“I love that nobody knows who Sleep Token are!” These are the up-and-coming metal bands Corey Taylor thinks you should be listening to

Photos of Corey Taylor, Sleep Token and Code Orange in 2023
(Image credit: Corey Taylor: Pamela Littky | Sleep Token: Katja Ogrin/Redferns | Code Orange: Jason Squires/FilmMagic)

Corey Taylor has more opinions than his Slipknot bandmates have broken bones. The frontman isn’t nicknamed The Great Big Mouth for nothing, and he’s never been shy to share his thoughts on anything, from books and horror movies to St Anger

He doesn’t give a motherflipping gosh-darn, as is currently evident through his 2020s solo music. One thing he does take seriously, though, is the future of heavy metal. He’s constantly spotlighting up-and-coming bands, onboarding listeners with music that’ll be left once Slipknot retire, huffing dead crows behind the local bingo hall.

That said, let’s look at Number 8’s favourite acts from the past decade or so:

Metal Hammer line break

Sleep Token

Sleep Token’s sombre pop-metal has got TikTok sopping wet and sold out Wembley Arena in 10 minutes. Love or loathe ’em, these masked men are heavy music’s buzziest export since Babymetal.

“I’ll call them metal, but there [are] so many different levels and layers [to the music],” Corey told The Allison Hagendorf Show in 2023. “There’s pop elements, there’s jazz elements. I love the fact that nobody really knows who they are. I love the fact that they don’t want to be known.”


Turnstile are fucking amazing,” Corey told the NME in 2023. He’s not wrong. The Baltimore four-piece clambered from the hardcore scene in 2010 and sprinted somewhere else, cramming shoegaziness and indie into their shtick.

Turnstile’s third album, 2021’s Glow On, proved that they’re still hard as nails while sating mainstream ears. The result? Support slots for Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance, performances on late-night US talk shows and a beer-cup-crushing set at Glastonbury Festival.

Bad Omens

Bad Omens are great,” Corey told the NME, in the same breath as genuflecting before Turnstile. “There’s a whole new generation of bands that are starting to come up that are carrying the flag for heavy music.”

You can see why the Richmond quartet have captured Corey’s attention. Formed in 2015, their polished blend of catchy choruses, dreamy electronica and fleeting metalcore blasts share more than a chug or two with Sleep Token’s heavy/pop appeal. 

Code Orange

“Watching them made me wanna play!” Corey told Hammer in 2017. Despite forming in 2008, the Pittsburghers’ career kicked off proper in 2014, abandoning their former ‘Code Orange Kids’ moniker with I Am King.

Code’s gumptious gruel of industrial, hardcore, alternative and – later on – hip-hop has seen the band uncompromisingly smite milestone upon milestone: Grammy nominations, Times Square billboards, WWE appearances. Corey loves them so much, he managed to squeeze his neck into their 2018 track, The Hunt.

Knocked Loose

When the guy who screamed over (sic) calls your band “sick” on BBC Radio, you know you’re onto a good thing. 

Kentucky’s Knocked Loose have come a long way since forming in 2013. They became a meme three years later with Counting Worms: “arf arf”, and what have you. However, they were able to shirk that novelty by writing tooth-grindingly heavy, catchy metalcore tunes. They’ve even played Coachella and also count Billie Eilish among their fans. 


Given that Vended are fronted by Corey’s son, Griffin Taylor, it’d be weird if he didn’t name-drop them. Good thing they’re not shit, then. Vended’s nu metal stylings are clearly influenced by their fathers (drummer Simon Crahan has a more Clowny Slipknot dad), but they’ve also cloven their own path since 2018.

“I was never that good when I was his age – I was fucking awful!” Corey said of his son during the Life In The Stocks podcast in 2023.


“There’s this fantastic band called Ho99o9, which is like hip-hop/metal/hardcore,” Corey said during a BBC Radio 6 Music interview. “They dabble in so many genres and they’re so good!”

Ho99o9 are industrial, hip-hop and punk. They’re Odd Future meets Ministry, they’re Death Grips doing Black Flag, and they’ve been inducing head-scratchery since 2012. CMFT himself couldn’t help getting involved, guesting on Bite My Face and inviting the New Jersey duo aboard the Knotfest Roadshow tour in 2022. 

Rival Sons

When asked to name his favourite album of the 2010s, Corey minced no words. He picked Rival Sons’ second album, Pressure & Time, replete with enough Led Zeppelin-isms to warrant tersely-worded warnings from Jimmy Page.

“They dabble in so many different styles and they make it work so well, and they’re such an organic band,” he told Rolling Stone in 2019. “They’re probably my favourite band of the last ten years… or the last 15, really.”

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.