Friday, July 12, 2024

Discover the top 10 most important rock and metal bands right now

The rock, metal and hardcore scene is as popular as it has ever been in 2023 just see the sales for the biggest-ever Download Festival if you are in any doubt. but there is a whole crop of bands currently out there either pushing the boundaries of the genre by blending old and new styles to create something truly unique or reinvigorating well-trodden ground by carrying the torch of the bands that came before them. In this list, we will be digging a little deeper to uncover some up-and-comers that you may not have heard about and some well-established names that have been out there doing their thing for a while that deserve your attention so let’s get into it.

Number one on this list has to be one of the biggest rising stars in the UK scene – Malevolence has blazed a trail since their debut album 2013’s Reign Of Suffering perfectly blending the technical riffs of metal and the sheer brutality hardcore. Their lyrics range from powerfully uplifting to the real-world experience of their lives growing up in Sheffield. It seems they have had slow but very steady success seeing them going from small venues all over the UK to now having played across the globe with successful shows winning over crowds wherever they go – to now finally embarking on their first UK headlining tour in 2023. They have been slowly getting bigger with every release and with their hotly anticipated album Malicious Intent which dropped last year they truly stepped up their game with their songwriting and branching out with their sound, showing crowds across the world that the UK is still a powerhouse when it comes to metal.

For fans of: Terror, Lamb Of God, Hatebreed, Crowbar.

Next, we look to Australia. The guys in Apate are reinventing the wheel of nu-metal to truly stand out in the Aus metal scene. Formed in Brisbane in 2014 by five friends with a common goal of creating something unique amongst their peers, it was with the release of their most recent album RAGE that they truly pushed the envelope of their sound, combining metallic hardcore with nu-metal elements from Slipknot and Deftones. Just listening to tracks such as ‘Underneath My Skin,’ you can hear their influences on full display while still sounding fresh. They announced they had signed with Human Warfare label (run by none other than Andy Marsh, guitarist of Australian deathcore giants Thy Art Is Murder) and have already played a slew of shows with bands like Born Of Osiris, Chelsea Grin, Thy Art Is Murder and Alpha Wolf – just to name a few! With two tours already under their belts for 2023, they are getting back to the drawing board to create new music before finishing off this year with more tours. In my opinion, this genre of metal is making a big comeback. It’s hard to ignore and these guys should be at the top of your list to check out. They have big things ahead in their future.

For fans of: Slipknot, Korn, Deftones, Darknet.

With all the warranted hype surrounding Lorna Shore over the past year or so, fans of Deathcore everywhere are clamouring for more. If this is you, Shadow Of Intent should be your next port of call. In my opinion, they are an undeniable powerhouse that not only scratches the indelible itch of breakdowns and guttural vocals but also leans more into the world of Dimmu Borgir with their atmospheric arrangements and songwriting.

Formed as a Halo-themed studio project in 2013, they have opted for a DIY approach to the music industry by self-releasing four albums that build off each other. With their last album, Elegy, released last year, they solidified their spot as top contenders in modern metal. Tracks like ‘Saurian King’ showcase their creativity and are an absolute must for fans of extreme music everywhere – not just Deathcore. With their latest single ‘The Migrant,’ it is clear they are showing no signs of slowing down.

For fans of: Lorna Shore, Dimmu Borgir, Job For A Cowboy, Whitechapel.

“A dream to some….a nightmare to others.” Let me introduce you to Asomvel, a band that has been together in some form or another since their formation in 1993. They are a three-piece band from the UK notorious for excessive volume and high-octane stage shows. Unfortunately, frontman Jay-Jay Winters was tragically killed in a road accident a year after they released their debut record. Although devastated, co-founding guitarist Lenny knew he had to continue in tribute to Jay-Jay’s determined spirit and recruited his nephew Ralph on bass and vocals.

Now it would be easy to make the dig that they are just a Motorhead cover band, but that is just the tip of the iceberg for their sound. Their raucous brand of rock and roll sees them use their influences with a fresh twist to create something that has rarely been attempted in the rock/metal world. That is built off one of the most successful and influential bands ever in the genre, which sets these guys apart. Do yourself a favour and check out their latest single ‘Outside The Law’ to get a feel for how truly great these guys have the potential to be.

For fans of: Motorhead, The Wildhearts, Girlschool, W.A.S.P.

