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The Year In Review 2021

The Year In Review 2021

Full Pelt Music looks back on 2021 for our Year In Review

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2020 was a year that we all wish we could forget. Could 2021 be any better? Well, it started off just as the previous year ended; with the live music industry on its knees. Lockdown restrictions still ruled out any live in person shows, with even socially distanced shows initially outlawed.

Come late spring, things began to look up and a number of “test” events were planned. We were lucky enough to attend the Pilot Download Festival and the euphoria of being amongst fellow music fans in a field can’t truly be put into words. Things were looking up!

Live music would eventually make a full return but sadly as we write this The Year In Review 2021 feature, the sector is once again holding its breath waiting for the Government to take action. Alas, true normality may still be a long way off, but for a few months this year we got to feel alive again.

That alone elevates 2021 above 2020, but there is plenty more to unpack. We recently undertook our now annual countdown of our top albums of the year over on our social media. 2021 was a truly exceptional year in terms of album quality. Those musicians kept in lockdown last year certainly found their creativity and compiling a list of the top 50 albums of the year was highly competitive.

Read our Album of the Year 2021 feature

In our The Year In Review 2021 article, we will be revealing our end of year award winners. As with last year we will announce our Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Artist of the Year, Gig of the Year and Festival of the Year.

This year however we have an additional award to hand out. 2021 was a big year for Full Pelt Music, our first full year in existence. We’ve grown and we’ve enhanced our focus on new music. We launched initially our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist on Spotify through which we highlight the best up and coming artists.

We also launched not one but two Podcasts this year, including the accompanying ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast where we truly shine the spotlight on your new favourite acts. As such, this year we will also be awarding the ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year award!

Before we get to those awards though, let’s run you through a few of our highlights this year. First of all, as mentioned we also launched The Full Pelt Music Podcast this year. Fittingly our inaugural guest was Frank Turner, the winner of both our Gig of the Year and Artist of the Year awards in our 2020 Year In Review.

Across the Podcasts this year we’ve had the pleasure to talk with Press To Meco, Beans On Toast, Miss Vincent, Planet Fatale, Mercutio, Light By The Sea, Freddie and the Fabs, The Damned Few, Project Renegade, Icarus and Smoke! Be sure to check out these conversations, and also to Subscribe on Youtube or wherever you listen to your Podcasts. After all, we will have plenty more for you to enjoy in 2022.

The Music Industry has seized on the opportunity to entertain this year both live and on record. We’ve reviewed 66 albums, 2 festivals and 27 gigs in 2021 as fans have been treated to incredible releases and some truly stunning live shows. Again, perhaps the enforced break has allowed creativity to breed innovation.

So with that in mind, let’s work through those award catagories!

Album of the Year

As we’ve already referenced, the pure quality of releases this year made compiling our Top 50 Album of the Year List very tricky. It was hard work but we did it, and you can read the full list here.

The quality is demonstrated best by last year’s winners IDLES only reaching a still respectable number 7. The winner however had to be ‘Blue Weekend’ from the incredible Wolf Alice who continue to go from strength to strength. After three stunning albums, there is no ceiling for this band and we can’t wait to catch songs from the album live in 2022.

Winner:

‘Blue Weekend’ by Wolf Alice

The Contenders:

‘Written & Directed’ by Black Honey, ‘Typhoons’ by Royal Blood, ‘Seize the Power’ by Yonaka and ‘Transmute’ by Press To MECO

Previous Winners:

2020 – ‘Ultra Mono’ by IDLES

Single of the Year

We move on now to our award for the Single or Song of the Year. This year has again seen us locked down for considerable amounts of time and many will have sought solace in Playlists such as our Spotify Hot List.

In selecting our track of the year we considered which songs we’ve come back to time and time again, which songs remain as fresh now as they did on first listen and what songs simply just resonate on a different level.

Our winner is an incredible track from the fantastic album ‘Transmute’ from Press To MECO. ‘A Test Of Our Resolve’ ticks all of the criteria and also sounds absolutely massive live.

Press To MECO – ‘A Test Of Our Resolve’
Winner:

‘A Test Of Our Resolve’ by Press To MECO

The Contenders:

‘My Town’ by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, ‘Afterlife’ by Holding Absence, ‘Midnight’ by Creeper and ‘Haven’t Been Doing So Well’ by Frank Turner

Previous Winners:

2020 – ‘Obey’ by Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

Artist of the Year

Artist of the Year now and for this award we look for somebody who has had a huge, perhaps even career-defining year. Last year we gave the award to Frank Turner for his incredible work for the #SaveOurVenues campaign through his Independent Venue Love series.

This year our winners are a band that also dabbled with livestreams during that first lockdown. This year however has been a hugely important year for Biffy Clyro. A new album, ‘A Myth of the Happily Ever After’ came hot on the heels of last year’s ‘A Celebration of Endings’. It’s another quality album from a band that continue to deliver consistently great music.

The band also had a huge impact on the live music scene this year. Firstly, the band rode to the rescue by stepping in as late replacements for Queens of the Stone Age to once again headline Reading and Leeds Festivals.

Secondly, the band played huge outdoor shows in Cardiff, Glasgow and Margate to help signal the return of live music after around 16 months of lockdown. Highlights of both their Reading and Glasgow performances aired on the BBC.

