By Sara Lambeth

Acts such as Alice Cooper, Soulfly, Incite, Gatecreeper and Sacred Reich all have roots tying them to the great Copper State.  Yet, what makes Arizona the cynosure of rock, metal, and all of its sub-genres is the phenomenal musicians in the local underground scene.

Easily we could have made this list longer, but  instead, we decided to ĎSpinal Tapí it and give it that ďextra push over the cliff.Ē We went ďone louder.Ē  So, without further ado, here are 11 more reasons why Arizona might be the best state for heavy metal and rock Ďní roll music.

DemiAuraDemiAura11. DemiAura

Created by the man who sits on the throne, Keith Heaney (VEX), DemiAura are a prog metal fans wet dream. Heaney amalgamated his creativity with Bobby Chavez (Born of Fire), Jonathan Gabriel Jr. (Phoenix & Dragon) and released their debut, "DemiAura," instrumental album back in 2015. They have since added vocalist Chelsea Wrathchild (Hollowstone) getting them a spot on the Women of Rock showcase at The Marquee Theatre. If you are a fan of Porcupine Tree, Anathema, Riverside or music expressed in a pictorial form, then DemiAura is right up your alley.

Chelsea Wrathchild (vocals)
Bobby Chavez (guitar, engineer, producer)
Jonathan Gabriel Jr. (keyboards, Synth, Programming)
Keith Heaney (drums and electronic percussion)

He Who Binds Himself10. He Who Binds Himself

He Who Binds HimselfIím sure all of you melodeath metallers remember Vehemence, and how heartbroken you were when they disbanded. Well, our orison has been answered with He Who Binds Himself.  Featuring Steve Jasinski (former Autumnís End, former Eroticide) and composer of the DaBelly Magazineís YouTube intro music, Gabe Oso (Invading Uranus) and ex-Vehemence members: Mark Allen, Andy Schroeder and Nathan Gearhart.

Currently in the studio, we can promise you this release will be a contender for best album of the year.  Dare we say that He Who Binds Himself is better than Vehemence...   We will let you be the judge.

Nathan Gearhart (vocals)
Gabe Oso (guitar)
Mark Allen (bass)
Steve Jasinski (guitar)
Andy Schroeder (drums)


Captain Squeegee9. Captain Squeegee

The talent coming from Captain Squeegee will make you stop to question yourself as a musician, and want to start practicing a little bit harder.  Comparable to the likes of Thank You Scientist, Captain Squeegee hone one of the hardest things to accomplish-- making people laugh. Since 2003 they have been entertaining people with their brand of psychedelic indie rock and nostalgic music videos. It doesnít matter if you go see them live, listen to their albums or watch their videos on YouTube, they will make you smile. Make sure to check out their latest EP, ĎHarmony Now,í on Spotify.

Danny Torgersen (voice, trumpet)
Austen Mack (keys, guitars, voice)
John Meier (keys, guitars, voice)
Chris Hoskins (woodwinds)
Ryan Sims (trombone, synth, voice)
Matt Maloy (drums)
Ben Jones (bass)

Bear Ghost8. Bear Ghost

Who doesnít love a ghost story...especially one thatís about a bear? To hear this tale, you must listen to "Beware!" from the uniquely skillful, Bear Ghost.This progressive rock tetrad began back in 2010 and have two records, "Your Parents Are Only Marginally Disappointed In Your Musical Taste!" and "Blasterpiece."  Bear Ghost is a paragon of what good song composition really is. The lyrics are funny, the music is entertaining and every song is a work of imagination. Why this band isnít famous worldwide is beyond us.

Ryan Abel (guitar, vocals)
Andrew Heath (bass, bad vocals)
Myke ButtonZ (drums)
Thomas Knight (guitar, keyboard, vocals)

SicMonicSicMoniic7. SicMonic

A list of top bands from Arizona would not be complete if it didnít have SicMonic on it. They are considered by The Phoenix New Times to be one of the best Arizona metal bands of all time and winners of the 2017 Arizona Metal Awards in the category of Best Progressive Metal Artist. SicMonic began their journey in 2005 and released their debut album, "Look To The Skies," in 2006. Throw in some fusion, hardcore, death metal and hard rock Ďní roll into a blender and you will pour out SicMonic. Check out "Afterburn" featured on the game MX vs ATV ALL OUT, and the cover they are famous for, "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," with Ray Goodwin on the electric violin.

