So over the past few weeks HTF have been compiling their albums of the years for all our readers! Our contributors have chose an album each, of which they think deserves the most merit out of all of the releases this year. That writer has also chose an up and coming band who they think in 2012 are going to be the ones to watch!
So read here below, in no particular order, all our recommendations! Congrats to all the bands on such fantastic album releases and thanks to our contributors for writing such awesome pieces!
Album Of The Year: Lower Than Altantis – ‘World Record’
How far Lower Than Atlantis have come in so little time is simply staggering. Releasing the fantastic ‘Far Q’ only last year I don’t think there was anyone expecting such a huge leap forward for such a young band. Polishing their sound with a hefty amount of melody ‘World Record’ was a great album simply because it was full of fantastic songs, no gimmicks just Mike Deuce’s simple but brilliant tell it like it is style lyrics, complimenting some of the finest song writing in recent memory.
Whether it’s the punky blast of ‘Marilyn’s Mansion’, the woah-ohs of ‘Could You? Would You?’, the fragile ‘Another Sad Song’ or THAT chorus in ‘Beech Like The Tree’, Lower Than Atlantis produced hands down the album of 2011 and it’s an album I’m still going to be playing heavily in the future.
Written By: Gavin Lloyd
Album Of The Year: Whitesnake – ‘Forevermore’
A lot of people say, Whitesnake have lost their touch. After no remaining original members other than frontman David Coverdale many people seem to think they’ve ‘changed too much’; what 80s band hasn’t? Check Motley Crue out for instance, they used to jump around in high heels and lipstick! Whitesnake however, have changed for the good. With a new raunchier, grungier sound, this band has updated themselves with the times. Keyboard and synthesisers were all the rage in the 80s, but come on guys, it’s time to modernise things and ‘Forevermore’ is a perfect example of how that’s done. David Coverdale’s throaty vocals have not deteriorated with age, and are still as strong and powerful as they used to be. With generic anthem-style chorus’, it is clear that although their sound has changed, they’ve still managed to keep it old school and keep hold of what made Whitesnake so amazing in the first place.
Written By: Louisa Smith
Album Of The Year: Manchester Orchestra – ‘Simple Math’
Manchester Orchestra’s album ‘Simple Math’ has been my favourite album of 2011. They have really perfected their style in this album and pushed themselves as musicians. Tracks to listen out for are ‘Simple Math’, ‘Virgin’, and ‘Apprehension’, but there’s not a song on the album that I don’t like, it’s a masterpiece!
Written By: Joshua Bond
Album Of The Year: Touche Amore – ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’
Everything about this album is perfect. The utterly raw and emotive vocals scream out with such passion, with the lyrics actually hitting a soft spot and meaning something. The music itself is technically well-skilled and thrilling to listen to, progressing in and out of mood swings. Vocalist Jeremy Bolm bares his soul, and the melodic riffs entwine perfectly. This raw, edgy and passionate style of music has shot up in the last year – making it very exciting of what’s to come!
Written By: Jasmine Sevette
Album Of The Year: Defeater – ‘Empty Days & Sleepless Nights’
Phrases like ‘concept album’, ‘acoustic tracks’ and ‘narrative’ are not ones I often have to use when talking about hardcore bands. It’s a scene where we fear change, we know what we like and we like what we know, but with their second album ‘Empty Days & Sleepless Nights’, Defeater ditched the rule book and ended up creating one of the most unique hardcore albums in years.
A concept album is a difficult task to pull off successfully in any genre, but in hardcore, not known for it’s fondness of experimentation and originality; you need to be exceptionally brave or straight up crazy. Fortunately for all concerned Defeater are the former, the songs follows a narrative that tells the story of a family torn apart by war and addiction, an idea that could quite easily be a spectacular failure, but the songs have such an genuine intensity that it’s hard not to be affected.
Lyrically it’s dark, heavy stuff and Derek Archambault’s vocals seem wracked with an authentic sense of emotion. Musically Defeater build upon the foundations laid by classic Bridge Nine bands like Have Heart and Verse, but make it totally their own. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the bold move of finishing the album with four acoustic songs, again potentially an ill advised move, but juxtaposed with the cathartic blazing hardcore that comes before, it works perfectly.
Stand out track is ‘White Oak Doors’, a harrowing slow burner that never fails to give me goose bumps, but for the full experience the album needs to be played from start to finish. Dark, beautiful and moving, anything, but a ‘standard issue’ hardcore record.
Written By: Andrew Ford
Album Of The Year: La Dispute – ‘Wildlife’
It’s not often an album comes along with such powerful and emotive storytelling, so much so that the tales linger in the mind long after listening. However, La Dispute have undoubtedly achieved this. ‘Wildlife’s’ lyrical content leaves no stone unturned and no subject is avoided, from King Park’s journey into the guilt-ridden mind of an accidental child murderer to the introspective self-loathing displayed in a Letter, there is every chance that the situations explored and the emotion conveyed, start to finish, will live long in the memory.
