KNOTFEST Los Angeles: Lineup Analysis

An additional to the multitude of Knotfest shows that Slipknot is venturing on this year is taking place at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The lineup is essentially the lineup for the Roadshow along with a couple extras. Opening the day we have The Cherry Bombs and Vended. The other surprise artist we will see that day is Bring Me The Horizon who is going on directly before Slipknot. The United States has not had the chance to see BMTH perform since the Fall of 2019. This will be the icing on the cake to top off an awesome Knotfest Roadshow tour in the US.

The venue is the stadium for soccer team, Los Angeles FC. The capacity for the stadium is 22,000 without standing room, you can tack another eight to ten thousand on top of that. It is going to be a once and a lifetime experience, a lot of these bands may never share a stage this size together again. With more and more shows and tours being announced every single week, fans are going to be eager to get back to them and be back in those communities that helped shape and mold them into who they are. Tickets are on sale now and range from $80-$750. There are options for GA seats and GA standing as well as varying tiers for VIP. Some of the VIP features include, meet and greets, VIP only areas, a history of Slipknot museum walk through experience, and even a opportunity to have a polaroid photo taken of you by none other than Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan

This is one of the largest shows that Slipknot will headline on their own. This will also be our first chance at seeing Bring Me The Horizon share a stage with Slipknot. To some, that combo sounds unbelievable and others would rather see some of the older metal bands get out there to play with Slipknot. Exciting things from each artist is sure to take place, Code Orange and Fever 333 are super high energy to keep everyone warm for the later sets. Killswitch Engage will bring the heat with shredding riffs and solos, melodic jams, and easily recognizable choruses. Bring Me The Horizon will be playing a lot of new stuff from last years double EP release, ‘POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR’. If we’re lucky we may get a new tune from Slipknot who have been teasing their new album recently.

You can purchase tickets and VIP passes now at:

KNOTFEST LOS ANGELES 2021

All questions and information can be found there as well.

Album Review: Below by Beartooth

In the year 2021 we have seen a lot of changes, new people in power, life slowly making its’ way back to normal, and shows are coming back. The one thing that has not changed is the undefeated, unrivaled, and undeniable songwriting that comes from the mind of one, Caleb Shomo. This album is charting new waters and new territory for Beartooth, this album is heightening the already stacked discography that got them to where they are today.

Album Artwork

You like heavy metal? This album gives you heavy metal, while also giving you emotional and catchy choruses that everyone can and will enjoy. One of the first lines that we hear in the album is, “I feel the rage, something’s starting to grow, Six hundred sixty six feet in my hell below”. We can hear plenty of elements of influence from bands like, Black Sabbath, Power Trip, Slipknot, and AC/DC. Blast beats, breakdowns, rock-downs, screams, intoxicating singing, and silence are all experiences that are presented throughout this record.

The writing process of this album took place both before and during the pandemic, naturally we can expect a shift in the writing process and headspace of Caleb Shomo. Shades of the early days of Beartooth are heard in songs such as Skin and No Return, they recount the troubled and depressed mindset Caleb was trapped in before starting Beartooth and for awhile after. These two songs are chronicles of everyday life, with the constant pain in the back of your head, nagging you and making sure that you have some anxiety to deal with when you wake up.

While Shomo spares no expense at writing heavy songs to release the aggression, he also has no problem with writing songs that are going to empower and encourage everyone. He wants people to know that they are strong and have made it this far, no reason to turn back or give up. This idea is very evident on songs, I Won’t Give Up and The Past Is Dead. These two are going to be radio favorites for a long time.

The closer of the album, The Last Riff paints a picture of Caleb Shomo standing, staring, and expressionless as he looks out at a crowd full of die hard fans after a set, letting them know that they just put it all out there. They are not finished and they will not be for a very long time. Get used to hearing their name, they are gong to be the headliners one day, they are going to be the band that people tell their grandkids about.

Say what you will about rock and metal but there is nothing like it, there’s no more emotional music to put on display for the world to hear. Nothing unites like hard rock and heavy metal with powerful messages. Below is an early front runner for album of the year, every song on the track list has some seriously great and unique qualities. Some songs are better than others, but there is not a song on the record that is bad. The production quality is new, it sounds fresh, clean while also being nasty, and opens eyes.

