On a sunny day in mid-June, an army of metalheads congregated in London for one special evening of celebration, music and recognition of idols, newcomers and fallen brothers. Most notably Sir Christopher Lee CBE, CStJ, who sadly passed away at the age of 93 and of whom received the 'Spirit of Metal' award at the 2010 edition of the Golden God Awards.
Having worked alongside the likes of Fabio Lione (ex-Rhapsody of Fire) and Manowar, Christopher turned his attention to releasing his debut album entitled "Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross", proving to be popular amongst metalheads and film buffs alike, this was soon followed up by his second album "Charlemagne: The Omens of Death" - thus making him the oldest heavy metal musician in history, a feat that is almost certainly unlikely to be broken.
Upon the announcement of his name during the 2015 awards, a short video showing him receiving his award was shown to the audience (which can be later viewed on Scuzz and probably YouTube), resulting in rapturous applause, whistling and clapping, as the night remembers a truly remarkable, awe-inspiring and dignified legend in his own right.
"I associate heavy metal with fantasy because of the tremendous power that the music delivers"
Sir Christopher Lee CBE, CStJ (1922-2015)
So whilst the queue began to align themselves outside of the Indig02 arena, HMS Hammer was chugging her way along the River Thames with the first lot of awards-attenders waiting to disembark and make their way to metal's most coveted award ceremony of the calender year.
On the boat, the likes of Butcher Babies and Napalm Death tore the riverbed up and gave performances that were described as 'sensational' and 'heavy as f*ck' by passengers disembarking. Now it was the time for the rest of the attendees to enter and as people took their places, both down in the pits and up in the balcony area, the first band of the evening was rearing up, readying themselves to slay the crowd with their 80's Thrash Metal, it had to be Suicidal Tendencies.
Now whilst their performance was decent by anyone's standards, they had to ensure that the atmosphere built up because the band following them was going to be a hit or miss. So whilst Suicidal Tendencies unleashed a barrage of songs and Mike Muir jumping down to sing with the crowd, some discerning metalheads were questioning the next band to grace the stage. We Are Harlot, fronted by ex-Asking Alexandria vocalist Danny Worsnop, was waiting in the wings whilst ST signed off in style with a cymbal decking the floor, and then the time had come for We Are Harlot to show off their Hard Rock style.
Danny Worsnop and Jeff George appeared to share a beauty and the beast moment with their musical flirtations on-stage; this is a new step in Danny's career due to the shift in music style (from Metalcore to Hard Rock). We are Harlot certainly proved themselves to be the real deal and could become one of the most talked about rock bands in the next few years, ultimately this resonated in them receiving the award for "Best New Band". So here's hoping that they have a successful future as they earned this one thumbs up. As soon as We Are Harlot finished an electric set and made way for Metal Hammer's resident awards presenter to come back on stage to announce that the first batch of awards were to be announced, he invited the guest speaker for the night to take the reins, the one and only Scott Ian of Anthrax.
Bring Me The Horizon despite seeing their latest album "Sempiternal" become certified Silver in the UK and Gold in Australia, seemed to forget their manners upon receiving the "Best UK band" award, with Oli Sykes throwing his crisps into the crowd to the disapproval of those in the vicinity, perhaps he wanted Pringles and instead got Walkers. Sure the band deserved the award through their sold-out Wembley Arena concert, their lack of respect however was met by some muted cheering and shakes of the head by some metalheads.
With only a few words expressed by two of the members, one being Oli, it could be said that the band appeared disinterested about being awarded with such an honor. But for all of their negatives on the night, they cannot be robbed of their award as it was deserved.
As the band disembarked and left a divided audience in total disarray, Scott Ian was once again preparing to announce the winners for the "Best International band" and the "Breakthrough band" awards.
Slipknot who could not be at the awards ceremony to collect their award for "Best International band" sent a recorded video after their performance at Download Festival expressing how honored they are to be awarded this by the fans and Metal Hammer readers. Scott Ian even quipped "oh look a black clown", the quip took time to sink in but when it did chuckles could be heard across the venue, before dying down and the winner of "Breakthrough band" being announced.
