When Bassnectar was a metalhead


Metal is not a job and will never pay the bills. Hence many metal musicians move on to other careers. Sometimes this includes other forms of music. Such is the case of Lorin Ashton, a/k/a Bassnectar, who previously was in a black/doom metal band called Pale Existence.

Correctly intuiting that metal would not pay the bills, and being from the already-undernoticed San Jose scene which got obscured by the greater prominence of nearby San Francisco, Ashton migrated from underground metal to playing multiple DJ sets a day in an effort to develop his hybrid style.

The result was Bassnectar, a merging of afterhours club music and sonic torment which showed its heavy metal origins. While Ashton retains his long hair and metal/punk tshirts collection, this lengthy history of involvement in underground metal is probably lost on his audience.

Pale Existence also featured Steve Cefala of doom/black metal band Dawning. Most fans don’t know of this underground history, so we present a comparison of Lorin Ashton a/k/a Bassnectar in both the old days as Pale Existence and in his newest form:


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12 thoughts on “When Bassnectar was a metalhead”

  1. Remind me of Zedd and his former stupidcore band Dioramic…

  2. erection says:

    The russian psytrance producer “Planum”, used to play Black Metal for a period of 10 years then switch to make electronic music.

    On his debut album “Elaborate” he uses some elements of metal in his music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2kI9zAIW1s 5 min into the songg there are metal riffs and some drum patterns.

  3. Lou Reed says:

    These guys used to play death metal too:

  4. erection says:

    Yeah! Necro and Ill Bill used to play in a death metal band.
    Use alot of metal references in their beats and their lyrics is somewhat similar to death metal.


    Ill Bill – Peace Sells

    A tune where he just raps about different hardcore, speed, death and trash metal song and groups.
    See how many you can spot in these lyrics:

    “I’m the Kreator of Terrible Certainty, it’s No Escape from the Toxic Trace
    Pop your face, Storming With Menace and Blind Faith
    The Angel of Death Read Between the Lies South Of Heaven
    Expendable Youth, Divine Intervention
    Teaching y’all A Lesson In Violence
    Doctor Death injecting the virus, apocalypse
    I’m a horseman in the Circle Of Tyrants
    And death’s the era, Posessed like Jeff Becerra
    Consuming Impulses drown you in the depths of terror, forever

    Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying?
    Who’s trying?, who’s crying?, who’s lying in a pool of blood dying?
    Peace Sells But Who’s Buying?
    Who’s trying?, who’s crying?, who’s poppin’ with the four pound iron?
    Peace Sells But Who’s Buying?
    Who’s trying?, who’s crying?, who’s lying in a pool of blood dying?
    Peace Sells But Who’s Buying?
    Who’s trying?, who’s crying?, who’s lying in a pool of blood?

    Stranded In Hell, My America dated Betrayal
    Brainwashed by a system that’s created to fail
    Freedom Or Fire, Securitron, ominous fate
    Fear Factory manufacturing Hi-Tech Hate
    A Slave New World, world gone mad, A World Without Heroes
    Used to go to shows surrounded by weirdos
    Live at L’amours, mastering the science of war
    Reading Metal Forces Magazines dying to tour
    Biohazards and Carnivores, living a Life Of Agony
    Where to go, We Gotta Know like Harley Flanagan
    Electric Funeral, Children Of The Grave Behind The Wall Of Sleep
    Be afraid, killing to be saved
    I Don’t Need Society, Down For Life, foul and trife
    Ill Bill, Dirty Rotten Imbecile, down to fight
    Give Me My Taxes Back, money, God’s a liar
    Speak truth to Def Americans like Tom Araya

    Psychic Vacuum, jab you with a knife & stab you
    Ravenous Medicine, Tribal Convictions, it’s heroin
    Experiment, Macrosolutions To Megaproblems
    Let the revolvers solve ’em, Chaos Mongers, a Cosmic Drama
    Peace Sells But Who’s Buying, so I stay with the funds
    We’re real, so you die and find you laced with the slugs
    With The Quickness you calling me my Sacred Love
    I got Bad Brains, the reason I spray with guns, now listen”

  5. erection says:

    Forgot about his tribute to Paul Baloff. Funny video!


  6. Lou Reed says:

    I’ve tried Necro but I only like about three songs of his entire discography. Lack of lyrical content, just random stuff rapped over looped beats that get boring after a minute or two. Ill Bill is a bit more mature but his stuff doesn’t appeal to me either.

    I agree with that poster on the forums who says that Nergal should start rapping. He’s one of the biggest players in black metal and it would be interesting to hear him rap about what goes on in the underground and how we can keep it real.

  7. steve says:

    Besides his musical taste having evolved , I honestly think Lorin switched to techno because of the sense of community in the rave scene , and also because he liked how people were also friendlier and more extroverted in that scene . The “e” could have had something to do with it too ! ha :)
    I may have taken him to his first rave or two in fact ( I was a raver). I remember a beach rave in Davenport ( Santa Cruz) that we tried going to as his first party . it got cancelled (ticket buyers were ripped off) and lorin challenged the event managers and they belittled him in front of a large crowd . you could see his heart was in it already before he’d even gotten to attend his first party .
    I remember when he came back from UC Santa Cruz and told me he had created his own major called ‘learning through psychotronic trance’ . I honestly remember thinking my old best friend had gone mad. If he was really all about money at that time , he would have gone into IT in college or something cause Lorin’s as smart as anyone.
    I guess its possible but I really don’t think his switch to techno was based on economic or practical considerations.

  8. steve says:

    I would add that Lorin grew up in a hippy commune and his dad founded the good earth on Bascom ave that is now a whole foods. when he first started going to raves I would see him handing out fruit from his dads store . I’m not sure but I’m guessing that’s where the “nectar” part of his name came from . given his hippie upbringing I think people can understand why eventually the rave culture appealed to him more than the death metal scene.

  9. Marko Laiho’s bad techno mix is better.

    Beherit > Pale Existence

  10. steve says:

    why would someone compare beherit to pale existence . pale existence was just a small underground band with minimal production . also pale existence is about 20 times more brutal than beherit ! makes beherit sound wimpy .

  11. steve says:

    by the way from what I have seen at dub step concerts , its as much about the girls and the e as it is the music

  12. steve says:

    went back and listened to early Beherit and guess I was mistaken . I remembered them as standard blackmetal but their real early stuff sounds brutal.

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