The 2023 Full Pelt Awards are here and you can have your say from our shortlists below!
Votes here will be tallied with those on Social Media, plus weighted votes from our Full Pelt staff with the winners all revealed in a special Magazine on New Year’s Day!
Our 2023 Album of the Year will be revealed on our Social Media on Christmas Day! Let us know your favourite album of the year in the comments and be sure to follow us across social media to be the first to see who wins our award!
The Wonder Years announce ‘The Greatest Generation’ 10 Year Anniversary Tour
Next up in our News Report are The Wonder Years who will be returning to the UK in November for a very special tour.
The group will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of ‘The Greatest Generation’ with support from Origami Angel and Kississippi!
Speaking of tour, frontman Dan Campbell says, “The second leg of The Greatest Generation 10 Year Anniversary is coming to the United Kingdom this November. We’re ripping six shows with our pals in Origami Angel and Kississippi where we’ll be playing the entire album plus a second set of songs spanning our whole catalog.”
Guitar icon Chris Shiflett has shared details of his next solo album, ‘Lost At Sea’, which will arrive on October 20th.
Most of the new album was recorded in Nashville, working with his producer and collaborator Jaren Johnston, frontman of The Cadillac Three, as well as the songwriter behind nearly a dozen Number 1 country hits.
“We wrote a lot of these songs during the lockdown,” recalls Shiflett, who spent much of the pandemic at home in Southern California. “Then I began making trips to Nashville to work with Jaren. He and I have a lot of overlap, in terms of the music we like. We made a guitar-centric record that encapsulates everything I’ve been listening to over the years, from the most country songs I’ve ever recorded to punk rock and even songs that sound like a California version of The Clash.”
New single, ‘Damage Control’, is the track he’s referencing, which strays further from the country influence than most of the album. It’s also the only ‘old’ tune that Johnston and Shiflett included on ‘Lost at Sea’.
“All the other tunes were written in the months leading up to recording, but when Jaren and I were sorting out which songs to do he mentioned something about The Clash and I remembered this old one I’d demoed about 15 years prior,” recalls Shiflett.
With its layers of reverb, pulsing percussion and Echoplex tape delay, ‘Damage Control’ went through a number of versions before reaching its final form in the studio with Johnston.
“I love that the musical inspiration on this one was late-stage Clash, but we wound up layering it with banjos and what-not. Definitely takes it somewhere else. Ska-mericana?” Shiflett laughs. “There’s nothing better than when influences converge taking you places you never expected.”
The Struts share video for ‘Too Good at Raising Hell’
The Struts have unveiled the video for their latest single, ‘Too Good at Raising Hell’, which you can check out above!
“We are so excited to release our devilishly cheeky video for our latest single, ’Too Good At Raising Hell,’” announces vocalist Luke Spiller. “It’s a song that was written about the disenchantment I felt after having a little too much fun. However, it still captures the essence of living an excessive life and all of the glorious moments that come along with it.”
Rockers Crobot have this week unveiled their new cover of Janet Jackson’s ‘Black Cat’, which you can check out above.
Crobot’s Brandon Yeagley shares, “Every time we talked about covering a song, ‘Black Cat’ would come up as one we wished we had written. So, here’s our chance to pay homage to the great Janet Jackson. It’s got all the things that go into the Crobot sound – bad ass riffs, a funky groove for days, and soaring high vocals. What’s not to like about this tune? It’s even got cow bell!”
Caskets will release to their new album, ‘Reflections’, on August 11th. This week saw the group share their latest pre-release single, ‘Believe’, which you can check out above.
Speaking of the track, frontman Matt Flood says, “’Believe’ is a song about realising and recognising your own worth. It’s about letting go of the toxicity in your life and making that step forward. Believe in yourself and the choices you’re making. Even if the path doesn’t seem clear right now, they’ll get you where you want to be.”
Tempt have shared their latest single, ‘Burn Me Down’, which you can of course check out above!
The single comes from their newly announced self-titled debut album, which is set for release on August 25th.
“Our new single ‘Burn Me Down’ delves into the intense and addictive nature of a toxic love,” reveals singer Zach Allen. “It captures the bittersweet realization that someone has the power to consume you completely, even when you know it’s not healthy. It’s a raw expression of the conflicting emotions that arise when you can’t resist the fire that’s destined to burn you.”