Now this group deserved this award by far, there was just no way they could not be awarded it - it was the inevitable, Scott however before announcing the award remarked that the winners are shorter than him (and how big a hint that was!), they may be short but Babymetal have got a fantastic career ahead of them and we feel that they could become Japan's answer to England's Iron Maiden, USA's Slipknot, Germany's Rammstein, you get the idea. Coupled with their performance later on in the night, the whole feeling that Babymetal are some sort of a gimmick sadly did not wash away from some metalheads. But if they are a supposed gimmick, what do you call Slipknot with their masks? Rammstein with their pyrotechnics?, so what they are different? They are epic, period. All aforementioned bands are.
Diverting attention away from the handing out of the awards and to Babymetal's performance, it was simply electric. Backed by London's own beloved Power Metal horde Dragonforce, who linked up with the Japanese trio to write the song "Road To Resistance", this duel-band performance kicked off with a short introductory video regarding the 'Road To Resistance' (music video can be watched here) that mimicked and created a story-backdrop to the band's establishment and thus laid the path down for the song to be belted out, with Herman Li as always unleashing seismic riffs and solo's that he was practically born to do.
As soon as the new single had finished, Babymetal then followed this up with their unmistakable "Gimme Chocolate!" which utilizes a wide range of influences from Power Metal, J-pop, Melodic Metal and Japan's home-grown 'Visual Kei'. As the song bellowed out from the speakers, fans were enjoying themselves by moshing and headbanging, people up in the balcony area were standing up to watch this sensational group tear the Indig02 stage apart. Clearly they had justified their bestowed title of "Breakthrough artist / band" with such vigor that they parted the stage after their displaying of the devil's horns and appreciation shown towards the fox god.
Sadly Of Mice & Men could not be there to collect their "Best Live band" award and thus sent a representative to collect it on their behalf, however "Defender of the Faith" went to Tommy Thayer of Kiss and he duly went up to accept his award, this title is given to those who have achieved wonderful things whilst being in the metal music industry, this could be in or outside the world of music and for Tommy Thayer this was in recognition of his philanthropic work, particularly his work with sick and injured children, his support of America's armed forces and to raise funds for the Pacific University's athletics programs.
The next awards were announced by a legend in the rock music world, not only as one of the finest rock musicians the UK has produced, but also a well respected figure in the astrological sciences, one Dr. Brian May. The first award to be announced by Queen's guitarist was the "Spirit of Hammer" award, this award is given to an individual or group who Metal Hammer see as a true spirit within the metal music world and this year it was awarded to a fellow doctorate of Brian May, one Matt Taylor.
Matt Taylor was solely responsible for landing the Rosetta spacecraft on the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet, he is also a huge Death Metal fan but it is his achievement that was hugely acknowledged through being awarded the "Spirit of Hammer" award. Then came another surprise, not only was Brian May announcing an award, he received an award of which was announced by Matt. Brian had been awarded the title of "Riff Lord". Both walking off to the sound of 'We Are The Champions'.
Having performed on the night is one honor, but like the other bands playing on the night, Suicidal Tendencies front man Mike Muir picked up a gong, simply the "Icon" award - which evidently stands for those becoming icons within the metal music industry. He invited the entire band on stage and this meant it felt like the entire band belonged to this award, long and behold after they had left the stage it was the turn of Gene Simmons to enjoy the celebrations and deliver some antics.
Gene certainly thought Scott looked dapper wearing his sunglasses and I have to agree, so Scott next time Anthrax play Bloodstock, please wear those sunglasses, please? Of course tonight was about being dapper, smart and celebrating metal, so it was time to celebrate Gene Simmons being awarded the "Legend" award. Let's face it, here is a guy who lead Kiss to international stardom alongside his brothers and it is Gene who also like his band mate Tommy Theyer followed the philanthropic route having done work in Africa and reflected back on his Israeli heritage, specifically his childhood.
As the first part of the awards drew to a close, as mentioned earlier Babymetal and Dragonforce electrified the venue with their insanely-tight J-pop / Power Metal combination. Here's hoping these two bands do a tour together some day.
