There were an awful, awful lot of top releases, of which I know I have missed many, but here are a few highlights for me.
Ravens Creed - Nestless and Wild
-total thrash/death madness, true heavy metal!
Tree of Sores
-Unique future-crust, psychedelic crushing doom.
Anathema - Falling Deeper
-re imaginings of some of my favourite songs ever written, transcending genre.
Sigiriya - Return to Earth
- eclectic and unique, riding a wave of fuzz on a surfboard made of your favourite records.
Lifer - Cursing them Out
-good old 90s style head stomping metal. A breath of fresh air.
Arkham Witch - On Crom's Mountain
- British Steel. Lovecraft bangs his head and worships these riffs.
Lifelover - Sjukdom
- even more poignant after the death of B.
Peste Noire - L'Ordure à l'état
- utter headfuck of a black metal masterpiece.
Hateful Abandon - Move
- post-punk influenced urban blight
Rawhide - Branded for Life
- Sleazy rock n roll, like Entombed doing Motörhead.
Gig of the year has to go to Iron Maiden at the Belfast Odyssey Arena, not just for the show but the entire experience of a wonderful city in some beautiful surroundings.
Special mention to Ravens Creed, Arkham Witch and Sigiriya for the Devil's Church gig, which again was an awesome day out!
Now…off to await the big announcement Iron Maiden have planned for 9pm tonight…