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Rock Sound’s Top Releases Of 2016: 20-11

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 30 December 2016 at 19.50

Nearly there...

20. Issues - 'Headspace'
You could never accuse Issues of playing it safe. Though the hyperactive sound clash of ‘Headspace’ has divided opinion, its diversity is incredible – from the country twang of ‘Yung & Dum’ to the hip-hop flows of, er, ‘Flojo’. Nothing seems off limits for this lot, and with vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn on stunning form, this was a bold return.

19. The Amity Affliction - 'This Could Be Heartbreak'
The Amity Affliction pulled together a gem under trying circumstances this year. Through the undeniable hooks of ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’, the acoustic guitars and choir on ‘All Fucked Up’, and the hell-unleashed fury on the likes of ‘Tearing Me Apart’, this was a pained, epic and boldly ambitious album from one of the most versatile bands in the metal scene.

18. Hellions - 'Opera Oblivia'
There’s epic, and then there’s this. Taking hardcore into uncharted territory, these Australian masterminds built a labyrinth of genre-blurring brilliance – covering the mosh pit, orchestra pit and everything in between. Furious and theatrical in equal measure, songs like ‘Nightliner Rhapsody’ make little sense on paper, but are captivating in Hellions’ hands. Truly unique.

17. Milk Teeth - 'Vile Child'
Taking cues from bands who raged long before the members of Milk Teeth were even born, the Gloucestershire crew had no right sounding this accomplished on their debut album. But they did. Funnelling a punk rock spirit through scratchy grunge-sounds with irresistible pop sensibilities, this was one of the best British records of the year.

16. This Wild Life - 'Low Tides'
If it’s true that it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for, then This Wild Life showed why on this second record. Bearing dramatic tales of wayward romance and finding your place in an unforgiving world, paired with crushingly beautiful melodies, ‘Low Tides’ proved that the acoustic duo were a very special band indeed. 

15. A Day To Remember - 'Bad Vibrations'
2016 was the first time in a long time that A Day To Remember felt truly free. Refreshed after some time away and finally able to properly release an album, this was the five-piece doing exactly as they pleased, and doing it exceptionally well. ‘Bad Vibrations’ was a raw, belligerent snapshot of everything that got them here.

14. Beartooth - 'Aggressive'
If 2014’s ‘Disgusting’ felt like an exorcism, ‘Aggressive’ is the sound of Caleb Shomo slaying those demons. As intense and cathartic as its name would suggest, Beartooth’s second album takes an unflinching look at the darker side of life while searching for the glimmer at the end of the tunnel. It helps that songs like ‘Hated’ are ridiculously catchy, too.

13. Asking Alexandria - 'The Black'
Proving they could do it without Danny Worsnop, Asking Alexandria welcomed new frontman Denis Stoff into the fold and came out swinging on this brash, defiant revival. Reverting to the metalcore sound that made their name – with the odd symphonic flourish– they sounded like a band on fire. Of course, they would later return to their old flame Danny, but this was a bold reminder that the band was bigger than any one member.

12. Set It Off - 'Upside Down'
Just when you thought the Florida four-piece couldn’t get any more fun, they dug deep amid testing times, to produce an even more amplified version of their former selves. It was a riot too, with hooks for days and the kind of pop mastery that puts the mass-produced stuff clogging up the radio airwaves to shame. 

11. letlive. - 'If I'm The Devil...'
Stepping up their dedication to pushing stylistic boundaries, blending big groove-oriented riffs, R&B and pop influences (check those Michael Jackson vibes) with social, political and sometimes darkly personal subject matter, the Los Angeles crew smashed yet another one out of the park here across these 11 tracks. Simply put: gll.orious.

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