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 head-spinning tech-prog (Cryptodira) to moody EBM (Boy Harsher) to raging crossover-thrash (Red Death), these are five bands you'll want to get on now before everyone else does.
Hails From: Washington, D.C.
Sounds like: Cro-Mags, Leeway, D.R.I., Nuclear Assault
In addition to his stellar work with Protester, Genocide Pact (look for their new LP on Relapse next year), Innumerable Forms and Pure Disgust, tireless musician Connor Donegan has also logged a ton of shows as the drummer for Red Death, his crossover-thrash outfit. Red Death have signed with venerable hardcore label Triple B for their forthcoming full-length, which promises to be a monster of chugga-chugga — maybe even enough to make you say "Power Trip who?" When asked about the new LP, Donegan says that Red Death's goal was simply to make a complete& album, nota collection of songs. "Every song needed to belong on the album," he says. "We took a lot of cues from bands that mean a lot to us like Cro-Mags, Metallica and Death Side to create our own spin on what those guys do." We're looking forward to listening to the results from front to back.
Hails From: Northampton, Massachusetts
Sounds like: Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb, early Ministry
Released via Ascetic House (associated with the great Destruction Unit, among many others), Boy Harsher's new Country Girl EP features four goth-scarred, synth-driven songs that highlight the dark, breathy vocal approach of Jae Matthews and bubbling beats of Gus Miller. The offering highlights the same melodic side displayed on their 2016 album, Yr Body Is Nothing, providing a stark contrast to the duo's energetic, often rancorous live show, which leans heavily on the primal EBM of groups like Nitzer Ebb. Don't let the hummable melody lines fool you — Boy Harsher hit H-A-R-D on the live stage.
"It may sound cliché, but Boy Harsher are the future of pop music," enthuses Jes Aurelius, Destruction Unit guitarist and Ascetic House co-proprietor. "They set a brutally honest mood to Hi-NRG beats that not only makes you dance, but is actually moving. Boy Harsher is a movement."
Hails From: Long Island, New York
Sounds like: Mastodon, Between the Buried and Me, Animals as Leaders
Dillinger Escape Planning tech-core, Mastodonian prog and a wide range of other influences (Converge — yeah, there's some of that, too) collide in the knotty riffery of New York-based fret-burners Cryptodira. Stopping on a dime to go from melodic vocals and clean guitar into double-bass-propelled time signatures and full-blast metallurgy, their forthcoming full-length, The Devil's Despair, is schizophrenic in the best way possible. There will be riffs and they shall be bountiful, but there also will be serene beauty to balance the darkness — which comes in thematic, as well as musical, form. "Much of The Devil's Despair deals with the themes of dehumanizing social forces," drummer Matthew Taibbi explains, "forces which come from human activity and yet become confused for rigid, natural laws."
Hails from: Charleston, West Virginia
Sounds like: Swedish death metal, Hatebreed, Xibalba, Dystopia
"Our overall sound, I believe, has remained true to our dirty rawness, with angry vocals, beat-to-hell loud drums, fuzzed-out HM2 octave and punchy ridiculous bass tone," says guitarist Bryan Rea of Left Behind's latest release, Blessed by the Burn — and he ain't wrong. On the album, Left Behind — self-described as "Five dumb motherfuckers from West Virginia" — churn out a series of half-speed hardcore exercises that nod to bands like Cable, Architect, Hatebreed and others, and feel like they were laboratory tested for settling pit-beef. Lyrically, the songs are the group's most punishing yet, drawing from the harrowing recent experiences of singer Zach Hatfield, whose girlfriend died last year, leading to him losing his mind and being hospitalized multiple times.
Hails from: Toronto, Canada
Sounds like: Autopsy, Dismember, Nihilist, early Sentenced
Creeping in like a dense, cold fog, Tomb Mold's Primordial Malignity was quietly one of the best death-metal releases in a year filled with standouts (Obituary, Triumvir Foul, Spectral Voice, Artificial Brain, Ascended Dead, Immolation, etc., etc). While the band's approach is 100 percent pure zombie-apocalypse/decaying-flesh delight, the melodicism buried within the instantly memorable riffs will make even "heard-it-all-before" DM fans prick up their ears with worm-ridden joy. Though the paint isn't even quite dry on that mammoth release, Blood Harvest is releasing a long-awaited compilation of the Canadian death-metal team's long-gone demos The Bottomless Perdition and The Moulting in 12-inch format. Turn the lights low, put the record on and crank up the darkness.