Best Metal Newcomers Of 2014 Explored: Part 4
For our 2013 year-end awards we included a category for best “newcomers” – those bands that released debut albums well worth hearing.
To help get you acquainted with the best new talent releasing albums you may have missed, we’ll be looking at each of the bands nominated for the “best newcomer” category by our staff. Today, writer OverkillExposure looks at Gloomball and Damnations Day:
Guitarist Björn Daigger of new German import Gloomball states, “We refer to our material simply as rock music, but you could also call it alternative metal or modern rock.” Of this variety, the rock-radio highway is annually littered with misses, but Gloomball’s debut “The Distance” is a gut-punching hit. Daigger and co-songwriter Alen Ljubic (vocals) composed seven new tracks atop four previously existing songs from the band’s demo days, tossed in a cover of Robert M. Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out” (from “Rocky IV”) for good measure, and recorded a killer record with massive crossover appeal. Ballsy, thunderous, and groovy enough for headbangers young and old, melodic and heartfelt enough for a cathartic singalong session, “The Distance” expertly captures the essence of Five Finger Death Punch, late ‘90s Machine Head (sans the rap), latter-day Shadows Fall, and even some power metal and the understated progressive brilliance of acts such as Scar Symmetry.
Australia’s Damnations Day released something similar in 2013: “Invisible, The Dead,” a sly, tricky bastard of an album. The opening track pulls a fast one with its Hammerfall-style midtempo gait and frontman Mark Kennedy’s wailing vocals reminiscent of late ‘80s Helloween. Standard power metal, right? Not so fast: here come the thrash riffs. This band walks the drunk-test line between power metal’s more manly offerings and classic Metallica, passing with flying colors. A couple of brutal chargers (“Reaper,” “Reflections”) offset the requisite acoustic ballads (“A Ghost In Me,” “A World To Come”), while the spectrum in between covers everything from Maiden to Manowar to Exodus to System Of A Down. “Invisible, The Dead” is not as simple or straightforward as one might assume – operatic enough for the power metal dungeon masters, vicious-riffed enough for the thrashers, and surprisingly memorable.
Metalunderground.com founder Deathbringer also looks at his nominations Vista Chino and Beezelfuzz:
It happens almost every year: a band that is formed out of the ashes of another or featuring veterans of multiple metal bands gets voted as a "newcomer." As long as the band itself is new, it meets our criteria though. Vista Chino (formerly Kyuss Lives!) is sort of a modern incarnation of Kyuss, but without Josh Homme and Chris Oliveri. While I wasn't blown away by Vista Chino's debut album, "Peace," it was a solid effort with many qualities that conjured to mind Kyuss of old (or rather the band's later material, which was not quite as good as the earlier material). If you're looking for some good stoner rock/desert rock, Vista Chino is worth checking out though.
My other pick is a regional band that I happened to catch on a local show in Frederick, Maryland. Beelzefuzz surprised me with a fuzzed out, psychedelic, doomy sound. At times the band rocked quite hard, while at other times things got soft, often with the aid of a synthesized pipe organ, which was a really unique sound I hadn't heard from a metal band before. I scored a demo CD at the show, but the band released their official self-titled album later in the year. Beelzefuzz is worth keeping an eye on in the coming years, especially for doom metal fans. Check out "Reborn" from the band's debut full-length album:
Looking for more new metal talent? Be sure to also look at yesterday's batch of 2013 newcomers.
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