One man bands can often be overlooked, scorned for not being a ‘full' band, sometimes shunned by extreme metal fans because they lack appeal. If this is your stand point then ignore at your peril as you are missing out on some of the most extreme metal that the UK currently has to offer. There’s no real rule book on who should be creating extreme metal, nothing to say that a band should consist of more than one member. Extreme metal as one genre has just come accept that a band is four or five musicians creating music, this becoming the accepted and sometimes preferred norm.
However, lurking in the UK underground are a group of dedicated individuals, talented solo artists who are smashing the system, breaking free from the perceived norm and forming bands with just a single member. Crafting and creating some very professional, brutal and extreme metal, easily able to hold their own amongst the plethora of current underground bands within these shores. There tends to be a perception that the one man bands are bedroom projects, never seeing the light of day or being showcased through the gig scene. This being yet another misconception, many of these individuals are now experienced live artists, performing at some of the UK’s premier festival events. It seems this small army of one man killing machines are beginning to lay waste to the UK live scene and are giving ‘full’ bands a run for their money. The UKEM blog has recently highlighted a few of these bands, so for those who missed out first time round, we are providing a guide to some of these extreme individuals.
First up is London based ICONIC DESTRUCTION, the man behind this black metal solo project being Zac Broughton (also vocalist in brutal death metallers OBLIVIONIZED). Zac is single handedly producing some very tortured, haunting and misanthropic black metal. There is a suffocating atmosphere being created on ‘Godstained Perfection’ (Malignant Manifestation Productions 2011), a real feeling of desperation and despair with a very bleak outlook on life. Suicidal black metal, raw but very catchy, original and never repetitive…pure black metal hell!
Iconic Destruction - Embrace Extinction
Now based in The Netherlands, but a native to the UK is Pete Watkinson, the hell raiser behind ABOMNIUM. Another black metal offering but with a lot more influences thrown into the mix. There’s a very Norwegian feel to this release, ‘Rites Likes Chains’ (Self Released 2011) having an Immortal sound showing through on several of the tracks. There’s also a big thrash influence on show, but it’s definitely not Black-Thrash, Pete describing his sound as “A vicious bite of Death, Black and Thrash metal” and “A vicious splattering deluge of pure fucking metal”…no arguments here!
~WRAPPED IN A SHEET~
WRAPPED IN A SHEET is the brainchild of Scarecrow, hailing from Derby; this is yet another Black Metal band who adds a variety of influences into his music on ‘Vultures’ (Self Released 2011). Mixing harsh black metal with more gothic sounding sections by using synths and spoken / sung passages, Scarecrow has managed to create some unique and interesting music. There are moments on this release which are so catchy, not always a word associated with harsh black metal. Rather than using a drum machine, Scarecrow plays live drums and puts in a good first attempt, albeit a little simplistic, although he has assured me that on the next release, the drums will be improved.
Garr is the individual behind Yorkshire based Black Metal project NORTHERN TERROR. ‘Embracing Satan’ (Pure Blood Distribution 2011) features seven tracks of thrashy, industrial tinged black metal. There is a lot of melody to his sound, the BM aspect taking a back seat to the melodic and industrial elements, and Garr does appear to have a lot of influences outside of extreme metal which he is incorporating into his music. His music won’t necessarily appeal to everyone, but there is definitely something here for the more open minded fans of melodic, gothic and industrial Black Metal.
Woking based REGURGITATE LIFE offers up some solid death metal with a very old school feel. Sammy Urwin is the man bellowing out some really good, no frills straight for the throat death metal. Only two tracks on ‘Promo 2011’ (Self –Released 2011), both showing great promise and a man at ease playing this form of extreme metal. From a mid-paced rumble, to blasting sections, there’s variety to each of the tracks which definitely keeps things interesting, Sammy’s vocals being a highlight, reminiscent of old school Swedish bands somehow.
Regurgitate Life - Hear You No More
Having played is several UK underground acts, Sacha Varwin decided to go it alone and form MORBID ATROPHY, releasing ‘Grist ‘N’ Grind’ (Self Released 2011). This is a dirty, grinding release, Sacha having a fixation with beer on this release (aren’t we all fixated with beer?). It’s raw, it’s dirty, it blasts and its grinds, song lengths being typically around the one minute mark. Reminiscent of older Finnish black metal band such as Archgoat and (old) Impaled Nazarene, it is 6.66% nasty blackened grind. There’s even some techno style re-mixes at the end of the cd, something a bit different, but the original songs work much better!
~FOUL BODY AUTOPSY~
Beginning to get some real recognition for his efforts, Tom, the one man killing machine behind FOUL BODY AUTOPSY has recently played live at Bloodstock 2011. Creating some extremely brutal and blasting death metal and leaning heavily towards U.S technical death metal, Tom grinds his way through this release, ‘Pathology’ (Self Released 2011) and adds some great variety to his songs via a black metal influence. Thirteen tracks in only twenty minutes, it’s precisely played technical death / grind. There’s even a track which lasts only six seconds! Brutal as fuck!
Foul Body Autopsy - Left To Rot
Sicko Joe Mawdsley (also drummer in Liverpool based perverts Dr.Aids) is a one man brutal slam-fest via his solo output through Xenophobic Misogynist. ‘Fritzled Throated and Left to Scaphe’ is a forthcoming split release with BUTCHERED BEYOND RECOGNITION (U.S) and SPHINKTA SPIT (U.K) and judging by Joe’s tracks, it is going to be an overwhelmingly brutal release. Brutal slam / goregrind is order of the day here, with added groove to give an old school grind feel and sound. Joe’s vocal range is superb, ranging from guttural death metal to pig squeals and everything in-between! It slams, its grinds it’s brutal as fuck and sick as fuck…enjoy!
UNDEAD PANDEMIC (Blackened Death/Grind), ERADICATED (Death/Grind) and PUTRID PUSTULENCE (Death Metal) are just a few others of many individuals who have decided to go it alone, preferring to have full control of the their respective bands rather than having to deal with other band members and the internal conflicts this can bring.
Tom~Foul Body Autopsy
There is without doubt some really talented individuals that are flying the flag for one man extreme metal bands, a shining example of what this country currently has to offer and undoubtedly more than capable of matching anything the genre has to offer from around the world. There is variety, extremity, melody, and atmosphere, we have it all – so let us embrace this sometimes overlooked aspect of extreme metal and all hail the current crop of UK Extreme Metal one man bands.