October 20, 2021

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The Best Rock + Metal Songs of April: Staff Picks + Essentials


The Weekly Wire playlist is still roaring, packed with 50 new songs each week and, here, we’re recapping the Best Rock + Metal Songs of the Month for March with a mix of essential songs and choice selections from the Loudwire staff. Maybe you’ll even discover a new band that rules!

The Essentials

You know these bands and you probably heard these songs the instant they came out — midnight Spotify lurkers, we see you…

AFI, “Dulceria”
At the Gates, “Spectre of Extinction”
Attack Attack!, “Brachyura Bombshell”
Beartooth, “Hell of It”
Black Veil Brides, “Fields of Bone”
Buckcherry, “So Hott”
Crobot Featuring Howard Jones, “Kiss It Goodbye”
Dirty Honey, “Gypsy”
Dropkick Murphys, “Queen of Suffolk County”
Fear Factory, “Disruptor”
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes With Idles’ Joe Talbot, “My Town”
Gojira, “Into the Storm”
Helloween, “Skyfall”
Kaleo, “Skinny”
Kayzo and Sullivan King featuring Papa Roach, “Domination”
Light the Torch, “Wilting in the Light”
Mammoth WVH, “Feel”
Machine Gun Kelly, “Race Love”
Mick Jagger + Dave Grohl, “Easy Sleazy” not on Spotify
Myles Kennedy, “Get Along”
Of Mice & Men, “Bloom”
Red Fang, “Arrows”
Royal Blood, “Boilermaker”
Sabaton, “The Royal Guard”
Silverstein, “Bankrupt”
Spiritbox, “Circle With Me”
Starset, “Infected”
Tetrarch, “Negative Noise”
The Devil Wears Prada, “Termination”
The Offspring, “We Never Have Sex Anymore”
The Struts, “Low Key In Love” Feat. Paris Jackson
Twenty One Pilots, “Shy Away”
Weezer, “I Need Some of That”

FOLLOW THE ‘BEST OF THE MONTH’ PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY HERE.

STAFF PICKS

Graham Hartmann

BAND: Yautja
SONG: “The Spectacle”
RELEASED: April 20

Wolf down some primitive riffs from the streets of Nashville. Yautja fit right in the pocket of Relapse Records acts, blending grind and sludge together with Mastodonic caveman vocals. Oozing through your speakers, “The Spectacle” delivers a brain-melting beatdown in the vein of Brutal Truth or Fudge Tunnel.

BAND: Action/Adventure
SONG: “Poser”
RELEASED: April 7

With a renewed public interest in pop punk thanks in part to modern hip-hop artists, Action/Adventure just layered an anthemic banger over a hip-hop inspired video. The guys hilariously switch between trap and pop punk in their clip for “Poser,” which carries the weight of a classic pop-punk pit starter.

Lauryn Schaffner

BAND: Suspect208
SONG: “You Got It”
RELEASED: April 11

When you’re looking at a band that features the sons of Slash and Robert Trujillo, it’s easy to assume that they’re riding off their fathers’ legacies, but that’s not the case with Suspect208. They made a name for themselves with their first single “Long Awaited” in 2020, but since then have had a slight lineup change and parted ways with singer Noah Weiland (yes, another rocker’s son). “You Got It” is their latest single, and it’s their second with Cody Houston on vocals. It’s a hard rocker that’s heavily infused with punk, but also features bluesy guitars. These guys obviously aren’t looking to be a Guns N’ Roses or a Metallica — they just wanna be Suspect208.

BAND: Vagabond Crowe
SONG: “Room for Two”
RELEASED: April 25

The fuzzy, mellow intro of “Room for Two” by Vagabond Crowe instantly reminded me of the early ‘90s, which is interesting because they describe themselves as “alternative Americana and folk.” The slow, grungy guitars create such a gloomy mood, and the harmonizing between Mitch Stewart and Paula Woods reminds me of Mark Lanegan and Layne Staley’s duets on the Mad Season album Above. Hailing from North Carolina, you can certainly hear a bit of a southern influence, as well, which just creates the perfect blend of I-don’t-know-what-to-call-this-but-I-love-it.

BAND: Trope
SONG: “Surrogate”
RELEASED: March 31

We’re aware that this song actually came out at the very end of March, but I’m breaking the rules and making an exception this one time because I think Trope is a band you need to know. The first time I heard Trope, it reminded me of a combination of Tool and Halestorm. While that’s obviously an enormous statement, give it a chance and you’ll hear what I mean. “Surrogate” is a song off their debut album Eleutheromania, and it’s full of odd time signatures and distorted guitars. Need I say more?

