The Year That Was // What’s To Come

I’ll start by saying that I had a HUGE post at the ready for my ‘Best Of..’ but I scrapped it in favor of a more streamlined and digestible approach (which will probably end up being wordy just as well). Moving on…

2011; what an amazing year of music for fans in almost every genre. Great metal, great pop, great rock, etc. I was introduced into several different musical worlds this year and I am grateful to have heard releases from some of my favorites and some newcomers. Besides, say, the top 4 or 5, the albums should be considered interchangeable in that I couldn’t say one was better than the other; it depends on what I’m in the mood for.

 

The Best of 2011

20. The Interbeing – Edge of the Obscure 

19. Memfis – Vertigo

18. The Computers – This is The Computers

17. Trap Them – Darker Handcraft

16. Decoder – Decoder

15. Fake Figures – Hail the Sycophants

14. Sainthood Reps – Monoculture

13. Architects – The Here and Now

13. Dispatch – Dispatch EP

12. Trivium – In Waves

11. Thursday – No Devolucion

10. Blindside – With Shivering Hearts We Wait

9. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

8. Awolnation – Megalithic Symphony

7. World Under Blood – Tactical

6. Thrice – Major/Minor

5. Mastodon – The Hunter

4. Blue October – Any Man in America

3. Fair to Midland – Arrows & Anchors

2. MuteMath – Odd Soul

1. Stray from the Path – Rising Sun

 

Honorable Mention:

letlive. – Fake History, Epitaph re-release (would be No. 1, but technically would be considered a 2010 release)

In Flames – Sounds of a Playground Fading

Protest the Hero – Scurrilous

Fall in Archaea – Gatherings

Dream the Electric Sleep – Lost and Gone Forever

Bright Eyes – The Peoples Key

 

2012 Most Anticipated:

Every Time I Die – Ex Lives

Enter Shikari – Flash Flood of Colour

Bleeding Through – The Great Fire

The Safety Fire – Grind the Ocean

The Intersphere – Hold On, Liberty!

Lamb of God – Resolution

Celldweller – Wish Upon a Blackstar

What Hands Are For – TBA

The reunions of American Head Charge, He Is Legend, and At The Drive-in

Well, THERE you have it! I am sure I missed a few “Best Of’s…” towards the top. I may have missed a few upcoming releases, so take it up with the errors and omissions department. Which is of course me, and I don’t care!

In 2011, Stray from the Path introduced me to alternative hardcore. MuteMath gave me a great hard soul record. Blue October made me feel something. Fair to Midland showed me that the live show is still alive. Mastodon sent me to another dimension of metal, and Thrice refined their sound on their way out. World Under Blood gave me the Deron Miller I have always wanted him to be in CKY. Blindside returned more mature. Awolnation was my feel good electro rock album of the year, and Foo Fighters proved they are still the best rock band in the world. Thursday went out with a greatly textured album, and Trivium put out one their best. Architects pissed some people off and showed another side, which was amazing and Dispatch came back with a VERY solid EP. Trap Them released one the heaviest albums I’ve ever heard, and Sainthood Reps debuted an intense post-hardcore gem. Fake Figures was a great supergroup album, and Decoder debuted their perfectly balanced sound. The Computers defined ‘garage metal’, The Interbeing showed heaviness with melodic choruses a la the Swedish metal elite, and Memfis finally self released their 70’s influenced metal that was originally recorded in 2008.

In closing, I listen to entirely to much music. Honestly, WAY to much. I used to think listening to anything and everything was the way to be a “true” music fan. I was wrong, and several albums/artists helped change my mind on this issue. This year, Stray from the Path implored me to “Bring It Back to the Streets“, and I will. I promise I will. I bought (and downloaded, sorry :/) more music than I could have ever possibly listened to. How will I ever find anything amazing when I don’t give it the time?

We have too much music in circulation each year, and its getting worse. 2000 song iPods, where the next song is only 30 seconds and a click away. No one LISTENS to music anymore, they just HEAR it and move on. Scenes have taken over, and the market is over saturated and drowning. I can go on forever, and if you’re still reading, when then thank you, and I am sure you probably feel the same way as I do.

