Continuing apace with Rock Sins annual End Of Year Awards for the third year running, this time it’s Rock Sins features and live editor Jamie’s turn to offer up his slice of the great, the good and the disappointing from 2014. Let’s get down to it…
Album Of The Year – Arch Enemy – War Eternal
This has been a horrible one for me this year, with many albums that I’ve absolutely loved and played to death. In the end it came down to a shoot out between Arch Enemy’s War Eternal and Behemoth’s The Satanist with the former getting the nod due to the fact it completely made me re-evaluate my opinion of the band. I already knew how good Behemoth was, and The Satanist is nothing short of a masterpiece, but War Eternal made me love Arch Enemy fully for the first time whereas I’d always thought of them as a band who’d never quite made the most of their potential. War Eternal is the first album of theirs where I don’t want to skip any tracks, and is packed with cracking songs like the title track, You Will Know My Name and Time Goes Black. Alissa White-Gluz taking over from Angela Gossow has re-energised Arch Enemy in a way I never thought possible and I cannot wait to see the 2014 incarnation of Arch Enemy in the flesh thanks to this. You can check out my War Eternal review from earlier in the year here too.
Behemoth – The Satanist
Insomnium – Shadows Of The Dying Sun
Opeth – Pale Communion
Hang The Bastard – Sex In The Seventh Circle
Song Of The Year – Nothing More – This Is The Time (Ballast)
Another incredibly close category, 2014 has been a year for brilliant riffs, crushing breakdowns and face melting solos. Ultimately Nothing More’s first single from their long awaited album, This Is The Time (Ballast) is a song that I’ve kept going back to over and over all year long and therefore is my choice for song of the year. From Jonny Hawkins incredible vocals throughout to a mesmerising main riff to a huge chorus, this is a song that for me ticks all the boxes. I’m sure I’ll be listening to it and singing along well into 2015 and beyond. Their live show is quite something too!
Hang The Bastard – Sex In The Seventh Circle
Steel Panther – Gloryhole
Behemoth – Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Machine Head – Now We Die
Video Of The Year – Steel Panther – Gloryhole
Having also taken this honour in my selections last year, chances are you’ll either love this or hate it. It’s typical Steel Panther, which means its sexually themed and incredibly tongue in cheek. Except this time both in the lyrical content and the content of the video, they’ve taken it to the next level. Underpinned by what is one of their finest songs, this is over the top as only Steel Panther can do it.
Slipknot – The Devil In I
Nothing More – Mr MTV
People On Vacation – You May Not Believe In God
Behemoth – Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
Gig Of The Year – Shadows Fall – The Underworld, Camden Town, 4th September
Whilst I’ve not been to that many gigs in 2014, and I’ve not seen a bad show all year, there was easily only one winner in this particular category. I’ve loved NWOAHM outfit Shadows Fall from the time I first heard them around 2002 / 2003, so the news that the “Hell On Earth” tour where they appeared as special guests to Unearth was to be their last UK tour before going on potentially an indefinite hiatus was pretty devastating. The fact Shadows Fall weren’t even headlining was another kicker, as it meant a shorter set time, but once the show began it didn’t matter one bit. A setlist comprised entirely of old favourites (from the War Within album and previous releases only), it was any long time Shadows Fall’s fan’s dreams come true. Myself and fellow Rock Sins contributor Matt literally left everything we had in the pit that evening. Absolutely magic, I only hope they’ll be back one day.
Machine Head – Camden Town Roundhouse, 6th December
Breed77 – The Borderline, 20th March
Five Finger Death Punch – The Forum, Kentish Town, 30th March
Festival Performance Of The Year – Trivium (Download Festival 2014)
This was an incredibly hard one to choose this year as I witnessed fantastic performances at all three festivals I attended (Download, Sonisphere and Beyond The Redshift). Ultimately, the fact Trivium came into Download with frontman Matt Heafy recently having blown out his voice and managing to pull out an absolutely brilliant performance with the odds stacked against them is what pushed them over the line. An hour plus of Trivium at their absolute best, even if Matt could barely speak between songs. Special mention to Avenged Sevenfold more than living up to expectations as new headliners at Download, I was previously a skeptic and they more than won me over with a brilliant performance.
