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Best Metal Newcomers Of 2012 Explored: Part 2

Photo of Western Massacre

Band Photo: Western Massacre (?)

There's a slew of new heavy metal bands popping up across the globe covering just about every imaginable sound, and plenty more appearing on the horizon. Thanks to easy access to digital tools and online methods of music distribution, the metal scene as a whole has an exploding population, and every year we try to keep up with the best new talent in our year-end “best of” awards.

To help get you acquainted with the best new metal out there, we’ll be briefly covering the bands nominated by our contributors for the “Best Newcomer” category of Metalunderground.com’s recent 2012 awards.

Writer OverkillExposure nominated the following acts for best newcomer of 2012: Western Massacre, Nothnegal, The River Neva, WrenchNeck, and Lahmia. You can also find yesterday's coverage of nominees at this location.

Western Massacre

While hardly the first band to which the term “Death Groove” could be applied, this Western Massachusetts five-piece lives it to the hilt. The slamming debut “Freedom Through Violence” injects death metal’s darkness and brutality with Pantera’s irresistible rhythms and riffs, and lead guitarist Kyle Leary is one of the most formidable Dimebag successors you’ve never heard of – yet.


At first an exotic Indian Ocean curiosity, and in due course, your new favorite band. Representing the tiny Maldive Islands on the global metal map, Nothnegal debuted early in 2012 with “Decadence,” a unique and enticing take on melodic death metal by way of grooving industrial and keyboard-laced atmosphere. Once the novelty of the band’s origins wears off, you’ll still be left with a damn fine record and an exciting template for future music.

The River Neva

Hammering and ironing popular styles of American metal into seldom-explored forms, debut EP “Chemistry Of Holocaust” is an unexpected delight of a listen that proves far more substantial and satisfying than its five-track length suggests. The River Neva layers a torrent of progressive creativity atop the likes of early All That Remains and the best of modern thrash.


Another Western Massachusetts torch-bearer, WrenchNeck has one overarching goal: revive the early-millennial blueprint of melodic metalcore forged by New England forefathers Killswitch Engage – and make it cool again. In this, the band’s self-titled debut succeeds with balls, brawn and brains.


Every year brings an insufferable bout of smug hand-wringing over which artist will “save” melodic death metal, but while the preening intellectuals on the elite metal blogs were busy patting themselves on the back, these Italians simply went ahead and recorded what they knew. The result? “Into The Abyss” is a shivery, thrill-packed ride that fully honors the original Gothenburg style with one eye on the present, and offers not a single dull moment.

The next batch of "best newcomers of 2012" from our contributors can now be read at this location.

OverkillExposure's avatar

Mike Smith is a native Virginia writer and a diehard metal and hard rock fan. As a music journalist, he is a staffer with Metalunderground.com and Outburn Magazine.

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2 Comments on "Best Newcomers Of 2012 Explored: Part 2"

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1. kshanholtzer writes:

I don't agree with any of these picks.

# Jan 19, 2013 @ 12:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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2. Overlord writes:

Had never heard The River Neva, great sound.

# Jan 19, 2013 @ 4:28 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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