Best Rock + Metal Songs of August — 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 July with a mix of essential songs and choice selections from the Loudwire staff. Maybe you'll even discover a new band that rules!
You know these bands and you probably heard these songs the instant they came out — midnight Spotify lurkers, we see you...
- Follow Loudwire's 'Best of the Month' playlist on Spotify here.
3TEETH, “Paralyze” feat. Ho99o9
Adema, “Ready to Die”
Archspire, “Golden Mouth of Ruin”
Asking Alexandria, “Alone Again”
Badflower, “Don’t Hate Me”
Black Label Society, “Set You Free”
Black Veil Brides, “Torch”
Boston Manor, “Carbon Mono”
Butcher Babies, “It’s Killin’ Time, Baby!”
Carcass, “Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1)”
Chad Gray + Violent Idols, “Loser”
Crown the Empire, “In Another Life” feat. Courtney LaPlante
Danny Elfman, “True” feat. Trent Reznor
Dead Sara, “Heroes”
Ded, “Kill Beautiful Things”
Dream Theater, “The Alien”
Enslaved, “Caravans to the Outer Worlds”
Every Time I Die, “Post-Boredom”
Exodus, “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)”
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, “Go Get a Tattoo”
Guns N’ Roses, “Absurd”
Halestorm, “Back From the Dead”
Ice Nine Kills, “Assault & Batteries”
Iron Maiden, “Stratego”
Lorna Shore, “...And I Return to Nothingness”
Machine Gun Kelly, “Papercuts”
Motionless in White, “Timebomb”
Papa Roach, “Swerve” feat. FEVER 333 + Sueco
Poppy, “So Mean”
Shaman’s Harvest, “Voices”
Sleep Token, “The Love You Want”
Spiritbox, “Hurt You”
Tallah, “Vanilla Paste”
The Darkness, “Motorheart”
Thrice, “Robot Soft Exorcism”
Tom Morello Featuring Phantogram, “Driving to Texas”
Tremonti, “Marching in Time”
Trivium, “Feast of Fire”
Turnstile, “Fly Again”
Wage War, “High Horse”
BAND: Blackwater Holylight
SONG: “Around You”
RELEASED: Aug. 9
Feel the need to escape into a song sometimes? Portland rockers Blackwater Holylight certainly provide the perfect track for doing so with their gorgeously lush new song “Around You” from the upcoming Silence/Motion album (due Oct. 22). Singer Allison “Sunny” Faris’ vocals melt into the sugary shoegaze melancholy taking listeners on a blissful headphone journey you won’t want to end.
BAND: Fantastic Negrito
SONG: “Rolling Through California”
RELEASED: Aug. 25
Grammy-winning Bay Area musician Fantastic Negrito was among those affected by 2020’s California wildfires, using the experience for inspiration on his track “Rolling Through California.” Pulling in backing vocalist Miko Marks, the pair drop an infinitely catchy funk-infused track that calls for collective action in the wake of drought conditions and accelerating climate change. Take in the message, but definitely hit repeat on this soulful earworm.
BAND: Little Thief
RELEASED: Aug. 13
Sometimes we all need a little push, and Bristol’s Little Thief have just dropped a steady-building anthem about those who are often doing the pushing. A gritty guitar line and steady beat provide the backdrop for a tale about that person who always knows which buttons to push. “We’ve all know that person or group of people that have the ability to bring out our ‘fuck it’ side,” says the band’s Charlie Fitzgerald. “They are magnanimous and that knock on the door on a Friday night always feels like the beginning of a superhero film.” “Freak” is featured on the group’s Under the Patio album, due Sept. 17.
BAND: Silent Planet
Released: Aug. 20
First of all, Silent Planet didn't come out swinging in 2021, they came out aggressively windmilling. Not only did they challenge themselves to write a song using no guitar (that’s right — it’s only bass, percussion, some electronic elements and absolutely filthy vocals), but they released that song as their first single and utterly crushed me with it. Also, in true Silent Planet tradition, a full research session of the lyrics was required to better understand the message of the song. Here’s to hoping this band keeps challenging themselves and the rest of us with their music.
SONG: “Party at the Cemetery”
Released: Aug. 13
In a sea of blink-182’s, POORSTACY is an Alkaline Trio. Yes, while countless new-age pop-punk artists do their best blink impression, POORSTACY offers something different. Something darker. Something more interesting. Don’t get me wrong, “Party at the Cemetery '' is an absolute bop, but, you know, the kind you can jam to even if you’re aesthetic is more corpse than skater.
RELEASED: Aug. 30
Oxymorrons described their latest banger — “Django” — as their tribute to ‘90s hip-hop, rock and Blackness but it’s also really a tribute to themselves. “Django” has the groove to make you bop along and bars to make you think while you’re doing it. Plenty of bands blend genres to varying degrees of success for various reasons, but when it comes down to it, it’s so obvious Oxymorrons are never trying to do anything other than show you who they are. Their Mohawks & Durags EP is slated for release Sept. 20 via Jason Aalon Butler’s (Fever 333/Letlive.) artist collective 333 Wreckords Crew.
BAND: The Last Gang
SONG: “Noise Noise Noise”
RELEASED: Aug. 4
The Last Gang are signed to Fat Mike’s Fat Wreck Chords, and the NOFX bassist and frontman is producing their upcoming second album (Noise Noise Noise due out Oct. 8). Singer/guitarist Brenna Red said the title track and first single was the result of Fat Mike challenging her to write “Clash-influenced reggae,” and I’d say she nailed it. Also her gravelly voice is super well suited to this slow burning, entrancing punk song. I am here for the dark vibes.
