Extreme Music Awards – An Xperience Column

Written by on February 1, 2024

Extreme Music Awards – An Xperience Column – by OP Callaghan.

I’ve always felt that our local music scene has been very supportive and positive. The Capital Region arts and music history is rich, vibrant, diverse and eclectic, and has been an open, welcoming, and thriving scene. We’ve had more than a few locals become internationally known, and our little part of the world has a reputation as a “must” stop for the touring artist. This camaraderie, support, and devotion was never more clearly demonstrated than at Saturday night’s Extreme Music Awards held at Empire Live. This labor of love, created by locals Mike Valente, Ralph Renna, Fuzz Kebabjian, Brendan Manley and Artie Fredette, was not only a tribute to the local heavy music scene, but a tribute to the scene as a whole. The event included local celebrities as well as national artists from the likes of Overkill, Rancid, Biohazard, Agnostic Front and Murphy’s Law. Paying tribute to an often overlooked yet vital genre in the capital region, The Extreme Music Awards more than made up for lost time.

Assuming the role as master of ceremonies was none other than Schenectady native and drummer extraordinaire, Jason Bittner. Currently playing in Overkill and Shadows Fall Bittner’s resume includes stints with local bands China White and Stigmata, Flotsam and Jetsam, Burning Human, and Anthrax. Bittner not only commanded the stage as a humble, yet professional and entertaining MC, but also played his ass off in a number of performances over the course of the evening. Bittner’s relaxed, easy going manner and sharp wit kept a perfect pace over the evening’s festivities. Presenters, both live and in video submission included local members of Brick By Brick, Lethal lipstick, and sworn Enemy, and was augmented with musical performances and all star jams. Highlights included Judas Priest’s “Grinder” with members of Overkill, Shadows Fall, Violence, Exodus and Hatebreed, Agnostic Front’s “Crucified” featuring members of Agnostic Front, Stigmata, Biohazard and Murderer’s Row, Slayer’s South Of Heaven with Uncle Samm and Jason Bittner, and some killer vocal performances from China White’s Paul Ruckwid, and Local Vocal phenom Vegas Nacy.

Mike Trash, winner of the Best Hair/Glam/Sleaze Rock, as well as winner of Best Veteran Band gave quite the acceptance speech (NSFW) but was much more PG on Monday morning, saying “The Extreme Music Awards was probably the most epic event in the area. I am so honored we were even nominated, let alone winning 2!”

Sponsors performers and the behind the scenes Extreme Dream team, all did an amazing job paying tribute to the local heavy/hard/punk/hardcore scene. The devotion to their craft, as well as their appreciation and promotion of the genre is inspiring and infectious. The event was exceptionally well attended, and could have easily filled a bigger venue. I spoke with Mike Valente, guitarist for Brick By Brick (who also performed at the Pre-Show party on Friday), to get his thoughts on how things went. I personally thought that this was one of the best events that the area has presented. The star quality, local recognition, and support of the fans and fellow artists, makes one proud to be a part of this scene. Valente concurred; “Wow, I am utterly amazed at the amount of support that was had for this. Not one drop of ego in the place. I am humbled to be among such great musicians, such a great scene, such an awesome club and staff.” A giant thanks to everyone who planned, played, donated their time or came to the show. This was one for fans of all ages, including scene veterans and newcomers alike. A proud day for the scene and a win for everyone.

The Awards

Best Death Metal Band: Skinless
Best Black Metal Band: Malefic
Best Doom/Goth/Stoner Band: Gozer
Best Power Metal Band: Frozen Sun
Best Prog/Math Metal Band: The Phoenix And The Raven
Best Hair/Glam/Sleaze Band: The Erotics
Best Thrash Metal Band: Faced
Best Grindcore Band: Escuela Grind
Best Metalcore Band: Downswing
Best Punk Band: The Hauntings
Best Hardcore Band: Violent By Design
Best Hardcore/Beatdown Band: Wrong Move
Best Hardcore Punk Band: Murderer’s Row
Best Metal Video: Downswing, Bound to Misery
Best Live Performance: Joe Mansman and The Midnight Revival Band
Most Brutal Mosh Pit: Invoke Thy Wrath
Best Merch: Alloy Reign
Album Of The Year: Blackbraid, Blackbraid II
Lifetime Achievement Award: Bob Riley
Best New Band: Flatwounds
Best Veteran Band: The Erotics



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