Band I Couldn’t Shut My Piehole About in 2014
Winner: Jess and the Ancient Ones
Jess and the Ancient Ones was a band that I just couldn’t talk enough about this year. After discovering them earlier this year by accident, both their self titled debut album their Astral Sabbat EP became mainstays in the music box. Just when I thought that things couldn’t get better, they came over to the US as direct support for King Diamond and their mind blowing live set just solidified themselves as one of my new favorite bands.
Biggest Shock of 2014:
Winner: Death of Dave (Oderus Urungus) Brockie
Runner Up: The Oath Splitting Up, Ace Frehley made an album that didn’t suck.
The biggest shock this year for me was the sad, sad passing of GWAR front man Dave Brockie. The metal world was dealt a huge blow by this one and as a long time fan of GWAR for over 20 years, this one definitely left a mark. We celebrated his life and GWAR vowed to carry on preserving his legacy and continuing to bring a high caliber performance night after night thanks to the great Blothar stepping in at the mic.
Runners up for biggest shock of 2014 was the split up of The Oath and the fact that Ace Frehley made a new album of material that didn’t suck and in fact was as good if not better than KISS’ last offering. The Oath’s split up came just shortly after the release of the band’s stellar debut album leaving me with zero opportunity to ever see them live. Lead singer Johanna Sadonis has a new band called Lucifer who will be making their debut in 2015 so keep on the lookout.
Worst Metal Album
Winner: Crowned by Fire – Space Music for Cave People
Runner Up: Bloody Pussy Guts
I heard some pretty shitty records this year and Crowned By Fire took the cake with Space Music for Cave People. First off, that title just sucks and the album itself was a huge ass platter of subpar mediocre bro metal featuring some of the worst songwriting I have ever heard thrown over cutting room floor Pantera riffs. At least Bloody Pussy Guts was intentionally horrible. Crowned by Fire really must have thought they were doing some special when in reality, they just put out something that will be keeping the water rings off of my coffee table.
Best Single of 2014
Winner (Tie): Jess & The Ancient Ones – Castaneda; Brave – Surrounds Me
Jess and the Ancient ones blew my mind by releasing a new single for the song “Castaneda” along with another new track called “As To Be With Him.” Both of these songs showed significant growth for Jess and the Ancient Ones and it made me so excited to see what lies ahead.
Coming in neck to neck with Jess and the Ancient Ones was Brave who finally released their first offering of new music since 2008’s Monuments album. Their single for “Surrounds Me” and “Three Ravens” seem to pick up right where Brave left out making it feel like nearly no time has passed since their last release. Much like with Jess and the Ancient Ones, this release got me feeling very excited to see and hear just what lies ahead with the new Brave full length which will (hopefully) be released sometime in 2015.
Favorite Metal Label
Winner: Rise Above
Rise Above Records (run by former Cathedral main man Lee Dorian) proved to be a lable to be reckoned with in 2014. Rise Above put out albums by some of my favorite new bands such as Saturn, The Oath, and The Admiral Sir Cloudesly Shovell, while also putting out albums by other great acts such as Purson, Gentlemans Pistols, Death Penalty, and Blood Ceremony just to name a few. Rise Above really blew my mind with such an impressive roster of talent and has quickly become my new favorite record label. Now if I can just get them to hook me up with some sweet vinyl or something!
Most Disappointing Metal Album
Winner: A Sound of Thunder – Lesser Key of Solomon
Runner Up: Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie
The biggest disappointment for me this year was A Sound of Thunder’s Lesser Key of Solomon. I had such high hopes for this follow up to their stellar Time’s Arrow album but this album just left me kind of scratching my head and being let down. Just to add salt to the wound, I actually donated money to their Kickstarter fund to make this album. The end result was kind of like paying for what you were hoping would be a world class burger and ending up with a Big Mac. This also made me rethink donating to crowdsourcing in the future. You never know what you’re gonna get and you have to be ok with that. From now on I think I’ll just wait till the album’s done and preview it before buying. Fool me once…
Runner up was Rival Sons with an album that was so forgettable that I couldn’t even tell you what it sounded like. I can tell you what it didn’t sound like. It didn’t sound like any of their previous releases which kick so much fucking ass it’s insane. This album just seemed to lack any real focus or direction and just left me feeling like maybe they need to re-think the formula that they’ve been using to make records because this time it failed them.
