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From effervescent funk to chaotic, full-throated nu-metal: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Jim Root of Slipknot performs in concert at the Ericsson Globe Arena on February 21, 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden
(Image credit: Michael Campanella/Redferns)

The weekend is indeed almost here, but don’t turn your eyes away from the screen just yet, dear readers – we have to tell you about the week’s most exciting new guitar-driven tracks. 

This week, Slipknot made a chaotic, full-throated return with The Chapeltown Rag, Nilüfer Yanya offered a tantalizing glimpse of her forthcoming sophomore album with the razor-sharp stabilise, Foals debuted a Talking Heads-esque piece of effervescent funk called Wake Me Up, while PUP made a return of their own with the riotous Kill Something.

So kick your feet up, turn the dial to the right, and usher in the weekend with these fresh tunes.

Slipknot – The Chapeltown Rag

Boy, Slipknot never miss the mark do they? Two years since the release of their last studio album We Are Not Your Kind, the Iowa nine-piece have ushered in the next stage of their artistic evolution with a sickeningly heavy new single, The Chapeltown Rag.

Accurately described by frontman Corey Taylor as “a punisher," “frenetic” and “classic Slipknot," the track is both a nod to the band’s first two albums – Slipknot (1999) and Iowa (2001) – and a push into new, potentially even-heavier-than-before waters.

Kicking off with a breakbeat a la Eyeless from Slipknot, the track takes little time shifting into gear, with resident six-stringers Jim Root and Mick Thomson serving up plenty of their usual chugging drop B riff work over the thunderous rhythm section comprising Jay Weinberg, Shawn “Clown” Crahan and Michael Pfaff. (SR)

Foals – Wake Me Up 

At risk of sounding like an old cliche, English rock trio Foals are something akin to a fine wine, having produced a repertoire jam-packed with intricate, off-kilter guitar lines, mammoth riffs and infectious lead hooks. Situated right at the forefront of today’s alt rock guitar scene, Foals’ newest single, Wake Me Up, ushers in the latest stage of the band’s ongoing evolution.

After producing two albums and 20 tracks over the course of 2019, Foals took a step back – possibly in an effort to avoid any potential fatigue – and have now returned with a rejuvenated sense of purpose buoyed by an energetic new direction.

While it’s not as reliant on the guitar as any Antidotes track, the selectivity and application of the six-strings is arguably just as satisfying. Disco-esque, upper-fretboard chordal frills are layered to the rafters, with the mix-piercing riff providing enough rumbly low-end to make you boogie one minute then head bang the next.

Sometimes less is more, and while 2019’s Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Parts 1 and 2 were undeniably enjoyable, we can’t help but feel the break has done the group a world of good, and that an even more enjoyable effort is on the way. (MO)

PUP – Kill Something

The Canadian joy-punks have debuted their first new material since 2019, and it’s as life-affirming as you’d hope. Waiting and Kill Something are both riotous explorations of the band’s ability to channel distortion into delight, and while the former boasts a winner of a punk-metal riff, we found ourselves particularly taken by the ebullient leads on Kill Something.

The track itself is an ode to frontman Stefan Babcock’s dog, who destroys the things he loves, but the concept meets its juxtaposition in Steve Sladkowski’s wild lead breaks, whose wild, fuzz-heavy explorations sound like he loves what he destroys. (MAB)

Nilüfer Yanya – stabilise

Since she dropped the Feeling Lucky? EP late last year – and with it, the phenomenal, genre-fusing tune Day 7.5093 – we’ve been dying to see where Londoner Nilüfer Yanya would go next. 

stabilise – the lead single from her forthcoming sophomore full-length, PAINLESS – gives us the first glimpse of what the singer/songwriter has up her sleeve for 2022, and boy is it a tantalizing one.

Driven by restless energy, stabilise paints a frank picture of the challenges of modern urban life, and how it can lead to anxiety, listlessness and loneliness in equal measure.

