Subscriber’s Choice Top 25 for 2015

by Erik Oldman

Once again we pulled together a list of 25 bands YOU, our readers and listeners, nominated and voted for to create the playlist for this special episode.

Take a listen to the bands here:

Lets meet the bands. 

25. Belmont Cross

Belmont Cross is a female fronted high energy alternative rock band from Chicago, IL. Formed in 2012, we write radio-friendly high energy alternative rock songs that are upbeat and fast paced. The band has taken inspiration from artists such as Incubus, Paramore and the Foo Fighters.

24. Return To Flesh

Return to Flesh is a technical progressive death metal band from Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 2012 by Erik Fenton, the band has released two EPs and is currently in the process of recording their full length debut with Nick Nativo at The Nook Recording Studio. Return to Flesh is categorized by their progressive sound centered around their poly-rhythmic drum beats, dissonant down tuned guitars and textured atmospheres.

23. Greywall

Greywall is an eclectic mix of metal, alternative and alternative rock. from David, Rob and Dave. The members’ influences include but are not limited to Metal, Indie Rock, Alternative, Grunge, Experimental Rock, Folk and other similar genres. Greywall is actively recording in Chicago with producer Kevin DeWitt and will be hitting the stage again regionally in 2016.

22. Beyond De-th

Thrash/Death with Black and Melodic metal traits. Fast, Aggressive, Raw and steadily evolving. Officially formed in the winter of 2012 featuring the songwriting efforts of Jon Corston, the first 3 song demo “What Lies” was released in February of 2013. A self titled 2 song demo followed in November of 2014. A full length album is underway which will showcase more of the variety that this band offers.

21. Downfall of Society

Downfall of Society is an alternative rock band from Chicago. The band has opened for many renowned acts like Smile Empty Soul, American Idol’s James Durbin, and guitar shredder Michael Angelo Batio. Look for them on local stages in 2016.

20. 13-Monsters

13-Monsters doesnt pretend to be anyone else. A DIY-inspired alternative rock band from the Chicago area. The band’s sound reminiscent of early 90s alt rock pioneers Jane’s Addiction,  Shirley Manson, with some Stevie Nicks, and Smashing Pumpkins. A hat. A mask. A beard…wearing a jumpsuit.


BROUHAHA is a heavy rock/punk/indie laced power trio from the depths of Chicago, Illinois. Their debut E.P. BORED OF WISDOM was released on September 4th, 2015. Brouhaha sounds like Black Flag playing Husker Du with a dash of the Cardigans covered with gravy using the drippings from a Melvins/Buddy Holly pig roast.

18. PunchCabbie

Hailing from the heart of Chicago, Punch Cabbie’s music is about three things: Energy, Attitude, and Entertainment. PunchCabbie brings their  eclectic style of hard rock and metal to stages all over Chicago. Their EP “Myriad” was released earlier in 2015.

17. No Shelter

No Shelter is a five piece hard rock band formed in late 2010 in Michigan City, IN. The band consists of Jose Yuste (Lead Vocals), Jon Davis (Guitar/Backing Vocals), Kevin Bartholomew (Bass), Brandon Bencze (Drums) and Pablo Yuste (Guitar/Backing Vocals). During their time as a band they’ve played ashows and festivals through the Midwest building up a solid fan base and calling the attention and several radio stations. They released their first full length “Welcome To Nowhere” in 2014 and their upcoming new effort “Reason For Hope” is expected to be released in February 2016. No Shelter has had the chance and the privilege to share the stage with national and international acts such as Hed(PE), Taproot, SoiL, 12 Stones, Flaw, Otherwise, Tantric and many others.

16. False Hope Fades

False Hope Fades, born in late 2012, proudly hails from the city of Chicago. They are influenced by many different artists from Black Label Society to Stone Sour to Godsmack. Yet they are pioneering a new sound all their own that they guarantee you have never heard before. Janurary 2013 they released a two song demo. Recorded by Matt Mercado (Daisy Chain, Mindbomb) at Sonic Palace Studios and mastered it by Andrew Mikhail (Oceano, Serpents, Defiler). April 2014 they released their debut EP. Engineered by Dan Precision (Rise Against, 88 Fingers Louie) and mastered by Brett Hestla (Dark New Day, Framing Hanely).

