Continuing with our annual Rock Sins tradition of the end of year awards, this time up it’s one of our senior writers, Sam Dignon. Over to you Sam!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: OATHBREAKER – RHEIA
2016 was a ridiculously strong year with at least five albums battling out for this top spot. In the end Oathbreaker came out on top with their absolutely stunning album Rheia. People often talk about albums beng journeys and this is the best way to describe Rheia. From its fragile beginnings with 10:56 the album is an emotional storm and at the centre of it is Caro Tanghe. Second Son Of R perfectly demonstrates every aspect of her vocal performance on this album. Oathbreaker grab you by the throat from the earliest moments and don’t let go until the very end, even the moments of downtime have a mesmerising and haunting quality to them. Due to it’s challenging nature Rheia is never going to be the biggest album ever but it stands a chance of being recognised as a truly iconic cult classic in years to come.
Touche Amore – Stage Four
letlive. – If I’m The Devil
Every Time I Die – Low Teens
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
SONG OF THE YEAR: LETLIVE – GOOD MOURNING AMERICA
If I’m The Devil… was a bit of a departure for letlive. as it saw them drift further from their hardcore roots but this song was the perfect way to bridge the gap between their two distinct styles. I think it’s fair to say that Jason Aalon Butler might be the best vocalist in punk right now and on this song he is just showing off. Throw in a massive chorus and frighteningly relevant lyrics given the current situation in America and the end result is one of the best protest songs in years.
Oathbreaker – Second Son Of R
Architects – Memento Mori
Creeper – Misery
FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR: SICK OF IT ALL – GROEZROCK
Headlining a festival tent where the stage had no barrier and celebrating 30 years of being a band, this set was always going to be a lot of fun. Opening with Take The Night Off was a great way to get things started and resulted in many stage dives. Sick Of It All just delivered a definitive greatest hits set and proved that 30 years on they can still go harder than most young bands.
Yellowcard – Slam Dunk
Cancer Bats – Slam Dunk
Every Time I Die – Slam Dunk
GIG OF THE YEAR: AGAINST ME – ELECTRIC BALLROOM, LONDON
I want to start this by saying that gender identity is something I struggled with for years and that Laura Jane Grace has become a very important figure to me. Seeing so many people who were trans, gender fluid or even just allies gather together to celebrate music just created such a special evening. The entire room screaming along to True Trans Soul Rebel was a great way to get things started and things just got better. Over 22 songs Against Me played hit after hit finding plenty of time for new material of the brilliant latest album Shape Shift With Me. They even dropped the deepest of deep cuts with Tonight We’re Gonna Give it 35%. Still all the best stuff was saved for the end. I Was A Teenage Anarchist and Black Me Out wrapped up the main set while Baby I’m An Anarchist and Sink Florida Sink resulted in huge sing alongs during the encore. The night was just a celebration of gender diversity and acceptance that many in the audience won’t forget.
Architects – Brixton Academy
letlive. – Fighting Cocks
MOST DISAPPOINTING ALBUM: MESHUGGAH – THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON
Meshuggah have continuously proved themselves to be one of the best metal bands around over the last few years. One of the most technically brilliant and challenging bands around it was a huge shame to hear them release something so mundane. The Violent Sleep Of Reason just feels like Meshuggah going through the motions, that amazing musicianship is still there but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before from Meshuggah. Given the four year gap between this album and Koloss it’s a huge shame Meshuggah couldn’t come up with something more inspiring. The Violent Sleep Of Reason certainly isn’t a bad album but it falls so far behind the rest of Meshuggahs back catalogue.
Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis
Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage
Opeth – Sorceress
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR: EVERY TIME I DIE – IT REMEMBERS
A slightly trippy video with some really cool visuals and an appearance from Panic At The Disco’s Brendan Urie, what’s not to love? It Remembers was arguably the standout track from Every Time I Dies newest album and the video just fits the desert rock and stoner vibes of the song.
Code Orange – Forever
FAVOURITE DISCOVERY OF THE YEAR: THE INTERRUPTERS
Instead of trying to act like The Interrupters are a new band I felt it was best to class them as the best band I discovered this year. 2016 really saw The Interrupters grab peoples attention largely due to how brilliant their latest album Say It Out Loud was. Managing to make ska punk sound more vital than ever, listening to The Interrupters is such a joyful experience. With a support slot on the upcoming Green Day tour and a few headline dates early next year, it looks like The Interrupters could really start to make a name for themselves in the UK soon.
BAND OF THE YEAR: ARCHITECTS
Even without the tragic events 2016 brought and how the band overcame them, Architects already did enough to earn this honour. All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us might just be their strongest album yet (A Match Made In Heaven and Memento Mori are easily two of their best songs ever). And with the announcement of their biggest headline tour ever it looked like 2016 was going to be the greatest year in Architects’ career. And then after the tragic passing of Tom Searle it’s fair to say the entire scene was devastated. Where weaker bands might have struggled to cope with this loss (understandably so) Architects pushed on and the entire scene rallied behind them. Anyone who went to the headline tour can tell you exactly how emotionally draining it was but also uplifting. A celebration of life and making the most of the time we have. Dan Searle’s speech at Brixton Academy really drilled this home. Architects have always been one of the strongest bands in the UK metal scene and in their toughest year ever they rose to the very top of it.
Make sure to stay tuned for more end of year awards from the rest of the staff, and you can also catch up with Jamie’s end of year awards as well.