Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets & The Mindless Flora

To simply sum Darkest Hour up to yet another ATG-core band would not only be insulting, but wildly inaccurate as well. The band has been different ever since their inception, as they started much more closely in line with the hardcore-metal crossover of their heyday in the mid-90’s. Eventually this would change, of course. The band began to overlay their blistering metallic-hardcore with melo-death riffs galore, showing that they were not only impassioned Integrity fans, but At The Gates fans as well. The hardcore always lingered though, driving their sound to blistering speeds and intensities that other bands simply could not keep up with. At the time it was remarkable in its own right, the perfect marriage between death metal and hardcore, but soon it led to just as many bands trying to rip them off as closely as many before them had tried to rip off In Flames.

Henry Kane – Den Förstörda Människans Rike

Like gin and tonic or sunny days and the beach, crust and death are the perfect pairing. The glorious bludgeoning of death metal and overdriven, fuzzy crust makes short work of anyone uneducated in the mires of extreme music; novices may start and stop with Entombed, more shame on them. Henry Kane, a project headed by members of Wombbath, make even shorter work of those unwilling to get a bit of nasty dick crust in their jeans. Den Förstörda Människans Rike might compare to certain records with a certain guitar pedal sound, in that it sounds familiar in tone and feel, but not necessarily in terms of actual content.

Hey! Listen to Mystery Weekend!

Considering the prog metal trajectory they’ve been on for just shy of a decade now, it’s easy to forget that Canadian stalwarts Protest the Hero started out their career as a punk band. Of course, the punk roots are still intermittently noticeable throughout their post-Kezia discography — take the verses in “Spoils”, for instance — but for the most part, it’s plainly apparent that the band have comfortably adapted to a more technical, progressive sound over the years. In light of this, it’s actually somewhat surprising in retrospect that it took until 2017 for a more punk-oriented side project to arise from the band, but we’re now presented with Mystery Weekend, a three-piece featuring vocalist Rody Walker and drummer Mike Ieradi from Protest alongside guitarist/bassist Dan Hay.

Iron Reagan – Crossover Ministry

Iron Reagan is made up of the singer and bassist from Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour’s old drummer, and DRI’s Crossover DNA. Then again, if you’re at all familiar with the thrash revival scene then you probably already know that about this band. And you can probably take a healthy guess about what their latest album on Relapse, Crossover Ministry, sounds like. All hints of predictability aside this is a rollicking throwback to the heyday of thrash when bands like Testament, Exodus, Forbidden, and so many others were as likely to be found shredding guitars and skateboards as digging themselves out of the pit.

Hey! Listen to Vardagshat!

Sweden’s Vardagshat don’t fuck around. Sharing many members from the fantastic Totem Skin, Vardagshat take a sleeker and simpler approach – play loud and fast crust. They don’t spoil their sound by chucking it into the blender with five other totally unrelated genres, but instead follow the lead of fellow…

Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me

It strikes me as somehow appropriate in a year that’s killed off Prince and David Bowie, given us marriage equality, bathroom laws in North Carolina, and ultimately a Trump Presidency that we have someone to look to in the musical world as a relatively unfiltered voice of rage. Not at the machine. At everything. That voice belongs to Laura Jane Grace.

Hey! Listen to House of Lightning!

House of Lightning are back. Where were they? Who knows? Who cares? What’s really important is that they’re back with a new full-length since their 2014 debut, Lightworker. Consisting of members from Torche, Wrong, and Floor, these dudes don’t mess with Frankenstein-esque genre experiments or tomfoolery. Instead, they invest their talents into the piss-and-vinegar energy of an in-your-face blend of metal, rock, and punk.