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Rock Sound’s Top Releases Of 2016: 10-01

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 31 December at 17.50

Who's number 1?

10. Andy Black - 'The Shadow Side'
Is there anything that Andy Biersack can’t do? This year, Black Veil Brides’ frontman unleashed his enigmatic Andy Black persona and the subsequent debut album spanned everything from brass-laden bangers to pitch black synth-pop, with huge choruses at every turn. Featuring a star-studded cast of guests and a few injections of dark Americana, this was a remarkable achievement. 

09. Green Day - 'Revolution Radio'
Four years after the mixed bag of ‘¡Uno!’, ‘¡Dos!’ and ‘¡Tré!’, the godfathers of modern punk returned to form with ‘Revolution Radio’. New and old fans alike found plenty to love in the sound of a band revitalised after enduring personal battles. The likes of ‘Bang Bang’, ‘Still Breathing’ and ‘Troubled Times’ in particular offered a stark commentary on the world at large. 

08. Waterparks - 'Double Dare'
How many ideas can you squeeze onto one record? Scratch that, how many can you get in a single song? Hyper-creative newcomers Waterparks exploded onto the scene this year and seemingly set about finding out exactly that. Led by the inimitable Awsten Knight, the Texas trio illustrated just why they’re one of the most exciting prospects in the rock world. 

07. With Confidence - 'Better Weather'
If there was a better, pure pop-punk debut record released this year then we’d like to hear it. The irrepressible Aussie quartet quickly shot to prominence and justified every bit of hype that propelled them there, with choruses and sing-alongs every which way you turned. The first taster of something potentially very bright and beautiful indeed. 

06. Moose Blood - 'Blush'
From Eddy Brewerton’s understated, yet relatable musings to the songwriting genius of ‘Knuckles’ and ‘Glow’, Moose Blood’s second album encapsulates everything that’s great about emo. With heartbreakers like ‘Shimmer’ and a more mellow, summery vibe breaking through, the Canterbury four-piece cleared the remarkably high bar they’d set for themselves with ease. 

05. Against The Current - 'In Our Bones'
Pure pop rock perfection. Summer’s breakout band produced the soundtrack and cemented themselves as one of the most compelling trios in the game. If the likes of ‘Young And Relentless’ don’t make you want to go on a road trip with your mates, check you’ve still got a pulse. Oh, and Chrissy Costanza has got one of the best voices we’ve heard in ages. Sold. 

04. Blink-182 - 'California'
Would Blink-182 work without Tom? Was Matt Skiba the right choice to replace him? Were Mark, Travis and Matt heading for disaster with ‘California’? All of those questions and more were silenced within 30 seconds of first track ‘Cynical’, and forgotten by the time the most Blink-182 album Blink-182 have released in a very long time drew to a close.

03. Pierce The Veil - 'Misadventures'
The cruelly long and drawn out saga of the new Pierce The Veil album finally came to an end in 2016, and a spectacular one at that. ‘Misadventures’ managed to be technically staggering, poppy, vicious and so much more across its 43 stunning minutes. It was an album that truly showcased the songwriting prowess of their vocalist, Vic Fuentes and ensured that all of the waiting was worth it.

02. Architects - 'All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us'
It’s almost impossible to sum up the enormous significance of Architects’ seventh album. What we will say though is that it is the magnum opus of the band’s incomparable guitarist, lyricist and creative mastermind Tom Searle, who died of cancer, aged just 28, a few short months after its release. Tom’s strength, skill and enduring humanity shine on in this astonishing record. Essential listening. 

01. Panic! At The Disco - 'Death Of A Bachelor'
Topping the list of best releases any year is a hell of a feat. Doing it in a year as strong as this one – with stiff competition throughout all genres – is something else. Then again, this is the album that Brendon Urie had been building up to his whole career.

Spilling over with ideas and ambition, musically, vocally and thematically, ‘…Bachelor’ was the sound of the party, the afterparty and the hangover all in one, from an artist truly at ease in his own skin. No wonder it saw our hero (no seriously, Brendon Urie is literally our hero) headline Slam Dunk, boss two nights in the mammoth surrounds of Ally Pally and sell a truckload of records in the process, establishing Panic! At The Disco as the biggest they’ve ever been.

It’s a remarkable creative achievement and reinvention, and it’s for those reasons its 11 tracks have rarely left the Rock Sound stereo since the album’s release all the way back in January. Usually, albums released that early in the year, fall out of contention for these kinds of accolades. It takes something special to buck that trend. But if one word could sum up ‘Death Of A Bachelor’, special would be it. 

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