Listmania: Metal Noise Top #5 Live Bands of 2022!

Breaking out of lockdown after almost two years of live show decimation in 2022 was one of many of the years joys and so to be able to bring back a category like this to the Listmania Awards season (trademark, patient applied for) is something we’ve been looking forward to doing for a long time. Competition for this one was again fierce with bands fighting to get attention as well as demanding circle pits, walls of death, moshing and head banging in equal measure but operating a distillery of the finest order we were able to separate the weak from the champions…

There are no two ways about it, (hed)p.e. remain champions of the live arena, annihilating the opposition when they played the O2 Academy Islington at the beginning of December. They never fail to inspire, freshening up the older material with nuances like Melodica moments or impromptu solos without ever taking anything away from the original quality, at the same time injecting all the energy you could possibly want. This set was orientated around the 20th Anniversary of their seminal album “Broke” but it had plenty of other material on offer and that raw, DIY or DIE attitude keeps them hungry.

We were lucky enough to join a sold out crowd at a small venue to see south coast Metalcore heroes Our Hollow Our Home as they introduced new drummer Alex Rayner and new bassist Lawrence Welling and as humble as you like, the band nailed every single song from anthemic chorus to razor sharp riffs. They even broke a snare on the night, they went out so hard to impress with cuts like “Seven Years (Shine A Light On Me)” and “Better Days” finding the band in their element. If you get the chance, don’t sleep on them.

There are seminal bands and then there is hard hitting Sacramento, Californian Noise Metal act Will Haven and given their age and status, you can never be 100% sure when the opportunity to witness them live might come around again. So back in the summer we headed to the iconic venue that is Camden Underworld for a truly unique experience, to see them perform a 20th Anniversary of “Carpe Diem” to a sold out crowd, something which will live long in the memory, the atmosphere being electrically charged for this one.

People will talk about the live experience and showmanship but when it comes to a high energy live show, there are few that can match London Metalcore merchants Confessions Of A Traitor. We had the pleasure of their set at Tech-Fest, a set which saw vocalist Stephen MacConville step off the Pins and Knuckles stage and get to eye level with the audience. It pays to expect the unexpected and the band are treated to fans doing the Macarena for the duration of “Man About Town” while a cover of “Crawling” by Linkin Park was sing-a-long that everyone could enjoy.

Just turn up with their instruments, play a show and f*** off? No! Not if you’re Avant-garde Progressive Death Metal act Mercury’s Well. They turned Reading Facebar into a Hawaiian beach party for their album release show with shirts, shorts, inflatables and flower necklaces at the height of British Summertime to put a smile on everyone’s faces before decimating the weak with an incredible live show. From a blistering rendition of scream-a-long album opener “Fire“ to the audience doing the cancan and a circle pit around a pillar, the show had it all.

They may have had to wait a long time at the border to get into the United Kingdom from their Copenhagen Denmark home but R’n’B infused Metal of Siamese at Radar Festival was a pleasure you can’t measure with “B.A.N.A.N.A.S” the mid set sing-a-long highlight that we knew it would be. That’s not forgetting classics like “Home” and “Ocean’s Bed” from a band we’ve previously described as being criminally underrated, a statement that we stand by. It was so good in fact that when the band said they were going to be at the merch stand for just a very short time, we bought them a round of bottles of Corona to say thank you. True story.

Our fourth honourable mentions slot of the week is just as tough as picking out the bands for the categories themselves, but Hacktivist at both Radar Festival and Tech-Fest were an absolute blast. New old school Hardcore homewreckers Cage Fight were insane and August Burns Red are simply a phenomenal live act that are only getting better as the years go on. Technically speaking the Raging Speedhorn show we witnessed was in December of 2021 otherwise they’d be on this list while Essex Death Metallers Beyond Extinction are just at the start of what is going to be a very, very long career…

We’ve given you EPs, albums, singles and live bands… tomorrow will be time for the next chapter… what will it be?

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