15. New Day Rising

New Day Rising is a rock group out of Evergreen Park, IL . The band gets its influences from the likes of Foo Fighters, Alter Bridge, Tremonti, Bullet for My Valentine, Pop Evil, and Adelitas Way. The band truly started to take shape in the summer of 2015 when we started writing our first single “Blindsided” which is currently available on ITunes and Spotify.  After playing  shows in the suburbs of Chicago, the band is now in the process of writing their first EP which is planned to be released sometime late spring.  

New Day Rising’s last show until summer 2016 is scheduled for Saturday January 30th at Bottom Lounge in Chicago, time TBA.

14. South Arsenal

Hailing From the south side of Chicago, South Arsenal was formed in 2013 by Isac Cortez and three blood brothers, Flavio, Gabriel and Moises Rangel. South Arsenal has come together and have mixed their  musical backgrounds and talent to create music that is nothing short from hard hitting. Highly influenced by the older generation of heavy metal, these guys have thrown in a modern twist to their style of thrash and progressive metal.

13. Limited Wisdom

LimiTed Wisdom is a Chicago based heavy metal band. Influenced by a mixture of 80’s metal, the New Wave of American Metal, and UK 82 punk. Some of LimiTed Wisdom’s achievements to date include being one of the first heavy metal bands to play Chicago’s biggest Latino festival, “Fiesta Del Sol”, and reaching the final round in the Battle of the Bands held at the famous Reggie’s Music Joint. They are currently playing shows regionally in support of their recently released EP.

  • December 26, 2015- The Mutiny 9:00pm, Illinois
  • January 1, 2015- Livewire in Chicago, Illinois
  • January 16, 2015- Copas in Round Lake, Illinois

12. Fair Winds & Following Seas

Fair Winds & Following Seas is an instrumental post/experimental/progressive metal band founded in southern suburbs of Chicago in late 2013. The band’s debut release, “Your Voyage, Our Journey”, was completely self-produced and recorded by the band and released in late 2014. The band is currently working on up their debut full-length concept album set for release in late 2016.

11. Sinister Fate

Emerging from the local cemeteries and morgues of Chicago, Sinister Fate has been terrifying the Midwest since 2006. Sinister Fate combine its love for the macabre with an intense metal sound to create a ghastly display of sight and sound.Sinister Fate keeps the dead awake and the living in fear…

Since shambling onto the music scene, They have toured all over the Midwest in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, & Missouri. Playing well know venues in those areas such as House of Blues, The Metro, Double Door, The Pearl Room, Elbo Room, Peabody’s, Pop’s, as well as headlining Ride for Dime, also countless signings and performances at various Hot Topics. Sinister Fate has been featured and made appearances on numerous local and national T.V., radio, and magazines, also being a featured staple in Breaking Fate Entertainment’s Indie and Horror Film Festivals. They’re music has been in the indie movies Ron Fitzgerald’s Dark Realm, Bacon, and Balloon Feast.

Sinister Fate has shared the stage with such well known acts as Mudvanyne, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Combichrist, John 5, Wednesday 13, Hanzel Und Gretyl, Otep, Michale Graves, William Control, The Graveyard Boulevard, and The Luchagors featuring Amy Dumas (WWE Hall of Famer “Lita”)

10. September’s Rest

Septembers Rest started off as a studio solo project by rhythm guitarist, Bobby Gershak. The project evolved into a core duo featuring the vocal and writing talents of Johnathan Chalabis. The live band is currently bringing its flavor of alternative hard rock to stages around the Midwest. The debut album “Sound Of The Broken” coming soon to all major digital stores, features the single “Survive.”

9. Dark Entropy

Dark Entropy began in the fall of 2008 in the south suburbs of Chicago. The band creates a solid blend of thrash and groove metal. Look out for them on local stages in 2016.


HOT DANG was formed Late May of 2012. HOT DANG has a greasy, southern metal, groove style that evolved from bands like Down, Clutch, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Tool, Deftones, Crowbar, and Pantera. The band puts a great amount of energy into their live performances and has played venues throughout the Chicago area including House of Blues, Underground Lounge, Reggies, Cobra Lounge, and Livewire, to name a few.

