Despite the incredibly poor taste in the publicity stunt they pulled, UABB have managed to release another killer album! With additional lyrics from Sumerian Records exec, Ash Avildsen… this album provides the punch that fans were hoping for in the follow-up to 2012’s Red. White. Green. The World Is My Enemy Now contains guest vocals from Tyler “Telle” Smith (The Word Alive) and Matt Heafy (Trivium) who also provides some guitar work for “Blood, Sweat and Tears”. Released on August 12th through Sumerian Records… they have proven that they’re going places in the metal world.
After HellYeah’s last attempt at an album, it was refreshing to hear them return to their roots. With the addition of Kyle Sanders (Bloodsimple) and Tom Maxwell (Nothingface), these guys have redeemed themselves to fans, even going so far as to say that their last album wasn’t them. This album has spawned the title track as a single and the devastatingly haunting, newest single, “Moth”… which shows that the band has a darker, more melodic side as well.
Minneapolis’ own New Medicine have returned with the soundtrack to your next party! The first single, very appropriately chosen, was “One Too Many” which is about the repercussions of drinking too much. Breaking The Model gets its name because it’s unlike any other album you’ve heard. It’s got a little bit of everything and it’s a chance for them to show their fans that, while for the most part, they pride themselves on being the “party” band…. they’ve matured in songwriting, musicianship and as individuals. Be sure to pick up Breaking the Model, out on Imagen Records now!
It’s a well-known fact that Taylor Momsen, lead singer of rock outfit The Pretty Reckless, was none other than little CindyLou Who in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. So how is it that our sweet, innocent little who went over to the naughty side? How is it that her beautiful body is displayed so casually now? Easily, as Going to Hell will show you, she embraces every moment… she lives each day like it’s her last… and she hasn’t any shame or remorse for anything she does. This album spawned 3 amazing singles, “Going to Hell”, “Heaven Knows” and “Fucked Up World”, all of which have gotten a considerable amount of airplay. I think the instrumentals on this album are really what set the tone for one of the best rock albums of 2014 and, if you don’t agree… you probably haven’t heard it yet! Be sure to pick up Going to Hell on Razor & Tie now!
Signed to Fearless Records earlier in the year, The Color Morale are truly one of the bands who knows how to capture a listener’s heart. Hold On Pain Ends follows suit with it’s predecessor, Know Hope in that it sets out to bring hope to the hopeless and is designed to let everyone know that you’re not alone. The album features guest vocals from Dave Stephens (We Came As Romans), Craig Owens (Chiodos) and a slew of other friends who contribute to gang vocals! If you haven’t checked out The Color Morale, you’re really missing out on one of the best metalcore acts on the scene today. Be sure to pick up Hold On Pain Ends on Fearless Records today!
InVogue Records has been on fire this year but one of their most impressive releases was No Home by For All I Am. Instrumentally, this album offers a ton of new territory that the band has not previously explored, lyrically, they’re on top of their game and the overall delivery of the album is awesome! Be sure to pick up No Home out on InVogue Records now!
There have been few acoustic albums that have pierced my soul way that This Wild Life’s Clouded does. Taking a break from the heavy stuff I normally cover, Clouded destroyed my perception of the indie world and showed that there is still a lot of hope left in the genre. Be sure to pick it up!
Steel Panther prove that true 80s-style hair metal is far from dead! While their songs take on a less-than-serious form, their music is an entirely different story! If you’ve never had a chance to see these guys live, I suggest you buy tickets next time you see them coming to your town. All You Can Eat serves as some of the best material they’ve ever written, spawning singles for “Party Like Tomorrow Is The End of the World” and “Gloryhole”… fun doesn’t even begin to describe this album! Pick it up now!
In 2008, Judas Priest released Nostradamus. After the subsequent tour for that album, they pretty much went off the grid. Many thought the band to be finished… but Redeemer of Souls, released in July of this year definitely shows otherwise. While each and every member is well over the hill, they have proved that age does nothing to talent! The mighty Judas Priest EASILY put out one of the best rock/metal albums in the past few years. Don’t believe me? Pick it up for yourself and discover how Priest “Redeemed” themselves!
