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The Year In Review 2022

Full Pelt Music looks back on 2022 for our Year In Review

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It’s been another big revival year for the music industry following the pandemic years, and it’s been another year of growth for us at Full Pelt Music! We’ve reviewed 67 albums, 7 EP’s, 6 festivals and 38 gigs in 2022 as some level of normality or even stability has returned to our industry.

That said, there are still many issues facing the industry with livelihoods, venues and organisations at risk for a plethora of reasons. Whilst government action is required in many places, what we as fans can do is support the industry with our money. Times are tough for us all, but purchasing an album, buying a t-shirt, nabbing a ticket and grabbing a drink whilst at a gig does so much to support the industry that we love.

Our two great Podcasts have continued to grow and highlights this year came from guests such as Blood Red Shoes, The Treatment, Skinny Lister, Daytime TV, Pet Needs, The Ninth Wave, Sunflower Bean, James and the Cold Gun, Guise, October Drift, BERRIES, Asylums, As Sirens Fall and Jamie Lenman! We’ve already got some fantastic guests lined up for 2023, so ensure you subscribe and follow us across Social Media!

In our now annual end of year awards we’ll be giving out seven hotly contested awards looking at both the recorded and live sides of the industry. Adding to our well established Album of the Year award this year will be the new EP of the Year award. We’ll also once again be revealing our Single of the Year. All awards have seen fierce competition, as once again it’s been a high quality year for new releases.

On the live side of things, we’ll announce both our Gig and Festival of the Year awards. This year of course provided our first full calendar of music since 2019! We were able to witness many great performances this year and we can’t wait to share with you are favourites.

Lastly we’ll look at the artists who’ve had special years as we award our Artist and ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year awards. So without further ado, let’s work through those award catagories!

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

It has been a truly magnificent year for album releases and getting a spot anywhere in our Top 50 was hard enough but in particular the Top 10 was incredibly tightly fought. You can read the full list here.

‘IMPERA’ from Ghost was able to take the crown this year but any of the top 10 could’ve taken that spot. ‘Reeling’ from The Mysterines in particular would likely have won in any other year, but the majesty and magnificence of ‘IMPERA’ proved unbeatable.

Winner:

‘Impera’ by Ghost

The contenders:

‘Reeling’ by The Mysterines, ‘FTHC’ by Frank Turner, ‘Skinty Fia’ by Fontaines D.C. & ‘The Price of Life’ by Bob Vylan

Previous Winners:

2021 – ‘Blue Weekend’ by Wolf Alice
2020 – ‘Ultra Mono’ by IDLES

EP OF THE YEAR

For the first time this year, we are separating EP’s out of our main award and giving them their own pedestal. That alone is the truest compliment to the quality of EP’s on offer this year.

Again, all EP’s in our top 5 are worthy of the number one spot, but it’s ‘coming of (r)age’ from As Sirens Fall that pips it. Catchy as hell single, ‘heaven (spat us back out)’, helps elevate the release to be crowed our first ever EP of the Year.

Winner:

‘coming of (r)age’ by As Sirens Fall

The contenders:

‘False Start’ by James and the Cold Gun, ‘SCP’ by Oakman, ‘Tyrants’ by IOTA and ‘BLACKGOLD’ by BLACKGOLD

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

We look now at our Single or Song of the Year. In considering the award this year we’ve considered the ear worms that have stayed with us after live performances. We’ve also pondered which songs instantly struck a chord and created a buzz of excitement for the albums and live shows that would follow.

Songs which fell into both of these considerations competed for the award and it was again a tight decision, but ultimately for us this year ‘Dangerous’ from The Mysterines has not just ticked both boxes but also remained on heavy rotation throughout the year despite being an early arrival in 2022. That’s why that track is our 2022 Single of the Year!

Check out the winning single below:

The Mysterines – ‘Dangerous’
Winner:

‘Dangerous’ by The Mysterines

The contenders:

‘Talk Hard’ by Jamie Lenman, ‘Compliance’ by Muse, ‘Wicked Ways’ by Halestorm, ‘Spillways’ by Ghost

Previous Winners:

2021 – ‘Test of our Resolve’ from Press To MECO
2020 – ‘Obey’ by Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR

2022 was the first full festival season since 2019 and what a return it was. All eyes were on Glastonbury once again, British Summer Time curated a stunning line-up, Download Festival breathed fire and 2000trees was able to remind everyone what’s so great about smaller festivals.

Our winner this year though is Reading & Leeds who went big, sold out and delivered an action packed weekend even with the huge loss of Rage Against The Machine amongst others. Always a perennial contender for this award, 2022 felt like the year the event reclaimed its identity.

Read our review of Reading Festival Saturday

Winner:

Reading & Leeds

The contenders:

Glastonbury Festival, British Summer Time, Download Festival, 2000trees Festival

Previous Winners:

2021 – Download Pilot Festival
2020 – Wild Fields Festival

GIG OF THE YEAR

We’ve reviewed many gigs this year but in reality there could only ever be one winner. Rammstein’s tour is less of a concert and more of an experience; one that everyone, fan of the band or not, should experience at least once.

Beyond that there was still some incredible, top tier gigs in 2022 and our contenders are all worthy of glory, but Rammstein are currently on a whole different level.

Read our review of Rammstein live in Coventry

Winner:

Rammstein @ Coventry Arena

The contenders:

Royal Blood @ O2 Arena, London, Ghost @ Resorts World Arena, Birmingham, Muse @ Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, London, The Killers @ Carrow Road, Norwich, The Hella Mega Tour @ London Stadium, London, Creeper @ Roundhouse, London, Idlewild @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, London

Previous Winners:

2021 – Bring Me The Horizon @ O2 Arena, London
2020 – Frank Turner @ Arboretum, Nottingham

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. Previous winners Frank Turner and Biffy Clyro have done so by delivering incredible feats, far above the norm.

