5 bands every metal fan is going to be talking about in 2023


(Image credit: Press)


With his carefully mussed-up hair, artful neck ink and penchant for fashion, Polyphia’s Tim Henson looks more like an influencer than a next-gen guitar hero. “I’ll be in a restaurant and the waiter will say, ‘You look like you’re somebody,’” says Tim. “By the end of it, they’re asking for your Instagram and taking a selfie with you, even though they don’t know who you are. It’s very odd.”

Polyphia are out to rewrite metal’s rulebook, and not just visually. They may have started out as instrumental, metalcore-obsessed teens, but the Plano, Texas quartet’s fourth album, 2022’s Remember That You Will Die, looked to modern hip hop and R’n’B for inspiration, drawing on production techniques that chopped up their virtuoso playing and peppered it with trap beats. A guest solo from guitar god Steve Vai was broken down beyond recognition, a sign of Polyphia’s iconoclastic approach. Naturally, metal’s gatekeepers hate them for it – surprisingly, something Tim empathises with.

“I know what it feels like to hold onto something dear like that,” he says. “If you’re the kind of person that’s super-attached to something, then you take a lot of pride in that.”

That hasn’t stopped Polyphia from playing with the boundaries of what is and isn’t metal. Promo shots show them posing on luxury Mercs like a well-styled boy band, while Remember That You Will Die features a dazzling array of guests ranging from rappers Killstation and $not to pop star Sophia Black, with Deftones’ Chino Moreno repping metal.

Polyphia’s schedule for 2023 is already looking full, with a UK tour in May, but Tim is promising more new music in the summer with more collabs, namechecking Meshuggah and maverick psychedelic funk bassist Thundercat as two artists he wants to work with. 

“Hopefully we can get everything cleared legally,” he says. “There are going to be a lot of features. The sky’s the limit.” Matt Mills

 Polyphia tour the UK in May

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.