There has certainly been no shortage of manic chord progressions and emotional vocals in heavy metal this year, and we have just recently found our way through the first half of 2015.
While the best material may be yet to come, so far we have paid witness to new singles from established heavyweights such as Marilyn Manson, Queensryche and Lamb of God. Those three bands represent a trio of different spectrums within the metal community, and there’s more to be found in our latest countdown.
Music Enthusiast has compiled ten ferocious and engaging selections from across the plane of heavy metal which have found their way to the surface.
Leigh Kakaty closely resembles the snarling approach that Scott Weiland groaned throughout Velvet Revolver‘s ‘Contraband’ album on this anthemic number from Pop Evil‘s upcoming effort, ‘Up.’ The track is propelled by brooding slides and the dueling guitar harmonies of Nick Fuelling and Dave Grahs, which eventually collides with a slightly melodic refrain. It’s a fine presentation of energetic alternative rock which kicks off this rundown.
Heavy metal veterans Stryper have had more than three decades to develop a cohesive songwriting chemistry, and the band makes the most of those years on the blissfully harmonic “Yahweh.” Just as the listener begins to become lost among the dizzying vocal melodies, the devastating rhythm guitar work of Oz Fox grounds the song in drop-tuned heavy metal territory. This is the first listen from Stryper’s new album ‘Fallen,’ and it’s one hell of an introduction.
“Mephistopheles of Los Angeles”
Blues rock territory was the destination which shock rock icon Marilyn Manson set out for during the making of this year’s ‘The Pale Emperor,’ and what he achieved is a proud unification of past angst with a straightforward, no-holds-barred departure into the realm of hard rock. It’s through selections such as “Mephistopheles of Los Angeles” that Manson reasserts his prowess while embodying the persona of a westernized version of the Faust character of legend.
“When the Stillness Comes”
Slayer remain determined to progress forward despite the loss of founding member Jeff Hanneman. The forthcoming ‘Repentless’ is the band’s first album since Hanneman’s death in 2013, and shows the thrash metal forerunners remaining true to their craft while delivering crushing chord progressions and percussion fills. Lead vocalist Tom Araya is particularly in fine form on “When the Stillness Comes.” The frontman can be found nailing spine-chilling growls while laying out the song’s concrete bass lines.
Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti found an expansion in his status as a hard rock guitarist upon breaking out into his own at the helm of Tremonti, a thrash metal unit of his own design. The band welcomed Wolfgang Van Halen into the fold as bassist and backup vocalist prior to the writing process for their sophomore installment. These sessions proved to be so fruitful that two complete albums were formed in the process, and the first, ‘Cauterize,’ found it’s way onto the shelves earlier this year. Songs such as “Another Heart” feature the members of Tremonti kicking on all cylinders while formulating aggressive yet melodic heavy metal.
“No Way Out”
Bullet for My Valentine
Whether it was on part of the fans or the members themselves, the pressure was placed on Welsh collective Bullet for My Valentine to have a follow-up to 2013’s ‘Temper Temper’ prepared in time for the launch of their summer run alongside Slipknot. The excitement from dedicated listeners was understandably sizable when word that the band was in the studio this past February recording new material, and Bullet for My Valentine followed through with the announcement that their fifth album ‘Venom’ will be released this August. In advance, fans have been offered “No Way Out,” an assertive rocker complete with high energy riffs and in-your-face vocals that doesn’t take the time to apologize. Not that we would want to them to anyway.
“Arrow of Time”
Followers of the progressive metal group Queensryche have been waiting for their sophomore album featuring lead vocalist Todd La Torre almost since the release of their 2013 self-titled release. The appetite for new material was just recently quenched with their new single “Arrow of Time,” the first song from Queensryche’s fifteenth album ‘Condition Human.’ Sonically speaking, the track conjures references to the style found on such classic installments as ‘Rage For Order’ and ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ while keeping one foot firmly planted in the present.
Lamb of God
Richmond collective Lamb of God have been just as excited to release selections from their new album ‘VII: Sturm und Drang’ as fans have been willing to accept them. The eighth record isn’t due for release until later this week (July 24), and listeners have already been treated to four songs from the forthcoming effort. There is a clear highlight in our opinion, and we’re leaning towards the accelerating “Erase This.” Wild artificial harmonics, blistering bass and the authoritative stance of frontman Randy Blythe are serve to the track’s benefit.
“Jekyll and Hyde”
Five Finger Death Punch
Groove metal heavyweights Five Finger Death Punch took a unique approach when it came to the formation of their latest single “Jekyll and Hyde,” the first number from their upcoming album ‘Got Your Six.’ The track features voice mail messages from lead vocalist Ivan L. Moody to guitarist Jason Hook, which went on to comprise such lyrics as “You’ve got rocks in your head/ I can hear them rolling ’round/ You can say that you’re about it, but you’re always falling down/ Is there a method to your madness?” We could question the reasoning behind Moody’s messages, but it’s easier to instead be caught in the formidable performance found throughout.
“Thunder and Lightning”
If AC/DC are the most inextinguishable force in rock and roll, then that same title should go to Motorhead for their contributions to heavy metal. Considering the recent roller coaster-like health decline/recovery of mainman Lemmy Kilmister, no one could blame these veteran rockers if they chose to take a leave of absence and step away from the spotlight. Although understandable, that just isn’t the way that Motorhead does business; instead, the band will release their 22nd studio album ‘Bad Magic‘ later this August. Just as Motorhead is seemingly impenetrable, so it their distinctive approach on the ferocious “Thunder and Lightning.” The band’s roaring guitar work is alive and well, as is Lemmy’s instantly recognizable growl on this heart racing anthem. It’s through performances such as these that we’re staying at the edge of our seats to see what else this year has in store for heavy metal.