Thursday, May 28, 2015

Florida Death Metal

What is it about this peaceful place that inspires so many lugubrious young-uns (and maybe not so young-uns) to form angry little bands that wail, scream, growl, bitch and moan about the darkest, doomiest things they can think of? Is it the Hydrogen Sulfide? The insidious unseen influence of the Hand of Death cult? For reasons unguessed at by this author, Florida has more than its share of major metal bands - and particularly so-called "death metal" - just the sort of cheerful music that people like Rod Ferrell's vampire clan loved to listen to.

Morbid Angel, singers of such catchy tunes as "World of Shit", "God of Emptiness", and "Where the Slime Live", are from Tampa. Don't forget to send Tampa a thank-you card.

Atheist is a great name for a band, I guess, if you think atheism is cool, and I did too, for about a week when I was thirteen years old. They're from Sarasota. They actually employ some jazz fusion with thrash-death metal, which is no doubt a combination the world has been longing to hear.

Cynic is from Miami, and they dabble with jazz fusion as well, and are highly regarded as "progressive" death metal. I actually find some of it listenable, albeit puzzling.

Deicide (whose singer famously admitted to killing small animals for fun and vowed he would kill himself when he reached the age of 33 but then quietly changed his mind) is also from Tampa.

And then there's Death, who broke up when their lead singer, well, died. But we still have their records, like "Bite the Pain", "Scavenger of Human Sorrow" and "Spirit Crusher", to treasure their legacy. (They were from Orlando, so I can't fault them for being very very depressed.)

Hate Eternal, fronted by Erik Rutan, formerly of Ripping Corpse, is from St. Petersburg.

Assück is another of St. Pete's fine contributions to popular culture, and with a name like Assück, you know you've got to be in for a pleasant evening, right? Wikipedia describes their act as a "low-calibre battery of brooding, malicious, doom-ridden grind pitched somewhere between early Napalm Death and even earlier Bolt Thrower". Well then, there you go.

I actually kinda like Tampa's Nocturnus, though, mainly because they've got a science fiction vibe goin' on, and were an early pioneer of using keyboards in death metal. Still, one feels rather foolish sitting amongst palm trees sipping a blue thing while listening to songs called "Apostle of Evil", "Standing in Blood", and "Subterranean Infiltrator".

Monstrosity! Who remembers Monstrosity? They're still around, actually, but some say they're just not the same since their founding vocalist, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, went off to join Cannibal Corpse. Monstrosity was formed in Fort Lauderdale, where I'm sure tourists and beachgoers swooned over their snappy songs like "Immense Malignancy", "Vicious Mental Thirst" and "Final Cremation". Woo!

Fort Lauderdale, I'm afraid, is also responsible for unleashing upon an unsuspecting world the impenetrably named Kult Ov Azazel. You know, those nice boys who croon that hep pop classic "Bloodstained Path to Victory". And also other exciting numbers like "An Eternity With Satan" and "Trampling the Cross". The band members all have names like "Azagkur", "Hag", "Hammer", "Hellspawn", and "Archangel Sin Scythe". I dunno.

I've never heard of Acheron but they're somehow simultaneously from Pittsburgh and Tampa at the same time. Says on Wikipedia that their lead singer, who calls himself Vincent Crowley (clever, no?) "was appointed a priest in the Church of Satan and began spending a lot of his time debating local televangelists, limiting Acheron's output for a time." Sounds like a real fun guy. Don't these dopes realize Anton LaVey thought "satanic" metal was the stupidest thing ever to come out of the 20th century, and that he frequently stated with absolute seriousness that Rudy Vallee was the real sound of Satanism?

Tampa also gifted us with those little charmers called Obituary. You know, those happy-go-lucky guys with hummable albums like "Cause of Death", "World's Demise", and "Slowly We Rot". I bet these guys are real fun at cocktail parties, especially after they start throwing away the olives and eating the glasses.

Savatage is from Tarpon Springs, and they were a serious MTV-level force to be reckoned with in the 80s and 90s. I'm not sure what they're up to lately. While not as overtly negative and silly as most of the bands listed here, they're still not quite my cup of tea these days. Hall of the Mountain King was a pretty classic album though. (I grew up with all this music same as you probably did, dear reader, so don't flame me for outgrowing it. Why, some nights, when the moon is just right, I even put a little Candlemass on the hi-fi.)

And lastly, those Limp Biskit boys, a band I don't particularly like, come from Jacksonville, a city I don't particularly like. Whew.

Maybe I should do a post on Florida's contribution to the world of Dixieland Jazz next, just to cleanse the palate, eh?

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