Howl’s Top Howls: January Metal Roundup

As you might have noticed, Howl & Echoes has proudly started paying a little more attention to the louder side of things in terms of both Australian and international music. 2016 was somewhat of a watershed year for heavy music, with upcoming and well-established names racing to the top of their various scenes, ushering in a new age of exciting sounds. We even saw a few heavy songs in the Hottest 100 this week, thanks to the popularity of The Amity Affliction and Violent Soho (who aren’t exactly metal, but it was still great to see so many loud songs make their way into the countdown). So while 2016 was overflowing with great new music (you can read all about our favourite metal albums right here), 2017 has already begun gifting us with many excellent new tunes. So without further ado, don your battle jacket and footy shorts: here’s our favourite new heavy singles of January 2017.

Northlane, Intuition

Northlane are the home-grown heroes who never seem to go away. It feels like yesterday that the group ushered in new vocalist Marcus Bridge before dropping the polarising and addictive Node on the world. In the two years since, the band have learnt how to level out some of our biggest venues and seem to be constantly striving to evolve their mysterious, djent-inspired metalcore sound. New single Intuition is no exception, taking some of the heavier, thrashier elements of the band’s back catalogue and fusing them with the dark melodic abilities of Bridge. 2017 is going to be huge for these boys.

Thy Art Is Murder, No Absolution

The Sydney deathcore titans sent the internet into meltdown when vocalist CJ McMahon reunited with the band onstage at Unify earlier this month. After a relentless 12 months on the road in support of their last album Holy War, which largely consisted of stand-in vocalists for the band’s biggest international shows to date, the boys have dropped this absolute banger with CJ back on the pipes and are no doubt gearing up for album number 4. Pro tip: stay away from anything breakable in your house when the breakdown at 1:04 hits.

Boris The Blade, Paralysed

Keeping with the fringes and skinny jeans for just a moment, we turn our attention to Sydney-siders Boris The Blade who have dropped this huge slab in the past few weeks. To be fair there isn’t much here that hasn’t been heard before, but sometimes a back to basics is all you need to see you through the day. With its gut-wrenching screams, squealing guitar harmonics, thundering double kicks and *insert brutal adjective* breakdowns these boys provide the perfect get me up to kick off the week. Their new album Warpath dropped this week.

Ocean Grove, Intimate Alien

Alright, so the single came out at the tail-end of December and the album’s out at the start of Feb, but we’re counting it here anyway. The evolution of this band over the past 12 months has been outstanding, and this latest offering, which was the first slice of material from their forthcoming album The Rhapsody Tapes, due out February 3rd, is everything a metalhead with an open mind could ever want. Huge riffs, some hip-hop influenced rhymes, choppy fills and one of the weirdest video clips of the past 12 months. Find out what the hell it all means in our interview with the band here.

Planning for Burial, Whiskey and Wine

This is the first taste of Planning for Burial’s new album Below The House. Completely designed and arranged by one Thom Wasluck, this song did not come from a place of peace or contentment or happiness. It opens with a bleak, relentless repetition of huge riffs, and the addition of Wasluck’s distant, tormented screeches and the odd pinch of feedback altogether form a dark, assaulting cacophony. And while the continues its relentless march forward, toward the end, the rain clears, and the sun shines through. I’ll be really interested to see whether the end of this track is merely the eye of the storm, or if it continues on to a softer opening for what comes next on the full album.

Mastodon, Sultan’s Curse

Even if you’re not strictly a metal fan, the prospect of new Mastodon should still get you excited. There aren’t many stones that the American prog-masters have left unturned in their sensational career so far but this new cut feels as fresh as ever, so we can’t wait to hear their newly-announced album in full. Mixing the melodic elements of 2010’s The Hunter with the psychedelic atmospherics of their 2008 masterpiece Crack The Skye, the boys are back in a very big way. Bonus points for their bluesiest solo committed to record yet. The song is the first cut off the forthcoming new record Emperor Of The Sand, due out in the coming months. All aboard the hype train!

Firewind, Back On The Throne

Finally, a little solace is offered here from Greek power metal warriors Firewind. While the genre may seem outdated and, let’s be honest, a bit geeky for some, guitarist Gus G and co. show that the genre isn’t limited to (or by) Dungeons and Dragons. This latest single shreds with a god almighty absolute fury, serving up a collection of meaty riffs and powerful, operatic vocals that will thrill any fan of the more traditional elements of heavy music. Their new album Immortals is out now.

Image: Metal Archives