TikTok opened up a whole new avenue for music fans to discover emerging heavy bands. Now, a rising surge of cultural metal from around the world has made inroads on the video-sharing app known for breaking social media influencers and bolstering viral trends.
And these bands are heavy — in both performance and purpose. For a few stellar examples, we're highlighting here the U.S. deathcore act The Order of Elijah, the Japanese-Korean metalcore band Prompts, the Indian folk-metal group Bloodywood, and the Korean metalcore outfit End These Days.
Listen to a song from each at the bottom of this post.
While this is just a brief look into the world of cultural metal, it does give a snapshot of how international bands can find new fans on TikTok, even if they aren't on the app themselves.
Often, an unofficial clip from a TikTok user will draw eyes to a band, giving that group the kind of exposure to a uniquely disparate viewership that they might otherwise not obtain.
But bands are also turning to TikTok on their own. Their presence there now appears almost required for fan interaction — in addition to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Either way, the algorithms at play with TikTok, it seems, are allowing users to better zero in on the music that they like, perhaps even more so than those other social media outlets.
So take a look below at a few heavy bands who are making a show on TikTok lately. Have you happened to come across any emerging cultural metal on the ubiquitous mobile app?
The Order of ElijahMissouri, United States
The Order of Elijah are a deathcore band from Joplin, Mo., who first formed as a Christian outfit before eschewing those roots to focus on other issues. Earlier this month, they released the brutal "Wolves," a sonic portal into the genocide of indigenous peoples in America.
Vocalist Shannon Low says they wrote it to show the "strength Indigenous Americans wield despite a suppressed history of oppression that easily bleeds into modern-day times. It is no secret that Native American women experience a high[er] rate of violence and sex-trafficking victimization than any other U.S. population, yet it is rarely brought to light."
The Order of Elijah are growing fast on TikTok. A clip of their recent video for "Wolves" has racked up nearly 550,000 views, among several other of their frequently-watched videos, as of this posting.
Prompts are a death-y metalcore band from Korea and Japan who've been steadily building their career for the last several years by making the kind of metal that speaks directly to listeners' darkest experiences.
Of course, mining topics such as depression and self-hatred is nothing new in metalcore. But Prompts truly plumb the depths of doubt in a way that's as hard-hitting as their down-tuned nightmare reveries.
The group recently released the singles "Mobius" and "Asphyxiate." They've been repped on TikTok by metal influencers such as Nik Nokturnal, and the TikTok account @metallhightlights has amassed nearly 175,000 views with an excerpt of Prompts' guttural 2018 single "Blvck Pill."
BloodywoodNew Delhi, India
Bloodywood started as a parody metal band on YouTube, but their signature mixture of nu-metal with elements of traditional Indian folk music was too unique to keep confined to humorous cover versions, and now they're blowing up. (The flute has never gone harder in metal.)
The band from New Delhi, India, first started gaining popularity worldwide with their original tunes and debut album. Now, they're also getting a bump on TikTok, where users are showing love for the group after first discovering them, just like @pennasaurus.won did.
End These DaysBusan, South Korea
End These Days are a South Korean metalcore and hardcore band that's actually been around since 2013, but many listeners are just now finding out about the group.
Much like the other acts listed above, it has a lot to do with fans of End These Days sharing the band's music on TikTok, where it can find a new audience in a way that feels like an achievement for underground metal.
End These Days most recently released the EP Dead End in 2020. "The title Dead End is also just a way to summarize what our generation is putting up with," vocalist Yul told Unite Asia that year. "The feeling of worthlessness, despair and uncertainty."