Guitarist Harrison Marcello shares, “‘Burn Me Down’ reflects the chaos of passion and desire. We wrote it with driving riffs and electrifying energy to capture that feeling. it’s about the kind of love that both exhilarates and destroys, and the inner turmoil we experience when we’re caught in its relentless cycle, unable to escape the allure of someone who has the power to ignite and consume us.”
Keeping it heavy next in our News Report we have ‘Keres’, the latest single from Thy Art Is Murder, which you can check out above.
The track comes from upcoming new album, ‘Godlike’, which is due for release on September 15th.
“It’s not often we have this level of excitement to present a new single to the world. Keres is a metal anthem filled with grinding verses and stomping choruses, stripping down some of the complexity that may have gotten in the way of previous attempts to deliver a song of this magnitude. The Keres was an evil sprite in ancient Greek mythology that would feed on the dead, but could not participate in acts of violence. We think this behavior is as relevant in the arena of news and politics as it was on those ancient battlefields.” – Guitarist Andy Marsh
Skinny Lister this week unveiled details of new studio album, ‘Shanty Punk’, which is due out on October 20th.
The group also debuted new single, ‘Company of the Bar’, which you can check out above.
Dan Heptinstall says: “It’s a simple sentiment, but one that is at the heart of the Skinny Lister philosophy. This is a song that has been built for the rugged road, and we can’t wait to hear it belted back at us on our upcoming US and UK Tours later this year!”
“Shanty Punk is our concept album – and the concept is Skinny Lister. It’s a pure distillation of what makes Skinny Lister tick, and perhaps a collection of songs that leans further into our folky routes than we’ve ventured in some years. It felt to us like it was time to touch base and celebrate the essence of the band, while at the same time – giving it a fresh and dynamic feel.”
Finally in this section of our News Report this week is ‘Mercy Wave’, the latest single from Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun which you can check out above.
The track comes from upcoming new album, ‘Colour’, which is out on July 28th.
In an update to fans Lockey said of the single, “It’s one of my favourite songs on the record and one of the last songs we wrote before heading in to record. In fact, lots of the instrumental parts on it were written very much in the moment, in the depths of the Cornish countryside in the darkness of December, and it developed into exactly what it needed to be; a bright and uplifting Summer anthem. Funny how those moments of darkness can produce hopefulness. Kind of the perfect fit for our record in many ways.”
“It feels exciting that this is one of the most up to date snapshots of our band. I think we’ve always had a multi-faceted sound which hasn’t always worked to our advantage but is an honest representation of who we are as musicians and our wide spanning and ever evolving influences. ‘Mercy Wave’ shows a side of the band that is possibly a bit brighter, a bit naughties indie and is reductive in its arrangement; almost a minimalist version of a classic JL&tSS tune. It has one of the biggest sing along choruses on the record and it gets stuck in my head for hours at a time.”
Snõõper have shared new single ‘Running’, from their debut album ‘Super Snõõper’!
On the track, vocalist Blair said “Running was written during the pandemic as many of our early songs were. This song was written deep in the pandemic when people began to feel hopeless and everything began to feel really scary. The George Floyd protests were happening, Trump was president, and people felt out of control as we watched our country experience the consequences of an unjust system. Political leaders were fanning the flames as people were screaming for change. All of this was happening at a time when people couldn’t properly take action due to pandemic restrictions. It was a horrifying feeling. Most days, all I could do was go for a long walk or run. I think sometimes that’s all anyone can do when things feel out of control. We can always get out of our minds and into our bodies. Move, breathe, jump, put one foot in front of the other.”
DEADLETTER – ‘Degenerate Inanimate’
DEADLETTER share their new single ‘Degenerate Inanimate’!
On the single, frontman Zac Lawrence says “Degenerate Inanimate alludes to the feeling of betrayal felt when someone close to you is revealed as dishonest to the bone. There’s a unique form of unease which arises from having your basic intelligence mocked, as they reveal their complete lack of decency.”
Break Fifty – ‘A Familiar Face (Of Someone I Never Knew’
UK Nu-Core band Break Fifty kick start a whole new era by announcing a fresh line-up and sharing new single, ‘A Familiar Face (Of Someone I Never Knew)’
“A Familiar Face (Of Someone I Never Knew) is an expression of childhood trauma. The main focus in lyrics within this song quotes “the end of eternal youth”, This can be taken as upon the instance of trauma it can often feel as if your youth has been stripped away and all joy of childhood has been tarnished.” – Vocalist, Angus.