Sadly At The Gates, despite all their might and excellent career could not find the right note to carry on the exciting evening, no matter what they tried they simply were not convincing during their performance and seemingly left a fair swathe of the audience disappointed, let's hope they find their feet next time round. Soon it was time for the second award batch to be announced, and Scott Ian decided to retire for this next one.
Announcing the winner of the "Best Underground" band was done by Cradle Of Filth & Devilment front-man Dani Filth. Sporting his new look, Dani cracked a few jokes here and there but ultimately was pleased to award the "Best Underground" band category to fellow British metal compatriots Winterfylleth, of whose meteoric rise saw them release 4 albums, perform at numerous festivals including Bloodstock and Wacken amongst others. Sadly this year Mark Wood left the band after 6 years service, but still the band was met with rapturous applause and quite rightly so as they look and are set to carry on leading the British Black Metal scene to new-found glory.
Scott Ian returned as Dani Filth left the stage and carried on announcing some more winners, the "Dimebag Darrell 'Shredder' " award was given to Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest. This was soon followed by the "King/Queen of the internet" award, this award goes to anyone who creates a video of themselves doing something clever, insane or downright whacky and ends up with their video(s) going viral, sadly the DIY demolition guy did not win although Scott Ian wanted to see the video once again, saying that he felt the video was "insane" and added "try building your house like that", from which the quote was met with prolonged laughter. But the award went to the '10 second song guy' and was presented by Duff McKagan.
The next category, the "Best Album" award was awarded to Faith No More and their album "Sol Invictus", this was soon followed by....
the award for "Best Independent Label" and this went to Epitaph Records, which was collected by Parkway Drive's Winston McCall on the label's behalf.
Now the next award is one we are truly proud of ourselves, given that we were the first to acknowledge this band's existence and have been lauding them since the start. The fact being that District Unknown has won the "Global Metal" award has not only made me very happy, but also it's excellent for the Afghani Metal scene. Not only does this mean the scene has been recognized, but given it's locality only Yo Khalifa could attend (as he is actually studying in the UK) alongside film director Travis Beard of whom originates from Australia but lives in Kabul, Afghanistan.
In fact it was down to Travis, that this band now exists. (Global Metal Apocalypse will be interviewing both Yo Khalifa and Travis Beard in the next few weeks). Last year the band released their debut album "Anatomy of a 24 Hour Lifetime" and this year they are subject to a metal documentary called "Martyrs Of Metal". We expect more from this group in the years ahead.
Fresh from their performance on HMS Hammer, both ladies from the Californian band Butcher Babies were excited to present the next award. The fabled "Inspiration" award was given by both Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey to At The Gates, this marks a milestone in their broken 25 year career (marred by hiatus').
The final award of the evening was perhaps the most exciting of the evening, simply put the "Golden God" award is the crème de la crème of the evening and is the most coveted award. This year the Metal Hammer Golden God award went to Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, having blitzed last year at Bloodstock and celebrating a phenomenal career, this award was coming, it was meant to be. The question is, who will it be next year? Our top 3 bets are Ozzy Osborne, Alice Cooper or Trent Reznor. We shall see, as soon as the awards finished it was time for one last band, the infamous Killing Joke.
Jaz Coleman still has the vocals of a god and whether you like Killing Joke or not, they are truly a monumental band none the less. Killing Joke certainly closed up what was a night full of excitement, drama and jokes. From Scott Ian donning Gene Simmons' sunglasses, to a bitch fight in the crowd below and from the likes of Ash Costello of New Years Day and Jasz Vegas making an appearance to Alexander Milas the editor-in-chief and 'Dark Lord' opening the evening celebrations, the Metal Hammer Golden Gods once again have proven themselves to be THE metal awards ceremony of the calendar year. (Sorry Kerrang)
Well that's it, all that's left to say is congratulations to all the winners and nominees, thanks to the hosts for a wonderful evening and of course the Indig02 arena for staging this wonderful event.
Who will the winners of the 2016 edition be? Who will be performing? Only time will tell.
Metal Hammer Golden Gods 2015 winners:
Global Metal Apocalypse