It’s finally 2017! And after the belter of a year we had last year, we can only hope that this one brings us the same, and hopefully more great music. So here’s a lowdown of the whole of 2016 and the great music and gigs we were given.
The End (EP) – Black Sabbath
January started off strong with Sabbath’s final release, ‘The End’. This EP was grotty in every sense of the word. It is clear that Sabbath are no longer young men with heavy metal in their veins, however this EP rocks hard and still manages to give me ‘stank-face’ when I listen to it. The EP was produced by the musical mastermind, Rick Rubin and lasts a mighty 55 minutes end to end. This was a great way to end an era of rock and roll.
Blackstar – David Bowie
There is so much to say about Bowie’s last release. Considering that in a few lines of a few songs he talks about ‘being in heaven’, ‘being in danger’ and other such prophecies. Co produced by himself and Tony Visconti, Blackstar was bound glory before I heard the first second. The album itself is typical Bowie; different to everything he has released, requires an acquired taste, but still bloody brilliant. I could go on forever about the genius of his work throughout the decades, but instead I shall say only this. Wherever David went, I’m sure they’re coming back for the rest soon…
For me, February was a dry month. To be fair to myself, I was still in my trap music phase and I wasn’t really listening to anything substantial. However in February we saw releases from legends such as The Cult, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Anthrax, Wolfmother, Daughtry and After the Burial. What was I doing during this time? Probably listening to Fetty Wap and crying about my ex… I know, the shame is real.
Jomsviking – Amon Amarth
Oooohhh yeah, sh*t got real good again. This band never fail to disappoint my inner viking, and holy sh*t this one’s a good one. The album, produced by Andy Sneap, is the musical representation of a big meaty plate of.. meat… Yeah, it’s pretty much standard, high standard, Amon Amarth. I saw these guys at the start of November this year at the O2 ABC and, man, they blew my doc martens straight off my wee emo feet. I can’t decide if my highlight of the night was the inflatable dragon or the mosh pit rowing… Anyway, this album is a belter.
Incarnate – Killswitch Engage
You thought I was done with the face melters? NAH, this album punched me in the throat, in a good way. Two words, filth – ey. Filthy. The album was, of course, produced by Adam Dutkiewicz on Roadrunner. Again, I saw these guys in November as support for Bullet For My Valentine. If you’re looking for a stomach curdling breakdown, look no further than my life or this album. I love it, f*cking love it.
Honorable *cringe* mention for Baby Metal – Metal Resistance and Black Stone Cherry – Kentucky…
Gore – Deftones
I think I peed a little when this album came out. However, as an avid Deftones fan, I have to say Gore disappointed me slightly. Not because it wasn’t good, only because it wasn’t as good as my all time favourites (White Pony and Koi No Yokan.) The album was produced mainly by Matt Hyde and released on Reprise. I think this this album is a grower not a shower. I’ve noticed that, over the last few months of listening to it more and more, I’m beginning to understand what it’s all about. The musicality is excellent as per usual, but it’s the overall theme and tone of the album that I’m still getting to grips with. I’ll be seeing them in the SSE Hydro next year and I am sure I will make my final verdict then.
(White Album) – Weezer
This album is a portal back to 1995, for sure. The consistency of this band both shocks me and pleases me greatly. Almost every track on this album is as catchy as the other. Produced by Jake Sinclair, this album is apparently serving as a tribute to The Beach Boys. I am no expert on this band, however I was very much satisfied with the quality of this album. Let’s hope they stop here and don’t ruin it…
A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead
All I can really say is that this album left me speechless. Now, I’m a sucker for conceptional art in the form of music, but this album really takes my biscuit… What can I say other than, I’m in awe. It was, again, produced by Nigel Godrich and spread over two studios; RAK Studios and La Fabrique Studios. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve sat down with this album and just listened. And every time I hear something new and different. For me, Radiohead won April, and possibly 2016. Possibly…
Along the Shadow – Saosin
I’m adding this one in for shock factor mainly. So, context. I’ve only ever heard this band’s first ever release (according to Spotify.) I actually really enjoy this album, despite it’s many flaws. It’s badly produced, mixed, thought about, but the music is there, and it’s damn good. And, when I was searching through this year’s releases, I found out these guys had released a new album in April. I guess my brain didn’t register that this band were probably still going, and are actually much better than what I’ve been listening to. And I was right, I’m currently listening to Along the Shadow as I type this review. And so far, it is actually brilliant. It was produced by Chris Sorenson and Will Yip and released on Epitaph Records, and I have to recommend it to any metalcore fans reading this shoddy review. Let’s hope they come tae Glasgow sometime soon!
All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us – Architects
Damn May, you’re shit hot. Another band that I love. Although we tragically lost Tom Searle in August this year, we still managed to receive his final masterpiece before he left us. It was recorded in Gothenburg, Sweden and produced by Henrik Udd and Fredrik Nordström. This album ticks all the Architects boxes for me and is a perfect homage to Tom’s genius songwriting and talent. I saw these guys in November this year and was utterly blown away by their performance. Although it was bittersweet for the band, they put on a fantastic show, lasers n all. This album doesn’t surpass Lost Forever // Lost Together in my opinion, but it’s pretty high up there in the ranks.
