The clocks might have jumped forward to signal the start of British Summer Time here in the UK, but right now our eyes are keenly fixed on October. This week's announcement that the 2023 edition of Power Trip festival will feature headliners Guns N' Roses, Tool and Iron Maiden alongside AC/DC potentially playing their first show with Brian Johnson in almost a decade and a not-so-retired Ozzy Osbourne has us wishing the days away.
But of course, that'd just be silly: then we'd miss out on months of brilliant new music! Case in point, last week's vote saw some hefty competition amongst some of metal's brightest names. As we've come to expect, Babymetal took home the gold (that band's fanbase mobilise faster and harder than some countries' militaries), but it was a very welcome surprise to see Ukrainian prog metal merchants Ignea take a very healthy second place, beating out unearthed Linkin Park rarity Fighting Myself with the epic Dunes.
As ever, we've got a diverse spread of names and styles to offer your discerning music tastes this week, from the title-track of Metallica's upcoming new studio album to new music from Cattle Decapitation, After The Burial, Scar Symmetry and Shepherd's Reign. Don't forget to let us know which songs excite you most - and with it being the end of the month, you can find our very healthy songs of the year playlist at the bottom of the page!
Metallica - 72 Seasons
Metallica’s new album 72 Seasons is just a couple of weeks away, so the arrival of the album’s title-track is perfectly placed to set us over the edge of excitement. Taking its name from the first 18 years of a listener’s life (or put another way, how long Hetfield lived without Metallica), the track is yet more proof that Metallica have headed right back to the thrash source when it comes to album #11.
The Hu - Black Thunder feat. Serj Tankian & DL (Bad Wolves)
Much as they did after the groundbreaking success of their debut album The Gereg, The Hu are teaming up with some of metal’s most esteemed artists to re-imagine their songs with all-new vocal melodies. The new version of Black Thunder is still powered by the same pounding folk metal stylings that typified Rumble Of Thunder, but now features the radio-ready vocal melodies of Bad Wolves’ vocalist DL who converts the band’s empowering lyrics to English, with an added bonus of Serj Tankian offering a shamanistic chant that fits so well you’d think it was part of the song’s foundation.
After The Burial - Nothing Gold
Making their return after 2019’s Evergreen, After The Burial are living up to prog metal’s reputation for peerless ambition with the release of a double single under the title Embrace The Infinity. Made up of Nothing Gold and Death Keeps Us From Living, Embrace The Infinity is a thundering mix of dexterous guitars, roared mosh calls and crowd-baiting choruses, Nothing Gold in particular drawing hard on metalcore-like motifs for a bruising affirmation that After The Burial are back in a big way.
Deathstars - Angel Of Fortune And Crime
Deathstars continue to blaze their studio comeback with new single Angel Of Fortune And Crime. Symphonic tinges can't take away from the sheer percussive power of the Swedish band's brand of cinema-ready industrial metal, coming out sounding like Rammstein having a Dimmu Borgir binge. It's delightfully baroque, feeling like something you'd hear in a cyberpunk dystopia.
Cattle Decapitation - Scourge Of The Offspring
Ten studio albums in and Cattle Decapitation are still fighting the good fight when it comes to sharing a message of environmentalism and conservation through some of the most visceral extreme metal on the planet. New single Scourge Of The Offspring certainly has some of that gut-churning heaviness we’ve come to know and love, but also throws in melodic sensibilities that prove the band’s two-decade-plus journey on the planet hasn’t been without innovation and evolution. Either way, we’re eager to here where else new album Terrasite goes in May.
Scar Symmetry - Scorched Quadrant
Nine years since they last released an album, Scar Symmetry have returned with the announcement that the second part of their Singularity trilogy, Phase II - Xenotaph, will be with us in June. Almost a decade away in the wilds hasn’t curbed the Swedish band’s ear for colossal prog-tinged extreme metal, new single Scorched Quadrant riding atop sweeping Gothenburg-style riffs and breakout melodic choruses that remind us why we fell in love with the likes of The Illusionist way back in 2006.
Shepherd’s Reign - Ua Masa’a
Much like their countrymen Alien Weaponry, Shepherd’s Reign have often used their brand of hard-hitting, groove metal to explore narratives focusing on their Polynesian heritage and ancestry, as well as modern societal issues. Case in point, the furious grooves of Ua Masa’a are a vehicle to explore the domestic violence that ultimately claimed the life of singer Filiva’a James’ sister, drawing on a sense of tragedy and horror to craft a powerful, haunting song that shows that even as relative newcomers, this band are already making bold artistic statements.
Nervosa - Endless Ambition
So far as titles go, Endless Ambition sums up Nervosa's unstoppable brand of thrash pretty well. After effectively rebuilding the band from scratch when she was left the sole member in 2020, band leader Prika Amaral now takes on vocal duties following the departure of vocalist Diva Satánica last year. Thankfully, it hasn't dampened the band's fiery brand of Teutonic-style thrash/death at all, the Kreator/Sodom sweet spot getting hit with a sense of triumphant energy that has us excited to see what happens next for the Brazil-born group.
Burning Witches - Unleash The Beast
With a howl of triumph, Burning Witches are turning the clocks back to heavy metal’s glory days on newest single Unleash The Beast. But then, that’s nothing new for the trad metal revivalists, their upcoming new album The Dark Tower promising a mixture of teeth-gnashing thrash and old school histrionics calling up the spirit of everyone from Kreator and Scorpions to Warlock and Iron Maiden.
ACHE - Murphy's Law
Coming on like a sledgehammer of beatdown riffs and bulldog-bark vocals, metalcore newcomers ACHE aren't holding anything back with their debut single Murphy's Law. Between bruising drums and churning bass comes a sense of vicious menace that suggests we should be keeping a very close eye on the British band.