This weekend is a celebration of twenty years of Download Festival. Stepping into the void left by Monsters of Rock not just at the hyped spiritual home of rock Donington Park but to the whole UK rock/metal scene, Download has become its own monster.
This year is truly monstrous as the event is fully sold out with record breaking numbers of attendees coming to partake in the celebration. Those celebrations get off to a rough start though with unprecedented traffic problems souring the event for many before it even properly begins.
Once the music starts though a lot if not all of those problems subside. There is a stacked bill for the anniversary party including two nights of Metallica, a closing set from Download icons Slipknot but most vitally a new headline act Bring Me The Horizon.
The gap between Monsters of Rock and Download caused a vacuum in ability for bands to hit headline status with many acts from that era missing out on that status, Korn being one such act often thought of as passed over. Think about it, if they’d headlined at Donington Park in the late nineties, they’d no doubt still be that rank higher than they are now.
In the early years of Download, a number of bands had an opportunity to cement themselves at the top level, think Audioslave, Linkin Park, System of a Down and My Chemical Romance.
Playing alongside stalwarts like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath and Kiss gives bands credibility and elevates their stock. 2009’s Slipknot set is still heralded as the best example of the ‘bump’!
The problem is since then only Avenged Sevenfold in 2014 have really been given that opportunity and Download has become a bit of a clichéd round robin of the likes of Def Leppard, Rammstein, Aerosmith and other favourites already mentioned.
Perhaps then the most important booking in a celebration of the past is the look to the future with Bring Me The Horizon finally getting the top spot. Whilst Download probably should’ve got in before Reading and Leeds, it’s hopefully a sign of a subtle change of tact from the festival.
That’s because the line-up is also graced this year by the likes of Hot Milk, Nova Twins and Bob Vylan in prominent slots. Mixing this with the likes of classic Download bands Disturbed, Alter Bridge, Halestorm and Skindred gives the line-up a fresh but familiar feel.
Sadly beyond the bookings of Metallica and Slipknot plus the additional day there isn’t much done to make this year feel special for those who have made Download Festival part of their lives.
Whilst the organisers could have done more both in terms of that something special and in certain ways just the very basics, they have provided a top tier line-up, so let’s take a look at the highlights!
Cancer Bats get the ball rolling on day one for us over at the second stage (now dubbed the Opus stage). The band get those that have made it into the arena pumped up with a early set packed full of ragers that ultimately ends prematurely when the sound is cut during ‘Hail Destroyer’!
Soon thereafter, Mammoth WVH get proceedings underway on the main stage (or Apex as it’s now called!). In some ways it’s fitting having the Van Halen name on this stage, in others it’s very ironic as the legendary band are often referred to by lead booker Andy Copping as one that got away.
Wolfgang and co show that with or without the last name, they have the talent needed to conquer stages like these. From start to finish it’s an excellent showing that places the band on the potential list for future festival stars.
Next up on the Opus stage are Hundred Reasons who are riding the wave of their stunning return album, ‘Glorious Sunset’. The band open with the title-track before running through a series of classic tracks much to the delight of those gathered. Hopefully this isn’t a victory lap for the band as creatively and onstage they are as good as they’ve ever been!
As we focus on the future of the festival, two names often linked to future headline status are Halestorm and Alter Bridge. It’s fine booking then to see the bands back to back next on the Apex stage.
Halestorm deliver another flawless set that seems to finish before it begins given their short allocated slot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though given the old saying of leave the fans wanting more. Halestorm certainly do that and with a headline date pencilled in at Wembley Arena this December, the next time the band grace Donington you’d hope to see them in the sub-headline spot.
That’s the spot filled by Alter Bridge who have played in this position multiple times before; a sense perhaps then of always the bridesmaid and never the bride! Today though the band give it their all to show what they have to offer.
Watching the crowd, the set seems to be really well received which is a good sign. The band after all are always technically superb, so if enhancing that audience connection is the missing piece to progression then today’s set will have gone a long way to creating that link!
All that’s left on this special Thursday then is the first of two headline performances from the biggest metal band on the planet, Metallica. The two sets will be completely unique, giving fans the chance to see far more than a standard Metallica set list.
Night one has a good mix of hits like ‘Creeping Death’, ‘Fade To Black’, ‘Nothing Else Matters’, ‘Sad but True’ and ‘Master of Puppets’, deep cuts such as ‘Leper Messiah’, ‘King Nothing’ and ‘Orion’ plus new material from ’72 Seasons’.
