What a year it has been for me and my relationship with Moshville Times. From being someone who was comfortable writing CD reviews, I watched how far more experienced members of staff were getting in touch with all these bands and interviewing them. I decided that I wanted a piece of that and stepped out of my comfort zone and started to interview bands and record labels. This has led me to become friends with bands from Sweden, France, USA and Brazil to name a few and it’s an honour to be considered friends by them. I cannot explain to you the joy you get when you receive their answers in your email inbox and I would urge anyone to do this.
Personal highlights for me in 2017 must start with Morbid Angel putting my review on their website and to see over 600 people like my review was huge for me. I never feel comfortable with my writing and I either read my reviews or interview questions over and over again as I fear they are not good enough. With the response to this review, I think I have accepted that people value my opinion and that made it for me. Bands contacting me to review their music as I had formed a relationship previously: Bloodthread, Words That Burn and Burning the Dream to name a few.
Another highlight was interviewing Chase from Gatecreeper, who I think have the world at their feet, and I considered it an honour to interview him. Bands that value my opinion and leave comments on my reviews included Edu Lopez and Vorgok, Roni and Words That Burn and Evocation again to name a few. Anyway, without further ado…
Album of the Year
This album came out in March and epitomises everything there is to behold in the Swedish death metal scene that I love. The musicianship on show was incredible and a true return to form for the band but what stood out for me was the vocals of one Thomas Josefsson. The album is none other than The Shadow Archetype by Evocation. I said in my review that this will be on my album of the year list and it has maintained that position. I only wish that they got more of the recognition that they deserve and I shall leave it up to Evocation to see if they can better this effort. I look forward to seeing them try.
Worthy mentions must include Hate with Tremendum, Paganizer with Land of Weeping Souls, Septicflesh with Codex Omega, Savage Annihilation and Scordatura. A special mention was the reissue of the classic Coloured Funeral by Mercyless which took me back to the good old days when things were fresh. This album still passes the test of time today even though it was released over twenty five years ago.
EP of the Year
There were two stand-outs for me where EPs are concerned and the first are Jenova. Jenova released The Less You Know The More You Sleep, hail from Dublin and really impressed me with their grove orientated death metal to which you could not help but to get off your ass and mosh and start a pit in your living room. This band will certainly go places and I believe that the band will be picked up by a label and get the recognition they deserve.
The other band hail from California and feature members of Repulsion, Agalloch, and another become a band that I will keep a close eye on: Vastum. This was a band that paid homage to the old school acts of Bolt Thrower and Autopsy and I hope that they are working on new material as I never tire of this music. The band in question are Extremity who released Extremely F*cking Dead and it was just old school death metal worship at its best.
Gig of the Year
I would have liked to have gone to more gigs than I did this year but with bands having to tour more to survive, it’s hard for every gig goer to attend every gig, especially with a local scene that is bursting at its seams. In saying that, my gig of the year is Lords of the Land for one special reason and that was to see Autopsy live in the flesh. I just stood there in awe of the band in front of me who have been doing this for thirty years. I had a huge grin on my face witnessing them play their back catalogue to a very warm and receptive Scottish crowd.
Bands that are worthy of your attention
A Brazilian thrash metal band that reignited the flame of thrash metal for me was Vorgok. If ever you wish to hear what Slayer would sound like if they stuck to their roots then Vorgok are the band for you. Interestingly though, they mix up thrash with some Vader style death metal elements which enhances the experience for the listener and I urge you to give them a listen here. Also a band from Malta called Fallen Icon with their Gojira/Mastodon sound impressed me on their Scottish tour and with a new album in 2018, it will be something I shall look forward to.
Bands that are going to keep extreme metal alive
There are three bands that have only been active for a few years and have really impressed me with their recent releases. Gatecreeper again must get a mention here as their Dismember/Entombed and Bolt Thrower sound will be massive in 2018. A band from Sweden who I just recently reviewed their demo is from Malakhim. I honestly believe that even with one demo, they will spread their message like Watain and I hope that one day I will get to see Malakhim in a live environment. Another band who play extreme metal at its finest and most precise are Imperium who released a huge album Titanomachy. Mike Alexander and Doug Anderson released a monster of an album and if brutal technical death metal in the vein of Nile is something you like, Imperium are one to watch.
What 2018 will bring for me
I think it’s fair to say that extreme metal and death metal in particular had a bit of a revival and I look forward to this continuing in 2018. In general though, I am looking forward to new releases from Bloodbath, Vorgok, Words That Burn, Malakhim, Watain, Burning the Dream and Hate. Tours are coming from Obituary, Testament, Cannibal Corpse and Satyricon to name a few. This will again be a huge year on the live front and it will be hard to attend to all, but that is my aim for 2018 and I hope I see you there.
I can honestly say that every review that I have submitted was a positive review which made this so difficult for me. I can state categorically that no releases by any band was negative, such was the talent on show. There are so many bands that are worthy of your attention that it was impossible to include everybody on this list, however, if I reviewed your album, you can take home that I meant every word.
I urge everyone who thinks that they cannot review a CD or a gig to give this a shot. The staff here are most friendly and will welcome new recruits to their ever expanding roster and at gigs, be able to buy you a round when you meet. If I can do it, I am sure you most certainly can. I leave you with our “Best of 2017” playlist which includes a track from my album of the year, Condemned to the Grave by Evocation.