Michigan’s Best & Worst Heavy Metal Bands
It truly was never a phase, was it Michigan? As a metalhead transplant from Alabama, I am so appreciative of Michigan's warm welcome to heavy metal. So many incredible bands come through here, whether to stop in Detroit, Grand Rapids, or even Kalamazoo.
There's a Michigan Metal Fest. There's Upheaval Fest. There are local bars dotted across the state dedicated to local heavy bands and their listeners. I've seen more shows in the past year living in Michigan than I ever saw in 25 years living in Alabama.
Metal music is welcome here because there are great bands from here. Two of the biggest bands in the metalcore scene today are I Prevail and We Came As Romans, both from right here in Michigan. Of Virtue out of Lansing is on the rise, and if you aren't listening to them - do it.
For every musician who picks up a guitar or learns how to make the most demonic sounds possible by the human vocal system, there has to be a best and a worst. I've heard some great music from Michigan's metal scene and thankfully haven't had to hear too much on the other end of the spectrum.
But which bands are the best and the worst from Michigan? Thankfully, The Hard Times, a heavy metal music satire website has the answer.
Who's the Worst?
The honor of being the worst metal band from the Mitten State was given to King 810, a nu-metal band from Flint. The Hard Times gave King 810 a hard time for their lyrical content:
"Why is it that every band from Michigan revolves around how tough it is to live in Michigan? Do they big time other Michiganers about it the way they always do to the rest of us?"
Now, I'd never heard of King 810 before this article, so I won't give them a hard time and just lay out some info and link a song for you to decide for yourself. Sound fair?
King 810 has been on the scene since 2007 and classifying them as nu-metal seems, I don't know, disrespectful. They've had many shows canceled or altered because of the band's heavy use of violent imagery during their performances which tend to influence violence in the crowd.
That said, bandmates have been arrested multiple times, and frontman David Gunn was present for the events at the Capital on January 6, 2021.
The music video is incredibly NSFW, obviously.
So who's the best metal band ever from Michigan?
No surprise, it's The Black Dahlia Murder.
A melodic death metal band from Waterford, Michigan formed in 2001, The Black Dahlia Murder burst onto the metal scene with their first hit What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse and became an underground sensation. While not everyone knows Black Dahlia as they have just over 215,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, everyone in the metal scene knows that song, which has over 15 million plays to date.
But to categorize Black Dahlia as a one-hit wonder would be incredibly disingenuous to the band. They toured with metal heavyweights like Carnifex, The Faceless, Vader, Born of Osiris and Whitechapel. They've taken the stage at Warped Tour. Every album since 2007's Nocturnal, which featured What a Horrible Night... charted within the Billboard 200's top 100, with all but Nocturnal and 2020's Verminous charting in the top 50.
Black Dahlia did face tragedy in 2022 when lead vocalist Trevor Strnad passed away in May at the age of 41. No cause of death was ever revealed publically, however, in the band's statement of his passing, they did include the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Guitarist Brian Eschbach has since taken over lead vocals to keep the band going into the future.
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Gallery Credit: Joe DiVita