The Best Band in Michigan is Blackgate

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Back in August of 2014 we asked you to help us find the best unsigned bands in America. After listening to hundreds of submissions, we finally narrowed down our pick for the Great Lakeiest state in the union. The best unsigned band in Michigan is Blackgate.

The band has been around for less than a year, but that’s all it took for Blackgate to crush their fellow Michiganders underfoot in this here contest. Unlike other recently-somewhat-prevalent words ending in –gate, Blackgate is not stupid as fuck. Blackgate rules. Disclaimer – they might play power metal. Wait up, though. Detractors of men in floral leggings needn’t worry; for there is nary a flower to be found here. The guys in Blackgate play heavy/power metal with hair on its chest. Their system is age-old and grounded in the endless power of the riff, and guitarists Matt Cremeans and Roger Victoriousaccordingly (guess which one of them is the longhair) have no shortage of them. Every song gets more than its share, often driven by a thrashy aggression that sometimes recalls Stormrider-era Iced Earth only without the shitty, embarrassing, shitty, shitty shit shirts or Persuader without the Hansi impersonator. Drummer Ryan Lunsford deserves some acknowledgement here too; he knows just what to lay down in order to make each passage sufficiently cogent, and good riffs become ironclad in his care.

David Cuffman is his own beast, leading the charge with a lordly midrange wail. I’m picturing him in a cape. I’m having trouble not picturing him in some sort of cape. His melodies arrive at catchiness without relinquishing the necessary metal grit, and at his most theatrical he somewhat resembles the great Harry Conklin (ex-Jag Panzer, now Satan’s Host) – check out the harmonies in the chorus of “Caesar” or “I Am The Night” if you don’t believe me. Fucking trust issues.

I ran into something of a problem designing this post – but it’s admittedly a pretty good problem to have. I couldn’t figure out which track to include – they’re all worthy of the Toilet (visitors please note the upper-case “T” and understand this as a confusing and stupid compliment). I’ve determined throw the whole Blackgate EP in here. Headbangaccordingly.

 

Our astute and physically attractive judges have said things like:

Spear: I liek Blackgate.

MoshOff: With aggressive, fast yet catchy riffs and manly vocals that come off sounding natural (and fit the music quite well), Blackgate manage to convincingly pull off their own brand of thrash/power that isn’t unlike a slightly less dark Shatter Messiah.

Leif Bearikson: How often do you get to use the phrase “powerthrash”? Well, at least once thanks to the dudes in Blackgate. They combine some truly gnarly thrash riffs, vocals that soar like the endangered early 90’s version of the American Bald Eagle, and some infectious choruses to great effect. If you don’t find yourself grooving along or whipping out your best falsetto, there’s a solid chance you’re probably dead inside.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Idol and the Whip (Ann Arbor, MI): Stoner sludge that brings the hard jam.
Wizard Union (Ann Arbor, MI): Stoner doom that sounds exactly how you think it sounds.


The Toilet ov Hell is on an absurd quest to find the best unsigned band in each state of this glorious union. The purpose? To shine the spotlight on bands that deserve more exposure. Also, we’re going to determine once and for all the greatest state in the nation. Each state winner is decided by a collection of 25 judges. After we’ve announced the winner of each state, we’re gonna throw them all in a winner-take-all bracket and leave the votes up to you. Who will be the best unsigned band in the United States? Which state is superior? We can’t wait to find out.

Previous winners:

Alabama — Phylum
Alaska — Terraform
Arizona – Take Over And Destroy
Arkansas – Torii
California – Destroy Judas
Colorado – The Sleer
Connecticut – Autumn’s Eyes
Delaware – Sloss
Florida – Capracide
Georgia – Lost Hours
Hawaii – Darkest Path
Idaho – Rotten Hand
Illinois – Deus Ex
Indiana – Thorr-Axe
Kansas – Bummer
Kentucky – Ad Infinitum
Louisiana – Withering Light
Maine – Sylvia
Maryland – Bereave
Massachusetts – Scaphism

Did you dig this? Take a second to support Toilet ov Hell on Patreon!
  • This shit is good.