This year was a big year for many acts, but we’ve gone for Bring Me The Horizon as a band that have had a career-defining twelve months. Long tipped as festival headliners at a major event, many felt that the time would never come for one of the best live bands on the planet. Big releases, sold-out tours, no matter what the group did they never seemed to be given that torch, that is until this year!

Watching Bring Me The Horizon step up and headline at Reading & Leeds this summer felt like a real moment, not just for the band but for the whole scene. For any metal band, let alone one once considered so unfashionable to headline the biggest festivals in the UK is massive.

Already announced to finally headline Download Festival in 2023, 2022 will forever be linked for Bring Me The Horizon to taking that final career-defining set. Throw in their genre-defying collaboration with Ed Sheeran, 2022’s Artist of the Year had to be Bring Me The Horizon.

Winner:

Bring Me The Horizon

The contenders:

Ghost, Rammstein, Biffy Clyro, Muse

Previous Winners:

2021 – Biffy Clyro
2020 – Frank Turner

‘DISCOVER’ NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

As a publication we always want to put new music at the heart of what we do, and that’s why our final award is perhaps our most important! Our ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year is awarded to the act we’ve chosen to highlight on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist and Podcast who we feel has made the biggest impact this year.

At the beginning of 2022 we put the spotlight on new Colchester act PET NEEDS as they continued to promote their debut album, ‘Fractured Party Music’. From that point on the band never looked back with a world tour, a second album (‘Primtime Entertainment’) and a sold out hometown show all under their belts.

They even found the time to become the first (and only at the time of writing) band to progress from our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast and appear on The Full Pelt Music Podcast! Yes, fighting off some stiff competition for the ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year award in 2022 is PET NEEDS!

Winners:

PET NEEDS

The Contenders:

BERRIES, As Sirens Fall, Oakman, James and the Cold Gun, Daytime TV, MOSKITO

Previous Winners:

2020 – Miss Vincent

So, that’s it! Another year in the record books, it’s been another difficult year and it has again been particularly tough on the music industry. That said, we’ve had a full year of live music for the first time since 2019 and the creative juices remain flowing with some absolutely stunning new releases over the past twelve months.

Below you can enjoy some of our favourite gig photos of the year courtesy of our wonderful photographer Denis!

All 📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music

We hope you’ve enjoyed our The Year in Review 2022 and we wish you a very Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2023 is a good one!

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Live Reviews

Creeper

Roundhouse, London

Friday 4th November 2022

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CREEPER – LONDON – LIVE REVIEW

The last time Creeper played a show like this in London, they “broke up” and vanished for a year. In advance of tonight there have been teases of some vampiric happenings in Camden, so it’s no surprise that the band’s dedicated fanbase sold out their biggest ever headline show at the iconic Roundhouse.

The theatre starts early with opening act Zetra. The gothic synth-gaze group are a fitting start to the evening and get the early attendees into the spirit for what is to come.

Main support act Bad Nerves are more of a straightforward proposition, blasting out their rough and ready punk rock anthems to the enjoyment of the audience.

Realistically however tonight was always going to be about one band and one band alone, our headliners Creeper. Before then however the vampire theme is played out again with clips from legendary vampire movies projected onto the curtain protecting the stage.

When that curtain finally drops the band burst onto an appropriately decorated stage with early fan favourite ‘VCR’, much to the delight of the packed venue. The opening guitar riff of ‘Born Cold’ then cuts the atmosphere in two and the crowd truly erupt.

WATCH ‘BORN COLD’ ON YOUTUBE
Creeper – ‘Born Cold’

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Big hitters ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Annabelle’ follow and you already know that tonight is going to be special. From here on out, it’s a true career-spanning setlist from the band with a surprising amount of early material finding its way back into the set, which again helps to feed that special feeling this evening.

Over the past year or so, Creeper have taken major leaps forward sonically and visually, on record and live. All that early promise is being fully realised and tonight feels like a celebration of everything they’ve done to this point. Both albums and all major EP’s are represented.

The stage presence of the band has come so far and seeing frontman Will Gould at the peak of his powers, and Hannah Greenwood own the stage like never before is incredible for fans that have been with the band since their humble beginnings.

Every word of every song is sung back by the passionate audience at the top of their lungs. There is a connection in place here between band and fans that is hard to describe, but we’ll attempt to with the word magical!

Stunning moments such as the live debut of ‘All My Friends’ ensure this evening is the spectacle it promised to be, but it’s what transpires after ‘Misery’ brings tonight to a beautiful close that will be talked about forever in Creeper folklore.

After a vampire beheads Gould, a video announces that the band has signed with Spinefarm Records and new single ‘Ghost Brigade’ has just been released. As one chapter closes, another begins and Creeper remain on course for greatness.

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Read our review of ‘American Noir’ from Creeper

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Live Reviews

Download Festival

Donington Park

10th to 12th June 2022

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With the pandemic taking a hold back in early 2020, Download Festival became one of the first major festival victims. It was perhaps fitting therefore that the small Pilot version of the event was the first step on the road back to normality last year.

Read our review of Download Pilot Festival

That does mean though that as we head into Donington Park in 2022, it is the first fully fledged festival since the 2019 edition. After three long years, it is finally time for rock and metal fans to convene again on these hallowed grounds.