Heavy, thought-provoking and, most of all, captivating… these are all words that can be used to describe Silent Planet’s The Night God Slept. From beginning to end, you’ll find yourself ensnared by every element of this record… you won’t be able to get enough. Be sure to check it out either on Solid State Records’ YouTube channel or go pick up your own copy!
Fit For A King is a band that never ceases to impress fans. They’ve also been a band who has done their own thing, no matter the outcome. The same can certainly be said of Slave To Nothing, their latest album out now on Solid State Recordings. Whether it’s pulse-pounding breakdowns, incredible lyrics or just an overall vibe of empowerment… Slave To Nothing has something for everyone. Not to mention this album features a bit more melody than their last album, Creation/Destruction. Fit For A King truly are Slaves to Nothing!
Just 2 years after their critically-acclaimed last album, Get What You Give, The Ghost Inside have done it again. Their new album Dear Youth is a metalcore masterpiece if you’ve ever heard one, featuring a guest vocal spot from Jason Butler (“Wide Eyed”) and, if you bought the Japanese version… The Color Morale’s Garret Rapp (“Gray Lines of Perfection”). If you haven’t listened to this album yet, be sure to pick it up!
#37: Devilment – The Great and Secret ShowStarting out in 2011 as the brainchild of guitarist Daniel J. Finch, Devilment quickly grew into something so much more when news broke free that Dani Filth had taken vocal duties. Their debut album The Great and Secret Show shows just how diverse the band can be, despite the fact that Filth primarily is involved with black metal. Key tracks include “Mother Kali”, “Even Your Blood Group Rejects Me” and “Sanity Hits a (Perfect) Zero”. Nuclear Blast really knew what they were doing when they signed this monster!
One of the most underrated bands in the metalcore scene is Ice Nine Kills. Vocalist Spencer Charnas has one of the most unique voices I’ve heard in the genre and, as such, any time there’s a guest spot with him on it… it’s pretty easy to pinpoint his voice. Their latest album The Predator Becomes the Prey expands on their previous EP, The Predator and features songs from that EP including a remastered version of “What I Never Learned In Study Hall”, featuring Tyler Carter (Issues). If you’ve never listened to INK, now would be the perfect opportunity to pick up The Predator Becomes the Prey and discover just what you’ve been missing out on!
Being that I’m a Juggalo, I’ve seen a TON of hate my way. So, naturally… when one of the most hated groups of all time, ICP, collided with one of the most revered rap groups of all time, Da Mafia 6ix to create The Killjoy Club, I was intrigued. Needless to say, this album is a banger… from front to back. If you’re a fan of ICP or any of the horrorcore groups… you’ll be delighted to know that the lyrical content on this album mainly focuses on subjects of that nature.. with the addition of Da Mafia 6ix, there’s some gangster elements thrown in that aren’t usually heard in ICP’s music. I’m not much for the rap genre but Reindeer Games truly caught my attention and I believe it will open new doors for both groups involved!
#33: Chevelle – La Gargola
Chevelle remains at the top of the rock spectrum with La Gargola. Featuring the singles, “Take Out the Gunman”, “Hunter Eats Hunter” and “An Island”, this album sees the band returning to their roots and getting back to the sound they created with “Send the Pain Below” and “The Red”, their most widely-known singles.
Country’s badass returns with another chart-topping album. Mixing elements of hard rock and the twang of country, Brantley Gilbert is all about breaking the genre barriers. Just As I Am spawned 3 singles in the form of “Bottoms Up”, “Small Town Throwdown”, which featured Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett, and “One Hell of an Amen”. There’s not a single thing on this album that I can criticize… this man really knows what he’s doing!
