Metal bands from Michigan and Ohio descended upon Rocky’s Pub on June 27 & 28 for two days of live music and good times at Get Into The Pit.

Hard Edge Radio and Tiny and Plankman Show put together the Get Into The Pit festival which featured two stages and 26 bands. The scheduling was impeccable with continuous metal music. Stages were set in adjacent rooms, so the travel time was virtually non-existent. Basically head through a door and meet the roar of metal from an adjoining room.

I can’t say enough about the great work behind the scenes on this show. Howie (Hard Edge Radio) and Tiny did a fantastic job of selecting killer bands and getting this whole circus organized. Rocky’s Pub is a great venue with outstanding service and Michigan craft brews on tap. The sound system was amazing and the stage setup was perfectly suited for the event. My only suggestion would be to enhance the lighting on the second stage, otherwise everything else was phenomenal.

There is a wealth of great talent in the metal scene in Michigan and Ohio. If you are a metal fan and you don’t follow the local bands, then you are missing out on exceptional music. For those that missed this festival or for those that want to remember, let me share my thoughts with you on all the deserving bands that played.

GET INTO THE PIT DAY 1 – FRIDAY JUNE 27TH

Karmic Lava started first which is probably the toughest spot to have on a two-day festival, as fans arrive after the set has begun. These guys and front woman played with gusto. I was reminded of a trippy version of Black Sabbath with elements of Trouble and The Sword, especially in the guitars and bass lines.

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Mare Crisium the Sea of Crises isn’t only a lunar volcanic basin, it’s a band from Ypsilanti, Michigan. This band was on a mission to tear up the Ink Addict stage. Mare Crisium plays music which blends and defies genres. If I had to put a name to some of the sounds I heard, then I’d say Deftones, Tool, Corrosion of Conformity, and Ministry. There is no shortage of energy on the stage. Definitely give this band a listen if you want to expand your horizons and try something out of the ordinary.

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Coven 13 All hail crom. The Norse gods wept as Coven 13 unfurled their mighty banner of metal upon the crowd at Get Into The Pit. This is metal to thrust your fist into the air. Coven 13 raged across the stage and summoned hell. Great metal played with all the fervor that it should have.

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Downspeed is dirty speed I loved this band. Total rock fury, sand blasting your face, and then doused with a whiskey fireball. This isn’t sweep picking fancy pants guitar either. This is raw rage flying off the fretboard at light speed, think Zakk Wylde with a little less squeals. I was seriously impressed by the bass and drums as the guys were recruited within weeks of the show. If you want your rock hard, fast, and in your face then you need to get dirty with Downspeed.

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I found Hate Unbound as I switched over to the main stage for some of the best metal of the night. Hate Unbound can hold their own against any national metal or death act. The band plays with abandon, but melded with the precision of a scalpel. These outstanding musicians put on one hell of a show too. Buy this band’s music and for the love of all that is heavy, take the opportunity to see them live.

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Genocya brought the first dose of pure Death to the Get into the Pit. Single note flurries, blast beats, concussions of crash cymbals, and guttural screams. A great set of death as it is meant to be played and enjoyed.

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The hits just kept coming as Bahamut ran amok on the main stage. It is amazing how a band this heavy can weave catchy riffs into a chaotic, dissonant, tsunami that grabs you by the head and shakes you like a doll in the mouth of a pit bull. I dare you to try to keep time with New Arms Race.

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From Blue To Gray literally blew me away. I think it can be hard when bands of this caliber are playing the second stage at a metal show as you want to see them with some room to spread out and destroy. Smaller stage be damned, From Blue To Gray unleashed the hell hounds and screaming blood soaked words of unrelenting suffering. This band is tight, technical, and just my cup of fucking tea. Mixing in some clean vocals to compliment the guttural vocal attack, I could hear Shadows Fall and Callenish Circle. Monstrously good band that deserves lots of recognition.

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The Worst Of brought a ton of attitude to the main stage at Rocky’s Pub. The band was literally all over the stage while keeping the blistering assault full steam ahead. Cajoling the crowd to spring into action, they did end up getting some girls to dance up front for the band. Fans of Chimaira and D.R.I will dig this band.

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Ugly But Proud brought hardcore thrash to the Ink Addict. Harkening back to the sound of Slayer’s Reign In Blood and Metallica’s Kill ’em All… remember when Metallica was awesome? Ugly But Proud masterfully gave the crowd all the head banging joy they could want. This legendary band has been smashing stages for years and it was a real treat to see them at this metal festival.

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Kastura played what has to be the second hardest slot on a metal fest, Kastura didn’t let the late hour diminish their enthusiasm. They commanded the main stage and flourished gleaming riffs with a bottom end that shook the floor. Labels usually suck, but you need them sometimes when hearing something new. With Kastura, you get music with its roots in Pantera, Hatebreed, and perhaps Devildriver or Soulfly. They sent the crowd out with a roar.

