DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS
Who left who in 2012? Who joined what? Chris Amott left Arch Enemy (again). Howard Jones left Killswitch Engaged and original singer Jesse Leach returned. Anvil’s Glenn Five walked. The Haunted kinda fell apart. Jeff Hannemann remained on hiatus from Slayer to recover from a spider bite that nearly tore his arm off. Mortal Sin called it quits. Queensryche split into two Queensryches and provided much tabloid fare. Glen Drover left Geoff Tate’s Queensryche without playing a note. Angra’s Eduardo Falaschi left. Ministry returned. Soundgarden put out a new album. Baroness took some time off after their bus fell 30 fucking feet from a viaduct near Bath, England. Anette Olzon left Nightwish, to be replaced on the road (and hopefully permanently because she’s awesome) by Floor Jansen (ReVamp). Megadeth ended their association with Roadrunner Records after five years and three albums. In 2012 we lost Ronnie Montrose, Deep Purple’s Jon Lord, Marshall Amplification’s Jim Marshall and Suicide Silence’s Mitch Lucker.
MOST UNCOMFORTABLE EVENT
Dave Mustaine offending everybody with everything he said for about five months. The 20th Anniversary Countdown To Extinction remaster was pretty badass though.
Ola Englund from Six Feet Under. Check this dude out on YouTube, especially his sweet Strictly 7 signature guitars.
Periphery have been spearheading the djent movement (along with bands like Tesseract, The Omega Experiment, Circles and the like), and they released a hell of an epic in the form of Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal. Featuring guest spots from Wes Hauch, Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and The Aristocrats’ Guthrie Govan, it’s a progressive, heavy tour de force. And as great as the band’s triple-guitar attack is, drummer Mark Holcomb is a real standout.
Black Sabbath’s reunion was announced and then postponed, and then drummer Bill Ward withdrew due to a contract dispute, but in 2012 the mighty Sabbath roared again (with drummer Tommy Clufetos behind the kit) for a couple of shows. Guitar god Tony Iommi is reportedly doing well after his cancer diagnosis and treatment, and the lads are in the studio working on a new album due out in 2013. They also announced an Australian tour, but you probably already know that and have your tickets.
LAMB OF GOD
Perhaps the suckiest thing to happen in 2012 has been the arrest of Lamb of God‘s Randy Blythe in relation to the death of a fan who invaded the stage on multiple occasions at a gig in the Czech Republic a few years ago. Randy will return to the country for the trial in 2013.
Check out the post-grunge sludginess of Melbourne’s Long Holiday. They have a pedigree which takes in Uncle Chunk and The Kissingers, and they ranked pretty highly in Rode’s band search halfway through 2012. Look for bigger things from these folks in 2013.
Nobody thought it would ever happen, but Van Halen finally released a new album with David Lee Roth, and it was far better than anyone expected (apart from maybe the lacklustre first single, Tattoo). Part of the album’s success is that they dipped into the vaults and drew on material from their pre-fame days, as well as writing new material. There’s plenty of footage online from their 2012 US tour and it all sounds pretty badass.
TWELVE FOOT NINJA
Twelve Foot Ninja finally released their debut long-player and it’s one of the crackingest albums of the year in Silent Machine – part metal, part lounge, part funk, progressive and melodic and heavy and creative and funny and intense… this is what a sherbet high sounds like.
When I was in LA at the start of the year (I wrote my very first Crunch column from a Starbucks in West Hollywood right down from the Sunset Strip. Cool) everyone was raving about Ghost, the satanic, evil, ‘70s-influenced band fronted by Pope Emeritus I, and how they were destined for big things. The band is preparing to release a new album right now, and on the weekend Pope I officially handed over the throne to Pope Emeritus II, his black-garbed successor. You can see this historic moment on YouTube, with the band performing their new single Secular Haze live with the new pope. Go to secularhaze.com to listen to the new track.
AUSSIE BANDS TO WATCH IN 2013
Gay Paris, Redcoats, Long Holiday, Ten Thousand, Welcome To The Numb, Catacombs, Circles.