6 Great New Metal Albums That Challenge Expectations

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In all the years I’ve been chronicling the best new metal music every month, I’ve never officially put together a Best Metal Albums So Far list at the year’s halfway point. There’s a part of me that shrugs at the redundancy of it; last month we published our list of the Best Albums of 2024 So Far, and of those 42 albums, about 10 are either metal or metal adjacent. (Side note, but related: I regret that we left out Yaya Bey’s Ten Fold, which has nothing to do with metal but is a phenomenal record.) That doesn’t necessarily mean it ends there, especially considering the kind of year for metal that we’re having right now, where innovation and career-best albums from MVP bands are dropping seemingly every other week.

But before I even considered a proper mid-year best-metal list, I noticed that my picks for June (including one May 31 release) all essentially qualify for that very honor. If I were to pick my favorite metal albums this year, you’d see all six of this month’s albums on the list, and if I were to rank them, they’d be pretty high up there. Like I said: amazing metal albums are being released at an astonishing clip, and with a new Blood Incantation album on the way plus likely new releases from Tribulation and Oranssi Pazuzu as well, there’s still a lot left to hear.

But beyond merely being great metal records, this month’s batch break the expectations barrier. Some of them are a matter of leveling up, or relatively new bands proving themselves as MVPs in the making. Some of them are stylistic changes that yield incredible results. And some of them, in the case of Sumac, are more about the metaphysical and the spiritual than simply what the music sounds like. If you came for the riffs, don’t worry, they’re still here in ample supply—there’s just so much more than that.

These are the best metal albums of June 2024, which also happen to be some of the best metal albums of 2024 so far, if you’re looking for that sort of thing.

Note: When you buy something through our affiliate links, Treble receives a commission. All albums we cover are chosen by our editors and contributors.

200 Stab Wounds Manic Manual Procedures review
Metal Blade

200 Stab Wounds – Manic Manual Procedures

Just a few years ago, with only a solitary debut album to their name, 200 Stab Wounds placed more than respectably on MetalSucks’ reader poll of the best New Wave of Old School Death Metal bands (number one will surprise you, probably). And they earned it. But this? This is a major step up for the Cleveland group, who have delivered a sophomore album that’s not merely one of the best death metal albums of the year, but a standout album for metal as a whole in 2024. While 200 Stab Wounds have plenty of competition in terms of who can dispense the best riffs, there are few death metal bands with this kind of mastery of hooks and melody. The songs on Manic Manual Procedures have all the guttural nastiness that we all love in a death metal album, but with the immediacy of thrash metal at its most streamlined and direct. They add in a few choice moments of atmospheric eeriness and some richer instrumental arrangements, all without abandoning their sense of fun. Your mileage may vary, depending on what drives you to death metal, but this is pretty much everything I want in a death metal album.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)

REZN Burden review
Sargent House

REZN – Burden

Chicago’s REZN (pronounced like “resin,” because stoner metal) are on the second album in the second year in a hot streak that began with 2023’s Solace, a psychedelic/progressive doom metal standout that made an appearance in this very column (thanks to a heads up from Treble’s Langdon Hickman). Burden, the band’s fifth album, is even stronger, doubling down on their headier heavy-psych elements while beefing up their back end. Songs like leadoff track “Indigo” and the mystical “Instinct” are prime examples of REZN’s ability to craft breathtaking swirls of sound in addition to merely rocking the fuck out. I’m not going to tell you whether you should enjoy an enhanced listening experience—it’s a trip on its own even when you’re perfectly sober—but the journey will be a wild one all the same. Oh, and also, make sure to read our interview with REZN.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)

best metal albums of june 2024 - gatecreeper
Nuclear Blast

Gatecreeper – Dark Superstition

I’ll be the first to admit I thought I had Gatecreeper pegged, only to find out they had so much more growth and evolution ahead of them than I realized. The Arizona group released two outstanding death metal albums in 2016’s Sonoran Depravation and 2019’s Deserted—before changing course entirely on the crusty, under-20-minute EP An Unexpected Reality. Yet that was mere palate cleanser for their third album, Dark Superstition, a major leap forward for the group that finds them aiming for the anthemic in truly heroic ways. Dark Superstition is an album of triumphant melodies and infectious hooks, the kind of album where every ripper carves a path toward the kind of Headbanger’s Ball chorus that should be blasting from a Honda Civic with busted A/C. In one sense, it’s the album they’ve been leading toward for the better part of a decade, but hearing the finished product in all its glory is just that much more satisfying.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)

Ulcerate Cutting the Throat of God review
Debemur Morti

Ulcerate – Cutting the Throat of God

New Zealand’s Ulcerate have evolved from a great death metal band to one that occupies a space all their own, pairing technically adept instrumentation with harrowing atmosphere that captures a sense of dread and awe that few other metal bands even suggest. In our recent interview with Ulcerate, the group’s Jamie Saint Merat said that they view death metal as the “metal of death,” by which he meant it’s a lens through which to examine death itself and both its physical and emotional toll. As such, Cutting the Throat of God is an album that aims for transcendence through a kind of terrifying beauty, showcasing some of the group’s most breathtaking songwriting that nonetheless retains a sense of blistering power and scorching intensity. While it indeed features some of the greatest instrumental performances from the band, it finds them exploring melodic nuances and intricate compositions that show how far they’ve come in more than two decades. A powerful, devastating tour de force.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)

Sumac The Healer review
Thrill Jockey

Sumac – The Healer

Sumac are a unique force in heavy music, massive enough in sound to be considered metal but atypical enough in approach to be something else entirely. Since they first collaborated with Japanese avant garde artist Keiji Haino six years ago, they’ve continued down a path of bold exploration and improvisation-based performances that have led them to their most awe-inspiring set of music to date. The Healer is, much like their previous two albums, both massive and mysterious, stretching well beyond an hour in pursuit of a kind of spiritual ascendance. It feels as much like spiritual jazz from the ’60s and ’70s in that sense, delving deep into the soul rather than simply showing off on the fretboard. It’s at times mystical and psychedelic, as when a thick layer of organ coats “Yellow Dawn.” And there’s no question about the thunderous immensity of it all. But this is music meant to be felt as much as heard, intended to touch something that words often can’t express.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)

Thou Umbilical review
Sacred Bones

Thou – Umbilical

Thou spent 2018 breaking their music apart at the atomic level and revealing aspects of their sound through discrete but coordinated releases all arriving within weeks of another. Magus was their last official album, pairing their melancholy melodic sensibility with a sludgy roar, while a trio of companion EPs—The House Primordial, Rhea Sylvia, and Inconsolable—found them breaking down their approach into noise/drone, grunge, and acoustic dirges, respectively. Umbilical is more streamlined and direct, comprising shorter songs and a more focused aggression through the most feral application of their heavy, grunge-influenced aesthetic to date. It’s also a strong contender for their best album yet, blistering and furious, a perfection of their uproarious live presence captured in the studio. It’s also, despite the bile and dissonance, the band’s most fun release in some time. And while I tend to change my mind about these things late in the game, there’s no harm in declaring it now: This is my favorite album of 2024.

Oh yeah, and read our interview with Thou while you’re at it.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)

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