By: Travis James

In Knoxville, there is an array of musical talent ranging from classic orchestral artists to the traditional country musicians, yet the metal-core scene is left out of the limelight.

Metal-core is a sub-genre of heavy metal. These music fans expect insanely heavy breakdowns, loud, brazen lyrics, and sometimes a combination of melodic and roaring vocals.

Venues like The Bowery, The Longbranch, The International, The Concourse, and The Open Chord feature metal shows, but publicity is meager. Unknown up-and-coming bands have an especially hard time attracting new fans.

It’s Not Just Kid Stuff

Local metal-core band, A March Through May, consists mostly of high school students. Their maturity and mastery of their craft caught the attention of  Night Owl Music, a Knoxville management and booking agency.

Rodney Kiichi Minor, Assistant Manager of Operations says:

The Armageddon show was actually my first time seeing A March Through May live. I’ve been a long time follower and supporter of these gentlemen and what they do, so needless to say, it was a real treat. They played their hearts and souls out to a room full of people. There wasn’t a single body in that room that was not moving. I was extremely impressed with their dedication to their performance. I look forward to seeing these guys progress!


A March Through May formed in late 2013. Original member, Tyler Cooper (drums), is now joined by Zane Free (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), Aaron Hager (lead vocals), Jon Holsenback (bass guitar), and Alex Jaynes (lead guitar). The band’s main muscial influences are Avenged Sevenfold, Motionless in White, and Cradle of Filth.

Full Band

From left to right: Tyler Cooper, Jon Holsenback, Aaron Hager, Zane Free, and Alex Jaynes.

They have been playing to an ever increasing crowd of devoted headbangers. Their shows are electrifying. The band has become more interactive with their audiences.

Tyler Cooper

Tyler Cooper. Photo by: Amber Davis.

Drummer Tyler Cooper says, “Being on that stage and playing music for such a large crowd of people can be very therapeutic. It’s just that relief, that pain-killer, you need from the stress of the real world.”

Aaron Hager

Aaron Hager. Photo by Amber Davis.

When fans hear Aaron Hager’s booming vocals, they explode into a frenzy of cheering and moshing. Hager says, 

I’ll be honest, I still get stage fright. Being in front of a crowd of screaming people can be very daunting and, being the front man, you know, the band’s figurehead, all of that seems to gravitate toward me and it can be an awful lot of pressure, especially if we are opening for a crowd we’ve never played for.


The band performs a five to six song set with: The Unexpected, Exodus, Take It or Leave It, Glass Bones and Paper Skin, Insanity Duality, and One Small Glass of Carrot Juice.

With the help of sound engineer, Dalton Skinner, the band transfered their raw live performance energy into their first studio single, Ebolapocalypse. With power and control held firmly over the instrumentals, Tyler’s heavy drum beats and Alex and Zane’s exemplary guitar work is to be commended. Aaron Hager and Zane Free’s opposite vocal styles are entrancing.


Left to right: Alex Jaynes and Zane Free. Photo by: Amber Davis.

Even with a slow, homegrown notoriety, A March Through May flourishes in this rural backdrop. T-shirt vendor is already a sponsor. The band is booked for an all ages November 27 “Season’s Beatings” concert at The Open Chord

The Open Chord is located at 8502 Kingston Pike, near Walker Springs.

The Open Chord is located at 8502 Kingston Pike, near Walker Springs.

Knoxville is home to several famous names such as Quentin Tarantino, 10 Years, and Whitechapel. One day it may also be known as the hometown of A March Through May.


© Travis James, 2015.

You might also like: Christopher Scum’s Beginner’s Guide to Punk Rock and  Wallypalooza! with Victims of Euphoria, Indie Lagone, & Big Pushy.





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