Here’s LUNKHEAD’s countdown of the year’s best albums. Let us know in the comments section if you disagree.
15) Sol Invictus, Faith No More
Eighteen whole years. Eighteen! It looked like it was never going to happen, but Mike Patton and his crazy gang of geniuses have finally graced us with a new Faith No More album. Still weird, still macabre and still totally genius, with beautiful twistings of what exactly you can do with melody. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about one of the most creatively successful and true comeback albums is that this is exactly how Faith No More would sound now had they never called it a day at all – weathered and wisened, while still never giving a fuck.
Check out: Matador, Motherfucker and Sol Invictus.
For fans of: An older and wiser Faith No More, with all the same soul.
14) Behind The Devil’s Back, Fightstar
Originally intended as an EP, Fightstar’s return heralded a huge treat for fans in the surprise form of a new album – and it was no disappointment. Concise and straight to the point, the ten songs here tried new things, see glorious vocal-warping closer Dive and shapeshifting atmosphere of The Blackest Of Birds, and traded the orchestral backbone of Be Human for Blade Runner soundtrack electronica. The Fightstar of old returned in full effect, the Taking Back Sunday meets Hundred Reasons of Overdrive and Deftones heaviness in the title-track, but this was a revitalised band trying new and interesting things. And then Charlie went back to Busted (fair play to him though, can’t knock those tunes).
Check out: Dive, The Blackest Of Birds and Overdrive.
For fans of: Deftones, Funeral For A Friend, 80s movie soundtracks.
13) Ire, Parkway Drive
Three years on from the whirlwind flurry of beatdowns and heavy innovation that was Atlas, it was a self-professed time for the Byron Bay heroes to rip up the rulebook. Admirable in its execution and push for something new in a stale scene, not all of Ire works (see the Iron Maiden stadium metal forays of Vice Grip and Destroyer), but when it does it hits hard and timely – The Nightmare Before Christmas meets Faith No More of Writings On The Wall, Rage Against The Machine-isms of Crushed and out of nowhere clean(ish) chorus from the ever-brilliant Winston McCall on A Deathless Song. And when the brutal mosh floor fillers did come, such as Dying To Believe and Bottom Feeder, it reminded us who the kings of the beatdown really are.
Check out: Bottom Feeder, Dying To Believe and A Deathless Song.
For fans of: The middle ground between the colossal Jaws-like modern mosh beatdown and the Van Halen guitar heroes of yore.
12) Emotion, Carly Rae Jepsen
Following hot on the heels of Taylor Swift’s word-dominating pop 1989, Jepsen finally had the difficult task of following up Call Me Maybe, hands down one of the biggest singles of the past five years in music. An unashamed cheese-fest, check those saxophones that open the album, and pop in its purest bubblegum form, but really really brilliant in its songcraft. The huge loved-up candyfloss of I Really Like You met with influences from everywhere in the pop world over the past ten years: Britney (All That), All Saints and Atomic Kitten (Black Heart) and serious Mel B Spice Girls (When I Needed You), peppered with a healthy dose of funk and bass. Perfect for vibrant neon-lit dancefloors and front room dance parties.
Check out: Black Heart, I Really Like You and When I Needed You.
For fans of: Dancing. Lots of it. Noughties girl-vocal pop.
11) That’s The Spirit, Bring Me The Horizon
Not unlike Parkway in history meeting current execution, albeit more overt innovators for a much longer time now, the Steel City’s finest, now met finally with pretty much unanimous adoration rather than hate, scrapped the rule book on their sound too. Out went the mosh darkness (mostly anyway) and instead the electronics fully took over with pop, trap and dance weaving in and out. Released to much success, the forward-thinking heaviness that Bring Me built their name on is certainly missed and the album is very one-track as a result, with experiments that aren’t always pulled off (the Royal Blood indie tinge of What You Need and odd moments of shameless over-influence, see Linkin Park/Thrice), but when they are, the album heads into some very interesting territories. Not least the trap ominousness of Doomed, sampling definitely-don’t-take-drugs classic Requiem For A Dream while sounding like The Weeknd getting lost in an alt soundscape, and ethereal soul-searching moments such as Follow You that really see Horizon push themselves into completely new territories. And you can still mosh to Happy Song, so there you go.
Check out: Doomed, Follow You and Happy Song.
For fans of: A heavier(?) Pvris or Chvrches. Electronic music and heavy music.
WORDS: WILL CROSS
Did you miss the first part of Will’s countdown? Never fear, here it is in all its glory.