Ozzy cancelled. Metallica cancelled. Kiss cancelled. Slayer called it quits. Tool and Slipknot made huge comebacks. Faith No More, My Chemical Romance and Rage Against the Machine reformed and even System of a Down talked about getting back together. Locally, Parkway Drive almost completed their ascension as one of the biggest bands Australia has ever produced, and even APRA seemed to be finally getting the message about acts like Northlane and the rising tide of heavier music across the country. New festivals like Good Things and the local chapter of Download helped boost things when other festivals seem to become more and more tuned to indie rock, hip hop and electronic music.
At a time where climate and environmental concerns become recognised as the biggest threat to civilization, mobilising both young and old, as Donald Trump is impeached, Britain continues to stumble towards Brexit, and South America and parts of Europe lurch toward fascism once again and call for climate action fall on deaf ears in Australia as the east coast burns, we can at least take some comfort in the knowledge that the world’s heavy music scene seems to be as vibrant and as interesting as ever.
2019 in Pictures
BRIAN GIFFIN: Editor
Before I get to my yearly picks, I should take a moment to reflect on the last decade. Next year Loud Online will mark its 10th anniversary. The site as it is now was launched in October 2010. It was a dark and turbulent time for me personally, and sometimes this site was the only thing that kept me going. Nine years on from then, I’ve remarried, changed jobs and watched my children grow up. I’ve published my Australian metal encyclopaedia, a lifelong passion of mine, and somehow continued to keep this thing going through thick and thin. There’s been one major facelift/overhaul in that time, and a lot of hard work from all the contributors, past and present, who’ve made this site what it has become.
Other sites have been running features on the best albums etc. of the decade. For me, it’s still a bit early to think too much about that. Ten years is a long time to distil down into a listicle and I have enough trouble just going through the last twelve months. Still, it’s been exciting watching the slow rise of the country’s heavy music scene after decades of negligence, the emergence of the prog scene, and the strength overall of live music in a country that seems to keep doing things to keep it down. While I’m reluctant to give an opinion about the best album of the last ten years, if I had to say who gets my vote for Band of the Decade, mine would go to our own Parkway Drive. Not because they are my most favourite band, but because I have seen and followed their ascendancy over the last 15 years, the evolution of their sound and their tenacity as road dogs. From a band playing anywhere that would have them to one now dominating the metal scene wherever they play, they have taken Australian heavy music to the world and are reaping the rewards.
10 of the Best Albums of the Year:
With a string of always-engaging albums already behind them, Northlane dug deep into vocalist Marcus Bridge’s well of despair to come up with their most diverse, experimental and musically interesting album to date. Alien is a cyber-gothic-industrial djent masterpiece that sets them up for even bigger things.
AMYL & THE SNIFFERS: Amyl & the Sniffers
They looked like they crawled out of a dumpster in Collingwood and play raw, street-level rock and roll that sounds like the Stooges turning up to a fight between Rose Tattoo and X. It’s classic Aussie hard-edged rock all the way.
DREAM THEATER: Distance Over Time
In the wake of their lumbering and listless previous album, Dream Theater returned to basics with Distance Over Time. A triumph of substance over style they seemed to have been ignoring for many years, this was a reassertion of what an incredible heavy metal band Dream Theater actually is when they concentrate on being one.
ILLYRIA: The Carpathian Summit
Perth’s Illyria stepped up their game with this sweeping epic that touched on black drone, doom, prog-death and atmospheric shoegaze to create a remarkable and sprawling musical journey. The Carpathian Summit lingers as one of the most overlooked but excellent Australian metal releases of this year.
OPETH: In Cauda Venenum
After a decade wandering in the wilderness of 70s prog-rock worship, Opeth returned to a heavier aesthetic with In Cauda Venenum. An ambitious twin-language release, the Swedes once again showed why they are considered one of the world’s pre-eminent progressive metal acts.
PHIL CAMPBELL: Old Lions Still Roar
The ex-Motörhead guitarist finally stepped into his own spotlight with his (very) long awaited solo release. At least 15 years in the making and featuring contributions from friends, family and colleagues, Old Lions Still Roar was Campbell showing all his musical colours.
THE DARKNESS: Easter is Cancelled
The Darkness added an element of solemn introspection to their usual irreverent rocking as they embarked on a semi-autobiographical concept album examining the ups and downs of the rock and roll life style. Easter is Cancelled pulled together some of their best songwriting in a while, plus plenty of towering vocal histrionics without forgetting their humorous side.
THE NEPTUNE POWER FEDERATION: Memoirs of a Rat Queen
The NPF has gone from strength to strength with every release. Mixing their love of early Queen and NWOBHM with early 70s psychedelia, Memoirs of a Rat Queen is the pinnacle of their recorded output so far, a swirling and diverse heavy rocking concept album with impassioned vocals and occasional disco beats.
WE LOST THE SEA: Triumph and Disaster
The follow-up to the Sydney collective’s exploration of loss and sorrow gave us something many of us truly needed in 2019: hope. We Lost the Sea moved on from anguish and heartbreak with another astonishing album where music and atmosphere spoke louder than any words ever could. Another masterpiece.
SLAYER: The Repentless Killogy (Live at the Forum in Inglewood CA)
What more needs to be said? It’s Slayer! The final live statement from the most vicious and influential thrash metal band of all time.
LORD: Fallen Idols, Totally Unicorn: Sorry, Slipknot: We Are Not Your Kind, Black Rheno: Noise Smasher, I Built the Sky: The Zenith Rise, The Tea Party: Black River EP, Voyager: Colours in the Sun, Rammstein: Untitled, Beastwars: IV, Alcest: Spritual Instinct, Eye of the Enemy: Titan. Extra special mention to the 30th anniversary edition of Ian Moss’ Matchbook.