Out of the ashes of the Tim Lambesis controversy, the remaining members of As I Lay Dying silently formed a new project… a project that would transcend anything that they’ve done in the past, this project… was Wovenwar. With the addition of Shane Blay (Oh, Sleeper) on vocal duties, this album is a lot less heavy than anything they’ve done but no less emotion-envoking. Truly masters of their art, Wovenwar are set out to show that just because AILD is done, doesn’t mean that it’s remaining members are! Catch them on tour with Nothing More, Periphery and Thank You Scientist in the first quarter of 2015!
Australia has some incredible metalcore bands and one of the most impressive is The Amity Affliction. With 3 albums under their belt, the 4th was sure to be something special! From the moment you first heard “Pittsburgh”, you couldn’t help but sing along with the chorus, as melancholy as it may have seemed. There’s something about this band that gives you hope… lets you know that you’re not alone and truly captures your heart, as well as your ears. Songs like “Don’t Lean On Me”, “Forest Fire” and “Death’s Hand” only further prove my point. So it’s no surprise that Let the Ocean Take Me has made it into my top 30!
Machine Head has released their most experimental album to date with Bloodstone & Diamonds. It combines everything you’ve come to love from the band with new things that you never thought would be possible from them! I’m going to agree with my good friend Matthew Powers (CaliberTV) and say that the last 2 songs on this album, “Imaginal Cells” and “Take Me Through the Fire” should have been switched out and it would have made this album absolutely perfect. If you were longing for that old school, thrash-driven Machine Head…. you’ve got it and so much more in Bloodstone & Diamonds.
From the moment I first heard vocalist Becca Hollcraft’s voice on “Fair-Weather Friend”, I was hooked. The incredibly steamy NSFW video that was released for the title track “Leave Your Mark” sent that love through the roof. Despite the fact that they have an incredibly hot lead singer who knows how/when to flaunt her assets…. this band has a lot going for them musically. Leave Your Mark is one of the most underrated albums in the rock genre this year… don’t overlook this gem!
Once in awhile, a self-produced, self-released album finds its way into my ears and I’m truly captivated by it. To say that Of Euphoria’s Fall Where It May is one of those albums is an understatement. Despite the raw nature of the recordings, this EP captures the listener’s attention within the first couple of seconds and puts it in a vice grip until the very end. The Afflicted Records staff and their bands are good friends of ours but no one can deny that Shawn Rhude knows talent when he hears it! Let’s take OE to the next level in 2015!
#26: Aurin – Catharsis
When Andrew Wayne of Aurin reached out to me for an album review, I was instantly impressed by what I heard. A couple weeks later, he sent me the album and it’s no wonder why Pavement Entertainment signed them! Focusing on music to help those in need, Aurin is a band brought together by the worst things in life… making a beautiful experience for the listeners. Catharsis is an album that has to be heard to be believed and, believe me when I say, it’s every bit worth your time!
For All Those Sleeping’s final album, Incomplete Me is everything that fans had hoped for after their last album, Outspoken. Sadly, not long after the release of that album…. FATS decided to call it quits. Pay tribute to the legacy that they left behind by picking up their phenomenal final album!
Despite the fact that Taylor Swift pulled her music from all digital retailers in an effort to make people buy her CDs, no one can deny the pop masterpiece that is 1989. She is an incredibly gifted artist! Whether it be lyrics, instruments or knowing just how she wants her album to be produced… she always delivers! 1989 is certainly no exception.. spawning the incredibly catchy singles, “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space”.
Chino Moreno, best known as vocalist of Deftones, is truly a machine. While working with his band, he’s also created several side projects… one of which being Crosses. Crosses combines heavy electronic elements with Moreno’s incredible, unique vocals. Their debut album, stylized as †††, is something that only these 3 individuals could bring to life in the manner that they did. Do yourself a favor and pick up †††, out on Sumerian Records now!
