Continuing our look at the great, the good and the albums that just made you want to go “Meh” from last year, the Rock Sins 2015 End Of Year Awards continue with the views of our newest writer and resident fan of all things black (though admittedly on a metal website that’s not saying too much), Ali Cooper. Read on for her take on the last twelve months….
1) Album Of The Year: Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor
Manson’s reinvented himself yet again, and this time it’s a turn for the grungy, biker-esque menace. The characterisation of a seductive larger-than-life sinner through ‘Deep Six’ and ‘Killing Strangers’ just goes to show that Manson hasn’t lost an ounce of his performance artistry since his fully-fledged start in 1989. Wading through his trademark religious irony of ‘Mephistopheles of Los Angeles’, this sinister new guise lurks in the shadows with the devil beneath his feet, while Cupid blindly and spitefully carries a gun to wreak more catastrophes than any vigilante can handle. After a few false moves and a rather disappointing last record, ‘The Pale Emperor’ is solid platinum proof that even Marilyn Manson can stay relevant, so why aren’t you?
2) Song Of The Year: Fall Out Boy – Fourth of July
If asked to describe something distinct about Fall Out Boy, chances are you’re hearing Patrick Stump echoing round your cranium with heaven-sent lyrics you wished you’d written. ‘American Beauty // American Psycho’s ‘Fourth of July’ showcases such a reputation in a fraction more positive light, less of the “Loaded God complex, cock it and pull it,” and more of the “May the bridges I have burned light my way back home.” Its serene dream-like state gently ushers in a new bass-heavy stance but still remains oh so signature, right down to a final cleverly-hidden, heart-breaking refrain. You can’t fault these four gents for adapting to their ever-changing surroundings in the most Fall Out Boy way possible.
3) Video Of The Year: Panic! At The Disco – Emperor’s New Clothes
The ‘00s emo scene will probably never perish, and rightly so when Panic! At The Disco are still functioning. Continuing ‘This Is Gospel’s narration of his final moments, Brendon Urie, now the only remaining original member, holds the fort in his signature effortless style throughout. With the help of a truly expert makeup department and the odd well-timed rumbling thunder strike, sprinkled with a dash of not-quite-dead-yet extras, ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ heralds quite possibly the most convincing portrayal of the devil that all these years of Hammer horrors and exorbitant CGI have ever seen. If you weren’t already hyped for ‘Death of a Bachelor’s release in January, you should be now.
4) Gig Of The Year: The Used – KOKO London, 19/02/2015
If you thought your job was hard, try being Justin Shekoski stepping into the inimitable size 9s of The Used’s now-ex-guitarist Quinn Allman. A lineup that fans hardly expected to change any time soon, Justin’s first headlining UK outing alongside the usual suspects made the KOKO a tough crowd to please. Fast-forward to the swansong of ‘On My Own’ performed acoustically from the elaborate blood-red balcony stage left, and it’s as if nothing’s changed. A reputably bitter crowd when it comes to the changes the band have implemented over their many years instantly warmed to this adaptation the moment they heard their beloved familiar notes echo against the venue’s grand fixtures.
5) Festival Performance Of The Year: KISS – Download Festival, 15/06/2015
KISS closing any festival is bound to result in excessive pyro, zipwire theatrics, blood spitting, mechanical projecting stages and a firework or fifty. However, it’s the familial surroundings of Download Festival that satisfy that craving for a true connected audience ethos. Standing shoulder to shoulder and arm-in-arm with total strangers, swaying to ‘Do You Love Me’, thrashing to ‘God Of Thunder’ and cheering to ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’, KISS may be an eccentric cliché but they do it so flawlessly.
6) Most Disappointing Album Of The Year: Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit
In retrospect, 2013’s ‘Sempiternal’ was always going to be just a smidgeon unbeatable. From the moment ‘Drown’ soared through social media, it was painfully evident fans would pretty much lap up anything BMTH put their hands to, even if it was utter bollocks resembling a USSR-approved Teletubbies remix. As Twitter lost its proverbial over the ‘relatable’ lyrics of ‘True Friends’ and Tumblr consumed itself with umbrellas and basic smiley faces, ‘That’s The Spirit’ became wall-to-wall sickeningly commercial and saccharine. In its defence, it’s succeeded in blatantly highlighting the divide between the music fans and the sheep.
7) Band Of The Year: We Are Harlot
A vocalist for a time before his own, Danny Worsnop wraps his chops around classic sassy rock ‘n’ roll with new outfit We Are Harlot, which seemed to be teasing their self-titled debut since the Last Supper. It’s perfectly worth the extortionate waiting time, however, as it turns out that album was a generous helping of utter reinvigorated class. From the assured contagion of ‘Denial’ to the shameless sleaze of ‘The One’, bands like We Are Harlot just don’t make the cut anymore, but it’s thanks to Danny’s irresistible appeal that they’ve received every atom of the credit they deserve for reviving a golden age for the new age. Ticking every single box with consummate ease, give the solemn ‘Someday’ a spin immediately followed by ‘Dancing On Nails’ and their versatility pours through every second to prove this is an Aerosmith-to-Def-Lep-via-Queen detour band you never realised you needed.
If you’d like to catch up with other posts in the Rock Sins 2015 End Of Year Awards you can find them below: