Now Hear This: Sophie K on the best new metalcore, emo and nu-metal
I am still buzzing from the Download Pilot, I expect I will be for a very long time to be honest. It was like having a drink of water after a long drive or eating a kebab after one too many drinks. Let’s hope that it is only the beginning!
Speaking of Download, let’s start with a band who played who have had a buzz for some time now: Static Dress. A lot of the heritage acts I spoke to said the best part of the Pilot was it being all British bands, which is how Donington used to be. It meant we all had less choice and had to focus on the upcoming talent that was onstage. Static Dress played as if they were headlining the entire festival. Their emo-meets-post-hardcore sound went down a treat, and it was amazing to see how quickly this band gain fans when given a chance to showcase themselves live.
This is a new band to my playlist. They sound like an amalgamation of old school and current sounds, but what stuck out to me was the overwhelmingly catchy, poppy hooks. I’ve learned the hard way about getting behind bands that I hadn’t seen live yet and regretting it, so my first move was to check their Instagram and TikTok. What I saw was a band who aren’t just well-produced on record, this is a band who are ready. Not a diamond in the rough, just a diamond ready to be heard and get out on tour.
Okay, I’m not going to lie to you, this was a band who formed a while ago – but some bands deserve to still be put in the ‘new’ category because it’s like they have just truly been born and found themselves. That’s the case with Defences. This Hertfordshire-based quartet have two vocalists, Cherry and Will, delivering clean and brutal vocals to get that on-point metalcore sound. The choruses are always epic sing-along moments for this band, and I hope the future holds great things for them.
When you get sent as much new music as the Now Hear This crew do, you have to trawl through so many average and terrible submissions that when something great comes along it stands out. It creates even more excitement because it feels so good to hear, and this is how I felt about Afterlife. I’ve been following this band from Florida for a while now. Every article I read compares them to the likes of Linkin Park and Slipknot, and although the strong influences are easy to hear, I do think it’s a lazy comparison. If anything, I would say their nu-metal revival sound at times touches closer to bands like I Prevail. All I know is I am ready for Nu-Metal-Wars for the best new band, and I’m ready for it to take over the mainstream. I hope this isn’t a flash in the pan, so that bands like Afterlife, who are obviously talented, have the same time to grow as the nu-metal godfathers had.
I remember this Polynesian band went viral in 2020 with their track Le Manu. Everyone was excited when Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson added it to his workout playlist, then things went kinda quiet. The band fuse Samoan warrior lyrics and thrashy, grove-laden riffs. Call this a do-over. If you know of them, I want you to approach this band as if you have never heard of them before. Metal can sometimes be guilty of treating world music-inspired bands as a novelty, and I want you as a discerning fan to listen to this band, as they deserve. They’re a tight-as-fuck, musically imaginative riff machine. My favourite part is how they construct their risers with instruments I have never heard building up to that almighty drop. I bet if you saw them live you would leave the gig as if you have just seen a self-help guru – this music makes you feel like a powerful warrior.
Hear Sophie K present the Breakfast Show on Kerrang! Radio, weekdays from 7am.
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