Unsigned and Unholy: Holy Fawn, Thwart, Dundar the Barbarian
Fans of atmospheric post-metal should really dig Holy Fawn, who combine a laid-back, shoegaze approach and a grunged-out Big Muff sensibility with something way more aggressive and current. No discussion of shoegaze-meets-metal would be complete without mentioning the “D” band, and sure, there’s some of that here (particularly in the screamed vocals), but Holy Fawn’s emphasis on post-metal guitar atmospheric and ample use of clean vocals is plenty for them to stick out from the pack.
In their email to MetalSucks, Thwart describe themselves as “female fronted melodic thrash metal,” and while I’m usually loathe to indulge in the whole “female-fronted” trope as a genre descriptor, we so rarely hear women’s voices in thrash that I think it’s worth highlighting here. Secil Sen has a killer voice in the perfect register for the kind of thrash that Thwart peddle — true to the band’s own description, it’s on the melodic side — making for a refreshing change of pace, and the band behind her is absolutely ferocious, serving up hard-charging, galloping, groove-oriented riffs with the best of ’em.
Dundar the Barbarian, the solo project of Olympia, WA musician Greg Dunbar, certainly had me fooled: the orchestrations on Hounds of Wild Lore, his newest album, are so lush, and the arrangements so complex, I was envisioning a room full of five dudes pounding out these aggressively pummeling grooves until I looked at the bio. There’s some Meshuggah influence here for sure (not in a heavy-handed way, though), but the dynamics bounce between light guitar atmospherics (ala Fallujah or TesseracT) and all-out chaos the likes of which no groove-oriented band has ever known.