Old school legends might be eyeing up retirement plans and preparing their final tours, but there's plenty to be excited about in music today. The past few years have paved the way for a new generation of exciting young acts to take the world by storm; Spiritbox, Bloodywood, Heriot and Vended just a few names making massive waves since the 2020s hit.
But what of 2023? Well even at this early stage, it doesn't look like we'll be letting up soon. We've scoured the planet to find you some of the most exciting and hype-worthy bands in heavy metal, from newly formed supergroups to newcomers shedding a light on new locales of the heavy metal world. That in mind, here are 10 bands we think you need to keep an eye out for in 2023.
Voice of Baceprot
Indonesia's Voice Of Baceprot haven't even released an EP yet, but already have a sizable following around the world. Singles like PMS - that's perempuan merdeka seutuhnya ("completely independent women") - showcase a joyous and infectiously brilliant message behind their music, while their actual sound incorporates everything from stadium rock to funk and rap-metal.
Appearances in Europe in summer 2022 helped spread the word about the band's refreshing and unique take on the metal world, but now all eyes are on the band to put out a full release in 2023. RH
You know Richie Faulkner as the leather-studded firebrand who joined Judas Priest and booted the NWOBHM icons up the arse, but he’s underrated as a heavy metal polymath. Away from the Metal Gods, the guitarist’s helmed Voodoo Six, collaborated with Lauren Harris – daughter of Iron Maiden’s Steve – and arranged music for Christopher fucking Lee.
Elegant Weapons are the newest entry on his CV: his brainchild are a supergroup also consisting of Rex Brown, Rainbow singer Ronnie Romero and Priest drummer Scott Travis. No music’s been heard yet, but Richie promises we’ll get “a mix of Jimi Hendrix, Priest, Sabbath, solo Ozzy and Black Label Society – heavy, catchy, and with melody”. MM
Scene Queen and her self-professed bimbocore is definitely going to make metal purists and elitists furious… but that’s only part of her appeal. The act, masterminded by musician Hannah Collins, already made some big waves in 2022 with the release of the Bimbocore EP and appearances at Reading and Leeds, but we can see 2023 being her year.
If the idea of Emmure being fronted by Paris Hilton, celebrating “hun” culture with songs about Barbie breaking off dicks and twerking in the circle pit, sounds like fun to you then, congratulations, you’re right, it is. Scene Queen is both brilliantly original within our genre, and is knowingly tongue in cheek to obviously be in on her own “joke”. Against all the odds, this is, like, so totally awesome. SH
As even a passing scroll through Netflix will attest to, true crime is one of the most popular genres of the modern day. So it was only a matter of time before the concept became the lyrical core of a heavy metal band. Enter Skynd.
The Australians, who formed in 2017, have written tracks about such horrors as the Jonestown massacre and John Wayne Gacy’s murders. Complementing the ghastly themes are the band’s industrial jams, which crawl along to the sound of insidious synths and electro beats. Skynd already have four EPs to their name, and next year they’ll support Ice Nine Kills across the UK and Europe. MM
Hardcore punk has always had a mainline to righteous rage, but for Ukrainian band Death Pill they've had more to rage against in 2022 than most. Against a backdrop of Russian missiles and its members fleeing to different corners of the Earth, Death Pill still managed to find the time to record their self-titled debut album, due for release in early 2023.
Lead single Расцарапаю Ебало shows just what these ladies are capable of; a spiky blast of fiery indignation in the vein of Discharge (or about a million other dis-core bands), their debut promises to be a kick up the arse for fans of old school hardcore. RH
The gothiest of goths in the metal scene right now, London duo Zetra appear to have been beamed down from a full moon as a gift to fans of Type O Negative, Lacuna Coil and HIM.
Their icy, anthemic, soaring, gloomy recent single Hopeless Odessey is one of the finest goth-metal songs that you will ever hear, their live shows feature actual hooded dancers, and if that isn’t enough to convince you of their goth cred, they also brilliantly covered Cry Little Sister from legendary 80’s vampire flick The Lost Boys. There's has been a massive Type O shaped hole in the metal scene for way too long now, early signs are Zetra may well be able to fill it. SH
Zulu openly reject the macho bullshit that’s become endemic in basement hardcore. In its place, the L.A. five-piece foster a more exuberant image (lead singer Anaiah Lei has some serious on-stage dance moves) and interrupt their roaring and beatdowns with soul interludes.
However, beneath the good-time trimmings lies a vital message that rejects not only racism, but also white people’s appropriation of black culture. “Everybody wants to be a n—a ’til it’s time to be,” Lei screams on Fakin’ Tha Funk (You Get Did). The minute-long bruiser is the first single of debut album A New Tomorrow, which will puncture your ear drums in March. MM
At just ten years old, Harper became a viral sensation when she entered America's Got Talent with a furious rendition of Spiritbox's Holy Roller. Managing to get through the initial rounds, she made it all the way up to the semi-finals before being eliminated.
So what next? Well, after appearing live with Spiritbox in London and releasing her own single - the brilliantly acerbic Falling - we can see plenty of interest in her putting out a full record of originals, though presumably she'll need to fit it all in around her studies. RH
Polynesian groove metal force Shepherds Reign suddenly exploded to viral fame in late 2019, and deservedly so. Despite the quintet being completely independent, their video for Le Manu amassed 400,000 views in just a couple of weeks. The track transformed a Samoan haka into a fist-pumping shout-along chorus backed by Maiden-ish guitars, and instantly seized the metal world’s infatuation.
Three years later, Shepherds Reign have released the similarly barrel-chested Aiga and a boundary-breaking rap song called Ngā Ao E Rua – and are now promising even more new music to follow in 2023. Thank fuck, since we’re all impatient for more war-ready hits to add some hairs to our chests.
...Whatever the hell Every Time I Die are doing now
Not strictly a new band, but the remaining members of Every Time I Die are tracking new material as we speak following their sad split in early 2022. Back in November, guitarist Jordan Buckley shared some footage of drummer Clayton “Goose” Holyoak battering his drums, which certainly whet our appetite for new music.
The new outfit is yet to be given a name, and although it’s a herculean task to replace iconic vocalist Keith Buckley, with Jordan and fellow riff writer Andy Williams still in the band, we’re sure that this will be as musically savage as they ever have been. ETID never let us down before, we’re confident that will still be true after hearing the result of these studio sessions. SH