With spiky, intertwining single-note guitar lines that wrap themselves around the song’s framework in an intricate web, stabilise brings the glory days of Silent Alarm-era Bloc Party to mind, but remains an enthralling, vital and fresh piece of guitar-rock. (JM)

Korn – Start the Healing

Following the success of their 2019 album The Nothing – nu metal heavyweights Korn have announced a followup entitled Requiem, and shared its first single, Start the Healing.

A mid-tempo masterclass in dynamics, the track sees Brian “Head” Welch and James “Munky” Shaffer deploy a brooding 7-string guitar riff in the verses, before using open powerchords and melodic octave lines to expansive effect in the choruses.

We’d wager we’re in for some of the most progressive music yet from Jonathan Davis and co. In a statement accompanying the single’s release, the band said Requiem was “conceived out of very different circumstances than the majority of the band’s catalogue," as because of the Covid pandemic, the record was “born of time and the ability to create without pressure." (SR)

Cousin Kula – Something So Sweet 

Multiple listens will reveal just how good Cousin Kula’s new track is. A dreamy jazz odyssey that combines enveloping synth soundscapes, orthodox smooth sax solos, melodic drum beats and serene, modulated guitars, Something So Sweet is a satisfying thirst-quencher for fans of intricate compositions.

Lifted from the Bristol-based band’s upcoming debut album, Double Dinners, the track boasts the tonal and studio gravitas of a seasoned jazz outfit, though takes it one step further with some boundary-blurring and genre-blending motifs that make Something So Sweet an absolutely necessary pre-weekend playlist addition.

Remarkably, “most of the tunes on the album are live takes” according the the band, and while there are no ultra-choreographed fretboard fireworks or rehearsed solos, there’s just enough to six-string delicacy stirred up in the mix to sufficiently whet the appetite and leave us wanting more.

Lucky for us, “more” is right around the corner. Double Dinners set to drop on November 26 via Rhythm Section. (MO)

Code Orange – Out For Blood

“When they go right, we go left,” says Code Orange vocalist Jami Morgan, describing the band’s latest single, Out For Blood. It’s a beautifully concise way of summarizing the artistic direction of the new track, which dabbles in more pop-centric vocal melodies than heard on the Pittsburgh quintet’s last full-length, Underneath.

But these lighter stylings are few and far between; the band once again showcase their unique brand of digitally-enhanced heavy metal in full force, with tons of killer downtuned electric guitar riffs and a knockout solo from Reba Meyers, undoubtedly fueled by her insane pedalboard. (SR)

Camp Cope – Blue

Whether she’s offering up a beautiful, heartfelt eulogy to a loved one or a scathing takedown of sexist scene boys, Georgia Maq has always imbued Camp Cope’s power trio attack with complex narratives and one-liners that are difficult to forget.

Blue, the band’s first new material since 2018’s stellar How to Socialise & Make Friends, shows the Aussie band subtly exploring some new sonic territory, without losing their affecting touch.

If you came to Blue without context, you could conceivably close your eyes and almost hear a country song. Maq’s tender vocal performance – assisted by some sweet harmonies – covers heavy emotional ground with the gravity it requires, without taking its eye off of tunefulness and big hooks.

Maq’s guitar work, too – along with the usual punky drive – has a touch of Nashville-like twang and bite. Head-fake or not, Blue leaves us more excited for the trio’s as-yet-untitled third album than we already were. (JM) 

Rolo Tomassi – Drip

With new single Drip, the unclassifiable UK experimentalists continue to push the boundaries of contemporary metal. Layers of polyrhythmic drones build to one of this year’s finest palm-muted chug assaults, and indeed, Chris Cayford’s playing has never sounded tighter or his tone more defined.

But as is always the case with Rolo Tomassi, it’s the landscapes the song traverses that set it apart from the work of the band’s contemporaries. Drip’s shimmering, arpeggiated post-rock breakdown – complete with sweetly sung vocals from vocalist Eva Korman – highlights the band’s ever-evolving dynamism. 

It’s so meticulously crafted and beautifully layered, it’s almost a song within a song, before those thrashing single-note riffs return to bring proceedings to a tumultuous close. New album Where Myth Becomes Memory is out in February, and it looks set to be an essential listen. (MAB)

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.