THE BLACK SIREN’S YEAR IN METAL – 2016

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It was a tumultuous year to say the least.

Numerologically speaking, it was a ‘9’ year, which denotes Rites of Passage, Community, and Ending of Cycles — and it certainly delivered.

We have seen amazing and catastrophic developments in the industry and the community, not just socially and professionally, but in the arts, themselves.

But, rather than promote more unnecessary subjective competition and petty maneuvering – which the Metal community is choking on — The Siren calls out the good, the bad, and the ugly in hopes to celebrate the extraordinary and commemorate the history…some which we hope never to repeat.

THE GOOD:

#5 – More Inclusiveness, Less Genderism in Metal.

It’s nice to see less and less of the ridiculous, stigmatic term “female” in front of “artist,” “guitarist,” “vocalist,” etc. Music is for the ears, not the eyes. Not that the eyes cannot enjoy, but should never define, regardless what’s between your legs.

“It doesn’t matter how you wear your hair, it’s what’s inside your head.” – S.O.D. ‘United Forces’

#4 – Growing Connection Between Fans and Artists.

More and more artists are sharing their time to respond directly to fans on Twitter and using Facebook ‘live’ options to show their humanity and break down idolization, which we Metalheads tend to do. Virtuosos and masters, such as Tony Iommi, are also sharing their craft with those anxious to understand that Metal is music.

#3 – Metallica Made a Lot of People Happy.

Regardless of your opinion about their latest release, Hardwired…to Self-Destruct made a lot of fans and peers very glad to see the band get back to riffing mode. Some call it one of the best they’ve ever done, some don’t. But, regardless, Metallica gave their legacy and fans some CPR and breathed in some excitement in the media and sales.

#2 – Innovation swept through genres.

This year’s releases have been crowned with some of the most creative projects to hit the shelves in years. Some of the most notable could be Avatar’s conceptual craziness, Feathers and Flesh, Noctem’s historic and bloody Haeresis, the beautiful sorrow of Spirit Adrift‘s Chained to Oblivion, and the bizarre, but gorgeous, introduction of Black Slave Metal through Zeal & Ardor’s Devil is Fine.

Every time a boundary is broken, Metal proves itself more and more to be a contender for universal respect as a viable art form.

With this, Metal gains the potential for more financial backing and public support, which benefits the artists and the arts.

#1 – Our community, itself.

We have seen humanity at its best, with bands and fans reaching into their pockets to help the less fortunate, the innocent, and within our own.

Which leads us to…

THE BAD:

#3 – The End of Black Sabbath on tour.

This year marked the end of an era, with the forefathers of Metal packing in their suitcases for good. Though they did not officially write off going into the studio again, they will no longer take their curtain calls on the stage.

Another unfortunate side note of this event is the dissolution with their bandmate, Bill Ward. To see comrades part ways is never a happy occasion.

Having an all-star name-dropping fest (especially when over 80% of those names had no part in the making of history) is not a viable replacement for writing. And this goes for that Nergal atrocity, as well.

#2 – ‘Unwritten’ biographies that are nothing more than transcripts.

The laziness in the rock literary world is taking a horrible turn and creating a bad trend of replacing transporting narrative with name-dropping commentary. Not only does this disappoint the readers, it is out-and-out fraud.

When one expects to read a biography or a story, getting an outsider’s mere opinion or an extended ‘Q&A’ that could have been typed by their administrative assistant is an inexcusable substitute. Readers want to ‘be there.’

Writers need to cut the shit and do their fucking jobs, stop this, and write.

#1 – The dissolution of TeamRock and all its products.

No more Metal Hammer, no more Classic Rock or Prog magazines, no more TeamRock Radio.

Mismanagement, rushed content, click-baiting lists, poor investments, ill-conceived promotions, and other unforeseen afflictions sunk this battleship, leaving 73 staff members in the street, watching the powers-that-be change the locks on their livelihoods, not to mention the unnumbered freelancers and photogs who had not been paid.

If not for the amazing efforts of Orange Goblin and everyone who contributed to their crowdfunding campaign, those left unceremoniously without a job would had a very, very blue Christmas.

THE UGLY:

#1 – Phil Anselmo’s “White Power” stunt.

This was, by far, the most controversial event to disgrace the Metal community, causing so much outcry that commentary forums such as Blabbermouth and Loudwire exploded to the point of needing to shut down.

In one fell, stupid swoop, Anselmo popped the ugly zits of racism and censorship, gave credence to Metal’s adversaries, and fed the major media outlet machines while permanently scarring his character.

Anselmo’s responses were equally stunning with first dismissing his actions as a poorly crafted joke, then using displacement and denial, until he was backed so far into a publicity corner, he apologized, which did very little to repair the damage to his career and interrelations with his peers.

On the plus side, regardless of the magnitude, the aftermath proved that the racial problem is not a Metal problem, but a personal one.

And now, The Black Siren’s ARTIST OF THE YEAR Award goes to:

Death.

The Reaper, Venus, the Horseman, Hades, Osirus, Santa Muerte…Death by any name or personification took Its share this year, relieving the pain of those who suffered and taking those It willed, leaving the world in awe. The collection of souls Death delivered to the River Styx, the Upper or Lower worlds, to Vallhalla, or the winds is expansive.

“Killed By Death” – Motorhead

Though Its actions have left many of us who still remain in pain and dismay, Death brought peace to those who brought us peace.

Rockers We Lost in 2016 – Loudwire

And for this, we cannot help but raise a sad, but grateful glass, in hope It will take a bit of a rest next year.

2017 will be a ‘1’ year, a time of Beginnings, the Self, and Mastery. So, let’s do this…loudly.

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