Over the past 20 years, heavy metal has been experiencing fascinating growth. It is over these years that we’ve started to see not only who the genre’s new headliners are, but also how the sound of heavy metal is evolving.
As the genre evolves, we are starting to see unique and captivating presentations of heaviness; whether we are talking mainstream or underground metal, there are more artists making daring and experimental decisions. From exciting approaches to technical performances to surreal and imaginative blends of sound, heavy music is expanding in wonderful ways. Along with this growth, we are seeing lots of people who used to not listen to heavy music now becoming fans of the genre (thanks to certain acts).
When it comes to those newer bands leading the genre toward a bright and awesome future, here are the 10 more important bands in metal today.
Yes, we have to talk about Ghost. When you think about the more modern heavy metal bands drawing in massive crowds and catching the attention of outsiders, Ghost is near the top of the list. Over the course of their nearly 20-year career, the band has only gained more popularity, their music making for an exciting blend of metal and classic rock. For a lot of younger folks, Ghost is their KISS – representing one of the most theatrically awesome bands you can see today.
Spiritbox has come a long way since their Iwrestledabearonce days, for now, they are one of the biggest up-and-coming bands in mainstream metal. With their incredible blend of djenty metal and poppy atmospheres, Spiritbox offers younger metalheads a thrilling blend of sound that is both excitingly heavy, but also captivating and meditative. It is a unique fusion that serves to be entertaining, as well as inviting to those who are not overly familiar with metal.
It’s fair to say that Lorna Shore is one of the bands that has helped to revitalize the deathcore genre. Along with deathcore offering an array of musical qualities, it can also act as a springboard – eventually guiding folks toward death metal and such. The thing is though, Lorna Shore is already such a technically and creatively fascinating band, their latest release making for one of the most epic-sounding albums to come out of metal in some time.
There’s a lot of amazing heavy music happening today, but there’s something happening big time in the hardcore space– and one of the most important bands in that scene is Philedpelphia’s Jesus Piece. The band delivers crushing metallic hardcore and seeing them live is one hell of a startling and frenzied experience. Earlier this year the band released a new record, …So Unknown, and it’s one of the most brutally heavy albums of the year, hands down.
Sleep Token’s stunning blend of atmospheric pop meets doom metal has brought numerous new listeners into the heavy metal fold. There is a remarkable level of heavy meditative qualities in their music, which offers a powerful listening experience for old heads and newcomers alike.
Another band that is also important to check out within the hardcore space is Zulu. They not only make kick-ass music, but they also use their art to speak to societal issues, particularly speaking about racism and the bigotry Black people face in society. Zulu is a profound creative force that utilizes the strengths of powerviolence, soul, and hardcore to shed light on extremely important topics, making them one of the most emotionally intense bands in the scene.
Bring Me the Horizon has considerably evolved since their early deathcore days. Similar to Ghost, the band has cemented itself as one of heavy metal’s biggest headliners. They represent one of the amazing and interesting shifts taking place in the metal scene – how metal artists are beginning to incorporate more abundant pop and electronic elements into their music. Without a doubt, Bring Me the Horizon is one of the bands most responsible for further elevating metal’s mainstream appeal.
Liturgy’s Transcendental Black Metal has had a remarkable impact on the genre. Haela Ravenna Hunt-Hendrix‘s approach to revitalizing metal has blossomed into extraordinary takes on technical performances and creative blends within heavy music. As Liturgy continues to expand the sonic template of metal, it is likely they will inspire even more acts to redefine what heavy music means.
If you are more interested in metal that is purely guttural and savage AF, then look no further than Sanguisugabogg. In general, this new wave of hardcore-inspired death metal is incredible, but among the bands that really stand out to us, Sanguisugabogg is at the top. While already brutal-sounding as hell, the band has delivered one of the heaviest albums to come out of death metal in some time – that record being 2023’s Homicidal Ecstasy. There is a reason that Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher thanks Sanguisugabogg for “keeping death metal alive.”
Last but not least is another one of hardcore’s biggest modern acts – Knocked Loose. The band is responsible for inspiring a new generation of extreme heaviness as well as introducing a whole new generation of listeners to the sonic and emotional power that hardcore has to offer. They recently blew away the audience at this year’s Coachella, and the signs only show that Knocked Loose is going to get bigger.