BANDS TO WATCH IN 2021!

We’re continuously on the look out for the most talented up-and-coming bands and artists to listen to, so we’ve picked out a host of new bands in rock, punk, metal, emo, hardcore, and more for a definitive list of who to keep your eye on throughout 2021.

We’ve got our fingers crossed that the planned shows and releases will go ahead, as it’s already looking like a huge year for the new wave of bands. We here at DEAD PRESS! have highlighted a whole bunch of new names, like Waxflower and Dead Poet Society, as just some of the artists who we reckon will have a 2021 to remember. Have a read of who to look out for – you might just find your new favourite band.


BLOODBATHER

FOR FANS OF:
Jesus Piece / Year Of The Knife / SeeYouSpaceCowboy…

After delivering on the hype surrounding their 2018 debut, ‘Pressure’, Floridian industrialists Bloodbather have gone from strength to strength. Quickly signing to Rise Records and releasing the crushingly heavy ‘Silence’ EP late this year, Bloodbather look to join contemporaries such as Code Orange and Loathe in their search for pushing the parameters of heavy music.

Whilst the majority of live shows are on hold for now, when Bloodbather look to hit the stage again, based on their latest visual outputs, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. With two EPs behind them, 2021 could potentially see the arrival of a full-length release from the group, one that could expand on their punishing blend of dissonant hardcore. [DAT]

LISTEN TO:
Erase | Silence | Void

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CAPTIVES

FOR FANS OF:
Saosin / Dayseeker / Funeral For A Friend

Despite being a band for a little less than two years, Leeds’ Captives have already managed to make a reasonable dent, and very recently also bagged a deal with SharpTone Records. Not bad for such a young band, eh?

They’ve also recently finished recording their debut full-length album when they could through lockdown, which will drop in the next few months through their new label home. No doubt their strides will be even greater in 2021. [ZR]

LISTEN TO:
Signs | Glass Heart | Falling Apart

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CAT COMPANY

FOR FANS OF:
Dance Gavin Dance / A Lot Like Birds / Hail The Sun

The experimental take on post-hardcore a la Dance Gavin Dance (something that people like to call “Swancore” nowadays) has become increasingly popular in the past couple of years, and Florida’s Cat Company are one of the few bands doing it without being a bit of a rip-off version of it.

They dropped their debut self-titled EP in 2018, and word on the street is that some more material (aka a debut full-length album) is currently in the works, albeit delayed a little thanks to that little thing called COVID-19. If 2021 is a little more forgiving on the pandemic front, expect these guys to make their mark. [ZR]

LISTEN TO:
Sad Dance | Maroon Sweater | Morpheus The Black

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CAULDRON

FOR FANS OF:
Vein / Renounced / Suicide Silence

Sometimes the best thing to listen to quench your aggression is no-frills, straight-to-the-gut hardcore, and Birmingham noisemakers Cauldron could end up emerging as one of the best bands to deliver on that front. Even just by this year’s ‘Last Words: Screamed From Behind God’s Muzzle’ EP alone, which featured crushing breakdowns and riffs, as well as rip-roaring guest vocal appearances, they’ve already made huge leaps and bounds from their previous material.

Delivering breakdowns and panic chords similar to metalcore, their sound also occasionally crosses over to the deathcore styles from the mid-2000s, making for a brutally punishing experience. If the devastating blueprint of ‘Last Words…’ is used, Cauldron could ascend to much greater heights in the very near future. [CZ]

LISTEN TO:
…When Goodbyes Ring Like Gunshots | Becoming A Scarlet Reminder | The Azure Prison

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DARKO (US)

FOR FANS OF:
Chelsea Grin / Emmure / Crystal Lake

It’s not often that a “super group” breaks onto lists like this, but Darko (US) (not to be confused with the British band of the same name) have. They’re a duo made up of a member from two of deathcore’s pack leaders: Chelsea Grin and Emmure.