Joe DiVita

BAND: Vulture
SONG: “Star-Crossed City”
RELEASED: April 29

Germany’s Vulture are my favorite thrash band to emerge over the last few years. Dealin’ Death, their third album (out May 21st on Metal Blade) is less red-lined than its maniacal predecessor, and the only reason I’m not mad about it is because they’ve begun to veer into NWOBHM territory. “Star-Crossed City”… yup, I’m gonna do it… is a cross-section (there it is) of thrash and the sweet, sweet sounds that gave birth to metal’s original and olde spirit as purveyed by vanguards Maiden and Priest.

BAND: Sammy Boller
SONG: “Ritual Lights”
RELEASED: April 2

We at Loudwire are big fans of the innovative and tap-happy guitarist Sammy Boller. So much so, that when his new song, “Ritual Lights,” was released, he played live on our Instagram. It was the first-ever “live” performance of this whimsical mood-stabilizing instrumental track (in addition to 25 other face-melting minutes), so that was pretty cool! As easy as it is to shower Boller with praise for his shred abilities, the real hallmark of any virtuoso is knowing when to apply that shred and, more importantly, when to demonstrate restraint. That’s where the real emotion, which is the crux of Boller’s work, lies.

BAND: Portal
SONG: “Eye”
RELEASED: April 22

Portal’s acrid, death-addled compositions sustained by dissonant abrasion are so palpably menacing that they can easily send someone into a paranoid state of claustrophobia. “Eye” sends things back to the Swarth/Outre era (my favorite, fortunately) with less musical clarity and a greater focus on that sonic hallmarks that made their music feel as if there was a crawling evil confidently coming to steal the light and plunge the world into never-ending darkness. Hyperbole? Never heard of it…

BAND: Pestilence
SONG: “Morbvs Propagationem”
RELEASED: April 16

This completely revamped Pestilence lineup is fierce! After one listen, “Morbvs Propagationem” easily cemented itself as my favorite song from the reunion era. As much as this band is in a perpetual state of evolution, there’s always something that unifies the direction as distinctly Pestilence. This track melds the rhythmic attack of classic death metal with modern death metal’s more eager lead guitar playing.

Rabab Al-Sharif

BAND: HIDE
SONG: “Nightmare”
RELEASED: April 28

Dark, heavy and gritty with thought-provoking visuals, in just under a minute HIDE will leave you feeling both curious and uncomfortable after spinning this minimal yet provocative track.

*This track is not on Spotify

BAND: Trash Boat
SONG: “Silence is Golden”
RELEASED: April 16

Trash Boat have always fallen somewhere between pop punk and hardcore, but “Silence is Golden” — which feels like both their heaviest and catchy release to date — opens up a chance for them break out from their previous bubble. With big riffs, a melodic chorus and a message shining light on the wealth gap, social inequality and media bias, this could be a big moment for Trash Boat that has me excited to see where they go next.

BAND: Kaonashi
SONG: “An Evening of Moving Pictures with Scooter Corkle”
RELEASED: April 20

Sad you missed the MySpace era of scene music? Or did you live through it and just miss changing your layout and Top 8? Kaonashi might be your new favorite thing. “An Evening of Moving Pictures with Scooter Corkle” manages to pack a lot into just 3-and-a-half minutes, so you may need to play on repeat to fully absorb all this progressive post-hardcore track has to offer.

BAND: Hot Mulligan
SONG: “Pop Shuvit (Hall of Meat, Duh)”
RELEASED: April 19

So Motion City Soundtrack are one of my favorite bands of all time, and Hot Mulligan has a pretty similar upbeat/manic vibe. This is the perfect song if you’re really sad and/or anxious but also just want to fuckin dance.

BAND: Pinkshift
SONG: “Mars”
RELEASED: April 2

OK, this is not the first time I have suggested Pinkshift, but just listen to this song — are you kidding me? The build up, the soaring chorus, the fact that it’s another certifiable bop. Pop punk is theirs. Just give it to them.

BAND: SeeYouSpaceCowboy
SONG: “Painting A Clear Picture From A Unreliable Narrator”
RELEASED: April 27

The mall emo revival is here, and damn is it glorious. Ah, screamo: long song titles, chaotic verses, soaring clean choruses, clapping — this song is the full package. SeeYouSpaceCowboy will release the A Sure Disaster split with metalcore supergroup If I Die First on May 14, which is an absolute must for any fan of the genre.

