20 Lesser-Known Modern Heavy Metal Bands You Need In Your Life

Summer is coming up, and you need some solid heavy metal to blast with the windows down. There are always the classic bands to rely on, but why not dig into some newer heavy metal bands that bring the heat too? We’re sure your neighbors and passersby will enjoy them as much as you do.

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You look at that artwork and tell me you don’t immediately know what Ambush sounds like. There’s simply no other assumption to be made than soaring vocals, wrist-destroying guitar lines, and enough heavy metal power to light up your whole neighbor.

Black Soul Horde

With grim-looking artwork and a slower pace, Black Soul Horde is a throwback to the doomed side of classic heavy metal. Check out the band’s song “Beware The Deep” below to get a good sense of their chunky riffs and ability to pick up into a gallop without breaking a sweat.

Blade Killer

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum of Black Soul Horde is Blade Killer, whose particular brand of speed metal was made to be blasted from a boombox. It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Blade Killerthough the band did say they were working on a new record in 2020. So here’s hoping.


I’m not sure if it’s his tone or the way he delivers his vocals – maybe both – but vocalist Chris Scott Nunez really reminds me of Bruce Dickinson. The music is way shreddier and more aggressive than early Iron Maidenbut this band certainly captures a very specific early-days-of-heavy-metal vibe.

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Grayhawk feels like the classic heavy metal answer to a band like Unto Others – there are certainly those gothy vocals, though Grayhawk leans a little harder into the plodding riffs of yesteryear. It also helps that Grayhawk has some very side-of-van-worthy artwork.


Hauntthe project headed up by Trevor William Church, has put out a handful of full-lengths and EPs ever since their inception in 2017. And while that output is impressive, it’s worth noting that it’s all top-tier heavy metal riffing throughout. No word on if Church has slipped since 2017.

Hell Fire

Hell Fire is equal parts New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and speedy thrash metal, though the throat-shredding vocals certainly lean toward the former. This is the perfect time to get into Hell Fire as the band gears up to release their new record Reckoning this August. It’s gonna be a ripper.


Hitten has been cranking out the party anthem heavy metal since their 2012 EP Shake the World, and they haven’t stopped since. Look no further than “Built To Rock” to get a good sense of Hitten‘s good time sensibilities alongside their utterly insane shreddiness… and play it loud.

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Illucia has a certain evil about their sound that would certainly have attracted some likely interesting and dark lore, should they have come out before the Internet. Illucia spans everything from doomed passages to frenzied speed metal, all while retaining that certain heavy metal aura.

Iron Kobra

Magic Circle

Magic Circle‘s output isn’t Haunt levels of prolific, but should draw your attention every time they’ve got new music coming. Fronted by now-Summerlands vocalist Brendan Radigan, Magic Circle errs more on the doom side of classic heavy metal – a perfect speed for the crushing summer heat.

Megaton Sword

Megaton Sword sounds exactly like you’d expect based on their name – classic, epic heavy metal that requires you to be on horseback wearing a loincloth to listen to it. Megaton Sword packs anthemic choruses, battle-worthy riffs, and all the war-themed looks you could want.

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Midnight Spell

Midnight Spell has just enough radio flair atop their heavy metal sound that I really wouldn’t be shocked if these guys got picked up by a major label. Midnight Spell‘s 2021 record Sky Destroyer feels tailor-made for massive crowds, though in the meantime you can show your whole neighborhood by turning it way up.


Sanhendrin perfectly captures a driving, mid-paced heavy metal energy that isn’t afraid to get low and slow. Check out the band’s track “Correction” for a great representation of the band’s blinding solos, classic riffs, and vocal toplines powerfully backed by the rest of the band.


Screamer is bringing the high-octane heavy metal magic from the fabled lands of Sweden, where apparently their water is simply laced with riff-inducing chemicals. Screamer is another band that you’re not allowed to listen to at a reasonable volume – it demands party hard and loud.


Smolder comes to us from behind a dense veil of fog, playing doomed classic heavy metal riffs out into the wilderness. If you’re looking for the more downtrodden side of heavy metal on this list, then you’re going to need Smolder in your life.

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Summerlands recently returned with Magic Circle‘s Radigan for their first single in six years “Ageless Life.” Prior, the band released their Van Halen-tinged debut record in 2016 on Relapse Records. And while their name does pop up sometimes, Summerlands really ought to be a bigger part of the conversation.


Tower began making waves in 2021 with their sophomore effort Shock To The System, though they really should’ve blown up completely. Tower masterfully marries classic heavy metal with a hard rock feel musically, while vocally Sarabeth Linden is easily one of the best vocalists in the game right now.


You can’t hear Traveler‘s “Starbreaker” and not throw some serious invisible oranges throughout the chorus. Traveler is now two records deep into their career, both of which have been well-received. It’s only a matter of time before Traveler is bringing the heavy metal heat to your city.

Wytch Hazel

Wytch Hazel takes the classic New Wave Of British Heavy Metal sound, throws in a little progressive rock and hard rock, and maybe a pinch of folk. The result is a gloriously bright heavy metal sound ready to crusade through the countryside.

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