Guitarist onstage performing. Guitarist onstage performing. Heavy metal music has maintained its sound and a steady audience for decades. (Photo: kondrukhov/Shutterstock)

5 awesome heavy metal bands you should be listening to right now

You may not have heard of them, but these headbangers deserve to be on your playlist.

Heavy metal is, as much as any music genre out there, a global one. From New Jersey to Nepal, musicians have been joining forces for decades to churn out mind-numbing, guitar-thrashing sounds. Some, like Metallica, have become household names. Others, with less mainstream sounds, are content to share their art with what audiences they can. And then there is the majority, those who are casualties of a crowded field but whose music deserves to be heard by the masses. These five bands fall into this final category, and here's your chance to help change that.


Oranssi Pazuzu

Oranssi Pazuzu performing.Oranssi Pazuzu's mix of influences have made it a critical darling. (Photo: Oranssi Pazuzu Facebook)

This Finnish quartet has been around for more than a decade, but it's their latest album, which has received plaudits from mainstream publications like Pitchfork, that is finally bringing it a broader audience. The album, "Värähtelijä," is in keeping with their heavy metal credentials, but adds influences like krautrock and even Miles Davis to the mix.


Shredhead


Part of Israel's nascent metal scene, Shredhead won the Israeli Metal Battle in 2012, which landed them a spot representing their country at the prestigious Wacken Festival in Germany. "Death Is Righteous," the follow-up to their 2011 debut "Human Nature," came out in 2015, and its melody-driven tunes have helped them earn opening slots for popular bands like Overkill and Vader.


Sabbath Assembly

Sabbath Assembly publicity photo.Sabbath Assembly's current lineup has brought it consistent success. (Photo: Sabbath Assembly)

Sabbath Assembly was once a middling occult metal band with a rotating cast of characters. In recent years, though, it has settled on a permanent lineup, chief among them being singer Jamie Myers. Her ethereal delivery, along with the riffs of guitarists Kevin Hufnagel, Ron Varod and Kayo Dot as well as bassist Johnny Deblase and band founder Dave Nuss, has allowed this band to finally find its singular sound. And it's one worth paying attention to.


Artificial Brain


Hailing from heavy metal-obsessed New Jersey, Artificial Brain saw immediate success with its 2012 debut album "Labyrinth Constellation." The track "Absorbing Black Ignition" from the album was even featured in a 2014 episode of the American CBS television show "Elementary." So it came as no surprise when the band doubled down on its guttural sound with this year's "Infrared Horizon," a stripped-away version of their sound that stays true to their metal roots.


X-Mantra

X-Mantra publicity photo.Cult favorite X-Mantra have been leading the Nepalese metal scene for nearly two decades. (Photo: X-Mantra Facebook)

Nepal's metal scene has been active for a couple of decades now, and the band most associated with it is this one. X -Mantra was formed in 2000, released their first album in the year 2001 and by 2005 were one of the country's most celebrated musical acts. Recent albums have touched on genres such as gothic rock, hip-hop, new age and pop music, but they've stayed true to their roots, with their lyrics mostly being sung in their native tongue.

MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:

Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Lists, Music