It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2017 rapidly approaches we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a crazy year of highs and lows it’s the releases that have pulled a lot of people through the year. Now in it’s 7th year, Circuit Sweet will be hosting takeovers from the featured artists/musicians/labels and promoters of the site with their personal top 5 releases of the year.
Continuing our annual end of year tradition we let our favourites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists, their favourite events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.
At VOID festival in the Bavarian Forest
Our next take-over comes from Dan best known for his musical abilities in OHHMS. UK’s sludge metal purveyors OHHMS have had a rewarding year with the release of their standout album “The Fool” on Holy Roar Records followed by live performances at various festivals, a European tour and more. It’s been a great year for the band and we hand over to Dan to find out about the records that have shaped his 2017…
Top 5 releases of 2017
1. Zeal and Ardor – Devil Is Fine
When I was told about this I thought it would be an awful gimmick, but it’s actually amazing, just goes to prove a good song is a good song regardless of genre. I can’t wait to see what they do next, stick with the Chain Gang Black Metal or not?
2. Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand
I had tried for ages to get in to Mastodon, Marc from OHHMS had said they were one of his favourite bands when we first me so i checked them out and they didn’t do anything for me. I had YouTube randomly playing metal songs whilst i was doing some work one evening and the song “Show Yourself” came on and blew me away so i got the LP and loved it. I have tried to go back to older Mastodon, but still can’t get in to it.
3. Greta Van Fleet – From The Fires
When Paul (OHHMS vocalist) was telling me about this band I thought it sounded horrible, but he convinced to me to give it a listen on the way home from practice, Initially I thought they were just a Led Zeppelin rip off, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Led Zep are amazing, by the time I got home the first few songs had implanted themselves in my brain and i can’t get rid of them. Amazing melodies and chorus, awesome sounding guitars. I don’t hear Led zeppelin when i listen to them any more.
4. Employed To Serve – Warmth Of A Dying Sun
I have loved this band since we toured with them a few years back, they were full of energy and had brutal riffs which is a perfect combo as far as I’m concerned. It’s been an amazing year for ETS and I’m really proud of them, walking in to my local news agent and seeing Justine (ETS vocals) on the front cover of Kerrang earlier on in the year put a massive smile on my face, all though after thinking about if for a moment I realised I was very jealous and hated them a bit as I should be on the front cover of Kerrang! This album captures the the awesome time they are having perfectly. All though it is very harsh heavy music I find something really uplifting about it. Also just found two mins ago its been voted KERRANG album of the year! Congrats ETS!!!! That’s massive!!!
5. Iron Monkey – 9-13
Being a massive fan of old Iron Monkey from back in the day I thought, like a lot of other old Iron Monkey fans that I wouldn’t be into this. Couldn’t have been more wrong. Can’t wait to see them live. Other honourable mention this year go to my own band OHHMS which really is my number one LP as it has my own heart and soul in it and i made it with some of the people i love most in the world and Chainey, but cant put it at number one on the list without looking like an ego maniac.
Best Show I have played this year is a difficult one, there were some amazing ones, Bloodstock and Arc Tan Gent were obvious highlights, being flown abroad for the first time to play VOID Festival in a Bavarian Forest was a real thrill. Desert fest in Antwerp was an honour, but the number one spot for me tho has to go to IN TO THE VOID festival in the Netherlands. It was a combination of things really. We were at the end of a European tour, we had had a few problems, our van broke down so we all had to squeeze in to a smaller van and i left half my clothes in the broken van, I crushed a finger in a boat door on the way to Denmark which still hasn’t healed, not good for a guitar player, luckily it was my right hand or I wouldn’t have been able to play. So spirits were pretty low and grubby on my part. When we got to the festival they were excellent to us, treated us really well, free booze and food and an awesome dressing room. When we went to drop our bits off at the hotel and get cleaned up the first people we bumped in to at the bar were our friends in Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. We ended up hanging with them for most of the festival and then getting pizza after the show. The sound on stage was excellent, the crowd was big and really seemed in to the music, I finally had clean clothes on, it just felt perfect, for some reason I decided our bassist chainey should take a ride on my shoulders, just a really fun awesome show. Oh and I got to watch UNSANE form the side of the stage which was sick!!!!!!!
The best gig I have attended would have to be one of the ones I played at, just due to the fact that a I have a full time job and am a full time husband and father, I don’t really get the time to go to gigs just for fun anymore, any time I spend away from work and family has to be used for OHHMS. In terms of seeing other bands Bloodstock was awesome, Venom Prison and Puppy would have been my highlights of the weekend, Ghost were cool too, not something i would listen to on record, but great live show. Equally good was Arc Tan Gent, I finally got to see HARK who the rest of the OHHMS had previously toured with. My favourite part of a festival is randomly bumping in to friends from around the country that I don’t get to see very often, this happened loads at ATG. During our set Brady from (HOLY ROAR label mates) CONJURER was in the front row and somehow got hold of the microphone to deliver some vocals. Lots of special moments, we really are seriously lucky and honoured to be able to do what we do.
Highlights of the year:
Other than the previously mentioned gigs and shows, the OHHMS highlight of the year for me has to be finally releasing our first full length album ‘”The Fool”. We put so much time, thought and heart in to it, it was a massive relief when it finally came out. It was a very draining experience, there were a lot of late nights with our super producer Ian Saddler getting things just right. The response to it was overwhelmingly positive as well, so many people said so many nice things. We couldn’t be happier.
As I type this I have a copy of Kerrang magazine next to me that I picked up at lunch with their top 50 albums on the year in it, to be included in this list is amazing when you look back at all the awesome things that have come out this year. I used to get Kerrang every week when i was at school, for me and my friends in to metal it was really the only place to go to find out about new bands, what was being released and what Axel Rose had done that week. So to have Kerrang think our music is among the best albums in rock / metal music this year is a serious highlight for me.
To be honest every time I get to stand on a stage with my brothers in OHHSMS is a highlight regardless of wether its at a festival in front of thousands, or a bar somewhere in a foreign land in front of people who have never heard of us before. It’s all good fun.
Artists to watch out for next year, hmmm, Employed To Serve have to be the number one choice there, they are on a massive upwards trajectory. I’m sure they are geared up to push forward on their 2017 success in 2018, can’t imagine them sitting back and taking it easy somehow. Being in the privileged position of being friends with Brady from CONJURER I have had the chance to hear their soon to be released debut LP, and its amazing, seriously heavy, Dans vocals are as always earth trembling. It builds and improves upon what they started with the “I” EP, if its not in your top ten metal albums next year i will be surprised.
As far as OHHMS go, we have started recording our follow up to this years “The Fool” LP. It should be out sometime in 2018 if we keep working at the current rate. We all have plenty of riffs and song ideas stacked up, so we are in the process of aggressive negotiations to see what we use and what gets shelved. We finished two songs yesterday, both very different from what we have done before, but If you know what OHHMS are about you know what to expect, one is probably the most brutal thing we have written, the other the most uplifting. If you don’t know what OHHMS are about you can check out all our music in the usual ways or come and see us at one of our live shows. We will be playing as much as we can in 2018 and hope to travel to same far away lands and make new friends. Please come and see us and say hello.
Thank you Dan!! And to all of OHHMS, a total pleasure and we can’t wait to see what 2018 has planned for you all.