Happy Halloween! Granted, we're a few days shy of Halloween itself, but we're well and truly into the spirit of Spooky Season now as we close out October, and judging from the videos on display this week we're not the only ones.
But that's getting ahead of ourselves - first, the results of last week's vote! There was no shortage of extremity to dip into with the return of Allegaeon, Dimmu Borgir and Underdark, but it was the post-punk laden doom of Cold In Berlin that took third spot. It was an extreme metal race to the top however, Brazilians Crypta and progressive-extremists Rivers Of Nihil earning thousands of votes, Nihil ultimately emerging victorious.
There's plenty more extreme metal to dive into this week with new material from Cattle Decapitation and Job For A Cowboy, as well as arena-worthy offers from Within Temptation and In This Moment, modern doom from Chelsea Wolfe and Lucifer and more to explore elsewhere in our weekly round-up.
As ever, we want you to tell us which songs excite you most - particularly as we close in on the final weeks of the year - so don't forget to cast your vote below! And, with it being the last update of the month, you'll find our on-going playlist of the best songs of 2023 at the bottom of the page.
Within Temptation - Ritual
Just in time for Halloween, Within Temptation’s latest single Ritual features a trippy AI-created video that sits somewhere between A Scanner Darkly, The Boys and The Lost Boys with splatter and fangs-aplenty. As for Ritual itself, the song is exemplar of the powerful, massive sound the band have cultivated on new album Bleed Out, a stomping, fist-pumping anthem clearly built for the massive venues the band now inhabit.
Cattle Decapitation - Solastalgia
Apoplectic and utterly annihilating in their assault, Cattle Decapitation’s latest single Solastalgia shows off their most imperious and grandiose elements whilst never letting up on the sheer brutality. With subtle symphonic tinges, vicious breakdowns and moments of pure technical brilliance, Solastalgia seems to bridge gap between early extreme metal pioneers like Celtic Frost and the new breed of deathcore like Lorna Shore who get ever-more ambitious with the sound and scope of extremity, Cattle Decap ensuring they’ll never get left behind.
In This Moment - DAMAGED (ft. Spencer Charnas)
Take two of modern metal’s most theatrically minded singers and let them go hog-wild on a track with creepy melodies. That’s the concept behind In This Moment’s latest single DAMAGED, featuring the guest talents of Ice Nine Kills frontman Spencer Charnas the track is all tension and menace without release, Charnas and ITM vocalist Maria Brink trading melodies and nu metal style flow in a fascinating mix. Considering the bands are touring together from next week, we’ll be amazed if this one doesn’t get at least one live outing.
Job For A Cowboy - The Forever Rot
Job For A Cowboy have finally announced Moon Healer, their first new album in a decade which will be released on February 23 2024. The announcement comes with new single The Forever Rot, a dexterous slab of death metal that dials back on the ‘core’ to instead embrace the genre’s 80s pioneers like Death and Possessed, taking the technical brilliance of the former and the sinister, evil vibe of the latter and giving them an undeniable JFAC spin.
Health - Ashamed (Of Being Born)
After the more riff-driven Children Of Sorrow, LA industrial mavericks Health are showcasing a very different side to their sound on new single Ashamed (Of Being Born). Cold, inhuman pop with sinister undertones, the track is an oppressive dose of melancholy that is nonetheless irresistible, sounding like Nine Inch Nails taking on turn-of-the-millennium Radiohead.
Sophie Lloyd - Enter Sandman
Snakes, spiders and things that go bump in the night: rising star and all-round shredder Sophie Lloyd has unveiled a decidedly Halloween-friendly video for her instrumental take on Metallica’s Enter Sandman. If anything, the lack of vocals only highlights the sinister edge of the song, Lloyd’s shredding all about celebrating the maximalism of the song for a headbang-friendly take on one of metal’s biggest anthems.
Lucifer - At The Mortuary
Almost two years to the day since Lucifer IV was released, the German-born doom metal act are back with new single At The Mortuary, announcing new album Lucifer V will be with us January 26. Retro vibes run deep in At The Mortuary, the spectre of Black Sabbath dancing with occult rockers Coven in an energetic, riff-driven rocker that showcases doom metal’s more fun side. If you’re after a Halloween doom party-starter, Lucifer have you covered.
Chelsea Wolfe - Whispers In The Echo Chamber
After the more folk stylings of 2019’s Birth Of Violence, Chelsea Wolfe is again wielding the menace of industrial sounds and doom atmospherics on new single Whispers In The Echo Chamber. Taken from upcoming album She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She, out Feb 9th, the track is a disorienting plunge back into maximalism that has us so glad to see Wolfe still pushing boundaries.
Kalandra - Bardaginn
With the likes of Wardruna and Heilung forging an undeniable bond between Nordic folk and metal, it has been fascinating in recent years to see how artists from either side of the divide bridge the gap. Norway’s Kalandra certainly blur the boundaries with their latest single Bardaginn, starting out with the ethereal melodies familiar to Nordic folk before expanding out to something more maximalist and undeniably metal, the song’s breakout moment feeling like something you’d hear on a Cult Of Luna record. It’s powerful stuff.
Save Us - Drift
Newcomers Save Us might only have formed in 2023, but they’re already building a massive following. It’s not hard to see why, listening to new single Drift, which embraces a Spiritbox-like sensibility for gorgeous melodies and vicious, tooth-gnashing heaviness, dropping the listener right in the middle and feeling utterly massive for the fact.