Photography by James North

Josephine Best

Photographer and music journalist based in South West London. Coffee, wine and music enthusiast.

We head down to the Heavy Music Awards to see a show filled with talent old and new, celebrating everything heavy in music.

Since its inception in 2017, this year marked a significant milestone for the Heavy Music Awards with its first-ever appearance at Wembley’s OVO Arena. Drawing in a massive crowd of 5,000 fans, industry insiders, and talented artists, the iconic venue was transformed into a true haven of rock and metal. The day kicked off with a bang, starting earlier than usual with an official Fan Zone Pre-Party at Box Park, courtesy of Facedown and Knotfest. Drinks were flowing, music was blaring, and the energy was contagious, setting the tone for an epic night ahead.

I had the chance to chat with some fans about what made the Heavy Music Awards stand out from other similar events. One thing that really struck a chord with everyone was the HMA’s commitment to promoting emerging talent. In a world where numerous awards shows tend to favour established acts, the HMA stands out by actively showcasing and giving a platform to up-and-coming talent. Take Heriot, for instance. Despite having just one EP under their belt, they snagged a nomination for Best Breakthrough Live Artist. It’s refreshing to see the HMA supporting and recognizing fresh voices in the scene. Its willingness to shine a light on rising talent ensures that the future of the heavy music scene remains alive and diverse.

Photography by James North

“The fact they are giving smaller bands like Heriot a huge platform is insane to me. The fact they are so invested on mixing smaller bands with bigger names is the best part. As someone who tries to go to as many live shows as possible, it’s all about supporting the smaller acts. Still support big names of course but giving a platform to emerging talent is what is going to keep the future of heavy music alive. To me that’s what sets it apart from anything else”

Michael Jolley AKA Panda Man (iykyk)

Another aspect that resonated with everyone was the strong sense of community fostered by the Heavy Music Awards. The heavy music scene has often been unfairly stigmatised by the mainstream, being labelled as violent or unwelcoming. One fan highlighted the inclusive and supportive nature of the HMA stating “you walk up to the stadium today and it’s just people eating and drinking, listening to music with their friends and having a great time. They’re all here for the same reason and it’s their love for heavy music”.

Hosted by Kerrang Radio’s very own Alex Baker, the seventh edition of the most epic awards show in the rock scene exceeded all expectations. With 17 deserving winners crowned throughout the night, ranging from beloved established acts to said promising emerging talent it was a celebration of the incredible diversity within the genre. 

One of the most coveted awards of the evening, Best Album, was rightfully presented to the breakthrough metal band Bad Omens for their phenomenal record The Death Of Peace Of Mind. Their powerful and haunting sound resonated deeply with both critics and fans alike and was a particular favourite of mine. Halestorm, known for their raw talent and fierce stage presence, were recognized as Best International Artist, solidifying their status as a force to be reckoned with. And speaking of unforgettable moments, the electrifying performances by Creeper, Loathe, Underoath, and Boston Manor truly set the stage on fire, igniting the passion of the crowd.

Photography by James North

But the Heavy Music Awards weren’t all about the music. They also honoured individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the scene. Biffy Clyro, renowned for their ground-breaking innovation and contributions to bringing rock into the mainstream, received the prestigious Pioneer Award, while the legendary broadcaster and BBC Radio 1 Rock Show presenter, Daniel P Carter, was rightfully recognized with the Icon Award for his tireless efforts in promoting the genre. Teddy Rocks Festival, an inspiration of positivity and support within the heavy music scene, deservingly received The H Award.

Moving on to visuals, Motionless In White claimed the Best Video award for their captivating and visually striking masterpiece Werewolf, directed by Jensen Noen. Yorkshire hardcore icons Malevolence took home the Best Album Artwork award for their album ‘Malicious Intent’ designed by the iconic Eliran Kantor. Vukovi, known for their transatlantic success and dynamic sound, triumphed in receiving the highest number of nominations ever in one night! They took home the award for Best Production for their album Nula, produced alongside Bruce Rintoul.

Let’s not forget the incredible achievements of UK artists. The unstoppable force that is Skindred was crowned Best UK Live Artist, showcasing their unrivalled stage presence and ability to captivate audiences. A well-deserved award but came to no surprise to anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing them perform. The mysterious and enigmatic collective Sleep Token, who have been making waves with their unique sound, rightfully claimed the title of Best UK Artist. Finally, Enter Shikari took home the Best Single award for their explosive track The Void Stares Back featuring Wargasm, reminding us why they continue to be a driving force in the genre.

Photography by James North

Another one of the standout moments of the evening for CLUNK was the highly anticipated Best Festival category, presented by Ticketmaster. The list of nominees was nothing short of impressive, featuring beloved festivals like 2000 Trees, Hellfest, Outbreak, and the exciting newcomer, BMTH Malta Weekender. However, it was hardly a shock when Download claimed the coveted title, given its legendary status in the heavy music world. Here at CLUNK, we’re buzzing with excitement as the highly anticipated weekend at the legendary Donnington Park draws near. In just over a week, we’ll finally set foot on those sacred grounds, fully prepared to capture every mind-blowing moment of what’s bound to be another epic event.

Aforementioned, the awards gave props to the freshest talent that’s been turning the heavy music scene upside down lately. As December Falls, the kickass pop-punkers from Nottingham, snagged the title of Best UK Breakthrough Artist. And we cannot forget Charlotte Sands, who walked away with the award for Best Breakthrough Album, and the stage-shredding newcomers, Static Dress, scored the Best Breakthrough Live Artist Award. And last but definitely not least, the nu-metal badass that is Scene Queen, took home the Best International Breakthrough Artist award. 

The Heavy Music Awards proved once again that rock and metal is alive and thriving. With the night filled with exceptional performances, well-deserved recognition, and an unwavering sense of community, the event undeniably proved its mettle as a trailblazing event, solidifying its place in the hearts of heavy music enthusiasts. We want to extend a huge thank you to The Heavy Music Awards and LD Publicity for having us and making the night so special. We hope we get to do it all over again next year and see you all there!

The winners for each category are as follows:


Bad Omens with ‘The Death of Peace and Mind’ – Sumerian RecordsProduced by Noah Sebastian, Joakim Karlsson, Erik Ron, Michael Taylor & Jesse Crash 


Charlotte Sands with ‘Love And Other Lies’ – CS Records – Produced by Danen Reed Rector & Ryan Odnoralov

BEST UK ARTIST – Presented by MNRK Heavy:

Sleep Token – Spinefarm Records

BEST UK LIVE ARTIST – Presented by Allianz Musical Insurance:

Skindred – Earache Records

BEST INTERNATIONAL ARTIST – Presented by Arising Empire:

Halestrom – Atlantic Records


As December Falls – ADF Records / In Grooves


Scene Queen – Hopeless Records

BEST SINGLE – Presented by Disturbia:

Enter Shikari ft. Wargasm with ‘The Void Stares Back’ – SO Recordings / Ambush Reality – Produced by Rou Rynolds


Vukovi with ‘Nula’ – Lab Records – Produced by Bruce Rintoul & Vukovi


Motionless In White with ‘Werewolf’ – Roadrunner Records – Directed by Jensen Noen

BEST ALBUM ARTWORK – Presented by SharpTone Records:

Malevolence with ‘Malicious Intent’ – Nuclear Blast Records – Artwork by Eliran Kantor 

BEST FESTIVAL – Presented by Ticketmaster:

Download Festival 


Electric Callboy – Century Media


Static Dress – Independent