5 Artists You Need to Know: February 2020 | Revolver

5 Artists You Need to Know: February 2020

From "heaven metal" to hellish industrial
midwife PRESS 2020 cemetery, Sam Killinger
Midwife, 2020
photograph by Sam Killinger

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 musicians who, we think, are on the rise across several different genres. Spanning from self-described "heaven metal" (Midwife) to Nineties industrial worship (CONTRACULT Collective), here are five artists you'll want to get on now before everyone else does.



RIYL Deftones, Code Orange, Norma Jean
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Having gotten the seal of approval from Deftones' Chino Moreno, these U.K. metal experimentalists have range to spare, veering recklessly from sun-kissed shoegaze to skull-crushing metallic hardcore to skin-crawling industrialized noise and beyond. Their new album, I Let It in and It Took Everything, could stand as a modern classic.
QUOTE "A guy broke his leg at one of our hometown shows a while back, where he ended up needing to get a massive metal plate inserted in his leg," Loathe frontman Kadeem France says when asked about the craziest thing that's happened at one of the band's shows. The singer adds, "He did end up getting a free T-shirt though ..."

irist 2020 PRESS


RIYL Mastodon, Gojira, Dillinger Escape Plan
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE With roots in South America and a current home in Atlanta, rising quintet Irist conjure blood and thunder on their forthcoming debut LP, Order of the Mind. Singer Rodrigo Carvalho says the group's mission is to "help push the boundaries of heavy music in our own, distinct way," and they're doing just that.
QUOTE "All of the guys in the band have pets, mostly dogs," Carvalho notes of the band members' lives outside of Irist. "I have a German Shepherd, Dio, who is actually named after Ronnie James, and a black Lab/Doberman mix, Chica. I adopted Chica after Dio sister's, Ozzy, died. Our dogs are a really meaningful part of our lives. In a way, they are like our kids."

contracult collective 2020 PRESS, Shayne Schrode
photograph by Shayne Schrode


RIYL Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE L.A. duo CONTRACULT Collective recently announced their arrival amid the current industrial-rock revival with the simultaneous release of two curiosity-piqueing singles, the original "Hogtied" and a seething, surging cover of Hole's Nineties classic "Violet." Both betray a compelling ability to meld mechanized beats, metallic distortion and New Wave–esque hooks, and suggest nightmarish things to come when the group delivers a long-form offering later this year.
QUOTE "There was this very sad goth kid I had an enormous crush on who I met at summer camp," CONTRACULT Collective frontman Svart recalls of how he got into industrial music. "He listened exclusively to German industrial and Nine Inch Nails. They got me hooked on The Downward Spiral in the summer of 2002."

midwife 2020 PRESS, Alana Wool
photograph by Alana Wool


RIYL Chelsea Wolfe, Jesu, True Widow
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE The solo project of Colorado-based multi-instrumentalist Madeline Johnston, Midwife make self-described "heaven metal," a hypnotic mix of gauzy dream-pop and droning tectonic riffage. Forthcoming album Forever culls icy beauty out of personal grief — over the demise of beloved DIY space Rhinoceropolis, which left Johnston displaced, and the death of her close friend and roommate there, Colin Ward.
QUOTE "I don't really know what my genre is or how to define what I'm doing, so I often make up my own genres that I can identify with," Johnston explains of the "heaven metal" tag. "'Heaven metal,' to me, means catharsis, or emotive music about devastation."

giver_press_2020_credit_marie-laforge.jpg, Marie Laforge
photograph by Marie Laforge


RIYL Converge, Blacklisted, Oathbreaker
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE German hardcore punks Giver are dedicated to making the world a better place through music. To that end, their incendiary LP Sculpture of Violence revolves around the question of "whether there can be peace" and addresses hot-button topics such as gender identity, climate change and consumerism.
QUOTE Asked what song he would play for someone to introduce them to Giver, bassist-vocalist Chris Schmidt points to the new album's title track. "It is a tune that deals with the categories we are brought up in and how hard it is to overcome them and be truly free," he says. "Whether it is nationality, gender or sexual orientation — we're all constructed and should be able to be whoever we want to be as long as we don't harm others. It's important to realize that these patterns are not naturally given and that we can overcome them. Everything could always be different. What gives hope is to produce hope actively."