July was an absolutely fantastic month for new, debuting bands. Of the five entries in this list, sixty percent of them are comprised of underground upstarts making their first ever full-length dent in the heavy metal landscape.
However, this is where the similarities begin and end between our entrants, as the heavy music of the past four weeks has been unabashedly diverse and original. Within the five following pages, there awaits a veteran metal juggernaut turning to the realm of country covers, a disco- and black metal-inspired punk four-piece, death metal debutants conjuring up memories of ‘80s Florida and – of course – a certain game-changing blackgaze outfit that has made a triumphant return with yet more darkly ambient goodness.
With so much newness that is hailing straight from the heavy metal undergrowth, this ain’t your Mama’s typical rock ‘n’ roll list, so let’s dive right in and thrust some brand new music straight into your faceholes!
Normally, covers albums would be exempt from inclusion on this list, but as DevilDriver’s latest release, Outlaws ‘til the End, Vol. 1, is so brilliantly off-the-wall in its reimaginings – translating vintage country hits from the days of yore into brutal, grooving anthems – it couldn’t not land in the number five slot.
Only Dez Fafara, in all his blissful insanity, could listen to such American folk classics as Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” or Hank William III’s “Country Heroes” and go “I’m gonna round up some of my mates and growl all over this s—t.”
And that is precisely what he did.
Outlaws ‘til the End dials up both the insanity and eclecticism of the original country tracks, with some generous help coming from Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Mark Morton, 36 Crazyfists’ Brock Lindow, Fear Factory’s Burton Bell, John Carter Cash (yes, Johnny Cash’s son) and even Hank III himself.
With such a diverse and all-star line-up, Outlaws ‘til the End couldn’t not be fantastic, with aural apexes including the luscious black metal undertones of “Whiskey River”, the guttural-meets-clean vocal trade-offs of “Country Heroes” and the slide guitar-led melo-death of “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere”.