Here at Revolver, we pride ourselves on 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 divine post-metal to bloodthirsty brutal death metal, here are five artists you need to know right now.
RIYL Gojira, The Ocean, Neurosis
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE In the minds of Hippotraktor, their namesake evokes a "giant god machine" that's responsible for the creation of all life on earth. That idea of something so titanic and incomprehensibly powerful is central to the Belgium band's recent debut, Meridian — an exquisitely produced behemoth of utterly gigantic-sounding songs that are infused with towering might and crashing force. While many of the tracks contain the syncopated grooves and down-tuned tones of djent, the sailing melodies, triumphant riffs and spacious bridges are more akin to Gojira and Mastodon than a ceaseless groove machine like Meshuggah. Whichever way you want to cut it, this is big-boy metal.
QUOTE "We want to create music that is interesting and hypnotizing," says guitarist Chiaran Verheyden. "We like to play with tension and suspense to finally create big climaxes that punch you in the face." More than just the mountainous sonics, they want their lyrics to have an equally grandiose effect on the listener. "Conceptually, Meridian tells the story of a solitary wanderer on earth in the absence of other beings," Verheyden explains. "Perpetually tormented by the feeling that there must be someone or something else besides him, the protagonist struggles with the notion of 'gods' and is in a constant state of distrust about their existence. ... Each composition on this album portrays a chapter of the protagonist's arduous quest for answers."
RIYL Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Pyrexia
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE It's hard to visualize what 200 knife gashes would even look like without getting queasy, but 200 Stab Wounds the band are here to let us know what such a grim massacre would sound like. The Ohio quartet wield a twisted style of brutal death metal that values violent grooves and rampaging mosh parts over precise technicality, though there are plenty of spastic blast beats and murderous drum fills on their forthcoming debut LP, Slave to the Scalpel. Just don't expect any Novocaine.
QUOTE They've only been around since 2019, but 200 Stab Wounds shows are already notorious bloodbaths. "So far, we've ran across torn ACLs, broken teeth [and] noses, swimming pools in our pits and big brawls," bassist Ezra Cook says. To be fair, fans are just following the lead of the lyrics, which get particularly gory on Slave to the Scalpel tracks like "Phallic Filth." "It's a love song of sorts about a woman who lusts for the prey of 'ideal' males and lures them to her place and kills them," Cook explains. "Once she kills them, she harvests their penises and uses their semen to make her perfect little demon baby." Lovely.
RIYL Every Time I Die, Converge, Incendiary
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE After starting out as a melodic post-hardcore act in 2015, L.A.'s Capra overhauled their lineup — including drafting the ferocious vocalist Crow Lotus — and morphed into a formidable beast of chaotic hardcore with an old-school metalcore twist. Their 2021 debut, In Transmission, channels the off-kilter wildness of bands like Every Time I Die and Converge, but there are plenty of triumphant shout-alongs and catchy riffs that makes their songs instantly memorable.
QUOTE "Grind hard, take care of one another and play every show like it's your last," is how guitarist Tyler Harper describes their mission statement. Notice how channeling a specific influence or remaining in one particular genre isn't part of the equation. "All of us take in as much as we can from all over the place," he says. "Crow has mentioned before taking heavy inspiration from old horror movies, Dario Argento [films], specifically. I'm also not always listening to hardcore for inspiration — I'm a big fan of bands like Beach House and Broken Social Scene."
RIYL Meshuggah, the Dillinger Escape Plan, Car Bomb
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Frontierer imagine a world where metal isn't derived from warm tube amps and Boss Metal Zone pedals, but totally synthetic digital tones that sound like the inside of a Terminator's brain during a raging manhunt. Formed by instrumental mastermind Pedram Valiani and vocalist Chad Kapper, the Scotland-based quintet's latest effort, Oxidized, is a confrontational cyborg of acid rain djent, noisy electronic textures and bleeding mathcore screams. Welcome to the new frontier(er).
QUOTE Valiani's heavy trajectory starts with Slipknot and Lamb of God, but for Frontierer, the songwriter draws as much influence from electronic producers like Aphex Twin and DJ Rashad as he does Meshuggah. "Having no limits and a lot of fun when recording is the source of [our] inspiration," he says. For Oxidized, the wanted their holistic approach to actually be embedded into its artwork, which they did by superimposing all 16 songs onto each other in an audio sequencer. "It is then processed by an application, which samples the overall audio waveform and then allows us to process it to generate an image," he explains. "So, the record cover literally is the album represented as 16 tracks stacked on top and spliced as data."
RIYL Fugazi, Touché Amoré, Drug Church
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Don't let your opinions on the above bands sway you, because SPICE are very much doing their own thing. Featuring Ceremony's vocalist Ross Farrar and drummer Jake Casarotti, as well as members of Creative Adult, Sabertooth Zombie and other vets of the North Bay punk and hardcore scene, the group are making ambitious, catchy rock music that's spiritually informed by heavy stuff, but sonically lands somewhere between post-punk, art-rock and post-hardcore. Their 2020 self-titled album has a few bangers that could set a punk house aflame, but SPICE also have a violinist in their ranks, and their new seven-inch is more sprawling than physically striking.
QUOTE Although the final product is different than their other bands, the band members' approach for SPICE is the same."We all get into a stuffy, dim-lit room that's cheaply rented and try to write emotive songs that people will remember and come back to after days, months, years," Farrar notes. It's hard to choose a defining song from their brief output so far, but he says the fantastically titled "I Don't Wanna Die in New York" achieves their vision. "It's quite driving, but also very melodic, and has a pure representation of the violin in the outro that sounds both desperate and hopeful. This is the sound we are going for: hopeful desperation."