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  MARK TAYLOR'S BEST OF 2016

mark taylor
Words: Mark Taylor



It's that time of year again and what a year it has been, and now it's time to start publishing the Best Of 2016s from our key people and on 31st December we'll be announcing the end result, one winner from each category. Here's Mark's Best Of 2016s...

BEST BAND: AC/DC

stray

Yes, you've read that right... in what was the most sensational story of the year, firstly with shows in North America being postponed because Brian Johnson was apparently in danger of losing his hearing and then even more controversially, pantomime villain Axl Rose stepped up to the mic stand to help his favourite band complete the tour.

Critcs and fans were divided but the show had to go on. A lot of blame was being thrown in Angus Young's direction and accusations of turning the legendary band into a tribute act flew.

But praise must go to Angus who despite the drama of losing his brother Malcolm to ill health and Phil Rudd hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, along with the unthinkable task of Axl Rose parading the stage in place of Johnson, Angus has kept his head down, kept schtum as much as possible and just got on with playing high energy rock'n'roll. This story ain't over yet.

2. SAXON

The British veterans are working harder than ever before but praise goes to the Barnsley bashers for supporting Motörhead last year on which they must have known would've been 'Head's last hurrah with Lemmy's obvious deteriorating health. When the iconic legend did pass away, Saxon teamed up with his former bandmates to play an historic set at Hammersmith Odeon at the Golden Gods in his memory. Saxon's most recent tour had Lemmy in spirit with Fast 'Eddie' Clarke's Fastway and Girlschool in support.

3. BLACK STONE CHERRY

The Kentucky boys have had quite a year in the UK, performing the arenas at the beginning of the year, headlining the Ramblin' Man Fair and returning for a third time for an intimate theatre tour where the band supported themselves every night with an acoustic set before going all gung-ho with the electrics.


BEST GIG: STRAY, BORDERLINE, LONDON

stray

A special evening where the highly overlooked British rockers celebrated their 50th anniversary with a reunion of the original line-up who performed together for the first time in twenty-three years. A magical evening.

2. SCORPIONS: SUNTEC ARENA, SINGAPORE

Those crazy Germans just keep on going and you really only appreciate what a massive appeal the band have when you see them on foreign soil where fans know the words to every song. A dynamite performance from a band still very much at the top of their game.

3. AC/DC: OLYMPIC STADIUM, LONDON

Disgruntled fans were offered refunds when it was announced that Axl Rose was stepping into Brian Johnson's place. Those who smugly stayed at home missed a cracker as a calmer, down to earth Axl smashed it, handling the Bon Scott era tracks with aplomb. The first ever concert held at this venue too where Axl will return in 2017 with Guns N' Roses.


BEST ALBUM: DIAMOND HEAD: 'DIAMOND HEAD'

stray

No longer living on borrowed time, NWOBHM heroes Diamond Head never fulfilled their early promise. Guitarist Brian Tatler is the sole remaining member from the original line-up, now they're revitalised with a new vocalist in Danish-born Rasmus Bom Andersen, who respects the band's past while stamping his own character on the older songs, adding a new, improved dimension.

Not only is this a new beginning, but it's their best work since their first two official albums, released over three decades ago. Diamond Head were once brazenly tipped to be the next Led Zeppelin, which set them a daunting task, and there remain elements of them in opening track 'Bones' which benefits from seemingly steroid-enhanced, Kashmir-like riffs. Diamond Head sparkle when they take their foot off the gas and take the time to explore, as with the demonic chug of 'Set My Soul On Fire', or the creeping danger of 'Blood On My Hands', while 'Our Time Is Now' showcases imposing bass work from Eddie Mohan.

There are some atmospheric string arrangements on 'All The Reasons You Live', which has echoes of early Def Leppard and the Led Zep flavour continues on the mountainous epic 'Silence'.

2. METALLICA: 'HARDWIRED... TO SELF-DESTRUCT'

It had been almost a decade since their previous effort, 'Death Magnetic', and most fans had given up all hope of a new 'Tallica album, so it came as a surprise when news broke that a new LP was done and dusted. By no means a classic, but just good to hear some fresh meaty headbanging riffs from what are essentially one of Metal's greatest live acts... welcome home...

3. THE STRUTS: 'EVERYBODY WANTS'

Largely ignored over here, The Struts did a Def Leppard and conquered America with their glam pop flavoured stick of rock and a vocalist who is a deadringer for a young Freddie Mercury in Luke Spiller who the guys want to smack and the girls want to bed. With anthems in the making, the world is there for the taking for these Derbyshire lads.


