From Gulch's Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress to Higher Power's 27 Miles Underwater, last year delivered stellar breakout albums from a fast-rising crop of young, hungry, attitude-heavy artists. In this modern digital age, there are more bands and tracks and chatter than ever before, so it can be hard to sift through the static and predict who will rise to the top of the class. We know who we're championing, but we also wanted to see what band you the fans think is poised to break big this year. See what you chose in the ranked list below.
We've been singing Alien Weaponry's praises for a while now, and they've lived up to our wildest expectations at every turn, displaying all the potential of a Māori Sepultura. Their 2018 debut album, Tū, crushed, but with a revamped lineup — specifically, a new bassist, Turanga Porowini Morgan-Edmonds — and plenty of downtime to hone their skills, there's no reason to think this band of brothers won't reemerge in 2021 bigger and badder than ever.
It's no secret that Loathe's 2020 album, the alternately shoegazing and skull-crushing I Let It In and It Took Everything, was a smash across all heavy-music scenes. Revolver gave it high marks. You the fans loved it, too. Dammit, Deftones' Chino Moreno himself gave these metal experimentalists the seal of approval. What more proof do you need? Led by powerhouse frontman Kadeem France, the U.K. outfit is headed upward fast, no question, and we're all along for the ride.
L.A. four-piece Tetrarch dropped a bomb single last spring, the crunchy, hooky "I'm Not Right." It bodes well for their imminent sophomore album, set for a 2021 release via the group's new label, Napalm Records. Tetrarch's nu-metal-inflected metalcore sound has plenty of crossover appeal, plus the group has a proven willingness to grind. "We have always been a band that tries to go out and make our own opportunities when circumstances may not permit and that's just what we did," guitarist Diamond Rowe said last year. That work ethic should get them far.
As with many of the bands on this list, Revolver was among the first to champion Orbit Culture. We called them "Sweden's answer to Gojira" and we stand by that. The band just dropped a deluxe edition of their latest album, Nija, boasting two killer new tracks that only expands on their already-established penchant for massive hooks and technical grooves. Channeling his mental health struggles into his music, frontman Niklas Karlsson told us, "Once I started to write about my own issues and stuff that's real for me, everything [becomes] more natural. … That's where I hope the connection [to the fans] happens." It appears that it has.
OK, guys, you've made yourselves perfectly clear here and in our other recent fan polls — you seriously fuck with Spiritbox. Last year's blockbuster singles, "Holy Roller" (which also came in a remixed version featuring Crystal Lake's Ryo Kinoshita) and "Constance," showcase a band with huge sonic and emotional range that's ready to take the heavy-music world by storm. Indeed, newly signed to Rise Records, they have big plans for 2021.