If this week’s Tracks Of The Week roundup was a festival, we’d be losing our minds. Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Machine Head, Spiritbox – some of metal’s biggest names have come back out to play, mingling with all-new material from some of the fastest rising forces in our world.
Last week’s vote was dominated by Gothenburg favourites In Flames, State Of Slow Decay getting people hot and bothered about getting new material from one of melodeath’s most beloved forces. But who’ll take this week? With metal heavyweights aplenty to choose from and beloved newcomers waiting in the wings to take the crown, this really is anybody’s game.
1. Ozzy Osbourne – Patient Number 9 (feat. Jeff Beck)
Details of Ozzy Osbourne’s 13th solo studio album have been drip-fed to us seemingly ever since 2020’s Ordinary Man arrived. Details released along the way revealed everything from the return of Zakk Wylde to an all-star guestlist including Jeff Beck, Chad Smith and Tony Iommi. Beck makes his appearance on the album’s title track (and first single), Patient Number 9 calling back to the sleek radio-ready sound of No More Tears while its lyrics call back to the soul searching reflectiveness of Ordinary Man. If this new record can match the emotional gravitas of his last, we should all be very, very excited.
2. Megadeth – We’ll Be Back
It’s been a long road to get to Megadeth’s sixteenth album. Cancer battles, departing members under controversial circumstances, a global pandemic… It’s no wonder Mustaine and co. are back sounding more pissed off than ever with We’ll Be Back. A full thrash assault which seems to harken back to the urgency of the band’s first couple of albums, the track is just what the doctor ordered to get the Megadeth train back on the tracks.
3. Machine Head – Unhallowed
Machine Head have never lacked for ambition, but upcoming 11-track concept album Of Kingdom and Crown is setting the bar higher than ever. Exploring the emotional crux of the story, Unhallowed strips away some of the usual brimstone and fire Robb Flynn leads with to explore a more nuanced path, albeit with the requisite colossal MH riffs we all know and love.
4. Spiritbox – Rotoscope
After the colossal success of Eternal Blueit figures that Spiritbox would want to get stuck right in with What Comes Next. Barely a week after the band made their UK debut, Rotoscope shows that their sound is already evolving, the song’s serpentine licks shifting more towards the hints of nu metal on their debut than anything we’ve heard thus far. Don’t worry though, Courtney LaPlante still lets loose an almighty barrage towards the end of the track that shows the band aren’t done with their most caustic elements.
5. Zarazza – Raining Blood
Few metal subgenres have spread around the globe and taken root so firmly as thrash, as Kazakh metal marauders Zarraza show with their blistering cover of Slayer’s Raining Blood, taken from the band’s upcoming three-track covers EP Kreated In Blood. Opening with traditional Kazakhstan instrument kyl-kobyz (an instrument used all-too infrequently in the band’s blistering cover), the track shows just how well thrash metal has been adopted around the world, perfectly integrated with Zarazza’s own cultural heritage.
6. Fit For A King – Reaper
Those meaty beatdowns you ordered have arrived. Swinging a pendulum between hardcore thuggery and sheer extreme metal bluster, Fit For A King’s new single Reaper is all physical menace and hackle-raising intensity in the same school that has made UK metallic hardcore heroes Malevolnence so beloved. Fingers crossed for a new album on the horizon.
7. Willow – maybe it’s my fault
Willow proves to be one of the leading voices of the emo renaissance in her new single Maybe It’s My Faultwhich sees her brooding over the downfall of a relationship with another woman. Meanwhile, the vocalist whines, hyperventilates and screams to a backing of gritty, bottom-heavy riffs, meshed against a melancholic and deeply infectious alt rock/emo melody that will have you rinsing the reply button as vehemently as Willow rips through her bedroom in the Dana Trippe-directed video.
8. Jonathan Young & Caleb Hyles – Wolf Within
Having built a prolific following with his metallic Disney covers and even collaborating with Trivium’s Matt Heafy, YouTuber Jonathan Young has taken his next leaps as an artist by producing an epic trad-metal song in the form of Wolf Within. Collaborating with fellow YouTube star Caleb Hyles, Young and Hyles put their fantastic voices to exceptional use in a song that could easily fit in a (particularly metal) blockbuster.
9. Tabahi – Run For Your Life
Yet more proof that thrash metal knows no bounds, Pakistan’s Tabahi bring all the demonic snarl of the Teutonic school of thrash (Sodom, Destruction, Kreator) with a lightning-like vitality. Inspired by the chaos of everyday life in the band’s hometown of Karachi, Run For Your Life is an adrenaline-fuelled blast of classic thrash brilliance.
10. Mantar – Odysseus
German two-piece Mantar have always skewed towards the blackened sides of sludge metal, but the material revealed from their upcoming record Pain Is Forever And This Is The End has taken on a decidedly more cinematic edge. Taking full advantage of the sparseness of their two-man set-up, Odysseus has an emotionally raw edge that feels like the soundtrack to a flayed nerve.