Wow, where does one even begin with the year that was 2019. I’ve had many conversations this year about the current state of heavy music and not only are we in a good place right now, but Australian bands have absolutely been dominating and leaving their mark upon the world and it’s really exciting to get behind these legends and support them any way we can.
This year saw a few big highlights for myself too, I FINALLY interviewed a member of blink-182 after trying for about 12 years (check out the fanboying here) and now I just don’t know what to do with myself anymore. I love doing this day in and day out creating content for you to either agree with me OR to tear me to shreds for (bring it on mofos!). What a way to wrap up the past decade and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next… either way, we’ll still be bringing you killer content, done our way from your favourite Aussie based alternative music publication. Here’s what I dug the most about the year though…
The Top 20 Albums of 2019
1. Northlane – Alien
Hands down the BEST release this year came from our very own genre-crossing outfit Northlane who proved you can combine two different genres and still stay true to your heavy roots. I was lucky to have this album a couple of weeks prior to release and I just couldn’t stop playing it from the minute I woke up until I went to bed that night. Brutal. Hard-Hitting. Emotional. Heavy. Perfect 10/10.
2. blink-182 – NINE
If you read my review of this bad boy (revisit it here) you’d know that I wanted to hate this album, but something happened… Instead of me picking it apart because my main man Tom DeLonge wasn’t involved anymore, I focused more on the songs and their growth from their previous disasterpiece California and you know what, they fucking nailed it, so much so, this has become my go-to album when I need something to play and I am officially back on #TeamBlink again!
3. Bring Me The Horizon – amo
The best thing about being critical of music is you’re open to changing your opinion the longer you have an album in your life and that’s what happened after I reviewed BMTH‘s amo, at first I gave it a 7.5/10 and HATED ‘nihilist blues‘ (read my thoughts here), but, after just putting the album on and listening to more than just the EDM instrumentals (Oli Sykes is one of the best songwriters of our generation) I grew to love it more for what it was, a risky release that, over time, won fans over and attracted a much larger audience in the process.
4. The Damned Things – High Crimes
I knew this album was coming but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. The Damned Things are one of those bands I discovered on my own and grew to love and appreciate over the years following their debut album. They returned to the heavy music scene with a new lineup, a new album and the same charisma and hard rock sound I knew and loved them for. Seriously, if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, you’re absolutely failing at life.
5. Dream State – Primrose Path
After seeing this band perform live for the first time at UNIFY 2019, I was hooked and I knew there was something special about them. Evidence of this can be seen in my interview with CJ and Rhys from the festival here but I didn’t expect to love their debut album as much as I have. It’s almost perfect in so many ways and now all I want is a headliner tour to see what these songs are like live. Looking at you UNFD…
6. PVRIS – Hallucinations EP
Not gonna lie here, I went through a pretty shitty breakup at the start of the year (good riddance to pieces of shit) and I slept on this EP for about a week before a fantastic mate of mine (love you Janine) told me to check it out and HOLY SHIT BALLS I was kicking myself for leaving it out of my life for so long. This has everything you need in a breakup/meeting someone new soundtrack. Highly emotive and catchy as fuck. Someone please tour them here next year…
7. Fever 333 – Strength in Numb333rs
It’s hard to forget Fever 333 released this incredible album at the start of the year before setting off to dominate the world. Such a great collection of songs that bordered on that metal/rap rock/hip-hop fence, but so powerfully thought-provoking it had to make my Top 7 list.
8. While She Sleeps – SO WHAT?
I didn’t think I liked While She Sleeps until I checked this album out and as it turns out I LOVED IT more than I thought I did according to Spotify. Such a great collection of songs, made better by live performances at UNIFY and supporting Architects. I’d love to catch these guys again since Lawrence wasn’t on that Holy Hell Tour and I think they’re ready for headliner shows!
9. Bare Bones – Rival Minds
Yeah The Bones!!!! Sophomore albums are hard to release, especially when your debut album was as amazing as Bad Habits was, but the guys put their metal hats on and created one of the best follow up releases a fan could ask for.