Lastly, the band played a completely sold out and very intimate ‘Fingers Crossed’ Tour across the UK. Their shows this year giving fans an opportunity to witness songs from not one but two albums live for the first time.

Biffy Clyro – ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt / Unknown Male 01’
Winner:

Biffy Clyro

The Contenders:

Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Creeper and Wolf Alice

Previous Winners:

2020 – Frank Turner

Festival of the Year

Festivals made a belated return from lockdown restrictions in late summer, although the majority of the usual seasons events were still cancelled. For our Festival of the Year however we can’t look anywhere other than the special event that laid the groundwork for all events to return, the Download Pilot Festival!

Back in June the Government test event was the first opportunity for music fans to camp in a field and rock out for three days. The camaraderie and atmosphere this situation created, combined with the uniquely intimate Download layout and line-up made for a once in a lifetime experience.

British bands took centre stage and delivered an incredible weekend of music; with bands and fans both desperate to experience live music again. Thanks to all involved we can hopefully experience a full fat Download Festival again this summer.

Read our review of the Download Pilot Festival!

Winner:

Download Pilot Festival

The Contenders:

Reading Festival and Lost Evenings

Previous Winners:

2020 – Wild Fields Festival

Gig of the Year

Last year’s winner of Gig of the Year was a socially distancing outdoor affair, this year however true live music returned! Picking a winner this year is difficult because the pent up frustration of lockdown on both musicians and fans vented fully across some amazing gigs.

We reviewed 27 of those shows this year and there were some very special moments amongst them. The winner however must go to Bring Me The Horizon who stormed the O2 Arena with You Me At Six and Nova Twins in tow.

The night was a massive middle finger to any remaining doubters and the band solidified themselves not just as arena fillers but as festival headline ready. Fitting therefore that they have recently been revealed as headliners for Reading & Leeds Festivals next year.

Read our review of Bring Me The Horizon live in London

Winner:

Bring Me The Horizon @ O2 Arena

The Contenders:

Creeper @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, Idlewild @ Electric Brixton, The Offspring @ Wembley Arena, Biffy Clyro @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, Vukovi @ Norwich Waterfront Studio and Royal Blood @ Norwich UEA

Previous Winners:

2020 – Frank Turner @ Nottingham Arboretum

‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year

Our final award is a new award for this year where we shift focus on to the future. Having launched our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist and Podcast this year we wanted to honour an act that we have featured and for whom the future is bright.

With their debut album ‘A Funeral For Youth’ cracking our top 20 for the year, Miss Vincent take the inaugural ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year award!

Miss Vincent – ‘Rosaline’
Winner:

Miss Vincent

The Contenders:

Planet Fatale, Dead Nature and Thumper

So, it hasn’t been a usual year again, in fact at times it has been just as hard as 2020. 2021 has however reminded us of what we were missing. Stunning new music, incredible live shows and a return to some normality (nobody say ‘new’ normal!), make 2021 a year that will live long in the memory for many reasons.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our The Year in Review 2021 feature and we wish you a very Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2022 is a good one!

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News Report

News Report

Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week!

News Report

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Reading Festival unveil 2022 line-up!

News Report

Welcome to another edition of our News Report. We have festivals galore to report on this week as organisers look to get in on the Christmas shopping rush!

We’ll start with one of the biggest events on the planet, Reading and Leeds Festivals. This week saw the combined event reveal the first acts for 2022 including headline slots for Arctic Monkeys, Bring Me The Horizon and Rage Against The Machine!

If that wasn’t enough there are also sets from Wolf Alice, Enter Shikari, Fontaines D.C., Bastille, Fever 333 and Pale Waves. There are many, many more still to be announced too.

Tickets are here

Read our review of Bring Me The Horizon live in London

Victorious Festival announce Stereophonics and more

News Report

Taking place the same weekend will be Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival. This week the event announced their first wave of acts including Friday headliners Stereophonics.

Also playing over the weekend will be James, Nothing But Thieves, The Wombats, Self Esteem, We Are Scientists, Little Man Tate and more.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Stereophonics live in Cambridge

Rebellion Festival reveal new R-Fest

News Report

Blackpool’s Rebellion Festival will next year include the new R-Fest. Taking place alongside the usual event, R-Fest will be part of the festival ticket or is purchasable as a standalone.

The outside event will feature headliners The Levellers, The Stranglers, Gary Numan and Squeeze.

They’ll be joined by The Wildhearts, Ferocious Dog, Beans On Toast, The Undertones, From The Jam, The Vapors, Peter Hook & The Light, Buzzcocks and more.

Tickets and information here.

Read our review of ’21st Century Love Songs’ from The Wildhearts

Burn It Down Festival reveals first acts for 2022

Torquay festival Burn It Down this week revealed the first acts for the 2022 edition. Taking place on 2nd and 3rd September, the event will feature a huge set from Dream State.

They will be joined by the likes of Tigercub, Gender Roles and Pupil Slicer.

Tickets are here.

Check out our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast on Youtube

Cambridge Folk Festival reveal first wave of 2022 acts

The festival announcements continue with Cambridge Folk Festival. The event revealed a host of acts for the 2022 return of the festival following the pandemic.

