Upon switching their name from Xecutioner to Obituary, the career of one of the most successful and influential Death Metal bands began. Hailing from Florida and featuring John Tardy (vocals), brother Donald Tardy (drums), Trevor Peres (guitar), Allen West (guitar), and Daniel Tucker (bass) Obituary was unlike anything anyone had heard before.

Municipal Waste

From choosing a name that makes them sound like some sort of urban public works department, to their music itself, Richmond, Virginia’s Municipal Waste openly bow down to the memory of ’80s thrash metal and crossover decades after, and a few hundred miles away from, the original movement’s heyday in New York City. Emerging in 2001 with an eponymous EP, the group’s 2003 debut long-player Waste Em All helped pave the way for a crossover resurgence in the early 2000s. They continued to carry the thrash-punk torch on subsequent outings like Massive Aggressive (2009) and Slime and Punishment (2017) with vocalist Tony Foresta and guitarist Ryan Waste serving as the group’s sole constant members.

Led by picturesquely named vocalist Tony “Guardrail” Foresta, Municipal Waste played their first show on New Year’s Eve 2001, then spent the next few years working on demos, recording the odd EP and split release, and juggling musicians until solidifying its membership around Guardrail, guitarist Ryan Waste, and bassist Land Phil. Veteran drummer Dave Witte (ex-Human Remains, etc.) joined their ranks shortly after the band signed with Earache Records and recorded 2004’s Waste Em All with producer Corey Smoot (aka Flattus Maximus of GWAR). The album was instantly embraced by discerning metal fans for its retro-tastic revival, received overwhelmingly positive reviews, and landed Municipal Waste supporting slots on tours with Converge and the Red Chord. Late 2005 saw the unveiling of the band’s equally impressive sophomore effort, Hazardous Mutation, which helped them break big across Europe, and resulted in even more touring opportunities. Two years later, the group once again returned to the studio with producer Zeuss and emerged with their third irreverent opus, The Art of Partying, which was followed by a headlining tour of Europe and a series of dates with crossover legends Suicidal Tendencies Massive Aggressive arrived in 2009 to accolades both at home and abroad, as did 2012’s The Fatal Feast, their first outing for Nuclear Blast. The band tapped bassist Land Phil to handle the engineering of their sixth studio long-player, 2017’s Slime and Punishment, which landed at the number three slot on the U.S. Heatseekers chart. In 2019 the band issued The Last Rager, a reliably punishing four-song EP. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi


Formed in Richmond in 2017 out of shreds of disbanded hardcore punk bands, Enforced quickly found their calling between the undying support of regional punk/hardcore scenes and their respective record collections. Whether it’s Sacred Reich and Integrity or Bolt Thrower and Amebix, “Pure Crossover Death,” as Enforced call their devastating din, devastatingly speared its way through two demo releases and their no-holds-barred debut, At the Walls.

Their upcoming album, Kill Grid, came together over a two-year period while Enforced were marauding halls and dive bars across the East Coast and Canada. Indeed, inspiration came from different directions, but playing live with bands like Sacred Reich, Red Death, Iron Reagan, All Out War, and Integrity shaped what was to come out of the Richmonders. While it was the previous output that attracted the attention of Century Media, it’s Kill Grid, featuring a striking Joe Petagno (Motörhead, Vitriol) cover, that’s going to put Enforced on top-lists of circle pit lunatics around the globe.

Whether it’s Kill Grid’s erudite lyrical bent—frontman Knox Colby cues off guys like Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy) and Mike Score (All Out War)—or their savagely smart crossovers, Enforced are primed to take over everything from squats to big European festivals. Indeed, if songs like “The Doctrine,” “UXO,” “Curtain Fire,” and “Trespasser” are an indication of headbanging, stage-diving greatness, then it’s “Pure Crossover Death” for life.


A savage, old-school death metal unit based out of Arizona, Gatecreeper’s uncompromising blend of doom and death invokes names like GraveObituaryBolt Thrower, and Dismember. Founded in 2013 around the talents of vocalist Chase Mason, guitarist Eric Wagner, bassist Sean Mears, and drummer Matthew Arrebollo, the quartet issued a series of independently released EPs and splits before inking a deal with Relapse Records. Their full-length debut, 2016’s Sonoran Depravation, was produced by Ryan Bram at Homewrecker Studios and mixed by Kurt Ballou (ConvergeNailsBlack Breath) at God City Studios. A split LP with Take Over and Destroy arrived later that same year, and in 2018 the band issued another split LP, this time with crossover/thrash unit Iron Reagan. In 2019, the band unleashed their sophomore full-length effort Deserted.


South of Heaven, West of Hell.