Golden Gods 2016: the winners in full - part 3

A photograph of Lzzy Hale raising her guitar onstage at the Golden God Awards

BEST LIVE BAND

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Lamb Of God

Survivors of sturm und drang

When Lamb Of God came over with Megadeth last November, they gave the headliners a run for their money, Randy Blythe commanding the stage with a determination that remains undimmed despite circumstance and time. After the frontman stood trial in Prague and was acquitted for the sad death of fan Daniel Nosek, the band remarked that touring was their livelihood. Watching them play, it’s clear that it’s also their lifeblood. With more than 50 shows already this year, they continue to be one of metal’s most hardworking and vital bands.

“On behalf of the rest of my band and our crew, who are very important in the live performance process, we’re thrilled to have even been considered,” guitarist Mark Morton tells us. “Thank you for making us your favourite live act this year.”

BEST INTERNATIONAL BAND

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Ghost

Succeeding in their unholy mission

With Papa laid up with laryngitis and unable to attend the ceremony, we tracked down a Nameless Ghoul to find how the band feel about their win. “We are happy, of course,” he intones. Aiming for international success from the outset, Ghost played their first shows in Germany and London in 2010, before taking on the rest of Europe and North America. “There are so many bands in Sweden that do exactly what you’re supposed to do – become known in Sweden first, and then build something bigger up. And we were determined that we did not wanna have Sweden as our only playground,” he explains. “So far, it has worked!” They’ve gained a global congregation, playing with Iron Maiden in South America, landing a Grammy for Best Metal Performance and filling London’s Palladium. Their mission? To keep spreading their gospel. “We wanna play all the states of America – that would be fantastic!”

Papa Emeritus III

Papa Emeritus III

DIMEBAG DARRELL ‘SHREDDER’

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Lzzy Hale

Not only can she scream the house down, she’s a true rock’n’roller who can expertly wield an axe

Halestorm frontwoman Lzzy Hale has come a long way since she picked up the guitar at 16. “The first riff I learned was I Love Rock ’n Roll by Joan Jett,” she grins. “Then the second was Heaven And Hell by Black Sabbath. I started the band at 13, and I was actually playing keyboard at the time. Three years later, I thought, ‘I have to make the choice between being Styx or Sabbath, and I chose Sabbath.’”

Lzzy hasn’t looked back since going down the six-stringed route, and it’s her bluesy licks and fiery stage persona that make Halestorm such a force to be reckoned with. Winning an award for her playing, she says, is ‘surreal’. “I’ve always played guitar in this band, but everyone recognises me for my voice,” she says. “I don’t even really think about playing guitar, it’s just one of those things I do. So the fact that I’m recognised by this amazing community, which has really welcomed us with open arms despite us going from rock, to metal, to pop on our records, is absolutely amazing.”

Classic rock has always been an inspiration for Lzzy. “The first record I bought – don’t judge me – was High Enough by [American rock supergroup] Damn Yankees,” she laughs. “And I’ve always looked up to Tom Keifer from Cinderella. He’s kind of underrated in this community, but he’s a crazy shredder and blues player. He’s definitely one of my guitar heroes.”

As for her own riffs, there’s one that’s special to Lzzy. “I wrote one of the earlier songs for Halestorm, It’s Not You, when I was 17. It’s one of the first songs I wrote absolutely all the instrumentation for, and the riff. That one’s purely mine,” she smiles. “I hope that I continue to be proud of every song I write.”

A shocked, elated Lzzy collects her award from Dragonforce

A shocked, elated Lzzy collects her award from Dragonforce

ICON

Nikki Sixx

From glam rocker to godfather

He’s the bassist who famously died and came back to life, and who helped write some of the most memorable songs in history. Mötley Crüe may have stopped touring last year, bringing to an end 35 years of rock’n’roll debauchery, but Nikki Sixx is far from retired. Taking photographs, presenting a radio show and releasing new music with his band, Sixx:A.M., he continues to influence and champion upcoming acts. “The best thing that we can do as a community is keep supporting new music and keep passing it around, and I appreciate being part of this community for over 35 years, playing heavy metal, rock, glam – whatever the fuck it is,” he says. “Just keep making music, and if you’re a new band out there, just keep pushing and clawing your way.”

Nikki Sixx: a true icon, and looking good for someone brought back from the dead!

Nikki Sixx: a true icon, and looking good for someone brought back from the dead!

BREAKTHROUGH

Beartooth

From destroying tiny clubs to touring with Slipknot, it’s been one hell of a year for Ohio’s noisiest gang

Caleb Shomo looks dazed but delighted when he stops to talk to Hammer about his shiny new Golden God. His bandmates were unable to make the ceremony, so he’s on Beartooth duties by himself. “I really don’t know what to say,” smiles the frontman. “This is the first award I’ve ever got for anything! It’s pretty amazing. It’s a shame the other dudes aren’t here tonight.”

Since Caleb quit Attack Attack! and put Beartooth together in 2012, they’ve gone from strength to strength, cultivating their catchy and punch-packing brand of punk-influenced metalcore. Now with two well-received albums, Disgusting and Aggressive, under their belt, they’ve graduated from the small venues in which they won over fans to major support slots and bigger stages. Caleb’s been blown away by their achievements. “Probably the craziest moment was when I looked in my email and saw Slipknot had offered us a tour,” he remembers. That was intimidating. Slipknot fans are so diehard, so to open the show and play for that crowd is pretty intense. I think we did OK. After a few songs, they kind of warmed up to us.”

The frontman’s endearing modesty also extends to talking about his high-octane performance on Download’s Main Stage – the band’s first major European festival slot, during which he touchingly sported a Motörhead t-shirt. “That was the most surreal 40 minutes of my life,” he tells us. He could never be accused of letting Beartooth’s rising, and well-deserved, success go to his head, and says he can still go about his business largely unnoticed by fans. “Depending on where I am, they’ll sometimes notice me,” he laughs. “But it’s a rare occurrence.” If Beartooth carry on the way they’re going, he might need to brace himself for imminent celebrity status.

This will be Beartooth's first award of many, no doubt

This will be Beartooth's first award of many, no doubt