From the long-awaited return of deathcore heroes Despised Icon at Mama Roux's to huge arena-filling icons Iron Maiden at the Genting Arena, 2018 is going to be a year to remember for rock and metal fans.

Here are a handful of the best gigs coming up this year, and how you can be part of the action.

36 Crazyfists, January 20, O2 Academy 2

36 Crazyfists tour on the back of album Lanterns

Though they've changed a few members along the way, 36 Crazyfists vocalist Brock Lindow and guitarist Steve Holt have ensured that the strong, heavy metal foundations on which the band was formed more than two decades ago have stayed fast.

With 2017 album Lanterns an ode to the growth and maturity of the band, their show at the O2 Academy 2 on January 20 is one not to miss. Tickets are available here

Despised Icon, February 12, Mama Roux's

Despised Icon return for just three UK dates, one of which is in Birmingham

When Despised Icon exploded back on the music scene in 2016 with album Beast, it had been seven years of anticipation from fans of the deathcore masters. Seven years that paid off in ten tracks of quintessential DI savagery.

With seven members playing their part in Despised Icon's extreme yet well-crafted noise, fans are eager to be reminded why deathcore enjoyed such a huge surge in popularity a decade ago. We're sure they'll refresh our memory. Tickets here.

Alien Ant Farm, February 12, O2 Institute

Alien Ant Farm

If hardcore death isn't for you, then spend February 12 at the O2 Institute watching nu-metallers Alien Ant Farm.

Known for catchy singles Smooth Criminal and Movies, the band offers infectious riffs and music to dance to. If you fancy a party with an element of nostalgia, then you'll love this one. Get your tickets here.

Trivium, April 17, O2 Academy

Trivium are back with new album The Sin and the Sentence

Trivium has never been a band to rest on its laurels. It's been 13 years since Ascendancy shot them to popularity, and since then they've been changing it up with every album.

While it's always felt like they were struggling to really find where they wanted to be, their latest offering The Sin and The Sentence feels comfortable. And most importantly for metal fans - it feels heavy. Get tickets to their show at the O2 Academy here.

Skindred, April 29, O2 Institute

Benji Webbe of Skindred
Benji Webbe of Skindred

Skindred is a band that wear their influences proudly on their sleeves, incorporating punk, metal, ragga, dancehall, drum n bass and jungle into their unmistakable sound. When they visit the O2 Institute, they promise to bring more than just a top night of mosh pit dancing.

Vocalist Benji Webbe said: "For Skindred, its all about the music, education, entertainment and 100% vibes."

Sounds like our kind of a do. Make sure you don't miss them, click here for tickets.

Machine Head, May 17, O2 Academy

Machine Head are touring with latest album Catharsis

There's something familiar about Machine Head's latest offering Catharsis, like meeting up with a friend you haven't seen for a while.

Still fuelled by fury and driven by a desire to instigate action, Robb Flynn and the boys will be looking to shake us to the core when they arrive at the O2 Academy on May 17 to spit their new material in our faces.

Unlikely to feature on the line-up of any of your favourite festivals, opportunities to see the mighty Machine Head should be grasped with both hands. Get tickets here.

Slam Dunk Festival, May 28, The NEC

Good Charlotte will headline Slam Dunk this year

With names like Pvris, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Creeper and Every Time I Die on the line-up, Slam Dunk looks stronger than ever this year.

While headliners Good Charlotte and Jimmy Eat World will inspire mass singalongs and 'remember this?' glances between friends, there's plenty of new blood on the line-up to have you writing 'download this' lists for when you get home.

Get your tickets to the festival, to be held at the NEC again this year, here.

Iron Maiden, August 7, Genting Arena

Bruce Dickinson in 2016

Whether you've seen them a hundred times in the last thirty years, or you've only found yourself dancing along to their greatest hits in the sticky rock pubs of the Midlands - go and see Iron Maiden when the come to the Genting Arena in August.

The passing of time has only strengthened their performance, with every riff and drum beat delivered with the kind of precision that can only come from decades of experience on the big stage.

There'll be pyro, huge sets and Bruce Dickinson's faultless, haunting voice and the uplifting, hardcore-hearted Killswitch Engage supporting.

Just go - you can thank us later. Tickets here.