The year, as we’re all aware, was an interesting one for the majority of us. Most people coped with isolation by binge-watching tv shows, others turned to cooking, and for some of us, we tried things we’ve always wanted to give a red hot crack!
Duane first came into my (Browny’s) life when he tattooed my Marvel Sleeve way back in 2011 in Bathurst. I knew this guy had such an incredible passion for things he loved dearly (including heavy metal music and storytelling) and so here we are, 9 years later, I finally convinced him to write for Wall of Sound and you’re not gonna believe what he’s achieved in such a short amount of time!
In his first week, he went viral (and still going hard to this day) after introducing the world to the band Suspect208 via their debut song ‘Long Awaited’ and first ever interview. From that moment he’s cemented himself as a bloke with a knack for uncovering new bands to check out AND for telling us some incredibly in-depth stories from his past, including Pantera‘s infamous first tour of Australia which resulted in, ummm, his distaste for Powderfinger frontman Bernard Fanning…
If Jim Jefferies became a heavy music journo, he’d write in a similar manner to Duane James, except NO ONE can replicate the original! Get to know this guy, his passion for all things heavy and suss out what he dug the most about 2020 (apart from becoming a Dad for the first time) with his Year In Review…
TOP 10 RELEASES OF 2020?
10. AC/DC – Power Up
I’m just so bloody chuffed that the lads are back. Have listened to this on repeat.
9. SCOUR – Black
Phil Anselmo combines forces with some of extreme metals finest to deliver a truly brutal black metal offering. Play it to your infant child.
8. KING PARROT – Holed Up In The Lair EP
The stuff these guys don’t put on albums is still better than what a lot of bands do. 7 1/2 minutes of brilliance wrapped in green snot vinyl.
7. TESTAMENT – Titans Of Creation.
Still delivering some of the best Thrash that has ever existed. Try and keep up.
6. CRISISACT – Turn It Off
Youngy from King Parrot shows his low end off with the lads from Psycroptic and Revocation. Michelle Madden posted something about it on her Insta. I sussed it out and haven’t looked back. Fucking Killer.
5. HATEBREED – Weight Of The False Self
Don’t put this on before going to bed. There’s no lullaby’s on this bad boy.
4. LAMB OF GOD – Lamb Of God
So good they named this album after themselves.
3. DEFTONES – Ohms
Listen to this and bowl over a cone. Or don’t. It’s great either way
2. MR. BUNGLE – The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo
You’d hate it. Erratic easy listening Thrash with too much fun thrown in. Best drank in 1986.
1. KILLER BE KILLED – Reluctant Hero
The album I’ve always hoped would appear but never thought it would. It exceeded every expectation. I love this album and will give it the flogging it deserves.
TOP 10 SONGS OF 2020
10. SOAD – ‘Genocidal Humanoidz’
Like AC/DC, its just great to hear the fellas are back on the same room together and this track harkens back to classic SOAD.
9. DICKLORD – ‘you fingered me weird’
I played this to my wife. She walked around the house singing that one line over and over.
8. PRIVATE FUNCTION – ‘Albury Wodonga’
Dusted off my best dad-dance moves for this belter.
7. FEVER 333 (feat .Walter Delgado of Rotting Out) – ‘For the Record’
Browny put us onto this lot and the singer nearly coat-hangered me with his microphone cord at Download Festival last year
6. HATEBREED – ‘Cling To Life’
Killer song. Huge album.
5. PIG DESTROYER – ‘The Octagonal Stairway’
Go on, I dare you.
4. KILLER BE KILLED – ‘Deconstructing Self-Destruction’
This is punch my face in great. Not the type of song you put on while driving and expect to not get done for speeding.
3. MR.BUNGLE – ‘Hypocrites/Habla Espanol O Muere’
Good fun dose of “what the fuck is going on???” with a nod to Scott Ian’s SOD thrown in for shits ’n’ giggles.
2. THE HU – ‘Sugaan Essana’ (original music from “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order”)
I love Star Wars and this mob has become one of favourite bands to tattoo/meditate/write/create to. Sounds like it was dug from deep within my memory. Sublime
1. SUSPECT208 – ‘Long Awaited’
The second this song hit I knew we were onto something. With any luck this will be a massive indication of what’s to come.
BEST MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2020
4. MR BUNGLE – Sudden Death
A Keanu Reeves sex doll gets what’s coming to him, I think. Not Sure really. Bungle are weird and I’ve had a lot to drink.
