We’re only a few months into 2020 and there’s already tough competition for album of the year. Fingers crossed that we get a Dragged Under/Downswing tour in 2021. Both of these underdog metalcore bands have mastered the art of bringing circle pit energy straight to your headphones. Although we can’t attend live shows right now By The Barricade has a few tracks to hold you over.
It’s been months since any recent artists rivaled The Fever 333 for best breakout band. If you’re a fan of Beartooth, I Prevail, or The Ghost Inside you need to hear Dragged Under’s debut album! The World Is In Your Way is one of the heaviest melodic albums I’ve picked up this year but I’ll let their single “Hypochondria” speak for itself.
Dragged Under‘s Entire debut album is packed with adrenaline and I can’t wait to hear the tracks live. Piercing screams, massive breakdowns, and awesome riffs punctuate the tracklist. Even “Chelsea”, the album’s most radio-friendly track has a killer chorus that’ll leave you headbanging. The melodic overtones are a nice change of pace and prove there’s so much more to come from Tony, Ryan, Hans, and Kalen.
The band told Alternative Press “There’s zero replacement for writing music that people like and relate to. With Rest, Repose, we tried to take the approach of writing those songs for the radio, so to speak. [We were] trying to write stuff that we [could] sell, and it was a ridiculous approach…” Luckily Dragged Under doesn’t just talk the talk. Their lyrics feel unapologetically genuine and seem to really resonate with fans. The Band was slated to open a month-long tour with The Used pre-pandemic so fingers crossed we get another great tour announcement soon. Even though I’d love to gush about these nine tracks of maximum testosterone there’s another newcomer that caught my eye this year.
Downswing‘s heavy-hitting new album Good Intentions blindsided me out of nowhere and others are noticing as well. The band’s 2017 releases slipped under my radar but “Disgrace” invaded my Spotify rotation and held its own alongside artists like Outline In Color, Knocked Loose, and Stray From The Path. Downswing‘s ten-track album Good Intentions cranked everything up to eleven and I loved it.
The recent release from Stay Sick Recordings really packs a punch. Primal screams, angsty lyrics, and quick riffs dominate the album. Downswing may be a bit rougher around the edges than Dragged Under but the avoided polish completely amplifies their unadulterated rage. Good Intentions has some real powerhouses but unfortunately, there’s not much variety between tracks. “Breaking Point” steers the furthest from their mold but doesn’t veer off as I’d expected. Doubling down on strengths is great but I would have really appreciated a track or two stepping out of their concert zone.
2021 looks to be the soonest we can reignite national tours and I’m crossing my fingers I can mosh at a Downswing or Dragged Under show sooner than later. Until then I’ll be rooting for a festival or tour where worlds (or circle pits) collide.