The 10 best new metal songs you need to hear right now

Disturbed/Smashing Pumpkins/Pretty Reckless/Imha Tarikat/Avatar
(Image credit: Travis Shinn/Press/Taylor Momsen/Ben Adelberg)

Just when you think you know how the rest of the year is going to look, something new pops along to bring a fresh wave of excitement. Disturbed's new album Divisive will be with us on November 18, while black metal heroes Imha Tarikat will summon one last flurry of blackened fury in the dying embers of December, proving the year isn't devoid of surprises even at this late stage. 

But first, the results of last week's vote! In Flames continued their run of unassailable form with Foregone Pt. 1 taking top spot, but a very admirable showing from both Epica and Lorna Shore showed there's plenty to be excited about. 

Not that you need telling; this week sees the return of The Smashing Pumpkins alongside fellow radio-darlings Disturbed, as well as new tunes from Lacuna Coil, Pretty Reckless and Avatar. As ever, don't forget to cast your vote below!

Metal Hammer line break

1. Disturbed – Unstoppable

Chicago’s nu metal veterans have announced their long-awaited eighth album, Divisive, with the release of its second single, Unstoppable. The track comes three months after prior song Hey You, which will also appear on the album. 

Singer David Draiman has said that Divisive will sonically live “somewhere between The Sickness and Ten Thousand Fists”, and Unstoppable lives up to that promise. Its industrial drums, heavy chord-driven guitars and snarling vocals are all classic Disturbed, and give way to a chorus you’d best prepare to have stuck in your brain for a good few weeks.

2. The Smashing Pumpkins - Beguiled

Ambition is never in short supply when it comes to new material from The Smashing Pumpkins, so the announcement of a three-part rock opera titled Atum that will act as a sequel to 1995’s massive Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness is basically par for the course. Corgan is playing his cards close to his chest on Beguiled - there’s no grandiose piano or string arrangements; instead we’re treated to some stabbing riffs and spacey mellotron-style whistles that hint to a stripped-back, focused vision for their latest epic undertaking.  

3. The Pretty Reckless – Harley Darling (acoustic)

The Pretty Reckless are continuing the lead-up to Other Worlds with an all-acoustic redo of Harley Darling. The song originally closed last year’s Death By Rock And Roll album as a stomping country anthem, complete with a harmonica, a marching drum beat and, of course, a stunning vocal turn from Taylor Momsen. 

This new, stripped-down take puts the interplay between Momsen and co-singer/guitarist Ben Phillips front and centre, their voices intertwined over delicate acoustic strums. The singer/songwriter-style ballad is emblematic of what Other Worlds will be all about: twisting classic Pretty Reckless tracks into new, compelling forms.

4. Lacuna Coil – Swamped XX

Speaking of reimaginings, Lacuna Coil dropped Swamped XX this week. The number is a reimagining of 2002’s Swamped that precedes the release of Comalies XX. The album drops on October 14 and gives the Italian gothic metal mainstays’ fan favourite Comalies a 2022 makeover for its twentieth anniversary. 

Swamped XX is far more polished than the rawer-sounding original, and dabbles in new keyboards and electronic parts while flaunting a more confident croon from singer Cristina Scabbia. Some things never change – like co-vocalist Andrea Ferro’s snarl and those hellishly hefty chords – but this is a reinvention well worth a listen.

5. Avatar – Valley Of Disease

Sweden’s extreme metal circus have just dropped their first new song in nine months, Valley Of Disease. The bruising track continues the band’s string of standalone singles, which started in September 2021 with Barren Cloth Mother

If that cover art doesn’t freak the bejesus out of you, then the song’s opening plummet from glitchy electronica to hammering death metal certainly will. At least that melodic chorus and flamboyant guitar work lend plenty of sweetness to offset the horror. Avatar accompanied the single with news that they’re currently working on their ninth studio album, which is “coming soon”.

6. Mammoth WVH – Talk & Walk

Wolfgang Van Halen became the talk of the town when he nailed Eruption at this month’s Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert, and now he’s continuing the buzz apace with a new original song.

Talk & Walk is taken off the deluxe edition of his debut solo album Mammoth WVH, coming out on November 11. If you’ve heard the album, you’ll already be familiar with Wolfgang’s emotional and melody-driven take on hard rock, and the track maintains his nuanced approach. A gentle acoustic intro quickly inflates into an exciting electric riff, followed by call-and-answer vocal takes and a rip-roaring solo.

7. Autopsy – Knife Slice Axe Chop

If you like your death metal relentless and your music videos drowning in viscera, then Autopsy’s Knife Slice Axe Chop is the new song for you this week. It’s the second single to come from the band’s first album in eight years – Morbidity Triumphant, which comes out on September 30 – and it shovels all the nastiness you could ever bear directly into your ear canals. 

A blazing solos commences this cavalcade of roars and riffs, which is accompanied by a video so bloodsoaked that Jason Voorhees must be feeling pretty inadequate right now.

8. Imha Tarikat - Radical Righteousness

A maelstrom of vitriol and emotional intensity, Radical Righteousness is just the shrapnel-to-the-face assault needed to announce the impending release of the third Imha Tarikat record. German black metal at its finest, the song is an epic monument to a genre which bothers with no half measures, utterly obliterating the senses in a 6-minute-plus tsunami of riffs, blast-beats and snarls. 

9. Spiritworld – Deathwestern

In 2020, the world got its first glimpse of the “death western” genre when Spiritworld debuted. Hammer’s own Dom Lawson described it as “vicious and deathly hardcore with an eerie edge ripped straight from a Sergio Leone movie”, and the band’s new song Deathwestern maintains their brutal style. 

Equal parts hardcore and vintage death metal, it howls back and forth over sledgehammer-heavy riffing. It’s the second song, after last month’s Moonlit Torture, to be lifted from the band’s newly announced sophomore album, also called Deathwestern. Pick it up on November 25.

10. Skin Failure – Meat Pond

When Black Peaks broke up, who imagined their lead singer doing this? Will Gardner used to belt out gravelly melodies over boundary-breaking progressive rock; now he’s raging in a thrash metal outfit. Skin Failure’s debut album, Radillac, comes out on November 11 and this is a particularly savage preview of coming attractions, with jagged riffs and grooving rhythm work galore. 

Will’s not lost his weird edge though: Radillac is a concept album about an interdimensional Jesus getting flung into a wormhole and tumbling through space and time. If you like your tunes as batshit as they are extreme, Skin Failure will make your day.

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.