01-Jan-2013It's never easy to try and encapsulate the events of a year into a single column of text. 2012 made this task even more difficult than usual. The heavy music world excelled itself, with both local and international acts offering a veritable bounty of riches that made choosing favourite releases a pleasant headache for most of the Loud staff.
While world political headlines were dominated by power handovers in North Korea and China, the US elections, a senseless war in Syria and all manner of scandals and personal attacks coming out of Canberra, the metal and rock universe threw up plenty of its own dramas.
In June came the extraordinary news that Lamb of God's Randy Blythe had been arrested in Prague on manslaughter charges following the death of a fan at a show two years before - allegedly after Blythe had thrown or pushed him off stage. His trial begins in February. Another bombshell dropped mid-December when Lostprophets vocalist Ian Watkins was arrested on sex charges relating to possession of child pornography and conspiracy to engage in paedophilic acts. He remains in custody.
On Halloween, fans were shattered by the news of the death of Mitch Lucker, the heavily-inked frontman for deathcore heroes Suicide Silence after he crashed his motorbike while riding drunk. Older metal fans raised a glass just before Christmas for Mike Scaccia, whose guitar work adorned much of Ministry's output as well as that of thrash pioneers Rigor Mortis. Others we lost this year included heavy rock trailblazers Jon Lord, whose skill at combining the classical with the contemporary in Deep Purple laid the groundwork for so much progressive rock that followed, Ronnie Montrose, who inspired countless rock guitarists with his jazz-inflected heavy blues style, and Michael Davis, bass guitarist with seminal US punks the MC5 and the third member of the band to pass away.
The death that had by far the widest impact across the music community however was perhaps that of Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys. An artist whose music crossed genres and boundaries like that of few others, Yauch was also a visionary film-maker, philanthropist and patron of the arts whose death will continue to be felt across the world of the performing arts for many years to come.
Early in the year, the Big Day Out and Soundwave festivals again proved hugely popular despite avid criticism of the line-ups - particularly that of the former - and the seemingly endless rounds of Sidewave gigs around the periphery of the latter provided metal and punk fans with plenty of wallet pain. So it would continue throughout the year with little more than a few days going by without a tour announcement of some kind. The endless traffic hit a few bumps in the road when Warbringer's tour promoter apparently split with the entire proceeds while the band was on stage in Melbourne and a short while later the bands touring with the Whiplash Festival mutinied amongst tales of shoddy organisation by the promoter that included lack of adequate promotion and failure to even provide necessary equipment.
The announcement of the 2013 Soundwave bill mid-year caused the festival to sell out almost immediately with tickets going on sale for vastly inflated resale prices on eBay within minutes. Always at the centre of controversy, outspoken promoter AJ Maddah courted further debate when he addressed complaints about the lack of Australian bands at his festival with remarks on Twitter that disparaged the local music scene, although this is unlikely to have any effect on the future success of the event.
At the local level, heavy music continued its recent level of popularity with the ARIA charts simply abounding with releases: Parkway Drive, In Hearts Wake, Buried in Verona, House vs. Hurricane, The Mark of Cain and Thy Art is Murder among those clocking up Top 40 albums as The Amity Affliction hit #1 with Chasing Ghosts. Blood Duster briefly made headlines by making and then destroying their new album as a protest against music piracy and Psycroptic and Northlane had big years once again.
If there's anything left to say, it's simply that 2012 was a really amazing year for metal, punk and heavy rock and Loud was happy to play a role in it.
- Brian Giffin (Randy Blythe pic: Travis Ecclestone)
2012 Year-end lists and remarks.
Brian Giffin - Managing Editor Top 10 albums:
Baroness - Yellow & Green
The Mark of Cain - Songs of the Third and Fifth
Woods of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
Psycroptic - The Inherited Repression
Gojira - L'enfant Sauvage
Katatonia - Dead End Kings
The Levitation Hex - The Levitation Hex
Ian Rilen & the Love Addicts - Family from Cuba
Adrift for Days - Come Midnight...
Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity
Honourable mentions: Okera - A Beautiful Dystopia, Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion, Napalm Death - Utilitarian, Red Bee - Ictus, King Parrot - Bite Your Head Off, Deftones - Koi No Yokan, Be'lakor - Of Breath and Bone. Plus heaps more. A great year for heavy music.
