The Elite Opinion's Underground Hard-Music Cast
THE FAITHFUL: NORMA JEAN
When it comes to dropping mountains of distortion in rhythms reminiscent of an artillery barrage, Norma Jean rarely disappoints. Of course on the flipside, they rarely innovate either. But that’s not the point. Big riffs, thunderous breakdowns and lyrics like a Pentecostal apocalyptically prophetic sermon. Norma Jean is old faithful, but metaler.
THE FULL GROWN: MASTODON
If Mastodon was a holy name in the Church of Metal before, now the band is nothing short of Christ on Earth. In a genre lacking in experiments and bold artistic strokes, Mastodon just bent the goddamn stage. Riffs, Runs and Southern growls- the usual sonic staples are all there, but they’ve never sounded this progressive before. Most kids are calling Blood Mountain the hard album of ’06, and for once, the majority might be right.
THE FALLEN: DAUGHTERS
This album took a clean shot at being the best release of the year and missed the mark so widely that the Daughters may have put a hot round right through their own career. And while they certainly deserve considerable lauding for forging something new and different, the end product is more grating than gratifying. Where its creative merit should surge the album is mired in monotonous vocals and spazzy tech that do work stunningly in small helpings, but not en masse.
THE FAILED: FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES
A one-time contender for the hardcore-golden-boy-crown that Every Time I Die seems so hell bent on breaking and burying, FBMF just fell off. And they fell off hard- hard enough to knock out their teeth leaving nothing but a mouth of soggy gums and a lot of thin blood. The vocals fail simultaneously as a compliment to their harder sound as well as an attempt at something more pop-appealing. In reality this album sounds quite like a confused version of Sum 41. The thing is, Sum 41 has always been a joke while FBMF is shaping up to be barely more than a sad punch line.
And of course...
THE FUCKIN CHAMPION: CONVERGE
Good news: Converge still sounds like two escaped mental patients jousting from the hoods of rampaging dumptrucks, armed with 10-foot long chainsaws.
Is ‘No Heroes’ on par with ‘Jane Doe’? Of course not-
It might be better.
You read right little boy.
Bigger, meaner and smarter than any other hard music band on the planet, the Mass boys have managed to craft an album even more cohesive, clever and murderous than their last. At times ‘No Heroes’ actually sounds Sabbathesque, of course at other times it sounds like an ocean liner cruising through downtown Boston at 80 knots.
Still brutal enough to pull the skin off your bones and wear it like a hoodie at your kid neighbor’s sixth grade soccer game, ladies and gentlemen: Converge.
It just doesn’t get better than this.
THE FREAKS: MASS MOVEMENTS OF THE MOTH
THE FUSION: GENGIS TRON
THE FUNK: BLOOD BROTHERS