Away from their main projects, vocalist Tom Barber and drummer Josh “Baby J” Miller have created a far more industrial and somehow even more claustrophobic world with Darko (US). With a debut full-length around the corner, who knows what depths of depravity await. [ZR]

LISTEN TO:
Pale Tongue | Insects | Pretenders

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DEAD POET SOCIETY

FOR FANS OF:
Queens Of The Stone Age / Muse / Royal Blood

Spinefarm Records‘ latest signing Dead Poet Society seem set for big things. They’ve not even dropped their debut album yet, and they’ve already been featured on numerous playlists, supported Badflower on tour, AND landed a slot at Download Festival next year.

If groovy riffs, fretless guitars, and killer vocals are your bag, this could be your new favourite band. [LC]

LISTEN TO:
.intoodeep. | .swvrm. | .CoDA.

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DEFAMED

FOR FANS OF:
Chelsea Grin / Oceano / Emmure

Skirting the lines of our system, Defamed released their debut EP ‘Aeon’ very recently and have already made a bit of a storm in the world of deathcore/death metal just as they did under the banner of their previous project, Drowned In Sulphur.

With a blaring attack of deep visceral vocals and pounding instrumentation, hopefully they’ll be able to deliver their carnage to us face-to-face when live shows become a thing again. They’re already listed to play at the UK Tech-Fest in 2021, so expect more to come very soon. [RC]

LISTEN TO:
Aeon | Doves | Circles

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DEFEATIST

FOR FANS OF:
Holding Absence / Misery Signals / Funeral For A Friend

Hailing from Cardiff, up-and-comers Defeatist are another band flying the flag high for Wales’ vibrant alternative scene. Having been an active band since 2015, this past year has seen the group spark a brand new era, fresh with new vocalist (and DEAD PRESS! alumni) Jacob Eynon joining in late 2019 to help recharge their emotive alternative hardcore to brave new heights.

They’ve put out two emotionally charged singles this year, and in the past have shared the stage with the likes of Dream State and Parting Gift. As for 2021, we’ll be crossing our fingers in the hope that we can wrap our ears around some more bruising music, while the group have also confirmed they’ll be heading out on tour around the UK with Wars in the Spring, subject to COVID-19, of course. [DJT]

LISTEN TO:
Mother | Never Enough

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DELAIRE THE LIAR

FOR FANS OF:
At The Drive-In / Holding Absence / Deaf Havana

The past year or so has seen Delaire The Liar begin a state of metamorphosis right before our eyes. Starting as a duo, they briefly became a solo project after Joey Brayshaw‘s departure in the tail-end of 2019, before frontman Ffin Colley took on both Em Lodge (bass, vocals), and Chaz Tomlinson (drums, vocals) at the start of 2020.

More recently, following a handful of single drops, they’ve evolved further into a quartet with the addition of Hannah on guitar duties, and also put out a covers EP over Christmas before entering their new chapter in 2021. [ZR]

LISTEN TO:
Shovel | Locked (For A Reason) | Our House Is A Church

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GUTTER

FOR FANS OF:
Vein / Year Of The Knife / Loathe

Easily the most fresh faced addition on this list, gutter only came into existence a few weeks back with the release of their 2-track debut, simply dubbed ‘promo tape 2020’. They’re the only two songs they have out right now, but there’s promise of plenty more to come in 2021.

As for the band themselves, their members come from both current members of Holding Absence, 99% Cobra and The Escape Artist, along with a handful of the folks from the now defunct Cutting Teeth. Coming from the gutter has never sounded so good. [ZR]

LISTEN TO:
Same Pain, Different Strain | Gossiping Under The Tree Entertaining Reality

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HAPPY HOUR

FOR FANS OF:
Dance Gavin Dance / Set It Off / Issues

Florida R&Bcore mob Happy Hour have been grafting like hell these past few years. 2019 saw the release of their sophomore EP, ‘Love Hurts’; a short, sweet, banger-filled affair that garnered an 8/10 rating from us here at DEAD PRESS!. They’ve since capitalised on that momentum with a slew of singles, each exuding more and more focus and a honing of their sound into something truly unique.

