Born out of the bluesy rock of the late '60s and early '70s, with bands like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath often attributed to its origins, heavy metal is a genre that has consistently defied societal norms to carve out its own dark corner in the music world. With thunderous guitar riffs, growling vocals, and themes often exploring the depths of human experience, heavy metal has struck a chord with people looking for more than just another catchy tune. Fast-forward to today, and heavy metal isn't just surviving—it's thriving! It has produced numerous sub-genres and influenced countless other styles of music. In an era dominated by electronics and pop sounds, the call for authentic, heart-pounding metal is as strong as ever. Perhaps it's the genre's ability to tap into our deepest emotions, or maybe it's the sheer adrenaline rush it delivers. Either way, heavy metal is alive and kicking.
The following list of the best new metal bands is ordered from newest to oldest, with all of them taking root since 2000 and releasing new albums within the past 5 years. If you're a new metal fan, an older Black Sabbath metal-head, or just interested in learning about the genre, these are the best new metal bands that you should definitely be checking out.
Emerging from Sweden and cutting their first album in 2010, Ghost is like no other band in the metal scene, primarily due to their mysterious personas and theatrical live shows. Led by Tobias Forge, who assumes the identity of various characters like Papa Emeritus and Cardinal Copia, the band members are known as Nameless Ghouls, wearing matching, face-concealing costumes.
Musically, Ghost offers a blend of heavy metal with elements of classic rock, pop, and liturgical music. Their 2018 album "Prequelle" was a massive hit, featuring standout tracks like "Rats" and "Dance Macabre."
Their live shows are a spectacle, complete with elaborate stage designs that often resemble a dark church setting, enhancing their mysterious and somewhat blasphemous themes. Forge’s dramatic flair as a frontman brings an element of storytelling to each performance.
Ghost made headlines by winning a Grammy in 2016 for their song "Cirice", solidifying them as one of the best new metal bands that can’t be ignored.
2. Bullet for My Valentine
Bullet for My Valentine originated from Wales taking the metalcore scene by storm, and gaining international prominence with their debut album "The Poison". Songs like "All These Things I Hate" became anthems for a recent generations of metal fans.
BFMV excels in balancing melodic elements with aggressive guitar riffs and drumming. Their sound has evolved over the years, from the metalcore roots of their early days to a more straightforward heavy metal and hard rock approach in later albums.
In terms of live performances, Bullet for My Valentine is known for their intense energy and crowd interaction. Their shows often feature mosh pits, crowd surfing, and a relentless pace that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish.
The British metalcore band Architects are best known for confronting social issues head-on in their music. Originally formed in 2004 from Brighton, England, their sound is a mix of hardcore, metalcore, and a touch of progressive metal. Albums like "All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us" released in 2016 and "Holy Hell" in 2018 serve as testimonies to their in-depth explorations of societal flaws and personal grief.
The band faced adversity in 2016 with the passing of founding member and primary songwriter Tom Searle. Their subsequent work became a tribute to him, filled with emotional weight and complexity. On stage, Architects transform their raw emotions into compelling performances. They're one of the best new metal bands largely due to frontman Sam Carter, who is often noted for his unique vocal technique, blending aggressive screams and melodic clean sections.
In 2021, they scored a UK number one album with "For Those That Wish to Exist," which is not just a commercial milestone but also a testament to their deep-rooted fanbase and consistent musical evolution.
Sabaton is an extremely powerful new metal band from in Falun, Sweden, that has distinguished itself by focusing almost exclusively on historical wars and battles in their lyrics. Their 2014 album "Heroes" and the more recent "The Great War" from 2019 showcase this thematic focus perfectly.
Sabaton’s live performances are akin to a heavy metal history lesson. They often incorporate war imagery, including tanks and military attire, to create an immersive experience. Lead vocalist Joakim Brodén commands the stage with a powerful voice that matches the band's bombastic sound, laden with speedy guitar riffs and anthemic choruses.
Sabaton’s unique focus on historical events gives them a distinct identity in the metal scene. They've even partnered with historians to create a YouTube channel that delves into the stories behind their songs.
If you're looking for best new metal bands that pull from various sub-genres like metalcore, thrash, and progressive metal, you should definitely checkout Trivium. They gained recognition with their second album "Ascendancy," which featured fan-favorite tracks like "Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr."
Lead guitarist and vocalist Matt Heafy is a powerhouse, effortlessly shifting between clean vocals and guttural screams. When you go to a Trivium show, you're getting more than just a concert; you're getting a display of musical virtuosity. Their ability to create elaborate, yet catchy, compositions sets them apart from many of their contemporaries.
They made waves in the music industry when they decided to self-produce their 2020 album "What The Dead Men Say," showcasing their ability to manage the creative process from beginning to end. The album received critical acclaim, reinforcing Trivium's position as a force to be reckoned with.
When it comes to Mastodon, the first thing that might strike you is their blending of numerous metal sub-genres like sludge, progressive, and alternative metal. Formed in Atlanta, Georgia, this best new metal band was founded in 2000 and has been a critical darling almost since inception. Notably, they won a Grammy for the song "Sultan's Curse" in 2018.