So, lets make a pact; we will consume LESS music to LISTEN to more. If it’s good, I’ll buy it. And if not, it won’t enter my collection. BUY the records from the bands that deserve it, from the bands who put their hearts into the music, from the bands who care about their fans. Bring it back to the streets, indeed.

All the best in 2012!

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Enter Shikari // Album Teaser

And the early contender for album of the year in 2012 IS… Enter Shikari!

 

I had high expectations for these lads, ever since I first came across the Common Dreads about 2 years ago. I then went back and listened to their debut, Take to the Skies, and I could see that they were band heading in the right direction. All to often you see a band stay within the same mold, never breaking out of it and never really progressing in a way that shows musical growth and maturity. Enter Shikari is NOT that band. With everything they release, they ALWAYS sound better. They have always done it on their own terms and have always stayed true to themselves.

 

I can go on, and on, and on, but I’ll save that for the review that will follow the January 16th, 2012 release of A Flash Flood of Colour. Here’s an album teaser the boys released today, as well as a few of the tracks that have been fully released. This record will blow minds.

 

 

Ghandi Mate, Ghandi

 

Sssnakepit

 

Quelle Surprise

 

 

 

 

 

 

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R.I.P. Dimebag Darrell Abbott

 

 

Today marked the 7 year anniversary of the death of one of metals greatest guitarists, Dimebag Darrell Abbott. During a concert at the Al Rosa Villa in Colombus, OH with then band Damageplan, a crazed “fan” jumped on stage and starting shooting, aiming for the ex-Pantera members Dimebag Darrell and his brother and drummer Vinnie Paul. This would be the last time the two would be able to share the stage as bandmates and brothers.

 

I was in college in December of 2004, and I woke for one my early classes. As I was ready to go, I grabbed my phone and noticed text. It was from my best friends brother, Bret, who told me Dimebag Darrell had been shot and killed on stage. Doubt was my first reaction, and the worry. I jumped online, found it to be true, and told roommate Adam, Bret’s brother. We went to campus, but I couldn’t go to class. I skipped out, and went home and just put on Pantera records. I will never forget the day I found out.

 

I just want to give some personal insight on what Pantera and Dimebag meant to me throughout out my life in an attempt to honor the legacy that Dime is survived by.

 

My first Pantera interaction was on my middle school bus, in a town in which I was brand new. Being new, I wasn’t the most popular, especially entering a new town in 8th grade when cliques had already been formed. The only group that accepted me were the metalheads, the punks, the goths, the openminded. These were the people who would see me for who I was and being in a similar situation themselves, I was welcomed to be part of their crew. Bill Clark, one of my dearest and best friends to this day, was the very first to introduce me to Pantera. On one bus ride home, he handed me his headphones and portable CD player and said,”Here, check this out. The song’s Cemetery Gates, the band is Pantera”. I was into rock and roll at the time, and was just getting into guitar, so I was obviously drawn to what I was taking in. I had never heard anything like what was coming through the headphones, and I had NEVER heard anyone play guitar like that! I was blown away, and my adoration for Dimebag Darrell was born.

 

As I grew up, my interest in music became more and more prevalent in my everyday life. Pantera was something I fully got into later in life, but I remember playing the opening riff to Walk in band practices, and I remember just blasting Vulgar Display of Power, The Great Southern Trendkill, and Cowboys From Hell in high school and college.

 

Pantera was something that I grew into, and my true respect was realized when Dime was gone because it was then I knew that no one would EVER play like him, and no one would ever be as influential. We have so many bands out there now, and there isn’t a guitar player who really stands out like he did. I know, you can name some “famous” players that are in popular bands, and so can I. But what you can’t do is pick out today’s guitarists from a musical lineup and instantly know who it is.

 

Dime was so unique and innovative, and I don’t think we will truly say that type of visionary for a long time, if ever again. Now, I am so sick of hearing about Sabbath, and Zeppelin, and Hendrix, and blah blah blah. YES, they are seminal bands with supremely influential songs, albums, and musicians. But, ask todays musicians who there influences were, and you won’t hear them drop any of these bands. If they do, they’re probably hipster fakes just trying to sound cool. In heavy music, you’ll hear Pantera. You’ll hear “Dime was such an influence to me”, you’ll hear “without Dime, our band wouldn’t exist”. They were THAT important to the heavy music we enjoy today.

