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 hardcore (Higher Power) to darkwave (HIDE) to death metal (Succumb), these are five bands you'll want to get on now before everyone else does.
Hails From: Leeds, U.K.
Sounds Like: Turnstile, Biohazard, Cold World, Cro-Mags, Power Trip, Life of Agony
Hardcore and melodic vocals don't usually play well together. Bands ranging from Bad Brains to Life of Agony to Cold World have pulled off that combo to great affect, but outside of those and a few others, it's pretty much oil and water. Higher Power, a U.K.-based hardcore quintet, has figured out the right formula, taking nods from all of the above to create their breakthrough LP, Soul Structure.
Fans of Power Trip and their predecessors, Cro-Mags, Leeway and a falsetto-less early Anthrax, will recognize the thrash/crossover approach, while fans of nascent hardcore kings Turnstile will dig the grooves and the borderline danceable rhythms. But what makes Higher Power truly unique is James "Jimmy" Wizard's energetic vocals. Dripping with swagger, his pipes add a melodicism and a swing that isn't heard in hardcore this side of an Angel Du$t hook.
Higher Power are poised to become the U.K.'s biggest hardcore export, but that doesn't seem to phase the band. "We feel grateful for all our opportunities, but they also don't come from nowhere. You get out what you put in," says Wizard. In this case, putting in means a month on the road in the U.S. as part of the Life and Death Tour with No Warning and Terror. Don't miss 'em.
Hails From: San Francisco, California
SOUNDS LIKE: Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, Cruciamentum, Mitochondrion, Blasphemy
Featuring members of Bosse-de-Nage and others, the band formerly known as Cloak isn't one to forgo a subtle melody in lieu of war-metal blasts or complex death-metal riffing. Succumb use all of the above, nodding to Morbid Angel, Immolation and even Blasphemy along the way, but their coup de grâce is vocalist Cheri Musrasrik, who bellows like a banished demon on their self-titled debut. Less cookie-monster growl and closer to the pained screams of Victoria Scalisi of Damad, the recorded result of her unrelenting razor throat is truly horrifying, adding to the uniqueness of the Bay Area band. "Cheri comes from a noise/punk background with her previous band Pig DNA, and as a result, her approach became another facet of the band that seems to make us stand out in the eyes of some," says guitarist Derek Webster.
Although Succumb's influences are worn proudly, their approach is much different than those of their forebears. "Why can't we draw from Teitanblood, Napalm Death, Dysrhythmia, Ripping Corpse and see what happens?" Webster says. "Putting on gas masks and writing songs about running a train on the Virgin Mary was never something that suited us — even though we take influence from those types of bands!"
Hails From: Brooklyn, New York
Sounds Like: Russian Circles, the Cure, Tim Hecker, Mogwai, Christian Death
In the land of strollers, condo maintenance fees and artisanal everything, it's hard to imagine how a band with this much dark introspective energy could arrive like a case of blunt-force trauma. "People always say that New York has lost it's edge, and I do miss the way that it used to be," Sannhet bassist AJ Annunziata agrees. "But we don't write music for those people. There will always be a subculture as long as there is a mainstream."
In their short time in existence, Sannhet has moved past post-rock instrumentals and into uncharted realms, adding post-punk, ambient and electronic influence to their already signature sound of soaring, reverb-drenched guitars, pummeling double-bass drum attack and woofer-quaking low end. So Numb is their most daring and ambitious offering yet, and one that the band intends to use as a springboard for gigs across the globe. "I think any artist's goal is the increased lucidity of their vision and the ability to articulate it," Annunziata says. "In the past, I think we were finding our voice, but this record is really a coming-of-age story, both sonically and personally. We can't wait to show the world."
Hails From: Denver, Colorado
Sounds Like: Immolation, Morbid Angel, dISEMBOWELMENT, Incantation
Bringing some of the shrouded darkness that mesmerized fans of Blood Incantation, Spectral Voice features three-fourths of that celebrated sci-fi death-metal juggernaut, slowing down the proceedings and upping the creep factor. Spectral Voice is, by loose definition, a death-doom band, and while they revel in moments of bowel-rattling prolonged riff-torment, double-bass-fueled death metal is more their modus operandi. It's that unpredictable juxtaposition between doom-death and blackened death that is the driving force here — that, and their seemingly endless bounty of worm-ridden riffs. Extreme-metal fans have taken notice, drumming up intense anticipation for their forthcoming LP, Eroded Corridors of Unbeing, due in October.
Asked about the band's special appeal, the group's label boss — Dark Descent honcho Matt Calvert — offers the following: "Spectral Voice is a master at creating a desolate soundscape that really sucks you in. Some bands write songs ... but when you listen to Spectral Voice — and witness them live — you become part of it. They have a power that is waiting to be unleashed."
Hails From: Chicago
Sounds Like: Youth Code, Boy Harsher, Cold Cave, Bauhaus, Ministry, Nitzer Ebb
Since Hide's inception in 2014, the duo of Heather Gabel and multi-instrumentalist Seth Sher has steadily released a single demo approximately once a year, often confronting hard-hitting topics such as societal power dynamics and gender-based discrimination (the group's 2017 Black Flame EP is dedicated to Reyhaneh Jabbari, an Iranian woman executed for killing a man who allegedly tried to rape her). 2018 will mean an entirely new focus for the pair as they will welcome their debut LP in early spring via DAIS Records (Youth Code, Drab Majesty, et al). Prepare to be pulled down a dimly lit path of danceable industrial rhythms, thundering sawtooth bass lines and noisy synthesizer swells, with pied piper Gabel leading the way.