There is so much metal to choose from today. With there being so many subgenres, the modern metalhead has quite the musical selection to enjoy. With so much heavy music existing in the world, we wanted to put together a feature that highlights several awesome acts you should be checking out. We compiled a list of 20 incredible heavy music artists, primarily focusing on relatively younger acts (and those you are probably not going to hear on the radio).
These acts are not only building upon the conventions of metal, but also elevating and transforming the music, redefining what metal is capable of being. A wide range of subgenres are covered via this list, for you’ll find acts from death, thrash, black, doom, noise, powerviolence, and more. You may know several of these acts already, but we also hope that, through this feature, you come to find new bands and artists to champion and enjoy.
200 Stab Wounds
Do you like music that captures a truly gruesome horror movie vibe? Do you want to bang your head really fucking hard and be grossed out all at once? Then 200 Stab Wounds have you covered! With multiple releases under their belt, these guys have more than proven themselves to be a remarkable force of brutal death metal. Their latest release is that of 2021’s Slave to the Scalpel.
The music of Vile Creature blends ethereal with haunting; there is as much beauty and serenity as there is discomfort and eeriness to the band’s music. Throughout everyone of their compositions, this duo offer listeners surreal musical landscapes – offering visceral listening experiences of sensory detail. There is a remarkable dream-like quality to their work – atmospheres that can be both meditative and ferocious sounding. Their latest studio record is 2020’s Glory! Glory! Apathy Took Helm!.
Do you like your thrash wild and fun? Then start listening to Lich King! These thrashers know how to party, offering fans a killer variety of crossover jams. They have released a plethora of records, with their most recent being 2017’s The Omniclasm.
On the complete opposite side of fun is Primitive Man – for this band will fuck you up. When we talk doom metal – not the kind that relies on stoner-like vibes – but the kind of doom meant to encompass dread and despair: No one does it better than these guys. The music of Primitive Man unleashes pure chaos, blending the weight and destructive sonic qualities of both doom and noise. This is pure musical horror. Check out their latest EP, Insurmountable.
If you grew up with Nintendo video games and happen to also enjoy black metal, we have a real treat for you here. Gonemage takes the vibrancy of chiptune music and mutates it into a chaotic blend of electronic black metal. Harsh vocals and aggressive instrumentation come together for a fascinating form of music that is exciting and innovative. Check out their latest release, Master of Disgust….
Speaking of black metal, let’s keep the fun going. Devil Master just released a new record this year (titled Ecstasies of Never Ending Night), and it is fucking kick ass! Gothic and creepy, yet thrilling, the band’s new record is perfect for those of us who love the night. If you’re in the mood for music that incorporates tones of raw black metal and melodic, gothic sounding melodies – Devil Master have you covered.
One cannot define the art of Lingua Ignota (nor is it easy too). With her debut LP All Bitches Die, she presented a work that wove together elements of death metal, noise, and classical music; with her follow-up Caligula, she expanded upon those elements, building more so upon the classical component to create a work of heartbreaking and profound depth. With her latest record Sinner Get Ready, she presents a work of unsettling folk horror. When it comes to the music of Lingua Ignota, she will always catch you by surprise.
Full of Hell
Another band that continues to expand upon their craft is that of Full of Hell – easily one of today’s most chaotic sounding bands. What makes them so chaotic you say? Well, a lot of it has to do with their barraging display of instrumentation, their maddening and brilliant fusion of genre, and their relentless commitment to nightmarish atmosphere. You only have to listen to their latest record, Garden of Burning Apparitions, to get a small taste of how genius this band is.
Speaking of brilliance, we have to talk about Mizmor. A one man act that provides stunning compositions of doom metal; dream-like, haunting, yet all around beautiful. The work of Mizmor is breathtaking, and we encourage you to check out his latest release Wit’s End.
Lamp of Murmur
Black metal with a lovely magical quality to its atmosphere. Dreamy and creepy, soothing and exhilarating, Lamp of Murmur is an all around poetic and enchanting act. You can check out their latest release, Submission And Slavery, now.
If you want something that isn’t enchanting one bit and will rip your fucking face off – there’s Terminal Nation. This death metal and powerviolence act are all about getting remarkably pissed off and calling out the evil, bigotry, and corruption taking place in this world. Terminal Nation are some of the coolest guys in the scene today, and are always stirring up bad ass mosh pits wherever they play. As of recently, Terminal Nation just released a split with Japan’s very own Kruelty.
Speaking of music that’s all about fighting against injustice, Dawn Ray’d is one of the most pulse-pounding acts in all of modern black metal. With a drive to fight fascism, Dawn Ray’d uses incredibly aggressive music to speak out against the horrors taking place in this world. You should check out their 2019 studio album, Behold Sedition Plainsong.
If you are someone looking for some killer old-school death metal vibes (along with some lyrical nods to the videogame Doom), then you should be listening to Undeath. With two studio albums under their belt at the time of this writing, Undeath have easily become one of the biggest acts in the New Wave of American Death Metal. Earlier this year, the band released a new record, titled It’s Time…To Rise From The Grave. We also had the opportunity to interview their singer Alex Jones.
If you need even more gruesome death metal in your ever expanding death metal playlist though, FULCI is absolutely fucking rad. With their name paying tribute to the great Italian horror director Lucio Fulci, the band have created multiple albums that honor the late director’s work. This is pure horror movie atmosphere that gets the blood pumping. The band’s most recent album is that of 2021’s Exhumed Information.
Okay, so if there were one band to rival that of our friends in Primitive Man, it would be Body Void. Through their blend of doom and noise, there are very few who can reach the level of anger and sonic devastation that this band offer. With their most recent album, 2021’s Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth, Body Void offer four songs of pure rage – a rage capable of wrecking your eardrums.
Skeleton provide an incredible rush of aggressive blacken roll (blending that of black metal and rock and roll). Though Skeleton can get a little ominous with their material (like with that of 2021’s Ordainment Of Divinity), their fusion of genres provide compositions that exude rowdy energy. We encourage checking out their self-titled album.
If you are in need of even more gross death metal, then Japan’s Pharmacist should do the job getting you sick. Along with their presentation of ballistic sounding instrumentals, this band is known for some repulsive lyrics. An absolutely ferocious death metal band that fans of the genre will love. Their latest release is that of Flourishing Extremities On Unspoiled Mental Grounds (which came out in 2022).
Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre
But maybe you prefer music that is perfect for a party – something that captures the vibe of watching some wrestling, cracking open some PBRs, and downing an extra cheesy pizza. That is the atmosphere that Chicago’s very own Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre provides to listeners. This wonderful group delivers release after release of extreme fun and aggression (perfect for all those looking to mosh and thrive). We recommend checking out their album ‘Til Death Do Us Party.
With the act’s first two studio albums leaning more into doom, Spirit Adrift took on a major shift with their latest release (being that of Enlightened In Eternity). Regardless of what record you check out first, this band is the definition of epic; from grandiose melodies to exciting atmospheres, there is a thrilling aura to their material. Enlightened In Eternity is very much a record that offers a fresh take on the heavy metal sound, which is perfect for those looking for something that embraces a classic style of heavy music (but also offers something new).
This is ethereal doom meant to move. The instrumentation and lyrics work together to evoke a plethora of powerful emotional auras; King Woman has the means to move one to tears, to inspire strength, and to guide one to a place of meditation. Absolutely check out the band’s latest record, Celestial Blues.
Again, while everyone one of these acts are amazing and extremely talented, they also represent a small pool of fascinating bands and artists working within the world of metal and heavy music today. Do you already know some of these acts? Which ones are you listening to already? Anybody here new to you that caught your attention?