The festivals have kicked off, Metallica are on tour and the weather can't decide between downpours and glorious sun. It's official: summer is just around the corner! As we pass the first third of the year, we've had some massive albums already pop up on the slate, but as ever there's still plenty to come.
First, the results from last week's vote! Considering the sheer take-off in hype since the start of the year, it's amazing that it's taken until now for Sleep Token to top our weekly poll, but the mysterious metal have achieved just that with DYWTYLM. It was a very solid showing from Immortal's Wargod that took second space, while Beartooth were bringing those big ol' summery vibes with Sunshine!
As ever, we've hunted high and low to find you the very best tracks around for this week. Cradle Of Filth, Avatar, Blackbriar, VEXED... it's a mighty fine line-up, and we need you to tell us which track excites you most via our handy poll just below. And, seeing as it's the end of the month (and a long weekend, if you're reading this from the UK), we've chucked up a reminder of some of the songs that have already ruled 2023 so far as your votes are concerned.
Cradle Of Filth - Demon Prince Regent
Whether or not you acknowledge Cradle Of Filth as a black metal band, the fact remains few bands have approached extreme metal with such theatricality and flair as Danny Filth's merry mob. A live video for new track Demon Prince Regent is packed with all the wild visuals we've come to expect from the band over the decades, the track's ominious pace and thundering overtures showing Cradle aren't just masters of aesthetics, but conjuring atmospheric anthems for the masses.
Avatar - Chimp Mosh Pit
They might have goofy song-titles and a singer made up like a court jester, but dismiss Avatar at your own peril. Chimp Mosh Pit comes stocked with the kind of bouncy, beefy riff that has made them beloved by fans worldwide, while the band continue to prove canny at making zany, memorable videos that'll stick with you long after the song finishes. Top marks.
Corrosion Of Conformity - On The Hunt
Arriving just a few days before stoner metal legends Corrosion Of Conformity will head over to Europe on tour, On The Hunt is the first taste of new Corrosion Of Conformity material we've had since 2018's comeback album No Cross No Crown. Unsurprisingly, CoC take to covering Lynyrd Skynrd like ducks to water, the NOLA band injecting plenty of southern rock charm into their own sound over the years, but we can't deny the sheer joy of hearing the band blasting out those sun-soaked guitar licks like the second coming of Deliverance.
Lord Of The Lost - Destruction Manual
With just two weeks to go until they represent Germany at this year's Eurovision, Lord Of The Lost are reminding everyone that they know their way around fist-pumping arena-sized metal anthems. Set somewhere between goth and industrial metal with dance undertones, Destruction Manual is decidedly a bit too NSFW for mass consumption, but great fun if you're looking out for a massive anthem to bang your head to and sing along with wild abandon.
Ignea - Incurable Disease
The final single released ahead of Ignea's new album Dreams Of Lands Unseen, Incurable Disease showcases how the Ukrainian band expertly balance melodeath and prog sensibilities. Shimmering electronic notes are counterpointed with a steady, forceful beat, all tied together with Helle Bohdanova's massive vocal melodies that prove Ignea to be a band with powerful creative ambitions.
Vexed - Anti-Fetish
Metalcore newcomers Vexed earned some serious interest with their debut Culling Culture back in 2021, but judging from first single Anti-Fetish, their new album Negative Energy won't so much be turning heads as snapping necks. A furious assault on the senses, the track blends the sheer fury of bands like Employed To Serve and Sharptooth with the anthemic edge of a Code Orange or Hatebreed. Absolutely top class.
Blackbriar - My Soul's Demise
Five months since they announced their signing to Nuclear Blast with the massive Crimson Faces, symphonic metal newcomers Blackbriar continue to whet our appetites with the stunningly grandiose My Soul's Demise. Starting out with haunting, elegaic melodies, the song steadily builds to some massive 80s-style guitar grandstanding, the song's church-set music video lending the whole thing a November Rain edge. Ones to keep an eye on, without doubt.
Kublai Khan TX - Theory Of Mind
If nothing gets you more pumped than grinding, sludgy breakdowns, Kublai Khan have you covered with new single Theory Of Mind. Almost punishingly tar-paced, the song soon gains momentum as it goes on only to come back to some abrasive, crushing riffs with a vengeance. It's nasty stuff, in the very best way and everything you could want from a hardcore workout.
Kilonova - Bleed By Example
We're only a couple of months away from thrash metal's 40th birthday, but the genre remains in rude health as genre giants and newcomers alike continue to explore it's high-octane thrills. UK newcomers Kilonova represent the latest vanguard in British thrash, new single Bleed By Example rattling the bars and delivering the kind of imperious snarling energy that draws from the giants of teutonic thrash while finding their own unique groove in the genre.
Delaire The Liar - Bite Trap
There's more than a taste of early 2000s emo and post-hardcore to Delaire The Liar's new single Bite Trap, and we couldn't be more delighted. Propulsive and electrically charged in the very best way, the single is the first taste of new music since the band's 2021 EP Eat Your Own, and feels like a spiky blast of sing-along noise just in time for summer sing-alongs.