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. From gun-slinging death metal to throat-searing trap metal, here are five artists you'll want to get on now.
RIYL Obituary, Gatecreeper, Power Trip
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE SpiritWorld make groovy, hardcore-influenced death metal for gunslingers and buckaroos. The one-man project of Stu Folsom lassos together Old West storytelling, bull-horned riffs of the Obituary variety and cattle-prodding mosh parts that culminate into one rootin' tootin', tobacco-spittin', revolver-cockin' moment after another on 2019's Pagan Rhythms LP. If you prefer your death metal to have more personality than pure savagery, and/or you hanker for hardcore that's as danceable as it is listenable, then you'll get along great with the new sheriff in town.
QUOTE "I knew I needed to challenge myself to make something that I would personally feel was executed on the level of my favorite albums and artists," Folsom says. "Something more than a collection of riff vomit with a cool licensed painting that has nothing to do with the material I create. ... One day it materialized, and I decided to create a fictional world of outlaws in the Old West finding the gates to Hell and write metal songs and a collection of horror western short stories that flesh out those [tales]."
RIYL Ghostemane, Alice Glass, Rico Nasty
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE If you think trap metal has hit an innovative dead end, Banshee will change that. In this project, singer-multi-instrumentalist-producer Rachel Knight alternates between slurry auto-tune and throat-searing screams over beats that fuse the deafening 808s of trap, the bracing synths of witch house and the playful experimentation of digicore. True to her name, Banshee's shrieks are positively haunting, but it's the creativity of her instrumentals — influenced by everyone from Three 6 Mafia to Death — and her painful, gripping lyricism that truly sets her apart in a crowded field.
QUOTE "I've always been fascinated by banshees and Irish mythology since I was little," she says. "Their whole existence is a warning to others, they don't want to hurt anyone. The more experiences I had, the more I felt like I could relate." Similarly, her mission statement transcends art and calls for a culture that believes and supports survivors of sexual abuse. "I've seen so many ways in which society and institutions reward abusers for their behavior. I will scream about it until I die. I want survivors to feel safe existing and never have to live in silence."
RIYL Primitive Man, Integrity, Dying Fetus
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE On paper, doom metal (slow, brooding, atmospheric) and hardcore (fast, exuberant, grounded) don't mix, but Kruelty simply don't give a fuck. Hailing from Tokyo, the band's growing catalog of self-proclaimed "disgusting music" is an even split between lurching sludge, snaggletoothed death metal and beefy beatdown hardcore. Many of the songs on 2020's A Dying Truth exceed the five-minute mark, resulting in punishing mosh suites that test the stamina of whatever pits they soundtrack. The group's recent set at Florida's FYA Fest is already a 2022 highlight.
QUOTE "I'd been into 'slow' stuff like doom or sludge for years," says guitarist Zuma, who founded the band in 2017 with his oldest friends. "But I would often think it's much harder [when slow songs] also have faster mosh parts, so I tried to make that happen. It's usually difficult to blend them because hardcore kids might lose interest in longer songs, and metalheads might hate 'hardcore dancing' in general. But we did it!"
RIYL Boris, Godflesh, Sonic Youth
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Fans of SASAMI's 2019 album, a cool-headed triumph of glassy dream-pop and icy shoegaze, might not recognize her new music. Songs like "Say It" and "Skin a Rat" — the latter featuring drumming from Megadeth skinsman Dirk Verbeuren — channel the singer-songwriter's lifelong love for System of a Down's erratic blitzes into snarling noise-rock and clattering industrial. Not every song on her forthcoming record, Squeeze, is quite as thrashing, but her quest to combat "toxic positivity" with boiling rage comes through even when the music simmers.
QUOTE "I think it's strange that people automatically assume that 'emotional' music is sad music," SASAMI tells us. "Anger and frustration are equally valid and present emotions that deserve to be soundtracked. Also, just rolling around in the chaos can be fun." While so much of Squeeze deals in blunt-force fury, she also wanted the album's terrifying cover avatar — an homage to the Japanese folktale ghost character Nure-Onna, who lures in victims and kills them — to have a more nuanced emotional resonance. "I was attracted to this Femme character who symbolizes villainy as opposed to victimhood. I also like this juxtaposition between beauty and violence."
RIYL High on Fire, Electric Wizard, Pink Floyd
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE While many doom bands experiment with psychedelic embellishments — a washy phaser here, a moment of sustained ambience there — King Bastard go all the way down the rabbit hole. In what sounds like the plot of a Dazed & Confused-esque stoner comedy, three of the four members bonded over guitarist Mike Verni's Sleep shirt at college orientation, and two years later they began working toward their just-released debut, It Came from the Void — a smoky haze of Seventies psych, Nineties stoner metal and even speckles of raging, black-metal-esque sludge.
QUOTE "We all have an extremely diverse taste in music," says Verni, who started with Ozzy and Joe Satriani and eventually came upon Opeth and Electric Wizard. "Rush is my favorite band and Neil Peart is my hero," enthuses drummer Matt Ryan. "But I also love heavier bands like Lamb of God and even groups from other genres like Run the Jewels." Bassist Arthur Erb fell in love with the Beach Boys at a young age, but "these days, bands like Conan, Primitive Man and Electric Wizard definitely give me a level of heaviness I aspire to achieve."