There are a number of changes this year to the layout of the festival but the best change is the installation of a strange golden orb in the sky. The usual brown flooring has also been painted green. Yes, goodbye Drownload and hello sunburn!

The main changes to the festival relate to the layout of the campsites, parking and transport hubs. Given these new changes, a little extra signage may have assisted seasoned attendees finding their way around, but in general the changes work well. There is a lot of walking required, however there always is at Donington Park however the event is laid out.

Once inside the area the setup is pretty standard if a little cut back with smaller stages, fewer food stalls and no wrestling or other extra areas. But, it’s Download and everyone is just glad to be here.

FRIDAY REVIEW

So then, on to the music! Opening the main stage on Friday are NWOCR favourites Wayward Sons who make the most of their short time on stage. They are quickly followed by Canadians Theory (of a Deadman) who also only have a short time to show their stuff. Thankfully for them they are able to call upon some festival-perfect material as the crowd sing along to ‘Bitch Came Back’, ‘Hate My Life’ and ‘Bad Girlfriend’.

Recently rejigged Bury Tomorrow follow on the main stage and bring the first real taste of heavy to the festival. The band are clearly honoured by the opportunity and try their best to win over the audience, with our first pyro of the weekend helping to add to the occasion. By the time the band leave the stage and a pile of bodies in the audience, the set has to be considered a success.

We go walkabout next and visit first the second stage for a man who has already played Download Festival with both Alter Bridge and Slash, Myles Kennedy. With two solo albums now to his name, Kennedy only grows his legacy with another top class performance.

Read our review of ‘The Ides of March’ from Myles Kennedy

Secondly we head to the Avalanche Stage for something new. American pop-punk band Meet Me @ the Altar have intensifying hype around them, and keeping with the tone of the day they are able to grasp this opportunity with both hands. Expect bigger things from the band in the near future.

As day one begins to draw to a close with catch two of Download’s house bands with Skindred on the main stage and Airbourne over on the second stage. Both bands attract big crowds, because fans know what to expect from them. High energy, entertaining rock shows are delivered by both as fans get to revel in what they have missed over the last three years.

Read our review of Airbourne live in Norwich

Having delivered an incredible headlining performance at the Pilot event last summer, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes return to Donington Park next to headline the second stage. Carter and co show the crowd what they missed last year with another stunning performance. This band must be considered one of the best live bands on the planet and who would put it past them headlining the main stage in the future.

Read our review of ‘Sticky’ from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Download Festival after all needs to begin focusing on that next generation of headline acts, because many of the old guard are saying farewell. It is the ‘End of the Road’ for KISS, but not before one final triumphant showcase this year.

The band are able to deliver all the pageantry of a KISS show with every party trick played with precision. As the fans walk away with ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ stuck in their heads, the band have brought the party and night one is closed out in style.

SATURDAY REVIEW

Saturday morning brings a fresh day with the sun still shining bright, but early risers at the main stage are left waiting with opening act The Raven Age almost forty minutes late. When the band do arrive they are able to show their continued growth with a matured performance.

This delay subsequently leads to a 30+ minute lag on main stage times throughout the rest of the day which plays havoc with fans carefully curated schedules. It does mean however that we can head to the second stage and catch the energetic Cassyette who is capitalising on the momentum earned over the last year.

It’s then back to the main stage for the classic rock sounds of Those Damn Crows and Monster Truck. Both bands continue the impressive start to the festival. Clearly every act is out to cast off the shackles of recent years and make an impression.

Both of these bands leave the fans wanting more, which is all a band can do with these early festival slots. It’s probably a good thing then, that these two bands will be touring the UK together later this year!

Up next for us is one of the performances of the weekend from Holding Absence over on the Avalanche stage. With songs like ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Wilt’ seemingly made for festival crowds to sing along to, the band completely own the packed tent during their time on stage.

Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ from Holding Absence

Shinedown are also a band that knows how to control a crowd, and they have a large crowd to play with next on the main stage. With a new album on the way, the band incorporate new tracks ‘The Saints of Violence and Innuendo’ and ‘Planet Zero’ into their tried and tested, crowd pleasing set.

It’s then back to the Avalanche stage for another standout performance. This time it’s Creeper on the stage, the band again showing an innate ability to hold the audience in the palm of their hands. Creeper continue to grow and evolve and it will be interesting to see where the band head next.

Read our review of Creeper live in London

We stick next to the Avalanche stage for headliners Funeral For A Friend. Perhaps it’s the fact that we’ve just witnessed two fantastic performances on this stage from Holding Absence and Creeper but something feels a little off for this set. It’s not a lacklustre performance as the band give it their all, but on a weekend full of great performances what is probably a really good one feels a little underwhelming.

There is never anything underwhelming however about Iron Maiden. The band are icons for a reason and their current stage show is possibly their best ever. With Maiden on form and a packed Donington Park in fine voice, this headline set was always going to be one for the ages, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Read our review of ‘Senjutsu’ from Iron Maiden
SUNDAY REVIEW

Now onto Sunday morning, with hangovers taking hold, feet aching and stamina’s waning. It’s up to Wargasm to blow away any cobwebs as they open the main stage, and that’s just what they do. The band are developing into something of a marmite band, but there is no doubting the passion and energy that they put into every performance; and judging by the reaction they go down very well this morning.

Sidetracking from the music for a moment, we commented in our Neck of the Woods Festival review about the cost of food and drink this year. There are no surprises therefore that prices are high at Download Festival, but the quality on offer at that price is disappointing. Inflation is one thing, but shrinkflation begins to rub, and more than one meal this weekend leaves a sour taste in our mouth (figuratively and literally in one case!).

