Brian Boyle / The Best Of Heavy Metal In 2023

Bloody hell, another year has whizzed by in the blink of an eye at MetalTalk towers. As per usual, our passionate and committed team of writers and photographers were on the frontline, bringing you the most accurate and best quality coverage around. As is the case every year, narrowing down a plethora of highlights to a bitesize portion can prove a monumental pain in the derrière. But as they say, it’s better to have them than not at all.

So here’s a few of my standout moments.

Gigs Of The Year

The Darkness, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin – 3 December 2023

As the review says, this truly was the gig of the year. Celebrating 20 years of their all-killer debut album Permission To Land, The Darkness just continue to get better as the years roll on.

The Darkness - 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin - 3 December 2023
The Darkness – 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin – 3 December 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

As far as standout highlights go, there are far too many to scribble down here. But one overriding memory was when Justin Hawkins kickstarted a tribute to the late Shane McGowan with an emotionally charged snippet of Fairytale Of New York. Stunning.

Iron Maiden, 3Arena, Dublin – 22 June 2023

Just when you think the British Metal Legends Iron Maiden may be winding down a notch, back they came with yet another mega-scale tour. The Future Past Tour saw them celebrating the iconic Somewhere In Time album while also pushing the latest release, Senjutsu.

Iron Maiden - 3Arena, Dublin - 24 June 2023
Iron Maiden – 3Arena, Dublin – 24 June 2023. Photo: Olga Kuzmenko/MetalTalk

On a boiling hot day in Dublin, an in-the-mood Bruce Dickinson and co raised the temperature further. It was one of those performances I was honoured to witness in the flesh despite sweat leaking from every conceivable part of my body.

Highlights were undoubtedly the performance of Alexander The Great and toasting the parched Dubliners with creamy pints of Stout.

Join Hillbilly Vegas on Tour This July

The Cult Presents Death Cult, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin – 7 November 2023

Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy put their big-hitting tunes on the shelf temporarily and reverted back to their post-punk days. The Cult Presents Death Cult had a setlist that rolled back the years, especially for those who followed the band from their earliest origins.

The Cult Presents Death Cult 8323. 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin - 7 November 2023.
The Cult Presents Death Cult 8323. 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin – 7 November 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

Tracks like 83rd Dream and Christians are far from household fare. But within the four walls that night, they were resonating world-beaters.

Album Of The Year – Paul Rodgers

While the likes of Dirty Honey, Last In Line, Vandenberg and The Rolling Stones all released quality collections, I’m giving Paul Rodgers’ first solo album in nearly a quarter of a century top spot.

The new album by rock legend Paul Rodgers - Midnight Rose.
Paul Rodgers – Midnight Rose a a must-listen for music lovers. Photo:

You could call Paul Rodgers Midnight Rose a return to form. But let’s face it, the Middlesbrough legend has never been off it. While others of his vintage are starting to struggle a wee bit, Rodgers is still the voice to be envied.

Metaltalk Highlight Of The Year

Covering gigs for Metaltalk is always a highlight, and getting to cover Iron Maiden in my hometown of Dublin was a bit of all right.

Also, positive feedback from artists can be like looking for hen’s teeth, so getting love from The Darkness and Death Cult on my reviews of their Dublin gigs definitely got my chest sticking out.

Hopes For 2024

AC/DC announcing a world tour would be most welcome.

A new Iron Maiden live album. Yes, another one. You can never have enough, you know.

Sleeve Notes

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