While we pride ourselves on bringing you exclusive features and news on the biggest bands on the planet, we can't ignore the new breed. That's why, at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods, presented by Orange Amplification and in association with World of Tanks, we're giving out the award for Best Underground band. Who is the best of the newbies in our world? Well here's a handy guide to each of the nominees...
These days, French shoegazers Alcest may sound eons away from their black metal roots, but their continued loyalty to a progressive and evolving path makes them one of the most interesting offerings to grace the realms of heavy. Their fourth album, Shelter, was released earlier this year and sees them doing away with their original blackened template, instead leaving softer, but nonetheless impressive, musical hues. Instead of the exciting friction of darkened prog that earlier releases showcased, their latest offering is an accomplished, complete, coming-of-age work that sees them shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Anathema.
There’s no saying what combination of things will work. Beastmilk, the Finnish lovechild of a union of metal and the new romantic movement, should be an abhorrent thing. After all, imagine what the spawn of Slipknot and Spandau Ballet would sound (and look) like. Instead, they are insatiably groovy, using high-end riffs and Misfits-y vocal hooks whilst making light of the impending apocalypse. Their debut album, Climax, does just what it says on the tin; majestically spaffs all over your expectations.
Deafheaven, formed in 2010, have quickly been picked up by the cognoscenti of all things cool. This shouldn’t detract from them, as their wandering, protracted black metal signifies a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart of a traditionally backwards-looking scene. Last year’s Sunbather, their second studio album, was met with overwhelming acclaim. Its huge reception with a traditionally non-heavy audience is another testament to the band’s ability to write interesting, adaptive and surprisingly upbeat music.
There are a glut of bands who go around citing the influence of Led Zeppelin on their music, but there are very few that truly take on Zep’s pioneering and down-right inventive attitude to music. Scorpion Child, a Texan four-piece who formed in 2006, imbue their take on the hard rocking masters with explosive riffs and Clutch’s nose for grooving rhythm, and slather it all with tasty vocal hooks. Their debut album, a self-titled LP, was released last year, simultaneously stimulating the erogenous zones of everyone in the hard-rock community.
Warduna is a Norwegian musical project from former members of black metal band Gorgoroth and vocalist Lindy-Fay Hella. Unlike Gorgoroth’s back catalogue, Wardruna prioritise minimalist scenescapes in their music and attempt to capture the pagan, naturalist roots of their homeland by using a range of instruments. The mesmerising array of voices and disorientating backdrops feature prominently on 2013’s Runaljod – Yggdrasil, a dazzlingly unique, often Swans-ish, interpretation of a set of Ancient Scandinavian runes, known as the Elder Furthark.
Make your voice heard in the Metal Hammer Golden Gods by voting over here. You can even win tickets to see what will be the best gig of the year.
The Metal Hammer Golden Gods, presented by Orange Amplification and in association with World of Tanks, takes place on Monday 16 June at the Indigo2 in London and is hosted by none other than Steel Panther!