Iggy Pop at the Sydney Opera House
Slayer at Download Sydney
Metal Church at the Crowbar, Sydney
The Tea Party at the Metro
Shows and Films:
TV: The Mandalorian, Stranger Things, The Other Guy, On Becoming a God in Central Florida, Glitch, Good Omens
Film: Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, The Irishman
DAN SOUTHALL: Music Reviewer
Ah, 2019, what a year you have been. Massive music releases and the end of cinematic universes abound all allowing to shut out the noise of the real world as it burns due to the ignorance of governments in place to protect us from ourselves… Sorry about that, got a bit heavy there for a second without meaning to.
Being that I am not really a film fan, I will avoid that argument listed below though is a few albums in no particular order that helped ease my mind this year as well as a few live shows you probably should have caught while you could.
A few standout albums for 2019:
ITHACA: The Language of Injury
A welcoming taste of what modern hardcore can be without losing its aggressive edge or trying too hard to mix a lot of different musical styles
FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES: The End Of Suffering
This album is an to being open to ones mental health with those around you. As Frank Carter continues to musically flip from his hard edged youthful aggression to a smoother pop sound this album is important listening if ever you need to be reminded you are not alone in the world.
DREAM THEATER: Distance Over Time
After the lacklustre and overblown existence of their previous album, this one brought it back to what the band are good at, solid story telling with a decent metallic edge.
Solid melodic punk is back.
SLIPKNOT: We Are Not Your Kind
I gave this album a bit of a drubbing when I first listened to it. Turns out it takes a lot more listens than I tend to give anything before I give my written opinion. Though I like to give my opinion on the first couple of listens to give a far more immediate and natural view on what I am hearing. This is Slipknot as people want them, not as their record label thinks they should be.
THE DAMNED THINGS: High Crimes
If there was more music like this in the popular corners of the music world the radio waves would be a better place.
BLACK RHENO: Noise Smasher
Must hear for this year, ignore whatever anyone including me has said about ANYTHING else until you have done your ears a favour and listen to this cracker of an album.
CATTLE DECAPITATION: Death Atlas
Sure this release is only recent, but if you have heard it then you know why it is here. Pure unadulterated death and grind with a spin.
FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE: Veleno
I didn’t ‘get’ what this band were trying to do until their last album, this one continues to mix classic and modern elements of music that make it at times breathtaking in its beauty and brutality.
THE OLD FIRM CASUALS: Holger Danske
Good time punk n roll with a swagger to boot.
This year was a great year for some big shows from Fever 333 bringing back a small room sweaty hardcore show, to Eyehategod and Crowbar bringing the sludge in the dying stages of this year, as well as the smallest room I am ever likely to see Phil Anselmo play in. The show consisted of Phil and his Illegals playing a selection of Pantera material that turned out to be a warm-up for what the band is doing now on stages in Europe and the U.S. at the time it was all a blur, but through the fog of memory it has turned out to be one of my highlights of the year due to the energy that was dripping from the ceiling that night in Brisbane’s Back Room, a venue that has managed to bring a handful of great shows back to Brisbane’s southern suburbs.
Cheers for looking in on what I think about things throughout the year. Being able to share a passion and ill informed opinion in these very pages is an honour and I hope you keep coming back and checking out the music and opinions brought to you, your support means a lot.
PAUL SOUTHWELL: Music Reviewer
Albums of the Year:
BRENDAN DELAVERE: Staff Photographer/Social Media
As the end of the decade draws to a close, looking back it has been a massive ten years for me personally. Apart from personal triumphs such as buying my first home, getting a pug and getting married, I have also achieved a great deal with photography and writing. I started with Loud in 2010, shooting Lord, Monarch and Wolves in the Throne Room for the site as my first official shoots.
The rest of the decade I caught hundreds of concerts and bands from behind the lens, shooting festivals across Australia as well as two trips to Europe covering festivals such as Wacken, Hellfest and Graspop.
Looking forward to the next decade I hope to push even further with photography with LOUD… and Epstein didn’t kill himself.
Albums of the Year:
1. Totally Unicorn: Sorry
2. Fever 333: Strength In Numb333rs
3. Numenorean: Adore
4. Lana Del Rey: Norman Fucking Rockwell
5. Rammstein: Rammstein
6. Refused: War Music
7. Alcest: Spiritual Instinct
8. Pist Idiots: Ticker
9. The Moth Gatherer: Esoteric Oppression
10. Bare Bones: Rival Minds
Hypno5e: A Distant (Dark) Source
We Lost The Sea: Triumph and Disaster
Slipknot: We Are Not Your Kind
Alpha Wolf: Fault
Tiger Army: Retrofuture
Chelsea Wolfe: Birth Of Violence
Billie Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go
Tool: Fear Inoculum
1. Lana Del Rey – Venice Bitch
2. Pist Idiots – Motor Running
3. Totally Unicorn – 33
4. Fever 333 – Inglewood
5. Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
Top ten gigs
1. Slayer – Graspop, Belgium
2. Zeal & Ardor – Crowbar, Sydney
3. Slipknot – Graspop Belgium
4. Pagan – Unify Gathering
5. Parkway Drive – Good Things Fest
6. Satanic Surfers – Overdrive Fest, Austria
7. Max Cavalera – 170 Russell, Melbourne
8. Totally Unicorn – Altar, Hobart
9. King Diamond – Graspop, Belgium
10. Crossfaith – Unify Gathering
Shows and Films:
1. The Boys
2. The Mandalorian
3. Stranger Things
4. Bojack Horseman
5. Final Space
1. John Wick 3 Parabellum
2. The Dirt
3. Toy Story 4