Okay, so yesterday was a fucking huge day for moshlords all around Australia: the UNIFY Gathering (a.k.a. Metalcore Christmas) is officially making its hotly anticipated comeback, with dates locked down for January 2022 – or March, depending on how things shape up with this whole “global pandemic” thing. So if you still needed a reason to get vaccinated, here it is… Like, c’mon, dude, do it for the pits!!!
The lineup for UNIFY 2022 is set to be announced in just a little under 48 hours, at exactly 8:40am this Thursday (AEST). But of course, part of the fun in hyping up for a big festival is taking a wild punt on who’s gonna grace its beautiful, glossy poster – aside, of course, from UNIFY’s official mascot Arnie. You can expect to see an influx of fake posters pop up over the next few days, some hilariously dodgy, and some almost scarily on-point. You’ll also see plenty of (grossly overconfident) guesswork shared all over social media… Like in the form of this article.
I mean, it’s easy enough to make a few surefire predictions – by proxy of Australia’s staunch border restrictions, for example, we can expect UNIFY 2022 to have a lineup that is 100 percent local. There’ll also be a solid handful of UNFD bands on the bill, for obvious reasons. We’re sure they’ll be some wildcards, as there always is – recent years have seen a good whack of pop-punk amongst the heavier acts, and we don’t expect that to change any time soon. But maybe next year the fest will branch out even further, into genres like indie-rock? Shoegaze? Folk-punk?
Shit, we’d be up for it!
Whatever ends up being announced on Thursday, we’re just keen to dust off our tents, stock up on tinnies and get amongst the chaos. So without further ado, here’s our take on who we think will probably, maybe, potentially take the stage at UNIFY 2022!
1. THE AMITY AFFLICTION
Yeah, nah, The Amity Affliction are definitely playing UNIFY 2022. There’s no way they’re not. And that’s not just us being way too sure of ourselves – ICYMI, yesterday’s date announcement came in the form of an 18-second trailer soundtracked by the Gympie crew’s bonafide classic, “I Hate Hartley”. One could make the argument that such a track just made an obvious choice for its opening line – “Seems like forever!” – which ties into the fact UNIFY was forced to take a year off in 2021.
But consider this: no.
Virtually every time in history that a track has been featured in a festival’s pre-announcement teaser video, the artist behind it has wound up on its lineup. Add to that Amity’s close relationship with UNIFY and the team behind it – the band headlined its inaugural edition back in 2015, and made their second appearance in 2018 – and they’re a no-brainer.
The only question that remains is how they’ll make their set at UNIFY 2022 stand out. “I Hate Hartley” first appeared on Amity’s 2010 album Youngbloods, but 2022 marks the ten-year-anniversary of their second-best album, Chasing Ghosts (their best is Let The Ocean Take Me, and I will happily die on that hill). What are the odds they’ll treat punters to a set celebrating the album by playing it in full? 🤔
It’s been a hot minute since we last heard from the genre-bending Sydney crew – they last show they played was an intimate one-off in January of 2020, with the last before that being all the way back in May ’19 (when they farewelled founding guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Matt Gravolin). But we know the trio have new music on the horizon, and they’re a time-honoured favourite of the UNIFY Gathering, having played at four of its six editions (only skipping 2017 and 2020). What better way for Hellions to debut material from LP5 than a cheeky lil’ jam on the Tarwin Lower mainstage?
As long as they also play “Thresher” – it’s been far too long since we’ve cried and moshed at the same time.
3-6. THE ENTIRE DOMESTIC LA LA ROSTER
It would make a whole lot of sense to have UNIFY 2022 include a full-roster showcase for Domestic La La, the UNFD sister-label launched in 2017 by Violent Soho guitarist James Tidswell. The label currently boasts four of the best names in Australian rock: Dear Seattle, LOSER, West Thebarton, and Teen Jesus And The Jean Teasers. Teen Jesus just signed to the label a few weeks back, dropping their wicked new single ‘AHHHH!’. It’s without a doubt the track would sound absolutely enormous ringing through the fields of UNIFY, and it would give the band perfect exposure to a massive crowd of potential fans.
All of the label’s other bands have new records on the way. LOSER are dropping their second full-length, All The Rage, on September 10th. The new albums from Dear Seattle and West Thebarton are yet to be unveiled, but we know for certain they exist. West Thebarton have been teasing the follow up to 2018’s Different Beings Being Different since as early as 2019, and dropped the soaring cut “Tops” (which isn’t confirmed to be on the album, but certainly deserves to) that April. Dear Seattle, on the other hand, kicked their new era off back in June with “In My Head”.
7. PARKWAY DRIVE
After the soul-crushing cancellation of their Viva The Underdogs arena run, Parkway feel like an obvious choice for the second headliner. The UNIFY stage is prime for the kind of batshit crazy, pyro-laden setup the Byron boys had planned for their ill-fated tour, and it pretty much goes without saying that if you’re attending UNIFY, you’re probably at least a little bit of a Parkway Drive fan. 2022 also marks the ten-year anniversary of their fourth album, Atlas, so there’s another opportunity for Team UNIFY to play the nostalgia card.
8. SHORT STACK
Any other year, Short Stack would’ve been the most outlandish of wildcard predictions – so laughably unrealistic, it’d be too on-the-nose to include as a gag. But somehow, when the multiverse was torn open (thanks, Loki), we got flung into the reality where the Budgewoi-native pop-rock powerhouse made their comeback by signing to UNFD and dropping a surprisingly heavy tune, for which they cited such influences as Bring Me The Horizon and Hellions. And we know they’d be well-received: when the trio released “Burn You Down” back in March, demands for their inclusion on the UNIFY ’22 lineup ran rampant.