YOU Choose the Best Unsigned Band in the U.S: Round 1 pt. 1

Who will it be?

Let the fight begin: Maryland vs. New Hampshire! Kansas vs. Oklahoma! Kentucky vs. Delaware! Indiana vs. Rhode Island! Oregon vs. Montana! Utah vs. Idaho!

Some people say that art isn’t a competition. Those people are losers. EVERYTHING is a competition. Here at the Toilet ov Hell, we’ve gone and declared the best unsigned band in each state of the union. Now we’re pitting these warriors against each other for the right to claim the ultimate prize: The title of Best of the Best. Which band will champion their state to glory? That’s up for you to decide.

Each state was seeded by population size. The 14 most-populous states received a first round bye. Voting closes exactly one week from opening. Today, 12 bands are battling it out for supremacy. Bereave (MD), Eerie (NH), Ad Infinitum (KY), Sloss (DE), Cottonmouth (OK), Bummer (KS), Thorr-Axe (IN), Eternal Khan (RI), Drouth (OR), Martriden (MT), Disforia (UT), and Rotten Hand (ID).

Bereave (Maryland) VS. Eerie (New Hampshire)

Bereave – “This is chaotic, dissonant, and visceral powerviolence propelled into the stratosphere. D-beats and off-kilter chords collide in a maelstrom of hate, accented by the unleashed venom of the hardcore vocal diatribes. “You’ll never be loved, only forgotten!” this band vows with genuine, palpable menace.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)


Eerie – “Eerie’s debut album Volumetric Addiction is a collection of sounds devoted to anxiety and depression played through the sickest gear. The songs within do so much more than wallow in a bad mood. These melodic and introspective compositions recall early Pelican with tone soaked in 70s hard rock.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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Ad Infinitum (KY) VS. Sloss (DE)

Ad Infinitum – “This year’s Woven Within is a deeply evocative piece of music, often emanating coldness, isolation, and depression at Xasthur or Leviathan level, albeit far less coarsely. The reverb-drenched litany of repetitious guitar is the substructure for the vast, far-flung soundscape on display here, and J.G.S.’ cursed howls are like remote cries for help, doomed behind the wall of sound.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Sloss – “In late August, Sloss released a 3-way split with similar ambient noise projects Ghost Beds and (endlight). According to the man, ‘I got bored with guitar and metal, so I wrote some dark ambient/noise stuff for fun… It’s only 6 minutes worth of material from Sloss, but the three songs are about a person going out for their normal swim and drowning.'”
(Read the full writeup)

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Cottonmouth (Oklahoma) VS. Bummer (Kansas)

Cottonmouth – “One of the things I love about these guys, though, is that they don’t fall into the typical traps I see from local hardcore bands. I’ve been to a ton of shows in Oklahoma, and I’ve seen my fair share of the exact same band over and over again, just with different members and a different name. Cottonmouth is an entirely different beast; breakdowns are atypical and thoughtful, the southern influence is raucously apparent without being annoying, and they include a wild rock and roll element that is positively addicting.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Bummer – “It’ll take you about 14 minutes to listen to Milk. If you’re THAT pressed for time (you’re not), invest 3 minutes and 44 seconds to check out the gnarly grunge riffs on “Estocada”. I’d encourage you to listen to the whole damn thing though. Opener “Infinite Witches” is not only the sickest fucking song name ever, it’s also a complete burner of a song. “Phantom Limb” comes in and rips your stupid beret off with a killer distorted bass riff. “Cave Teeth” brings the kind of chaotic punk noise that will appeal to fans of bands like Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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Thorr-Axe (Indiana) VS. Eternal Khan (Rhode Island)

Thorr-Axe – “If you don’t know what Thorr-Axe sounds like yet, imagine if Skeletonwitch and Twisted Tower Dire had a love child together who grew up to be a bit of a stoner who loves Pentagram. What you get is an inferno of fierce riffs backed by husky vocals slaughtering posers with an axe blazing with lightning. Their debut album, “Wall of Spears,” was released back in 2011, and is full of infectious groovy riffs, mesmerizing leads, and wimp destroying anthems of pure power.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Eternal Khan – “For a small sample of their musical prowess, listen to either “The Tower” with its opening clean note that bleeds melancholy and dread providing an appropriate intro to a mid paced, almost thrash-like rampage, or “Void of Light and Reconciliation” which tails off its crushing doom skeleton with some rarely utilized blasting that feels more like a sledgehammer to the stomach.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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Drouth (Oregon) VS. Martriden (Montana)

Drouth – “I would have never thought Drouth was an unsigned band had I listened to them by chance. These guys write music like they’ve been together for decades, with undeniable chemistry and character. It seems like they take the best elements of my favorite metal bands and combine them into their own blend of groovy, melodic black metal that includes searing guitar leads and absolutely horrendous shrieked vocals. Oh, the drumming is also out of this world.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Martriden – “The very first thing that I noticed when listening to 2010’s Encounter the Monolith is that, unlike many of the bands that I’ve listened to throughout the course of this here contest, they sound very professional. Martriden wouldn’t be entirely out of place on Metal Blade and touring with a band like The Black Dahlia Murder, whose fanbase would be all over them in a second. At times Monolith reminds me of Soreption and Decapitated, but with more of a penchant for melody and blackened riffing.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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Disforia (Utah) VS. Rotten Hand (Idaho)

Disforia – “Disforia wield a blade forged in the duel fires of progressive and power metal. Their debut album, The Age of Ether, (which I wrote about last year,) twists into a dirge capable of delighting both fans and haters of power metal. Their debut exudes sincerity, a bit of depression, and, most blatantly, sci-fi.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Rotten Hand – “Hailing from Idaho Falls, ID, Rotten Hand deliver a grindier take on the kind of Integrity-style metallic-tinged hardcore that has influenced countless face and hand tattoos over the last 20 years. Rotten Hand understand economy of sound. Spend a minute and fifty seconds listening to “Burning” from Rotten Hand’s split with Rites. The band effortlessly shifts from a furious grind to a feedback-fueled build to a massive breakdown (that would be a breakdown in the cathartic sense; there are no unnecessary chugga-chuggas at work here).”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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