The past couple of years have been busy for the guys over in HIM...since 2014's release of "Tears On Tape" they've toured pretty relentlessly and only in the latter half of this year did things finally slow down for the Finnish five-piece, but they were far from inactive...far from it indeed. While front-man VILLE VALO took a break to release "Olet Mun Kaikuluotain", a brilliant solo cover of JOHN DENVER's "Annie's Song"...guitarist LINDE (Mikko Lindström) returned with his own side project; DANIEL LIONEYE. An experimental project to say the least; their first album "The King Of Rock 'N' Roll" was a noisey, blues-inspired rock 'n' roll album, made famous thanks to BAM MARGERA and "Viva La Bam"...while "Vol II" was a brutal slab of unforgiving black metal. This year they released "Vol III" and it finds itself somewhere in the middle. There's fantastic riff-work and some solid hard rock musicianship but there's plenty of melody too, especcially on album highlight "Dancing With The Dead"...probably Lioneye's best output to date, it's a very welcome return.
Nu-metal is dead man! So people say; "It was just a phase...like emo...and Crazy Frog..." well guess what? Bollocks! Not only do the likes of KORN, SLIPKNOT and PAPA ROACH simply keep on delivering, evolving, album after album...there are still new bands emerging not only giving fans a dose of early 2000's nostalgia but they're making music that sounds fresh and relavent again! Enter CANE HILL...named after a mental asylum, the New Orleans rockers dropped one of if not the hottest debut metal album of 2016; "Smile"...the combination of Slipknot-inspired anger and andrenaline with MARILYN MANSON-esque controversial undertones made Cane Hill hot property, coupled with a huge tour supporting BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE to round off the year, expect big things from Elijah Witt and co over the next year or so...nu-metal is dead???....You fucking numpty...
Those of you familiar with CELLDWELLER will know that Klayton, the brainchild behind the project is an astoundingly busy gentleman...not only did he release the "End Of An Empire" album last year (which made my 2015 Top 10), the culmination of work over the course of a series of four concept EP's, he kept working and working and this year he not only returned with CIRCLE OF DUST, an older industrial metal project from the late 90's, but he finally released the debut self-titled album from another project; SCANDROID. Sticking with his love of all things electronica, Scandroid is considerably easier on the ears than the aforementioned and is probably Klayton's most accessible work. Tracks such as "Salvation Code" and "Empty Streets" have huge, 80's pop undertones with incredibly catchy hooks...not to mention an incredible cover of "Shout" by TEARS FOR FEARS...Klayton proves he's a jack of all trades, and master of, pretty much all of them too...
It's been a good year for electronica and another group to return to the fold in 2016 was BLAQK AUDIO. Formed by members of AFI (Davey Havok and Jade Puget), they released their debut; "CexCells" back in 2007 and garnered much critical acclaim for their gothic-tinged electronic-pop, not to mention a cult fanbase! This year they dropped their much anticipated third album, "Material" and it was well worth the wait. Far superior to 2012's "Bright Black Heaven"...tracks like "First To Love" and "Graphic Violence" are superb slabs of bouncy synth-pop and it shows Havok isn't always dark and dreary...it's just a shame they didn't include their cover of "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)", easily one of the covers of the year. Either way, great stuff
Another fantastic debut for 2016, "IIVV" was unleashed upon the world by ALL TVVINS; hailing from Ireland, the Dublin-duo (Conor Adams and Lar Kaye) dropped one of the most up-beat and energetic albums of the year. With a combination of styles utilised, sounding somewhere inbetween the likes of BLOC PARTY and TV ON THE RADIO...tracks like "End Of The Day" and "Darkest Ocean" perfectly combine soft indie-rock with delicate synth-pop and smooth harmonious vocals resulting in a quality album end-to-end. If you haven't given these guys a listen yet, do so, now...you won't regret it, and it'll make a bloody good gift this Christmas...for yourself!
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Gavin Griffiths, a.k.a GavTheGothicChav, lover of new music and supporter of bands. I aim to give exposure to great unappreciated bands from around the UK who bust a nut to earn next to nothing because they're musicians...the occasional big name band, and the odd over seas band because I'm a cultural sort. Hope you enjoy what you read! x