There is no doubt that the genre of heavy metal is not as glorified or popular as it once was.
With the rise of newer forms of aggressive music such as trap, dubstep and other types of bass-heavy electronic music, metal’s time as the forerunning genre for high-octane, headbanging fun has sadly come to an end for the time being.
But as the legendary prophets known as Tenacious D once said: “You CANNOT kill the metal!”
Even though metal’s time in the spotlight may have come to an end, the genre is far from “dead,” and still has one of the most loyal, dedicated and opinionated fanbases in the music world.
Despite the declining popularity of the genre, many of the OG metal bands are still coming out with face melting records and playing sold out arenas around the world to this day.
However, as these acts grow older with age, more and more are starting to hang up their sticks and axes, leaving the floor for newer bands to take their place.
Here are just four of the countless bands stepping up to the plate and paving the way for the future of the genre.
Deafheaven is a San Francisco based metal band that has been making huge waves in the underground metal scene for the past few years.
Their way of seamlessly mixing elements of atmospheric black metal, shoegaze, dream pop and even arena rock with deafening screeched vocals has given them one of the most unique sounds that metal has to offer today, and has garnered them major critical acclaim.
Deafheaven had one of the most highly praised albums of 2013 with their release of “Sunbather” which highlighted the band’s fresh, unconventional sound, and put them on the music world’s radar.
Since then, the band has released multiple albums, toured the world, and has remained a very highly talked about rising band, recently even landing a TV spot on NBC’s “Last Call with Carson Daly.”
Polish black metal band Behemoth is your grandma’s worst nightmare.
Their onstage outfits look like something straight out of a horror movie, and their sound is sinister enough to frighten Satan himself.
Behemoth, to me, is the quintessential example of the power of atmospheric music.
Their fusion of beautifully menacing black metal compositions, eerily apocalyptic orchestral and choral arrangements, and their larger than life, layered production style evoke such an unexplainable, yet intense ambience.
You don’t know whether you should be scared to death or at peace with the impending doom that the music makes you feel is about to come.
The band has been active since the year 2000, but is currently at one of the high points of their career after releasing the heavily praised albums “The Satanist” in 2016 and “I Loved You At Your Darkest” earlier this year.
They continue to tour all over the world and lead the preservation and advancement of the atmospheric black metal genre.
Trivium is one of the biggest newer bands in metal today, and for good reason.
The Floridian bunch debuted during the rise of metalcore, a genre infamous for being uninspired and lifeless.
However, they stand out as one of the few black sheep of the genre.
While they are, at their core (no pun intended), a metalcore band, they take large influence from other subgenres of metal such as thrash and black metal.
This is evident when paying attention to how versatile their sound is.
They can do everything from chuggy thrash style barnburners to immense, atmospheric epics often times on the same album.
Everything they do is incredibly nuanced and pays homage to great metal bands before them all while sounding very fresh and true to themselves.
Trivium has gained a huge following over their now 15 year existence, and they consistently embark on worldwide headlining tours, playing sold out shows around the globe.
The quartet released what is regarded as one of the best metal albums of the year in 2017 entitled “The Sin and The Sentence” and just finished up an extensive, year long, worldwide touring cycle for the album.
Gojira is my personal favorite band on this list. In my opinion, there may never be another band quite like them.
They take extreme progressive metal to a whole new level with their incredibly experimental approach to writing riffs and composing songs which has resulted in some of the most intense and innovative albums the genre has ever seen.
Their sound has evolved substantially over their almost 20 year long career.
The French quartet started as a straight up death metal band, but as they matured, their sound started to become more experimental and melodically charged.
They have been praised by many in the music industry earning themselves a Grammy nomination for their 2016 album “Magma”, and they have been recruited to tour with high profile acts such as Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold.
I had the great pleasure of actually seeing one of Gojira’s award winning live shows at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz last year, and to this day I have not seen a better show.
The raw intensity of the music translated to the stage perfectly and provided one of the wildest nights of my life.
They are currently working on a new album set to release in 2019. -Stephen Oneto
Looking to find even more bands to satiate your metal fix? Be on the lookout for Stevie S Diesel aka Yung Slagathor 5000’s Subversive Rock show, coming to you next semester! Tune in at 90.5 FM or stream us online!