Guest Column: Three Bands You May Not Know But Should By To The Pain’s Steven Shaver

Guest Column

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 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 To The Pain’s Steven Shaver.

Hello to all my fellow metalheads, and thanks to for giving me the opportunity to help spread the word about some of my fellow metal musician friends. Metal is a very tight community, so hopefully you find one (or more) of the bands here interesting, and they gain a new fan (or fans) and you get some new cool music.

For those that don’t know, I am the lead guitar player for the Long Island-based metal band To The Pain. We just released our debut album, aptly titled To The Pain. It’s a straight-forward metal album that jumps into many different styles of metal. But enough about us — you can check us out here.

When I was asked to do this article, I was happy to be able to promote some fellow original metal acts. Long Island, unfortunately for us metal folk, is the land of a million cover and tribute bands. To get folks out to original metal shows sometimes is not so easy, but luckily we have been steadily building up a solid fan base, and have some ultra loyal fans that come down and support us at every show. For me to get the opportunity to get folks to check out some new bands that myself, and To The Pain, enjoy is a definite plus! I tried to stick with some bands with killer guitar players — with me being, well, a guitar player.

Plague Legion
Plague Legion is led by fellow guitar shredder Johnny “Wildchild” Srsich. Johnny is a first class shredder in the vein of Zakk Wylde and Dimebag. But he is not the lone shredder in Plague Legion; he is joined by fellow guitar ripper Dennis Sadlo.

Pete Zambuto on drums and Steve Mullinax on bass lay the solid foundation for the Legion’s fast-paced, time-changing grooves. Matt Dorner’s vocals sound kind of like a younger James Hetfield at times, and at other times, can bring back memories of Mike Howe of Metal Church. 

Plague Legion sound a bit like Metal Church meets Pantera meets Megadeth. Plague Legion is currently in the studio working on their debut album.

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Next up we have our friends from Virginia, Pillbuster. Pillbuster is a southern tinged heavy rock/metal band in the vein of Down and Stone Sour. Their debut single, “Revery,” is out on iTunes, and its killer.

The band focuses more on solid grooves and ass kicking songs than guitar shredding, but make no mistake — Joe Festa rips it up on guitar. Brett Lloyd sounds a lot like an angry Corey Taylor on the vocals, and the rhythm section of bassist Chris Kernstock and drummer Douglas Stanek lock into groove after awesome groove.

The band is playing mostly in the Virginia area, although rumors of a To The Pain/Pillbuster show in New York abound. Their album hits the internet on August 6 on Stonerkill records. 

Finally, we have Connecticut melodic metallers Awaken. The band was formed in 2009 by singer Glenn DeGrossa. I happened to catch them recently opening for Adrenaline Mob in New York. All I can say is if you like Euro power metal or progressive metal, you will totally dig these guys.

Great vocals and ridiculously shredding guitars. Think Cacaphony- and Racer X-style harmonies here. Guitarists Joe Todaro and Scott Bennett mix in the Paul Gilbert/Yngwie Malmsteen fast picking with the Richie Kotzen-ish legato shred, in harmony…on speed.

Drummer Mike Marrone cranks out the serious double bass grooves, and bassist Greg Belmonte not only lays down some furious bass but he sings alot of the live harmonies too. If you like progressive melodic metal, check out Awaken. Their debut is out now.

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