Interview with Metal Trenches

If you’re reading this, there’s a 99% chance you know Metal Trenches. However, let’s introduce you anyway who we are talking about…

Introduction: Who is behind Metal Trenches Youtube Channel?

In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of metal music, where the underground often holds the richest treasures, one platform stands out for its dedication to shining a light on the genre’s hidden gems: Metal Trenches. This YouTube channel, which also has its own site,, has quickly become a sanctuary for metal enthusiasts seeking to discover new and emerging talents within the vast metal landscape. Known for its in-depth reviews, engaging reactions, and a wide variety of tier lists, Metal Trenches has carved a unique niche in the metal realm. Its mission is clear: to bridge the gap between underground metal musicians and the fans eager to explore beyond the mainstream. By focusing on lesser-known artists and bands, Metal Trenches not only supports the growth of these musicians but also enriches the metal community with a diverse selection of bands, albums and funny Youtube series.

Metal Trenches Profile
"I don't even think about the mask anymore when I'm recording... except how sweaty it gets."

Full Interview

Without further ado, let’s dive straight into the interview with Metal Trenches. First and foremost, we want to thank him for his interest, kindness, sincerity and the quality of his responses.

Journey into Metal

Let’s start from the beginning. What ignited your passion for metal music, and how did it lead you to start your YouTube channel, Metal Trenches?

I think it started early on in the 90’s listening to Q101 alternative radio: lots of grunge, Metallica, and later on early nu metal like Korn. Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” is still my all time favorite song and I remember resonating it but not being sure why as early as like late grade school. Started getting more into music, my first CD’s were Green Day’s Dookie and Everclear’s So Much For The Afterglow. The real tipping point into METAL was being on a summer trip with a friend and him putting the ST Slipknot album in my discman. That album broke my brain and I was addicted from that moment on going from nu metal to metalcore to melodic death metal and stuff like Dimmu Borgir finally to the more extreme stuff. The YouTube channel initially just started as written reviews I was doing on places like Metalstorm and Metal Archives. A friend of mine built me my own site to write and then that progressed into an interview podcast with musicians as a fun thing to do on the side and then I’d say having more free time around Covid ultimately pushed me into taking it more seriously and turning it into what it is today.

Review Process

Your reviews are known for their depth and insight. Can you walk us through your process of reviewing an album? How do you prepare, and what aspects are most important to you?

Thank you. These days my emphasis is ultimately simple: “How do I get as many people as possible to watch the video and walk away interested in checking it out for themselves.” In that way I feel more like a freelance marketer or salesman than a reviewer. With that always in mind, I just listen to the album a few times and if I like it, I try to as succinctly as possible zero in on the most interesting and exciting elements that I think will pique others’ interests. Then I decide the best way to package that into as broadly digestible of a video as possible, which generally means mixing in smaller bands who tend to get overlooked with bigger ones that are also making good music and will draw in more viewers for both.

Keeping Up with Releases

The metal scene is vast and constantly evolving. How do you stay up-to-date with new releases and decide which albums or artists to feature on your channel

I’ve been doing this long enough that my email is exploding with albums from both bands and labels. You build up a contact list and get on email lists over time. There’s no shortage of options. I also check Metalstorm’s “upcoming releases” section as well. Then I decide what I’m prioritizing and zero in on those things.

Engagement with the Community

Engaging with your audience is key to building a community. How do you foster this engagement, and what role has your audience played in shaping your content?

It started with a lot of engagement with comments, especially the first day a video goes up, and I still do that. I think since starting though, building the Metal Trenches Discord has been a HUGE part of really fostering that connection and community into what it is now, and then also finding more ways within the video to directly engage and ENCOURAGE the audience to engage on various levels.

Impact of Digital Media

With the rise of streaming platforms and digital media, how do you see the landscape of metal music evolving, and what role do content creators like yourself play in this ecosystem?

