Heavy Metal music has a history and connection with the city of Los Angeles, but serious headbangers from Southern California know that the metal scene extends well beyond LA’s city limits.
Orange County has been at the center of the early ’80s punk explosion and home to a thriving extreme, underground metal scene, from Seal Beach to San Clemente.
On the forefront of OC’s underground metal scene, Lake Forest band Madrost is a powerful and fierce thrash/death metal hybrid led by guitarist and vocalist Tanner Poppitt. The band was founded in 2007, and currently features bassist Richard Orellana, drummer Mark Rivas and additional guitarist Necro Nick. “We are from Lake Forrest, but half the band lives in Inland Empire at this point,” Poppit says. “Because of where we are located, we haven’t been showcased in LA as much, but I I’m honored and stoked to be part of the OC extreme metal scene I do wish it was more well known most people when you tell them when you are from OC you might as well tell them you’re from LA.”
Poppitt says he got into heavy metal in 2005 at around age 14. “ I first heard the Death album Leprosy on cassette and started picking up those instruments shortly after that,” Poppitt says. That album opened the door for metal as I knew it.”
With Madrost, there is no denying the influence of thrash metal, but if Poppitt had to choose a genre of extreme metal as his favorite, it would be death metal. “I love death metal, that is my bread and butter and it got me into extreme music,” he says. But I tend to listen to a mix of half new bands, half old-school bands. A lot of my writing style came from the old school, but I do like the heaviness of the new death metal bands.”
Since their formation, Madrost continues to book shows in various venues throughout their home turf. “In 2009-2010 we were lucky and always got to play the Chain Reaction with bands like Exodus, and DRI and we had lots of fun,” he says. “Those shows were always drawing bigger crowds for the headliners. But when we headline shows, I love the Slidebar in Fullerton, they take care of us and I love the atmosphere of that place. I also love Malone’s in Santa Ana.”
Though Madrost doesn’t play as many gigs as some other bands, the shows they do play, especially for local fans always go off, even if there aren’t hundreds in the crowd. But, Madrost has made a name for itself on the national level of underground extreme bands, by touring the US and Mexico throughout the years.
So far, Poppitt says his favorite shows have been in Mexico. “Mexico has had the greatest fans so far because they are all diehard metal fans they appreciate it more,” he says. “Out of the country is so much fun to play shows in, at least for me personally. It doesn’t matter what style of metal you play if there is a show going on everyone is there. I love that mentality.”
Aside from Madrost, Poppitt has his own podcast, Poppitt’s Corner, where he also sheds light on some local bands and musicians representing the OC metal scene. The podcasts contain music and interviews with bands. “We have some many bands out here in the OC/LA area and not enough people interviewing them,” Poppitt says. “We used to have radio stations like KNAC as platforms and I felt a void needed to be filled,” he says.
“I try to have an eclectic variety of guests from our metal scene in our own backyard if I find them interesting I will showcase it even if I like them or not.”
Madrost’s latest album, The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh, is a progressive, yet primitive slab of brutality that will please fans of black metal, death metal, and thrash. “Live, we play a lot of songs off of our new album,” Poppitt says. “It got a great response, people liked it. It opened a lot of doors for us; exposed us to more fans and got us respect in the metal scene, so we want to support these songs at our shows.”
The next show for Madrost is Thursday, October 11, at the Karman Bar in Laguna Niguel, along with locals Infinite Death and headliners Decrepit Birth from Santa Cruz. “The Karman Bar is kind of small, so I am surprised Decrepit Birth is playing there,” Poppitt says. “We are happy to be a part of it. They are a great death metal band. It should be a killer show, such a brutal band in a small bar is sure to be fun.”
With 2019 just around the corner, Madrost is always looking ahead, and the band has a few dates lined up. October 19, the band will be playing the Doll Hut with Warbringer, and next June, Madrost is opening for ’80s thrash legends Flotsam and Jetsam, at Malone’s. “Next year, we should have a new album,” Poppitt says. “We will begin writing soon and have some new music to release for everyone sometime next year.”
Catch Madrost live at the Karman Bar in Laguna Niguel on Thursday, October 11, with Infinite Death and Decrepit Birth. Click here for tickets.
Alex Distefano is an established freelance writer and music blogger from the Los Angeles area. With over a dozen years under his belt as a published Journalist, he covers the worlds of heavy metal music, punk rock, current events, cannabis culture, comedy, radio, food, tattoos, the paranormal, and ‘conspiracy theories.’ He graduated from California State University Long Beach in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Journalism and Ancient History. Aside from his professional writing endeavors, Distefano works as an Educator, and delivery/rideshare driver.