Beloved local metal quartet St. Madness has been stirring the pot of metal insanity for about 20 years, and you usually won't know what to expect from them, especially at a live show. But anyone who has met lead vocalist Prophet -- a.k.a. Patrick Flannery -- knows that the band values a little thing called consistency.
Consistent stability within the growing local metal scene. Steady evolution in St. Madness' records. And reliable love and support for his metal comrades, shown through everything from an abundance of charity shows to support for the next generation of local bands.
Plus, he's super-smiley and sweet. Which I probably shouldn't say about a local metal legend -- but it's true. However, you wouldn't get that mental image after listening to the ninth album by St. Madness, Carnimetal, which is brutally heavy and stays in line with the band's style of mixing thrash, groove, and classic metal.
In fact, Carnimetal has struck a killer chord within the heavy metal industry this year: It won Producer's Choice Award for Metal Album of the Year by the Los Angeles Music Awards, and they are headed to The Avalon Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, November 14, to accept the honor.
It makes sense -- the production quality is cohesive and defined; the instrumentals are packed with layered rhythms and drifty, heavy guitar; and the lyrics are weighted with irony and darkness. One thing I love about St. Madness is that they truly explore the ranges of their potential, and appeal with refined yet super-heavy jams.
It's interesting because the band has seen several lineup changes (Prophet is the only original member), but the sound has the original essence that St. Madness has gone for since its first album, with a dash of organic evolution added to the mix. I also love the varying tempos, which flash between aggressive and serene with ease. Prophet is a vocalist who knows what he wants to project, and he accomplishes that creatively and efficiently.
But this isn't the first time that St. Madness has been recognized. Throughout the years, the metallers have opened or played with such acts as Van Halen, The Misfits, King Diamond, and Merciful Fate. In 2010 and 2011, the band received Rock Artist of the Year from The Phoenix/L.A. Music Awards.
Released in September, there are 30 tracks on Carnimetal, ranging from twisty tracks from the band's earlier records, to covers of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" to new pummeling tracks like "Drowning on Air." Plus, you gotta love that the band reps Arizona so much with songs like "Arizona" and "AZ Woman."
St. Madness is definitely the kind of local legend that makes metalheads proud of their local scene.