Sugary melodies, bubblegum hooks, and frantic early 2000s metalcore all coalesce in ridiculous fashion. The less it should work, the more it does. If you don’t believe us, just check out their Ariana Grande cover of ‘Positions’. Few bands in the burgeoning scene can balance that level of execution and self-awareness. Here’s to hoping a full-length isn’t too far beyond the realms of possibility. [ZB]

LISTEN TO:
Cigarettes | Black In Every Color | Twenty-Six

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HEADACHE

FOR FANS OF:
Lower Than Atlantis / Don Broco / The 1975

Back in May 2019, Lower Than Atlantis played their final show and called it a day, but clearly giving up music wasn’t on the agenda. Frontman Mike Duce has gone on to form a solo project called Headache, embracing and diving further into LTA‘s more pop tendencies.

2020 saw Duce release his debut EP as a solo artist, titled ‘Food For Thwart’, along with a couple of other singles too. Working to his own schedule, and seemingly having an almost never-ending gush of songwriting at his disposal, you can bet 2021 has plenty more to offer from Headache.

LISTEN TO:
Mike’s Back | Broke | Dunno

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HIDDEN MOTHERS

FOR FANS OF:
Deafheaven / Converge / Alcest

They may have only formed back in 2019, but Sheffield post-metal five-piece Hidden Mothers are really starting to gain some traction in the world of metal, and deservedly so too.

Their self-titled EP, released earlier this year, was a triumphant display of terrorising, blackened guitars, twinned with a shoegaze sheen, and spread across fiery of blast beats. It says a lot about the group that, at only three tracks long, the record still managed to be one to the most intriguing metal releases of 2020, and a sign that the quintet are certainly one for metalheads to keep their eyes on for sure. [DJT]

LISTEN TO:
Beneath, To The Earth | The Longest Journey Yet | My Own Worth

FOLLOW ONLINE:
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IF I DIE FIRST

FOR FANS OF:
Sleeping With Sirens / From First To Last / Sky Eats Airplane

One of the most surprising super groups to hit the scene in quite some time, If I Die First sees the pattern of punk musicians turning to hip-hop reversed. Recently joining Epitaph, emo trap forerunner Lil Lotus has branched out with a gaggle of companions, including Lil Zubin, renowned producer and GothBoiClique affiliate Nedarb, as well as a man who needs little introduction, Travis Richter.

While all members continue to expand and branch out within their respected realms, If I Die First feels very much like a homage to the emotional, shimmery post-metalcore that the majority of the band grew up on. “Scene-kid screamo” may be a tad more specific, albeit wildly inaccurate term, but should offer insight into the mid-2000s nostalgia-core they nailed on their debut EP, ‘My Poison Arms’, which dropped last summer. Whether the project warrants enough time and attention for a full-length is something only 2021 can tell us. [ZB]

LISTEN TO:
Where Needles And Lovers Collide | Is It Me Or Your Secrets That Keep You Up At Night | I’ll Never Let Them Hurt You

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INDIGHXST

FOR FANS OF:
Issues / Slaves / Thousand Below

The blending of pop and R&B with post-hardcore admittedly isn’t a new concept, but there are few bands out there that can pull off this duality with finesse and conviction. New Jersey’s Indighxst, however, most certainly can.

For the most part all things in the camp have been a little quiet in the past few months, that was until they dropped their latest single ‘Limbo’ back at the start of December. Apparently they’ve got a slew of other single drops planned throughout 2021 too, so now is a better time than any to dive into their infectious works. [ZR]

LISTEN TO:
Pyromance | Limbo | Vision

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PAPER MILL

FOR FANS OF:
Lower Than Atlantis / Decade / Cold Years

Although British pop-rock trio Paper Mill may still be relatively new on the scene, 2020 has been a great start for vocalist Matt Rider, guitarist Ben Sansom (ex-Lower Than Atlantis), and Luke Sansom on bass. Having released their debut EP ‘Past The West Way’ earlier this year, 2021 will finally (and hopefully) see the band play these songs live, in fact these shows will actually mark their first live performances as Paper Mill and are due to take place in May in Manchester and London.

