In terms of sheer brutality, it’s hard to up the ante more than Michigan’s purveyors of “grinding death and audio terror.” Eviscerating in its attack, yet terrifying in its atmosphere, these guys have concocted an animalistic assault combining the most punishing aspects of USBM, grindcore and death metal. Their January 2017 album, The Blackest Volume: Like All The Earth Was Buried, set the bar incredibly high for all the blackened hardcore that came after it, and from the looks of it they have no intention to compromise going forward.
With only one EP under their belt, these North Carolina powerviolence intensifiers come with an (un)healthy dose of suicidal USBM misery. The simple aggression and unadulterated rage serve as a means of furthering the bleak overtones of their sound, making it no less moshable as it explores thoughts of self-destruction, misanthropy, and isolation. 2018 will supposedly see the release of Joy’s debut album, so make sure to keep an eye on them in the coming year.
Hailing from Belarus, I Am a Preacher deliver a convincing combination of mathcore and murky black metal to a tremendous effect. The mere fact a band in this style comes from such an obscure location is fantastic enough, but the musicality of I Am a Preacher speaks for itself. They also feature lyrics written in Russian, providing a crucial contribution to both the worldwide hardcore and black metal scenes.
Musically, Outlier is undoubtedly the most accessible band on this list. Essentially Converge meets Deafheaven, this Bay Area quartet have effectively established themselves as the kings of blackened scramz. They combine these styles so seamlessly that one discovers similarities between post-black metal and ‘90s screamo simply by listening to them bridge the gap. I can’t think of a genre-blending band that managed to wear their influences on their sleeve while simultaneously coming up with such an original style.
More than any of the bands listed here, these Pennsylvania aggressors find a feel more reminiscent of hardcore because of their impenetrable darkness than their musical tendencies. They call their style “suicidal hardcore,” which is a perfect summary of the self-loathing misanthropy that cakes this record like rust on iron. It’s certainly raw, angry and lethal, but the band lives up to their name by celebrating human failure with nihilistic glee.