Acts playing the event include Passenger, Seasick Steve, This Is The Kit, Show Of Hands and Beans On Toast!

Tickets are here

Watch Beans On Toast on The Full Pelt Music Podcast

The Full Pelt Music Podcast – Episode 3 – Beans On Toast

Moseley Folk & Arts Festival reveal first acts for 2022

More festival goodness comes from Birmingham and the Moseley Folk & Arts Festival, which this week revealed their first acts for next year.

The line-up will be topped by Supergrass and Seasick Steve.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Seasick Steve live in Norwich

Wide Awake Festival returns to Brockwell Park next year

Our final festival announcement comes from London event Wide Awake, which takes place in May in Brockwell Park

The two day event will feature a headline set from Primal Scream plus appearances from Working Men’s Club, Billy Nomates, Chubby & The Gang, Yard Act and many more.

Tickets are here.

Listen to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist on Spotify

My Chemical Romance add additional UK dates

On to tour announcements now as our News Report progresses. My Chemical Romance fans have been left desperate to catch their returning heroes with their much hyped reunion continuously delayed by the pandemic.

With all three Milton Keynes dates long sold out, fans will now have more opportunity to catch them when they finally do arrive. This week saw the band reveal extra dates including Warrington, Cardiff and Glasgow.

Tickets will be here.

Listen to our ‘Hard & Heavy’ Playlist

The Cure announce UK Tour

Another special tour announcement this week saw The Cure reveal a run of UK dates. Fans will have the opportunity to catch them in arenas across the UK next year.

Making the dates even better is support act The Twilight Sad!

Tickets are here

Read our review of Idlewild live in London

Jack White to play 2 London shows

Seeing out our tour announcement section of the News Report is the iconic Jack White.

White this week revealed a huge World Tour for next year. ‘The Supply Chain Issues Tour’ will include two nights in London at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo in June.

Tickets are here.

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Read our review of Enter Shikari live in London

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Live Reviews

Bring Me The Horizon

O2 Arena, London

Sunday 26th September 2021

Bring Me The Horizon

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BRING ME THE HORIZON – O2 ARENA – LIVE REVIEW

There is a tangible sense of excitement in the air at the O2 Arena. It may be a Sunday night, we may still be living in a pandemic world, there may be a fuel crisis and summer may be in the rear view mirror but tonight nothing else matters.

Tonight is all about a moment, a spectacle, a band ascending to a higher level. It’s a tired debate now really; are Bring Me The Horizon ready? Are they ready to headline festivals, ready to carry the mantle for heavy music, ready to take over the world?

If their live performances in recent years, their chart successes or even their cultivation of a cult-like fanbase aren’t evidence enough that they are already that band then what is? How about a sold out arena tour? How about another number one record in the form of ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’? Well, we are in London to find out.

Read our review of ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’

Up first are one of the most exciting young rock bands around, Nova Twins. Delays in entering the venue leave their crowd a little sparse but the attention of those in the venue is fully trained on the fierce power emanating from the stage. It’s a mesmerising performance from a prospective generational band.

Next on the famous stage are a band who previously headlined the venue in 2015. Since then You Me At Six have dabbled with nostalgia and experimented with new directions. It’s that amalgamation of experiences that has born their latest album ‘SUCKAPUNCH’.

Read our review of ‘SUCKAPUNCH’

The majority of their set tonight comes from their own number one album and the likes of ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ and ‘Beautiful Way’ are greeted with audience response equal to favourites ‘Lived A Lie’ and ‘Underdog’.

The highlight however is a certain Oliver Sykes partaking in an epic run through of ‘Bite My Tongue’. Tonight’s atmosphere is special and You Me At Six make the most of it with a performance that could’ve headlined again.

Instead our headline act is Bring Me The Horizon. At times a marmite band, in that you either love them or you hate them. The hate that the band generate these days however seems to come more from jealousy. How dare a band evolve, how dare a fanbase grow, how dare an alternative band enjoy mainstream success!

‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ seems to have swayed a fair few old school fans back into the fold, but the growth of the band comes from more than that. There is a genuine crossover now between the popular crowd and those that like it heavy.

The Linkin Park-esque ‘Teardrops’ is perhaps therefore a fitting opening number. There is then very little ease in the relentless parade of hits. This is a band now that can’t fit all their popular tracks into a single set list.

So the band now has a top class set list. They also have a premium stage show that perfectly fits the narrative of the evening. They can also pull in guest appearances from Nova Twins on ‘1×1’ and YUNGBLUD on ‘Obey’.

By the time the band finish with ‘Throne’ and ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ there isn’t an audience member in the sold out venue left in any doubt that this band has arrived. Bring Me The Horizon already are everything people argue they are or more to the matter are not! End the arguments now, embrace the future and just enjoy a heavy music success story.

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Check out Episode 7 of our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast with guests Miss Vincent

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News Report

News Report

We roundup the best music news from the past week!

Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week in our News Report. To stay up to date with the biggest news be sure to follow us on our social channels:

Frank Turner announces new single, album and UK Tour

Frank Turner News Report

Welcome to another edition of our weekly News Report where we roundup the best music new from the past week including single, album and tour announcements.