Chad Childers

BAND: Black River Delta
SONG: “California Sun”
RELEASED: April 15

Making their second appearance in our staff picks, Sweden’s Black River Delta bring the swing to their latest blues-infused single “California Sun.” With Black Keys and Jack White currently keeping blues rock in the mainstream eye, Black River Delta certainly have the hooks to eventually join them as rock-radio favorites. Be on the lookout for their aptly-titled Shakin album coming in June.

BAND: Ayron Jones
SONG: “Spinning Circles”
RELEASED: April 8

Ayron Jones has burst onto the scene over the past year as one of rock’s breakout stars, delivering the swagger-filled “Take Me Away” and the soulful yet passionate follow-up “Mercy.” Jones now pulls it back somewhat, showing he can still speak volumes with something a little softer. A string-filled opening segues into melancholic verses and a hard-hitting chorus as Jones shows both angst and vulnerability in relating the chaos of an unhealthy relationship.

BAND: Aeges
SONG: “Colors”
RELEASED: April 22

Fire it up and rock it out! Aeges certainly take listeners on a journey with their newly released song “Colors,” delivering moments of hurtling heaviness blended with almost hypnotic melody in the verses. The progressive rock fingerprints are there and the heavy riffs are plentiful. Just throw it on, turn up the volume and enjoy the ride.

BAND: Fuckin Whatever
SONG: “Original Sin”
RELEASED: April 22

Take two parts Taking Back Sunday, one part Circa Survive and one part Grouplove and then subtract their instruments. Fuckin’ Whatever are a supergroup made up of Adam Lazzara, John Nolan, Anthony Green and Ben Homola who first connected over post Taste of Chaos tour jams that consisted solely of vocal harmonizing and finding ways to stomp or create a beat. “Original Sin” from their upcoming self-titled EP is a haunting, almost tribal track that finds Lazzara and Green trading vocal leads and comes with an undeniably great groove.

Toni Gonzalez

BAND: Cleopatrick
SONG: “Family Van”
RELEASED: April 21

Just spoke with Ian Fraser and Luke Gruntz of Cleopatrick for Loudwire Nights and they shared that they are over discussing the story that originally inspired Family Van and now see the track as a song about confidence. They referred to the track as an underground, iconic song among their fanbase, so they are super excited to finally put it out. Much to be excited about in Cleopatrickland as their debut album Bummer arrives June 4 and their Bummer Tour kicks off in September. I noticed such a difference in them from our last chat, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for these two.

Philip Trapp

BAND: Violet Grohl + Dave Grohl
SONG: “Nausea” (X Cover)
RELEASED: April 23

Does Dave Grohl really have a kid who’s already contributing to songs with the Foo Fighters leader and former Nirvana drummer? He does! Now, try telling that to any grunge survivor who doesn’t already feel old. Here we are, with 15-year-old Violet Grohl singing lead on a cover of influential punk-rockers X’s song “Nausea.” (It emerged this month to promote her dad’s upcoming What Drives Us documentary about bands on the road.) Upon listening, one could surmise that the sky’s quite clearly the limit for the oldest Grohl daughter should she choose to follow her dad fully into music.

BAND: Brendon Small’s Galaktikon
SONG: “Ghosthorse”
RELEASED: April 12

How many songs can one say are written about a guitar? Whatever the answer, “Ghosthorse,” from Dethklok sonic architect Brendon Small and his always-triumphant-sounding solo metal project Galaktikon, ain’t about no gently weeping six-string. The simmering guitar jam was initially composed to promote Small’s Epiphone signature model GhostHorse Explorer, part of the tune accompanying an announcement revealing the axe last month. Now, Small has taken the number and fleshed it out into a complete track. After no new Galaktikon material since 2017’s Become the Storm, the instrumental “Ghosthorse” is a welcome reminder of the Metalocalypse co-creator’s fluidity on the fretboard.

BAND: Jim Ward
SONG: “Paper Fish”
RELEASED: April 8

Jim Ward is back with new solo material. For the uninitiated, he’s the post-hardcore mastermind behind alt-rockers Sparta and, of course, a co-founder of the venerated stage smashers At the Drive-In. But Ward doesn’t let his musical vision get dictated by band names, and “Paper Fish,” the rocker’s latest solo single, shows there are plenty of tricks left up his musical sleeve. Still, some fans might wonder what it would sound like coming from one of his other projects — but the tune makes the case that, for Ward, the band names themselves never really mattered.

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