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.

Playing: Louder Than Life

Website: www.helmetmusic.com 

Latest release: Helmet released its latest album, “Dead to the World,” in 2016.

What You Need to Know: Most often cited as an “alternative metal” band, Helmet formed all the way back in 1989 in New York City, broke up in 1998 and reformed in 2004. With a slew of lineup changes over the years, vocalist/guitarist Page Hamilton has been the only constant member. (The current lineup has been in place since 2010, however.) Through the course of eight studio albums, Helmet never fully broke through to widespread popularity, but its impact has been substantial. A great many acts have cited Helmet as an influence, including Chevelle, Deftones, Korn, Linkin Park, Mastodon, Pantera, Staind and Tool.

“… Throughout these 32 years, we’ve maintained our own sound, Alternative, Metal, Noise, Rock, Industrial Metal, Post-Hardcore, etc.,” Hamilton said in an interview with Vinyl Writer Music, discussing the alternative metal label. “I guess some listeners need to narrow things down to decide whether it’s for them?”

What You Need to Hear: 

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