The Best Band In Wisconsin Is Arctic Sleep


Back in August 2014 we asked you to help us find the best unsigned bands in America. After listening to hundreds of submissions and fighting a lot, we finally narrowed down our pick for the cheesiest state. The best band in Wisconsin is Arctic Sleep.

Let me preface this by saying that I have done zero research on the state of Wisconsin for purposes of this write-up and that I’m relying entirely on what little I know about the state based on my exposure to what it’s most known for. Allow me to illustrate in bullet point form:

  • Wisconsin’s union busting Governor Scott Walker has been elected to different positions on twelve different occasions based solely on the pretty presentation of his hair and teeth. This is just my opinion but you can thank poorly educated voters for the result. It’s also rumored that he snorts a lot of Koch.
  • There’s this football team called the Green Bay Packers who have this popular guy on their team named Aaron Rodgers. He’s down with State Farm’s Discount Double Check and he wears khaki pants when he’s not throwing around a torpedo shaped projectile made of pig skin.
  • The state is also famous for cheese which winds up on a lot of sub par death metal records.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way we can talk about the best band in Wisconsin: Arctic Sleep. This band does a lot of things that I vehemently despise musically; they have long songs, pristine production, they rarely ever mix up the tempos. Despite my contempt for all those attributes, I cannot deny that their latest album, Passage Of Gaia has all those things working in their favor. Arctic Sleep transports you high above the clouds and opens up a portal so that you can sit down Indian style while you find yourself entranced in their style of progressive atmospheric doom. There’s some auto tune going on in the vocals but it meets the needs of Goldilocks and her porridge specifications, it’s just right (and doesn’t reach T-Pain levels of absurdity). Arctic Sleep sounds like Intronaut‘s tender side clashing with the spacey elements of the Deftones Koi No Yokan. Listening to these guys makes you want to lie down on a hammock and drift off into space or focus your level of concentration while doing rad yoga poses and pilates. If you tune out all distractions and immerse yourself in this album, you will find that there is truly something special going on here. Arctic Sleep strikes a balance between beauty and heavy that so many have tried but few have achieved. How is this band not signed?

Not convinced? I have the backing of several TovH scribes that will cosign to what I’m saying:

Joe Thrashnkill: Arctic Sleep have a damn fine sense of songwriting and pristine production that would be a welcome addition to modern rock radio (if modern rock radio wasn’t, y’know, terrible). This band deserves to go places.

Hessian Hunter: When you need PROG and also want some dang FEELINGS to go with it, Arctic Sleep is your band. Like if Poison The Well ghostwrote a Baroness album.

Dagon: The prog tag is something that usually drives me away but the doomy bits and the emotion put in by Arctic Sleep hits me right in my nuts. I mean, feels. Their catchy songwriting doesn’t hurt either. This is a good album to listen to while having a cup of coffee on a gray afternoon.

Honorable Mentions

Poney  – Weird yet tasteful psychedelic rockin’ post metal/hardcore
Apache Revolver – Self described surf black metal

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
Iowa – Blizzard at Sea
Kansas – Bummer
Kentucky – Ad Infinitum
Louisiana – Withering Light
Maine – Sylvia
Maryland – Bereave
Massachusetts – Scaphism
Michigan – Blackgate
Minnesota – Noble Beast
Mississippi – Jared Moran (Yzordderrex/Uzumaki)
Missouri – Existem
Montana – Martriden
Nebraska – Borealis
Nevada – Elephant Rifle
New Hampshire – Eerie
New Jersey – Black Table
New Mexico – Void Ritual
New York – HUSH.
North Carolina – The Seduction
North Dakota – Gorgatron
Ohio – Prize the Doubt
Oklahoma – Cottonmouth
Oregon – Drouth
Pennsylvania – Burden
Rhode Island – Eternal Khan
South Carolina – Solaire
South Dakota – Jelly Nutz Justoner

Tennessee – Forest of Tygers
Texas – Peasant
Utah – Disforia
Vermont – Vaporizer
Virginia – Grethor
Washington – Witch Ripper

West Virginia – Horseburner

Photo (VIA)

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    The only opinion that means anything on this one is JAG’s

    • Spear

      Oy! JAG’s not the only Wisconsin-dweller here.

      • DCLXVI


    • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

      I know Jay is down with this though. Wisconsin dwellers.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      He’ll just ramble on about Trivium.



  • Spear

    From that Reuters article:
    “The [Koch brothers] said they plan to spend nearly $900 million during the 2016 campaign cycle.”
    Assuming that these are donations going to Walker’s campaign, isn’t that, y’know, illegal?

    • PACS & Super PACS.

    • Wish I had $900M, I would try to better society with that kind of capital rather than try to influence elections.

      • Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

        -Abraham Lincoln

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          Bitches, man.

          -Robert E Lee

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        I’d rather just horde it and travel the world. Fuck humanity.

        • Where would you go first?

          I would love to see the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Not sure if that will ever happen…

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Good question……………perhaps Ohio???????????????

          • Lolz.

            I have heard the upper peninsula of MI is sweet. That seems a little more obtainable. Have you been there?

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Born there. Haven’t been back since 1984. No more details about my life beyond that for now.

          • Sweet apples.

          • I would love to go there but I fear I would come back without my head.

  • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

    Sorry couldn’t help but mention these Wisconsin thrashers.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      No need for sorry. This shit slays so hard.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Can’t leave out these obscure Wisconsin masters.

      • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

        Obscure indeed, never heard of this. Fucking nasty!!! Thanks.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          Sure thing dude! They only released demos. Finally putting out their first full-length this year.

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            Just saw the compilation from this year on Metal archives. That Evil Dead 2 intro is an absolute plus too.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Which track?

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            The one you posted.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Oh fuck. I’m stupid.

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            It’s all good duder!

  • The last time I was in Wisconsin was for the a Ironman 2013 triathlon. Here is a photo (RFI) of myself being quite photogenic during the race. Byah!


  • Herr Schmitty

    Tertiary Honorable mention goes to Warseid, who got my god-damned vote. Trees and shit folk metal? I guess that’s implied. Anyway, it’s good. Check ’em out here:

  • Spear
  • ChuggaChuggaDeedleyDoo

    Sounds like a downtuned Cynic meets Failure meets A Perfect Circle.

    Not hearing any definite Autotune artifacts though, but the vox are certainly compressed to oblivion

    • old_man_doom

      I’ll refer to Eyal Levi’s definition of how autotune works: “If you’re hearing artifacts when you tune vocals, then you’re fucking up.”

      Honestly, I don’t mind the tuned vocals. Modern audiences are so conditioned to hearing everything in tune and on point that un-tuned vocals would seem very out of place, despite the genuineness of a performance.

  • Guacamole Jim

    This is really good! The lower tempo fits the vibe of the vocals really well.

  • Pagliacci is Kvlt

    I can’t make up my mind if I like them or not until I get a thorough evaluation of their hair and clothes.

    • Those vocals are cringey. My mind is made ups.

      • I dismissed it initially because the vocals sound very modern rock. It eventually won me over though.

        • Only Apache Revolver is real

          • Dagon

            I was super disappointed with the tag “surf black metal” and the way it completely missed the mark to my ears.

          • Lacertilinger

            ‘Twas a bad tag. An unforgivable offence.
            Surfers, while usually considered a bunch of gnarly stoners, don’t forget easily.
            *dons mask and re-enacts ALL of Point Break*

          • Dagon


          • Lacertilinger

            I did go back and listen to all those rad surf covers of Slayer, Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth and Emperor though. Fucking love that shit!

          • Dagon

            Those are amazing. I wish I had that kind of talent.

        • I will continue listening then….


          • Guacamole Jim

            It’s good, dude. Very chill, but heavy. Kinda like a happier Katatonia.

          • A Most Curious Poo Poo Pile

            Which is an odd idea in and of itself.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Hey, good luck with that there, bud!

    • The Haunting Presence of Tyree
  • Paris Hilton

    “Prog Metal? Eric, this is Wisconsin. Why can’t you listen to classic rock like the rest of us? I outta wake you up from your Artic Sleep by progressively shoving my foot up your ass.”

  • Fuck the packers and their abundance of all star quarterbacks

  • RustyShackleford

    I like this. Yep.

  • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

    There’s this football team called the Green Bay Packers who have this popular guy on their team named Aaron Rodgers. He’s down with State Farm’s Discount Double Check and he wears khaki pants when he’s not throwing around a torpedo shaped projectile made of pig skin.

    There’s this football team called the Green Bay Packers who have this popular guy on their team named Aaron Rodgers.

    There’s this football team


  • JWEG

    These last few States (barring some exceptions) have been loaded with quality. But if the final voting pool seems skewed toward the recent end, wouldn’t that just make it seem like voters have short attention spans?

    …voters actually do have short attention spans. But I thought only in the wider sense of Federal/State or Provincial politics.


    I rly enjoyed last year’s passage of gaia, so good choice

  • Disgustache

    Wiscahnsin? Ooooooooh, donchaknow I love Wiscahnsin.

  • A Most Curious Poo Poo Pile

    Been a fan of these guys for a while now, and amazed they’re not signed. Damn good choice!

  • Waynecro

    Tried to jam and failed. Great production and album art, though.

  • J.R.™

    Oh god oh no oh please oh whyyy must I love this so? Man I’m going to rip myself apart picking a 50 Fave.

    • Lacertilinger

      You had it all worked out too.

      • J.R.™

        Nope! But I’ve thought of something: Album selection is from the 6 or so of the above I have purchased. I’ll look at song play count and divide by number of days since I bought it. Highest number wins. Assuming my tracking numbers are correct. Ugh
        But what of all the play time before purchase? Probably won’t count that. True favorites endure even when removed from the realm of “must have must have aaahhh”
        Let my ramblings inspire all of you who dread the Day of Decision

        • Lacertilinger

          hahaha, I like the thought you’re putting into this.
          My plan is to just go with the one my neck has been sorest too, which may not be fair to some of the more intricate and soulful releases here, but pain is a stark reminder of time.

          • J.R.™

            I’m panicking, so as an engineer I try and develop mathematical models that I can analyze and make rational decisions from. However, this model gives advantage to shorter albums, as I could play them more in the space of one of the longer ones. Also gives points to the ones that are in my sleeping playlist, because am I really “listening” to them while I’m bonked? Absorbing, yes. Marinating in. But actively drinking? Does it matter?

          • Lacertilinger

            Biometry tells me that sorer neck = better album. (That is at the standard 95% confidence interval)

  • old_man_doom

    Man, this some good shit. Also, color me intrigued by any genre blending with surf rock.

  • Lacertilinger

    Poney up