Many metalheads may think Metallica and Iron Maiden are what make our world go round, but heavy music is defined by its young guns. After all, if there’s no new generation to pass the torch to, then what’s even the point in carrying on? To help foster the future in a genre where most of the success is still being hoarded by olden icons, here are ten great new bands you need to pay attention to over the next year:
Formed out of the ashes of experimental metalcore rebels Iwrestledabearonce, Spiritbox is a less frenetic but far groovier outing from singer Courtney LaPlante and guitarist Mike Stringer. Their djent-flavoured malevolence has already amassed millions of hits on YouTube, providing a great springboard for their debut album, which is tentatively due early next year.t
For fans of: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Ithaca, Frontierer
After three years of demos and split EPs, it looks like UK math/grindcore nasties are set to make waves in 2021. Their debut album will arrive via Prosthetic Records in spring, following this year’s single, L’Appel Du Vide. Mixing savage grindcore with complex, clean-sung melodies, it’s an absolute rager if you like Dillinger Escape Plan and Rolo Tomassi.
Outside of Power Trip, there have been next to no bands making the world of thrash metal feel fresh and exciting lately. However, mysterious northerners Pest Control seem up for the challenge. Their 2020 demo was ten minutes of blistering riffs and all-killer-no-filler screeching that left us gagging for more – hopefully it’ll come next year.
For fans of: Pijn, Mono, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Cinematic post-rockers Bruit debuted back in 2018 with their double A-side Monolith and, although things have seemed quiet since, the Frenchmen are due a debut album next year. Expect magnificent crescendos, heart-wrenching cellos and enticing electronica beats from this intriguing new collective when the time comes in 2021.
Mercury Circle are the new side-project of Swallow The Sun singer Jaani Peuhu, maintaining the gothic drama of the death/doom nihilists but scaling it down to the realm of subdued synth rock. The captivating melodies and sombre strings of EP Dawn of Vitriol made it one of 2020’s best, so we can’t wait to see what they do next.
For fans of: Lamb Of God, Isis, The Ocean
As metalheads, we’re a species addicted to the art of powerful riffs. And few new bands have mastered the discipline as well as South Africans State Dependency. Whether it’s on their standalone track Bridges or 2020 demo Premonition, the guitar work is immaculately cutting and the percussion boasts an addictive bounce. We need more, and fast.
For fans of: Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry
The rock world was shocked at the loss of guitar god Eddie Van Halen this year. In November, son Wolfgang shared a moving tribute to his dad, the hard rock jam Distance. Using the moniker Mammoth WVH, the track predates Wolfgang’s impending debut solo album, slated for 2021. Whether the rest of the full-length will be this tear-jerking, only time will tell.
For fans of: Corrosion Of Conformity, Barishi, Orange Goblin
Urne are a fascinating blend of stoner rock with bleak black/doom, formed from the demise of underground favourites Hang The Bastard. 2018 EP Mountain Of Gold was a great start, frolicking in grandiose yet grimy riffs. Its four songs (one of which included a cameo from Architects’ Josh Middleton) felt like they were just scratching the surface of the bands’ capabilities, so their impending debut is a much-anticipated one.
For fans of: Mayhem, Immortal, Harakiri For The Sky
Underground black metal crew Khandra ended 2020 brilliantly when they signed to the Season Of Mist label – home to Rotting Christ, Solstafir and Abbath. The enviable deal follows a pair of EPs (All Is Of No Avail and There Is No Division Outside Existence), both of which are as savage as they are eerily melodic.
For fans of: L7, Korn, Cane Hill
Nu metal’s made a grand comeback and new bands like Cane Hill are doing better things with it than even most of their inspirations did. Wargasm are another example of that, blending the genre with in-your-face riot grrrl punk. They’ve already toured with Creeper and Holding Absence, so expect big things when full-length releases finally start dropping.