Baroness - "Take My Bones Away"
Woods of Ypres - "Lightning and Snow"
The Mark of Cain - "Avenger"
Gojira - "Explosia"
King Parrot - "Shit on the Liver"
The Tea Party - Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Mastodon & Gojira - HiFi Bar, Sydney
G3 - Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Psycroptic - Bastardfest, Sydney
Fear Factory - HiFi Bar, Sydney
Fozzy - Sin and Bones
Soundgarden - King Animal
Surprise(s) of the year:
Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth. A really strong return effort.
Cherri Bomb - This is the End of Control. Sterling debut
Primal Rock Rebellion - Awoken Broken. Solid and interesting experiment that works much better than it appears on paper.
Brendan Crabb - Contributing Editor
Top 10 albums: Gojira- L'Enfant Sauvage
Deftones- Koi No Yokan
Psycroptic- The Inherited Repression
High on Fire- De Vermis Mysteriis
The Mark of Cain- Songs of the Third and Fifth
Baroness- Yellow & Green
Testament- Dark Roots of Earth
Danko Jones- Rock and Roll is Black and Blue
Anathema- Weather Systems
Honourable mentions: The Devin Townsend Project- Epicloud, Katatonia- Dead End Kings, Twelve Foot Ninja- Silent Machine, Storm Corrosion- self-titled, Beyond Terror Beyond Grace- Nadir.
Goatwhore- "When Steel and Bone Meet"
Storm Corrosion- "Drag Ropes"
The Devin Townsend Project- "Save Our Now"
Woods of Ypres- "Career Suicide (is Not Real Suicide)"
Best compilation Release/reissue: High on Fire- The Art of Self Defense reissue.
The legal debacle over the Queensrÿche name; as if they hadn’t detracted from their legacy enough in recent years!
Fozzy’s Sin and Bones- a solid effort, but after two excellent albums perhaps they tried to cast their net a little too wide this time around.
Best International live performances:
Mastodon, Soundwave Sydney
Gojira, The Hi-Fi, Sydney
High on Fire, Manning Bar, Sydney
Sick of it All, Manning Bar, Sydney
The Tea Party, Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Best Australian live performances: Psycroptic, any time I caught them in 2012
Mindsnare, The Hi-Fi, Sydney
Parkway Drive, Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Frenzal Rhomb, Wollongong UniBar, Wollongong
LORD, The Patch, Wollongong
Overall: *The most encouraging aspect of the year was the number of Australian heavy acts who really stepped up their game – primarily Beyond Terror Beyond Grace (RIP), Twelve Foot Ninja, Thy Art is Murder and Be’lakor.
*People again got far too worked up about the metal/hard rock category of the ARIAs. Okay, it’d be a welcome prospect for an actual metal band to win it each year, but the awards’ credibility has been on a downward spiral for years anyway. To paraphrase a Facebook friend, if the ARIAs were serious in rewarding the best and most successful local acts, Parkway Drive would win a host of gongs every year. Not that they need them – they continue to reach new heights, even though the mainstream media largely ignores their incredible success.
*I didn’t have high expectations for them, but they’re worth mentioning as they were possibly the worst albums of the year - In This Moment’s Blood and Ill Niño’s Epidemia. One was unlistenable and the other was excruciating in its transparent attempt to win over the deathcore crowd. Nice try, lads.
*Interview highlights were many, too (some of which will or have appeared on this website, others elsewhere). I won’t forget slightly pissing off Slash by asking one too many Guns N’ Roses questions for his liking anytime soon. Otherwise, it was a great interview. Maynard James Keenan was a unique experience but a welcome and memorable one. A face-to-face chat with John Baizley about the new Baroness album before his solo set in February - fantastic. Steven Wilson was amazingly articulate in his views on modern heavy music. Devin Townsend was fascinating as always. Joe Duplantier asking me to pronounce the title of the new Gojira album, then being polite enough not to laugh hysterically when I failed miserably at said task. And of course, meeting a childhood hero in Max Cavalera at his hotel room and quizzing him about his upcoming autobiography, which should be a great read.
