Wow is all I can say about the year that was 2016. So many Ups and Downs not only in the Music Industry and Personal Lives but with this little project we call Wall of Sound. With the huuuge help James ‘Plugga’ Birkin put in, we built this bad boy from nothing to becoming somewhat of a credible site and the amount of talent behind all our new writers, photographers and contributors , it’s nothing short of amazing to see. They have all come so far and are definitely going further with each article, review, concert covered. I personally want to thank all of them for every single minute they have spent with us and to tilt my hat to my fellow metal head and brother from an older mother Plugga for all his help, support and guidance. It will be sad to see him go, but I’ll be able to look back at all we achieved together over the past year. Thanks again mate, we wouldn’t be here without you… alright, now that sappy shit is out of the way time to get down to the nitty gritty.
2016 for me was most definitely a year for comebacks, some got to rise above the rest and achieve greatness, others, well, fell short of those high expectations and will have to build back that trust in order for me to be able to give them another shot. But without further adieu let’s get into this…
TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2016
1: Beartooth – Aggressive
Undeniably, hands down the best release of the year. Front-man (and well everything-ist) Caleb Shomo proved this band is more than just a one album wonder and they are getting more and more recognised across the globe for their work. An exceptional album that needs to be heard
2: Every Time I Die – Low Teens
Brutal doesn’t even cover what this album’s theme and contents are. As a parent I can imagine the pain and heartache Keith Buckley went though when his wife and unborn daughter almost lost their lives during birth. The band and front-man somehow managed to capture those emotions and present it to us in the form of one of the best albums in 2016.
3: Violent Soho – WACO
Brisbane lads Violent Soho worked their arses off this year, touring, recording and being all around legends on the back of this great piece of work. Every song seemed to up the ante with every listen and it’s become one of my most highly rotated albums of the year. They should be as proud of their work as the rock scene in Australia is of them.
4: Sum 41 – 13 Voices
The official winners of the comeback album of the decade are The Sums with their incredible return to form featuring former guitar shredder Davey B the Brownsound. Deryck Wibley has gone though some shit in his life and (like ETID) was able to share that with us all in one of the best genre crossing albums of the year. Very proud of the former 2000’s punk rock heroes.
5: Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
When I first heard this album I couldn’t get over how powerful the messages were in the music and how tight all the members of the band perfected their craft. The album went unheard for a little while in my iPod but following the tragic passing of guitarist Tom Searle, I went back to give his work another listen, knowing the meaning behind the music was about his slow decline as he was passing away due to cancer. It hit me harder then I ever imagined an album could and for weeks following it made its way back into my ears and way up in my list of albums.
6: A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations
It was always going to be hard for ADTR to follow up such a successful album like Common Courtesy but this one actually came really close to the level of progression those boys were at with the last one. Filled with heavy/pop punk/rock songs, I’m very keen to see where these guys head next.
7: Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
8 years we waited for the awesome foursome to finish touring on the back of Death Magnetic and we finally were exposed to new music this year. From the first song released we knew we were in for a hard rocking metal inducing experience that excited all our senses. Was the 3 discs necessary though? Probably not. Was the album worthy of a Top 10 spot? You betcha! Welcome back Metallica, lets hope you keep he tour rolling to us next year!
8: letlive. – If I’m The Devil…
The Epitaph signed guys have been progressively getting better and better with each album released and this thought provoking, hard hitting “in your face” ordeal was enough to cement them as one of the new big acts to keep your eye on. Think of them as a new age Rage Against The Machine and jump on board now.
9: Panic! at the Disco – Death of a Bachelor
For years everyone asked the question why Brendon Urie decided not to give up on the band which he (at one point) was the last remaining member of and the reason behind that is because he’s just such a talented musician, overly qualified for anything he puts his name to and because he is PANIC! His latest offering had hints of new, old and even old school influences throughout. Another “return to form” story gone right!
10: Birds of Tokyo – BRACE
They asked fans if they wanted a heavier album and the fans spoke out crying YES, so that’s exactly what was delivered by the Perth band. For fans of the Tv show Stranger Things, there were elements of that old school retro sound which just brought back the feels of how music used to be, combined with a punchy feel and epic stadium sounding rock. So glad they’re not making Mum Rock anymore.
11: Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage
Surprise albums can be very hit and miss and with Avenged their attempted didn’t work out like it has for bigger musicians (e.g. Beyoncé ) but it still had enough impact to get us all keen to get in and hear what they’ve been working on with new drummer Brooks Wackerman. Plus if you love long songs, feast your ears upon the epic 15 minute, 45 second masterpiece ‘Exist” at the album’s end.
12: Killswitch Engage – Incarnate
There is nothing the Killswitch boys can do wrong since reuniting with former front-man Jesse Leach on their last album. Incarnate tried different style while still staying true to what the band has done previously.
13: Korn – The Serenity of Suffering
For the best Korn experience, minus the Dubstep/Skrillex
abomination collaboration and go back to the roots of where they first started out. Their signature sound was welcomed back by fans who took to the album like a moth to a flame. Looking forward to seeing these guys live in action again now they’re back to basics.
