It's beginning to look a lot like... well, Black Friday, actually. Christmas adverts might have already started popping up, but there's still a couple hurdles left before we hit advent period and start eyeing up turkeys and prepping our out-of-office.
And who can think about that when there's still so much brilliant music being released? Last week's vote again saw a hard race between two contenders as Epica (alongside guests Myrkur and Charlotte Wessels) took the lead, but in the end it was Belgian newcomers Cellar Twins who took top spot, charging the polls at the 11th hour.
This week we've got another bumper week of new releases, new songs from Babymetal and Disturbed representing the upper echelons of metal, while you underground types will find plenty to love in new Enslaved, Imha Tarikat and Sanguisugabogg. As ever, we've got a vote below so don't forget to pick your favourite!
Babymetal - Monochrome
After blazing a triumphant return with Divine Attack - Shingeki, Babymetal have unveiled the next single from next year’s The Other One. Monochrome isn’t usually the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of the Japanese metal group, but there’s a clear shift in tone on the single that suggests a more mature, brooding side of the band that hasn’t really been explored in the past, whilst still infusing plenty of J-pop sensibilities that make their music so fascinating and unique.
Disturbed - Bad Man
Massive ballads might have helped Disturbed land mainstream recognition, but there’s no substituting the pummeling, wild-eyed frenzy of David Draiman and co. when they’re properly on one. Disturbed’s new album Divisive is all about that early 2000s magic and Bad Man is all about empowerment in the face of a rapidly darkening world, Draiman’s incredible pipes helping the song feel like an anthem-in-waiting.
Enslaved - Congelia
If Caravans To The Outer Worlds had you worried Enslaved were careening off into the prog-sphere like a Norwegian Hawkwind, Congelia is all about bringing things back down to the mucky, snarling ferocity of early black metal. Enslaved are still Enslaved though, so there are hints of expansive melody and progressive inclinations buried beneath the din, but wrapped in a delightfully scaborous kvlt coat to remind us exactly where they came from. One thing’s for sure: we can’t wait to hear new album Heimdal.
Sophie Lloyd - Do Or Die
Did someone order some massive 80s riffs? Sophie Lloyd is only too happy to oblige on new single Do Or Die, making the jump from instrumental compositions with an old school banger that throws back to the days where no metal band could be too outlandish. Teamed up with vocalist Inglorious vocalist Nathan James, Do Or Die is the first taste of her debut album Imposter Syndrome, due next year.
Blackbriar - Crimson Faces
If you’ve ever wondered what Within Temptation scoring a Tim Burton movie might sound like, Blackbriar offer a pretty tantalising glimpse. Epic symphonic metal with gothic overtures, Crimson Faces is the band’s first single for new label Nuclear Blast and goes hard on its grandiose elements, showing the band have their sights on expanding their already ambitious sound to thrilling new heights.
Sanguisugabogg - Pissed
Their name might be a joke about a bloodsucking toilet, but there’s nothing light about Sanguisugabogg’s music. Crusty death metal coated in sludgy ichor, Pissed is the first taste of the band’s upcoming second album Homicidal Ecstasy, all low-end menace and claw-handed brutality in a monstrous three-and-a-half minute package. Filth, in the very best way.
Graphic Nature - Killing Floor
With riffs chomping like some great mechanical beast, Graphic Nature have announced their debut album A Mind Waiting To Die is due on February 17, giving us a first taste with the feral Killing Floor. Shades of Slipknot and Code Orange in the song’s sub-three-minute run-time, brutal beatdowns and anguished howls indicating a band positively itching to get out into the world and assault some eardrums with their unique spin on floor-filling nu metal.
Venomous Concept - Voices
Napalm Death started out in the world of hardcore punk, so it makes perfect sense that bassist Shane Embury would revisit those fertile plains in Venomous Concept, his hardcore project with Brutal Truth’s Kevin Sharp. With Napalm’s John Cooke and ex-Cancer member Carl Stokes filling out their roster, Voices naturally feels like an extreme metal take on classic, bouncing hardcore beats, filled with piss and vitriol in the very best way.
Imha Tarikat - Brute Majesty
German troupe Imha Tarikat have always existed on the more emotionally-charged sides of black metal, but newest single Brute Majesty takes things into entirely new realms. Stunning melodies sit atop a cataclysm of blast-beats, high-toned guitars soaring above the din to underpin a sense of drama and epic scale that suggests the band’s third record Hearts Unchained - At War With A Passionless World will take their sound into new realms entirely.
Aghiazma - Mental Abuse
When you think of metal Eurovision entries, moody industrial metal probably isn’t your first port of call. But five years on from making it to the semi-finals of the Eurovision selection in their native Ukraine, Aghiazma are readying to release their second album Carnage. Mental Abuse has an almost post-punk moodiness to it, near gothic in tone with some sublime guitar leads to really drive the anthemic energy of the song to the fore.