The 20 best new metal songs you need to hear right now (yes, including Dolly Parton)

Dolly Parton/Slipknot/Nita Strauss/Black Veil Brides/Conquer Divide
(Image credit: Press/YouTube/Jeremy Saffer/Jim Louvau)

Yes, that is Dolly Parton in our banner image. After being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2022, Dolly has teamed up with Rob Halford and Ann Wilson for the first two tracks of her upcoming rock album - and let us tell you, those tracks are brilliant

But, we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, the results of our last vote! There were plenty of big names going in to our last vote with the return of Code Orange, Pendulum (feat. Bullet For My Valentine's Matt Tuck) and Lacuna Coil, but the underground [mostly] won the day. Extreme metal denizens The Sun's Journey Through The Night took top billing with their vicious title-track Worldless, while hardcore brutes Guilt Trip beat out Bring Me The Horizon's return-to-heavy AmEN!

With 100,000 metal fans descending on Donington last week for Download Festival, we missed the chance to share last week's best new tracks with you, so this week is a bumper edition with twice as many brilliant new songs for you to dive into. As such, we're also upping the vote count to two votes per person, meaning while there can only be one winner for next week's vote, we'll include the top six bands in our ever-expanding "best metal songs of 2023" playlist. Happy listening! 

Metal Hammer line break

Slipknot - Memories (Adderall Rough Demo) 

Last week was a weird one for Slipknot, but one that ultimately saw them triumph with another barn-storming performance at Download Festival. At the same time, Iowa’s finest were sneaking out an expanded EP of stand-alone single Adderall. Memories is a rough demo of the track that makes great use of thrumming minimalist electronica and Corey Taylor’s incredible voice to create a melodic, melancholic composition that lives up to the experimental tendencies of the band’s latest album, The End, So Far

Dolly Parton - Bygones (feat. Rob Halford)

 The Metal God and the Queen of Country, together at last. Halford made no secret of how delighted he was to sing Jolene with Parton at last year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony, so the pair uniting on Dolly’s first foray into direct rock territory on Bygones feels like an obvious slam dunk, the track feeling like something lifted straight from the 80s with powerhouse vocal melodies and driving riffs aplenty. 

Nita Strauss - Victorious (ft. Dorothy)

Already an inspiration for guitarists around the world, Nita Strauss’s latest single Victorious delivers a sense of defiant triumph right out the pages of old school heavy metal and hard rock. Dorothy Martin - of US rockers Dorothy - lends a fiery, powerful vocal to the track that perfectly fits in with Strauss’s fist-pumping riffs and wailing leads, making the track feel like an instant anthem.

Asking Alexandria - Psycho

Asking Alexandria have come a long way from their thumping metalcore roots, heading towards more radio friendly rock territories with their more recent releases. Psycho is an impressive mix of soulful R’n’B style vocal hooks, explosive riffs and even shades of the combustible heaviness that helped the band become so beloved in the first place, Asking Alexandria proving every now and again you can have your cake and eat it too. 

Black Veil Brides - Temple Of Love (feat. VV)

Though Black Veil Brides’ take on goth is generally more aesthetic than stylistic, their latest single is an impressive celebration of all things dark. Teaming up with Ville Valo to cover Sisters Of Mercy’s Temple Of Love, the result is an energetic, darkly seductive take on a goth classic that suggests BVB could bother the likes of Unto Others and Grave Pleasures in the goth revival stakes if ever they were so inclined.

Tarja - Numb

What do you get if you take one of metal’s most classically trained powerhouse vocalists and let them loose on Linkin Park’s nu metal classic Numb? A stunning, elegiac composition, of course. Tarja Turunen put her incredible voice to great use as she took on the LP tune for her upcoming live album Live At The Metal Church, the instrumental backing of pianos and strings adding to the song’s inherently emotive core and reaffirming why both Tarja and Linkin Park are so beloved in the metal scene.   

The Raven Age - Forgive & Forget

The scrappy metalcore of early Raven Age material feels worlds away when hearing material for their upcoming album Blood Omen. Granted, it’s only been five years since their debut Darkness Will Rise, but the band’s embrace of trad metal bombast on Forgive & Forget matches the grand ambition of a band who are no strangers to playing to massive crowds, Matt James’ powerful voice riding atop galloping NWOBHM riffs to delightful effect. 

Voice Of Baceprot - What’s The Holy (Nobel) Today?

Even this early in their career, Indonesian newcomers Voice Of Baceprot have made a name for themselves for writing powerful, message-driven songs that tip into anthemic territory. What’s The Holy (Nobel) Today continues that form, its anti-war message feeling particularly on-brand given current global events, while the announcement that the band’s debut album Retas will be with us on July 13 marks the point that Voice Of Baceprot’s vision is finally coming to fruition. 