Rating: 9/10

Music Videos:

Check out the album and new merch:

https://beartoothband.com/

Blue Ridge Rock Festival Lineup Analysis

The time has finally come, after months of announcing bands and artists one by one, the festival worlds newest heavyweight has released a full lineup minus three special guests who have yet to be revealed to the public. Even without those three being announced quite yet, this festival is likely to be the best rock/metal festival of the year. With four whole days of rock, there is not a rocker in the world that will not be able to find something that they love there. Here is the official lineup from Blue Ridge Rock:

Right off the bat, we can see that they spent their budget on more popular names for the undercard of each day and not so much headliners which I believe is a smart move, younger bands that are going to be the future upper-card and headliners. Huge name headliners often require a lot of money for performance and this is a fan driven experience so it can be less expensive for passes as well.

Thursday: A very strong start to the weekend, we see really impressive names early on such as, Slaves (post-hardcore) and Chelsea Grin (deathcore). These two artists will bring their respective genres to the stage for attention from thousands and thousands of concert deprived rockers. My sleeper pick for best band of Thursday is easily, Spiritbox. These somewhat new comers from Canada are taking metalcore in a new direction that is beautifully haunting due to the vocals of Courtney LaPlante. Hardcore legends Hatebreed are going to bring a beatdown style of empowering hardcore to the festival, an excellent choice for a day filled with such variety. Skillet begins the top line of performances which will be a somewhat decent performance, nothing new from them in awhile so, there should be plenty of classics to be played. Halestorm is a consist at almost every rock festival these days and for good reason, they kill it every set they play. The Ghost Inside having made their return to the stage just about a year ago, are ready to bring their present metalcore sound to make the mosh pits huge. A Day To Remember is well on their way to be the future headliners of festivals, rightfully so, no one does music quite like these guys do. Breaking Benjamin ends the night, playing their only festival of the year. One of the better live bands out there in the rock world today, a perfect choice to end Thursday.

Friday: Taking the stage in the first half of the day, Tallah shows the festival the latest genre fusion, Nu-metalcore. D.R.U.G.S, Crown The Empire, and Knocked Loose are the three most exciting names on the second line from the bottom for Friday, D.R.U.G.S (Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows) made their triumphant return or at least tried to last year, so they will be welcomed with open arms. Atreyu is fresh off an album release which will bring new songs to their setlist, Motionless In White is looking to get some new material released this year, and they are going all out for live performances lately. I Prevail is playing their only show of the entire year at Blue Ridge, they will be as impressive as they always are, likely to be a crowd favorite for the weekend. Rise Against, Limp Bizkit, and Rob Zombie all have the ability and popularity to be headliners for that night, so Friday will be a treat for everyone. Rob Zombie is definitely the safe headliner choice, but the other two are perfect to go on right before him.

Saturday: Consistently strong throughout the whole day, the day starts off with two severely underrated deathcore bands in Spite and Brand Of Sacrifice, nothing better to start off a festival day then with disgusting gutteral vocals and head-pounding breakdowns that will leave you trying to catch your breath. Punk/metal fusion pioneers, Corrosion Of Conformity are making an appearance, that set will definitely be one to check out if the opportunity arises. Badflower, Avatar, and Wage War are all growing into fan favorites and draw much attention when on festival stages, each band has something very unique about them that makes their live shows very memorable and enjoyable. The only truly notable names on the line right before the top are Beartooth, Trivium, and Body Count. Beartooth and Trivium bringing to different styles of metal and rock that is almost universally enjoyed and Body Count is of course, the metal band from LA formed by Ice-T. Lamb Of God and Megadeth making another stop in their co-headliner tour, of course going on one after another. Ending the night in a disappointing way with Five Finger Death Punch, that is all there really is to say about that.

Sunday: Today is the go home day, have to make sure it is a good one. To start, we have Currents and Fit For A King who are metalcore powerhouses that will for sure wake up everyone who is tired. More metalcore bands to highlight on the line above are August Burns Red and Ice Nine Kills, both bands having been around the block a few times are getting very popular in recent months. One of the coolest acts to watch all weekend is without a doubt, Rev Run of Run-DMC. We then have a mystery artist after The HU, Underøath, Killswitch Engage, Mastodon, and Gojira all coming on one after the other is a ton of very heavy music which is not a bad thing. Again, it is the last day, have to give these people their moneys worth. Papa Roach is performing the entirety of their album ‘Infest‘ along with other hits, we have after that a special guest headliner that is filling in for a band that pulled, whoever that is will be an exciting choice. To send everyone home. Shinedown is going to finish the weekend off in a more rock driven choice rather than metal which is a good move, still plenty of songs to bang your head to but maybe not opening up too many mosh pits.

