I don’t need to go into what an unbelievable shit-storm this year has been for everyone, so I will just get straight on with mentioning some of the positive things that have got me through.
- Trivium – What The Dead Men Say
- Sólstafir – Endless Twilight of Codependent Love
- Mountain Caller – Chronicle I: The Truthseeker
- Coldbones – The Cataclysm
There have been some great albums released in 2020, my favourite of which is probably What The Dead Men Say by Trivium, which I have had on repeat at various times throughout the year. I have also been enjoying the latest release by Sólstafir, as well as Mountain Caller’s debut album. I discovered Coldbones when I saw them perform at the Heavy Music Awards (online) this year and instantly loved their sound, which I find great to have on whilst working from home.
- Insomnium, Islington Assembly Hall (19th January)
- Steel Panther – Brixton Academy (7th February)
- Sabaton / Apocalyptica / Amaranthe – Wembley Arena, London (8th February)
- Lindemann / Aesthetic Perfection / Jadu – Kentish Town Forum, London (23rd February)
I only went to seven gigs this year (as many as I would usually attend a month) and of these the two stand-out shows for me were Sabaton and Lindemann. The Sabaton show was particularly memorable for me because I got to photograph the load-in and set-up of the whole show, which you can read all about here. The Lindemann show was very special because I have been desperate to photograph Rammstein for years, and so when I got approved to photograph the very first Lindemann show in London I couldn’t believe it! It was also great to see one of my favourite bands Insomnium, as well as the ever-entertaining Steel Panther.
- Behemoth – In Absentia Dei
- Trivium/Matt Heafy (various)
- Baroness (performing Gold & Grey in its entirety)
- Wacken World Wide
In the absence of “real” gigs, livestreams helped get me through this very strange year. By far the most outstanding of which was Behemoth’s In Absentia Dei which was a cinematic masterpiece. The self-confessed “streaming kings” Trivium did a few livestream events throughout the year, and I really enjoyed Matt Heafy’s album playthrough of What The Dead Men Say. Baroness also did a wonderful stripped-back play through of their 2019 album Gold & Grey from the studio, and Wacken World Wide deserves a mention because they put together a brilliant stream featuring recordings from previous years of the festival as well as a few special real-life performances.
I spent a lot of time this year sitting at home doing jigsaws, and that provided me with the perfect opportunity to listen to podcasts. Don’t Sh*t On The Bus is hosted by photographer Adam Elmakias and A Day To Remember guitarist Neil Westfall and offers a great insight into the world of touring. The opening and closing jingle (a rock/metal version of “The Wheels On The Bus”) is also outstanding.
Most anticipated album release of 2021:
The Pretty Reckless are due to release their latest album Death By Rock N Roll on 12 February, and if the title track is anything to go by then this is going to be a wonderful album. I am also hoping to see them play Tons of Rock Festival in Norway in the summer.
Most anticipated gigs of 2021:
- Parkway Drive
- Tons of Rock Festival, Norway
A lot of the gigs I had scheduled for 2020 have been rescheduled for 2021 (apart from the Machine Head tour which was unfortunately cancelled altogether). It is hard to know at this stage when live music as we know it will return, but hopefully by the spring things will begin to resemble some sort of normality. As well as those mentioned above, I also have a couple of socially-distanced gigs at The Black Heart in the diary for January – Mountain Caller on 8th and Rews on 27th. Fingers-crossed that those go ahead and we aren’t plunged back into Tier 3.
All in all…fuck me, what a year! Well done for surviving it, and let’s hope that 2021 will be better!