The 12 best new metal songs you need to hear right now

Ville Valo/Puscifer/Delain/Zulu/Lovebites/Sleep Token
(Image credit: Juha Mustonen/Travis Shinn/Andrea Falaschi/Alice Baxley/Lovebites/Andy Ford)

Happy New Year! Granted, we're a couple of weeks into the New Year by this point, but this week feels like the first with the world waking up after the holidays. As such, we've got a whole bunch of new songs for you to dive into (including one that we missed while the world was still waking up), lead by this month's Hammer cover star Ville Valo, making his return with new album Neon Noir

Ville certainly isn't alone, though. We've also got a brand new remix from Puscifer, a prog metal epic from Periphery, double-dose of Japanese metal in the form of Lovebites and Hanabie and even goth heroes Grave Pleasures back with their first new material in six years. 

There's so much to get stuck into, in fact, that we've expanded our usual selection of 10 tracks to 12 for this week, to offer the best spread for what metal has to offer going into 2023. As with last year, we're asking you to let us know which bands excite you most by picking your favourite in the vote below. So here we go: another year, another pile of new music to dig into. 2023 - let's be having you... 

Metal Hammer line break

VV - Neon Noir

Goth Prince Ville Valo has returned to claim his throne with debut solo abum Neon Noir. “Come love me until it hurts,” he moans seductively to some unnamed paramour on the luscious title track, as red velvet curtains flap in the wind off camera and wolves howl inaudibly in the distance. How black is it? None more black, obviously. 

Puscifer - A Singularity (Re-Imagined by Carina Round)

While remixes are decidedly less prevalent in the modern music landscape, Maynard James Keenan side-project Puscifer are certainly doing their part to keep the art alive with a new release re-interpreting tracks from their 2020 record Existential Reckoning. Remixed by UK singer-songwriter Carina Round, the new version of A Singularity has added poignance thanks to a self-edited video created by Keenan in dedication to his dog MiHo, who passed away in 2021.  

Periphery - Wildfire

One of two singles released this week to coincide with the announcement of their new album Periphery V: Djent Is Not A Genre (missed a trick with “djenre” there, lads), Wildfire is a typically ambitious and unpredictable explosion of creativity from the D.C. prog/djent band. Clocking in at six-and-a-half minutes, Wildfire swings from juddering metallic hardcore style beatdowns to towering prog metal choruses and skittering jazz (complete with sax solos), a sure sign Periphery aren’t curbing their creative excesses with their seventh album.  

Trivium - Implore The Darken Sky

Currently on tour around the UK with Malevolence and Heaven Shall Burn, Trivium have decided to express their love for the extreme metal Germans with a powerhouse cover of HSB’s Implore The Darken Sky. Unsurprisingly, Implore is among the heaviest songs Trivium have put out in a good while, Heafy’s melodic inclinations taking a backseat to a thundering howl as melodious guitars dance in the background. Who knows, maybe this’ll even open doors for more extremity on Trivium’s next record… 

 Maneskin – Gossip

The Eurovision winners rope in Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello to add some signature guitar widdle to their stomping, strutting glam-adjacent Italo-rock. Gossip isn’t going to give Cattle Decapitation any sleepless nights on the heaviness front, but it’s got ‘rock club banger’ written all over it.  

Sleep Token - The Summoning

Ever the inscrutable mystery, Sleep Token kicked off the first week of the year with two new singles, each offering a different interpretation of their unique sound. If there were worries the band might slip further away from their tech metal elements as their profile grew, those fears were utterly smashed by The Summoning, whose chugging riffs and howls show there’s much more to Sleep Token that sublime melody and mystery.

Delain - Moth To A Flame

With their new album Dark Waters just over a month away, Delain are closing in on the end-game for the next step in their evolution. Previous singles Beneath and The Quest And The Curse swung a pendulum between symphonic grandeur and moody bombast, but taps into the joyful, anthemic spirit symphonic metal can so often embody, a perfect pick-me-up in the winter months. 

Lovebites - The Spirit Lives On

After absolutely storming the gates with Judgement Day back in December, Lovebites are carrying the power metal grail even further on the virtuosic The Spirit Lives On. It’s a propulsive and utterly joyous blast of Dragonforce-style break-neck pace, complete with virtuosic guitar solos from Midori and Miyako, and a typically powerhouse performance from Asami. 

Grave Pleasures - Society Of Spectres

It’s been a long wait for the return of Finnish goth rock masters Grave Pleasures, Society Of Spectres arriving as we close in on six years since their last record. The first single from the band’s upcoming album Plagueboys, Society Of Spectres is Grave Pleasures exactly as we remember them; infectious pop hooks filtered through a gothic lens to create some of the most danceable dark anthems since The Cure.

Hanabie - お先に失礼します。(Pardon Me, I Have To Go Now)

When it comes to brilliantly insane stylistic mash-ups, Japan is where its at. Tokyo terrors Hanabie’s riotously OTT new single smashes together metalcore, electro-rock and Kawaii-metal, resulting in a song that’s more colourful than an explosion in a Haribo factory. Killer video too.

Prong - Breaking Point

Three years since their last release, Prong are back delivering the industrialised groove metal goods. Breaking Point is archetypal modern Prong; New York hardcore influences filtered through a groove metal press to produce a mechanised, fist-pumping beast with a massive chorus. From its pinch-harmonic intro to the oh-so-headbangable beats, Breaking Point is a reminder that Prong are still an instantly identifiable tour de force in the modern metal scene.

Zulu - Where I’m From

Back in November, Zulu dropped single Fakin The Funk (You Get Did), officially throwing their hat in the ring for must-hear hardcore records of 2023. Follow-up Where I’m From shows the hype is more than deserved; brutish bass-lines, chunky, groovy riffs and curled-lip mosh calls suggests Zulu’s debut record A New Tomorrow is going to be a vicious and vital addition to the scene when it arrives March 3. The addition of Soul Glo’s Pierce Jordan and Playytime’s Obioma Ugonna is a wonderful added bonus, too. 

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.