Glastonbury has embraced metal in a big way in recent years. Metallica's 2014 headline slot felt like a real watershed moment in the festival finally opening up to heavier acts on a regular basis and, sure enough, in the years since we've seen a ton of hard rock and heavy metal bands play Worthy Farm's hallowed turf.
From 2015-2019 we've witnessed everyone from Motörhead and Bring Me The Horizon to Napalm Death, Entombed A.D., Gojira, Babymetal, Venom Prison and Employed To Serve smash it at Glasto, and with the festival making a triumphant return this summer after a pandemic-induced three years off, we're excited for heavy music to make itself heard once again in Somerset come June.
The Glastonbury 2022 lineup is already packing the likes of Skunk Anansie, Turnstile and Amyl And The Sniffers, but with hundreds of acts still to be announced, we're hopeful there's still plenty to come yet on the heavier side. With that in mind, here are ten metal bands that we think could feasibly (or, in some cases, we'd just love to see) play Glastonbury this year.
Ghost are having an unbelievable 2022 so far, releasing new album Impera to critical acclaim, smashing charts around the world and blowing up arenas across the US with Volbeat and Twin Temple. They're due to kick off a UK trek imminently before heading across Europe until midway through May. After that, though, there seem to be no more live shows plans - and just as festival season is about to kick off.
Given the success of Bring Me The Horizon and Babymetal at Glasto in recent years, it'd make perfect sense for them to book one of metal's other majorly hyped modern names, and we have every confidence that Tobias Forge's spook squad would go down a storm. Hell, they could even play one of the circus or cabaret fields (we reckon an early evening slot on the Other Stage would suit them best, though, in case Emily Eavis is reading...)
2. Limp Bizkit
Honestly, we're surprised this one hasn't happened yet. Though Fred Durst et al are already due to hit the UK in September, they do seem to have a nice big gap in their schedule across most of the summer, making it entirely possible for them to jump across the pond in advance and hit up a festival.
And, importantly, even people only loosely familiar with Limp Bizkit will know at least a couple of their biggest songs: just imagine Jacksonville's finest strolling onto the Pyramid Stage on a sunny/muddy Saturday afternoon and kicking straight into Rollin'. Scenes everywhere. Beers everywhere. Dodgy dance routines everywhere.
3. Nine Inch Nails
It's been over two decades since Nine Inch Nails played Glastonbury in 2000. Their status as one of alternative music's most important and influential bands has only grown since then, and we're sure there are still plenty of Glasto-goers who caught them the first time round that would be up for a repeat viewing.
Plus, they are literally in the country in the direct run-up to Glastonbury: a run of dates in Glasgow, Cornwall, Manchester and London takes them right up to the day before the festival properly kicks off. We reckon this one could really happen given the circumstances, so keep fingers crossed that we get to see Trent Reznor back on a Glasto stage this summer
How has this one not happened yet?! While frontman Benji Webbe's previous band, the trailblazing Dub War, appeared at the UK's biggest festival in 1997, Skindred are somehow yet to make their bow at Glasto - crazy given that there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that they'd absolutely own it.
Their big main stage slot at Download the same month might mean you won't get great odds on Skindred making Glastonbury this year, but plenty of bands have played Worthy Farm despite also being booked elsewhere (lest we forget, Metallica were also headlining Sonisphere in 2014). Plus, having signed with the legendary Earache in 2021 - a label who have been heavily involved in injecting Glasto with more metal over the past few years - Skindred will certainly have the people around them to make it happen.
A rogue choice? Maybe - operatic symphonic metal isn't exactly the most obvious choice for a festival that has Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar as its headliners. That said, what might initially seem like a novelty for uninitiated passers-by would quickly turn into a consummate lesson in heavy metal showmanship.
Plus, there's no way even the biggest metal cynic wouldn't be blown away by Floor's voice, and with the band taking on a stacked summer festival circuit that takes in Hellfest, Pinkpop, Sweden Rock and Knotfest Finland amongst many others, there's a big ol', UK-shaped hole in the schedule. Nemo on the Pyramid Stage? We'd love to see it.
And speaking of UK-shaped holes...just where the hell are Slipknot when it comes to hitting the UK this year?! With Download and Reading/Leeds all booked up and no signs of a UK Knotfest, it seems like an unlikely set at Glastonbury might be the only chance we get of seeing The Nine in a big field this year. In real terms, Slipknot are easily big enough to headline a festival of Glasto's size, but it's no rarity for major acts with big stage shows to headline the Other Stage too (itself covering an area not far off the size of Download's main stage).
It'd be an unbelievable coup to get Slipknot for a set that wasn't technically a main stage headliner, but if there's one festival with the international rep to do it, it might just be Glastonbury. Unlikely? Yes. Have stranger things happened? Absolutely. And since when are Slipknot ones to be predictable?
Festival season is looking quiet for Architects so far, save a couple of European appearances. Strange, really, given that this will be the first proper summer of touring afforded to them since the release of last year's majestic For Those That Wish To Exist. With no Download or Reading/Leeds slot seemingly on the table, how great would it be to see the Brighton boys make their Glastonbury debut?
In addition to all that, and much like with Gojira, who played a blinder of a set in 2019, Glastonbury's progressive values and partnerships with organisations like Greenpeace make them a great fit for Architects' environmentally conscious outlook. A match made in heaven, surely? (Sorry).
8. Rolo Tomassi
Having become one of the UK scene's most treasured modern bands, Rolo Tomassi reached peak performance with this year's immense Where Myth Becomes Reality album, and it feels like their mixture of tech-metal, post-hardcore, ambient and jazz would blow Glastonbury crowds away.
The Sheffield crew revealed in 2020 that they were actually due to play that year's festival before it got cancelled, so it seems far from unlikely that we might finally get to see them on a stage in Pilton this June. With that new album in tow, it'll certainly have been worth the wait.
9. Zeal & Ardor
While the more extreme side of his material may be a big ask for the palettes of some of Glastonbury's more, ahem, delicate regulars, there can be no doubt that Zeal & Ardor would immediately make for one of the most unique artists to have played the festival in recent years should he be booked. His enchanting mix of black metal histrionics, soulful blues and chain gang sonics have made him a revelation in the metal scene, and this year's masterful self-titled album was proof that he is ready for bigger stages.
Come June, he'll be wrapping up a European tour supporting Meshuggah(!), giving him just enough time to hop home, dust himself off, grab some camping gear and make his way to Worthy Farm. We refuse to believe that anyone walking across Shangri La as Manuel bursts into Devil Is Fine won't be immediately caught in his spell. Somebody book this shit!
10. The Hu
One of the most unexpected success stories of metal's recent history, The Hu have been a sensation since they first burst onto the scene a couple of years ago. Mixing traditional Mongolian instrumentation with heavy metal dramatics, they've racked up millions of streams and one of modern metal's most dedicated followings.
Given Glastonbury's long history of embracing traditional music from cultures around the world, how great would it be to see the fest give a spot to a band who have taken their tradition into unchartered (read: heavy as hell) new territories?
Glastonbury takes place June 22-26. For more info head to www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk