Categories
Live Reviews

Don Broco

UEA LCR, Norwich

Saturday 2nd December 2023

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📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music

DON BROCO – NORWICH – LIVE REVIEW

Don Broco are currently finishing out their ‘Amazing Things’ cycle with another trek around the UK and tonight that places them at the UEA LCR in a frostbitten Norwich. Anticipation is clearly high for a fantastic three band bill and the venue is already raring to go as our opening act take to the stage.

OCEAN GROVE

All the way from Australia are nu-metal progeny Ocean Grove, they bring a little sunshine with them to get the crowd warmed up! Tracks like ‘Cali Sun’ and ‘Sunny’ don’t just fit the analogy but truly do get the audience moving and interacting from the very start.

The group are able to deliver their set with absolute assurity and given the traditional show of hands highlights many previously uninitiated amongst the crowd, you’d imagine that their confidence pays off tonight with the recruitment of a new horde of followers!

TRASH BOAT

Playing as main support on this great line-up is St.Albans band Trash Boat. With their most recent album, ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’, the band took their sound to a whole new level and that album makes up the majority of the set tonight. The likes of ‘Silence Is Golden’ and ‘Bad Entertainment’ help them to ensure that the crowd’s incredible early energy doesn’t wane.

Vocalist Tobi Duncan says that a new album is on the way and tonight new tracks ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ and ‘Liar Liar’ both get airings which are well received. The final trio of ‘Alpha Omega’, ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ and ‘He’s So Good’ is a great way to close out their time on stage as Trash Boat leave their fans excited for more new music and a headline tour in the not too distant future!

DON BROCO

The dancefloor at the LCR is packed full as Don Broco take to the stage and bodies instantly start bouncing as they kick their set off with ‘Gumshield’, ‘Manchester Super Reds No.1 Fan’ and ‘ACTION’.

As you’d expect from a tour supporting ‘Amazing Things’, that album features heavily tonight but there is a nice mix of old and new material in the setlist as the band celebrate a decade (plus one) of debut album, ‘Priorities’.

The Don Broco back catalogue at this point though is already quite absurd and it must be hard to select the setlist each night. It doesn’t matter which song is being played therefore, because the crowd lap up everything that Broco throw at them. The atmosphere is truly special tonight, and whilst the people of Norwich deserve credit, it’s obviously a indictment of where Don Broco are as a band.

Whether playing large festival stages, headlining arenas or playing these more intimate affairs, Broco always give it their all and create an epic experience for their fans. Case in point, the sight of a sweat-soaked crowd spinning their t-shirts over their heads during ‘T-Shirt Song’, despite it being -2°C outside!

And as the crowd disperses into the freezing cold night, you know that once again the Broco boys have delivered a night that will live long in the memory for those lucky enough to be in attendance.

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Magazine

Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 13

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The latest issue of the Full Pelt Magazine is here, and you can download your copy for free below!

Volume 13 features cover stars Holding Absence as they hit the road in support of ‘The Noble Art of Self Destruction’. We also catch Skinny Lister as they take ‘Shanty Punk’ to the stage. Plus we review the latest album from Beans On Toast!

We have our News Report rounding up new releases from Bruce Dickinson, CJ Wildheart, Alkaline Trio, Trash Boat, P.O.D., Atreyu, Normandie, Oakman, Chelsea Wolfe and LØLØ.

Plus new live announcements from Lytham Festival, Slam Dunk, Wild Fields Festival, The Killers, As December Falls, Pet Needs, Indoor Pets, Nickelback, IDLES, Avril Lavigne, You Me At Six, Taking Back Sunday, Don’t Panic and Thomas Nicholas Band!

Finally, we round up the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist with Where Oceans BurnBreak Fifty and fakeyourdeath!

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Live Reviews

Slam Dunk Festival

Temple Newsam, Leeds

Sunday 28th May 2023

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SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL NORTH – LIVE REVIEW

Rock fans know that festival season is upon us when we get to the late May Bank Holiday weekend and Slam Dunk Festival brings rock and punk fans to Hatfield and Leeds.

This year that journey takes a little longer for some due to traffic issues, probably borne out of the fact that both events are sold out. Leeds in particular feels like the Temple Newsam is bursting at the seams today.