Avenged Sevenfold (Download)
Nothing More (Download)
Sleepmakeswaves (Beyond The Redshift)
Most Disappointing Album Of The Year – In Flames – Siren Charms
Having reviewed this album for another site, I won’t repeat myself too much in my assessment of Siren Charms, other than the fact after In Flames‘ last album Sounds Of A Playground Fading (which I really enjoyed) I had quite high hopes for Siren Charms. Turns out those hopes were seriously misplaced. Whilst I accept In Flames do not wish to make another Colony or Jester Race type album, Siren Charms is full of watered down attempts at commercial style rock (I would hesitate to even call it metal for the most part) with only the odd twang of an In Flames sounding guitar and Anders Friden’s distinctive voice (in places the high part of the album) to even remind you that this is in fact an In Flames album. A serious misstep along the lines of last years’ “winner” of this award (Megadeth’s Super Collider). Here’s hoping for better things next time out.
Marmozets – The Weird & Wonderful Marmozets
Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds
Band Of The Year – Slipknot
There were many great contenders for this award, most notably the winners of our next award, Hang The Bastard, and the mighty Behemoth with their triumphant comeback following Nergal’s illness, but it is another comeback that has won it for me. Quite simply, they said it would never happen, that Slipknot would never make another album. When founding member Joey Jordison left in the Winter of 2013, that seemed all the more likely. But here we are, a year later, The Gray Chapter has been released to widespread fan and critical acclaim, and Slipknot are selling out arenas across the world once more, not to mention hosting their own huge KnotFest festival in the US and Japan. The slow burning build up of their return culminating in the video for The Negative One (the first new Slipknot song to be heard for six years) showed that Slipknot remain masters of both the visual imagery and of a band who truly understand the importance of the long haul, even if we were all pulling our collective hair out by the fourth Tumblr post. Whether the new bassist and drummer become permanent members of The Nine remains to be seen, but they’re off to a good start. 2014 is the year Slipknot properly returned. Metal needs them more than even some of their fans know.
Hang The Bastard
Best British Band Of The Year – Hang The Bastard
In a year where numerous British metal bands of all shapes and sizes have absolutely excelled themselves, Hang The Bastard have established themselves as an extremely formidable metal force and one hell of a live outfit. Having continued much where they left off in 2013 (having shared the stage with none other than Phil Anselmo and Down at Download), Hang The Bastard have played killer sets with the likes of Crowbar, flattened the Bohemia tent at Sonisphere Knebworth and even supported their heroes Black Sabbath at Hyde Park this Summer. They showed Ohio’s finest King 810 how metal was done British style on their tour supporting the Flint outfit in September and were set to wow more fans on tour with Entombed AD before disaster struck in the shape of singer Tom Hubbard suffering a very serious back injury. Oh, and they released one of the years’ best albums, the riff-a-thon that is Sex In The Seventh Circle. Whilst the year ended on a low note, in 2014 Hang The Bastard were the cream of a very high quality British crop. Here’s hoping for more of the same with a fit and healthy Tom in 2015.
No Sin Evades His Gaze
If you want to discuss my Rock Sins 2014 End Of Year Award choices with me – hit me up on Twitter at @JamieGiberti (original I know). Please also check out the other awards from my fellow Rock Sins team members that we’ve published so far (links are below):
Laura’s 2014 End of year Awards (please click here)
Philip’s 2014 End Of Year Awards (please click here)
Will’s 2014 End Of Year Awards (please click here)
Sam D’s 2014 End Of Year Awards (please click here)
James W’s 2014 End Of Year Awards (please click here)
Katie’s 2014 End Of Year Awards (please click here)
James Halstead’s End Of Year Awards (please click here)
Fran’s 2014 End Of Year Awards (please click here)