Huntsmen – American Scrap (2018)

HuntsmenAmerican Scrap (Prosthetic Records, 23 February 2018)


“Storytelling is the great, albeit fading, American pastime. It predated writing and in many instances, was told in song. In modern times, many musicians have approached their music from a storytelling point of view: Dylan, Springsteen and Waits to name a few. Chicago’s Americana metal outfit, Huntsmen, are carrying the torch for heavy bands to be added to that list.”

So begins the press release for this band’s debut LP, which came out about a week ago. Bold words? Sure. A little presumptuous? Maybe. But the self-described Heavy Americana band caught my attention, and the fact that they were kicking off the Prosthetic Records release of American Scrap with a short excursion across the mid-west and mid-Atlantic with label-mates Livid (with whom our readers ought to already be familiar) especially got me to check out this album.

That tour actually wraps up tonight (Sunday, 4th March) — see the details listed way down below — but first let’s talk a little about the band and their songs …


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Heathen Beast – Rise of the Saffron Empire; MAKE – Pilgrimage of Loathing (2016)


Heathen BeastRise of the Saffron Empire (Transcending Obscurity Distribution, 25 April 2016)



MAKEPilgrimage of Loathing (Accident Prone Records, 15 July 2016)


It’s pretty much a universal truth that there are terrible people and terrible situations everywhere in the world, often when it comes to people who have power and influence over other people and the ability to make decisions about the laws and how the public is governed. This has been a societal problem for as long as society has existed, and people have always tried to find ways to protest or fight back. Back in olden times, folks like Woody Guthrie or Peter, Paul and Mary would sit around, holding hands, and singing about how the times were a-changin’. But since then, the times have a-changed; from MC5 to Public Enemy to Rage Against the Machine protest songs have increasingly shifted from blowin’ in the wind to fighting the powers that be.

To illustrate that concept, today we’re going to take a look at new or recent releases by two bands from different sides of the world, which nevertheless seem to share a similar ideology.


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Person or Persons Unknown: Six Questions with Slaves BC Bassist Jason Cantu

Hey there, folks! I hope your week is going well. If it’s not, I guess you can be glad that it’s almost over! Personally, I’m just about totally recovered from last weekend’s Winter’s Wake festival, and sometime soon I’ll probably even start writing again.

In the meantime, please enjoy this BRAND NEW feature which will be running periodically here on Valley of Steel — courtesy of the lovely and wonderful person to whom I am fortunate enough to be married!

Person or Persons Unknown

Six Questions with Slaves BC Bassist Jason Cantu

by Asya Yanyo

Greetings and salutations! Many of you know me, or have met me, or at least know of me. My name is Asya (aka “Mrs. Valley of Steel“). I’ve been married to Eric (aka “Mr. Valley of Steel“) for about five years now — tomorrow [01 March] is our five-year anniversary, in fact.

I’m sure most of you have seen Eric‘s many posts about shows that are occurring in the Pittsburgh area. Well, he doesn’t just post about them; he actually attends — we both do, actually. [Editor’s note: at least, as frequently as physically possible!] Well, through the course of attending these shows, we’ve met some great people and it occurred to me that you (the general public) might like to hear a little bit more about these interesting people, the bands that they are currently in, and what brought them to the musical path that they are traveling down.

I will be doing these on occasion: they will always be six questions, just enough to give you a sense of the person and their tastes (as opposed to the same old stale band questions you’re always reading). So I hope that you will join me on this new journey in getting to know these wonderful and unique people, and — who knows — maybe you’ll find a new band that may change your life, too!

My first “Person or Persons Unknown” interview is with Jason Cantu, the bassist for Slaves BC, whom Eric and I have already seen three times this year. Jason, while just one part of this great band, has an infectious enthusiasm that really enhances their live show. His love and support of music in general is also infectious, and it has inspired me to do these interviews.

Everyone should have a friend like this: someone who’s always posting about records you’ve forgotten about, or wearing t-shirts you would kill for (specifically, I am referring to the Ten Years After shirt he sometimes wears), and someone who is supportive of not only his own band but all local and non-local bands. He is the type of fan that makes you want to be a better fan, too.

Check out his band Slaves BC on Bandcamp, and then come out to see them FOR FREE this weekend [Saturday, 02 March] at Kopec’s Bar. You will not be disappointed.

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Now Available: River City Rebels – Headed to Hell 7″


River City RebelsHeaded to Hell (28 August 2012, Screaming Crow Records)

Hello again, readers, and a happy Wednesday morning to you! My vacation has ended and I’m back to pollute your in-box and/or RSS reader with random ramblings and desultory dialogue.

…and music, of course. After all, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it — to discover some new tunes, not to hear me whine about how lousy my day was at work or whatever?

So then, let’s get straight to it, shall we?

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