BEST FESTIVAL: RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR

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The sunny weather lent a helping hand but yet again the Ramblin' Man Fair proved to be a winner. A family friendly festival that caters to lovers of the older classic rock bands as well as the rising talent. Comfortable crowds numbers in a scenic area all make for a great weekend away with rock loving friends.


BEST VIDEO

CATS IN SPACE: 'ONLY IN VEGAS'

I'm a sucker for a hummable tune and this video proves what can be done on a low budget, with good humour and a little bit of imagination.




BEST NEW BAND: INGLORIOUS

stray

Inglorious' anticipated eponymously named debut album was released at the beginning of the year to rave reviews. Strong songs, a confident frontman with superlungs in Nathan James and an ever growing fanbase will ensure longevity for the Frontiers signings. A new album coming in 2017 will see them move up to the next level.


LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2017

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2017 could well be the last golden year for the old guard. Deep Purple have a new album, 'InFinite', on the way and their 'Last Hurrah' tour and Aerosmith are signing out at Download. Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow return again including a headline slot at the Stone Free Festival and the nightmare continues with the immortal Alice Cooper and Judas Priest are rumoured for some summer dates. Watch them all before it's too late.




26.12.16








 

scorpions EXCLUSIVE: SCORPIONS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM IN EARLY 2018 AND CONTINUE TOURING
Brand new opus will be their first with Mikkey, who was Motörhead drummer for twenty-three years...

nidingr EXCLUSIVE UK PREMIERE: NIDINGR RELEASE FIRST SINGLE FROM FORTHCOMING NEW ALBUM
"To me this song solidifies a thing that is fucking great about Nidingr - no rules..."

iron maiden BREAKING NEWS: CELLAR DARLING SIGN WITH NUCLEAR BLAST
"We are proud and excited to have found partners who understand our music and share our vision..."

iron maiden BREAKING NEWS: IRON MAIDEN TO TOUR NORTH AMERICA IN JUNE/JULY
Support on all North American dates will be Ghost and tickets go on-sale from next Friday...

iron maiden HOME OF METAL TO JOIN BLACK SABBATH ON THEIR FINAL DATES
"Fans are our lifeblood, they've always been there to support us. The audiences have been getting bigger as the tour progressed..."

hammerfall EXCLUSIVE WORLD PREMIERE: HAMMERFALL UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'BUILT TO LAST' TITLE TRACK
Hammerfall are currently on tour throughout Europe and there are plenty of dates left to catch their new epic show...

grim reaper GRIM REAPER'S STEVE GRIMMETT SEVERELY ILL IN ECUADOR
"Unfortunately the operation didn't work and Steve is currently in the operating theatre having limbs removed..."

bill price GUNS N' ROSES AND SEX PISTOLS PRODUCER/ENGINEER BILL PRICE HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY
Price worked with Rod Stewart, INXS, Pete Townshend, Elton John, The Jesus And Mary Chain and Big Audio Dynamite...

fish marillion FISH CELEBRATES 30th ANNIVERSARY OF 'CLUTCHING AT STRAWS' WITH UK TOUR
"These are the only dates this year as because of my shoulder operation next month with the extensive recovery period..."

ross the boss UK EXCLUSIVE: ROSS THE BOSS ANNOUNCES TOUR DATES AHEAD OF SPECIAL GUEST SLOT ON MetalTalk RADIO THIS WEEK
"We are going to devastate every audience, every night, without mercy..."

dokken WAS BREAKING NEWS: CLASSIC DOKKEN LINE-UP CONFIRMED FOR RAMBLIN' MAN
Dokken, Lynch, Pilson and Brown will play together in England for the first time in around a quarter-of-a-century...

grand magus DEF LEPPARD AND POISON ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN DATES
"I could not be more excited. I know all of us will give one thousand percent on stage..."

grand magus VIKINGS TO INVADE YORKSHIRE: GRAND MAGUS TO HEADLINE KEIGHLEY FESTIVAL
"Get your tickets now and prepare to raise your fists and bang your heads for the glory of Metal!"

armored saint ARMORED SAINT UK TOUR DATES AND 'MARCH OF THE SAINT (LIVE)' VIDEO ARE HERE
"We're really looking forward to playing these select UK shows in March..."

screaming eagles SCREAMING EAGLES TO FEATURE IN NEW AMAZON PRIME SERIES STARRING BRYAN CRANSTON
The band will be releasing a live mini-album in spring 2017 and will be touring in the UK, France and Germany throughout the year...

