20 Bands You Should Know Featuring Some Big Names In Metal
Some of your favorite musicians might have a résumé far more extensive than you think. Now that you're sitting at home self-quarantining, what better time to dig into some of their awesome projects?
Alkaloid is guitarist and vocalist Morean (Dark Fortress, Noneuclid), guitarists Christian Münzner (Eternity's End, ex-Obscura, ex-Spawn of Possession) and Danny Tunker (Abhorrent, ex-Aborted), bassist Linus Klausenitzer (Noneuclid, Obscura), and drummer Hannes Grossmann (Hate Eternal, Triptykon, ex-Obscura). Given the lineup, you can correctly assume Alkaloid is technical to the highest degree with quite a lot of songwriting skill mixed in.
Alluvial is guitarsist Keith Merrow (Nightmarer) and Wes Hauch (ex-Black Crown Initiate, ex-The Faceless), and drummer Dan Presland (Ne Obliviscaris). The band employs only the chunkiest riffs and deepest grooves into what they're doing, resulting in their incredibly engaging instrumental (and so far only) album The Deep Longing For Annihilation. Plus, it features solos from ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman and Carnifex guitarist Sims Cashion.
Azusa is vocalist Eleni Zafiriadou (Sea+Air), guitarist Christer Espevoll (ex-Extol), bassist Liam Wilson (ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan), and drummer David Husvik (Extol). Azusa does a phenomenal job blending the chaotic music of Extol and The Dillinger Escape Plan with tons of catchy bits. Eleni Zafiriadou might be one of the most underrated vocalists in metal today.
Barren Earth is vocalist Jón Aldará (Hamferð), guitarists and vocalist Sami Yli-Sirniö (Kreator, Waltari) and Janne Perttilän (Põhjast, Rytmihäiriö), bassist Olli-Pekka Laine (Amorphis), keyboardist Antti Myllynen (Azgaroth, Blackhearted), and drummer Marko Tarvonen (Moonsorrow, October Falls). If you're in the mood for some melancholic, progressive death metal with flourishes of doom throughout, then you're going to love Barren Earth.
Big Scenic Nowhere
Big Scenic Nowhere is Gary Arce (Yawning Man) and Bob Balch (Fu Manchu). While the band only has an EP and full-length under their belt, they've already had such collaborators as Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator, ex-Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age), Tony Reed (Mos Generator), Lisa Alley (The Well), Ian Graham (The Well), Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson, Yawning Man), Bill Stinson (Yawning Man), Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars, ex-Opeth), Thomas V. Jäger (Monolord), and Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age). Yes – they're desert-tinged stoner rock. Surprise.
Black Curse is guitarist and vocalist Eli Wendler (Abysmal Dimensions, Spectral Voice), guitarist Morris Kolontyrsky (Blood Incantation, Spectral Voice), bassist Jonathan Campos (Primitive Man), and drummer Zach Coleman (Khemmis). Black Curse sounds like a death metal band being forced to play black metal while also being murdered and still trying to play death metal.
Blotted Science is guitarist Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower, Spastic Ink), bassist Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse), drummer Hannes Grossmann (Hate Eternal, Triptykon, ex-Obscura). If you're looking for something to dissect endlessly and still probably not catch even half the intricacies, then you're going need some Blotted Science in your life.
Conquering Dystopia is guitarists Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, ex-Nevermore) and Keith Merrow (Nightmarer), bassist Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse), and drummer Alex Rüdinger (Whitechapel [live], 7 Horns 7 Eyes, ex-The Faceless). I'm not sure what's more lethal here – the combination of Loomis and Merrow on guitar, or the unbelievable rhythm section of Webster and Rüdinger.
End is vocalist Brendan Murphy (Counterparts), guitarists Will Putney (Fit For An Autopsy) and Gregory Thomas (ex-Shai Hulud), bassist Jay Pepito (Reign Supreme), and drummer Andrew McEnaney (Trade Wind, ex-Structures). Somehow End is about 100 times heavier than the sum of its parts, resulting in music that will far sooner smash you into the earth than you can even begin to think about moshing.