Band That Should’ve Put an Album out This Year but Didn’t
Runner up: Holy Grail
I really hoped that at some point this year we would’ve seen the long awaited follow from Indiana proggers Draekon but alas, it just wasn’t to be. The band was in town for the ProgPower Kick Off Show and after having a great interview with them I learned that the album is slated for a 2015 release.
My fingers will remain crossed for that one as well as a much anticipated new album from Holy Grail. They were another band I was hoping to hear new music from but no bueno. I’m guess 2015 is going to be a pretty fucking kick ass year if these guys are gonna put out new shit. Fingers crossed indeed.
The “Like ‘Em But Don’t Love ‘Em” Award
Runner Up: Volume IV
Mothership definitely takes the “Like ‘Em But Don’t Love ‘Em” Award for 2014. I really enjoy the band’s live show and their songs but I just don’t feel that cosmic connection that I feel with my favorite bands. The same goes for Volume IV as they are a band that I totally enjoy seeing live but just didn’t feel a strong connection too. Both bands are strong, talented bands that I will continue to keep my eyes and ears open to as they are both very close to making that connection but just falling a hair short of doing so Some bands you can just “like” and ya know what? I’m ok with that.
Best Metal Video of 2014
Winner: Iron Reagan – Miserable Failure
The best video in 2014 was hands down “Miserable Failure” by Iron Reagan. The band took the “flash mob” and turned it into “thrash mob” as they unleashed their hilariously kick ass face melting brand of old school thrash to the screen with one of the most entertaining videos I have seen in years. What I loved so much about this video is that it truly captured everything that Iron Reagan is about to a “t” and I think very well could have opened doors to a whole new slew of fans. This was a well done and well played video without a doubt.
Best Concert Bill of 2014
Winner: King Diamond/Jess and the Ancient Ones
Runners Up: Scorpion Child/Crobot; Kyng/Crobot
Best concert bill of the year was King Diamond with Jess and the Ancient Ones. On paper this pairing left a lot of folks scratching their heads but once you saw it live, if you were of any sound mind, it didn’t take long at all to put two and two together and to see the connection between the two. It created a dynamic and really exciting musical experience that I can only hope opened the minds and ears of many to a whole other genre of metal that truly has a lot to offer.
The runners up for best bill are without a doubt Scorpion Child/Crobot; Kyng/Crobot. Getting to see three of my favorite bands this year was awesome but seeing two of them paired together on two separate occasions was mindlbowing. Matter of fact, it was so fucking good that it had me wondering why this trio didn’t just unite for a facemelting tour of their own. All three bands brought their A-Game on both shows and played like it was the last time they were ever going to play. That’s how every band should play and they nailed the fuck out of it.
Best Metal Show
Winner: King Diamond/Jess and the Ancient Ones
King Diamond and Jess and the Ancient Ones stole this fucking award and ran with it. Jess and the Ancient Ones delivered a no frills, moving, and passionate opening set that left me completely mesmerized while King Diamond delivered a stage production of arena/Euro Fest proportions along with one the absolutely tightest musical performances I’ve witnessed since last year’s epic Iron Maiden show. This show set the bar so fucking high that it was far more than just the best show I saw this year. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen in my 41 years of living.
Worst Metal Show
Loser: Steel Panther
I can barely put to words what a fucking atrocious mess this band is. Judas Priest taking them out as the support act on their latest our just made my blood boil. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt but it was one of the most painful things I have ever sat through. Even more painful that Vince Neil’s solo show back in 1994 on the Exposed tour. Yeah, they were THAT fucking bad. It was like a horrifically UNFUNNY comedy schtick that just lasted way too fucking long. If there was ever band I’d love to take a flight on Lynyrd Skynyrd Airlines it’s this band right here. Go away… FAR AWAY!
Best Non-Metal Show
Winner: Crosby, Stills, & Nash
For those that know me, metal isn’t the only kind of music I love. I love all kinds of music that doesn’t suck. The best non-metal show I saw this year was, without a doubt, Crosby Stills and Nash at the Fox Theater here in Atlanta. The band delivered a marathon 2.5 hour set that covered all the bases and had both Graham Nash and David Crosby playing the rolls of MVP of the night as they carried a nearly winded and feeble Stephen Stills through the set. The stories were just absolutely hilarious and touching and even hearing a brand new Graham Nash song called “Burning for the Buddha” showed that these old fuckers are far from tapped out of new ideas. A completely unforgettable performance to say the least in one of the most legendary venues in the country.
