If you’ve been living under a rock, you wouldn’t know that Pridelands unleashed their debut album Light Bends on January 14th (our review here) and it is the only album at the moment on constant repeat. If at first you weren’t sold, trust me, give it another crack; it’s definitely a grower – and ‘Parted Time‘ is an absolute certified banger!
But with their debut release out in the world, finding it’s own feet, we’ve enlisted the help of unclean vocalist Mason Bunt to take us through 7 of his favourite debut metalcore albums to see what inspired him and who he thinks had the best drop that changed the face of the genre forever…
1: Bullet For My Valentine – The Poison
Now I could be wrong, but I feel that if you asked the average metal enjoyer between the ages of 25 – 35 what their introduction to metalcore was, the majority would tell you it was Bullet For My Valentine. BFMV’s debut is a classic for my generation, 2005’s The Poison. It’s an album that I still go back to, not just for nostalgic value, but because I still love it. It is full of hooks that are undeniably brilliant in the scope of mid-2000’s metalcore. From the guitar shredding to it’s power-house choruses, it’s the melodic side of this album that makes it so iconic. Matt Tuck’s vocals spoke to the inner emo in us all with the albums ballad-like choruses mixed in with his angst and aggression. Led by the anthem that is ‘Tears Don’t Fall’, BFMV found their winning formula, and set the bar incredibly high with this iconic debut album.
2: Parkway Drive – Killing With A Smile
Since we’re talking about debut metalcore albums, and I’m an Australian writing to an Australian publication, we can’t go any further without covering Parkway Drive’s mammoth 2005 debut – Killing With A Smile. An album that in my opinion set the standard in Australia for the genre, from start to finish it is packed with what became the textbook elements of metalcore. Crushing breakdowns, relentless screamed vocals, and moments of melody that break up the brutality to allow it’s heaviness to hit even harder. No Aussie band at the time was doing it like Parkway. It is quite obvious that producing the album with Adam D from Killswitch Engage allowed them to hone their sound into the powerhouse it became, (side note that Killswitch have written two of the greatest metalcore albums in modern times).
Parkway Drive helped carve a path for future Aussie metal bands with this debut, and I quite possibly wouldn’t be screaming in a band if it wasn’t for hearing Winston McCall do it when I was 12 years old.
3: Northlane – Discoveries
Speaking of trendsetting debut albums in Australia, Northlane’s Discoveries is exactly that to a whole new extreme. Released in November 2011, this album turned the local scene on it’s head and inspired countless young bands in the years following, my own band being one of them. Northlane had played in Mt Gambier a bunch of times prior to the release of Discoveries, they were everyone’s favourite band in my local scene so I will never forget the buzz that surrounded this album release. Once you hit play on this album, you were met with a sound that was just straight up hypnotic. This debut showcases how forward-thinking Northlane are as musicians, the progressive nature of their songwriting has never ceased with every album that followed. It is safe to say that Northlane changed the landscape of music in Australia since they dropped their debut, making them the new trendsetters that Parkway were in the mid-2000’s.
4: Stories – The Youth to Become
The Youth to Become by Stories is in my humble opinion one of the most underrated Australian albums of all time. This album arrived for me at a time where I was going through a period of change, a time when I was confused about who I was and questioning my every intention in life. It was a dark period for me, but I found solace in The Youth to Become. Morgan Dodson‘s lyrics on this album articulate existential crisis in an honest and vulnerable way. There is a very human feeling in The Youth to Become, and I believe that is what made this album, and Stories something special.
5: Loathe – The Cold Sun
The UK’s Loathe are truly one of the most exciting and unique bands I’ve discovered in the last 5 years. Their debut studio album The Cold Sun is an unrelenting journey into darkness. It has this bleak dystopian vibe to it; a certain feeling of hopelessness grips you throughout the albums 35 minutes. Loathe have mastered making their music sound and feel cinematic. The use of synths and ambience paired with their unique guitar sound makes them stand out in a genre that is too saturated with bands writing for the sake of heaviness; Loathe are heavy in a more thought out manner. If you are yet to delve into their two albums, I sincerely encourage you to if you are looking for something refreshing.
6: Polaris – The Mortal Coil
Polaris were always a band destined for greatness. Once they dropped their EP The Guilt and The Grief in 2016, the bar was set and they were the talk of the town. With their first full-length they not only fulfilled expectations, they quickly became Australia’s latest metal superstars. The Mortal Coil is a debut album that encapsulates everything that modern metalcore has become, and Polaris took that sound to a powerhouse level. It has the riffs, it has the catchy choruses, the crushing breakdowns. It has everything that makes for a thoroughly enjoyable metal album. The Mortal Coil is in the upper echelon of Aussie albums like Parkway’s Horizons or Northlane’s Singularity, and the commercial success of Polaris since it’s release reflects that.
I can’t name another Aussie band that climbed the ranks quicker than Polaris did off the back of this monumental debut album, and it’s been a real pleasure to watch unfold.
7: Thornhill – The Dark Pool
The Aussie trend keeps going, not because I’m being biased, but because there is a reason the rest of the world has been saying for years that we breed the best heavy bands in modern times. Thornhill’s debut is nothing short of mesmerising. The Dark Pool captures my favourite elements of modern heavy music: melody, atmosphere, groove and progressive songwriting. This is another album that bends the sub-genre of metalcore into a more prog-rock direction, proving once again that heavy music is only becoming more exciting and unpredictable. The Dark Pool is an album that is best enjoyed from start to finish, each song compliments the one prior and the one following. For such a young group to achieve what they have on this debut album shows they have merely scratched the surface, making Thornhill the band I’m most excited to see where they take us next.
Written by Mason Bunt @masonbunt
Stream their killer debut album Light Bends here
Pridelands – Light Bends tracklisting
1. I Reach into Your Heart
2. The Walls
3. Parallel Lines
4. Parted Time
5. The Lake Of Twisted Limbs
6. Safer Here
7. Heavy Tongue
9. Translucent Blues
11. The Sun Will Find Us
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