SPELLCASTER Dungeons! And! DRAGONS!

SNOBBY ELITISTS can be found in any scene, even amidst the brimstone stench of a metal show. It's easy to locate the smug metal fan scoffing in the back of the room, sporting denim vests adorned with patches of bands you've probably never heard of. If you inquire, they'll regale you with a tale about how their band is an important—nay, vital—tastemaker in the local scene. Oftentimes, it's these very musicians that snag the accolades and the national spotlight. Yet every so often the fates reward those who work hard and actually deserve it—as is the case with local speed-metal stallions Spellcaster.

"We always try to be nice because that's how you should be," claims Spellcaster bass player Gabe Franco. "When I was growing up, going to shows, and meeting people in bands I liked, most of them were super cocky," adds guitarist Cory Boyd. "I never wanted to be like that. But the musician who worships his fans? That's the person whose album I'll buy. Not the dickhead who's gonna flip you off when you ask for an autograph."

While staying humble and remaining true to their musical influences, Spellcaster suddenly found themselves courted by reputable independent label Heavy Artillery Records (who discovered them via MySpace, of all things). The band released their first EP Spells of Speed last year and will be celebrating the release of their debut full-length, Under the Spell, this month. But no metal band can live by kindness alone, and Spellcaster has the chops to prove their worthiness.

Under the Spell is brimming with heavy riffage played at a thrashing pace, allowing Spellcaster to sound like a high(er) octane version of Judas Priest. Vocalist Thomas Adams has a unique delivery that is smooth and throaty, and he tosses in an occasional Jim Gillette-esque, multiple-octave wail for good measure. In fact, every single track on Under the Spell is a severe bangover just waiting to happen.

Spellcaster's devotion to their craft will always shine through, even if the band cares not for name-dropping or the proper placement of pentagrams. As Boyd explains, "We can act as cool as we want and have more bullet belts then everyone else, but at the core, our music speaks for itself."