Next year will also see the band release their second EP, and, although no further information has been announced yet, the trio have recently released a new single called ‘You’re Getting Married’ to keep fans happy in the meantime. [SB]

LISTEN TO:
Bruce | Black Mirror | Get Real

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SALEM

FOR FANS OF:
Creeper / My Chemical Romance / Senses Fail

The emo love child of Will Gould (Creeper) and Matthew Reynolds (ex-Howard’s Alias), the project Salem was a welcome surprise in this year of unpleasant shocks. Their self-titled debut EP is a beautiful call back to Creeper‘s earlier work, whilst also feeling refined and original as a brand new experiment from the duo.

Set to perform two days of sold out Halloween headline shows (which were cancelled for obvious reasons), Salem is one to keep an eye out for in 2021, as they will most definitely be putting on shows and jumping onto festival line-ups. If you’re not already converted to the church of Salem, you soon will be. [TP]

LISTEN TO:
Throat | Destroy Me | Fall Out Of Love

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SNAKE EYES

FOR FANS OF:
Creeper / Wallflower / Bad Nerves

It’s been a busy few months for Snake Eyes since the release of their debut EP ‘Skeletons’ back in October, and it seems as though the five-track effort has propelled the Brighton trio from strength to strength. Their recent performance at online charity music festival Five4Five Fest was as close to a live show as 2020 could offer, set in a dimly-lit basement venue which served as the perfect backdrop for the indie-punk band’s grunge style.

While fans are still hopeful for news on tour dates and ‘real life’ festival appearances in 2021, Snake Eyes have done a stellar job of whetting our appetites and making us positively ravenous for what the future will bring. [SL]

LISTEN TO:
Skeletons | Listen | Bugged Out

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SPIRITBOX

FOR FANS OF:
Deftones / TesseracT / Northlane

It goes without saying at this point that we’ve been keeping our eyes on Spiritbox for a few years now, since their inception in the apparent disbanding of iwrestledabearonce. The potential on their 2017 self-titled debut EP was pretty evident, but in the years that have followed it has only unraveled further.

The past few months have seen several single drops, but it was ‘Holy Roller’ that saw the trio thrusted the attention they deserved on them, and following it up with the heartfelt and ethereal ‘Constance’ made sure the band secured the opinion that they’re far from a one-trick pony. A debut album is penned for a 2021 release on Rise Records, and at this point the sky is the limit for Spiritbox. [ZR]

LISTEN TO:
Holy Roller | Constance | Blessed Be

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STANDING LIKE STATUES

FOR FANS OF:
Taking Back Sunday / We Are The Ocean / You Me At Six

Cambridge’s Standing Like Statues might have a band name taken from an Enter Shikari lyric, but they sound more like the lovechild of Taking Back Sunday and We Are The Ocean. Championed by BBC Introducing, their latest EP ‘Reality Checkpoint’ consists of four solid bangers.

We guarantee that you’ll be bellowing the hooks of ‘Stupid Love’ and ‘Skylines’ at the top of your lungs. Fingers crossed you’ll be able to catch ’em live at some point next year. [LC]

LISTEN TO:
Skylines | Confidence | The Best Kind Of Anxiety

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STATIC DRESS

FOR FANS OF:
The Bled / Finch / From Autumn To Ashes

Recent years with the surge of streaming and playlists have shown that dropping strong singles can be the way to go, both for new bands and already established names. Static Dress are one such outfit proving that to be true, grasping attention the world over with their 2000s tinged yet experimental brand of post-hardcore.

There’s no word on an album or EP in the near future, but you can be sure there’s plenty of material ready to hit your ears very soon. You can also bet they’ll be hitting a town near you if we finally get rid of this pandemic anytime soon. [ZR]

LISTEN TO:
For The Attention Of… | Safeword | Clean

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SUGAR HORSE

FOR FANS OF:
Conjurer / Neurosis / Oceansize

As far as Bristol goes, there are many bands to choose from, but there’s always room for one band to suddenly upset the apple cart out of nowhere. Sugar Horse are a nightmare to even begin to describe, but if you want bludgeoning, angry sludge metal and immersive soundscapes in the same sitting, they will very much scratch that itch.