  • Tyree

    I thought for sure another band would have pulled through 😉

    I need me some Lucifer & Liquor more than ever.

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    Spear for review of the year!
    Also I support this choice.

    • Spear

      Haha, I didn’t think that would actually get posted.

  • JWG

    I am surprised there are no (obvious) Batman puns given that name.

    • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

      *Doesn’t get it*

      • JWG
        • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

          *Gets it*

        • Dang. That’s a pretty obscure reference isn’t it?

          • you’re just not nerdy enuf.

          • JWG

            Admittedly, being a vidya game nerd is probably not that much more mainstream than being a comic book geek, but there are explicit references to Blackgate in each of the (first) three Batman: Arkham [something] games.

  • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

    Can we stop the sheit about Persuader’s Hansi impersonation. Listen to their latest and fite me.

    • It sounds just like Hansi only more pissed off because he isn’t as handsome as Hansi.

      • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

        I disagree. There is a shade of Hansi yes. But I fite everyone calling him an impersonator these days.

    • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

      This is good. The kind of band that puts the ‘power’ in Power metal. And the kind of band that makes me a little sad that heavy metal doesn’t exist anymore.

      • Blackgate and Skull Fist have both been bright spots with trad metal this week.

        • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

          ‘Thas been a good week to rekindle a love story called ‘heavy netal and me’ overall.

      • it’s like a good Iced Earth! :O

        • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

          Lol, I actually like their three first, a song off of fourth and the one before latest (first with Stu)

          • I liked 2 or 3 songs of their last album (it’s the first I have listened of they) but some parts were very bland. I will need to check those albums you mentioned!

          • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

            The ones I didn’t mention are pretty much just really, really bad. Except some others like Horror Show, but that misses their thrash elements and I think it’s maybe their worst.

          • which of their albums had the ft. of Steve Di Giorgio?

          • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

            I think The Horror Show 😛

          • thank you, mr. Bear!

          • Horror Show is fantastic. Night of the Stormrider >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

            Agree on the latter

          • Why don’t you like Horror Show? also, high five on agreeing about NOTS being #1

          • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

            Horror Show lacks the thrash elements. Follows up on it’s predecessors softer approach. Hasn’t got very good songs and was really the beginning of their Exodus-syndrome. Also I don’t think any of the members did a very good job with their parts.

            And then there are just those albums that don’t click.

          • Lacertilian

            me too, I only liked Im-Ho-Tep for the egyptian elements.
            Nothing will touch S/T, Burnt Offerings & Stormrider for me.

      • heavy metal still exists, you just have to look for it

        • Tyree

          There is a bunch of it in my buildings parking lot. I can see it now, some of it is moving too.

        • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

          The term, you don’t really run to it. All is power metal or such. Or then I need to dig REALLY deep

          • power metal has enveloped a lot of heavy/speed bands that aren’t necessarily be power metal. See: Metal Church, Riot, Paradox

          • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

            Basically what I meant, will check Paradox later

          • That’s what I thought you were saying! Paradox is fantastic, and you can start most anywhere in their discography. I found them through their latest, which is excellent power/thrash

          • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

            Is the Paradox the German one? If it is, itis very nice.

          • Hell yeah, glad you dig it dude

        • KJM

          If my old, picky ass can still find enough Metal to cough up a top 10 list, anybody can.

          • yeah it’s not hard if you know what you’re looking for

    • I didn’t really like the last Persuader that much. I tried.

      • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

        *sad face*
        Tbh I’m not a big fan or anything. Just don’t think it’s fair (anymore) to call the vox guy an impersonator

  • Sigh…*takes out credit card

  • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

    Dammit. This series has had a some great bands and even a couple states without a good band at all (at least taking part to this) but this is the first one with all bands being worthy of ‘wallet time’.

  • I missed the cultural references about the state in this part 🙁

    • It’s got a lotta big ass lakes around it. Michigan could also be called the mitten-est state.

      • are they polluted? there are forests there?

        • Eh, it’s probably fine.

