Greetings Mr. Skene – thanks for joining us here at Sentinel Daily today. Straight in to question number one: What was the best new album you heard in 2016? “Haken – Affinity“.
A considerably shorter answer than one of Haken’s songs. I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, but they’re just not for me. Still, this isn’t about me – back to you! What about older stuff – did any reissues grab your attention this year? “Pain of Salvation‘s Remedy Lane Re: Mixed. My favourite album of all time which was somehow improved. Flawless!”
That’s more like it! What was your non-musical highlight of the last twelve months?’ “Simply enjoying time with my wife and saving for more overseas trips. There isn’t a lot of time for other non-musical highlights when playing in 2 bands”.
True enough! What have you found particularly disappointing about the wider world in 2016? “The Rise of Trump – Scary”…
Do you think the music scene – and our sort of music in particular – is in good shape at the minute? “There are definitely more people creating all the time, which I think for the most part is a good thing. I would like to see people trying to forge more of their own sound rather than gravitating to creating a facsimile of trending music with no originality. There are lot of djent, metalcore and Karnivool clones around and very few people creating better versions of what they are emulating”.
Have to agree with you there. One Karnivool is enough, surely? Did anything disappoint you musically in 2016? “Have to admit I am pretty disappointed with the new Opeth record. After loving Pale Communion, this was a step down into the meandering neighbourhood. I’m a huge fan of the guys in the band but maybe the fascination with retrogression is just not grabbing me in the same way it does to the band members. More power to them”.
You’re not the first person to mention Sorceress as a disappointment in this series… Which practitioners of your own musical role impressed you most this year? “Devin Townsend – Everything about the new Devy album is just ridiculous but especially that voice! Holy hell! Goosebumps”.
Best live act you’ve seen this year? “Leprous – Something simply enchanting about their performance even though it was in the rather small Factory Floor room. Been a huge fan of them for years and that was an unexpected show to come to Australia. I could do with another surprise like that”.
What does the next twelve months hold in prospect for you? “Ideally like to see some more of Australia with the band and make it overseas to Europe next year but we’ll see how that all pans out. Would love to play Progpower Europe and Euroblast one day!”
Important people read Sentinel Daily – hopefully they’re reading now and readying the airline tickets! Which band, if any, do you think is primed to break out into the wider consciousness in 2017? “Plini is the quickest rising star that I have seen since being even interested in live music. I have never seen that sort of climb and it’s from an instrumental artist too, which is even more surprising. His work is of such a fine quality and it must be resonating with people who aren’t just musicians”.
Again, your not the first to note this. I guess it’s nice that he’s a ‘real’ musician though! We’re fast approaching the festive season – best night for a party – Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve? “New Year’s definitely. Everyone is preparing for family stuff on Christmas Eve, at least on New Year’s Day you don’t have to be on fine form for anyone although this year I’ll be flying out to New Zealand that night so I better behave myself”.
We’re not going to ask for a New Year’s Resolution – we haven’t even burned effigies of Guy Fawkes yet – but what musical feat do you hope to attain next year? “As I said earlier, just getting the music out to more places across the world and seeing some of our fans in other countries as it seems to be where the majority of interest for us comes from”.
Finally, Anything else you’d like to say to the readers of Sentinel Daily? “I am sure there is a Judas Priest pun in here somewhere but if I made it I’d be sworn to avenge and condemned to hell”…
Tempt not the blade!
Hemina‘s new album, Venus, is released on November 11th.