Heavy metal, its definition has changed over the years and the term's origin is disputed to this day. While the genre has evolved into a variety of different strains, its purest form remains a steadfast genre in the metal canon that keeps up and coexists with its extreme offspring. It is often said that metal will never die, while I'm inclined to believe that the following bands are more than happy to prove you right. Without further ado 10 Awesome, Epic, Face-Melting, Modern Heavy Metal Bands.
#1 Night Demon
Formed in 2011, the California natives quickly set out to become one of the hardest working bands in all of metal. Perfecting their live act, the band released their self-titled E.P. in 2012 followed by establishing their presence worldwide. 2015 saw the release of Curse of the Damned filled with a multitude of blue-collar heavy metal anthems including "Screams In The Night," "Full Speed Ahead," and "Heavy Metal Heat." Following tours with the likes of Holy Grail, Carcass, and Visigoth, the band returned to the studio. Unleashing Darkness Remains in early 2017, the album shows a determined Night Demon that has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. Possessing a stellar work ethic and play to win mentality, Night Demon have positioned themselves at the forefront of heavy metal. Band leader Jarvis Leatherby is also the main organizer of the Frost and Fire festival, which is currently celebrating its third year. For all of you European fans out there, you'll have a chance to catch Night Demon on the road supporting Accept this winter.
Curse of the Damned (2015)
Darkness Remains (2017)
#2 Savage Master
Our next entry takes us to Louisville, Kentucky, home base to one of heavy metal's best live acts. Forming in 2013, the band caught the attention of unsuspecting fans with high energy, theatrical performances inspired by the Italian cult classic Black Sunday. The band released their studio debut Mask of the Devil on Halloween in 2014, containing crowd favorites "The Ripper In Black" and "Death Rides The Highway". 2016 saw the release of With Whips And Chains. Along with the title track, "Dark Light of the Moon", "Looking For A Sacrifice", and "Ready To Sin" have become integrated staples in the bands live set. Not a band to rest on their laurels, the band stayed busy on the road performing shows with a multitude of bands including Deceased, Razor, Satan, and Diamond Head. Giving metalheads another reason to enjoy the month of October, Savage Master will be releasing E.P. Creature of the Flames on Friday the 13th, which can pre-ordered through Hell's Headbangers Records. If you have yet to experience Savage Master live, you can catch them in a city near you on the Burning Leather Across America 2017 tour.
Mask of the Devil (2014)
With Whips and Chains (2016)
Creature of the Flames E.P. (2017)
Hailing from Salt Lake City, Visigoth released the Vengeance demo in 2010 shortly after their formation. This was followed by the independently released 2012 E.P. Final Spell. Signing a deal with Metal Blade Records, the band went to work, releasing debut The Revenant King in 2015. Armed with epic tracks like "Blood Sacrifice", the humorous "Dungeon Master", and a faithful rendition of Manilla Road's "Necropolis", The Revenant King is another example of an album crafted by people that loved what they're doing. In addition to playing shows in their home city, the band is set to do a small tour of Spain in 2018. While time is the only factor that will determine Visigoth's chapter in the book of metal, they're another band on this list that reinforces the notion "the harder you work, the luckier you get".
For the next couple of entries, we'll be taking look at bands from my home state of Indiana. The first band's origins can be traced back to 2005 where they quickly built a name in their native Fort Wayne in addition to releasing Tales From The Book of Metal in 2008. In 2010, the band ceased operations but found themselves reforming in 2014. Two years later, the band released Reforged along with the title track and "Destiny", the album also treats listeners to retelling of the Mad Max saga with the aptly-named tracks "Mad Max", "Road Warrior", and "Thunderdome". Having performed alongside other bands on this list and in other articles, word of Zephaniah's humorous, show-stealing performances continues to permeate throughout the underground. Minnesota metalheads will have the chance to catch them at the upcoming Sword Metal Fest also featuring Malice and Cage. Don't forget to watch the magic trick, you'll be amazed.
