Mr. Malone and I like to talk with you all about a wide variety of bands, but one of our favorite kinds of bands to talk about is new, up-and-coming, and/or underappreciated artists. As David said in his review of Dominia’s Stabat Mater, “Writing for this blog, something Mr. Collins and I like to do is search for bands that we’ve never heard, and try to introduce them to our faithful readers. It’s how we discover hidden gems or crap heaps, and how we learn of the new, up-and-coming bands.”
In the past, we’ve recommended such bands as Ghoultown, Impalers, Kobra and the Lotus, Mutoid Man, Turnpike Troubadours, and Visigoth, and today, we would like to tell you about five more! We think these guys and gals are and could be something truly special.
All group photos via the bands’ Facebook pages.
Bat Fangs is made up of Betsy Wright on guitar, bass, and lead vocals; and Laura King on drums and backing vocals. Their record label is Don Giovanni. Bat Fangs’ description at Don Giovanni reads, “Formed in 2016 by guitarist/singer Betsy Wright (Ex Hex) and drummer Laura King (Flesh Wounds, Speed Stick), the duo specialize in prescription-strength shred and churn meant to stiffen the upper lip and crack the third-eye. Slick and sick visions channeled from the midnight mirror world. Acid-soaked hard-rock to thrill the living and raise dead.
“The band began just as Wright’s other gig, Ex Hex, settled down for an extended breather. After two years touring as a bassist, she was eager to reconnect with the electric guitar and to push her pop-songwriting skills toward a slightly darker zone. She sent a few demos to King, who signed on to play drums. Together, they pushed the music into a deeper and more otherworldly place.”
Those words sum up Bat Fangs pretty well. I’ve been loving this band and spinning their record again and again lately, because they remind me of The Ramones, Blondie, The Runaways, and HAIM all wrapped up in one. It’s like ’70s and ’80s hard rock meets ’70s punk meets early New Wave meets garage rock meets modern pop rock sensibilities. I’ve been known to wonder if we should still be getting two-person rock bands. Bat Fangs presents a solid case for them. Check out their new, fun, cutting, eponymous LP. You won’t be sorry you did.
I highly recommend DVNE (as difficult to ever know how to pronounce as their name might be) to all you heavy metal fans out there, especially if you love Elder, Baroness, and the like, and if you are missing, say, Blood Mountain-era Mastodon. DVNE is currently putting out music that is an excellent mixture of sludge, stoner, doom, and death metal, plus they always come out with some cool cover art to pour over as you spin their record. Every band really needs to do that!
DVNE is made up of Victor Vicart and Dan Barter on guitars and vocals, Dudley Tait on drums, and Allan Paterson on the bass guitar. The band’s Facebook biography reads, “Dvne is a 4-piece metal band from Edinburgh, UK. Taking influences from a myriad of genres including post metal, doom, and progressive rock. Combining fierce riffs and melodic textures, Dvne travels an epic dark sci-fi universe with hints of psychedelia. Long live the Kwisatz Haderach.”
If you haven’t given these guys a listen, trust me, you’re missing out. I was pumped the first time I heard DVNE, and I’ve been a fan ever since. These guys could do something truly awesome soon. Like the other bands on this list, let’s help them, give them the attention they deserve, on their rise from the underground. Oh, and check out Asheran immediately. In fact, just stop reading this and give that album a listen. The article will be waiting here for you when you’re done.
The next band I hope you will all check out is also the newest, Lightlow, and finding information on this unsigned act might be a bit difficult. Their Facebook “About” section simply states, “Lightlow makes music,” and their Twitter account concisely says, “Alt/Prog rock from Fort Wayne, Indiana.” Their Spotify and Bandcamp accounts barely have any information. That’s all right, though. I appreciate brevity! Besides, Lightlow is just getting started. So I messaged them on Facebook for further information, and this is what they told me:
“Lightlow is Miles Patterson, Paige Smith, Dave McCall, Casey Gerlach, and Nick Hammer. We’re from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and we play modern rock/alternative. We formed in fall of 2017, and our influences stem from classic rock to modern alternative. Our biggest influences are Radiohead, Circa Survive, Deftones, Tool, folks like that. Our name comes from an O’Brother lyric and represents a faint hope in darkness sort of thing.”
Miles is the lead vocalist and plays guitar alongside Casey. Paige takes care of the synths and backup vocals. Dave is on bass duty, Nick on drums. As of now, the guys and gal have been playing a few gigs in the Fort Wayne area, and they recently dropped their debut EP, “Begin Again,” which is surprisingly slick and professionally produced for such an early release from an independent band. I highly recommend you check it out if you’re a fan of the bands Lightlow name-dropped in their quote above. If you’re in the Fort Wayne area, find a place the band is playing and catch them live!
Mental Coma is the oldest band in this article. 6 years. That’s not a new band at all! What are they doing in this write-up? Well, they’re in here because they are still deep underground, and I think it’s their time to come above a bit. I love Mental Coma’s aggressive, technicality-leaning, thrash sound, and I can’t wait for them to release their sophomore album.
Here’s an apt explanation of Mental Coma that the band themselves sent me:
“Sodom-oriented frenzy in the drums and Nuclear Assault-oriented gang vocals, certain to set pits ablaze.
“Formed in 2012, Danish thrash metal outfit ‘Mental Coma’ released its debut EP “Wasteland” in the summer of 2013. Following a bunch of live shows in Denmark, the band’s aggressive sound of 80’s thrash metal shaped the 2016 debut album Fragments of Democracy released through HorrorPainGoreDeath Productions. With lyrics depicting war, greed, manipulation and the end of the world, the band soared at a fast pace with frantic guitar solos, pounding bass, fast galloping drums and furious vocals.
“After a bunch of extra concerts and reflection upon a cancelled EU tour, the band created its newest release, the 2018 EP “Visions.” Portraying a more dynamic songwriting displaying all the bands nuances, while maintaining the fast, aggressive sound, “Visions” is for any fan of aggressive metal with strong riffs and interesting twists and turns.”
Mental Coma is made up of Anton Pedersen on lead guitar and backing vocals, Simon Nedev on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Lasse Sylvester Kristensen on drums, and Mark Klavsen on bass guitar.
Grunge is not a genre that I wish to see revived. I like some of the material that came out of that movement, and I certainly enjoy a few of the bands, like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. Still, it was a genre that allowed, or maybe I should say ushered in, a lot of crap.
That being said, if grunge were to experience a revival, I wouldn’t mind it if this new band, Underwing, hailing from Norway, were at the forefront! They haven’t even released a full LP at this point, and they’re already making underground waves.
The difference in Underwing is the band’s instrumental ability and composition. These guys call themselves “progressive grunge,” which, after listening to their music, is accurate. The wailing yet gruff vocals and rhythm section have a distinct grungey flavor, but the songs’ compositions, the skill and tightness of the band’s rhythm and timing, and the guitar solos bring to Underwing’s sound a prog technicality. Also unique, Underwing implements instrumentation that contrasts heavy, forward-driving, complex drumming with meaty, weighty guitars and an always-solid bass foundation that represents both sides. These two energies seem too opposite to work well, but they’re held together with remarkable skill. The guitars even have a bit of a bluesy metal, Black Sabbath vibe, which works well.
As Underwing told me, the band consists of Enyeto Kotori, the front man and founder of Underwing, on bass and lead vocals; Thomas Myhren with the lead guitar; Magnus Christiansen providing guitar & backing vocals; and Joachim Walle Michalsen as the band’s drummer and producer.
What do you think of these bands? What are some other new(ish) bands in need of attention? Sound off in the comments below!