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Unearthing The Metal Underground: A Look At The Melodic Metal Scene

Grind, slam, death, black: metal has its share of extreme bands that revel in pulverizing an audience with unrelenting brutality or smothering out all hope with ceaseless darkness. Today we’ll move away from that side of metal however, to enjoy the more melodic sounds heavy bands have to offer.

Every week we unearth three bands you may not have heard of from the more underground corners of the scene, and this week’s all about the melody! If you dig power, prog, classic metal, or any combination of the three, these are all bands that are well worth your time.


Kicking off our latest look at less extreme bands is Finland’s Cardiant, which leans significantly more towards power metal, but with a dash of traditional and prog metal thrown in for good measure. The band has a lot going on across that spectrum, so don’t be surprised if you hear a variety of piano and keyboard segments, along with some choruses of clean singing that even bring to mind Devin Townsend’s “Epicloud.”

While there are a scattered handful of darker moments, overall Cardiant is melodic and upbeat through and through. The band’s latest album “Verge” is out now through Inverse Records, which follows the previous two full-lengths “Tomorrow’s Daylight” and “Midday Moon.” Get acquainted with the outfit through two tracks off “Verge” below.


Ever wish Meshuggah was a power metal band? Italy’s Empyrios lets you know exactly what that would sound like! More technical and heavier overall than Cardiant, Empyrios works the repeating math-metal type sound from a more melodic angle than is traditionally employed. The expected harsh growls are present, but balanced out by clean vocals for a strong prog influence.

The group’s third album “Zion” came out earlier this year through Scarlet Records, and if that doesn’t satisfy your appetite for djent-meets-power, Empyrios has two previous releases to work through: “And the Rest is Silence” and “The Glorious Sickness.” Follow the band at Facebook here or check out two tracks below to hear this unique blend.

Sleepers Awake

Finishing this week’s look at underground acts is Ohio act Sleepers Awake, which is much prog rock focused than the previous two bands and has a frequent Tool aesthetic. Sleepers Awake’s sophomore album “Transcension” is out now, which follows the debut full-length “Priests of the Fire.”

While there are tracks that are very clearly on the metal end with harsh vocals, like “Saint Condemned,” many others straddle the line between genre definitions and end up more on the hard rock side. You’ve got to be in it for the long haul with this band, which works the eight and nine minute track lengths, building up complex ideas that are woven in and out across the album. If you’re ready for an extended prog ride, you can stream the full “Transcension” album below.

These are but three of the multitude of high quality melodic metal acts out there. Let us know what you thought of these groups, and be sure to give us your recommendations for similar bands below! Check back in again next Monday as we continue our quest to Unearth the Metal Underground.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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1 Comment on "Unearthing The Melodic Metal Underground"

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1. cbella writes:

Spot on with the Meshuggah reference for Empyrios!!! Whilst I'm not anti-melodic metal, I don't really like any of these bands

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