Tales From The Book of Metal (2008)
"Destiny" music video (courtesy of Zephaniah)
Zephaniah social media
#5 Sacred Leather
Forming in 2014, these heavy metal maniacs hit the ground running, garnering a healthy amount of buzz in their hometown of Indianapolis in the proceeding months. 2015 saw the release of Live Leather followed by the Sacredhammer split with fellow Indy natives Kvlthammer. At the tail end of the year, Sacred Leather raised the stakes by recruiting Dustin Boltjes as their primary vocalist. Further honing their chemistry and live set, the band also gave fans a taste of things to come with their Cassette 2016 release. With the band currently in the studio, fans can anticipate the release of their debut L.P. within the next year.
Live Leather (2015)
Cassette 2016 (2016)
"Prowling Sinner" music video (courtesy of Sacred Leather)
Sacred Leather social media
#6 High Spirits
Heading up to Chicago, High Spirits was formed in 2009 by Chris Black, whom older readers may recognize from the Metal Maniacs publication. Invoking the hard rock influences of metal's earliest bands, Mr. Black and Co. followed up a series of demos with 2011 release Another Night. Shortly after the bands 2013 E.P., High Spirits entered into a relationship with Hell's Headbanger's Records, releasing You Are Here the following year. 2016 saw the release of the appropriately named Motivator containing several hard rocking anthems including "Flying High", "Reach For The Glory", and "Thank You". Not a band to waste time, the band released the Night Rock and Escape E.P.s in 2017 and recently concluded a tour of Germany.
Another Night (2011)
You Are Here (2014)
Flying High song track
High Spirits social media
#7 Satan's Hallow
Another hard rocking band from Chicago, Satan's Hallow formed in 2013. The following years saw a solidifying of the band's lineup and introducing fans to their sound with "The Horror" single. In 2017, the band unleashed their self titled L.P. taking their sound into overdrive on tracks "Hot Passion", "Black Angel", and "Still Alive". While Satan's Hallow appears to be taking a break to focus on other projects, there's nothing to suggest that this is the last metalheads have heard from them. On a more personal note, this writer would like to thank the band for their proper use of the apostrophe.
Satan's Hallow (2017)
"The Horror" song track
Satan's Hallow social media
#8 Eternal Champion
Forming in 2012, these Texas natives undertook the quest of adding to heavy metal's love of all things epic and legendary. Teaming up with Vancouver band Gatekeeper, the Retaliator/Vigilance split was cranked out in 2015, showcasing the best of both bands. Gaining further exposure with 2016 effort The Armor of Ire, the album treats listeners to a finely crafted set of tales with tracks "The Last King of Pictdom", "I Am The Hammer", and "Invoker". November will see the release of the Parallel of Death E.P. While all physical copies seem to have sold out, you can still have a listen to Eternal Champion's discography at their Bandcamp page.
#9 Ancient Empire
Heading back to California for an enigmatic entry, this three piece released When Empires Fall in 2014 through Stormspell Records. Ancient Empire furthered their sound on 2016 effort Other World adding tracks "Fight Another Day", "Embrace the Horror", and "Empire of Man" to their arsenal. Ancient Empire recently announced the release of their third album, The Tower which fans can get a taste of at the Stormspell Records Bandcamp page. While little remains known about Ancient Empire, they're definitely a band to pay attention to in the coming years.
When Empires Fall (2014)
Other World (2016)
For our last entry, we'll crank up the speed and head to Germany. Forming in 2015, Vulture released the hyper-violent Victim to the Blade demo the following year. 2017 saw Vulture land another slash with The Guillotine. Outfitted with tracks "Vendetta", "Clashing Iron", and "Triumph of The Guillotine", word of this bands intensity quickly spread through the underground. Recently performing with Evil Invaders in Belgium, the band appears to be keeping busy and enjoying the fruits of their labors.
Victim to the Blade (2016)
The Guillotine (2017)
Vendetta music video
Vulture social media