This festival is for the people, they can expect so many different things to be attracted to besides the stages, food, fun, and even a club experience that will feature, Ludacris, Lil Jon, and another guest yet to be announced. On top of that, the entire weekend is being hosted by none other than your friendly neighborhood psychopath Steve-O from Jackass. Hopefully, he’ll bring some friends and do some crazy stunts for the crowd.

More information and what little passes are left can be found here:https://blueridgerockfest.com/

KNOTFEST Iowa 2021 Lineup Analysis

Slipknot is making their return home Iowa and they are bringing some friends along with them, KnotFest is doing a one off from the Roadshow to play for their family and friends. The initial look at this lineup is impressive with some surprises that tilts heads but also makes sense in a way. We will see the festival take place in Indianola, Iowa at the National Balloon Classic Field which is just south of Des Moines. We can expect to see a lot of people to make their way to this festival as it will be one of the first and only festivals happening this year.

Megadeth Knotfest Iowa

Right off the bat, Griffin Taylor’s (son of Corey Taylor) band Vended will open the day to get things moving. Gatecreeper is bringing some death metal from Arizona to the fest. After those two bands open the day, business really starts to pick up with Turnstile the melodic hardcore group from Baltimore. If there was one band on the lineup that is a must see, it’s Knocked Loose, leading the charge for hardcore to become more popular from Oldham County, Kentucky, these guys do not know how to miss, they are seriously heavy hitters that put on fantastic live performances. Fever 333 is this generations Rage Against The Machine, they have all the energy in their pockets like lightning in a bottle.

With our first real substantial switch in genre of this festival, legendary chopper rapper, Tech N9ne. He is a big name in both the rap and rock world and will have plenty of fans in attendance for his set. Trivium is up after him and is a heavyweight in metalcore, a consistently impressive band when it comes to releases and live performances, they are also set to open on the road for the Megadeth and Lamb Of God (who also appear at the festival) co-headliner this summer. Gojira is hot off their album release and have a thirst for touring to promote the album, we can expect to hear new songs from the ever growingly popular French metal band.

Getting into the second half of the festival, the name that really caught my eye on first glance is $uicideboy$, this New Orleans rap duo is a household name in the rap world but most likely not in the rock and metal communities. In an odd way, it almost makes sense for these two to have a set at KnotFest, they have a darker sound, their songs are guaranteed to get people hyped, and these guys love the scene. Going on after them is the previously mentioned, Lamb Of God and Megadeth, both sets will be rowdy, both sets will draw lots of attention, and will bring plenty of familiar tunes to the crowds. These two bands have years and years of experience playing in front of tons of people and it shows, both of their live performances are very impressive.

Sub-headlining the day we have another Nu-metal powerhouse in Faith No More, this band is a fan favorite, a lot of really good and unique songs under their belts that are sure to please the excited crowds. Mike Patton is certainly a character and an enjoyable vocalist to watch take the stage. Finally, to take everyone home, Slipknot playing in front of their home of Maggots. One of their first shows of 2021, they are going to be pulling out all the stops to give Iowa the craziest show they have ever seen. As we see more and more of the metal festivals, “classic” headliners start to hang up their guitars and leather pants, Slipknot has become THE festival headliner for rock and metal festivals because of their consistency and undying love for live music.

General admission and VIP tickets, along with more information about the one-off Iowa festival can be found here:

https://knotfest.com/iowa/

Welcome To Rockville Lineup Analysis

The latest major festival in the DWP catalog to be announced is Welcome To Rockville, taking place at Daytona Beach, this Florida fest is going to be quite a spectacle. With a long weekend for festival attendees, the overall lineup is quite diverse and is stacked heavily with very impressive and exciting acts that are both new on the scene and have been around the block a few times. The weekend is guaranteed to leave those going wishing that it was more than just a four day event.

