A few years back we saw the Welsh rock scene take a real punch to it's musical belly. Kids in Glass Houses and Funeral For A Friend decided to throw in the towel whilst Lostp… Oh never mind we won't go back there. On top of that Bullet For My Valentine had released one of the worst albums that the UK had ever seen in the form of Temper Temper and seemed well and truly defeated... And the cherry on top came in the form of The Blackout who also called it a day (it was about time though)!
With all of these giants gone in a very small space of time (literally a year apart on each one) the Welsh rock scene seemed well and truly deflated. BUT there is still hope, a new wave of talent some would say. Yes, the music scene in Wales feels more alive than ever and though 2016 was a "bad year" for most it spawned some incredible talent...
To start, last year we saw the metal titans, Bullet For My Valentine, return with a change in line up in the form of new bassist Jamie Mathias and fresh material that wiped the slate clean of Temper Temper once and for all. Venom, the latest album, was a return to form and picked up the natural directional change that was meant to happen after Fever. Latest single "Don't Need You" is also a really promising one and brings some real hope for the future. Welcome back gents.
Though Bullet fans are surely ecstatic, it is the rising talent in the Welsh rock scene that provides the most exciting flare in talent at this moment. For those that know their local rock scene, the past few years have seen a lot the hometown heroes fall and led us to the loss of the likes of Falling with Style, From Her Eyes, Clear the Auditorium, Glass Giants and This Concept. Though it has been a while in the making 2017 has already seen some amazing talent arise from the ashes of these former bands. Here is a list of said bands and why you should be very very excited:
Agrona spent 2016 firmly planting themselves as Black Metal done well. The face-painted, armoured riff lords have been playing heaps of shows locally. With Bloodstock secured safely under their belts after battling the intense Metal To The Masses contenders they have done Black Metal some serious justice. The next record to come from these guys will surely be met with a great reception.
Listen to: Risen
FFO: Evil Scarecrow, Reign of Erebus, Verdelet
Photo Credit: David Krosnia Photography
Nightlives are an exciting new band for fans of electronic rock/metal. With Dafydd 'Taf' Richards from Clear The Auditorium at the helm and Falling With Style's Ryan James on the shredder they are quite the formidable team to be heading up this fantastic fusion of riffs, synths and anger.
Listen to: Tierra Muerta
FFO: Enter Shikari, The One Hundred, The Qemists
Dead Sea have formed from ex Oceans Apart, From Her Eyes and Falling With Style members. Fronted by Tom Morgan (From Her Eyes) the band have released two singles 'Blessing' and 'Blacklist' which boast huge riffs and piercing screaming vocals with passion and emotion tied in too. With a slight tech metal feel the band are on to a winner.
Listen to: Blacklist
FFO: Silent Planet, Novelists, Architects
Breathe In The Silence seem to have survived the local band culling despite a few line up changes and a bit of stagnancy after their last release Hold My Heart. The BITS boys have their founding/original line up back in the mix and have their eyes set on a debut album. This year may seem quiet with a few sporadic tours but in the near future, when this album drops, it could well be monumental for both the band and local Welsh music.
Listen to: Promised Lands
FFO: Young Guns, Mallory Knox, Hand Like Houses
Junior are heading up the good ol' pop-punk scene with their effortlessly catchy feel-good music. Their bassist, Mark Andrews, is a popular pro wrestler and the band reflects haven't messed around with making the most of their wrestling contacts (Matt Fricking Hardy). In addition the band brought ex Blackout vocalist Sean Smith into their latest music video for ''.
Having just been announced for Download Festival 2017, Junior are set to unleash their music on a wider crowd and will surely impress.
Listen to: Fall To Pieces
FFO: Blink 182, Neck Deep, Roam
Everyday Heroes are a good ol' hard-rocking powerhouse. The band opened up last years Steelhouse Festival after winning an intense 'battle of the bands' competition. Since then they have been extensively touring and making themselves known. With a sound that is a meaty soundscape they will no doubt wow any spectator/listener that stumbles across them.
Listen to: Honey
FFO: Black Stone Cherry, Shinedown, Seether
Photo Credit: GLK Media
Florence Black are a three piece noisemaking machine. The trio have worked hard and gigged harder because there isn't a corner of the music scene where you don't hear or see their names. Steelhouse Festival and a tonne of shows are lined up for an exciting 2017 for the band.
With their highly anticipated second EP on its way it is sure to make some waves that Florence Black are more than ready to ride on.
Listen to: Smoke
FFO: Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, Breaking Benjamin
Photo Credit: /By:Brad Media
When We Were Wolves are another band that scraped their way through the band cull and have entered 2017 swinging...
The band just released a jaw dropping new single called 'The Gift Of Hating Me' which is centred around vocalist Mitch Bock's struggle with multiple line up changes and people letting him down in his life. With a new line up behind him and a suspected EP on the way you should definitely get excited for a much heavier, more aggressive and hate driven record from these dudes. MOSH.
Listen to: The Gift Of Hating Me
FFO: Soil, Cancer Bats, Slipknot
Holding Absence are a name taking the rock scene by storm. After a change in vocalist and a shift in direction the emo-melodic rockers are genuinely making huge waves. Having just signed to Sharptone Records and re-releasing the already popular singles 'Permanent' and 'Dream Of Me' (Yes they have only released two singles) they are set to be pretty damn huge.
Download Festival, tours with We Are The Ocean, Create To Inspire and Blood Youth as well as a plethora of headline dates across the UK, Holding Absence will be global within 2 years.
Listen to: Dream Of Me
FFO: "Anything from My Chemical Romance to My Bloody Valentine" - Lucas Woodland
Casey have established themselves pretty damn well. They had a similar rise that Holding Absence
are currently experiencing. Having been snapped up by Michael McGough's management, clean vocalist of Being As An Ocean, and furthering their music career through signing to Hassle Records the band cemented their reign on the melodic hardcore scene with their debut album 'Love Is Not Enough at the end of last year with much success.
The band have already toured with BAAO this year and have further tours with Thy Art Is Murder and Miss May I as well as Boston Manor. They will also be at Impericon Festival and Download Festival.
Listen to: Darling
FFO: Being As An Ocean, In Hearts Wake, Defeater
There has been a lot of negativity about the Welsh rock scene in general over the last year with Womanby Street "struggling" to keep music alive. There has also been a lot of talk of bands being overlooked and Welsh music falling by the way side. Well the case could not be any different and the list of bands above prove that. The Welsh rock scene is well and truly alive...