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State of Metal

State of Metal: Virginia

State of Metal: VirginiaIf you believed everything you read, you could be forgiven for thinking that metal exists entirely in England, parts of California and all the Nordic countries. Anyone who subconsciously raises index and pinky upon hearing blast beats knows this isn't true, but there are still plenty of states, countries, commonwealths and shitholes that never get enough respect for brewing their share of headbangers. This is something we hope to amend, hence the series State of Metal, commencing with Virginia.

From its badass state motto (Sic semper tyrannis, meaning "thus death to tyrants") to a state flag that looks like a scene from the movie Heavy Metal, it'd be impossible for VA to breed metal bands that were anything less than awesome. For example:

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Lamb of God
Maybe the best mainstream metal band around? Still shunned by radio and never compromising their sound, Lamb of God won their huge fanbase the old-fashioned way–constant touring, word of mouth and making really great records. Previews from their upcoming album Wrath indicate that LoG are getting even heavier.

Municipal Waste
With a genuinely retro sound and a knife-edged sense of humor, there aren't many metal bands like Municipal Waste these days. Sounding like a more concise '80s Anthrax, or Suicidal Tendencies doing a record of Slayer covers, Municipal Waste give their heroes the sincerest form of flattery, plus some of the best thrash metal being made today and a great live show.

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Pig Destroyer
Grindcore played by death metal musicians, or death metal stripped of its bombast by hardcore kids. Not since the demise of S.O.D. has a band said so much in songs that average about 1:30 in length. Whether you like your Death with Napalm or Chuck Schuldiner, Pig Destroyer offers something for everyone.

Easily one of the best live bands in the world, GWAR are all about dismembering politicians and celebrities onstage, emitting every imaginable (and then some) bodily fluid all over its unlucky fans, and enough bad taste to make Peter Jackson cringe. Music is an afterthought, but some of the world's best musicians can't bring it live like Oderus and the gang. Just bring clothes that you don't mind ruining.

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A rare technical death metal band that remembers the songs, Arsis is on the cutting edge of virtuosity and composition in metal today. Their 2008 offering, We are the Nightmare is one of the year's best, and despite seeming like they're aiming for the lineup changes world record, they're one of the best up-and-coming metal bands around.

Richmond's latest find sets some recockulously catchy death metal to lyrics that sound like they plagiarized Magic: The Gathering, but you'll be too busy headbanging to care. The death growls and head-spinning musicianship will convince you they're Nordic, or that you should be looking for dragons to slaughter.
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