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Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards - IndigO2, London - June 17 2013 (Live Review)

Thursday, 20 June 2013 Written by Anna Ghislena

For the sake of a little perspective, let’s start at the end. The podium was removed from the IndigO2 stage, where famous feet had trodden only moments before. Duff McKagan, he of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, walked into the spotlight, speech in hand, to announce the winners of the final award: Metal Hammer's Golden Gods of 2013.  

He looked for the podium, for a fitting place from which to deliver his presentation. For an awkward moment he stood, exposed head to toe, before beginning his short speech. An almost poetic, disdainful ditty about gods and religion, it confirmed just why all the artists and fans were gathered under one roof for the evening – metal is a religion with its own deities.

Faith plays a huge part. From the moment fans gained access to the building, this event became a family affair. The metal community is bound by the same love for the music it creates. There are no barriers between the bands and their listeners, and no one feels exposed.  Both fans and artists mingled freely in the auditorium. Plenty stood at the bar, from youngsters Hornet to Asking Alexandria and Airbourne bassist Justin Street. Celebration was in the air and everyone had gathered to acknowledge the work of this year’s nominees, from up and coming bands to metal legends. The winners were selected by the fans, who, in return, were entered into a ballot to win hundreds of free tickets to the prestigious event.

Coming hot on the heels of Download Festival, it takes a certain amount of stamina to proceed directly to the awards. It is, however, a good excuse to keep the party going.  Kick started by Metal Hammer podcaster and stand up, Stephen Hill, the awards ceremony erupted into life with short performances from three quintets before the evening’s bombastic awards host, songwriter and guitarist Devin Townsend, took hold of the reins.

First up, and fresh from Download, were LA nu metallers Coal Chamber. Back on the scene, the industrial/goth band owned the stage, from Loco to Sway.  Bassist Chela Harper was particularly mesmerising in a swirl of waist-length black waves.

Continuing their 25th anniversary celebrations by inviting their own special guests to join them on stage, next up were Paradise Lost. Cristina Scabbia, of Lacuna Coil, sang with vocalist Nick Holmes on Say Just Words and guitarist Gus G (Ozzy Osborne, Firewind) joined them in saluting Black Sabbath with a cover of Into the Void.  Hailed as an institution in their own right, Paradise Lost received the evening’s Inspiration award.

Five Finger Death Punch exploded into their set next amid flying pint glasses, swaying dreadlocks and plaited beards.  Following Burn It Down they dedicated their last song, Lift Me Up, to Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, who features on the new single.

Airbourne, back in the saddle again and promoting their recently-released third album ‘Black Dog Barking’, then stormed the stage with high energy rock ‘n’ roll.  They are the party entertainers and the light relief, and the audience knows every word to every song.  The lyrics of their new single, Live It Up, and finally, Runnin’ Wild, were clearly on the lips of the hundreds before them.

The all-important awards were announced at intervals throughout the evening, by the demanding and excitable Townsend, who was joined onstage by various special guest presenters including Alexander Milas (Metal Hammer’s editor) and Jill Janus (Huntress).  A surprise among the winners was veteran stage and screen actor Brian Blessed, who received the Spirit of Hammer award and looked dazzled by the crowd who chanted his name.  In his booming, Shakespearean tones, he admitted to feeling “reborn” by the experience and beaming broadly, proclaimed “don’t let the bastards get you down!” with a twinkle in his eye. Biff Byford (Saxon) accepted the award for Best Event for his role in the Heavy Metal Census campaign, which aimed to get metal recognised as a religion in itself.  

With their new album, ‘13’, at number one in the album charts, Black Sabbath received the awards for Best Album and Best UK Band, which were presented to guitarist and founding band member, Tony Iommi. Currently fighting cancer, the legendary axeman said: “Thankyou. And it’s really nice to be here.”

McKagan then welcomed the members of Motörhead to the stage with exuberant embraces before leaving them in command of their fans.  Delivering a short but majestic set that included I Know How to Die and Ace of Spades, Motörhead confirmed their immeasurable power to inspire their audience.

Thanks to Metal Hammer, the Golden Gods will keep the metal experience alive for generations to come, and even if the experience is not deemed wholly religious, it is certainly one in which to keep faith.

The Awards:

Best New Band - Bleed From Within

Best Underground Band - The Algorithm

Dimebag Darrell “Shredder” - Eric Calderone

Breakthrough Artist - Asking Alexandria

Best Event - Heavy Metal Census

Best International Band - Stone Sour

Best Live Band - Gojira

Best UK Band - Black Sabbath

Best Album - Black Sabbath

Metal As Fuck -  Burgerkill

Riff Lord - Scott Gorham

Spirit of Hammer - Brian Blessed

Inspiration - Paradise Lost

Legend - Doro

Icons - Alice In Chains

The Golden Gods - Motörhead



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