Friday is a huge day for the future of heavy music with a number of hotly tipped bands performing on the main stage including headliners Bring Me The Horizon.
We start on the Opus stage though with a debut UK festival appearance from Mexicans The Warning. The sister trio deliver an assured performance which belies their position on the bill. The set is another case of leaving the audience wanting more and you have to imagine that they’ll be back very soon.
Nova Twins take to the Apex stage soon after and absolutely own the stage. The duo are able to show just why they have so much hype with a performance that should be talked about as one of the best of the weekend.
Hot Milk have the unenviable task of following the pure energy that was Nova Twins, and thankfully for the band and the crowd they are up to the task. With a debut album on the way the band are on the cusp of something special and this set will again not doubt be one of those “I was there” moments.
The effortless cool of Demob Happy delights the Avalanche stage next as they showcase their stunning new album, ‘Divine Machines’.
Back on the Apex stage with the run of younger bands, next up for us are Neck Deep who are perennial contenders for bigger things. Today they have tens of thousands of people singing back the likes of ‘December’ and you have to consider Neck Deep’s set another victory for the new breed of Download band.
It’s a short and sharp blast from the past next as we pop to the Avalanche stage for the return of The Blackout. The band perform like they’ve not been away and receive a hero’s return from the audience. With the tease of more live dates to follow, it looks like The Blackout are back and back with a bang today!
It’s a quick bolt over to the Opus stage next for Within Temptation who are clearly playing a slot below their stature. The performance the band give is headline worthy not just of this stage but of the main stage. The band has a wealth of experience and use all their tricks to deliver a masterful set full of their best crowd pleasing hits.
By the time Evanescence grace the stage, the mass of humanity in attendance is a clear indication that the band should have been on the main stage. Viewing points are few and far between but wherever you are stood the band sonically deliver. A mixture of old and new is greeted well regardless but it’s mega hit ‘Bring Me to Life’ that has the entire place singing their hearts out.
It’s then time for that set. Bring Me The Horizon take over the main stage and prove any remaining doubters wrong. Making Metallica appear average, the band give their all both aesthetically and musically and produce possibly the greatest headline performance in the twenty years of the festival.
As we said earlier, the band should have been given this slot years ago, but if they had then this moment wouldn’t have existed. Their show tonight is the proof needed that the next wave are ready now and the gatekeepers need to move aside.
This set is historic not just for the theme of the weekend or for the stature of Bring Me The Horizon, it’s historic as a watershed moment for this festival. New headliners of the future should personally thank Bring Me The Horizon for breaking through that proverbial ceiling!
On to Saturday now and nobody mention the weather! A celebration of twenty years of Download would have fittingly seem some rain and mud, and from this point on the festival is so hot that many would probably have willing traded the sun for some rain.
After last night it almost feels an anti-climax for the festival to continue, but another Metallica set should never be scoffed at. Thankfully there are still some fresh new bands breaking through lower down the bill today, and first up we catch Static Dress who seemingly channel the energy of Bring Me The Horizon with the fantastic opening Opus stage set.
One of the best bits of a festival for a publication passionate about new music is stumbling across a surprise gem on one of the side stages. This year that is ANTISAINT who simply storm the small Dogtooth stage with a ferocious set and definitely leave with more fans than they had going in.
The new look FEVER 333 then take to the main stage and deliver another memorable moment with Jason Aalon Butler scaling one of the massive towers erected in the main arena. That moment though shouldn’t take away from the already phenomenal set the band had delivered.
Lake Malice are next for us back in the Avalanche stage who are able to continue the run of top tier performances we’ve caught thus far. Whilst some of the organisational elements of the festival have been lacking, the music has been of the highest calibre and Lake Malice are another band you suspect will be back in a bigger spot sooner rather than later.
Next on the Apex stage are Ice Nine Kills, whose theatrics create a spectacle on the main stage, but musically they feel a little flat, perhaps being the first underwhelming set of the weekend.
Clutch who follow then also suffer both through technical difficulties and the energy sapping heat which probably negatively impacted Ice Nine Kills as well. The lack of enthusiasm from the crowd doesn’t help and it’s probably a good thing we are headed to a tent next.
We are set now for another one-two punch, this time in the Avalanche tent with Kid Kapichi and Bob Vylan on tap. It’s Kid Kapichi up first and they instantly raise the intensity levels with opener ‘Sardines’. Each song that follows is just as rewarding and by the time the band finish with ‘Smash the Gaff’ they’ve done just that!