martyrd MARTYRD SET TO OPEN FOR METAL ALLEGIANCE, MARTY FRIEDMAN AND GUS G
"NAMM is a blast, total musical sensory overload from every direction. It’s like getting lost in a hurricane - I can't wait."

john garcia EXCLUSIVE WORLD PREMIERE: JOHN GARCIA UNLEASHES 'GIVE ME 250ml'
"This record is one of the most important of my career, difficult and challenging to do, but worth every minute of sweat!"

avenged sevenfold WAS BREAKING NEWS: AVENGED SEVENFOLD TO OPEN LONDON POP-UP STORE
The shop will be hosting in-store raffles and giveaways of exclusive and signed merchandise...

avenged sevenfold ROCK MEETS CLASSIC 2017 EUROPE LINE-UP IS HERE
Rock meets Classic has a terrific vibe and the legendary cross-over-project combines emotional classic with world-famous rock songs...

paddy goes to holyhead PADDY GOES TO HOLYHEAD ARE BACK FOR THE CRAIC ON ST PATRICK'S NIGHT
The band supposedly played their last ever gig two years ago in celebration of their 30th anniversary...

nightlord EXCLUSIVE THE UNKNOWN BAND WHO INFLUENCED METALLICA AIRS ON MetalTalk RADIO
Also featuring is the very first UK radio airplay of Cellar Darling, the band created by former Eluveitie members...

epica EPICA RELEASE 'BEYOND THE MATRIX' VIDEO - WATCH IT HERE
"The energy that lives within 'Beyond The Matrix' is extremely contagious. It will sweep you off your feet when the melodies enter your mind..."

nightlord JOHN COGHLAN'S QUO BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN
John Coghlan's Quo have announced UK dates across the Kingdom that will see them busy throughout the year...

jimmy bain JIMMY BAIN'S WIDOW NEEDS OUR HELP
"Jimmy recently passed away without a proper will in place and now his better half is in trouble..."

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST 'LIVE' TOKYO FEATURING BARDEN, BONNET AND McAULEY OUT IN MARCH
Features guest appearances from some of the greatest rock vocalists who have worked with Schenker...

ozzy osbourne OZZY OSBOURNE OVERDOSED WHEN SHARON HAD CANCER
"I watched him scoop his hands into a bowl of pills, swallow a handful of something, and then wash it down with vodka..."

eluveitie ELUVEITIE NEW LINE-UP IS COMPLETE, FIRST GIGS GO DOWN A STORM
"Above all we're super happy and thankful that we're complete again and given the chance to have such gifted musicians on board..."

gene simmons GENE SIMMONS RESTAURANT HONOURS US VETS
"The opening day of every Rock & Brews is dedicated to our vets, the public is not allowed in."

deep purple DEEP PURPLE SUE THEIR LONG-TIME ACCOUNTANT FOR FOUR MILLION
"I'm completely irresponsible. I'm ignorant about money as a commodity — I have never really understood it."

tony iommi UK EXCLUSIVE: VINCE NEIL FIST FIGHT WITH BOY GEORGE STOPPED AS ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER SHUTS UP PRESIDENT TRUMP
"They screwed up. That was a huge miss and someone should have a talking-to."

tony iommi GLENN HUGHES: "I'M THRILLED TO BE TOURING THE UK IN JANUARY"
"Let's get 2017 going with a killer night for ROCK lovers, movers and shakers. I'm in. Let's go!"

tony iommi TONY IOMMI HAS SUCCESSFUL THROAT OPERATION AND IS CANCER-FREE
"We had to have it checked in case it may have been cancerous. But it turns out it wasn't, which I found out Christmas Day..."

ronnie montrose RONNIE MONTROSE REMEMBERED: ALL-STAR MEMORIAL CONCERT TO TAKE PLACE AT NAMM 2017
"Ronnie helped light a fire in me and made me want to approach guitar playing with that kind of zeal and expression..."

motorhead beer PHIL CAMPBELL AND MIKKEY DEE TO APPEAR AT MOTÖRHEAD BEER LAUNCH IN LONDON
This is sure to be one superb night with beer, live music and Motörhead, but not necessarily in that order...

tony iommi BLACK STAR RIDERS PREMIERE 'TESTIFY OR SAY GOODBYE'
Black Star Riders are set to release their forthcoming album 'Heavy Fire' on 3rd February via Nuclear Blast...

