Rock Sins End Of Year Awards 2018 – Gail El-Halaby

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Continuing with our End Of Year Awards for 2018, it’s the turn of one of our newest team members, Gail El-Halaby, to take part in the awards for the first time. Welcome to the party Gail and over to you.

Album Of The Year – TesseracT – Sonder

TesseracT are the band I can thank for introducing me and making me fall in love with prog music and I can honestly say I had Sonder on repeat for months after its release in April this year. Each album TesseracT released beforehand displayed a different side to their musicianship. This time, with a shorter than usual running time, Sonder felt further refined yet retaining multiple layers and what I could only describe as an ethereal atmosphere throughout- it’s truly an experience listening to it and Dan Tompkin’s swooping vocals are impressive. My personal highlight has got to be smile and king- both which happen to be my most played songs this year.

Honourable mentions:

Don Broco – Technology
Coheed and Cambria – Unheavenly Creatures
Loathe – The Cold Sun
The Fever 333 – Made An America
Circles – The Last One

Song of the year – Circles – Dream Sequence

Circles are a band I actually only discovered slightly later on in the year. These aus-prog metallers released their second full-length release late August this year and Dream Sequence stuck out immediately as the clear best track on the album. It’s got a killer hook, catchy groove yet absolutely brutal undertone and Tom Furahasini’s lead vocals perfectly compliment the dark instrumental undertones.

Honourable mentions:

The Xcerts – Feels Like Falling In Love
Coheed & Cambria – Unheavenly Creatures
Leprous – From The Flame
A.W.O.L – Monuments

Gig Of The Year – Crossfaith @ Marble Factory, Bristol

Sadly, I had to skip festival season this year so I feel like I missed out on a lot of potentially mind-blowing performances, but then this Autumn’s gig run came around and made this category a hard one to choose from. I last saw Crossfaith at Slam Dunk a few years prior and remember being really impressed at the Japanese metalcore/electronic hybrid group’s sheer energy and power in their performance. They too released a very commendable (and personally underrated!) album earlier on this year. Seeing them at The Marble Factory in Bristol in October reminded me what an awesome group of performers they were. Despite the slightly smaller than usual crowd, they were clearly loving every minute of it, with walls of death, circle pits and massive mosh pits throughout. The band themselves ensured to play all their best bangers with ‘The Perfect Circle’ brutal drop midway through sending the audience into a particularly heavy frenzy.

Honourable mentions:

Bury tomorrow @ SWX
Joyce Manor @ SWX
Don Broco – 02 Academy Bristol

Video Of The Year – While She Sleeps – Anti-social

Sheffield’s While She Sleeps really are a one of kind. I’ve been following them since around 2012 and seeing how far they’ve come and the huge fanbase they’ve grown is amazing. This video stood out to me due to the fact it addresses a lot of political and social issues. The concept behind it is super unique and interesting and the iconography throughout makes it both a thought-provoking and eye opening watch which perfectly compliments the lyrics of the song itself.

Honourable mentions:

Slipknot – All Out Life
Halestorm – Do Not Disturb
Coheed & Cambria – Unheavenly Creatures
In This Moment – Black Wedding

Most Disappointing Album Of The Year – 30 Seconds To Mars – AMERICA

30 Seconds to Mars have always been one of those band I’ve really not been too overtly fussed about, however always appreciated their music and am a huge fan of 2010’s This Is War and. I’m all about bands developing and changing their style, but their latest release AMERICA, is just dull, unexciting and verging on boring. Walk On Water, the single released a few months before the album, is certainly a decently, catchy song, but overall contains too many songs that I’d happily skip to redeem itself as a good album.

Dishonourable mentions:

Bullet For My Valentine – Gravity
Muse – Simulation Theory
The Amity Affliction – Misery

Best Live Album – Alter Bridge – Live At The Royal Albert Hall

Alter bridge are one of those bands I often drift in and out from, revisiting once or twice a year tops, yet only one word really comes to mind when I first listened to this album: phenomenal, and I can only say I kick myself that I wasn’t there to witness the beauty. The albums running time is just over two hours and displays not only a harmonizing match between rock and classical (the band were supported by The Parallex Orchestra) but also Myles Kennedy’s incredibly live vocals, the power and emotiveness behind his tone never fails to blow me away. My personal highlight is Wonderful Life/Watch Over You, which brings me to tears almost invariably, but other highlights include This Side of Fate and Addicted to Pain.

Band Of The Year – The Fever 333

When I first listened to The Fever 333’s demos late last year I was initially unimpressed, probably from the subconscious bias I had towards lead singer Jason Butler’s older band Letlive. However, when I properly gave them a chance after the release of Made An America I was honestly blown away. It’s a truly unique mishmash of guttural beats, hip-hop, hardcore and just pure anger and protest in the form of music. For such a new band, they’ve already come seriously far, having supported Bring Me the Horizon on tour and filled festival slots over the summer. I particularly love what they’re about, embracing the importance of activism and standing up for what they believe in and are passionate about so outrightly. I can’t wait to see what else they have lined up for the future.

Honourable mentions:


While you’re here, please take the time to check out the awards from some of the other members of the team and our special guests for the year:

Sam Savigny’s 2018 Rock Sins End Of Year Awards
Sam Dignon’s 2018 Rock Sins End Of Year Awards
Matt Mills’ 2018 Rock Sins End Of Year Awards
Jamie Giberti’s 2018 Rock Sins End Of Year Awards
Simon Crampton’s 2018 Rock Sins End Of Year Awards

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