4.The Last Felony
To me, this band was the epitome of what great, hyper-fast, hyper-heavy, hyper-mechanical, heavy as hell music could be. That’s really all I have to say about them. They fucking rock hard. I do see rumblings that they are still ever so slightly active, but I doubt my hopes of getting another full album of ass-kickery from them will ever be fulfilled.
3.Massive Audio Nerve
Micro-tonal metal. MICRO-TONAL METAL. Why were these guys not huge? Their guitar riffs sound like you put The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza into blender with White Zombie and Harry Partch. Their bassist hit all the right accents and interplayed between melodic and rhythmic content effortlessly. The vocalist had a way all his own that is hard to describe. Off key, but on purpose. On key, but only for brief moments to drive something home. He had a veracity and immediacy that is sorely lacking in most copy/paste, overproduced metal that is dominating nowadays. And the drummer, good golly, that drummer! Perfect fills, the perfect beat, the restrained use of ridiculous complexity. He was like the Josh Freese of super heavy music.
Another point about their final album, Cancer Vulgaris, was that you could tell these guys were a real band. They didn’t just go into the studio and track some stuff till it was right. They practiced first. They had these songs down to the smallest minutia before they went in to track it. I point to that as one of the reasons that album stands out. It felt real. The musicians had actually played these songs with each other before recording. They knew when to bring it up and down, when to come to the forefront and when to back off within each song and for each other. No one does this anymore, and after listening to this album, you can tell.
2.Year of Desolation
Pure awesome. Speed metal, death metal, melodic metal, some “core” thrown in to make you bang your head, the lone self-titled album they released (on a label anyway) was a metal masterpiece. I truly do consider it one. If you don’t start a pit in your room at the end of Elitist Death Squad, or feel like getting wasted and standing next to the PA speaker while whipping your head around to the beginning of The Economy of Excess, you aren’t a true (troo?) fan of metal. This band makes you feel like running around screaming while kicking babies in the head. The riffs and guitar work on the self-titled album are just on another level altogether. Heavy, fast, and what really sets it apart, memorable. It’s metal magic.
My favorite “almost made it” band by a huge margin. They were an industrial tinged metal outfit with a bit of pop ability to craft hooks thrown in. They only released 2 albums and then went defunct due to poor sales and, from what I’ve been able to find, massive debt to their label. But man, were those 2 albums fantastic.
Pete Murray’s vocals soared to the sky and deafened the earth. Both albums had different drummers, but both were great for different reasons. The original drummer, Tyler Clark, integrated himself with a multitude of drum samples in a way that I still feel is unrivaled to this day. The second drummer, James Carroll, had beats intricate enough to challenge even the best of Danny Carey.
It seems as though they were just a bit ahead of their time. Similar bands like Mindless Self Indulgence and Static-X (RIP) had great success with this sort of electronically influenced music. Honestly, that makes it even more painful as I just think to myself, “Man, if they had just made one more album they might have been able to ride that wave and maybe have had a career.” But, it was not to be. Pete Murray and one of the guitarists, Neil Godfrey, went on to try again with the radio rock band Lo-Pro and were, yet again, denied the success I feel they deserve. That is all the more reason why they top my list, they just keep trying for love of the music, no matter many times they get swatted down.