Many artists are struggling after having been forced to cancel tours due to coronavirus. Cancelled tours mean lost revenue, since artists have to buy all that merch up-front. If they can’t sell it on tour then they’re at a loss. AngryMetalGuy has a list of cancellations with links for buying music and merch. Bandcamp is also waiving their
commissions for 24 hours on March 20, 2020 in order to make sure as much money as possible goes to the artists.
With that in mind I wanted to call out a few albums that I think are stellar from artists who have been forced to cancel tours. Check these out on Bandcamp and/or buy some merch!
There are so many more bands than just the ones listed here. If there’s anything that you’ve been waffling on buying from Bandcamp today is a good day to pull the trigger.
(in no particular order)
The latest album, Blood of the Night, has been on regular rotation for me since it dropped. I already ordered the vinyl before Bandcamp announced their commission-waiving 😬. I would describe this as epic-doom with harsh vocals. The riffs are heavy and satisfying.
Khemmis are a perennial favourite of mine. I really enjoyed seeing them at 2018’s Decibel Metal & Beer Festival in LA and I’ve been listening to them regularly ever since. They play a kind of doom-tinged classic heavy metal that’s both melodic and catchy. Unfortunately I missed their show in Seattle last December.
I fully plan on pre-ordering the live mini-album which includes a pretty damn fantastic cover of Dio’s Rainbow in the Dark:
Under the Witching Cross was one of my favourite albums of 2019. This is Satanic speed metal with plenty of Motörhead influence and cheesy lyrics about heavy metal, witches and the occult. This album makes me smile every time I play it, which is a lot.
This band from the UK is violently feminist, socially concious, hardcore-influenced deathgrind. Samsara was my favourite album of 2019 hands-down, and also a gateway into more deathgrind and hardcore. This album is full of brutal riffs that seamlessly transition from pummeling blasts to melodic leads, dive-bombing solos, and an absolutely blistering vocal delivery.
Venom Prison just had to cancel their shows with Parkway Drive, which would have been their biggest shows to date.
Gatecreeper play death metal that’s catchy, calling themselves “stadium death metal”. Sometimes they have a kind of Amon Amarth-vibe, but much less cheesy. These folks were supposed to go on the now-cancelled Decibel Tour with Abbath, Mayhem and Idle Hands. All the merch from that tour is now on sale (I definitely picked up a t-shirt).
Canadian traditional heavy metalheads play some really fun, melodic fast metal. They fit right in with the “New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal” – or the 80s. They were in Europe partway through a tour when coronavirus forced them to return to Canada and cancel the rest of the dates. I’ve already preordered the next album and I’m stoked for it to come out next month.
If you ever get a chance to see YOB live, do it. Even if you’re not into doom metal. Their performance is so enthralling. I had already been enjoying Our Raw Hearts when I saw YOB perform at Decibel Metal & Beer Fest – but that didn’t stop me from seeing them again 4 days later back in Seattle. On recordings Yob is epic and moody. Live it is absolutely crushing.
Haunt have been all over metal media since they “arrived” two-ish years ago. They already have 3 full-length albums (and two EPs) under their belts. And it’s all good. This is well-executed traditional heavy metal. Lots of catchy hooks and soaring leads. The latest album, Mind Freeze, has been getting a lot of play time (though I think I might have a slight preference for If Icarus Could Fly). They’ve just released some new
merch on their bandcamp page that would have been sold on their tour with Night Demon, Bewitcher, and Satan (what a lineup!).
It’s difficult to describe Wilderun. Their music is epic, progressive, melodic and orchestral. The latest album, Veil of Imagination, made a number of best-of-2019 lists. At times it reminds me of Opeth. There is a lot to unpack and it deserves active listening. Since their albums aren’t available on any streaming services, Bandcamp is also the only way to get them. Wilderun’s tour with Aeternam was canceled. They’ve also got some really nice merch from Holy Mountain
Unleash the Archers
Unleash the Archers breath new life into power metal by incorporating elements of melodic death metal. Apex is a masterpiece of an album and was one of my favourites of 2017. Also check out the merch, their t-shirt designs are alway 💯.
I thought 2016’s Invasion of the Tentacube was fun blackened thrash. At the time it reminded me of earlier Skeletonwitch. The latest album, Interdimensional Invocations takes it up a notch and was another favourite of mine in 2019. I love the way Xoth blend speed, technical musicianship and melody into weird sci-fi vibes.
(update: 3/20/2020 2:21pm PDT)
I can’t stress enough how amazing this band is. Woodland Rites is such an incredible album and I’ve probably played it over hundreds of times already. The sound is a modern interpretation of Black Sabbath with influences from Witchfinder General, Queen, and other classic British early heavy metal bands. They announced a third pressing of the album today and the limited edition signed sets they threw up on Bandcamp have already sold out.
I ordered it from their record label instead. I should have included this in the first place but I wasn’t aware that they had canceled tour dates as well – meanwhile I was riding my bicycle around the neighbourhood sporting my Green Lung hoodie. Definitely check these guys out and support them.