Gig of the Year
I didn't get out much this year, but for me, the gig of the year was Church of Misery at Manchester's Star and Garter back in May. Amazing turnout, three great bands (support was from Firebird and Charger), and a setlist and performance from COM that pleased nearly everyone in attendance. Judging by the amount of new faces and the much hated Down t-shirts, maybe this will prove to be the moment that our underground went that little bit more overground? Time will tell. Check it out again if you missed it forst time round, I'm in there somewhere, stagediving in a Sarcófago shirt:
Release of the year:
Oh yeah, I've already done that. I feel though that I really, really must mention Mayhem's Life Eternal (Saturnus/Season of Mist) again. Is this because I have one and you probably don't? No, not at all. I urge all of you without a copy to get hold of one because it's an important document in the Mayhem story, as much as Out from The Dark or any number of Dead/Maniac/Messiah bootlegs.
It helped me appreciate one of my favourite second wave Black Metal album even more.
Plus, it's an amazing package.
Idea of the Year
Four words: BLACK SUN DRUM CORPS
Hopefully be able to get out next year and get the life frightened out of me by Thee Claw's favourite noisemongers. I haven't seen them since May 2008, which is too fucking long.
Label of the Year
There's no competition here at all.
Nuclear War Now have been releasing quality stud and bullet belt ridden music for a while now, but this year I'd be hard pushed to find something they have put out that wasn't enjoyed in Thee Claw's underground bunker during 2009.
The line up of Germany's NWN Fest was unbelievable and I'm looking forward to what they bring our way during 2010.
A parting thought;
As I've stated before, this year has been a bit of a mad one. As the year draws to a close I hear stories of semi-talented, but rich, kids buying their way onto bills; Festival Tickets only available to those with credit cards and enough disposable leisure time to sit in fron tof their PC on the day tickets go on sale, and every other worthwhile release being limited to 2000 on limited edition gold-encrusted stone tablets with a xeroxed marker and free sharpie for $300, later to go on eBay for $3000.
Metal shouldn't include everyone, because it's outsider value is a massive part of it's appeal, but let's not make it a rich man's game, because if that's the case, I too want out.
And as for hollywood films and symposiums about Black Metal....don't.