Well, we didn't see that coming. Without so much of a whisper of new activity, Metallica went and dropped a new single, heading up one of the most stacked weeks of new releases in a few months.
Yes, it might be starting to look a lot like Christmas, but there's still plenty of new music to get excited about before Santa does his rounds. Last week's vote saw goth kings Host (a new project from Paradise Lost's Nick Holmes and Greg Mackintosh) take home the crown for best new song, while South Africa's Chaos Doctrine pulled ahead of metal heroes Rammstein for an admirable second place finish.
It's all to play for this week, however. Alongside Metallica we've got new music from Motorhead (yes, we were surprised by that too!), Bury Tomorrow, Beyond The Black and Delain. There are also fresh new faces in the form of doom-merchants Margarita Witch Cult and St. Aurora, so remember to cast your vote below and let us know who your favourite is. Merry Christmas!
Metallica - Lux Æterna
Full speed or nothin’! So goes Metallica’s surprise new single Lux Æterna, metal’s biggest band howling out the gates with a song that seems to chuck back to their earliest days, recapturing some of that garage (and Garage Inc.) magic in the process. Continuing the run of incendiary pace they rediscovered on 2016’s Hardwired… To Self Destruct!, Lux Æterna suggests Metallica’s new album 72 Seasons is going to be another blast of old school brilliance from San Francisco’s finest.
Motorhead - Bullet In Your Brain
When Lemmy died in December 2015, so too did one of the greatest rock’n’roll bands to ever walk the planet. So imagine our surprise to see a ‘new’ Motorhead single Bullet In Your Brain popping up this week. Recorded as part of the sessions for Motorhead’s swansong Bad Magic, Bullet In Your Brain is certainly rough around the edges, but still captures that greasy magic that made Motorhead such a formidable force.
Bury Tomorrow - Boltcutter
Bury Tomorrow continue a run of absolutely colossal singles ahead of upcoming seventh album The Seventh Sun with Boltcutter. Much like Life (Paradise Denied) and Death (Ever Colder), Boltcutter catches the band at their most anthemic, its propulsive riffs going off like a runaway freight train while the chorus begs for shredded-throat singalongs. 2023 is looking like the year Bury Tomorrow will truly transcend the bonds of metalcore to reach new realms entirely.
Katatonia - Austerity
Despite its title, Austerity sees Katatonia show little restraint in exploring the many facets of their sound, fusing gothic/doom melancholia, prog metal splendour and even notes of electronica in a transfixing synthesis. Shimmering riffs give way to blaring notes and swelling symphonic elements, bookended by little flourishes that sound like they could come from fellow Swedes Opeth around Sorceress. It’s an ambitious combination, but pulled off with a typical sense of brilliance that makes the whole thing sound flawless, an exciting indication of what to expect when Sky Void Of Stars arrives in January.
Obituary - Dying Of Everything
The title-track of Obituary’s upcoming 11th studio album, Dying Of Everything harkens back to the early days of death metal when the lines between DM and thrash were murky at best and more often non-existent. Going off at 100mph and propelled by John Tardy’s iconic snarl, the track is all about embracing old school nastiness whilst infusing the template with fresh life and vigour. The DM legends even find a way to slip a bit of doom into the mid-way point.
Delain - Beneath
A few months on from debuted their new line-up with The Quest And The Curse, Delain have now revealed that new album Dark Waters will be with us in February, . While not as heavy as Quest, Beneath still shows Delain are happily forging ahead with a darker sound for their upcoming release, even the ever-present keys lending a sense of foreboding theatricality.
Brothers Of Metal - Beserkir
Two years since they broke into the top 10 of the German music charts with the epic Emblas Saga, Sweden’s Brothers Of Metal are offering the first taste for what comes next. Beserkir moves away from the symphonic/power metal elements of their past record for darker and heavier realms, evoking the likes of Manowar, Helloween and Blind Guardian with its driving riffs and massive vocal melodies that drill right down to the magic at the heart of classic heavy metal.
Beyond The Black - Dancing In The Dark
Brothers Of Metal aren’t the only band championing classic heavy metal this week. With their self-titled album just a month away, Beyond The Black’s Dancing In The Dark leans in on the triumphant, invigorating bombast of heavy metal’s golden years, Dancing In The Dark soaring with Jennifer Haben’s powerful vocal whilst moving away from their usual symphonic elements.
Margarita Witch Cult - Sacrifice
Hailing from Birmingham, the Black Sabbath influences are strong on Margarita Witch Cult’s new single Sacrifice. Featuring members of Table Scraps and Mutes, MWC offer a fuzzed-up vision of classic doom metal in the vein of Sabbath, Electric Wizard and Witchfinder General, chucking in some cosmic void-gazing for good measure. There’s no word on a debut album as yet, but this single has us suitably electrified.
St. Aurora - Hold The Line
With a sound pitched somewhere Avenged Sevenfold, Billy Talent and Ice Nine Kills, Finnish newcomers St. Aurora combine theatricality and insidiously catchy melodies in energetic new single Hold The Line. Considering the song concerns mental health and lack of access to medical treatments, Hold The Line is surprisingly fun and catchy, hitting the sweet-spot of insidious entertainment with gusto.