Thursday, March 7, 2002 @ 12:54 AM
Here's A Look At Seattle's Fin
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I frequently find myself discussing the merits, contributions, and signature qualities of the Seattle Metal Sound. We currently have countless amounts of punk, death, doom-grindcore, power and progressive bands. But, I have chosen to limit the list to our best five, the five that define, describe, and make us proud. 'Cause you know we have had a really bad rap over the last ten years, so I am here to remind you of the true metal. Some of these bands are our past, some are the present and some are the future of the current metal scene here in Washington. Of course, being I live here, I can choose the best, and forget the laughable ones. You know who they are, and since I'm trying to forget them myself, I'll not name any names.
Church of Hate
These guys are tearing up the scene right now, and gaining much deserved recognition. This is one nasty-ass band, full of much "hate." With song titles such as "Rape Scene,” "Mouthful of Broken Teeth,” and "Army.” Some of the lines from various songs are..."FUCK YOU!" (I said they were hateful) "Shut your fucking mouth!" "What they teach you in the army...Uncle Sam don't give a fuck...hate...kill…die!"
This is like Pantera/Meshuggah on crack, and really pissed off. The SuperTards of society seem to inspire this band’s simple, Ramones-like lyrics. Don't be fooled by the punkish quality in the lyrics -- this band is thrashy, with an unusual sound. By the way, they are looking for "Bitches with Hate.” Now if you're a bitch, that loves thrash, live shows, you're "hot" and "hateful,” well then by all means apply. Look for these hateful bastards in the future.
This is the band that was making thrash when no one else around even dared to. Formed in the mid-eighties, their first release was cut loose in ‘89 (Uncertain Future, yeah, no shit guys). The band was entirely self-produced and self-funded, releasing through a local indie label. The lyrics were witty, and the music was, at times, brutal. The drumming was outstanding for the thrash genre (provided by Colin Mattson), the guitar work holds up today (Brad Hull), and the singer (Tony Benjamin), was quite good. This was a power trio of highly under appreciated proportions, mixing a little power with the thrash. Other releases are As Above, So Below and a four song EP called The Shore. One chorus line will stick with me till the end of my days..."Get fucked up! Get fucked up!"
Often overlooked, but always deserving to be in the leagues of the Bay Area Thrashers, Metal Church has struggled and persevered. Forming in the early eighties, they provided the world with a thrasher classic in their self/titled debut in 1985. Complete with the theme song "Metal Church,” the release honestly should be up there with Master of Puppets and Peace Sells with the Reverend, David Wayne on vocals. In 1987 they released another fine classic in The Dark, with one song in particular "Line of Death" having haunting implications, post 9/11. The Dark is very guitar driven, and considered by some their best album.
Blessing in Disguise was released in 1989, featuring Mike Howe on vocals. Blessing in Disguise has it all, epic compositions, ballads, fine vocals, crunchy guitars, and is powerfully melodic. A highly under-rated band, with much to offer. Metal Church themselves re-united with David Wayne in 1999, to record Masterpeace. However, the Reverend himself (David Wayne) has taken the name, and logo of Metal Church, and as of 08/01, released an album under the name Metal Church, titled Wayne. The rift with the original line-up may or may not result in litigation. Regardless, the first three albums (and I include the fourth, The Human Factor), are must-have classics from an over-looked, classic, thrash band.
Nevermore is the band that never lets up, and never lets you down. Freakish drumming, courtesy of Van Williams. His style seems to be a death/thrash approach, with tremendous hitting power, and fairly complex time-changes. The bassist is Jim Sheppard, who has his hands full trying to back up the skeletal bones of the bands tight progressive/power songs. He does shine through on his own, with often too brief glimpses of his rather wicked style.
Guitar is strictly Jeff Loomis now days, although other dual lead/rhythm players have contributed to Nevermore’s line-up (Pat O'Brien & Tim Calvert). I imagine that in the next decade young guitarists will aspire to be like Loomis. He at times quietly sets the songs up with his rhythm, only to punch you in the stomach with his lead work. The vocals are the stunning, and awe-inspiring Warrel Dane. He seems to have settled into the style of using the high notes as a punctuation mark, rather than his only method of attack.
Nevermore is true power/progressive metal, with highlights of their discography being the concept album, Dreaming Neon Black. A phenomenal band, that needs only one more fine album to push them over the top. Nevermore is working on new material, and all I've been able to dig up is that it will contain one acoustical song, and one true progressive song. It will be "confusing, if we do it right!” says Warrel Dane. Pure speculation on my part, but if we see this work in the year 2002, we should consider ourselves lucky. Nevermore is Washington's crowning jewel, and I highly recommend the purchase of any of their five releases.
In 1983 the stir this band created for us in Washington was spine-tingling. The many local radio stations playing hard rock and metal, took pains to help promote this band (Notably 99.9 KISS FM, and 94.5, KATZ FM). I distinctly remember radio dj’s, saying over and over, "Oh my God, you will not believe this song. I can't believe they produced, and funded this themselves.” That was regarding the heavy songs from the self-titled debut album, featuring "Queen of the Reich,” and "The Lady Wore Black.” Oddly, in my opinion, Queensryche started out their hardest in 1983 with their EP ( My EP, on tape is dated 1982, it appears to be an original demo tape). Gradually over the years, the sound opened up, becoming more epic, in true progressive fashion.
The highlights for Queensryche were the world recognized masterpiece, Operation Mindcrime, and the commercial success of Empire. However, amidst speculation of being out of quality material, the band is writing for the next album. Most likely out in the year 2003. (But, if you're at all like me, Chris DeGarmo is the missing link, the fire and the passion recognizable on the earlier releases. He has his own band now, with the rhythm section of the now extinct band, Alice in Chains, Mike Inez & Sean Kinney. Chris DeGarmo's band is called Spys4Darwin, with an EP out named, Microfish.) Don't be fooled, Queensryche still has an ember in the fire, and only time will tell how great the next work will be.
There you have it, the five best metal bands Seattle has ever offered the world. I would be remiss if I did not mention a handful of others in an honorable mention category. Unkaged is showing promise. Dis-Ke'-Nekt, with their special brand of punk-metal. For the Love of Suffering, is showing promise as well, having opened up for Nevermore. Heir Apparent will go to Wacken for the 2002 show. We have LiquorBox, a female band (Do you get the name?). And for my favorite band name…Dorgan Onor -- they're noise metal, but who cares, that’s one cool name! Remember to support your local metal scene, for all you or I know, they're the next big thing.