Tour I Was Pissed Didn’t Come Here
Winner: Rival Sons/Blues Pills
As lucky as I was to get to see so many great shows this year, there were still shows I was pissed didn’t come here. The Rival Sons/Blues Pills tour of Europe was so fucking stellar that it had me wishing I could’ve made my way across the pond to Deadhead this tour for a few nights. Both of these bands are stellar in their own right and to see them on the same night together would’ve been fucking amazing. The reports from these shows said the both bands were playing on top of their game
European Band I Was Pissed Didn’t Come to the US:
Winner: Blues Pills
Of all the bands I was the most excited to see this year, Blues Pills was at the top of my list of bands I was most eager to see but that chance just never came. The band did almost zero press in the states (I couldn’t even get an interview) and the band had no dates at all despite the fact that they made quite an impact here in the states. I’m sure that we’ll see a change in that next year but for this year, I was kicking the ground like a fucking bratty ass kid that I didn’t get to see them live.
Show I Was Pissed I Missed This Year
Winner: Alice Cooper – Macon, GA
Alice Cooper played a pre-Halloween show in Macon, GA that I decided to skip out on. I had seen Coop three times over the past couple of years and I figured that the show wouldn’t be much different. Well, I was sadly mistaken as I missed a totally amazing performance that included some really awesome gems such as “Go To Hell”, “Department of Youth”, and an amazing cover of The Doors’ classic “Break on Through.” If missing this show taught me anything it was to never assume anything when it comes to Alice Cooper. I’m still kicking myself for missing this show but hopefully I’ll make up for that one sooner than later.
Biggest Live Surprise of 2014
Winner: Geoff Tate’s Queensryche
Runner Up: Judas Priest
After all the negative backlash Geoff Tate received from the general public, not only was it such a treat to have such an amazing interview with him but it was amazing to see him and his amazing band put on a top notch stellar performance. You know that I only call it as I see it and this show left me feeling moved and happy to see that the underdog really did such an amazing show. Judas Priest was also a band that completely proved me wrong and showed me that they were very capable of putting on a top notch show and managing to preserve their legacy with a strong, mind blowing show.
Biggest Live Disappointment of 2014:
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised that nobody really seemed to suck live or really disappoint me. In many cases my expectations were exceeded by a lot of bands so I can honestly say that I wasn’t disappointed or let down by any band. Good job bands for not sucking too badly.
Favorite Male Singer:
Winner: Brandon Yeagley of Crobot
Crobot not only put out the what I found to be the best album of 2014 but they also put on hands down some of the best live performances I’ve seen this year. Crobot singer Brandon Yeagley totally embodies everything that a great lead singer should have. He has an electrifying stage presence and a voice that is so full of soul, gritty funk, and rock n’ roll that will melt the faces of anyone in his path. Brandon totally owns shit in a huge way and I can’t think of a more deserving person to win this Farty Award!
Favorite Female Singer:
Winner: Jasmin Saarela of Jess & The Ancient Ones
2014 was the year that I discovered my newest favorite band, Jess and the Ancient Ones. Jess and the Ancient Ones blew my mind with their psychedelic brand of occult rock and while musically the band is stellar it’s the voice of Jasmin “Jess” Saarela that truly takes things to a whole new level. Saarela’s voice is sultry, soulful, powerful, and just downright captivating. Hearing her on record is one thing but seeing and hearing live just proved that she is by far one of the best out there. Her moving live performance just blew my mind and solidified her place as the best female singer of 2014. C’mon down and get your Farty Award Jess. You earned it!
Favorite Song to Sing Like A Goddamn Idiot While Driving
Winner: “Sulfer Giants” by Jess & The Ancient Ones
Runner Up: “So, You Have Chose Death” by Saturn
Behind the wheel of my car is the place where I just let the shit fly! This year there were two songs that I totally found myself shredding behind the wheel of my car. The first one was “Sulfer Giants” by Jess and the Ancient Ones. That song just had me singing at the top of my lungs and using full on hand gestures and everything.
For the runner up award, “So You Have Chosen Death” by Saturn was another one that I always sang like a goddamn idiot. I kid you not. I was at a red light one day singing this song with my window down the car next to me yells out their window, “Rock on old dude!”
