The be all and end all

Episode 144: Top of the Rocks 2020 – Give Em The Slap

It’s time to close up another year, this one being much spicier than others. But we still want to give you our top 10 songs that we heard this year. And in true Rock Candy fashion, Maggie keeps it dancey while Ashleigh keeps it metal. We get properly drunk and go on our usual tangents about musicians that we love, those that we hate, lament the concerts missed, and hail our true savior, beer/cider.

Thank you to each and every one of you lovely listeners out there. This year has been a lot for all of us, and we hope you’re getting through the best you can. Try to stay positive and keep your heads up for better things in 2021. Party on!

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Comments (3)

  1. This is WAY late, but I’ve only just listened to the episode and I gotta say a few words about Katatonia.

    For anyone into this band, there’s a whole world out there to explore, a whole host of bands that had almost the exact same trajectory. The primary one is Paradise Lost, who pretty much established this trend and whom the Katatonia members have cited as a major influence. There’s also Anathema, The Gathering, Tiamat… That’s just to start you off.

    So, basically, these are slower-than-usual death metal bands that started losing death metal elements gradually, while adding all sorts of influences from gothic, alternative, psychedelic and progressive rock and even trip-hop or shoegaze, to arrive at something similar to the sound heard in that Katatonia song you played in this episode. This was one of the major trends between the mid-90s and the early aughts, though it was probably more noticeable in Europe.

    There’s another point of interest here – members of Anathema have worked with a singer from the Gathering, who has in turn collaborated with Rock Candy favorite Devin Townsend. 😀

    • Indeed! I’m quite familiar with the bands you’ve mentioned. The Gathering is great, and Anneke van Giersbergen is hands down one of the best female metal vocalists ever, IMO. Devin worked with one or two other singers during the Project years that were good, but once he found Anneke it all came together. I think her voice was the exact inspiration he needed to make albums like Addicted and Epicloud work despite how “commercial” they were.

      Also, have you heard her work with Ayreon? Simply stunning. She and Floor Jansen blow me away every time I hear them.

  2. Anneke is one of a kind. I don’t mind operatic singers like Tarja either, but what was always refreshing about Anneke was that she was a rock’n’roll singer fronting a metal band first and foremost. She definitely stands out.

    The Gathering in general, I feel, whatever they’re doing, whether it’s death metal, or gothic metal/rock or trip-hop, they’re a progressive rock band at heart. You go back to their first album, and it’s a death/doom metal album, sure, but it still sounds like a progressive rock band playing death/doom. Just look at all the instruments listed. 😀

    As to your point about Devin finding the perfect foil in Anneke, that’s kind of what had happened with The Gathering too. From the very beginning, they were writing music in a certain way, and when they found Anneke, it allowed something that was latent in that music to fully blossom. Not a sudden shift, it was all already there, but she comes into the band and you suddenly hear all the potential realized immediately. Just one of those perfect matches.

    Oh yeah, Ayreon/Star One was huge when I was in high school (’99-’03). That was the era of power/prog metal and they were definitely talked about in the same breath as Dream Theater, Stratovarius, Kamelot and all those bands, even Nightwish, which at the time straddled the line between power and gothic metal, one of the rare bands to do so. Plenty of good memories there, though I’ve kind of soured on the straight power metal thing. Also, as with Devin, there’s so much music to explore when it comes to Ayreon/Star One, it’s kinda intimidating. I’ve only scratched the surface with both, I must admit.

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