 

I’m sure I digress, as I often tend to do. My point, is that Dimebag Darrell is the one of the greatest guitarists to ever grace this world, and we lost him way to soon. He seemed like the coolest dude you would ever want to meet, and if you were ever fortunate enough to have an encounter on a personal level, I’m sure he would have treated you like you had known him for years. Genuine people are hard to come by, and you know Dime was just that. Not only an amazing player who changed the world of heavy metal guitar, but someone who truly embraced what he was fortunate enough to have been given in life. We miss you, but we’ll never forget and your legend will live on through the music you left us. Thanks for everything and we’ll see you on the other side. Gethca’ Pull!

 

Now, don’t sit back in silence, crank up ANY of the songs from Pantera’s career as loud as you can and just enjoy what they created for us. Below is a video for arguably the best song in the history heavy metal, The Great Southern Trendkill.

 

 

 

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Song of the Day: 11/29/11

Biffy ClyroMountains

 

I gave Biffy Clyro and attentive listen for the very first time yesterday, and I was honestly blown away. For some reason, something, possibly the name, possibly the shirtless live performances, possibly the name, just turned me off. I have actually watched them play live several times at festival appearances while quickly glancing at Palladia, and I did find myself watching it through to the end. However, I have no explanation whatsoever as to why I’ve completely written them off until now.

 

Their most recent release, Only Revolutions, is chock full of anthemic rock songs. To be honest, I love when I can hear hints of an accent in a singers voice, and the Scottish drawl of singer/guitarist Simon Neil shines through here, full of passion. The album balances well between harder, faster paced songs and ballad type offerings. It is gritty at times and and crystal clear at others. The dichotomy just works, and this comes from a person who doesn’t really like when a band who can rock slows it down.

 

In closing, to quote myself from a mere paragraph ago, “…I have no explanation whatsoever as to why I’ve completely written them off until now.” I’ve got some catching up to do!

 

Below is a live video for Mountains, from their Live at Wembley DVD.

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Cars on Fire//New Album Sampler

I came into contact with Cars on Fire about a year ago, when I got my hands on their 2009 release Dig Your Own Grave. It is still in heavy rotation on my iPod, as the 7 song effort NEVER gets old. I actually find it refreshing each time it shuffles through my collection of tunes while driving, and I always find myself reaching for the dial to crank it up a few extra notches. It is a record best served loud, and it will either make you want to party and/or destroy something.

Now, for the reason we’ve gathered here. Cars on Fire have a new release coming out in 2012, and they’ve released a sampler video for the next collection of songs. As far as I know, the release date is still to be determined. I’ve had a little contact with the band via their Twitter account (@carsonfireband) regarding this, and they let me know that they’ve encountered a few setbacks with the new record and they are “just trying to finalise some things but as soon as we have any news we’ll put it up on here”, so stay tuned to that.

 

This is going to be an awesome release, and will probably find it’s way onto my Best Of list as the new songs sound even better than the now 3 year old Dig Your Own Grave material.

The video is below. Check it out and SHARE it with as many people as you possibly can, because music this good needs to be heard!

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Song of the Day: 11/27/2011

Hopefully you are enjoying your Sunday evening. Thanks for stopping through to check out the song of the day!

 

Today’s song is Faithless by The Dream The Chase, who hail from Brisbane, Australia. On a side note, there is some seriously AMAZING music coming out that country, these guys most definitely included! This tune has such a great vocal melody to it, as do all the songs on their 2009 release, Found Again. The overall sound, while unique, echoes early era He Is Legend, especially the vocals. That is awesome because I haven’t really heard anybody come close to that sound, a sound in which I love. I’ve had this album for a while now, but I will admit that I am just now realizing it’s beauty. It’s an extremely melodic brutality that manages to keep you coming back for more. You can tell these guys have a lot of heart, and it comes through in each song.

Check out the video for the aforementioned song below. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this as much as I do!

 

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Song of the Day: 11/24/11

I hope those celebrating Thanksgiving have had a great one so far. Here’s a quick song of the day/ for ya…

 

This one comes from The Jonbenet, a band out of Texas that I discovered back in college, circa 2005. This track, Behold, The White Whore, comes from their debut album, The Plot Thickens. It is honestly on a different level, and being 6 years old now, I feel that it was ahead of its time. It could easily fit into todays hardcore-punk culture.

