So we are continuing with the Distorted Sound End of Year Awards and this time it is over to resident writer David Creamer. Over to you Dave! 2015 was a cracking year for heavy metal music, with many bands and artists getting busy with playing plenty of shows and recording excellent new releases for their adoring fans. Here are some of my personal highlights of the year!
Behold.Total.Rejection – REVENGE
Tired of the same hum drum black metal type bands producing the same old same old? Well if you’re a fan of the Deathcrush era of MAYHEM then maybe you ought to check out the Canadian bestial black metal band REVENGE, especially their newest slab of gnarled, blackened anger, Behold.Total.Rejection. (B.T.R). A follow up to Scum.Collapse.Eradication, B.T.R is the first release by REVENGE that features a 3 word title that just so happens to make sense. This earned a spot as album of the year for me because it marks a return to the straight up chaotic riffage, yet it also presents a more creative approach to some of the riffs, with some melodic undertones creeping in, without cramping the straight up craziness that REVENGE hammer into your eardrums! A must for any crazed black/thrash metal fan!
Honourable Mentions: Scar Sighted – LEVIATHAN, Meliora – GHOST, Luminiferous – HIGH ON FIRE
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Monsters Ball – BUTCHER BABIES
A hit and miss band for most people, but nonetheless still awesome as hell, BUTCHER BABIES released a video for the first single off their recent release Take it Like a Man and it sure is one heck of a party, quite literally. With everyone dressed up in devilish attire, the setting sure is set up as if everyone is geared to raise hell on Halloween. Yet, the message of the video really seems to point towards to just be yourself, let loose and be free without anyone casting judgements of how to act on you. It certainly is my favourite video of the year, especially since it involves a sequence with an uptight PERIPHERY fan.
Honourable Mentions: Onde Børn – MYRKUR, The Threat is Real – MEGADETH, Psychosphere (Live Music Video) – PERIPHERY
GIG OF THE YEAR
Bloodcult Reformed @ The Rainbow, Birmingham
Quickly rising further and further up into the ranks, Liverpool doom outfit CONAN geared up for battle alongside the likes of UNDERSMILE, SLABDRAGGER, THE WOUNDED KINGS and members of GRIMPEN MIRE for an all-day gig in memorial of Paul Van Linden of GRIMPEN MIRE who sadly passed away earlier in the year. As well as offering a very potent selection of the finest doom bands around, this memorial show also offered raffle prizes comprised of merchandising put together by the bands playing the show, to help raise money for those affected by Paul’s death. The whole vibe of the gig on the whole really shows what heavy metal music is all about, and that’s about being surrounded by friends and having fun appreciating a common interest that everyone is passionate about. It was a very warming and a very heavy gig, especially when CONAN stormed the stage with Matamp towers stacked to the high heavens.
Honourable mentions: NILE + SUFFOCATION Sound control, Manchester, VITAL REMAINS+ SEPREVATION The Star and Garter, Manchester, D.R.I Glasgow Audio
Bloodstock Open Air 2015
Quickly becoming the most popular independent heavy metal festival in the UK, and quite rightly so, Bloodstock Open Air (B.O.A) enticed many fans back with its warm and inviting atmosphere. This year’s line-up was rather questionable, with a string of mediocre headliners taking the Ronnie James Dio stage, the likes of TRIVIUM and WITHIN TEMPTATION. This made many of the festival goers wince at the thought of that, yet the beauty of B.O.A is that if the headliners weren’t your cup of tea, there were plenty of other bands and things on offer to suit you. Being a rather small festival, this allows Bloodstock’s friendly and inviting atmosphere to really take hold, with friendly people, friendly security and many well managed activities on offer, and we thoroughly hope to see you there in 2016!
Honourable Mentions: Leeds Festival 2016, Damnation Fest
BEST FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
DEATH TO ALL – Bloodstock Open Air
One of the absolute corkers that generated quite a lot of excitement for this year’s Bloodstock Open Air festival was the announcement of the DEATH tribute band DEATH TO ALL featuring ex death members STEVE DI’GIORGIO, GENE HOGLAN and BOBBY KOELBLE. Together, they performed many of DEATH’S classics, as well as quite a few off the SYMBOLIC album seeing as it was the tour for that album. The live sound was perfect, the musicians playing were spot on, and it was anything a DEATH could have asked for, apart from the resurrection of CHUCK SCHULDINER himself! A fitting tribute to his legacy and then some!
Honourable Mentions- CONAN (Bloodstock 2015), BELPHEGOR (Bloodstock 2015), GODFLESH (Bloodstock 2015)
BEST LIVE BAND
Earlier in the year, I got an early Christmas present. An announcement that EYEHATEGOD were finally coming to play Manchester, and with that, I was all over the buy tickets button like a rash. One could not have prepared himself for the show that was about to come! To describe it briefly, IT KICKED PURE ARSE! Considering how much crap many of the members of the band had been through in their lives, they still know how to put on a bloody brilliant show! The set-list featured all the classics plus lots of songs they don’t play very often from all of their albums and their live sound as well as their actual performance was so spot on, I could help but just go mental. Truly outrageous, best live performance from one of the best sludge bands out there! Get in!
Honourable Mentions: ACID REIGN (Manchester Academy 3), GHOST (Leeds Festival), SLABDRAGGER (The Rainbow, Birmingham)
MOST DISAPPOINTING ALBUM
Purple – BARONESS
Now, BARONESS are widely regarded as an outstanding sludge metal band, and many talk of the perfection of their latest release that is Purple, but the thing is, is this really the best that BARONESS can do? I mean, the whole demeanour of Purple is anything but sludge and it strikes some similar parallels with MASTODON and their most recent rubbish pile of a release. PURPLE has signified a certain change in BARONESS’s music style, but it doesn’t seem to be an exciting, albeit good one. I can simply picture the look of horror in my face when I cranked it with such high standards, only to be well and truly let down.
Dishonourable Mentions: That’s the Spirit – BRING ME THE HORIZON, Ascendants – OCEANO, Crypt of the Devil – SIX FEET UNDER
A must listen for any blackened thrash maniac out there, the lads in Manchester’s finest thrash outfit EXXXEKUTIONER have really put themselves through their paces this year, as they secured themselves a slot opening for EXODUS, as well as organising an all-dayer in light of Napalm Promotions untimely demise due to their ridiculous comments. This all dayer proved a massive hit to the denizens of Manchester, firmly securing the love and affection of their local fan base. All we can hope for now, is a new release from these boys in the new year, and for them to further explode onto the metal scene, maybe even doing a full UK tour!