One of the boldest and brashest British guitar albums to be released in a long time, The Days War ticked all the right boxes with soaring anthems and a unique vocal to set it apart from reeling contemporaries. This was the sound of British Rock finally waking up and delivering on its promises, which was a huge achievement.
02. ‘Black Soul Choir’ – Wolves Like Us
Just when we thought we’d not experience a deeply melodic Heavy Metal album this year, up popped Black Soul Choir by Norwegian quartet Wolves Like Us. Not since Planes Mistaken For Stars’ 2006 release ‘Mercy’, had we heard such dense grooves and downtrodden hearts. A prickly and intensely rewarding listen.
03. ‘Guilty of Everything’ – Nothing
Where Shoegaze can drag, Metallic Shoegaze is an entirely different proposition. Philly quartet Nothing released an unusually heavy, billowing piece of Alt-Rock to quiet critical acclaim and in doing so, created their very own sub-genre. Strolling straight into the ongoing scene crossfire, this was probably the ballsiest ‘Metal’ album of the year.
04. ‘El Pintor’ – Interpol
Always sitting comfortably in our end of year lists, NYC’s perennial Post-Punkers Interpol continue to avoid the decline of city peers like The Strokes. Equally dark and cathartic as its predecessors, El Pintor was an enveloping experience that continued to play to the bands strenghths. Desolate and elegant, everything good Rock should be, Julian.
05. ‘You Owe Nothing’ – Kill It Kid
The surprise package of the year for us. Instead of sounding like a half-assed US emo band like their name suggests, these Blues infected Brit-Rockers delivered a swaggering debut that arrived at the crossroads between unadulterated blues catharsis and tight rock ‘n roll songwriting. Nothing else came close to its distorted grunge attitude.
06. ‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’ – Mastodon
After the success of Crack The Skye and The Hunter, Atlanta based behemoth Mastodon’s sixth LP was the next step in their gradual shift towards a more soulful Metal sound. Equally expansive sounds and spiralling fretwork made for another mind-boggling brew of high-pressured thematics and ambitious concepts.
07. ‘Guiding Lights’ – SkyHarbor
Now a fully fledged five piece, this Indian, English, US crossbreed followed up a raw debut with a sublime lesson in modern Prog-Rock. Guiding Lights is not only the best self-produced album we heard this year, it toed the line between expressive ambient atmospheres and ridiculously heavy riffs, to dazzling perfection.
08. ‘Crosses’ – Crosses
Comprising Far guitarist Shaun Lopez, Chuck Doom and the prolific Deftones frontman Chino Moreno, Crosses sailed in on the crest of a wave, delivering an ominous and cinematic collection of tracks that played to the strengths of its protagonists. This was impactful Electro-Rock at its best.
09. ‘Do To The Beast’ – The Afghan Whigs
For their first album in 16 years, legendary Alt-Rockers The Afghan Whigs retained their sense of drama and lost none of their raw Rock-ness. Do To The Beast may not match the class and exuberrance of Gentlemen or 1965, but it yielded moments of rich and suspenseful songwriting that added modern vibrancy to their lasting legacy.
10. ‘Rescue’ – Samoans
Alternative Brit outfit Samoans rock like Oceansize used to. Straight up song structures and swirling guitar lines make for an invigorating aural masterpiece that should see this crew right. What sets Rescue apart is its immediacy and simple honesty, to cut through the crap and leave a lasting impression few bands can dream of today.