10. Dealer – Soul Burn EP
Out of nowhere this band dropped. No names of members (at first), no press release, just their heavy AF sound and I have been hooked ever since. Dealer are going to take over the world and the best part about that is, they’re Australian! If you missed any of their shows this year, that’s on you. Make that change in 2020 though.
11. Korn – The Nothing
I get all kinds of emotional when I hear my fav musicians brutally tear themselves apart for their music and I just wanted to reach through the speaker and give Jonathan Davis a hug for this masterpiece. It had everything old KoRn fans and new KoRn fans could want. A perfect return to form for the nu-metal kings!
12. The Beautiful Monument – I’m The Reaper
My girls in TBM have been proving they’re more than just an upcoming band and this second album was evidence that they have the right members, the right team behind them and the right motivation to take over. Evidence is they have played all 3 major music festivals in Australia (dedicated to heavy music) UNIFY 2020, Good Things and Download Festival 2019 IN A ROW. Watch them take over again next year too!
13. Void of Vision – Hyperdaze
With the current trend of metal // EDM crossovers, Northlane nailed it, but Void of Vision came a close second with their latest offering. I only caught a couple of shows this year for this album but I am frothing at the idea of seeing them play it in full next year. You should too!
14. Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
Much like KoRn, this album was heavy, aggressive, emotional and needed to be heard. With so many standouts it’s hard to pinpoint one song I loved the most but ‘Unsainted‘, ‘Spiders‘ and ‘Solway Firth‘ were on heavy rotation following its release.
15. Thy Art Is Murder – Human Target
2019 will go down in history as the first year not one, but two deathcore albums made my top 20 lists. TAIM absolutely crushed my expectations with Human Target and I don’t know if chatting to guitarist Andy Marsh had anything to do with opening my eyes to the writing/creating process, but their ‘Make America Hate Again‘ anthem hooked me in and I’ve been listening to that album on and off again since its release.
16. Alpha Wolf – Fault EP
I’ve always had love for Alpha Wolf and their comeback this year proved they’re not going anywhere. A firey EP that sent tongues wagging upon release and with talks of a new record coming out in 2020, that day can’t come any sooner!
17. Thornhill – The Dark Pool
I’ve been an on and off Thornhill listener but after hearing The Dark Pool (after putting it off for a few weeks because life was so busy) I found myself sooo horny for thorny it’s not even funny. A fantastic debut album which proved these guys are going places and I’m jumping on the hype train with them!
18. Killswitch Engage – Atonement
Killswitch Engage proved that if the formula ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Metal/core at its finest from the KSE camp which resulted in the year’s BEST song with an unexpected collaboration… more on that soon!
19. Gravemind – Conduit
The second deathcore album to infiltrate my list came from the Gravy lads who totally blew me out of the water with each and every show they played. Like I said earlier, I’m not the biggest fan of death metal/core but I can appreciate the technicality in the music that they play, but this shit was next level. Gravemind will be the next Thy Art Is Murder in a couple of years, no doubt about that!
20. Being Jane Lane – Savage Sunday
As if I wasn’t going to mention Being Jane Lane and their exceptional debut album which showcased everything I have seen in these ladies for the past few years. Pop punk, punk, alt rock, fun, LGBTI praise and support and just some of the BEST human beings I’ve met in this music business game. They’ve proved their worth many times over this year and they’re only going up from here. Highly recommend checking them out.
Honourable mentions to Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, I Prevail, Simple Creatures, Motionless In White, Sleeping with Sirens, Sum 41 and WAAX.
