10 bands to look out for in 2018, chosen by Holy Roar Records

The band Secret Cutter
Secret Cutter

UK independent label Holy Roar have long been associated with some of the country’s most adventurous, abrasive and astonishing bands – from Rolo Tomassi to Ohhms to Employed To Serve. They also have a reputation for having their ears firmly to the ground, deeply invested in the underground scene, turning over rocks and peering down dark alleys to find the most astounding sounds and amazing music. So who better to ask about the year ahead than Holy Roar head honcho Alex Fitzpatrick?

Ahead of Holy Roar’s 12 Bands Of Christmas event, Alex picks ten bands to look out for in 2018, all of which carrying that certain eccentric and quality his label is famous for.

Slow Crush

“A Belgian based band who cut their teeth early on with appearances at Roadburn Festival, amongst other high profile slots. They sound like what you wish shoegaze, and murky, grungy rock music should sound like, by people who have actually listened to some good records and done their homework.”


“They’re from Aarhus, Denmark. This group’s debut EP showed promise but their forthcoming album is another level. It’s like if Deafheaven learned to write catchy songs, or if Turnover became the most evil band in the world.”

Boss Keloid

“These guys have been keeping their head down and working hard in the stoner/doom scene for a few years now, ticking off Bloodstock, ArcTanGent and many other festivals along the way. They are about to explode with their forward-thinking, modern take on a classic, heavy prog sound.”


“Their album Where The Cycle Breaks is out late January. It reminds me of Guns Up! and many early noughties classic, posi hardcore bands. It’s fresh and exciting – say hello to your new favourite melodic hardcore band.”

Modern Rituals

“If Morrissey and The Cure got into The Jesus And Mary Chain, while never getting too slow or miserable, it might sound like Modern Rituals. An utterly amazing band.”


“Sounds like Throats and Cursed playing old Ceremony songs, but possibly even more vicious. This gang from Canada are absolutely the new face of brutal, good, sludge punk/hardcore.”

Group Of Man

“Their forthcoming EP should be snapped up by a label – its like Fucked Up playing Torche with a side-order of classic rock. It’s crazy how familiar yet unique this band sound.”

Secret Cutter

“They sent us their forthcoming album and it’s just harrowing how heavy it is. Makes you want to kick grotty children.”


“Their new record on Southern Lord shows this Japanese band to be the next Nails. End of.”

A Needle Under The Nail

“Crushing early noughties metalcore for fans of Martyr AD and the like. Seriously promising.”

Over the next four weeks in London, Holy Roar are staging The Twelve Bands Of Christmas. Four FREE gigs at Old Blue Last (featuring bands on or picked by the label) will be deafening hundreds of heavy music fans in the run up to Santa’s birthday. Get involved.

Nov 30: Wren and Watchcries
Dec 07: We Never Learned To Live
Dec 14: Giants (final ever show)
Dec 21: Slabdragger

The top 10 most underrated UK hardcore records

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.