Readers' Choice

READER’S CHOICE: METAL FROM THE KANSAS CITY AREA EDITION

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The Philippines are much further away from New York than Kansas City is, but I don’t travel very much anymore and neither location is real high on my list of “Places to Visit Before I Die.” So since MetalSucks Suckalo “mankvill” sent us this long e-mail regarding bands from the Kansas City area that he thinks are worth checking out, and we had sooooo much fun with the Philippines “Reader’s Choice” thinger yesterday, today I thought we’d go through mankvill’s suggestions one by one and see how they are.

I’m trying to be optimistic this time.

HAMMERLORD

As mankvill notes, Hammerlord were actually finalists earlier this year in the Scion No Label Needed Contest; and not only were they finalists, but they were MetalSucks’ own Bob Cock’s choice to win. And while I think I’m allowed to tell you that I ultimately voted for Iron Thrones in that competition (who did, indeed, take home the gold), I agree with Mr. Cock and mankvill that Hammerlord are a terrific band. They kind of remind of me of Demiricous or Havok, in that while old thrash is clearly a huge influence on their music, they’re not some simple re-thrash band. This shit is just vicious, and the band’s moniker definitely makes sense. Alright, mankvill! We’re off to a great start.

TROGLODYTE

Wow, has there really never been a band called “Troglodyte” before? Seems like a pretty obvious name for a metal band. Well, good for these dudes for taking the moniker, I guess.

All the members of this band wear masks and costumes, but mankvill assures that they don’t play “mallcore garbage.” He’s right. This is Dying Fetus-esque death metal, and while it’s not the most original thing I’ve ever heard, it’s still pretty good. The same way Nekrogoblikon‘s lyrics tend to concentrate on goblins, Troglodyte are clearly obsessed with Big Foot — song titles include “Beaten and Eaten,” “Skunk Ape Rape,” and “Hit by the Hendersons,” which, of course, is a reference to the best Big Foot movie ever to star John Lithgow. I’d say mankvill is two for two right now.

VANLADE

Alright, this is mankvill’s first fail, in my opinion. It’s not terrible, it’s just not for me. It’s really everything Hammerlord isn’t — metal that is just way too self-consciously trying to sound like retro NWOBHM and thrash. It feels really cheesy to me. I could see this band being kinda fun live, but I’d probably never just sit around and listen to this. Like I said, it’s not terrible, it’s just not my thing. I know plenty of people who would probably really dig it, though.

STONEHAVEN

As the band’s name might lead you to believe, they do, indeed, play blackened folk metal. Some of it is pretty epic, but overall, it feels way generic to me. I don’t really have anything else to say about it.

SHRED SCARE

Yeah, this is just re-thrash. I’d rather listen to Municipal Waste, thanks.

MARASMUS

This is crazy give-your-girlfriend-a-coathanger-abortion-then-throw-the-fetus-against-the-wall-then-set-the-house-on-fire death metal. Normally I love this kind of shit, but these riffs feel pretty unmemorable to my ears. It’s like Stonehaven — not bad, but I don’t know why you’d ever choose to listen to this over a million other bands that do the same thing with considerably more skill. I’ll take Troglodyte over this band.

THE TARDS

Another great fucking band name that I can’t believe wasn’t taken already. It seems more fitting for a punk band, but whatever. The music isn’t bad — clearly these dudes love …And Justice for All — but I hate the vocals. A lot of the songs run seven, eight, nine minutes long — like I said, these dudes clearly love Justice — but I’m not sure the songs are interesting enough to justify those running times. I wish a band with such an incredible name was way cooler overall, but, really, just replacing the singer would immediately result in much stronger results.

At the end of the day, I think mankvill is onto something when he claims that the Kansas City area scene is “eclectic” and, by and large at least, pretty good. I don’t think that any of the above bands are terrible, and I certainly like them more than a lot of the stuff people recommend to me. Maybe someday I’ll take a trip to Kansas City after all.

If you know of any other bands from the area that are worth checking out, let us know in the comments section. And, no, Coalesce and Origin (the latter of whom are actually from Topeka) don’t count.

-AR

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