Live Awards Recap by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Metal Hammer Golden Gods, Indigo O2, London, Monday 15th June 2015
With barely enough time to scrape off the Donington muck, the Metal Hammer Golden Gods award ceremony kicks off at the Indigo O2 venue in London. It’s less than 24 hours after Kiss and Suicidal Tendencies wrapped up their festival-closing sets at Download, and the scheduling of this awards ceremony soon becomes obvious as a slew of familiar faces from the past three days begin to grace the cosy amphitheatre.
The evening kicks off with a high energy crossover thrash performance by Mike Muir and his crew, belting out ST classics like ‘You Can’t Bring Me Down’ and ‘Pledge Your Allegiance’ in their blink-and-you’ll-miss-it set. Muir tears it up on stage like the angst ridden adolescent he was when he formed the band back in 1981. It’s a great start to the evening, and next on stage is We Are Harlot, fronted by ex-Asking Alexandria frontman Danny Worsnop, after a changeover break long enough to grab a beer at the bar.
Anthrax shredder Scott Ian is tonight’s host, and shortly after 8pm, he takes the microphone to begin the presentations. He starts with the “Best New Band Award” which goes to We Are Harlot who have literally just composed themselves after their warm-up set. Preparing to announce the winner of “Best UK Band”, Ian tries to win over the local audience by joking that he doesn’t know why it’s not just Iron Maiden every year, before inviting Bring Me The Horizon to accept the title.
A full list of all the awards, presenters and winners can be found at the end of this piece, but one worth mentioning is the “Spirit of Hammer” award, presented by Queen legend Brian May. The recipient is Dr. Matt Taylor who is the project scientist on a mission that successfully fired a lump of metal and silicon 300 million miles through space to rendezvous with a comet ten years after its launch. The day before tonight’s ceremony, the comet lander Philae woke up from an unplanned 6 month nap, making the timing of this presentation incredibly apt. A proudly tattooed heavy metal fan, Taylor also made headlines when he wore a shirt depicting scantily-clad cartoon women during a televised update on the mission. Humbly, but proudly, he accepts his award tonight dressed in an equally loud shirt featuring spiral galaxies, content to be escorted by real-life scantily-clad hostesses, courtesy of Metal Hammer.
The final award of the first half is for the Metal Hammer “Legend”. The audience show massive appreciation as Kiss “Demon” Gene Simmons takes the stage wearing dark shades before ceremoniously putting them on Scott, and then promptly taking them back. He jokes that the golden trophy will soon be up for auction on Ebay before making his short acceptance speech: “The secret is that you’re the power. Without you, I’m nobody and nothing. Support and love the music that makes your life worth living. Stop downloading for free. You’re hurting the band that you love. Give them a chance to live.” This is a stance that is met with some disagreement from the audience, although most respect the opinion of a long-serving legend such as Simmons.
A second live music interlude kicks off with a combined act by Baby Metal and Dragonforce, which is unlikely to make any new fans for either group. The Japanese trio execute a perfectly synchronised and choreographed routine, but it is obvious that the mostly old-school fans in the audience are largely unimpressed. Quickly making things right, Swedish melodic death metallers At The Gates follow up with their crowd-pleasing performance, before the second half of the award presentations featuring another slew of heroes and demigods.
Metal Hammer’s “Golden God” is the final accolade of the night, and Scott Ian recalls being friends with this “inventor of thrash metal” since the early eighties. Having just flown into the UK specially to accept this honour, Dave Mustaine is in visibly good form. Before saying his few words, he snaps the obligatory “Mega-selfie”, and then refers to notes he prepared en route to avoid his usual knack of getting into trouble. He announces his intention not to slag Metallica, not to slag the Rust In Piece line-up (which was recently tantalising close to a reunion), not to slag the two quitters, and not to slag Obama. Good work, Dave; that could’ve been awkward, if it wasn’t so tongue-in-cheek. Of course he gives credit where it is due, but keeps it short and sweet.
Oddly, there was no presentation for (or even mention of) the best Video or best Video game awards, and the official Golden Gods website is currently offline, so those remain a mystery for now. It was also clear that all of tonight’s award recipients (perhaps with the exception of Brian May – although probably not), were prepared for the presentations, so there were no surprised faces or feigned supportive applause from the runners-up. It was also rather fortunate for Metal Hammer that most of the winners just happened to be in the vicinity at the Download festival this same weekend; that must’ve saved a bit on travel expenses. All in all, an entertaining evening, and an opportunity to see many of the all-time greats in one place, being recognised for their invaluable contributions to heavy metal.
Here’s a full list of the awards, presenters and recipients:
Best New Band
We Are Harlot
Presented by Alexander Milas (Editor-in-chief, Metal Hammer)
Best UK Band
Bring Me The Horizon
Best International Band
Accepted via pre-recorded video from Download
Best Live Band
Of Mice & Men
Unable to be receive due to Austin Carlile’s hospitalisation
Defender Of The Faith
Tommy Thayer (Kiss)
Spirit Of Hammer
Dr. Matt Taylor
Presented by Dr. Brian May
Brian May (Queen)
Presented by Dr. Matt Taylor
Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies)
Gene Simmons (Kiss)
Presented by Dani Filth
Dimebag Darrell ‘Shredder’
Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest)
King/Queen of the Internet
10 Second Song Guy (Link)
Sol Invictus (Faith No More)
Presented by Duff McKagen
Best Independent Label
Accepted by Winston McCall (Parkway Drive)
Presented by Jesse Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal)
District Unknown/Martyrs Of Metal
Accepted by Yusef Ahmad Shah (Vocalist, District Unknown, Afghanistan)
Presented by Travis Beard (Director of Martyrs of Metal)
At The Gates
Presented by Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey (Butcher Babies)
Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)