Sadly, the death of Ronnie James Dio: No other passing of a metal artist has ever had this massive an impact on fans, musicians, and media across the globe. The tributes we saw and read were incredible to witness.
While the release of great albums from acts we’d all written off (looking in Danzig’s direction) was exciting, my most pivotal moment of 2010 was seeing crossover forefathers D.R.I. at Blondie’s in Detroit. Having not been tangibly assaulted by their relentless-albeit-ephemeral attack for 20 years, it was an unforgettable experience. The band was amicable, the crowd ravenous and the set—no shit—was four pages long, touching on every single album yet still focused primarily on Dirty Rotten LP and Dealing With It. This was the stuff metallic dreams are made of. Sure it’s not “metal” but it was pretty fucking metal.
The year 2010 brought with it many notable reunions, albums, concerts and events – but none could hold a candle to the news that rocked me to the core: The death of Type O Negative vocalist Peter Steele. Hearing the rumours of his death on Twitter were like a punch to the gut; when the news was confirmed, it drained me of all energy. But on the positive side, Pete’s death made me realize how influential the band has been in my life. And it was heartening to see the outpouring of support for Pete and the band by his fans and peers. Rest in peace, Peter – you’ve earned it.
It was difficult to choose what event stood out for me the most this year. In March I went to SXSW in Austin to speak on a panel, and saw some fantastic shows. The Salome, High on Fire, and the showcases put on by Action! PR, Relapse, Profound Lore and MetalSucks.net were great, and I finally saw Dillinger Escape Plan who were jaw-droppingly awesome and Kill the Client, who are destined for greatness.
But the Maryland Death Fest was a standout event for a number of reasons: The festival was well organized and the lineup and the audience were great. Going there, I had only wanted to see a handful of bands, but walked away discovering a plethora of bands that I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t gone. What stood out the most for me in terms of music was seeing Converge and having the opportunity to shoot their show, which was exhilarating. Seeing the Eyehategod set while standing on a rooftop overlooking the stage with Albert Mansour was fun, and hanging with the boys and girls from the Hellbound and Handshake Inc. crews made the event memorable. And chatting with Amber from Jucifer was a trip!
On the other hand, I also met a couple of people who made me think about the way that we glorify musicians / industry folks, automatically assuming that these people are somehow ‘better’ than the rest of us. I met a couple of folks who were straight-up assholes and whose music I will never listen to again. It didn’t dampen the event, but I did walk away feeling like a learned a lot about the metal scene and people in general.
EVENT OF THE YEAR: Sleep reunion tour. Saw ’em in Portland with YOB and a very subdued, mellow Scott Kelly. They played for two hours—Holy Mountain in its entirety and a good chunk of Jerusalem. Need I say more?
ACCEPT Reforming: This one came out of nowhere. Thanks to a desire to jam and a bit of luck in connecting with former TT Quick singer Mark Tornillo these guys found immediate chemistry. With an internet teaser campaign, primarily pushing the song “Teutonic Terror”, fans salivated for the release of Blood Of The Nations. They were not disappointed, as the album crushed from start to finish, and a limited U.S. tour followed, which by all account was every bit as strong as the album, easily their best in over 25 years!
2010 was a year filled with myriad auspicious metal events to crow about, some tragic, some triumphant – but one in particular stands out as having especially affected my world personally. On Wednesday 24 February, my very first piece was published here at Hellbound.ca, marking a turning point for me, and invoking a deeper immersion into metal journalism – a direction I’d been seeking for a long time. As a result, writing for Hellbound has (infinitely) broadened my metallic horizons, (hopefully) honed my ability to turn the occasional phrase, and given me a platform on which to endlessly, shamelessly glorify and pontificate on the music I love (and occasionally hate!)
My many thanks to Glorious Leader Palmerston for giving me the opportunity; and to the entire creative hive of Team Hellbound: your writing, photography, and film work continually inspire me, and push me to keep writing – Budmo!, the lot of you.
Mares of Thrace Canadian tour
Summer 2010 was the summer of Mares of Thrace. Their Canadian tour provided a couple of the year’s most memorable gigs. The first show I caught was at the Casbah Lounge in Hamilton in the company of several of the Hellbound crew (great to see you all!). The next encounter was back home in Vancouver at the Secret Location, where finding the venue was an adventure unto itself. Both gigs were bracing displays of Canadian grit and talent—proof that the spirit of independent music can conquer the imposing expanses of this country.
Event of the year: Canadian Carnage Tour-London, ON. Three legendary thrash bands together on one stage and all bands playing amazing sets. The best performance by Slayer that I’ve seen in over a decade, Megadeth was tight and aggressive, and Testament put on an entertaining and heavy performance.
Maryland Death Festival was the highlight of this metalheads year! When else would one see a shit ton of high pedigree bands including Pentagram, Entombed, Eyehategod, Repulsion, Coffins, and Converge, alongside tons of upcoming acts? The only place I know of is MDF 2011, whose line-up is even better!
Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy
I had been waiting 5 long fucking years to the follow up the of one of the greatest metal albums ever created, This Godless Endeavor. The Obsidian Conspiracy I thought was going to at least blow my mind, they had 5 years to work on this thing. 5! Instead all it blew was chunks! 4 decent songs and the rest throwaway tunes left over from Jeff and Warrel’s respective solo albums. Balls!
Too many to mention but the one that would stand out the most would be the RUSH concert at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday July 17th 2010. This was basically a full rundown of all their career plus the killer album Moving Pictures in its entirety. Good stuff.