Sam Radojcin - Staff Writer Top 10 Albums: The Mark Of Cain – Songs Of The Third And Fifth
Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming
Psycroptic – The Inherited Repression
Christopher Amott – Impulses
Tremonti – All I Was
The Cult – Weapon Of Choice
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Grand Magus – The Hunt
Be’lakor – Of Breath And Bone
Thy Art Is Murder – Hate
Honourable Mentions: Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Testament – Dark Roots of Earth
Katatonia – Dead End Kings
Red Bee – Ictus
Eyefear – The Inception of Darkness
Steve Harris – British Lion
Fozzy – Sin and Bones
Top 5 Songs: The Mark Of Cain – "The Argument"
Mnemic – "Junkies on the Storm"
Expatriate – "Miracle Mile"
Deftones – "Tempest"
Corrosion Of Conformity – "River of Stone"
Best Live Shows: At The Gates – Metro Theatre, Sydney
Goatwhore – Sandringham Hotel, Sydney
Cathedral / Paradise Lost – Factory Theatre, Sydney
High On Fire – Manning Bar, Sydney
Nasum / Psycroptic, The HiFi, Sydney
Christine Caruana - Contributing Writer
This year has seen lots of ups and downs, lots of exciting news, and lots of sad news. At one point it felt like every few weeks I woke up to news that a musician had died. Donna Summer, Whitney Houston, Adam “MCA” Yauch, Robin Gibb, Greg Ham, Davy Jones, Ravi Shankar the list continues, but at the time of writing they are the ones that immediately spring to mind – I apologise to those I’ve missed.
And away from music, this year has seen floods, hurricanes, snow storms, you name it – all of which seem to be more disastrous, and arriving at times of the year where it’s just not normal. It may not be the end of the world, but I for one can’t help but think that we may be gearing up for a big change – hence the disasters. Or maybe I’m just paranoid.
I suppose I should get back to the music, that’s why where all here isn’t it? Providing a snap shot of all the good and the bad that has come out of the world of the music in a year seems easy, but it’s actually quite hard. Despite doing this very same thing for Loud last year, and other publications in the past, I never learn my lesson. The very first time I compiled a piece for a year in review, I said to myself, “next year I’m going to write down all the amazing things that happen, and everything that makes me cringe, so I’ll be ready for when I’m asked to do this same thing in December.” I didn’t do it. So I said the same thing to myself the year after. I still didn’t do it. And surprise, I didn’t do it this year either, and when I’m finished I will surely say the very same thing to myself again, and probably not actually take those notes next year. But hey, it might happen. So, as I dive into my memory going back to January 1st 2012, I shall compile a list of everything that I feel is noteworthy, and just hope that the second I send this off to my editor, I don’t say “damn it! I should have added that!”
Top 10 albums/EPs
In This Moment – Blood
The Birthday Massacre – Hide and Seek
Emilie Autumn – Fight Like a Girl
Psychothermia – Slash & Burn
Engel – Blood of Saints
Christopher Amott – Impulses
Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline
Sybreed – God is an Automaton
The Cory Smoot Experiment – When Worlds Collide
Cherri Bomb – This is the End of Control
Honourable mentions – Septic – Spineripper, Rise of Avernus – Self titled, Machine Head – Machine Fucking Head Live, Otep – Sounds Like Armageddon
Top Live Shows
System of A Down Sidewave, Sydney Entertainment Centre
Staind + Bush, Enmore Theatre, Sydney – Support Cherri Bomb definitely deserve a mention here
Apocalyptica, HiFi Bar, Sydney – Rise of Avernus deserve a mention here too
Arch Enemy, Manning Bar, Sydney
Melody Black, Burdekin Hotel, Sydney – It was the first time I heard them play Ballroom Blitz live – was amazing.
It kills me to have to put the Nekromantix show in this category. It just wasn’t a great show, mainly due to the poor sound mix at the HiFi.
I regret missing the Machine Head and Cavalera Conspiracy shows.
The Evanescence show was kind of a disappointment, only because I’ll never see them the same was as I did when I was a star struck 17 year old.
I also regret that while I try to go local gigs, I don’t think I go to enough. I also feel I don’t pay enough attention to Australian releases. Will try to remedy that in 2013.