Their lyrical themes are often deeply philosophical and explore concepts like life, death, and rebirth. Songs like "Blood and Thunder" and "The Czar" show off their narrative storytelling capabilities. Mastodon has a way of taking you on a journey through their discography, making each album feel like a chapter in an ongoing saga.
Live, Mastodon offers something almost cinematic, combining their intense music with striking visual elements. From their lighting to their backdrop, everything is designed to amplify the storytelling aspect of their songs. Plus, multiple members contribute to vocals, adding a diverse layer to their already complex sound.
Originating from Bayonne, France, Gojira is atypical among the best new metal bands. Environmentalism plays a huge role in their themes, making them one of the most socially conscious bands in the genre. Songs like "Flying Whales" and "The Art of Dying" exemplify their knack for crafting lyrically compelling narratives. As one of the older best new metal bands on our list, they originally started in the late 1990s as Godzilla, changed their name to Gojira in 2001, and have been pushing the boundaries of metal ever since. Their music is a masterful mix of death metal, groove metal, and progressive elements.
Frontman Joe Duplantier's vocal style stands out for its emotional depth and versatility, ranging from growling to clean singing. What truly sets them apart is their technical prowess and the precision of their live performances. They are as tight musically as they are powerful in delivering their messages. If you've ever seen them live, you'll know their shows are experiences filled with complex time signatures, rapid-fire drumming, and monstrous guitar riffs.
Their 2016 album "Magma" received two Grammy nominations, a rarity for metal bands, especially those from outside the U.S. The album was both a commercial and critical success, a difficult balance to achieve in the often polarizing world of metal.
8. Killswitch Engage
Killswitch Engage has played a significant role in popularizing metalcore, by blending extreme metal with hardcore punk. They gained significant attention with their 2004 album "The End of Heartache," which even earned them a Grammy nomination.
They are renowned for highly compelling live performances, with shows that are a blend of headbanging, relentless energy, and emotionally charged moments, especially during fan-favorite songs like "My Curse" and "The End of Heartache."
What sets them apart from the other best new metal bands is their dual approach to vocals. While lead singer Jesse Leach delivers both guttural screams and clean, melodic singing, guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz often joins in, providing harmonies and additional screaming. This dual vocal style adds a layer of complexity to their sound, making them one of the more versatile acts in the metal scene.
9. Avenged Sevenfold
California's best new metal band Avenged Sevenfold, often abbreviated as A7X, skyrocketed to fame in the early 2000s with a sound that seamlessly blended heavy metal and hard rock, for a sound that's easy for non-metal fans to digest. The band has gone through a quite a few lineup changes, with core members—M. Shadows (vocals), Synyster Gates (lead guitar), Zacky Vengeance (rhythm guitar), and Johnny Christ (bass)—remaining constant to secure them as one of the best new metal bands.
One of their standout albums is 2005's "City of Evil," featuring hits like "Bat Country" which truly put them on the map. Tragically, the band lost their original drummer, The Rev, in 2009 but soldiered on, paying tribute to him in their 2010 album "Nightmare."
Live performances by Avenged Sevenfold are something to behold. The band’s stage set-up often includes elaborate pyrotechnics and visual effects, amplifying the theatrics of their music. They have a knack for engaging the crowd, making each concert an unforgettable experience.
Avenged Sevenfold stands out from other metal bands because of their willingness to experiment. Over the years, they have incorporated elements of classical music, country, and even electronic music into their heavy metal base. This eclectic approach ensures that no two albums sound the same.
Swedish band Opeth is a unique entity in the world of metal. As the oldest best new metal band on our list, releasing their first studio album in the mid-90s, they've had a lot of time to experiment with an array of styles—from death metal to progressive rock. Despite this they've maintained a distinct identity as a band with a fondness for pushing boundaries.
Their 2001 album "Blackwater Park" is often cited as a defining progressive death metal record, featuring a mix of guttural vocals and intricate instrumental passages. The band took a significant musical turn with their 2011 album "Heritage," which saw them abandon their death metal vocal style entirely for a softer, more melodic approach.
Fans attending an Opeth live show should be prepared for an experience unlike any other. Not just a concert, it's more of a musical odyssey, where each song feels like a different chapter of a vast, ever-expanding book. Åkerfeldt's dry humor also adds a unique touch to their performances, offering comic relief between the emotionally charged compositions.
Their versatility and willingness to experiment make Opeth a must-listen for anyone who considers themselves a true fan of heavy metal. Whether you're drawn to their earlier, more brutal offerings or their recent, mellower work, Opeth delivers on all fronts.
From head-banging origins to modern-day transformation...
Heavy metal has proven time and again that it’s more than just a genre—it's a hard-hitting cultural phenomenon. Whether you're drawn to the complex musical compositions or the raw emotional power, there's something in metal for everyone. The genre has endured because it continually evolves while staying true to its rebellious roots. It's a unique sonic landscape where the best new metal bands can unleash their creativity, challenging themselves and their listeners. Today, heavy metal is as popular as ever, and its future is bright with the best new metal bands pushing the envelope in exciting ways. So, whether you're a lifelong fan or new to the genre, remember that the spirit of heavy metal lives on, and its flame is being carried by the best new metal bands out there. Keep listening and keep head-banging, because the genre isn't going anywhere anytime soon.