July held a lot of GREAT releases and it was tough to narrow it down… here are my top albums and singles for the month of July.
Rise Against – The Black Market
A welcome return to form, the follow-up to 2011’s Endgame, The Black Market really seemed to nail whatever they may have missed in the previous album. With songs like “I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore”, “The Eco-Terrorist in Me” and the title track, these guys are back on top of the punk world, where they belong.
Suicide Silence – You Can’t Stop Me
The loss of a loved one, in any sense, is hard to cope with. This is especially true with bands who have kept their original members over the years. As many of you know, in 2012, we suffered the loss of Mitch Lucker, one of the most influential vocalists in today’s metal scene. When Eddie Hermida was announced to take his place, there was skepticism but most of us decided to let it ride. Needless to say, You Can’t Stop Me did not let us down! With the addition of Mitch’s final lyrics and a new-found energy in the band, Mitch is sure to be stomping along in Heaven to this beast of an album!
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – 4
2011’s Am I the Enemy? left something to be desired among RJA fans who were longing for that power-punched feeling that they’ve expressed in the past albums. 4 not only brings that back, but adds a heavier side to the band that we haven’t seen since Don’t You Fake It! Released for free digitally through their website (along with their entire back catalogue), RJA will find their way back into the hearts of millions with this album.
Betraying the Martyrs – Phantom
When I first heard “Where the World Ends” from Betraying the Martyrs’ sophomore album, Phantom, I was pretty skeptical. It wasn’t as powerful, as driving or as emotional as ANYTHING from their previous album. However, when the rest of the album was released, I quickly changed my tune. It brings back everything you loved about them from Breathe In Life and tightens it up, making it sound better than ever. They even added a cover of the new Disney classic, “Let It Go” which is sure to send chills down your spine.
“Weird Al” Yankovic – Mandatory Fun
Mandatory Fun saw “Weird Al” earning his first #1 album in his 30+ year career. Many thought that, with the release of Alpocalypse, that he had lost his edge. However, with parodies of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, “Royals” by Lorde and many more, Al is happily tickling people’s funny bones once more. This will be his last “traditional” album, citing that his contract is finally up and he will be releasing singles or EPs, rather than full-blown albums.
Chelsea Grin – Ashes to Ashes
I’d never been a much of a fan of Chelsea Grin, prior to the release of My Damnation. However, the progression from that album to the mammoth that is Ashes to Ashes really blew me away. The added clean vocals, the raw power and lyrical prowess from lead vocalist Alex Koehler really make this album stand out among the rest this year.
Volumes – No Sleep
The wait for this album was an incredibly long one and, after awhile, I began to lose my excitement. When the teaser was released, the hype became real but it took a few listens of the album itself for me to really appreciate it for what it is. They really nailed it on this one and I can only imagine what these songs sound like live!
Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls
Is it any surprise that the mighty Priest would make it to this list? With the addition of new guitarist Richie Faulkner, this band found their youthful side and really destroyed this album lyrically, instrumentally and theatrically. There’s something about a good ol’ fashioned heavy metal album that just gets your blood pumping and, in every sense, Judas Priest has nailed that with Redeemer of Souls.
Dark Lotus – The Mud, Water, Air and Blood
The deadly Dark Lotus made their return at the 15th annual Gathering of the Juggalos. What’s even more special about this reunion is that they dropped their brand new album, The Mud, Water, Air and Blood. The first since 2008’s Opaque Brotherhood, this album is DL’s greatest work to date. Featuring the collaboration of 2 of the most hated rock/rap groups on the planet: the Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid, you’re sure to get the most ruthless, evil, dopest album these creatures of the dark can muster.
Curse and the Cure – Carnival
Featuring Norma Hopson and Jason Touchette, 2 of the most talented musicians in the Southeast Texas/Southwest Louisiana area, Curse and the Cure are an acoustic force to be reckoned with. Their debut album, Carnival, features a southern, soulful, groovy flavor that you can only find through this incredible collaboration. When this album hits digital retailers everywhere, be sure to pick it up! It was released physically at their CD release show in Beaumont, TX on July 19th at The Gig.
Crown the Empire – The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways
When Crown the Empire began teasing their new album, I had no doubt it would be amazing. However, the way that this new story reels you in, captivates you and keeps you begging for more is not something I expected! From start to finish, The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways is absolutely flawless. Featuring the added talent of Bailey Crego (the band’s guitar tech) on a few tracks, gang vocals that will bring you to your knees and an incredible promotional campaign, these guys are set to take back what’s theirs: The world.
We, The Chosen – “If Only Out of Spite”
Godsmack – “Generation Day”
The Madden Brothers – “California Rain”
Ariana Grande – “Break Free (ft. Zedd)”
Famous Last Words – “The Uprise”