We’re taking a closer look at the finalists for the inaugural Heavy Music Awards – if you’re still trying to decide your favourite, or if you’d like to discover some new artists, this is a great place to start.

First up it’s Best Breakthrough Band, a category presented by House of Vans London.

Please note: judges had the option to keep their votes private. The lists you see below are from judges who were happy to publicise their selections, and are not an indication of the total number of nominations.


Black Foxxes

Following their acclaimed debut EP ‘Pines’, Black Foxxes released their debut album ‘I’m Not Well’ via Spinefarm in 2016. The Plymouth trio have rapidly built a dedicated fanbase thanks to non-stop touring and an ability to craft songs that marry melody, heaviness and a bristling nervous energy to devastating effect.

Black Foxxes received nominations from*: Jamie Otsa (Wall of Sound PR), Dave Rajan (Parlophone), Andy Bayley (Spinefarm), Alex Herron (Scuzz), Louis Dale (Eagle Rock), Helen Buffett (Eagle Rock), Daniel P. Carter (BBC Radio 1 Rock Show), Tom Stabb (Sony)…

Black Peaks

Brighton’s Black Peaks formed in 2012 under the name Shrine, and have gone on to produce a debut album, ‘Statues’, that is beloved to critics, fans and fellow artists. Vocalist Will Gardner possesses a unique range, often pivoting from guttural bellows to a delicate falsetto to rabid screams in the same song. The band’s invitation to open for fellow HMA17 finalists Deftones at their mammoth Wembley Arena show demonstrates their acceptance at the top table of heavy music.

Black Peaks received nominations from*: Emma Van Duyts (Public City PR), Stephen Hill (That’s Not Metal), Rob Collins (Cooking Vinyl), Lauren Reading-Gloversmith (Inception PR), Lottie Hunt (BIMM), Mark Rawlings (EMP), Andy Saiker (Warner), Callum Galbraith (Universal), Christopher Lee (Punktastic), Daniel P. Carter (BBC Radio 1 Rock Show), Warul Islam (Communion)…

Casey

One of two Welsh five-piece acts on this shortlist, Casey released their debut album ‘Love Is Not Enough’ on Hassle Records (Lonely The Brave, We Are The Ocean) at the tail end of 2016. The band bring together emotionally-charged post-hardcore with crushing, intricate guitarwork in the vein of California’s scene stalwarts Being As An Ocean, underpinned by a fragility that belies their tender years. This year has already seen their stock rise thanks to a string of high energy live shows, but the best, most excitingly, is yet to come.

Casey received nominations from*: Dom Patience (Chalk Inc), Paul Towers (Impericon), Luke Logemann (UNFD), Zach Redrup (Dead Press), Steph Van Spronsen (Live Nation), Satvir Bhamra (Warner), Andrew Dex (Stencil)…

Dead!

South coast alt-rockers Dead! have been building a buzz thanks to a huge raft of live shows – often in rooms that could barely call themselves venues – and yet, most satisfyingly, the band have been delivering on the hype. Their music is relentlessly adventurous and almost impossible to categorise, but having signed to Infectious/BMG for the UK and Rise Records in the US, Dead! look set to continue their sonic assault in a big way.

Dead! received nominations from*: Jack Parker (All Things Loud), Tom Lynam (Tone Management), Arun Chamba (Shazam), Alex Herron (Scuzz), Andy Bayley (Spinefarm)…

I Prevail

While their social numbers may be lightyears ahead of many of their contemporaries, Michigan’s I Prevail are the archetypal overnight success – four years on from their formation, the band are now enjoying success on an international level thanks to their 2016 debut album ‘Lifelines’. The band’s twin vocal set-up gives them scope to explore many aspects of the heavy spectrum, but I Prevail always keep the energy levels up to create an exciting live spectacle.

I Prevail received nominations from*: Smiley Dave (DJ / Presenter), Sian Hainsworth (Freelance), Sophie K (Freelance), Kieron Fensome (Guitarguitar), Sue Reinhardt (Eleven Seven)…

Venom Prison

Welsh five-piece Venom Prison bring brutally relentless death metal to the HMA party alongside some refreshingly unflinching lyrics taking in a variety of social and political issues. Fronted by Larissa Stupar – who is rapidly making her name for herself thanks to some vicious vocal performances on debut album ‘Animus’ – and backed by a band that is taking a new approach to traditional death metal, Venom Prison are earning new fans fast and can look ahead to a very bright future.

Venom Prison received nominations from*: Thea de Gallier (Freelance), Lais Martins-Waring (LD Communications), Simon Robinson (Tour Manager), Paul Towers (Impericon), Jamie Graham (Sumerian), Dean Whitaker (Imperial), Callum Galbraith (Universal)…

Zeal & Ardor

Zeal & Ardor is a unique musical project fusing black metal and traditional slave songs, started by Manuel Gagneux, a Swiss-American musician who had previously created a chamber pop project called Birdmask. The band’s star has risen quickly, with debut album ‘Devil Is Fine’ hitting Bandcamp in 2016 to widespread acclaim, before a re-release on MKVA in early 2017.

Zeal & Ardor received nominations from*: Sam Kelly-Wallace (Jackson), Judith Fisher (BJF PR)…

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*This list is just a selection of judges to have nominated this artist.

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