Some of these awards have been easier to choose than others, but this one may be the most difficult. There have been lots of bands that have all had memorable/awesome/all of the above years, but ultimately there can only be one. Rather than do a conventional countdown, I will introduce the candidates and explain why I picked them as candidates. On with the show...
- BARONESS; It's been a tumultuous year for the Atlanta, Georgia rockers. Touring since the start of last year, including a co-headline tour with Meshuggah and Decapitated (tbf never heard of them), appearances at festivals such as Roskilde, Sonisphere France and Orion and an extensive tour in support of recent album Yellow & Green, 2012 was shaping up nicely, considering that Y&G was a fantastic album. However, it all went south in very sudden fashion, when they were involved in a bus crash during the UK leg of their tour in August. Several broken bones, including some fractured vertebrae, and a lot of physical therapy later, and things are looking up for Baroness, as they look to get back on the horse. You wouldn't have blamed them for quitting after such a close near-death experience, but it's their passion for making music that is bringing them back, which is what's earned them this nomination.
- ENTER SHIKARI; Success upon success for ES this year. At the turn of the year, their 3rd album A Flash Flood Of Colour debuted in the mainstream charts at #4, an unprecedented achievement for a band very far removed from 'mainstream' music. Then followed a solid year of touring, playing across the world in support of the album in headline shows and festivals such as Australia's Soundwave, South Africa's Oppikoppi Festival, Reading & Leeds, Pukkelpop, Rock am Ring, T In The Park, among many others. Then, after 6 weeks stateside supporting (really though?) Falling In Reverse, it was back to the UK and Europe for the Flash Flood Of Christmas tour. A relentless and highly successful year for Shikari. Oh, and I met Rou the other day in Norwich before a show and he was a lovely guy, even if I came across as a weird twat with a mouthful of Hula Hoops and a shopping bag containing only bran flakes.
- MUSE; Not much explanation needed here; fantastic new album The 2nd Law and a huge European arena tour, as well as the announcement of 2013 summer stadium dates, it's been a busy few months for Muse.
- MARMOZETS; For such a fledgling band, 2012 has been a breakout year for these lot. With the release of 2nd EP Vexed back in February, which was received with critical acclaim from assorted rock press, and not least of all garnering the prestigious EP of the year from yours truly. Ahem. But being picked up to tour with some big names has also marked their rise, doing shows with the likes of Young Guns, We Are The In Crowd and Your Demise during a Vans Off The Wall tour in autumn, festival appearances including Download and Reading, and being announced as supports for Feed the Rhino and Funeral For A Friend next year, it's been a year of upward trajectory.
- ROLO TOMASSI; A year in which RT have had to adapt to a new lineup, with a replacement guitarist and bassist filling in where the original members left off to focus on university education; however, if new album Astraea is anything to go by, the adaptation process seems to have taken mere minutes. A major reshuffle that still produces the band's best album yet, and a successful UK/Europe tour - they've done well.
It's been a top year for them, and they have established themselves as a big name in the UK's rock scene, and continue to make an ever-growing positive impression upon the world stage. Well done chaps, bring on 2013. And Rou, if you read this and happen to remember me, I'm not that weird. Well...