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 are excited to continue this ongoing series with an entry written by Howl‘s Vincent Hausman and Josh Durocher-Jones. Go say hello to them on Facebook.
Josh and I were discussing bands we were into the other day, and we realized a bunch of them came from the midwest. I also realized midway through the conversation that Josh himself is from the midwest, and maybe he was trying to tell me something. Maybe he was hinting at his native region’s inherent superiority — or — that everything shitty about the midwest is compensated by all the awesome music hailing from there! Now THAT I can get into! Anyway, we picked these three stellar outfits; I discuss Encrust, Josh waxes about Lo-Pan and Keelhaul. If you don’t know these bands, you should. Thanks for tuning in!
These dudes are from Chicago. First off, my good friend, and designer of a Howl shirt or two, Ryan Kasparian, plays in this band. But fuck that. You know why? Cause usually your friends’ bands suck. I mean, you can become friends with someone in a band, but my experience is that when your buddy starts a band, they usually sound like dogshit. You support them anyway, but that’s what happens. Not here. And I’m proud of him. He tossed their debut release From Birth To Soil on Density Records into our van, and it didn’t leave the CD player for about a week. And that’s a long time, especially on tour. It’s riffy, heavy, has a groove but doesn’t leave you hanging too much; picks up where it needs to, breaks down where it has to. Fucking dirty, great stuff, and one of my favorite releases of the last year. Pick it up, go see them live.
Based out of Columbus, Ohio, Lo-Pan are a band that are quickly appearing on the radars of riff hounds everywhere. These dudes have been killing it for years with an absolutely crushing and unique live presence. Once you’ve been enveloped by their pure and unholy tone, you get smacked upside the head with those fucking pipes. My dude can belt it out! Lo-Pan are the whole package and if you’ve shown up early enough to any recent High on Fire or Torche tours, you know they are primed to destroy fans the world over.
Keelhaul is an institution around Cleveland with members having spent time in pretty much every heavy band you’ve ever heard of from the region (Ringworm, Integrity, etc.). But all you have to do is look at the title of their 2009 LP (Triumphant Return to Obscurity) to understand why I am including them on a “bands you may not know but should” list. Frankly, “triumphant” is an understatement of epic proportions. People like to use the tags “sludge” and “math-metal” when talking about Keelhaul. What they don’t mention is that while you may need a bong and a calculator to wrap your dome around the riffs, these terms completely fail to capture this band’s ability to get you headbanging in grooves you did not know were possible. Every time you catch this band live it is a different experience that leaves your head spinning. Keelhaul is smarter than all of us, and one of many reasons I’m proud to call Cleveland my home.
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