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Heavy metal has a long and diverse history in music, spanning hair metal, death metal and every metal in between. Over time metal has become less prominent in mainstream music, but that doesn’t mean it’s extinct. Dedicated fans are always looking for new artists and material to get their fix, and there are some fantastic up-and-coming modern metal bands that encompass a variety of genres. Here are four must-hear contemporary artists to add to your playlist.
Some of the greatest metal bands have come out of Finland, and Santa Cruz is no exception. Influenced by ‘80s metal bands such as Skid Row and Guns N Roses, Santa Cruz came onto the scene in 2007, reinvigorating the glam sound for modern audiences with hard rocking party anthems like ‘Wasted & Wounded,’ ‘Relentless Renegades’ and the title track for their debut album, ‘Screaming for Adrenaline.’ With successful European tours and electrifying live stage shows already under their belt, Santa Cruz are poised for greatness. The band’s self-titled album was released in March 2015, and they show no signs of slowing down.
Melodic heavy metal doesn’t get much better than Baroness. Formed in 2003, Baroness has produced three studio albums, ‘Red Album,’ ‘Blue Record’ and ‘Yellow & Green,’ all of which included elaborate album art done by lead singer John Dyer Baizley. Following their latest release in 2012, tragedy struck the band when their tour bus fell from a viaduct in England. Fortunately, and with no fatalities, the band recovered and came back more determined than ever with a new drummer and bass player. The band is currently in the studio working on their first album with the new line-up, and their growing fan base is eagerly awaiting the release date.
SteelPanther is single-handedly bringing the golden era of ‘80s heavy metal back to the masses, and they’re doing it with a twist. With hilarious songs and an undeniable stage presence, Steel Panther has perfected the art of a parody act. Hits like ‘The Burden of Being Wonderful,’ ‘Death to All But Metal’ and the power ballad ‘Community Property’ have made them a favorite amongst metal heads everywhere. After a recent tour with Judas Priest in 2014, Steel Panther have proved that they have staying power in an age of one hit wonders. This is a band that needs to be experienced live to appreciate not only what talented musicians they are, but also their dedication to giving the audience a fun, party-oriented experience. There’s sure to be a lot more to look forward to from Steel Panther.
Cyanide 4 is proof that Greece is still cranking out quality metal. Cyanide 4 began back in 2008 and have been cranking out rocking jams ever since, like ‘Wasting My Time,’ ‘Live the Life’ and ‘Love Me When I’m Dead.’ After opening for rock giants like Scorpions and W.A.S.P., Cyanide 4 generated a large fan base in Greece and abroad, and soon after released their first studio album, titled ‘Every Day is a Masquerade.’ Cyanide 4 is a band comprised of highly talented musicians, who give lively, club-atmosphere performances time and time again. Currently in the works for a follow-up album, Cyanide 4 has also expressed interest in touring internationally, so keep an eye out for these up-and-coming rockers.