Metal Band of the Year: Down Under 

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Ruta Smith

With the sad departure of nighttime metal venue/hangover food central Cory’s Grilled Cheese, a major blow struck the Lowcountry metalcore scene (Cory’s is now at the Purple Buffalo, so not all is lost). So, it was good to hear that an osmium-heavy and jet-black-bleak group like Down Under took the crown as Metal Band of the Year, shining a light on the dark corner that tri-county metalcore resides in. “It’s great to see our side of the metal scene represented,” says band manager Will Manigault. (He’s also the founder of 843Core, the metal-centric promotor who brought many multi-genre, all-ages shows to Cory’s).

“We’re a lot younger. Our style of metal’s completely different from a traditional style of metal.”

Down Under started in 2015 playing primarily post-hardcore in the vein of groups like Attack Attack, progressively getting heavier and heavier, until they landed on their deathcore sound, says drummer James Davenport. “We’re at this point now where we’re picking up a good bit more wind,” Davenport says. “I thought it was just going to be a garage band type of deal, but we’re definitely making some moves.”

“We have a great fanbase,” says bassist David Lopez. “It’s almost cult-like.” In addition to the rabid group of local fans, Down Under’s internet footprint has netted them fans internationally, with shoutouts on Russian music blogs and requests to play in Indonesia.

Even though they’re looking for a new vocalist, the guys are soldiering on with a new LP planned for 2019. “I feel like it’s honestly the heaviest material we’ve written,” says guitarist Eli Blalock. “A lot of it definitely tugs at the heartstrings a little bit.”

Blalock elaborated that the lyrical themes on the new release will discuss suicide, depression, and misanthropy. “Hopefully, if someone’s going through a hard time, they can be able to listen to one of the songs on this album and be like, ‘Wow, I’m not alone,’” he says.


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