Official Lineup

Thursday: To some, Thursday could be the strongest day and to others it could be the weakest day. To highlight some of the names throughout the day, we are presented with some acts on the more unique side of the spectrum such as Brass Against, Jeris Johnson, and grandson. Jeris Johnson and grandson both gaining a lot of popularity in recent months due to their associations and different takes on rock as a genre. Brass Against, this band is just fun to listen to, filled with all brass instruments you could want playing covers of the most notorious rock and metal songs of all time. Spiritbox and Architects are two bands that will be bringing the heaviness to the sound system, encouraging everyone to mosh and hurt each other in the safest way possible. Stone Temple Pilots will bring a more mellow rock sound to give everyone a break before Deftones and Nine Inch Nails finish the night leaving everyone ready for more on Friday.

Friday: The first two names that immediately catch our eyes are, Tallah and Zero 9:36. Two totally unique and different sounding artists, Tallah being a nu-metal infused metalcore band that is bound to have all listeners banging their heads and Zero 9:36 is a rapper that bends the genres of both rap and rock to make something truly fresh and interesting to the ears. Then after those two, Crown The Empire and Ice Nine Kills. These two will be bringing a more metalcore/active rock sound to Rockville which will keep the energy going. The row just before the top on the lineup is stacked to the high heavens, Wage War, Beartooth, Pennywise, and Chevelle. A perfect mix of metalcore, active rock, punk, and alt-rock/metal. Then, some more punk from Social Distortion, old school heavy metal from Rob Zombie, and of course headlined by Metallica. I believe Friday is the strongest day overall from beginning to end.

Saturday: The stronger part of this days’ lineup is in the latter half, but there are still some gems here to check out early on. Bad Omens and Atreyu are names we hear on the radio often, so a lot of people should be familiar with their songs, both bands will have a fairly rowdy set to keep the energy high. Much like Friday, the row before the top on the lineup is jam packed with impressive and exciting acts, Fever 333 brings an energy and performance that you will not see from anyone else. Badflower is another name we hear on the radio, these guys put on good shows with great musicianship, GWAR is GWAR and if you do not know anything about them, look up some photos and that should tell you enough. Asking Alexandria is metalcore turned radio rock that brings catchy hooks and riffs to appease masses. Lamb Of God is going to be dropping the metal bomb on attendees, Stained is going to bring early 2000’s rock anthems to the festival, The Offspring are bringing more anthems under the alternative and pop punk genres, and Disturbed will be a decent choice to close the evening.

Sunday: Another very strong lineup, the name that first caught our eye was Higher Power, this band is not getting enough attention in the United States, they have a cool almost old school sound of hardcore that they have mastered, we are all hoping they get more attention after Rockville. Alien Weaponry is bringing some groovy thrash metal from New Zealand that will be sure to turn heads, Of Mice & Men are playing intense metalcore, Dance Gavin Dance is the most prominent post-hardcore band in music right now, and Code Orange is a groundbreaking metal/hardcore band that has garnered a lot of attention. Falling In Reverse does not do many festivals, so they are one band that is a must see, Ronnie Radke is solidifying himself as rock royalty one song at a time. Mudvayne will be playing one of their first shows for their reunion, Lynard Skynard, this one kinda came out of left field for us but we think will be enjoyable for all. Metallica, playing their second set (completely different setlist from Friday) of the weekend and will no doubt leave attendees happy and smiling as they go on their way.

This festival along with Louder Than Life have become must attend festivals for a lot of people every single year. The lineup we have here has a lot of similar artists as LTL but not enough to drive people away. Definitely would recommend this to rockers and metalheads in the surrounding Florida areas. VIP and General Admission passes, along with camping passes are on sale now.

More information on the festival can be found here:

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https://dannywimmerpresents.com/

Top 10 Pop Punk Artists You Need To Be Listening To Right Now!

Pop punk is seeing somewhat of a revival in the past year that seems to keep inclining in popularity on the charts. As fans of the genre, we can only hope to see the genre back to the popularity that it once had in the early 2000’s, and the popularity of its’ first real revival back around 2012-2015. The sounds have changed quite a lot since then which is not a bad thing, music needs to develop and evolve to stay relevant and have a chance at getting popular again. This list is made in no particular order and contains artists on the come up that are making music within and around the genre of pop punk.

10. Bearings

Bearings has been on the come up for awhile now with all their albums coming with very positive reviews. This Canadian group puts on a great live performance and really enjoys speaking to and hanging out with their fans. They just released a new album called, Hello, It’s You and really used that album to develop their sound, these guys have potential to be one of the bigger pop punk bands in a few years.

