I am sure I don’t need to tell you how much of a shitshow 2020 has been and that everyone is sick to death of the words “covid” and “lockdown”. We all had plans for 2020 and claimed that 2020 would be theirs, but instead we have at times felt isolated, lost and helpless because of this sad state of affairs. Our condolences go out to those affected and to those that have lost their lives.
What 2020 has allowed bands to do though is focus on their music, pick up their guitars and get writing. It has also put bands into a position where having released an album in 2020, they have had to look at different ways of staying in the public eye whilst still generating money.
Who would have thought that you would spend most of the year watching live gig streaming from the venue into your living room? Of course the feeling of attending a gig was not there, but it showed the bands the support from their fans was true and most of all, still there. Previously, bands may have just copied and pasted their live dates from 2020 to 2021 and hope for the best but doing live streams was the only way most bands got on a stage this year.
As with most things, there was of course a difference in budget to such events with Behemoth and their In Absentia Dei colossus pulling off a master show. On the other end of the spectrum, you had your local and underground bands putting on a show in their own rehearsal space but still showcasing their passion for their music as their idols. Ingested are a band that could do no wrong the last couple of years and their Dominion – Live in Manchester was as tight a performance as you would ever wish to see. This show alone was worthy of a DVD release due to the quality of the production and of course the music itself. I don’t know how many TV, laptop or PC screens were damaged due to this stellar performance.
2020 for myself was a bit of a rollercoaster ride as well. Being made redundant just after moving into a new house, losing motivation to do any writing for Moshville Times and like a lot of us, I didn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. A friend, Joe Wilson, gave me the kick up the backside that I needed and I felt the passion of music run through me again. Admittedly, I wanted to diversify and overcome my fear of doing face to face or online interviews and this has come at a cost of my lack of album reviews this year. My sincere apologies to people that I have let down but I feel that I have taken the next step in my relationship with music. If only this could be my full-time job, I would get around everybody.
I overcame my fear of not being good enough to do interviews and the feedback and experiences that I have had have made me walk on air at times. People and bands have requested to be interviewed and I have interviewed people that I have never met or heard of before, but not one person has ever shown sign of an ego. Band members are just fans of music themselves and want to talk about their music and their influences, and these initial interviews gave me the confidence to keep on going… and 2021 will be bigger and better than this year.
Online interviews are not where it’s going to end and I shall be using this festive period wisely and learn some IT skills and tricks to make my interviews more appealing. After a resurgence and overcoming of the fear word once again, this will allow me to carry out online reviews that I feel is the next step in my development. The question can be asked as to how many people actually read reviews anymore or are music fans more inclined to watch online reviews? Maybe it’s just me that can’t think of enough fancy words to say how good a song or album is anymore when writing, but when you see my reactions online, then you will know that I am always sincere in my reviews and not just writing favourably for the band. If there is constructive criticism to be had, then it shall be given in equal amounts as there will be if I am praising the music to the hilt.
I shall also be collaborating with a new podcast Metal’s Still Out There starting in the new year with fellow Moshville Times-er Mark “Shells” Shelley. So 2020 was a year of a lot of self-reflection and plans for moving on and I hope that you have all done the same.
Album of the Year 2020: Lik – Misanthropic Breed. Lik epitomise everything I want from my death metal. Catchy, well-written songs and tongue in cheek lyrics all make for very happy listening and I can safely say that Misanthropic Breed has been played more often than any other album this year. Favourite song: “Funeral Anthem”
Worthy mentions: Angerot – Divine Apostate. These pesky Americans cannot leave us Europeans alone and rather than take influences from Florida, Angerot take their influences mainly from Sweden. Luckily enough though, they are bloody good at it and way back in April, I described their album as “36 minutes of top quality death metal from a band only releasing its second album”. Favourite song: “Below the Deep and Dreamless Sleep”.
Other 2020 releases – Wombbath – Choirs of the Fallen, Undeath – Lesions of a Different Kind, Deadfire – My Mind belongs to the Devil and Molly Karloff – Supernaturalation.
Personal Highlights of 2020 – Undoubtedly doing interviews. Since August, I have gotten to know so many people that I never thought would even say “hi” to me. Instead we talk for at least half an hour, getting to know wee trade secrets, how their songs are written and more importantly, have a laugh and a giggle with each other. There are far too many interviews that I have undertaken to mention here, but you can go to my facebook page or youtube channel to discover lots of underground/unsigned bands to whet your appetite and find more about their music.
However, interviewing Tomas Akvik of Lik and trying unsuccessfully to not be too much of a fanboy, Joe of Gama Bomb and talking about the old days with Simon Pringle and John Cook was nostalgic. Speaking to comedian Steve Hughes for two hours about his new musical project Eternum, his first for twenty years and his comedy, ending in being invited to meet him for a pint at the Solid Rock will live with me for a very long time. I am already looking forward to seeing what 2021 will bring.
Special thanks list – I have to first and foremost thank the guy that has given me the opportunity to do what I love doing. I constantly test his patience but he puts up with me, Iain Purdie, Editor in Chief, IT guru but above all a friend. Thank you. Also to the rest of the team in Ross Green, Mark Shelley, Jim Costin, Katie Frost and everyone else, I look forward to your writing next year.
Again, this gentleman I have to thank for giving me a huge opportunity to interview the bands on his festival. I have met some great people in the Manchester scene but John Badger is a king amongst men for allowing me access to interview all the bands on the Badgerfest 2021 roster. I am honoured and I hope I haven’t let you down with my limited IT skills and look forward to interviewing the rest of the bands next year.
There are far too many people to thank individually but shout out to all the individuals and bands I have interviewed since my new venture in August. Jim Hedra and Steve Saunders were people that I trusted to start me with this and gave me the confidence to do this and this shall never be forgotten.
Finally, I thank you to all the readers and viewers who have taken their time to comment and read my inane drivel or tried to understand my deep Scottish accents on my interviews. If it wasn’t for you lot, none of us would be doing this. See you all at the first gig of 2021, even if it is Warrant (admittedly, “Cherry Pie” is a good song).