The new Slipknot album is upon us. Opinions might be split, but The End, So Far arrives just as we hit the final stretch of the year. There's a few titanic releases still to arrive - Lamb Of God and Alter Bridge in the next two weeks, Smashing Pumpkins and Disturbed in November - but it feels like now we know what the shape of metal is in 2022.
There's no time to linger now though - not when there are so many new songs to get through. First up, the results of last week's vote: despite the presence of beloved mainstays like Lacuna Coil, Disturbed and Smashing Pumpkins, it was newcomers Spiritworld that took the crown, their death metal Western vibes clearly striking a chord.
This week we're back with a fresh line-up of aural delights: the second part of Lorna Shore's Pain Trilogy, a new single from System Of A Down vocalist Serj Tankian and the announcement of a trilogy of EPs from power metal's biggest heroes, Sabaton. You'll find all that and more in this week's offering - and as ever, don't forget to vote for your favourite below.
Serj Tankian - Pop Imperialism
Serj Tankian has never allowed himself to be defined merely by genre, preferring to mix myriad styles, genres and instruments into an unpredictable flurry of madcap genius. At first glance, Pop Imperialism exists on the moodier, more contemplative branches of Tankian’s discography, but the near frantic delivery of spoken word passages towards the song’s end (accompanied by shimmering notes of electronica) harken back to the manic delivery fans came to love in System Of A Down.
Sabaton - Father
After releasing one of the year’s most bombastic albums, Sabaton are back in the gunner’s seat with a trilogy of EPs. Continuing their exploration of stories from the First World War, Father explores the development and application of chemical warfare. Though not as flashy as the likes of Stormtroopers or The Last Stand, Father instead showcases Sabaton’s more grandiose side, a heavy metal opera against a backdrop of rumbling tanks and booming guns.
Devin Townsend - Call Of The Void
Devin Townsend’s ear for uplifting melodies is front and centre on Call Of The Void, a straight-ahead tune with a warm-and-fuzzy message of reassurance that perfectly suits the title of his new album, Lightwork. Accompanied by a video of a tranquil journey shot by Devin himself, the song is a heartwarmer just in time for colder days.
The Agonist - Immaculate Conception
There are some serious The Omen vibes in the opening moments of The Agonist’s latest single, Immaculate Conception. Maybe it’s the discordant choirs, jutting riffs or creepy cult chasing a woman, but our horror senses are well and truly tantalised, then summarily brutalised by some death metal nastiness. Pumpkin spice is nice, but we know what this season is really about.
Lorna Shore - Pain Remains II: After All I've Done, I'll Disappear
The second entry in Lorna Shore’s ‘pain trilogy’, Pain Remains II lets loose with both barrels in a blistering display of extremity that throws up shades of blackened deathcore alongside notes of symphonic grandeur. Dealing with topics of mental health, the track - and its video - deliver a sense of poignance and gravitas that perfectly accentuates the flayed-nerve emotion at its heart.
Fire From The Gods - World So Cold
A message of empowerment, Fire From The Gods' latest single World So Cold makes great use of vocalist AJ Channer's powerful pipes to deliver a unifying anthem. Shades of Linkin Park and Sevendust pop up in the band's mix but it never feels like they are trying to hitch their wagon to nu metal. Rather, World So Cold is a demonstration of the organic fusion of styles at the heart of Fire From The Gods' sound.
Godsmack - Surrender
Godsmack’s first single in four years, Surrender taps back into the chugging energy that made I Stand Alone such a massive anthem.While the nu metal revival is in full swing, Godsmack aren’t retreading old ground - instead Surrender feels like a realisation of the band’s best elements, refining them into an addictive earworm.
Polyphia - Ego Death (feat. Steve Vai)
Polyphia have always thrived on the virtuosic side of prog metal’s instrumental capabilities, so teaming up with master guitarist Steve Vai on Ego Death just helps further highlight how talented this band are. Little infusions of electronica and even a trumpet at the end make this a fun and quirky sonic journey.
He Is Legend - Lifeless Lemonade
Almost 20 years since they first formed, He Is Legend are still going strong as the announce the impending release of their seventh record, Endless Hallway. Part of a double-single, Lifeless Lemonade perfectly balances metallic heft and alt-rock radio-friendliness, its juddering riffs and infectious vocal melodies lodging themselves deep in the brain.
Murky Claw - Dog Child
Don't say we don't ever bring you nothing nice. Hailing from Venezuela, Murky Claw sound like Album Of The Year-era Faith No More with some Tool-style reality-warping riffing and Dog Fashion Disco-style weirdness thrown in for good measure. Dog Child is a mesmerising and addictive burst of riffs and heaviness that captivates from start to finish.