9. Hot Milk

Hot Milk is a band that has not really released a ton of music yet, but of the music they have released, there are some really good songs in there. They have appeared on stages at Reading & Leeds, have shared stages with bands like The Band Camino, Enter Shikari, and even opened for Foo Fighters. Their music has a nice pop vibe with strong elements of pop punk infused through the vocals of Han Mee and Jim Shaw. They are preparing to release their second EP so, keep your ears open for it.

8. Magnolia Park

One of the hottest new bands in pop punk is Magnolia Park from Florida, these guys have taken to the new era of pop punk very nicely. They have quite a few really good songs out there, we can imagine that the only way for them is up. They are going to be a must see band when they start playing shows and can be expected to be on a lot of tours. A highlight for them so far is having released a song with Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens.

7. JXDN

One of a few influencers that have made their way into music (especially pop punk) in the past year or so, JXDN spends a lot of studio time with a drummer called Travis Barker. His songs are fun, have some dark lyrical content, and feature 808’s along with all the normal instruments you will hear in a pop punk anthem. His cover of driver’s license is an excellent cover and I’d say better than the original. I can imagine once he starts playing shows they will be packed out and with artists like iann dior and MOD SUN among others.

6. Belmont

In popular fashion, Chicago puts out another fantastic pop punk band. These guys sit on the heavier side of pop punk, including huge breakdowns in their compositions. They are a super tight live band, the crowd goes nuts during their sets. Their high energy, riff-filled, and catchy songs are a joy for all. They released their EP called, Reflections in 2020 which is pointing them in a very positive direction musically. Another must see band for fans of the heavier style of new pop punk.

5. KennyHoopla

Meet KennyHoopla, the US genre-bender making manic punk-rap with Travis  Barker | Pilerats

Gaining large amounts of popularity and recognition for genre-bending is Cleveland Ohio’s own, KennyHoopla. Taking the road less traveled to success in alternative music, Kenny got initial attention and was on heavy watch because of the first songs he was releasing which came to us from Soundcloud. Now, he has released two EP’s and is set to be releasing a mixtape with 2020 and 2021’s most popular feature, Travis Barker of Blink-182. His mixtape is set to release in June and then he will be going on tour in the UK to support YUNGBLUD then he is set to be supporting JXDN and Machine Gun Kelly in fall of 2021.

4. Meet Me @ The Altar

Meet Me @ The Altar share “Garden,” become your new favorite pop-punk band  | The FADER

Meet Me @ The Altar is a band getting a ton of attention as of recent, last year they became the very first all WOC band to sign to legendary label, Fueled By Ramen who are home to huge acts like, Paramore, Panic! At The Disco, and All Time Low. The three met online through their shared love of Paramore and Twenty One Pilots, deciding to start their band they had no idea the journey they would be taken on in just a couple years. MMATA is going to do huge things for the genre and disprove those that do not believe they will.

3. Yours Truly

Yours Truly land in the UK: "This is our first ever international set" |  Upset

Hailing from Australia, Yours Truly formed in 2016 and is currently is signed to the growingly popular label UNFD. They have released two EP’s and released their debut full length in late 2020. The band is just now making their name onto bills for more tours and festivals, they were initially on the bill for Sad Summer Festival, but due to conflicting schedules they will be appearing at Slam Dunk Festival instead. Their debut album came with very positive reviews and we can expect to hear their name appearing more and more.

2. Action/Adventure

Action/Adventure - Pure Noise Records

Signed to Pure Noise Records, Action/Adventure hails from Chicago and breaking down barriers and stereotypes of the genre. Their goal is to make sure this genre includes all peoples both on and off stage. The artists in the band share a lot of the same listening habits, bands like Senses Fail, Four Year Strong, and The Story So Far are a few favorites. They have released four EP’s so far with the latest coming to platforms in April of this year. The band has a really solid sound and should be kept on watch by listeners for big things to come.

1.Last Night Saved My Life

Last Night Saved My Life

Last Night Saved My Life is a band from Michigan and has been formed since 2010, but was not getting much traction until the past couple years. They claim to make songs that make it feel like 2004 while it being 2021. They took a classic look at pop punk and made it their own. With multiple EP’s under their belts these guys have really good material and sound good live. Another band that should be on everyone’s watch list.