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GET INTO THE PIT DAY 2 – SATURDAY JUNE 28TH

Soldiers Last Breath did a nice job of getting day two of Get Into The Pit off to a good start. They brought in a decent crowd for an opening band and played proudly to their fans. They have more of a melodic style with cleaner singing. There wasn’t shortage of energy as the band tested out their wireless systems running through the crowd.

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Relik play metal, sounds simple, but that’s what they do. No pretense, just in your face and balls out. With hair flying, they started up the Ink Addict stage in all their primal glory. For a reference you can think of Pantera, Slayer, and Machine Head, heavy, loud, and proud metal warriors.

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I’m thinking the nail hard streets of Flint have honed Deadringer into a ballistic battering ram of steel. They drove their groove laden, riff madness, into the crowd at Rocky’s Pub. It’s great to see everyone in the band take charge and play with their level of intensity and power. The music reminded me of Hatebreed and Lamb of God, but with better guitarists. They threw in some cool augmented chords, mixing with squeal driven leads, I thought were top-notch.

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At Deaths Behest is death metal at its best. Spiraling riffs, cascading solos, and deafening screams blended seamlessly with a rhythm section that pulverizes bones into dust. I’d have to say this is the best death band I’d seen at the festival and one of the overall top bands at the fest. If you love the sounds of Suffocation, Decapitated, or Aeon, you’ll love At Deaths Behest.

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Imminent Sonic Destruction, As the Monty Python skit went, “and now for something completely different.” Imminent Sonic Destruction took the fest in a totally different direction with their progressive metal ruminations. These guys are wonderful musicians playing great progressive metal in the vein of Into Eternity, Strapping Young Lad, and Dream Theater. A nice change of pace in the metal landscapes for Get Into The Pit. Progressive metal fans would not go wrong in checking out this band.

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Featuring the Wall of Beer, Fall From Disgrace are about beer, more beer, having fun, maybe a little more beer, and rocking out. The lead singer was hilarious and very talented, he could sing and jump around on the stage without spilling his beer. Seriously, nothing is too serious with these guys and that’s what you have to love about them. They play hard and just go nuts. If you want to have a good time, go have a beer and jam with these dudes.

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At The Hands Of Victims brought us wild chaotic time signatures and lots of hyper technical guitars. There was a full-bore charge of energy in their performance. The entire band is very talented, but the guitar playing and drums were really over the top. Fans of Veil of Maya, Structures, and Dillinger Escape Plan will dig this bands vibe.

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Demonshifter did a power slide on to the main stage and brought us metalcore breakdowns and vicious c-sharp grooves. Their music was tight and everyone in the band was solidly in the pocket. Catch these guys if you like the sounds of Killswitch Engage and Soilwork.

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Truth Ascension Melodic death metal, with its classically influenced progressions, have always appealed to me. Truth Ascension plays this style of metal with depth and passion. Compelling riffs, flowing over spectacular drumming, with great double kick runs, make this one stellar band. The singer reminded me of Brian Fair of Shadows Fall, however, with a much larger vocal range. Toledo, Ohio has a real gem in Truth Ascension.

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I’m not sure if Swans On Fire is a reference to Magic: The Gathering, but I suppose that their music would make for some interesting theme music. With savage vocals, breakdowns, and disharmonic riffs, the band left everything on the stage. The crowd really enjoyed them and you might too.

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Do you like Death Angel or Overkill? Then hitch a ride with Hell Rides North. This is straight up metal and Hell Rides North plays it with vigor. Clean vocals with power and conviction are mixed in with screams that are layered on a mile thick and accented by chugging riffs. This is definitely quality head banging material and a good stage show to boot.

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The smaller Ink Addict stage could hardly contain After The Minor. The music is a barrage of integral and menacing riffs riding a firestorm of toms, kick, and snare. There are elements of the classical sounding melodic metal, but their sound is much more. You can also hear something like Unearth or Threat Signal in their approach to song structure. I really enjoyed the singer’s intensity and command of the stage.

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I dig thrash and speed bands like Kreator as well as some of the early Death and Dissection work. Given this, it should be of little surprise that I found Dismemberment to be right up my alley. Instead of a tired rehashing of metal from the past, I think these guys are doing a great job of taking a familiar genre and putting their stamp on it. Their playing was exquisite with an absorbing stage presence.

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Forsake The Fallen were determined not to end the fest end on a down note. These guys fired off some excellent guitar solos amongst song styling similar to those of Trivium and All That Remains. The mixing of guttural and clean vocals was very well done. I was also impressed with the thrashing heads while playing some pretty intricate lines.

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All eyes were on Underneath It All as they closed out Get Into The Pit 2014. Using every inch of the main stage, the band prowled like hungry tigers. The music was fierce and unrelenting in the realm of such bands like Sick Of It All and Shai Hulud. They’re like a shot of Jagermeister to top off the evening and a hell of a way to end one awesome metal festival!