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The Best Things You'll Read This Year

best of the year

2017 started with a bombshell – as the company TeamRock went bust and the staff entered the new year without jobs. By the end of January we had magazines back on the shelves and were back at work for the company we’d grown up with (Future publishing). It wasn’t without its challenges. As Prog Editor Jerry Ewing says, “From Team Rock going into administration on December 19, 2016, to the magazines being bought back by Future Publishing was a whirlwind 19 days of uncertainty. Our arrival at our new home also brought with it the news that Prog, along with Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, needed to get the new issues to print in a mere two weeks. It was all hands on deck to not only deliver within the deadline, but produce an issue that held up with the best we’d created in the past.”

Here are the articles that defined our year and the year in rock, metal and prog – as chosen by TeamRock Editors…

Black Sabbath Meet Avenged Sevenfold

“For Metal Hammer’s comeback issue in February, we knew we had to bring together something special,” says Editor Merlin Alderslade. “So we did. For the first time in history, we put Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath frontman and heavy metal Godfather, in a room with M Shadows, frontman of modern metal megaweights Avenged Sevenfold, for an interview for the ages. The duo talked the state of the scene today, Sabbath’s pending retirement and much more beside for a cover feature that had never been seen before, and likely never will again.”

When generations collide: Black Sabbath meet Avenged Sevenfold

Chris Cornell tribute: The Life And Times of a Reluctant Rockstar

When Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell took his own life in May of this year, rock lost one of its most powerful voices – and artist who seemed to have much more left to give. Classic Rock’s cover story used to writers to capture the man. “This was written in two parts by Everett True (the Seattle years) and Dave Everley (the latter years),” says Features Editor Polly Glass. “Two writers, two different sets of experiences and perspectives (not to mention writing styles), one highly readable tribute to a musician who’s death shocked and saddened us all.”

Remembering Chris Cornell: The early years

Remembering Chris Cornell: The latter years

Allan Holdsworth - The Prog Interview

The Prog community had its own losses to deal with. “Guitar whizz Allan Holdsworth sadly passed away in April of this year,” says Editor Jerry Ewing. “The Prog website broke the news and the magazine had one of Holdsworth’s final interviews in the can, scheduled to run in that very issue, allowing us to pay tribute to the legend in a fitting manner. No mean feat for someone who could be the moist reluctant of interviewees.”

Allan Holdsworth: The final interview

Why Is Depression On The Rise in Metal Bands?

Before the death of Chris Cornell and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, Metal Hammer was already covering a hot topic in the metal scene. Editor Merlin Alderslade: “There’s a mental health crisis in the metal scene - and we wanted to find out why. Back in March, we talked to some of the artists battling the black dog about why musicians are so prone to mental health issues, and what we as a scene can do to help break the stigma.”

The downward spiral: Why is depression on the rise in metal bands?

Hammer 300: The State Of The Nation

Mental health issues were among the many aspects of the metal scene covered in Hammer’s epic 300th issue. Editor Merlin: “To celebrate 300 issues of Metal Hammer, we pulled together the biggest debate in heavy metal history, uniting heavy music’s biggest and best names for the ultimate state of the nation on our scene. It was lead by an exclusive, sitdown interview between Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman Corey Blythe and Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe, neither of whom held back on what they think of metal’s place in the world in 2017.”

The biggest bands go head to head in Metal Hammer's State Of The Nation

The Rise and Fall of Mick Ronson

In the year that a new documentary told the story of Mick Ronson, Classic Rock’s Max Bell delivered a cover story that, in the words of Editor Sian Llewellyn, “brought to life the quiet, unassuming man who was so much more than Bowie’s sidekick. Really made you wonder what might have been had fate not intervened so cruelly.”

The rise and fall of Mick Ronson

Marillion: The Inside Story of Clutching At Straws

Not only did Prog magazine get album artist Mark Wilkinson to finish the album art for Marillion’s 1987 album Clutching At Straws as he’d originally intended but the mag got the band to unearth their own rarely seen behind the scenes photos. “It was such a dark and troubled album,” says Editor Jerry Ewing. “And the band to dug deep to recall how, at the height of their fame, they lost control as things all started to fall apart for them in Dave Everley’s intriguing feature.”

The inside story behind Marillion's Clutching At Straws

‘The Not-So Quiet One’: The Story Of John Entwistle

This was Paul Rees’s commanding, in-depth insight into the life and times of the Who bassist. “It read as much like a good book extract as a magazine article,” says Features Editor Polly Glass, “full of intriguing detail, colour and new interview material – a really engaging portrait of a major rock player who’s often overlooked in favour of his (more shouted-about) bandmates.”

Leaving Las Vegas: the story of John Entwistle's last hours

Pink Floyd and David Gilmour Cover Story (Prog 80)

Editor Jerry Ewing: “Access to artists of the stature of Pink Floyd and David Gilmour isn’t always a walk in the park and a lot of behind-the-scenes negotiations went on with Gilmour’s PR to get the most out of his limited time. But for the story of the original Pink Floyd at Pompeii we tracked down the director of the film Adrian Maben to give us the inside story. And Prog managed to get the best out of the Gilmour interview about his return to the legendary venue in 2016. All backed up with Mary Beard declaring herself a prog rock fan and one of our most abstract front covers of the year.”

The inside story of Pink Floyd’s classic Live At Pompeii

David Gilmour on touring, Pompeii and the future

The Rise of The NWOBHM

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal may have had a comical, unwieldy, acronym but it changed the rock scene as we know. Dave Everley’s massive oral history, says Editor Sian Llewellyn, “shone a light on the small underground scene that gave birth to the mega bands. Told by a cast of thousands, from the big names to the minnows.”

How the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was born

HIM Is Dead

More death: but this time, only metaphorically, as Finnish goth metallers HIM toured for the last time. “The end of an era,” says Editor Merlin. “The only interview. As HIM prepared to bow out for good, we got a world exclusive look chat with Ville Valo to talk about HIM’s demise, his plans for the future and much, much more.”

HIM is dead: Ville Valo's final interview ever

The Best Things You’ll Hear This Year

Have you listened to our Audio Archive yet? Every week, the Archive presents a new show, featuring interviews and music from the greats of rock, exclusive to TeamRock+ members. Uploads so far include shows with Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Glenn Hughes, Nightwish, Rob Zombie, Ian Hunter, Michael Monroe – and the ONLY place you can hear what happened at this year’s Prog Awards.

The Audio Archive – exclusive to TeamRock+ members

TeamRock+ is committed to bringing our members the best coverage of the rock, metal and prog scene. A massive thank you to all TeamRock+ members for your support this year.