Here’s another awesome installment of this column for you guys. A lot of great titles are mentioned here. Enjoy this blast from the past!
Back before you were the legendary Gregadeth, how did you first discover local bands?
Haha, legendary, good one. Honestly, until I was involved in the scene myself I was kind of unaware of local bands. There were a few exceptions like Blasphemer (still listen to their Laid To Rest demo to this day) or Cabalyst, but I was pretty much living in a musical bubble for most of my youth. Local bands either had to be going to school with me or brought to my attention in order for my awareness to catch on. It was the mid-late 90’s, my naïveté had allowed me to assume my environment in Williamsville was representative of the entire region musically, and that local bands only played: Classic Rock covers, pop punk/ska, grunge, or nü metal. Essentially, I sat in my bedroom listening to and trying to play along with records like Kill em All, The Number of the Beast, Countdown to Extinction, The New Order etc. thinking that I was solid steel in a cotton decade and that only I had the power to rip thrashing riffs in my little world. Y’know, pretty standard elitist for no good reason type stuff. It was good to think like that though, because when I finally did get in the mix and realized I was wayyy wrong it hit me harder and got my shit in order faster.
A couple of your peers are closely related to guys who essentially started Buffalo death metal, when you found that out did you care? Were you intrigued enough to check out those bands (Beyond Death, Leviathan)?
Well I was kinda aware of both bands before I was friends with Tony and Shawn so I think knowing that before I was in bands with those guys made jamming with them even cooler. They have it in their blood.
How did you discover bands like Beyond Death, Tirant Sin and Leviathan?
Listening. Kept my ears open and learned the heritage from the generation before me and started exploring.
If someone says: “Hey, these bands led to Cannibal Corpse”, it’s an easy sell.
A lifetime ago when I discovered the local scene there were a few local zines. I quickly found that two of them – Choice Grinds and Mosh Central – were integral to the scene. When you discovered the local scene were there any zines or peripheral entities that you learned to be integral to the scene?
(Yeah, and now there’s just The Metal and Mark Bruno writing about Buffalo bands from half the world away. Looks like the Glorious Times Blogspot needs some fresh ink! – Mike Marlinski)
Unfortunately, that wasn’t really part of the equation anymore. It’s a bummer because I’ve heard the stories from you and others of your era and it just seemed like such a fruitful time for the underground, much more hands on than it is today in a lot of respects. By the time I was involved it was the message board era, namely the Buffalo Shows page which was good mostly for shows and shit talking. What’s disappointed you the most about the scene’s evolution over the years? Has any of it been for the better in your eyes?
It’s the first thing to come to mind so locally I’d say I’m disappointed with how WBNY has gone from being a crucial part of the scene to a non-entity. The only improvement i can think of off hand in the evolution of the scene is it is now much easier for bands to get their music spread around the world. In any scene, there are often people or entities that get more credit than they deserve and just as often there are people or entities that go unheralded. In your time in the scene is there any person or entity that never got the credit they deserved?
Real tough to say, here at least. We’re a small city, so generally it’s a close knit scene. Everyone knows who deserves props and who doesn’t. It may sound like a cop out answer but I think you can concur that if you know what’s up, you know what’s up.
Actually, I kinda take that back. Everything I just said I stand by but a person that’s gone pretty unheralded is Steve K. from 103.3 The Edge. That station has been largely dogshit ever since they stopped being The Fox in 1995, and for the last 10 years-ish Steve’s underground show has always been quick to play local bands, promote local shows, and interview local bands. He’s the one reason to listen to that station a few hours a week. He’s a selfless, good dude that loves and supports music, and uses his FM power to expose it to new ears.
(Check out Steve K.’s show, Edge Underground)
Sometimes bands exist for a few shows or a year then implode or they exist when the scene is devoid of a following. Over the years have you seen any local bands that you thought could have had bigger followings if they existed at a different time or that showed great potential that was never attained because their existence was so short?
