If I were to name the very best moments of my life, getting to see Rival Sons live in Derby would definitely make its way on there. The experience of finally watching my favourite band in person was indescribable and absolutely irreplicable.
So when they announced Pair of Aces – two nights of live performances on screen, the tickets were an easy decision. I might’ve been screaming before waiting impatiently for the day to arrive.
Last weekend (or 5am on a Sunday morning here), the band finally performed Before the Fire in its entirety, the album that started it all. It was exactly what the concert-deprived me needed. (In fact, I was so amped up I had to write about it.)
Introducing Heavyman, kicking off the list with their first EP comprising six killer tracks. Before this, the London-based band has already made waves last year with riff-driven singles Pigs and Baby Jean that any fans of classic rock would be loath to miss. Equally catchy as hell, the remaining new bangers only add to the excitement for these emerging rock n’ rollers to watch.
After another unintended break due to life beyond the Internet, here lies the final list that may allude to the year we would love to forget. Enjoy disagreeing with my personal favourites!
10. Wolf – Feeding the Machine
Six years after their last album Devil Seed, Swedish metallers Wolf returns with a brand new line-up to full throttle with Feeding the Machine. Frontman Niklas Stålvind is the last original bandmate standing, anchoring the group with his signature vocal that fortunately hits all the right notes.
The infectious energy doesn’t quite match that of their best work in Ravenous and Evil Star, with which they might have peaked too early. For the most part though, the song remains the same as the solos speed on while the riffs charge forth.
I’m late to the party, but here’s the first of 2 volumes of my favourite albums in 2020. 10 rock records, 10 arbitrary rankings, you know the drill.
10. Philip Sayce – Spirit Rising
The guitar solos are on fire in Philip Sayce’s Spirit Rising and no fan should be surprised. The virtuoso’s technical axe skills remain impeccable as before, while his passion and attitude shine brighter than ever in every note.
Granted his 2012 stunner Steamroller is tough to beat, his latest album comes pretty close to taking the top spot in his discography. His music speaks for itself, proving his place as one of the best blues-rock guitarists today.
Larkin Poe is back with their fifth release, just two years after their Grammy-nominated Venom & Faith. Self-Made Man clocks in a mere half-hour like before and wastes not a single second, packed to the brim with refreshing exuberance.
You will be hard-pressed to find a more aptly named album. The sister-duo’s self-produced record comes alongside a series of homemade live streams and music videos, just months after a successful world tour. It is a stunning display of marked confidence too, flying the flag high for women in blues.
In a perfect world, Slipknot and Trivium would have played one of their finest shows in Singapore earlier this week. But this just hasn’t been the best year. In March, the gig was cancelled as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the planet to a standstill.
It was a disappointment, but our generation lucked out in other ways. At least, we have YouTube! And for now, watching my favourite live bands on screen will have to do.
Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails stopped by Singapore on their Wave Goodbye Tour in 2009, and thankfully, it wasn’t a permanent farewell. The night presented the best concert I’ve ever been to, without the shadow of a doubt. Aurally and visually stunning, their rock show doubles up as an impressive light display. The energy is indescribable, and this video is the closest one can get to the experience off-site.