This year’s ‘Drugs’ EP and their mini-film-meets-video single ‘The Great Shame’ were both incredibly bold statements of intent on their own. From their 2020 activity alone, there’s only so many directions they can go in for the future. [CZ]

LISTEN TO:
Richard Branson In The Sky With Diamonds | Pity Party | Your Degree Is Worthless And Your Parents Aren’t Proud Of You

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SYDNEY SPRAGUE

FOR FANS OF:
Milk Teeth / Vukovi / Black Foxxes

28-year-old Sydney Sprague combines her hard-hitting, topical lyrics with punk drizzled grunge hooks to create catchy ear worms with a 90s aesthetic. The likes of ‘steve’ and ‘staircase failure’ have given us plenty to look forward to on February 26th when Sydney‘s debut record is set for release through Rude Records.

‘maybe i will see you at the end of the world’ is as cold and chilling as it is self-affirming, and is the ideal soundtrack to a world on the edge of implosion. Sydney Sprague is the positive energy we need right now, and thankfully there’s only two short months before we all get to listen to it. [MH]

LISTEN TO:
steve | i refuse to die | staircase failure

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URSUS

FOR FANS OF:
Born Of Osiris / Emmure / After The Burial

Ursus are relatively new on the scene, but have exploded with a riotous cacophony of black metal infused tech that hits with a gut punch of ferocity and precision that ensures that every blow is hit with critical damage.

After several months of waiting (cheers, COVID-19), the band finally put out their debut EP ‘Your God Is Dead’, showing just a glimpse of the potential they have to deliver. If all things go our way, there’ll be plenty more material to come in 2021 and some live shows to boot too. [RC]

LISTEN TO:
Totem | I, The Fear | Dead Eyes

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WAXFLOWER

FOR FANS OF:
ROAM / WSTR / Seaway

Brisbane four-piece Waxflower have hardly had enough time to get their feet under the pop-punk table, but they’ve already proudly shared the stage with Simple Plan, Stand Atlantic and The Maine in Australia, as well as a sold out hometown show on their debut headline tour early this year.

Whether it’s the subtle yet mesmerising melodies or frontman Tristan Higginson‘s raw and emotive vocals, it’s sure to be an exciting year for Waxflower who’ll be back with new music and whatever 2021 allows them to do. [MH]

LISTEN TO:
Again | Getting Better | Sixteen Floors

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ZAND

FOR FANS OF:
Ashnikko / tiLLie / Rico Nasty

ZAND, your very first, self-proclaimed ‘ugly popstar’. Their first EP ‘Xeraclius’ dropped way back in 2017, and even though ‘Chess’ from that release already had a lot of elements that their music now revolves and builds around, ZAND has now developed into so much more.

Their recently released second EP, ‘Ugly Pop’, feels like they’ve found their own ‘corner of the industry’ and, with it, bring some much needed awareness to some commercially considered ‘taboo’ subjects in the world, such as the problems and disrespect sex workers are currently experiencing webbed into the song ‘Slut Money’.

Heading into 2021, they just got announced to be playing main stage at Burn It Down Festival and with live music in general, hopefully, soon returning to its normality, all postponed plans can finally flourish and you’ll be able to get pulled into their ‘ugly pop’ world in real life very soon. [TH]

LISTEN TO:
Bald Bitch | Slut Money | Freak

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Written by Stevie Blackburn [SB], Zach Buggy [ZB], Ryan Cherry [RC], Lottie Cook [LC], Mike Heath [MH], Theresa Hofer [TH], Tim Peacock [TP], Damon Taylor [DAT], Dylan Tuck [DJT], Carlos Zelaya [CZ], Sam Lawrie [SL], and Zach Redrup [ZR]