The 02Indigo, London, 17th June 2013
For the sake of a little perspective, let’s start at the end. The podium was removed from the stage where famous footsteps had trodden moments before. Ready to announce the winners of the final award; the ultimate Golden Gods of 2013, guest presenter, Duff McKagan (bassist Guns n Roses, Velvet Revolver), walked into the spotlight, speech in hand. He looked for the podium; for a fitting place from which to deliver his presentation. For an awkward moment, he realised that he must stand, exposed, not just head and torso, but head to toe. He then began his short speech. An almost poetic and disdainful ditty about gods and religion, it ended by confirming why all the artists and fans were gathered under one roof for the evening – metal is a religion with its own gods.
From the moment fans gained access to the building, this event became a family affair. The community is bound by the same love for the music it creates and lives by. There are no barriers between the artists and the fans and no one feels exposed; not even McKagan by the end of it! Indeed, both fans and artists mingled freely in the auditorium. I certainly noticed a few musicians by the bar; from the likes of the young band “Hornet”, to “Asking Alexandria” and Justin Street from “Airbourne”. Everyone was here to celebrate and acknowledge the work of this year’s nominees, from up and coming bands to some truly legendary icons, voted for by the fans, who, in return, were entered into a ballot to win hundreds of free tickets to the prestigious event.
Hot on the heels of Download Festival, it takes a certain amount of stamina to proceed directly to the Metal Hammer Golden Gods, held inside the O2 Indigo, London. It is essentially, however, a good excuse to keep the party going! Kick started by Metal Hammer Podcaster and Stand Up comedian, Stephen Hill, the awards ceremony erupted into life with short performances from three quintets before the evening’s bombastic awards host, songwriter and guitarist Devin Townsend, took hold of the reigns.
First up and fresh from Download were LA nu metallers, “Coal Chamber”. Back on the scene, the industrial/goth styled band owned the stage from “Loco” to “Sway”. Bassist, Chela Harper, was particularly mesmerizing in a swirl of waist length black waves.
Continuing their 25th Anniversary celebrations by inviting their own special guests to join them on stage, the next quintet to perform was “Paradise Lost”. Cristina Scabbia, (Lacuna Coil) sang with vocalist, Nick Holmes for “Say Just Words” and guitarist Gus G (Ozzy Osborne, Firewind) joined them in saluting Black Sabbath with a cover of “Into the Void”. Hailed as an “institution”, Paradise Lost received the evening’s Inspiration award.
Notoriously ready for riotous performances, Five Finger Death Punch exploded into their set next amid flying pint glasses, swaying dreadlocks and plaited beards. Following “Burn It Down” they dedicated their last song “Lift Me Up” to Rob Halford (Judas Priest) who also features on the same new single.
Then the quintets became a quartet. Airbourne, back in the saddle again promoting their recently released third album “Black Dog Barking”, stormed the stage with high energy rock and roll. Indeed, they are the party entertainers and the light relief. The lyrics for their new single “Live It Up” and finally, “Runnin’ Wild” were clearly defined on the hundreds of lips before them.
The all-important awards were announced at intervals throughout the evening by the demanding and excitable Devin Townsend, who was joined onstage by various special guest presenters including Alexander Milas (Editor, Metal Hammer), Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica) Jill Janus (Huntress). A few surprises among the winners included veteran stage and screen actor, Brian Blessed, who received the Spirit of Hammer award and looked dazzled by the crowd who chanted his name. In his booming, Shakespearan tones, he admitted to feeling “reborn” by the experience and beaming broadly, proclaimed “Don’t let the bastards grind you down!”, with a twinkle in his eyes.
Biff Byford (Saxon) accepted the award for Best Event for his role in the Heavy Metal Census campaign to get metal recognised as a religion in itself.
With their new album, “13” at number one in the rock album chart, Black Sabbath received the awards for Best Album and Best UK Band which were presented to guitarist and founding band member, Tony Iommi.
From quintets to quartets and now to trios we can finally get back to the start. Presenting the award for The Golden Gods of 2013 themselves, Duff McKagan, welcomed the members of Motörhead to the stage with exuberant embraces before leaving them in command of their fans. Delivering a short, but majestic set that included “I Know How to Die” and “Ace of Spades”, Motörhead confirmed their immeasurable power to stun and inspire their audiences and to continue to be one of the most respected metal bands in the industry’s history.
Thanks to Metal Hammer, The Golden Gods will keep the metal experience alive for generations to come and even if the experience is not deemed wholly “religious” it is certainly one in which to keep faith.
Best New Band Bleed From Within
Best Underground Band The Algorithm
Dimebag Darrell “Shredder” Eric Calderone
Breakthrough Artist Asking Alexandria
Best Event Heavy Metal Census
Best International Band Stone Sour
Best Live Band Gojira
Best UK Band Black Sabbath
Best Album Black Sabbath
Metal As Fu*k Burgerkill
Riff Lord Scott Gorham
Spirit of Hammer Brian Blessed
Inspiration Paradise Lost
Icons Alice In Chains
The Golden God Motörhead
I wrote this review for Stereoboard. It can also be found here: http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/179623/9