METAL DESCENT’S Battle of the Bands – Round I
We’ve taken six of I.O.’s weekly picks and pitted them against each other in a brutal Battle of the Bands. At the end of the year, we’ll take the readers’ votes from each of the battles and write up the Top Ten Underground Heavy Metal Bands to watch in 2015. Vote for as many bands as you want but make sure to check all of them out. Round I closes on September 18th. Vote HERE.
I’ve been remiss in including the link to the submission guidelines and have been receiving messages on my Facebook. I apologize for the oversight. Just keep in mind that it’s METAL DESCENT that accepts unsolicited submissions, not the individual writers.
Submissions accepted HERE.
I.O.’S PICK OF THE WEEK
DAMN. The teasers left me wanting more and then I listened to “The Hands that Bled” and put DARKNESS DIVIDED at the top of my list. They epitomize the awesomeness that Metalcore can be. Their music is absolutely brutal, skating into Deathcore just for a lark, and then gliding into sweet, clean vocals that raise gooseflesh on the back of my neck. “A Well Run Dry” is another awesome song. The album is out now via Victory Records and I just picked up my copy.
A BREACH OF SILENCE The Darkest Road (Eclipse Records)
A BREACH OF SILENCE has done it again. The Darkest Road is savvy, intelligent, and heavy as fuck! Their signature Powercore delves into melodic death metal (Nordstrom and Udd) and blends it seamlessly with a technical, progressive ethos. Many-layered and complicated in both execution and theme, this is an album that will unfold inside your ears like an origami grenade. Fans will have fun choosing their own favorites from so many great tracks. My personal favorites are “The Darkest Road,” “Silhouette,” “This Is the End,” and “Immortal.” You can listen to a teaser HERE. The album is set to drop on October 7th via Eclipse Records, a label that consistently signs unique acts so check out their other bands too.
WITCHES OF DOOM Obey (Sliptrick Records)
WITCHES OF DOOM dug deep down to the roots of the doom subgenre’s tree and watered them with tears and brooding rage. The subsequent branches are twisted creating a frighteningly lovely silhouette against a pre-dawn sky. I totally dig this album and “Needless Needle” and “The Betrayal” are going into my Hot Metal compilation ASAP.
THE KING IS BLIND The Deficiencies of Man (Mordgrimm)
The refreshing riffs give this blackened death metal act a brooding, melodic timbre. Their first single is “A Thousand Burning Temples” but “Of Osiris & Execration” and “Revelation, Apocalypse” really tweaked my death metal g-spot. THE KING IS BLIND features ex-members of CRADLE OF FILTH, THE BLOOD DIVINE, ENTWINED, and EXTREME NOISE TERROR. This 4-track EP drops on September 1st via Mordgrimm.
IDES OF GEMINI Old World New Wave (Neurot Recordings)
Ethereal female harmonies glide over a spare landscape of doom riffs cast with a drone lighting. This is mind-altering music meant for chilling with something on the rocks and a brooding, thoughtful mood. The lyrics have an ancient intelligence that suffuses the compositions. Songs of note are “The Chalice and the Blade,” “White Hart,” and “May 22, 1453.” The album will drop on September 16th via Neurot Recordings.
THUNDERWORKS Thoughts & Thunder (independent)
For some reason, THUNDERWORKS as a name doesn’t evoke the type of brutal metal this band has on offer. There’s a twist to the music that appeals to my hunger for something new. “A Vast Unknown” and “Reality or Dream” demonstrate the compositional change up that turns traditional structure on its ear. It doesn’t follow the expected path though the traditional elements are there and a cohesive structure is evident. Nice work.
DEATH PENALTY Self-Titled (Rise Above Records)
The 10-track self-titled debut of DEATH PENALTY provides heavy metal with gorgeous riffs and soaring female vocals. Former member of CATHEDRAL Gaz Jennings recruited former members of SERPENTCULT, vocalist Michelle Nocon and guitarist Frederik “Cozy” Cosemans to create a classic heavy metal tribute with shadings of doom and psychedelia. Songs of note are “Howling at the Throne of Decadence,” “Sign of Times,” and “Golden Tides.” The album will drop on September 16th via Rise Above Records.
SPONTANE Mojra (independent)
If you like heavy metal with elements of hardcore, have a listen to Spontane. These dudes from Warsaw, Poland sing in their native tongue and it gives the tracks an angrier edge. Here are “Dzień w mieście aniołów” and “Powietrz” for your listening pleasure. I don’t know that the fuck it means, but I’m sure the band will tell you.
Honorable Mention: S7N
Straight up heavy metal reminiscent of NWOBHM, I like the raspy vocals riding over a stripped down, back-to-basics composition. The lyrics say it all:
SO FUCK… FUCK IT ALL/ AND GIVE ME MORE/ I’M READY FOR DESTRUCTION
This is the only track available but I’d keep an eye on S7N.
I.O. Kirkwood is a Metal Descent contributor. You can read her personal blog at iokirkwood.com.