6 Underground Metalcore Bands Redefining The Scene Right Now
Forget soaring choruses and skinny jeans – here are six bands taking metalcore into a new dark age.
When I check out new music, it's usually from friends’ recommendations. I don’t do a huge amount of searching, although I'm in a load of niche mathcore Facebook groups. They’ll always post, like, ‘Here's this band from 15 years ago that has three views on YouTube!’ And I’ll check it out and be like, ‘This is amazing!’ But for new stuff, it tends to be bands we know, or recommendations from people, or stuff I come across online. There was a band that was right next to us when our album came out on Rate Your Music, and so I listened to them. And then we started talking to them, just because we were next to each other!
I haven't been to a show or played one in two years, but a lot of the bands I’ve found were at DIY shows in someone’s back room. But there's no one way of finding music. I just get excited when I find something sick.
They're really new. As in, their debut single came out about a week ago, and they’ve come out of nowhere. We'd heard the single slightly before because we were recording with Lewis Johns at The Ranch. He said, ‘There was this amazing band in a bit ago, none of them had been in bands before. Here's a single they did.’ It's amazing – hardcore, and sort of grindy death metally. They’re really tight and really well produced. Apparently it was almost not edited at all because they’re just so amazing at their instruments.
But they didn't even have social media set up when we were recording, which was about two weeks ago. And then a week ago, they made all their accounts, they put the single out, and I saw someone share it. He was like, ‘Here's my new band.’ And it was a guy that I almost formed another mathcore band with before Pupil Slicer. And he was a really good drummer, but like things didn't work out. I thought that was a funny coincidence.
They’re a mathy hardcore band from Pittsburgh. Their debut a while ago was okay – I heard it when it was passed around mathcore circles. And then the second album, Irritation Pull, came out and it was amazing. There's one song on the album that I’m not as into as the others, but then the rest of them are all 10/10 bangers. They've got really weird vocals as well – spoken-y, drawled stuff, a bit like Daughters, but very distinctive in their own way. They've got a really good range as well – they've got very Knocked Loose-type breakdowns in there, and then they've got more emotive sort of even post-metal kind of tracks. I hope they come over [to the UK] to play at some point, although they're still like relatively small in America. They upped their game so much from their first album to the last one, which has been on constant rotation that since the day it came out.
They're really cool blackened death grindy stuff. Very in the Full Of Hell, Unyielding Love kind of way – very intense, blasty stuff. Their first album came out earlier this year. I think it came out just after our album, so April-ish. Jamie on vocals already sounds like Dylan from Full Of Hell, he's got the highs and the lows and all the range switching. But he also played all the drums on the album, I think because they don't have a drummer at the time. So they've got a drummer for live stuff now, but they're also multi-talented. I think there's, like, seven of them. And all of the ones in the band can play guitar as well, so they can all be contributing to riff ideas and stuff. Their album was amazing, and I checked out the EP they did as well, and there’s a lot more range on it. They're broadening their scope, so I'm super-excited to see where they're gonna go next.
After our label helped them put their record out, we started chatting on Twitter, and now we chat all the time, shitposting stupid wide-angle lens photos of cats to each other. We both make horrible, screaming, grinding music, and then post wide-angle close-ups of cats!
We played our first-ever gig, which was a mixed-bill gig, and they were on it, too. It was a shoegaze band, an indie-rock band, us and Death Goals. They’re a chaotic hardcore band, and they're a two-piece. We played a Converge cover, Concubine, and they were like, ‘This is amazing!’
They write stuff about serious issues of queer life – about rejection and murder rates and all the all the horrible stuff. And you can feel it in the music; you can feel the pain. And they're amazing live as well. I don't know how a two-piece makes that much noise or goes that hard.
They're really cool, they’re part of the cyber-grind revival. They've had one album out that's still relatively recent, and it's awesome. It's all MIDI guitars and drums, and to describe their sound I’d say they’re sort of like Iwrestledabearonce, with the absurdist side and really crazy, stupid breakdowns, and completely unplayable blastbeats and stuff. And then on the other end, they're like, mashing that in with like, modern [label] PC Music artists like SOPHIE, and that kind of stuff.
Lyrically, they're talking about like trans issues – I think all four people in the band are trans. And they're really international as well. I think one of them is based in England, they've got someone who programs the drums somewhere else, and then two of them live in Chicago. So they're all over the place!
I'm really excited to see where they go next. I know they've been working on a new album, which is way more produced. A lot of their stuff is quite raw-sounding, and they're figuring out how to do it as they're doing it. I think with that sort of music, with all the MIDI stuff, it really lends itself to great production, and if you can get it really well produced, it sounds amazing. I mean, it already does that. But I think they’ll take it to the next level.
Pupil Slicer's album Mirrors is out now via Prosthetic. They tour with Rolo Tomassi in February 2022.