1. Senses Fail - Hell is in Your Head (Ridgewood, New Jersey)
On a very simple level, Hell Is In Your Head is a record about death. Yet Senses Fail’s eighth studio album is also much more complex than that. Divided into two halves – one set in the fictional world of TS Eliot’s epic 1922 poem “The Waste Land”, one in the more contemporary dystopia of today – it was co-produced by Saosin’s Beau Burchell, and is the first Senses Fail album that sees Buddy Nielsen, the band’s only surviving member, become the band’s sole creative force. The result is a dark, brooding record that Nielsen considers a musical and thematic counterpart to 2006’s second full-length, Still Searching, and which sees him embark on a philosophical and existential journey into not just death itself, but what it means to die. “This record attempts to go to the dark place of ‘What is it that we’re so afraid of death?’” he explains. “We’re afraid of death because of grief. Are we truly afraid of death because of death? Through my own therapy, I’ve learned you don’t even really have a clear understanding of death because it’s unknowable. And since you literally can’t die and come back, I tried to place the record in a much darker fictional place to help talk about those unanswerable questions.”
2. Rain City Drive - S/T (Sacramento, California)
Genre: Rock/ Post-Metalcore
The need and desire to evolve has an undeniable gravitational pull, especially within music, and with each new era a new sense of renewed purpose and definition is born. Rain City Drive (formerly Slaves) are embracing their next chapter with a powerful combination of authenticity and fervor, true to themselves, their fans and the legacy they now want to create for the next generation of the band. Singer Matt McAndrew (NBC’s The Voice) adds a refreshing pop-melodic swagger to the heavy riffs and songsmanship that has helped them amass a staggering 280 million streams equivalent to 263K album sales streams across their catalog, poising the band to make new waves within a genre ready for a shake up. With “Cutting It Close”, the first new track under their rebranded moniker Rain City Drive, the band have a blistering follow up to hit single “Talk To A Friend”, which is still in recurrent rotation on SiriusXM Octane. It marks an impressive beginning of the campaign for their new album that will release in spring 2022 alongside live shows as inspiring as the songs themselves, and fans ready to sing every note.
3. Yours Truly - Is This What I Look Like? (Sydney, Australia)
Australia’s are 2022’s must-watch in the alternative scene. Huge international touring credits, media and radio trailblazing and a burgeoning brood of fans are just some of the successes that back this band, but it’s the knack for punchy songwriting and performance deep in their DNA that makes this four-piece really tick.
From their hometown in Sydney, Yours Truly first broke out with their 2019 EP ‘’ (hear its standout singles ‘’ and ‘’) and went on to spend the rest of the year gracing stages including Download UK, Riot Fest and Good Things and supporting rock heroes including and on their international quests. In 2020 the band followed with their full-length ‘’, which saw the band awarded a laundry list of accolades including triple j’s Feature Album and Tone Deaf’s Record Of The Week, alongside band nominations for Rolling Stone’s ‘Best New Artist’ and ‘Best International Breakthrough Band’ at the UK Heavy Awards. Following the arrival of their urgent, pulsing and frustration-filled single '' in the latter half of 2021, 2022 finds the group stepping into a new era with the unveiling of ‘’. Short, sharp and instantly memorable, Yours Truly continue to knock it out of the park ahead of more new music this year.
4. Nightlands - Moonshine (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Genre: Alternative/Dream Pop/ Psych Pop
The project of Philadelphia-based multi-instrumentalist Dave Hartley, Nightlands combines dreamy pop with the love of experimentation he grew up with thanks to his genetic engineer father. Hartley is also the bassist for , and began working on his own music in earnest when the group's album Slave Ambient was taking longer than expected to complete, and released his debut album, Forget the Mantra, on in 2010. Though his duties with -- who released Slave Ambient in 2011 -- kept him busy for much of that year, he also issued the All the Way and Covers EPs, the latter of which included a gorgeously hazy version of 's "Trouble." In 2013, Hartley dropped Nightlands' second album, Oak Island, which featured major-seventh chords (considered the most nostalgic-sounding harmonic grouping) in its songs. had a critical and commercial breakthrough in 2014 with Lost in the Dream and signed with . Hartley didn't abandon Nightlands, however, releasing the project's third LP, a set of spacy love songs called I Can Feel the Night Around Me, in May of 2017.
5. Goon - Hour of Green Evening (Los Angeles, California)
The evolution of Goon has come to full fruition on Hour of Green Evening. It’s the band’s most complete statement, engaging all aspects of their sound to stunning effect. The record conjures the nighttime suburban world of frontman Kenny Becker’s youth, a mix of concrete and cookie-cutter homes with the lush beauty of California landscapes. The album thrums with mystery, with the half-remembered past hazy as dreams, the mixed sense of comfort and longing for freedom so essential to youth. The world of Hour of Green Evening is lush and strange, populated by people dreaming, sleeping and waking, existing in that in-between space of the nighttime world.
