Happy Easter! With Spring now in full-flow and Inferno marking an (unofficial) start to the year's festival season, it feels like we're getting well and truly through 2023 at breakneck pace. But not so fast as to miss a fresh helping of brilliant new music, of course!
Last week's vote saw the arrival of massive players Metallica and The Hu, though surprisingly neither band made it to a podium finish. Extreme metal veterans Cattle Decapitation took the top spot by some margin - testament to that band's continued brilliance at punishing brutality - with Polynesian newcomers Shepherd's Reign taking a very admirable second place and heavy metal heroines Burning Witches knocking Metallica out of the final spot.
But this week we're back with former champions Therapy?, alongside a host of emergent talent in the form of Holding Absence, Graywave, Swollen Teeth, Ten56. and more all vying for vote dominance. As ever, let us know which track tickled your tastebuds the most in the vote below!
Therapy? - Poundland Of Hope And Glory
Few bands write hooks so deliciously irresistible as Therapy?. New single Poundland Of Hope And Glory carries the same air of punchy, instant gratification that made Joy such a delight, while in typical Therapy? fashion Andy Cairns paints a lyrical portrait at once crushing and triumphant. Call it a side effect of the cognitive dissonance caused by writing some of the bleakest sing-along anthems this side of Joy Division, but it seems to us that the Northern Irish band have again conjured magic with their upcoming record Hard Cold Fire.
Holding Absence - A Crooked Melody
Holding Absence's second record was somewhat icongruously titled, considering The Greatest Mistake Of My Life carried them into the top 100 in the UK. Two years later, the band are clearly looking to build on that success, new single A Crooked Melody soaring on the kind of emotive notes that could turn an arena into a roaring amplifier. No word yet on when album #3 is likely to surface, but A Crooked Melody is setting a high bar for the band going forward.
Godflesh - Nero
Spring be damned, Godflesh have been around long enough now we know there can be no summery reprieve when their great mechanised beast is in motion. The band's first new song in six years, Nero shows Justin Broadrick has lost none of his teeth-gnashing fury and intensity over time, still delivering bleak soundscapes that reflect a somehow bleaker world outside. Naturally, we're bloody delighted and can't wait for Purge to arrive on June 9.
Grave Pleasures - High On Annihilation
Five long years since Grave Pleasures last delighted us with their take on the gloomy sonics of goth, the Finns have uncovered the kind of pop sensibilities that separated The Cure from Bauhaus et al. and turned them into a global arena-sized phenomenon. High On Annihilation is all shimmering notes and seductive vocal melodies, a tempting lure that has us tightly embracing the gloom even as Spring breaks overhead.
Swollen Teeth - Lethal
Nu metal has been an obvious touch point for Swollen Teeth thus far in their career, but new single Lethal seems to dial heavier on the brutish assault of hardcore and gravel-throated fury of Arise-era Sepultura for a delightfully thuggish short but sweet track. The band's self-titled debut EP is set to arrive on May 9, leaving some hope (however slim) that we may see Swollen Teeth smashing up stages near us this summer.
Graywave - Blur Into One
Like diving into a murky pool and finding your soul cleansed, Graywave's latest single Blur Into One adopts a similar hybrid approach to metal and shoegaze that made early Deftones material so captivating. Following from the band's Rebirth EP released last summer, the new track is a stunningly enchanting vision for where the group's sound could be headed, arriving ahead of shows supporting Slow Crush later this month.
Ten56. - Choky
Pure aggro in a downtuned riffing, spittle-spraying snarling package, Ten56.'s latest single Choky is all about menace and brutality. Taken from the band's EP Downer Part. 2, the song is a showcase of the sensory barrage Ten56. unleash with each new song. Currently on tour with the likes of Alphawolf and King 810, we expect there'll be plenty of bruised bodies and ringing ears come the end of the night.
Dying Wish - Torn From Your Silhouette
With their 2021 debut Fragments Of A Bitter Memory, Dying Wish stepped into the ring with a sense of bruising physicality that marked them out as ones to watch in the contemporary metalcore scene. New single Torn From Your Silhouette switches the pummelling beatdowns of songs like Now You'll Rot for dexterous riffs that are as at home with the likes of Killswitch Engage as they are 90s Gothenburg innovators In Flames or At The Gates. Granted, there are still beatdowns - and meaty ones at that - lending the sense that Dying Wish are exploring the wider boundaries whilst still staying true to the sound that made them beloved on their first record.
Defying Decay - 21 Stitches
We weren't kidding when we said Bring Me The Horizon's Sempiternal was a genre-defining record. Never mind the more obvious candidates like While She Sleeps, Architects and Bury Tomorrow who have found a creative fire lit under their sound, Thailand's Defying Decay prove the propulsive mixture of genres and styles has gone global. New single 21 Stitches even being mixed by BMTH collaborator Zakk Cervini. No mere imitation, 21 Stitches rides on massive beats, thrumming electronica and choruses that are certain to grab you no matter where you come from.
SWARM6IX - $ocial $uicide
UK newcomers SWARM6IX continue to blur the lines between trap metal and nu metal with their new single $ocial $uicide. The down-tuned riffs and creepy tones come right from the Korn book, but there's a sense of juddering abrasiveness and flow that comes direct from the realms of trap. Either way, the combination is intoxicating, and has us eager to here more from the new band.