To Be Everywhere is to be Nowhere – Thrice
This year, Thrice hit back at us with a screamer of an album. I wasn’t previously a Thrice fan but when I heard this album, in particular Black Honey, I was infatuated with their sound. The album was produced by Eric Palmquist and is there first album since their hiatus. I would say this album is tame compared my usual choice of tuneage, however it grew on me day by day and it now sits nicely in my spotify playlist. Think country meets ex -post hardcore rockers, meets a brand new studio and some sweet sounds.
I am dedicating this month to the only band that matters…
The Getaway – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
God, where do I start? Well, I’d been waiting 5 years for a new album, and I got it. I fucking got it. Right. The album was, controversially, produced by enigma Danger Mouse, and was the first album not to be produced by Rick Rubin since Mother’s Milk. It took two long years in Hollywood’s The Sound Factory to make, and it came out like a golden egg out of a gooses’ bum. Of course, I am biased. This band has shaped my very existence since about the age of 6, however this album is not perfect. If you were frozen in time in about 2003, and unfrozen in time to listen to only this album first you would barely recognise it as a Chilli Pepper’s album. However, times have changed, Anthony’s old, John Frusciante has long gone deep into the realms of EDM never to return, it’s a different time. And I am pleased to say that this album brought back the funk that was lacking in their previous album, I’m With You. Tracks such as Goodbye Angels and Dark Necessities contain bass so funky, I permanently damaged my elbow whilst dancing. I finally got to see them in the flesh in December this year and I can honestly say it was the best day of my life. I was a few metres from the front, all sweaty, and crying my chubby little heart out. Despite Anthony being 54 years old, suffering from Hepatitis C and other undisclosed illnesses, he managed to bring it. The passion and love for music these four guys have is the one thing that keeps them from blending in with the rest of the old rockers. Talk about perseverance, Anthony and Flea have been keeping the band alive since 1983, despite many, many lineup changes. Anyway, I digress, this album is beautiful, flaws and all.
Elipsis – Biffy Clyro
This one is a tough one for me, I was initially skeptical about this album and it’s quality but over the last few weeks I have found a small place in my heart for it. Saying that, there’s no denying that this album is weak compared to The Vertigo of Bliss and Only Revolutions. Wolves of Winter, the title track is quietly awesome and is the closest we see to the “old” Biffy. The album was produced by Rich Costey and recorded over in California. I saw Biffy at Leeds festival this year and I will say, their performance hasn’t wavered at all in all their years as a band, I felt that the performance really compensated for the lack of good content of their newest album. I guess the phrase for this album would be ‘disappointing but still alright’…
Periphery III – Select Difficulty –
Again, another band I haven’t listened to recently and I am just discovering new releases. I can say that so far I am fairly impressed with the quality of this record. The album was produced by Misha Manor and Adam Getgood and nominated for a Best Metal Performance at the Grammy’s this year. It definitely has a different feel to their older music. It is interesting to see how trends have affected the metal music community, especially in the progressive/djent genres. This album is my definition of trendy, in relation to my previous statement. I’m hearing Rings of Saturn meets Polyphia meets Suicide Silence..? It’s not a bad thing, I quite like it actually. However I do feel an hour and four minutes of this is waaaay more than plenty… Turns out they made a documentary about the making of this album too, I’ll link it below!
Head Carrier – Pixies
This album took me by surprise. I, initially, wasn’t expecting a release at all, then when I heard it, I was pleasantly surprised. Head Carrier is modest compared to the craziness that occurred in the 90’s. Produced by Tom Dalgety, it was the first album to feature new bassist Paz Lenchantin. I took a lot of time to listen to this album as I never really understood what Pixies were all about before then. I had heard their hits but never really got into the band. I can’t say that now I am a superfan. Even after seeing them at Barrowlands not long ago. The gig where I witnessed Joey Santiago rub a 1/4 inch jack lead end across his sweaty, bald head for exactly 7 minutes… Not good! I still don’t see the big deal. Probably because it’s not the nineties anymore, and I’m not an angsty 17 year old, and I don’t really like punk as a concept, never mind indie punk. Yeah, Head Carrier is good, well produced and interesting, just not my go to daily listening. 10 points if you listen to the YouTube link below and guess the song it sounds so alike to…
This was also released in September this year… It’s so hilarious that I can’t tell if I love it or hate it?? Just listen… God bless Mexico.
The Stage – Avenged Sevenfold
First of all, whoever arranged the drum sound on this album obviously listens out of their ass. Just saying, Joe Barresi… Yeah, uhh this album is just as mediocre as all the other Avenged albums. Sorry not sorry. Not impressed, lets move on?
