Coronavirus or not, the British heavy music scene is thriving in 2020. Although bands are being forced to cancel tours as fans stay at home, more and more of us are streaming the music we love and discovering new acts while working remotely. With a promising year ahead on both sides of the pond despite the circumstances faced by the industry as a whole, we’re here to bring you 20 up-and-coming U.K. bands to keep both your eyes and ears out for this year and spice up your quarantine playlists.
Ever wonder what would happen if you mixed compelling post-hardcore infused with bleak melodies and sprinkled a dash of screamo? Of course you have. English four-piece Acres are the product of such an intriguing formula. Writing anthems that take you on a journey far away from your own world, they’ve slotted neatly into a niche that will surely take them the distance long after last year’s debut full-length, Lonely World.
As December Falls
If you’re in the market for contagious, air-punching rock fueled by glittering riffs and heavenly vocals, As December Falls are the ones for you. Stepping out of the shadows of heyday Paramore and Tonight Alive with the dulcet tones of badass vocalist Bethany Curtis, this Midlands quartet already look and sound the part of future scene frontrunners.
As Sirens Fall
The legacy of British emo is safe in the hands of As Sirens Fall. Bursting with fresh poppy vibes and golden-age emo throwbacks in equal measure, the slickly produced Bradford four-piece have all the maturity and mastery of a band twice their age. It’s only a matter of time before their rousing new single “Holy Water” crosses the pond.
There’s no use shoving Conjurer in a genre box because they’ll break out as soon as your back’s turned. Brimming with lulling doom vibes, unpredictably sinister unclean vocals and a Mastodon-like live presence, England’s best-kept secret in heavy music can’t stay hidden for much longer.
End In Sight
If you haven’t stopped listening to your favorite records from your scene phase, meet your new emo obsession. For End In Sight, it’s always 2006, and we’re all still wearing skinny jeans and five studded belts at the same time. Despite being only two songs into their career, the Rawring ’20s are in full swing for this Manchester duo, delivering your daily dose of catchy, wide-eyed energy to bring back all those fond memories of a time when we weren’t all stuck in quarantine.
How Evil Scarecrow aren’t interstellar icons by now is beyond us. Known in the U.K. as a heavy festival staple with spirited crowd participation all over the place, this intriguing Midlands crew are a sight for sore eyes in the current metal scene. Sometimes all you need is to stand in a field with a few thousand people crab-walking and raising pincer-shaped hands in the air, and for that kind of elusive craving, Evil Scarecrow are more than happy to oblige.
While the world’s going crazy outside our front doors, now seems like the perfect time to bring some of that chaos indoors with Haggard Cat, a boundary-breaking Nottingham duo who thrive on the unpredictable. If you can believe the polar opposites of the barmy “Human Animal” and skeptical “Rational” come from the same two musical masterminds, you’re in for a roller coaster of punk-derived mayhem with this pair.
Combine the contagion of A Day To Remember and the emotional grit of Millencolin with the punchiness of Four Year Strong and you come out with the Frankenstein’s monster of pop punk, otherwise known as York’s Heartsink. You’d be forgiven for thinking pop punk’s golden age had already been and gone, but this four-piece take the genre to new heights with a penchant for stellar riffs and earworms you won’t see coming—good luck getting “Starting Over” out of your head.
Forget what you think you know about metalcore. InVisions have snatched the rulebook back, set it alight and thrown it through the nearest window. Plunging rap and symphonics into the genre’s conventional template, the York quartet have established an adrenaline-fueled mutation that gets right up in your grill and spits venom at point-blank range.
Darkly inclined enigmas Miss Vincent are an unmissable alternative movement just waiting to explode. Standing shoulder to shoulder with their Southampton neighbors in Creeper, this mysterious punk-infused rock outfit charge every second with consuming riffs and rousing choruses that will haunt you for days. If you like gothic concepts and music videos you can’t tear yourself away from, Miss Vincent have your back.
Blistering hardcore and feisty old-school hip-hop meet in no mans land for Neshiima, even though Scotland’s the last place you’d expect such a mold-breaking approach to burst from. Forging a brand-new dose of contagious heaviness that tosses aside all expectations in favor of writing what feels right for them, Neshiima take no prisoners on their journey to the top of their game.
Formed last year and already kicking up dust in the U.K. metal scene are Bedford miscreants RUINA, brandishing their doom-esque approach to in-your-face hardcore and stockpiling enough chugging riffs to cause a national shortage. If you’re wondering what hardcore should sound like in 2020, look no further than this fresh five-piece whose utterly destructive face-melters sound as mature as the rest of the genre put together.
RXPTRS are in a world of their own, and that’s precisely why they’re already scaling the ranks of British metal at an alarming pace. One minute you’re convinced you’ve tuned into flesh-tearing hardcore, while the next you’re thrown into a grunge throwback with soaring melodic vocals. Then you’re slammed against a wall by tremendously dirty riffs. RXPTRS have no desire to conform, and their resulting creativity is truly refreshing.
As if the devastating prog-meets-tech metal of Sertraline weren’t enough to blow your face off, their vocalist Lizzie Parry’s versatile chops should finish the job. Stirring up the U.K. scene since 2014, this expectation-shattering five-piece have 2020 in their sights with more fresh material on the way alongside hopes to support Derange across the U.K. in May.
If you recognize frontman Griffin Dickinson’s glittering vocals, inherited from his father Bruce of Iron Maiden, that’s the only comparison you’ll find to the heavy-metal icons. SHVPES are a youthful breed of sassy, singalong metal driven by gorgeous riffs, grooving melodies and filthy breakdowns, even slotting a fresh rap segment into “Afterlife” just to prove there’s nothing this Birmingham quintet can’t master.
Sworn Amongst are purveyors of unbridled metalcore madness, seamlessly swooping through atmospherics and neck-snapping breakdowns that make every track sound like an anthemic earworm. The Hull five-piece know their genre inside and out, pouring gorgeous, lulling clean vocals in between restless, despairing uncleans to make the kind of no-nonsense, gimmick-free metalcore the scene could really use right now.
If you’re having a bad day and need some gorgeous melodies to pick you up, TheCityIsOurs have you covered. Show-stopping singalong metalcore is their game, and they play it like world champions, bringing a vibrant live persona to the stage to match their glittering presence on record. With two phenomenally melodic vocalists, Sam Stolliday and Mikey Page, at the helm, this London quintet are destined for metalcore greatness.
The Dead XIII
Metallers of the gothic persuasion, the Dead XIII are a breath of fresh, if not slightly terrifying, air. Imagine a British equivalent of Wednesday 13 meeting metal in its most punishing manner. You’ll find yourself surrounded by the sinful riffs and horror-punk-fueled menace of these five Mancunian grave robbers who keep Halloween alive year round.
Punchy British melodic metalcore is alive and well with Gloucester lads the Uncharted. The storming seven-piece is charged by swirling melodies and some of the most beautifully sincere vocals the scene has heard in a while. Pitting the atmospheric storytelling of Architects against the tremendous cleans of Blessthefall, the final product is a neat addition to the metalcore history books.
Those Damn Crows
Like your soulful, glam-infused rock as contagious as possible? Hailing from the sleepy town of Bridgend, South Wales’ newest export Those Damn Crows have arrived to provide all the rousing singalongs and catchy guitars you could ever need. Littered with frontman Shane Greenhall’s sassy stadium-rock vibes, this will easily make this five-piece a household name.