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 musicians who, we think, are on the rise across several different genres. From emotionally tortured shoegaze to lycanthropic black-and-roll, here are five artists you need to know right now.
RIYL High on Fire, early Mastodon, Converge
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Brooklyn's Somnuri have a leg up: Their co-songwriters, Justin Sherrell and Phil SanGiacomo, are both drummers who also play guitar, and you can hear their advanced mastery of the groove coursing through their torched-up sludge songs. Their superb 2021 album, Nefarious Wave, is stoner metal of the Red Bull-and-sativa variety — anxious, knotty, restless and strikingly heavy, with no low-and-slow couch potato riffs to be found. There're moments of doomy beauty and gravelly choruses that rattle around your head afterwards, but Somnuri excel flipping into mosh-worthy chugs and scraggly growls whenever things get the least bit sleepy.
QUOTE "The goal of Somnuri has always been to embrace all things heavy and not limit ourselves stylistically," SanGiacomo says. "It's not really for genre purists." Each of their members have very different tastes, but "when writing, we try to not to reference bands when talking about ideas. . .Unless we feel it's sounding too similar to a particular song, then we call each other the fuck out."
RIYL Melvins, Godflesh, Unsane
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE The most clarifying fact about Chat Pile is that only half of the members even listen to heavy music. With fewer internalized rules than the average noise-sludge act, this Oklahoma quartet are able to craft something that sounds genuinely unique and hard to place. Like a grimier version of Slint's pseudo-thespian monologues crossed with the incendiary force of Godflesh, or if your favorite Nineties noise-rock act underwent the sonic equivalent of being fermented like prison wine. Plus, each of them use pseudonyms like Raygun Busch, Luther Manhole and Cap'n Ron.
QUOTE "Chat Pile aims to express the painful absurdity of modern life in America, specifically in the southern plains," says bassist Stin, who grew up in rural Oklahoma with his brother, drummer Cap'N Ron. "FM radio, Columbia House mail order CDs and watching dudes rip on Pantera riffs in their trailer set me on the metalhead path," he adds. The other two guys aren't self-proclaimed metalheads, and Raygun Busch's lyrics even push back against some of the genre's stoic tropes. "It's pretty easy to get people to relate to stuff [that's] dark, because everyone harbors unspeakable ugliness," he says. "That said, it's important to me for you to know that I am a humanist — not giving a fuck sucks!"
RIYL Atari Teenage Riot, Machine Girl, Genghis Tron
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Under the name Fire-Toolz, Chicago multi-instrumentalist Angel Marcloid moves tornado-like across a vast sonic terrain, gobbling up pieces of black metal, cybergrind, new age, vaporwave, jazz, breakcore and more, creating a hulking whirlwind of sounds that crash and congeal at a dizzying pace. Witchy shrieks fling above placid puddles of ambience; speckles of synth stardust glimmer in the darkness of industrial cosmos; proggy guitar solos stretch out of oceanic washes of noise, dive back underwater and emerge as giddy drum-breaks flanked with black-metal howls. Strap in.
QUOTE "I feel like this is a spiritual happening. I feel like I'm just a vessel for it," Marcloid says of their creative process. "My mission statement to myself is to not block that flow for any reason ... rarely throw anything out." In many ways, the project seems like a reaction to old bands of theirs that had stricter rules. "When I played in metal or emo bands as a younger person, I'd always want to bring in lots of weird guitar effects, keyboards, drum machines, but no one else really felt like that made any sense." In Fire-Toolz, anything goes. "It's like commissioning an architect and saying, 'Can you build me a very stable and strong version of my ridiculously stupid idea?' And both the client and the architect are me."
RIYL Skeletonwitch, Kvelertak, Sabbat
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE If simply reading the name Wormwitch made you nod affirmatively and think, "Hell yeah," then you've come to the right place. Hailing from the Great White North of Vancouver, these four lycanthropic heshers specialize in crusty black 'n' roll that periodically slows to a death-metal churn, only keeping the most epic black-metal charges and ensnaring melodeath riffs in their sonic wolfpack. Oh, they can fucking shred, but their playful lyrics about werewolves, mages and the epic spirit of ampeg towers ("There's only two rules/To rock and to roll!") keep things from ever getting too self-serious.
QUOTE "With very little deliberation, we had determined that bands with the word 'worm' or 'witch' in the name had a high likelihood of being a cool band," vocalist-bassist Robin Harris says of their moniker's origins. "So we just combined them and hastily drew a logo on a Tim Hortons napkin." From the jump, writing about slaying dragons and encountering other mythical beasts was the lyrical focus. "Dragons and sorcery are my two favorite things in the world," Harris adds. However, as to why the focus of their snarling 2021 opus, Wolf Hex, shifts to those who feast during full moons, the answer is simple: "We've been feeling wolfish lately."
RIYL Hum, Nothing, Mazzy Star
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE Greet Death are a Michigan quartet co-founded by guitarist-vocalists Sam Boyhtari and Logan Gaval who make music that's as emotionally tortured and sonically impactful as it is breathtakingly pretty. Their titanic-sounding 2019 album, New Hell, (released via Deathwish Inc.) fused together heavy shoegaze, grunge, post-metal and slowcore with deceptively hooky vocal melodies and brutally honest lyrics about mental illness, heartbreak and substance abuse. Their latest song, "I Hate Everything," has a dark alt-country flair that suits them exceptionally well, but the best way to appreciate its subtle nuances is to first spend time with a towering shoegaze-metal stomper like "You're Gonna Hate What You've Done."
QUOTE According to Boyharti, "Seeing Cloakroom play in a tiny basement, watching Hum destroy Howard Stern's studio, or seeing Nothing shred a P.A. system in Ferndale," were as influential on their sound as first hearing Blink-182's pop-punk opus Enema of the State in 4th grade. "Bands that play incredibly loud and full, but sing with pop sensibilities and write good songs," are what Greet Death are modeled after. Lyrically, both of the co-songwriters are "ever-obsessed with the idea that most humans are born into a world that does not care about them," Boyharti says. "I am by no means encouraging apathy, but that can be a monumentally depressing reality to confront. We don't get a say in how we come into this thing, and some of us arrive better off than others."