Gargoyl is instrumentalist Dave Davidson (Revocation), instrumentalist and vocalist Luke Roberts (Ayahuasca), and drummer Josh Park. Davidson seemingly drops all his death metal tendencies and go right for a brand of highly unique psychedelic jazz-tinged indie rock.
John Frum is vocalist Derek Rydquist (Bereft, ex-The Faceless), guitarist Matt Hollenberg (Cetus, Cleric), bassist Liam Wilson (ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan), and drummer Eli Litwin (Knife the Glitter). This is what death metal would sound like if it somehow retained all knowledge of insane rhythms after dropping way, way too much acid.
Muldrotha is vocalist Alex Hofmann (ex-Fallujah), guitarists Teresa Wallace (Cartilage) and Rob Maramonte (The Zenith Passage, ex-Fallujah), bassist Sean Martinez (Decrepit Birth, ex-Atheist), and drummer Andrew Baird (Fallujah). Muldrotha recently recruited Hofmann on vocals and, based off their two new standalone singles, it's taken the band to a whole new level of heaviness.
Serpent of Gnosis
Serpent of Gnosis is guitarists Tony Sannicandro (Job for a Cowboy) and Alan Glassman (Goratory, Job for a Cowboy), vocalist Jonny Davy (Job for a Cowboy, Fleshwrought), bassist Max Lavelle (The Black Dahlia Murder), and drummer Darren Cesca (Goratory, ex-Arsis, ex-Deeds of Flesh). Look, if you're missing Job for a Cowboy but also wish they were a little grindier than they ever were, this one is for you.
Sightless Pit is vocalists and instrumentalists Lee Buford (The Body), Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota), and Dylan Walker (Full of Hell). Sightless Pit is surely heavy, but the experimentation going on between all three of its members makes it a very different and horrifying type of menacing.
Strigoi is guitarist and vocalist Gregor Mackintosh (Paradise Lost, ex-Vallenfyre) and bassist Chris Casket (Devilment, ex-Extreme Noise Terror). Strigoi's perfectly sombre brand of death metal on their currently only record Abandon All Hope is aided by drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost, Abhorrence) and guitarist Martyn Stansson in the studio.
Sumac is guitarist and vocalist Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, ex-Isis), bassist Brian Cook (Russian Circles, ex-Mouth of the Architect, ex-Botch), and drummer Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists). Sumac constantly sounds like they're nailing making up a song on the spot. Atmosphere abounds, but when they decide to bring it all down and crush you, you'll know.
Vipassi is guitarists Ben Boyle (Hadal Maw, Infinite Density) and Benjamin Baret (Ne Obliviscaris), bassist Arran McSporran (Virvum), and drummer Dan Presland (Ne Obliviscaris). Precision is the name of the game here, with touches of world music here and there. Vipassi's debut album featured bassist Brendan Brown (Infinite Density, ex-Ne Obliviscaris).
Waste of Space Orchestra
Waste of Space Orchestra is literally everyone from Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising. The collaboration is a "ten-part, one hour piece is a dive into the consciousnesses of three beings – all of whom are on a search for deeper truths in comprehending reality."
White Stone is the solo project of bassist Martin Mendez (Opeth). If you've been missing the weird, angular death metal of Opeth with some extra experimentation and psych-tinged passages, Mendez is here to let you know that it's not all gone away forever.
Witherscape is vocalist, keyboardist and drummer Dan Swanö (Nightingale, ex-Edge of Sanity, ex-Bloodbath) and guitarist and bassist Ragnar Widerberg (Witchcraft). Witherscape marries progressive rock and anthemic death metal without ever diving headfirst into progressive metal territory. Swanö and Widerberg are in their own league on this one.