1. UNITY TX - World of Malice (Dallas, Texas)
Genre: Hardcore / Hip-Hop
THIS IS ROC MUSIC! UNITYTXROC.COM
2. Paramore - This Is Why (Franklin, Tennessee)
Paramore is a band that formed in 2003 in a quiet town that is now known as Nashville, TN. Still in junior high, music made up 100% of their extracurricular time. Until eventually, they all left for tour in the middle of a school year and thank heaven music would eventually work out for them. No one understood how a band so un-country could be from this strange little town called Nashville, nor how a bunch of kids so small could play their angst-filled songs so proudly. Much time has passed since those innocent days. Life has worn its grooves into the record that is Paramore's collective life. If you look closely, you can see that the members of Paramore all have very sexy dark circles under their eyes now... and surprisingly, haven't all quit music after years of sexism in the media, soap opera-worthy drama, and nearly 15 years inside the brutal beast that is the music industry. Paramore still reside in their beloved home of Nashville, TN, which these days looks a lot more like a construction site than a well-kept secret. They spend most their days and nights sitting on the porch together laughing or crying... reminiscing, daydreaming, or trying desperately to just stay present.
3. In Flames - Foregone (Gothenburg, Sweden)
In Flames represent the best of metal’s past, present, and future. In Flames are as vital and even more energized today than when they unleashed classics like Come Clarity and Clayman in decades past. The band built a stunning reputation with devastating, crowd-moving, inspired performances around the world at every major rock and metal festival imaginable, headlining multiple treks, and touring with the likes of Slipknot, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Killswitch Engage, Within Temptation, and Lamb Of God. They regularly headline some of the biggest stages and festivals in the world. Foregone, the furious fourteenth studio album, combines the greatest aggressive, metallic, and melodic strengths of their landmark records with the seasoned songwriting of their postmodern era. A sense of pride, accomplishment, and continued vitality are evident every time the band takes the stage, and all over Foregone. Melodic death metal pioneers and innovative purveyors of groove, the artistry, influence, stature, and future of In Flames loom as large as the heavy metal horizon itself.
4. Pierce The Veil - The Jaws of Life (San Diego, California)
Right now, Pierce the Veil are at their most raw, crackling with urgency and immediacy. Never predictable, always engaging, Pierce the Veil continue to soar on the strength of highly potent energy, rich musicality, and a scrappy sense of authentic exuberant ambition that's frankly unrivaled. Frontman Vic Fuentes, guitarist Tony Perry, and bassist Jaime Preciado put volatile, angsty, confessional emotions into the music, which is why their songs resonate with so many. "No matter where the band performs, fans will show up," wrote Loudwire. "When you see Pierce The Veil live, you'll understand why."PTV's evolution from album to album is nothing less than stunning. The early buzz generated by A Flair for the Dramatic (2007) made its follow-up one of the most anticipated albums of 2010. Selfish Machines shot to No.1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. The Chicago Tribune saluted Collide with the Sky for its "post-hardcore punk with more than a few nods to Queen." They became a true arena act on Misadventures, selling out huge venues without losing the intimate connection with their fans. Pierce the Veil have long cemented their status as one of the most exciting and relevant acts in their genre — by constantly evolving.
5. Narrow Head - Moments of Clarity (Dallas, Texas)
Genre: Grunge Rock
"‘How good does it feel?’ asks Narrow Head frontman Jacob Duarte on The Real, the first track on Moments Of Clarity. It’s a fitting question for an album with a sensual sound that draws you inexorably into its warm cocoon. The Houston band’s dreamy sonics will be familiar to anyone who heard their last album, 2020’s 12th House Rock, as will their primary influences, chiefly the woozy grandeur of Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins and the shoegaze-adjacent post-hardcore of bands like Hum and Failure. This time, though, there’s a stronger sense of melody at play, along with a deeper well of emotion. The brooding lyrics of songs like the title-track and Trepanation reflect hard times in Jacob’s personal life, with the album offering a panoply of coping methods, from hiding away to howling with rage. Much of this is expressed via dream-grunge ennui, often sounding like a prettier counterpart to NOTHING, but there is variety here too. Sunday and Fine Day up the tempo, while the provenance of The Word’s wonky noises can be traced back to shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine. Heaviness makes its presence felt elsewhere: the rumbling grooves of Gearhead evoke the likes of Deftones or Quicksand, while the relentless Flesh & Solitude boasts an almost industrial quality. Perhaps the biggest surprise arrives on closing track Soft To Touch, its shuffling breakbeats moving Narrow Head into unexpected trip hop turf, a stylistic curveball which is at least in keeping with the preponderance of ’90s references throughout. To answer Jacob’s question, how good does it feel? Like a hearty embrace from a band proving themselves capable of great things, mate. Thanks for asking." - Olly Thomas at Kerrang!
