The Distorted Sound End of Year Awards continue as each member of the team takes a look over the year in metal. We hand over to Henry Jones who has grown from a occasional contributor to a fully fledged member of the team, over to you Henry!
Juggernaut: Alpha & Omega – PERIPHERY
Juggernaut is perhaps one of the most aptly named albums of all time. Quite simply, this album is huge. It is a sprawling masterpiece capturing every element of PERIPHERY’s signature sound and refining it all into an expertly crafted, purposefully driven epic of wondrously emotional and sonically powerful music. In both scope and depth, this album has exceeded all others this year by a considerable margin, and has raised the bar for production for every band in the genre. From hair raising, soaring melodies, to bone rattling, unforgiving grooves, Juggernaut is the apex of progressive metal for the foreseeable future.
Honourable Mentions: THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER – Abysmal, GODS OF EDEN – From the End of Heaven, VEIL OF MAYA – Matriarch
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Painters of the Tempest II: Triptych Lux III: Curator – NE OBLIVISCARIS
Australian progressive death metal virtuosos NE OBLIVISCARIS certainly know how to use their subtitles, adding further confusion to the mix by releasing a music video for the third movement of the second part of their opening epic from 2014’s Citadel. While many would have preferred to see the piece in its entirety, certain songs are just too lengthy to be performed as they are on record. The resulting video, however, highlights the incredible professionalism and technical proficiency of the band in a tasteful collection of live footage from a recent tour. The shooting is sharp, the lighting is fantastic, and the atmosphere captured is a true embodiment of the music it represents.
Honourable Mentions: OBSCURA – Akroasis, BEYOND CREATION – Fundamental Process
GIG OF THE YEAR
PERIPHERY, VEIL OF MAYA, GOOD TIGER @ Academy 2, Manchester – 14th November 2015
It’s been a very big year for PERIPHERY, and their second performance in Manchester this year proved to be a revelatory affair. Playing a set exceeding a glorious hour in length, the band treated an ecstatic crowd to perhaps one of the best progressive metal sets going, from the rare opener of revered Periphery II trilogy, to the closing Juggernaut numbers that capped off the night. Strong support in the form of GOOD TIGER and an extremely surprising VEIL OF MAYA set this night up to be the best gig of 2015.
Honourable Mentions: CARNIFEX, WITHIN THE RUINS, FALLUJAH, BORIS THE BLADE @ Sound Control, Manchester – 12th December 2015, THY ART IS MURDER, MAKE THEM SUFFER, INGESTED – @ Sound Control, Manchester – 14th August 2015
BEST LIVE BAND
Sonically encapsulating as ever, FALLUJAH’s live set is now something deserving of awe, of reverence and worship. So vast a sound, so deeply intimate and lurid with detail. Such is the virtuosic brilliance of FALLUJAH live. Every fill practiced and precise, every lead powerful and perfected, few bands have the physical ability to perform on such a level. The capabilities to capture such a raw, grippingly emotive timbre, to create such a vibrantly intricate wall of sound, these capabilities are what make FALLUJAH the most exciting band to see live at the moment.
Honourable Mentions: PERIPHERY, NE OBLIVISCARIS
MOST DISAPPOINTING ALBUM
BORN OF OSIRIS – Soul Sphere
Sometimes bands make missteps in judgement. Sometimes bands release a questionable album. Sometimes bands learn from their mistakes too. But it’s not often that a band could misstep as spectacularly as Born of Osiris have. Soul Sphere is more than a misstep. It’s a flailing leap off a cliff. Clearly not learning a single lesson from the abhorrent backlash created by 2013’s Tomorrow We Die ∆live, BORN OF OSIRIS decided to release the same album again two years later. With only marginal improvements on its predecessor, Soul Sphere only further proves that the best of BORN OF OSIRIS was packed into the suitcase of former lead guitarist Jason Richardson when he departed the band’s company.
Dishonourable Mentions: THY ART IS MURDER – Holy War, ABIOTIC – Casuistry
GODS OF EDEN
While Australian progressive death metal act GODS OF EDEN have been around from a few years now, with the release of their debut full length record, From the End of Heaven, they have purchased a place amongst the pantheon of Australian death metal deities. This is an undeniably brilliant debut, and the album sounds like it should be perhaps a second or third full length release considering the quality of writing and production. With such a drastic opening move from these new players, one can only hope to see big things coming the way of GODS OF EDEN.
Honourable Mentions: GOOD TIGER, HOLLOW WORLD