Category: underground music


Do people in South Jersey like metal?  I’d almost argue no, and that is part of the problem.  What is the problem?  Roughly, the problem is the lack of support for these bands.  Yes, when going to a show one may see a new band with tons of “fans.”  Well, after going to a decent amount of shows I hate to say it, but most of the time they’re just friends of the band.  Friends who may not even like metal, but may have felt bad if they didn’t go to at least one show.  Then reality sinks in.  Show after show the “fanbase” gets smaller and smaller.  Yes, there will be those few faithful friends, and even a handful of real fans, which is great.

Just a few weeks ago I went to a local show in Atlantic City to see Shattered Sanctity (a local band), and it was kind of a weird show.  It was in a bar with a section set up for musical acts.  The genre of the night was metal, so I had mixed feelings about the show.  On one hand I love metal, but on the other hand I don’t love when shows end up having 3 bands that sound exactly the same.  Well, the metal loving side of me actually had a pretty decent time.  However, it seemed the other metal band’s members didn’t share, or really didn’t even attempt to share the same open-mindedness (now, some members of bands did, but for the most part they didn’t, and this is for nearly every local show I’ve been to).  Making things worse, the first band was nearly an hour late.  Come on, metal already has mixed preconceptions, why would you want to feed into some people’s bad image of the genre?  Plus, how will you get fans if you don’t try to be respectable to them by playing when you say you will, and in turn throwing off everyone else’s set?

I was also disappointed when very few band members would watch other bands, because at the very least at least fellow metal fans would be able to give bands new fans.  Now that that’s done, I would like to address the original question:

Do people in South Jersey like metal?

I think they do.  However, I don’t think mainstream society knows what metal is.  People seem to assume metal is either Iron Maiden and Metallica and that’s it or it’s Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides.  This simply isn’t true.  Metal has a ton of subgenres often having their own subgenres.  It’s hard to blame people for not knowing this, as Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Bride knockoffs (well, BVB is a knockoff of many bands) run rampant through the area.  In all honesty, while I listen to post-hardcore here and there, it is easy to see why it would easily turn people away from the genre (how long can you listen to nothing but screaming and autotune, or in the case of BVB, playing too much with an image and one type of fanbase rather than simply making music).

At the same time, we don’t need anymore Iron Maiden and Metallica knock offs.  That era is over.  Sure, it’s cool in middle and high school because kids are just finding metal then and their parents have those albums, but why do people rarely progress to the modern era?

So, I just spent some time saying how the scene is bad, but now I’ll say what I think can help it:

  • There needs to be more originality.  Friends can only go to so many shows for however many of their friends are in bands that sound nearly the same.  Be different, give a reason for your friends to come back, but more importantly for the people walking out of a venue to stop in their tracks and stay for something that sounds unique.  Not everyone will stop (as some people aren’t metal fans) but I wouldn’t be surprised of the real fans stopped if they heard some gothic, power, doom, symphonic, melodic, or female fronted metal (that isn’t an Evanescence ripoff) in a sea of screamers that populate the current scene.  Or do something daring: do what you want, don’t follow a genre note for note.
  • Change your set list.  Nobody wants to see/hear the same songs played each show.  I know it is hard at first, but try to have at least one song that switches up with every show.  This will also allow your real fans to say “oh man, I really wanted to hear [insert name of other song], that’s my favorite one.”
  • Support other bands.  Watch their set.  Connect with them through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  Building social connections allows bands to promote other bands, which leads to my next point.
  • The scene needs to be tight knit.  There shouldn’t be any bands not helping out others because it’s not the exact same type of metal they play.  With such a weak scene, bands need to do as much as they can to unite.
  • Respect your fans.  This can be done while on stage by talking to them or after your set when you’re going to watch the next band.
  • Now, this one is more based on what I believe and others will say just the opposite, but I don’t particularly believe in pushing demo discs or anything of the sort on people.  Simply say after the set that discs or any other merchandise are available, and where/how it can be attained.  By pushing it on people it may seem a bit pushy, and nobody likes a pushy person.
  • This last one may throw people off, but hear me out.  Go to shows and avidly support bands outside your genre.  After all, they’re still just a bunch of local people playing music.  Show them respect and chances are they’ll do the same for you.