This week one artist has ticked all three of those boxes, as Frank Turner begins the next era of his career. Turner has revealed that his new album, ‘FTHC’ will arrive February 11th. You can pre-order the album here.

Those that do pre-order will be given priority access to tickets for his ‘Never Ending Tour of Everywhere’! Yes Turner will play a staggering 29 date tour in early 2022, dates for which you can see above.

Finally, giving fans a sample of what’s to come, Turner has debuted his latest single, ‘Haven’t Been Doing So Well’, which you can check out below.

For ticket and album details head here.

Frank Turner – ‘Haven’t Been Doing So Well’

Check out Frank Turner on our Full Pelt Music Podcast

Primal Scream celebrate 30 years of ‘Screamadelica’

Primal Scream News Report

Continuing on the tour announcement front, Primal Scream this week announced plans to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of ‘Screamadelica’. They will do this with a special tour and re-release of the album.

Tickets are here, and you can pre-order the album here.

Read our review of ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’ from Manic Street Preachers

Alice Cooper and The Cult announce UK Tour

Alice Cooper The Cult News Report

Two iconic rock acts will join forces for a UK Tour next spring, as Alice Cooper and The Cult announce an arena run starting in Swansea and finishing in Leeds.

Find tickets here.

Read our review of ‘The Cycle Repeats’ from Planet Fatale

Turbowolf announce special tour

Another anniversary tour announced this week will see Turbowolf celebrate 10 years of their debut album. The band will play shows in Bristol, Manchester and London this November where they will also preview some new music.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Royal Blood live at Norwich UEA

Bowling For Soup set for acoustic UK Tour

Jaret and Rob from Bowling For Soup will be heading to the UK this December for an intimate run of acoustic shows.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Download Pilot Festival

TRNSMT Festival unveils 2022 lineup

On to the Festival portion of our News Report and following a successful 2021 event, Glasgow’s TRNSMT has already revealed the first acts for the 2022 edition.

Taking place from 8th to 10th July, Glasgow Green will welcome The Strokes, Paolo Nutini, Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Fontaines D.C., Wolf Alice, Jimmy Eat World and The Snuts!

Tickets are here.

Read our review of ‘Blue Weekend’ from Wolf Alice

Lytham Festival reveals stunning 2022 bill

Lytham Festival has revealed details for 2022 including the rescheduled 2021 dates. 2021 acts Diana Ross, Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, Duran Duran and Lionel Richie will play Weekend 1.

Weekend 2 will include a date for The Strokes with guests Fontaines D.C. and a date featuring Tears For Fears, Alison Moyet and Natalie Imbruglia!

Tickets are here.

Listen to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist

Bring Me The Horizon debut ‘DiE4u’

Bring Me The Horizon – ‘DiE4u’

New music releases now as our News Report continues. First up is the new track from Bring Me The Horizon. Ahead of their upcoming UK Tour, the band this week debuted ‘DiE4u’ which you can check out above.

More ‘DiE4u’ listening options here.

Listen to ‘DiE4u’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Placebo return with first new single in 5 years!

Placebo – ‘Beautiful James’

Placebo returned this week with their first new single in 5 long years! You can check out ‘Beautiful James’ above. There are more listening options here.

Listen to ‘Beautiful James’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Dead Man’s Whiskey debut ‘Never Ever’

Dead Man’s Whiskey – ‘Never Ever’

Finally this week, new music from a great young band, Dead Man’s Whiskey. The band debuted ‘Never Ever’ this week ahead of the release of their EP ‘Breakout’ which you can pre-order here.

Check out our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast

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Read our review of ‘A Funeral For Youth’ from Miss Vincent

Categories
Features

The Year in Review 2020

Photo by Expect Best from Pexels

Full Pelt Music looks back on 2020 for our Year in Review

What a year to pick to review. It’s been a year like no other and not for good reasons.

On a personal level as detailed within my first blog, ‘The Reluctant Blogger’, I was made redundant from a job I loved, just before Christmas and during a global pandemic! Not nice, but realistically I wouldn’t be writing this blog on this website if that hadn’t happened! The decision to return to writing about music also allowed me to take a look at the relationship between music and my mental health in ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’.

For the world it has been a year of pain, struggle and despair. From the fires of Australia to the flooding of the UK early in the year and now again just before Christmas; there has been no restpite in the year of the coronavirus. Unprecedented is the word of the year, but with Brexit and the ongoing pandemic looming large, the word for next year is probably uncertain.

Everybody has struggled this year, personally and professionally. This struggle is not limited to the music industry but our industry has struggled greatly. The live side of the industry is built on bringing people together and of course that has not been possible since March. The recorded side of the industry has also struggled with delays in recording, producing and distributing.

Recovery for the grassroots of the industry is far from guaranteed. The stark and sad reality is that many musicians and hard working crew members will have needed to have sought alternative employment and the actuality here is that many will never return to the music industry. The fact is many government schemes setup to alleviate the financial pressures on individuals and businesses simply bypassed these people.