Metal Fashion That Makes Me Want To Eat Dry Baby Formula and Puke
Winner: Affliction Shirts
Follow up: Bandanna in back pocket
Once again, Affliction Shirts win for the worst metal fashion. Every time I see one of these shirts I just fight back my acid reflux. What a horrible fashion thing. They’re usually seen draped over the pecks of meatheads at a Five Finger Death Punch show or by older rock dudes are are really not all that cool.
Runner up goes to the “bandanna in the back pocket” thing. That just needs to stop. STOP IT NOW! Please… stop the insanity. Something tells me that these two things will be getting Fartys next year so whatevs. We shall see.
Worst Trend in 2014
I can’t think of a more played out thing than Zombies. It’s zombie this, and zombie that, and blah blah blah. Zombies are just hipsters that won’t die and trust me, I can’t think of anything more horrifying than a hipster that will live forever.
Best Venue in Town to Get My Metal On
Winner: The Masquerade
The Masquerade, once again, proved itself to be hands down the best fucking club to get my metal on. Why? Well, it fucking kicks ass. I see more shows at this venue every year than I see and any other venue. The lower level rooms (Hell and Purgatory) are small, great sounding rooms to see bands. Upstairs, while the sound isn’t as great due to it’s cavernous size, the energy of a show up there just can’t be beat. GWAR, Sabaton, Black Star Riders, you name it. Great shows with a lot of great energy. There’s just something about that room that creates a certain kind of magic and has done so for well over 20 years.
Venue Most Likely to GIve You A Fucking Physical Illness
Runner Up: The Drunken Unicorn
I can’t think of two more stank, dag nasty venues that the 529 in East Atlanta Village and The Drunken Unicorn. 529 takes the lead on this one as every fucking time I’ve been to claustrophobic, smoke filled shit hole I either end up with a sinus infection or an upper respiratory infection. Even the lazy hot chick behind the bar who looks like she’d rather eat thumbtacks that get you a drink had me wishing I was anywhere but there. I’ve tried to do the good thing and support my friends’ bands but no more, no more, no more.
Those two venues are the absolute worst and you guarantee that I will not see the inside of either of those places in 2015. If you do plan to go to either of these places, make sure your shots are up to date and start pre-taking Prednisone.
Winner: Geoff Tate : Read Interview Here
Best interview this year hands down was with Geoff Tate. I really went into this one with low expectations and was told I had 15 minutes. Well, 50 minutes later, we were wishing each other the best and hanging up. This was one of those interviews that made me remember just how much I love this. Geoff wasn’t just engaging but he was really engaged. Our interview was more like a conversation and I really felt like he let his wall down for this one which made me feel really good. Reading back on this one, this one was just a really special and really magical interview for me. This one definitely set the bar high for other interviews I gave this year and even showed me the importance of knowing your subject and engaging then rather than talking at them.
Worst Interview (aka. The Eric Peterson Award)
Nobody was Eric Peterson bad this year. Peterson really set the bar low for bad interviews but with that being said, all my interviews this year were super pleasant and a lot of fun. I mean, some were obviously better than others but at the end of the day, they were all great ones in my book.
Interviewing Blothar from GWAR totally exceeded all my expectations. I had an idea that this one would be a great one but I can honestly say that I never laughed so hard during an interview. There were zero boundaries with Blothar and he had no problem talking about things like doing coke with Rick James, eating pussy, and shitting in Bono’s mouth. This was a pretty fucking hilarious interview and one that I will never forget.
When I was told I would be interviewing two British wankers at the same time, I figured this would either be a trainwreck or it would be absolutely hilarious. Well, what I got was the most hilarious trainwreck I could ever imagine and I loved every minute of it. Talking to them at times was like interviewing David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap. Billy and Johnny were charming, engaging, and absolutely fascinating to talk to. I was a fan of their music before this interview but I was an even bigger and friends with these blokes afterwards.
Band Everyone Said I’d Love That I Just Don’t Dig
Runner Up: Mastodon
Once again, Ghost is that one fucking band that everyone was like, “Dude, you should like this.” Well, I don’t fucking like Ghost. I think musically they are ok and vocally they are fucking weak as all fuck.
As for Mastodon, they just flat out fucking annoy me. I dig their vibe but I just don’t like their songs or their stupid fucking videos. These two will probably be on this list again for this very award because I’m sure, without fail or falter they both will be thrown in my face next year by people saying, “Dude, you should be liking these bands!”