6. Joey Cool - The Chairman of the Board (Kansas City, Missouri)
Joey Cool is just that. Cool. The name is a reflection of his nonchalant bravado and swagger, but don't get it twisted. Though he may have this effortlessly “cool” persona, Joey comes for your head each and every time he picks up the mic. With a knifing drawl, fleet flow, and dense lyrics, Joey Cool transcends his moniker when he’s on the attack. His unwavering confidence and how he backs it up on the mic is what made Joey a pillar of the Kansas City hip-hop scene. Even before signing, Joey grabbed the attention of Strange Music emcees, boasting collaborations with Ces Cru (who featured Joey on their 2015 EP Recession Proof), Tech N9ne and JL. In fact, JL and Joey already have an electric chemistry you can see (anytime they perform together on stage) and hear (on the standout track “Catch A Wave” from JL’s album DIBKIS). Joey Cool, a seasoned veteran with a distinct style and an already deep relationship with Strange Music, made him the perfect addition to the roster. The Strange Reign release concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in front of 10,000 fans became the perfect place to make it official. Joey Cool’s history with Strange is what makes the future so exciting.
7. fromjoy - Away (Houston, Texas)
8. Hissing - Hypervirulence Architecture (Seattle, Washington)
Genre: Black Metal/Extreme Metal
HISSING is an extreme metal group based out of Washington, USA. Founded in 2014 out of a mutual interest in mutilating sounds and exploring the outer limits of black and death metal, the group aims to desecrate expectations with each subsequent release. Their new album “Hypervirulence Architecture”, their first album in four years following their “Permanent Destitution” debut LP, sees the trio take their sound into more nightmarish, trance inducing, mercurial and mind altering sonic dominions.
9. Deathbringer - IT (Grodno, Belarus)
Genre: Progressive Metal/Technical Death Metal
DEATHBRINGER was formed in 2002 by Artyom Serdyuk. The band shared the stage with VADER, BEHEMOTH, MARDUK, HATE & many others. In November 2007 album "HOMO DIVISUS" was released by SOUND AGE PRODUCTION, was very well-received & got really positive reviews from all over the world & was re-released by MSR Productions in 2010. In September 2013 DEATHBRINGER entered MONROE SOUND STUDIO to record its successor.
10. Cerebral Extinction - Escape from Illusion (Italy)
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
"This is the third album from Italian brutal death metallers Cerebral Extinction.
Escape from Illusion delivers a punishing technical assault across 47 minutes of brutal material.
There’s a rather pointless intro that goes on for far too long, (as there almost always seems to be), but once this is over the band go for the kill with furious intensity. Blistering riffs, wandering bass, and vicious melodic bite are revealed in all of their precisely-applied glory. The band can certainly play, and their melodic and technical approach to brutal death metal is well-presented and realised.
The songs are fast and aggressive, but occasionally slow down to deliver a heavier breakdown or a mid-paced mechanical beating. They generally skew to the longer side of things for the style, which the band fill with a bewildering array of technical explorations and cruel jagged workouts.
If you’re a fan of bands like Archspire, Origin, Rings of Saturn, Cytotoxin, and Beneath the Massacre then Escape from Illusion is worth a listen. Cerebral Extinction have produced a solid example of technical brutality, so check it out and see if their brand of hostility is for you." - Wonderboxmetal
11. Behold! The Monolith - From The Fathomless Deep (Los Angeles, California)
Genre: Sludge Metal/Doom Metal / Stoner Metal
In their fourteen years of existence, Los Angeles’ progressive sludge stalwarts BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH have experienced triumph, loss and all that is in between. Their 2012 release Defender, Redeemist was a breakthrough, described as a “musical reincarnation of the Wooly Mammoth” by Blabbermouth.net - but the passing of bassist and vocalist Kevin McDade in 2013 put their ascent to a halt. 2015 saw the release of Architects of the Void, which touched upon black metal textures, and the album cycle culminated in a 2016 European tour and appearance at Roadburn Festival. In 2019, Matt Price and Chase Manhattan returned to the band’s original power-trio format, adding veteran Menno Verbaten (Cryptic Slaughter, Expulsion, Lightning Swords of Death) on bass and vocals. The three have spent the last two years refining what made BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH one of Los Angeles’ greatest treasures over the last decade: lumbering iron riffs that kneel at the altar of Iommi, foam-mouthed roars, serpentine solos and Price’s innate love for southern licks and classic metal tics. “From The Fathomless Deep” is BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH’s darkest and most menacing record yet, an album that stares fearlessly into the shadows. The BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH of 2022 is not the same band we knew all those years ago: grizzlier, rougher-hewn and more technically visceral than they’ve ever been. A welcome reward for their decade-old following, and a ear-splitting surprise for those unbaptized.
12. Remains - Grind 'Til Death (Australia)
Genre: Grindcore/ Brutal Death Metal
Remains are grindcore/deathmetal maniacs from Melbourne, Australia formed in 2019 and featuring members of highly reputed bands Blood Duster, Captain Cleanoff, The Kill, Fuck I’m Dead, King, The Day Everything Became Nothing. Remains play extreme stadium grind with epic blasting assaults and windmilling rockin hooks to blow your fucken lids clean off. The debut album “Grind Til Death” will be out on July 15th, 2022, and was mixed and mastered by Joe Haley (Psycroptic) to guarantee total stadium grinding mayhem! Remains have been signed to Australian punk headbangers Disdain Records for the Australian release and the new Italian powerhouse Spikerot Records who’ll take care of the album release for the rest of the world. Having played numerous shows in their homeland including international supports slots for legendary bands such as "Obituary" and "Cattle Decapitation" the band are slicing their name into the Australian and soon the world extreme underground metal scene!
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