Now, the Land of the Rising Sun is notorious for producing some of the best and most forward-thinking bands in the genre. Honestly, there are too many to mention but if you are a fan of power metal, these ladies are a must-hear. LOVEBITES is an all-female band from Tokyo, Japan formed in 2016. They dove straight in by releasing an EP and their debut shortly after. They have been gaining quite a following and even garnering international attention by picking up a Metal Hammer Golden Gods award for Best Band. Their music is heavily influenced by the classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal and German heavy/speed metal scene; much like Iron Maiden, Helloween, and Rage who are ever-present throughout their work.

The latest release of their fourth album Judgement Day is their highest-charting record to date hitting number five on the Japanese Billboard charts. They just seem to be hitting their stride and are well worth listening to!

For fans of: Iron Maiden, Helloween, Rage, Running Wild.

Taking a look now at Europe, there is no shortage of great bands in Sweden and Enforcer is leading the charge for the heavy metal revival known as the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal. Formed in 2004 in Arvika, Sweden, they released their debut album Into The Night in 2008. The moment I heard it, I was blown away. In my opinion, they haven’t put out a bad album and now have six albums to their name.

They blend the youthful fury and energy of Metallica’s debut Kill Em All with the influential stylings of the NWOBHM movement of the ’80s. Lyrically similar to Ronnie James Dio, they manage to paint a captivating picture for every song. Although on later albums such as Zenith and their brand new album Nostalgia, released on May 5th, 2023, they have explored a softer side to their sound; it does not diminish that this band is an absolute must for any metal fan and a welcome addition to your battle vest!

For fans of: Metallica, Tokyo Blade, Cauldron, Skull Fist.

This next group is quite new, but holy crap, what a band! A Pretext To Human Suffering from Mexico/Canada is a brutal technical death metal project in every sense of those words. I haven’t heard a band come out with such a bang in a long time. Formed in 2020, they have released an EP titled Rotting Sanctum and a string of increasingly heavy singles. Their lyrical content provides a reminder of the fragility of life and sanity while battling corruption and tackling news and social media – purveyors of lies that gaslight the masses into eternal despair!

The real standout to me, among other things, is drummer Marco Pitruzzella. You may have heard of him from his work with bands such as Waking The Cadaver, The Faceless, Vital Remains and Brain Drill, to name but a few. His work on their new album scheduled for release on May 26th via Reality Fade Records entitled Endless Cycle Of Suffering is just phenomenal. Every track is punishing from start to finish; this album is a must for any fans of the genre. They have a music video dropping in July and are going to hit the road in 2024. Head over and check them out; you will not regret it!

For fans of: Decapitated, Dying Fetus, Archspire, Aborted.

Back to the USA with this next band, Ground. They have the least monthly listeners on this list on Spotify, which is criminal. With over 10 years behind them and 5 albums under their belt, these modern grindcore masters deserve a lot more attention. They have plenty of similarities to the early days of grind with a heavy dose of punk and hardcore influences. With each of their albums, you can hear clear progression as they just get tighter and nastier with each release. Their latest album Habitual Self Abuse manages to cram 11 songs into a crazy 21 minutes full of twists and turns that keep you on your toes throughout. I honestly can’t recommend them enough for fans of Napalm Death, Nails, Misery Index, or Leng Tch’e.

Next up, we have Take Offence a crossover Thrash/Hardcore from Chula Vista, California. These guys are seriously worth checking out. They are not one of the biggest bands out there, but that is the point of this article. They seamlessly blend old-school with new-school. Ever since they released their debut album Tables Will Turn in 2011, they haven’t missed a beat; combining fast-paced thrash with hardcore sensibilities for all ages. With the rise of the hardcore scene in recent years, there are loads of bands vying for a position; however, Take Offence stands out from the crowd to me. If your heart has a Power Trip-shaped hole in it do yourself a favour and give their latest album Keep An Eye Out a spin. And if you’re in the US check them out on tour with Exhorder!

For fans of: Leeway, Suicidal Tendencies, Power Trip, Dr Living Dead.

Last but certainly not least, we finish up in the UK with Sylosis. These guys have been grinding it out in the UK underground since their formation in 2002. They are not newcomers by any stretch, and you have probably seen them playing at events like Bloodstock and Download. However, they have also been smashing up stages across the globe, playing with a who’s who of great bands over the years and releasing album after album of Bay Area thrash-inspired metal. In my opinion, they have stood head and shoulders above everyone else in the UK metal scene for years – every release getting better and more polished along the way.

Although frontman Josh Middleton is busy with his other job (a little band called Architects), he still goes back to where he started to put in hours touring new music. This summer, Sylosis will embark on Malevolence’s upcoming headlining tour as support – which is sure to be an absolute belter and a must-see for metalheads across the country. For me, Sylosis is one of the most important bands in metal at the moment.

For fans of: Trivium, Testament, Metallica, Revocation.

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