1. Nicole Dollanganger - Married in Mount Airy (Whitchurch-Stouffville, Canada)
Genre: Gothic Dream Singer-Songwriter
Southern Ontario singer/songwriter Nicole Dollanganger first began posting her gothic dream pop songs on her blog in 2012. With her childlike voice and dark lyrical content, Dollanganger soon developed a devoted base, self-releasing four full-length records written, recorded and produced alone in her bedroom. In 2015 she was the first artist featured on Grimes Eerie Organization, a collective created solely for the purpose of releasing Dollanganger’s fifth album Natural Born Losers. In the following year, Dollanganger’s song “Chapel" featured in episode 16 of The Walking Dead and Run For Cover Records reissued 2013’s “Ode to Dawn Wiener: Embarrassing Love Songs" and 2014's "Observatory Mansions".
2. True Faith - Go to Ground (Boston, Massachusetts)
Genre: Goth/ Post-Punk / Shoegaze
Boston can be a cold and desolate place, but there’s a warmth hidden under its shadows and deep within its edges. The True Faith embody that spirit, twirling along the margins of post-punk and coldwave to create a magnetic sound that’s rooted in the quintet’s adopted home city. Acclaimed debut EP "As Much Nothing As Possible" was released January 2021 via emerging imprint à La Carte Records, the first recorded doctrine of a band on the brink of its own internal evolution. With the release of their debut full-length album, "They Can Always Hurt You More," are songs about love and loss, pain and euphoria, the gray in between the black and white. Now released is Go To Ground!
3. HolyName - S/T
Genre: Holy Drone Violent Worship
HolyName’s watchword is preachcore, and their self-described sound of “holy drone violent worship” makes a lot of sense when you hear their songs. The new album is essentially a love letter to Christ and a tribute to the history of eastern orthodoxy. A season of death and profound brokenness caused Tommy Green to dive deeply into the very beginnings of the church, seeking for the connection between holy orthodoxy and liturgical practices, and today’s modern Pentecostal charismatic church. He found beauty in a hidden treasure that he didn’t fully understand, his pain driving him to a place he never intended to go. Orthodox imagery is extremely influential to the graphics and lyrics of HolyName’s work. The holy orthodox church and the historical origin of Christianity became very important to Tommy personally and that’s why the imagery seems so saturated with traditional ancient orthodox Christianity.The genesis of the idea of HolyName sprang from a lockdown project when Joe and Tommy recruited friends from their church community nationwide to participate in a worship “mix tape.” Tommy’s initial contributions were an acoustic song he wrote in 2014 called “Meet Me Somewhere Quiet” and a cover of a song by his brother-in-law Aaron Craner called “Fall On Your Knees”. He sent the songs to Joe who turned them from acoustics to fully instrumental heavy tracks. When the duo heard the first finished products they were excited to keep going. Tommy felt like he was using the songs and the choruses and the sounds of HolyName to try to keep his faith alive when he felt like it was dying.“Some of the answers that I have been given by the modern charismatic Christian culture weren’t adequate. There were gaps that I couldn’t seem to fill in the face of death. I knew the faith that brought me brought me through Sleeping Giant and nurtured that ministry was beautiful, but I was losing such faith that I needed to find the eyes of Christ somewhere and I couldn’t seem to get my feet under me with the answers that I had. I was really in danger of walking away from quite a lot.” The search into the origin of his faith opened the door for Tommy to fall in love with orthodoxy. He has been able to use the experience of this project to process his grief and work through broken-heartedness. In addition to Tommy Green and Joe Holt, the HolyName project features mixing and mastering by Ryan Leitru, additional vocals from The REV Gang choir, Brook Reeves of Impending Doom, Eric Gregson of xDeathstarx, Joe Advent, Danon Saylor of Nothing Left, Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter, and Mike Felker of Convictions, with beats produced by Hunter Babcock of Wolf Skin.
4. The Wise Man's Fear - Atlas Ruinica (Indiana)
SPINNING UNFORGETTABLE LORE THROUGH SWEEPING CLEAN VOCALS, CRUSHING HARDCORE BLUDGEONING, AND DYNAMIC METALLIC PROFICIENCY, THE INDIANA “FANTASYCORE” SEXTET—PAUL LIERMAN [DRUMS, LYRICS], JOSEPH SAMMUEL [VOCALS], CODI CHAMBERS [GUITAR], TYLER EADS [VOCALS], NATHAN KANE [GUITAR, VOCALS], AND THOMAS BARHAM [BASS]—BUILT TOWARDS THIS MOMENT ON THEIR 2015 INDEPENDENT DEBUT CASTLE IN THE CLOUDS AND ITS 2017 FOLLOW-UP LOST CITY. INTEGRATING IMMERSIVE FANTASY INTO A HYBRID OF METAL, DEATHCORE, AND ALTERNATIVE, THEY CARVED OUT A SINGULAR NICHE.
5. Obituary - Dying of Everything (Tampa, Florida)
Genre: Death Metal
Tampa, Florida's Obituary are a veteran death metal band whose origins date back to the style's first wave. Though they've endured lineup changes, three of its original members -- drummer Don Hardy, vocalist Tom Hardy, and guitarist Trevor Peres -- have been aboard since 1986. Their early sound juxtaposed lo-fi death metal and hardcore, while Hardy's vocals, though screamed, were readily decipherable -- this is no longer true and lyric sheets are necessary. Early albums including 1989's Slowly We Rot and 1990's Cause of Death embodied the chug and burn aesthetic. Following the release of 1997's Back from the Dead, they split for several years. In 2004, a reunited quintet recorded Frozen in Time. Xecutioner's Return followed in 2007 to glowing reviews internationally. Darkest Day appeared in 2009. The band issued Inked in Blood in 2014 and Obituary in 2017. Three live albums and the single "A Dying World" were released between 2020 and 2022. In January 2023 the full-length Dying of Everything was released by Relapse
6. Wiltwither - The House I Lived In (SINGLE) (Columbia, South Carolina)
Wiltwither is a collection from the Carolinas that focuses on the tough realities people face. They weave together topics like loneliness, abuse, loss and depression while blending grim, noisy, unstable elements of metalcore, nu-metal, thall and hardcore. These songs...these lyrics are ours, but they belong to you. We are all in pain. Reminiscent of Loathe, Silent Planet and Spiritbox.
7. Cold Steel - Deeper Into Greater Pain (Tampa, Florida)
Genre: Metallic-Hardcore / Crossover
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