Looking back on 2019, it’s fair to say the year has had ups and downs. I guess that would be true for everyone! It’s been tough trying to manage studying, coursework, my job and contributing to Moshville Times as well as keeping up a social life and having chill time. I also launched my own blog, Critical Madness, where I’m writing features about things I like – it’s going slow at the moment, but feel free to check it out!
In the music world there’s been a multitude of awesome new albums, proving that heavy metal is alive and well. From innovative new bands making their mark and old-skool heroes keeping on top, 2019 has been a stellar year for metal. I’ve definitely found some new favourites to soundtrack my year. I’ve always enjoyed talking about music and sharing stuff I like so I’m looking forward to sharing my discoveries from this year.
While I’m in my last year of college studying media, I’ve not been able to dedicate a lot of time to Moshville Times. However I’ve found plenty of new albums to get my head banging and reviewed what I could. Usually I find I enjoy new albums every year but always come back to my old favourites, though this year I’ve found lots of cool songs I continuously came back to throughout the year. In no particular order, here’s my top 10 new metal releases of 2019 as they come to mind:
1. Exhorder – Mourn the Southern Skies
2. Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion
3. Cannabis Corpse – Nug So Vile
4. Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance
5. Sodom – Out on the Frontline Trench EP
6. Mayhem – Daemon
7. Overkill – The Wings of War
8. Children of Bodom – Hexed
9. Sacred Reich – Awakening
10. Destruction – Born to Perish
As always there’s been a few albums I’ve either missed or not given as much attention as I intended. They’ll make their way to my headphones eventually, but here’s the albums on my “to check out” list:
1. Acid Reign – The Age of Entitlement
2. Xentrix – Bury the Pain
3. Angel Witch – Angel of Light
4. Entombed A.D. – Bowels of Earth
5. Abbath – Outstrider
6. Death Angel – Humanicide
7. Opprobrium – The Fallen Entities
8. Eluveitie – Ategnatos
9. Malevolent Creation – The 13th Beast
10. Midnight Force – Gododdin
I’ve been to some killer gigs this year and ticked off a few bands from my gigs bucket list. It’s cool to see so many different bands on top form and it always makes for an awesome show. I don’t think I’ve been to a bad gig this year but there’s certainly been a few that have stood out.
Bloodstock yet again was an amazing time. I saw lots of new bands, checked out plenty of more established acts I’ve not really listened to and met plenty of cool people doing interviews again in the press tent. It always feels like a privilege to be able to work the press tent at Bloodstock and I’m forever grateful to the bands for their time, and to Kirsten and Michelle at Cosa Nostra PR for allowing me the opportunity to do it with Moshville Times. There’s plenty of highlights from Bloodstock but one in particular I’d like to share is getting my photo with Chrigel and Fabienne from Eluveitie. I don’t take pictures often, especially with bands (which I should do more often!), but I love this photo because it represents how happy I am when I’m at Bloodstock surrounded by like-minded people immersing myself in the music I love. Like with all the people I get to meet at the festival, Chrigel and Fabienne were also really friendly and down to earth – no matter where they are in their heavy metal journey, bands are always fans like the rest of us and it’s clear we all love to be involved in the metal community.
Every gig I went to was a great time and I want to give the bands a mention below. It would be a lot to go into detail for each gig, so feel free to check out my reviews for more!
- Pestilence at Classic Grand, Glasgow (21st February)
- Overkill, Destruction and Flotsam and Jetsam at SWG3, Glasgow (24th March)
- Coroner and Tankard during Lords of the Land festival at SWG3, Glasgow (6th April)
- Exhorder and Kingpin at Audio, Glasgow (9th October)
- Disposable, Ifreann, Tempered and Mörti Viventi during Shredinburgh IV: The Revenge at Bannerman’s, Edinburgh (25th October)
- Municipal Waste, Toxic Holocaust, Enforcer and Skeletal Remains at Ivory Blacks, Glasgow (4th December)
For some of my college work, which will make its way to Critical Madness after I get my results, I’ve been focusing on the Scottish metal scene and I’ve really gotten into some of the killer bands we’ve got. There’s a good variety of all things heavy in Scotland right now with some of my favourites being aforementioned thrashers Ifreann and Tempered, the NWOBHM vibes of Midnight Force, killer death metal in Man Must Die and Bhàs, the epic Celtic black metal of Cnoc an Tursa and the scuzzy melting pot of extreme sound courtesy of Scumpulse. When I started getting into metal it felt like there weren’t a lot of Scottish bands making waves, but now it’s awesome to see the scene thriving and I hope to see our bands getting bigger and better. There’s also a cool sense of community with groups like Central Scotland Thrash coming together this year. Ever since I connecting with the CST Facebook group their presence has been felt at every gig I went to, with familiar faces from the crowd and bands alike making appearances and chanting. I hope to engage more with the scene and CST in 2020 and hopefully be able to use Moshville Times and Critical Madness to support it.
