50 rising Canadian bands by province to keep on your radar
Canada’s music scene is spread far and wide, but there are a ton of hidden gems throughout the country. From the rainy mountains of British Columbia to the far reaches of the East Coast Atlantic provinces, Canadian musicians are proving their worth while constantly being overshadowed.
Here are 50 up-and-coming Canadian bands who are showing why the Great White North shouldn’t be ignored.
Post-hardcore act Hotknives have been grinding through the Hamilton music scene for a while, and their blend of melodic heaviness is exactly what Ontario hardcore needs. The band deliver upbeat riffs with a razor-sharp edge brought together with harsh screams and soaring clean vocals.
London deathcore act Underlier offer fans of heavy music some nasty beatdown riffs. The band’s capabilities in crafting deep breakdowns without relying solely on gurgly vocals to make them dense set them apart from many deathcore acts, and their dedication to supporting their local scene is admirable as they’ve shown support to their fellow underground musicians.
Spawned from the former bassist of legendary grind band Fuck The Facts, Greber are a deadly sludge-grind two-piece. The band take a no-frills approach to metal, with a dark tone shooting back and forth between down-low grooves and harsh blasts of noise that underground metal fans will instantly latch on to.
Toronto post-hardcore crew Sparrows fall somewhere between the noisy metalcore of Norma Jean and the melancholic vibes of Alexisonfire. Their latest record, Failed Gods, is a near-perfect assault on the ears from beginning to end that any metalcore fan can get behind.
Landing somewhere between technical death metal, black metal and mathcore, Trenchlung are truly something special. Their brand of speedy beatdowns and techy death-metal riffs are boosted by blips of black metal and hardcore for a gnarly sound not suitable for the faint of heart.
6. Heart Attack Kids
Punk crew Heart Attack Kids are masters of digging into classic hardcore energy. Their riffs are upbeat, powerful and everything you could ask for in an energetic punk-rock band. Couple that with Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier hopping on a guest spot on their most recent album, Bad Luck Like Gold, and Heart Attack Kids have a full package worth diving into.
Minors offer a brutally harsh take on hardcore best suited for fans of bands such as Converge or Cult Leader. Listening to their feedback-induced madness is like being hit with a wrecking ball in the best way possible.
Ambient emo-punks Romancer have been rebuilding their sound into a more cohesive approach over the past couple of years, and it’s paying off in a huge way. Their dedication to improving the strong vocal melodies and breezy emotional tones of their music is evident in everything they do. They’re sure to be a smash within Canada’s emo scene as they continue on this path.
9. Perfect Limbs
Melodic hardcore crew Perfect Limbs dig into the sounds of 2000s metalcore with a heartfelt passion. The band are equally reminiscent of Counterparts or Dead And Divine as they are Silverstein or Vanna.
10. Single Wound
Single Wound’s take on metalcore combines no-nonsense hardcore riffs with some soaring melodic elements for a full-package sound. With a dash of post-hardcore ambiance, a bit of beatdown and some straight-forward metal, they have an eclectic dynamic built for the underground.
Victoria hardcore crew VULTURES bring a tight, punchy tone with harsh beatdowns and technical proficiency. Their sound is rooted in modern metalcore while introducing some off-kilter rhythms, like if you mixed the Dillinger Escape Plan with Counterparts.
12. Neck Of The Woods
Vancouver’s Neck Of The Woods are quickly making a huge impression in Canada’s metal scene, landing shows with some of the biggest names in metal and hardcore whenever they come through town. Their live shows put their wildly chaotic sound into a more visceral atmosphere where they can let loose while dropping blast beats, melodic death-metal riffs and brutal breakdowns.
13. Blackwater Burial
If you’re looking for a new band to offer up shredding technical death metal, Blackwater Burial are one of Canada’s greatest exports. Sure, Quebec is more well known for their death-metal scene, but BC has a ton of bands tearing it up, and the sonic assault brought forth by this four-piece is on par with the greatest acts of the genre.
Breakdowns and gurgling guttural vocals are in abundance with deathcore act Planetkiller. Their nasty tones are the meat and potatoes of slam death metal that’s been having a resurgence over the past few years, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
15. The Kodiak
Post-hardcore wrecking crew the Kodiak throw it back to the hallmark bands of Canadian hardcore, drawing influence from Cancer Bats, Dead And Divine, the Holly Springs Disaster and many more. If you’re looking for loose and wild hardcore with some melodic sensibilities, they’ve got everything you’re craving.
16. Of Modern Architecture
While leaning more toward the death-metal side of deathcore than the hardcore side, Of Modern Architecture bring an epic take on the genre, with artsy, atmospheric elements mixed throughout their music. They introduce breakdowns, but they’re not your typical deathcore chugs—rather, they’re taking a hardcore approach to building tension through emotive, melodic instrumentals.
