Well, yet another year goes by and here I am still kicking it with the Dying Scene Team. Most of you new readers probably don’t know me as I rarely post stories anymore, but I work behind the scenes to make sure you all get some sweet reviews to read from your favourite writers. Though if my Top 10 has is anything to show for it, perhaps it’s better that the team keeps me on the sidelines. Check out my list here.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER):
Murder By Death – Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon
Make Do and Mend – Everything You’ve Ever Loved
Every Time I Die – Ex Lives
MewithoutYou – Ten Stories
Circle Takes The Square – Decompositions Vol. 1
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2012.
Basement is likely one of the most overlooked bands of the past few years. Their debut full-length I Wish I Could Stay Here is a brilliant emo punk record that channels everything from Mineral to Sunny Day Real Estate. ColourMeInKindness, their second and unfortunately final full-length, follows suit and perfects Basement’s sound, making it a true gem among the ashes of the fallen genre.
Speaking of underrated bands, Xerxes came into the game a little late. Emerging a little after the recent surge of emotionally charged hardcore bands, I feel that their slight tardiness lead to a lot of people taking this incredible album for granted. Thrashier, darker, and more raw than the output of their contemporaries Touche Amore, Pianos Become The Teeth, etc., Xerxes haven’t been following behind as much as they will be standing beside; they just needed a little bit of time to catch up.
It’s probably unfair of me to even mention Converge on this list. Release after release, this near-legendary four piece have proven to listeners that they are the ruling kings of punk thrash. All We Love We Leave Behind is a testament of their absolutely destructive legacy and yet another flawless album on their decorated belt. Yes, I know it’s not Jane Doe, but that’s what makes it so exceptional.
How Floral Green won’t make it onto everyone’s end of year list is totally beyond me. If you’re in your mid twenties now and cared about the early 2000’s rock scene in any capacity, Title Fight’s latest effort should have struck a tenderly resonant chord in your aging heart. This album is layer upon layer of exceptional song writing and bittersweet storying telling blanketed comfortably by an organic, almost lazy charm.
I’m incredibly envious of these dudes (and dudette). For their short span as a band (and as adults, really) they have already accomplished what most bands at their age can only dream of doing. Their talent for writing absolutely punishing heavy music caught the ears of many fans and, almost over night, they exploded into one of the most versatile and talked-about bands in the hardcore scene. If their album was anything but music, it’d be an amorphous nightmare trudging heavily out of a blossoming swamp.
Man, it doesn’t get much weirder than The Chariot. I mean, it probably does get a lot weirder, but as far as the stale and saturated world of metalcore goes, One Wing is a weird album. But somewhere between the Ennio Morricone inspired crescendo and Chaplin’s famed speech from The Dictator, The Chariot showcase an originality that can really only be described as genius. With every release they manage to make me say “This is it, this is their masterpiece”, and with every release after that they manage to prove me wrong. I can’t wait to be wrong again.
This album is downright beautiful. Trading their chaotic early screamo inspired sound for moodier, indie inspired stylings, the band has created an album that ebbs and flows between raging anger and tense, heart breaking silences. From the frail, plucked notes of “Ruined/Wasted” to the darkness of “Disease Artist”, this is the soundtrack of getting lost in a rain-soaked forest in hopes that you’ll never be found.
I think I must have one these on every single one of my End of Year List but fuck it. This is a pop album. It doesn’t try to hide the fact that it’s a pop record. It, straight up, has a semi-acapella song that works beautifully without sounding forced or gimmicky. It’s laced full of incredibly catchy lyrics, infectious hooks, and an attitude that makes you want to drive muscle cars and slick your hair back. This is punk pop the way only the 80’s knew how to write and yet a reformed hardcore band managed to take it as their own and elevate it on all levels. Heartbroken, heroic and fearless; this is the album The Gaslight Anthem wish they wrote.
This french trio came screaming through the gates of the American hardcore scene and knocked me straight on my ass. Slice it any way you want, this is a dark, burning punk rock record that relentlessly beats for a little under half an hour. It’s an exercise in violently venting anger and frustrations for band and listener alike.
Somewhere beneath the ghostly wails, the piercing feedback and the broken strings there is a beautiful, albeit violent, song in everything Loma Prieta has ever done. I.V. is a masterful album that has haunted me since January and has remained on constant rotation throughout the year. This is 24 minutes of the most dissonant, emotionally devastating music of 2012.