A few months ago, our friends at MetalSucks launched their annual Converse Rubber Tracks giveaway. For those not in the know, Converse has a free studio space set up in both Boston and New York, where any unsigned band can apply for a free day of recording. MetalSucks took it to the next level with some A+ level metal producers behind the boards. Converge's Kurt Ballou produced five bands up in Boston and Fit For An Autopsy's Will Putney produced 5 bands at the Brooklyn studio. The result brings you, the listener, 10 excellent tracks from 10 excellent underground bands that you can download for absolutely free. How absolutely awesome is that? Apply for your free day of recording at Converse Rubber Tracks
Kurt Ballou's Bands
Ghosts of Sailors at Sea
Kicking things off is instrumental band Ghosts of Sailors at Sea, which judging by the name alone sounds like one of those post-metalcore bands with those "verb the noun" type templates, but what I heard is actually an excellently produced proggy instrumental song who's vibes I'm definitely feeling. Learn more about the band here.
The moment I hit play on “H.E.L.L.B.O.O.T.,” I was onboard. Expander come from Austin, TX and they wear their influences on their sleeve. These guys are clearly influenced by bands like Entombed with some extra hardcore riffs. They would not feel out of place on a bill with bands like Black Breath and Power Trip and Kurt Ballou is basically the best dude to mix this type of music. Find Expander on Bandcamp. This is one my faves for sure:
These dudes sound like the aural manifestation of an anyeruism. The PA grind quartet are really impressive on their track “Snake Oil,” which comes across like part Dillinger, part Daughters and all chaos. These guys have such a relentless sound that I am going go and buy all of their music, ASAP. Follow these dudes on Facebook
This band is pure chaos, and very clearly inspired by their producer's band, Converge. This music sounds like what goes through my head when I drink too much and I'm about to puke, and I really mean that as a great compliment. You need to blast "Insomnia Chamber." Follow on Facebook.
I'm a little biased here because I am friends with the bassist, but Dead Empires definitely brought their A-game to work with Kurt Ballou on this track. This band would not be out of place at Roadburn or at a local loft party, because they absolutely bring the heat riff-wise. And no vocals to get in the way of the riffage! This sounds like a soundtrack to a pyschotic breakdown. I could have worse things playing in my head while losing my mind… Follow on Facebook.
Will Putney's Bands
Shawn James & The Shapeshifters
The moment I hit play, I am immediately reminded of Sleep until the vocals kick in with a country-tingue and tons of layers of great soulful instrumentation that make this track entirely unique. This track sounds like it could be the backing song for the trailer of a No Country For Old Men sequel, or some type of southwestern murder mystery, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Find out more about these guys here.
Just based on the name, I expected some form of Pink Floyd-worship, since Floyd's original vocalist was named Syd Barret. But nope, what we get is doomy, sludgy post-hardcore that would in no way feel out of space in the grimy bars of Brooklyn like Saint Vitus and the Acheron. I am incredibly impressed with the sound of this track. While it is intended to sound grimey and muddy, every instrument comes across very cleanly and not like I'm listening to a low-band radio station. Keep up with these dudes on Facebook.
Six of Swords
The further I went down the line, the better I became at predicting who the producer was. Six of Swords play blackened death metal, or perhaps vest metal is the phrase? Regardless, this one is a riff buffet. You would think these guys are from Scandanavia, but nope, Toronto! The Scandanavia of North America, perhaps? Follow on Facebook
Carve Your Niche
I was pleasantly surprised to hear clean vocals at the top of this track, something not present anywhere else on this list. These dudes come from Long Island and you can immediately hear the influence of the east coast noisecore scene on the band. These guys give off a bit of a Snapcase vibe to me. MetalSucks describes them as metalcore? But perhaps metallic post-hardcore would be a more astute description? Either way, I'm into it… Follow on Facebook
I was waiting for a black metal elements and I was not disappointed with Lesser Life. The song kicks off with black metal vibes but then kicks info full deathgrind-gear. Lots of slammy riffs at the end too and some pig squeals. Again, I have to comment on how good the production is. It sounds dirty and sludgy while every instrument still sounds clear and audible. And, man are these guys heavy. You would think they are from Scandanavia, but nope… North Carolina. Follow these dudes on Facebook.
Apply for your free day of recording at Converse Rubber Tracks.