Maple Ridge’s Truent draw out the progressive side of thrash metal in a tightly knit package similar to greats such as Lamb Of God, Revocation or even Gojira. The band aren’t happy to sit on their hands slaying overdone thrash metal, opting to mix in melodic riffing, experimental passages of prog metal and more.
18. Strange Breed
Queer femme rockers Strange Breed have an infectious sound like the greats of the ’90s garage-rock scene. Their sound is like mixing Sleater-Kinney with Garbage while injecting a hefty dose of modern alt-rock for a catchy tone that sinks itself in your head and never leaves.
19. Arrow In The Quiver
All-Filipino hardcore crew Arrow In The Quiver bring together the 2000s metalcore sound with modern hardcore sensibilities, but their delivery in doing so emits such positive energy, you can’t listen to it and feel any anger. Maybe that comes from their attitudes, but more than likely it comes from their penchant for mixing a diverse array of genres inside of these sounds to give representation to their overall interests.
20. Dead Quiet
If you’re familiar with Canada’s stoner rock and sludge scene, then listening to Dead Quiet will make you feel right at home. The band feature members of Barn Burner, Anciients and Hashteroid, and it’s evident in their superbly crafted melodic doom that they draw from droning, filthy rock riffs.
Montreal noisemakers Kennedy bring a ridiculously harsh hardcore energy through razor-sharp riffs and a devastating vocal delivery. The band have been making waves in Canada’s DIY hardcore scene, and for good reason—their sound is truly heavy, catchy and doesn’t rely on anything other than sheer explosive energy.
22. Lost Creation
Falling somewhere between hardcore and deathcore, Lost Creation grapple with sheer brutality and catchy rhythms. The band draw death-metal influences from bands such as Thy Art Is Murder or Whitechapel while mixing in a hefty dose of hardcore energy to break up their sonic assault.
Quebec City’s BOUNDARIES offer up a high-energy hardcore punk energy built for mosh pits. Their punchy punk riffs are catchy while staying hard as hell, delivering something between thrash and hardcore without any room for going soft in their sound.
24. Modern Eyes
If you’re looking for a band with a sheerly violent approach to writing, look no further than Modern Eyes. The band bring the unhinged hardcore energy of Converge or Botch while mingling through harsh, atmospheric melodies to break up the noise while never losing sense of their aggression.
Albatros have an eclectic sound, with their brand of punk being coated in experimentation through an entire brass section to boost their sound. They’re simultaneously harsh and atmospheric, with emotive instrumentation brought together through their wide-spanning lineup of gear.
26. Mundy’s Bay
Mundy’s Bay dig deep into the atmospheric sounds of ’80s new wave with a danceable, laid-back approach to writing. The band have been catching a lot of international attention as of late, and it’s more than deserved as their echoey tones are hauntingly melodic and will stay with you long after you’re done listening.
Quebec is known for a few things—poutine, the Montreal Canadians and, of course, death metal. The bands who’ve made the province known for their metal exports aren’t the only ones killing it, though, as Sufferize prove the underground scene is alive and well with their ultra-brutal deathcore sound driving into disgusting breakdowns and lightning-fast blast beats.
28. Feels Like Home
Feels Like Home do a spectacular job of tackling metalcore with a super-aggressive approach to their songwriting. They bring in many modern hardcore sounds coupled with a harsh metal tone like the greats of the genre while delivering some classic riffs in the vein of bands such as August Burns Red or the Ghost Inside.
29. A Life Forsaken
Through their down-low groove riffs, metalcore act A Life Forsaken are killing it at mixing metalcore with melody and emotion. Their sound is utterly captivating, touching on familiar sounds reminiscent of bands such as Blind Witness or Parkway Drive while having a sound that’s completely unique.
30. Bird Problems
Proggy post-hardcore act Bird Problems have a truly unique approach to songwriting, with a djent-leaning bass slap tone and math-rock technicality mixed throughout harsh screams and emotive singing. It’s an eclectic sound that doesn’t get too comfortable in one spot for long if you’re the type to always want to be kept on the edge of your seat.
31. Mortality Rate
Mortality Rate are easily one of the best up-and-coming bands from Canada’s hardcore scene. Their sound is rooted in the buzzsaw guitar tones of contemporaries such as Harm’s Way, with an abrasive vocal delivery suitable for the most extreme fans of music.
32. Arrival Of Autumn
Arrival Of Autumn are Western Canada’s response to the new wave of American heavy metal, with their sound coming off like a modernized version of bands such as Trivium or Darkest Hour. Their latest release, Harbinger, caught them a ton of attention through the record’s blazing guitar solos, soaring vocal melodies and tight instrumentation.
