Local Bands: October 1994


Local Metal, Man 

Seems like whenever you hear about eclectic art in SLC, it’s always some type of off-the-wall genre or the usual hype of ethnic or cultural society. Well, we also have something in our beloved city that is equally off-center and driven by a different source. Call it the underbelly of the music scene, or maybe even a holdout from years passed, but it survives and thrives in our fair city like a parasite. We call it heavy metal. 

Quite possibly the most prolific music scene in Utah, its roots are deep and have been for years. Those who refused to change with the new fad or what is hip in the local circles have remained a constant force in and around the melting pot of local music. They have their own ideas, uniforms and opinions about what they do —the mystique of the black leather jacket, tight pants, big tennis shoes and skull tattoos. Kevin Kirk, owner of the Heavy Metal Shop, sees it daily, and says it’s been that way for years. “While other music styles come and go, there is always a metal market, and it always sells.” And after seven years, you can’t open a Kerrang magazine, or see a Slayer photo without one of his shirts draping over some metal head. So, without bias to all of SLC’s metal bands, we sat down with two of them: Blister’d Toad and Kaotic Contortion.

Blister’d Toad 

This band has been together for three years with three of its original members, Dave Henriod, Rick Crocco, and Plumb (who swears that’s his name). They filled out the band two years ago with Matt Reis on guitar and Chris Morrison (a transplant from Dallas) on vocals. To listen to B.T., you may find yourself slipping back to the late eighties. Possibly mislabeled as traditional metal, their power chording and anthem—like chorus lines run throughout their all original sets. It’s driving, it’s hard and it’s sincere. These guys believe in what they do with strong conviction and they play that way. 

Blister’d Toad has just returned from Foundations Forum, a music convention in LA, where they shopped their new CD and got one of their songs, “Lost Child,” on the Foundations CD. It’s not been easy though. B.T. has had its share of setbacks. Namely, bassist Henriod got his hand stuck in a table saw, lacerating all the fingers on his left hand. After several months in rehab and wondering if he’d play again, Henriod is almost back up to par, though he still can’t make a fist. The band stuck with him all the way, believing in his desire to play. Blister’d Toad is currently seeking booking and management to get signed to an indie label. They’ve been down that road already as ‘Eden,’ a band that Henriod and Crocco were in that was signed to Restless Records. As far as writing goes, Crocco (a GIT graduate) and Reis write the guitar parts and the band forms it into its end result. Most of them are well written, as you’ll find listening to their new five song CD, available at the Heavy Metal Shop. It was recorded at Musicians Choice Studios by Chuck [Koha?] and Steve Terry. B.T. will be at Starr Studios Oct. 6, 7, and 8 with Kaotik Contortion

Kaotik Contortion 

For the past five years, Kaotik Contortion has been pillaging the SLC metal scene with its unique brand of music. Somewhere between White Zombie and old Metallica lies this four-piece band comprised of guitarist/singer Jeff Mondragon, guitarist Chance Brimhall, bassist Dylan Weales and drummer Chad Thomas. By day, they all work regular jobs to support their music addiction/habit, but by night they follow their real passion—music. They don’t write songs about fast cars and women, but rather songs about how they feel. Songs that are politically motivated social statements. Trying to shed the term “Death Metal” is something that concerns Mondragon who writes most of the lyrics. “We try to stay heavy, but remain really melodic at the same time,” he says. 

When the band writes a song, it’s a group effort to keep it melodic and still maintain the integrity of their sound, which is basically hard-edged guitars, booming bass and thunderous drums. They just released their self-titled second cassette and is working on an upcoming CD (hopefully). They also have their first tape available called “Test of Time.” They are currently playing live shows around SLC including the Star Studios shows w/ Blister’d Toad. They have played LA twice at the Anti-Club to great response, and are planning a trip to Phoenix. They were also voted Best Metal Band of 1994 in an indie readers’ poll. The best part of the Kaotik Contortion, though, is their live performance. You just can’t get the same energy on tape. They play all originals except for two Kiss songs. “You’d have to hear ‘em the way we play ‘em to appreciate it,” Jeff says, and that would be my suggestion, too. Go check out Kaotik Contortion and Blister’d Toad, on Oct. 6, 7, and 8 at Star Studios, or check the daily calendar for their other live shows.

Check out more of our October 1994 Issue here.