There you have it, I’ll probably think of more things to add to this list, but I think it’s a brief analysis of the scene and a basis of what can be done about it.  Sure, not everyone will end up being a metal fan, but right now the scene needs as much help as it can get.

I believe all music fans, deep down, will find they enjoy all types of music (to varying degrees of course) and a strong local scene (of any genre and anywhere) can definitely help bring out that music lover in all of us.

 

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Last night I attended Shattered Sanctity’s show at Le Grande Fromage in Atlantic City, and there was something very noticeable about it.  Mike (vocalist and guitarist) and Keith (guitarist) decided to use their wireless systems for their guitars, and it was pretty cool.  Despite the limited amount of people at the show, the both of them, along with Dan (bassist) showed they worked on their stage presence by going into the crowd to do a few of their many, crazy solos.  In the meantime, Dave (drummer) was casually being insane on the drums, and I believe by the end of the night broke three drum sticks, very metal indeed.

The show wasn’t without it’s faults, as the audio equipment was not working properly during their set.  However, I do not mean to blame the venue, as Jake (the sound guy) was avidly working to fix the problem, and did manage to improve the quality as the night went on.  Though, Mike was grateful for this as he jokingly noted it helped cover up the problems he was having with his voice before and during the show.

Their set consisted of:

  • The Tremendous Struggle
  • Everlasting Hell
  • What Lies Within
  • Take Me Away (Taking Dawn cover)
  • Eyes of the Warrior

The four original’s make up their first EP, and can be listened to at their Facebook and YouTube page.

Overall, it was what I’ve come to expect from Shattered Sanctity: thrasy, melodic, in your face metal with increasing power metal influences.  In other words, a fun band to see live.

Here’s a clip from the show of them performing “Eyes of the Warrior:”

Hey all, remember that band Shattered Sanctity from a few posts ago?  Well they’re back.  This time on The 12th Hour, my show on Stockton College radio.  Throughout the interview everything was discussed from the history of the band to Skyrim to ancient aliens and of course things related to music.

For the interview, lead guitarist Mike and drummer Dave stopped by the studio.  Coincidentally, it was their first interview at Stockton and my first time interviewing anyone on The 12th Hour.

Check out part 1 and 2 of this exclusive interview to see what makes the band tick, and see what one of the more established South Jersey metal bands is all about.

You can also find them on Facebook simply by searching Shattered Sanctity, and if you watch the videos below on Youtube you’ll be able to find a couple live songs by opening the drop down tab for more videos by the user.

Part 1 (note how a Katy Perry interview is 6th in related videos):

Part 2 (note how Beyonce is the 1st related video and an angry Paris Hilton is the 6th)(also, the video quality will improve, at the time of posting this blog Youtube is still processing the video):

Best 2:40 AM Music

While perusing Youtube for live clips I ended up coming upon a full Portishead concert.  I actually forgot how great this band is,  so naturally I had to click on it.  Well, 23 minutes in I’m still listening to it.  Should I probably be asleep right now?  Yeah, probably.  No problem there, after all they are one of the chillest bands around so I’ll probably end up nodding off in a few minutes.

Though, watching/listening to this I think it’s pretty clear they’re the best trip-hop band out there.  Sure, Thievery Corporation are pretty good, but I don’t think there will ever be a band to rival Portishead without actually copying them.  I’m not going to go on about why they’re so great, which is why I’m taking the easy way out and will post the video.

So for anyone looking for something to chill out to or just to find some new tunes (as they recently have released their third album titled “Third,” so clever I know) you may end up liking Portishead quite a bit.

If anything check out around the 59 minute mark for the song “Roads,” as it seems to be their most popular and coincidentally is a very good song (though, it’s very depressing, as is most of the concert).

