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

Bruce Dickinson/Poppy/Ice-T/Hanabie/Ministry
(Image credit: John McMurtrie/Bryan Kirks/Press)

January is finally over! Well, almost at least - and not a moment too soon, we must say. It's left us some parting gifts in the form of the first big release date of 2024 however, bringing new albums from Lucifer, Static-X and perhaps mostly importantly Bright & Black, the first real contender for the metal album of 2024... even if it isn't strictly metal. 

But, we're getting away from ourselves - here are the results of last week's vote! With the Metal Gods coming back out to play, it should hardly come as a surprise that Rob Halford and co. made a podium finish with new single Crown Of Horns. But they didn't take top spot, however. Emerging above newcomers Chrownshift - the Finnish newcomers featuring members of Nightwish, Children of Bodom and Finntroll - Priest were themselves left behind by nu metal vets P.O.D., whose new single I Won't Bow Down took gold - a fitting spot for a band due to play Wembley Arena in just a few weeks' time. 

This week we've got another balance of old and new, with new singles from Bruce Dickinson and Ministry, as well as two of this month's Hammer cover stars in Hanabie and Bad Omens. There's also newcomer acts Defects, Death X Destiny, Hiraes and so much more to dig into, so be sure to let us know which songs excite you most in the vote below. As ever, happy listening and we'll catch up with you again next week! 

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Bruce Dickinson - Rain On The Graves

There’s still a few weeks to go before Bruce Dickinson releases his long-awaited new solo album The Mandrake Project on March 1, but the Maiden legend is tiding us over with new single Rain On The Graves. You can practically smell the leather’n’motorcycle fumes wafting off the guitars in this latest single and while Bruce belts with all the theatricality we’ve come to know and love in the song’s chorus, perhaps most interesting is the curled lip snarl he adopts during the verses, drifting to a street-level metal that has been largely absent from his delivery since No Prayer For The Dying

Bad Omens - V.A.N. (ft. Poppy)

Kicking off the New Year with a massive arena tour of the UK alongside Bring Me The Horizon, this month’s Hammer cover stars Bad Omens are now proving they won’t be left behind when it comes to genre-blurring weirdness. Teaming up with hyperpop star Poppy, V.A.N. is a brilliant mind-melting mix of styles, chucking pulsing electro at metalcore breakouts while Poppy’s voice goes from sweet, slightly creepy melodies to all-out shrieks. 

Hanabie - OTAKU Lovely Densetsu

Speaking of current Hammer cover stars, Japan’s Hanabie are also going off the deep-end with their new single, OTAKU Lovely Densetsu. Of course, if you heard any of the songs from the band’s 2023 debut Reborn Superstar! that shouldn’t come as any surprise, the band already flying around with a mixture of furious metalcore, J-pop and nu metal (amongst others) in an unpredictable package, but OTAKU… shows just how wild this band can be, playing up to their most hyperactive tendencies as they swing from guttural snarls to buoyant pop choruses. 

Ministry - B.D.E. 

20 years since they took shots at then-President George W. Bush with a trio of politically charged records, industrial metal legends Ministry find themselves no less fired up on new single B.D.E. Taking shots at toxic masculinity and incel mentality, Al Jourgensen positively drips venom as he delivers lines like “they’ll never get to fuck/so they just kill out of spite”. Set to a typically juddering, militaristic beat, the track sets the perfect pace for the march towards new album Hopiumforthemasses, due March 1. 

Black Smoke Trigger - Perfect Torture

Set to support Bruce Dickinson on his solo tour of the UK this May, we perhaps shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a classic metal sensibility to Black Smoke Trigger’s sound. But don’t mistake us; the New Zealand band aren’t trad metal revivalists in the usual sense, sidestepping metal’s creep towards extremity in the post-Slipknot years to instead focus on emotional melodies and classic build-up-and-release dynamics that make Perfect Torture feel like a proper epic power ballad. Considering guitarist Charlie Wallace chucked himself off the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere whilst playing a guitar solo, we probably shouldn’t be surprised this lot have a good grasp of dramatics. 

Alpha Wolf - Sucks 2 Suck (ft. Ice-T)

If you’re looking at modern metalcore and wondering where all the ‘core’ has gone, it might be best to check the locker of Aussies Alpha Wolf. The band’s new single Sucks 2 Suck has all the bouncy hardcore energy that current pop-botherers are fast losing, making the track a breath of fresh air. Exciting as that is, it only gets more so when Ice-T pops up to drop a verse, adding an extra flavour to the band’s excitable, psychotic cheerleader energy that is brilliantly unique. 

Hiraes - Dormant

The title-track of Hiraes freshly-released second album, Dormant is a grandiose showcase of the band’s classic melodeath leanings, synths lending the track a near-symphonic edge whilst vocalist Britta Görtz snarls and howls over propulsive, anthemic extremity. It’s the choruses that really shine a light on what Hiraes are capable of, cinematic in scope and undeniably colossal they hint at the kind of all-conquering bombast that made the likes of In Flames and Arch Enemy translate to ever-bigger crowds. 

Defects - Lockdown

British newcomers Defects ended 2023 with a massive tour opening for Of Mice & Men, but 2024 looks to be the year they’ll truly break through. Not only do the band have another support tour lined up - playing alongside Swedish rising stars Orbit Culture in the UK - and an appearance at Download Festival to look forward to, but now the band have announced their debut album Modern Error will be with us May 24. Lockdown sets the band’s stall out, thundering along like a freight train going through buildings before giving way to melodic choruses that make them a perfect fit for Orbit Culture. Keep your eyes out for this one.

Death X Destiny - Eternal (What Do You See)

Newcomers Death X Destiny’s second single Eternal (What Do You See) sets out a vision of expansive, melodically underpinned but no less furious metal. Playing with the “beauty and beast” dynamic, Eternal is a quintessential modern metal track with glitchy beats and stunning production contributing to a rich, luscious composition that sits somewhere between metalcore, industrial and alt. metal.  

Witherfall - Where Do I Begin?

Talk about a big finish, this week we close on Where Do I Begin, the massive power ballad from LA’s Witherfall. While the art of the power ballad hasn’t exactly gone away completely in recent years - the likes of Sleep Token and Bad Omens certainly helping to bring some melodicism back to metal, Where Do I Begin? Taps has the prog-like sensibilities of bands like Nevermore with some neoclassical guitars chucked in for good measure, contributing to an epic track that even brings a bit of Mercyful Fate back to the table in its closing minute (and change). 

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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.