Well, if the amenities on offer are disappointing, thankfully the music isn’t. As we have said, the quality of performances this weekend is consistently high. Both The Velveteers in the Dogtooth tent and The Last Internationale on the second stage are fine examples of this quality from top to bottom.

Massive Wagons follow on the second stage and again appear on top form. As many bands have this weekend, they tailor their set list perfectly for their time on stage and it’s wall to wall bangers as the kids would say.

Tremonti next are more methodical as they display their technical prowess. Mark Tremonti and co are mightily impressive and the audience are equally receptive.

Read our review of ‘Marching In Time’ from Tremonti

We shoot then across to the main stage where Rise Against are another band that fail to meet expectations. The band are an incredible force, but sadly today they struggle to translate from the stage for whatever reason.

Read our review of ‘Nowhere Generation’ from Rise Against

Volbeat have no problems though as they are instantly able to grab the audience. They deliver a career spanning setlist to the delight of the field, which shows just why they have established themselves as potential future headliners.

Read our review of Volbeat live in London

We then find time to dart across to the Avalanche stage one last time as Trash Boat showcase one of the albums of last year, ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’. Trash Boat have really come into their own and have the entire tent bouncing along.

Read our review of ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ from Trash Boat

Korn are the penultimate band to play the main stage this weekend and they make the most of their position with one of the best performances of the festival. The band are longtime Download Festival favourites and they evidence today just why that is.

Read our review of ‘Requiem’ from Korn

There is another look at the future next as Yonaka pack out the Dogtooth tent. Those that have made the effort to catch the band are rewarded by an incredible performance from one of the most exciting young rock bands around.

Read our review of ‘Seize the Power’ from Yonaka

Last but certainly not least with have Biffy Clyro who are one of the biggest rock bands in the UK, but seemingly another marmite band amongst regular Download Festival goers.

One thing for certain is that those that chose to the stay until the end are rewarded by way of a sublime headlining performance. Biffy Clyro are another level live act and tonight they deliver a superb closing show fitting of closing this event.

Read our review of Biffy Clyro live in London

Consistent high calibre performances have encapsulated the return of Download Festival this weekend. The event has a special place in the hearts of its fan base and will celebrate next year with a special four day 20th anniversary celebration. We can’t wait!

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Read our review of My Chemical Romance live in Milton Keynes

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Features

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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Categories
Features

Album of the Year 2021

Album of the Year 2021

We countdown our Top 50 Albums of 2021

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2021 has been another tough year to live through. There have been some signs of normal life, for example the return of live music, but we end it as we started with true normality a distant memory.

This year has however been a stunning year for new music releases. Yes, lockdown musicians and the odds are their creativity will take over. In Full Pelt Music’s first full year of existence we have reviewed 65 albums and the quality of those releases has been exceptional.

Last year we counted down our Top 20 albums of the year, with a special Advent Calendar countdown on our Twitter. This year we have expanded! Our 2021 countdown has taken place across all our social platforms, and has listed our Top 50 albums of the year!

With that social media countdown completed, it’s now time to compile our completed Top 50 in one place. So let’s get started!

Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“there are stunning moments spread throughout the album”

Read our review of ‘Lo! Soul’

Check out:
Roddy Woomble – ‘Architecture in LA’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“there are plenty of songs on this album that rate amongst the best that the band has produced”

Read our review of ‘Waiting For Good Luck’

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The Treatment – ‘Rat Race’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“Garbage are an incredible musical force”

Read our review of ‘No Gods No Masters’

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Garbage – ‘No Gods No Masters’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“we have thrashing guitars, thumping drums, bizarre lyrics and plenty of bells and whistles to emphasise his brilliantly quirky musicianship”

Read our review of ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’

Check out:
Rob Zombie – ‘The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“was anybody craving a new album from The Offspring in 2021? Perhaps not, but actually in this messed up world we live in, maybe, just maybe, we needed it!”

Read our review of ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’

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The Offspring – ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“this is an artist pouring all of their self into their creation and discovering magic”

Read our review of ‘Watch Me Break Apart’

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Dead Nature – ‘Watch Me Break Apart’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“this record manages to encapsulate the sound that the band has nurtured over the past few years both on record and in the live setting”

Read our review of ‘How to Ruin Your Life’

Check out:
Paris Youth Foundation – ‘The Back Seat’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“remind you how gloriously heavy yet anthemic the band can get”

Read our review of ‘The Bitter Truth’

Check out:
Evanescence – ‘Use My Voice’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“it won’t take long for people to stop and take notice of this great young band”

Read our review of ‘Fractured Party Music’

Check out:
Pet Needs – ‘Toothpaste’
What we said:

“this is Volbeat at their very best”

Read our review of ‘Servant of the Mind’

Check out:
Volbeat – ‘Shotgun Blues’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“vitality shouldn’t be mistaken for relevance and whilst the band may have peaked commercially, they remain of utmost importance to a generation of music fans”

Check out:
Rise Against – ‘Nowhere Generation’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“anybody that had any doubts about the natural talents of this group of musicians, they should now acknowledge a new force”

Read our review ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate’

Check out:
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“over the top, outlandish, brash and most of all fun, the album not only lives up to but surpasses all expectations”

Read our review of ‘Van Weezer’

Check out:
Van Weezer – ‘Hero’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“quality continues to run throughout the entire record and there is very little ease on the throttle”

Read our review of ‘Below’

Check out:
Beartooth – ‘Skin’
What we said:

“another very good release from a band overdue commercial success”

Read our review of ‘Into the Blue’

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The Joy Formidable – ‘Into the Blue’
What we said:

“a middle finger up at the haters”