SONG: “Beyond the Grime”
RELEASED: Aug. 12
Death metal often feels like an overcrowded pool that everyone has pissed in — too many bands, too many releases, too much pee pee. That said, Diskord is the first band in 2021 that made me want to jump into that pool. When’s the last time you heard an ORIGINAL guitar style in death metal? Diskord’s guitar work is extremely wonky and disjointed, but it works. It’s uncomfortable, grimey, atonal and bend-heavy. And what’s with the drummer and his random cowbell hits? Whatever… I love it.
BAND: Sun of the Suns
RELEASED: Aug. 23
Thicc grooves from Italy! Sun of the Suns will release their debut album this year, and they’ve already made some waves with its title track, “TIIT.” The progressive death metal cut is a banger from start to finish, but the creamy center is the drum work. Give this song at least one listen while paying extra attention to its percussion.
BAND: Dead Posey
SONG: “Russian Roulette”
RELEASED: Aug. 6
Dead Posey stole my heart over the last year or so with their collection of fuzzy rock songs that have a little bit of a punk edge. Their latest single “Russian Roulette” has less of a dark undertone than most of their previous work — it’s a catchy, upbeat party rock anthem with a dangerous flair to it.
SONG: “Living Dangerous” ft. Dorothy
RELEASED: Aug. 13
If you’re a fan of ‘80s hard rock, especially bands like Def Leppard, you’ll be into Tempt’s “Living Dangerous.” It has sharp guitar riffs and strong vocals on its own, but then Dorothy comes in and blows the roof off with her powerful roar.
BAND: Grace McKagan
SONG: “One You Love”
RELEASED: Aug. 20
When I see the name McKagan, my mind, of course, jumps right to Guns N’ Roses and its iconic bassist Duff. Grace McKagan is his daughter, but her music is a far cry from what her father has created. They do share a similar taste in punk rock — which you can hear in “One You Love.” McKagan isn’t just a musical artist, she’s a visual one as well, and she successfully evokes whatever emotions she’s trying to convey in her listeners with both her sound and her aesthetic.
BAND: Running Wild
SONG: “Diamonds and Pearls”
RELEASED: Aug. 13
Pirate metal originators Running Wild have returned with Blood on Blood, their first album since 2016 and 17th in total. Full stop — this is one of the year’s best songs across any genre. There’s a muffled charm to the production that will transport any listener straight back to the band’s ripping early catalog and mainman Rock ‘n’ Rolf’s voice is perfectly gritty, much like a weather-worn pirate who has been sailing the seven seas the last 40-plus years. “Diamonds and Pearls” is pure, untainted vintage power/trad metal and anyone who doesn’t like it can walk the plank.
BAND: Spirit Adrift
SONG: “Wake Up”
RELEASED: Aug. 6
Spirit Adrift’s rise as leaders of the modern day classic metal scene has been a gradual one, growing stronger with each successive release. The new Forge Your Future three-track EP is a bite-sized sample of the band’s continued greatness with “Wake Up” serving as the second self-empowering single. The last year and a half has been hopelessly dark and, damn, is it refreshing to get some new music that doesn’t reflect my own sense of misery. That, and I’m a sucker for arena-built Scorpions-esque leads and a guitar lick that kinda sounds like Jake E. Lee on the underrated Ozzy cut “Waiting for Darkness.” No darkness here, though!
BAND: Unto Others
RELEASED: Aug. 6
Unto Others, formerly known as Idle Hands before a trademark issue forced a name change, signed to Roadrunner for the release of Strength, their first album under the fresh moniker and second overall. The band has shed some of their more potent classic metal influences, instead leaning on the ultra-catchy goth rock that shaded their Mana debut. “Downtown” smacks of ‘80s icons such as The Mission, The Cure and Rosetta Stone, cut with melodic metal bits that transform this depressive anthem into a song that yearns for brighter days.
BAND: Atreyu ft. Travis Barker + Zero 9:36
SONG: “Warrior Remix”
RELEASED: Aug. 26
We've been playing “Warrior'' by Atreyu on Loudwire Nights for a minute now (not alone, the song is about to enter the Top 10 at rock radio), so it's nice to hear Zero 9:36, one of my favorite young musicians, pop on the track. Brandon Saller brings the rock, Zero 9:36 brings the rap and Travis Barker gives that marching band power like no-one else can.
BAND: George Harrison
SONG: "My Sweet Lord" (50th Anniversary Mix)
RELEASED: Aug. 6
Late Beatles guitarist George Harrison released his sprawling solo album All Things Must Pass in 1970. But just this month arrived a reissue of the effort containing new masters of the songs after they were completely remixed last year. (The original triple album evidently always had "too much echo" for the liking of Harrison, who died in 2001). The retooled undertaking finds great representation in the subtle but invigorating new mix of "My Sweet Lord," the signature Harrison solo single that later in the '70s became the center of a highly publicized plagiarism case concerning its similarities to '60s doo-wop hit "He's So Fine."
SONG: "Pazuzu Is Here" (2021 Version)
RELEASED: Aug. 24
Longtime Brazilian extreme metal act NervoChaos have never sounded as brutal as they do on a newly re-recorded version of "Pazuzu Is Here," the opening track from their 2010 album, Battalions of Hate. The 2021 rendition is the band's first preview of the upcoming Dug Up… Diabolical Reincarnations, their compilation due this November that reimagines tunes from the first four NervoChaos albums for the outfit's 25th anniversary.
SONG: "The Fire Itself"
RELEASED: Aug. 20
Heavy music fans who might presume that metalcore has exceeded its useful life should give a listen to some new Phinehas tracks to relight the metalcore fire within them. "The Fire Itself," for an example — a recent single from the Solid State Records band's new album of the same name — is a plenty incendiary metalcore jam that could figuratively singe the eyebrows off any bare-faced onlooker. After all, you gotta burn to become the fire itself.