As the countdown to the end of 2014 quickly approaches we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. Circuit Sweet will be featuring the featured artists of the site with their personal top 5 releases of the year.
In our end of year special we let our favorites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists, their favorite events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.
The next take over comes from a vivacious and inspirational act and all round amazing person. No stranger to our site musician Maks Szymanski is known for his musical outlet A Last Salute To Byss, which we are delighted to have available in our online store. When we first heard local talent A Last Salute To Byss the compositions we encountered struck a meaningful nerve. During Worcester Music Festival last year we had the privilege in witnessing an impromptu live set from the talent. And that love from what we heard through our speakers was validated when we saw the performance live. A Last Salute to Byss was born in November of 2012, the lengths this act has since gone- incredibly notable. What started as a one man experiment has grown to a two man successful operation and it’s now simply more than just a project. The act fuse the best of Post Rock/Prog/Experimental and consist of Maks Szymanski -Song Writing, Production, Multi Instrumentalist and Niall Jones– Song Writing, Multi Instrumentalist. Together they make electronic, classical and ambient orchestrations all of which crafted with attentive detail, care and the perfect balance of co-operation. At the start of this year ALSTB released a phenomenal single and later submitted a new track for our very own compilation. Maks then went on to start Noise Against Cancer, a local charity gig promotions company aimed at putting on a great live shows and raise money for cancer research all at the same time, Maks hosted the first night back in June which we were delighted to sponsor, and it really was a highlight for us this year. We hand over to Maks to find out about his year in music…
Top 5 releases of the year
1. Mastodon- Once more around the sun
Mastodon are one of my favourite bands, they always evolve with every release and OMATS proves that! Its proggy, its heavy and its killer! My best of 2014 by a long shot!
2. Slipknot- The Gray Chapter
With Slipknot being one of my personal favourites, this album was always going to make my top 5. The first release after the death of bassist Paul Gray, it was an emotional return for the band as well as myself. The raw emotions in this album really make it stand out, its definitely not an album of mourning, but more of a celebration!
3. At The Gates- At War With Reality
ATG release their first album in 19 years and Its frickin’ awesome, total straight up hard hitting death metal, very similar to earlier work, but that’s not a bad thing!
4. Opeth- Pale Communion
Like Mastodon, Opeth are a band that have evolved throughout their years, Pale Communion brings a combination of jazz, prog and 70’s funk and does it oh so well! Play it loud, smoke something funny and enjoy this record!
5. Arch Enemy- War Eternal
One word, Brutal! That is all! Their new vocalist fills huge shoes and absolutely slays! Riffs galore!!
The best gig you have attended and why
It’s a tie between three!!
Mastodon at the O2 Acadamy Brum – Best time I’ve seen them, the setlist was near perfect and their stage presence was unrivalled!
At the gates- Oobleck, Birmingham- After 5 long years I finally got to see ATG live! And what an unreal show it was! Not only that, the venue was TINY! 400/500 capacity, choc-a-blok and mental, riffs galore and a soar neck the following morning
Frank Turner– Sonisphere- Knebworth- I’ve got the biggest soft spot in the world for Frank Turner, and to go out with an acoustic guitar and his band, in front of 40,000+ people who were getting to watch Maiden and Slayer that evening, was just amazing! The sun was shining, the beer was flowing and everyone was in high spirits, the line ‘Now who’d of thought that after all, something as simple as rock n roll could save us all’ has always sent shivers up my spine! And to hear so many people sing it back at frank, at a rock festival! Was really something else!
Highlights of the year
Fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust both at Bloodstock and with the Headbangers Balls tour!
Artist/Band to watch for 2015
Royal Blood, Bear Tooth, Wilson, OH and Bring Me The Horrizon, if those guys aren’t headlining a major festival this year or next I’d be very very surprised, not a massive fan of their music, but they’ve worked their arses off and deserve everything that comes their way!
Plans for the New Year
Eat, Drink, As many gigs as possible, Download, Bloodstock oh.. And Marriage!
Thank you Maks, wishing you all the best in 2015- new ALSTB soon?!