Future shows include:
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL
January 23rd, 9p, Legions of Raum CD Release

Metro, 3730 N. Clark St, Chicago, IL
February 6th 6:30p, Discount tickets:

7. 4Without

4WithOut is a female fronted hard rock band from Chicago. The original members hail from the Czech Republic, infusing a distinct European sound to their material. Since the bands inception in 2009 and completed formation in 2012, 4WithOut has been performing non-stop and accumulating numerous accolades from the media and peers alike. Here are just a few:

  • Winners of Battle of the Effn Rock 2012
  • The Best Rock band in Chicago Independent Music Awards 2014
  • The winners of the Revolver Hottest Chicks in hard rock Tour 2014.
  • Featured musical guest on the Mancow Tv/Radio show 2014
  • Opening act for Lacuna Coil, Saving Abel, Sick Puppies
  • Featured (repeated) interviews on and 
  • Performed for the Czech Consulate of Chicago at the Prague Rock Fest 2015.

6. Contra

Contra emerged onto the Chicago metal scene in 2015 is quickly  making a name for themselves. This six piece band bred in the south side of Chicago is a fresh alternative take on metalcore, bringing ambient, symphonic and black metal elements to their soud. Contra. released their first single ‘Altar’ on Black Friday 2015 and is available for download via BandCamp.

5. Killing Gods

Killing gods is a four piece hard rock group based out of Chicago. The band formed in the summer of 2012, has already made a powerful impact on the local Chicago music scene by headlining shows at Bottom Lounge, Reggie’s Rock Club, and through the culmination of talent and hard driven dedication, headlined a sold out show at The House of Blues this past year. Although their sound is rooted in rock, Killing gods permeates several sub genres of hard rock and heavy metal. The band’s sound references Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Deftones, Incubus, and Queens of the Stone Age.

4. Endgame

Endgame is a metal band based out of Romeoville, IL. Foring December of 2013 after a lengthy search for like-minded musicians. Endgame released their first EP “The Skies They Fall” in May of 2015 which consisted of 4 songs recorded and Black and white studios with Matt Motto (Dissona). The band has recently opened for larger touring national acts like Mobile Deathcamp, Tantric, Battlecross.

3. Cruel Melody

Cruel Melody is an alternative rock band that was established in 2007. The band has been performing on stages all over Chicago.

2. 3 Days From Dying

3 Days From Dying is metal band from Chicago. They completed their self produced full-length debut album, Feed My Darkness, in 2014, and released it globally on June 29th, 2014 while opening for Saving Abel.  In the short time that 3 Days From Dying has been together, they have opened for such national acts as Saving Abel, The Raskins, Dope, Gravel Switch, Otherwise, Mobile Deathcamp, Screaming For Silence, OTEP, Puddle Of Mudd, and Nonpoint.

Their songs have been played on local radio stations, such as, 103.9 The Bear and 103.9 The Garage, just to name a few. They have been featured artists in on-air interviews on Livin’ It Up Radio with John King on WVLP 98.3 FM and on 103.9 The Bear – Local X with Kris Kelly. They remain in the play rotation on local programs such as The Garage, Local X, and Livin’ It Up Radio.

3 Days From Dying was chosen by Andy Frisk of Shutter 16 Magazine as one of The Mainstream’s Top Five Reverb Nation Picks and they currently hold the #1 ranked spot in the local Chicago metal genre on Reverb Nation. They were also featured in a concert review by Suzie Soule of Best Rock List who gave a phenomenal review of their performance while opening for Otherwise.

3 Days From Dying is currently in the studio working on their 2nd full-length album, Breathe, which is targeted to be released in fall 2015.

1. Caster

Singer-Songwriter Nick Caster was born on July 10th 1983 in Detroit, Michigan. At 14 Nick picked up a guitar with influences of Boyz II Men, Michael Jackson, 3 Doors Down, and Chris Daughtry.

After years of writing, composing, singing he climbed up the Reverbnation Charts in  November 2014 with his debut hit song “The Way I Am.” It reached #1 Nationally in Rock and #4 globally. In addition, he was added to the Top Hits of iHeartRADIO in June 2015 for his song “Ride All Night”. Caster is currently performing around the Midwest.