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 Icelandic darkwave (Kælen Mikla) to shoegaze-y post-hardcore (Narrow Head), here are five groups you'll want to get on now before everyone else does.
RIYL: White Pony–era Deftones, Smashing Pumpkins, Nothing
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Houston, Texas's Narrow Head offer up a deep dive into the Nineties, worshipping at the altar of everything from Hum to Deftones and all atmosphere-bathed spots in between. Nailing the emotional power and heavy yet ethereal vibes of those bands and more, Narrow Head's live show is impressive, too, peppered as it is with songs due on their upcoming follow-up to 2016's Satisfaction.
QUOTE: "We listen to a lot of everything," says vocalist-guitarist Jacob Duarte. "We don't really have any boundaries when it comes to what we like. What's unique about our grind is we just like to show up and play so loud no one in the room can talk. You either hate it or love it — we're gonna melt your face either way."
RIYL: Infest, Napalm Death, Brujeria, Crossed Out
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Following the forward-thinking path of bands like Terrorizer, these Ithaca, New York—based grinders offer variance to the tired blast-blast-blast trope, mixing in elements of death metal, doom, noise and more into their nitro cocktail. Featuring former members of Kill the Client, Monolith and more, Escuela are fronted by Katerina Economou, whose ferocious vocals provide an excellent guide into the group's depravity, one littered with hidden hooks, incredible riffs and brutality layered on brutality. Look for the band to hit the road for dates with ACxDC, road-testing material from a new LP due in 2019.
QUOTE: "Most of our newest material was written over improv studio drum tracks, and we try to keep that element of improvisation in our live set as well, to an extent," says drummer Jesse Fuentes. "What started out as a short, open-note guitar outro evolved into its own noise/doom performance art piece. That will be captured on recording for our full-length."
RIYL: Ampere, pg.99, Orchid, Portraits of Past
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Nailing the emo-violence sound of yesterday, Wristmeetrazor offer a fresh take on a genre that seems to be getting it's legs again. On their recent single and video "XOXO (Love Letter from a Loaded Gun)," the group's influences manifest visually as well as sonically — with riffs and hooks clearly inspired by scene icons such as Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan juxtaposed against the Locust and Vile Gash shirts worn by the band members.
QUOTE: "Wristmeetrazor is an amalgamation of each of our experiences, talents and influences brought to a fever pitch," vocalist-bassist Justin Fornof says. "The name is a song title from the band Usurp Synapse. We felt it was an attention-grabbing name, that embodied our emotional response to the direction of the band and represented the chaotic live experience we felt was necessary to get our point across."
RIYL: Terror, Killing Time, Outburst
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: In the crowded arena known as New York Hardcore, it's hard to stand out from the field of still active legends and energetic newcomers. Staten Island's Combust manage to do so with vigor and charisma, incorporating groove-oriented sections with furious Nineties influences to create a tough new look at what can be an oversaturated and worn-thin genre.
QUOTE: "Being a New Yorker, NYHC was always my favorite kinda music and none of my bands ever embodied that before so it was something I've been wanting to do forever," vocalist Andrew Vacante says. "I had the name and the riffs in my head for a long time and I'm really happy it came to life."
RIYL: Cold Cave, the Cure, M83, Gary Numan
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: After triumphant sets at Roadburn 2018 and at the Robert Smith–curated Meltdown festival, Kælen Mikla are ready to offer up their debut full-length of searing post-punk/darkwave to the world in early November. The Icelandic trio manages to conjure shadowy influences ranging from Clan of Xymox to the Cure to Tubeway Army on their forthcoming Nótt eftir nótt LP. It's a must for fans of dark music.
QUOTE: "We all have different inspirations when in comes to music, but one thing we have always had in common is our love for the Cure and Robert Smith," Kælen Mikla's Laufey Soffía says of the band's reaction to being handpicked by Smith to play Meltdown. "So we were all surprised and extremely grateful to him for giving us this amazing opportunity!"