The ten best Southern metal bands
Because of the relentless, pounding humidity and heat, a different kind of anger boils in the veins of Southern metal cowpokes. Southern metal is at all times heavy, like metal should be, but it's also lethargic at times, with a sweet tea in hand, sitting on the porch, and sometimes it's wild with beer while off-roading, or bluesy, with all its exes living in Texas. These bands have the dirtiest and most calloused hands in the metal world, spitting out a brand of attitude unlike the rest of the country. Keep reading for the ten best Southern metal bands.
10. Texas Hippie Coalition
THC is bringing Southern metal to a whole new generation of metal kiddos like an eighteen-wheeler full of ninety-ounce steaks barreling down a dusty highway to a Texas barbecue. If ZZ Top, Pantera and Black Label Society could remember the lovechild they created back in the '90s, it would be the redheaded-stepchild trailer-trash stoner-groove metal men of THC.
As nasty as a pissed-on rotting carpet, Goatwhore fucks your ears with blackened death metal gutted and smoked from the bowels of New Orleans. Goatwhore is the afterbirth of the beloved darlings of Acid Bath, but completely drained of its sludge-metal chug-along, and full of coal-burning, driving speed metal. Not as legendary and groundbreaking as its predecessors in New Orleans, but ferocious enough to let out your inner foul animal.
8. Corrosion of Conformity
From farther north than most Southern metal, but far enough below the Mason-Dixon Line that they wouldn't get labeled as "damn Yankees," Corrosion of Conformity spits out a sludge metal as ill-tempered as a Carolina Mudcat. COC was one of the few Southern metal bands to make it on mainstream radio, while still recording black-and-blue B-sides with a Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde guise.
7. Black Label Society
Created in another part of the country in California -- worlds away from the South, Black Label Society captures the soul of Southern metal, unleashing an alcohol-fueled, sludgy groove metal with the cornerstone of Zakk Wylde. The radio couldn't handle this eighty-proof handle of BLS, and it wouldn't do it justice, either, because with the band's raw, hair-whipping-on-the-open-road and my-way-or-the-highway attitude, hearing the band live is the only way to go.
Eyehategod is the Swamp Thing of Southern sludge, emerging from the waters with bands like Exhorder, creepily shocking the NOLA music scene with a beastly, raw sound since the late '80s. Few bands can say that they grabbed the reins of a horse-drawn carriage with a newly neighing sound, then headed a movement of metal from Louisiana across the Louisiana Purchase and overseas. But Eyehategod can. NOLA-out-of-control-ah.
Crowbar is another Louisiana Southern metal group of degenerates to break the surface into stoner sludge metal in the early '90s. More of a mud bath than an Acid Bath, with skulking eyes looming diagonally through shadows, Crowbar slowed its aggression to an extremely slow, elderly-persons shuffle. Influential to the NOLA scene, to say the least, Crowbar took stoner sludge to an all-time-low low-keyed metal.
Down was the first supergroup of sludge metal to form during the style's emergence in the early '90s. Inhaling the movement's materialization and blowing out a bluesier stoner cough of sludge, Down couldn't be any more burly, with good ol' Southern brutality in the company of Pantera's Phil Anselmo, Pepper Keenan of Corrosion of Conformity, Kirk Windstein from Crowbar, and Jimmy Bower from Eyehategod in the band's shotgun lineup.
A short-lived and strictly local NOLA band initially thrashing out to the beat of a different drum with a few demos, Exhorder channeled off to a more groove-metal sound with its first album, Slaughter at the Vatican, in 1990. Credited as the first to slow down thrash metal to groove metal, Exhorder will forever be matched up to Pantera as the "Pantera without the major record label."
2. Acid Bath
Acid Bath's aggressively corrosive sound could never eat away its hardened boggy Louisiana peat skin, mixing many different styles of metal with sludge. Despite having released only two albums in six years, Acid Bath was one of the few sludge-metal bands -- other than the Melvins -- in the pelican state to develop this ground-breaking swampland sound in the early '90s. Poetry and metal hardly ever go together, like razorblades and the Everglades, but frontman Dax Riggs combined the two like hot sauce and fried catfish.
These cowboys from hell can't get any farther south, tunneling their way up from hell to become one of the first of a stampeding heard of Southern metal surfacing in the early '90s. As metal pioneers and creators of the "Black Tooth Grin," Pantera has influenced countless metal bands ever since, like a twenty-year hangover of morose metal. Along with death metal, the members of Pantera are the children of thrash metal, going in the opposite direction with a slowed-down groove metal in their own metal family tree.
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