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: Gojira released its seventh full-length studio album, “Fortitude,” in April via Roadrunner Records.
What You Need to Know: A French band with a Japanese name that is respected, admired and acclaimed around the world, Gojira seemingly can do no wrong in the eyes of metal fans and critics. Even as it has moved away from its early, technical death metal sound to a more groove-oriented attack on its most recent albums (“Fortitude” and 2016’s instant classic “Magma”), the results have been masterful.
The band also has become heavily involved in activism, with environmental topics often finding their way into songs. Earlier this year, Gojira launched a fundraising initiative to benefit the indigenous-owned NGO The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), which advocates for environmental and cultural rights of indigenous tribes in the Amazon who have suffered immensely—victims of land loss, forced labor and poverty.
“Fortitude is what we need to display,” vocalist/guitarist Joe Duplantier said in an interview with Kerrang. “It’s what we need to embrace. It’s what we need to be in a world where everything is uncertain—even the near future. Since the beginning of our band, we have promoted compassion versus competition and love versus hate. The point of ‘Fortitude’ is to inspire people to be the best version of themselves and to be strong no matter what.”
What You Need to Hear: