I’m not going to do a gig rundown, because I didn’t attend that much this year. However, Hot Snakes, The Bronx, Death From Above 1979, Taking Back Sunday and Johnny Foreigner were all excellent, as were any bands I forgot about (it’s been a long year). I have to say though, this has been one of my favourite years for music – some real surprises, some truly amazing albums and some fantastic songs that I’ve pretty much been playing to death. There’s also been disappointments – ‘Goblin’ by Tyler, The Creator, being a complete mess, absorbed by hype (‘Yonkers is still a massive tune), the new Foo Fighters not quite living up to what I hoped (still too polished guys) and Steel Panther being somewhat tedious live.
Anyhow, here’s to 2011….roll on 2012. Happy New Year to all our readers! x
And So I Watch You From Afar â€“ Gangs
Itâ€™s hard to imagine this album not existing. â€˜Gangsâ€™ feels like a crushing, encompassing hug that refuses to let go. Itâ€™s the sound of achievement â€“ itâ€™s the sound of joy â€“ itâ€™s the sound of being a champion. â€œBlissful destruction to a euphoric high of cascading riffsâ€¦â€ â€˜Gangsâ€™ never tires â€“ itâ€™s a surging rush of adrenalin, fuelled by raw power and will leave the listener with that sense of being indestructible.
TouchÃ© AmorÃ©â€“ Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me
â€œIâ€™M NOT A PROVIDER BUT A CENTRE DIVIDER!â€ Clocking in at under 22 minutes, â€˜Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Meâ€™ is some of, if not the strongest, emotive hardcore punk around at the moment. Itâ€™s the piano led â€˜Condolencesâ€™ that really stands out however. Jeremy Bolmâ€™s vocals are laced with bitter, echoing sadness on an album that stretches the hardcore template to its limit with its fractured, caustic, emotive message.
Zombi â€“ Escape Velocity
Zombi make this progressive future music that sounds so alien to everything else about at the moment. At least, to these ears they do. Itâ€™s a rich, luscious soundscape of rising synths that simply wash over you. In some respects, it reminds me a lot of the Unreal Tournament soundtrack â€“ that same progressive rush of clattering instrumental keys versus drums that are constantly at war.
Today Is The Day â€“ Pain Is A Warning
I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this album. Some parts remind me of Therapy? jf they spent all their time listening to Slayer and had a sense of humour bypass. Itâ€™s dark, evil-sounding metal that twists and sneers and just sounds so deliciously malevolent and snarling. â€˜Wheelinâ€™ is Fu Manchu snorting acid, whilst â€˜The Devilâ€™s Bloodâ€™ is a weird mix of guitar-wailing fret-destruction and a dark stomping groove of fear. The only metal album you need this year.
Weekend Nachos â€“ Worthless
The first song on this album features the words â€œGET FUCKED!â€ yelled as both an order and a burning spit of vile hatred.Â Still not entirely sure what to class â€˜Worthlessâ€™ as â€“ totally radical seems apt. Or gnarly, hardcore punk fed through a filter of sludge. Or Harvey Milk trying to cover Some Girls songs. In any case, itâ€™s a raging, seething, scene-bashing assault.
Other notable releases:
The Wonder Years â€“ Suburbia: Iâ€™ve Given You All And Now Iâ€™m Nothing (fist-pumpingly excellent pop-punk that will leave a stupid grin on your face.)
The Heat Tape â€“ Raccoon Valley Recordings (scrappy, early-Thermals garage rock devoid of production, packed with tunes and a snotty, abrasive attitude.)
Wolves Like Us â€“ Late Love (Norwegian hard rock that sounds like itâ€™s turning into Mastodon jamming with Black Flag.)
Limp Bizkit â€“ Gold Cobra (surprisingly brilliant return to form. Durst and Co have produced an album that harks back to the good old days and their frat-boy nu-metal party shenanigans still havenâ€™t worn.)
Red Fang â€“ Murder The Mountains (sludgy, heavy metal attack by a band who have taken elements that make Mastodon so vital and covered them in layers of dirt and decay.)
Of Legends â€“ Stranded (The guy from The Secret Handshake making sick â€˜n twisted chaotic metalcore thatâ€™s completely detuned but vile and cutting in every aspect.)
Fucked Up â€“ David Comes To Life (a punk rock opera clocking in at nearly 80 minutes. Itâ€™s an epic and rewarding slice of the future of three chords and the truth.)
Hawks and Doves â€“ Year One (Planes Mistaken For Stars frontman does alcohol-soaked depression with a voice that you can smell scotch on from your speakers. Imagine an unhappy version of Hot Water Music.)
Black Spiders â€“ Sons of the North (released at the beginning of the year, â€˜Sons of the Northâ€™ is G.U. Medicine-style rock â€˜n roll with some Fu Manchu thrown in for good measure. Tight, raucous and packed full of beard power.)
Heartless â€“Hell Is Other People (spiteful, black-metal hardcore, not for the faint hearted.)
Junius â€“ Reports From The Threshold of Death (Neurosis style heavy noise and shoegaze washes over some of the most sombre and sorrowful vocals Iâ€™ve heard.)
This Is Hell â€“ Black Mass (blazing thrash-punk rock that barely gives you time to breathe/think/concentrate.)
Trapped Under The Ice â€“ The Big Kiss Goodnight (jock-hardcore beatdowns that actually have substance)
Brutal Truth â€“ End Time (unrelenting assault from the grindcore legends that refuse to simply shut the fuck up.)
The Rodeo Idiot Engine â€“ Fools Will Crush The Crown (what I imagine hell sounds like. Definition of musical chaos is The Rodeo Idiot Engine. Makes Dillinger Escape Plan look like a pop band.)