Well, 2015 is coming to an end and what a year it has been. Firstly I left a full time commercial radio gig to focus my energy into music I’m more passionate about and the experience has been more than rewarding so far. I’ve been exposed to more bands (some of which have scored themselves a spot in my favourite bands of all time list) from all different styles of genres and the amount of gigs I was lucky enough to attend would make any scene girl cry excessively for months on end. In saying that, the support you have given us following Official Launch of Wall of Sound back in June has been incredible and if it wasn’t for Plugga joining the team, we probably wouldn’t have had the exposure/success we’ve had thus far. So for that I thank you all personally for getting involved and being apart of building this little website into something of a community for metal heads and heavy music lovers alike to share their opinions and rock the fuck out!
The hardest part of this whole piece was trying to think back over the past year and all the amazing albums, songs and videos that have been released but here’s what I thought definitely needed a mention in my list…
TOP 20 ALBUMS of 2015?
1: PARKWAY DRIVE – Ire
Without a doubt the best album of the year has to go to these legends from Byron Bay. From the minute they teased us with tracks like “Vice Grip” and “Crushed” I knew they were onto a winner. Hands down best album of 2015.
2: BRING ME THE HORIZON – That’s the Spirit
There’ll be a bunch of people that won’t agree with me and to that I say “Eat Me!” These boys have worked their asses off changing up their style over the years to prove they’re more than just a simple metalcore act and finally perfected it with this album. Expect nothing but big things for BMTH in future years to come.
3: TOM DELONGE – To The Stars… Demos, Odds and Ends
Tom Delonge is a very busy man with so much going on in his life, but he’s also one of the most talented and gifted musicians on this earth and everything he touches turns to gold. When he was fired/quit Blink-182 amongst all the drama he released a sample of songs that were for the upcoming Blink album and leftovers from the last Angels & Airwaves album. They were incredible and could only have been made better had they been released with one of his bands. Still his solo work deserved a worthy position in my Top 3.
4: BURIED IN VERONA – Vultures Above/Lions Below
This album sat in my iPod for a few weeks before I finally got around to listening to it in full and I have to say I’m an absolute wanker for not hearing it sooner. Another band who changed their style (following more than half the members bailing) only for them to hit the nail on the head and create such a relatable melodic hardcore album that was so far advanced compared to their previous work.
5: ENTER SHIKARI – The Mindsweep
When you interview a band and they tell you how much blood, sweat, emotions and tears they put into an album, it won’t be the same the next time you listen to it. And when you realise what the topics are they’re singing about on a particular track, it really makes you hear more than just a song and appreciate the craft that went into it. Following my interview with Rou Reynolds from the band this is what happened when I listened to their album all the way through again and still to this day I’ll find myself playing it over and over again without getting sick of it.
6: NORTHLANE – Node
There were so many expectations from fans and critics alike of how this new album would sound with their replacement front man Marcus Bridge and honestly all of that was blown out of the water as soon as I clicked play on this piece of work. Node cemented Northlane’s position in the Top 3 hardcore bands in Australia, just behind Parkway and The Amity Affliction where they’ll continue to stay (but quite possibly move up) if they release more work like this.
7: IN HEARTS WAKE – Skydancer
Another sensational album from these Byron Bay boys. When fans got their hands on 2014’s “Earthwalker” who knew in less than a year they’d back it up and go bigger and better with this album. A must have for any hardcore music fan around the world and in Australia.
8: FOUR YEAR STRONG – Four Year Strong
This came out of nowhere (and once again was another album I took my time to finally listen to) but within the first three songs I was hooked like every previous FYS release. These guys have found the right sound and will progressively get better and better with every album. That and their beard are fuckin’ awesome too.
9: LAMB OF GOD – VII: Sturm Und Drang
When Randy Blthye was wrongfully locked up in a Czech prison, we can only imagine what was going through his head at the time during his 5 week stint. Eventually he was released and his emotions of the experience were expressed in songs on this angry, heavy release from LOG. Definitely worth a listen all the way though if you want to hear raw emotion.
10: THE WONDER YEARS – No Closer to Heaven
Pop punk at it’s absolute finest. If you haven’t been exposed to these blokes yet, this is is the album that will make you wonder why you haven’t chased them up before. An instant classic that leaves you wanting more.
11: DEVIL YOU KNOW – They Bleed Red
This was a smack to the side of the face for fans who wanted to hear something heavier from former Killswitch Engage front man Howard Jones. So brutally crafted and performed from start to finish. I wouldn’t be surprised if this record ends up giving the new Killswitch album a run for it’s money!
12: REFUSED – Freedom
They kept their fans waiting 17 years for a taste of new music and these Swedish hardcore legends were worth the wait. Having not heard of the band before their resurgence, it was only a matter of days before I was hooked and dying to see them live. Can’t wait to catch them at Soundwave next year.
13: SHINEDOWN – Threat to Survival
In the past Shinedown have received excessive commercial radio airplay for their softer, soppier ballad tracks (which don’t get me wrong are great) but this return to form had me reeled in from the first track “Asking For It“. If these guys ever got big enough in Australia, this album would be perfectly played in a Stadium setting.