As I said before, InVogue Records is on fire this year! Being As An Ocean’s sophomore album, How We Both Wondrously Perish is every bit as impressive as their critically-acclaimed debut album, Dear G-D. It’s debut single, “Death’s Great Black Wing Scrapes the Air” shows what a true melodic hardcore band should sound like! Then you’ve got songs like “Mediocre Shakespeare”, “L’exquisite Douleur” and the mesmerizing “Grace, Teach Us What We Lack”, which features Johnny O’Hagan (Idlehands) which just further show the massive amount of talent this band, as a whole, possesses. Pick it up now!
One of the most underrated albums of the year is The Word Alive’s Real. It definitely sees the band attempting to step out of their normal territory and try new things but that certainly has no bearing on how amazing this album is! If you haven’t already.. check out the videos for “The Runaway” and “Lighthouse” as well as the other 2 singles released from the album, “Play the Victim” and “Never Forget”. Each have a different vibe, each have a different way of capturing you… but they will do so and not let go! Real. is out on Fearless Records now!
A late entry to the list, as I hadn’t listened when it first came out. Despite the controversy surrounding this band, KING810 is incredibly impressive! Genius lyrics, crushing riffs and spoken word tracks that will chill you to the bone… this and so much more Memoirs of a Murderer possesses. The band is currently touring with Slipknot and KoRn on Knot’s “Prepare For Hell” tour and have been making waves with media since long before that time. Be sure to pick up Memoirs of a Murderer and find out just why Roadrunner Records chose to sign them!
Being that I was a huge fan of Emarosa from the beginning of the Jonny Craig era… I was incredibly skeptical about how they would sound with a new singer. I can honestly say that new vocalist, Bradley Walden, truly blew me away with his performance on Versus from start to finish. From his lyrics to the way that he makes you feel when listening to him sing…. it’s nothing short of spectacular. Of course, the rest of the band did an amazing job with the instruments as well… it’s not all about vocals but, being that I love to sing… the vocals are always what catches me first. Be sure to pick up Versus out now on Rise Records!
Chasing Safety (ex-Us, From Outside) is a band that has never ceased to impress me… from my first listen of their debut EP, The Machine to now. Signed to Outerloop Records earlier this year, Chasing Safety quickly showed that they have what it takes to stand on top of the post-hardcore/metalcore world. Season of the Dead is one of the most impressive debut albums I’ve ever heard (and I don’t take that sentence lightly)… featuring incredibly crushing tracks like “Name Dropper” and then you have a lighter side, evidenced by tracks like “Through Winters”. Don’t sleep on this one!
Slipknot suffered an incredible loss when bassist Paul Gray passed away in 2010, however… they weren’t ready to give up just yet. Like a “black phoenix” rising from the ashes, they returned with .5: The Gray Chapter which is a tribute to the man himself, as well as the feelings the band went through after it happened. “Skeptic”, “Custer” and “The Negative One” are indicative of the fact that they can still crush their fans with the heavy jams they’ve been used to. Then you have tracks like “Goodbye” and “If Rain Is What You Want” which show the inevitable sadness that followed his passing. Fans were skeptical when they heard that Joey Jordison had been kicked out of/left the band but the 2 new guys are proving that it takes more than that to keep the Knot down!
I’m not usually much for stuff that has the propensity to be super heavy… but Bury Tomorrow is one of those bands I have to make an exception for. Runes blew me out of the water from the first listen and every subsequent listen after that! The lyrics, the instrumentals (especially) and the way that this album flows truly make it one of the best albums of the year! Can’t wait to hear what these guys do next!
Everyone knows Ariana Grande as Cat Valentine from the Nickelodeon show, Victorious. However, when she steps off of that set… she is something so much more. The pure, innocent and oblivious little Cat turns into a fiesty, fiery and exotic little vixen. Her newest album, My Everything sheds all subtlety you may have heard in her previous work and instead puts you in the passenger seat of the ride of your life! Her incredibly soulful voice, coupled with the many innuendos placed within her lyrics makes fans hearts melt. But it’s her ability to write meaningful lyrics and her stage presence that really sets them on fire! Don’t believe me? Check out a video of her performing “Problem”, “Break Free”, which features critically-acclaimed DJ, Zedd or “Love Me Harder”, featuring The Wknd.
