Many of the most famous metal bands — not to mention many of our favorites — have been around for decades. (Some of them are even still putting out strong material.) For this reason it's easy to forget about the newer bands on the rise, sowing the seeds of their legend. Following the popularity of our top metal guitarists under 30 post from last year, here are our picks for the best young frontmen and frontwomen.
10. Mitch Lucker
Though he could leave the center of the stage more, Mitch Lucker's gangly body is a constant whirlwind of motion, and he displays a strong sense of confidence. This has allowed his band to stay relevant while other deathcore acts come and go without having much impact.
9. Jonny Plague
Winds of Plague
Born Jonathan Cooke, Jonny Plague successfully sheds all trappings of his Christian name whenever he steps on stage. Part muscle-bound bruiser, part metal hype man, his persona helps Winds of Plague stand out from the pack of other bands beneath the deathcore tent.
8. John Strachan
Early Graves/The Funeral Pyre
Original Early Graves vocalist Makh Daniels set a high bar when it came to intense live performances. After his untimely death, John Strachan — who is also vocalist for The Funeral Pyre) — stepped in and has so far matched that sense of intensity, often ending shows as battered and bruised as anyone in the pit.
7. John Kevill
Many frontmen have trouble matching the angry snarl of their vocals during their stage banter. John Kevill is not one of them. When introducing old-school style thrash songs about getting attacked by sharks, he keeps your attention and all but forces you to get in the fucking pit.
6. Charles Elliot
Charles Elliot's guttural growls carry both the blistering death metal of his main band Abysmal Dawn and the slow depressing doom of side project Bereft. Live, his lively stage banter keeps metal heads in a moshing mood, at times channeling the “Scream for me, Long Beach!” moments of Bruce Dickinson.
5. Uta Plotkin
Our favorite trend in metal is the rise of '70s influenced occult metal fronted by powerful female vocalists. One of two women on this list, Plotkin provides the underpinnings of a sultry chanteuse underneath some of the heaviest riffs plundered from the Black Sabbath playbook.
4. Karl Bournze
Graf Orlock despises stage banter. But when you display the level of anger and ferocity that Karl Bournze does live, none of the window dressing is needed. He gets up close and personal during the set with everyone in the crowd, even the guy standing at the back of the bar playing Angry Birds.
3. Grace Perry
Grace Perry can shred her vocal chords alongside the burliest of dudes, but her refusal to play the gender card makes her more endearing. Her “just one of the boys” attitude on-stage quickly punches you square in the face, and before you know it, you are face down in the pit.
2. Erlend Helvik
As leader of Norwegian death-metal punkers Kvelertak, Erlend Helvik's energetic stage presence practically forces the other five members of the band to up their games. Even on their heavier songs, there's still a sense that all of this is just a raucous good-time, thanks to his presence.
1. Christopher Bowes
The mere concept of pirate metal sounds absurd. But when a band has an insanely likeable frontman like Bowes to sell it, you find yourself singing along with metal-flavored pirate shanties with lyrics like “Make the bastard walk the plank, with a bottle of rum and a yo-ho-ho!”