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 blood-soaked death metal to old-school Long Island pop-punk, here are five artists you'll want to get on now.
RIYL Terror, Rotting Out, First Blood
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE With a blend of knuckle-dusted metalcore and California punk-rock melody, Section H8's music contains enough wide-ranging appeal to rope in anyone with a penchant for hardcore. However, you might need to make sure you're tough enough to catch them live. Often taking place under highway overpasses in L.A., one of their recent gigs was busted by over 100 cops who fired rubber bullets into a scrum of thousands of moshing punks, and they weaved the footage into their latest music video. At another show, a guy allegedly drove his truck through the crowd while firing a gun — and yes, the music continued. These guys don't mess around.
QUOTE "Less of a band, more of a gang that plays songs," is how Section H8's face-tatted frontman Mexi explains who they are. The California OG got into metal and punk at nine years old, and after being in and out of mental health facilities between 12 and 16, he became a full-on street punk in his later teens. "Drinking every day, living on friends couches or in abandoned buildings," he explains. Those experiences informed the music on Section H8's debut, Welcome to the Nightmare. "I'm still out here running around to some extent, so I see and experience a lot," he says. "I don't expect this shit to land right with everyone. Especially fragile people and folks who expect everyone to view the world through their specific lens. This is how things are through my eyes. Take it or leave it."
RIYL Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Carcass
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Their name suggests an inversion of their mother genre, but Undeath aren't calling for a sonic revolution. Rather, the Rochester, New York, band are simply picking up the tried-and-true tools of old-school death metal and using them better than practically anyone else in their peer group. The quartet's 2020 Prosthetic Records debut, Lesions of a Different Kind, is a gruesome gallery of blood-soaked lyrics, meatgrinding riffs, demonically low vocals and a production style that brings the filth of the Nineties into the fidelity of the present day. Plus, the album's title track features a killer guest spot from the Black Dahlia Murder's Trevor Strnad.
QUOTE "To play sick, skull crushing death metal 24/7, 365," frontman Alex Jones says of Undeath's mission statement. The vocalist got into death metal through message boards as a teenager, but he actually cut his teeth playing in a screamo band called Druse before this project formed in 2018. "I think a lot of the more grassroots, DIY ethics that inform a lot of [the screamo] scene shape my worldview in a pretty substantial way." Lyrically, he's all about that gore. "I sincerely hope that the things we describe on that album have never actually happened to anybody," he says. "Well, that's not entirely true — there are some people out there that I wish would get strapped beneath a bladed-pendulum and disemboweled."
RIYL My Bloody Valentine, Nothing, King Woman
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE If you like your shoegaze noisy, dense and downcast but still achingly beautiful, then Wednesday are for you. The Asheville, North Carolina, band began as an outlet for frontperson Karly Hartzman to write songs that were influenced by shimmering alt-rock bands like the Sundays and Cocteau Twins. However, the project took a turn sharp turn into loud, suffocating shoegaze with a tinge of country on last year's excellent I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone. Next month's follow-up, Twin Plagues, is both gnarlier and catchier, with svelte hooks that peak out of the streaky crinkles of guitar dissonance and clattering drums.
QUOTE "I'd love to be an access point for people that wanna get into heavier music," Hartzman says. "I think a lot of people would be into noisier shit if they tried listening to it, but just haven't had a moment of discovery that wasn't totally gatekept or something." Although she points to the indie singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield as her most formative musical influence, Hartzman spent the last year listening to darker, heavier acts like Liturgy, Unwound and Skullflower. "I had a really angry year," she says. "There was a while where I was just listening to Skullflower's noise albums, and Jake [Lenderman] our guitarist was deeply into Sumac." Therefore, black-metal imagery just felt right for the Twin Plagues singles artwork. "A photo of one of us smiling in sad clown makeup or corpse paint just feels like how our music feels."
RIYL The Jesus Lizard, 7Seconds, Poison Idea
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Candy Apple is the perfect name for this Denver three-piece. The raw melody of their songs creates the cavities and their noisy, raggedy exteriors provide the fillings. Their debut LP from earlier this year, Sweet Dreams of Violence, features nine unbelievably catchy punk bangers that could easily be morphed into Top 40 pop songs in the right hands. Instead, these DIY hardcore dudes squish them into two-minute blasts of sweaty, lo-fi basement burners that are crawling with ear-bleeding textures and dangerous energy. This is fastcore that'll leave your grandma whistling along while your little sibling burns a cop car. Fun for the whole family.
QUOTE "This band's goal has always been to make something that sounds or feels different from what you might expect to out of a modern punk or hardcore band," says guitarist-vocalist Tristan Sagar. For Sweet Dreams of Violence, that meant staring into the abyss of 2020 and confronting the myriad world disasters with a sober pointedness. "It was one of those moments where we got to take just a little peek behind the curtain of our society to see the smallest glimpse of something horribly ugly," Sagar says. "The lyrics often touch upon a feeling of unreality and a sense that things aren't right ... It's like living in a strange dream," he adds. "Everybody knows it's a dream but nobody wants to say it."
RIYL Taking Back Sunday, The Movielife, Crime in Stereo
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Koyo are a proud product of their environment. The Long Island band are comprised of six lifelong friends who specialize in the type of soaring, heartfelt and hardcore-influenced pop-punk that groups like Taking Back Sunday, the Movielife and Silent Majority pioneered on their home turf roughly two decades back. All of the Koyo guys also play in hardcore bands including SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Typecaste, Hangman and Rain of Salvation, but their pair of EPs — 2020's Painting Words Into Lines and 2021's Drives Out East — are full of huge singalongs, crunchy riffs and chipper rhythms that are designed to be played in front of a sea of crowdsurfers.
QUOTE "We love heavy music, we understand heavy music and we largely come from heavy music," frontman Joey Chiaramonte explains. "Koyo may be more melodic, but we inject hardcore sensibilities straight into the music we write." In addition to knowing the ins and outs of their genre, they also have an inseparable bond with each other. "Legitimately, the entire band is comprised of best friends," Chiaramonte says. "These bonds that all span over 10 years at a minimum makes doing the band, writing music and being vulnerable extremely easy." Outside of writing kickass songs that channel personal experiences Chiaramonte had never been able to sing about in any previous band, they just want to do their roots justice. "To carry the torch for Long Island's rich history of hardcore, emo and whatever else music," is how he describes their mission. "We just want to make Long Island proud."