10 obscure but brilliant 2010s bands that deserved more

Obscure but brilliant 2010s bands
(Image credit: Joby Sessions/Total Guitar Magazine/Future/rob blackham/Will Ireland/Metal Hammer Magazine/Future/Jo Hale/Getty Images/NurPhoto)

The music industry is a fickle beast. For every Ghost and Parkway Drive that manage to make the leap up to arena size, hundreds of bands languish not getting the recognition they deserve. 

In a decade where fan-funding became a new lifeline (and, later, a noose) and platforms like YouTube and Spotify became the leading way to consume and discover new music, there are still bands who somehow got buried beneath the digital flotsam despite their undeniable brilliance.

That in mind, we picked out ten bands from the worlds of rock, hardcore and metal from the past decade who deserved far more than they got. 

Metal Hammer line break

1. Purson

Chief acolytes of the psych rock revival of the 2010s, Purson's occult allusions and colourful presentation afforded them a sense of flair beyond the usual jeans-and-t-shirt stylings of rock. Dipping toes in the world of stoner and doom when playing with the likes of Pentagram, Electric Wizard and Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats lent them underground cred, while a tour with Ghost seemed to prime them for mainstream audiences. 

Alas, the band called it a day in 2017, vocalist Rosalie Cunningham saying Purson "has gone as far as it could go” when the band released their swansong single, Chocolate Money. Cunningham has continued peeking beyond the curtain of reality as a solo artist since the band's split however, suggesting her star is shining no less bright.

2. Sordid Pink

Helmed by David Maxim Micic and Aleksandra Djelmash, Sordid Pink emerged after the dissolution of the pair's previous group Destiny Potato. Don't let the daft names fool you, though - their music was a genuinely fascinating mix of tech metal and pop sensibilities; think Jinjer with less extreme metal influences. The band released their self-titled debut album in 2020, but have since fallen silent. 

3. Heck

Hyperactive post-hardcore kings, Heck came and went like a flash fire, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake that had many clamoring for more. Part of a vanguard of incredibly exciting bands to emerge in the UK in the early 2010s, Heck's only full-length, Instructionswas a tantalising hint to what could have been, temporarily filling the gap in a post-Chariot/Dillinger Escape Plan metal scene. 

4. Black Moth

Each of Black Moth's three releases seemed to hint at an ever-growing sense of scale that threatened to break out of the stoner/doom box. With some of the biggest stomp-riffs since the days of Iommi and Page, Black Moth felt like a band that could have thrived on massive stages alongside more mainstream acts like Ghost, Royal Blood or Greta Van Fleet whilst still appealing to the underground. Unfortunately, Black Moth called it a day in 2019, leaving said ambitions unfulfilled.

5. Nine Treasures

Formed in China's Inner Mongolia region in 2010, Nine Treasures mine a similar fusion of traditional Mongolian folk and metal that saw the likes of Tengger Cavalry and The Hu explode in popularity in the last decade. Unlike their contemporaries, however, Nine Treasures metallics are front-and-centre, the band's sound possessing the folk-metal fusion properties of bands like Korpiklaani or Finntroll. 

In 2021 the band released the compilation Awakening From Dukkha, re-recording a selection of their finest tracks as an able demonstration of their unique sound. Given the sheer buzz around The Hu, it feels inconceivable that Nine Treasures could continue to be overlooked. 

6. Phantom Limb

Mixing country rock, soul and classic R&B, Phantom Limb were keyed in to rock's primordial DNA in ways that made their sound timeless. Drawing heavily on Americana themes (think Black Crowes or Eagles), their sound was anachronistic for their Bristol base but had a universal sense of appeal that went unfulfilled when they split in 2012.

Singer Yolanda Quartey has since broken out as solo artist Yola, making appearances on TV shows including Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny and Graham Norton, as well as getting nominated at the 2022 Grammy Awards for her album Stand For Myself. All of which is testament to the clear star quality the singer exhibited even a decade ago in her former band. 

7. Black Peaks

With a sound that mixed the best elements of Tool and Deftones - with added post-hardcore thrust - Black Peaks ascendancy looked all but assured. 2018's All That Divides took them from promising hopefuls to potential scene-leaders, while an appearance at the following year's Download Festival (complete with pyro, despite being limited to a tent stage) suggested the band had serious ambitions.

The band were forced to postpone a planned tour in October 2019 due to serious illness and never quite returned from then on in, ultimately announcing their break-up in July 2021, leaving the UK music scene poorer for their absence. 

8. Uneven Structure

Unlike the million and one bands that mindlessly ape Meshuggah in the djent sphere, Uneven Structure had the clear forethought to inject their own songwriting sensibilities into their compositions to ensure they didn't sink below the tide. 

The band's third record Paragon pushed their sound into more overtly prog territories than ever before, resulting in a stunningly expansive and luscious sound. Largely silent on social media since the pandemic hit, the lack of any disbandment announcement leaves hope for the French band's return in future. 

9. The Defiled

If we were The Defiled, we'd be plotting a comeback about now. Five years since the band's split and nu metal has made something of a surprise resurgence, a perfect environment for their industrial/alt-metal fusion that had more of a smattering of Korn to it in the first place. 

Their energetic live shows remain a fond memory for any who bore witness, while their two-album discography feels all-too-brief for a band that clearly had more to give. Considering their disbandment announcement cited no drama and financial difficulties as the motivating force, perhaps a return isn't entirely off the cards. 

10. Beastwars

Beastwars briefly called it a day after the release of 2016's The Death Of All Things while singer Matt Hyde fought Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Their triumphant return in 2019 with IV saw them score a No. 1 album in the Official Charts of their native New Zealand. With colossal sludge/stoner riffs that bridge the gap between the likes of Soundgarden and Kyuss or Mastodon, Beastwars deserve global recognition. 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.