YOU Choose the Best Unsigned Band in the U.S: Round 1 pt. 2

Who will it be?

The battle continues: Connecticut vs. New Mexico! Wisconsin vs. Hawaii! Iowa vs. Nevada! Minnesota vs. West Virginia! Colorado vs. Alaska! Alabama vs. Nebraska!

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 August 30th. Today, 12 bands are battling it out for supremacy. Autumn’s Eyes (CT), Void Ritual (NM), Arctic Sleep (WI), Darkest Path (HI), Blizzard At Sea (IA), Elephant Rifle (NV), Noble Beast (MN), Horseburner (WV), The Sleer (CO), Terraform (AK), Phylum (AL), and Borealis (NE). If you missed it, there’s still time to vote on Round 1 Part 1.

Autumn’s Eyes (Connecticut) VS. Void Ritual (New Mexico)

Autumn’s Eyes – “Type O Negative fans should kick back and relax pretty easily here, along with anyone who likes a slight industrial feel without being beaten about the head and neck with it. Mitchell’s strong, clear, mid-range baritone is highly infectious, locking listeners in with catchy lines that have a lot of fun but never feel insincere. The same goes for the instruments, and I found myself seriously digging the bass lines on more than one occasion.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)


Void Ritual – “Those engaging Void Ritual will find blistering, unrepentant black metal with tremolo riffs more jagged than Sandia peak, vocals more desolate than the atomic desert of White Sands, and talent deeper than the Carlsbad Caverns. Songs flow seamlessly from slower, spiritual passages to visceral volcanic blasts with nary a hitch or odd note to be found.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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Arctic Sleep (Wisconsin) VS. Darkest Path (Hawaii)

Arctic Sleep – “When you need PROG and also want some dang FEELINGS to go with it, Arctic Sleep is your band. Like if Poison The Well ghostwrote a Baroness album.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Darkest Path – “Darkest Path grabbed me right off the bat by combining a melodic intellectuality with the brvtality of black and death metal. The harsh vocals call to mind the black metal/prog legend Ihsahn while the instruments blend together multiple styles of metal but retain accessability that immediately appeals to the listener. One of the album’s strongest features is Karaffa’s ability to vary the rhythms to create shifting moods and textures; the result is far from boring.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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Blizzard At Sea (Iowa) VS. Elephant Rifle (Nevada)

Blizzard At Sea – “From the landlocked city of Iowa City, Blizzard at Sea take you miles off shore to deliver their brand of chilling progressive post-metal sludge. Often in a similar vein as Isis, the trio creates loud and catchy grooves layered with punching vocals. Their progressive tendencies explore boundaries outside of the post-metal realm when mixing things up with acoustic guitars and occasional clean vocals.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Elephant Rifle – “It’s noise rock, but it’s noise rock that sleeps on top of a debris heap consisting of god-knows-what in the back of a shitty van, showers in shitty beer, dries off with the one shitty shirt it owns/never puts on, then blowdries its gross hair in front of the exhaust pipe. It’s hardcore, but it’s hardcore that eats roadkill for breakfast. You dig? I dig.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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Noble Beast (Minnesota) VS. Horseburner (West Virginia)

Noble Beast – “While power metal for most us means putting on your finest mail coif and dragon riding pants and charging into all the battles, Noble Beast brings more to the table (though you still get to wear your mail coif and dragon pants). The music formula boils down to sweet thrash riffs + the catchiest choruses = success! As someone who hates math, I must admit that that is a formula I can back 100%.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Horseburner – “Musically, Horseburner occupy a space similar to other “Best Band” winners Witch Ripper and The Seduction. Expect equal parts Mastodon and Thin Lizzy. And if that doesn’t sound righteous, you can fuck right off. This 4-piece from Parkersburg, WV have been together since 2009 and they’ve been steadily improving the entire time. Strange Giant is their best work to date.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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The Sleer (Colorado) VS. Terraform (Alaska)

The Sleer – “Towing the line between cavernous death metal and water-logged doom, The Sleer avoid all the nettlesome trappings and pretenses that usually hinder bands of their ilk from making memorable music. The riffs are as crushing as a landslide of granite, the drums are as constant and battering as the tides, and the vocals emanate with the ancient fury of nature scorned. In only four long tracks, this band proclaims its dominance of the natural world and slowly lumbers into the inner reaches of your consciousness, leaving a swath of destruction in its wake.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Terraform – “There are more polished bands in Alaska, to be sure, but none of them excited our judges like the brazen thrash contained in Terraform’s small handful of rough recordings. The tracks are wild and careening thrash affairs with a pinch of death thrown in. If you’re a guitar nerd (like me), the fretwork at play will thrill you; the riffs on “Shark Bite” are savage, son. Most importantly, the songs here function as actual songs, a higher accolade than many metal bands will ever achieve.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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Phylum (Alabama) VS. Borealis (Nebraska)

Phylum – “In half the time it takes to listen to one lame-ass Dream Theater tune, you can jam their entire EP. I suggest you do so. The standout track for me is definitely closer “Assimilate”. The band takes the standard fast-and-angry-as-fuck grind template and throws in twisted guitar lines, heavy stomps, tape noise and distortion to create a complete bastard of a song.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Borealis – “Borealis takes old school death metal, some thrash, some doom, and some punk, then somehow blends it together in a way that sounds way, way better than it should. It’s not a spasmodic jump back and forth between styles, either. You get something more with Borealis; something coalesced and fully realized.”
(Read the full writeup)

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