Under the Radar: 10 Rock and Metal Bands to Check Out This Summer


This summer’s traveling music festivals offer plenty of blockbuster rock and metal names, from Staind to Motörhead to Shinedown. But when you’re heading out to your respective shows, don’t forget to check out some of the under-the-radar acts – those guys (and gals) playing early in the day under a hot, unforgiving sun – because amid those openers are some gems.

We here at Gibson.com have selected a handful of bands to check out at this summer’s tours, and while it’s true many of these groups have been around for years, we’re hoping most of them are new to you. What young band are you digging these days? Let us know in the conversation, below.

Adelitas Way

Who: Adelitas Way

Find Them: On the Rockstar Uproar Tour this summer

Band Crib Notes: Las Vegas hard rockers Adelitas Way are experts at churning out radio hits. If you listen to active rock radio at all, you’ve no doubt heard the band’s recent chart-toppers: “Sick,” “The Collapse,” “Invincible.” Pretty impressive for a band that formed in the late-2000s. Check them out if you dig angst-y, polished modern rock in the vein of Three Days Grace and Papa Roach.

Asking Alexandra

Who: Asking Alexandra

Find Them: On the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Tour this summer

Band Crib Notes: U.K.-based metal-core group Asking Alexandria formed in the mid-2000s and broke out in 2009 with their debut, Stand Up and Scream, speaking to a generation of frustrated youngins. Musically, the band’s latest album, Reckless & Relentless, features down-tuned, spunky riffing combined with dance-y synths. Vocals move between throaty death metal growls and pure crooning. It’s a sound that’s hitting a chord out there, as Reckless & Relentless debuted at #9 on the Billboard charts last year.

Betraying the Martyrs

Who: Betraying the Martyrs

Find Them: On the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this summer

Band Crib Notes: Betraying the Martyrs describe themselves as a “positive metal band out of France” on their Twitter page, and it’s true. On the band’s 2011 release, Breathe in Life, the French gentlemen bring a hard metal-core mix with reflective and inspiring lyrics. Catch them play alongside acts like Anthrax and Motörhead on Mayhem this summer.


Who: Cavo

Find Them: On the Carnival of Madness Tour this summer

Band Crib Notes: St. Louis, Missouri-based rockers Cavo fall under the Eleven Seven Music label – the same record group behind legendary acts Mötley Crüe, Nikki Sixx’s Sixx: A.M. and Buckcherry. The band’s 2012 release, Thick as Thieves, has a touch of everything for the modern rock aficionado, from dense, hard-hitting guitars to frontman Casey Walker’s thick, powerful vocals and lyrics. For fans of new rock with a bit of grunge nostalgia.

Five Finger Death Punch

Who: Five Finger Death Punch

Find Them: Trespass America Tour this summer

Band Crib Notes: Five Finger Death Punch are certainly not “under the radar,” but they may be new to some Gibson readers, so we thought to slap them down on the list. The Los Angeles-based thrash outfit formed in the mid-2000s, and since then, they’ve scored plenty of chart-toppers: “Remember Everything,” “Under and Over It,” “Walk Away” and, of course, their ubiquitous cover of “Bad Company.” The guys are also favorites overseas, having played USO tours. This summer, they’re on the road with fellow heavy music acts Killswitch Engage, Pop Evil, Trivium and more on Trespass America.

Impending Doom

Who: Impending Doom

Find Them: On the Vans Warped and Scream It Like You Mean It Tours this summer

Band Crib Notes: Say your kids want to rock out to Cannibal Corpse, and you’re not cool with the band’s messages? Impending Doom may be your answer. The California-based boys Impending Doom are one of the most extreme faith-based bands on the scene, employing the gore-centric death metal sound of groups like Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse to create songs about faith and devotion. They’re on two tours this year, so chances are they’re coming to a city near you.


Who: Lostprophets

Find Them: On the Vans Warped Tour this summer

Band Crib Notes: Welsh hard rockers Lostprophets have been making music for over a decade, and they’ve remained consistent in their drive, churning out new albums every few years and hitting the road regularly. The outfit’s 2012 album, Weapons, is refined and well-crafted from beginning to end, buzzing with electro-rock fundamentals alongside elements of punk and emo. The guys are in the states this summer for the Warped Tour.

Redlight King

Who: Redlight King

Find Them: On the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Tour this summer

Band Crib Notes: Redlight King is the songwriting project of Mark Kasprzyk, an Ontario-based performer who mixes rock with hip-hop. Kasperczk’s breakout song was a remake of Neil Young’s eternal hit, “Old Man,” with Kasperczk’s version sampling the Young record. Redlight King’s 2011 release, Something for the Pain, carries the rock radio hit, “Comeback,” a song dedicated to the struggle of bouncing back from life’s setbacks.

The Devil Wears Prada

Who: The Devil Wears Prada

Find Them: On the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Tour this summer

Band Crib Notes: By blending the fury of American metal-core and beauty of European melodic metal, Dayton, Ohio’s the Devil Wears Prada have turned on a whole new generation onto the sounds and style of metal music.  On 2011’s Dead Throne, the band delivers clear, clean songwriting and a keen balance between melody and aggressiveness, with fast-paced, energy-infused tracks. The Christian metal gents are on the main stage of Mayhem this year, alongside longtime headbangers such as Slipknot and Anthrax, so if you’re heading to the local date of your tour, get there early.

Thousand Foot Krutch

Who: Thousand Foot Krutch

Find Them: On the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Tour this summer

Band Crib Notes: Toronto-based Christian rockers Thousand Foot Krutch broke out in 1997, and they’ve survived label changes, going out on their own this year. The band’s new album, The End is Where We Begin, recently arrived on the band’s own label, and the set shows off the group’s rap-rock influences, with rhyming passages and hard-going rock riffs.


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