 

When I first found them, I was fumbling through MySpace (Ahhh, nostalgia) pages and was intrigued by the name, so of course I clicked. I wasn’t really into anything this out there at the time, so this really took me off guard, but SOMETHING grabbed me and within a few listens through I was completely hooked. Everything about this album was refreshing to me. Everything was raw and real, and unlike anything I had heard before. I can probably attribute my soft spot for noisy, experimental punk to my first experiences with The Jonbenet, and for that I am truly thankful to have been able to enjoy their short period of existence.

 

Their second album, Ugly/Heartless, came out in 2006. It was recorded live in 2 weeks, and it was an incredible piece of art. After that, the band put a few more songs, including the short Substances EP that was released in 2009. But the band officially ended shortly thereafter and nothing new is on the horizon. Quite unfortunate…

 

Check out the video todays Song of the Day; Behold, The White Whore by The Jonbenet.

 

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It’s Been Real // Thrice and Thursday

Yesterday, Thrice. Today, Thursday. Two bands that have been very influential to myself and countless others, are both done in the capacity in which we have become accustomed. Both bands have put out seminal records within their careers, each with a record that had a huge impact on me.

 

As for Thursday, I hadn’t even heard of them until a bargain bin CD sale in the Central Michigan University computer store put me into sonic contact with War All The Time. That album was amazing then, and it still gives me chills to this day. I had never heard vocals like Geoff Rickly’s. He has a voice that can really find it’s way into your soul, and he will always have one of the most unique voices in music.

 

As for Thrice, I had heard samples of their previous recordings, but it wasn’t until Vheissu was released in 2005 that my music world was overturned. Up until that point, I had listened to heavy music, but I had NEVER heard anything with so much passion. It was influential in more ways than I can even count, most prominently in the way I play guitar and even the way I listened and still listen to music. That record was massive, and I can say without a doubt, that Vheissu is one of the best records of all time.

 

I will miss them both, but knowing they have left in their wake such a beautiful body of work is comforting not only for myself, but for future generations of music lovers to discover. Thank you for all the art you’ve laid upon the world; your reasons to stop are most admirable and I think I can speak for many by saying that we will never stop listening.

 

Take a minute and read both statements from both bands by following the links below. Then, find your way to the bottom to check out a favorite song from both of the aforementioned albums.

 

Statement from Thrice’s Dustin Kensrue

Statement from Thursday

 

Here is Music Box, one of my favorite tracks from Vheissu.

 

And here is Division Street, one of my favorites from War All The Time.

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Song of the Day: 11.22.11

I hatched this brainchild on my way home from work today. I figure, I hear at LEAST one song a day that makes me perk up and say, why the hell haven’t I been listening to this song on repeat?!?! Hopefully you will benefit from my personal moments of realization.

 

Todays inaugural installment comes courtesy of Pulled Apart By Horses, with their track Moonlit Talons. The song appears on their self titled debut full-length, released in 2010. Raw, aggressive, loud. Enjoy below…

 

 

 

 

 

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Proceed//Curious Electric EP

I came across this UK based act yesterday, and have been consumed by it in the hours that I’ve had the Curious Electric EP in my possession. I’ve listened to it 3 times through already since I got it, and each listen brings more and more enjoyment.

Dan Lancaster’s vocals are the key, as he travels through each song with a voice that at times feels akin to a more interesting version of Dallas Green’s (City and Colour/Alexisonfire). Thats what drew me in, and keeps me listening. Now, don’t get me wrong, the entire band KILLS it on this record, but his voice plays so perfectly with the instrumentation that you’ll have goosebumps by the end of the album opener, Fight / Flight. The music is a well controlled chaos, staying tight to the groove while keeping a frenetic pace, with Lancaster’s vocals soaring over it all. Honestly, every track is a standout, making this 7 track EP a solid listen from front to back.

 

As of January 2011, the band was in the studio recording their follow up debut LP. I haven’t found much news on it besides what’s been posted by the band on their website, so I hope that is still in the works.

Check out some tunes on their Facebook page, and check out the video for A Tricycle Journey below. The EP is available on iTunes if you’re so inclined. Enjoy!

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