Continuing with the annual Rock Sins End Of Year Awards, it’s now the turn of our live and features editor Jamie to offer up his picks for the past twelve months. Lets dive straight in!
Album Of The Year – Alter Bridge – Live At The Royal Albert Hall
Having waxed lyrical about this on multiple occasions already (the original gig review last year, my review of the album / DVD and a piece I wrote for Stencil Magazine) I won’t repeat myself too much as all of those will give way more detail. This album now has a very special place in my heart as it captured one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to, and probably will ever go to, perfectly. Utterly flawless.
Dream State – Recovery EP
Long Distance Calling – Boundless
The Xcerts – Hold Onto Your Heart
Judas Priest – Firepower
Song Of The Year – Dream State – Help Myself
In a year of so many truly great songs, for me Dream State released the two best individual tracks. It was a toss up between Help Myself and New Waves, but in the end Help Myself just came out on top. The combination of CJ’s voice and the way they utilise all her different vocal styles, the riffs, the mindblowingly good soft interlude and the incredibly heavy breakdown that follows creates an unstoppable combination. In addition, the lyrics, particularly in the interlude are deep, meaningful, thoughtful and very personal ones. For me, there’s literally nothing not to love about this song.
Dream State – New Waves
Chasing Dragons – Like Gravity
While She Sleeps – Anti-social
The Xcerts – Drive Me Wild
Festival Performance Of The Year – Parkway Drive (Download Festival)
One of the easiest categories for me this year was the festival performance. Parkway Drive’s second stage headline slot on the Saturday of Download 2018 was simply phenomenal. Despite a ridiculously early start time to ensure they didn’t clash with Guns N’Roses (thank you very much Axl Rose’s ego) and some technical difficulties (for which none of us in the audience were aware), they put on a performance that can be described as truly career defining. It showcased a band who were definitely ready for headlining arenas in the UK, something that they are going on to do in just a few weeks time. Oh, and did I mention the pyro? Wow.
Emperor (Bloodstock Open Air Festival)
Dream State (Download Festival)
Ozzy Osbourne (Download Festival)
Sertraline (Bloodstock Open Air Festival)
Gig Of The Year – Slayer, Lamb Of God, Anthrax, Obituary – Wembley Arena, November 3rd
This is always a very difficult category, and there was virtually nothing between the winning show and Trivium’s show with the collection of bands they amassed at Brixton in the Spring. The fact that this was Slayer’s farewell tour and the power of their performance, coming just after excellent performances from all three other bands just shaded it over one of the best Trivium shows I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen them 15 times). It is in some ways such a shame that Slayer are going out while they are still able to put on performances of this level, ferocity and power, but in other ways, it’s perfect that one of the greatest metal bands of all time go out while they are still at the top. It was a privilege to be there.
Trivium, Code Orange, Power Trip, Venom Prison – Brixton Academy
Bowling For Soup, The Aquabats, Army Of Freshmen – Brixton Academy
Jaret Reddick, The Dollyrots, Lacey (Heartache and Hilarity Too) – Dingwalls
Halflives, Finding Kate – The Black Heart
Most Disappointing Album Of The Year – Bullet For My Valentine – Gravity
Choosing Bullet For My Valentine for this award genuinely does make me sad, because I thought with Venom they had turned the corner after the almost-career-destroying abomination that was Temper Temper. Then they went and released Gravity. Having attempted to amp into the mainstream success Bring Me The Horizon have garnered with That’s The Spirit (and seemingly how they’ve continued to go with amo), what we got was a pile of syrupy, watered down pop-metal with directionless use of electronics. It was a major disappointment, and probably one that kills off Matt Tuck’s long held goal of headlining Download one of these years.
Fall Out Boy – Mania
Skindred – Big Tings
Machine Head – Catharsis
Video Of The Year – Halestorm – Do Not Disturb
There’s been many great videos by rock and metal bands this year, but rarely do you get one that is simply as FUN as this. Halestorm’s enormously kitsch, over the top halloween frightfest for Do Not Disturb was a big surprise of the best possible kind which showed another side to them. Arejay is definitely not the chef you would want cooking your dinner.
While She Sleeps – Anti-social
Dream State – New Waves
Nothing More – Just Say When
Halflives – Fugitive
New Band / New Musical Discovery Of The Year – Time, The Valuator
Aside from a handful of very special bands (namely Chimpspanner, TesseracT and SikTh), all of whom veer very much into the prog side of the genre, I’ve never had a great relationship with tech metal. Enter the wonderful Time, The Valuator and their amazing album How Fleeting, How Fragile. It’s an album I’ve gone back to time and time again over the course of the year and it’s one of those albums where I still find something new to enjoy every time I listen to it. I only hope that I can catch them live next year (they’ve recently been announced to play Tech Fest, so I’m hoping for some off dates / a headline tour too).
Not Ur Girlfrenz
Band Of The Year – Dream State
2018 – The year Dream State began to concur the planet. From a big headline tour early in the year, the release of their phenomenal EP Recovery in the Spring, to game changing appearances at Slam Dunk Festival (their words, not mine), and rousing a tent filling crowd at 11am on the Sunday of Download 2018, it was clear that something very special was going on with this quintet from South Wales. Things didn’t stop there; A best new band gong at the Kerrang! awards, more conquering festival appearances at 2000 Trees and elsewhere, and a huge tour with The Amity Affliction across Europe (including the UK). A huge headline tour across the length of the UK is scheduled for early Spring 2019, and based on what they’ve achieved this year, the only thing that can stop this band from being a great success is themselves.
And there we are for another year. Please take the time to read the awards from other members of the team, and our guest contributors, who have already been published!