6. Distant - Heritage (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Genre: Downtempo Deathcore
DISTANT is a 5-piece crushing DOWNTEMPO DEATHCORE band hailing from Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Bratislava, Slovakia. Few bands combine energy, intensity and extreme brutality the way that deathcore juggernauts Distant do. Even fewer bands are able to crush the listener in such an immersive, conceptual experience joined not only by thematic lyricism but a novel of written lore to accompany it. Distant, however, are one of those bands that are able to do both—and then some. Hailing in one part from Rotterdam, The Netherlands and the other from Bratislava, Slovakia, Distant combines elements of hyper-dissonant downtempo deathcore, slamming brutal death metal, and beatdown to create a vicious world of heaviness. Since their inception in 2014 the band has taken the heavy music world by storm, lashing out with their debut EP, Slither, in 2015, followed by their critically acclaimed breakout release, Tsukuyomi, in 2017. Over the next two years, the band would shift focus into a more diverse beast as heard on their Unique Leader Records debut full length, Tyrannotophia. Driven by continuing their legacy of riveting-yet-ravenously aggressive music, Distant would dominate 2020 and 2021 with two EPs which would ultimately become chapters one and two of their three-part, hour-plus, crushing deathcore epic Aeons Of Oblivion—an adventure that expands infinitely upon the world of Tyrannotophia. Aeons Of Oblivion would not enter into the world alone, however, as 2021’s novel “The Rise of Tyrannotophia” would be the first written plunge into Distant’s fictional universe, covering the lore behind both Tyrannotophia and Aeons Of Oblivion. Inspired by tales of the dark ages and the occult, Distant portrays themselves as “something more than just a brutal band, but a band with a story to tell and to leave behind”.
While Distant’s fictional universe of Tyrannotophia might be simple lore for now, it‘s only a matter of time before we’re all bound to be living in it.
7. Frozen Dawn - The Decline of the Enlightened Gods (Spain)
Genre: Death Metal / Black Metal
For a decade and a half, Frozen Dawn have been perfecting their sound which can be described as stirring, intense and scathing black metal tempered with melody and soaring leads. The members have used their experience in notable bands to create something that not only pays earnest tribute to the classic bands such as Dissection, Necrophobic, Sacramentum and Naglfar but also sounds contemporary in terms of structure and execution. They've bolstered the sound with death metal influences and even added slight thrash touches, ensuring that the music remains powerful, incisive and compelling. The momentum remains unabated as the band pummels its way through nine elaborate tracks and a fitting cover of Necrophobic. Many bands have attempted to recreate this sound with varying degrees of success but clearly Frozen Dawn have excelled at it which is mainly due to their knack for meticulous songwriting that straddles heaviness with emotion, allowing them to enhance the expression and maintain the much-needed diversity for the style. This album is easily Frozen Dawn's best one yet and is head and shoulders above the rest of them where this kind of music goes in recent memory.
8. Big Laugh - Consume Me (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
For decades, the upper Midwest of the United States has been a hotspot for hardcore bands that bend genres and refuse to stick to tired formulas, producing acts like Husker Du and Die Kreuzen. Milwaukee, WI's Big Laugh is here to continue that tradition, with a sound that finds them as much at home playing DIY shows in dingy basements as playing large clubs alongside some of hardcore and punk's luminaries. With high ambitions, Big Laugh is centered on creating whatever they want however they want, and "Consume Me" is just the next step for this young band.
9. Actus Reus - Mens Rea, Pt.1 (Atlanta, Georgia)
We’re Actus Reus (AEP) from Atlanta, Georgia. We play metal.
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