Read our review of ‘Still Sucks’

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Limp Bizkit – ‘Dad Vibes’
What we said:

“a delicate masterpiece from a songwriter of the highest level”

Read our review of ‘The Hole Around My Head’

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Will Varley – ‘Pushing Against Us’
What we said:

“an enjoyable listen and the band clearly still has something to say”

Read our review of ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’

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Manic Street Preachers – ‘The Secret He Had Missed’
What we said:

“up there with the best that Beans On Toast has released”

Read our review of ‘Survival of the Friendliest’

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Beans On Toast – ‘Humans’
What we said:

“it really is time to stop being surprised by the quality in this band”

Read our review of ’21st Century Love Songs’

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The Wildhearts – ‘Remember These Days’
What we said:

“the extravagance of the band is what makes them great and thankfully their 7th studio album has it in abundance”

Read our review of ‘Motorheart’

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The Darkness – ‘Jussy’s Girl’
What we said:

“for their tenth album the band has set out to create their masterpiece”

Read our review of ‘Coral Island’

Check out:
The Coral – ‘Change Your Mind’
What we said:

“a strong debut album that lays the foundations of what will likely be a long and successful career”

Read our review of ‘W.L.’

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The Snuts – ‘Glasgow’
What we said:

“this is a stunning pop rock album”

Check out:
Pale Waves – ‘Fall to Pieces’
What we said:

“the album is laced with quality and shows the ease with which AFI are able to produce catchy songs”

Read our review of ‘Bodies’

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AFI – ‘Dulceria’
What we said:

“Iron Maiden doing exactly what you’d expect Iron Maiden to do”

Read our review of ‘Senjutsu’

Check out:
Iron Maiden – ‘Senjutsu’
What we said:

“this is very much Numan at the top of his game

Read our review of ‘Intruder’

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Gary Numan – ‘Intruder’
What we said:

“the signature of a band comfortable in their skin”

Read our review of ‘Pressure Machine’

Check out:
The Killers – ‘Quiet Town’
What we said:

“the very thing that identifies their sound is their lack of boundaries, their quirkiness and willingness to experiment”

Read our review of ‘The Myth of the Happily Ever After’

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Biffy Clyro – ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’
What we said:

“well crafted and superbly delivered album that is well worth your time and attention”

Read our review of ‘A Matter of Life & Love’

Check out:
Skinny Lister – ‘Damn The Amsterdam’

The quality of this year’s releases has been truly phenomenal as our opening 30 albums attests. The competition is extremely tight for the coveted top spot and that is clear throughout the prestigious Top 20 that follows.

What we said:

“a sublime collection of upbeat, heartfelt and powerful songs that is bound to be stuck on repeat for the foreseeable future”

Read our review of ‘A Funeral For Youth’

Check out:
Miss Vincent – ‘Rosalie’
What we said:

“The Pretty Reckless have solidified themselves in the upper echelons of Hard Rock”

Read our review of ‘Death by Rock and Roll’

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The Pretty Reckless – ‘Only Love Can Save Me’
What we said:

“you are fully absorbed by the mix of heavy hooks and catchy sing-a-long pop vocals”

Read our review of ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’

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Normandie – ‘Hostage’
What we said:

“Trash Boat have delivered their best work yet and they appear ready to lead the charge for British rock”

Read our review of ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’

Check out:
Trash Boat – ‘He’s So Good’
What we said:

“there are moments of grandeur that harness the bands expansive sound spread throughout”

Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’

Check out:
Holding Absence – ‘Afterlife’
What we said:

“the album attacks your senses and gets your feet stomping and your head banging”

Read our review of ‘When Life Was Hard And Fast’

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Ricky Warwick – ‘When Life Was Hard & Fast’
What we said:

“Trivium have well and truly earned their place at the top table of metal”

Read our review of ‘In the Court of the Dragon’

Check out:
Trivium – ‘Feast of Fire’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“a stunning release from a band assumedly at the peak of their powers”

Read our review of ‘American Noir’

Check out:
Creeper – ‘Midnight’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“there is a real good mix of sounds on this album which together encompass Kennedy’s various alter egos”

Read our review of ‘The Ides of March’

Check out:
Myles Kennedy – ‘In Stride’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“the power of this album doesn’t just lie with Bennett of course and the rest of the band have summoned even more power and majesty then before”

Read our review of ‘The Hope List’

Check out:
Lonely The Brave – ‘Bound’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“the album really feels like a love letter to both the bands own history and the music of those that influenced the members”

Read our review of ‘Medicine at Midnight’

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Foo Fighters – ‘Love Dies Young’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“an album packed with rock club dancefloor fillers, designed to get you moving”

Read our review of ‘Sticky’

Check out:
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – ‘My Town’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“there are grandiose ambitions spread throughout the album with the band obviously striving for more”

Read our review of ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’

Check out:
Architects – ‘Animals’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“IDLES continue to be one of the most exciting and vital bands around”

Read our review of ‘CRAWLER’

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IDLES – ‘Car Crash’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“an album of pure, unadulterated, adrenaline-filled pop rock pleasure”

Read our review of ‘Amazing Things’

Check out:
Don Broco – ‘Bruce Willis’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“Press To MECO have always had a knack for creating ferocious yet catchy songs and this album is packed full of tasty rifftastic bangers”

Read our review of ‘Transmute’

Check out:
Press to MECO – ‘A Test Of Our Resolve’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“the band are still able to mix catchy pop melodies with hard hitting beats to create a sound equally at home in front of mosh pits and dancefloors”

Read our review of ‘Seize the Power’

Check out:
Yonaka – ‘Call Me A Saint’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“the duo however manage to amplify these electronic elements without losing their rock attitude and resonance”

Read our review of ‘Typhoons’

Check out:
Royal Blood – ‘Boilermaker’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“a rare talent that have now reinforced their passion and ability to create great music for anybody who wants to listen but without concession on their vision”

Read our review of ‘Written & Directed’

Check out:
Black Honey – ‘Believer’
Album of the Year 2021
What we said:

“this record feels like it comes from a band at the peak of their powers, but knowing this group, they will still have plenty more to come”

Read our review of ‘Blue Weekend’

Check out:
Wolf Alice – ‘Smile’

Well there you have it! What a truly magnificent year for new music 2021 has been. What will 2022 have in store? Remember to discover the best new acts by following our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist’!

