Here at Revolver, we pride ourselves in living on the cutting edge of heavy music, from metal and hardcore to industrial and goth, and we try to keep you on the front line, too, by giving you a deep look at the innovative noisemakers poised to shape the sound and the scene. To that end, we've rounded up a handful of artists who, we think, are on the rise across several different genres. Spanning from Maori-inflected groove metal from New Zealand (Alien Weaponry) to worm-ridden death metal from the Pacific Northwest (Mortiferum), here are five bands you'll want to get on now before everyone else does.
(Infernally) hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Mortiferum won worldwide underground attention with 2017's nasty Altar of Decay demo, one of those cassettes that spread via word of mouth, with buzz growing like mold on the decaying skeletons of the band's Finnish death-metal forebearers. Featuring members of Anhedonist, Bone Sickness and more, the crew recently returned from a trek with Fetid and are preparing a new LP for its new label, Profound Lore. "We were really pumped on the demo, but didn't think it would get much further than our friends hearing it," explains guitarist Max Bowman." And we certainly didn't expect sudden attention from labels, let alone Profound Lore. We're all thrilled to be working with him."
Sludge and doom is so, so, so tired. It's all been done before by some of the greatest to do it, from Eyehategod to Dystopia to Sleep to everyone who has followed in their lumbering footsteps. So what has enabled self-described "angry queer gloom cult" Vile Creature to make something so fresh and compelling out of such a worn-out subgenre? It's all in the chemistry between the duo's members, we suppose. "Being just two of us, it makes it easy to come to a consensus on everything, which leaves a lot more time to just play music and have fun," says guitarist KW. "Having a dog, six cats and being married helps, as well."
With an approach not too far removed from the tail end of the Cavalera brothers' run with Sepultura, three-piece New Zealand band Alien Weaponry have made some serious waves on the strength of a few singles. Did we mention that the band sings in the Maori language (Te Reo Māori) and is inspired by the culture's tribal spirit and rhythms? Or that the trio of two brothers, Henry and Lewis de Jong, and bassist Ethan Trembath are just 17, 15 and 15, respectively? Look for the young band to take things next level in the very near future now that they have the backing of Napalm Records.
Hell to Pay
While we await a new record from Philadelphia's Jesus Piece, a related team of hardcore miscreants has emerged to satiate our thirst for blood. Featuring two members of JP, Hell to Pay boast the same vein-bulging visceral fury that compels listeners towards the pit, and they've captured it on their debut LP Bliss, due on March 16th via GTR Records. When asked what the new album& has to offer, bassist Aaron Heard responds, "Bliss is an exploration into the violence caused by, and woven into, society. Bliss asks its recipient to reevaluate their purpose."
Featuring current and former members of Russian Circles, Pelican, Locrian and more, RLYR trace a path towards instrumental post-rock nirvana by way of post-punk, indie, prog and more. Don't let the Yes-referencing band name fool you though, this is not some ultra-noodly drug-fueled heavy-metal space odyssey — in fact, RLYR are more Chavez than they are Neurosis on their new LP Actual Existence. "Our other bands have a tendency to act as an outlet to expel the frustrations and negative energy in our lives.," explains guitarist Trevor de Brauw on the group's metal personnel but not so metal approach. "Though musically we pull from similar roots, RLYR has almost the opposite approach — it's more of a channel to tap into euphoria and catharsis. If there's ever been a time when we all need more positivity in our lives, it's now."