Metal music rose to prominence in the 1980s only to be eclipsed by Nirvana and the Seattle sound . . . or so the legend goes. The music fell out of the spotlight for years, with bands like Metallica representing close to the entirety of a culture to fans who didn’t know any better. But metal never died; it retreated underground where it spawned an infinite variety of subgenres, fusing influences from all across the musical spectrum into its core sound. Subgenres such as metalcore and deathcore developed from a strong hardcore punk influence to substantial success. Post-metal cast aside a verse-chorus-verse song format in favor of Black Sabbath-like riffing and cinematic atmosphere. All of these sounds had their moments before slowly going back underground. What has emerged since is a return to the core sound, a new wave of thrash and traditional metal. Internet radio station Kosher Metal wants to welcome you to the revolution.
“There are many more bands coming out these days that use the heavy metal and thrash bands they listened to growing up as direct influences,” says Kosher Metal’s Max Wallis. “They play the old-school-style stuff and people love it. There’s a big revival happening and it’s great. I think it’s long overdue.” Two of the bands on Kosher Metal’s New Year’s Metalution bill are experiencing a revival of sorts as well.
Heretic is a well-known L.A. thrash band formed in 1985. Once signed to Metal Blade records, the band released an EP and an LP before disbanding in 1988. The original lead singer returned along with the guitarist in 2011 to reform the band, and the second effort resulted in the well-received Time of Crisis album in 2012. Ventura band Six Pack of Doom has only been around for about a year and a half, having risen out of the ashes of Cessation of Life. Having no original members remaining, the name was changed and the band shifted its sound to include more punk and thrash. Six Pack of Doom will officially release its new EP Angels Fall at the Metalution show. Southern California band Ruthless will round out the bill along with Raiju from the Bay Area.
Every revival needs a tent, and Kosher Metal has teamed with The Tavern to host the show. “These days, if a band is willing to sell tickets they can perform at some of the most historic venues in the world,” Wallis explains. “Personally, I think the appeal of some of these venues is gone and playing there doesn’t mean what it used to.”
He’d like it to be the way it once was, where you could go see a show and be sure you’re seeing quality bands. “That’s what we’re trying to do with these Tavern shows,” he says. “We want people to know that these shows are curated events. They’re not just thrown together. People don’t have to worry about the next band sucking.”
The team’s first show was in Riverside, in 2012. It was eight acts from the area, Nekrogoblikon and Sangre among them, that had received airtime on Koshermetal.com.
Kosher Metal was born out of love for the music and a desire to support the artists. The shows it runs have been developing a reputation for being beneficial to the artists and audiences alike. It aims for what Wallis calls “the trifecta”: a happy venue, a happy crowd and a happy band. Joel Perkins, frontman for Six Pack of Doom, has good things to say about Kosher Metal: “They play us on their station, and they often come to our shows. We’ve been in their studio as well. Very nice guys.” Heretic came on board after the team approached it during Throwback Metal Fest.
It makes sense that metal music can find progression in moving backward. Revolution usually involves rebellion, and metal at its core embodies the very idea of counterculture. All involved in the Metalution show are adhering to their own tradition. Whether it’s wailing guitar solos, galloping palm-muted riffs or a little bit of leather and long hair in the fashion, it speaks to the roots of the music. Images and sound that outsiders may consider stereotypical become significant again as the faithful assemble around the stage. You don’t have to be an outsider if you don’t want to be.
Kosher Metal’s New Year’s Metalution featuring Heretic, Ruthless, Six Pack of Doom and Raiju, Jan. 10 at The Tavern. For more information, visit www.koshermetal.com.