2020, you’re over. Now pick up your shit and go and get the hell outta here.
There has been a lot of hyperbole this year about how 2020 is the worst year ever.
That is patently untrue.
Sure, pandemics, bush fires and closer to home, the decimation of the music scene aside, one could argue it’s been the worst year this century.
However, as the analytics from Spotify begin to drown one’s social media feeds with what people have listened to in 2020 in a level of forensic detail my apathy almost caused an aneurysm, I am reminded that the Spanish Flu, the Black Plague, the darkest days of World War I and II certainly didn’t have the internet or a battle to possess an PS5 or X Box One X to distract themselves with.
Even the oft overlooked Hong Kong Flu of 1968 that killed a million people, or the even more forgotten Asian Flu of 1956-58 that killed 2 million that have survivors living in our society today, could be forgiven for saying, “You kids don’t know how good you got it!”
That said, shitty year. Really shitty.
I weep for my friends in the industry, and I’m not talking about the musicians. I’m talking about photographers, graphic designers, sound guys, lighting folks, riggers, merch folk, writers that derive a living from music confined to quarters and internet shows for the year. An industry that, for example, got less direct funding than the Australian Clay Shooters Association in Wagga which received a $5.5 million grant from Aunty Gladys.
So this year’s summation is about stubborn, in your face, middle finger defiance. Speaking of which:
The Basement in Belconnen has been front of the queue in trying ANYTHING to put forth shows despite the insane hardship and challenges presented.
The Canberra Theatre crew for taking heavy metal back into the fold for the first time since Iron Maiden with a highly professional production featuring a number of locals and bar records tumbling all the while.
Witchskull for straight perseverance, a new album, and an ACT Live Band of the Year award to boot.
In lieu of a traditional top 5/10/15/20 for the year, I’d like to acknowledge the following artists for producing heavy music more than worth readers-of-this-column’s time in 2020. This year I will just throw these up based on my plays on Apple music which I will not be reposting on social media for peoples apathy… but mostly because my top 10 are all dominated by the choices of my three princess daughters and are not at all metal [We. Want. That List. We. Want. That List – BOSSMAN SKO]
Consider these worthy stocking fillers for non-metal folks looking to purchase something for thrasher family/loved ones.
Napalm Death – Throes in The Jaws of Defeatism – Grind heroes continuing to legend
Lucifungus – Derek – Sludge from Belco’s depths
Witchskull – A Driftwood Cross – Local doom rockers focus on the songs
Hex A.D. – Astro Tongue in the Electric Garden – For fans of Ghost, but a bit doomier
Moonstone – Moonstone – Heavy doomy riffs, lysergic in their focus
Graceless – Graceless – Death doom tastiness
Goatsnake – Breakfast with the King/Deathwish Single – Catchy doom bounce
Ilsa – Preyer – Hardcore meets doom and it’s a ripper
Necrot – Mortal – Savagery
Wino – Forever Gone – Another acoustic album; still Wino, still good
Young And In The Way – Ride Off and Die – HM-2 meets considered mid-paced heavy metal songs
Mr Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo – Thrashin’ fun times, emphasis on fun
Crippled Black Phoenix – Ellengaest – Proggy Floydian depressions, but very good
Pilots of Baalbek – Uncontrolled Airspace – ’70s shuffles, insanity, pysch-rockin’ fun times
Pallbearer – Forgotten Days – Song of the year in the opener, bit proggy from there, but great
Elder – Omens – There are too many keyboards, but this is quality and worth a more open mind than me
Ulcerate – Stare Into Death and Be Still – Berutal! [sic… in more ways than one – BOSSMAN SKO]
The Death Whisperers – Divine Filth – Instrumental & a rollicking good time mixed bag
The Kings of Frog Island – IV – Sludgey as a swamp that shouldn’t be drained
Exhumed/Gruesome split – EP – Death metal delights
Private Function – Whose Line is it Anyway? – Good god it’s catchy, and the Albury Wodonga chorus is crack
Yanomamo – No Sympathy for a Rat – Aussie sludge kings from Sydney
Boris – NO – Boris comes out of a coma to deliver a fast, refreshing slap in the face
Terminal Nation – Holocene Extinction – A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, a little bit black metal/HC
Old Man Gloom – Seminar VIII: Light of Meaning & Seminar IX: Darkness of Being – Long ass titles
Thank you to all of these guys that offered a bastion of relief to the onslaught that was this year. I appreciate you. If pressed, my Top 5 would be Witchskull, Lucifungus, Moonstone, Pallbearer and Ilsa. The order is nebulous.
Chrismassacre occurs at The Basement on December 12. The superlatives for this bill are self evident. Local death grind misfits Wretch, extreme gore worshippers Carnal Viscera, death metal horror fiends As Flesh Decays (NSW/VIC) and malevolent metalcore monsters Hostel form together to provide an antidote to yule tides with a perverse eardrum assault.
Witchskull have announced a show at the Polish Club over two nights, the 19th and 20th of February 2021 to record a full live set over the two nights. Tickets are available at Oztix. Friday night tickets here and Saturday tickets here .
To the venues and support staff of our industry, I wish a swift death to 2020 and encourage a strong rebirth in ’21 to bring all of us back together at the bar. Thank you and my support and merry 666masses to you all.