Most excited for in 2013
Seeing Emilie Autumn live again.
Seeing Otep live for the very first time – as well as Otep’s Hydra.
In This Moment touring Blood – there is no confirmation on this; I just want it to happen.
Going to more gigs, and broadening my horizons!
Remembering to keep notes of all the exciting musical times, because I really feel I have forgotten stuff here!
Brendan Delavere - Contributing Photographer and Writer
Top Ten Albums
1. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die: Paradise Edition
2. Beyond Terror Beyond Grace - Nadir
3. Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
4. The Sword - Apocryphon
5. Parkway Drive - Atlas
6. Smith Street Band - Sunshine & Technology
7. High On Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
8. Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten
9. OFF! - ST
10. Ruins - Place of No Pity
Baroness - Yellow & Green, Psycroptic - The Inherited Repression, BTBAM - Parallax II: Future Sequence, Lincoln Le Fevre - Resonation
Top Ten Gigs
1. Mike Patton's Mondo Cane - Sydney Domain 14.1.12
2. Touche Amore - Annandale Hotel, Sydney 2.11.12
3. Lana Del Rey - Splendour In The Grass 28.6.12
4. Raised Fist - Sydney Soundwave 26.2.12
5. Beyond Terror Beyond Grace - Bastardfest, Sydney 17.11.12
6. Slipknot - Sydney Entertainment Centre 27.2.12
7. Gojira - Hifi Bar, Sydney 1.3.12
8. Smashing Pumpkins - Splendour In The Grass 29.6.12
9. Russian Circles - ANU Bar, Canberra 4.10.12
10. Clagg - Pot Belly, Canberra 13.7.12
Defeater - Annandale Hotel, Sydney
High On Fire - Manning Bar, Sydney
Atomic Bitchwax - Doomsday Fest, Sydney
Biggest Disappointment Marilyn Manson/Limp Bizkit at Soundwave Festival
Big Day Out 2013 lineup
Pelican/Sunn 0))) cancellation
RHCP latest offering of poop
Most Overrated album/s
The Amity Affliction - Chasing Ghosts
Anything by 360
Most looking forward to in 2013
Splendour in the Grass
Top 5 Songs
1. Die Antwoord - "I Fink You Freeky"
2. Azealia Banks - "212"
3. The Sword - "Cloak of Feather"
4. Gaslight Anthem - "45"
5. Lana Del Rey - "Video Games"
My Photos of the year:
Rod Sedgwick - Contributing Writer Top 10 Albums:
1. Katatonia – Dead End Kings
2. Anathema – Weather Systems
3. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
4. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
5. Meshuggah – Koloss
6. The Gathering – Disclosure
7. Red Bee – Ictus
8. Beardfish – The Void
9. Twelve Foot Ninja – Silent Machine
10. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension
Honourable Mentions: Storm Corrosion, Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud, High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis, The Sword – Apocryphon, Klone – The Dreamer’s Hideaway,
The Pineapple Thief – All the Wars, Between the Buried and Me – Parallax II, Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming, Testament – Dark Roots of Earth, Baroness – Yellow & Green
1. Storm Corrosion – "Ljudet Innan"
2. Coheed and Cambria – "Evagria the Faithful"
3. Anathema – "The Beginning and the End"
4. Katatonia – "Second"
5. Devin Townsend Project – "Kingdom"
Favourite Live Gigs: Devin Townsend Project, Meshuggah & Dredg @ The Factory (Sydney)
Soundwave 2012 – Sydney
Between the Buried and Me & Animals as Leaders @ The Metro (Sydney)
Most Over-rated Album: Lamb of God - Resolution (Boring as bat-shit)
Soundgarden – King Animal
The album is solid, but barely raises an eyebrow and doesn't scream for replay. Chris Cornell is too restrained as is the song writing.
