Rock Sins End of Year Awards 2017 – Jamie

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As we hurtle towards 2018, it’s time for another entry in the Rock Sins 2017 End Of Year Awards, and this time it’s our features / live editor, Jamie’s turn.

Album Of The Year – While She Sleeps – You Are We

Back in April, I called While She Sleeps album You Are We a game changing album. I fully stand by that statement. From the time this album got it’s first spins, I knew that nothing was likely to touch it for my album of the year and so it proved. Every song on this album is the Sheffield five piece at the peak of their powers. It has brought them increased recognition (though not as much as I’d like, but thankfully there is still time) and they deserve everything they get as a result of this wonderful, wonderful album.

Honourable Mentions:

Trivium – The Sin & The Sentence
Halflives – Empty Rooms
Nothing More – The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Song Of The Year – Fozzy – Judas / Linkin Park – One More Light

Okay, so I’m breaking the rules a bit here (the rules I set, no less), but I’ll explain why in a minute. Firstly, in a year where there have been so many fantastic songs from bands ranging from Creeper to Trivium and Nothing More to Wintersun, Fozzy’s Judas is an earworm that stayed with me all Summer and beyond. The chorus is absolutely enormous, the riffs are huge, Chris Jericho has never sounded better and the song is possibly the best thing they’ve ever done in their ten plus years as a band.

I’ve also included Linkin Park’s One More Light in this because like so many who will read this, I was utterly devastated by the loss of Chester Bennington on the 20th of July this year. As much as I absolutely did not like One More Light as a Linkin Park album prior to Chester’s passing, the title track has resonated with me in a completely different way ever since. For months listening to it would hit me like a tonne of bricks every single time. Even now I don’t find it easy. But at the same time, it reminds me what Linkin Park have meant to me over the last fifteen years plus and how much joy their music has brought me. #FuckDepression #MakeChesterProud.

Honourable Mentions:

Halflives – Lone Wolf
Trivium – The Wretchedness Inside
While She Sleeps – Empire Of Silence

Gig Of The Year – Alter Bridge w/ The Parallax Orchestra – London Royal Albert Hall, 3rd October

One of the top five gigs of my entire life, such was the spectacle of seeing Myles Kennedy, Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips backed by the 52 piece Parallax Orchestra, playing Alter Bridge’s epic songs as they had never been heard before in the magnificent Royal Albert Hall. I don’t want to repeat myself too much from my review of the evening, but it was something utterly special, the memory of which will stay with me for a very long time. The live album and DVD can’t come fast enough! Very honourable mention to Metallica for their show at The O2 Arena, where they were on fabulously good form, and would have won this award in any other year.

Honourable Mentions:

Metallica – The O2 Arena, London, 24th October
Jaret Reddick – Heartache & Hilarity – Islington Assembly Hall, 21st September
Trivium & SikTh – Camden Town Roundhouse, 17th February

Festival Performance Of The Year – Alter Bridge – Download Festival 2017

It almost feels like I should choose another band for more variety, but truly, Alter Bridge slayed all in their path at Download 2017, just pipping their countrymen in A Day To Remember to my best festival performance award. Both bands were absolutely brilliant on their respective days, but Alter Bridge gave a performance which showed why so many like myself think it is now inevitable that they will headline Download before too much longer. The Albert Hall Orchestra Show above was a cherry on the icing of that particular cake.

Honourable Mentions:
A Day To Remember
Devin Townsend Project
Creeper (all Download Festival 2017)

Favourite New Band / Musical Discovery Of 2017 – Bad Sign

Outside of my role as Rock Sins features and live editor, I also have the privilege to work with many excellent unsigned bands at Rage PR, any of whom I could include here. I don’t feel it would be fair to single one of them out, so instead I’m picking my favourite non Rage PR new discovery of 2017, Croydon three piece Bad Sign. Bad Sign released the absolutely phenomenal album Live & Learn in the Summer of 2017, and rarely does more than a couple of days go by without giving it a blast. Like another of my favourite bands, Nothing More, Bad Sign are almost impossible to categorise, with so many elements to their sound. Labeling isn’t something you should worry about too much with these guys, just sit back and enjoy.

Honourable Mentions:

Get The Shot
All of my 2017 bands at Rage PR

Music Video Of The Year – Paramore – Fake Happy

There’s been some amazing music videos this year, from visually stunning, to highly original, to just purely funny, or occasionally a mix of all three. But in a year when mental health has been such a big thing, the video for Paramore’s Fake Happy just stayed with me. It helps that the song is an absolute classic too, but the video strikes just the right tone to go with the song.

Honourable Mentions:

The Final Clause Of Tacitus – 7 Years
Huxtable – Super Toxic
Architects – Doomsday
Long Distance Calling – Out There

Disappointing Album Of The Year – Fozzy – Judas

This is a category I’ve found very difficult this year, as albums by several bands I love or enjoy greatly really didn’t live up to my hopes. In the end though, I had to give this award to Fozzy for Judas. I’ve massively enjoyed the last three Fozzy albums, and when the title track landed, that raised my hopes considerably (and you’ll be able to see why, given it was my joint song of the year). Unfortunately I didn’t feel that anything else on the album came remotely close, and there were elements I really didn’t enjoy like the over use of effects and auto-tune on Chris’s voice. They just beat Paramore to this award, who escaped due to having two certified epic tracks on After Laughter (Hard Times and Fake Happy) as opposed to Judas’ one (the title track).

Dishonourable Mentions:

Paramore – After Laughter
Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand
Arch Enemy – Will To Power

Band Of The Year – While She Sleeps

While no doubt many of my Rock Sins colleagues will see Code Orange installed in this slot, I can’t look past the five wonderful lads from Sheffield that are While She Sleeps. Their decision to go completely DIY for their third album was incredibly brave, and oh how it paid off. My thoughts on You Are We are documented above but the rest of their year has also been phenomenal. Huge tours in the US with Bullet For My Valentine and more recently Trivium and Arch Enemy that were sold out virtually every night, and a headline slot in the lock up tent at Reading and Leeds. They’ll be starting 2018 the way they’ve finished 2017, as main support to Architects on their run of enormous shows including the one UK date at Alexandra Palace. Look for them to kick on even more next year.

Honourable Mentions:

Alter Bridge
Venom Prison
Code Orange

Most Missed – Chester Bennington

It’s been over five months since Linkin Park’s co-frontman Chester Bennington took his own life, and for so many at times it still doesn’t seem real. Expressions like “the voice of a generation” are bandied around way too easily, but for those getting into rock and metal around the turn of the millennium, it is completely valid. Chester made people feel like they belonged when they had nowhere else to turn. His wife, Talinda, and his Linkin Park bandmates are doing great things for mental health awareness and for charity in his name. He will certainly never be forgotten, and his loss will hopefully serve as a reminder and a message to anyone feeling like they can’t go on that there is help out there.

You can also check out End of Year Awards from other members of the Rock Sins team, including:

Simon Crampton’s 2017 End Of Year Awards
Sam Savigny’s 2017 End Of Year Awards
Sam Dignon’s 2017 End Of Year Awards
Philip Whitehead’s 2017 End Of Year Awards

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