2015 is over and 2016 looms, full of promise and optimism but, in all likelihood it’s going to be much the same as the year before it and the year before that and the year before that……etc etc…. Every year I try not to have too many expectations about what the following twelve months will hold and instead try to take one day at a time and hope that through some kind of cosmic circumstance, that things will be OK. That my family will stay well and that they will be happy and that the struggles they face will become less.
2015 was, on the whole, a good year. My day job went well and continues to do so. For the most part my family are doing great and I saw my little brother get married in the summer, which was incredible despite having to sit in a church for that length of time. Writing took a little bit of a back seat and I found myself struggling to get as excited about it as I used to. It turned into a chore and I thought it best to allow myself some time to regain the joy in writing. I still get paid a little for some work and I continued to do that, but this blog and other online outlets suffered as a result.
I found myself not listening to as much music as I could have and usually do. That I wasn’t listening to a record unless I was writing about it (which as you can see from above, I didn’t do too much of) and so my pleasurable listening came from the occasional musical crush – you don’t want to know how many times I’ve listened to Enthrone Darkness Triumphant in the last six weeks.
As well as that, I have a physical ailment (it’s a super gross ganglion on my right wrist) that is preventing typing for extended periods of time and I finally went to see my GP about it. Fingers crossed that during the beginning of this year I get some news on when it can be operated on. The recovery is a month or more, so I’m not sure how things will go from there but it will save a lifetime of pain and medication.
Caïna is going from strength to strength and the band have some incredible ideas for the upcoming album which will be talked about in due course. The support for Setter Of Unseen Snares has been phenomenal and I cannot begin to thank everyone enough for all their kind words and praise and exposure. I still have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to managing a band but they are signed to a cool label (Apocalyptic Witchcraft) and they played Temples Festival, opening up the main stage, which was extraordinary.
Live shows are still happening under the Bleak Metal banner and while the process is hard work and stressful and I promise to never do another one each time…..the payoff in seeing bands play to receptive audiences and seeing the crowd enjoying themselves is too good to miss out on.
So, what does 2016 hold in store? Surgery, I hope. Getting my general health back on track – I’m currently in the midst of my second bout of ‘flu for the last four weeks and I’m halfway through a round of replacement iron (shout outs to vegetarianism) and Vitamin D (more sun please) because I’m super deficient and feel terrible all of the time. Going to Switzerland to see my other half and seeing more of his beautiful country. Trying to get home more. Falling back in love with writing. Heading to America to see bands and friends at a festival that is yet to be announced (but come on, it’s hardly a secret) and to see a friend play something that is so important to me that he is helping me with flight money (this completely blew my mind. I’m still nowhere near the amount needed so it’s likely I’ll have to give it back but really, friends are fucking amazing). Continuing to learn at my day job and help people (ugh, who am I?). Use parentheses less.
Below are some of the records I particularly enjoyed this year.
Abyssal – Antikatastaseis
Ahab – The Boats of the Glen Carrig
Akhlys – The Dreaming I
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Barshasketh – Ophidian Henosis
Baroness – Purple
Bell Witch – Four Phantoms
Bosse-De-Nage – All Fours
Caïna – Setter Of Unseen Snares
C R O W N – Natron
Dead To A Dying World – Litany
Deafheaven – New Bermuda
Drudkh – A Furrow Cut Short
Ghost – Meliora
Grave Pleasures – Dreamcrash
Leviathan – Scar Sighted
Locrian – Infinite Dissolution
Mgła – Exercises In Futility
Misþyrming – Söngvar elds og óreiðu
Old Skin – Beneath The Trees
Panopticon – Autumn Eternal
Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
Pinkish Black – Bottom of the Morning
Pyramids – A Northern Meadow
Shape Of Despair – Monotony Fields
Skepticism – Ordeal
Swallow The Sun – Songs From the North I, II & III
Sweat Lodge – Talismana
Terzij de Horde – Self
Tribulation – The Children Of The Night
Uncle Acid and the deadbeats – The Night Creeper
Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed
Here’s a really cool lamb.