Underground Metal from the Deep South

Kelly McCoyThe culturally and religiously conservative south-east of the USA, commonly known as the Bible Belt, isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you consider the roots of old-school, fuck-you-all death metal and black metal. Yet it’s given rise to some of the enduring stalwarts of those genres over that last three decades or more.

Extreme underground metal isn’t exactly popular in the Bible Belt. The kick-ass bands that start there go elsewhere in the US to find audiences who won’t damn them for all eternity for playing the music of the Devil. The more successful of those bands go to Europe to spread their type of music to new audiences.

The demonic-looking guy in the photo is Kelly McCoy, one of the seasoned movers in American underground metal and a champion of other extreme bands as well as his own. He invited Metal State to make a short journey into the hard, nasty, uncompromising shadowland of brutal bands from the Deep South. He introduced us to bands he’s with and to other bands who have chosen the same road to perdition.

The metal they play is raw. This certainly doesn’t mean raw in the sense of underdone or unprofessional… anything but! No, it’s raw in the sense that the flesh still drips blood when you rip it off the bones. It’s mighty powerful, deeper than the region where it originated, and I’m sure you’re going to find diabolical beauty in the music. I did. I have the scars to prove it.



Home town: Franklin, Kentucky.
Genre: Death/Grind.
Line-up: Kelly “Taker” McCoy, guitars; Scott Briggs, drums; Bobby Snook, vocals; Jeremy Miller, guitar and backing vocals; Chris Haynes, bass.
Their Facebook page is here.

Gorgy is one of two bands for which Kelly the Taker plays guitars. Music writer Nick Colson described their music thus: “Old school American death metal done the way legends do it. Their debut CD will be an instant timeless classic that will keep fans of true metal banging for years to come. This is the next Bleeding.”

The small town of Franklin welcomes the music of Gorgy so warmly that the band would never dream of trying to perform there. They’ve been very well received in the American Midwest and, more recently, in Europe.

The band is signed to Negative Earth Records. Their second album, “Orgy of Gore”, is set for release on 10 February. On the band’s plans for after the album release, McCoy comments: “Doing what shows we can to promote and sell albums. Hopefully get invited to play some sick fests.”



Home town: Glasgow, Kentucky.
Genre: Black/Death.
Line-up: Scott, guitar and vocals; Chris, bass; Kelly, lead guitar; David, drums.
Their Facebook page is here.

This is the other band that unleashes McCoy on lead guitar. They’re also signed to Negative Earth. McCoy says, “Fornicus was conceived to cast darkness over the ignorant masses and their foolish dogmas.” The thematic thread in their music won’t endear them to too many fundamentalists. They chastise Christ and what McCoy calls the “blind sheep” who dogmatically trail after their lord and saviour. This is the type of message you’ll hear on the band’s debut album, “Storming Heaven”.

In composing the songs for the album, the band members collaborated to develop a death-based aural assault “that will quench the listener’s thirst for all things metal,” incorporating elements of thrash and black metal.


Mangled Atrocity

Mangled AtrocityHome town: Danville, Kentucky.
Genre: Death.
Line-up: Keith Robinson, vocals, guitar and drum programming.
His project’s Facebook page is here.

Summoned from the depths in 2001, Mangled Atrocity began as a three-piece band. However, attrition has reduced the personnel to Robinson on his own. He is running the project as a one-man show.

His mission: “Atrocity is dedicated to infecting you with a barrage of drum machine-driven sickness.”

The original band played some concerts and recorded a split CD, “Screams of the Disemboweled”, with the band Artery Eruption in 2004. Robinson is still signed to Sevared Records. He’s currently putting the final touches to his debut solo album.

Hear some Mangled Atrocity here.


Kneel Before None

Home town: Burns, Tennessee.
Genre: Death.
Line-up: Jonathan Edwards, vocals; Jake Davis, guitar; Drew Owen, guitar; David Smotherman, bass; Ryan Warf, drums.
Their Facebook page is here.

These guys steer their malevolent death metal down the grim passageway to a whole other realm of evil. Their debut album, “Carnal Disfigurement” (2014), was inspired by the diary of Ed Gain, a serial killer and body snatcher of a hundred years ago. Evil men die, Evil lives on.

In the band’s words, “We are here to bring the most gorily epic music possible to your ears with pulsating drums, technical guitar and bass riffs, and lyrics that make you think.” The band is young, having formed in 2012, but the guys have built a steadily growing fan base by playing at numerous venues and releasing a self-titled demo in 2013.



Home town: Huntsville, Alabama.
Genre: Black.
Line-up: Vulk , vocals, guitars and bass; N. Vathron, guitars, effects and backing vocals; Vercingetorix, guitars; Profana, battery. Bass player Phenex plays at live performances.
Their Facebook page is here.

I won’t try to summarise the band’s description of themselves and their music. They say it powerfully and succinctly: “Wormreich emerged from deep within the fetid and rotten bowels of America’s Bible Belt as the unified projection of three sovereign beings with supreme devotion to Satan and the Black Arts in a place where Jesus’ commands and hollow praises reign supreme. We are merely a conduit for His will, interpreted in ritual frequencies by these three possessed creatures. We offer unto you, the human race, our sacrament of blood and fire, as we stand with those who came before us to cleanse this world of the most holy abomination. We await our Master’s promise of purifying obliteration.”

I listen to devotional music (Handel’s “Messiah” and Mozart’s “Requiem Mass” immediately come to mind), anti-religious music (take your pick from any number of metal bands) and Satanic music (like this track from Wormreich’s “Revelation II: Serpents of Choronzon”, distributed by Moribund Records). If the lyrics offend you, pretend they’re in a foreign language and enjoy the music.


Death Before Dying

Home town: Panama City, Florida.
Genre: Death.
Line-up: Grim, vocals and guitar; Chris, drums; Jason, bass.
Their Facebook page is here.

Although unsigned, the band have released two albums, “Creatures of Opportunity” in 2010 and “Sometimes Dead is Better” in 2012. Like so many metal bands who are true to the cause, they’re in it for the music, not the Ferraris. This is what motivates them: “Playing death metal for the love of recording brutal music, performing it live and enjoying the camaraderie of the underground scene.”

They also seek to bask in the glory days of the old Florida scene. Since I’m thousands of miles away from where they play, here’s how they describe that scene: “A balance of speed, crunch, and technique-driven riffs with a hint of melody.” They aim to keep alive the art of crafting songs that induce mayhem.


Posted on January 12, 2015, in Exploring New Things and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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