The creme de la creme of punk and hardcore will be descending on Manchester later this month. Here are some of the sets that you can't afford to miss.
From a one day fest in a multipurpose hall in Sheffield to a three-day extravaganza in Manchester, Outbreak Fest has come a long way over the last decade. But no matter the space that they take over, the top of the list of their priorities has always been the quality of bands that they invite to show what they are made of year after year.
And this year's bumper offering is no exception.
Though of course you will be chomping at the bit to move your feet to the likes of Turnstile, Knocked Loose, Basement and Touché Amoré, there are so many other bands that deserve your attention and energy.
From returning heroes to fresh and fierce upstarts, here are ten sets you don't want to miss...
After initially splitting back in 201 after seven years of chaos, Last Witness are making a short and sweet return to the stage and then disappearing into the abyss once more. And if you weren't around the first time then now you have a chance to indulge in some of UKHC's rawest offerings. Delivering whirlwind riffs against despondent and desolating lyrical turns, the band are a perfect timestamp for a particular moment in the scene whilst also being timelessly bleak.
If Incendiary isn't already one of your favourite hardcore bands, then that is about to change drastically. Dealing out timely and terrifically on-point commentary on the state of things whilst also delivering wave after wave of chest-thumping passion and hard-hitting grit, they have been some of the best to do it for many years now. And with a new record well overdue, here's to them once again reclaiming their place at the top of the pile.
Reminding us that music is ultimately about having the time of your life, DRAIN are the party-starters of hardcore in 2022. With their thrash-soaked riffs, Californian swagger and deliciously sharp melodies, they are already at legendary status and are still only in their infancy. Working on something spicy following their signing to Epitaph and with the near-perfect LP 'California Cursed' already in their back pocket, expect pandemonium of the highest order. Iron the creases out of your shortest shorts in preparation.
Still yet to release a full-length, Despize have managed to cause a ruckus over the last couple of years via two of the tightest demos to come out of Scotland in a long while. More recently teaming up with Gridiron and Deklination for a pair of devastating splits, they are taking their time in developing their downbeat blend of world-weary hardcore. Make sure you're down early to witness the start of something special.
Nothing is off the table when it comes to a Dead Heat show. Dealing out serious 80's punk and thrash energy with plenty of danger and unpredictability thrown in for good measure, you either have the choice to move or be moved when these Cali legends do their thing. Get stuck into their 2021 full-length 'World At War' and prepare to lose yourself in the darkness.
ONE STEP CLOSER
One of last year's finest hardcore releases came straight outta Wilkes-Barre courtesy of the One Step Closer boys with 'This Place You Know'. Melodic and meticulous in all of the right ways, with plenty of mic-grabbing opportunities and two-step frenzies, the band are already on course to being a very important band for an awful lot of people. And it's only going to get more sentimental from here on out.
This one is really obvious, but you have to see Vein.fm live to believe it. Hot off the back of their forward-thinking and ferociously unsettling 'This World Is Going To Ruin You', and ahead of a three-night residency at London's Underworld, expect blink-and-miss-it mayhem and unrelenting force from the first hiss of feedback to the last.
Finding that balance between raw and catchy is hard to master, but Scowl hit the sweet spot like it is second nature. From the frenzied instrumental to vocalist Kat Moss' brilliantly raspy delivery, this is as pure, pissed off and properly fun as punk gets, and, once again, the band are only just getting started. Dive in right now.
Another reunion, but very much a change of pace, Superheaven are as cult as it gets. Playing several one-off shows over the years since their disbandment in 2016, and with two wonderfully scuzzy albums under their belt to come from, expect a mix of shirt-tugging singalongs and emotionally gripping refrains.
Using the unbridled harshness of powerviolence to get their message of racial tolerance and understanding across in the most direct way they can, Zulu are as essential as a band can get. Offering up space in the scene for those who so often don't see themselves in the bands that inhabit it, they are vital in more ways than one and a genuine must-see at every opportunity.
Outbreak Fest will be taking place June 24-26 at Bowler's Exhibition Centre in Manchester. Some day tickets, and weekend tickets on resale, are available from right HERE