I’ve also discovered a lot more death metal this year. I always find myself getting into a more legendary band I never gave any proper attention in the past and this year it’s been Suffocation. When I was younger I couldn’t really get into death metal, especially the more brutal brand by Suffocation. However after giving their classic records a chance I’ve found I can’t get enough of the crushing heaviness and those slamming riffs. I’ve also discovered a lot more of the new breed of death metal bands – particularly Tomb Mold, Skeletal Remains, Blood Incantation and Zealot Cult. They all seem rooted in old-skool vibes yet have their own twists on the genre that make them stand out. It’s fair to say that when the legends of death metal are eventually no longer with us, the torch will be safely carried by bands like these.
Finally in recent years I’ve found myself enjoying a lot more different styles of music through my partner and our friends in the Glasgow drag scene. It’s mostly been electronic pop singles but one artist that’s really stood out to me is Kim Petras. She has so many catchy songs going through different moods using a lot of 80’s-style synths that I really like. Having released lots of singles throughout 2017 and 2018, in 2019 she released two albums proving her drive for creating cool music. My favourite of the two LPs is the horror-themed Turn Off the Light which is naturally darker sounding, with lyrics sounding like the poetry of any classic slasher movie villain.
Best of the Decade (2010 – 2019)
Given that we’re going into a new roaring ‘20s, we decided against doing a series of full features on the decade in metal at Moshville Times. However I felt like listing a few albums I really enjoyed from the past 10 years so in no particular order, here it is:
1. Sodom – Decision Day
2. Carcass – Surgical Steel
3. Pestilence – Hadeon
4. Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
5. Autopsy – Puncturing the Grotesque EP
6. Children of Bodom – Halo of Blood
7. Exodus – Blood In, Blood Out
8. Seprevation – Consumed
9. Hell – Human Remains
10. Vektor – Terminal Redux
2020 and Beyond
The year ahead is already looking exciting for me. The second reformed thrash legends Vio-lence were announced for Bloodstock I was sold. When August comes, the anticipation for the show is definitely going to hit hard – for Bloodstock in general it always does! For gigs I’m looking forward to who gets announced throughout the year, however from what gigs are confirmed I hope to see Cannabis Corpse in Edinburgh on the 23rd of January, as well as the Testament/Exodus/Death Angel show in Glasgow on the 8th of March.
In terms of albums, there’s not a lot of official announcements yet that I’m excited for though I’m looking forward to checking out Annihilator’s Ballistic, Sadistic and Anvil’s Legal at Last. However there’s hints of new releases from Sodom, Dark Angel, Testament, Exodus, Vader, and Finntroll that I can’t wait to hear more about.
As always there’s a few thanks to go out to people for making my year in metal. First and foremost is our Editor-in Chief Iain. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you! Thanks also to the rest of the Moshville Times crew – keep doing what you do and I’m looking forward to working with you all again in the new year! Finally thanks again to Kirsten and Michelle from Cosa Nostra PR for the Bloodstock opportunities, to Claire and Joe at Nuclear Blast UK for arranging albums and gigs for me to cover, all the bands I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and to all the readers who keep Moshville Times going.
2020 is certain to be another great year for metal and you can be sure that the rest of the Moshville Times crew and I will be there to cover it. Keep your eyes peeled on Moshville Times and keep that head banging to whatever awesome new metal comes your way!