Discography Disputes: The Story So Far

This edition of Discography Disputes is featuring the pop-punk heavyweight, The Story So Far. With four full length albums in their discography TSSF has established themselves as a consistently virtuous group of musicians and songwriters. They have a fifth album which will hopefully be hitting streaming services at some point this year and who knows where that album will land in the tier list of this bands discography. The four albums that will be discussed in this article are, Under Soil and Dirt (2011), What You Don’t See (2013), The Story So Far (self-titled) (2015), and Proper Dose (2018). This is ranking is based solely on personal preference and will be ranked in order of least favorite (4) to favorite (1).

4. The Story So Far (2015)

The Story so Far - Self Titled LP (Color Vinyl) – Merch Connection
Album artwork by James Fisher

Pretty much unanimously considered to be the least popular work of TSSF, as well as the least exciting. Now, that does not make this album bad, I do not believe they have released anything I would consider to be bad. There are quite a few really good songs on this record that have become a staple at their shows, songs like, Heavy Gloom which is started off with drums and bass locked in set the tone for the vocally driven anthem and the song, Nerve is one song they have that is most often played to end their set (no encores of course because that’s corny and lame). Other notable tracks on this album are, Distaste and Solo which appear one after the other.

3. What You Don’t See (2013)

The Story So Far – What You Don't See (2013, CD) - Discogs
Album artwork by Jordan Pundik

The sophomore release of a band is almost always a ride or die situation, if people hate it then it’ll be hard to come back from. This album is a perfect follow up record to their debut album. The artwork chaotic, poetic, and overall really cool, not too uncommon to see this artwork as a tattoo on someone’s leg. There are so many amazing songs on this album that the band revisits in convert every night like, Things I Can’t Change, Empty Space, The Glass, All Wrong, and Face Value. Really, any song of the track list could make its’ way onto the setlist and the crowd will likely know all the words. The concept behind the album is supposed to a list of tips and tricks to navigate through murky parts of life.

2. Proper Dose (2018)

Album Review: The Story So Far - Proper Dose
Album artwork

This release has thus far been the most unique and honest album we have seen from the band. Being recorded and released after what is said to be the darkest time in the life of singer, Parker Cannon. The band was close to disbanding before this album was written and recorded until Parker had an intervention and came out stronger and with a better mindset and look at music. The album really chronicles overcoming the addictions, depression, and anxiety that Parker Cannon had been experiencing up until that point. The album has some slower and lighter songs featured on the album but still packs an upbeat punch that we are used to seeing from them. Songs like, Keep This Up, Out Of It, Need To Know, If I Fall, and Take Me As You Please are the true highlights of this album. They really went for it when touring this album in North America, the tour included the bands, Movements, Citizen, and Turnover.

  1. Under Soil and Dirt (2011)
The Story So Far - Under Soil And Dirt - Amazon.com Music
Album artwork and illustrations by: Cody Sullivan

As a surprise to no one, the album that is widely considered to be their best album to date. Not shying away from common pop-punk themes, Under Soil And Dirt highlights the difficulties of growing up, dealing with hard truth’s of life, and of course….girls. Parker Cannon is somewhat known for writing songs about women and how he has been hurt by them in the past. The album is not very in your face but it is groovy and high energy, the songs that garnered more attention still hit just as hard today as they did in 2011. It would be a challenge to highlight just a few songs on this album; from front to back this record has no misses. Personal favorites from the album include, Roam, Quicksand, and High Regard. Right after the album was released the band toured to support it, playing shows alongside, We Are the Union, I Call Fives, Handguns, and Heartsounds.

This catalog is impressive enough and we can expect to hear a new record from TSSF hopefully if not this year then the next. As we saw with Proper Dose, the band is changing and developing their sound with every new piece of material they release and we can onlty hope to see a continue in growth and development with whatever they decide to put out next.

Louder Than Life Festival Lineup Analysis

Louisville’s own, Louder Than Life 2021 festival lineup is here and features a four day long weekend of rocking out. Danny Wimmer Presents takes great pride in this festival every year as it is the biggest rock and metal festival that takes place in the United States every year. This year the festival will be taking place from September 23rd-26th at the Highland Festival Grounds at the KY Expo Center. Those that venture to this festival yearly have finally been treated to their long awaited lineup. Each day features some familiar names as well as new ones that have potential to gain a lot of new fans by the end of the weekend.

