YOU Choose the Best Unsigned Band in the U.S: The Sweet Sixteen pt. 1

Who will it be?

Two rounds of brutal competition have brought us to the Sweet Sixteen. Which of these warriors will prevail? TODAY: California vs. Kentucky! New Mexico vs. Wisconsin! Colorado vs. Maine! New Jersey vs. Missouri!

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 for this round closes Sunday, September 13th. Today, 8 bands are battling it out for supremacy. Destroy Judas (CA), Ad Infinitum (KY), Void Ritual (NM), Arctic Sleep (WI), The Sleer (CO), Sylvia (ME), Black Table (NJ), and Existem (MO).

Destroy Judas (California) VS. Ad Infinitum (Kentucky)

Destroy Judas – “Using a triple guitar attack, understated drumming that still pummels with the best of them, and vocals that roar with the fury of a angered lion, these fellows carve out epic mournful soundscapes that recall the best of Mouth of the Architect, Minsk, and even Mare (remember them?).”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)


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)

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Void Ritual (New Mexico) VS. Arctic Sleep (Wisconsin)

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. The entirety of Holodomor is beautiful and utterly enchanting.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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)

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The Sleer (Colorado) VS. Sylvia (Maine)

The Sleer – “Feelings are for wimps, and The Sleer will gladly crush them into tiny bits for you with slow-burning, soul-burning Doom. It might take some time (around 40 minutes), and the process itself will be emotionally painful, but you’ll come out on the other end a cold, dead-eyed shell of a man. This is crushingly dark stuff.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Sylvia – “Sylvia offer varying speeds and tempos, accelerating to enable thunderous drum beats replete with furious guitar riffs that crush souls… before abruptly taking a foot off the gas to pummel you into submission with lurching, sinister breakdowns.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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Black Table (New Jersey) VS. Existem (Missouri)

Black Table – “The musicianship, while admirable, never overshadows the ebb and flow of the music itself; moments of intensity give way to passages of beauty, only to once again thrust the listener into the maelstrom of sonic chaos. This chaos, however, never leaves the listener feeling jarred or disgruntled. It retains a soulful melody, often flirting with major keys and softer tonality unusual in such music; a testament to the maturity of the band as a songwriting unit.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

Existem – “In my opinion the best so-called prog bands are ones that don’t go fully prog. Think Opeth in their heyday, Burst, Cult of Luna, Extol, and so forth. Existem are very much in the vein of these bands. They create prog metal that isn’t afraid to veer off the beaten path but exists within the confine of a song. The material here is not an overblown jam session like so many bands are guilty of recording.”
(Read the full writeup) (Facebook)

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