The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal: The underground sensation today
When most people in 2017 hear the words heavy metal, they usually think of either Metallica, the bands in the mid 1980’s that wore way too much make up or the bands of this generation such as Disturbed, Lamb of God or Five Finger Death Punch. Some even say that the original sounds from heavy metal that really helped it become a genre are gone. I mean the styles that the early speed metal, thrash metal and of course traditional heavy metal bands played. The denim and leather “true” heavy metal style seems to be absent in the world to at least most heavy metal fans today. However, in the past roughly ten to fifteen years, the underground has been literally exploding with bands that play this style and very faithfully as well. This scene has been known as “The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal”.Now what exactly did this movement consist of? Well exactly what it sounds like. It is essentially a bunch of bands that play a style of heavy metal that was originally popular in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Within this article I hope to show everyone that the underground is very much alive showing some of the bands that essentially were here when it began to kick back off as well as groups emerging today that I will spotlight.
One of the first NWOTHM bands I had ever heard of was Canada’s Cauldron. Their 2009 debut album “Chained to the Nite” really showed the 80’s power trio sound similar to groups like Raven and the nasally vocal works akin to groups such as legends Angel Witch. This album was released in the early development of the movement but was a good debut for the Canadian group who have been on an upswing and released “In Ruin” in 2016.
Another group that came out around the same time was Swedish speed metallers Enforcer who released their debut “Into The Night” in 2008. Enforcers style belongs more along the lines of Judas Priest or even the brash style of Exciter. Their most recent studio album “From Beyond” was released in 2015 and could be considered one of their best albums since forming
Possibly one of the most prominent NWOTHM groups that have surfaced in more recent years is California’s Night Demon. Their sound really sits at the core of the New Wave of British Heavy with bands like Jaguar and Diamond Head. Specifically their lead singer and bass player Jarvis Leatherby has made himself a prominent figure in this movement as a big promoter of traditional heavy metal bands new and old. He has also played bass with Cirith Ungol and provided vocals for Jaguar in some circumstances as well. Night Demon’s debut album “Curse of The Damned” released in 2015 I consider to be one of the finest albums and possibly most popular out of this underground movement and has seen them on tour with some high profile groups such as Raven and even opening for Anvil this spring as well. The band is also set to release their second album entitled “Darkness Remains” in April 2017.
Another one that popped onto my radar was Chicago’s very own Shokker. Although they never personally identified with the NWOTHM label, I can’t nail their sound to anything other than fist pumping heavy metal. They could have easily come out in 1984 and would have been a hit. Led by powerful vocalist Rachl Quinn, The band plays a mix of NWOBHM based heavy metal and a very powerful hard rock sound popularized by groups such as Y&T and Krokus. They released their self titled EP back in 2015 and a debut album is soon to follow, keep em on your radar they kick ass. The group is also currently working on a full length album as well.
Another group that popped up on my radar this year is Carriage out of Portsmouth, Virginia. Carriage have a mix of Horror film themes and early cult speed metal sounds from the likes of King Diamond/Mercyful Fate and Exciter.Their vocalist Robbie Rainey told Glistening Metal “There is something about it that speaks to me at the core of who I am and I enjoy writing this kind of music more because it feels just like it sounds, like there are no boundaries and it’s somehow more honest. It’s not a genre that feels restricting yet it’s still distinct enough to stand apart.” The band are currently out on the Divebomb records “Masters of Metal Vol. 2” compilation and are working toward some bigger plans later this year. They are definitely one to watch out for. You can hear their music in the link below.
So overall we have only a slight incite of this massive movement known as the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal and is only going to grow from here. Other groups that I would like to recommend include Detroit’s Demon Bitch, Seven Sisters from the UK and even another Chicago group entitled High Spirits. These groups are the real future to Heavy Metal and even though they are shy of the public eye, they prove that the underground will never die and will thrive on. So go out and support the NWOTHM!