Gone are the days of Rock n ‘Roll supremacy. Today’s airwaves are dominated by rap, hip-hop, and pop artists, with occasional EDM songs sneaking around. However, just because rock is no longer the predominant category does not mean that capable artists no longer hone their craft. In fact, many unsung artists continue to release exceptional music with little to no fanfare. Let’s explore a few lesser-known bands who feel ready to make a breakthrough.
The Bad Wolves burst onto the scene with their heart-wrenching cover of the Cranberries’ âZombieâ. Founded by vocalist Tommy Vext (formerly of Snot) and John Boecklin (formerly of DevilDriver), Bad Wolves mixes the high energy of nu-metal with the calculated vocals of hard rock, creating a unique dynamic. Vext, who replaced Ivan Moody for the end of Five Finger Death Punch’s European tour, takes Moody’s vocal style and recalibrates it for a distinctive sound. Although the group is still in its infancy, they have managed to muster a loyal following through their portrayal of Zombies.
Best songs: “Zombies”, “Remember when”, “Listen to me now”
Comparison: Five Finger Death Punch
Badflower recently went from opening band status to headlining in a small venue following the conclusion of their first tour for Shinedown. The Los Angeles quartet opened their eyes with âTemper,â a haunting four-song EP that illustrates the dangers of addiction. However, it was their debut album, “Ok, I’m Sick” that won the group national exposure. Vocalist Josh Katz masterfully switches from soft crooning to breathtaking screams, underscoring the volatility of the issues he’s singing about. Whether it’s the trials and tribulations of heroin abuse or the flaws in American politics, Badflower will describe an expert narrative on catchy riffs.
Best songs: “Ghost”, “Heroine”, “Let the band play”
Comparison: My chemical romance
Dirty Honey is a band that seems determined to bring blues rock back to life on their own. Rejecting the sanitation of rock radio, Dirty Honey takes her time creating her stories, as evidenced by the range of mini-solos found in “Down the Road”. The voice of singer Marc Labelle is reminiscent of a young Axl Rose. Of course, its scale isn’t scientific in nature, but it hits the notes with such casually that fans are captivated by the sheer daring.
Best songs: “Down the road”, “When I’m gone”, “Fire Away”
Comparison: Guns N ‘Roses
Formerly “The Stir”, Like Machines introduces a gritty, unfiltered sound over scintillating riffs. Like Machines merges 80s guitar-centric songs with modern vocal clarity, providing fans with a musical experience rarely seen on the stage today. While the opening of Collective Soul and Fozzy has given Like Machines a platform to attract a larger audience, this group is both capable and talented enough to be independent.
Best songs: “Nightshift” (like The Stir), “Destitute”, “Kaiser”
Comparison: Black sabbath
Joyous Wolf dominates the scene with unbridled passion and energy. Guitarist Blake Allard’s ability to manipulate the neck is beyond his years. Nick Reese walks the stage with intoxicating confidence. 6ft 8in tall bassist Greg Bracchio keeps the group going with his expert fretting skills. The band take a plethora of competing sounds and combine to build a uniform, energetic sound reminiscent of the great southern rock bands of yesteryear. Having already opened for legendary acts such as Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, Deep Purple and Buckcherry, it’s only a matter of time before Joyous Wolf earns what their music so ardently demands.
Best songs: “Queen of Mississippi”, “Rebel Mother”, “Quiet Place”
Comparison: Dark purple
FEVER 333 burst onto the scene with âMade An America,â a rap-rock number that skyrocketed the charts and earned the trio their first top 25 hit. Led by former Letlive frontman Jason Aalon Butler, the band sounds like a reincarnated Rage Against the Machine. However, rather than presenting itself as a cheap knockoff, FEVER 333 takes the brand popularized by RATM and makes it its own. FEVER 333 is also hailed for its stage presence, using its unconstrained liveliness to illustrate its very harsh and very real message.
Best songs: “Made An America”, “Walking In My Shoes”, “Burn It”
Comparison: Rage against the machine