Some days, grinding through levels on Black Desert Online or making a fresh character on Path of Exile just hits different. There’s something so relaxing in digging in and committing yourself for an hour in perfecting combos, collecting upgrade pieces, and watching your XP slowly tick higher. It’s incredibly soothing to me, and that perfect way of keeping the world at bay comes with its own special playlist. It’s constantly curated, and artists drop in and out, but here are five metalcore artists I’ve added in recent months that are there to stay.
Reliqais easily my favorite discover in the last year. I’ve listened to them nearly every day since and that trend isn’t likely to stop anytime soon. Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Reliqa stands in the front lines of the alt-prog metal scene. Their 2018 album Eventide catapulted them into the spotlight and they’ve found an intense following stateside and on an international scale. Monique Pym‘s vocals are like nothing I’ve heard before, the power is incredible, and the band works in such a cohesive way, growing and changing together constantly. Every new album and single brings something brand new to the table.
Songs I recommend: Their newest song, “The Bearer of Bad News” goes to show the intense range this band has. Their single prior, “Mr. Magic“, is fast-paced and full of teeth, a political statement that bites back at the futility of government. If you dig into their Eventide album, “Doomed” and “The Halfway Point” are fan favorites, but give “Into Fire” a chance. It has a poignant ferocity to it.
The Wise Man’s Fear
The Wise Man’s Fear has been slept on, and I’m here to correct it. If you’re a fantasy sci-fi reader and love metal like I do, this band is a no-brainer. They originated in Indianapolis and debuted in 2015, named after the second book in the (one day to be finished) trilogy of the Kingslayer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. Need I say more? Self proclaimed fantasycore, this band is really like nothing you’ve heard before. Imagine the satisfying gutturals, the crunchy breakdowns, the dark, heavy bass builds that are natural in metalcore, and add a beautiful fantasy narrative and woodwind instruments. It sounds insane, and it is, and it works.
Songs I recommend: For a direct example of woodwind implementation, “The Tree of Life” in the Valley Of Kings album has a flute-led breakdown. “What Went Wrong” of the same album is a fan favorite. Their new single “Tailspin” released just last month, and implements what sounds like helicopter blades that set the beat throughout the song, until the sound of a plane crash in the breakdown. It’s a masterpiece in metaphor that I haven’t witnessed in music in a long time.
If you’re a fan of In This Moment, I highly recommend September Mourning. Emily Lazar presents so much emotion in her voice, it’s enrapturing. Realized in 2009, September Mourning has created a sound that is cathartic in its rage. The macabre hard rock band has inserted themselves in multiple medias, manifesting their image and ideas through music, a kick ass comic under the same name, and even NFTs. The combination creates a unique experience to truly immerse into the world that September Mourning presents, and it is awesome to behold.
Songs I recommend: Their newest single “Dirty” is too catchy for its own good. “Unholy” is a little darker, and has been on repeat for days. I’m not guilty, that chorus is laced with serotonin. “Wake the Dead” and “Empire” are fan favorites, but I recommend “Glass Animals” too. It has a velvety, fantastical feel to it and a dark breakdown that is oh so satisfying.
Red Handed Denial
Lauren Babic‘s voice has webbed its way through my Youtube recommended for years with her collaborative covers, so it was only a matter of time before I fell in love with Red Handed Denial. The four-piece metal band hails from Toronto, Ontario and has been touring since 2016. They boast a brilliant sound that plays with the heaviness of good metal and the catchiness of pop punk. The combination of chest-pounding double bass, complex riffs, and throaty gutturals paired with catchy choruses and soaring clean vocals is exhilarating. It’s hard to listen to this combination and think of it as anything less than home.
Songs I recommend: Their new single “Father Said” is a perfect example of the bands abilities. It is a perfect starter song to let you know what you’re getting into. “Empire” is a fan favorite, bassy and tranquilizing in its heaviness with Babic’s throaty vibratos. You cannot go wrong with the entire Redeemer album. For something totally different in their repertoire, I recommend “Wanderer“. It’s a jazzy, beautiful instrumental that feels like a window to their musical souls. It is simply gorgeous.
I’ve been rooting for Scene Queen since I found her marketing on TikTok in 2020. I loved the idea of a metal artist, self proclaimed bimbocore, that juxtaposes the harshness of metal with the overtly feminine and childish. It gives metalcore Ashnikko vibes and it is so refreshing when an artist is unapologetic in their femininity. Scene Queen mixes sizzling screams and sardonic cleans over grungy riffs and thumping bass that gets progressively heavier with every release. Scene Queen has a lot to say in breaking the mold and I am here for every new single.
Songs I recommend: “Pink Bubblegum” is her latest single, a response to the scene’s response to her previous single “Pretty in Pink“. It’s sarcastic, catchy, and tenacious. “Are You Tired” was originally released in 2020 and fits the more typical mold if you want to ease yourself into it. “Bring it on” is her next single in the wings, and it’s the heaviest one yet.
An avid book reader, overthinker, houseplant caretaker, and MMO player, Kay loves listening to angry music with as much bass boost as she can manage to balance her otherwise quiet lifestyle. If she doesn’t write about the stuff she likes it will inevitably be spewed forth in nonsense order to whomever will listen. She lives with her partner, an angry cat, and a lazy dog, both of which are named after StarCraft characters.