Compiled by DJ Monk

The Uber Rock logoIn the penultimate of our year-end roundups, we asked our writers to share their biggest discoveries/surprises of 2019, as well as their biggest disappointments over the past 12 months. We also asked them to look forward to 2020 with their predictions for the year ahead.

And, of course, there is also our perennial award for the biggest cockwomble in rock (although one or two of our team didn’t read the last bit), which this year is named in honour of our esteemed and glorious (cough!) Prime Minister…


David O’Neill

Discovery/Surprise Of The Year: Statement/Hollowstar/Beyond Oblivion/Scavengers/Black Tree Vultures.

The BoJo Award for Biggest Cockwomble: Boris Johnson/Jacob Rees-Mogg.

DJ Astrocreep

The Chats at Limelight 2, Belfast, 20 August 2019Discovery/Surprise Of The Year: The Chats.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year: Voodoo Blood splitting.

Prediction For 2020: The Chats to become huge.

The BoJo Award for Biggest Cockwomble: Boris Johnson.

DJ Monk

Discovery/Surprise Of The Year: That punk and thrash continue to be a highly relevant musical force. They both had been treading water for many years, but 2019 saw both genres come back with a vitriolic sense of vengeance.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year: Motley Crüe’s “retirement” contract proving to be nothing more than a publicity stunt (although to be honest, how many of us genuinely did not see that one coming?) … and My Chemical Romance deciding to inflict themselves on the rock ‘n’ roll Überverse once again!

Prediction For 2020: It’s probably a hope more than a prediction, but I would like to see people refusing to pay exorbitant ticket prices, for “legacy” bands in particular, in favour of supporting grass roots acts, promoters and venues, who will continue to struggle to keep their heads above water while so-called “fans” insist that the only way to “keep rock alive” is by standing in the middle of field in the pissing rain, queuing for four hours for a warm beer and watching some bunch of has-beens who haven’t released anything new or relevant in more than a decade, just because “it has to be done”!

The BoJo Award for Biggest Cockwomble: This would be a tie between Volbeat’s Michael Poulsen, for storming off stage not once but twice because he couldn’t hear himself, and Manowar’s Joey DeMaio for his complete hissy fit at Hellfest.

Jim Rowland

Discovery/Surprise Of The Year: The Who – ‘Who’. Firstly, that they actually made a new album, and secondly that it vastly exceeded my expectations.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year: Not getting to see Giuda.

Prediction For 2020: I will get to see Giuda.

The BoJo Award for Biggest Cockwomble: James Hetfield, for reminding a stadium full of people who had paid over £100 for a ticket that “it’s not cheap to see Metallica”.

John Bedard

Artwork for 'Les Grandes Compagnies' by GrylleDiscovery/Surprise Of The Year: Grylle – ‘Les Grandes Compagnies‘. Their use of all medieval instruments was awesome.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year: Third Eye Blind’s ‘Screamer’.

Prediction For 2020: The Birthday Massacre album they keep teasing will probably be amazing. They have never disappointed me before.

The BoJo Award for Biggest Cockwomble:  R. Kelly.

Jonny Bakes

Discovery/Surprise Of The Year: This has to go down to Mantra’s ‘Medium’. Going into this album completely blind, I was blown away by the complexity of the music, and the fairly unique idea that the two tracks can be overlayed to great a new third song that works just as well was seriously impressive! Honourable mention goes to the song ‘Imprisoned to Death’ by PMMA from the ‘Brutal Africa’ album I reviewed. It gets the big surprise for how comically terrible it was, the falsetto vocals just did not work for their vocalist all!

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year: Batushka @ Download Festival. When you only have a short slot, don’t waste half of the set lighting candles. The crowd got so bored waiting for this that they broke out into a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’.

Prediction For 2020: My Chemical Romance to be announced for Download Festival. Although the main stage headliners are locked out, I’d be surprised if they don’t end up on the line-up considering they have already been announced for other incarnations of Download Festival.  Also, Mgla to be announced for Bloodstock. These guys are really are one of the best examples of black metal around at the moment, and I would be surprised if this hasn’t been picked up by Bloodstock HQ.

Phil Cooper

Artwork for Allfather by VanirDiscovery/Surprise Of The Year: Vanir, they’ve built towards the sound they now have and they’ve nailed it with ‘Allfather’.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year: That Iron Maiden announced New Zealand tour dates only since I’ve recently left living there.

Prediction For 2020: Bury Tomorrow are set to release a new album. Following the success of ‘Black Flame’, I reckon this could go huge.

Rich Hobson

Discovery/Surprise Of The Year: Dinosaur Pile-Up’s ‘Celebrity Mansions. being easily the best rock record of the year.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year: While She Sleeps’ baffling use of electronica on ‘SO WHAT?‘.

Prediction For 2020: Gojira play first UK arena headline show (most likely Wembley).

The BoJo Award for Biggest Cockwomble: Nergal from Behemoth.