The underground metal scene in the greater LA area is so vast and the borders between LA, the OC and IE are so porous, that it makes no sense to always clump bands into a city, or county only basis, or association. Many of the bands on this list contain members who live throughout Southern California, and almost all of them have played many times in Orange County, enough that we might consider them to be local metal bands. We now present out favorite local extreme metal bands.
Based out of the greater LA/Whittier areas, Infinite Death is an up-and-coming extreme metal band, that fans the flames of old school death metal, thrash metal and black metal. The vocals are loud, clear and harsh, deep with majestic brutality and compliment the smashing drums, and laser fast bass lines and razor sharp guitar riffs that allow room for melody within chaos. Although the band was born in 2010, Infinite Death has already gained notoriety for intense, haunting live shows, and has earned a solid fan base throughout OC and the rest of Southern California, playing any opportunity that comes up.9. Syrebris
Memebers of Syrebris are from various parts of LA County, the Inland Empire and San Fernando Valley. But that doesn't stop this spread out, progressive death metal machine from working. And since around 2006, the band has been pummeling out a form of esoteric death metal that have minds opening and heads banging. With a sound that is vey heavy, melodic, intense and cerebral, the band's music is fueled by motifs of esoteric thoughts, exploring the nature of reality, and expanding consciousness. Syrebris is inspired equally by Death and Suffocation, as well progressive, classical, world music and jazz arrangements. The band's line up consists of husband and wife duo, guitarists Victoria and Manuel Villarreal, and bass player Jesse Villalta with drummer James Coppolino. Be sure to check out the band's album,Aetheric Dynamics
See also: Top 10 Heavy Metal Bass Players8. Abysmal Dawn
Charles Elliot is the founding member of Abysmal Dawn, and formed the band in 2004, beginning with a sold base of technical, brutal death metal with hints of thrash and black metal. Definitely appealing to fans of Morbid Angel and Malevolent Creation, early on Elliot's dedication and footwork in the extreme metal scene paid off, the band has played hundreds of shows over the years, done numerous tours, and shared the stage with greats like Emperor, Immortal, Deicide. Abysmal Dawn features Charles Elliot on vocals and guitars, along with guitarist Andy Nelson, bassist Eliseo Garcia and drummer Scott Fuller. The band's latest album,Obsolescence
was released in October 2014 on Relapse Records.7. Exhausted Prayer
Exhausted Prayer has been on the underground extreme metal scene since 2000, and was formed in the South Bay and West LA areas by drummer Mike Caffell and guitarist Songsong. Today, guitarist Chris McCarthy and bass player Richard Vullich round out the band. Their take on metal is a DIY non conformist approach, using songwriting and musicianship to create a sound that is hard to mold into one genre of metal, or music. Taking parts of Darkthrone, Emperor, Opeth and more, mixing in prog rock and ambient experimental overtones, Exhausted Prayer's music is full of grief, intellect, anguish, and beauty. The band has also gone through several-self funded US tours and has shared the stage over the years and played with literally everyone from touring metal bands like Exhumed and Intronaut to no name backyard bands. Exhausted Prayer will play a metal show anywhere in California, from Baja, to the Oregon border.
See also: The 10 Best Prog Metal Bands6. Dreaming Dead
This band came to be in 2006, as a side project between guitarist Liz Schall, formerly of Wintherthrall and the Iron Maidens, and drummer Mike Caffell, from Exhausted Prayer. First known as Manslaughter, the thrashy, blackened death metal band soon took on other members, then eventually changed its name to Dreaming Dead. Since then, the band has gained notoriety for touring with such extreme metal bands as Master, Nile, and Krisiun, and playing hundreds of shows in Southern California and throughout the state, several self funded US tours. Schall's virtuoso style of thrash/death metal guitar playing, and brutal demonic vocals fit well with the amazing stamina of Caffell's monstrous double bass and blast beats. Meanwhile, Chris McCarthy (Exhausted Prayer, Murder Construct) shreds at guitar non-stop, inducing plenty of head banging energy.5. Gravehill
According to various online bios, Gravehill was spawned in 2000, in the streets of Anaheim, and was quickly embraced by the local death metal scene for its evil, brutal sound, throwing back to bands like Sodom, Celtic Frost and Possessed. The band has had ups and downs, even breaking up and disbanding. But since 2008, the band has been active touring and performing many local LA and OC area shows. With thick layers of raw Black Death mayhem all describing ancient unholy rituals, the fires of Hell, suffering, morbidity and the Occult. Be sure to check out the full-length albums,When All Roads Lead to Hell
(2011) andDeath Curse
(2014). The band has toured extensively, even performing at various festivals throughout the state and region, and is known for their brash sense of humor and wearing of blood onstage for live show.
