Time to look back at the highs and lows of 2011. First up: my soundtrack. I spend a lot of time on the bus to and from the DDJ, great opportunity to listen to good music. There were some fantastic albums released last year, these are my Top 10:
10 (Joint) Still Got Legs – Chameleon Circuit and Stark (EP) – Cherri Bomb
I couldn’t decide which of these two to include, so they both snuck in. A bit of Trock (TARDIS rock for the uninitiated) from the CC guys, including Alex Day and Charlie McConnell. The songs are all based on Doctor Who, and are an exercise in cheesy brilliance. Stark is the debut EP from Cherri Bomb, a four-piece of girls from the US with ages of only 13 (Rena), 14 (Nia and Julia) and 15 (Miranda). These girls have a fantastically polished sound for their ages, and have already supported Foo Fighters. Expect great things from this band with their first full album, out next year.
9 Relentless, Reckless Forever – Children of Bodom
You don’t get much heavier than this, and with tongue firmly in cheek, CoB tear it up.
8 Maniacal Miscreation – Cerebral Bore
Some girls you fancy because they look fit/cute/attractive/sexy/sassy/beautiful/any-combination-of-the-previous. Som Pluijmers I fancy because she can make the most unearthly sounds with her throat, and because I’m fairly certain she could kill you with one metal scream. Seriously. Add the Scottish brogues of the rest of the band, and you have a formidable stage presence that commands as easily on a large stage to hundreds as it does in the tiny back room of the Parish in Huddersfield. If you like your death metal heavy, crunching and ear-splitting, these guys are for you.
7 Pressure & Time – Rival Sons
They rock. They roll. They’re all over the road, as one songs says. You could easily stick this album on in the car for a long road trip, and not notice until the police are flashing you down for swerving round Ainley Top at 100 plus. And if you keep playing this as they talk to you, they might easily get distracted and leave you alone. (Probably not.)
6 Affective Arousal – Trendkill Method
I first heard song Questions Unanswered on a freebie CD with Terrorizer mag. I love it. The Latvian rockers formerly known as Gust of Anger are a screaming powerhouse of prog-tinged thrash. Goes down well on a rainy afternoon.
5 Replaced – Kate McGill
“I like Kate McGill. Awkward.” So pronounces the tee-shirt I picked up at her live show early last year. Kate began her recent musical career push on YouTube. I’m lucky enough to say I was an early subscriber, and gladly contributed to the financial backing of her album. She is lovely, with a vocal talent that can bring shivers to the spine and remind you of the heart breaking, and heart warming, moments of love, life, and everything.
4 Unto The Locust – Machine Head
On September 26, three amazing bands released three stonking albums. They are all on this list. The first: Machine Head. With The Blackening such a hard act to follow, Unto The Locust was going to be in for some flack, even before it rocketed up the iTunes charts. It swatted away the flack like locusts, and proved Rob Flynn’s mob are still pushing the boundaries of the heavy metal album.
3 The Hunter – Mastodon
The second album released September 26, Mastodon’s new work had a slightly new direction for them, with a range of vocal styles and sounds throughout. A belter of an album, well worth a listen for new fans as well as old.
2 Edge of the Earth – Sylosis
For most of the year, this was my number one favourite. The rockers from Reading were in a strange state at the end of 2010. Having lost their lead singer, they were still a tight, professional musical act. But when I saw them live in October 2010, they seemed to have lost their sense of direction. What they were missing was this: the right material. This album is incredible, filled with catchy riffs, screaming vocals, harmonics you can’t shake. This was my soundtrack for the summer, brilliantly done record.
1 Five Serpent’s Teeth – Evile
Which brings me to my number one album of the year. On September 26, it knocked Sylosis off the top spot of my list ( and I’m so glad it did.) When Mike died, and Joel joined the band, there was a wonder among the fans as to how the band would bounce back, what direction they would take. Thankfully, Benni and the boys new exactly what to do. Keep the definitive Evile thrash sound, but calm the technical side down a little. Play professionally, but don’t get bogged down in the hard-and-fast feel of Infected Nations. Add in a couple of tracks friendly to newer, more mainstream fans, and voila. An album to really sink your teeth into.
So that’s been my best albums of the year. Of course, there were many other albums out, all of which got a a good playing on my iPhone. But these are the ones that were played the most, and provided my escape from the world.