[new sampshire] Big Big Metal Post: Ultra//Negative + Vaast + Vattnet Viskar + more

Mike Saufley of Vaast


Since there’s a bunch of great stuff lying around the New Hampshire tag on Bandcamp, I figured I would give Boston a taste of the best metal/hardcore/punk the Granite State has to offer, divided into the closest sub-genres I could match them. DISCLAIMER: Please don't try to berate me about how some band is way more "technical darkcore doomcore oi punx" than what I said they were; I'm not an expert. Seriously though, you metalheads need to relax a little. Some of these bands have new albums coming out, some are hometown heroes, all are worth a listen.


ULTRA//NEGATIVE - Their two most recent songs, "Trashpile" and "Wet Dream," are a culmination of several different styles of metal, including Japanese powerviolence, Allston crust punx, and California grindcore. Ultra//Negative is the perfect musical accompaniment for any hardcore aerobics: head-smashing, hair-flipping, stage-diving, beer drinking, etc. A fast listen, but a worthy one.


VAAST -- A different beast indeed. Their latest album features Mike Saufley's powerful vocals, a feature that they have recently decided to discontinue. Though they are now only an instrumental band, their shows are still as loud and their sound is still as hot and screaming as an axe on a whetsone. Vaast is quickly becoming a well-known figure of New Hampshire hardcore with their uniquely wild and aggressive brand of metal.


VATTNET VISKAR - Straight out of Plaistow, a town that looks entirely like the hillbilly version of the West Peabody Route 1 stretch, comes a band that sounds entirely like they should be in Norway, burning churches and hanging out in graveyards. Vattnet Viskar's new self-titled album has moments of soul-destroying screams and a constant barrage of drums that knock your feet out from underneath you like a riptide. Catch em at Deathfest on June 10 at the Palladium.

Tough Guy

RA - When I first read the band name, I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be pronounced like the sun god or the asshole in your dorm who tells you to be quiet after 10pm, but neither really embody the sound of RA. Later, I found out that it stood for Rude Awakening. That ain’t too hard to spell out, so why do they bother with an acronym? Beats me. Anyway, the good ol’ Merrimack Valley hardcore is alive and thrashing with RA’s new album The Awakening. As good a reason as any to shave your head and get some leg tattoos this summer.


I FOR AN EYE -- Okay, so they’re not really hair metal, but the formula is pretty similar: pentatonic drop C power chords + 140bpm + double kick drums + what I'm assuming must be long black hair = NH-style revamped '80s metal. Though their new track "It's Only A Snake Bite" has tinges of the totally played-out "southern hardcore" style that was butchered by nearly every band that attempted it, I For an Eye still has one foot in the hardcore punk and metal scene and isn't afraid to take that foot and curbstomp your ears.


KYOTY -- Without a doubt, the loudest band I have ever witnessed. For the aurally sensitive, ditch the earplugs and get yourself a nice pair of industrial earmuffs, fill them with cotton, and wrap your head in a blanket. Their new album "Undiscovered Country of Old Death and Strange Years in the Frightful Past" just came out on Tokyo Jupiter Records (actually based out of Tokyo) and it is several times bigger and louder than before. KYOTY will probably continue getting louder until one day they rupture all of their internal organs from the vibrations. That day will be a sad one.


PLAGUE HANDS -- One of the weirder bands on this list. In fact, it's one of the weirder bands I've heard in New Hampshire in a few years. The varying styles of vocals drive this record, whether it's ogre-ish grunting, high-pitched shrieking, or howling like a maimed animal. Plague Hands has only been around for a few months and they've only played a few basement shows, but hopefully these guys will soon have a Ween-esque cult following of similar like-minded weirdos.


BLACK NORSE -- Completely intentional and unironic Black Sabbath throwback duo Black Norse have been a NH favorite for years. The sludge is thick, the bass lines are strong, and the vocals lie perfectly between Ozzy Osbourne and Scott Hill of Fu Manchu. They haven't come out with an album in three years, but they're still going hard and hopefully we'll hear something new soon. 


RAMLORD -- Satanic, sludgy, and punx as all fuck, Ramlord is one of the raddest hardcore punk bands in New Hampshire right now. On Bandcamp, they've tagged themselves as "stenchcore." I couldn't think of a better way to describe their sound if I tried. The classic satanic symbols of upside down crosses and goat heads are plastered all over Ramlord's album covers and back patches, but expect something a little more rough and gruff than your typical death metal or anarcho-punk band. 

CONDENSED FLESH -- These guys don't really have any listenable material online except for a live performance at WUNH, so you'll have to take my word for it when I say that you need to see Condensed Flesh as soon as they release an album or play a show, both of which are completely TBA.

Lastly, I have to give a shoutout to the late great PANGEA, who played their last show a few weeks ago. New Hampshire will surely miss them.

There are plenty of other great metal and hardcore albums in New Hampshire, so if your ears are in a coma and the hair on the back of your neck is taut, I suggest you check out Return to the Pit -- one of the best resources for all things metal -- on the University of New Hampshire's radio station at 91.3 or

Until then, throw up the horns and meet me in the pit \m/ \m/.

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