No photo description available.
Official lineup

Thursday: Starting off the weekend was the newly added Thursday date of the festival. They decided to start the weekend off in a very strong way, maybe a little too strong? Early in the day we will be seeing sets from Jeris Johnson, Currents, and Teenage Wrist. Three unique artists with unique sounds like, alt-pop, metalcore, and alt-rock. Wage War is quickly becoming a big name for modern metalcore and put on a great show. The last half of the day is going to be coming at people fast and hard, Knocked Loose is arguably the number one hardcore band in the world so they will definitely put on a seriously impressive set, Beartooth is one of the most consist rock/metal bands in the world and will be there to get everyone’s blood pumping. Anthrax is one of the big four thrash bands, that speaks for itself, Staind is fresh off their return and are going to be eager to play more sets to big crowds and LTL will be the place for them to shine, and Korn is the pinnacle of Nu-metal and are known to put on some wild shows and super lively crowds.

Friday: Tallah is going to be the heavy hitter starting off the day Friday, these guys are an upcoming metal band that are high energy and super-talented. Turnstile and Fever 333 will be upping the energy even further with hardcore sounds along with general hard rock. Avatar will be one of the sources of European metal for festival goers, along side Gojira who are fresh off their new album release. Killswitch Engage is one of the best live bands out there when it comes to overall sound and crowd interaction which is key. Rise Against and Jane’s Addiction are two bands that will be good, solid rock and alt-rock warm-ups for the first set of Metallica, we can only hope for Metallica to put on a performance that will send the festival goers back to their hotels, RV’s, and homes happy with what they had spent their money on up until then.

Saturday: This morning after Metallica, goers will warm-up with UNITYTX who are going to punish us with hardcore breakdowns fused with grunge and hip-hop. The middle of the day is packed with talent, Spiritbox, Ice Nine Kills, and Code Orange will be bringing some unique metalcore based sounds that will all be familiar to those watching their sets or walking by the stage. Asking Alexandria, grandson, and Ghostemane are going to bring some cool and interesting vibes to Saturday. Asking Alexandria and grandson are going to bring in some nice radio rock sounds that the crowds may recognize and Ghostemane will again be advocating for trap-metal artists to be a staple at big rock and metal festivals. Machine Gun Kelly will be a good ambassador for the new pop-punk revival taking place, Snoop Dogg will be bringing the rap jams which will hopefully be a good transition to Nine Inch Nails to end the night. NIN has and always will be a crowd favorite because of their live performances, so we can expect big things from their set.

Sunday: For it being the last day of the festival, this day is on the lighter side for the most part, mostly rock-driven by bands like, Avoid, Fozzy, and Badflower who are some highlights for early in the day, things pick up with Sabaton, Skillet, and The Hu, that will bring some harder rock and metal vibes. Pennywise is tossed into the mix to add some surf-punk tracks to keep the energy going. The last three sets are going to be very memorable sets, Mudvayne is back and apparently ready to get the ball rolling on playing shows, this set very well could be, the most energetic set they see all weekend. Judas Priest is the heavy metal titan that will put on a killer set that is full of their hits, the crowd is going to love seeing Rob Halford come out clad in leather and riding a motorcycle. To cap everything off, for their second set of the weekend, Metallica is going to be playing a completely different set from Friday night, their goal will be to make sure that everyone in attendance can leave with a grin on their faces and memories that will last a lifetime from this weekend.

Overall, this festival has some serious potential to be one of the best we will see for awhile so long as the headliners are ready to put on great performances. The undercard for each day is pretty solid, but we can tell that the big money for the festival was spent on headliners which can be a gamble at times. Hopefully all goes well for this years, Louder Than Life festival and will be a good way to kick off bringing back festivals and concerts.

Tickets and more information can be found at:

louderthanlifefestival.com

dannywimmerpresents.com

Album Review: The Battle At Garden’s Gate by Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet is back from their brief hiatus of releasing music and are seeming to be stronger than ever with their second full-length album, The Battle At Garden’s Gate. All of their previous releases came with very positive reviews aside from the occasional critique that they are copying Led Zepplin. I think with this album, the boys from Frankenmuth, Michigan are truly showing their versatility and uniqueness. It’s a rare sight to see in music today, artists writing all the music themselves and playing the instruments on their records. It’s even crazier to think that these guys are doing all that while no one in the band is over the age of 25. This record is twelve tracks long and clocking in at just over an hour which again, is virtually unheard of in music today.

