Every month we search out the best unsigned metal bands from across the globe, taking into consideration the musicianship, songwriting and production of the album. All of the below bands are on the right path to securing a record deal. They have taken the time to carefully put together the product it takes to move to the next level.
Interested in having your unsigned metal band featured in this column?
Email your promo material to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Drago's Dungeon. You must send a link to your recording and a bio. I will personally check out all submissions, but only the month's best will unlock the key to the Dungeon.
Please give these bands a chance and support them. Check out their websites and more importantly purchase their merchandise. The underground is an incredibly important part of metal and these bands are the true definition of what that represents.
Bedowyn – 'Wolves & Trees'
Genre: Doom/Stoner Metal
Bedowyn create enormous sludgy riffs that would make Black Sabbath and Corrosion of Conformity proud. On their debut EP Wolves & Trees the band combines the best mixture of modern day riffing with an old school approach. The riffs are straightforward but generate so much energy it will rip your face off. The record opens with “Bisha’a,” an instrumental that harkens back to Iron Maiden’s first two records with an added gruffness.
Vocalist Alex Traboulsi adds texture and memorable melodies over the groove-laden riffs. “O Bitter Sea” sounds like a cross between Only Living Witness and latter era Mastodon with its driving verses and gorgeous layered choruses. Opening with an eerie mellow guitar part, again not far removed from early Maiden, “Snarling of Beasts” is a tour-de-force that gradually builds and slowly morphs into a modern day whirlwind with its angular riffing and fist pumping addictive chorus. The approach of Bedowyn’s music will never go out of style, as their songwriting is pure genius.
Black Crown Initiate – 'Song of the Crippled Bull'
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Pennsylvania's Black Crown Initiate have created a mind-blowing debut EP, Song of the Crippled Bull, that had me lifting my jaw off the floor. Mixing progressive rock, death and black metal to ultimate success, the songwriting is absurdly talented. Their sound carries influences of Opeth, Daylight Days and Ihsahn, but also adds an enormous amount of originality. Their balance of clean mellow landscape compositions blended with destructive inhuman battering movements is stunning. The amount of complexity in the songwriting is some of the best I have heard this year.
"Ghosts She Sends" starts off like a battering ram before breaking down into a beautiful epic instrumental section prior to ratcheting up the aggression again. The title track begins with an intricate guitar tapping and pull-off riff before settling into a polyrhythmic palm muted riff that is accompanied with a gorgeous vocal melody. Song of the Crippled Bull is one of the best releases of the year and the band deserves all of the recognition that they can generate.
Joyless Jokers – 'Taste of Victory'
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Melodic death metal has become an over-saturated genre, so it is refreshing when you hear it done as intended. Creating melodic riffs mixed with bone crushing fast picked palm muted rhythms is the command that Italy’s Joyless Jokers on their debut release Taste of Victory. The record flies by, as it is only 33 minutes and the songwriting is straight to the point with no excess.
Vocalist Thomas Giradello never utilizes a clean voice, but still manages to create memorable vocal lines. The use of keyboards and their accompanying leads in addition to the shredding guitar solos is a welcome change of pace. The musicianship is killer, from the blasting double bass drumming to the arpeggio influenced leads. The strength in the release is in the guitar riffs as each song is like a hammer to the face.
Project Silence – '424'
Genre: Industrial Metal
Combining the vocals and riffs of black metal with the added elements of trance and electronic beats is the style of music that Project Silence have been creating since 2008. After several years of perfecting their songwriting, they have finally put together an excellent debut record, 424. Close in style to the electronic black metal vibe of The Kovenant, one can clearly hear the influence of their classic album Animatronic.
The songs all contain an epic groove as the riffs work flawlessly with the rhythmic feel of the beat. The band does an excellent job of creating diversity; there are slow crushingly heavy tracks (“Alone”), up-tempo driving songs (“Pressure_Revolution”) and dance instrumentals (“Sky, Space and Twilight Zone”). Vocalist Delacroix creates a lot of atmosphere with his melodies and the lead guitar playing shines through as it is dexterous and contains a lot of feeling.
Stonerust – 'Stonerust'
Genre: Stoner Thrash Metal
Portugal’s Stonerust play straightforward, no frills metal. Containing gigantic meaty riffs with big powerful vocal melodies is the blueprint of their self-titled debut EP. The songwriting also contains elements of thrash metal to add some needed diversity. Vocalist Bruno Vale has a lower range melodic voice that works with the chugging riffs. The added gruff to his voice is a nice element and his melodies are contagious.
Each track packs a punch and contains addictive riffing. The middle section in “From Yesterday Comes Pride” is an addictive up-tempo harmony backed with a killer lead guitar break. The highlight of the record is the driving “Deep Emptiness” as the song is filled with incredible riffs. The song utilizes a triplet riff that is straight out of Metallica’s book. The breakdown features the best part of the release with a driving lead guitar played over some tasty rhythms.