1. Arriver - Azimuth (Chicago, Illinois)
ARRIVER was founded in Chicago in 2006 to create a metal epic from a found paragraph of nonsense. Their evolution has produced a body of work of great sonic diversity, linked by the narrative thread and the mightiness of the Riff. Explosive manifestations of heavy prog and post-doom are waiting to be discovered in ARRVIER's new album Azimuth. Following the release of their 2020 single "Holy Glow", Azimuth sees the Chicago based ARRIVER doubles down on an expansive, experimental approach. The music on this album and its story were largely created under pandemic conditions in states of chaos and dislocation. Azimuth reflects these circumstances. Opening with "Reenactor", the protagonist comes to terms with their actions and faces the corruption of their legacy. Immersive textures with a touch of dissonance bring to life the complex and contradictory moods that run through the track. Dominant bass, demonic harsh vocals and soaring melody deliver a dynamic soundscape. Wrestling with complex emotions, ARRIVER portrays the darker side to the human experience without the neat and tidy resolution. "None More Unknown" reveals that while in many respects the protagonist emerges victorious, their demons cannot be evaded, and the personal sacrifices are not worth the obtained gains. The vastness of sound and balance of light and dark results in a profound conclusion. ARRIVER fuse heavy tones with progressive composition and differing instrumental textures to produce a captivating experience. The quartet artfully depict their haunting tale with such deep feeling; in Azimuth they unveil the shadowy gloom. ARRIVER is:
Joe Kaplan - drums, percussion, Dan MacAdam - electric guitar, 12 string electric guitar, backing vocals, Dan Sullivan - vocals, electric guitar, baritone and acoustic guitars, Rob Sullivan - vocals, bass guitar, synthesizer.
2. Wholly Oracle - The Wretched Unification (Florida & Colorado)
3. Handsome Ghost - To the Place Where We Met Last (Boston, Massachusetts)
Genre: Indie / Alternative
When the noise of the world subsides and everything else goes quiet, emotions grow louder. With nothing to compete for attention and no distractions, the quietude enables honesty. Upheld by acoustic guitar, transmissions of ethereal production, and vocals that often barely register above a whisper, Handsome Ghost hover around this stillness. The Massachusetts duo—Tim Noyes and Eddie Byun —thread together songs steeped in longing and nostalgia, loss and love, and darkness and light, all at once.
4. Weight Of Emptiness - Withered Paradogma (Santiago, Chile)
Genre: Progressive Metal / Death Metal / Doom Metal
Metal band based in Buin, Chile, formed in 2015 that mixes styles such as death, doom, black metal with progressive elements. In 2021 they receive the Escuchar Award as the Best Extreme Metal Artist in Chile. His sound has been prominent within the Latin American metal scene.
5. Periphery - Periphery V: Djent is Not a Genre (Washington, D.C, )
Genre: Djent (lol)
With a sound that pushes at the boundaries of progressive metal, Periphery are at the forefront of the "djent" movement, utilizing detuned, extended-range instruments to create a sound that's as technically dizzying as it is heavy, joining in with the growing ranks of artists who are taking the framework laid down by bands like Meshuggah and running wild with it.
6. Suicide Silence - Remember... You Must Die (Riverside, California)
An American deathcore group that draws on elements of black metal, grindcore, mathcore and groove metal, Suicide Silence emerged in 2007 with the punishing full-length debut, The Cleansing.
