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 LES hardcore (Krimewatch) to primitive death metal (Mammoth Grinder) to dungeon synth (Old Tower), these are five bands you'll want to get on now before everyone else does.
When the term "crossover" was created, it basically designated thrash bands playing with the speed and ferocity of punk, or punk bands discovering the full power of the distortion pedal. Now, with groups like Primal Rite, crossing between the two genres is much more complicated — if a hardcore band adds solos, start-stop rhythms, growling vocals and dive-bombs, are they still a hardcore band? And does it really matter? This Bay Area sextet nods its collective heads to everyone from Negative Approach to Cro-Mags to Slayer to Integrity and all stops in between on their new LP Dirge of Escapism — call it what you will, it's a vicious onslaught of pit fodder that maintains a compelling sense of melodicism. Get it via Revelation Records on January 26th
Despite Chris Ulsh's allegiance to Power Trip, Iron Age, Impalers and too many more to name, Mammoth Grinder has been — and always will be — his personal vehicle. Started in college with drummer Brian Boeckman (who has since left the band), the new look MG features two members of Iron Reagan, and to good effect. Though several death-metal forebearers rear their ugly head during the length of their new LP Cosmic Crypt (due on 1/26 via Relapse), none of their influences stay long enough to overwhelm the group's creative individuality. "We never wanted to be a worship band," says Ulsh. "But ... [if I had to choose, then] the biggest influence is Master." Good by us.
This Slovakian band has slowly and quietly gained momentum on the strength of their positively stupendous Nordkarpatenland, a 10-track effort released on cassette, CD and Bandcamp on Halloween last year. One of the most memorable LPs of 2017, it saw the group seamlessly mixes black metal, ambient atmospherics, folk passages, classic heavy metal and more, all the while carving out insanely memorable riffs. Now with the announcement of a set of select U.S. dates, look for the band's cult following to grow by leaps and bounds.
On the eve of the release of their debut full-length for Lockin' Out (due in February), the NYC quartet of singer Rhylli Ogiura, bassist Emma Hendry, drummer Shayne Benz and guitarist Sean Joyce has already accomplished more than they planned for with their "career." "We just wanted to play music that we liked and hopefully our friends would come to see us," explains Hendry of the initial goals for the band. Yet in the short two-plus years of its existence, the outfit has traveled internationally, playing festival after festival including Not Dead Yet and Sound & Fury. Krimewatch's success all makes sense — not only are their shows and songs fun and furious, but they also nod to NYHC greats like Agnostic Front, Cause for Alarm and Outburst in all the right ways.
So what the hell is "Dungeon Synth"? Fact is, you've probably known about it for some time and never realized: It's the dark synth parts that have shown their face in early black metal, like the Burzum "prison" records and Mortiis's Ånden Som Gjorde Opprør, and within the Summoning catalog. Old Tower is dungeon synth through and through, and the new LP Stellary Wisdom mixes those keyboard lines with eerie atmospherics to create the perfect ambient album to which any metalhead can chill out, get work done — or prepare to slay the Uruk-Hai at the battle of Helms Deep. Get it on February 9th via Profound Lore.