As 2015 comes to a close we here at Distorted Sound reflect on the year in metal. Over the coming days up to New Year’s Eve, each team member of Distorted Sound will give their personal opinion on the year we’ve had in rock and metal across numerous categories. We welcome back Alex Piercy who kicks off the first of the Distorted Sound End of Year Awards!
Meliora – GHOST
Initially drawn in by the exquisite rhythms, but lead by the hand to the final tracks of the album due to a wide diversity in dynamics and a superb tonal pallet throughout, Meliora is a beautiful album that reveals new secrets and details upon every listen. Though the vocals may grate with some, eventually they become a niche part of the package, and as you explore the technicality of the music behind the album its clear to see the whole satanic imagery isn’t simply a gimmick but a feature of the band that truly makes the music fun, yet unique as well.
Honourable Mentions: Psychic Warfare – CLUTCH, Sturm Und Drang – LAMB OF GOD, War on Kings – EUROPE
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Asleep In the Dark – MASTODON
Being one of the lengthier and more subtle tracks on the album I was surprised at MASTODON’s decision to release Asleep in the Dark as a single compared to some of the more radio friendly tracks. However the amount of times I’ve sunk my teeth back into this track simply to re-witness what can only be described as a cat’s nightmare on acid has lost count. I think there is no doubt how they come up with the ideas for their excellent back catalogue of videos but this hit a particular chord with me and got me to appreciate the appreciate and listen to the track a lot more enthusiastically afterwards.
Honourable Mentions: The Vengeful One – DISTURBED, X-Ray Visions – CLUTCH, 512 – LAMB OF GOD
GIG OF THE YEAR
RIVAL SONS @ Camden Roundhouse 01/04/15
Following cancellations earlier in the year due to family issues, not only did RIVAL SONS ensure they made it up to their fans by immediately retouring the UK, but they performed their hearts out to what was self-described as, “the most important venue” of their career. Alongside the constant live variations, and acoustic versions scattered throughout the performance it’s hard to gravitate away from how incredible Buchanan’s vocals were, especially during the ending crescendos of Where I’ve Been. The roundhouse is a truly special venue for intimacy only aided by a perfect set list and exceptional performance from the entirety of the band.
Runners Up: SKINDRED/CROSSFAITH Manchester Academy, GHOST Birmingham Institute, SLIPKNOT Manchester Arena
Download Festival 2015
Working numerous festivals over the year it’s difficult to pick between the diverse ranges of unique festivals the UK has to offer. Based primarily on the music alone however Download just continues to blow the others out of the water. There wasn’t a single moment throughout the runtime of the weekend that there wasn’t a band on stage I was interested in seeing, not a moment my pint glass wasn’t being depleted, and despite KISS and the poor weather the sound provided at the Donnington racecourse remains to be the standard for all outdoor music festivals making it impossible to resist returning for 2016.
Honourable Mentions: Reading/Leeds, Bloodstock, Nass
BEST FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
MUSE – Download 2015
MUSE had a lot at stake with their performance at download this year. Normally at tamer festivals MUSE would walk on to the stage as established kings but despite initial controversy, MUSE swiftly conquered the racecourse, wowing an audience with their exceptional stage show and tight delivery. Nobody was silent by the time closing track Knights of Cydonia reached its epic conclusion, partly due to a much heavier set list, picked perfectly for the intended audience. A few exclusives that snuck through kept the fanboys on their toes, and a handful of classics ensured that no one was able to question their authority as the final fireworks cited the end of their performance.
Honourable Mentions: ENTER SHIKARI (Glastonbury), LAMB OF GOD (Download), THE DARKNESS (Download)
BEST LIVE BAND
Now despite having a great love of theatrical stage shows, I have a particular soft spot for bands who simply plug in and let the music do the talking. It take a lot of courage to stand there plain as day and let the crowd judge you solely on the quality of the performance you deliver. CLUTCH have been around a while now, but just keep to pump out new and consistent material, constantly changing up their set lists to keep it fresh for new and old fans alike. It may just be the words of a traditionalist but when you leave a venue completely wowed by a simple lighting rig, an epic singalong, incredibly tight performances and some exceptional feats of dad dancing you know you’ve experienced something special.
Honourable Mentions: SLIPKNOT, RAMMSTEIN, GOJIRA
MOST DISAPPOINTING ALBUM
Drones – MUSE
Despite an amazing performance at download, it has been a mixed year for me as a MUSE fan. By no means is Drones a poor album, if anything it’s the best album they have released since the incredible Black Holes and Revelations. However it’s hard not to be disappointed considering the hype and publicity surrounding the album. Don’t proclaim to us, the fans that you’ve got legendary producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange on board and that you intend to revert back to the Origin of Symmetry era of your career, only to release a 50/50 split of pop tunes, and Absolution era anthems.
Honourable Mentions: What Went Down – FOALS, Volume – Skindred
Still new to the scene, and climbing up the ranks, DORJE offer a truly awesome sound and tone. Pioneered from the former members of TOSELAND and the guitar tec savvy Rob Chapman, you’ll notice fragments of the 90’s prog era, in particular elements of TOOL and KARNIVOOL bleed through their catalogue. With a confident and assured movement on the stage, this is a very rhythmically driven band, constantly improving with every release, and an act you should truly look out for in the years to come.
Honourable Mentions: MARMOZETS, NOTHING BUT THIEVES, JACKSON FIREBIRD
Keep posted to Distorted Sound as we unveil more awards from the rest of the team over the coming days!