2023 is already shaping up to be a killer year for metal, with new albums from the likes of Metallica, Babymetal, Avenged Sevenfold and more.
But what about the next generation of metal superstars? There’s an embarrassment of riches on that front too, with the grassroots metal scene more vibrant and exciting than it has been in years.
As proof, here are five bands who will be on everybody’s lips this year. Some are brand new, others have a few albums under their belt, but what they all have in common is that they’re on the verge of bigger things.
From a groundbreaking Indonesian trio to your next favourite masked band, here are five bands that everybody will be talking about in 2023.
Voice Of Baceprot
When videos of Voice Of Baceprot playing covers of Chop Suey! and Killing In the Name surfaced on YouTube, people saw something they had never seen before: three Indonesian schoolgirls wearing hijabs and leather jackets, screaming, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”
Now, their own explosive, funk-metal inspired tracks such as School Revolution and God, Allow Me (Please) To Make Music have proven that they aren’t just a novelty, while opening the door to a world that had perhaps seemed impenetrable: the inner world of three pious yet progressive young Muslim women who love metal, and use their music to speak out against oppression.
“The fact that we are hijab-wearing Muslims is simply a part of our identity,” says singer and guitarist Marsya. “It was a bit of a burden at first, being considered representatives of young Muslim women in metal, but over time we’ve shifted our perspective.”
Their own songs mostly speak of their experiences as women. The incendiary [Not] Public Property is about female bodily autonomy, while latest single PMS (the tongue-in-cheek title is an abbreviation of ‘completely independent woman’ in their native Indonesian) is dedicated to “women who dare to break stereotypes, particularly when it comes to their careers”, according to the frontwoman.
The trio – completed by bassist Widi and drummer Sitti – have certainly come up against plenty of resistance in the past. Even now, the constant attention can take a toll – Marsya explains how, recently, fans have turned up at their homes, a frightening by-product of suddenly being public figures. But the girls speak of their journey so far as overwhelmingly positive. It’s taken them from online festival performances to Wacken Open Air, an experience they’re not about to forget anytime soon.
“Oh my God, it was the best moment of our lives,” gushes Marsya, “Metalheads are so kind!”
Though they’ve got a lot on their plate simply by existing in this sphere, the girls seem mostly unfazed. At the heart of it, the band are just thrilled that they’re able to play the music they love. “The one thing that’s kept us playing music is the happiness we can’t get anywhere else,” Widi explains earnestly. “So as long as we are able, we will continue to play music with joy!”
Their next priority is to record their first album, which they hope will be finished soon and will be supported by shows in the UK and US. Marsya admits they daydream of playing Download and Rock Am Ring festivals, and touring alongside heroes such as Metallica, Gojira and Lamb Of God. Right now, it seems like all of this is possible for Voice Of Baceprot. Catherine Morris
Voice Of Baceprot’s debut album is set to be released later this year