A lot of you may have noticed, prior to the publication of the best albums of 2012, that we published a feature called 2012 in Review, something we didn’t do the year before. This is largely because Blogger, which we were on at the time, didn’t offer such a service. We only switched to WordPress in May and so weren’t aware of this feature, which I looked at quite wide-eyed and intriguingly when it arrived in my inbox on New Year’s Eve. It offered me the chance to publish the results, so publish I did.
3,800 views seems modest, but we’re a modest blog. We did manage to get up to over 15,000 hits when we were on Blogger – I haven’t checked what the figures are for the old site for a while now, but I’m perfectly happy that people simply visit. It shows there is an interest in what we do, and the positive comments we receive either directly via the site, or on Facebook, or Twitter, show that what we do is entirely worth it.
Breaking into the top five posts forms the main crux of this feature, as in some ways shows what people are looking at and perhaps what we can aim to improve.
Numero uno was our feature on the newest metal magazine to hit newsstands, Iron Fist, which achieved 202 views as of 31/12/2012. I received some great comments from fellow metal fans about this article in which I suggested there was no reason why printed media couldn’t co-exist happily alongside the online format, be it blogs like ours social media and so on. I grew up musically before the blogosphere and Facebook erupted so I considered magazines a valuable tool for getting into bands, and still do. I repeat the call that people should go out and support this magazine. Louise Brown and her team do a sterling job and people buying this excellent magazine in numbers is exactly what is needed in this day and age.
Intriguingly, second was the video for the spoof song that spawned from the campaign that we supported in the Campaign to Stop the Kingsgate Expansion. The Kingsgate Shopping Centre is based in Huddersfield and was proposing to knock down The Palace Theatre, an iconic landmark in need of repairs, as well as a number of surrounding buildings including the town’s premier rock/alternative venue The Parish, to expand the shopping centre by 50%. A group of around 1,500 quickly joined against the scheme and we got on board, speaking out against the proposals in favour of a counter scheme for student flats, which would protect The Palace and put a massive dent in the Kingsgate proposal’s plans. In the midst of the campaign, a spoof campaign was set up calling for Kingsgate Water Slide Park, and thus the song ‘Slide One Out For Kingsgate’ was born, sung by ‘local pop megastar’ Bona featuring producer H. Kelk, and a certain Ol Drake from Evile providing the obligatory guitar solo. It provided hilarity amongst a serious campaign which eventually was successful, with the council voting overwhelmingly for the student flats, saving the Theatre and almost certainly guaranteeing The Parish’s status.
Yes, our interest was chiefly (at first) for The Parish to be saved, in what seemed to be initially a tall order. That we won was incredible. The fact that people bothered to check out an issue that was very much a local one, that more than likely wouldn’t affect them, shows that the time we invested into the campaign was wholly worth it, and underlines not just the importance in protecting our local music venues, but indeed, protecting local commerce, local industry, local history and architecture. Our town centres are far too faceless and formulaic in a flagging economy and revolution and change is what is needed. Hopefully, we won’t need to campaign any more for Huddersfield, but expect us to raise our voices again if the ugly beast rears its head again. If it can reattach it, that is.
The remainder of the top 5 consists of reviews or review-esque features. Slightly surprising considering my reviews are ten a penny and that numbers 3 and 4 should stick out perhaps says a lot for social media and indeed the UK underground community. The reviews in question are Megalodoom, a doom/sludge/stoner quarter spawned from UK droners Bismuth and ex-members of Year of the Flood, with their incredibly-titled demo/rehearsal jam ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Grief’; and Iron Witch’s ‘Post Vegas Blues’. The Liverpudlian sludge quintet are tearing up venues with their booze-soaked fury and given our glowing praise for them previously, I guess I’m not surprised to see people digging their stuff. But a rehearsal jam? Megalodoom haven’t been around very long and that they should be number three on my list says that either a) traffic really is low, or b) the UK sludge/doom underground is in rude health, and clearly there’s people out there wanting to see what I said about them, and/or indeed looking to check them out. We do stream releases whenever we can, something I decided to do a while ago instead of plain images and text so people can get an idea of what I’m describing. Clearly, it works. A lot of love too for the reissue of Sleep’s ‘Dopesmoker’. One of the greatest albums of all time – fantastic remaster by Brad Boatright and one album worthy of all the adoration it’s received.
So what do we have lined up next year? Aside from garnering the attention of more readers around the world – 77 countries and counting so far, cheers everyone! – the truth is, the bulk of what we write is reviews. Mostly albums and short form releases. Occasional live reviews; with two one-year old twins, a job, responsibilities at home, I can’t afford too many but I aim to take what I can get – Mike (Collins), our other contributor, will still submit a few bits here and there, I imagine. I’m mulling over whether to ask for any more people to help with content. I like the fact it’s a small two-man operation, hampered as we are, but without question it would help us be a little more productive, during those times when I’m not able to update it from whichever device I’m using – its been particularly difficult when relying on mobile to update the blog and to then spread word about it – HTC can suck a big fat chode for that one. But there’s still plenty of other stuff we’re looking forward to. Like ‘Kin Hell Fest 2013. Like some corking new albums coming out. Some oddball features. More opinions and rants. Whatever. All in the name of quality, top-notch music.
Did someone say ‘Slayerthon?’
Happy New Year everyone, and thank you all again for your support.