        • HessianHunter

          Oh, and one of the halves of Michigan is shaped like a mitten. That’s why that joke is funny. Now you know.

    • We’re talking about Michigan. Michigan is the place where culture goes to die a prolonged, violent, and agonizing death.

      • Tyree

        Oh shit!

      • CyberneticOrganism

        SHOTS FIRED

      • duuude…

      • Lol, where’s the David Gunn (King 810) Dsiqus guy when you need him?!

        • KJM

          DAVID GVNN!!(not available in Canada)

      • DDubya.

        My folks are from the Michigan/Indiana border. I’m not a fan of the area. People there seem somehow more redneck and backwards than they do in Texas.

        • Gary, IN is just so depressing that people contemplate suicide just passing through.

    • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      all 3 at once–1st vid 100%vol—2nd muted—3rd muted
      http://youtu.be/JPN9AYdmu-s

      http://youtu.be/OHZIUdHm6b4

      http://youtu.be/kGEdVOOsuS4

    • HessianHunter

      Michigan is a weird state because it’s in two halves on either side of a Great Lake of the U.S. The Upper Peninsula is sparsely populated, mostly made of woods and small towns. The other part of Michigan is most notable for housing Detroit, which was a massive city where most American automobiles were made for decades. Since roughly the 1970’s though, more Americans have bought foreign-made cars and Detroit lost an enormous chunk of its population. It’s now a partly vacant city, incredibly spread out with not much population density. It’s frankly in rough shape and the butt of a lot of jokes. On the bright side, as is typical, shitty cities produce rad music. For instance, peep my Detroit homies in Collapse.

      http://collapsedetroit.bandcamp.com/

    • Just like the rest of the Midwest, it wishes it was Chicago. 😉

      • HessianHunter

        pppffffffffffffffffffffff nah

        • HessianHunter

          Although Chicago is hella dope and my #1 place I want to live that’s not Minneapolis. Probably gonna go there for grad school if I can get accepted into either big university.

          • You know where there is an EXCELLENT school…

          • HessianHunter

            WHERE JOE
            TELL ME

          • I HAVE HEARD RUMORS THAT THERE IS A PRETTY GOOD SKOOL IN AUSTIN. IT MIGHT BE THE BEST SCKOOL.

        • Everywhere in America wishes it were Chicago! My goof!

      • Shitcago. I get that you all have to act and drive like assholes there to fit in and get anywhere, but coming to Wisconsin on the weekends/all summer and doing it is completely unnecessary.

        Your city’s due for another great fire.

        • Oddly enough, people there are rather laid back from what I’ve noticed all my years there. Not to make it sound all hard ass, but if you’re gonna act hardass there, you best be prepared to back it up. Same with any major city. People out in the burbs are a whole different story, though, and haven’t quite learned that.
          I ran into that when I first moved here (Hampton Roads, Virginia), and it was hilarious as hell. Dumbass was cussing at me about not giving him a cig, and said “motherfucker, I’m from Chi, we don’t play that!”. “What part?” “Highwood, bitch!” (Highwood’s a burb right next to the WI border). I laughed my ass off and told him I’m from Hyde Park. “Where dat?!” “Southside, genius. In the CITY, not the fuckin’ burbs!”. And he simply walked away, pissed and embarrassed.

        • Doh, I meant every city in America wishes they were Pyongyang!

        • CyberneticOrganism

          To be fair, Wisconsinites drive like sedated old ladies

  • Tyree

    This weekend I’m going to this place called Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub. They have some massive burgers. Check it out. Oh, and here is a random Popsicle too.

    http://www.dennysbeerbarrelpub.com/burger-challenges

  • Tyree

    Michigan brought us the mighty Repulsion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiHl-Px8fig

  • Matt Cremeans

    We’ve had a lot of reviews since we released our album. And this is by far my favorite. Thank you for naming us the biggest turd in the Toilet! (Is that how the proper noun, compliment version of toilet is used? I’m confused and excited by it at the same time…)

    • whoa… hey guy, your band SHREDS!!

      • Matt Cremeans

        Thanks dude!

