For the sixth time in the history of the Metal Hammer magazine, the iconic award ceremony took place in the ‘Kesselhaus’) of the ‘Kulturbrauerei’ in Berlin on September 12, 2014. 2009 was the first year it had taken place at this location. We were there for the second time in a row and were able to catch plenty of impressions. The best part of the Metal Hammer Awards is, however, that there is this certain award ceremony.
Hard music was in the focus in 2014 again and thus once more, four bands, Reactory, Deadlock, Paradise Lost, and Blind Guardian, asked to play for a dance. Who won a prize this year, had to take criticizm, or was just in a good mood, you can find out about in the following lines. The ‘Kesselhaus’ was filled up to the steel beams on the ceiling and bursting at the seams as Thorsten Zahn (Metal Hammer), Doro Pesch (Doro, Warlock) & Martin Kesici (STAR FM) invited many into the venerable hall for the 2014 edition of the Metal Hammer.
For the first time this evening the hammer appeared in the form of a live performance of the Berlin thrasher Reactory. With unstrained and merciless rigidity, Reactory shot volley after volley into the competent audience. This year's guest list was colossal and thus probably every second belonged to the defining guild. Thrash Metal as it could not be more pure. Even in the run-up to this year’s awards we have sympathetically noted that Reactory thrashed the stage. The four guys deserved this performance for sure. In numerous clubs of the capital, the four had literally played their ass off in the past. Their performance was short and to the point. Before we realized that Reactory stood up there, a band who usually performs on small stages, the robust thrash tank made space for Deadlock. One thing is certain, if Reactory continues like this, then we will hear a lot from the Berliners in the future. "High On Radiation", as the title of her latest album is called, was released in spring 2014 via Iron Shield Records and is hereby highly recommended to every fan of pure wrecking balls. You will find the review of the output in our category Album-Talks.
It was getting serious. Readers, editors and a panel of well-known musicians (including Scott Lewis (Carnifex), Simone Simons (Epica), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), etc.) have decided. The award for the best debut album goes to Beastmilk. "CLIMAX" is the record´s name and already appeared in November 2013 with Svart Records. Beastmilk collected good reviews with "CLIMAX" from everywhere. Obviously their horror post-punk with a dash of sleazy metal seems to be exactly the right mix to internationally cause a stir. The Finns, who founded the band in 2010, were able to speed drive the success in breathtaking time. Congratulations to the band from the land of the thousand lakes.
Finnish it went on, because Toppinen of Apocalyptica gave the eulogy for Within Temptation, which received the award for best live band. It was definitely a reward for their hard work, because the Dutch symphonic metallers (founded in 1996) were not very convincing with their live performances at the beginning of their career. The albums were absolutely wonderful, but unfortunately it didn’t seem possible for them to reproduce their conserved music on stage. Thank God this has changed, also here again, we congratulate!
The first round of the awards ceremony climaxed with the category ‘Maximum Metal’. Helloween were the lucky ones, of course entirely justified when taking into account their stamina, their album classics, and the cult status of the band. With their music they influenced a whole genre, namely the melodic metal. The question is whether Kai Hansen, who also sat on the jury and formerly played in Helloween, threw a few more ballots in the basket. We do not know, but the thought is still very refreshing, right? Joking aside, because Scott Lewis (Carnifex) would have had the crib sheet picked out from the netting himself, at least we hope. Congratulations also to Helloween.
Deadlock were already scratching on stage with the instruments. The German melodic death metallers had just lost their EX-drummer and friend Tobias Graf on 02/09/2014. They remembered their friend and founding member in a brief speech of before they played the audience's tears away with their furious Metal. It was poignant. It was all the more surprising the amount of vigor with which they went to work. The performance left a lasting impression, not only with us, who – shame on us – has not yet taken a closer look at Deadlock up until now. Deadlock was founded in 1997 and has so far released seven albums. That evening they played for Tobias! You could feel their many years of experience in every song, every passage, and every word. Speaking of word, for there was not only sad news from Deadlock. Sabine Scherer, singer and a regular member since 2005, performed despite her pregnancy (7th month). Respect!
Many of the coveted chalices were still waiting for their new owners. Doro and Martin asked to go to the right side of the Kesselhaus before they announced round 2 of the Award ceremony. In 2014 ‘God of riffs’ went to two guitarists, in other words, Gods instead of God. The Gods were: Björn Gelotte (In Flames) and Richard Kruspe (Rammstein)! Unfortunately Richard did not attend the ceremony, which gave Björn all the more time to harvest cheers and give his thanks in return. Well-behaved, he did so just before ‘In Extremo’ were awarded for Best Album. ‘Art theft’ was in question and was able to fully convince reader, jury, and the Metal Hammer editors. It got crowded on stage, which was entirely claimed by In Extremo. The pictures speak volumes. Again, we join in the congratulations and hope the most colorful birds of the Medieval Metal will keep on delivering many good albums.
It got legendary and very iconic, because Cronos entered the stage amidst cheering. Cronos collected the cup in the category "Legend". Quite rightly, in our opinion, Cronos is a true legend. With his band Venom, he is one of the founding fathers of Black Metal. Countless bands found their roots in the heritage of Cronos and co. Venom-like album covers are still adorning the current publications of modern bands. Venom created a cult that will be able to be found in the depths of Metal for a long time. This is legendary and thus Cronos gets quite rightly the award in 2014. In his speech, the clearly somewhat outdated Godfather of Black Metal announced that he was feeling now older than he already is. Too overpowering, the title Legend! Nevertheless, he is legend, and therefore legendary congratulations.
