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Best of 2015 - 2016 Gdazegod

ARTICLE: Best of 2015 Gdazegod


In our realm of hard rock and AOR, I can't help but feel that the scene has been taken over by one or two labels. To really get a glimpse of talent, you have to dip deeper into the murky mire and find obscure labels or artists that are self promoting and marketing. Perhaps that is the door that GDM opens in 2016, as the cookie cutter approach is growing quite tiresome now.

Overall, I would agree with Malcolm that 2015 hasn't been a vintage year by any stretch. It took an age to find a decent album as we progressed through the year.

Year In Review
I discounted Care Of Night out of the equation, because their January album 'Disconnected' contained material from their 2013 EP. There were surprises, disappointments, and confirmations. Swedish bands Eclipse and H.E.A.T. struck early in the year with their releases 'Armageddonize' and 'Live in London'. Sweden overall had a great year, with many superb albums coming down the pike.

The UK continued to deliver strong albums. All the usual suspects made appearances such as FM (UK), Romeos Daughter, Def Leppard, Saxon, Thunder (UK), Gun, Praying Mantis, Ten, Tank, Savage. However, it was new blood that tended to draw the most interest. Bands such as Iconic Eye, Cats In Space and prog crossover trio The Tirith were a couple of bands off the beaten track that touched my dial.

In the heavy metal mould, there was lots to like also. Swedes Ambush were rather impressive, so too South Coast Brit metallers Dendera, but for me the award goes to Ghost Ship Octavius and their debut set. The HM, prog metal and technical metal scene is forging ahead in leaps and bounds, and this is a sign we need to do more in this area during 2016.

Reunions are famous for being the 'phoenix of a finale'. Think KISS from a couple of years ago. Huge farewell concerts, raked in millions, then decided to carry on as per normal. Sounds like a rip-off to me. And now we have The Scorpions. Quite why they bothered to return is anyone's guess. Klaus Meine and co must surely have shares in a Retirement Village somewhere in Germany? However, within this category we see our favourite Canadians Boulevard reuniting for a 2016 return. These guys aren't young either, but their recent 'Live At Gastown' DVD was a sure-fire entree before the main course. Added to that, we had other decent reunions by Bonfire, Shooting Star and Dakota.

2015 was another year of departures, and as I write this over the 2015 Christmas/New Year period (New Years Eve actually), we just witnessed the passing of Motorhead great Lemmy, who departed the metal plane on Boxing Day. Philthy Animal Taylor also passed a few weeks earlier. Our Shoutbox is littered with obituaries from 2015. Some names:

Mike Porcaro (Toto)
Phil Taylor (Motorhead)
Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister (Motorhead)
Bruce Crump (Molly Hatchet, China Sky)
Andy Fraser (Free)
A.J Pero (Twisted Sister)
Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots)
Gary Richrath (REO Speedwagon)
Chris Squire (Yes)
Allan Fryer (Heaven)
Gary James (Blackhorse)
Craig Gruber (ELF, Rainbow, Gary Moore)
BB King
Errol Brown (Hot Chocolate)
Mike Brown (Stories, The Left Banke, The Beckies))
Daevid Allen (Gong, Soft Machine)
Demis Roussos
Chris Rainbow
Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream)
Jeff Golub (Billy Squier, Tina Turner)

Unlike previous years, I won't bother creating a top 10 list. Sometimes I go back and read what it was that I nominated in my top 10 only to find they weren't really contenders at all. So, I'll just write a few things instead.

Surprises for me included the wonderful Martina Edoff 2nd album 'Unity'. Still playing this, and I think I will well into 2016. It's really good, and I believe it will be her breakout album!. Cats In Space was probably my most expensive CD purchase of the year, but well worth it. For fans of 70's pop rock, this is outrageously good. The 2nd Find Me CD 'Dark Angel' is really strong and likeable. Daniel Flores has an interesting and unusual production technique, but it works. Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P. were very good for mine. I know Alun's review of 'Golgotha' was good/fair, but many on the net found this to be one of the better metal albums of the year, and I concur. The Damon Kelly fronted Love N Revenge satiated my thirst for melodic glam metal. Seeing as Reckless Love weren't on the scene in 2015, LNR picked up the slack. A great album, and hits all the spots. The aforementioned Care Of Night managed to hold onto the 2015 honours List despite a January release. I love what this band brings to the table, and can't wait to hear new material. I also thoroughly enjoyed Praying Mantis's 'Legacy' album. A fantastic quality set that proves there is life in the Troy brothers for many years to come.

Disappointments? Well, we can't go further than the massive Toto debate from earlier in the year. Some will love it, some will hate it. I'm in the latter camp. It did cause an uproar.. yes? Dennis Churchill-Dries 'I' CD did nothing for me either. I read on his FB page that he made a paltry $1.98 through his media streaming accounts. Says it all about the modern age of music I reckon. Revolution Saints attracted much fanfare this time a year ago, but the final result, though good for the first few tracks, faded away really badly across the course of the album. RS were not helped by the arrest and charging of sexual battery by drummer Deen Castronovo. I think this guys music career is shot. Certainly his Journey gig is! The question is: how many years jail will he get?

In Summary
And onto 2016, I'm hoping we will see a new CD from The Magnificent, added to that a new Care Of Night CD. I'll need to talk with Georg Siegl about that one. Canadians Lee Aaron and Boulevard will have new CD's in the first quarter of the year, plus Aussies White Widdow are due for album #4 in the new year. Douglas Docker's Docker's Guild has his second album 'Book A The Heisenberg Diaries' out early in Jan 2016, and for anyone into prog metal with a sci-fi bent, this is for you!

During 2016, there will be some changes to the GDM site layout. We need to start thinking about appropriate visual displays for the tablet and smartphone platforms. The desktop displays are OK, but it is acknowledged that it needs to be updated. All the best for 2016 everyone. Let us rock on for another year at least!

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