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: Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Inkcarceration, Louder Than Life

Website: www.currentsofficial.com 

Latest release: Currents released its third full-length album, “The Way It Ends,” in 2020 via Sharptone Records.

What You Need to Know: Formed in 2011 in Fairfield, Connecticut, Currents plays a mix of metalcore and progressive metal with strong djent influences. After numerous changes in the early days of the band, its lineup has stabilized in recent years.

“We’ve been surrounded by a lot of talent over the years and have gained a larger following, as well,” vocalist Brian Wille said last year in an interview with Audio Ink Radio. “With this release (“The Way It Ends”), we felt that we had more eyes on us and had a certain standard we were holding ourselves to. These tracks are much more focused and intentional than our previous releases, and I personally feel that the lyrical themes and song structures are much more cohesive than they’ve been in the past. We remain proud of our previous work, but we are excited about the progress we feel we’ve made on this record.”

Wille also is optimistic and enthusiastic about the place of heavy music in today’s overall musical landscape.

“I think heavy music is in a great place,” he told Audio Ink Radio. “There are so many great bands out there killing it and pushing boundaries. I also feel that heavy music is more relevant in popular culture than it has been in previous years between the come-up of XM Radio, heavy bands doing amazing numbers on music charts and gaining respect from prestigious awards institutions. It’s a great time to make heavy music and a great time for heavy music fans.”

What You Need to Hear: 

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