It’s kind of a blessing and a curse: on the one hand there is inarguably no better time to discover new incredible metal music, but on the other there are SO many bands and ways to find them that it can be hard to sift through it all. I consider a big part of my role to be doing that as much as I can FOR the listener and narrowing down my favorite options that viewers will also enjoy. I also think that people need to be willing to move away from the traditional review formats and recognize that with the number of releases out there, most people just don’t CARE enough to read a review for a smaller band. You have to find creative ways to package them into content with broader appeal. It’s funny that I still get bands with the mindset that an 8 minute dedicated review of their album is better than a 30 second spot on a list or as a shoutout… but frankly that’s just ego. The latter will ALWAYS be more beneficial for a band getting started. They have have the 8 minute review with MAYBE 1000 views, largely from people who are already fans OR they can have the 30 second spot with 10,000+ views, many of which will be new listeners.

Memorable Moments

Reflecting on your time as a YouTuber, what have been some of the most memorable moments or milestones for you personally?

I miss doing interviews, but I just don’t have the time for them anymore. I’ve met so many cool people and heard so many interesting stories. I also remember my Deftones Ohms review being one of my first videos to blow up and then the massive explosion that was the Cringiest Bands videos. Of course I’d love to see more content reach those 200K+ viewerships, but I also don’t want to focus on content like that entirely. It’s a shame that hate sells the most… but that’s been a learning thing too: can you package what is ultimately LOVE as hate in the thumbnail and title in a way that isn’t clickbait? That has often been a roadmap to achieving the goal of as many eyes and ears on a new artist as possible.

Inspirations and Influences

Who are your personal heroes in the metal world, and how have they influenced your approach to music and content creation?

I honestly don’t have many these days, because I’ve been around long enough to see most of my childhood heroes turn out to be truly awful people behind the scenes. I do respect people like Fantano and Finn Mckenty who get a lot of hate but have really managed to build something for themselves and ultimately make good content even if I don’t always agree with them. I also really respect my peers like The Metal Meltdown, Forgemaster Metal Reviews, and the HIGHLY underrated Mad Mike channel. He does full documentaries in addition to sillier shit-posts and you can see his film degree come through in his MASTERFUL editing.

Challenges and Overcoming Them

Every creator faces challenges. Can you share a particularly challenging moment in your career and how you overcame it?

Any time a video you really liked making flops, it can be extremely demotivating. Had that happen PLENTY of times, and the reality is that is always going to be part of the game. I think just learning to take those “failures” into account and growing from them makes it get easier with time, and at this point I pretty much know in advance when certain videos are going to be more niche which makes it easier to just make peace with it.

Life Outside YouTube

Away from the camera and the world of Metal Trenches, what are your hobbies or passions? How do you find balance?

Career and family takes up pretty much the rest of my time. I keep very busy between those things. I do like playing Halo still here and there and love listening to other funny YouTubers, ESPECIALLY Red Letter Media. They always make me laugh and inspire me which is why you’ll find them as memes in my own content. We are also currently obsessed with this new season of True Detective and I am a longtime lover of David Lynch and the early Silent Hill games.

Future Visions

Looking ahead, what aspirations do you have for your channel and your role within the metal music community?

I just want to continue to grow and figure out how to draw in more viewers to both act as more and more of an asset to aspiring, underlooked artists out there and, frankly, make more money to support my family.

The Mask

Your mask is now your trademark. How was the decision of using that mask in particular? Is there a funny story behind it?

I get asked this pretty regularly, but it was simple: I knew that going on camera was a jump I probably needed to make to increase engagement, but for various reasons I really value mine and my family’s privacy. So I just looked for something that would cover my face, but also not make it difficult to talk. And the sunglasses have the added benefit of being able to read the script without worrying about eye contact. So it started as necessity but had the kind of amusing side effect of becoming part of the brand over time. I also think as corny as it looks to new viewers, it helps me stand out and they do NOT forget me. I know this because the haters ALWAYS come back to multiple videos to comment about it. If I can live rent free like that, I’m all for it. On YouTube ANY engagement is good engagement (for better or for worse). Those people ultimately help feed the algorithm and blow up my videos even more, so I welcome it. I don’t even think about the mask anymore when I’m recording… except how sweaty it gets. 

Final Thoughts

Before we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?

Please consider also checking out Forgemaster Metal Review, Mad Mike, The Metal Meltdown, and Basil Bonehead. They are all friendly in the Discord and make great content. Would love to see more of this community boosting each other up instead of seeing it just as competition.


Metal Trenches Youtube Channel

RiffRiot would like to thank Metal Trenches again for collaborating with us. It was an honor and a pleasure.

Metal Trenches References and Links of Interest

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