Queues are unimaginably long for merch, toilets, food or anything else, but thankfully the music (and weather) is very much on point!

We start the day in the ‘Knotfest’ tent for rising metallers Heriot, who attract a decent sized early crowd. That crowd is treated to a blistering set of gloriously heavy goodness and a spirited performance from a band on the cusp of bigger things.

It’s then a short walk over to one of two outdoor main stages, the ‘Amazon Rock Scene’ stage, where we will spend most of our day today. Taking this stage next are VUKOVI who absolutely own the stage and showcase their superb new album, ‘NULA’. Singer Janine is able to hold the audience in the palm of her hand and orchestrate the first truly great set of the band.

Logistically the event may be remembered for the wrong reasons, but musically today is fantastic, with that set from VUKOVI one of many that will live long in the memory for all the right reasons.

Thinking, we’ll go for a quick wonder around, it’s clear that nothing will be quick today, but we do catch a glimpse of girlfriends who are very impressive for the time we can stay. Soon though we must head back down the hill to catch Trash Boat.

This is a band that has grown significantly in almost every sense of the word over the past few years. Their latest album, ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’, was one of the most surprising of 2021 as the band took their sound to new heights. Today they use the stage to bring many of these tracks to life and the crowd are clearly appreciative of another excellent performance.

Trash Boat are followed on stage by Holding Absence who have just announced that their third album, ‘The Noble Art of Self Destruction’, will be out later this year. Their set today is a good mix of old and new including brand new single, ‘False Dawn’ and fan favourite ‘Afterlife’, which gets a monumental response from the passionate crowd.

Soon enough it’s over to Wargasm who are becoming one of those marmite bands where it’s almost cool to hate them. The energy and ferocity that they put into their show however can’t be denied and whilst the energy levels for some of the crowd starts to sap, the band push through with tracks such as ‘Backyard Bastards’ and ‘Spit.’ getting everyone back moving.

We then head over to the other end of the festival site (very slowly) to the ‘Kerrang’ stage where the tent is overspilling already ahead of Boston Manor. The band are on top form right now and have every person singing along to their gargantuan anthems. As they conclude their time on stage with ‘Halo’ you can’t help but think that Boston Manor deserve to be absolutely huge.

It’s a blast from the past next as Slam Dunk keep up their track record of reformations with Kids In Glass Houses. Playing their first shows in almost a decade the band focus their set on ‘Smart Casual’, which will be getting a re-release later this year. Songs like ‘Saturday’ and ‘Give Me What I Want’ still have it and so do the band who fly through the set like they’ve never been away.

Sticking to the same stage we are soon graced by PVRIS who deliver another really good performance which features a well structured setlist. Lynn Gunn leads the trio through a selection of their popular tracks with ‘You and I’ and ‘My House’ both getting big audience responses. The band will return with their fourth album in July, and new track ‘Goddess’ goes down very well today complete with guest spot from Charlotte Sands.

We are at the business end of the day now and up next on stage are Billy Talent who are able to deliver a pure masterclass in how to make the most of a shortened festival set. Banger, after banger, after banger as the band deliver suckerpunch after suckerpunch. The crowd reciprocate the bands energy and by the time the set finishes with ‘Red Flag’, the band have done enough to claim the band of the day moniker!

In the clash of the headliners, we opt to head to the ‘Dickies’ stage for punk icons The Offspring. The band have an endless stream of hit songs, and tonight the band focus more on their back catalogue then they did at Hatfield yesterday.

Their covers section in the middle feels a little too much considering their short time on stage but nobody can deny the final run of tracks which provides a great end to a packed day both musically and in terms of the volume of people on site!

Slam Dunk is a trusted brand these days and musically they’ve delivered once again, but there are undoubtedly some logistical issues that need to be fixed. Perhaps they’ve once again outgrown their homes and need to find bigger accommodation, one thing is for sure though and next May will again see a packed line-up heralding the dawning of a new festival season.

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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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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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

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

“a middle finger up at the haters”

Read our review of ‘Still Sucks’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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.’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check Out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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’

Check out:
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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Live Reviews

Enter Shikari

Alexandra Palace, London

Saturday 4th December 2021

Enter Shikari

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ENTER SHIKARI – ALEXANDRA PALACE – LIVE REVIEW

We’re currently counting down our 2021 Album of the Year list on Social Media. It’s somewhat fitting yet frustrating therefore that we are at Alexandra Palace in London for the band that reached number four on our 2020 list.