3. KILLER BE KILLED – From A Crowded Wound
It’s deliciously animated, so I love it. Plus I feel like I should get into drugs after watching this delight. Almost like I’m missing a few mushies from my diet.
2. HJELVIK – Glory of Hel
FUCKING HELL!!!! Viking Zombies, flaming beards, giant snake gods and owls getting their throats slit and put on flaming nordic funeral boats. This animated video is a monster.
1. KING PARROT– Kick up A Stink
King Parrot aren’t known for stuffing about when it comes to their music videos so the lads have turned to Mike Foxall (Neptune Power Federation, Nancy Vandal) and he has knocked out an absolute pearler. Fox animates this deliciously filthy video in his unique lowbrow style that sums up 2020 perfectly. When historians look back on this horrible bloody year they’ll go to this clip for evidence. I’m not overstating shit at all.
LAST GIG YOU CAUGHT BEFORE COVID
Gym Jams at Jack Duggans Irish Pub, Bathurst NSW.
The wife’s cover band, started at 4.30am after a gym Christmas party gone south, where a fit bastard with a guitar started playing Gunners and the girls started singing along. The wife was early pregnant for this gig and had to drink ginger ale disguised as Canadian Clubs to hide the fact. Don’t worry though, the pub didn’t suffer. I drank her share.
Was supposed to leave for Download a few days later but some gronk in Wuhan got a hankering for Bat Soup. Fucked it for everybody.
HOW DID COVID/LOCKDOWNS AFFECT YOU IN 2020?
I fucking hate being told what to do, especially if it’s by the goddamned government.
So when they told me I couldn’t go to work in March 2020, I was livid. I understood of course and even agreed that this was the best course of action moving forward, but that didn’t stop me from shedding an angry tear and cursing Scomo’s Hawaii holidaying name.
After my maiden voyage to Centrelink and three days of walking around the house like a drunken bear with a sore head, my missus told me to get over myself and do something pro-active. So I grabbed a box of beers and headed downstairs to tidy and re-arrange my home-work space. I used that space to write, paint, draw, conduct and participate in online drawing lessons, catch up on overdue drawings and read books I’d never had the time for, all while listening to the hundreds of records I’d collected over the years. It helped the missus too, that she had somewhere for me to “fuck off” to when she needed quiet to study her, now online, speech pathology university degree.
It was fucking awesome. I stayed up playing darts online with my mates, got better at my craft whilst catching up on my work. I’ve also written a good chunk of what could end up being a book. With the writing, painting and emerging online presence, I have the bones of what may be my own creative business moving forward.
The wife and I also got to see out a full trimester of the pregnancy and did so without having to talk to any bastard. (If I ever have to answer another morning sickness question…).
After 80 days of Lockdown, I came out busier and more energised than ever. Despite the horrors of Covid, we thrived. At 43 I’m a first time father, a full time artist and a part time writer. It’s been life changing.
Might be time for a beer.
BIGGEST THING YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF THIS YEAR?
I hate people, love beer and I’m worth more money.
I love MY people, but the rest of you, honestly, fuck off. x
FAV NEW BAND/MUSICIAN DISCOVERED IN 2020
Despite these lads being around for a couple of years now and their album, The Gereg, coming out late last year, Mongolian metal band The HU was something I only found out about earlier this year in the lead up to their (cancelled) appearance at Australia’s Download Festival. A year after The Gereg’s initial release, a deluxe edition with remixed tracks featuring Jacoby Shaddix, Lzzy Hale and From Ashes to New was released, but for me, the originals are by far the better versions of these amazing songs.
I sing this to my boy when he needs settling. If only I could speak Mongolian.
NEXT BIG AUSSIE ACT TO WATCH IN 2021?
DickLord – I want to see Kylie Minogue stand up at the Arias and say “and the award goes to DICKLORD” when handing out the award for best newcomers and watch them sweep the Arias with “you fingered me weird”.
CrisisAct – With members of Psycroptic, King Parrot and Revocation on board you can bet your arse that CrisisAct is going to kill live. There’s a massive chance your hearing will go to shit afterwards too. Proceed with caution.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2021?
More new music from Suspect208. After bursting onto the scene with their debut song ‘Long Awaited’, the LA four piece have blown up and the world is waiting to see what else these young legends have got in store.
Wall Of Sound Podcast #100, to see if Browny can hold his shit together long enough to act professionally whilst interviewing Tom DeLonge.