14: The Amity Affliction – This Could Be Heartbreak
I don’t give a fuck what the haters say, TAA have always tried to produce albums which cater to their ever growing fanbase which (as you may have seen last tour) love the guys and all they do. Their new album finally saw the boys reach commercial radio success with “All Messed Up” (Radio Version) which has certainly put themselves and the scene on the map for people who may not have known they existed before hand. I for one can’t wait to see what’s next and hope they can continue this global domination they’re on for years to come.
15: Hellions – Opera Oblivia
ARIA Nominations are either laughed at, well received or for those in the know, welcomed with open arms for the ability to put a band on a platform for a few months and let the county and world know they exist. Not that Hellions need that kind of attention because they seem to be killing it and this new album was by far better than anything they have ever released. This is your next Northlane/In Hearts Wake although Id be watching my back if I was in those bands, as these guys could surpass them at any given time.
16: Blink-182 – California
I had a very love/hate relationship with Blink’s return to the music scene and this album truly tested my loyalty to the band and all they had accumulated over the years. For a hardcore Tom Delonge fan, it was (and still is) hard to let go and welcome Matt Skiba without being too critical, however the lyrical content and somewhat simplistic guitar/bass combo didn’t really make this a stand out release. Travis Barker was so on point however, I will never deny that. My review was the most read article all year for Wall of Sound and it’s hard for me to see why so many people disagreed with what had to write about it. Revisit that here.
17: Northlane/In Hearts Wake – Equinox EP
What’s better than a new Northlane and IHW album? A joint venture which saw both bands showcasing their talents in one handy location. While the EP was short and sweet, it left me wanting more from the guys so here’s hoping we can see another release in years to come.
18: Sensaii – Renegade
When a band of musical veterans get together to form a new act it can go one of two ways… A hard failure who’s attempt goes unnoticed and they fade away to irrelevance or they release an album which captures the eye of fans of their previous work and gets them up on a platform where the offers start to come in. The killed it alongside The Amity Affliction on their last tour. I predict huge things for these boys.
19: Tonight Alive – Limitless
Pop Punk is clearly still alive in this country and whenever a band works with David Bendeth they are always destined to be put more into the spotlight than previously thought. Tonight Alive are keeping their career very much alive by trusting such a genius to work on their latest offering and the band are an unstoppable force of nature taking down any obstacle in their way.
20: Baby Metal – Metal Resistance
Continuing with the theme of “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” I’m going to give my last place in the Top 20 of 2016 to these Japanese kids and their metal backers who are taking the world by storm, scoring an opening slot with Guns n’ Roses and proving that kids can enjoy music that isn’t 88% softcore porn like most of the pop acts these days. I really hope these kids are the reason the next generation keeps the metal scene alive long after we and our legendary heroes leave this world.
Top 10 Songs of 2016
1: Architects – Gone With The Wind
2: Beartooth – However You Want It Said
3: Blink-182 – California
4: Birds of Tokyo – Empire
5: A Day To Remember – Same About You
6: Sum 41 – The Rise & The Fall
7: Metallica – Atlas, Rise
8: Violent Soho – Blanket
9: Amy Shark – Adore You
10: Vehicular Beerslaughter – Tinners are Winners
(Before you ask, yes that’s me, yes that’s a band a mate and I started and YES we were drunk when we wrote that song. Pretty god hey! #Biased #MoreToCome)
Top 5 Music Videos of 2016
1: Beartooth – Aggressive
2: Sum 41 – Fake My Own Death
3: The Amity Affliction – This Could Be Heartbreak
4: Violent Soho – No Shade
5: The Veronicas – On Your Side
Top 5 GIGS of 2016
#1: The Cure July 23rd @ Splendour in the Grass, North Byron Parklands, NSW
#2: Steel Panther June 20th @ Eaton’s Hill Hotel, Brisbane
#3: Trivium April 15th @ Max Watts Brisbane, QLD
#4: Iron Maiden May 5th @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre, QLD
#5: Beartooth August 16th @ Eaton’s Hill Hotel, QLD
What Am I Most Looking Forward to in 2017?
Tom Delonge put up a silent snippet of him playing guitar on the Angels & Airwaves Facebook page the other day and it’s the only thing musically I’ve been thinking about. Really can’t wait to hear some new music from this guy. Seeing Download Festival make it’s way to Australia would be orgasmic if it happens. The Metallica tour is a no-brainer too.
Next Big Band in Australia
Satellites from Brisbane are about to explode. I’ve had my eye on these guys for the past few years and they’ve finally found a direction that’ll lead them to success. No need to say keep an eye on them because by the end of 2017 you’ll know them by name and sound.
Also for fans of the metal variety, there is a band I’ve been working with by the name of Vow to Conquer who have been working their arses off to produce one of the finest debut releases you’ve ever heard. Think Avenged crossed with Trivium and Metallica with a hint of System of a Down. Follow their antics on Facebook
And last but not least Aussie drummer Scott Eckel who scored a huge deal to join upcoming pop-punk act Trophy Wives in the states under the watchful eye of producer John Feldmann should be up to some big things following our breaking news of his signing. Keep following his story via twitter @TrophyScott
In closing, it has been a huuuge year for us here at Wall of Sound and we have loved every bit of feedback and returning visitors that we have managed to receive. While things are a bit slow at the moment, we promise to come back bigger and better than ever next year giving you our brutally honest opinions, in depth album reviews, the best action shots from gigs and support for bands all across the country and beyond…
Until then… you know what the fuck to do!