The year started with the return of FALL OUT BOY, SLAYER calling time, and TOOL starting to tell anyone who would listen that their longawaited new album was nearly done. Two of these things would yield actual evidence. The other would become the biggest
“Getting into a fight, taking acid, hearing Motörhead for the first time… it changes you.” the meaning of life, as told by WATAIN frontman ERIK DANIELSSON
After dusting ourselves off from the rollercoaster of 2017 and patting our bellies after a protracted time of sheer festive gluttony, we couldn’t wait to see what 2018 had in store. Our bet we put on there being ‘rock’ turned out to be a banker, and we were only just in January… Black Veil Brides’ Andy
Biersack appeared on the cover of the first issue of 2018, starting the year with a bang by revealing that the Trump administration has ruffled his feathers and inspired a track on the band’s new album, Vale. “I’m not someone who writes political songs, but it was very hard for me not to feel a sense of anger and anguish towards what was happening in our country, postelection,” said Andy of the track Dead Man Walking (Overture II). “And now there’s the feeling that you have to be able to rise above that stuff.”
And Andy wasn’t alone. Axl Rose revealed that he was not a fan of the Trump administration either, tweeting: “The [White House] is the current U.S. gold standard of what can be considered disgraceful.”a comment that surely brought Trump to his ‘ Shana-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-knees.’ Fred Durst also tweeted the orange clown, albeit in a more polite manner and asked 45 to “raise the bar” following his whinging about CNN’S “unfairness”. “We unmistakably need a role model and leader for the now, and the future,” said Fred. “This isn’t the way.” And as we all know, it’s Fred’s way or the highway.
Away from trolling Trump, the year’s first ‘What-the-actual-fuck?’ moment came when Slayer announced they were embarking on their final world tour. “The end of days is near,” they declared in a video to, presumably, loads of tears from the band’s notoriously delicate fans around the globe. We’d have to wait until May to find out whether the UK figured in their last, unholy hurrah, but way to start the year on a low, lads.
Talking of break-ups, Ville Valo found himself at a loose end following the dissolution of his band HIM . He had an unusual way of looking at his storied career. “The band has been the Imodium to my diarrhoea,” he said. “It’s kept me balanced, it’s helped me function along the way. How would I sum my time? I’ll let you know once I’ve really figured it out. I’ll send you a postcard.” We’re still waiting for the card, although Ville did start working with Finnish guitarist Esa Pulliainen on new music.
Speaking of agonising waits, Tool drummer Danny Carey said that fans could expect a new album in 2018. “It definitely sounds like Tool, but it’s an evolution,” he explained of their new material. “You have to wait and hear it. Hopefully it’ll be a mind-melter… otherwise I better quit.” Tick tock, Mr Carey…
Not everyone was as slack with new material as Tool, though, with Marmozets delivering a 5K stunner in the shape of Knowing What You Know Now. In a positively frothing review, we said, “Marmozets were never anything less than swaggeringly ambitious and musically restless, and therefore an LP of bigger scope and bolder intent was always on the cards.” Also getting bolder were Fall Out Boy with the bonkers MANIA, which prompted us to call its mad musical diversions, “A record that disrespects the rock rulebook. And it’ll win a shedload of new fans in doing so.” It also prompted us to spend the next 12 months tearing our hair out every time we had to type that stupid, spacey title.
Over the pond, Machine Head’s Robb Flynn invited Kerrang! to their Oakland rehearsal space (get us with our travel) ahead of the release of their new album, Catharsis. “I want to keep challenging ourselves and our fans,” he roared at us, “because I fucking love it.” Hmm, let’s wait until a little later in the year to see how your bandmates feel about that… This year’s GRAMMY Awards threw up a great many rock moments, with Foo Fighters and Mastodon each taking home a gong. Code Orange , meanwhile, were up for Best Metal Performance, which guitarist Dominic Landolina celebrated by arriving on the red carpet in a balaclava. As you do. Inside, Body Count performed Black Hoodie at the ceremony, with Ice-t dedicating the performance to Trayvon Martin and victims of police brutality. Krist Novoselic chatted to us about the new album from his band Giants In The Trees , and we found the Nirvana bassist to be in an ebullient mood. “At the start, people were coming to see us just to see me,” he said, “but they’re staying to watch us. I have to say I’m pretty happy.” But you know what would make us happy, Krist? A Nirvana show of sorts with you and Dave Grohl playing together again. Hey, we can dream, right? But if you wanted a reunion right now, The Distillers announced their return and booked their first show in over a decade at Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Music Festival in May. More mysteriously, three of the original members of Smashing Pumpkins were pictured in the studio together. But where was bassist D’arcy Wretzky ? Maybe we’ll find out later (spoiler: no we won’t). January was also tinged with sadness, as we said goodbye to Motörhead guitarist and last surviving founding member ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke , who passed away following a bout of pneumonia, aged 67. We also bid farewell to Babymetal’s virtuoso guitarist Mikio Fujioka , who died following a fall from an observation deck. He was just 36. Outside of the rock world, Friends was made available on Netflix and everyone realised how dated it looked. In space news, meanwhile, a total lunar eclipse happened, and The Moon reinvented itself as a Supermoon for one cycle. Despite its new name, it had no special powers, other than appearing massive. Sort it out, Moon…
ANDY BIERSACK: Photocopying his face was a great ideaCODE ORANGE: There was no embarrassing ‘same outfit’ moment for them at the GRAMMYS VILLE VALO: Waiting for the Imodium to kick in…