tony iommi BREAKING NEWS: TONY IOMMI DROPS HEAVY METAL AND JOINS THE CHOIR
"It's a bit different to Sabbath!" says Tony, in probably the biggest understatement of all time...

tony iommi ROCK MUSIC IN SUPERHERO MOVIES
It's pretty wild to think that this whole ride that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe started off with a little AC/DC...

jimi hendrix JIMI HENDRIX'S WAH-WAH PEDAL AND AMP SURVIVES AUCTION HOUSE BURGLARY
"It was a very positive and uplifting experience to work for Jimi. He was like a shaman, a medicine man, a preacher.."

alestorm ALESTORM ENTER FLORIDA STUDIO BUT A CHALLENGE AWAITS THEM BACK IN BLIGHTY
"It is full of epic songs about pirates, drinking, and pseudoscientific cryptogeography..."

queen QUEEN GUITARIST BRIAN MAY WANTS TO BRING ROCK TO A NEW GENERATION
"It was actually all very planned and deliberate and came totally out of Freddie's fevered imagination..."

phil lynott MASS TRIBUTES PAID TO PHIL LYNOTT ON ANNIVERSARY OF HIS PASSING
"God bless my old friend, thanks for the faith you showed in allowing me to record your music..."

black country communion BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION ENTER STUDIO TO BEGIN WORK ON FOURTH ALBUM
"One thing I want to make clear to everybody across air nation is that Joe Bonamassa and I never fell out..."

hair metal heaven BLAZE BAYLEY BRAND NEW ALBUM AND WORLD TOUR DETAILS ARE HERE
'Endure And Survive' is set for release on 3rd March 2017 and will be accompanied by a world tour totalling some 120 shows...

hair metal heaven HAIR METAL HEAVEN FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FIRST ACTS FOR INAUGURAL EVENT
The Hair Metal Heaven Festival has a very eighties feel to it, as the team behind it explain here...

motorhead EXCLUSIVE TEST PILOT DROPS TWO GRAND ON NEW MOTÖRHEAD VIDEO SLOT
"A few spins later and I turned up a row of gold Snaggletooths which promptly caught fire and the voice of the man himself commanded: 'Turn it up!'"

deep purple DEEP PURPLE RELEASE NEW 'inFinite' TRAILERS AND EXPECTED ALBUM FORMATS
'Time For Bedlam', the first single which was revealed late last year, is available as instant grat as part of the digital album pre-order...

hollywood AEROSMITH FAREWELL TOUR COULD LAST FIVE YEARS
"We had a talk a few weeks back about going into the studio. When that'll happen, though, I'm not sure. We certainly have plenty of ideas..."

rick parfitt EXCLUSIVE MEGADETH MAINMAN DAVE MUSTAINE REVEALS HE'S AN ARSENAL FC SUPPORTER
Megadeth, formed in Los Angeles in 1983 after Dave left Metallica, are currently enjoying a rich vein of form...

hollywood FORMER PEARL JAM DRUMMER HITS OUT AT THE BAND
"We need music, each other and the spirit of Rock & Roll now, more than ever before..."

hollywood HOLLYWOOD SIGN CHANGED BY PRANKSTERS TO READ 'HOLLYWEED'
"An artist's role throughout history has been to create representations of the culture he exists in..."

metallica METALLICA GUITARIST KIRK HAMMETT'S HOME FOR SALE FOR £16m
Apparently a house like this doubles its asking price every six or seven years...

kiss EXCLUSIVE KISS' GENE SIMMONS DROPS BIGGEST HINT YET THAT ACE FREHLEY REUNION IS ON
Over 7,000 likes later, fans are in big speculation that it really is going to happen...

rick parfitt WAS BREAKING NEWS: BLOODSTOCK UNVEIL SECOND 2017 HEADLINER
"Megadeth had a blast last time and I can't wait to bring the Dystopia World Tour to Bloodstock this Summer."

rick parfitt EXCLUSIVE JOHN COGHLAN REVEALS TWO NEW TRACKS WITH RICK PARFITT ARE NEARLY READY FOR RELEASE
"It was going to be Status Quo PLC [Parfitt, Lancaster, Coghlan] and that was Francis' idea originally."

wizz wizzard WIZZ WIZZARD VOCALIST WIZZ BEAUPREZ HAS PASSED AWAY
Wizz Wizzard were signed to Rock Sector Records and labelmate Chris Appleton of Absolva led the tributes...

ronnie james dio RONNIE JAMES DIO TO TOUR IN 2017
"It was very emotional. I didn't think that I was gonna cry, but I did. I broke down...."

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