      • Janitor Jim Dvggan

        Jimmy! I missed you!

    • Thanks for shredding and keeping heavy/power metal alive in the US

      • Matt Cremeans

        Power metal will never die as long as there is someone out there with a guitar that has dreams of one day using the pointy parts of their guitar to slay demons and dragons and stuff.

        • Hear, hear!

        • KJM

          Stick ’em with the pointy end!

        • you guys should check out USPMC, we can get you some exposure to a super active FB group. I can see a lot of people loving you guys. I’ll hit you up on facebook if you’re interested.

          • Matt Cremeans

            Right on man. We’re always interested in spreading the word.

          • USPMC Is a great place! I’ve tossed our demo around in the page a few times and everything everyone said was actually really positive!

          • We have a lot of fun there! If you really want to have fun, start up a Helloween thread and make fun of Kiske/Deris

          • I see those posts every once in a while! My god are they hilarious!

            I usually chime in on the Thundersteel Wednesdays by telling the BROTHERS IN METAL STAND UNIFIED ON THIS DAY OF GLORIOUS VICTORY WITH YOUR SWORDS OF SHINING STEEL RAISED HIGH IN THINE HANDS AS WE CHANT THE HYMNS OF THE LEGENDARY THUNDERSTEEEE-EEEE-EEEEELLLL! hahahaha

          • Yeah Tony seems to have taken that over for me recently, but we didn’t have one this wednesday. Guess it will have to be EXTRA POWERFUL next time

        • john

          There’s a Manowar line in here somewhere. Anywords, I’m a lifelong power metal addict. And I like yer shit.

          http://www.quickmeme.com/img/c5/c57922b2c89f5f9e4448f9b80de51710077d0179f0533c92d2a7f065b85b40ca.jpg

        • CyberneticOrganism

          HAIL YE MIGHTY GUITAR WARRIORS LET US HUZZAH TO THINE FORTUNES AND GLORY IN BATTLE

          HARK THE SORCERER’S MOTHER HAST CALLED HIM BACK HOME FOR DINNER, STAY THY ATTACK BUT A MOMENT

          • Stockhausen

            HILE, MIGHTY CYBORG. AT DAWN WE RIDE FOR GLORY AND DORITOS, LEST THE NECROMANCER’S GRANDMA IS BEING A TOTAL B ABOUT BORROWING YONDER CHARIOT.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            A HEARTY LAUGH FROM THE COURT COMPOSER! REGALE HIS HOUSEHOLD WITH ALL THE MOUNTAIN’S DEW HE CAN CARRY!

          • Stockhausen

            Mountain’s Dew, friggin’ priceless.

        • Stockhausen

          You clearly belong here.

    • Thanks for passing by. You got nice music there! (just be happy that the band didn’t get *flushed*, that’s the biggest compliment)

      • Matt Cremeans

        Thanks! I guess we’re just that one big floater that just won’t go down.

    • Definitely loving this! It is indeed unflushable!

      -Sincerely,
      Supreme Leader

      • Matt Cremeans

        Thanks your highness!

    • KJM

      Welcome!!

    • Edward #negrodMMXV

      Matt welcome to the site!

    • EsusMoose

      From what I’ve heard so it’s glorious music

      • Matt Cremeans

        Thanks man!

    • Stanley

      Nice geetar in the shot above. I’ve got me one of those only I don’t seem to be able to play it half as good as you!

      • Matt Cremeans

        Thanks man! I love SGs. Vintage style that never gets old to look at and hear.

        • Stanley

          Yep. Light, thin neck, smooth action. Just don’t let go of the neck when you’re standing up!

          • Matt Cremeans

            True that. Love me some smooth neck action.

    • Maik Beninton

      I don’t think you guys gonna stay unsigned for too long

      • Roger Victoriousaccordingly

        One can only hope! Maybe someone will see this and think we’re cool or something! Lol

    • CyberneticOrganism

      ┼ ┼ ┼ WELCOME TO THE FLVSH ┼ ┼ ┼

  • FeelTheDarkness

    This is a lie!!!! Everyone knows it’s KING 810!!!!

