In the new issue of Rock Sound, we count down what we consider to be 101 Modern Classic albums of the last 15 years. Here’s the second instalment with numbers 74 - 50…
So by now, you should be fully aware that in the latest issue of Rock Sound (click here to order your copy) we're counting down what we consider to be the 101 Modern Classic Albums of the last 15 years. We've already run down numbers 101 - 75 (if you missed that, click here to catch up!), so without further ado, let's get to the halfway point..
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LET'S GET CRACKING, AIGHT?
74· FRANK TURNER - ‘LOVE IRE & SONG’ (XTRA MILE)
While these songs were being written, Frank Turner was still playing pubs, clubs anywhere else that’d have him. But when people heard them – and heard just how good they are – they kicked him up a notch, a trajectory that doesn't look like ending any time soon. Magical.
73· ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT ‘SCREAM, DRACULA, SCREAM’ (ELEMENTAL)
If, somehow, you’ve never heard ‘On A Rope’, the unexpected mega-hit culled from ‘Scream, Dracula, Scream!’, you are either deaf or dead. One wryly incongruous Top Of The Pops appearance aside, however, this stands as a high water mark for punked-up, cool-as-fuck, yet unashamedly ambitious modern day rock ‘n’ roll.
72· RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE - ‘THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES’ (EPIC)
The final album of all-original material from these seminal revolutionary firebrands perfectly encapsulates RATM’s enduring appeal. A record you can get behind whether you’re inspired by its incisive socio-political commentary or whether you simply want to lose your shit to that motherfucking riff, ‘The Battle Of Los Angeles’ is damn near flawless.
71· THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM - ‘THE ‘59 SOUND’ (SIDE ONE DUMMY)
The record that put Brian Fallon and co on the mainstream map, ‘The ’59 Sound’ is a masterclass in timeless, heart-rending songwriting. Armed with a clutch of stadium-sized melodies and a whole lot of heart the New Jersey four-piece deliver some of the most memorable tunes of recent decades. Simply superb.
70· AGAINST ME! – ‘REINVENTING AXL ROSE’ (NO IDEA)
Bracingly raw and genuinely life-affirming, ‘Reinventing Axl Rose’ is one of Rock Sound’s favourite debuts, packed to the gills with booze-addled, warts-and-all-anthems. Their brand of take-no-prisoners poetry remains hugely refreshing, and songs like ‘Scream It Until You’re Coughing Up Blood’ have lost none of their visceral impact.
69· QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE - ‘SONGS FOR THE DEAF’’ (INTERSCOPE)
Messrs Homme and Oliveri put their Kyuss days behind them with this, but by retaining those psychedelic rock ideals and combining them with a fresh groove and swagger, they shaped one of the most respected and significant releases of the 21st century.
68· BARONESS – ‘BLUE’ (RELAPSE)
A riff-loaded offering that combines Zeppelin’s pseudo-medieval flirtings with sludge rock grooves, were this any more crushing it would probably implode on itself. But at the same time, despite coming off like a grandiose wall of sonic majesty, it doesn't actually feel that heavy. Impressive, right?
67· TWIN ATLANTIC - ‘FREE’ (RED BULL)
In 10 years’ time, when Twin Atlantic are the biggest British band in the world (trust), people will look back on ‘Free’ as the jumping-off point. And they’ll realise there’s a reason why Radio 1 went so batshit insane over it, because some things don’t get old: big hearted songs, huge melodies and choruses the size of Jupiter.
66· PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS – ‘UP IN THEM GUTS’ (NO IDEA)
This 2004 offering, the band’s third, contains so much raw emotion, instinct and guttural confession that it still remains a go-to record for anyone up against it in life. This band were never given their due nor credited with enough soul; listening to this record is a sad indictment of when an industry fails art.
65· MACHINE HEAD - ‘THE BLACKENING’ (ROADRUNNER)
Machine Head’s latter day masterpiece sees the Bay Area titans on scintillating form and in absolute mastery of their craft. Cuts like of ‘Aesthetics Of Hate’ and ‘Halo’ combine a whirlwind of riffage with a hefty dose of melody and wide-ranging ambition: a recipe for brilliance, it turns out.
64· NINE INCH NAILS - ‘THE FRAGILE’ (NOTHING/ISLAND)
If ‘The Downward Spiral’ is the sound of Trent Reznor on the edge, ‘The Fragile’ is his testament from the abyss. Slow-burning and desolate, this record is more challenging than its predecessor, but ultimately more rewarding, and it can stake a claim as one of modern rock’s finest double-albums.
