Hellbound Year End 2016: Steve Earles

Hellbound’s End of Year Wrap Up Begins: Part 1

Well, hell’s bells – 2016 was a hellride of a year, wasn’t it?! As the New Year comes creeping in with trepidation, the individual members of Team Hellbound take a look back at our favourites of the year, give our personal thoughts on the state of heavy metal in 2016, and take a look forward at what’s to come.

As always, we here at Hellbound thank you all for your continued readership, and we wish you a very headbanging Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Happy Holidays from Hellbound!

— Kyle Harcott

Steve Earles

Albums of the Year:

1. Old Corpse Road – Of Campfires and Evening Mists (Cacophonous Records)

Simply Britain’s best metal band, they have all metal’s strength’s and none of its weaknesses, it’s all about the music, storytelling and the show, not so-called extremity for extremity’s sake. Now signed to the legendary Frater Nihil’s equally legendary Cacophonous Records, 2017 will be a year in which those splendid fellows in OCR make major inroads into the world of metal.

2. Thundermother – Road Fever (Despot Records)

Imagine a female version of Motörhead fronted by a young Janis Joplin and you’re only halfway there. Fronted by Irish singing prodigy Clare Cunningham, and showing impressive musicianship and song-writing, Thunder Mother are the real deal.

3. John Carpenter – Lost Themes II (Sacred Bones)

The synth-rock maestro proves to be a unique and outstanding talent, a national treasure!

4. Red Cain – Red Cain (Self-Release)

Modern, grandiose, and progressive, simply moving music.

5. Voivod – Post Society (Century Media)

In a more just alternative universe (and in Voivod’s world there are many after all), Voivod are bigger than Metallica as opposed to simply better. Unique, uplifting, progressive, and featuring a mighty cover of Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine’, this is magnificent.

6. Voyag3r – Are You Synthetic (Battle Chamber Music)

Excellent synth-rock, like the soundtrack to the best 80s film you never saw, a cross between Goblin and John Carpenter.

7. Albert Bell’s Sacro Sanctus – Ad Aeternum (Metal On Metal)

Excellent metal from Malta’s metal legend Albert Bell, and epic collision between Venom and Candlemass.

8. Presumption – Ancestral Rites (Self-Release)

Killer French doom metal.

9. Crumbling Ghost – Five Songs (Withered Hand)

Unique and moving English folk metal, like nothing on Earth.

10. The Wolves of Avalon – Across Corpses Grey (Godreah)

Featuring an epic progressive track of over 18 minutes in duration, here the Wolves, as always, see no musical boundaries, and it also features an epic cover of Venom’s ‘Die Hard’, featuring members of Amebix, Venom and Primordial. Everything just right


Favourite Album-Cover Art of 2016:

A toss-up between Voyag3r …

… and Voivod.

Away is a master! He really should do a graphic novel.


Best gig I attended in 2016:

John Carpenter’s ‘Live Retrospective’; see my review for Hellbound for my reasons why.


Favourite physical-copy album I purchased in 2016:

Again that would be Voyag3r’s Are You Synthetic, best 80s video-cover style art you could wish for.


Most anticipated album for 2017:

I am really looking forward to new releases from Voivod and Venom Inc, but the news that Wino has a new Obsessed album coming out on Relapse fills me with joy. Wino is simply the most unique talent; everything he touches turns to gold, like a musical Midas!


Biggest loss in metal of 2016

I know it wasn’t quite 2016, but Lemmy’s passing still affects me deeply. That rarest of things, a character and a gentleman… Where are the next generation of Lemmy’s? Not on social media that’s, for sure; it’s living life that forges the likes of Lemmy.


Metal Person of the Year 2016

That’s easy. Laura Wiebe. I’ve been involving in promoting and writing about metal for many years, and I have encountered a considerable number of ignorant, nasty or difficult characters over the years. Laura is the opposite of this: witty, reliable and a pleasure to work with, she’s my metal person of the year.

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/writers/).