Stay tuned for our 2021 Year in Review coming very soon.

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Read our review of Creeper live in London

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Live Reviews

Creeper

O2 Kentish Town Forum, London

Wednesday 15th December 2021

Creeper

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CREEPER – O2 KENTISH TOWN FORUM – LIVE REVIEW

Since leaving their Callous Heart jackets on the KOKO stage back in November 2018 the normally well thought out plans of Creeper have hit road block after road block.

With their second record arriving during lockdown, this tumultuous period appeared to be ending with their arrival of their previously postponed headline tour. Alas, the show tonight at the O2 Kentish Town Forum in London takes place amid more uncertainty as the pandemic rages on.

Support act Wargasm are unable to play due to COVID and many of the sold out crowd clearly are also missing. The night should be a celebration, but the atmosphere is cautious, there is an impending sense of doom.

Music though is the great equaliser and can take away all of life’s worries, even if only for a while. Opening act Static Dress do a fantastic job of raising spirits and blowing away doubts. The crowd are instantly sucked in and the band capitalise on their short time on stage superbly. Crowd definitely warmed up!

With no Wargasm, it’s straight onto main support for this tour, Holding Absence. Having released one of the albums of the year in ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’, anticipation is high for their set. Over the next 30 minutes the band lives up to all of the hype that comes their way.  

An assured and uplifting performance from a band on a massive spike in upwards trajectory. ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Wilt’ close out a short but very sweet set which captures the hearts of those in attendance. It shouldn’t be long before Holding Absence are headlining venues of this size.

Listen to ‘Afterlife’ from Holding Absence on our Spotify Hot List!

Our headliners tonight however are Creeper. The band have battled adversity to arrive at their biggest headline show. Their cult following are out in force, even if the attendance drop reported by the Music Venue Trust is in evidence. The night has a special feel, and if any band can meet the high expectations then it’s Creeper.

Musically stunning and theatrically spectacular, Creeper take their audience on a journey of delight. From the time they arrive on stage to the moment they leave, Creeper exude confidence. This show builds on everything the band has presented since their inception and makes a statement. This is a band at the peak of their powers. This is the celebration that it needed to be.

A mixture of material features from across their career from their debut EP to recent release ‘American Noir’. The evolution of the band is clear for all to see, and so is the effort put into the show.

Read our review of ‘American Noir’ from Creeper

It may have taken slightly longer than expected to arrive at this level of venue, but on this showing Creeper are still on course to progress into even bigger buildings. This tour is a master class from the purveyors of grandiose rock and roll theatrics. Let’s hope that Creeper now get a clear run towards their destiny.

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Read our review of Salem live in Norwich

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Live Reviews

Salem

Waterfront Studio, Norwich

Tuesday 19th October 2021

Salem

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SALEM – NORWICH WATERFRONT – LIVE REVIEW

It’s almost a year since Salem released their debut EP. An EP that was never intended to be released but a pandemic and a lockdown or three saw Will Gould and Matt Reynolds pull the trigger.

Of course, Gould is normally associated with being the charismatic frontman for Creeper. That original EP was born out of the creative process for the latest Creeper album ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’; with Gould looking for a different outlet for some of his punkier output.

Following the positive reception to that first EP it was almost inevitable that another should follow and soon enough ‘Salem II’ arrived. At that point Salem became somewhat more than a creative outlet and more of a full blown side-project from Gould’s perspective. The collaboration between Gould and Reynolds appears to have given them both a new lease of life.

Read our review of ‘Salem II’ from Salem

With two EP’s it was again an inevitability that live shows would follow. So with a band in place Salem revealed a lengthy trek around the UK and tonight they arrive in Norwich at the Waterfront Studio.

Opening on the tour are Welsh rockers James and the Cold Gun. Creeper have always carefully curated their support acts and it’s clear Salem will follow suit. James and the Cold Gun are an ideal opener that deliver a blistering opening set that gets the audience ready for the main event.

The likes of ‘Plug Me In’, ‘Cheating on the Sun’ and ‘Long Way Home’ showcase the quality that the band possess. With great material, confident stage presence and plenty of energy, the future should be bright for the band.

Clearly the future is also looking bright for Salem. Yes, the weight of Gould’s name does some heavy lifting, but there are not many bands who could play a 19 date UK Tour within a year of their debut EP! The fact is again it’s the quality of the material which helps convince people to leave their homes and check out this new prospect.

Listen to ‘DRACULADS’ from Salem on our Spotify Hot List!

With just the two EP’s and a bonus cover of The Damned classic ‘New Rose’ making up the set list, tonight is short but very sweet. Gould is on top form clearly enjoying the change of pace, and the band as a whole are well knit.

By the end of encore track ‘Destroy Me’ it is well and truly a case of mission achieved for Salem. The crowd go home thoroughly entertained and Salem continue to build their own legacy.

