It’s easy to remember the bands from the ’90s and early 2000s that made waves back when CD sales were still high and chart positions were more competitive. But what about the bands that were on the second tier? These names are often forgotten, left to the back pages of history books and the dusty bottoms of CD collections. This trend slowed down as the new decade progressed, when underground bands became more sought after by metal fans. Unfortunately, not many of the lesser-known bands from the second tier survived to see this change.
However, the bands that did survive have persevered, surviving on the loyalty of those fans they did garner in the beginning. And in recent years, a resurgence of some of the ’90s hard rock bands has occurred. While it has brought about some unwanted returns, there are a greater number of bands with highly anticipated new material. Today’s top band is one of those examples, in my view. And they’re leading a group of underground upstarts with plenty of talent.
Cold, Superfiction (Eleven Seven)
Cold’s biggest claim to fame was 2003’s Year of the Spider, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts and spawned the singles “Stupid Girl” and “Suffocate”. However, even though 2005’s A Different Kind of Pain still sold well enough to land at #26 on the charts, the group disbanded in 2006. Three years later, Cold’s original lineup reunited to tour and record an album of new material. The lineup has changed since the reunion, but progress on this new album has been constant. Lead single “Wicked World” has been drawing a lot of attention, and should give the album a strong start.
Toxic Holocaust, Conjure and Command (Relapse)
Blackened thrash metal was pioneered by Sodomin the late ’80s, but the style never took hold on its own, despite its influence on early black metal. It took over a decade for blackened thrash bands to start appearing with any prominence, including Skeletonwitch, Nocturnal, and Toxic Holocaust. Their 2008 Relapse debut and third overall album An Overdose of Death… was a breakout for the band. It was a much-deserved advancement for the band, after two independent full-lengths and a plethora of demos, compilations, splits, and EPs. Conjure and Command marks a change for the band, as the studio recordings were done by a full band, rather than just by vocalist and guitarist Joel Grind.
Chelsea Grin, My Damnation (Artery/Razor & Tie)
The deathcore scene has officially been around long enough that the most prominent bands can be considered influences and inspirations to the newest groups. Whitechapel is one of those leading influential bands, and their triple guitar lineup is an influence on Chelsea Grin. Also utilizing three guitarists in their lineup, the band’s debut Desolation of Eden earned them numerous comparisons to Whitechapel and plenty of respect from the older group’s fans. My Damnation shows potential for sound evolution, but should pull in all the remaining Whitechapel fans through a guest vocal spot by Whitechapel singer Phil Bozeman.
Dying Fetus, History Repeats… (Relapse)
Dying Fetus has been very busy in their 20th anniversary year. They reissued all of their oldest material in January and March, and the celebration of their career continues with this new EP of covers. Covering tracks from the likes of Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse, Bolt Thrower, and Pestilence, Dying Fetus pay tribute to the bands that helped create their sound. This EP also features one exclusive original track, adding a little of Dying Fetus’ individual feel to the release. Overall, the commemoration of this anniversary has been brilliant so far, and there may still be more to come.
Also being released this week:
Ringworm, Scars (Victory)
The Greenery, Spit & Argue (Prosthetic)
George Lynch, Kill All Control (Rocket Science)
Trophy Scars, Never Born, Never Dead (The Same Ghost Collective)
It Prevails, Stroma (Mediaskare)
Demonical, Death Infernal (Metal Blade)
Manilla Road, The Deluge (Megaforce)
Altars, Opposition (Strike First)
Phinehas, thegodmachine (Victory)
City of Ships, Minor World (Translation Loss)
40 Watt Sun, The Inside Room (Metal Blade)
Sarabante, Remnants (Southern Lord)
A Past Unknown, To Those Perishing (Victory)
Crone, Endless Midnight (Translation Loss)
I Am Abomination, Passion of the Heist (Good Fight)
Killing Time, Unavoidable (Blackout)
Next Week: The young and the heavy are our focus, with a leading Mayhem Festival band and a leader in technical metal. We’re also getting the long-awaited solo debut from one of hardcore’s greatest ambassadors. Be ready to bang your head with next week’s list!