Unfortunately the pandemic has also hastened the plight of many grassroots, independent music venues.  We have sadly already lost many venues and there are still many more at imminent risk of permanent closure. We have written extensively about the issues surrounding our industry in our blog ‘Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues’, and we encourage you to get involved in the initiatives highlighted.

This is of course a creative and innovative industry and through struggle we evolve. Much like the loss of my own job bred this website, the loss of touring and live shows has seen the evolution of the livestream. Many musicians have embraced technology and sought new ways to engage with their audiences. We have looked at the rise of this phenomenon in our blog ‘Livestreams: Good or Bad for the Music Industry’.

When looking back on 2020 in the future, the memories will fill everybody with dread. There has however been some fantastic musical highlights despite everything else. We recently revealed our Album of the Year in our ‘2020 Album of the Year’ blog; and the Top 20 list was highly competitive.

2020 has produced some incredible music and that’s where we are going to focus this end of year review. In order to celebrate the successes of a very difficult year we going to look at the following awards – Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Gig of the Year, Festival of the Year and Artist of the Year!

Album of the Year

As mentioned we recently listed our Top 20 Albums of the Year here. This was a highly competitive list as 2020 saw some truly phenomenal releases.

Full Pelt Music’s Top 20 Albums of 2020

We said “It has been a crazy year, and this list has been heavily influenced by that. As mentioned the top of this list is massively impacted by new music I heard during the height of the initial lockdown. ‘Ultra Mono’ was an album that I was already extremely excited to hear; and the stream of songs released during Lockdown only served to raise that excitement to a fever pitch.

Thankfully IDLES didn’t disappoint and when the album arrived it was a pure masterpiece. It shows a natural progression on the bands first two records and grows the bands sound. It still captures what made us all fall in love with the band but by incorporating new elements into the bands sound the album shows that IDLES are no one trick pony.

Above all other releases this year and those that feature in this list, this was the album that we needed this year. In a year where we have all been knocked down one way or another, IDLES and ‘Ultra Mono’ has been a call to arms, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and keep going.”

WINNER: ‘Ultra Mono’ by IDLES

The Contenders: ‘A Hero’s Death’ by Fontaines D.C., ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ by Bring Me The Horizon, ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ by Enter Shikari, ‘A Celebration of Endings’ by Biffy Clyro, and ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ by Creeper

Single of the Year

It’s been a good year for both Bring Me The Horizon and Yungblud, with both releasing stunning new records. Yungblud recently hit the number one spot with ‘weird!’ which we reviewed here, and Bring Me The Horizon silenced their doubters with ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ which we reviewed here.

It shouldn’t therefore be so much of a surprise that their collaboration together is our standout single of the year. Accompanied by an over the top video, ‘Obey’ is a rip roaring tale of corruption and brainwashing, so perfectly fitting for 2020!

WINNER: ‘Obey’ by Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

‘Obey’ – Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

The Contenders: ‘Model Village’ by IDLES, ‘Space’ by Biffy Clyro, ‘Trouble’s Coming’ by Royal Blood, and ‘Protect The Land’ by System Of A Down

Gig of the Year

I was lucky enough to catch some fantastic shows early in the year, you know BC (before Covid!), and Stereophonics, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Kaiser Chiefs and Fontaines D.C. all deserve special mention.

For my Gig of the Year however I’m again looking to the Covid era.

When life has drastically changed and you’ve been deprived of the opportunity to do something you love, you learn to savour those moments more. For me, as somebody that in 2019 attended some 93 gigs, the loss of live music was devastating. Of course, many people have endured much worse in 2020, particularly at the height of the initial national lockdown; for me however, I was just desperate for live music.

The opportunity to watch real, live music again thankfully emerged (if only for a short time) at the end of summer. Frank Turner lives by the moto “Always on Tour”, and he wasn’t going to let a global pandemic get in the way. An innovative location for a socially distanced gig was Nottingham Arboretum, basically a bandstand in a park. The result was a stunning if unusual setting for a gig which came to life when night fell and Turner serenaded the sold out crowd with his biggest hits.

A great supporting cast including Tash Bird, Holly Carter and Beans On Toast helped to make this show one to remember. The musicianship on show was fantastic, as was the togetherness and gratefulness of an audience desperate to once again forget life’s stresses and enjoy an evening of music. It was a powerful evening that brought tears to many an eye, and that’s why it wins our Gig of the Year award.

WINNER: Frank Turner @ Nottingham Arboretum (20/09)

Nottingham Arboretum

The Contenders: Stereophonics @ Kentish Town Forum (21/01), Kaiser Chiefs @ Brighton Centre (30/01), Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes @ Alexandra Palace (15/02), and Fontaines D.C. @ Norwich UEA (24/02)

Festival of the Year

The coronavirus pandemic completely obliterated the 2020 festival season, as early optimism that some festivals would survive was eventually swallowed whole by this horrible virus. With social distancing in place, festivals just were not possible. But didn’t I say that the music industry is the most creative and innovative industry? Whilst some promoters attempted to arrange socially distant shows, tours and festivals, few succeeded; with even Live Nation cancelling a huge programme of drive in shows.

