In a recent post on his blog, John Scalzi asked his readers to tell him what new music or artists they’re listening to these days, with the following rules:
For the purposes of this discussion, “new” is defined to mean:
1. The artist/band started publicly releasing music (or alternately made their major label debut) after January 2005;
2. The artist/band started publicly releasing music (or alternately made their major label debut) after January 2003, but you only heard about them in the last year.
I posted a long comment over there, but thought it was worthwhile posting here as well. So here it is:
I listen almost exclusively to metal, so I don’t have much in the way of recommendations outside of that sphere, but there’s a rock band called Priestess that I like a lot. Their first album, Hello Master, came out in 2006. It’s got some really nice guitar-driven stuff on it, which is not surprising given I discovered them via Guitar Hero.
Now, into metal:
My favorite discovery included in this batch is a band called Eluveitie (pronounced El-way-tea). They’re Swiss, their name is a word in Etruscan, and some of their vocals are in Gaulish (the rest in English). They kind of sound to me like early In Flames, but with a bad-ass flute player. Seriously, this is the most metal a flute has ever been. They’re what you call “folk metal” or “pagan metal,” which blends the playing of traditional folk instruments (bagpipes, flute, hurdy-gurdy) with death metal.
Another fine folk metal band is Korpiklaani (2006). Similar to Eluveitie, but a bit more inclined toward drinking song-type songs. Also, more accordion.
Draconian are deemed a “gothic/doom” metal band. They mix traditional doom/death vox with more traditional “clean” singing from a female vocalist. They’ve got albums going back to 2003, but I just discovered them this year, plus they probably still haven’t had what you’d call a “major” label debut.
Scar Symmetry, a melodic death metal band, with a single vocalist who does some of the best good cop/bad cop vocals I’ve ever heard. His death vox are about as brutal as the guy from Dethklok, but his clean vox qualify as actual good singing.
Two power metal bands I really dig (power metal basically being music with instrumentation similar in complexity to death metal, but with clean singing vocals, like Iron Maiden) are Dark Empire (2006) and Communic (2005). These two would probably be the most accessible (other than Priestess) to non-metal fans of all the bands I’ve mentioned.
Actually, I may have been hasty in proclaiming Eluveitie my favorite recent discovery–there’s also Protest the Hero (2006). They’re generally considered a “metalcore” band, though to me they really stand out from that pack, mainly due to the insane complexity of their guitarwork. Also, their first “major” album, Kezia, is a concept album which Wikipedia describes as “the elegy of a young woman after whom the album is titled. The story is chronicled in the perspective of three characters: The Prison Priest, The Prison Guard/Gunman, and Kezia herself. Each character is designated a section containing three songs, with a single retrospective finale concluding the album.” Their follow up to Kezia, Fortress, is equally awesome.
So, what new awesome bands do you guys like?