Ever since my musical journey began at a very young age, I’ve been intrigued by bands that are very experimental and artsy. Perhaps it’s because I fell in love with The Velvet Underground at a very, very young age (I have my mom to thank for that one). So, these days when I hear something that is a bit off kilter or out there, I am drawn to it in some strange way. Which brings me to Bent Knee. This band is pretty damn cool and full of things you wouldn’t expect. Drawing inspiration from multiple places like pop music, prog rock, jazz and the more avant garde, Bent Knee have really made their place among the best bands you’ve probably never heard but should be listening to. Their new album, You Know What They Mean, is an album that could be described as being ahead of its time but, I prefer to think of it as an album that is innovative, full of great vocals, wicked arrangements, and killer songs. Bent Knee is the type of band too that provides the listener with a real sense of not playing it safe. Instead the more you listen to them, the more you start to get drawn into everything in a sort of trance that expands your mind in a very awesome psychedelic way. I personally can’t wait to see and hear what this bands continues to do for many albums to come. They are definitely a band to watch out for.
Over the last few years, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the resurgence of post-punk. There have been a bunch of bands that have really nailed that sound and vibe and have cemented a place in my rotation. Recently, I was introduced to another post-punk styled band that has really grabbed my attention. They are called The Wraith and they are badass. Influenced and inspired by bands like Killing Joke, Samhain and T.S.O.L., The Wraith have taken the post-punks sound and added a bit of cool Death Rock/Punk vibe to their sound. Frontman Davey Bales, has a distinctive voice that delivers the goods. The other members of the band, which includes former Blink-182 drummer Scott Raynor and Brit bassist Paul Rogers, have given the music and songs the darkness and depth needed to make the songs shine. Their new album, Gloom Ballet (out November 29 via Southern Lord) was produced by Mat Mitchell, who has worked with Love And Rockets, The Flaming Lips, Meat Puppets, King Crimson and Puscifer to name a few. The first single released from Gloom Ballet, “Wing Of Night” has the right attitude and gusto that will have you inadvertently dancing and wanting to mosh at the same time. The future is not as gloomy as their name might suggest. The Wraith are going to be leaving their mark for sure.
When it comes to metal music, people always tend to focus on the guitar playing and vocals but, there are 2 other elements that really shouldn’t go overlooked, the drums and bass. When you look back through the history of metal, the impact of those two instruments, it’s without a doubt that those are the true driving forces. Think about it, Sabbath, Priest, Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, etc, all those bands had such killer rhythm sections that were the ultimate driving force. I’d like to bring your attention to a band called Return Fire led by drummer Joe Nunez, who you might recall as one of Soulfly’s former drummers. His new band, Return Fire is a pretty thrashtastic return to the fold. Armed with a sound that hits on all the right grooves a la Slayer, Pantera, Napalm Death, Prong and even a bit of a Helmet vibe, Return Fire is the real deal. Their debut album is loud, fast and ferocious. If you are a fan of this style of metal, I really think you’ll dig this.
Remember the days of reading the liner notes and seeing the list of bands that are thanked and then checking out the ones you didn’t know? It’s always a pleasure and fun to come across bands that people in other bands you dig like. Not too long ago, I saw a posting on Instagram from Riley of Thrice talking about the band Drug Church. So, I did what I do, and checked them out. Needless to say, I enjoyed what I heard. Drug Church is a post-hardcore band hailing from upstate New York. Their sound is a mix of hardcore punk, alternative rock and a tinge of grunge. Think of it like this, if Black Flag (Rollins era), The Jesus Lizard and In Utero era Nirvana all somehow made music together, you’d get a pretty close resemblance to what Drug Church sounds like. The band was started by Self Defense Family singer Patrick Kindlon. Since their inception, they have released three full length studio albums, and a handful of EP’s and singles. Their most recent album, Cheer, is one of the coolest albums I’ve heard in a long time. It’s a very focused and powerful album as well as experimental. Cheer is the type of album that will leave you wanting to go right back to the first song after its over. The lyrics that accompany the music are smart and and thought provoking with enough of a sarcastic approach to make them really stand out. From the live videos I’ve seen of the band, they are one of the more exciting bands to see live. A band like Drug Church is a much needed breathe of air in a musical climate of today that is dominated by so much manufactured crap. So, do yourself a favor and take a listen to this great band!
It’s always interesting when bands take different genres and mix them together. The end results are at times questionable but, when a band finds the right pairing, it all comes together. There is a band that has caught my attention that has mixed shoegaze and sludge in a way that not only works, it feels right too. Greet Death, a three piece band from Flint, Michigan, are releasing a new album, New Hell, on November 8 (via Deathwish Inc.). The first couple songs released are just a glimpse of the lush and full melodies, dreamy guitars, and punchy rhythms that drive the poetic lyrics to soaring heights. The groups debut album, 2017’s Dixieland, showed that Greet Death are here to leave a lasting impression and that they did. New Hell looks to pick up where their debut left off, while expanding upon their sound to reach a new level.
Greet Death- Do You Feel Nothing? (from New Hell):
Australia has produced some very awesome bands over the years. From AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, INXS, and Silverchair. Well now they have another one to add. I’d like to introduce you to Northlane. The band formed in 2009 and has released 5 studio albums including their latest, Alien, which is one hell of a great album and is on my top list for 2019. The band got their name from a song called “North Lane” by the band Architects which appeared on the latter’s album Ruin. Over the years, the band worked to define their sound and through a few lineup changes, it appears they have finally found all the right pieces. Their new album Alien, finds the band evolving a bit more than previous albums and on this one, they have embraced the more experimental and alternative side of what they are capable of. Throughout the album you can find traces of industrial, prog, and even a little EDM. It’s the album that will lead them into the next part of their career. From the live footage I’ve seen of Northlane, they sure seem to have a very energetic and pulsating show. It’s been fun to listen to Northlane starting with this new album and then going backwards and seeing how much they really have progresed. They are definitely one of the newer bands worth checking out.
Late last year I went to see Cult Leader and God Mother at The Satellite and the opening band, Seizures, completely blew me away. I was totally intrigued by this band and their performance and I had to know more. I had previously described them as having this really cool early Thrice vibe ( a la Illusion Of Safety) mixed with a bit of Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan. I still stand by that only now, I’ve heard “In A Valley Of Twilit Meres” new song from their upcoming album Reverie of the Revolving Diamond, and there is so much more to this band than just that. Seizures is a band that offers the heavy music world a whole lot of awesomeness. By mixing post hardcore, mathcore and bits of jazz, they have a sound and style that is ferocious and brutal yet delicate and oddly soothing. Seizures is the type of band that today really needs. They have all the right pieces from being absolute beasts live and their quality of music and songs really shine. Give Seizures a moment of your time and you’ll see why I think they are a band you should be in the know of!