I was lucky enough however to venture to two such festivals at the Norfolk Showground near Norwich. A mixture of entertainment was laid on in a specially designed arena with socially distanced ‘pods’ maintaining the necessary safety measures. Brickfest was a one day festival focussing on covers band with a handful of original acts like headliners Bad Touch thrown in. The day was a huge success given the circumstances, as was our 2020 Festival of the Year – Wild Fields Festival!

Wild Paths Festival debuted in Norwich last year with acts gracing venues across the fine city. This year the event embraced the outside arena and rebranded as Wild Fields Festival over two days was an eclectic line-up on offer. The first day featured great sets from many young artists including Lauran Hibberd, Indoor Pets, Another Sky and headliners Gengahr.

Even through the greatest adversity the power of the arts shines through and Wild Paths was a shining example of how to put on a safe, fun and thoroughly entertaining festival during a global pandemic.

WINNER: Wild Fields Festival

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, also host of Wild Fields Festival

The Contenders: Brickfest

Artist of the Year

Our final award is for Artist of the Year. In a such an unprecedented and difficult year this award is going to an act that has considerably contributed to making the year better. Fantastic new music has played a hugely positive role in improving a hard year. With this in mind that means that IDLES, Biffy Clyro, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Fontaines D.C. and Yungblud are all in the running for this award.

Beyond that however real live music when possible has been an even greater high than normal. As such Frank Turner enters the running as an act I somehow managed to catch live this year some four times including the aforementioned Gig of the Year.

But this year is different, new albums and live shows whilst normally the lifeblood of our industry almost feel insignificant when you look at the horrors witnessed across society, both inside and outside the music industry. One saving grace for many this year has been the arrival of the music livestream. A number of those already mentioned have dabbled if not excelled in this activity.

Our winner however has taken this new outlet to heart. They have provided joy and distraction to thousands of people during what must be a record setting number of livestreams. More than that, they have managed to raise an amazing amount of money for a cause I have already championed in this blog. That cause is of course the Save Our Venues campaign and our Artist of the Year is clearly that man again, Frank Turner!

In 2020, Frank Turner has probably played more real shows and more livestreams than anybody else. He has recorded and released new music including collaborations with NOFX and Jon Snodgrass. He has produced the fantastic new Beans On Toast record. He has thoroughly entertained and provided much needed distraction from the real world to thousands; and he has raised an incredible amount of money for charity.

In reality Turner deserves a medal, but what we can give him is our Artist of the Year award!

WINNER: Frank Turner

Artist of the Year – Frank Turner

The Contenders: IDLES, Biffy Clyro, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Fontaines D.C., and Yungblud

2020, a year we will all be hoping to forget very quickly, but there has been some great music released. All focus now however is on 2021 and those vaccinations. We hope that sooner rather than later we will be able to safely gather again in those venues and fields to watch our favourite artists in the flesh.

There will also likely be an avalanche of new music coming our way with artists having been isolated with their creatively for company. Let’s just hope that not every song is about lockdown!

Categories
Features

Album of the Year 2020

Photo by Andrea Turner from Pexels

Who is going to make the Full Pelt Music Top 20 Albums of the Year List?

2020 – a year we would all much sooner forget. Certainly not the year we had all envisaged. Real life has been traumatic and upsetting for many. The effects of the virus have been disastrous for the music industry, with the collapse of live music and many delays and production issues for albums.

You’d think therefore that selecting an Album of the Year list would be difficult due to a lack of new music! We are however talking about the most creative and adaptable industry and in fact compiling this list has been hard for the opposite reason. Even through all the sadness and despair this year, we have been graced with some amazing new music.

More so, the uniqueness of this year has created a special connection to the music released during the most troubling times. This is therefore a highly competitive list and all 20 entries deserve high praise!

We have been counting down the list as part of our #AdventCalendar of music over on our Twitter Page. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by clicking the icons below!

Finally, before we talk through our Top 20 Albums of the Year, a special mention to Yungblud and his new album ‘Weird!’ which we recently reviewed here. Released after the compilation of this list, the album is a stunning piece of work and had it been released earlier would have been competitive at the top of the list! But, now to the countdown…

20

HAYLEY WILLIAMS
‘Petals For Armor’

In a year that doesn’t seem to want to end, January seems a lifetime ago when Paramore’s Hayley Williams announced her debut solo album ‘Petals For Armor’. By the time that album arrived, the world had descended into chaos and all touring plans had been cancelled. When the album did emerge in May it represented a ray of light in dark times, and showed Williams has a lot to offer outside of Paramore.

we suggest you check out:

Hayley Williams – ‘Simmer’

19

DOVES
‘The Universal Want’

When Doves returned from an eight year hiatus in 2018 the band initially basked in that reformation glory. Thankfully for fans though it hasn’t taken long for the band to head back into the studio and the resultant album ‘The Universal Want’ is a timely reminder of what we had been missing.

we suggest you check out:

Doves – ‘Prisoners’

18

AC/DC
‘Power Up’

After a tumultuous few years with the tragic loss of Malcolm and departures of Cliff, Phil and Brian, AC/DC could have been easily forgiven for riding off into the sunset having had one of the greatest careers of any heavy rock band. But then that wouldn’t be the AC/DC way of doing things would it? Instead we get another classic AC/DC album in ‘Power Up’ with Williams, Rudd and Johnson back in tow!

we suggest you check out:

