Idol Listening

Idol Listening: Secrets of the Sky Guitarist Clayton Bartholomew’s Top 10 Underground Metal Bands


Secrets of the Sky

Secrets of the Sky released Pathways on Metal Blade Records earlier this summer to great critical acclaim; no fewer than FOUR MetalSucks contributors gave it heaps of praise, and one even deemed it worthy for inclusion on his “Best of 2015… So Far” mid-year list.

We recently asked Secrets of the Sky guitarist Clayton Bartholomew to compile a list of underground metal bands he digs — since Secrets of the Sky are still fairly underground themselves — and he came back with a list of highly excellent picks! Check them out below and be sure to stream Pathways in full on Spotify and order it here

Here you will find some underground bands (much like my own) who I feel deserve to be on your radar. Though some of these are no strangers to the fine folks at MetalSucks, some of you reading this might not be familiar. Do yourself a solid and try these selections on for size.

1. North: This Tucson, AZ collective has been busting their asses for over a decade and just recently signed a deal with Prosthetic Records. They lean towards post-metal but give it a unique and interesting twist. They also kill it live. My band just toured with them and I was thrilled that I got to watch them for twelve nights in a row.

2. Cold Blue Mountain: A group of Chico, CA veterans from other bands such as Amarok, Teeph, etc. If you haven’t seen any of their funny music videos, fix that. There isn’t really anything funny about the music though, just pissed off sludge goodness.

3. Lament Cityscape: Ex-Early Graves guitar player Mike McClatchey and drummer Sean McCullough make up this absolutely crushing Oakland, CA two piece. Their new album drops via Battleground Records in September, so expect to hear a lot more about this band in the coming months.

4. Church: Church busted out of the gates not that long ago, but these Sacramentoans (is that a term?) are garnering a ton of well deserved street cred for their debut, Unanswered Hymns. Fans of funeral doom mixed with post-y ambience will surely dig.

5. Sorxe: Phoenix, AZ has a multitude of quality metal bands, and Sorxe are no exception. Featuring ex-members of Via Vengeance and Graves At Sea, these guys absolutely destroy live as well as on record.

6. Immortal Bird: Drummer/vocalist Rae Amitay (ex- Woods of Ypres) formed this band and their most recent record, 2013’s Akrasia, is a beautifully produced mash up of black metal, grind, sludge and doom. It fucking rips.

7. Ninth Moon Black: Eugene, OR stalwarts, this five piece post/doom/ambient project has existed since 2005. They aren’t very active these days but their last record, 2012’s Chronophage, absolutely crushes and quells in equal parts.

8. Beerijuana: These guys come out of San Jose, CA and my band has been fortunate enough to have played with them in their hometown. Their cult-like local following is impressive, but not as much as the way they peel the paint off the walls with their high energy blend of sludge.

9. Take Over and Destroy: Another Phoenix-based band, TOAD effectively mix up a number of genres and make it feel unified and fresh. These guys are also road warriors, having toured with the likes of Year of No Light, Agrimonia, etc.

10. Catapult the Dead: A fellow group of Oakland dudes and friends, I have watched this band progress and am stoked on where they are headed. I am looking forward to hearing new stuff from them [hopefully] soon, but you should check out their debut album All Is Sorrow ASAP.

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