8. Blackwater Holylight (40.5 pts.)
SOUNDS LIKE: Ozzy Osbourne hooked up with Stevie Nicks and sired a coven of metalhead witches.
NOTABLE VOTES: Musician Dewey Mahood, Radiation City's Cameron Spies, Psychomagic's Anthony Brisson.
For Allison Faris, the definition of "heavy" has always been fluid.
Though her group, Blackwater Holylight, is undeniably heavy, it wasn't until the project came to fruition that her former notions of the concept were reconciled with those of the present.
"I've always been into heavier music," says Faris. "But when I was in high school, I listened to really shitty hardcore like Norma Jean and Underoath—just a bunch of mallcore bullshit."
After shedding her teenage scene-kid roots and moving to Portland from her hometown of Fort Collins, Colo., Faris signed on as bassist of the psych-pop outfit Grandparents. When the group split in 2015, she saw the opportunity to overcome a self-described "identity crisis" by fusing her newfound love of psych with the ear-splitting volume of her youth.
"I always loved watching [heavier bands] perform and think, 'Man, that looks so fun—what a cool thing to be get onstage and just be massive,'" she says.
Backed by a veritable Portland supergroup that includes members of Laura Palmer's Death Parade, Aan and former Best New Band finalist Cat Hoch, Blackwater Holylight sounds like a feminine rebuttal to the macho energy of space rock and '70s proto-metal—sinister, sweet and sludgy at the same time.
The band may seem mellow onstage, but don't let that fool you into thinking they're just another gang of stoners hiding behind a wall of fuzz and fog machines. Blackwater Holylight is as intense as they come, and Faris is ready to ride the wave they're on as hard as she can.
"I'm just gonna take this as far as I can take this and work my ass off and see what happens," she says, before adding with a laugh, "If I fail working my ass off, I'll just pursue my other life goal of dying early."
NEXT SHOW: April 12 at Mississippi Studios.
Best New Band Intro | No. 1: Sávila | No 2: Black Belt Eagle Scout | No. 3: Frankie Simone | No. 4: Amenta Abioto | No. 5: Maarquii | No. 6: Brown Calculus | No 7: Sunbathe | No 8: Blackwater Holylight | No. 9: Autonomics | No. 10 (tie): Public Eye and Wynne | Who's Got Next? No. 11-20 | The Complete Ballots