If you’ve been to Kings County, New York, you’ve probably experienced the magic that’s continuously happening in the Brooklyn scene over the past number of years. Stretching across multiple decades and subgenres, the New York City borough’s contribution to metal has given us some amazing bands to follow.
And while some may not be the biggest acts around, what’s listed below is a group of bands that you absolutely need to know about. These 10 bands exemplify the rich and storied history that Brooklyn’s heavy music scene and its citizens’ historical blue collar work ethic.
Representing the apex of New York Black Metal, Black Anvil gave us one of 2022’s best records with Regenesis. Expertly Integrating melody, clean vocals and novel song writing, this collective is one to watch.
One of the hardest working bands in the New York area, Tombs is a stellar band that really should be much bigger than they are. Known for their intense live shows and stellar songwriting, Tombs keeps the spirit alive.
Life of Agony
Representing Brooklyn long before all the rents went up, Life of Agony has spent decades honing their craft. A hardcore band in their early days, the band today has grown to include a variety of influences and styles in their unique form of metal. Fun fact – the very non-Brooklynite Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) was briefly the band’s lead singer in 1997.
Another band that originated in Brooklyn in its working class days, Biohazard is back together with its original lineup. Featuring a wealth of songs about the tumultuous 90’s-era Brooklyn, Biohazard is another band that melds together a wealth of styles to paint a vivid picture of what urban life was like before the borough became ultra-gentrified and men still wore nipple rings.
Unafraid to take risks with their sound, Krallice has been a staple in the Brooklyn scene for over a decade. Featuring their unique form of technical and experimental black metal, Krallice is likely nothing like you’ve heard before.
A Pale Horse Named Death
Think of this band as a Brooklyn supergroup of sorts. Founded by Sal Abruscato, former drummer of both Type O Negative and Life of Agony, this band has featured a myriad of familiar Brooklynite faces. These include, ironically, Sal’s replacement in Type O Negative, Johnny Kelly as well as Bobby Hambel of Biohazard. Matt Brown was also in this band and he was once in Seventh Void which also featured Type O guitarist Kenny Hickey as well as Johnny Kelly on drums. If that’s not enough, Life of Agony’s Mina Caputo sang back up vocals on some of the band’s earlier songs. You get all that? Oh, by the way, Sal is not only the drummer for Pale Horse but also plays guitar and performs the lead vocals.
One of my favorite bands to see live, Imperial Triumphant is shrouded in a bit of mystery as we don’t get to see the faces of the band members. Almost as mysterious is how they’re able to craft such original music with their amalgam of black metal, jazz and death metal.
The story goes that the band was formed by the guitarist and the bassist meeting on a subway platform. That is so Brooklyn. A favorite of those who frequent Brooklyn’s iconic St. Vitus venue, Pyrrhon is another band that take risks and blends styles that include death metal, tech and jazz.
Though originally formed in Philadelphia, Woe now calls New York City home and the band has become closely woven into the fabric of the metal scene. This black metal band featured members who were once in the Canadian-based band Woods of Ypres, who’s late lead singer David Gold, has been compared vocally to Brooklyn’s own Peter Steele.
Another band that originated in Philly, the band that challenges even the best spelling champ currently calls Brooklyn their home. Featuring Gorguts guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, this band keeps you on your toes with their version of progressive metal infused with… wait for it… jazz!
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