Who You Selling For – The Pretty Reckless
This is a weird one, it’s another album I’ve heard this year that sounds like it was recorded in a cardboard box in your mum’s attic… I really don’t know what’s going on with 2016 production techniques but this one is a total botch job, sorry Kato Khandwala, not sorry. I liked a few of TPR’s older songs after seeing them support Fall Out Boy many moons ago, but I guess they’ve just deteriorated over time. Also I’m noting the fact that the bass player resembles my dad slightly, like a shorter, rock n roll version of my dad. #facts… Let’s reminisce to the days when Taylor Momsen was a hot goth/hipster:
The Last Hero – Alter Bridge
This is more like it! Damn, yeah everything you’d expect from Alter Bridge. It’s heavy, it’s Myles, it’s juicy. I like it a lot, but I haven’t taken a lot of time out to listen to it, so I guess my final verdict won’t come for a while. But for now I love this album, produced by Michael “Elvis” Basket and Ben Grosse. They played a show in the SSE Hydro recently however I missed it, I am really sad about it so please don’t mention it or I will cry…
Revolution Radio – Greenday
Can we jut not talk about this one..? Please, I just can’t. When will it end???
The Serenity of Suffering – Korn
Well I had no idea what to expect when I first heard this album, but it wasn’t this for sure. This is probably one of Korn’s most intense album’s so far. Long gone is the badly mixed bass sound and lacklustre songwriting, here came heaviness and songs I can actually listen to regularly. Don’t get me wrong, I like Korn, but I never found them intriguing, until now. This album is everything I’ve wanted to hear from Korn. I guess we have Nick Raskulinecz to thank for this, a man with a colossal roster of incredible artists under his belt. I, again, missed their performance at the Hydro with support from Limp Bizkit. Yeah, fucking Limp Bizkit. I’ll never forgive myself for missing that.
Gig Highlights of 2016:
This year was by far the best year of gigs for me, from January last year until now I have been to more gigs than I could possibly count, some great and some not so great… Here’s a list of my favourites of the year:
- March – 1975, O2 Academy. Despite The 1975 being the ultimate indie/pop band of the year, this gig was actually incredible. The lights were mesmerising, Matt Healy had a lot of wine and I may have cried a little.
- Puddle of Mudd – La Belle Angele. I had low expectations for this gig as Wes Scantlin is notoriously disappointing. However, despite him coming on an hour and a half late, some of the show was actually bearable. It’s a highlight for me as I thoroughly enjoyed watching a man so coked out his brain try and perform, hilarious.
- June – XPO North. I have to say this event was the highlight of my summer. I met some amazing friends here, and saw a lot of new bands. It was here I discovered North Atlas, a band who are strong contenders for my favourite band of the year (and some of the nicest guys you’ll meet.) I also discovered bands such as Kelvin, Pure Grief, Colonel Mustard and the Dijion 5 and so many others. XPO North is one of the best ways for Scottish musicians and industry professionals to meet and network with each other, plus it is one of the best night’s out of the year, and I strongly recommend it in 2017.
- August – Leeds Festival. This festival took me by surprise. It was my first music festival, I went on my own and I had no idea what to expect. However I saw some great performances such as Nothing But Theives, Skindred, Pulled Apart by Horses, Fatherson, Fickle Friends, Dinosaur Pileup, Biffy Clyro, Foals, Eagles of Death Metal and, of course, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Despite my strong dislike for mud, tents and overpriced booze, I had a great experience here. It taught me that next time I’ll definitely not be going alone, and I’d much rather be at Download. If it wasn’t for the massive chav population, this festival would have been amazing. However the bands that I saw were incredible and I discovered a few new acts from this experience.
- October – Tenement Trail. I don’t think I could list all the bands that I saw on this crazy night if I tried, however my highlights had to be The Van T’s. Those girls can really f*cking rock and I love them to pieces, these guys are another strong contender for my favourite band of 2016.
North Atlas, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut. I’ve mentioned these guys already, but this show was amazing, and it was also my birthday, so it gets its own special mention.
- November – I have mentioned a few of these gigs earlier on in this post but I’ll post it again for emphasis…
Amon Amarth, O2 ABC. So damn good. Architects, O2 ABC. Jimmy Eat World, Barrowlands. Feelz on Wheelz, The Art School.
- December – Red Hot Chilli Peppers, SSE Hydro. Mentioning this one again for epicness. Best day of my life, hands down.
My Top Bands of 2016:
This is a hard one to narrow down, amongst the millions of hours of music I listen to in a year, there has been so much that I have loved. However I’ve narrowed it down to 5 bands that I absolutely loved this year, both established and starting out:
These are the bands that really stood out for me, and whose talent left me wanting more. I’m excited to see what’s in store for all these bands next year, let’s hope theres lots of tour dates to come! I’ve linked all of the above points to the Facebook pages of the bands and I strongly recommend any one who reads this post to check them out, I have great taste in music so you won’t be disappointed..!