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Dusks Embrace is the premier unsigned metal band from Oregon and is currently on their way up. In a scene that is mostly driven by hardcore and deathcore, the blackened death metal sound of Dusks Embrace is quite refreshing. They’ve been compared to Opeth, In Flames and Children of Bodom, by Hello Music, and “…In Flames meets Killswitch Engage” by some drunk guy at a show.

In Vancouver resides an artist named Maqlu. She’s best known for doing remixes for bands such as Jakalope and Left Spine Down among others. When she is not doing remixes she works on her own material, which she has recently compiled into her first official release, and EP titled Blood.

I’m not sure what it is but there’s something about brothers in a rock and roll band that just seems to work oh so well. The examples are countless, Stone Temple Pilots, Kings of Leon, Chevelle and now Crash Kings. Formed out of Los Angeles in 2006, Crash Kings are the latest, greatest thing in alternative rock music. The core of the group consists of singer/keyboardist Tony Beliveau and his brother bass player Mike Beliveau with Jason Morris as the drummer.

Experimental deathcore act Arsonists Get All The Girls have whipped up quite the aural beatdown in their latest release, Portals. These eleven tracks find the band borrowing from all shapes and forms of heavy music for a pulsating record that doesn’t let up too often – and that’s a good thing. While I’d never consider deathcore to be my kind of thing, there are some undeniably awesome tracks found throughout this release with just the right amount of balls-out heaviness combined with well-placed programming and smooth synth leads for contrast.

You have the ice-cold metallic barrel of a gun pressed against your head. The nervous sweat and crocodile tears are streaming down your face. And then it happens, your assailant asks you that one ridiculously important question; one that could spell out whether you live or die. “Who is this year’s absolute best new hard music act?” he asks in his deep angry voice.