Huntsmen from Chicago is a progressive metal band that managed to make waves with their second album “Mandala of Fear”. This is diverse and impressive concept album that uses a number of different styles.
The ease with which the band combines sludge metal with beautiful Americana and 70s symphonic rock is downright enviable. It’s as if Fleet Foxes, Queens of the Stone Age, Yes, Radiohead and Mastodon have procreated. It sounds like a mess on paper, but it absolutely isn’t. Huntsmen manage to put all of these influences into gorgeous songs, like opener ‘Ride it Out’ and ‘Awake at Time’s End’. The different dynamics in vocal delivery also deserve some attention, as the interplay between terrific grunts and clean vocals from two male singers and one female singer are also impressive. It’s all about variety for these Americans, leading to a quality album for the ages.
Richmond, Indiana band Wolftooth has a strong preference for hard rock and heavy metal from the late seventies, early eighties. On their latest album “Blood & Iron” you can hear influences from both Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. The sound is heavy yet melodious and a perfect way to warm up your neck muscles for the main act.