What now followed is well known, and the scene has to deal with for over a quarter century now. The Böhsen Onkelz has currently brought themselves into the focus of the press with negative headlines, of course. The old enemy was reactivated and lo and behold, it works and the Onkelz already wallow in the press releases. What happened is known and does not belong here. The reactions of those present were still evident, but it detracts from the pleasure of such an evening. Under loud boos the two band members, who deserved it least of all, entered the stage. Why Pe and Gonzo had to listen to hit and run choirs, that knowledge eludes me. Master Kesici asked for silence before the Böhsen Onkelz were awarded as the best German band. Whether it is so or not, seems to have been incidental. The fact is, the cup went to the Onkelz and Germany has again his old enemy No. 1.
The UK metallers Paradise Lost entered the stage and lit a firework of superb songs. At their ingenuity, it was difficult to keep up with live again in 2014. The Enemy, taken from the 2007 album ‘In Requiem’, should bring the lost paradise in the Kulturbrauerei in Berlin to life. Paradise Lost has published a series of remarkable albums during their career. With "Gothic" (1991) they made a mark, because of ‘Icon’, the English became large, and with ‘Draconian Times’ they claimed their supremacy in the then newly-born Gothic Metal scene. After that it was commercial. ‘Host’ (1999) was the low point, which affected Paradise Lost who has not been able to bear the effects to this day. Although the UK guys recollected a lesson, but still the metal scene only forgives reluctantly. But albums of the modern era have proven that Paradise Lost is still expected. In fact, it is far too late for unbridled euphoria. Nick Holmes is also not very convincing on stage and in 2014 was a shortcoming that was attached to the English guys, since Nick tried to sing. Do not get me wrong, we love the band, but live, you have to simply cut back. Nine tracks you got this evening around the ears, with its conclusion marked by "Say Just Words". We did not hear any encore demands from the fans, a logical consequence for an acceptable appearance, which underlines the previously called assertions.
Slowly it was getting unbearably hot in the Kesselhaus, but there were still some decisions to be made and not all the awards had found their lucky owners. Martin and Doro, who led the evening with an appealing touch, now announced Eskimo Callboy, who in turn, announced Insomnium, so that they could hand over the cup in the category "Up And Coming" to them. The Finns thanked with manner and we are not just saying congratulations, no - we want to strongly recommend the albums of the Finns to all the metalheads. Insomnium knows how to put beautiful melodies, as well as the urgently necessary hardness, in minor. A mixture that is addictive, I promise!
Arch Enemy was now called to the podium. The Italians Lacuna Coil did the eulogy, whose outfits once more reminded of a bizarre fashion fair. Whatever, Arch Enemy got to pick up the deserved Metal Hammer Award 2014 in the category Metal Anthem, thanked everyone and paved the way for Amom Amarth. Amom Amarth was represented by the master himself and tapped the cup for the best international band. Johan Hegg was enthusiastically greeted by the mob, and duly thanked the fans how a worthy Northern man does it. Those who have not noticed yet, Johan Hegg can be seen from Oktober 23rd, 2014 in the cinema. He took a role in the Vikings strip ‘Northmen - A Viking Saga’. It’s unbelievable what the likeable frontman has built with his band in recent years. Amon Amarth is hotter than ever, despite their rough variety, fill large halls, and provide great live shows. Star posturing is alien to them and they are always friendly and patient This is how we know the Northmen, whose number of fans is continuously growing. Simply gorgeous and this is also why Amon Amarth got their well-deserved award. Congratulating it not only thunders from the Walhalla, but also our horned mascot joins in the rumble.
30 years of Metal Hammer magazine contain 15 years of Thorsten Zahn! The result? Thorsten got the award in the 11th category ‘Maximum Z’. A category, which was proclaimed for the first time and especially for Thorsten, because the power and commitment of the Metal Hammer journalist who puts his heart and soul into it for years, should be refined metallic on this memorable evening. Congratulations Thorsten!
The Thor within (Thor)sten , Thor also in the texts of Amon Amarth…there only remains the exclamation to Walhalla! Speaking of Walhalla, long before Johan and his Amon Amarth warriors appeared on the battlefield of the Metal scene, there was a band whose roots were probably in Melodic Metal. That evening the legendary Krefeld gave them the honour to be there. Blind Guardian once again came into view after a long abstinence of live performances. They once conquered the throne of melodic metal, but strayed away from the live setting. Of course they had "Valhalla" from the "Follow The Blind" album (1989),in store for the awards. The Kesselhaus thanked them with a minute-long "Valhalla - Deliverance - Why've you ever forgotten me" - choirs. Incredibly, even Blind Guardian could not believe it. A feeled or maybe even real ten minutes long, the chorus turned his rounds in the Kesselhaus. It was simply wonderful how unerringly the blind watchman gave their songs to the best even after all these years. In the run-up to the Metal Hammer Awards the setlist was decided by voting. They were playing some old ham, as well as Valhalla, a track that is no less than a quarter century old! Let's leave it at that and pay homage to a band who brought this evening to a climax with good sound, fantastic stage acting and a lot of professionalism. We expected everything, but this concert is already on the highlights list of 2014.
Surprisingly, the awards ceremony came to a close. It was well planned, well moderated, overshadowed by boos, but crowned with highlights and was made par by all parties at the awards. At least this is how we felt about it. See you next year, when streets, subway stations, and the site of the ancient Kulturbrauerei in Berlin, are shrouded in a deep black, just because hundreds of metal fans want to attend the award ceremony of their heroes. The September 2015 is earmarked. What should we do otherwise, if it were not for the Awards? 2000 words can not reflect the experience. Maybe the pictures of Laura do, who threw himself into the fray five hours to make these wonderful recordings. But see for yourself.
Translation Sandra Frei
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