It's not often that a new band takes us totally by surprise, but Noisem came from nowhere this year, a young band with a sound that blends classic thrash with death metal. We first became aware when they were picked to play grindcore legends Pig Destroyer's record-release show. At first we were skeptical that a band of teenagers from Dundalk could impress us, but they proved us wrong with powerful riffage, strong songwriting, and exuberant stage presence. Shortly after, they signed to established Baltimore label A389 Recordings, undertook a quick name change (they were formerly known as Necropsy) designed to avoid confusion with other similarly named bands internationally, released the excellent debut LP Agony Defined, and scored several more choice gigs (including Maryland Deathfest) and, most recently, a touring support slot with Black Dahlia Murder. Not a bad year at all, and we expect greater things yet to come.