Nov 132011

(Today’s guest post comes to us from an NCS reader who goes by the name VyceVictus. He has seen a bit of the world, it seems, including South Korea. Here at NCS, we enjoy spotlighting metal from lesser known corners of the metallic universe, and so this post fits us like a glove.)

During my time in South Korea, I was introduced to the local metal and hardcore scene in Seoul. I was just getting into metal at this time, so the scene was particularly influential; my first ever live show and mosh pit was in Korea.

I’d like to share with you guys a few of the bands that I experienced. Mind you, some of this stuff ranges back quite a few years, so it might seem a little dated. Rest assured, there are some master-level headbangers to be found amongst these catalogs, and I rock these albums in regular rotation to this day. I hope you will too.


The first is from the band Vassline, probably the premier Korean Metal(core) band. They are relatively popular veterans who are still active over 15 years in. They received the Korean equivalent of a Grammy for best rock album a few years back, which should be a solid indicator of their acumen. I’m not versed enough to accurately define musical styles, but to my ears their sound is a mix of Heaven Shall Burn and Arkangel with a heavy injection of Screamo coursing through the veins. Take a listen:

Vassline: “Assassin of Death”

[audio:|titles=Vassline- Assassin Of Death]


Next up is another favorite, Samchung. They are decidedly more hardcore, but they also display a powerful sense of melody in their riffs and solos. Grasping for a comparison, I’d say something like a cross between Motorhead and Madball would be a good approximation of their sound. Their live show is…intimidating. The vocalist sounds like a biker-gang axe-murder, the bassist looks like Odd-Job’s convict brother, and the drummer is no shit Animal incarnate (that’s right, the Muppet.) But offstage, they are the nicest gentlemen in the world.

Samchung: “Way of Man”

[audio:|titles=Samchung- Way of Man]


Mixing things up a bit, we have some Korean Black Metal by the band Oathean. They are another crew of respected veterans who helped cultivate the Korean metal scene. The lead singer/gutarist not only runs a local club space in Seoul, he is also the promoter of the Asia Metal Festival. Oathean are noted for using traditional instruments in some of their songs, adding a unique touch to the genre.


Rounding it out is Mahatma, bringing straight-up thrash. Really not much to say here. Straightforward yet intricate pounding brutality. Although it’s great when another nation brings a signature indigenous element to metal, it’s also just as important that we see how much we have in common. You don’t need to have a gimmick if you just play straight-up killer music, and that’s what we have here. I could easily imagine seeing these guys in a Chicago death metal show or at Duffs Brooklyn (the fact that they opened up for Shadows Fall during their Korean tour is further testament to that universal appeal.)


That was just a broad stroke of what Korea has to offer. If you’re interested in more, check out the Myspace links to the bands I attached. The scene is pretty close-knit, and they usually promote a lot of other bands. You can also check out two of the main Korean metal record distributors, Dope Music and GMC Records at and respectively. Most of the stuff is in Hangul, but it’s relatively easy to navigate. Another site that is English-readable and international-shipping-friendly is He has a huge selection of all kinds of Korean music.

Alright dudes, hope you enjoyed some of these tracks. Let me know if you have further questions about any of these guys or the Korean metal scene in the comments. I would also love to hear if any of you have been to Korea and about the awesome experiences you’ve had there. Peace.

  12 Responses to “KOREAN METAL”

  1. Drunk. Can’t listen to anything. But love!

    • Should be: “Drunk. Will listen to anything. And love it.”

      • No. Was on cell phone. Shiiiiiiiiiitty speakers.

        Now at home, but the better 3/4 is sleeping. Still drunk. Still hate subjects.

        That picture is badass.

        • Lol, Ok; that confused the fusk out of me. I had one hell of a time trying to find video clips with halfway decent audio. I also forgot that my mp3’s are 128bit. I hope the samples come out well enough through a good pair of speakers.

          • The vassline song was excellent. (I’m hungover, but I don’t think that’s affecting my judgement….)

            I didn’t even mind the gang vocals.

            But this is a perfect example of why bands should just use their native language: “Assassin of Death”. As opposed to what? Assassin of Happy Sundays in the Park?

            Still, I really liked that song.

          • I decided to go with your mp3s instead of the YouTube clips. YouTube could meltdown tomorrow. Our servers will be here until the end of time.

            • Now I know where to store my collection of horsie porn.

              • Lawl, I told my frends to check out this article (and this site) and let me know what they think. Possible regrets…

                Also, one thing that struck me was that most of the bands in that scene write entirely in english. The guitarist spoke fluently based on his time as a KATUSA, wheras the singer himself didn’t speak past what they learn in school.

                • Shit, if I’d known we were having company, I might have tried to clean…

                  It seems most metal bands just default to English. I guess it makes sense for such an international genre…but I really wish they wouldn’t…I wouldn’t try to sing in Japanese, unless the idea I wanted to express made more sense in that language.

                  Maybe I’m thinking about this in the wrong way.

  2. Really digging the Oathean.

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