See also: The 10 Best Industrial Bands4. Exmortus
Hailing from the Suburbs of Northern Darkness, aka Whittier, Exmortus has been crushing listeners with a fierce metallic sound that builds upon traditional power metal, thrash and progressive death metal genres to create a sound that would please fans of Children of Bodom, Death, Helloween, and Immortal. Exmotrus contains vocalist and guitarist, additional guitarist David Rivera, bassist Aldo Bibiano, and drummer Mario Moreno. The band's hard work and dedication to the underground paid off. Success came when the band's debut album,Slave to the Sword
was released on Prosthetic Records earlier this year. Exmortus unleashes tremendous amounts of energy and fuses together heavy thrash riffs and smashing drums, with a heavy neo classical influence, and majestic lead guitar work that sticks out among the aggression.3. Murder Construct
Murder Construct is the death metal grindcore vision of guitarist Leon Del Muerte, who came up with the concept of the band in 2001, after exiting from the Bay area grindcore slashers, Impaled and moving to LA. Del Muerte has since gained his skills and chops over the years by head banging, and playing with Exhumed, Phobia and Intronaut, among others. But, he always had Murder Construct on the back burner, simmering away. In 2010, the band finally released an EP, toured and played shows. Then in 2012 released the unrelenting albumResults
, through Relapse Records. Murder Construct is an extreme metal super group, that along with Del Muerte features Danny Walker (Exhumed, Phobia), Chris McCarthy (Exhausted Prayer, Dreaming Dead), bassist Caleb Schneider (Bad Acid Trip) and vocalist Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation)
See also: The 10 Best Viking Metal Bands2. Witchaven
Witchaven is a talented, dedicated group of young musicians who combine thrash, crossover and black metal. The band has been blazing through the underground metal and punk scene with their own 'Black Thrash Assault' since 2006. The band features guitarist/vocalist Henry Montoya with additional guitarist Erik Sneve, along with bassist Frank Duarte and drummer Lerby Sanchez. Their explosive, raw sound and chemistry on stage brings back the vibe of the old school thrash metal scene and sound. The band has members based in both LA County and the Inland Empire. Witchaven has already performed hundreds of shows, including several US tours. The band uses occult imagery and themes in their songs and videos touch upon subjects such as the nature of Evil, World Government, and other so called 'Conspiracy Theories,' corruption, and the brutal harsh realities of every day life. Witchaven has earned quite a fan base over the years with albums such as Terrorstorm (2010) and videos such as 'Blood Sacrifice' When it comes to lives shows, the band has been no stranger to the OC often playing in Santa Ana, Anaheim, Fullerton, and basically anywhere in the OC, IE or LA County, and beyond.
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Legendary local masters of anarchy grindcore, Phobia has been at the forefront of the underground extreme metal and crust punk scene in Southern California since 1990. This DIY band is OC's answer to Napalm Death, boldly shredding listeners' eardrums and slamming their faces so hard, the force could break a jawbone. The band's sound takes the best of grind core, death metal and crust punk, to evoke the sounds of bands like Extreme Noise Terror and Discharge, Repulsion and Final Conflict just heavier, faster, angrier, and darker. The band is still led by founding member vocalist Shane McLachlan, and has included over two-dozen revolving members. With blast beats and guitar riffs faster than Uzis, as a machinegun and guitar riffs even faster, the guttural high pitch growls and deep inhuman screams fill the speakers with musical rage and insanity. Phobia tours almost constantly, plays locally often, and has shared the stages with everyone from Napalm Death to Eyehategod, Capitalist Casualties and Darkest Hour.