Paul Southwell - Contributing writer Favourite albums:
Gotthard - Firebirth
Steve Vai - The Story of Light
Accept - Stalingrad
Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name
Testament - Dark Roots of Earth
Michael Schenker - Temple of Rock Live In Europe
Walking Papers - Walking Papers
Overkill - The Electric Age
Dragonforce - The Power Within
AC/DC - Live at River Plate
Best live shows:
Arch Enemy - Manning Bar, Sydney
Shihad - Meanest Hits tour
G3 - Satch, Vai and Lukather - Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
The Tea Party - Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Cathedral farewell from the live circuit show - The Factory, Sydney
Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society - Metro Theatre, Sydney
Amon Amarth, HiFi Bar, Sydney
Joe Bonamassa, State Theatre, Sydney
Iced Earth, HiFi Bar, Sydney
Steel Panther - Luna Park, Sydney [for those who know where they pilfered their material]
Slipknot - SEC, Sydney
Biggest disappointments and assorted irritants:
Allans / Billy Hydes going into receivership.
Endless reality TV shows and publicity junket talent contests.
Still no Metallica sideshow.
Idiocy of iPhones held aloft at gigs. Try watching the show.
The endless parade of clowns that regard quieter songs at gigs as a soundtrack to their drunk conversation.
Insanely overpriced meet and greets for fans unaware that they are being fleeced.
Black Veiled Brides. Some of us still have early Motley and Twisted Sister on vinyl.
Too many music festivals.
Daniel Farr - Contributing Photographer Top 10 Albums:
1. Katatonia - Dead End Kings
2. Anathema - Weather System
3. Neurosis - Honour Found in Decay
4. Old Man Gloom - NO
5. Ancestors - In Dream & Time
6. Pelican - Ataraxia / Taraxis
7. High On Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
8. North Atlantic Oscillation - Fog Electric
9. Dumbsaint - Something That You Feel Will Find its Own Form
10. Okera - A Beautiful Dystopia
My fave gig pics:
Peter Zaluzny - Contributing writer and photographer
As wanky as it sounds, 2012 was my year of long overdue firsts. Some were shared moments, like seeing Apocalyptica and Radiohead live. Others were things I should have done years ago, namely, finally getting into System of a Down, At The Drive In and even Korpilkaani. The bulk of the year was spent buying up a tonne of albums from yesteryear, which has made my list of albums purchased during 2012 short, but significant. But enough about me. While 2012 proved to be another excellent year for local metal, perhaps the most exciting change was the sharp increase in the number of international bands hitting our shores. And let's not forget the return of old favourites, some who hadn't performed on our soil in over five years. Amazingly, 2013 is already shaping up to be just as impressive, so get ready live music fans, it's going to be freaking huge.
Top 10 albums:
The Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
Dethklok - Dethalbum III
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
Deftones - Koi No Yokan
Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
Troldhaugen - Ramshackle
The Beards - Having A Beard is the New Not Having a Beard
The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet
Be'lakor - Of Breath and Bone
Burzum - Umskiptar
Top 5 Songs: Gojira - "L'Enfant Savage"
The Devin Townsend Project - "Lucky Animals"
The Beards - "There's Just Nothing Better Than a Beard"
Troldhaugen - "Beast Wagon"
Alice In Chains - "Hollow"
Best Live Release: The Devin Townsend Project - By a Thread
Best Compilation: Children of Bodom - Holiday at Lake Bodom (15 Years of Wasted Youth)
Best Live Shows All of Soundwave 2012 (Devin Townsend sidewave included)
Apocalyptica - The HiFi, Sydney
Radiohead - Sydney Entertainment Centre
The Beards - The Metro, Sydney
Amon Amarth - The HiFi, Sydney
Muse - The 2nd Law
I've been a Muse fan for years. Origin of Symmetry and Absolution are cornerstone examples of modern synth/space rock (or however you want to define it). For a band to go from such outstanding work to the unimaginative, self indulgent mess that is The 2nd Law, under the guise of 'trying something new,' was shattering from a fan perspective. An unashamed attempt at nipping at the heels of popular music, while injecting just enough of a pseudo-alternative sound to make fans feel like they were listening to something that wasn't 'totes lame and mainstream.'
The breakdown of concert etiquette. Maybe I just have bad luck, but this year I've encountered more drunk morons whose primary goal in life is to 'punch on' in the pit. Or perhaps I'm just getting old.
Looking Forward to: New Alice In Chains album, Z² from Devin Townsend, the inevitable new album announcement from Tool (trust me, it'll happen) and Django Unchained.