Well, you know how I feel about Eternal Torment, who I think suffered by being around at a time when death metal was so prevalent. But to be more specific to my “era”, a few bands come to mind. I think Fireborn probably would’ve benefited from forming in like 2009 instead of 10 years before. Phaetasm was a killer band that came into their sound, started to get a following, then broke up just as quickly. Ritual Quarantine was another band that was killer, not sure how long it would’ve lasted even had fate not gotten involved, but creatively I thought they had something different to offer that lots of people liked, and were kind of a supergroup, locally speaking. Also, The Red Badge was another local supergroup that I know for a fact was going to release the most ridiculous hardcore album of all time, and still might someday. Your era?
There are 3 bands I think broke up too early. If each had lasted just a few more years they could have created greatness. Terminal Grace was in my opinion just hitting their stride and buffalo was beginning to boom when they suddenly ended. Attakk was another thrash band who were evolving quite nicely. They recorded their final demo (we deliver), which was really good, but broke up before releasing it. Atrosity was great death thrash. They had a few demos and built up a nice following. Like Attakk they recorded their final demo (evil dead), which was super good, but broke up before releasing it when 2 of the guys were asked to join Zero Tolerance. Each of those bands showed great potential with their evolution but ended without reaching their full potential
I forgot another band, Bleed For Me. They were a real bands’ band. I knew a lot of dudes in bands that liked them, myself included, but didn’t have much of a fan base. they didn’t give a fuck about impressing anyone but themselves maybe more than any other band I’ve ever known. They had that attitude that made great bands greater maybe more so than any other band I’ve ever known. They were so creative and wrote such great songs it’s like they were too good to be around when they were.
In the modern era I thought Atrichous showed potential. I booked their first gig and thought they showed a good deal of promise. They quickly lost their singer and ended having a super short existence. Morax was more on the punk end but I thought would have done well with the metal crowd had they lasted but they ended rather suddenly.
Favorite demo by a band from Buffalo?
A few come to mind. The Eternal Torment demo, obviously. Grotesque Infection- consumption of human feces, the very first Herod demo with pre first album singer Josh Kwoka, the Phaetasm demo from late 2003, Blashemer – laid to rest.
What’s your top 10 Buffalo album releases?
Full lengths? Or demo’s included? full lengths would be tough as not many of the old bands released full lengths
Sure, we’ll just do top 10 releases then.
In no particular order:
Seplophile – Mesonoxian
Slavestate – Evil Empire
Morax – 2009 demo
Immortal Terror ’91 demo
Atrosity – Evil Dead demo
Ritual Quarantine – 2011 demo
Terminal Grace – We’re Crushing Your Head
Grotesque Infection – Festering Wounds
Beyond Death – Yuk Fou
Pissing Match – Break the Seal
In no order, but I gotta do 12…
Cannibal Corpse- Tomb of the Mutilated
Assailant – First Offense demo
Sons of Azrael- Scouting the Boneyard
Eternal Torment- Downfall of Human Existence 7″
Snapcase- Progression Through Unlearning
Baphomet- The Dead Shall Inherit
Buried Alive- The Death of Your Perfect World
Herod- For Whom the Gods Would Destroy
Bleed For Me – Composition
Avulsion- A Vicious Circle of Agony
Grotesque Infection- Consumption of Human Feces demo
Zero Tolerance – Fuel the Fire
Both bands on this list I was in I named albums I didn’t play on so no ego trip there.
If they’re your favorite releases it shouldn’t matter if you played on them.
Top 10, even top 12 is really tough. So many great releases…
Zero Tolerance – Fuel the Fire
Hoglust- 2009 demo
Resist Control – demo
Healer – ep
Malevolent Creation – ’87 demo
Casket – rehearsal/demo
Shroud – Society Subject to Change demo (2nd version)
Support – demo
Manic Depression – cassette album (I forget the name, 1990ish)
When you try and squeeze favorites onto a list like that it’s a great reminder of how much killer shit has come out of here.
Telepathy – Legions of Frustration
Phaetasm – 2003 demo
Anything by Inerds, Gas Chamber,
Beyond Death – A Slice of Death
Tirant Sin – Mutant Supremacy
Leviathan – Legions of the Undead
Mayhemesis – Dead From the Skyroom
Hellcannon – Infected With Violence
Varices – 2016 release
We’ve barely scratched the surface. Pretty impressive for a city as small as Buffalo.