Keep It Fast Top Albums of 2011

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 – Gangs

It’s hard to imagine this album not existing. ‘Gangs’ feels like a crushing, encompassing hug that refuses to let go. It’s the sound of achievement – it’s the sound of joy – it’s the sound of being a champion. “Blissful destruction to a euphoric high of cascading riffs…” ‘Gangs’ never tires – it’s a surging rush of adrenalin, fuelled by raw power and will leave the listener with that sense of being indestructible.

Touché Amoré– Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me

“I’M NOT A PROVIDER BUT A CENTRE DIVIDER!” Clocking in at under 22 minutes, ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’ is some of, if not the strongest, emotive hardcore punk around at the moment. It’s the piano led ‘Condolences’ that really stands out however. Jeremy Bolm’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 – 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. It’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 – that same progressive rush of clattering instrumental keys versus drums that are constantly at war.

Today Is The Day – 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. It’s dark, evil-sounding metal that twists and sneers and just sounds so deliciously malevolent and snarling. ‘Wheelin’ is Fu Manchu snorting acid, whilst ‘The Devil’s Blood’ 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 – Worthless

The first song on this album features the words “GET FUCKED!” yelled as both an order and a burning spit of vile hatred.  Still not entirely sure what to class ‘Worthless’ as – 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, it’s a raging, seething, scene-bashing assault.

Other notable releases:

The Wonder Years – Suburbia: I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing (fist-pumpingly excellent pop-punk that will leave a stupid grin on your face.)
The Heat Tape – Raccoon Valley Recordings (scrappy, early-Thermals garage rock devoid of production, packed with tunes and a snotty, abrasive attitude.)

Wolves Like Us – Late Love (Norwegian hard rock that sounds like it’s turning into Mastodon jamming with Black Flag.)

Limp Bizkit – 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 haven’t worn.)

Red Fang – 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 – Stranded (The guy from The Secret Handshake making sick ‘n twisted chaotic metalcore that’s completely detuned but vile and cutting in every aspect.)

Fucked Up – David Comes To Life (a punk rock opera clocking in at nearly 80 minutes. It’s an epic and rewarding slice of the future of three chords and the truth.)

Hawks and Doves – 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 – Sons of the North (released at the beginning of the year, ‘Sons of the North’ is G.U. Medicine-style rock ‘n roll with some Fu Manchu thrown in for good measure. Tight, raucous and packed full of beard power.)

Heartless –Hell Is Other People (spiteful, black-metal hardcore, not for the faint hearted.)

Junius – Reports From The Threshold of Death (Neurosis style heavy noise and shoegaze washes over some of the most sombre and sorrowful vocals I’ve heard.)

This Is Hell – Black Mass (blazing thrash-punk rock that barely gives you time to breathe/think/concentrate.)

Trapped Under The Ice – The Big Kiss Goodnight (jock-hardcore beatdowns that actually have substance)

Brutal Truth – End Time (unrelenting assault from the grindcore legends that refuse to simply shut the fuck up.)

The Rodeo Idiot Engine – 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.)

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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