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Read our review of ‘American Noir’ from Creeper

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EP Reviews

Creeper

American Noir

Creeper American Noir cover
Creeper – ‘American Noir’

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CREEPER – AMERICAN NOIR – ALBUM REVIEW

From their early EP’s and through their debut album and subsequent disappearance in 2018, Creeper have always been a theatrical and mysterious band. It’s this nature that has helped to cultivate an aura of excitement that has nurtured a passionate cult of a fanbase.

Following a longer than planned absence after that fateful London show in November 2018 the band were then greeted by a global pandemic. Lesser bands would have folded, but not Creeper. Instead fans were finally treated to the spectacular sophomore album ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’.

With touring not possible fans have been craving an opportunity to witness the glory of these songs live. Not resting on their laurels however, Creeper already have new music to present! Thankfully live music is now returning, because their new EP, ‘American Noir’ simply whets the appetite even further.

Read our review of Creeper at Download Pilot Festival

WATCH ‘DAMNED AND DOOMED’ ON YOUTUBE
Creeper – ‘Damned and Doomed’

The EP bursts into glorious life with lead single ‘Midnight’ which demonstrates the continued evolution of the band into something bigger. ‘American Noir’ follows on perfectly from ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ both sonically and thematically.

Listen to ‘Midnight’ on our Spotify Hot List!

‘America At Night’ and the incredible ‘Ghosts Over Calvary’ help to elevate this EP towards the best record that Creeper has released to date. ‘One of Us’ and ‘Damned and Doomed’ bring an end to a short but all so sweet collection of songs.

This is a stunning release from a band assumedly at the peak of their powers. But then, you should never assume with Creeper! On this trajectory those early predications of stardom remain on course.

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Read our review of ‘Salem II’ from Salem

Categories
Live Reviews

Download Pilot Festival 2021

Donington Park

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th June 2021

Download Pilot Festival Poster

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DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL 2021 – LIVE REVIEW

The live music industry is built on togetherness, built on shared experience and built on the power of emotion. The last 18 months have been highly emotional for all the wrong reasons. Together the world has shared an experience that has terrified and devastated us.

The events of the last 18 months have taken an incomprehensible toll on humanity. The pandemic has destroyed lives and livelihoods. The live music industry was obliterated overnight. The people that make the spectacles that we enjoy happen were forgotten about.

While the world attempts to peek through the curtains at a “new normal”, the live music industry is left waiting. Waiting for support, waiting for proper guidance, waiting for a chance. Well, just four weeks ago that chance arrived.

A Government trial event to test the viability of the return of packed festivals and events you say? Spring into action the incredible people behind the scenes who make the live music industry work! In a short period of time, heaven and earth have been moved and here we are at Download Festival.

A much smaller, makeshift, Pilot version of Download Festival at the hallowed grounds of Donington Park. 10,000 people in a field, no social distancing, no masks, no inhibitions.

Credit goes to all involved for creating an event of that scale on such short notice, and to all the acts playing with no preparation. As the gates open, one thing is for sure, the fans want this, no, the fans needs this.

The reality of the situation is that the organisers could have put an old man playing the spoons on stage and the fans would have lapped it up. The opportunity after all that everybody has been through to witness live music is cathartic.

DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL – FRIDAY

The fact that this may be the most exciting Download Festival line-up of all time only helps to amplify the anticipation as fans gather in the tented second stage for Death Blooms. Almost every person on site crams in to witness that first taste of live music in far too long.

The band make the most of the atmosphere with a storming set that sees the audience let go of all remaining inhibitions. I doubt the majority of those in the tent knew of the band in advance, but they certainly left with a memory that will last forever.

For this special event there are just two stages. Next to the tent is the outdoor main stage which opens with a raucous set from Hot Milk. Kicking off with their latest single ‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’ the band show the crowd just what they’ve been missing.

Listen to ‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’ from Hot Milk on our Spotify Hot List!

There is no need to worry about those dreaded clashes at Download Pilot Festival. That’s because the acts on the two stages alternate, allowing the music starved fans the opportunity to watch every single band if they so wish to.

Every band this weekend gets a good sized crowd and a warm reception with it, especially the early bands on Friday. Malevolence are next to grace the second stage and assist the audience in releasing their pent up energy with a heavy hitting set.

A repercussion of the pandemic has been the amazing new albums that have been released without the showcase of the live setting. One such album is ‘Glue’ from Boston Manor. That wrong is righted next however as the band storm the main stage and air the likes of ‘Everything Is Ordinary’.

An early standout performance from the band sees them mix new and old with ‘England’s Dreaming’, ‘Laika’ and ‘Halo’ eliciting some of the first full blown sing-a-long moments of the weekend.

Those sing-a-long moments continue with Holding Absence on the second stage as they get to unleash tracks from their sensational album ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’. ‘Afterlife’ in particular is a contender for song of the weekend as the band present their credentials for superstardom!

Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ from Holding Absence

The Friday action continues with two bands with extremely dedicated fanbases. Neck Deep get the main stage bouncing before Sleep Token captivate the second stage.

It is then down to Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes to bring the first day to a close on the main stage. Always an unstoppable force of nature on stage, the band make the most of the platform to make a statement. That statement says that this band is ready to headline the regular event.

With a setlist spanning their three albums, the band even treat fans to a selection of new tracks including the catchy ‘My Town’. There are guest appearances from Joe Talbot, Cassyette and Lynks, there is a giant circle pit around the sound tower and there is even a cover of ‘Ace of Spades’.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes saw an opportunity to headline a festival, to headline the first festival back, and they grabbed it with both hands. This was one of those sets that will be talked about forevermore!

