SAN DIEGO DEATH METAL PART II: NOW, WITHOUT THE TENUOUS BOB FILNER CONNECTIONS (OR, IN SOME CASES, THE “SAN DIEGO” OR THE “DEATH METAL”)
(Back in September our guest writer Leperkahn introduced us to three San Diego bands with which to despise the city’s mayor, Bob Filner. Now Leperkahn returns with some new goodies. Also, another mayor to despise.)
Hello again, fellow NCSers. It’s been a while since I’ve posted around here, but the maelstrom of calculus, Common App, and my job at sdmetal.com ate up a lot of time. Alas, the stream of records has slowed recently, so I haven’t had anything to review, and I have this whole week off. Thus, I return to spread metal and to procrastinate those essays.
Much like my second post for this site, this will be a round-up of various San Diego(ish) metal bands worth hearing. This was going to be a fully death-metal-themed list, but then the final band in this post popped up in my mind, thus skewing that. Also, since my last San Diego metal roundup, we have found a mayor to outdo even Bob Filner in his depravity – Rob Ford. Thus, politics will be kept out of this metal, unless you consider this metal in politics:
Calling Madrost San Diego death metal is a bit of a stretch, considering they’re from Lake Forest, CA. I don’t know if that’s part of San Diego County or Orange County, but whatever, these guys are worth putting in this post. They play death metal pretty straight-up, sounding a lot like Leprosy– and Scream Bloody Gore-era Death (though for some reason I also get a Symbolic vibe from them). There’s a bit of thrash in there too, for good measure, and apparently some narcotics as well, ‘cause this is catchy as hell.
If you live in the OC area, make sure to check these guys out when they open for Exhumed and Iron Reagan at Chain Reaction on December 11th (I hope to be there myself, since I’m too young to get into The Casbah to see that tour roll through). If you don’t live there, then you’ll have to compromise by just grabbing their record from one of the many places it can be found (including in the Bandcamp player below). Granted, that’s not a bad compromise. (P.S.: if you only have time for one track, I suggest “Drawn And Quartered”).
I think Ghoulgotha have been featured here before, but I don’t remember, and screw it, they kick ass. They peddle a style of death/doom that I’ve found very infectious, and that I might compare to Evoken a bit (though I’m not well-versed in death/doom, so I could be totally wrong with that comparison). I implore you to check these guys out though, if only to prove my comparison tenuous at best. Hell, tell me who they actually sound like in the comments.
These guys are in the process of recording a 7” split with Into Darkness and a two-song demo, too, so if you dig this, then continue to stay excited with the knowledge that more will follow.
Damcyan hailed from Santee, CA. They peddled sweet, tasty melodeath with some nice keyboard accents, not unlike Hypocrisy or Children Of Bodom. I use the past tense because they literally broke up just as I was about to start this roundup. I was lucky to catch them when they opened for the Death Angel/3 Inches Of Blood/Battlecross/Revocation/Diamond Plate tour that rolled through San Diego (specifically, Ramona) a little over a month ago.
Speaking of that show, it was the first show review I ever did for sdmetal.com, and if you’ve seen the movie Almost Famous, trying to get in was literally just like the scene where the kid is denied access to the Black Sabbath backstage – down to the same city as in the movie (I was supposed to be on Death Angel’s guest list, but apparently no guest list ever existed). I eventually got in though; the promoter was nice enough to believe me when I said why I was there. Anyway, Damcyan killed it there, and they killed it on their only album, a self-titled effort that came out earlier this year. Check out a few tracks below.
Gravespell were also at the aforementioned thrash-tacular, though I was ignorant enough to miss their set (in my defense, I had a little trouble getting in, as described above). All’s well that ends well, ‘cause that got me to check out their album and EP that are up on Bandcamp, both of which are killer, They go for a rather melodic black-death approach, with some softer interludes occasionally thrown in for good measure. The vocals are positively cavernous, giving a funeral doom or deathcore aura to the music (depending on which you have more history with). That’s really what gives this the black-death sound; the guitars largely go for a majestic, melodic, evil-as-hell approach. It takes a second to equate the two, but once it sinks in, this stuff can be hard to get out of your head. Check out via Bandcamp below:
Here’s where the death metal connection ends in this post. In fact, this band call themselves “Symphonic Legend Metal”. While I know that may perplex a few of you, look at the band name again, and know that it came from the imagined phenomenon of death from impalement by a unicorn’s horn.
There’s some clean singing in there, and in fact you could classify this as power metal in some circles, but singers Cassie Morris (who is also the keyboardist) and Diana Cameron have some pretty spectacular voices, bringing to mind the inimitable Mlny Parsonz of Royal Thunder (side note: if you haven’t checked out CVI, do yourself a HUGE favor and do that immediately after you listen to the tracks below). I would say it’s better classified as blackened power metal. If that intrigues you, that’s a good thing. Test your intrigue by listening below.
Awesome list. Even with an OC band in there, I approve! Fuck I am going to miss Damcyan. I’ve been listening to them/going to their shows for the better portion of a decade. They were more than my favorite locals, they were and will always remain one of my facorite bands ever.
I’m lucky I got to see them once. Their breakup literally came out of nowhere. They seemed perfectly fine in my friend’s radio show just a few days earlier.
i’m really liking Madrost, and Gravespell is pretty cool, too
Madrost totally came out of nowhere for me. If it had come out this year it’d totally be on my year’s best list.
Huge thanks for this list. Gravespell is a new favorite, and I’m depressed to hear Damcyan broke up. From a fellow sufferer, good luck with Common App and Calculus.
Good luck to you as well. Luckily common app hasn’t really glitched on me yet. I swear that site has more problems than healthcare.gov.
The Rob Ford “zombie” photo posted here in my copyrighted image and used without authorization. In the process of having a number of these taken down. Please remove. Thanks.
It has been removed.