I’ve never been one to neglect my local scene and when I heard that Beaumont, TX’s Neil to Aldrin was reincarnated as Atlas, I was instantly intrigued. “Wake Me When I’m Famous!” sees vocalist Jay Espinoza baring his heart and soul for all to see. It’s the product of struggle, sacrifice and many sleepless nights to truly create something worth listening to. Please do yourselves a favor and pick this album up! You won’t regret a single second!
There’s an acoustic duo in the SETX area by the name of “Curse and the Cure”. This group is made up of two of the most talented musicians in Texas, Norma Hopson and Jason Touchette (Podunk) who, together, create something so beautiful, so harmonious that you have to hear it to believe it. Their debut EP Carnival is truly a masterpiece from start to finish… you’d never believe something so mellow could make you feel so many emotions! This baby is on all digital retailers so be sure to pick it up!
The first surprise on my list comes with Chelsea Grin’s latest album, Ashes to Ashes. Being that I haven’t been a huge fan of the band in the past, this album truly caught me by surprise. It’s the best, most crushing material the band has ever written! Be sure to pick up Ashes to Ashes out now on Artery Recordings!
Never did I think a spoken word album would capture my attention…. but there’s something about Hotel Books that just snags all of my attention. Out on InVogue Records now, I’m Almost Happy Here But I’m Never At Home is a double EP that makes up a full album that is, in essence, nothing but spoken word tracks… but it’s so atmospheric, so ingeniously engineered that you can’t turn away from it. Be sure to pick it up and find out what I’m talking about!
If it wasn’t for Eccentricism, I wouldn’t have ever discovered this beast of a band! Freudian Slip is an album that I truly never thought I’d listen to but, just like Sworn In’s The Death Card, which made my list last year… it crept up on me and I enjoyed it from the start. Check out “Bitterromantic” (Pt. 1 &2), “Rital(in)” and “Like Father//Like Son” from the album and be sure to pick up your own copy!
There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding We Are Triumphant which, for some, created skepticism about Varsity’s signing to the label but that doesn’t matter! As you well know by now, my good friend Joey Varela is the vocalist of this band and it started as his solo project. What has become of it? A full blown band with an amazing EP titled Lights. Mixing the best elements of R&B and metalcore (much like Issues)… Lights will destroy your perception of what metalcore should sound like! Be sure to go download your free copy by visiting their FB page!
My love for UK’s Architects is no secret but their latest album, Lost Forever//Lost Together pushed that over the edge! If you haven’t listened to any of this album, I will not tell you any specific tracks… I will just say go listen to the whole thing… from front to back, see how mesmerized you are throughout the whole album. I can only imagine what these songs sound like live!
When Alissa White-Gluz joined Arch Enemy after Angela Gossow’s departure, I was immediately pumped. I’ve been a fan of The Agonist, her old band, for quite some time and I know she never disappoints. When I got my first taste of War Eternal, I was instantly sure it would be in my top 10 of the year! Here we are several months after that realization and it sits high atop my list at #7. This album is devastating, beautiful and incredible in every way you can imagine! Once again, KUDOS to White-Gluz for filling some huge shoes so well!
Despite how different of a release it is, no one can deny that In This Moment’s Black Widow is one of their best releases to date. While some are annoyed with Maria’s sexual exploitation, you’ve got to expect something like that with an album title like Black Widow. Be sure to check out the videos for “Sick Like Me” and “Big Bad Wolf” as well as the visualizer video for “Bloody Creature Poster Girl”. The album was their debut on new label Atlantic Records… go pick it up!
