Growing up with hard rock quickly got me into the genre. Though I was born in the mid ’90s and never had the chance to experience grunge, I fell in love with the crunch of the guitar, the grating vocals, and the overall energy that 21st century hard rock brought. As bands like Five Finger Death Punch and Three Days Grace have already hit huge mainstream popularity, I figured I’d let you know who will be the next hard rock bands to follow them.
With a name that furnishes the band as negative a connotation as its loud, raunchy sound-alikes, it’s odd to find that Art of Dying is one of the more optimistic bands in the hard rock genre. Their debut, Vices and Virtues, released to the masses in March 2011, puts together a powerful, gritty hard rock sound that is typically found within the band’s sphere of ’90s rock influences. The album features those throwbacks in addition to a polished vibe along the lines of Three Days Grace. Vices and Virtues is the cornerstone that will jumpstart the band’s bright future, even with the band lyrically evolving away from its influences.
After the breakup of Eighteen Visions in 2007, the inception of Burn Halo, a project started by lead vocalist James Hart, brought in a new hard rock sensation to fans of the City of Evil era Avenged Sevenfold. Yet with their less-than-intriguing debut album, there was still a lot of doubt. The band’s cloudy image since that release in 2009 was evaporated when their second release, Up From the Ashes, hopped right over the sophomore slump and proved that the band is no A7X wannabe. It will bring more attention to a band that now has to focus on replacing three of its members.
The one factor that makes Hail The Villain such a viable contender in the race for the next big band in hard rock is a punishing sound. Vocalist Bryan Crouch comes out of the gate nearly screaming his lungs out in the band’s rookie release, Population: Decreasing, behind an efficacious, demonic amount of guitar and bass. While the band’s music is powerful, they don’t sacrifice that for music that doesn’t catch the ear. Even though frontman Crouch has left the band, with a proper replacement they will keep in higher standing, especially with a great group of instrumentalists already making great chemistry on their 2010 debut.
If there’s one band in hard rock that is about to get big, it’s the female-fronted up-and-coming monster Halestorm. Though the lyrics can be a bit grating, the band’s 2009 self-titled debut album still packs a heck of a punch while being ultimately catchy. Although there is nothing that compares to the expansive, invigorating pipes of vocalist Lzzy Hale, the band’s overall smooth sound is something that should bring excitement to fans of all genres of rock, even if the band is often scrutinized as a little sister of Papa Roach or Cavo.
With Atreyu taking a break, it was pretty cool to see clean vocalist Brandon Saller take charge in the hard rock genre. I may be biased because of the fact that my friend’s cousin is the band’s bassist, but even with that, Hell or Highwater brings with it a wall of sound thick enough to keep the listener in tune with Saller’s raspy vocals. Begin Again was one of the stronger rookie releases of 2011, and with a multitude of fun rockers and rusty anthems, it’s no doubt that this band is definitely succeeds in producing hard rock for the sole reason why I love it so much: to be blasted in my car.
It’s fascinating to know that New Medicine has a grandiose knowledge of rock music, but they also have a keen sense of direction. The band’s 2010 debut, Race You to the Bottom, is catchy, fun, and also rocks hard. With everything composed around carefully structured choruses and well-thought-out guitar riffs, the album is both polished and pummeling. After getting into their anthemic swagger, it’s hard to stop listening. New Medicine is one of the best new groups in hard rock, and with future releases pending, there’s no doubt they’ll be one of the big guns someday.
Though it came as a bit of a surprise that this group’s 2011 album Dogs was named iTunes Rock Album of the Year, there’s no doubt that The Parlor Mob is one of the most underrated (and nearly unknown) artists not just in hard rock, but in the entire genre of rock in general. These guys parade the listener with an engrossing sound – a modern adaptation of classic rock – as their influences range from back-to-basics rock to modern alt-metal to even alternative.
I had to mention these guys, especially considering that they’re from my hometown of Kansas City, but they’re also one of the best rising stars in hard rock. Sounding like a modern version of old school Alice In Chains (Brett Ditgen’s vocals give me a Layne Staley vibe) with the bite that makes Rev Theory’s angsty music so energetic, Red Line Chemistry has all of the necessary elements to make compelling music. After two solid releases and a newly recorded acoustic EP, the band seems to be maturing and strengthening their sound each time.
The definitive correlation that describes Cincinnati’s Seven Circle Sunrise is the dark elements of ’90s grunge music, especially considering that lead vocalist Veno Xavier was heavily influenced by the foreboding tone of bands like Nirvana and Alice In Chains. The band’s 2011 debut, Beauty In Being Alone, aptly fits this mold, and just from seeing the album cover it’s obvious that the music’s themes are fairly ominous. Gritty guitar work and deep, consolidated choruses keep the band’s influences in check, and while the lyrics are often fairly dark, the tracks are memorable enough to play again and again.
Putting aside the fact that vocalist Crispin Earl is one of the rare black vocalists in hard rock, The Veer Union is seriously one of the most engaging groups the genre has to offer. With layers of vocals and smooth, technical guitar riffs, in addition to emotional lyrics and an overall dense atmosphere, there’s a lot to explore on their debut, Against the Grain. A great attention to detail is showcased here. If they can polish their quasi-abrasive sound a bit on their long overdue sophomore release, this Canadian quintet could hit stardom.