Welcome back to ‘Prospecting The Underworld’, the weekly column dedicated to the search for underground metal from around the globe.
We’ve uncovered far too much gold to simply bring you one band so Prospecting The Underworld will now very briefly introduce 5 bands every week for your pleasure.
Maverick (South Korea)
Let’s talk about South Korean Power Metal.
Maverick, from Ulsan, South Korea, formed in 2015 as a duo between vocalist Kim Dong-Kwan and musician Kang Woo-Been , who writes all instrumentation and lyrics himself. Their EP ‘Enigma’ was released in July 2015 and captures the essence of old-school heavy metal, with clear influences from Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. You have to take into consideration that all the music was produced by Kang so commenting on the individual instruments does not do justice to the overall talent of one man, suffice to say he does a brilliant job. The lyrics are in Korean which adds a very interesting characteristic to the higher-register vocal tone.
Croatian Hardcore Punk? Yeah, we found some.
Another example of how you can’t break through if there’s not much of a scene, Zagreb’s Ponor have been going strong since 2011. They’ve toured Europe fairly consistently playing clubs and festivals and also released an 8-song album in late 2013. It’s such a shame to find great bands that have been slugging away for years and aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, although that defines 99% of bands anyway doesn’t it? The music is everything you want in your hardcore, aggressive vocals, thumping bass, heavy riffs and all really, really fast. You’ll like this.
Last Year’s Tragedy (Kenya)
It would be safe to say that while Africa holds the origin of many things on the planet, Heavy Metal is not one of them. Last Year’s Tragedy have spent 12 years trying to change that. The guys all met while at university and although they officially became a band in 2005, the Kenyan metal scene, as one might predict, is not massive and so breaking through was extremely difficult. But their persistence paid off and in 2015 Last Year’s Tragedy were awarded the Best Song award at the African Rock Music Awards for their single ‘Bury Your Fallen Dreams’. Due to their success, the metal genre is gaining popularity in Kenya and indeed across Africa. Watching a bunch of Kenyans belt out some fairly insane post-hardcore stylings is a very interesting experience, which you’re about to have. Dig it!
For those of you looking to flesh out your Progressive Oriental Groove Metal collection and you don’t have any Russian bands yet, you can’t go past Muscovites Shokran. Born in 2012, they immediately put out an EP, ‘Sixth Sense’ and their first album, ‘Supreme Truth’ came out in 2014. The band then went on an extended break to put complete collective energy into the creation of their second album ‘Exodus’ which was released mid-2016. Shokran are extraordinary to listen to, combining different elements of music from different cultures around the world very subtly which creates a unique sound. They have been gaining some popularity which is good to see, fingers crossed they become Moscow’s greatest Progressive Oriental Groove export.
Voice Of Baceprot (Indonesia)
You have to check this out! The highlight for this episode was coming across Voice of Baceprot, from West Java, Indonesia. Baceprot is Sudanese for ‘noisy’, and that’s what these girls are. VoB formed in 2014 when the trio was still in school, and since then their music teacher has also become their manager. The girls are all Muslim, and each proudly wears their hijab on stage. Not surprisingly, VoB have faced adversity and opposition from their conservative peers including their parents. Their folks, thankfully, seemed to relax after they won an award at a local music festival. They describe their music as Progressive Funk Rap Thrash Metal, and who’s gonna tell them otherwise? It’s always great to see kids who are good at music rocking out, but VoB are in a league of their own. Each member is brilliant, but seriously, watch that little bass player!
If you dig any of the bands featured in Prospecting The Underworld like we did, and maybe even if you don’t, share them around. Get your grandma into metal!!
Check in next week for the next batch of precious metal we dig up.