Mastodon are one of the top American heavy metal acts of the last two decades, marrying complicated guitar riffs with clean production and vocals: Perfect for those who love heavy music but could stand less screaming. Fans of the band may remember their impossibly nerdy "High Road" music video (complete with geeks live action role playing, or as it's better known, LARPing). The Atlanta group's sense of humor comes through again in the video for their fantastic single, "The Motherload." There's so much twerking it gives both Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj a run for their money, all while the long-haired boys shred. Strange—but great—stuff.
Godflesh, and the project's mastermind Justin Broadrick, are known for combining all things dark wave, industrial and metal into haunting goth work, usually slow-moving and methodical. "New Dark Ages" is the lead single from the band's first album in 13 years, A World Lit Only by Fire. There's almost a cadence-like feel to the song, with Broadrick creating these horrifying Nine Inch Nails-esque landscapes on the brink of war. Take a deep breath and press play.
There's a reason the scariest moments in the horror flicks play with silence or static. The slow consistency of it does all but match the viewer's speeding heart rate, creating psychic imbalance. Pharmakon, the one-woman noise project of Margaret Chardiet, operates in that terrifying space, building layers of fear. It might not be metal in the traditional sense, but it's equally as menacing.
Electric Wizard shared their first single "SadioWitch" from their recent album Time to Die a month ago, and when the record officially dropped, we couldn't help but find ourselves returning to that tumultuous track. The band traffics in the sounds of classic metal—if you're a Black Sabbath fan, look no further! After releasing a very-NSFW video (we'll spare you the gory, GORY details), "SadioWitch" has been getting a lot of attention from all over the metal community.
Take an iconic Japanese noise-metal musician (Merzbow) and have him record an album with a punk band (Full of Hell), and you get two-minute masterpieces. "Blue Litmus" is one of the best examples of this: It feels like metal for people who are much more invested in Black Flag than Metallica.
True metalheads know the genre often ventures into folk territory, iconic records feature half-ballads of heartbreaking weight. Menace Ruine's "Red Sulphur" thrives in this territory. Haunting female vocals hover over horror flick synth, shaking with oscillating fervor. At times, it feels like something out of The Craft or your father's '70s freak folk collection. Either way, it's pretty goth without the mall, metal without the screams. A welcoming gateway drug for those new to the music.
When metal isn't hellish and hot, it's icy cold. Darkspace embrace this, playing music that is often somber and slow moving. Their songs are always long; it's as if they treat their tracks like film scores, meant to be digested all at once. That's the story of "Dark 4.18," a massive, almost half-hour long song. Listen if you dare!
Blut Aus Nord are one of the most iconic industrial black metal bands of the last couple of years, known for their carefully crafted sonic sludge. "Paien" is the French band's latest effort, the lead single from their massive Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry full-length. Think dueling guitars, sweeping drum machines and ferocious hollers. Not for the faint of heart.