G'day! My name's Tom and I work as a freelance journalist, media consultant and writer living in Melbourne, Australia. I've been writing reviews and interviews since 2003. I began as a pre-Wikipedia 'bandlist editor' for Harm.us Webzine before leaping into print with South East Australian street press Buzz Magazine.
I've been writing for the good ship Metal as Fuck since 2009 as one of its founding writers. Living briefly in the US in the latter part of that year, I was MaF's "US Correspondent." When I returned home, I wasn't any more.
I currently write for MaF, TheVine, Australian Hysteria Magazine, HEAVY Magazine and The Big Issue (Australia.)
I don't look very metal, but I did share a beer with Kerry King once.
I couldn't get enough of metal, so I completed a Master's thesis on Australian rock journalism in the modern age focusing especially on Heavy Metal. If you still love metal after writing 18,000 academically referenced words on it, surely the ferrous blood of Manowar courses through one's veins, right?
My personal website is http://crushtor.net and I can be found on Twitter @crushtor (funnily enough.)
When you're in the game a while, you can almost anticipate what's going to be on the Top 10 lists of everyone else. I mean, we all review the same material and the really good is usually really fucking good and the bad is unbelievably, unlistenably bad. Although I am working on my personal Top Ten at the moment, I thought I'd take pause and make some predictions based on prior observations. Here's what I'm thinking
#1: The Universal Favorite
Basically if you're a metal journalist you're going to have to pick the most obvious, critically acclaimed choice, otherwise no one will like you any more. I know metalheads are an anti-social bunch of motherfuckers, but that's just how it goes. TRUE METAL IST KRIEG and the #1 choice must embody this without question.
Prediction: Grand Magus - Hammer of the North or Triptykon - Epistera Daimones
#2: The actual critically acclaimed favorite that the journo thinks deserves #1 but doesn't actually put as #1
This one's a bit harder to pick but generally it's the release the journo thinks is really deserving of #1 but isn't quite comfortable with the cognitive dissonance that it brings by actually following through: what if I'm wrong! What if it's actually shit! It's probably not, but you get the picture.
Prediction: Nachtmystium - Addicts: The Black Meddle Part II, Rotting Christ - Aealo, Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
#3: An American release because Americans generally love themselves
It's kind of mandatory. Americans dominate the metal media due to their reasonable command of English and lots and lots of money. Take it or leave it, varmint!
Prediction: Hellyeah - Stampede, Whitechapel - A New Era of Corruption or Oceano - Contagion
#4: The progressive metal release
If you don't listen to progressive metal, you're an idiot. If you do, you're a pretentious wanker. So you can't rate prog releases (unless they're Dream Theater) any higher than #4 because you need to find that happy equilibrium between idiot and wanker. The actual choice doesn't have to be progressive metal per se - but the sad part is: YOU NEVER DO
Prediction: Blind Guardian - At the Edge of Time, Dark Tranquillity - We Are the Void, Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit, Arsis - Starve for the Devil
#5: An old standard that's "returned to form"
Don't we love these! There's nothing like your childhood heroes disappointing you only to redeem themselves with a great release in 2010. It doesn't even have to be amazing, it just has to be not shit.
Prediction: Accept - Blood of Nations, Helloween - 7 Sinners, Soilwork - The Panic Broadcast
#6: Something shamelessly commercial
You have to appease your minders somehow.
Prediction: Sonic Syndicate - We are the Night, Bring Me the Horizon - There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret, Disturbed - Asylum
#7: The Final Frontier
It's like telling your grandmother to go fuck herself otherwise. Just let it happen, because we all know it's gonna.
#8: Some quirky shit you've never heard of
Metalheads are a prickly bunch and we hate anything you like. So we have to carve out even more niche-ier niches than everyone else. It's kind of in our job description. The record is so fucking weird, you can't tell if the journo is bullshitting so you just take their word for it.
Prediction: Kylesa - Spiral Shadow, 1349 - Demonoir, Bison B.C. - Dark Ages, High on Fire - Snakes for the Divine, Orphaned Land - The Neverending Story of ORWarriOR, Sigh - Scenes from Hell
#9: The most popular release of the year
You know, the one that everyone has in their record collection by now. It's usually quite decent but most hardened, battle-jacket wearing metalheads will scoff. But they hate everything. Probably for a good reason.
Prediction: Periphery - Periphery, Megadeth - Endgame, Dimmu Borgir - Abrahadabara
#10: The journo's guilty pleasure
Here's where the journo gets to shine. It's not the best album in the world but god damn it, it's his fucking favorite and he'll add it to his Top 10 list come hell or high...high. Oh, hello there.
Prediction: IT COULD BE ANYTHING! KAMELOT, EVEN! But it's most likely Allen-Lande - The Showdown.
That said, it has been an AWESOME year for metal. I have enjoyed it immensely. See you all in 2011...
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