63· BOWLING FOR SOUP – ‘DRUNK ENOUGH TO DANCE’ (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
Hey! You! Fatboy! Think you’ll never amount to anything? Well you can. Just look at Bowling For Soup. These four chubbos from Texas have one of the longest legacies in pop-punk, and this is the record that catapulted them to festival stages and television screens on every continent. If they can do it, so can you!
62· TRIVIUM - ‘ASCENDANCY’ (ROADRUNNER)
Heralded by many as one of the genre's finest efforts of recent times, Trivium's sophomore release continues to be sparkle more than seven years on. A roaring, chest-beating monster of a record, it represents a standard that many aspire to reach yet rarely come close to achieving.
61· BIFFY CLYRO - ‘BLACKENED SKY’ (BEGGARS BANQUET)
It contains hints of the colossal rock behemoth they’d turn into in later years, but the trio’s first full-length succeeds because, behind the crushing guitars and Simon Neil’s gorgeous vocals, it has so much heart. Every note means something to someone, and that’s impossible to fake.
60· SAVES THE DAY ‘THROUGH BEING COOL’ (EQUAL VISION)
Bright-eyed and bushy tailed classics from Chris Conley and company on a record that makes magnificent what is usually spoken in astonishingly plain terms. After 1999 pop-punk has not been the same since, and this record plays a major role in that change.
59· MUSE - ‘ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY’ (MUSHROOM / TASTE MEDIA)
Even now, 11 years after its release, Muse’s second album is a baffling, beautiful masterpiece. Hits such as ‘New Born’ and ‘Plug In Baby’ took the Devon trio’s insanity to the public at large, but it’s in the gorgeous depth of ‘Citizen Erased’ that they really take flight.
58· OPETH - ‘BLACKWATER PARK’ (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
In terms of grandiose and sheer technical wizardry, this is one album yet to be bettered. One of the Swedish masters' most revered and rightfully adored releases, it remains an essential blueprint for almost any progressive metal band presently in operation.
57· MILLION DEAD - 'A SONG TO RUIN' (INTEGRITY / XTRA MILE)
It’s not easy being in a great band that no one really gives a shit about (okay, MD had a few thousand fans but they deserved more), and that wretched frustration is what makes Frank Turner’s old band’s crowning moment so vital today. Anger is an energy.
56· KORN - ‘FOLLOW THE LEADER’ (EPIC)
Far from being a mere reminder of days gone by, Korn's third album has stood the test of time like few others. 'Got The Life' and 'Freak On A Leash' remain bona fide anthems that continue to fill floors and command audiences across the globe with ease.
55· COMEBACK KID - WAKE THE DEAD’ (VICTORY)
Some bands are destined for big things, and some are destined to keep slaying basement shows from now until eternity. CBK are the latter, and 'Wake The Dead' is their 'Dookie' – a youthful blast of energy and vitality that will never, ever, ever sound old.
54· THE USED - ‘THE USED’ (REPRISE)
A truly definitive record: thanks to Bert McCracken’s unbridled anguish, the album’s themes transcended love, loss, substance abuse and mental disorder. What makes 'The Used' such a killer is the fact it perfectly sums up a time, place and scene, and in some style.
53· LA DISPUTE – ‘SOMEWHERE…’ (NO SLEEP)
The artier side of the short-lived DIY movement known as The Wave, La Dispute don't do things by halves. And their debut album was an emotional trip through scratchy punk, dissonant hardcore and broken poetry; it's strength, though, lies in its uniqueness.
52· ALKALINE TRIO - GOOD MOURNING (VAGRANT)
If Andy Biersack and Gerard Way are today’s prophets of dark rock music, consider ‘Good Mourning’ their gospel. Combining Matt Skiba’s love of horror movies and punk rock with Dan Andriano’s more layered, emotional songwriting, being miserable has never sounded so good.
51· letlive. – ‘FAKE HISTORY (EPITAPH)
Few albums encapsulate the idea of a modern classic quite as perfectly as this one. The essence of hardcore distilled by five LA lifers, ‘Fake History’ is at once a howl of vulnerability and a fuck-you-you-will-never-break-me clarion call of utter defiance. Truly, genuinely thrilling.
50· FUGAZI – ‘THE ARGUMENT’ (DISCHORD)
Maintaining their dyed-in-the-wool DIY ethics while injecting the uncompromising delivery of hardcore with an unpredictable punk rock approach and an off-kilter, powerfully melodic sense of musicality, ‘The Argument’ is Fugazi’s unimpeachable swansong; a record yet to be bettered within the loosely-defined genre of post-hardcore or, arguably, anywhere else.