Chris reels off his top five artists to watch this year!
In discussing the coming year with fellow scribe Simon towards the end of 2013, we decided it would probably be a good idea to have a think about what we were looking forward to, rather than bungling it, as it would normally appear. To that end, we both set about picking the five bands we thought would be making waves in 2014. Ever ahead of the game, his was published on Friday, but close on its heels are my quintet of quivering quacks;
More established acts be buggered, these are the ones that are truly getting my testicles tingling, with all the lip-curling grimness that that particular mental image conjures. Without further tugging the todger, here they are:
Chronographs’ label debut release Nausea came out only a year ago, but as recent noise from their camp is saying, big things are happening this year for 2014 – or more specifically, at their own doing.
Nausea‘s material is actually at least a couple of years old, and as such a young band, their style and interests have obviously changed. A blog published on their new website last week indicated that any new material from the band will not be technical metal.
Citing the evolution of bands like Thrice over the years – whose every album is different and exciting – the five-piece espoused the belief that “great bands take risks.” and that ”great bands are great for the same reason: quality. And quality is not genre-specific.” This is exciting indeed, although undoubtedly a scary prospect too.
Said drummer Finn Mclean of the year ahead:
“…we will get the opportunity to spend bulk periods of time together as a band, allowing us to grease the bearings and improve the way we function together as musicians. This is something we have all been waiting for and it’s finally here.”
Technical metal is obviously not the most popular or successful genre of music, and so now is probably the best time to make any significant changes to their style that they’re going to. I’ve actually had the privilege of hearing some of what they’re working on, and whilst it was too early to tell from the clips I heard, things are sounding promising.
What’s more, they have some interesting ideas for the distribution of said material, and with drums already laid down for two new tracks, you can bet that Chronographs will be having a productive 2014.
The Colour Line
Ever since making its first tentative steps at the end of 2012, British label Destroy Everything has been snapping up big fat slices of awesome with scary regularity. Some have put out records already – Black Dogs and Now, Voyager foremost amongst those – but 2014 will see quite a few more release their label debuts. Of those, The Colour Line are sure to have an absolutely fantastic year.
Well known for practically living in their tour van, The Colour Line are one of those bands who leave nothing in reserve; they throw everything they are into their live performance, taking cues from bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Chariot. Those comparisons are not to be taken lightly; as Simon’s set report from last summer’s UK Tech-Metal Fest attests.
2014 is going to be no different, as guitarist Sam Arundell says:
“We’ll be touring everywhere from February onward, if there’s a show in someones upstairs bathroom then we’ll be on it. Keep an eye out for constant tour announcements!”
That includes a support slot with sister label Basick Records band Bear across the UK, and then immediately after some dates with Colours to Shame, and some headline shows on their todd. This is, of course, on top of that first release, which is likely to be an EP. Tracks names like “Ewoks Don’t Play Nice” and “Thrash Bandicoot” show a sense of humour, whilst the tracks themselves are beautifully chaotic metallic hardcore with a face-pummelling factor of at least 11 and a half.
Funnily enough, The Matador are the only band not from the British Isles on this list – unless you count Australia I suppose. Not really, then.
I first came across this band in 2011 when they sent their debut album Descent Into The Maelstom in to the site I was writing for at the time and it blew me the fuck away. Lush, dense post-metal, it played with various themes found within the Edgar Allen Poe story of the same name,
There have been rumbles from the camp regarding new material for a while, but as jobs and families are wont to take priority, things have been somewhat delayed. Nevertheless, bassist Josh Hobbins recently told me their plans for the year included:
“Releasing “Destroyer” and a film clip. Hopefully we’ll garner some label interest to release part one of the album. Tour, tour, tour, then release part two of the album. Tour, tour, tour!”
The album to which he refers is Inclinaturum Humani Generis, a touted two-part epic about the decline of the human race. Part one – ‘Destroyer‘ – will be more akin to their last album, whereas part two – ‘Creator‘ – will utilise the differing talents of new members Nathan Wyner and Ryan Creighton to their fullest effect with “a more progressive, melodic side.” Dark and light, right? Sounds good.
The band recently supported Deafheaven on their Aussie tour, so they’re certainly working hard to get noticed. It’s going to be a good year for them; I can feel it.
Again with Destroy Everything, Murdock were picked up towards the end of 2013, but I was looking forward to the band’s debut album all last year.
Last I knew, it was to be titled Dead Lung. Not sure if that’s changed, but what has been apparent from their two most recent videos is that they are very noisy, and as a three piece, work very hard to make that noise. Said frontman/guitarist Aiden Cunningham last year:
“When we write songs, we write them beyond our abilities and then make ourselves be able to play them.”
The band also seem to have taken cues from the stage presence of bands like of The Chariot – for whose frontman Cunningham is a vocal dead ringer – and The Dillinger Escape Plan, with most pleasantly surprised by their sets, including the one at the 2013 UK Tech-Metal Fest, and so they are seemingly the complete package. When pressed on the year ahead, Adien said:
“2014 will be the year when all our hard work and sacrifices for this band will come to fruition. New album, new label, new cities, bleeding fingers and no sleep.”
Here’s to Dead Lung proving me right.
And finally we come to Zoax. Completely oblivious to them prior to supporting The Safety Fire back in September, we’ve had a chance to see them live a couple of times now, and have been completely blown away each time.
Equal parts punk, post-hardcore and Tasmanian devil, the five-piece are wild ride, with frontman Tom Carroll directing the proceedings from stage front, stage back, and more often than most, the middle of the crowd. As relative unknowns, his ability to get the audience involved is one of my favourite things about him, and will serve Zoax well in this, an important year for the band. He’s also charismatic as fuck, with his quintessential Irish “gift of the gab” as charming as you like.
Musically, there are comparisons to be drawn with linkenesses as wide as Glassjaw, Thrice, and Exotic Animal Petting Zoo. If you think that sounds hard, then you’re probably right, but there are no issues with not being able to pull it off. “Ambitious” and “ambidextrous” would probably be the correct adjectives to describe the
I did have a quick word with Adam before publication about the year ahead, who said:
“2013 was an incredibly surprising and unexpected year for us. A lot happened that we didn’t even dream would happen so early on for us. From playing Download Festival and getting signed to Siege Of Amida, to playing with amazing bands and meeting incredible people, if 2014 could just repeat moments like that again, we will be the happiest chaps in the world”
The EP, simply titled XIII, is due out on the seventheenth of next month through Siege Of Amida Records, and you can expect us to be fighting over who reviews it.