METAL IN KENTUCKY: THEORIES OF THE APOCALYPSE, TOMBSTALKER, AND SUCCUMB TO DEMISE
(NCS reader Black Shuck, who has introduced us to some great bands in the past, does it again in this guest post.)
Since I left home to get my edjumucation and make my way in the wide world, I’ve been very fortunate to have lived in places with good local metal scenes. I’ve previously written (here) about two bands from my college town (Ashes of Avarice and Awaking Leviathan), and two others from the surrounding area have also been featured here (The Horde and A Hill to Die Upon). I graduated from college about a year ago, and am now doing grad school in Lexington, Kentucky. I didn’t expect there to be any kind of metal scene when I moved here. I grew up in West Virginia, two hours away from Lexington, and aside from Byzantine, Appalachian Terror Unit, and one slightly insane security guard I knew at one of my jobs there, the place wasn’t exactly a hotbed of metal activity. So I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from the neighboring state.
I was quite wrong. There is most definitely a scene in Lexington, full of talented musicians dedicated heart and soul to metal. Here are three bands who kick quite a bit of ass.
THEORIES OF THE APOCALPYSE
Taking a page from the playbooks of some of the better re-thrash bands like Lazarus A.D. and Warbringer, Theories of the Apocalypse (shown above) showcase some pretty excellent riffing. I’ve seen them play about four times now, and each time I wake up with a sore neck the next morning. If there’s one problem thrash has, it’s that it’s repetitive to the point of being boring, but Theories manages to keep things interesting, combining traditional thrash riffs with earwormy little licks that will please your brain even as it’s rattled around from the headbanging.
Now, if there’s two problems thrash has, it’s repetitiveness and the fact that the vocals tend to kind of blow. But while Theories’ vocals are still definitely thrash, they are far better than most I’ve heard from that genre. Scathing and searing, they have a raw, “I just gargled with something sharp” quality that those who listen to harsher genres of metal will definitely appreciate.
One of my favorite things about Theories is that they just put on a damn good show, both in terms of music and how they act on stage. Vocalist/bassist David Langley is constantly interacting with the audience, cracking jokes, and sometimes going into the audience itself to let people scream into the microphone. The shows are always high-energy, with plenty of moshing, and the sense that everyone is having a good time practically drips from the walls. It makes for a great, intimate atmosphere that I’ve never felt before or since.
Theories of the Apocalypse have two songs up on Facebook from a forthcoming album, called “Acid Lake” and “Combustible Elements”, with plans to release more in the future. Give it a listen here (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Theories-of-the-Apocalypse/109128219116177) and check back there later for more music if you like those tracks.
Fun facts: they’ll be opening for Trivium on May 22 (tonight!) in Lexington and for Blackguard on October 17, in Louisville, Kentucky (they have opened for heavyweights such as Nile and Krisiun in the past).
Grimy. That’s the word that best describes this music. It sounds like it’s been coated in grave dust. A crust punk band went and fucked a corpse, and out came Tombstalker.
The sinister, dirty atmosphere is one of the best things about this band. The distortion on the guitars is part of what makes it — it’s just right amount of fuzzy. The vocalist’s venomous, mid-range snarls also lend a lot to this atmosphere, dude just sounds evil. And these two things combine to complement some really awesome riffs.
I hear the opening to “Ocularis Terribus” and I envision clouds turning black, lightning flashing, graves opening. It’s wonderful when music can paint pictures in your mind like that. Every song has at least one headbang-worthy moment, with crusty riffs mixing in well with black metal-ish sounding parts, as well as a few nice chugs thrown in. And even when they veer toward the melodic end of things, the music never stops oozing blackness. When all the elements meet, it creates one hell of a creature.
Their self-titled EP is available for free download on Bandcamp, and their half of a split they did with a band called Dawn of Wolves (now named Vladrin) is also on there for $4 USD. Check them out here (http://tombstalker.bandcamp.com/) or below.You won’t be sorry.
SUCCUMB TO DEMISE
Succumb to Demise aren’t actually from Lexington, but from nearby Nicholasville. They play here plenty, though, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself the two times I’ve seen them. They’re death metal with a blackened edge. Dark, heavy riffs that could almost be slams intertwine with somber tremolo passages and compelling melodic parts. The vocalist alternates between cavernous death metal vocals and high-pitched yowls that would make the grimmest of black metallers jealous.
It’s not quite as br00tal as what I usually listen to, but Succumb to Demise scratched an itch I didn’t even know I had. When I listen to black metal, it’s usually something fast like Marduk or 1349, but I’ve really enjoyed the slower tremolo passages of it. Some of them have a really nice “descent into madness” feel, but it’s less frantic than a Marduk part that evokes the same thing, and because I’m not getting my face blasted off by sheer speed, I have time to really appreciate it and get lost in the feeling. Not that I don’t mind having my face blasted off every now and then, but Succumb to Demise is a nice change of pace. And as I said before, there are plenty of heavy riffs in there as well that are just as enjoyable, so there’s ample opportunity for musically-induced head trauma.
Check out Succumb to Demise here (http://www.reverbnation.com/succumbtodemise) or here (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Succumb-to-Demise/192874224097590).
That concludes our activities for today, folks. Take care, and happy headbanging!
Not to be nit-picky, Islander, but you left out the “b” at the end of “Succumb.” Thanks for posting this!
That wasn’t me. Satan did that.
(now fixed — and thank you for turning us on to such good sounds)
Oh, Satan, you incorrigible scamp, you.
You’re quite welcome. 🙂
Lexington and west of Lexington has a good scene, but the scene east of Lexington is nonexistent. Most of it is bands that strive to be hardcore in the way Volumes are hardcore (which isn’t) or completely nonexistent, and it’s embarrassing.
Tombstalker = Fuck yeah.
Basically my reaction when I first heard them. Glad you like them!
Check out Mangled Atrocity from central KY. One-man brutal death metal from central KY. Show in June at The Attic in Lexington, KY, with Creature of Exile and others TBA!