We’ve reached out to our metal and hard rock brethren across the land, asking that they contribute prose to our recent series of guest columns. We ran a recent series on Five Albums That Will Change You, and the response was overwhelming.
The new topic is Three Bands You May Not Know About But Should, and we asked that each guest writer jot down a brief description of what makes each band worthy of our attention. Today, we continue this ongoing series with an entry from David Rodgers of Godhunter, who just debuted their new video here.
Tucson has a bit of a reputation in the music world for being a little behind the times. We have an excess of Panterrible bands that are still desperately trying to deal with the fact that it’s not 1996 anymore. So when a truly excellent band does emerge from this nightmarish landscape of pinch harmonics, you tend to pay attention them. North is one of those bands. In my opinion their most recent album, The Great Silence, was the single best album to come out of the entire state of Arizona in 2012. These guys are one of those bands that play with genres like Taylor Swift plays with Kennedy heirs. They traverse the entire spectrum, from the murkiest depths of doom and sludge all the way to the transcendent heights of some seriously tripped out intergalactic ambiance. People throw around the word “heavy” all the time when it comes to North, but it’s more than just weight. They possess a gravity all their own. When you listen to their albums, especially on vinyl, it’s easy to get lost in the music, to feel a little more in sync with the humming of the universe itself. North is the abyss that gazes back into us…
I’m not originally from Tucson. I emigrated here in 2006. When I was moving here, I was really looking forward to getting into Tucson’s renowned hardcore scene. All the way back in the Northeast where I’m from, I had already heard about bands like Gat-Rot and Groundwork. Unfortunately, once I arrived, I realized that I missed most of that. I was pretty bummed about it until I heard about Territory a couple years ago. The guys that make up this band have all come from pretty good prior hardcore bands, but none of them hit me the way Territory does. This is the band where they put it all together, and whatever it is knocks you the fuck out with a wicked right cross. You could drop this band right into Southern Lord’s roster today and it would be such a perfect fit that I’m not exactly sure why it hasn’t already happened. Their album Sic Semper Tyrannis has just the right mix of crust, metal and doom, without any one of those genres overbearing the others. Again, this is beyond heavy. this is a musical curbstomping. There’s just something in the air here in Arizona that breeds bands that make incredibly vicious music. Territory is no different. This is a goddamn pack of wild dogs and I love it.
So, my wife Miki has an amazing taste in metal. I’m pretty sure it’s because she doesn’t listen to a whole lot of it, so she’s not spoiled on the genre like some of us that have been listening to it for twenty or thirty years. As such, when she loves an album, you can be damn sure that album is amazing. She was all over the Pallbearer album long before a lot of the lifelong metalheads I know were into it. Anyway, Ladybird from Phoenix has put out one of her favorite albums in recent days. It’s really only a three song EP, but there is enough sludge here to go around. If you like your jams downtuned, disturbingly loud and distorted to the point where you’re pretty sure what you’re hearing is the sound of guitars slowly dying, then look no further. Any easy touchstone would be to tell you that if you’re a fan of Weedeater, then you should check out Ladybird, but there is more to the band than just that. I dig their live approach, which features a literal wall of amps and a sound so enveloping that with the right mix of psychotropic substances, one might feel as though they were slowly drowning in a bog on the English moors. Uh, not me though. Drugs are…ah…bad….for you. Ah, fuck it, who am I kidding. Get stupid high and play this shit at maximum volume.
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