AC/DC – ‘Shot In The Dark’

17

REWS
‘Warriors’

The Shauna Tohill led REWS have somehow managed to equal if not surpass their debut album with sophomore release ‘Warriors’. Packed with punchy, catchy, bouncy rock and roll, we challenge you not to throw your heart and soul into this album just as Tohill clearly has.

we suggest you check out:

REWS – ‘Birdsong’

16

THE STRUTS
‘Strange Days’

With The Struts you should always expect the unexpected. This is not a band that plays by any kind of rule book. So why wouldn’t they team up with guests as diverse as Tom Morello, Phil Collen & Joe Elliott, Albert Hammond Jr and yes the actual Robbie Williams? ‘Strange Days’ solidifies The Struts reputation as the future of rock.

we suggest you check out:

The Struts – ‘Strange Days’

15

ALL TIME LOW
‘Wake Up Sunshine’

‘Wake Up Sunshine’ is somehow the eighth studio album for All Time Low, which makes me feel very old. Thankfully this isn’t an album that rests on any laurels and the band continue to deliver the goods with another very solid album added to that back catalogue.

we suggest you check out:

All Time Low – ‘Monsters’

14

THE KILLERS
‘Imploding The Mirage’

By now we know exactly what to expect from The Killers and thankfully their first album without lead guitarist Dave Keuning still delivers that classic feel. With the likes of Lindsay Buckingham instead contributing on ‘Imploding The Mirage’, there is even an air of freshness to their sound.

we suggest you check out:

The Killers – ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’

13

PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS
‘We’re The Bastards’

When Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons released their debut album, to the surprise of many they delivered a classic rock masterpiece. Any doubters thinking they couldn’t do it again have now been proven wrong with the release of ‘We’re The Bastards’ In our recent review (here) we stated “The bands fans are the loyal kind hence their lyrics proclaim “…’cause we’re the bastards, and you’re a bastard too…”.  If you’re in to good old fashioned rock and roll, give this album a listen and you too will be in that club”.

we suggest you check out:

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons – ‘Son Of A Gun’

12

GREEN DAY
‘Father Of All…’

‘Father Of All…’ may not sit highly amongst the bands back catalogue if we are being honest, but an average Green Day album is still a very good album in the grand scheme of things. Despite this album pre-dating national lockdowns the album has remained on rotation throughout the year which is a testament to its real qualities.

we suggest you check out:

Green Day – ‘Oh Yeah!’

11

BOSTON MANOR
‘Glue’

Nobody should be surprised at the quality of Boston Manor’s albums anymore. With the release of their third album ‘Glue’, the band have now delivered three high quality albums with plenty to unpack.

we suggest you check out:

Boston Manor – ‘Liquid’

10

HAIM
‘Women In Music Pt. III’

With ‘Women In Music Pt. III’, Haim have let it all hang out with a statement of an album that takes listeners on a musical journey of wonder. Taking elements of various genres and given them that now classic Haim twist, this album is a stunning piece of musicianship.

we suggest you check out:

Haim – ‘Now I’m In It’

9

PVRIS
‘Use Me’

With the release of third album ‘Use Me’, PVRIS have continued their evolution into something majestic, enormous and vital. The bands growth had been put out there for all to see and this album just encapsulates the power of Lynn Gunn.

we suggest you check out:

PVRIS – ‘Dead Weight’

8

BLACK STONE CHERRY
‘The Human Condition’

On ‘The Human Condition’ we get the Black Stone Cherry that we all love, just doing what they do best. Full of head banging and foot stumping this record sees the band confirm that they are here to stay, and that they have plenty left in the creative tank.

we suggest you check out:

Black Stone Cherry – ‘Again’

7

TRIVIUM
‘What The Dead Men Say’

‘What The Dead Men Say’ is a stunning piece of work that captures a band that has hit their peak. Trivium have mixed the lessons learnt from their past with their recently rejuvenated vigour and have come out the other side with an album that stands up that anything that they have previously released.  

we suggest you check out:

Trivium – ‘Catastrophist’

6

CREEPER
‘Sex, Death & The Infinite Void’

The release of ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ was a rocky road for Creeper, and not just because of a global pandemic. Various internal struggles and personal demons had to be overcome before Creeper could make their grandiose return. Sadly this return coincided with a certain virus which hampered the typical over the top promotion of a Creeper release. Thankfully for the band the record itself is brilliant enough to shine through even the darkest times.

we suggest you check out:

Creeper – ‘Born Cold’

5

BIFFY CLYRO
‘A Celebration Of Endings’

As we hit the top five Albums of 2020, things are very tight. A terrible year has thankfully seem some amazing music emerge to see us through. Biffy Clyro are another band whose plans were destroyed by this horrible virus, with tours cancelled and the album delayed. The early single releases from ‘A Celebration of Endings’ however provided much joy in the early period of lockdown.