Enter Shikari released one of the best albums of 2020 in the form of ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’, but have as yet been unable to tour that record due to the ongoing pandemic.

Finally, they now have the opportunity to take that album on the road, but alas the pandemic still has tricks up its sleeve. Firstly, the band take to their Social Media to announce bassist Chris Batten has Covid and is out, but the show will go on. Soon thereafter another post emerges and main support act, Dinosaur Pile-Up are also out as a result of Covid!

Despite all this adversity, the determination of the band shines and the show is on. Nova Twins are the first act on stage and continue to demonstrate just why they are so hotly tipped. Their ferocious, rip-roaring opening slot is instantly enough to justify the show proceeding. The band feel at home on huge stages and by the end of their short set, they have a legion of new fans.

With DPU out of the show, Enter Shikari called on their friends, and fellow St. Albans band Trash Boat answer the call at the 11th hour. DPU are a hard act to replace, but Trash Boat are an act up to the task. After all, their album ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ will likely feature towards the top of our 2021 Album of the Year list!

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

They are able to blow away any disappointment at the lack of DPU within minutes of taking the stage. A traditional show of hands for Trash Boat first timers sees most hands in the venue raise, but by the end of their time on stage there is no doubt everybody now knows their name.

The quick flowing evening soon finds us being counted down towards the arrival of Enter Shikari. The venue is sold out and is packed tight towards the front as fans desperately await their heroes.

‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ is an incredible album and it’s only right that it features heavily tonight. That starts from opening track ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ as the band burst on stage to a stunning light show and a blast of confetti.

WATCH ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ ON YOUTUBE
Enter Shikari – ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’

The crowd are truly up for it tonight as are the band. Despite the turmoil of the day and being a member down, Enter Shikari are able to adapt and overcome and still deliver an unstoppable performance.

Older tracks ‘Juggernauts’, ‘Sorry, You’re Not a Winner’ and ‘Mothership’ naturally elicit huge responses from the audience, but so do those new tracks. Highlights of the evening include ‘modern living…’, ‘satellites* *’ and ‘the pressure’s on.’.

Enter Shikari are an innovative and resilient force and tonight is a celebration of many things, but through all of the adversity of not just today but the last year or so, tonight is a triumph of tenacity.

An encore featuring two more new favourites in ‘T.I.N.A.’ and ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ and the always uplifting ‘Live Outside’ closes out another victory lap for a vital band that continue to go from strength to strength.

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Album Reviews

Trash Boat

Don’t You Feel Amazing?

Trash Boat Don't You Feel Amazing Album Cover
Trash Boat – ‘Don’t You Feeling Amazing?’

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TRASH BOAT – DON’T YOU FEEL AMAZING? – ALBUM REVIEW

St. Albans rockers Trash Boat have been growing steadily since their inception in 2014. ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ is the third studio album from the band and from the moment you hit play it feels like a statement from them to the world.

This album is a band taking the next step up and growing into something much bigger. Trash Boat are certainly a band that have earned their stripes and paid their dues. Many, many live shows have built a solid reputation and dedicated fanbase for the band.

Read our review of Trash Boat at Download Pilot Festival

That reputation and fanbase will almost definitely be growing significantly with this record providing a highly accessible yet punchy sound for listeners to sink their teeth into. ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’, ‘Silence Is Golden’ and ‘Bad Entertainment’ do exactly what you want an opening trio to do and suck you right in.

Listen to ‘Bad Entertainment’ on our Spotify Hot List!

The album progresses and continues to display the bands knack for writing seriously catchy songs. ‘Love Without Needing’, ‘He’s So Good’ and ‘Vertigo’ continuing the momentum before ‘Alpha Omega’ ramps up the intensity.

WATCH ‘HE’S SO GOOD‘ ON YOUTUBE
Trash Boat – ‘He’s So Good’

You almost wait for the quality to drop, but that doesn’t happen. Songs such as ‘Cannibal’, ‘Synthetic Sympathy’ and closer ‘Maladaptive Daydreaming’ ensure the second half of the album parallels the quality of the first.

With ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ Trash Boat have delivered their best work yet and they appear ready to lead the charge for British rock.

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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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