So you say you’re down with edgy, hard music. But when it comes to the other summer rock festivals, the concept of sweaty old dudes with beer bellies singing along to Maiden songs is even less appealing than the notion of spending the day with liberty-spiked 13-year-olds screaming along to Simple Plan in an ADD-frenzy. So what do you do? What do you do?

Luckily, for the modern heavy-music enthusiasts, they now have the Sounds of the Underground tour, bringing the most ear-shredding, brain hemorrhaging, face-melting hardcore and metalcore from across the country. Go find your fingerless gloves and black bandanas and make sure you’re stocked up on black Sharpies, because we’ve got your Sounds of the Underground day planner right here.

NOON – 3 P.M.


A lot of trash gets talked when you have a successful resume in terms of prior band affiliations, then start a new band after you fall from the fickle graces of the mainstream embrace. Yeah, there is a lot of experience in the ranks of DevilDriver’s members, but let’s just leave it at knowing their experience shows. The band draws a bit more on old-school metal than some of their Underground touring mates, but these guys know a thing or two about heavy music.

Also playing this time block: A Life Once Lost, All That Remains, Full Blown Chaos, High on Fire, Madball, Terror

3 – 5 P.M.


Let’s just make one thing clear, something we all know, but just to get it out there: Throwdown isn’t rocket science. It’s bro’ed out-core that you pump iron and drink cheap beer to. That said, there really isn’t a much better band to bro out, pump iron and drink beer to.

Norma Jean

We’re not sure if everyone got the memo, but starting now, God has lip piercings, l-o-o-o-ves the color black and hardcore dances. OK, not really, but he sure does have some thrashing headbangers spreading His word in Norma Jean.

To be fair, the religion deal is the first thing the press talks about and often the first thing that might throw off a first-time listener upon discovery of the fact. And granted, we did just spend a whole paragraph talking about it, but there really is a whole lot more to Norma Jean’s sound than this one aspect that so many would make an all-deciding factor in likeability. Shredding riffs that are at the same time structured and chaotically frenzied, topped with brutal vocals that are oh-so-longingly aching. And they have funny song titles.

Every Time I Die

These dudes and their so-called "noise-core" are just plain awesome. ’Nuff said.

Also playing: Strapping Young Lad

5 – 6 P.M.


There’s a saying among most metal bands that goes, "any gimmick in hard music that you can think of, GWAR has already done it, better than you could ever hope to do." And rightfully so. Not to say GWAR is gimmicky in any way, seeing as how they could hand us our heads on a medieval platter, but anything you’re trying to think up to make your band unique, they’ve likely already beaten you to the punch. Think what Slipknot is to modern rock and what KISS was to the time before most of us were born, that’s what GWAR was to the ’90s. Kind of. A performance unlike any other, in their time, and still to this day.

6 – 10 P.M.

Poison the Well

One of the staples of the mainstream-core movement that has made its presence know over the last two years, Poison the Well might be recognized from their endless video plays on Headbangers’ Ball or Uranium (though we’d take endless Poison the Well to endless Britney and Ashlee any day). Or maybe you caught them on Warped Tour, back in the day when the now majorly successful -core bands (see: Avenged Sevenfold, 18 Visions, et al.) were still fledgling shredders barely cutting their teeth on the Warped experience. Although … if you’re the type that would be going to Sounds of the Underground, you probably knew about the Florida five-piece years before they hit the mainstream, right?


We’re not sure if you’ve ever been to an Unearth show before, but for those that haven’t, let us forewarn you about the proper attire for entering one of their pits. Nothing short of full body armor and a hocky goalie’s mask will protect you from bodily beatings and internal bleeding at the hands and feet of your fellow pit-goers.

As brutal as this band is, their fans make a point of trying to show them up in fierceness. If ever there was a band with a live show that your friends would be impressed to hear you got a concussion during, it would be this one.

Also playing: Chimaira, Clutch, Opeth

10 P.M.

Lamb of God

Only, like, the whole reason you’re at this show and probably the biggest reason you haven’t lost faith in modern metal. The self-proclaimed "Pure American Metal" is exactly the kind of music that should represent our country. Really, Lamb of God screams of "we’ll kick your ass without a second thought, then discuss existentialism over your broken and battered body." Much as they may appear to be stereotypical growly, almost drunkenly surly badasses, Lamb of God’s members bring a little something more to the hardcore table that other bands just can’t copy or compete with. They bring a kind of intelligence in lyricism that they balance with a straightforward, no-bullshit sensibility, uniquely combining the two seamlessly. Or … maybe they just make some brutal heavy-effin’-metal.

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