It’s that time again for the Rock Sins staff to cast their eyes back over the great, the good and the not quite so good of the past twelve months from 2015. Kicking things off in traditional style is our features ed Jamie. You may spot something of a recurring theme with his picks this year…
Album Of The Year – Lamb of God – VII: Sturm Und Drang
From the moment I first heard this album I was almost certain nothing else would touch it in 2015 and so it proved. Whilst I’ve always loved Lamb of God, I’ve largely gone with a pick and mix approach of songs from their albums rather than enjoying them from start to finish. Sturm Und Drang changed that completely. Emotionally raw and dark lyrics, fearsome vocals, monstrous riffs and one of the best rhythm sections in all of metal doing exactly what it does best throughout the entire album led to an almost faultless record. The easiest award of the bunch for me this time around. Randy, Willie, Chris, Mark, John – I salute you.
Altered Sky – Without Wonderland
Crossfaith – Xeno
Kamelot – Haven
Song Of The Year – Lamb of God – Overlord
The first ever Lamb of God song to feature clean vocals. Some fans were horrified at the mere thought. It can’t work. It won’t work. It shouldn’t work. It did work, and spectacularly at that. Initially a soft, slow burner of a song, Overlord evolves to see Lamb of God at their absolute heaviest and most impressive, and those who know the band’s back catalogue also know it is not a statement to make lightly. There have been some brilliant individual songs this year, but Overlord just shades it ahead of some of those in the honourable mentions.
Trivium – Blind Leading The Blind
Altered Sky – Waves
Kamelot – Veil Of Elysium
While She Sleeps – Four Walls
Iron Maiden – Empire Of The Clouds
Video Of The Year – Iron Maiden – Speed Of Light
A category that can sometimes be really difficult, Iron Maiden’s epic first single from their hugely acclaimed return album The Book Of Souls was accompanies by this brilliant video. With more references to classic video games than one could shake a Goomba at, it’s simply left to us to enjoy it and to try to identify just how many games are paid homage to throughout the video. Get started now.
Trivium – Blind Leading The Blind
The Red Paintings – It Is As It Was
Gig Of The Year – Slipknot / KoRn – Wembley Arena
There have been some truly amazing gigs this year, but the big one from right at the start of the year still came top of the pile for me. With KoRn on absolutely scintillating form as the best warm up you could possibly hope for, the new look Slipknot revealed themselves to Wembley Arena and then promptly tore it limb from limb. Rarely has there been such emotion, audience participation and unbridled joy mixed with chaos in one of London’s most famous venues. A full review of the gig can be found here for those interested or for those who want to relive it in greater detail.
Megadeth / Lamb of God / Children Of Bodom / Sylosis – Wembley Arena
Opeth – Drury Lane Theatre
The Red Paintings – The Borderline
Festival Performance Of The Year – Muse – Download Festival 2015
Having not seen Muse live since the Absolution Tour in November 2003, and having not really enjoyed their last couple of albums, I went into their Download headline performance with low expectations. Within 5 minutes I knew something special was transpiring. Having reviewed the performance in full back in the Summer I don’t want to repeat myself too much but it was one of the best Download Festival sets I’ve ever seen in twelve years of heading to Donington on an annual basis. Much kudos also to the metal gods Judas Priest who on most other years would’ve taken this crown for themselves.
Lamb of God
In Flames (all Download 2015)
Most Disappointing Album Of The Year – Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit
Anyone who knows me will find this not much of a surprise to say the least. I’ve never rated Bring Me The Horizon but with their last album Sempiternal they’d made me take a second look as they’d written an album with at least four genuinely huge songs that took them to another level. Sadly upon hearing That’s The Spirit my thoughts of them being not worth my listening attention returned. Absolutely everything that was good about Sempiternal, or indeed about their earlier material that I didn’t particularly care for – the aggression, the passion and the fuck you attitude that coursed through all of it so obviously – was gone. Instead (with the exception of Drown, which I’ll admit is a brilliant song), what they’ve turned out sounds something like a watered down Linkin Park album with added synth. Large sections of the masses have loved it, unsurprisingly, but it seems to me that Bring Me The Horizon lost their heart and soul with That’s The Spirit.
Clutch – Psychic Warfare
Black Tide – Chasing Shadows
Band Of The Year – Lamb Of God
Without repeating myself too much from above, Lamb of God have had one hell of a year. With Randy Blythe’s name cleared from his incarceration saga, the band regrouped and put one an album that will hopefully be regarded as a metal classic in years to come. They slayed all festivals in their path, including Download, and then managed to achieve the not exactly trivial task of upstaging Megadeth on their co-headline tour of the UK in November, something that left many of us begging for a Lamb of God UK headline tour in 2016. Hopefully wishes will come true, and because of all of the above Lamb of God are my band of the year for 2015.
Five Finger Death Punch
Metal Hero Of The Year – Chris Adler – Lamb Of God / Megadeth
Starting the year already as one of metal’s premiere drummers, Chris Adler was speculated upon by many as being the secret new Slipknot drummer, something he had a little bit of fun with online before eventually confirming it wasn’t him. Instead, he was actually the secret new Megadeth drummer! Hearing, and then seeing Chris Adler behind the drum kit for Megadeth at Wembley Arena in November was quite a sight to behold (even more so considering he’d only finished playing with Lamb of God half an hour earlier). For his willingness to do double duty on the tour, and for being in two of the best metal bands on the planet right now, this final award goes to the awesome Chris Adler.
Rob Halford – Judas Priest
Richie Faulkner – Judas Priest
Corey Taylor – Slipknot
The thoughts of many other members of the team will be appearing over the coming days so stay tuned for the next installment of the Rock Sins End Of Year Awards for 2015!