Gateway bands provide an entry point into the world of heavy music. Without these bands it’s likely none of us would be into the music we are today and let’s be honest, very rarely does somebody say “Hammer Smashed Face” was the song that got them into rock and metal.
If you grew up in the 80’s you would likely be citing the likes of Metallica and Guns N’ Roses, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam if growing up in the 90s or Linkin Park and Slipknot if growing up in the 00s. Arguably the last huge gateway band to emerge from the world of rock and break into the mainstream was My Chemical Romance, with their commercial breakthrough album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge being released nearly 20 years ago in 2004.
Gateway rock and metal bands are a great way for new music enthusiasts to get acquainted with the sounds of heavy music. These bands generally provide accessible versions of the heavier genres, which allow listeners to acclimate to the genre without being overwhelmed by more extreme styles. From iconic acts like Led Zeppelin, whose bluesy rock influenced generations of musicians, to the rise of MTV propelling Nirvana to stardom and the commercial peak of nu-metal with the likes of Limp Bizkit, Korn and more bringing heavy music to a new generation.
Whilst there have been plenty of successful rock and metal bands in the last 20 years, very few have gone on to break the mainstream and become a gateway band for the next generation, Bring Me The Horizon and Avenged Sevenfold perhaps the best available examples. But is this about to change?
Here are five bands that have the potential to become the next gateway band for rock and metal.
Sleep Token are an enigmatic British rock collective cloaked in mystery. Since their 2016 inception, they’ve crafted a unique sound melding post-rock/metal and progressive metal with indie and alternative influences – creating something truly captivating. Taking the scene by surprise, Sleep Token signed to Basick Records for the release of their 2017 EP Two; followed swiftly by 2019’s Spinefarm debut Sundowning and 2021’s This Place Will Become Your Tomb – cementing them as one of today’s most innovative bands on both sides of The Pond.
The band have just completed a sold-out tour across the UK with performances lined up at Takedown and Radar Festivals with more likely to be announced soon.
Recently landing in at No.1 as part of the Primordial Up-Vote 100 Chart of 2022 with “Aaj”, Bloodywood is a metal band hailing from India whose music melds Indian folk instruments with heavy riffs to create an otherworldly hybrid. From driving rhythms provided by the Dhol drum and Tumbi string instruments to mournful flute melodies punctuated with hard-hitting rap verses in Hindi/Punjabi – it’s all set against thunderous choruses that deliver undeniable emotion.
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British singer-songwriter Cassyette has taken the music world by storm with her unique sound, blending elements of nu-metal and electro-pop. Praised for her “hardcore women-fuelled rock” style by MTV, she’s been labelled as a ‘pop provocateur’ by Clash Magazine and was named one to watch out for in Rankin’s Hunger Magazine. A graduate of the University of Westminster, Cassyette began performing on London stages after graduating before finally launching into international fame with her debut single “Jean”.
Since then she has gone on to receive huge praise for performances at the likes of Download Festival and 2000 Trees as well as a great response to singles such as “Mayhem”, “Petrichor” and the hugely anthemic “Dear Goth”
Crossing over from the world of hip-hop into metal, Junius Rogers, also known as ZillaKami, is a creative force to be reckoned with. His expansive discography includes work in both hip hop duo City Morgue and contributions as a songwriter for 6ix9ine – making him the quintessential example of versatility within modern rap music.
Notorious for his daring mix of trap metal and punk-rock influences that often feature drug-use lyrics and visuals, he’s made a name for himself with fans across multiple genres. In 2018 this buzz reached Denzel Curry leading to collaborations between the two artists on their own tracks – as well as working with the likes of Corey Taylor of Slipknot on the album “Dogboy” in 2021.
Bad Omens ignited the world of rock music when they emerged from Richmond, Virginia in 2015. Established by Noah Sebastian (vocals/production), Nicholas Ruffilo (guitar) and Vincent Riquier (bass), their explosive self-titled debut album for Sumerian Records was universally praised upon its release in 2016. The band went on to gain further recognition with Joakim “Jolly” Karlsson joining them on guitar and Nick Folio taking up drum duties; this dynamic new lineup released their second full-length work ‘Finding God Before God Finds Me’ during 2019 – a deluxe edition dropping one year later that spawned two hit singles (‘Limits’, ‘Never Know’) which made waves across Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs Chart.
Bad Omens made chart history in 2022 taking the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Hard Rock Songs list with their track “Just Pretend”. The song soared to success thanks it its incredible TikTok virality and 2.8 million U.S streams in one tracking week; additionally, it received 538,000 audience impressions on radio plus over a thousand downloads–a feat that earned them their first-ever top position.
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