Looking back at 2016, I just have one thought: “Did all that really happen?” Between being asked to be an editor of Moshville Times, interviewing some amazing people with great anecdotes and the first review of an album I had been waiting on for a long time, it’s been a great one. As ever, putting together one of these year-in reviews isn’t an easy task with much deliberation and if you even remotely follow rock and metal, you’ll see below why!
Probably the hardest list to put together is this one. In my music library, I had 86 albums to choose from. Whilst you may argue better ones were released, some we may never got the chance to cover, these were my favourites and in a couple of instances, downright brilliant. I’ve endeavoured to vary the list with modern bands, live albums, EPs, debuts and a wealth of different sounds. In no particular order:
- The Virginmarys – Divides
- The Hyena Kill – Atomised
- Alter Bridge – The Last Hero
- The Temperance Movement – White Bear
- Mason Hill – Mason Hill
- Bad Touch – Truth Be Told
- RavenEye – Nova
- Blues Pills – Lady in Gold
- God Damn – Everything Ever
- Twisted Sister – Metal Meltdown
Best New Band:
I discovered a wealth of new bands, mainly at Bloodstock and Wildfire. Some of the talent on display at both of those festivals was insane. Anchor Lane when they supported RavenEye, I firmly believe are ones to watch on the local Glasgow scene. However, I also have to mention Gojira, not new by any means but I had never heard their work until Bloodstock. I’ll never forget standing in the Catton Hall evening sun, open-mouthed, dumbfounded by how good a live act they are.
Best live show:
- Twisted Sister at Bloodstock – seriously, if you were there, you know what I’m talking about.
- The Temperance Movement at the Barrowlands – again, if you were there, you know what I mean. One for the books, not just for the band but Glasgow
- The Virginmarys’ set at the Bring Back Rock Radio night. This year I’ve seen the trio six times and this was the cherry on that cake. They came out, guns-blazing and bulldozed over the preceding bands, clearly winning legions of new fans that night.
Best thing that happened:
Conducting some of my favourite interviews to date, the bands being incredibly nice and giving some brilliant and insightful answers alongside a lot of laughter.
Worst thing that happened:
It’s a bit on the nose but the number of legends we lost this year. We may never get another Prince or David Bowie or Lemmy but we should appreciate all the more the legacy they leave behind, the influence they can give to new and established artists.
Overall opinion of music in 2016:
Album quality, I’d argue is at an all-time high. As are live performances from artists big and small. I find it’s the smaller bands which are impressing me more than the big names, I’d much rather find myself in a dirty, sweaty club rather than a sterile arena. There’s been so many great gigs I’ve been to this year, I’ve done several festivals and I can’t wait to see more bands and listen to and review more albums next year. And to follow suit like my colleagues, I’d like to thank several people:
- Iain Purdie, James Costin and all the Moshville Times crew
- Lailah and Cayleigh at Spinefarm
- Valeria at Duff Press
- Every band and individual I’ve interviewed, I couldn’t pick a favourite
- The people that listen to my whining that my latest review is naff and re-assure me it’s not (it is)
And lastly, if you’re reading this: thank you. Without you, we have no reason to do this.