While rarely heard on the Auto-Tuned airwaves, heavy metal has been ascending in popularity in recent months. Even that arbiter of music trends, American Idol,
was home to a self-proclaimed metalhead last season
(though the featured players of Heavy Metal Parking Lot
would likely scoff at his supposed authenticity). They’re unlikely to end up on reality TV—then again, there was The Osbournes
—but these bands are among today’s most noteworthy up-and-coming headbangers.
The annual CMJ Music Marathon is generally seen as the festival that hatches artists who might provide a soundtrack to an Urban Outfitters shopping excursion. Yet, not all bands that participate in the event strum their guitars with cool detachment. Last month’s CMJ flaunted more than a handful of emerging metal acts
, among them this electrifying Brooklyn quintet. Hull’s second album, Beyond The Lightless Sky
), released last month, contains a nine-song “Mayan epic” about a division of two brothers that’s hypnotizing listeners with its chugging thrash. Its doomsday vibe would make a fitting coda to a certain cataclysmic prophecy
rooted in similar mythology.
The F*$!ing Wrath:
With a name that would probably send this email to subscribers’ spam boxes if not for the insertion of profanity coding, this band raises the bar of intensity to vertiginous heights before even unleashing its growling sound upon listeners. The F*$!ing Wrath, a quartet hailing from Ventura, CA, recently released a new album, Valley of the Serpent’s Soul
(Tee Pee Records
), that marries (in discordant harmony) the psychedelic stoner rock for which its label is acclaimed with the shattering aural theatrics of, say, early Metallica. They’re currently in the final days of a month-long tour, but would make the perfect opening act should Lulu
eventually hit the road.
Their music has been called everything from “swamp metal” to the “Savannah Sound,” yet this Southern trio prefers to let its music speak (or, scream) for itself without labels. That said, when hard-pressed for a genre defining tag, they’re partial to the more inclusive term “quilt metal,”
a reference to their pastiche approach to metal that draws just as much from punk rock as from its sludgy brethren residing below the Mason-Dixon line. Its latest album, Set the Dial
) has captured media outlets as highbrow as NPR
and as zeitgeist-y as Stereogum
, demonstrating that the blanket term (no pun intended) may be its most apt descriptor after all.