Welcome to the first edition of Metal Power Rankings, a weekly look at the movers and shakers in the metal world. Our weekly rankings take a number of factors into account: newsworthiness, record sales, internet buzz, word of mouth and overall importance in the genre. Ultimately, it’s subjective, but if a band generates enough buzz, they’ll wind up on the list. And away we go.
Following the Knotfest, which was by all counts successful, with a #1 album on the Billboard charts, there’s no way any other band could be on here. Sure, their last album sold 240,000, but that was six years ago. Even Noisey, which is generally dismissive of mainstream metal is on board.
2) At The Gates
European metal standard bearers return after a long hiatus with album that’s not only good, but one of the band’s and the year’s best. That happened last year with Carcass, and it’s happening now with At War With Reality.
It’s been a busy week for the guys. Their tour kicks off in a few weeks, there’s been a viral video about a dude selling his car to get tickets, and speaking of cars, their first Scion ad/studio update landed this week. In fact, their concept car was unveiled this week.
4) Devin Townsend
Devin Townsend is always prolific, but to release a double album and the final episode of Ziltoid TV in the same week just goes to show his workaholic tendencies have paid off.
Who knows when the follow up to Death Magnetic will be out? Maybe we’ll find out during the band’s weeklong residency with the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. In other news, a lot of people will be seeing Ferguson’s show, currently in its last year, for the first time, including Metal Insider!
The band’s Late Show with David Letterman performance might not seem like a big deal for the perpetual bar-raisers, but it’s another huge step on their way to becoming a bigger household name. Add in the second leg of their impossibly stacked tour with Gojira and Kvelertak, and they’re one series of year-end albums lists away from climbing even higher.
Did you start hyperventilating as much as we did when the band unveiled 30 seconds of new music at Knotfest? They know very clearly that the second Joey Belladonna era has been a breath of fresh air, and even before adding a live DVD and Scott Ian’s own DVD plus new memoir, the follow-up to Worship Music is guaranteed to be a major event when it finally arrives.
8) Five Finger Death Punch
Consider this: if you combine both volumes of The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell into one total, Five Finger Death Punch has sold nearly 750,000 albums since last June. They did this in 2014. You can debate the quality of their music, but you can’t argue with how impressive this is for a very heavy band.
Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza’s return is a major thrash event, and with the band’s new album out now plus a tour with Slayer coming and a video out, Exodus’ stock is sure to keep rising.
How many bands can say honestly that excitement about them rose right after two members left? DevilDriver’s performance at Knotfest and subsequent hiatus will give everyone time to miss them in a period that hasn’t been kind to the New Wave of American Heavy Metal’s biggest bands, and Coal Chamber’s return is a nice kickstart for another generation to come back and find their much heavier successors later.
11) Bring Me The Horizon
12) Black Crown Initiate
Two CMJ shows and a #1 CMJ Loud Rock album later, metal fans at college radio are all over these blackened-tech monsters, and deservedly so as The Wreckage of Stars is one of this year’s finest debut albums. Expect their stock to only rise when publications start making their year-end lists.
13) Machine Head
The tour cancellation hurts, but having one of the year’s biggest albums right around the corner certainly doesn’t.
Massive Addictive sold double the albums of its predecessor in Week 1, putting the band on the top half of the Billboard 200. The Swedish band’s following is still a cult one in the US, but they’ve stolen fine thunder from Within Temptation as they roll into that tour’s close.
Inked in Blood is a nicely invigorating return from the death metal masters, and their tour is sure to be among the most dependably brutal tours out there going into 2014’s home stretch.