DURING HIGH SCHOOL, you probably had pretty grand aspirations for your band. In hindsight, you probably weren't a very capable musician—or human, for that matter. Odds are, as you were writing infantile and derivative music, you could hardly deal with taking out the trash, let alone going on tour.
Now imagine that instead of jamming in the room where your guitarist's mom makes flower arrangements, your band produced a record that was heralded and held up next to Slayer's Reign in Blood. You went on a national tour organized by an internationally distributed metal magazine, opening for legendary acts rather than just playing a few gigs downtown at some sleazy dive. These impossible fantasies were accomplished by Baltimore's Noisem before half of them were old enough to buy smokes.
"The whole Decibel [magazine] thing and the major tours were unreal," says guitar player Sebastian Phillips. "We never thought we'd be in that position, but we went with it."
The reverence and accolades Noisem's received in the past year and a half are well earned. Their debut full-length, Agony Defined, is 25 minutes of furious, bludgeoning-yet-spry thrash and death metal. Song titles like "Split from the Inside Out" and "Rotten Remains" reek of Repulsion, and Phillips' and Travis Stone's guitar solos sound like the early days of Slayer's Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Most of Noisem's aforementioned influences were producing music 10 to 15 years before they were born, and Phillips admits they got some help from family, friends, and the almighty world wide web.
"All of our parents were into heavy music, and so we all grew up listening to bands like Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden. A friend showed me how to play the intro riff from 'South of Heaven' by Slayer when I was nine. After that I kind of took to the internet and looked up other bands like them and older live videos."
With Noisem at the helm, the future of metal is bright. "We're enjoying everything that is happening because it might not be forever," Phillips says.