Mutoid Man - Siren Song

With members of Cave In, Converge and High On Fire in their ranks, Mutoid Man’s offer of riff-heavy alt metal is a perfect demonstration of a band fully utilising the talents of its individual parts. The second single from the band’s sorta-comeback album Mutants - their first in six years - Siren Song is a stomping tune with roots in classic rock’n’roll. 

Will Haven - Diablito

An acerbic fist to the face, Will Haven’s latest single Diablito is proof that the band are still a force to be reckoned with as they gear up for the release of their seventh album VII next month. Juddering riffs, anguished howls and subtle atmospherics make Diablito an absolute delight to behold, the band employing strings to give the song an almost cinematic effect that helps it feel truly epic.   

Evile - Reap What You Sow

After resetting the dials with 2021’s Hell Unleashed, Evile are switching gears from their usual high-octane thrash to explore more measured, stomping groove territories. Reap What You Sow is a pummeling demonstration of where the UK thrash heroes are headed with the appropriately titled new album The Unknown, pushing themselves as their 20th anniversary as a band looms. 

Rivers Of Nihil - The Sub-Orbital Blues

After four albums of impressively ambitious progressive death metal, the departure of Rivers Of Nihil vocalist Jake Dieffenbach was a surprise, not least because the band had a European tour booked just weeks later. Thankfully, the band’s new line-up - now featuring bassist Adam Biggs on lead vocals and guitarist Andy Thomas officially in the fold - have come raging out the gates with new single The Sub-Orbital Blues, the song’s pendulous riff lending a sense of foreboding that suggests they could well be mining darker territories than ever before going forward. 

Waterlines - Prey

Though Waterlines undoubtedly have some nu metal in their sonic DNA, the Yorkshire band feel more like a successor to the likes of Senser or Enter Shikari than Korn or Limp Bizkit. Skittish hip-hop verses are set against thumping riffs and pulsing electronica elements, the fusion of elements giving way to something genuinely fresh and fierce. 

Shepherd’s Reign - Finally

New Zealand newcomers Shepherd’s Reign are edging ever closer to the release of their debut album Ala Mai on August 25, latest single Finally taking their distinctive grooves and funneling them through thrash and even a bit of Alice In Chains for a unique, neck-snapping fusion. 

Conquer Divide - The INVISIBLE

Recently announced as the supports for Electric Callboy’s sold out US tour, Conquer Divide continue to showcase their stirring, powerful brand of alternative metal with latest single The INVISIBLE. Symphonic elements underpin a powerful, emotionally resonant song with massive vocal hooks, singer Kiarely Taylor establishing herself as someone to watch going forward. 

Paleface Swiss - Please End Me

Nu metal might have been a commercial goldmine at the end of the 90s and early 2000s, but it’s easy to lose sight of the genre’s fiercer, more underground leanings. It’s those trappings that Paleface Swiss tap into, the band’s latest single Please End Me taking the acerbic bark and chugging riffs of nu metal then dipping it in death metal ichor. The result is a furious, neck-stressing banger that shows how the band were able to sell out their first tour of the US whilst still keeping both feet mired in the underground. 

Creeping Death - Vitrified Earth

Alongside the likes of Power Trip and Frozen Soul, Creeping Death are representative of the insanely talented retro-revival scene in Texas in recent years. The Denton band’s menacing brand of thrash/death taps into the teeth-gnashing fury of early Sepultura, Vitrified Earth delivering hefty groove riffs amidst a throat-shredding beastliness that embraces old school death metal tropes whilst still making them feel fresh and vital. 

Celestial Sanctuary - Biomineralization (Cell Death)

If you like your death metal lumbering and dripping in filth, Celestial Sanctuary have you covered, the band’s latest single Biomineralization (Cell Death) juddering along like some biomechanical beast. The first song taken from the band’s upcoming second album, Biomineralization is a vicious taste of what lies in store for the fast rising death metal stars, showing just why the likes of Max Cavalera love the band so much. 

Molybaron - Something Ominous

Swinging from nimble-fingered prog metal fretwork to monolithic post-metal riffs, Molybaron’s appropriately titled new single Something Ominous sees the French/Irish group mire themselves in darkness. A stand-alone single following on from last October’s Vampires, the song paints the picture of a dystopian future, building to an explosive breakout moment towards the end of the song that feels like Gojira by way of Periphery. 

Maren - Autographs In Hell

Newcomer Maren is perfect for the post-Poppy and Sleep Token music landscape, her debut single Autographs In Hell mixing the sleek hooks of pop with pulsating prog metal riffs. The result is a propulsive collision of styles that already feels massive in scope. With her self-titled debut EP set for release later this year, we could be looking at another crossover sensation. 

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.