Calgary’s harshest export WAKE are masters of grindcore. The band are easily taking the grind throne in the frozen north from mostly inactive Ottawa pioneers Fuck The Facts through their no-holds-barred take on ripping through unhinged blast beats, furious riffs and harsh screams.
34. Stepping Stone
Regina hardcore crew Stepping Stone bring a classic hardcore sound together through mosh riffs and hard-as-hell lyricism. If you’re looking for two-step mosh riffs to throw down to, look no further.
35. Soul Mates
Saskatoon noise rockers Soul Mates bring a dirty tone to their punk rock, with hints of Nirvana and Sonic Youth mixed in with elements of hardcore and garage rock. The band’s been steadily making waves across Canada through hard work on the touring front and a dedication to constantly improving their unhinged sound.
Edmonton’s metal scene is small but mighty, and Protosequence are a prime example of the high skills coming out of Alberta. The band bring a high caliber of skills on their instruments coupled with jarring off-kilter beats mixed throughout modern death-metal sounds.
Winnipeg is often referred to as “Winterpeg” for its bleak winter weather, but Withdrawal are proving the city’s music scene is just as devastating in its harshness. The band’s crust-punk leanings offer up a gnarly hardcore approach, with a razor-sharp edge cutting through every blast beat and harsh scream.
Calgary’s Widmore are a poppy metalcore band drawing from influences crossing into R&B, hip-hop, radio rock and, of course, metal. The band have a harsh tone at times but bring it together with soft melodies for an overall eclectic sound.
If you’re a fan of alt-leaning punk rock built for sweaty clubs, Clipwing have you covered. The band’s sound is reminiscent of punk acts such as the Flatliners with a straight-forward rock approach similar to Foo Fighters or Queens Of The Stone Age.
Edmonton punk-rock outfit Slates bring a breezy punk-rock energy with their jangly guitar riffs and laid-back vocals. It’s the kind of music you could have a lazy afternoon skateboarding session to, with a bright and shiny tone coming through in each and every note.
41. Worst Part
Sludgy hardcore crew Worst Part draw from bands such as Converge as much as they do Mastodon or Eyehategod. Their nasty stoner-metal sound gets reeled in through soaring vocals similar to Queens Of The Stone Age, bringing their deadly tones back a notch for a captivating sound that isn’t reliant on heaviness to catch people’s attention.
42. Honey Lips
There isn’t much music going on outside of folk on Prince Edward Island, but Honey Lips are representing both metal and hardcore spectacularly on the tiny island. Their filth-ridden tones are harsh in all the right ways, with the band delivering blistering riffs at a nonstop pace.
The unhinged energy put out by Moncton crust crew IBEX is admirable. For a band who come from an area where metal is almost nonexistent, their capabilities in creating deadly noise through grind, hardcore and death metal are enormous.
44. Pale Ache
If you like nasty chainsaw guitar tones from bands such as Entombed or any of the countless bands using a Boss HM-2 pedal to achieve their feedback-worshipping sound, Pale Ache are a delight. Their blend of hardcore, death metal and sludge works perfectly alongside ambient moments of ear-shattering catharsis.
45. Rough Surf
Newfoundland pop-punk act Rough Surf take a pretty straight-forward approach to punk rock with catchy sing-along choruses and chord bashing. They’re a perfect match for anyone looking for fun, energetic punk without any frills getting in the way of their message.
Melodic hardcore act Sleepshaker fall somewhere between the harsh noise of screamo and the emotional calm of lighter post-hardcore. The band have fostered a positive push for the small but mighty Halifax punk scene, giving fans a solid bit of local music to get behind.
47. FRAIL HANDS
FRAIL HANDS found their sweet spot in basement-dwelling screamo, which is more than evident listening back to their latest album, parted/departed/apart. The band swap back-and-forth between aggressive hardcore and haunting melodies for an epic take on the genre.
48. Diner Drugs
If you’re looking for your next band to soundtrack a weed-smoking session, Moncton stoner rockers Diner Drugs have you covered. Their old-school metal-worshipping sound is fuzzy, sludgy and energetic enough to keep you on your toes.
Alt-rock band Designosaur draw out fuzzy grunge-inspired riffs with a tough edge coupled by soft vocal melodies. If you’re down for listening to bands such as Weezer or Sloan but want a more modern approach, they’ve got everything you’re looking for.
Halifax noise punks Botfly bring a dirty edge to their sound through off-kilter rhythms and a nasty fuzzed-out tone. The band have a raw, stripped-down style with tons of grit coupled with howling punk vocals and upbeat rock riffs.