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BEST OF 2015

mark taylor

Best Album - Ghost: 'Meliora'
Best Single: Ghost 'He Is'


There were a few strong contenders for my album of the year with the return to form offerings from both Thunder's 'Wonder Days' and 'Legacy' by Praying Mantis. Def Leppard proved they can still write strong material with their eponymous album and Black Star Riders improved immensely on 'The Killer Instinct', but my album of the year award goes to those spooky Swedish ghoul rockers Ghost with their third album 'Meliora'.

MetalTalk chief Steve Goldby and I were invited along to an advanced playback of the album in a former mental asylum and I was immediately struck by it's mature diversity. Frankly I couldn't care less about the hidden identity of Ghost's members, it's the music that speaks volumes to me.

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Best Gig: Queen + Adam Lambert, Wembley Arena, London (February)


Surprisingly all the best gigs of this year have been from the old guard at the arenas and stadiums. Quality, stage presence, production and more importantly a wealth of top notch tunes has made for some captivating shows this year, but a show running at over two hours of music from Britain's most ever successful rock band Queen with the addition of Adam Lambert stepping into the almost unthinkable task of singing those marvellous songs once sang by Freddie Mercury made for a phenomenal show of extravagant proportions.

Internet trolls have their daggers out for Lambert and while he's no replacement for Mercury I can't think of any current day frontman who has the rock star quality of Lambert up on the big stage.

Best Festival: Rock Im Revier, Germany


There was a new festival in Germany this year with Rock Im Revier which is held in Gelsenkirchen, a stadium that is home to Bundesliga team Schalke 04, and has a roof to keep you dry while watching the main acts.

Metallica, Muse and Kiss were the headline acts. Three stages, one in the main arena, one outside in the car park and another smaller stage held indoors at the nearby basketball hall.

There was quality food and booze at reasonable prices, but the great thing was that they only allowed a certain amount of people into the front section on a first come,first served basis. However for both Metallica and Kiss I managed to get down the front simply by just getting there by watching the previous band. Never in my life have I been so close up to Metallica and Kiss with a large beer in my hand and I'm not getting pushed or shoved around - simply awesome. Iron Maiden headline this year, you'll be well advised to check it out if you want to watch them at a festival indoors and up close.

Best Band: Motörhead


After hearing the sad news of Lemmy passing as this went to press, my vote can only go to one band. Despite his ill health Lemmy along with his band mates in Motörhead made another studio album, their 22nd with the fine 'Bad Magic' and continued to tour regardless of doctors' orders. Never has the meaning "Rock 'til you drop" been more apt than it has to Motörhead. Long may they reign loud and proud.

Best New Band: Cats In Space

cats in space

It's not meant to happen like this, but the wonderfully named Cats In Space features musicians who are in their twilight years who are taking another big bite at the cherry with refreshing results.

Their debut album 'Too Many Gods' has a bubbly sound of polished 70s rock of ELO and Supertramp and the stomping pride of glam rock. These cats have got the cream, join them and lick it up.

Biggest Hope for 2016: Inglorious


I was tempted to say Inglorious are the best new band but as their eponymous debut album isn't out until February that accolade will have to wait for another year. You will certainly be hearing a lot about Inglorious in the early part of next year as they support Winery Dogs on their European tour followed by their own UK headline dates.

I've already seen the band live at two industry showcase dates and the band certainly have the chops and style. Vocalist Nathan James is certainly no stranger to the big stage having appeared on TV and on stage as a vocalist for Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Inglorious have a vintage seventies rock sound with a modern edge. Big things are expected of Inglorious, watch them go.



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