O.R. should have nudged you in their direction (I also did a couple solos on their record), so I kept this to bands that we've played with since last summer. There are always more that I could mention, but I thought 11 was good for the sake of readability, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some of my faves, so please don't think this list is totally comprehensive. One of the questions I get a lot is, "what new bands are you into?" so here's the answer(s). If any of these guys tickle your fancy, please support 'em. They're all good dudes making good music, so whatever my endorsement is worth, these bands have it.
- Matt and the usual gang of idiots

Angelust – we played with Angelust in the unlikely locale of Peoria, IL – yes, Exhumed plays all the hotspots! Anyway, these dudes were a lot of fun live with their punky Black Thrash. Their demo is a bit lopsided, but the first track “Rock and Roll Funeral” was on heavy rotation in our van after the show for a couple weeks, which is pretty unusual - in a good way. If they can keep writing songs this good, Midnight may have some competition on their hands. Let's hope so, cos I can't really get enough of rock-infused Black Thrash.

Bastard Deceiver – I'm pretty sure this band broke up, which is too bad. If not, please let me know and I'll edit this post. This Tampa-based Grind band fused a lot of early Bolt Thrower into their sound, which was a cool contrast to the Terrorizer and D-Beat stuff that comprises most of their sound. Their “Normal Life Provides Nothing” EP is a fucking ripper. You can check it out at their Bandcamp page and download it for free (or pay if you're a nice person). We played with them twice in 2012, once in Tampa and once in Houston, and both times, they totally ruled. Yes, they have a female singer, does it really fucking matter? It's 2014 people. Anyway, check these guys (and girl) out.

Coffin Dust – We've become pretty good friends with Coffin Dust guitarist / vocalist Matt “Slime” Ferri. We prevailed upon him to design our recent “Ravening” shirt, as well as to tattoo Bud, Rob and myself with the Ghostbusters logo, which capped off one of the funnest nights in memory. But even if I didn't know him, I'd still think his band was awesome. Taking thrashy Goregrind into weird arrangements with killer melodies, their debut “This Cemetery, My Kingdom” is a kickass Death Metal album that you can actually sink your teeth into and get some repeated listens out of. Check it out for a measly $5 here. The songs are kind of long, but in a good way, each riff and melody gets some time to develop and be enjoyed. Very fucking cool stuff. If you meet Matt, ask him to show you his epic Slayer tramp stamp. Seriously.

Kaliya – I actually gave Kaliya guitarist Ben Cooper some guitar lessons and the more he told me about his band, the more I figured they must be pretty good. I was right. Metalized D-Beat with a nice touch of melody is what these guys are all about, and they do it really well. We played with them in Dallas on the Dying Fetus tour, and they were killer live as well. I was grinning with pride like I had something to do with it all night, saying “that guy took a couple guitar lessons from me, his band is awesome!” To clear the air, they were awesome before I had ever heard of 'em. If this sound is something you're into, give these dudes a listen.

Madrost – from a bit closer to home, these guys are an up and coming Orange County Death / Thrash band well worth checking out. After chatting with a couple of the guys before our show at Chain Reaction with Iron Reagan, they asked me to check out some of their set. They were really nice, sincere dudes, so I agreed just to be polite. To be honest, I get so burnt on checking out bands, I have a hard time getting the motivation to watch the locals, especially in an alcohol-free venue like the Chain Reaction in Anaheim. Anyway, I made sure to check them out and not be a totally jaded dick, and ended up being really impressed. The demo / EP CD they gave me was also killer, with nods to SBG / Leprosy era Death and mid-period Kreator, stuff I still listen to like it was brand new, 25 years later.  You can check out their "Maleficent" (wasn't the villain chick in "Sleeping Beauty?" Why do I know that?!?) here. Their riffs are nice and simple, which keeps things catchy and makes it easy to get into these guys right away. Killer stuff.

Mangled (Atlanta) – Not to be confused with the Dutch band of the same name - We ended up partying with these guys all day before the show we did with them in Atlanta in December of 2013, and they were great dudes. We all got along really well and they had killer taste in music, so I was really hoping I liked their band. It's always awkward when you get along with someone but don't like their band. Anyway, I didn't have to worry about that in this case at all. Their “Sewer Metal” EP is killer – shades of Engorged are present, as well as early (like, really early) Cannibal Corpse that make this the kind of crossover-infused, horror-obsessed Death Metal that I really like. Check out their demo for free (or pay for it if you're a nice person) here. These guys should be making a lot of noise, literally and figuratively in the scene very soon.

Maniac – We played a gig with these guys in Madrid in 2013, and we ended up enjoying the shit out of them. These guys (and girl drummer!) churn out Black / Thrash with a serious “Kill 'em All” edge, employing a barrage of killer riffs. Open A string grinding with power chords and tons of attitude always sound great. After their set, I had to pick up their “Black Legion” 12” at the show and I think you should too. Not sure where you can find it, but you can listen to it here. I have no idea what they're up to next, but I bet it's gonna be awesome.

Necrot - Our original drummer, Col Jones, is notoriously picky and pretty much hates every band that's not Repulsion, Iron Maiden, or Sodom. He introduced these guys to me as "the best Death Metal band in the Bay Area." Needless to say, that set the bar pretty high in my mind. These guys undeniably fucking rule and they're one of my favorite new Death Metal acts. Down-tuned, Swedish / Finnish early 90s style darkness that you can pick up for a mere $3 here

Seprevation – this Bristol, UK based Death / Thrash hybrid played all the UK dates with us on our 2013 tour, which were several – London, Newcastle, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Dublin, and Cork if memory serves, so we got a chance to see them a bunch of times and I enjoyed every one of their shows. Evoking all the right stuff – early Sadus, Death, Atheist, Kreator, MassacraDead Head (with occasional tinges of Megadeth and even Morbid Angel) and the like, while managing just the right touch of occasionally 'progressive' bits to keep things interesting, these guys are a great updated take on the most vicious thrash sounds of 1989, which is right up my alley. They have a great EP called "Ritual Abuse" (not to be confused with the classic Num Skull album of the same name, although I bet Num Skull fans would LOVE these guys) that you can get here, and a new album called “Consumed” coming out very soon that I would urge anyone into aggressive, energetic Thrash / Death metal to check out. The EP is really fucking good and the album is even better. If there's any justice, these guys should be a lot more well-known in a year from now. They even made a nifty official video you can watch below.

Teething – we did a couple shows with these guys in Spain in 2013 and they blew me away with their ferocious, hardcore (not like Hatebreed, the old, fast kind) infused Grind. Filtered through the notorious HM-2 pedal, Teething push everything into the red and keep it there. They brought a ton of energy to the stage and their records are just as good. Highly recommended grind, and you can download their excellent split for free with Ravage Ritual at their bandcamp page! It's fucking free, check it out! They also have some of the best shirt designs I've seen in years and are really good dudes, so win-win-win. 

Xingaia – We partied with these guys in Spokane after our show there with Suffocation and had a great time. They kind of remind me of Mangled (or vice versa, since I heard Xingaia first), but they're a bit more brutal, with some pretty blistering tempos and some quirky, non-typical technical riffs here and there. Again, I got a bit of an Engorged vibe from their kickass self-released full-length (not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination) from these dudes, especially with the samples between songs and shit (the Aqua Teen Hunger Force sample here is genius) but they're definitely doing their own thing, and ruling the shit out of it. You can preview the record here.

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