14: BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE – Venom
There’s always been this stigma about BFMV not being as good as similar bands in their genre, in saying that the albums which followed 2008’s “Scream Aim Fire” didn’t live up to the expectations we thought they would following such a great album. However this year when “Venom” was released following their split from bassist Jason James and introduction of Jamie Mathias its safe to say they’re heading back to that level of fast metal appreciation again.
15: ANTI-FLAG – American Spring
I wouldn’t say I’m much of a political activist, but I am definitely a supporter of people who stand up for what they believe in and who fight for the good of the world without forcing it in your face like religious groups. Anti-Flag have been doing this for years and after hearing this album, it piqued my interest to find out more about them. They’re not just a great punk rock band but up there with the likes of Rage Against the Machine and Rise Against. Great work from these veterans of the genre.
16: DEAD LETTER CIRCUS – Aesthesis
Talking about commercial radio airplay, I am so fuckin’ stoked DLC have finally got their music played on the big rock stations across the country. This isn’t an indication of them “selling out”, it’s an indication of their progression as a band and the level they have achieved where their music deserves to be heard by a larger audience and not just by their own fans who have been there since the early beginning. This is the same level Birds of Tokyo were at when “Broken Bones” went huge!
17: STORM THE SKY – Permanence
Had this been released by a band who were already established, no one would have batted an eyelid but considering this was the band’s debut album, it just goes to show how tight these guys are as a band. Expect nothing but big things from these boys in the future.
18: JUSTIN BIEBER – Purpose
I know what you’re thinking, why the fuck is Justin Bieber surrounded by all these great bands where he obviously doesn’t belong, the fact is Bieber (together with Ed Sheeran and Skrillex) has actually made a decent album worth listening to that isn’t targeted towards 12 year old girls. The bloke has been a fuckwit over the past few years, I won’t deny that, but any teenager with as much money as he can get his hands is bound to do some stupid shit (especially with friends like his). All that aside, I actually found myself relating to a few of his songs and recommend you check it out too. You might just call yourself a Belieber by the end of it.
19: FALLING IN REVERSE – Just Like You
I’m aware that front man Ronnie Radke is like the new age Fred Durst (massive ego, no fucks given attitude), but you have to admit the man can sing, scream and perform better than most out there in the scene. Proving he’s more than just a simple screamer (and with the combination the rest of the band who are just as musically gifted) this album showed critics he’s more than just a name.
20: CAULFIELD – Outcast
No words can be said about this hardcore act from Sydney except “Why didn’t they release this album sooner!?” Such a great combination of heavy riffs, melodic sing-alongs and group vox make this a one of the best stand out albums from a relatively small band, set to explode in the coming years.
TOP 10 SONGS OF 2015?
1: Bring Me The Horizon – ‘True Friends’
2: Tom Delonge – ‘Suburban Kings’
3: Parkway Drive – ‘A Deathless Song’
4: Violent Soho – ‘Like Soda’
5: Buried in Verona – ‘Separation’
6: Falling in Reverse – ‘Guillotine IV (The Final Chapter)’
7: The Amity Affliction – ‘Skeletons’
8: Satellites – ‘Glass Jaw’
9: Refused – ‘Françafrique’
10: The Strums – ‘Badass Teenage Moustache’
BEST 5 MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2015?
1: PARKWAY DRIVE – ‘Vice Grip’
2: ANGELS & AIRWAVES – ‘Tunnels’
3: BEARTOOTH – ‘In Between’
4: THE WONDER YEARS – ‘Cardinals’
5: VIOLENT SOHO – ‘Like Soda’
BEST 5 GIGS YOU’VE SEEN 2015?
1: Parkway Drive at Riverstage, Brisbane
2: KISS at Brisbane Entertainment Centre
3: Foo Fighters/Rise Against at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
4: In Hearts Wake/Beartooth/We Came As Romans/Storm the Sky at The Triffid, Brisbane
5: Violent Soho at The Zoo, Brisbane
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2016?
New Music from Beartooth, Killer Be Killed, +44 (aka Blink-182 with Matt Skiba), Satellites, Violent Soho, The Amity Affliction, Avenged Sevenfold and so many more I can’t think of right now.
Tours: Soundwave, Confession’s Final Tour and Crafter’s Retirement, Black Sabbath’s Farewell Tour, Funeral for a Friend’s Final Tour (jeez there’s a few farewells next year), Asking Alexandria/Blessthefall/Buried in Verona, Between the Buried and Me, Senses Fail and whoever else that’s decent enough to tour our great country.
More Interviews with incredible artists and musicians who deserve to have their voices heard and their songs played to a much larger audience… Also I’d love for Tom Delonge to pull his head in and rejoin Blink-182.
NEXT BIG BAND IN AUSTRALIA?
Buried in Verona. No questions asked, these guys are destined for big things very soon. Not only were they headlining their own tour this year, they opened for Northlane, performed at the UNIFY Festival and next year they’re hitting the road with Asking Alexandria. Backing up the masterpiece that is their latest album “Vultures Above/Lions Below” will be hard, but I know the boys are capable of doing it.