So 2010 is upon us, and looking back at 09, it’s been a turbulent year for music. With the death of Micheal Jackson, we need a new king of pop, and I highly doubt Lady Gaga has the balls to take the plate. Britney Spears toured Australia, and with more miming than a Marcel Marso house party, she left millions of fans upset and wanting their money back.
However, 2009 has been a positively epic year for shows and releases in Australia. And I thought, what better way to end the year, than with my own little awards ceremony for Australia’s best and worst music: the “Ryles Awards.”
Best Local Release
Winner: Dreadnaught for “D->0”
With thousands of EPs released locally in Melbourne, it is very hard to make one that actually makes an impact. Dreadnaught is one band that really stood out for me this year. I chose them because unlike every other thrash metal band they’re embracing a new sound and transforming constantly. D->0 is available through Amphead Records. www.myspace.com/dreadnaughtmusic.
Best Local Show of the Year
Winner: Echoes Witness at the Arthouse in November
These guys pull off that “New Metal” sound with the raw and pure energy of an 80′s thrash band. The soaring melodies and the absolutely raw vocals remind me of Randy Blythe. The kick ass drumming and precise bass playing all come together to create an orchestra of mayhem, that has left a lasting impact on me. www.myspace.com/echoswitness.
Best Punk Rock Show
Winner: Rise Against
Propagandhi completely killed in Melbourne this year. As did The Dropkick Murphys, Bad Religion, NOFX and Have Heart, but I’m afraid none of these shows compares to Rise Against at Festival Hall in March. Touring on the back of Appeal to Reason, this show was incredible. You know a show is amazing when the crowd is louder than the band. Rise Against never fail to put on an electric show, always playing exactly what the crowd wants to hear and even pulling out “Stained Glass & Marble” from their debut album “The Unravelling.“ This show left me with chills for days.
Best Metal Show
Winner: Lamb of God
This award can only be given to one band and one band only, Lamb of God. Never has Melbourne been privileged to such a showcase of insane metal bands. With High on Fire, Shadows Fall and Devil Driver opening, Lamb of God had a lot to prove that night after a miserable performance at Soundwave in Feburary. Now I know some of you are saying, but what about the Slayer/Megadeth show? While that was a great gig, I feel that Tom Araya’s laryngitis really took away from what could have been the metal show of the year. Although “Slayeroke” was rather fun.
Let Down of the Year
Winner: Karnivools “Sound Awake”
With all the hype surrounding this album, I was expecting much more, considering how good “Themata” was. I know it sounds rough, but they actually manage to play for an hour without saying anything. Killswitch Engage released a self-titled album, still staying true to that KSE sound, but I feel this album didn’t break any new ground or show the band doing anything different, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But with the past three albums sounding the same, I feel the guys need to step it up on the next effort.
Music Clown of the Year
Winner: Kanye West
This was a hard one to give away. There are so many people in the musical clown car that make me laugh.There is Britney Spears and her “problems,” not to mention the terrible live shows. Lady Gaga’s so called “music,” but the one man who always manages to pee my pants is Kanye West. He puts himself in the dumbest situations, and expresses his opinions at the worst possible time. It is cliche and predictable, but is there a bigger clown than him?
Top Album Releases of the Year
It’s been a massive year full of incredible albums. Worthy honorable mentions include Lilly Allen’s “Its not me, its you.“ For a pop album, it actually has credibility. Who doesn’t love a down to earth, gorgeous woman singing a song about giving head? Biffly Clyro’s “Only Revolutions,” whilst not as good as the previous album, “Puzzle,” it is still an extreme accomplishment and a true credit to the song writing ability of these guys.
Also cruising into our speakers was Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream.” With a different approach than his previous effort, “Devils & Dust,” The Boss brings back the full band and some of that 80′s Springsteen spirit. Propagandhis’ “Supporting Caste“ was mammoth. The guys have come far from the almost crust/crass punk sound they used to have. Also released was Gallows’ “Grey Britain.” A dark and menacing album that delivers a foot to the throat of the youth of Britain. Muse gave us the slightly more classical sounding “The Resistance,“ and there was “Crack the Skye“ from Mastadon, a more laid back progressive album than “Blood Mountain“ which really takes you on a journey and leaves you feeling a touch spacey.
2009 surprises include new Fat Wreckchords band Pour Habit, that really surprised me with their debut release “Suiticide.” Also out on Fat Wreckchords is the self titled vinyl-only release from Rise Against. Whilst only containing two tracks, it was a return to that raw “up yours” hardcore punk sound they formed in their early years.
Album of the year
Winner: Lamb of God
This had to go to a band who has not only released an amazing album, but put up with record companies screwing them over, tours going wrong, fans leaving, and the band still came together to release one hell of an album. So, album of the year goes to Lamb of God for Wrath. Now I do enjoy a plethora of musical feasts, but Wrath is just too insane to look past. With precise riffing, octopus like drumming and vocals that make Satan himself scared, it is an amazing achievement and set the standard for metal of the future.
What’s in store in 2010?
New albums from Dillinger Escape Plan, The Gaslight Anthem, Rush, Stone Sour, Testament, Van Halen, Weird Al, Shinedown, Disturbed, Bad Religion, The Offspring, Linkin Park, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Korn, Dropkick Murphys, Blink-182, Against Me! and Deftones. And with Metallica finishing touring for Death Magnetic, here’s hoping they decide to grace Australia with their metal presence, and head back to the studio to record an album for 2011.