Rock Sins Staff End Of Year Awards 2014 – Philip

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Welcome back all to Rock Sins 2014 End Of Year Awards. We’re into our third week now and this time up it’s one of our newer writers Mr Philip Whitehead, who has a very interesting selection of choices for you all to digest. Without further ado, on with the Rock Sins 2014 End Of Year Awards. Over to you Philip….

1) Album of the year: Skyharbor – Guiding Lights

After moving from solo project to collaborative project and now into a full fledged 5 piece featuring members of TesseracT, Jeff Loomis’ band and Goddess Gagged, Skyharbor have really come into their own with their brand of atmospheric progressive metal. The heaviness may have subsided but the musicianship on display is top class and Dan Tompkins’ vocal performance is something to be admired. Whether or not he’ll remain committed to the project now that he is back in TesseracT (as well as many other projects including another highlight of 2014, Piano) is still to be seen but Skyharbor have a lot to give with their songwriting and album #3 is sure to build on this.

2) Song of the year: Insomnium – The Primeval Dark/While We Sleep

Technically two songs but the first serves as an extended intro to the second so I’ll allow it. Insomnium have really worked to perfect their dark blend of melodic death metal and doom metal and these songs are the ultimate result of this work. Flowing with sweet melodies and energy, it’s the perfect way to open up an album.

3) Video of the year: Equilibrium – Wirtshaus Gaudi

There’s not really much that can be said for music videos as many nowadays fall into the same patterns of playing too safe and being unimaginative, or trying too hard and coming off as overly pretentious. But with a folk metal song about a pub, how better represent it than with the band letting loose in a bar? Lots of fun moments in this video.

4) Gig of the year: Equilibrium/TrollfesT/Nothgard, Islington Academy 2, October 6 2014

2014 hasn’t been much of a year for me in terms of gigs outside my own, but the Equilibrium show at the Islington Academy 2 in October is a real highlight. The Germans don’t often come to the UK, and nor do the two support acts, so to see the three performing that night was a real treat for folk metal fans across London. All three bands were on top form (with new Equilibrium guitarist/Nothgard frontman Dom R. Crey returning from illness that night) from the triple guitar onslaught of Nothgard, the maniacal Britney Spears covers of TrollfesT and the folk metal majesty of Equilibrium, everything went right.

5) Festival performance of the year: N/A

Unfortunately I was unable to attend any festivals in 2014, so this would have to be a miss from me.

6) Most disappointing album of the year: INCITE – Up In Hell

After the promising “All Out War” in 2012, Incite saw fit to replace their entire lineup (save for frontman Richie Cavalera) for their third album. The results were not great. All the promise was gone and despite competent musicianship and a cameo from Cancer Bats’ Liam Cormier, the music is entirely predictable and forgettable and a real disappointment for those hoping Richie could finally deliver something good enough to break out of his step-father Max’s shadow.

7) Band of the year: District Unknown

After several years performing in secret to hide from Taliban insurgents, the Afghan quintet were finally able to get a stable lineup and release their debut album which, although flawed in vocal performance and production, still shows a lot of promise and raw songwriting potential. A tremendous achievement for a band that’s had to go through so much in their time together.

8) British Underground artist of the year: No Sin Evades His Gaze

After announcing themselves on the scene with the single “Age of Sedation” in early 2014, modern metal quintet No Sin Evades His Gaze delivered an absolute monolith of grooves and aggression in their full debut, also called “Age of Sedation”. With tight songwriting, vocal hooks and enough variety to keep the listener’s attention, expect big things from this band in the next few years.

9) International Underground artist of the year: Quinta Travessa

Having already awarded District Unknown to overall band of the year, underground instead goes to Brazilian nu metallers Quinta Travessa who certainly now how to write a song with grooves and hooks with their debut EP, Hora da Verdade. With any luck the increased interest in nu metal of recent years will help propel Quinta Travessa to new heights. with tracks like “Treta”, “Ceu” and “Parnaiba” sure to get fans moving in the pits and frontman Erick Silva’s rapid fire vocal delivery putting Fred Durst to shame.

10) The “You Tried” award for worst album: Unleashing My Demons – Tran[ce]scen[e]dance

Technically an EP but at 9 tracks I feel it qualifies. Too many ideas with too little talent and no songwriting ability combined with woeful vocal performances do not a good idea make, and whoever thought this was worthy of release needs a good talking to. With more simplified songwriting, a stripped back approach and a new singer, there may be some hope for this band, however, I don’t see that much change coming any time soon for this band and I fear they will be trapped in this hole of musical hell that they’ve dug themselves into for a long time yet.

Want to discuss Philip’s choices in the 2014 Rock Sins End Of Year Awards? Then look him up on Twitter at @KuroiJukai. Please also check out the choices by other members of the Rock Sins writing team from our 2014 awards below:

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)

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