Best Metal Band - 2004
Black metal, a subgenre of extreme music that's often best known for the Satanic, pagan antics of some of its more infamous figures (beheading lambs onstage, killing people -- that sort of thing), normally originates in the dark northern climes of Scandinavia. In a place where the sun doesn't come out all winter, it makes sense for the native music to be just as dark. St. Louis' own Harkonin brings a bit of Scandinavia right here to the humid banks of the Mississippi. Influenced by the seminal bands of the genre, Harkonin adds its own Midwestern rock influence to the blast beats and Teutonic thrash riffs to form intricate but accessible epics of violence. Singer Jason Barron's unique shriek is the most terrifying sound on the current local music scene. He's passed it on to the younger generation -- his young son joined Harkonin onstage to take the mic at this year's RFT Music Showcase, and it was awesome.