Improving on what was previously their biggest flaw, La Dispute have managed to find a perfect compromise between the vocal and instrumental sections of their songs, where once these two elements seemed to be jostling for sonic space. They now compliment eachother beautifully and the pace and tone of a track is brilliantly brought to life by excellent musicianship.
If you haven’t heard this album, you’re missing out. Big time.
Written By: Ryan De Freitas
Album Of The Year: Blink 182 – ‘Neighbourhoods’
2011 brought the return of the mighty Blink 182. Unfortunately, they disappointed the masses by delaying their arena tour by a year with the aim to perfect their album over the summer.
There was a lot of hype about it when the first song was put up on the website to be streamed. ‘Up All Night’ still remains as one of my favourite songs on the album. The meaty riff is a banger and the alternating vocals of Tom and Mark bring back the memories of why I love this band. Considering the importance of this release to so many people, it was a lot quieter that I would’ve expected.
I won’t deny that the album has more of an ‘Angels and Airwaves’ vibe about it, but it’s still good nonetheless. I don’t know if I was being a bit overly hopeful.
Expect some ‘classic Blink Songs’ tucked in their too though. Look out for are ‘Ghost On The Dance Floor’, ‘Kaleidoscope’ and my personal favourite ‘After Midnight’. Travis Barker’s drumming needs a mention in the track ‘Heart’s All Gone’ too, it’s awesome.
An exciting release for 2012, Blink’s rescheduled tour for 2012 is set to be a big one! I know I look forward to hearing these new tracks live for the first time that’s for sure!
Written By: Ross Williams
Album Of The Year: Skindred – ‘Union Black’
These Newport ragga-metallers were back on form this year, with their utterly amazing release ‘Union Black’. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Shark Bites And Dog Fights’ was a good album, but some felt it wasn’t up to the same scratch as their first two albums, ‘Babylon’ and ‘Roots Rock Riot’. ‘Union Black’ is also the only album where I’ve seen the blending of so many genres into something simply fantastic. The mixture of reggae, metal and dubstep, just seem to work for them, both on record and live they are enough to get the blood pumping around your body popping.
The record delves into vocalist Benji Webbe’s past, talking about his experiences with the likes of knife crime, in the rocking track ‘Cut Dem’, to gun crime in ‘Guntalk’.
The album also seems to have a number of different sounds, to make a varied album throughout. From the heavier tracks, ‘Own You’, to the more reggae based tunes with ‘Make Your Mark’.
Everything about this album, from the sounds, to the meanings of the tracks just makes it that bit more above the other albums this year. You can never really fault this Welsh suit, be it from their intentions to their live show or just the fact they are simply an amazing package that will keep giving.
Written By: Callum Thomson
Album Of The Year: You Me At Six – Sinners Never Sleep
Follow up to the critically acclaimed ‘Hold Me Down’, ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ shows You Me At Six firmly placing themselves at the top of their profession. It shows how the band have matured since ‘Take Off Your Colours’ not only musically but personally as well. With collaborations with the likes of Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon and Winston McCall of Parkway Drive, you get the sense that the only way they can go is up.
Stand out tracks on the album ‘Time Is Money’ and ‘Reckless’ display a much heavier side to a band already a firm fan favourite.
Written By: Adam Targett
Album Of The Year: The Black Keys – ‘El Camino’
Go to your local music retailer. Buy the latest release from The Black Keys. Pop it in, turn it up, sit back. Thank me later. The Black Keys album ‘El Camino’ is by far one of the diamonds in the rough of 2011’s array of musical projects. I literally haven’t been this excited for an album release since rumors started swirling about the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures’ CD. Unlike TCV though, The Black Keys weren’t hear today, gone tomorrow. The album was set to follow up their amazingly well-received ‘Brothers’ and the pressure was totally on- but lucky for us the rock duo nailed the challenge and left us with an auditory treat that will immediately have you hooked once again on their bluesy retro rock stylings.
Their recently released ready-for-radio single ‘Lonely Boy’ is great- but the real gems cleverly concealed in their eleven track release is most definitely ‘Sister’ with ‘Hell Of A Season’ coming in at a VERY close second. It’s no secret that I’m slightly obsessed with the retro- but this CD is just modern enough to make a perfect cocktail style concoction of old world awesome and the modern musical mess we all hold close to our hearts (and ears). The moral of the story is simple – The Black Keys are making vintage the new black. Congrats to them on giving us one hell of an album to rock out to- stocking stuffer anyone?
Written By: Lauren Novik