Listen to ‘My Town’ from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on our Spotify Hot List!

After hours entertainment comes from a silent disco as the hastily arranged festival shows the skills and creativity of the music industry. You have to stand back and admire the achievement of those involved to create an event on this scale in the time given.

DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL – SATURDAY

On to Saturday now and the musical delights continue as Lotus Eater, Conjurer, As Everything Unfolds and Bleed From Within blow the cobwebs of the early morning audience.

Next two young bands with big futures introduce themselves to festival audiences. Both The Hara on the second stage and Wargasm on the main stage elicit strong reactions from those watching.

Listen to ‘Your Patron Saints’ from Wargasm on our Spotify Hot List!

After a solid showing from Tigercub, one of the veteran acts of the weekend, A, school the up and coming bands on how to engage an audience. An age appropriate walking circle pit being a nice change of pace in the midst of a hectic weekend. Finishing with ‘Nothing’, A show why they are the perfect festival band.

Two things become apparent as the weekend progresses. When dissecting the hastily put together line-up, the quality of British rock music is put in the spotlight and it more than holds its own. Secondly a good deal of that talent is female. Vukovi and Yonaka both deliver set of the weekend contenders next.

Listen to ‘Seize the Power’ from Yonaka on our Spotify Hot List!

Those Damn Crows, Twin Atlantic and Stone Broken all put in crowd pleasing performances before While She Sleeps attract and entertain a huge crowd on the main stage.

Soon though it’s time for the scorecard for band of the weekend to be thrown out the window. Creeper are able to deliver an out of body experience as they headline the second stage. There are goosebump raising moments galore as the band turn the festival into their own theatre of oral and visual magnificence.

Listen to ‘Midnight’ from Creeper on our Spotify Hot List!

It is then left to Enter Shikari to bring the Saturday night party and they don’t disappoint. If there was ever a band born to get you moving it’s Enter Shikari. They do just that as they also get to showcase newer songs live for the first time.

‘satellites**’, ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ and ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ fit in perfectly with classics like ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’, ‘Juggernauts’ and ‘Mothership’. Much like Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Creeper, you can see the special treatment Enter Shikari have given this opportunity and that makes for a stunning spectacle.

DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL – SUNDAY

Come Sunday you’d imagine fatigue would be setting in. All this action after so many barren months, you could forgive the crowd for tiring and the festival atmosphere sapping. Instead energy is pumped in by bands such as Static Dress, Saint Agnes, Cassyette and Employed To Serve.

The fans reciprocate said energy as they continue to let loose to Chubby and the Gang, Loathe and Higher Power. The passion and pure joy of both fans and musicians to be at a festival is at times overwhelming. This event was destined to be an emotive affair but even through that emotion the quality of the music on offer shines.

Next on the main stage is Lonely The Brave complete with change in singer. A set mixed with fan favourites and new tracks from ‘The Hope List’ shows the band are still an exciting prospect. Can the band now finally take that next step? On their showing here, yes they can!

Read our review of ‘The Hope List’ from Lonely The Brave

For those fans catching every band the pace is relentless and it’s to the second stage next for Jamie Lenman. Lenman powers through a sublime set that gets the crowd moving and features another appearance from Wargasm.

The quirky goodness of Elvana attracts a huge crowd to the main stage as the festival heads towards its climax. The band show just why they are perhaps the perfect Sunday afternoon festival act as they get the crowd singing along to every word.

Massive Wagons are able to take the second stage by storm before a sadly technically challenged The Wildhearts limp off stage. The Wildhearts are a top quality band and the issues with their sound perhaps show the effects of an enforced hiatus for musicians and crew members alike.

It’s on that note that once again praise must be heaped on the organisers, the crew members, the festival staff and yes the bands for making this event such a success. That is only amplified by the incredibly short timescale.

Realistically this has been a once in a lifetime event (we hope). Download Pilot Festival as an event is excellent and would be a great addition to the main Download Festival. It’s the atmosphere and camaraderie however that makes this festival so special.

We are down then to the final four bands, the final acts before reality is set to strike again. Up first on the second stage are Trash Boat who get the tent bouncing, especially with a stunning cover of Linkin Park classic ‘Given Up’.

If there is a perfect festival band it’s Skindred. Put them on any stage in any slot and they will attract a huge crowd. With a sub-headline slot on the main stage, the field is full as Benji Webbe and co put in a seamless lesson in crowd engagement.

The final act on the second stage is also no stranger to the festival scene. Although Frank Turner has played Download Festival in the past, even he acknowledges he may not be the typical Download act. Nobody cares though, as he puts in a typically euphoric performance.

The crowd are not just treated to the set staples but also to new song ‘The Gathering’ and heavier version of ‘Little Changes’. There are sing-a-longs aplenty as Turner does what he does best and that is entertain!

Check out The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guest Frank Turner!

That just leaves Bullet For My Valentine to close out Download Pilot Festival. A festival which we wish was never needed but are so glad that it happened. Bullet For My Valentine are long time Download favourites and they deliver an apt conclusion to the event.

We are treated to a unique take on ‘Run To The Hills’ from Iron Maiden complete with a perplexing vocal contribution fron Benji Webbe. We get new material in the form of ‘Knives’ and of course we get favourites such as ‘Scream Aim Fire’ and ‘Tears Don’t Fall’.

‘Waking The Demon’ is the final song to ring around Donington Park, and we can only hope and pray that this event can wake the demon that is the festival scene. The fans may have been lab rats, but what a stunning lab it was! Thank you Download Pilot Festival for such a cathartic weekend.

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Read our review of ‘Bodies’ from AFI

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!