Most Annoying Band on Facebook
Winner: A Sound of Thunder
Runner Up: MindMaze
I can’t think of two more annoying bands on Facebook this year than A Sound of Thunder and MindMaze. A Sound of Thunder took the cake as they utilized their Facebook page to converse with one another endlessly stroking each other’s egos to the point that it about made me develop acid reflux. Don’t get me wrong. They are a great fucking band but besides putting out the most disappointing album of 2015, they were the most annoying band on FB to the extent that I had to just unfollow them.
As for MindMaze, I’ve never seen a more subpar band act like they were really that great to the point that it was absolutely hysterical. Great musicians with a subpar female singer who cannot take criticism of any kind. Their endless “You’re gonna love this new song” and “Big news coming soon” posts along with ASOT got themselves unfollowed faster than I can say, “Come get your awards kids!”
Podcast of the Year
Winner: Three Sides of the Coin
Three dorky dudes sitting around talking about KISS for hours on end, recording themselves, and posting it on the internet. How can that NOT rule? Well, it fucking does. Michael Brandvold and his two “yes” men have been entertaining me every since I stumbled across their podcast in July of this year. Three Sides of the Coin is the ultimate dork out podcast for any KISS fan to just love. I love Brandvold because sometimes he has me wanting to high five him and other times he has me wanting to shit in the tank of his toilet with his ridiculous commentary. I remember once Michael himself told me, “Don, much like you, I have an opinion and I’m never wrong.” This guy is pretty much the Brainfart of the KISS world for that, I salute him and his minions. Great podcast, great guys, and a great fucking job! Enjoy your Farty Award fellas.
Loser: Metal Sucks
The name speaks for itself. I just may retire this award since I’ve yet to find a podcast that is worse that this podcast. Maybe I’ll just change the title of the award to Worst Podcast: The Metal Sucks Lifetime Unacheivement Award. Is that even a word? Well, it is now!
Band I’d Love To See Eaten By Sharknado
Winner: Steel Panther
Steel Panther. How in Dio’s name was this band ever even allowed to happen. You get a “joke” band who gets out there making a mockery of cock rock and these guys all of the sudden sell out venues and land an opening slot with Judas Priest. These guys are a fucking hack band and should be ashamed of themselves for taking over slots that should’ve been filled by REAL, credible metal bands that are doing their best to preserve our music. Steel Panther couldn’t go away fast enough and I can only hope that if Sharknado is real, it will start out at a Steel Panther gig.
Best Metal Message Board
Winner: Brave Words
www.bb.bravewords.com is hands down my favorite Metal Message Board on the net. If you like slam rags, rumor mills, and playground like bullshit bullying, got to Metal Sludge but if you really want a great place to talk and read about metal, the Brave Board is the place to be. I don’t post there nearly as much as I would like to but I spend way more time over there reading and getting blog ideas from that board. If you haven’t already been there, go over there because it really is a great place to just dork out and talk metal with a bunch of really cool and mostly drama free people.
Most Annoying Band Name
Winner: Ancient VVisdom
Ancient VVisdom. What fuck is that? More like Ancient VVisdumb. You used two “v’s” to make a W? Why not just call your band Ancient Wisdom? Better yet, call your band Ancient $hitdom or something? You win for having the dumbest and most annoying band name to see in print.
Band to Look Out For in 2015
Runner Up: Taddy Porter, Brave
The band I think everyone should keep their eye out for the most next year is Lucifer, the new project from former The Oath vocalist Johanna Sadonis. Hearing the two tracks that I heard from this band really got me excited to hear what she has in store for us and if The Oath was any indication of a start for her, you can rest assured that Lucifer will take things to a whole new level.
In addition to Lucifer, keep an eye out for Taddy Porter. After putting out one of my favorite albums, the band released a follow up that left little to be desired. Taddy Porter announced that they were going to be putting out a new album next year that will have them returning to their classic hard rock roots and this has me very excited. Finally, 2015 may be the year that we see a new full length release from Brave. Their single for “Surrounds Me” that was release this year gave us all an idea of what they have cooking for us and trust me, that has me very excited as this single had Brave sounding on top of their game. 2015 is gonna be a kick ass year for music and these three bands are going to be acts to look out for without a doubt.