Ray Goodwin (guitar)
Zack R. Sewell (drums)
David DiGillo (bass)
Billy Zane Muna (vocals)
Zach Kasmer (guitar)

Lago6. Lago

While itís fair to say Lago dip their toes in the same waters as Morbid Angel, Lago burgeons a reputation that is supreme crafting of aggressive music. The beasts of Lago came into existence back in 2010, releasing their debut album, "Tyranny," which is the embodiment of death metal.  Their new album entitled ďSea of DuressĒ will be released June 8th on Unique Leader Records ( and will be a definite contender for album of the year.

Cole Jacobsen (vocals, guitar)
Garrett Thomas (bass)
Gus Barr (guitar)
Neil Koch (drums)

Fifth DensityFifth Density5. Fifth Density

The ever-evolving and newfangled Fifth Density are masters of progressive and concept metal. Prepare for a magnificent journey with their debut album "Mortality in Question," and sophomore album "Dominion of The Sun." Each record gives you a spiritual-like immersion with lyrics that teleports your state of mind and music which intensifies the environment surrounding it.

Mathew Bond (bass)
Jacob Myles (guitar)
Trť McCracken (guitar)
Jonathan Bond (drums)
Derek Coulter (keys)
Avidan Elijah Wolfgang Camey-Santana (voices)

Animus ComplexAnimus Complex4. Animus Complex

To my musical brethren, we present to you the melodically fused and djently modified,  Animus Complex.

Not all, but most people remember lyrics over a guitar riff, yet with Animus Complex, they capture that emotional dynamic making the music just as memorable as the vocals.

This band is jam-packed with fervent songs, indelible bass licks, wicked guitar solos,  invigorating drumming and emotional vocal extremities. Check out their self-titled album, as well as "Immersion," and pick up some cool Animus Complex swag while youíre at it.

Matt Turkington (vocals)
Jeremy Davis (guitar)
Michael Ohlson (drums)


VEX is just as much an expression of art as they are an expression of music.  Everything from their music videos to the album artwork and from their live performances to the very last sound heard on the record has a rhyme and a reason. On vocals and also the theremin is the charismatic D.L., on bass guitar and the electric cello is virtuoso, Adam Rebeske, Jodiah Salinas is the axeman and Keith Heaney (Demiaura) holds the progression together. I strongly encourage you to listen to   Their album, "Vitriolum,"í noetic pattern of interlude followed by two full-length tracks entertains like an aural theatrical play. They do it with subtle intricacy, intense emotion, and intellect. Make sure to check out their stop-motion videos and the making of "Vitriolum" on YouTube.

D.L. (vocals)
Adam Rebeske (bass, cello)
Jodiah Salinas (guitar)
Keath Heaney (drums)

Singularity2. Singularity

The epitome of the next generation of symphonic black/death metal and one of our absolute personal favorite bands is Singularity.  Singularity's music explores all territories of extreme, technical metal with added depth from ethereal keys. They have mastered the craft of combining beauty with evil and technical with listenability.  Their debut album made DaBellyís top album of 2014 list and earned Jack Fliegler Top 15 Guitarist from The Phoenix New Times. Their debut record, "Singularity," and recently released EP, "VoidWalker," are essentials to any metalhead's collection.

Once you go black, you donít go back.

We dare you to find a better band of the same genre..go ahead..Iíll wait.

Make sure to check out Jack Flieger doing metal covers of video game music as "ToxicEternity," on YouTube.

Jack Fliegler (guitar/vocals)
Nathan Bigelow (drums)
Adam King (bass/vocals)
Nick Pompliano (keyboards/vocals)


Autumnís End1. Autumnís End

Our list concludes with, Satanís almighty riff, and a staple to the metal scene, Autumnís End.  Created by guitar God, Chris Cannella (N17, Mission 66, Rorschach Test ) as an artistic outlet back in 2003, it wasnít until 2013 that Cannella created the Autumnís End he had always intended. He did this with a new, yet familiar line up; Jason Kowalski (N17, Rorschach Test, Hogjaw) Tanner Crace (Sorxe, N17) and Rude-T Reilly (N17, Altered Silence). Together, they released "Burn The Earth." From the raw guttural vocals,  to the unstinting in brutal force behind their sound; this beastly record is brimming with everything that is good about metal. There is no denying the reflective power that this band exudes. When it comes to pure heavy fucking metal, it doesnít get any better than Autumnís End.

Chris Cannella (vocals guitar)
Tanner Crace (guitar vocals)
Rudy T Reilly (bass)
Jason Kowalski (drums)

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