Move Up to the Main Stage: 6 Bands That Show the Metal is Alright!

The 2010s were good for metal. Not only did we get huge tours and albums from the genre’s leaders (Metallica, Slipknot, Iron Maiden, etc) but a number of bands stepped up their game, drew the fans and were rewarded with main stage status. I’m talking Avenged Sevenfold, Bring Me the Horizon and Parkway Drive. There is a finite number of slots though, but these bands show the glass ceiling can be broken with the right material and commitment to slaying live. With the pandemic putting a halt to international touring for the last few years, it’s time for promoters to take stock and survey the scene. Who should be given the chance to shine with full sound, production and audience? 

It’s likely that by the end of the decade, the bands that started prior to 1985 will be in or close to retirement. Who knows if the turn-of-millennium headliners (Korn, Slipknot, System of a Down and Disturbed) will be able to keep up appearances with their heavy style? But it’s OK, metal is gonna be fine. In addition to the three mentioned above, who have already headlined main stages, there’s plenty more coming through who are ready for their shot. 

Here’s six bands who should move up the bill: three that need the main stage and three that should be closing. 

Main Stage or Bust!

Code Orange 

There’s something about third albums right? Code Orange released Underneath just as the pandemic hit and they lost their chance to promote it in person. Not to be deterred they live streamed their record release show from an empty club and pretty much invented the concept that would become popular in 2020. They would follow with two more events: an acoustic session and the phenomenal Back Inside the Glass on Halloween 2020. Underneath is an incredible record and the band have an incendiary live show with visual flair. Tracks like ‘Who I Am’, ‘The Easy Way’ and ‘Underneath’ use the Jami/Reba vocal combo to full effect for a mosh pit sing-along, and they still go hard on ‘In Fear’ and ‘Swallowing the Rabbit Whole.’ Throw in older tracks like ‘I Am King’, ‘Bleeding in the Blur’ and ‘Forever’ and they will decimate a main stage pit. Let them play in the dark and they’ll cause pure mayhem. 

Key live track: Latest single ‘Out for Blood’ will go off. You’ve been warned.

Polaris

Polaris also had their new album promotion stop suddenly with the COVID outbreak in Australia. The Death of Me is a great record, full of emotional depth and tunes that slam hard. They ended 2021 by headlining the first night of the Knight and Day Festival inside a castle and would be an awesome addition to any main stage in the world including Download Festival UK in 2023. They have the right songs for a huge audience with plenty of chances to scream to the sky and headbang relentlessly. They might not always look like rockstars but the tunes back them up. We’ve seen first hand that they’re ready for the bigger opportunity and will grab the brass ring with both hands. 

Key live track: ‘Masochist’ shows the extent of what they can do with their dual vocalists. It’ll go off at Good Things 2022. 

Jinjer 

Ukrainian band Jinjer have bubbled along for a while now, touring relentlessly and releasing four critically acclaimed albums since 2014. With a thoroughly modern sound, they’re able to compliment their heaviness with deviations influenced by prog, soul, funk and hip-hop. Their most recent albums, Macro (2019) and Wallflowers (2021) have bangers after bangers. The presence of frontwoman Tatiana Shmailyuk is central to their live performances and with songs like ‘Disclosure!’, ‘I Speak Astronomy’ and ‘Vortex’ in the set, they can engage new fans wherever they roam. Having been forced off the touring circuit when the Ukraine – Russian War broke out, they have been appointed Ambassadors and resumed live performances so they can bring attention to their homeland’s plight and encourage fans to support through donations and merchandise. Their socials have video evidence of where the funds are going to support Ukrainians in need. 

Key live track: ‘Home Back’ has taken on extra significance this year. You’ll be able to show your support at Good Things 2022

Going on Last!

Gojira

Since the release of From Mars to Sirius in 2005, French tech-metal band Gojira have released album after album of innovative and environmentally conscious music. With the release of Fortitude in 2021, they now have the catalogue to headline big shows. Fortitude has the kind of hooks that work well for unfamiliar audiences, particularly songs like ‘The Chant’, ‘Another World’ and ‘Amazonia’. Fans have still embraced the album and there’s some incredible tracks in the back catalogue to put together a heavy set with crowd pleasing moments of thrash, prog and death metal. They’re also a band whose message is important at this critical time for our planet. 

Key live track: They’ve been opening with ‘Born for One Thing’ and it slays. Catch them at Good Things. 

Trivium

Trivium has played everywhere and for everyone. Now with ten albums in their cannon, it’s time to play the set length that allows them to fire all their guns from ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr’ to ‘Feast of Fire’. Their last three albums are all critically acclaimed, including 2021’s In the Court of the Dragon, and have the perfect combination of face-melting heaviness and enormous choruses. They’ve written about all the classic topics: dragons, heartache, mythological beings, overcoming adversity. Like Gojira they tick a few subgenre boxes and can seriously play – essential for appealing to a wide range of punters. They’re at the top of their game creatively and have earned the chance to go more than 90 minutes for 40,000 people, especially if it climaxes with the thunderous juggernaut that is ‘In Waves’

Key live track: ‘In Waves’ can’t be followed. 

Architects

With Judas Priest turning 50, Iron Maiden past 40 and Sabbath already gone, the time is right for a UK band to assume the throne. Architects are ready for that spot. Nine albums in, the British fellas have cultivated a rabid fan base by releasing diverse albums that can be challenging but so darn heavy. Yes they can metalcore, yes they can do power ballads. They can go fast, they can chug and they can do mathmetal mayhem. On their recent release, For Those That Wish to Exist, they add orchestral flourishes to stadium sized metalcore. ‘Animals’ is enormous, ‘Dead Butterflies’ is majestic and ‘Black Lungs’ is an anthem for the new generation. And they can still drop ‘Doomsday’ and ‘A Match Made in Heaven’. The lyrics run a wide range of topics, from political to personal and the environment. And there is more with new album, the classic symptoms of a broken spirit, out now. Put them alongside Bring Me the Horizon and Bullet for my Valentine and acknowledge what millions already know – heavy metal has come home with another headliner. Certainly not a band I would want to play after anyway.

Catch them playing their biggest Australian shows to date in Feb 2023 – details here

Key live track: new track ‘When We Were Young’ is a barn burner already. 

Anyone missing? Who would you throw into the mix?

Tell us on our socials!

Words by KJ Draven (Twitter and Instagram)

Wall of Sound on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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