awardsThroughout 2012 our dedicated team of reviewers have delivered the key verdicts first on the very best albums and gigs of the year.

So settle down and compare your annual favourites with our top team’s top choices from the last 12 months. 





Richard Holmes (Reviews Editor)




1 Gallows – Gallows

One of the most important punk albums in recent years, this self titled effort saw Gallows stage dive headfirst into a new era, with burly Canadian Wade MacNeil – a worthy replacement for departed vocalist Frank Carter – leading the charge. 

2 Baroness – Yellow and Green

3  Kontinuum – Earth Blood Magic

4  Necro Deathmort – The Colonial Script

5 Neurosis – Honor Found In Decay

6 Nachtmystium – Silencing Machine

7 Corrosion Of Conformity – Corrosion Of Conformity

8 Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud

9  Martyrdöd – Paranoia

10 Nine Covens – On The Dawning Of Light




1 Black Sabbath – Download Festival, Donington

Most of the bands on Download’s 2012 bill owed a huge debt to the Sabs, from Fear Factory to Soundgarden, Kyuss Lives to Ghost. But Ozzy and Co. weren’t going to let any young  (and not so young ) whippersnappers steal their heavy metal thunder, and delivered a set which drew smiles from even the most hardened cynics.

2 Bong/Conan/Druganaut/Waheela – Doomsday Festival, Trillians, Newcastle

3 Gallows – O2 Academy, Newcastle

4 Wodensthrone/A Forest Of Stars – The Cluny, Newcastle

5 Unsane/Big Business – Trillians, Newcastle



Self Made Man (Ian Murtagh)




1 Neil Young – Psychedelic Pill

His best album for 20 years. Kicks off with Driftin’ Back which stretches to over 27 minutes – one of three marathon tracks on this masterpiece. It’s more inspiring than indulgent.

2 Rush – Clockwork Angels

3 Alambama Shakes – Boys And Girls

4 Joe Bonamassa – Driving Towards The Daylight

5 Rival Sons – Head Down

6 Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last Of A Dyin’ Breed

7 Muse – The 2nd Law

8 Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension

9 ZZ Top – La Futura

10 Europe – Bag Of Bones




1 Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sage Gateshead

The southern rockers played a stormer – and didn’t they just know it. Rarely seen over here but a band that enjoy themselves so much. Note perfect and with a set list that satisfied fans old and new, the Sage audience knew they were witnessing something special.

2 Joe Bonamassa – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

3 UFO – O2 Academy, Newcastle

4 Europe – O2 Academy, Newcastle

5 Snow Patrol – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle



Martyn P Jackson




1 Slash – Apocalyptic Love

Slash’s sophomore solo release is a genuine band album, and a superb one at that, with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators concocting a potent hard rock blend alongside the man in the top hat. The true spirit of G n’ R resides right here.

2 Europe – Bag Of Bones

3 Joe Bonamassa – Driving Towards The Daylight

4 Black Country Communion – Afterglow

5 Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension

6 The Darkness – Hot Cakes

7 Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day

8 ZZ Top – La Futura

9 Ian Anderson – Thick As A Brick 2

10 Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Love




1 Slash – O2 Academy, Newcastle

A deserved win-double for the tattooed axeman. There were times when this gig transcended it’s humble surroundings and transported this punter to another plane – a rare occurance, and the mark of a truly great artist.

2 Chris Cornell – City Hall, Newcastle

3 Joe Bonamassa – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

4 Europe – O2 Academy, Newcastle

5 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Stadium Of Light, Sunderland


Viki Ridley






1 Kiss – Monster.

This a true return to their former glory for KISS. Stanley and Simmons, Singer and Thayer bring us an album that sounds like KISS back in the day. Monster is an album that’s stands up against such classics as Destroyer or Love Gun, polished and produced of course, but its essence is much more of a classic KISS sound than the more commercial sound of 2009’s Sonic Boom. Just cant wait to see the live show that will accompany this release!!

2 Halestorm – The Strange Case Of…

3 JD and The FDC’s – Recognise

4 Fahran – Fahran

5 Electric Mary – From The Vault

6 Rival Sons – Head Down

7 Electric Boys – Groovus Maximus (reissue)

8 Grace Potter And The Nocturnals – The Lion The Beast The Beat

9 Foxy Shazam – The Church Of Rock N Roll

10 Diamond Dogs – Set Fire To It All




1 Falling Red/Steel Panther – O2 Academy, Newcastle

Loud and lewd and easy on the eye, Falling Red (Rozey, Sanders, Jayde and Dann) have all of the appeal of a band that is destined to be the next big thing. I’m pretty confident that their long awaited second album will be in my top 10 of 2013. The fun, tongue-in-cheek lyrics of Steel Panther, stealing, if you’ll pardon the pun, everything that was bad, tacky, but oh-so-wonderful about 80s hair metal, showcases not only their humour but also their legendary musicianship. 

2 Alexa De Strange – Electrowerkz, Islington

3 Rival Sons – O2 Academy, Newcastle

4 Dick Venom And The Terrortones – The Doll, Gateshead

5 Electric Mary – Hard Rock Hell 6, Pwllheli