A Basic Girl Walks Into a Metal Show: A Peek Inside Philly’s Metal Scene

All photos by Lauren Silvestri

Metallica’s return to Philly last Friday wasn’t the only metal show going on the weekend of May 12th.

In an undisclosed location in North Philly, a DIY metal showcase occurred that displayed some of the freshest metal bands on the East Coast. How did I, a “basic” girl with little knowledge of the metal scene other than the “Big Four” land an exclusive invitation? That will also remain a secret, but that night I discovered the exciting, underground world of Philly metal.

Progressive black/thrash metal band Botis kicked off the night with their first ever live performance, however all three performers appeared extremely comfortable on stage. You can catch them next at Kung Fu Necktie on Friday, June 9th with Alustrium and False Gods.

Punk metal band Haz Lo Correcto performed next. Despite her small frame, lead singer Scout’s screams bellowed strongly through the space. “I work really hard to make sure my voice doesn’t get thrown out, I scream from my diaphragm,” she tells me after her set. How does she bring her intensity to the stage? “All my lyrics are written about intense things in my life, so I really focus on what the content is… it’s my catharsis. Society doesn’t let me [women] scream and let my anger out… [but here] I get to let out all my hatred and frustration out, so afterwards it’s the best night of sleep I get.”

North Carolina thrashers Born Hollow encouraged a lot of head banging in their set and brought some cool light effects. They think North Carolina has a “decent metal scene,” but called this show their favorite on their tour of the East Coast.

Atlanta-based band Malevich followed with their highly anticipated performance. The audience was loving their self-described “grinding blackened existential hardcore” sound.

New Jersey “compulsive post noise power sludge” band Sunrot ended the night with some socially-conscious metal.

While all five bands differed slightly in their approach, all contained the same visceral energy that is unique to the metal scene. Whether it’s the throbbing bass line, intense guitar riffs, pounding drums or guttural vocals, the feelings these musicians are releasing are brutally honest. After each performance it felt like a purgation of emotions for both the bands and the audience.

Philly local Kendall helped organize the night. “Malevich needed a tour date in Philly, and they’re friends of mine so I wanted to help them out. Most of the other bands just kinda found me,” he says. Surprisingly, metal shows like this in Philly are rare. As metal fan Dave explained to me: “The metal and DIY scene don’t really mesh together, a show like this is a super rare thing. These shows don’t happen in basements but in bars and ‘real venues’ with [somewhat older] audiences. Something like this I think is really cool because it’s a departure from typical Philly DIY fare which is a lot of indie rock and electronic sort of stuff.”

After the success of this DIY show, there may be more to come. While metal may not be for everyone, it’s always beneficial to check out scenes out of your comfort zone; you never know what you’ll enjoy until you try it. Philly has a lot of homegrown (and attracts some amazing out-of-town) metal talent that deserves to be recognized.

What do you think of Philly’s metal scene? Let us know in the comments!

6 Comments

  1. shinobi

    May 22, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    theres a metal scene here?

  2. Chrissy

    May 23, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Glad you enjoyed. Philly metal is huge. There’s literally a phillymetal.com and a few Philly Metal FB groups to follow for shows (facebook.com/groups/337009686387607).

    There’s underground metal shows every single week around Philly and our NJ family.

    True, most shows are at bars, but the scene is still very DIY. The bands and fans keep it going with supporting each other. Bands will book venues directly, as well as some bookers who help out. There’s almost always a fb event for every show and you can get a feel for the show if there’s a lot of chatter in the event hyping it up.

    PS message local bands to play not bars and most would love to. It’s hard to tap in when it gets super diy and secretive. Or you have to shell out money to rent a hall where a bar might have you for free and give the door money to the bands.

    • Lauren Silvestri

      May 23, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Thanks for the info Chrissy!

  3. Lela

    July 10, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Philadelphia based Eyes of the Living – War on Dead –
    “…This fucking album is so solid and precise that calling it a debut almost feels funny to type here but it is exactly that…and it shreds!” —

    “..dare I say it so early in the year, but
    I will, one of the best Thrash Metal albums of the year” —

    Eyes of the Living made THE CRYPT’s MANDATORY METAL LIST!!! \m/

    https://youtu.be/tIRGfGozT_

    https://youtu.be/ygDv4MT4eAs

    https://youtu.be/4DlvqDUAc1s

  4. Lela

    July 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    “…This f**king album is so solid and precise that calling it a debut almost feels funny to type here but it is exactly that…and it shreds!” —
    “..dare I say it so early in the year, but
    I will, one of the best Thrash Metal albums of the year” —
    Eyes of the Living made THE CRYPT’s MANDATORY METAL LIST!!! \m/

    https://youtu.be/tIRGfGozT_M
    https://youtu.be/ygDv4MT4eAs
    https://youtu.be/4DlvqDUAc1s

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