"some music was meant to stay underground..."

OpEd

Part 2 Of 2016 Metal Newcomers Explored

The capitulation of each year is that glorious time when we pour over hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of titles trying feverishly to rank them into either a Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 50, Top 100 or Top 1000 lists (we did our own, which you can read about here). One of my favorite list to compile is the new, unknown or newly formed groups in order to very year we make a point of searching out new, unknown, and freshly formed groups because its pretty rare (though not impossible) that they top the album lists. However, the search for new bands to perpetuate the scene is something I take great pride in doing because every Blind Guardian or Amon Amarth or Dream Theater started somewhere.

For all the pain that 2016 seemed to inflict on people all over the world, in music it seems like despite the evolving and changing music industry a plethora of new bands try to stake a claim on the world. Technology and the internet contribute greatly, as bands can record, produce and release albums themselves and those creations far exceed the quality of the demo tape trading that went on in my youth. Crowdfunding aids in relinquishing the need for record company control, which allows for more bands to take a shot at becoming the next big thing. The problem is - that shot is more like 1 million to 1, instead of 10,000 to 1 years ago.

To give you a glimpse into some of those newer acts which came out in 2016 that you may have missed or overlooked, MetalUnderground.com will be covering individual band nominations for the Best Newcomer category. Here are five bands who I nominated for in the Newcomer category. Hopefully, you will find something you like.

Eternal Idol

I make no 'unrevealed secret' of the fact that Fabio Lione is my all time favorite vocalist. Jokingly, I have made it a point to declare that he is the only vocalist that can guest star on any album and it would never get old. I'm fairly certain there is a huge sect of metal fans that would rather not hear Fabio and that is your prerogative.

Eternal Idol was born out of the band Hollow Haze, which Fabio did sing for from 2013-2014 and in particular the album "Countdown to Revenge." Guitarist Nick Salvo teamed up with Fabio and newcomer vocalist Giorgia Collelurori (who took over vocal duties at Hollow Haze shortly after the release of "Memories of an Ancient Time" in 2015, which featured a myriad of guest vocalists including Mats Leven, Rick Altzi and Amanda Somerville) to create Eternal Idol.

The debut album "The Unrevealed Secret" exceeded my expectations, since it showed a new side of Fabio that wasn't just the run of the mill tenor Rhapsody style. He showed a lot more depth in style. It was Giorgia's stunning lower end style that came completely by surprise - not falling into the opera trap that so many other female singers in metal do these days. The album as a whole is not merely a power metal or symphonic metal rehash - there are so many more elements at work here.

Sunburst

In terms of "being around," Greece's Sunburst is not new at all, having formed six year ago. If you are a power/progressive metal fan and have not been following the band on Facebook, you have missed out on so many demos and guitar play throughs posted over the years. If you were following the band over that time, you likely were waiting an eternity for the band to release an album with so much potential at work. Guitarist Gus Drax (Black Fate/Suicidal Angels) is no stranger to the metal scene, but he is young enough to be one of the biggest rising talents in the industry.

When the band finally signed on with Inner Wound Recordings and announced the debut album "Fragments of Creation," long time followers breathed a sigh of relief. The long anticipated release would launch a career with so much promise and talent - including well known to the scene vocalist and highly revered vocalist Vasilis Georgiou (Black Fate/Innosense/The Chronicles Project) and incredible drummer Kostas Milonas (Outloud).

The band landed a gig at ProgPower USA 2017 and there is much rejoicing in the PPUSA circles.

Psychoprism

If you look up at this name and say "who?" then I am here to tell you that you need to get on the bandwagon with this New York/New Jersey quintet. Having formed in 2012 and released an EP in 2014 ("Bloodlines"), the band qualifies for newcomer having released the first full length album "Creation" back in July via Pure Steel Records.

Finally, the world has a worthy successor to early Queensryche/early Crimson Glory. Its a niche style that many have tried, but so many have failed. Psychoprism does not. This is a genuinely exciting brand of metal with piercing vocals (Jess Rittgers) and shredding guitars (Bill Visser). The term "bursting on the scene" had little meaning until Psychoprism launched its first full salvo at the metal world and have little exposure to show for it. This needs to change. They are a beacon of light on a record label roster that is filled with early 80's clones, which is no wonder why the power/progressive world hasn't heralded the second coming of Midnight.

Light & Shade

Speaking of upcoming talents that show such immense promise and poise at such young ages, take vocalist (and stunning personality) Adrienne Cowan (Seven Spires) who surrounds herself with some of the best names in the business: guitarist/vocalist Marco Pastorino (Temperance/Secret Sphere), drummer Alex Landenburg (LT Rhapsody/21Octayne) and Temperance bassist Luca Negro. Suddenly, you have a supergroup with a supergirl vocalist in the making.

Light & Shade comes at you from all angles - a sum of all the influences and bands that its members are in and were influenced by. Once the breadth of material that Cowan is already on comes to "light" out of the "shade," she will be on pace to appear in more albums than Alex Landenburg himself (a very tall order indeed). She can throw incredible screams and clarity with vicious death metal grunts that give Alissa White-Gluz a run for her money. You have power, a spice of pop, a slice of modern melodic death all brought to you by some of the worlds most talented musicians. Do not miss out!

Abbath

Scoff at the "newcomer" title if you will - we all know Abbath isn't a "newcomer" per se. However, his new band under his own moniker dropped a eponymous debut album. It is everything you would expect from a new Immortal album...and more.

Take whatever legal, emotional and moral issues Abbath has with Demonaz and put them aside. As a fan, its been an agonizing wait since 2009's "All Shall Fall" was issued. In that time, rumors swirled, but nothing ever materialized until Abbath made his split official and released an album that surely ranks as one of the most ferocious albums released this year. It comes with all of the snow and ice you would ever want as an Immortal fan with riffs that command snapping necks.

Qualifying as a "newcomer" is endearing since the album is truly a breath of fresh air for black metal in general. Between Abbath and Germany's Thulcandra, its hard to find better black metal anywhere.


These are just five of 19 newcomers who were nominated by our staff this year for the Best Debut Album award! What did you think of these picks, and who is your favorite new metal band to arrive on the scene in 2016?

CROMCarl's avatar

From the early to mid-90's, Carl published his own fanzine called C.R.O.M. In 1997, he released a compilation entitled "CROM: The Resurrection of True Metal," which featured songs from bands from around the world, including the first U.S. release of any kind for bands like Italy's Rhapsody (n/k/a Rhapsody of Fire) and Brazil's Angra. Follow Carl on Facebook and Twitter: @CROMCarl.

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1 Comment on "2016 Metal Newcomers Explored, Pt. II"

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1. Drum_Junkie writes:

I like Light and Shade, although the admittedly talented Adrienne Cowan turns me off a bit when she strains through the higher rough vocals.

Eternal Idol has my interest. It's hard to go wrong with Fabio Lione and Giorgia complements his voice really well.

Sunburst though.. WOW! That is some killer music right there. Definitely on my wishlist.

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