R.I.P. Mitch Lucker
7. Flogging Molly - ‘Til The Anarchy’s Restored (Los Angeles, California)
Genre: Celtic Punk-Rock
Flogging Molly are less of a band than they are a Transatlantic, Celtic-punk institution. Over the course of 25 years and thousands of shows around the world, Flogging Molly have transcended genres to become one of a very few bands that can literally share the stage with The Chieftains one day and Motörhead the next (this actually happened, by the way). For Flogging Molly’s seventh full-length 'Anthem', the band, which features married couple Dave King (vocals, guitar, bodhrán) and Bridget Regan (violin/fiddle, tin whistle, backing vocals), decided to get back to their roots and record 14 songs in 14 days with Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies) at Electrical Audio Studio in Chicago. Atom Greenspan (Idles, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) mixed the tracks, and was also instrumental in both the sound and sequencing of Anthem. Ultimately, there really aren’t any other bands like Flogging Molly who can transverse scenes from punk to folk so easily and the fact that there are now multiple generations of fans at the band’s shows is a testament to their continued relevance. All of which brings us full circle back to Anthem. The band—and the world—have been through a lot over the past few years and Anthem is much about the collective spirit we all possess that allows us to push forward toward the future.
8. Meet Me @ The Altar - Past // Present // Future (Tampa, Florida)
Meet Me @ The Altar is here to dismantle rock music’s stereotypes riff by riff. The band–comprised of guitarist-bassist Téa Campbell, drummer Ada Juarez and lead vocalist Edith Victoria–has reignited the genre with their refreshing mix of earworm pop melodies, blazing guitar riffs, and punk attitude. Now, the band is ready to stake their claim in rock history with their debut album, Past // Present // Future, arriving via Fueled By Ramen. The record finds the bandmates experimenting more than ever as they solidify a signature sound while also ripping apart the “nostalgia act” box they didn’t ask to be placed in. Each word in the album title holds a significant meaning: “Past” pays respect to the iconic bands who’ve influenced them (including Paramore, Twenty One Pilots, P!NK, Demi Lovato, and Avril Lavigne). “Present” finds the band redefining what a modern-day rock band looks and sounds like, while “Future” looks ahead at how the band will impact the genre and where they might go from here.
9. Story Of The Year - Tear Me To Pieces (St. Louis, Missouri)
Genre: Emo / Pop-Punk / Post Hardcore
What’s the sound of Story Of The Year? Loud guitars, massive singalong choruses, and uplifting perseverance. Few records helped build the post-hardcore scene as swiftly as the band’s debut, Page Avenue, one of the first of its kind to sell a million copies. “Until the Day I Die” endures as both an anthem and mission statement. Tours with Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Deftones, and The Used cemented Story Of The Year’s reputation as a stunning and engaging live act. The connection between the band and audience transformed Story Of The Year from teenagers working in a St. Louis pizza chain franchise into hard rock headliners. Fans grew together with Dan Marsala, Ryan Philips, Josh Wills, and Adam Russell, from Page Avenue (2003), In the Wake of Determination (2005), The Black Swan (2008), The Constant (2010), Wolves (2017), to Tear Me to Pieces (2022). They specialize in intense, passionate, confessional compositions that inspire and empower. Songs like “The Antidote,” “Real Life,” “Miracle,” “The Ghost of You and I,” “Anthem of Our Dying Day,” and “Take Me Back” resonate with anyone determined to triumph over adversity. Until the day I die, indeed.
10. Judiciary - Flesh + Blood (Lubbock, Texas)
Genre: Thrash Metal / Hardcore / Crossover
West Texas Hardcore
11. Dirge - S/T (Mumbai, India)
Genre: Doom Metal / Sludge Metal / Post Metal
Formed in 2014, DIRGE started out as a band in Pune, a city then brimming with several acts in the local metal scene. They were unique from their peers, marked by a sheer dark, moving intensity & gritty heaviness in their music. The band soon found itself a full lineup & trudged forward ever since. Using their time post-pandemic to write and record a follow-up to 2018’s Ah Puch, the band’s forthcoming self-titled album finds the quintet taking a sonic journey of discovery. The album is a compilation of crises, in different forms. It is an attempt to evoke emotions which lie at the core of discomfort. The four songs are representative of the causes of pain. The soundscapes have been designed to suit the ethos of each song & the lyrics are inspired from real life experiences of anger, guilt, sorrow, and fear. Taking the listener on a journey of self-actualisation through this album, it creates a sense of catharsis through the experience of the four songs. The album artwork – “The rings of crises” is a metaphor for this very listening experience.
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