I’m a massive fan of all things rock and metal, and with Download Festival coming up next week, I decided it was time to check out some of the more underground artists within the hard rock genre. Don’t forget to check out the full playlist at the bottom!
Review by Jane Howkins
Picture by Caustic Waves
Caustic Waves – Invisible Enemy
Starting this list off in style are Caustic Waves, with their track Invisible Enemy. The track has more of a post-hardcore vibe to it, especially in terms of the vocal style, but it’s still very heavy, with some menacing guitar riffs kicking the song off. One of the things I loved about this song was how the band manage to make something both heavy and catchy, appealing to a wide audience – just check out the hooks on that chorus!
Caustic Waves – Regenerate
Yep, it’s time for another song by Caustic Waves! I enjoyed their music so much that I wanted to include another song here, this time called Regenerate. This song continues the epic alt-metal/post-hardcore vibes of the previous song, with an intensity present that is unmatched by many artists nowadays. The drumming also sounds incredibly frenetic, adding more atmosphere to the piece.
Garrow Hill – Depths
Garrow Hill are a creative collaborative effort, from our very own city of York! Depths starts as it means to go on, with some fast riffing, adding a huge amount of energy to the music. The production is a little raw at times, but it actually works really well with the style of song – the drumming also sounds rather unique. Backing vocals harmonise on the chorus with the lead vocals, adding more depth to the music.
Bellhop – Alone
Alone opens with an eerie bassline, adding atmosphere as the tension builds up in Bellhop’s new song. The vocals appear, getting more and more sinister as the music continues, building up and up until everything drops down again. The song finally explodes towards the end into what could be a hardcore punk song, with screamed vocals working well with the impressive guitar licks that also emerge here. It’s very different sounding, but I loved it.
The DePatie Melt – Paladins’ Song
I recently discovered The DePatie Melt and I’ve actually featured them a few times now, so I was very pleased to hear another song, Paladins’ Song. It’s an instrumental prog metal/hard rock song, with some beautiful electric guitar melodies that sound captivating throughout. The breakdown towards the end is hauntingly beautiful, showing a great sense of melody. The production quality also sounds perfect throughout. Check these guys out now if you haven’t already!
Bad Fractals – FreeRange
Bad Fractals have a very eccentric sound, combining elements of punk and psychedelic rock with hard rock on FreeRange. The vocals are unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, yet they really do suit the madcap sound the song has. The bass is extremely prominent for this sort of music, providing the main backbone to the song. It won’t be for everyone, but those patient enough to try something different will be rewarded here.
Goodbye Cassini – The Tide
The Tide opens up with some huge riffs, creating a wall of sound effect that introduces the listener perfectly to Goodbye Cassini’s sound. The drums add to this, before the song quietens down a little, as the vocals enter. The chorus sounds absolutely huge, with catchy vocal lines providing a nice dynamic against the heaviness of the music. These guys are definitely ones to watch!
The Dionysus Effect – Darryl
Darryl is a little different from some of the other songs on this list – it’s definitely a hard rock song, but I also felt there were moments of Southern rock and classic rock in there too. The dynamics change between the verses and the chorus, with the verses having an almost staccato type rhythm, in terms of the riffs. The chorus brings in a singalong quality, although its the verses where The Dionysus Effect really shine through.
Prove You Wrong – Get Out Of My Head
Prove You Wrong is a musical project created by American multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Alex Munoz, with Get Out Of My Head being the project’s latest release. The chorus was my favourite part of the song, harking back to that amazing anthemic sound that a lot of 80s classic rock/metal bands had, whereas the verses are a little heavier. The guitar solo towards the end of the song sounds epic, like the rest of the piece.
Prove You Wrong – So It Begins
So It Begins is another song from the aforementioned Prove You Wrong – I liked their music so much that I just knew I had to share another track with the world! This song has a slightly unusual rhythm to it, but that only makes it stand out more. Alex’s vocals are raw and have a quality to them that would suit the grunge genre well, although the chorus still retains that catchy, singalong quality that Get Out Of My Head has.
Hail – Here She Lies
The opening notes of Here She Lies are really quite beautiful, in a prog rock/metal sort of way. Hail have created something amazing here – the music has a symphonic quality to it, with gorgeous piano and string lines layering underneath the soaring female vocals that define the track. It’s possibly my favourite song on the entire list, so make sure you check it out below!
Futurelust – Vice
Los Angeles based rockers Futurelast have tapped into something great on Vice. The song has a psychedelic vibe to it, especially with the way they use the guitar effects on the opening melody. The song also has elements of modern rock and alt rock present, as well as the hard rock moments, and the vocals sound incredibly soulful throughout, with a lot of emotion being shown on the chorus as the riffs kick in.
Square Tugs – Fat, Drunk, Stupid
Square Tugs are another band that we’ve featured before, so it’s great to be able to hear more from them now. Fat, Drunk, Stupid is more of a hardcore punk song than a hard rock song, but the parallels are there, and anyone into their heavy/fast music should find something to love here. It’s classic three chord punk straight out of the 80s, but with a more modern twist, so it that sounds good, then check Square tugs out!
Suzitoy – Freaky Lick
Freaky Lick kicks off with an eerie bassline, before some impressive guitar lines appear. The eerie vibe continues through the verses, with some deep and menacing vocals being added. It all sounds incredibly atmospheric, and very different from anything I’ve ever heard before. There’s some really interesting guitar work on this piece, and the breakdown towards the end helps to ramp up the tension even more – I urge you to listen to Suzitoy’s latest, even if it’s just to see how different it is!