For around three decades, Cianide has been creating their own brand of filthy death metal. Their songs vary from massive pummeling doom to straightforward aggressive numbers, but they all possess Cianide's signature sound. The band's earlier works helped put Chicago on the old-school death metal map, and the band has remained a powerful force in recent years through a steady output of strong new material, festival appearances, and the occasional local show. They have an instantly recognizable and uniquely ugly tone, and it's crushingly heavy.
Inspired by science fiction masterpieces and with a tasteful grasp of technicality, Nucleus has without a doubt set a new standard for outer-space themed death metal with their debut full-length, “Sentient”, out earlier this year on Unspeakable Axe records. Completing a fall tour with Blood Incantation and with a healthy amount of good press on their album, Nucleus is gearing up to conquer in 2017.
Hidden within Chicago's underground is an exceptionally fine black metal act: FIN. Formed in 2011 and with several full-length releases, the two-piece band is a very active creative force. They blend familiar elements of the genre with their own sense of rhythm and melody to create a lush, rich sound that is both authentic and emotive. Recently signed to German-based Folter Records, FIN has another full-length on the way and are currently slated to perform at Steelfest in Finland as well as Colorado's exclusive Gathering of Shadows festival in 2017.
Formed in the late 1990's and with a lot of musical output under their belts since the mid 2000's, Cardiac Arrest has firmly grasped the torch handed to them by Chicago's first wave of death metal bands. With their own unique take on the genre, Cardiac Arrest embodies a very Chicagoan attitude by doing things their own way. Still going strong off of 2014's “And Death Shall Set You Free”, the band has just recorded a highly-anticipated follow-up, and they show no signs of stopping.
Following in the tradition of D.R.I., S.O.D., and Cross Examination, Chicago's Smash Potater have become synonymous with Chicago's DIY metal scene. Their mosh pits are home to their chicken-suited mascot Monstercock Smashington, and the band themselves have excellent showmanship. Since their inception in 2010, Smash has been loved by and influential upon fun-loving hard-partying bands across the region. And with a highly skilled bunch of musicians on board, Smash Potater's music delivers a lot more than just a handful of good one-liners.