Album Artwork

The record was released on Lava/Republic Records and was produced by big ticket producer, Greg Kurstin who recently was working with Foo Fighters on their last two albums. The concept of the album itself is noted as referencing biblical themes, human nature, ancient civilizations, parallel universes. It also expands on the affects of religion and war on human life experiences. There is a lot of depth to this record, though some of it does sound a little repetitive at points. Although some songs might not be the most unique sounding for the album, there are a few tracks that really stand out and make this album worth listening to.

The first of those stand out songs appears second on the track listing, “My Way, Soon“. Endless riffs and a killer chorus to move and shake with is the best way to describe this composition. Closing your eyes to listen in on this track will transport people of any age right back to the 70’s where this sound was so popular and prevalent. The fuzzy tone on Jake Kiszka’s six strings during the solo makes the listener crack a grin or sit with a puzzled look on their face. The next standout song is the vibrant and almost cosmic, Stardust Chords. An exciting and unique song with tempo changes where the song is driven by lead guitar melodies. Sam Kiszka and Danny Wagner hold down to the rhythm to keep everyone in the pocket. The ballad of the album, Tears of Rain is a sleeper to be the best song on the album. This song was made for the beautiful voice that comes from Josh Kiszka’s vocal chords. His vibrato, tonality, and those soprano-esque high notes he executes to perfection spread chills that echo through the listeners body.

The closer of the album is a song that they have played live at many of their shows but, no one knew what it was. Clocking in at almost nine minutes is basically a recorded jam session named, The Weight of Dreams. Paradoxical, is a word that feels good to describe this song, it almost feels like Greta Van Fleet threw everything they had at us with this song, The drums are consistent yet always changing, the bass is staying locked in with the guitar and drums always, the guitar is never a second late or early, the keyboard adds a perfect amount of ambience, and the vocals bring perfect because this song is about the instruments. You just got lost in it man, it could go for on for hours and you would not be able to tell the difference between hours and minutes.

Overall, this album does have some repetitive points that might make it a task to listen through back to front consistently, but the stand out songs are what really makes this album what it is and gives it character. Rock is not dead, it will not be dying anytime soon. Not when we have young people like this guys making it alive and well.

Album rating: 8/10

Album Review: Sleeps Society by While She Sleeps

The fifth studio album, Sleeps Society by British metalcore outfit, While She Sleeps was released April 16th, 2021 under the band’s self-made label, Sleeps Brothers. It was written by the band and was co-produced by Sean Long and Carl Brown. While She Sleeps has a loyal fanbase that supports them in all their endeavors, naturally this album came with a lot of great expectations and support. WSS shares a relationship with their fanbase like no other band has today, they need each other and they use this album to make it known their need for each other and their mutual love. This record is a love letter, a note of gratitude, and a message of thankfulness. As sweet as that sounds, the record itself is still a metalcore record, it lacks nothing heavy and is very WSS.

Album Cover by: Eurobroid, Ruby Sanderson, Mat Welsh, and Adam “Sav” Savage.

We see throughout the album a variety of different song styles, compositions, and lyrical content. WSS called in for reinforcements to feature on some tracks such as, No Defeat For The Brave which features, Deryck Whibley of Sum 41, the song Nervous features, Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro, and the most meaningful feature appears on the song, Call Of The Void which calls for vocal appearances by members of the Sleeps Society (While She Sleeps fanbase). Some other notable tracks are, Enlightment (?), Sleeps Society, and DN3 3HT. DN3 3HT is the very last track on the album and is just a hair over seven minutes, the send off to the album is recordings of vocal messages by each member of the band thanking the fans for supporting them over the years, expressing their gratitude for the lives they have been given, and encouraging those to not give up on their dreams.

Overall, the record came with generally positive responses from fans and casual listeners. It is built around nasty riffs, and has been flavored with ever-present, catchy hooks. More attention has been made for electronic and synth sounds to play major roles in the songs throughout the album. This album is a good addition to the already impressive catalog that they have built up over the years, it does not quite reach the level that their previous album, So What? is at, but nevertheless this is a good record and deserves a listen for fans of the newer era of metalcore.

Rating: 7.5/10