Tag: architects

2016: My Top Ten Albums

1 – Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (10/10)
There’s not a huge deal to say about this album that hasn’t already been said. But in summation – the most exciting and hard-working metal band in Britain release the most exciting and interesting metal album of the year. Nobody was surprised that they headlined Brixton Academy off the back of this.

2 – Dilinger Escape Plan – Dissociation (10/10)
I’ve always dismissed Dilinger as being a bit ‘too much’ for my tastes, and I still don’t fully understand the appeal of the hugely critically acclaimed Calculating Infinity. It’s hugely surprising, then, to discover how much I love this – to be their last ever album.. The tech-metal craziness is still there, but on Dissociation everything from hardcore to jazz, to straight up alternative rock and nu-metal is woven together seamlessly, often within the same song. From speaking to various Dilinger Fans, the general consensus is that Dissociation is by far their best album to date, which, given their imminent split, is no mean feat.

3 – Touche Amore – Stage Four (10/10)

Whilst on stage in 2014, Johnny Bolm, vocalist with LA post-hardcore band Touche Amore learned of his mother’s death from cancer. Stage Four tells the story of the aftermath. It’s as difficult a listen as you can imagine, and you WILL cry if you’re listening to this in public.

4 – Pup – The Dream Is Over (10/10)
Over the top, intense, violent, self-loathing and determined, The Dream Is Over is the story of impending adulthood, told kicking and screaming by Canadian punks.

5 – Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me (8/10)
I’ve been a huge Against Me! fan since I read the lyrics to Reinventing Axl Rose on a punk forum, and this increased tenfold since Tom became Laura and released the seminal Transgender Dysphoria Blues in 2014 – in my opinion the most important punk rock album of a generation. Obviously Shape Shift With Me was never going to live up to that accolade but it’s nonetheless a solid album full of tight, three minute singalong anthems delivered with Laura Jane Grace’s trademark roar.

6 – Brian Fallon – Painkillers (8/10)
Ok, so it’s not a new Gaslight Anthem album, but it’s the next best thing. The attitude of Gaslight might be lacking, but the Springsteen singalongs and stories of dives, drives, diners and Steve McQueen are all there in spades.

7 – Bear’s Den – Red Earth and Pouring Rain (8/10)
Bear’s Den perfectly evoke the spirit of the 1980s on this, their second full-length. In the absence of anyone else sounding like this in 2016 they are unfairly lumped in with friends Mumford and Sons – but better comparisons would be Tears For Fears’ Shout, Cutting Crew’s I Just Died In Your Arms, Don Henley’s Boys of Summer and other 80s pop delights. The band wanted Red Earth and Pouring Rain to be a companion to driving late at night, and it’s faithfully served that purpose for me in 2016.

8 – Black Peaks – Statues (8/10)
If you’re still waiting for that new Tool album (Got to be one for 2017 – surely!) and were not sufficiently impressed with Deftones Gore (I was, but it just missed out on the Top 10) this will definitely fill your post-rock/experimental/prog metal/math rock void. It is actually unbelievable to think that this is a band’s debut album.

9 – Skepta – Konnichiwa (8/10)
Impossible to leave this one out given the time I’ve spent in the last couple of years charging around with total bangers That’s Not Me and Shutdown on a loop in my head. Clearly not a rock/metal album, but Konnichiwa has more energy and attitude than all manner plenty of bands who claim to be punk in 2016.

10 – Bury Tomorrow – Earthbound (7/10)
A band who have come on leaps and bounds since their last release Runes (which wasn’t anywhere near my Top 10 albums in 2014) Earthbound is the definitive BT release, full of technical riffery, pace, crushing heaviness and – for anyone lucky enough to witness their Download 2016 performance – circle pit starting anthems.

My Top 10 albums of 2015!

Against Me1. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Without a doubt the most confrontational and controversial ‘punk’ album in years. Laura Jane Grace defies EVERYTHING to deliver a knockout blow to hish-school jocks, homophobia, the close-minded punk community and anyone who wrote them off, myself included, after the underwhelming White Crosses.

Standout track – Black Me Out 

2. Architects – Lost Forever, Lost Together
Whilst watching what Sam Carter described as ‘their best ever set’ at Reading, my mate Rob (who isn’t exactly known for a love of heavy music) declared that it was one of the Top 10 gigs he’d ever been to. For me, that is endorsement enough. This is the sound of a band with years of experience and potential finally coming into their own and leaving ‘metalcore’ firmly at the door.

Standout track – Gravedigger

3. The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams
After 2008’s somewhat patchy Heaven Is Whenever, this was the epic masterpiece the Brooklyn five-piece knew they had to make. Which is why it took them so long to do it, but it’s a spectacular return to the form for the band who command the most ridiculous fervour from their ‘unified scene’ of hardcore fans.

Standout track – On With The Business

4. Beartooth – Disgusting
I genuinely worry about how obsessed I would be with this album if I was ten years younger. Disgusting is an absolute monster. Stand-out track Beaten In Lips could well the best teen rock anthem since Last Resort. This is the sound of your children revolting indeed.

Standout track – Beaten In Lips

5. Twin Atlantic – Great Divide
Whilst 2011’s Free hinted at the greatness to come, nobody predicted the runaway success of 2014’s The Great Divide. And now they’re only bloody playing Brixton next year. How long until arenas come calling?

Standout track – Brothers And Sisters

6. Manic Street Preachers – Futurology
Plenty of other bands would have used the 20th anniversary of an iconic album to rinse their fans, tread water and trade on past glories. It’s telling that whilst the Manics did announce a tour to play 1994’s The Holy Bible in full, this was within 18 months of the release of two of their career best albums. 2013’s melancholy Rewind The Film, and this, the angular, European-tinged Futurology.

Standout track – Europa Geht Durch Mich

7. Marmozets – The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets
I think it’s fair to stay at the start of 2014 most people had these guys down as being great in the live arena, and not much more. Their debut full-length blew that out of the water as we discovered how much depth there really is to this Yorkshire five-piece. Oh, and there were some amazing live shows aswell.

Standout track – Cry

8. LostAlone – Shapes of Screams
Queen meets musical opera meets Biffy Clyro with the ludicrously talented Steven Battelle at the helm. Now split up, this album is their epitaph.

Standout track – GUILTY

9.The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
Quite a gear-change for Gaslight, as apparently there’s only so much singing about cars, girls and old movies one band can do. It does take a few listens to get your head around one of your favourite suddenly sounding like Queens Of The Stone Age, but once you do, it’s a triumph. Get Hurt ensured their longevity and showed the world there are plenty of strings to their bow.

Standout track – Get Hurt 

10. Of Mice And Men – Restoring Force
There’s nothing I like more than a band who I’ve written off as being generic and bland make me eat my words with a storming gear change full of deafening riffs, soaring choruses and anthems for the pit whilst leaving their reliance on breakdowns at the door. Remarkable.

Standout track – Public Service Announcement