I’m also going to post their song “Wandering Star,” which is one of my personal favorites.  Though, I don’t advise playing it at an open mic as I did, it really brought down the mood a lot.

Anyway, if you have time give a listen to some of their tunes, who knows, you may end up liking them.

Full Concert:

Wandering Star:

This week I found out, or rather was reminded of Abandon Our Own, a post-hardcore band from South Jersey.  Originally, the band was formed by the lineup that left last weeks band, Shattered Sanctity, but since then have seen some lineup changes themselves.  Their biggest addition has been lead singer, Eddie, who is able to contribute some nice screams to the band.  Though, it’s not all screaming, and that is where Jake, guitarist and singer comes in with some clean vocals to make the band more dynamic.  Thanks to Jake and his recording studio, the band has been able to get up some demos of their songs, which can be found on their Facebook page.

Now,  you may be thinking so mething along the lines of what are they offering that other bands aren’t?  I wouldn’t blame you for asking this, especially with the major rise of local bands of the same or similar genre.  However, this would be selling them short, especially when seeing them live.  Now, they’ve only played one show so far with their new lineup, buthave already set up some upcoming dates for the following weeks.  Their lead singer really knows how to command an audience, which is a much needed attribute when trying to separate yourself from other bands at a show.  Luckily, the music is also able to back him up.  Their two newest songs, “She Didn’t Know She Had a Swing” and “Aruba” (have to love the out there hardcore song titles) are always sure to get the crowd going and have a nice edge to them.

Granted, they still have areas in which they need some work on.  One such area involves adding more technicality to their music (they tell me “Aruba” has it but I was standing on the rhythm guitar side and couldn’t hear it, so this may not be a problem area anymore).  I could go nitpick some stuff, but I feel that would be doing an injustice to a band that is relatively new, and coming from a more metal background it only makes sense that it will take some time before they are able to reach their full potential.  I for one am interested in seeing how the mature as a band, and have high hopes for them if they are able to reach the highest of their ability.

Oh, did I mention, they also cover Nelly’s “Just a Dream,” which is worth checking out, and look at there, two videos of their first performance with their current lineup.

“Aruba”

“Just a Dream (Cover)”

So even though the metal scene is largely populated by various forms of hardcore bands there are still a good amount that aren’t.  That’s where South Jersey based band Shattered Sanctity comes into the picture.  They’re basically a mix of modern power metal with some classic thrash.  Despite going through a noticeable amount of lineup changes the band still maintains the same vision thanks to Mike Hunsicker, one of two founding members.  Granted, one of the better lineup changes resulted in the band realizing they’re better without keyboards and female vocals.

Over time, around four years, one of their biggest improvements has been their live performance.  Every song is spot on, just as you hear it on recordings.  Speaking of recordings, they just released an EP on their Facebook page, which can easily be found here.  The two newest songs, “The Tremendous Struggle” and “What Lies Within” really show how far the band has come since their other two songs on the EP.  This is to be expected, as most bands do mature musically throughout the years, but nonetheless it’s nice to see. 

Well OK, so what makes them different?  Truth be told, quite a bit in relation to the area they play in.  Upon listening to their songs it’s rather obvious that a good amount of time was put into writing them, especially being fortunate enough to hear the early versions of some of their songs and seeing how far they’ve come.  The guitars definitely take center stage for the majority of the time, and they do not disappoint.  Harmonies, solos, and other little neat stuff are in abundance.  All of them fit very well in the overall structure of the songs they’re in.  Really, in terms of structure there’s nothing much to not like, and it really comes down to personal preference of liking the genre.

Basically, I’d say give them a shot.  If it isn’t your genre then at the very least listen to “What Lies Within” since the chorus and overall structure is very accessible to those who don’t listen to power metal.  Let’s hear it for Shattered Sanctity, bringing power metal to South Jersey, and basically to the surrounding area (with a few exceptions).  Oh, they’re also searching for a bassist, so if you’re a bassist in the area they’ll most likely be interested.

If you’re interested in checking out their lyrics or would like to keep up to date then be sure to check out their Reverbnation page.