As is customary at this time of year, we like to put together a “year in review” from the perspective of each team member, or at least as many of the crew as we can.
This time around it’s the year from the point of view of our Senior Editor/Interviews Editor/Photographer/Melody-freak – James Costin…
So, I’ve been with the site a little over 2 years now. In that time, we’ve grown from there just being Iain, Sean and myself to now having a whole management structure in place. 2016 for me has been one of chaos, hard work and a lot of learning. With it being my final year at University, I was expecting that I would end up having to do less on the site and have to take somewhat of a backseat. This has completely not been the case and I’ve ended up doing even more than I did in 2015! Anyway, I suppose I’d best stop waffling and get on with my lists for this year.
Top 10 Albums
This gets harder and harder to do every year. I swear that bands put out cracking albums to make my job more difficult! I’ve awarded a lot more 10/10’s than in previous years, mainly because there have been a lot of flawless albums (in my opinion). This meant that picking this list was going to be very tricky. However, after a lot of deliberation and time, I have finally settled upon the following list of albums:
- Winter’s Gate – Insomnium [My most highly viewed article!]
- Born – Brutai
- The Northern Sanctuary – Witherscape
- Grey Heavens – Omnium Gatherum
- Proponent for Sentience – Allegaeon
- Serpentine Dominion – Serpentine Dominion
- Retrogore – Aborted
- King – Fleshgod Apocalypse
- Atoma – Dark Tranquility
- The Bones of a Dying World – If These Trees Could Talk
Top 10 Songs
In a break from tradition (and also because there so many good albums), I’m going to include my top 10 songs of the year. These were a tad easier to pick than albums! So, here are my top 10 songs:
- “Of Mind and Matrix” – Allegaeon (Proponent for Sentience)
- “Foundation” – Omnium Gatherum (Grey Heavens)
- “The Examiner” – Witherscape (The Northern Sanctuary)
- “Boneyard” – Wolfheart (Tyhjyys) [Album to be released in 2017 so can be considered void]
- “Bit by Bit” – Aborted (Retrogore)
- “An Ember’s Arc” – Belakor (Vessels)
- “Six Feet Closer to Hell” – Carnifex (Slow Death)
- “Faithless by Default” – Dark Tranquility (Atoma)
- “Elitist ones”/”Mark of The Blade” – Whitechapel (The Mark of The Blade)
- “Caligula” – Sodom (Decision Day)
Top 10 Shows
Again, this is a hard one to pin down as I’ve been to a heck of a lot of good shows. However, I have managed to whittle it down to 10 shows that truly standout in terms of not only their performance, but also the atmosphere of the concert and the sound.
- Twisted Sister – 12th August @ Bloodstock Open Air
- Skuggsjá/ Enslaved / Wardruna – 19th March @ The Coronet Theatre, London
- Enslaved / Vulture Industries – 17th March @ The Dome, London
- Fleshgod Apocalypse / Xerath – 13th March @ Audio, Glasgow
- Alterbridge / Gojira – 1st December @ The Hydro, Glasgow
- Korpiklaani / Moonsorrow – 24th March @ The Classic Grand, Glasgow
- Cattle Decapitation / Party Cannon – 22nd June @ Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
- Immolation / Origin – 10th May @ G2, Glasgow
- Sylosis / Decapitated – 4th March @ The Garage, Glasgow
- Massive / Tequila Mockingbyrd / Black Aces – 10th October @ The Cathouse, Glasgow
Honourable mentions: Obscura / Revocation / Beyond Creation / Rivers Of Nihil – 23rd October @ The Dome, London; Enslaved / Helheim – 18th March @ The Underworld, London; Entombed A.D / Voivod / Lord Dying / Morbid Evils – 16th November @ Audio, Glasgow; Triaxis & Primitai – 10th December @ Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
Best New Band
Well, my best new band of the year can’t really be classed as a ‘new’ band per se. They’ve been around for a heck of a long time but they are technically new to me. The band with that honour is Dark Tranquility. I’d been told about them multiple times by Markus Vanhala (Insomnium/OG), and never actually had the chance to check them out. That all changed and I wound up interviewing the lovely Mikael Stanne back in October. I highly encourage you to check them out and also go see them if their tour with Amon Amarth and Omnium Gatherum passes near to your town/city!
Best thing that happened
You’re making me pick! Darn, this one’s a real tough one. Erm… I guess it would probably have to be the fact that I got to interview some of my teenage superstars. It was kinda surreal to be sat next to Mike D’Antonio whilst I was interviewing Justin and to have Adam D smile and greet me in his usual crazy style.
Worst thing that happened
You know what, I can’t really pin down something for this. Maybe that’s a good thing as there’s far too much negativity in the world these days.
Best picture I took
Another hard one to choose but it would probably have to be that one of Nergal and Samoth at Bloodstock. My eternal thanks to Will and the staff at BOA for allowing me to photograph Behemoth on the Friday. It’s one thing that I will not forget in a hurry!
Things I’m looking forward to in 2017
Next year’s already shaping up to be a stellar year, but here are the main things that I’m looking forward to:
- New Kreator album
- Kreator/Sepultura/Soilwork/Aborted Tour
- New Dying Fetus album
- New Persefone album
- Persefone tour
- New Wolfheart album
- Insomnium/Wolfheart tour
- Bloodstock 2017
Overall opinion of music in 2016
Now, I did have a massive long article prepared for this but I’ve been thinking about it and this is what my opinion is: there needs to be a greater acceptance of underground bands. As Will said in his review, the underground scene is thriving but a lot of bands just don’t get the level of coverage they deserve. To me, that’s one issue that needs to be rectified. In general though, this year’s been a bit surreal for me. There’s been a lot of moments where I’ve gone “No… this ain’t happening. I am not doing this. Holy F***, I am.” That was most evident recently when I interviewed four legendary bands in just over 24 hours.
As with what Will did, there’s a few people I’d like to give honourable mentions to for their hard work and also for making 2016 a year which I’ll not forget in a hurry. So, here’s my thank you list for this year:
- Claire, Sarah and the team at Nuclear Blast
- Andy Turner
- Steve Dempsey, Sean Larkin, Gavin Lowrey and all the other togs that have helped me improve
- Iain Purdie, Ross Green and all the Moshville Editorial Team
- Everyone I’ve interviewed this year for being lovely people
- Showsec at Bloodstock
- Will Tudor for helping me improve pretty much everything I do
…and last but by no means least, YOU, the fans. Without you, everything the musicians and we in the press do is utterly pointless.