METAL HAMMER – GOLDEN GODS @ Indigo2

London, 11th June

This year we are at the O2 Centre in London for the Metal Hammer Golden Gods with rare performance by Watain and Ghost and heavy weights in the metal scene playing as well Biohazard, Sabaton and Anthrax. In attendance tonight at the award ceremony are Machine Head, Fear Factory, Mastodon plus the cream of the metal industry.

Watain have totally taken over the stage and the awards tonight with rotting pig flesh and burning crosses, that drape the stage like an infliction of the damned. Their intro tape has been on for the last 25 minutes and they only have a 15 minute set which seems pretty pointless at the best of times, but what a set of furiously lawless dark black metal which is as hard hitting as a punch in the face. The flames just burn as we are taken to a ‘Reaping Death’ by one of the most extreme bands of the black metal genre. The stench is contaminating the air as Eric snarls at the audience and screams once they fix microphone problems which he has for the first two minutes of their set. I have no idea why they didn’t win the best live act cause the show is outstanding and this is their full show and it totally destroyed the Metal Hammer God Gods with the awesomeness of it but at least they won best underground band and they totally deserved it.

Biohazard used to be a real force in the metal world but have now become a bit of a joke with lack luster riffs and no longer being tales from the hard side and more being tales from the soft side. They use the Metal Hammer Golden Gods set like it was made for them jumping on the cannons and fake barbed wire that surrounds the stage. This New York hardcore band are very energetic and run around madly like they are on acid or had far too many Red Bulls because they are all acting like Tweek from South Park. Singer Billy Graziadeiis bleached blonde and muscular and looks half like he is out of a fitness video so it works very well with his whole manic behaviour. They try to make the evening their own but fail in a spectacular way. Even songs like ‘Punishment’ and ‘Vengeance is Mine’ just don’t seem to have the life they once had, I think Biohazard have maybe had their day.
Ghost are all in white tonight, no one knows what they look like and there is somewhat a mystery behind the band. They come on to the riff driven ‘Prime Mover’ that singer Papa Emeritus comes out and blesses the crowd to. They are probably the weirdest band to come out of Sweden since Abba but they have real stage presence and with songs like ‘Ritual’ which seems to have been given cleaner vocals for tonight’s performance maybe to go with their clean white look and gives them a more commercial edge and maybe why they won the award for best breakthrough artist, which was voted for by the readers of Metal Hammer magazine. I think people are starting to warm to these nameless ghouls who people didn’t know how to take when they first came onto the scene in 2008 and then gained notoriety in the last few years.

Sabaton are massive in Europe at the moment and they are like an army of Metal freaks. Armed with sunglasses and padded metallic vests and the like to do a lot of pointing and chanting. They are a cross between power metal and traditional metal and they are a well oiled machine clogging round the stage like clockwork toys trained by the army. They have some really good riffs but some of the guitars sound a bit flat and the chants at the half empty venue, everyone leaving after seeing the amazing Ghost and tiredness from the Download Festival at the weekend just seem to go nowhere and are heard on deaf ears, but it was a good try anyways. They do have some good songs though like opener ‘Ghost Division’ which has been very popular on the European festival circuit.

Anthrax are now legends but have a very short set like all the others, their brand of thrash metal doesn’t really hit a note with me but does with loads of people the whole world over. Scott Ian is one of the driving forces behind the band and he decides on a lot that goes on with their live show. They have been through many singers over the years and now settled the last few years with Joey Belladonna who has settled back in the band nicely. When they burst into ‘I am the Law’ people have seemed to lose interest a bit and heading to get their goodie bags at the door. The end on their cover of the Black Sabbath number ‘Neon Knights’ which is a nice tribute to the great band that ended the Download Festival the night before.

METAL HAMMER – Golden Gods 2012 Winners

Best Underground Band – Watain
Best New Band – The Defiled
Dimebag Darrell ‘Shredder’ – Devin Townsend
Best UK Band – Saxon
Best Live Band – Rammstein
Best Event – Iron Maiden conquer the UK (Again)
Best International Band – Lamb of God
Metal as F**k – Anthrax
Breakthrough Artist – Ghost
Spirit of Hammer – Bill Bailey
Best Album – Mastodon ‘The Hunter’
Best Drummer – Vinnie Paul
Inspiration – Roadrunner Records
Icons – Fear Factory
Riff Lord – Robb Flynn & Phil Demmel – Machine Head
The Golden God – Joey DeMaio – Manowar
Video of the Year – Trivium ‘In Waves’

Daniel Cairns