Bands in masks, eh? There's certainly no shortage in the modern metal scene, but the fact today marks new releases from both Ghost and Sleep Token - indisputably two of the biggest masked bands to have arisen this past decade - makes it feel particularly evident that a bit of mystique goes a long way in modern metal.
But, we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, the results of last week's vote! Another dose of wonderful weirdness from Avenged Sevenfold might have marked them as forerunners for the title, but in fact they were left chewing dust as an explosive run to the top saw the highest vote count we've had this entire year. Still, there could be only one winner, and while Sevendust put some hefty numbers in, it was Finnish former Eurovision contestants Blind Channel who took top prize with Happy Doomsday.
But will the masks have it this week? Not if Within Temptation or Nita Strauss have anything to say about it, and while Corey Taylor isn't a stranger to masks, he's bare-faced for new single Beyond (though a masked Corey variant does pop up in the video).
Elsewhere, we've got returns from the likes of Evile and Holding Absence, alongside shining newcomers Harper and Voice Of Baceprot. As ever, we want to know which song excites you most, so don't forget to cast your vote below!
Ghost - Phantom of The Opera
"Ghost cover Iron Maiden". If that sentence isn’t enough to make you quiver with anticipation we honestly don’t know what more can be done to help you, Tobias Forge’s svelte satanic outfit galloping along Maiden riffs while still delivering the insidiously catchy vocal melodies we’ve come to love of recent Ghost material. If you’ve been bemoaning the lack of heavy metal in the past couple of Ghost albums, this should tide you over nicely.
Within Temptation - Wireless
With seven new stand-alone singles since 2019, Within Temptation haven’t rushed themselves in working on the follow-up to Resist. Wireless marks the point where the wait may finally be over however, the band describing it as “the start of a new era”. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean seismic stylistic shifts - punchy riffs and sublime melodies are still Within Temptation’s bread and butter, albeit delivered with a grittier, somewhat less grandiose sensibility that suggest the band have found fresh fuel for their furnace.
Corey Taylor - Beyond
Between Slipknot, Stone Sour and setting up his own label imprint, you’d think Corey Taylor would have his hands full these days. Turns out that hasn’t stopped the prolific icon from working on a second solo album however, CMF2 picking up from its predecessor in offering an outlet for Corey to explore his disparate musical tastes. Beyond feels like fairly familiar territory for Taylor, a pumping hard rock banger with an ultra-hooky chorus and some horn-raising guitar solos that show he’s no stranger to playing massive anthems to even bigger crowds.
Nita Strauss - The Golden Trail (feat. Anders Friden)
Having re-teamed with Alice Cooper on Winner Takes All, guitar hero Nita Strauss’ latest single The Golden Trail sees her pin her metal allegiance to the mast as she drafts in In Flames’ Anders Friden to provide guest vocals. Needless to say, Nita takes to the nimble-fretwork of old school melodeath like a duck to water, the track conjuring up the magic of early 90s Gothenburg with added arena sensibility.
Sleep Token - Take Me Back To Eden
In January, Sleep Token enjoyed about 250,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. As of today, that number now stands at over 2 million. Such is the extreme growth the band have enjoyed on this new album cycle, the drip-feed of singles over the past four months leading to a typically powerful and emotionally resonant album title-track that firmly cements Sleep Token as one of metal’s hottest new bands. Clocking in at over eight minutes, Take Me Back To Eden shifts from wistful melody to thundering stomp without missing a beat, feeling like the perfect encapsulation of the enormous journey the band have been on.
Evile - The Unknown
After effectively relaunching the band with 2021’s Hell Unleashed, thrash revivalists Evile are pushing the boundaries of their sound on new single The Unknown. The thrash is still present and correct (of course), but The Unknown slows down from the band’s usual high-speed rampage for a sense of lurking menace that suits them incredibly well, harkening back to the mid-paced thumping of early tune We Who Are About To Die.
Holding Absence - False Dawn
Announcing their third album The Noble Art Of Self Destruction, Holding Absence have the world in their sights on False Dawn. A powerful, bouncy anthem that’s sure to serve them well on tours to come, the track’s emotional core and massive sing-along quality shows exactly why this band have been so hotly tipped in recent years, mixing post-hardcore, alt-metal and a smattering of pop punk to great effect.
Harper - Weight Of The World
After releasing her debut single Falling last summer, pre-teen metalcore sensation Harper is back with another vicious rager in Weight Of The World. Teaming up with Brand Of Sacrifice’s Leo Valeri and We Came As Romans’ Dave Stephens, Harper continues to prove she could well be the future of metal, the new track delivering some seismic snarl-alongs that easily place Harper among the most exciting new voices in metalcore.
Voice Of Baceprot - The Enemy Of Earth Is You
Edging ever closer to the release of their debut album, Indonesian metal group Voice Of Baceprot’s latest single The Enemy Of Earth Is You bounds along on infectious grooves and nimble-fingered riffs. Written in response to climate change - their home country having been hit with over a thousand natural events including flash floods - the track is a surprisingly uplifting tune for something with such weighted lyrical content.
Endeavour - Colourblind
With their debut album For The Time Being arriving in just a few weeks on June 16, Dutch metalcore newcomers Endeavour are tapping into the genre’s more melodic territories with latest single Colourblind. Which isn’t to say Colourblind doesn’t have fangs; vocalist Gijs Smeets switches between rabid snarls and almost Linkin Park like melodic passages to tap into the cathartic emotional core at the heart of modern metal.
Lord Of The Lost - The Curtain Falls
They might not have reversed Germany's ill-fate when it comes to Eurovision, but Lord Of The Lost can still rest assured they've brought their unique brand of industrial-goth metal to millions of viewers around the world. The band will also be heading on the road with Iron Maiden in coming weeks and have sold out shows at home in Germany before embarking on a UK tour in September. Relentless, yes, but a sign of the indefatiguable spirit the Germans have exhibited for the past 16 years, The Curtain Falls exemplar of their talent for writing howling, raised-fist anthems you can scream along to at your heart's content.