The Top 10 Songs of 2019
1. Killswitch Engage feat. Howard Jones – ‘The Signal Fire‘
2. blink-182 – ‘No Heart To Speak Of‘
3. Polaris – ‘Masochist‘
4. Northlane – ‘Details Matter‘
5. PVRIS – ‘Death of Me‘
6. The Amity Affliction – ‘All My Friends Are Dead‘
7. The Beautiful Monument – ‘Reaper‘
8. Belle Haven – ‘Forget Me‘
9. Dream State – ‘Twenty Letters’
10. Mark Morton feat. Chester Bennington – ‘Cross Off‘
Top 7 Music Videos of 2019
1. Northlane – ‘Bloodlines‘
2. Don Broco – ‘ACTION‘
3. Angels & Airwaves – ‘Kiss & Tell‘
4. While She Sleeps – ‘ANTI-SOCIAL‘
5. The Damned Things – ‘Cells’
6. Rammstein – ‘Deutschland‘
7. Falling in Reverse – ‘Popular Monster‘
The Top 5 Gigs of 2019
1. Beartooth – July 14th at The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
As if this wouldn’t make #1. Its the first show I’ve been to in a very long time where I knew the lyrics to every single song, crowd surfed to two of my fav Beartooth tracks, felt welcomed, supported and included in the scene supporting a band who literally saved my life a few years back and nothing I ever say or do will be enough to thank them for everything. I also ran into Caleb Shomo afterwards and we had a mad chat about life and everything and it really made the whole experience like a closing chapter on their album Disease. If you missed it, sucked in…
Anyone else having Beartooth withdrawals?
Posted by Wall Of Sound on Monday, July 22, 2019
2. Ice Nine Kills – December 5th at Stay Gold, Melb
The band’s first-ever performance in Australia and holy shit it was a fucking spectacle and a half. Those who were there know exactly what I mean. Heaviness, props, theatrical performances, breakdowns, moshing, screams, goddamn it was good. So much so I had to see them a total of four times while they were in Australia for Good Things Festival. (Gig Review & Photo Gallery here)
3. Fever 333 – March 8th at The Brightside, Brisbane
Another band who made their live debut in Australia scored a top spot nod from me. I’ve seen heaps of shows at this venue (some usually plagued with sound issues) but this was almost a perfect gig with nothing getting in the way of Jason, Stevis and Aric showing what a Grammy-nominated heavy act can do in a small capacity space. I want them back here again just so I can relive the madness this night resulted in. (Gig Review & Photo Gallery here)
4. Architects, Polaris & While She Sleeps – August 8th at Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane
We broke in Brisbane’s newest live music venue with a metalcore show to remember and goddamn wasn’t it a night of fun! I remember it being so packed I couldn’t move, but I sort refuge in the circle pit and had a crowd surf to make the most of one of my fav metalcore bands being back in the country and finally playing their new album for us. Polaris were mind-blowingly good and While She Sleeps, despite lacking screamer Lawrence Taylor, made up for his absence with Griffin Dickinson (of SHVPES). (Gig Review & Photo Gallery here)
Photo Gallery by Ophelia Symons. Insta: @opheliavictoria
5. Good Things Festival – December 6 & 8 Melbourne and Brisbane
This just happened and it’s already made me keen as fuck for next year but the BEST performances of the day/s (I hit up Melb and Bris) go to my girls in The Veronicas, the Ice Nine Kills lads, Parkway Drive (duh), SOHO, Simple Creatures, Enter Shikari and the entire festival crew and punters. What a day. What a fucking experience
Favourite Podcast Guest
Caleb Shomo of Beartooth. I put together possibly the best podcast I have ever made detailing how the band came to be, from their early beginnings to Caleb’s previous work in Attack Attack and then had the man and legend on to chat about everything.
Favourite Bands Discovered in 2019?
The Last Martyr (Australian)
Crazy Eighty-Eight (International)
Next Big Australian Band?
Most Looking Forward to in 2020?
ANGELS AND AIRWAVES NEW ALBUM AND AN AUSTRALIA TOUR PLEASE AND THANK YOU. New albums from Polaris, Violent Soho, Four Year Strong, The Veronicas, Five North, Poppy, Enter Shikari and The Ghost Inside. Ummm finalllly seeing The Ghost Inside at UNIFY, SKYND and My Chemical Romance at Download Festival. Good Things Festival upping the ante in 2020 and seeing how far we can take Wall of Sound next…
Big thank you to each and every one of you for your support this year (and over the past 5 years too), we’re not going anywhere but up and hope you’ll continue to climb with us.