When the North End Metal All-Stars play, everyone buys two beers at a time. Along with pumping fists, this is the ultimate compliment for NEMAS. Founding member J. Quinn's goal from the start was "good pub metal where people can go out and have a good time."
Quinn formed NEMAS from the ashes of veteran extreme metal gods Terratomb in the spring of 2008. He played guitar in the group for years, but it was Quinn's apartment and Terratomb's jam space that burned down with the North End Diner and Pub in 2007. The fire fueled his dream of playing melodic power metal.
"After that fire it was like, Jesus, here I am, 33 years old, if I'm not going to do what I really want to do now it's like tick-tock, right?" he says. "It was shit or get off the pot."
The stigma with most power metal groups is their polished posturing. But NEMAS' only image is no image---their all-star claim is tongue-in-cheek. "It's a joke. We don't take ourselves too seriously. I can't get recognized," says Quinn. "Fuck, we're no all-stars. It was more because we were pulling people from other bands."
Power metal is a big move for Quinn and Halifax. The local metal scene has been dominated by extreme black, death and thrash metal. But following the likes of Black Moor, with three guitars NEMAS trades technical complexity for upbeat, harmonic melodies. Staying true to the scene's roots, though, NEMAS feature extreme metal-style vocals.
"All our friends are into [extreme metal]. Normally they don't listen to power metal when they go home," says Quinn. "They don't own any power metal CDs. But when they're out at the show, having a few beer and Brett's screaming his head off just like their favourite death metal singer, people just get into it."