In a musical climate saturated with paint-by-numbers metal, it’s often hard to get excited about a new band when, let’s face it, we’ve heard it all before. We at OneMetal have decided to make things that little bit easier for you by bringing the cream of the crop straight to your screens. Here we present you with 5 lesser known metal bands that we personally think are worth your hard earned cash. Enjoy.
Sounds like: Black Pirate Metal
For fans of: Alestorm, Dimmu Borgir
Hail from: Calgary, Canada
Check out: ‘Jewels of the Dead’ from their 2006 album Aurum Aetus Piraticus
Website: www.myspace.com/verbaldeception, www.verbaldeception.com
At the start of 2008, Scottish folk/power metal band Alestorm made it clear that their mission was to spearhead the new wave of pirate metal, with bands such as Swashbuckle and Blackguard in close pursuit. Unbeknownst to most mainstream metal audiences, Canada’s pirate metallers Verbal Deception had released their debut full length a whole two years earlier. Rejecting the characteristic upbeat melodies and drinking anthems common to most pirate metal, they deal in a much darker breed. With chunky, downtuned guitars leading the assault and an exceptionally raspy set of vocal chords that sound as if they’ve been watered on a strict diet of rum, Verbal Deception set sail toward a sound that can best be described as symphonic black metal. This is most evident in their use of the keyboard which, instead of commanding the pirate-esque melodies as is the norm, is used to add a remarkably sinister atmosphere to the proceedings. As is the unfortunate case with most pioneering acts, the band have struggled to escape the shadows and claim the limelight, and following an extended period of silence within the Verbal D camp, it’s unlikely that they will do so anytime soon. Let’s hope they’re just resting their sea legs before launching an international siege.
Why you need to hear them: For a darkly brooding take on all things ocean-bound, there are none more original or atmospheric than Canada’s best kept secret.
Fall of Eden
Sounds like: Progressive Folk Metal
For fans of: Ensiferum, In Flames
Hail from: Woodridge, Illinois, USA
Check out: ‘An Angel’s Last Prayer’ from their 2007 album Dawn of a New Age
Few bands get it right first time, but Fall of Eden have shown a talent for song writing since their early demos and EPs. Their sound is very guitar orientated, centred around riffs that are catchier than herpes, with intricately harmonised guitars and a rumbling rhythmic section. Their attention to composition allows the band to utilise clean and aggressive vocal styles in a way that is both interesting and effective. With their 2007 debut album Dawn of a New Age the band’s Scandinavian and folk metal influences in particular became apparent as they moved in a slightly more fast-paced direction, with even more attention given to the melodic lead parts. With two U.S. tours under their belts, and having played alongside the likes of DevilDriver, Opeth and Dark Tranquillity, Fall of Eden already possess an impressive CV. Their forthcoming album The Warrior is due for release in the imminent future and an advert on the band’s Myspace page for a keyboard player suggests another evolution in their ever-growing sound.
Why you need to hear them: ‘because sword battles are rare in American metal, and everyone loves and needs to hear guitar shredding and lyrics about battling and Vikings!’ – Russ Knöebel (Bass and Vocals).
Across the Sun
Sounds like: Melodic Death Metal
For fans of: Darkest Hour, Cinders Fall
Hail from: Portland, Oregon, USA
Check out: ‘The Ardent Optimist’ from their 2009 EP Pestilence & Rapture
Trying to categorise Across the Sun is like trying to put a nappy on your microwave; completely fucking pointless. For convenience I have labelled them ‘melodic death metal’, but influences can be heard from almost every metal genre. Technical death metal? Check. Symphonic black metal? Check. Folk metal? Check. Thrash metal? Check. Metalcore? Check. Progressive metal? Check, check, check. Across The Sun are nothing less than a music lover’s wet dream. Unlike most modern bands, these boys don’t write songs; they write intricately explosive symphonies that appeal as much to the spirit as they do to the ears. Their cathartic compositions take the listener on a comprehensive tour of the human amygdala, leading you tenderly through a lightly-lit forest of melancholy only to leave you reeling amidst a turbulent storm of violence and fury. The band are currently in the studio recording their debut full length – check back with OneMetal in the near future for a full report on the release.
Why you need to hear them: ‘As a huge fan of the band before I was a member, what made me fall in love with Across The Sun was that there was a fire, a luminous, radiant presence about the music that touched upon every emotion you possess as a human being. We love what we do, we have made it our lives’ work, it shines through in all that we do, and because of that I believe people will love our music as much as we do. That my friends, is why you should listen to Across The Sun!’ – Brandon Davis (Vocals).
Sounds like: Metalcore
For fans of: Bullet For My Valentine, Malefice
Hail from: Tredegar, Wales, UK
Check out: ‘The Silent Divide’ from their 2007 album This Age of Silence
Quite possibly the most high-profile band on our list, Anterior are often pigeon-holed as Bullet For My Valentine derivatives, a tag which is unfair for many reasons, but mainly because they’re just so much better. The comparison, though, is understandable – with a similar guitar tone and high-end string-skipping riffs underlying a particularly screamy vocal style, Anterior are slightly reminiscent of an early Bullet, albeit a more refined and mature incarnation. Their songs bristle with the energy and razor-sharp precision that every metalcore band dreams of achieving, with epic guitar solos that thrash against the inside of your speakers and melodic instrumental sections that evoke an ethereal feeling. Lyrically, the band deal in the spiritual and the divine, crafting what can only be described as romantic poetry, but is unfortunately lost in the mix on their debut album. It is however, an ambitious, bold and exciting first record, technical, relentless and downright ferocious. Anterior are currently in the studio recording their follow-up album.
Why you need to hear them: For a precise definition of the words ‘headbang’, ‘windmill’ and ‘moshpit’, see Anterior.
Sounds like: Progressive Metal
For fans of: Dream Theater, Amorphis
Hail from: Hampshire, England, UK
Check out: Single ‘Frozen’ from their forthcoming album The Journeyman
Website: www.myspace.com/asgods, www.asgods.co.uk
As Gods pedal a different kind of metal to most acts their age. Whilst many of their peers are preoccupied with sounding heavier, angrier and faster than their predecessors, these Englishmen turn their attention to melody, controlled but effective aggression and the art of song writing. With more clean guitar parts than most metal bands would dare to employ, As Gods are experts at gradually building their songs into mountainous soundscapes with choruses and chord progressions that could fill stadiums. Melodic they might be, but make no mistake, when they shift into top gear they pummel and shred hard enough to give any thrash band a run for their money. Their live show is tighter and more energetic than those of bands with twice their experience and, with a willingness to play any show no matter how far the drive; their work ethic is one that will see them to the top. Once they get their tunes inside your head, there’s no getting rid of them.
Why you need to hear them: ‘the music we make is forward thinking without being pretentious, aggressive without bring abrasive and infectious without being trite or poppy. We write for the fans who want to think, sing and throw the horns all at the same time!’ – Ell Ridgeon (Drums).