1. Mongol Horde
Basically Frank Turner’s pocket trump card back into hardcore, after being away from it for so long after the dissolution of Million Dead, Mongol Horde (or Merngel Herde if you pronounce the umlauts properly) are an exceptionally well-woven force to be reckoned with, combining the legacies of hardcore’s greatest voices, with Turner’s brilliant penchant for writing catchy tunes, only with a more comical, even sometimes surreal manner. My two favourite examples being Tapeworm Uprising, a tale of a tapeworm inside of Natalie Portman evacuating her to conquer the world, and Stillborn Unicorn, a unicorn that’s conceived, died too early, is rejected by the undead and goes on a murderous rampage. However, Casual Threats From Weekend Hardmen is self-explanatory, the plight of going out for anyone in their late teens to 30s, but is an absolute bullet to the senses, in terms of speed, and the shock of how visceral it sounds. I find it hard not to draw comparisons to Refused in the chorus, but in that let-loose, freak out way they perfected in their short career, and it’s brilliant the same frenzy is found here. Current contender for my favourite album of this year for sure.
2. Temple of Thieves
I kind of hate the way I came across this band, but all the same I’m pleased I did. It may be easy to knock this band of as a Tool or APC clone (the distinction between the vocalist and MJK is practically non-existent), but their incorporation of more mainstay, modern metal elements such as double kicks and the need of a heavy chorus, as well as their own talent for writing killer hooks and riffs make this American melodic metal outfit their own beast. Although many their tracks touch the five minute mark, it never becomes progressive, artsy or even self-indulgent enough to transcend into the sheer breadth of multi-faceted masterpieces that Tool craft. And that’s a good thing. This isn’t a band trying to emulate, even though their influences have clear resonance back to them, this is a hungry, impassioned, young band with a tight, incredibly infectious repertoire. Species is in the constant replay loop for emphasising the best aspects of metal: brilliant songwriting, fantastic musicianship and the all important, outstanding execution. If you have to think APC, but more metal, you may, but it would seriously be doing these guys a disservice.
This Yorkshire three-piece are perhaps a band that has the cult image going on, but instead of embracing the music that may accompany it, opted to make somewhat of a rock stage show with heavier guitar tones that hit as hard as a kangaroo kicking you in the face. There is no singular gear in their arsenal so it switches up often, but never descending into ballad territory, their strength as musicians always maintaining an air of raucous in their music, no matter what speed they play at. You could classify it as progressive, but there always lingers a more polished, undeniably British hard rock band at the heartbeat of their operation. They are urgent, they are up front about it and they want to break into your house and set fire to your kitchen. Universes And Supernovas is probably the best illustration of their intentions. From the get-go and with almost no hesitation, you’re blasted with a fiery hot declaration of war, with a tension-ensnaring guitar trill underneath, and it only builds up from there into a nerve-shredding affair, comparable to defusing a bomb with five seconds left on the clock, before a finale into some beautiful strings, sadly not displayed by this radio edit of the song. If there’s any justice, these guys deserve to massive.
4. Bad Sign
I’m glad I can say I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside these guys, because frankly they are an incredible bunch of guys, not to mention incredibly talented. Now getting the push they’ve rightfully earned through the exclusive play of their newest single ‘The Recidivist’ from their forthcoming EP ‘Destroy’ on Kerrang! Radio. Although their new song is excellent, I’ve found myself revisiting their debut album ‘De L’Amour’ often, as it is a somewhat understated work of art. They play off the loud-quiet mechanic, in a similar vein to that of Deftones, but feed somewhat off the punk and hardcore crowds more than the metal crowd. This is not to say that they only know how to incite crowds to fight each other, their versatility on the album is actually staggering, between straight out brawls and heartfelt , contemplative numbers, ‘De L’Amour’ is so much of a growing exercise, it’s truly moving in ways. For this reason is maybe why I keep coming back to Drones very often, regarding my current situation as a person working to make a living, only recently just graduated. Guitars soar, vocals, especially in the chorus, echo through space and both annihilate in the perfect opportunities. Reach for the skies lads, it won’t be soon before long.
5. Jayce Lewis/Protafield
A protege of Gary Numan, his manager is Darth Vader, he’s as big as Linkin Park in India and Roger Taylor of Queen plays bass on the Protafield album… If you could want any more credentials than Jayce Lewis has acquired as his time as a musician, you really couldn’t add anything else really, well, except maybe a catalogue of fantastic pseudo-industrial metal tunes to back up said credentials. Where his sound can linger somewhere between Rob Zombie, Fear Factory and shades of Rammstein, whilst stepping in and out of EBM clubs, his talent as a musician simply cannot be exaggerated because he more or less writes everything. His debut album was a tour de force exemplifying the diversity and power of his songwriting capabilities, ranging from the calculating assault of Solitaire to the sheer powerhouse sing-along of Electric Medicine. Under the new Protafield rebrand, there are new strengths as Severe Sever taps into the darker side of electronic dance music and Wrath is a military march that touches both Numan and Fear Factory, in its footstomps of terror. I can’t show you Redesign because it’s currently absent as a universal format on the internet, so just enjoy Solitaire as getting to five years on, it still holds as a testament to this man’s songwriting ability.