More and more, festivals are becoming the driving force for touring rock and metal bands. While obviously there were none in 2020, festivals are returning in force in 2021, mostly in late summer and early fall. Headliners and co-headliners include such heavy hitters as Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Slipknot, Rob Zombie, the original Misfits, Korn, Judas Priest, Five Finger Death Punch and Shinedown. Live Metal’s “2021 Festival Spotlight” series aims to bring attention to some of the names in smaller print on the festival admats—the bands you can get up close and personal with at the smaller stages—along with a few higher profile acts we find worth calling out here. See you at the shows.
Latest release: Fire from the Gods released its second album, “American Sun,” in 2019.
What You Need to Know: Managed by Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory, Fire from the Gods has been one of the bands leading the recent nu metal revival. A re-release of its debut album, under the title “Narrative Retold,” even featured songs produced by Jonathan Davis of Korn. Frontman AJ Channer has a powerful presence, equally comfortable—and equally passionate—singing and rapping. The band seems to have hit a sweet spot in balancing nu metal aesthetics with a melodic, hard rock approach on much of its second album, such as on the single “Right Now.”
“With this record what we’re trying to drive home is that our differences and where we are from doesn’t need to define who we are moving forward,” frontman AJ Channer said. “Like ‘Narrative,’ I’m telling the story from my perspective, but it’s a story that people from all walks of life can relate to in the sense that we all face the same challenges … and the only way to conquer them is if we face them together.”
Channer spent his childhood shuffling between London, New York, Los Angeles, Norfolk and Ghana, giving him a unique perspective on the world. “I think this record is a lot more personal because I’ve become a lot more open about who I am and what I’ve had to deal with,” he said.
What You Need to Hear: