4 brilliant new bands you need to hear this month

Skáld/Eyes/To The Grave/Nighted
(Image credit: Press/Peter Troest/Manuel Vargas Lepiz)

August is here! Between the wildfires and torrential downpours it's hard to figure just how much of a summer we're actually having, but we can at least rest assured that there's still plenty of brilliant new releases to dive into and new bands to discover! 

That in mind, we have hunted far and wide to bring you the most exciting new music from every conceivable corner of heavy and alternative music. It's a diverse spread for August, with French pagan folksters Skald, Danish noise/hardcore rabble rousers Eyes, animal rights supporting deathcore from To The Grave and synthwave-infused black metal from Nighted. 

As ever, you'll find a handy playlist at the bottom of the page with the latest releases from each of these bands for your listening pleasure, so stick it on good and loud and let us know which new bands are exciting you most at the moment! 

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“In the beginning, we had a problem with legitimacy,” says Skáld founder and producer Christophe Voisin-Boisvinet. It’s a curious position he and his ever changing entourage have found themselves in: racking up nearly a quarter of a million sales of their first two albums and more than 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, yet almost entirely overlooked by the pagan folk scene to which they ostensibly belong. 

“We weren’t really taken that seriously as French people playing this music,” Christophe explains. “We’d signed to a subsidiary of Universal, so some people thought we were a bit opportunistic, and we’ve needed some time to prove that we are absolutely sincere.” 

Whether or not Skáld’s latest album, Huldufólk – recorded in a converted 11th-century troglodyte chapel – convinces the doubters, it’s guaranteed to make them even more of a global phenomenon. More immediate, Huldufólk’s primitive grooves are more strident than their relatively aloof peers’, while its deep sense of ritualism, rhythm and forward motion finds the most seamless balance between the ancient and the modern yet. 

Huldufólk’ is Old Norse for ‘the hidden people’, and for all Skáld’s relative accessibility, it’s the most arcane of sources and legends that provide Christophe’s main inspiration – from 11th-century Icelandic texts to folkloric creatures existing at the far edge of our senses. 

“What I wanted to refer to on the album,” says Christophe, “is something all of us have felt at one time: walking through a forest or approaching a rock, you feel some kind of presence, or just some kind of odd feeling. In olden times, people were more familiar with this feeling. Today, we try to convince ourselves this feeling doesn’t exist, but my ambition is to feel these small daily expressions of something like magic, something that can bring us closer to the universe and also to the Earth we inherit.” Jonathan Selzer 

Sounds Like: Richly layered, soundtrackworthy Norse rites finding symmetry between poise and abandon
For Fans Of: Wardruna, Eivør, The Hu
Listen To: Ljósálfur


A declining economy, the proliferation of fake news, the climate change emergency – it’s fair to say this generation has inherited its fair share of challenges, and nowhere is that more apparent than on Congratulations, the second full-length album from Denmark-based hardcore bruisers, Eyes. 

Opening with Generation L (the ‘L’ stands for ‘Loser’) and barely letting up across 30 minutes and 10 tracks, Congratulations derives its title from the rise of self-aggrandising conspiracy theorists. Frontman Victor Kaas became interested in the subject after watching 2007 documentary Zeitgeist: The Movie

“I always thought it was tragic that people would subscribe to conspiracy theories, but it was also a huge source of entertainment to read these outlandish worldviews,” he says from a studio in Copenhagen. “They used to be on the fringes of society, but during the pandemic I would see these crazy conspiracy theories on Facebook and it would become hostile very quickly. The title is me congratulating them on being dickheads, basically!’” 

Congratulations is as discordant as it is sardonic, but hope is to be found in even the bleakest circumstances. When asked what he thinks people can do to effect change, Victor gives an empathetic answer. “We need to throw away the notions of success that we’ve been taught, focus less on individuality and more on community,” he explains. “In an ever-worsening world, the best thing we can do is be kind to each other and do the things we love to the best of our ability.” Remfry Dedman

Sounds Like: An acerbic whirlwind of off-kilter riffs and throat-shedding vocals with a socio-political edge
For Fans Of: Every Time I Die, Dead Cross, God Mother
Listen To: Congratulations

To The Grave

“When deathcore first started, death metal and hardcore were oil and water,” reflects To The Grave vocalist Dane Evans. “It was ahead of its time, ahead of everyone’s taste. We want to capture that feeling, subvert the expectations.” 

In keeping with that spirit, the Aussie hard-hitters are twisting deathcore into something far more experimental and vital, and new album Director’s Cuts is a chainsaw-wielding horrorshow of brutal breakdowns and antagonistic vocals. While tracks foam at the mouth, their guttural sound contains a more compassionate message than one might expect from a band of their intensity: they are addressing what they see as an emergency, serving as a mouthpiece for living things that can’t defend themselves. 

As Dane puts it: “We don’t fuck with animals here.” They definitely don’t beat around the bush - just watch the gut-wrenching process of a human corpse being made into burgers in the Axe Of Kindness video and you’ll get the message. 

“I used to do a lot of extreme street activism, but this is a far better vehicle, it reaches far more people” Dane tells us. “When we started, it seemed it was cool to not be compassionate. I fucking hate that. That’s what our band is for. Heavy bands will sometimes write dogshit lyrics about shocking, offensive things - we want to turn things around and make sure that people do speak up about the right things.” Emily Swingle

Sounds Like: Gnashing, untameable deathcore that dares to bite back
For Fans Of: Slaughter To Prevail, Brand of Sacrifice, Spite
Listen To: Cut Off The Head


Sometimes you've just got to call a spade a spade. Ivo Henzi’s new band, Nighted, sound like Emperor watching a very popular Netflix series. “The synthwave, when you watch Stranger Things? It draws you in,” he says. “Just the atmospheric aura.”

Ivo’s not an Eddie Munson wannabe, though. Since 2003, the Swiss multiinstrumentalist has manoeuvred through black metal with his solo project, Forest Of Fog. He also spent more than a decade on guitar with folk metallers Eluveitie, before departing alongside two other members in 2016. “I was playing the same music for 12 years,” he says. “It’s gonna get tiring.” 

The ex-Eluveiteam built a new band, Cellar Darling, and Ivo got pally with their live keyboardist, Marc Petralito. When Covid hit, they took things further – it beat baking sourdough. Marc brings authentic Hammond organ, electronic jitters, the sheen; Ivo’s got that Ihsahn rasp, the frostbitten tremolo. Nighted’s debut, Absence, is as cinematic and danceable as it is furious. “My other bands are all in a certain framework,” says Ivo. “This is something I was missing. Just doing music for fun. Alec Chillingworth

Sounds Like: Second-wave Norwegian black metal scoring a cyberpunk thriller
For Fans Of: Emperor, Thorns, Dimmu Borgir
Listen To: Aeons

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Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.