Well, we’re almost done with this shit show. Man, I look back at us bitching about how crappy 2019 was and it just feels so quaint and naïve. Thousands of people unnecessarily dead and countless others infected. Civil unrest. Climate completely in the toilet. The States are more and more becoming a state of oligarchs and kleptocrats. But hey, on the bright side, we got to officially tell Trump to go fuck himself. On the shit side, things are still going to probably suck pretty hard in 2021. So, we’ve got that going for us.
On the metal side of the world, things were kind of weird and off-kilter as well. Concerts became a distant memory. I only made it to three shows this year before everything came to a screeching halt (Lucifer in January, Cult of Luna/Emma Ruth Rundle/Intronaut and Opeth/Graveyard in February). I fear for the future of many small and mid-size bands with no one being able to tour. I also fear for many of the smaller venues and their ability to survive with no government fiscal intervention. Lots of bands postponed releasing albums due to the lack of touring. Many bands tried to do virtual concerts to recoup some expenses. Some of these were cool, but they still didn’t quite bring the same sort of magic of being in a dark and sweaty venue. It will be interesting to see how next year plays out for live music.
The releases that came out this year were all over the map. We had some legendary bands like AC/DC and Ozzy release new material and there were a ton of new bands putting out very impressive debut material. Taken as a whole, the quality of the material for 2020 kind of matched the feel of the year. There were good moments, but it kind of felt like overall something was just off. It’s almost as if the uncertainty of the world bled into the art produced during this time.
Lastly, a heartfelt goodbye to those we lost along the way. 2020 was especially brutal on this front. Losing Neil Peart and Eddie Van Halen in the same year was particularly painful. Others that were lost and should be celebrated are: Sean Reinert (Cynic/Death), Reed Mullin (Corrosion of Conformity), Paul Chapman (UFO/Lone Star), Martin Birch (producer extraordinaire of Maiden, Sabbath, Deep Purple), Pete Way (UFO), Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot/WASP), Riley Gale (Power Trip), Lee Kerslake (Uriah Heep/Ozzy), Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) and Sean Malone (Cynic/Gordian Knot). I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting.
Tomorrow starts the big Top 20 countdown of the Best of Metal for 2020, culminating in the awarding of the Golden Flip Flop on New Year’s Eve. I know tonight is going to be one of great excitement for all you little metalheads out there.