They're not totally new as they were formed in 2009 but they're new to MetalTalk as they hadn't been brought to our attention until late this year. Skálmöld are a Viking/folk Metal band from Reykjavík, Iceland and their fourth album was given the full five pints by my colleague Roger Berzerk Fauske. You can read his review by clicking here. As he gave it full marks, I had to have a careful listen and they've consequently ended up with this award. I look forward to more from them in 2015.
Motörhead all the way. There were some people on the pitch at Wembley who thought it was all over, but it just isn't. Is Lemmy really immortal? Well he certainly is up to now! Despite having a defibrillator (I hope that's the title of the next album) fitted in his chest, constant reports of his ailing health and public pleas from his band mates and management to curb the lifestyle, Motörhead came up with a superb new album, 'Aftershock', and played a blinder of a tour. "Legend" is a word that is bandied around too cheaply these days but nothing else is appropriate here. You can read my review of that fabulous night at Wembley by clicking here
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I said in my Absolva joint album/gig review back in early May that "I'll be surprised if I hear a better album than 'Anthems To The Dead' in 2014" and indeed, that has turned out to be the case. Absolva have won my 2014 Best Album award by a country mile for their second studio offering. There were several seriously great quality albums this year but nothing really came close to this one. You can read my review in full by clicking here.
Behemoth nearly died when Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 but after a long recovery, they are back with a vengeance and the opening track from this year's 'The Satanist' album, 'Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel', is my single of the year. The video edged them into first place as it's scary as Hell. Do not watch if you are of a nervous disposition or of certain religious persuasions.
This is a tough category and I've spent more than a week mulling over this one. Motörhead at Wembley Arena, Pythia's mighty performance supporting Leaves' Eyes, Eluveitie, Behemoth and Doro were all serious contenders but in the end, Trans Siberian Orchestra just couldn't be topped. What a year it was for gigs. You can read my reviews by clicking here and read my gig of the year, TSO, review by clicking here. I touch on the future of rock and Metal in this review. I'd wanted to write about that subject for some time and TSO gave me the perfect opportunity.
Things To Look Forward To In 2015
2015 is already looking like a monster year for Metal with the Savatage reunion at Wacken topping the bill for me, new albums from Absolva, Blind Guardian and Manowar on the way, Trivium headlining Bloodstock, the unbelievable line-up at Hellfest, Krushfest, which is a dream borne out of several late night bottles of bourbon in Bermondsey in the early part of this decade and a certain singer who I cannot mention just yet taking leave from his day job to play some solo gigs. And all that's just the tip of one mighty Metal iceberg. It's going to be some year!