One hairy guitarist’s guide to local metal bands
The metal genre is no longer merely “heavy.” There are so many subgenres and blendings of styles that it’s hard for even fans of the heavy stuff to keep up with the variations among the many different sounds blasting from the full stacks of speakers in the bustling local metal scene. To help provide a little guidance, we turned to Jake Hollingsworth—a 21-year-old devoted local metal fan and the hair-whipping guitarist of Paradise metal crew Aberrance—to create this easy-to-reference Local Metal Encyclopedia. And he starts with an explanation of his own fun, fierce and very hairy fourpiece …
• Aberrance: A weird mixture of death metal, thrash metal, a bit of progressive metal, and sprinkles of every other kind of music that your parents don’t want you listening to. Then take that monster and make it listen to hip-hop from the ’90s.
• Amarok: The sound of taking a mythological titan and pouring it out through speakers until the beast resonates through your bones. The doomiest doom, slow and very powerful. The band commonly shakes picture frames off walls and glasses off counters.
• Armed for Apocalypse: A sludgy, thrashy, dirty, brutal metal band that is all about the money riffs. It’s hard to place them. It’s music that needs to be head-banged to, and that’s about all that matters.
• Atreum: Like listening to all the classic metal bands in a newer metal fashion. Lots of grooves and solos. Classic guitar music.
• The Castless: Vikings from the tundra of Sweden who grew up in Butte County and listened to a lot of melodic Swedish metal, then got into the sound of metalcore breakdowns. Viking metalcore, if you will.
• Epitaph of Atlas: A two-piece that lathers its sound with as much distortion as possible and plays some of the most groovin’ sludge-doom I’ve ever laid ears upon.
• Esoteric: A mixture of heavy hard rock and metal, with some reggae thrown into the mix. It’s definitely intriguing and deserves a listen.
• Every Hand Betrayed: Heavier than the sounds of heavy things. Extremely hardcore, seven-string guitars, brutal breakdowns, 808 drops. If it’s heavy they do it.
• Hearses: Some of the eeriest doom metal out there. The sound of lighting a candle in a cemetery at night.
• Helm of Cerberus: The dirtiest of all grind playing in the North State. Dirty, grimy, loud, and really fast.
• A Holy Ghost Revival: A really melodic metal band that incorporates keyboards for a unique version of melodic hardcore and metal. Lyrics about positivity and spirituality—looking to take metal into a more positive, enlightening realm.
• Into the Open Earth: Really hard to place. A little bit of sludge, a little bit of thrash and a whole lot of originality. Great live show.
• A Plague Upon Her: Pretty straightforward metalcore band. Very heavy.
• Reverse Order: Great old-school death metal. Just brutal and straightforward.
• Teeph: The sound of your subconscious grinding your teeth in your sleep. Expect grimacing faces and a whole lot of curse words at their live shows. Just angry, angry music.
• Tome of Goetia: Great technicality and death metal mixed together. The stuff I can’t begin to imagine playing on guitar—lightening-quick arpeggios and evil riffs—and whirling-circle head banging that was way more impressive when they still had long hair.