Florida is an extreme state. We have extreme temperatures, extreme governmental corruption, an extremely large number of oddball news features detailing the extreme events taking place here. And, fortunately, we also do extreme music better than just about anyone (Nordic peoples not withstanding).
Depending on who you ask, and how much lutefisk they may have consumed in their lifetime, Florida invented and perfected the sonic horror-scape known as death metal. Maybe it's the rhythm of chaos that moves things in this subtropical vacation paradise-come-real life cartoon, but for whatever reason, Floridians blast, chug, growl, and churn harder than anyone.
Here we take a closer look at the best Florida metal bands -- those titans that sculpted the unholy musical bane of parents everywhere -- of all time, in no particular order.
Obituary was one of the first bands to incite the mosh via this sound. And while it might seem a little tame in comparison to the rotting and disgusting sonic corpse death metal has since ballooned into, it is nonetheless satisfying.
Check out how cool MTV was before your generation decided a house full of greaseballs drinking and fucking each other was more entertaining than music videos.
Bonus fun fact: Donald Tardy was a touring drummer for Andrew W.K. during an Obituary hiatus.
Chuck Schuldiner could be credited with essentially inventing death metal. You'd be extremely hard-pressed to find anyone to argue with that statement. Even though Schuldiner tragically lost a battle with brain cancer in 2001, the band's records remain as popular as ever, having recently been re-mastered and reissued. Chances are, if you've been to a metal show in the last 10 years, you've seen someone wearing a Death T-shirt.
People get into extreme metal for a number of reasons, but a really good one is because most death metal scares the shit out of everyone else not quite on the level. Then, there's Deicide, a band apt to bum your parents out from the minute they hear the name.
Band leader, Glen Benton -- whose dual high/low vocal assault has been ripped-off ad nauseam at this point -- has repeatedly burned an inverted cross into the flesh on his forehead. Also, the band's most recent record is titled To Hell With God. If you were to strip Deicide of the shock value this blasphemy provides, you would still be left with one of the best death metal bands of all time.
7. Hate Eternal
Hate Eternal's approach to death metal was a far more cerebral display of brawn.
Though guitarist and vocalist Erik Rutan is the driving force of the band, former drummer, Derek Roddy, is widely considered to be one of the most influential and technically astonishing drummers the genre has ever produced. In fact, Roddy's double-bass and blast beat athletics are so impressive, that he no longer makes music. He's just too busy giving clinics and posing in-front of drum sets for press photos. Also, this video features Hollywood act Orbweaver's guitarist, vocalist, and theramin-molester Randy Piro on bass.
In an effort to prove that Florida's metallic contributions reach far beyond the advent of death metal, we present Floor. Miami's Floor might now be best known for being Steve Brook's pre-Torche band. However, the now reincarnated Floor invented a sound that really no other band has copped (other than Torche), utilizing its signature "bomb note" down-tuned assault and abnormally catchy melodies to make a satisfyingly cozy fur-coat of sound.
5. Morbid Angel
Morbid Angel is one of the most revered death metal bands in the world, and if the genrehad a guitar hero, it would be Trey Azagthoth. Yet another Tampa area band, Morbid Angel sold impressive numbers of albums (when people still bought albums) and has been credited with bring a very important step in the evolution towards the increasingly more aggressive death metal we now have today.
St. Petersburg's gift to smelly kids in ripped black jeans everywhere, Assück is considered an archetype of grindcore. The songs are short, explosive, and completely unhinged sonic temper tantrums. Where death metal bands generally take technical prowess and speed to paint pictures of the grotesque, Assück filtered these elements into political commentary, effectively utilizing these sounds as more than just a weapon to upset your parents.
3. Shai Hulud
Founded in Pompano Beach, Shai Hulud is considered a hardcore band, but Hearts Once Nourished With Hope and Compassion displays the bands progressive nature and technical ability far beyond that of your average mosh-call cretins.
In fact, that older guy you see at your local shows (the one that has worn the same pair of Sauconys since 1998) will tell you that Shai Hulud made some of the best metalcore records ever. Also, the band's most revered albums featured Chad Gilbert (best known as the guitarist of New Found Glory) on lead vocals. Gilbert recently reunited with the group to record its most recent album, and even fronted the band for a set at the Reel and Restless Fest last year. Above is a video of what transpired.
2. Malevolent Creation
While Shai Hulud ended up relocating to New York, Malevolent Creation moved to Tampa in 1987 to be a part of the growing death metal scene there, so we're going to call them a Florida band. An important act, Malevolent Creation never quite saw the success it may have deserved on a larger scale. Be that as it may, this group has put out some incredible albums and is still considered a premier act in the genre, even if it has gone through almost as many members as Foreigner.
1. Morrissound Studios
Yeah, we know, it's not a band. However, Florida's contributions to metal would probably be nothing were it not for the brothers Morris and their dedication to making metal albums sound like someone took the time to do more than throw a microphone into the lion cage at feeding time and hit record. This place, and the people working there, defined the sound of a proper death metal production for a very long time.
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