If the Alice in Chains discography hit a little bit harder and attacked their song crafting with an infectious sense of facetiousness, their grungy tracks would roll with the same vitriolically zany punches as Master Splinter’s latest single, A Caustic Version, which also runs in the same Machiavellian vein as some of Mike Patton’s most maniacally unhinged tracks.
With the vocals taking on swathes of different guises to amplify the unpredictability of the hard rock hit, your speakers will be smoking the wildfire ignited by the Portland, Oregon-based outfit’s determination not to take themselves too seriously.
If you’re sick of the brooding narcissists who proliferate rock and metal scenes across the globe and want a taste of eccentrically elemental stoner rock ingenuity, sink your teeth into A Caustic Version
A Caustic Version was officially released on October 17th; stream it on Spotify.
Devil Next Door slicked their sleazy blues rock signature with gasoline and sludged it up with Alice in Chains-esque grunge before setting the airwaves alight with their debut EP, Into the Fire.
The eras revisited in the title single may be rooted in nostalgia, but the Mallorcan prodigal sons found a fresh way to revive them by leaning on modernist effects while infusing plenty of their own captivating charisma. It always bodes well when you sense that an alt-rock act can command a stage; Devil Next Door have the kind of magnetic draw that would make an army of marionette puppets out of their live audiences.
By finding influence in everyone from Foo Fighters to Royal Blood to Soundgarden, the cross-appeal of this devilishly promising debut couldn’t be stronger. With an intent to free sonically free themselves and subsequently their fans, if you’re looking for alt-rock escapism, lose yourself in the high-octane and infectiously catchy hard rock hits and keep your eyes peeled for the next installation of monolithic mayhem.
Into the Fire was officially released on September 13; stream it in full on Spotify.
‘Fading (Surrounded by Stars)’ is the latest riff-charged rock reinvention from the London-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Vito Tardia’s one-man project, BlueMelt. After honing his talent in progressive rock and power metal bands, Tardia moved to the front of the stage with his monolithic talent and found his rightful place.
His bluesy rock guitar work against his grungy vocals, which carry a touch of Alice in Chains in their evocative dynamism, created a bold fusion that reinvented the rock revival wheel. Since making his debut as a solo artist in 2020, Tardia has received strong support from local, international and independent press. Seemingly, we’re not the only ones taken with his utilisation of his technical ability in his emotion-driven hits that tease you with nostalgia before tantalising you with innovation.
If Coal Chamber, Deftones, Alice in Chains, Mushroomhead and Pantera were placed in a smouldering sonic pot, the simmering amalgam would groove in the same hard-rock vein as the latest single from the Nelson, New Zealand-hailing fourpiece, Thess.
After a recording hiatus, the monolithically hard-hitting powerhouse released their brand-new single, Kombakke; and there’s the promise that there is plenty more in the pipeline from the criminally underrated act, which more than has what it takes to send ripples through the industry that are powerful enough to move tectonic plates.
The extended single melodically pulls you through a myriad of progressive stylistic exhibitions of the band’s dynamism – never allowing you to get complacent with the ever-transitory rough rancour that efficaciously delivers catharsis to anyone on the same pissed-off page.
Kombakke was released on February 14th. Hear it for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
Scottish post-grunge outfit, The Breathing Method, are set to release their vehemently distorted evolution of the 90s Seattle sound, Burden, which will throw you right back to the simpler times when Layne Staley reigned vocal supreme before pulling you into the angst of modernity with frenetic no-wavey guitars that make a juggernaut out of the release.
After the Mudhoney-Esque intro, The Breathing Method career into their own take on the post-grunge textures and don’t take their foot off the fuzz pedal until the outro of a primal scream, which compels you to envy the larynx they came from. Or maybe that’s just me.
Burden will officially release on June 17th; you can check it out for yourselves via Bandcamp.
‘Drowning’ is the latest melodic metal single from the arrestingly talented alternative artist, Angils, who puts their own sludgy signature spin on the genre – to an atmospherically enticing effect.
With nuances of grunge in the harmonised vocals before they break into visceral, guttural angst, the progressive nature of the consistently unpredictable track keeps you hooked from start to finish. From grungy reminiscences to Alice in Chains to angular instrumental interludes to straight-up Pantera-Esque aggression, Drowning definitively offers it all. If the metal scene continues to sleep on Angils, they may as well be in a cultural coma.
It isn’t every day that we discover an artist whose instrumental ability is on par with their immersive songwriting prowess. We can’t wait to hear what follows.
Drowning was officially released on December 30th; you can check it out for yourselves via YouTube.
Irish alt-rock artist, Sakara’s Son, gave their grungy alt-90s single, Crying Shame, a bluesy psychedelic garage rock kick and proved just how mind-melting Alice in Chains could have been if they were a little bolder with their distortion pedals.
After an early FNM-style intro, the swaying melodies give way to a sonic kaleidoscopic furore, forceful enough to leave the hair on the back of your neck give a standing ovation to Sakara’s Son.
There really is no overstating the level of energy and innovation contained in this scathingly veracious release, paired with the practically pornographic guitar solos, what more could you possibly ask for, other than the opportunity to experience that wall of noise live?
Alt-rock outfit, Shadow Box, made its debut in 2021 with their album, Flat Moon. The lead single, Without a Word, will quickly become a playlist staple for fans of Faith No More, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. (I don’t make Mike Patton comparisons easily.) If someone told me that Without a Word was a lost relic from the alt-90s, I’d believe them; the panoramic anthem pulls you in with the intensity of the emotion poured over tight melodic instrumentals.
Shadow Box formed when Mike Roman (guitars, vocals, keyboards) and Mike Rajinone (guitars and vocals) fused their respective hard rock and folk-rock styles. Any difference between them quickly became aural chemistry. We can’t wait to hear what follows.
Prog rock meets grunge in South African artist Touch by Mirror’s single, Something New; it’s exactly what it says on the tin. So, if you have heard enough ripped-off Nirvana riffs to last a lifetime, you will definitely appreciate the alternative artist’s explorative instrumental inclination and complex time signatures.
If you could imagine what it would sound like if the styles of Porcupine Tree, Thrice and Alice in Chains merged, you will get a good idea of how Something New unravels. While, lyrically, Something New is the perfect track to vent your societal angst through; it unravels as a poignant snapshot of the tension that has turned social discourse into a cesspit of distraction and senseless misdirected anger.
After entering Cape Town’s alt-rock scene in 2020 with his debut EP, ‘Solitude’, Touch by Mirror is well on his way to bringing his soulful take on hardcore into the mainstream.
When, back in November, we reviewed Godzukey’s last single ‘Alibi’, we said that Portland, Oregon, might have just spawned a new baby monster. On the basis of ‘The Wrath To Come’, that monster’s now hitting the angry teenage years, slamming its bedroom door, and refusing to come out except for snacks and video games.
Written about deceitful friends and still peppered with beautifully tasteful harmonics and bluesy shredding from guitar noisenik Conrad Bylsma, ‘The Wrath To Come’ is a glorious, grungy, doomy, melodic, stomp through sludgy stoner-rock (that’s a thing) in an old-school lazy vocal and fuzzed-up guitars kind of way. There’s large elements of some absolute classics in here – Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, with a definite nod to the Foos, Nirvana, and J Mascis/Dinosaur Jr. especially around the laconic vocal delivery and effects.
‘The Wrath To Come’ is the 8th track from Godzukey’s demo mini-album ‘Lake Mammalian’, and a precursor to their debut online gig ‘Bridge City Sessions: Godzukey’, which can be viewed via YouTube and Facebook on March 2nd this year.