kronosJust about every day, Angry Metal Guy pushes out a review of an upcoming or recently released album, producing press for the album whether we love it or hate it. It exposes readers to a lot of material, but disadvantages artists who aren’t putting out music at any given time. Given a small temporal window, this creates a very biased sample of the music scene. I love reviewing albums, but a lot of great and criminally overlooked bands are in between releases right now, and it kills me to see their hard work go unseen. So in order to rectify their invisibility, they’re being talked about here, where you can be held captive by the unbreakable bonds of html and subjugated to my terrible opinions.

In Sampling Bias‘s second edition, we explore the untamed wilds of the planet’s most influential continent, Europe. And by untamed wilds, I’m referring to lonely bandcamp pages. Europe’s metal scene is, of course, huge, and there’s no hope of capturing all of its fantastic and innovative underground bands in one little blog post. Nevertheless, I have appointed myself your guide through the woodlands, plains, and forests of this magnificent laurasian remnant, stopping only to gaze in wonder at the works of art that the continent continues to produce.

These are the best European bands you’ve never heard of:

Dysfunctional

This is by far the biggest head-scratcher on the list. Why? Because this band is fucking fantastic. Their sole LP, John Stone Lives bursts with out-of-the-box thinking, obscenely catchy grooves and a truly unique and inspired involution of “djent” which relies not on the noodling and prog pretense of the genre, but on the visceral sound of an absolutely massive rhythm guitar. Dysfunctional‘s sound lies comfortably, and perhaps puzzlingly, between the heft and groove of Gojira and the melodic and experimental leanings  of early Linkin Park, with a little bit of oddness mixed in. John Stone Lives is available as pay-what-you-want on bandcamp, so there’s no excuse for you not to grab it and blast “Wanda” until your neighbors call the authorities.

Follow the White Rabbit

This St. Petersburg-based math/experimental metal act is, sadly, deceased. Yet I firmly believe that their 2012 swan song Endorphinia is worth everyone’s time. Combining heavy atmosphere and The Dillinger Escape Plan-grade aggression with fantastic and haunting melodies is a tall order, but FTWR follows through, unabashedly obtuse. Even in their most uncomfortable moments, the band remains memorable, if not for their audacity then for the unadulterated strangeness they peddle.

Witxes

Witxes appear here not because of their obscurity but rather because of how poorly equipped genre tags are to describe the music – and I use the term somewhat broadly here – they produce. Hailing from Lyon, France, the primarily instrumental experimental group exists to deceive, trafficking in uncomfortable and beautiful atmospherics, droning rhythms, and a multitude of odd instruments and field recordings. Metal this is surely not, yet it’s something I can wholeheartedly get behind, as enticing to focus on as it is easy to play in the background of your dimly-lit dabblings.

Plebeian Grandstand

This is one of those dissonant, freakish and kvlt bands that you just can’t help but love. Yet another French act, Plebeian Grandstand mix horrific black metal with lurching hardcore rhythms to produce a sound somewhere in the decimated intersection between Converge and Dodecahedron. A good deal of post-metal inspired atmospherics and a tortured vocal performance seal the deal: 2014’s Lowgazers (which we totally missed) is a Faustian bargain put to disc, and you will always lose.

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  • Thatguy

    Thanks, Kronos

    I didn’t know any of these and I like the sound of the first and the last especially

    So much music, so little time

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Yes, Kronos, this is really great. It appears that Dysfunctional’s album isn’t even pay-what-you-want. There’s a “Free Download” button only, and when I click that it takes me straight to the download page, rather than an option to name my price.

  • Wizeguy

    Hmmmmmm, seedy underbelly. The best kind of belly. Thanks Kronos, I be digging this! <3 Plebeian Grandstand in particular.

    • Kronos

      They are fucking insane! Check out their first album as well, I think the sophomore effort falls slightly short.

      • Wizeguy

        Done! Cheers. That vocalist sounds like he’s being flayed alive in the most musical fashion.

  • The Lascivious Snape

    Nice shout-out for Follow The White Rabbit (RIP). Damn me for getting excited and thinking, just for a second, that they’d reunited. Great prog metal right there.

    And if you’re a fan, I’d definitely recommend checking out Torrential Downpour. Not exactly the same, but a similar vibe and flavor.

    • Kronos

      I’ll check it out, thanks!

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    DUDE. WITXES. THANK YOU.
    Seriously, I *love* this kind of music and have been on the search for similar stuff for months now. I love it, great post!

    • Kronos

      Glad someone out there gets it!

  • Robert Turnbull

    That is rather good power metal! Good shout

  • Kronos

    I’ll have to give it a once-over sometime.

  • John Stone Lives is so much love in a single place! The rest are amazing too but those are kinda my favorite and I thank you so much for putting this into the Angry Followers attention

  • Boter

    Somehow I do find it a bit odd to have an article on ‘australian metal’, with that continent having about as many inhabitants as say The Netherlands. I can but hope that this is but a first excellent example of the underbelly of the European (in this case mainly French) metal scene…

  • Steve

    After checking out a few songs I have to conclude it’s pretty generic. Nothing really stands out. Probably the reason why they’re so obscure

  • sir_c

    That rabbit hole you sent me into, was a pretty deep one. But dammit, that’s pretty close to fucken epic, when you get the hang of it. FTW(R)!