7 Acoustic Acts For Metalheads
In recent years, I've found myself listening to a lot more acoustic music than ever before. I was curious about this development in my musical tastes, and I decided to start investigating why some of these bands appealed to me. As I dug, I realized that a lot of them were bands that I felt would appeal to a lot of metal heads.
The only real criteria for this list was that the band couldn't be a side project of someone from a more major act (That being said, both Scott Kelly and Mike Scheidt's solo work is phenomenal!) The point being – there's a whole swath of acoustic acts who have a very metal appeal and this list is just the beginning!
7. Ewan Dobson
Asides from the fact that the man has put out a record called Acoustic Metal (Which is amazing by the way) Ewan Dobson has reliably proven that not only is he one of the most talented players in the world, he is also able to use his acoustic guitar to create some unique soundworlds and has established a very distinct sound. His powerful sense of rhythm and ability to simply devastate the neck of an acoustic guitar can't help but impress. When you watch live videos and seeing him pull it all off with ease you can't help but acknowledge that Ewan Dobson is one of our generations great guitar geniuses.
6. Split Lip Rayfield
Split Lip Rayfield is impressive not just because the music is dark and powerful, the musical chops on display are simply out of this world. While the band covers traditional Americana topics there is a distinct sadness to what Split Lip Rayfield do that can't help but to capture your attention. Obsessed with the inherent magic that this continent provides, Split Lip Rayfield understands what it means to get at the sheer bombast of the culture and portrays it on an epic scale – giving cleansing sound to all whom wish to take part in the bands sacred communion of country guitars and high powered banjos.
5. Vic Chestnutt
Incredibly sad, wonderfully earthy and aware of his own bombast, Vic Chestnutt is an acoustic musician the metal community should be all to willing to embrace. His distinctive voice is a huge part of the appeal, it seems to come from the darkest part of his soul and resonates easily with the listener. Like many other entries on this list, Chestnutt uses a powerful string section to help give his work breadth and breathes a sense of form into the sonic poetry that he creates. It's easy to fall in love with someone who so perfectly mirrors the existential torment of the human condition – and as romantic as that might sound, that's really all that Vic Chestnutt does.
These Norwegians are one of the most unique acts out there right now – not just because they play a very traditional brand of Norwegian folk, but also because they have been able to couch it in a context that it can still appeal to the modern listener. Antediluvian in scale and atavistic in execution, the band invokes the power of the north with bold marches and traditional instrumentation coming together to help refine a sound that will carry you away. Wardruna understand the fundamental power of folk music and don't try to communicate it in a cutesy way like many of their peers. These guys are as serious as it gets, and wholly dedicated to letting the music of their ancestors ring out in our hyper speed century.
3. Nic Nassuet
Blending goth rock and horror punk with his own unique brand of indie, Nic Nassuet crafts some pretty fascinating sounds that will resonate with all manner of metalheads. Toss in some eerie violins and powerful arrangements that feature some truly beautiful duets, and you start to get a sense for what Nic Nassuet stands for. There is something incredibly crushing about his work, it drags you down into the same void that Nassuet so evidently suffers in. The dirge-like quality of many of these songs resonates with the listener and seems almost too bleak at times. Nassuet is here to make you feel his eternal, existential suffering.
2. Blood And Sun
I discovered Blood And Sun at a viking metal show at St Vitus Bar and was shocked at how they fit right in. Crafting music filled with folky minor key melodies and dirge-like chants there is something strangely entrancing, and distinctly heathen, about Blood And Sun. In particular, their use of violins helps to establish beautiful soundscapes that the listener can get lost in. The band has somehow figured out how to invoke ancient spirits and old gods, and as you listen to any of their three releases you find yourself travelling through the forests and the fjords and taking in epic sound worlds that have rarely, if ever, been matched. Able to construct powerful images with surprisingly simple instrumentation Blood And Sun are clearly a very special band.
1. Aerial Ruin
You've probably heard project mastermind Erik Moggridge guest on both Bell Witch records, and if you've really got death metal cred, his old band, Epidemic. Nowadays though, he plays arpeggiated chords and uses high pitched, but still powerful, vocals to guide you through uniquely dark acoustic records. Aerial Ruin has rapidly been able to establish what is very much their own sound and will give you a chance to zone out and absorb the darkness as Moggridge paints with sound and provides a sort of exit from reality. There is something distinctly magical about Aerial Ruin and it is yours for the taking.