Unsigned and Unholy: Abstract Academy, Spherical, Winterblind, Heruka, SiXforNinE


Been a while since we’ve done one of these, eh? A real long time. Here are a few unsigned bands to cross the MS inbox lately (or not so lately, as it were) that I’ve dug enough to deem worthy of sharing with you all. Listen to some new music today, won’t you?

Abstract Academy explore sonic territories often left uncharted by post-metal bands, weaving hefty chunkiness, dissonance and downtuned riffing into their apocalyptic, dynamic soundscapes. If members of Intronaut and Ulcerate decided to embark on a post-metal project, it’d probably sound something like this.

Spherical tout themselves as “blackened progressive death metal,” and while that’s not wholly inaccurate there’s a streak of Scandinavian melodoom here (Insomnium, Swallow the Sun, etc.) that feels like a heavier influence than anything blackened. The progressive part is certainly accurate. That’s all nit-picky, though: what’s important is that their 2019 Blue EP rules.

Winterblind successfully answer the question no one asked about what would happen if members of Meshuggah launched a jazzy skronk-metal outfit ala Dysrhythmia or Ulcerate with the atmospherics of Cynic and wrote much shorter songs than any of those bands. I’m glad they did; their latest album, Effigy, is fantastic.

The first minute of “Spleen,” from Heruka‘s latest album, Turning to Dust, is standard but serviceable black metal, and I was inclined to move along to the next band in my promo pile for lack of distinction. But then the Mötley Crüe riff kicked in and I was immediately on board! Heruka play a completely different style of metal than Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, but they really remind me of how that group meshed classic ’80s hair/glam riffing with a disparate, more extreme style of metal.

If you looked at the way SiXforNinE is typeset and assumed they’re on the nu-metal spectrum, you are correct! Alt-metal might be more accurate, the kind that sprung up en masse in the early ’00s after rap metal waned that focused on chunky riffs and tight, radio-ready songs. To that end, “Bullet Off Its Course” is a solid jam, though I reckon not for everyone reading this.

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