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Michael Cook leads double life in metal band

April 15, 2011

When you run into Michael Cook, a junior English major, on campus you will probably find him sporting a plaid lumberjack’s shirt and blue jeans. His sincere smile, as usual, making it apparent how pleased he is to bump into a friend. He is a sharp and careful thinker and meticulously polite.

However, Cook also enjoys putting on Celtic white and black makeup and fake blood to play the drums in his band A Hill to Die Upon.

The band plays blackened death metal and was founded by Cook and his older brother, Adam, in the winter of 2005.

“Our parents wanted us to try playing instruments, so my brother got the guitar and I picked up the drums,” said Michael. “The convient thing about being brothers is you already have half a band.”

According to Michael, the band started off covering Blink-182 and Nirvana, but started listening to heavier and heavier music.

“We like being at the edge of the extreme side of music,” said Michael.

The band’s fan based has, literally, spread internationally after they made a European tour in the summer of 2009, which stretched from Norway to England. They also performed in Mexico last November, in addition to three Midwestern tours.

Their lyrical themes have been described as literature, Christianity, mythology and battles. On Saturday, April 9, the band played at Club 21, where they were full of raw energy and definitely prepared for combat.

Charismatic and smart, Adam unquestionably has the persona required for a front man in such a high energy, full-throttle band. Throughout the show, his personality played like a siren to draw the largest crowd of the evening to the stage. Then, delivering what they desired A Hill to Die Upon lovingly dashed their minds on the rocks of black metal.

The band has a strong sense of humor. Adam remarked that the most important elements to properly preparing for a show are stretches and chocolate milk — a bottle of which rested on an amp on stage throughout the show.

As the band geared up, fans began knocking on the door with enthusiastic words of encouragement. Each time, all three members of the band welcomed and thanked their fans warmly.

“I’m a mild-mannered guy. We all are, in everyday life,” Adam said, as he finished smearing black makeup around his eyes. “This is the negative side of myself. How I show the [expletive] I can be in a visual, hopefully entertaining, form.”

The band took the stage just before midnight and kicked off the hour long exercise in incredibly controlled chaos.

Entropy, despite a strong place in the world of physics, came up short handed as massive amounts of energy poured from the band into the crowd. Nothing seemed to be lost.  As the music intensified, so did the whipping hair of metal heads as they head-banged and drank from the cup of a death metal juggernaut.

Michael’s remarkably rhythmic and explosive, drumming commanding the pulse of the entire spectacle.

The band’s first album, “INFINITE TITANIC IMMORTAL,” features eleven songs, including “Prometheus Rebound.”

SOD Magazine called the album, “epic, powerful, crushing Black Metal onslaught.” “Raw & Wild” simply stated, “get this album.”

A Hill to Die Upon is releasing a second album in June of this year titled, “Omens.” Describing the album Michael said, “The music will be an intense celebration of despair and the dark spiritual side of humanity.”

The band will be playing in at the 1st Street Armoury at 6 p.m. on June 25.

Contributing Writer

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