    • Tyree
    • Guacamole Jim

      Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh I know it’s a joke but my Guacamole Jimmies are rustling.

      • FeelTheDarkness

        This would be the argument if this was MS.

    • Roger Victoriousaccordingly

      Hahahahahaha! If only

    • more beer

      As hard as this is to comprehend they are signed band which disqualifies them!!! I can`t tell you how this can be but it`s true.

    • MoshOff

      ARE YOU SCARED MOTHAFUKKA????????????????

  • KJM

    Good, traditional Thrash Metal. Well done!!

    • Nordling Rites ov Kahlua

      If I recall your preferences right, you should check the runner-ups too.

  • FeelTheDarkness

    That Blackgate is some fine metal!!!

  • PhoenixKing Leonhart

    I bought this bad boy off the Bandcamp.

    Good stuff.

    • “the bandcamp”? what are you kids getting into these days? is that a codeword for “the pot”??

      • KJM

        Wanna buy some reefers?

        • BLVKKBEVRD

          If KJM tries to hustle you, let me know

          • KJM

            I’m the top Viper on this corner.

          • Janitor Jim Dvggan

            You are? I thought Randy Orton was.

          • KJM

            ‘Viper’ is 1920s slang for pot smoker/dealer.

          • Janitor Jim Dvggan

            I didn’t know that.

          • KJM

            Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!!!

          • BLVKKBEVRD
          • more beer

            I`m not sure that is even half the battle. As he is young and bought into all of that just say no shit.

    • I entered the bandcamp, saw your avatar and played two songs. I knew was going to be goood because it have the #ToiletApproval of #Mr.Phoenix

    • also, thanks for the honor in the nickname <3 I feel so honored

  • Super Saiyan Soup

    These guys are from my hometown and I feel ashamed for not knowing them before today. They sound pretty rad though. Gonna try to catch them live if I can.

    • Matt Cremeans

      Like us on FB and you’ll be able to keep up with all our show dates!

  • Where the fuck did my pants go?

  • BLVKKBEVRD

    getting this laminated for the door

    PLEASE KNOCK

    DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT KNOCKING

    IF YOU ENTER AND LET THE CAT OUT, I WILL SPEND MY LIFE HUNTING YOU,
    THEN TORTURING AND MURDERING YOU IN FRONT OF YOUR FAMILY

    IN CASE OF FIRE, PLEASE SAVE THE CAT AND THE DOG. IF THERE IS A FIRE AND
    YOU DO NOT SAVE THE CAT AND DOG, I WILL SPEND MY LIFE HUNTING YOU,
    THEN TORTURING AND MURDERING YOU IN FRONT OF YOUR FAMILY

    IF YOU KNOCK AND CANNOT REACH ANYONE, AND THERE IS NO FIRE OR RISK OF
    POISONOUS GAS, PLEASE CALL xxx -xxx -4147 OR xxx – xxx- 4470

    • more beer

      Your cat doesn`t go out? That cat may as well just be Strapping Young Lads 7 year old son.

      • BLVKKBEVRD

        My cat doesn’t go out. The dog does. Therein lay the problem. Don’t let my cat out, fool.
        http://www.andysavage.com/assets/1507/mr-tjpg.jpeg

        • more beer

          Ha ha ha!

          • BLVKKBEVRD

            More beer, i’ve always liked you

          • more beer

            I had to ask my cat drives me fucking insane if he can`t go out. He likes to fight the neighbor cat, and kill little animals.

          • BLVKKBEVRD

            Cvts = Trve Vlphvs

          • more beer

            yep

  • J.R.

    “Our astute and physically attractive judges”

    wait

    Since when did I become a judge?

  • Truly humbled by this review! You guys are awesome!

    Like our facebook page! We should have a full length album out this year with all new material!

    • FeelTheDarkness

      You know we will.
      You are loved in the Toilet

      • BLVKKBEVRD

        It is very good

    • hi there. you’ve got some great material and some great hair, brotherman!

  • Spear

    Seriously good shit. I really do liek Blackgate.