When the full album finally found his way into the public domain, little did fans realise the treat that was in store for them. Biffy Clyro always evolve with each release, but they somehow manage to retain that Biffyness to their music. This is a unique band and ‘A Celebration of Endings’ is a unique record that mixes both the beautiful and the heavy as only Biffy Clyro seem to be able to.

we suggest you check out:

Biffy Clyro – ‘End Of’

4

ENTER SHIKARI
‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’

Another band whose releases were a small positive in the huge negative that was the first national Lockdown was Enter Shikari. It was clear from the start that ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ was going to be a very special album. The connection felt now with certain tracks only serves to ensure that this album will forever be seen as one of, if not the best Enter Shikari album.

All the normal quirkiness is there, along with the more mainstream elements incorporated into 2017’s ‘The Spark’.  In fact, on this album Enter Shikari may have actually made the perfect Enter Shikari recipe and in turn the perfect Enter Shikari album!

we suggest you check out:

Enter Shikari – ‘satellites**’

3

BRING ME THE HORIZON
‘Post Human: Survival Horror’

Yes, ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ is technically an EP, but it is just so outrageously good that it had to feature and feature high. Precursors such as ‘Ludens’ and ‘Parasite Eve’ had promised something special but I don’t think anybody predicted anything this good.

When we recently reviewed the record (here) we told you “This new EP takes the best elements from throughout their career and combines them in one stunning masterpiece of an album.”. Bring Me The Horizon prove with this album that the best is still to come!

we suggest you check out:

Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Obey’

2

FONTAINES D.C.
‘A Hero’s Death’

The battle for the number one spot this year was fierce. Actually, the battle for the top 5 was fierce this year. Fontaines D.C. are the band that gets the number two spot, but this album deserves Album of the Year. ‘A Hero’s Death’ shows that the band are no flash in the pan and builds on the basis of debut ‘Dogrel’. This album actually feels a step above that debut album, and is another that has created a huge personal connection during this tough year.

This record has already rightfully brought the band much acclaim and we can’t wait to hear these songs live. Fontaines D.C. are an unstoppable songwriting force and with ‘A Hero’s Death’ they have placed their claim to be the band of their generation.

we suggest you check out:

Fontaines D.C. – ‘I Don’t Belong’

1

IDLES
‘Ultra Mono’

It has been a crazy year, and this list has been heavily influenced by that. As mentioned the top of this list is massively impacted by new music I heard during the height of the initial lockdown. ‘Ultra Mono’ was an album that I was already extremely excited to hear; and the stream of songs released during Lockdown only served to raise that excitement to a fever pitch.

Thankfully IDLES didn’t disappoint and when the album arrived it was a pure masterpiece. It shows a natural progression on the bands first two records and grows the bands sound. It still captures what made us all fall in love with the band but by incorporating new elements into the bands sound the album shows that IDLES are no one trick pony.

Above all other releases this year and those that feature in this list, this was the album that we needed this year. In a year where we have all been knocked down one way or another, IDLES and ‘Ultra Mono’ has been a call to arms, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and keep going.

we suggest you check out:

IDLES – ‘Model Village’

So, there you have it, the Top 20 Albums of 2020 as considered by Full Pelt Music. We are sure that your lists will be different to ours and we want to hear them, so why not share yours with us on social media!

Categories
Album Reviews

Bring Me The Horizon

Post Human: Survival Horror

Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Obey’ with YUNGBLUD from ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’

“Bring Me The Horizon aren’t heavy anymore”.

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard this said over the past five years, I’d definitely be able to buy a ticket to their 2021 tour. Well, based on ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ that’s just what their critics need to do. Hopefully this would show them just how silly this statement is.

Bring Me The Horizon are a band that have constantly evolved throughout their career, and yes that means that not every song is a head banging, scream your lungs out belter. It doesn’t mean however that they have lost their teeth. This new EP takes the best elements from throughout their career and combines them in one stunning masterpiece of an album.

The release of ‘Ludens’ back in 2019 was lauded as a return to form and ‘Paradise Eve’ released mid-lockdown teased a heavy edge to this release. Even I’m surprised though as the band come straight out of the gates with the ruckus ‘Dear Diary’. ‘Paradise Eve’ and the Linkin Park tinged ‘Teardrops’ follow and by the time you reach the fantastically mad YUNGBLUD collaboration ‘Obey’ even the most disillusioned old school fan will have their foot stomping and their head banging.

There has certainly been a quirkiness to Bring Me The Horizons recent releases such as the much maligned ‘Amo’. On ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ that quirkiness is embraced and even emboldened. The combination of ‘Itch for the Cure (When Will We Be Free?)’ and ‘Kingslayer’ featuring Babymetal is insane. Insanely good that is. I dare anybody not to have the chorus stuck in their head after listening.

‘1×1’, ‘Ludens’ and the curious Amy Lee collaboration ‘One Day the Only Butterflies Left Will Be in Your Chest as You March Towards Your Death’ close out this brilliant EP. It’s a relentless statement from the band from start to almost finish. ‘One Day…’ is an interesting choice to end on and is probably the weakest track on the EP when held in context of the EP. As a standalone piece of music however it’s an enjoyable if unexpected composition. Adding it to the end of this EP however has done both the song and the EP a disservice.

I very much doubt however that Bring Me The Horizon will care. This EP continues the evolution of a band very much willing to experiment and test the boundaries of their capabilities and their fans patience. Quite possibly this EP represents the most complete sample of the band to date and I for one cannot wait to witness the majesty of these songs live.