Tis the time when everyone starts celebrating the best of the past year’s albums with a flood of “Best Of Lists”. But while 2013 was filled with great music, it also had plenty of shocking moments. While some brought joy and others brought dismay, these moments left a major impact in the metal community.
With that in mind, we decided to continue the tradition of listing the top 10 biggest surprises of the year. Check out the events that made it onto our list, then let us know which moments startled you the most this year in the comment section below.
10) The year international bands were denied entry
Perhaps it was the government shutdown (remember that?). Maybe it was increased scrutiny on behalf of immigration. All we know is that a number of bands that were supposed to have toured the United States this year suddenly weren’t able to. From Cradle of Filth to Twelve Foot Ninja, Godflesh to Sepultura, it seems to us like there were more tour cancellations and delays from international bands than any other time in recent memory. Sure, this happens all the time, but the frequency of it in 2013 was enough for us to take notice. Hopefully, this year was an anomaly, and we’ll be able to get back to our regularly scheduled touring next year.
9) Joey Jordison parts ways with Slipknot
Even when Slipknot’s fate seemed up in the air following Paul Gray’s death, Joey Jordison was the most adamant that the band would move on. He constantly spoke of working on new Slipknot material even while working on his own project Scar The Martyr. That’s why it surprised everyone when Slipknot announced they parted ways with the drummer (just as the band finally seemed to be on the same page about the new album). Both sides have stayed mum as to why the split has occurred, and all we know is that Jordison won’t be contributing to the new album in any way. Now we’ll have to wait and see how this escalates in 2014.
8) Rob Caggiano leaves Anthrax and joins Volbeat
It’s been an interesting year for Rob Caggiano. He began 2013 by leaving Anthrax, a band he’d been in since 2001, citing a desire to work on production. Even though Anthrax had only released two albums in that time, 2011’s Worship Music was a comeback in every sense of the word. Later that month, he announced he’d be co-producing Volbeat’s album, Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies. A month to the day he departed Anthrax, he announced that he’d be joining Volbeat full time. It’s not clear whether he intentionally left Anthrax to join Volbeat, although his statements seem to suggest it was spontaneous. Then again, any guitarist in Anthrax will be overshadowed by rhythm guitarist and band spokesperson Scott Ian. We can definitely say we didn’t see it coming though.
7) Don’t call it a comeback
It’s been an insane year for comebacks. Don’t get us wrong, countless bands get back together every year to shake off the cobwebs and cash in on nostalgia, but there have been some pretty monumental reunions in metal this year. First and foremost, Carcass released their first album since 1996, and it was surprisingly great. Likewise, Gorguts got tons of accolades for Colored Sands, their first album in 12 years. It was also a year of existing bands putting out albums with their original singers, with none more momentous than Black Sabbath’s 13, their first album with Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years. Jesse Leach also reunited with Killswitch Engage after a decade, which is about 35 years in metalcore. Even Nine Inch Nails decided to not only put out an album, but tour behind it, which was another surprise.
6) The Return of Suicide Silence shakes up All Shall Perish
Mitch Lucker’s sudden death last year’s shocked many fans to the core and left Suicide Silence’s future in peril. A year later, the surviving members regrouped and publicly announced that they would continue on with Herman “Eddie” Hermida as their new singer. Even more shocking than Hermida joining Suicide Silence, though, was that it meant he had to part ways with All Shall Perish. Hermida went on to say he “did everything in my power to stay in All Shall Perish and work both projects. The ASP boys will say that I quit when I decided to take the reigns in SS.” And that’s pretty much what bassist Mike Tiner would say shortly after. As of now, All Shall Perish is still in search of a new singer, while Suicide Silence is working on their first album since Lucker’s death, as well as slowly rolling out the new lineup’s first live appearances.
5) Lemmy Kilmister’s health concerns
Shocking isn’t necessarily the first word that comes to mind when discussing Motorhead frontman Lemmy’s health. In fact, until earlier this year, it’d be hard to picture him without Jack Daniels and a cigarette (not to mention that he’s been an acknowledged speed freak for the better part of his life). And it was a sign that even Lemmy wasn’t invincible after he was outfitted with a defibrillator earlier this year. And while he said that he was recovering nicely, the band had to cut their first show back after only half an hour, and cancelled the rest of their shows for the remainder of the year. But while he’s recuperating, he’s not the madman he used to be any more, seeming more vulnerable than ever in this recent New York Times interview. Hopefully the time off is doing him well, and 2014 will be the year of their live comeback.
4) Blake Judd’s arrest; end of Nachtmystium
Well, the arrest of Nachtmystium frontman Blake Judd sure was shocking to us! Sure, we’d heard stories about Judd, and the guy even subtitled one of Nachtmystium’s albums Addicts. But with assurance from band and label that one of their first shows of the year would be at our CMJ showcase, we felt confident in announcing them as our headliner. That wasn’t to be. Judd was arrested for theft, and would spend close to a month in jail. When he got out, he announced that he would be leaving the Chicago area and disbanding Nachtmystium, with a posthumous album coming out next year. Hopefully the time in jail both gave him time to reflect on what he’s done and also cleaned him up. Time will tell.
3) Ian Watkins pleads guilty to child sex offenses
One of the top 10 most shocking moments of 2012 came when the Lostprophets singer was charged with numerous child sex offenses, including conspiring to rape a one year old with two other females. However, last month found Ian Watkins pleading guilty to 13 of the child sex offenses he’d been charged with (despite previously denying the allegations). As if that wasn’t enough, even more horrid details about the allegations came to light following the guilty plea. This quickly lead to Lostprophets’ disbandment, and Watkins was sentenced to 35 years.
2) Tim Lambesis’ arrest
Last year while watching As I Lay Dying play New York’s Santos Party House as part of Metal Blade’s 30th Anniversary, all anyone could talk about was how Tim Lambesis suddenly got super built. “Roids perhaps?” we laughed. Perhaps indeed. And while suddenly bulking up as part of your image might be excusable, putting a hit out on your wife that you share children with isn’t. Especially from an allegedly Christian band. It’s been a while since we’ve read the bible, so we don’t remember the verse about paying someone $1,000 to shoot your wife. It sounds like something out of a movie, only no one as famous as Lambesis would do anything like this. I mean, are there even such things as professional hitmen? They all seem like undercover cops. At any rate, there’s not much more shocking than Lambesis’ arrest.
1) Slayer lost half of its original lineup
Slayer found themselves in a similar situation as Black Sabbath did last year. Right before Slayer were about to embark on an Australian tour, Dave Lombardo publicly announced that he was sitting out until “financial” issues between him and the band were resolved. Tom Araya and Kerry King didn’t take too kindly to Lombardo going rogue, quickly recruiting former drummer Jon Dette before permanently replacing Lombardo (again) with Paul Bostaph. As if all that drama wasn’t enough for Slayer fans to deal with, the metal community was hit with an even bigger shock with the death of Jeff Hanneman. Though in the midst of finding a secure label home, King and Araya intend to keep Slayer moving (with longtime fill-in/Exodus guitarist Gary Holt presumably taking on a more permanent role in the band). However, Slayer will never be the same following the events of 2013.