Please Don't Suck, 2017

Last Rites Is On Vacation

posted on 12/2016   By: Last Rites

Hey, guys and gals. We have arrived. It is the end of 2016, a year that I doubt many of us will be sorry to see in the rearviewmirror. Of course, years are arbitrary slices of time based on our unique planet’s rotation around our unique star, so a “year” as we see it matters only here, on our insignificant little blue dot.

And yet, we frame many things in terms singular trips around Sol. We click years as the passing of our lives. We think of music libraries in terms of years. We count dying heroes and awful historic events within years, even if heroes are always dying and the shit volcano of despair currently erupting was building pressure long before we started seeing “2016” on the displays of our phones. Many of us will feel an admittedly small bit of satisfaction at seeing that 6 become a 7. The ends of years provide closure for any number or reasons, which is why we have spent the better part of three weeks recapping the music of the last 12 months.

If reading those 2016 wrap-ups here at Last Rites and elsewhere revealed anything it is that most of us had world events on our minds as we not only listened to music this year, but attempted to put it in perspective as something that is actually meaningful. On one hand, art can seem insignificant when compared to the grander machinations of society and history. But on the other, it is during these darker moments when we cling hardest to honest human expression, to naked emotion, and to primal escapism. Art is not shelter or food; it is not necessary for our natural survival as animals. But it is essential to our survival as humans. In the worst of times, art not only helps us cope, but it reminds of us of mankind’s ability to achieve beauty and true greatness. You clicked into this URL because you are drawn to the wondrous and widely varying forms of musical art that we collectively call heavy metal. In countless ways that are unique to each of us, metal helps us survive as humans.

As the ends of years provide closure, the beginnings are commonly treated as a period of renewal, arbitrary turnings-of-the-calendar or not. Our emotional selves need such anchors, even if our rational minds know it is pointless in the grand cosmos. With these new beginnings come dreams and goals, and striving to work towards greater goals as a group, a community, and a society can yield even stronger results. So in 2017, let’s all work a little harder to be understanding, to fight for what we see as basic human dignity and decency, and to cling to hope and love, not fear and hatred.

Here at Last Rites, we will start out the new year with our own little dose of optimism, looking forward to the music of 2017, in hopes that it can keep up with all the great sounds of this year. Because for all of the strikes that one could (and should) rightfully hold against 2016, you can’t deny that it was a damn fine year for heavy metal music.

From all of us, a massive THANK YOU for continuing to make this the most damn rewarding hobby a group of curmudgeonly drunks could hope for. In one form or another, this website has now been around for 15 years, and none of us have any plans of letting it die any time soon. So 5,392,290 hugs and beers to all of you, not only because you likely need it, but because you most definitely deserve it.

2016 was a raw deal. I'm no Nostradamus, but I still believe that if united and prepared to take on all the world, we can fight to ensure that this was merely a dark night before the dawn. Until 2017, we’re on winter retreat.