Meeting Leo Buralli was the most metal event of my year, as it is a reflection of my memories in the small, medieval town of Lucca, Tuscany. I met Buralli and his mother on a family vacation to Italy this summer when we visited their restaurant, Trattoria Da Leo. We decided to eat lunch at the town’s best kept secret only to find an extremely tall, tattooed and bearded Italian man clad in black combat boots standing in the doorway, serving dishes of pasta and spezzatino di vitella. Though my conversation with Leo on heavy music was short, it led to our very charming photograph together throwing the “malocchio”, otherwise known as the horns, metal’s most universal symbol.
JUSTIN M. NORTON
Event of the Year: The return of Autopsy and the release of The Tomb Within EP
METAL GEORGE PACHECO
Metal Event Of The Year: Seeing Pentagram for the first time! 😀
Event of the Year – Maryland Deathfest. It was my first time going, but it certainly won’t be my last. My ticket is already purchased for 2011’s edition – can’t wait! I also need to mention that being asked to go be a panelist at the Noctis Metal Conference, meeting the amazing Scarab Productions crew that put it on and then subsequently getting to see (and meet) Sodom in Calgary AB was a very, very close second. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it out for another one sometime soon too.
Devin Townsend in London, ON
Since moving to Ontario a few years ago, the music of Devin Townsend’s various projects has been a constant companion. From Strapping Young Lad to Ocean Machine to the much more recent Devin Townsend Project, his range and variety of efforts has made his work suitable for any number of emotional states. It was a real treat to finally see him this past November. He did not disappoint — from seemingly almost blowing out the venue’s speakers to his inane and bizarre tangents, Devin Townsend revealed himself for what he truly is — a hippie metal muppet.
Event of the year – Maryland Deathfest
From a personal perspective, Opeth’s Evolution XX tour takes the cake. I flew out to NYC for the first time with 3 of my best friends specifically for the event, planning the trip obsessively for months. It was a concert that felt as special and as intimate as it was hyped up to be, and it will forever be the benchmark for all Opeth shows to come. Of course, 2010 is also the year we lost Ronnie James Dio, a certified legend and all around nice guy. In terms of effecting the metal community as a whole, there was no event more important or tragic than that one. Farewell Dio, may you rest in peace.
Event of the Year: Whole lot of ties here for me. Probably the most metal event of the year though would be the night that Brittany Paige (singer for Kobra & The Lotus) went down the street to watch an incredible performance from Unleash The Archers. Then, later that night, Brittney Hayes (singer for Unleash The Archers) and I watch Kobra & The Lotus tear it up on stage at another venue. Without a doubt, Canadian metal and hard rock absolutely dominated live for me this year. I was completely blown away several times and it was always by Canadian bands.
Of course, watching Yo! Gabba Gabba with Kobra & The Lotus and my 2 year old was pretty metal, as was my son sitting with me to watch a DVD and reverentially whispering, ‘Black Sabbath’ as Tony Iommi played ‘Iron Man’.
Heavy MTL (day one) – July 24, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal
Despite Dave Mustaine’s pained vocalizations (and the torturous look on his face while he makes them), hearing Rust in Peace played live in full was pleasure enough for me to rank the first day of Heavy MTL among my metal events of the year. And aside from the exhausting heat (offset, thankfully, by a glorious fresh fruit stand) and the poor beer selection (which nothing on site could make up for), getting a touch of the metal fest experience in my home country felt pretty damn good. A list of performers adds to my reasons for indulging in some year-end Heavy MTL appreciation: Testament, Mastodon, Halford, Anvil, Kataklysm, Slayer, and so on … But it might have been Melissa Auf der Maur’s tribute to Peter Steele and Ronnie James Dio that made the sale – MAdM covering Type O Negative covering Black Sabbath (“Paranoid”) in front of a sea of hot and sweaty metalheads. Amazing.
Not every metal moment in 2010 was a positive one, and on April 14, the metal world lost one of it’s most memorable voices – Type O Negative’s Peter Steele. From the first moments that Steele’s unique vocals passed through my ears (Type O’s cover of “Black Sabbath”), I became a fan, loving everything from his vocal range to his unique sense of humour. Having lived through a life of high ups and rough downs, it wasn’t surprising that he didn’t live a long, healthy life, but upon word of his passing, I couldn’t help but feeling shocked. Like a lot of premature deaths, it just didn’t sound possible, especially to happen to someone with such a stature of the larger-than-life Steele. However, his music has always been close to me, and will continue to depress/entertain me forever.
“I can’t believe I died last night; Oh God, I’m dead again!” – Peter Steele. RIP.
Because my event attendance is on the heavy side of ridiculous, and choosing a single event is hard, I’ve decided to do this as a Top 3 list too.
1. Winning the 50 CD prize from Hellboud.ca in January 2010
Like many many other people, I put together a top 5 albums of 2009 list, sent in my entries via twitter and Facebook, and expected that to be the end of it. Instead, I won a huge box of CDs, met Sean Palmerston, starting writing reviews, and the rest is history.
2. Portal/Krallice/Bloody Panda, May 24 2010 @ The Mohawk in Buffalo, NY
The most terrified, overwhelmed, and completely in love with a performance that I have ever been. In a dingy bar in unseasonably blistering heat, I spent 3.5 hours completely riveted to the stage, feeling my brain being rearranged. A transformative experience.
3. Thantifaxath/Vilipend/Sylvus/Eyeswithoutaface, July 22 2010 @ the Hard Luck Bar
This was a great show put on by awesome local bands. The room was full of musicians that I deeply respected and excellent people that I
consider dear friends. It was one of those nights that renewed my love for the metal scene in Toronto. Also, it would turn out, I met