One of the most exiting acts on the bill this weekend are Bob Vylan. The mention of ceilings earlier is relevant because this duo haven’t just smashed ceilings they’ve proceeded to stamp the shards into dust. Their performance to a packed crowd today is further evidence that new acts can make Download their home. That’s exactly what Bob Vylan do here as to repeat another cliché they completely own the stage.
It was always going to be hard to follow that suckerpunch and next on the main stage with the intense heat still sapping all energy, Disturbed deliver a plodding set. The set list is fine, the performance is far from phoned-in but with the audience struggling and the band following the ferocity of Bob Vylan, Disturbed feel distinctly average today.
We then head to the Opus stage expecting Placebo to also struggle to engage the tired and weary crowd. After all this is the third day which would traditionally be the home straight, and Placebo are not known for their crowd pleasing set list choices.
Pleasantly though those making the effort are surprisingly rewarded not just with an energised performance from the band but also a excellent set of songs including a very rare outing for the superb ‘Nancy Boy’. On their day Placebo can be an incredible live act and today they are at the peak of their powers which re-energises the previously zombified crowd.
It’s then time for night two of Metallica’s no repeat weekend. There are some great choice cuts in the set tonight such as a tour debut for ‘Whiplash’ plus ‘Until It Sleeps’, ‘Wherever I May Roam’ and Thin Lizzy cover ‘Whiskey in the Jar’! The finale of ‘One’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ ensures that the hits are accounted for as well as Metallica deliver another slick and graceful set.
The final day feels like a step too far, most definitely compounded by the unrelenting heat, but once again when lost in the music all those issues somehow disappear – the power of music!
Bloodywood start the day off with an engaging performance on the Apex stage, before our recent Podcast guests Blind Channel deliver on their promise to bring the energy to Download. The sight of many metalheads singing along to a rendition of Anastacia’s ‘Left Outside Alone’ is a real sight to behold and set closer ‘Dark Side’ has everybody with their middle finger in the air.
Lorna Shore then suffer again from a lack of enthusiasm from the crowd and their sound getting swallowed up by the enormous space. Joey Valence & Brae though have neither issue in the Avalanche tent with a rambunctious and fun-filled slot.
As the heat and the excesses of the weekend catch up on the crowd it’s telling that for this afternoon outdoor sets like The Amity Affliction and Avatar whilst technically great feel like a struggle. Whereas tented sets from Joey Valence and Brae and the brilliant The Meffs are able to revive the crowd and thrive on their rejuvenation.
Thankfully things start to cool as clouds begin to take over the sky as we get ready for Dinosaur Pile-Up on the Opus stage. Sadly technical difficulties shorten their set to just five songs, but those five songs sound fantastic!
I Prevail have a huge slot on the main stage and make a good impression although you do again feel something is just lacking today. Not to flog a dead horse any further but it may be the low energy levels today or the enormity of the stage swallowing the heavier sound but it’s hard to truly get into their set today.
Thankfully the smaller outdoor Opus stage seems to have a lot of energy and Bad Religion are able to take advantage of that next with a typically slick run of punk rock anthems. Opening with ‘American Jesus’ the band able to hold your attention throughout before finishing with a rousing rendition of ’21st Century (Digital Boy)’.
Next up on this stage are Ghost who really should be headlining the main stage at this point. Musically and theatrically they are on another level and you have a sense of the Bring Me The Horizons about then. Hopefully Download Festival will strike while the iron is hot because everything about their performance today is perfect.
Ghost are so good that you also feel it unnecessary to watch Slipknot, but as soon as the band hit the stage you are glad that you stayed. The history between the band and festival is huge and it’s great that they are one of the few acts that seem to properly acknowledge that this weekend.
A standard (which is great) Slipknot set follows with some sentimental set choices and an enthralling stage show. It’s really fitting for Slipknot to close out what has been an intense weekend of celebration.
The busiest and longest ever Download Festival will last long in the memory for reasons both good and bad. As we said at the start, this festival is a true monster now and has enough dedicated customers to ensure that it will never go down as its predecessor did. It has however become rather soulless and corporate and it feels like the identity it created over the first decade or so could be lost.
Hopefully the event will use this success to both maintain its heritage but also to now really push for the future headliners and top acts to come through. So, congratulations Download on twenty phenomenal years, and here’s to many many more to come!