Whether, I has been a band that, straight out the gate, has been increasingly impressive. Again, signed to InVogue Records, the band released their debut EP, Dreamcatcher AND their debut full-length, Catalyst this year! While Dreamcatcher was great in itself, Catalyst had me pumped from the first time I heard the previews. From start to finish, this album is a masterpiece all the way around, capping it off with vocal appearances from Jonny Craig (Slaves), Michael Swank (Myka, Relocate) and Dillon Jones (Incredible Me)! Key tracks include “Gemini (feat. Jonny Craig)”, “Half-Life” and “Hourglass (feat. Dillon Jones)”. Here’s where the list gets tricky…
#4: Nothing More – Nothing More/Dir En Grey – Arche
Two incredibly different types of records, both equally amazing. Nothing More’s self-titled album is one of the best, eye-opening hard rock albums ever created. This album spawned “This Is the Time (Ballast)”, which has received an unprecedented amount of airplay, “Christ Copyright” which seemed to spark some controversy at some point and, of course, “Mr. MTV” which is a stab at the fake nature of the industry. Don’t miss a chance to see these guys live… you’ll regret it! Arche, on the other hand, is more chaotic which is what they’re known for. However, it’s the instrumentals that really give it it’s shine… as always, vocalist Kyo delivers with 100% success but the technicality in the instruments is what really sets it all off! Be sure to pick up both because they’re equally impressive… even if you’ve never listened to Dir En Grey or any form of J-Metal (Japanese Metal).
#3: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways/Exotype – Exotype
Foo Fighters, masters of their craft and veterans on the scene have delivered one of the most unique albums ever to be created. Sonic Highways was created in 8 different cities, 1 track for each city… and each track truly reflects the nature of the town it was created in. Everything about this album, from the way it was created to the lyrics to the instrumentals that bring it all together make it a sonic experience not-soon forgotten! Exotype is one of Rise Records newest signings and someone who, in the past, we’ve had experience with. We reviewed their debut album before the vocalist change and it was impressive but… the new material destroys it! Focusing more on the electronic elements and throwing a more nu-metal vibe into the vocals… Exotype absolutely destroys every stereotype that has been created by people about Rise Records. I’m so proud of the progress that these guys have made in the short time we’ve known them!
#2: The Bunny The Bear – Food Chain/PVRIS – White Noise/Volumes – No Sleep
The Bunny The Bear is one of those bands you either love or you hate. In the past, the band has created great music….and Food Chain is no exception to that. Food Chain seems to focus more on electronic elements than the element of story-telling they’ve had in the past 2 albums but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Matt Tybor and Chris Hutka are really at the top of their game with this release! PVRIS is the first female-fronted band that has ever been signed to Rise Records so, instantly, that had to have piqued some interest in fans, right? Well, this band has found a way to combine pop and rock and resurrect it in a way that we thought impossible! Volumes, sadly, had quite a few setbacks leading up to the release of No Sleep including info being leaked, a song being leaked and more but that didn’t stop them from putting out one of the best albums of the year! What’s more is they added more melody to this album so you get to hear how the band’s clean vocals have progressed… instrumentally, this album is flawless and I don’t think a single person I’ve talked to has disagreed! And *drumroll* please? The moment you’ve all been waiting for! My #1 album of the year is….
These are all 4 different albums, all representing 4 different labels but they are definitely the most impressive, to me, out of the whole year. In terms of devastating, yet heartfelt lyrics and crushing instrumentals… we have We Rise the Tide’s Death Walk. In terms of “hope for the hopeless”, “we’ll get through this together” and just an overall empathetic vibe… we’ve got Disgusting by Beartooth. In terms of theatrics, incredible story-telling and a concept that has spanned their entire career thus far… we’ve got Crown The Empire’s The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways and, finally… in terms of an amazing concept, incredible delivery, theatrics, emotional response and a message that truly transcends time… we’ve got my good friends in Famous Last Words with their latest album, Council of the Dead, which we exclusively reviewed pre-release!
Introvert – Abjection
Like Monroe – Things We Think, But Never Speak
Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed
Devil You Know – The Beauty of Destruction
In Flames – Siren Charms
Kingdom of Giants – Ground Culture
For All Who Fail – Rebirth
Hide the Evidence – Soon, They’ll Forget Us