15 albums that will stay with me forever – 2010 vs 2017

Does anyone else remember Facebook notes? Back in the early 2010s they were all the rage in my friendship group.  People would tag their friends in questionnaires about inane topics like their favourite colour, and I probably filled out about 4 notes a week at my peak.

Nowadays I know that kind of thing is pretty cringey, but in 2010 I was merely an annoying little 15 year old with too high an opinion of herself, so I was under the impression that literally EVERYONE wanted to know all about whether I’d kiss the last person I sent a text to.  (Note: usually the last person I’d sent a text to was my Mum, just to demonstrate how thrilling my answers were.)

Well, earlier this week I was reminded about the existence of notes, when a note I had written back in 2010 popped up in my Memories page on Facebook.  The title read 15 albums ❤️, and the ‘rules’ that invariably came along with a Facebook note read as follows:

The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you’ve heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing what albums my friends choose.

When I read over the list of albums I’d chosen, I laughed to myself. Most of these albums didn’t stick with me for much more than a couple of years, let alone a lifetime.  So today I thought I’d show you my list of 15 albums from 2010, and compare with albums I’d choose today.

2010:

  1. Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance
  2. This is War – 30 Seconds to Mars
  3. The Flame in All of us – Thousand Foot Krutch
  4. One-X – Three Days Grace
  5. Infinity on High – Fall Out Boy
  6. Streets of Gold – 3OH!3
  7. Betrayed – Lostprophets
  8. The Defamation of Strickland Banks – Plan B
  9. In Your Honour – Foo Fighters
  10. Meteora – Linkin Park
  11. Black Holes and Revelations – Muse
  12. Only Revolutions – Biffy Clyro
  13. 21st Century Breakdown – Green Day
  14. Curtain Call – Eminem
  15. In Silico – Pendulum

Well, isn’t this list a throwback? It really demonstrates how little my music taste has changed in seven years, as to be honest I still listen to tracks from 11 out of these 15 albums on a regular basis.

The four I’ve left behind? Lostprophet’s Betrayed, for obvious reasons – after Iain Watkins was convicted of being a paedophile, I deleted all of their music from my iTunes account and I’ve never listened to them since.  The knowledge that Watkins had been doing unspeakable things to kids whilst making that music makes me sick to my stomach.

I’ve also moved on from Eminem’s Curtain Call and Plan B’s The Defamation of Strickland Banks.  I’m not massively into rap any more, and besides, I’ve grown out of Eminem spitting bars about how he’d like to murder his mother, ex-girlfriend Kim, or any other lady who takes his fancy – violence against women isn’t my favourite genre.

Plus, Streets of Gold by 3OH!3 is essentially a 2010 time capsule.  It perfectly captured the music and sentiments of the moment, so I honestly feel like I’m 15 again every time one of its tracks comes on shuffle, and it’s all just a bit cringe.  To be fair, though, the line “tell your boyfriend, if he says he’s got beef, that I’m a vegetarian and I ain’t fuckin’ scared of him” is still lyrical genius.

To be fair to my 15 year old self, the rest of the albums on this list still hold up today.  Meteora is still an amazing Linkin Park album 14 years since it was released, and if I ever feel the urge to listen to some drum and bass, In Silico is usually the record I turn to.  I don’t listen to Thousand Foot Krutch or Three Days Grace very often any more, but I still feel pretty nostalgic for those albums, so I don’t feel bad at having included them.  Plus, my first ever proper gig was to see Green Day on their 21st Century Breakdown tour, so that album will always have a special place in my heart.

But with no further ado, what are the 15 albums that will stick with me forever – 2017 edition?

2017:

  1. Blossom – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
  2. Puzzle – Biffy Clyro
  3. Ceremonials – Florence & The Machine
  4. All Hope Is Gone – Slipknot
  5. Minutes to Midnight – Linkin Park
  6. Toxicity – System of a Down
  7. Bones – Young Guns
  8. Wasting Light – Foo Fighters
  9. A Flash Flood of Colour – Enter Shikari
  10. Folie à Deux – Fall Out Boy
  11. Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow – We Are The Ocean
  12. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
  13. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys
  14. Black Holes and Revelations – Muse
  15. Nightmare – Avenged Sevenfold

I’ve gotta say, this was a seriously difficult list to compile.  The thing I found hardest was trying to discern in my mind between albums I’m obsessed with right now, and albums that hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll likely love for a long time.

For that reason, records like If I’m The Devil… by Letlive., Bad Vibrations by A Day to Remember and Asymmetry by Mallory Knox didn’t quite make the cut – whilst I love those records, I’m not 100% convinced that I’ll still love them as much in years to come.

You’ll notice that only one album is still on this list: Black Holes and Revelations by Muse.  I struggled with choosing a Muse album, because I love all of their records for different reasons, but Black Holes and Revelations is one I always go back to without fail.

There is a fair bit of repetition of artists on this list, though: Foo Fighters, Muse, Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park and Biffy Clyro all make a reappearance, even if my favoured records on their discographies have changed a bit.  In fairness, most of these bands have put out at least two records since 2010, so I had a broader spectrum of choice.

And what of the new appearances on my list? About a year after I wrote this note, in 2011, I started listening to bands like Avenged Sevenfold, System of a Down, Young Guns and Slipknot.  Without being too sappy, they honestly changed my life and the way I listen to and interact with music, and now a lot of my music taste revolves around these three acts.

Whenever any of the tracks from the above 15 albums come on shuffle, I feel relieved that my iPod has come up with a good shuffle, for once, and ignored the many years worth of crap music which still resides in my iTunes library. (Note to self: clear it out, you’ll feel better for it.)

I know the premise of the 15 albums note is flawed, because there’s truly no way of knowing how you’ll feel about an album or artist in years to come. Hell, nobody could predict that Iain Watkins would turn out to be a paedo.  So maybe in another seven years, in 2024, I’ll take on 15 albums ❤️ round three, and we can see how my tastes have evolved – or not – yet again!


What are your 15 albums that will stay with you forever? What do you think of my selection? Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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Review: Broken Machine (Deluxe)

Nothing But Thieves are one of my favourite British bands at the moment.  Their debut self-titled album exploded onto the alternative rock scene in 2015, and the band have seen themselves rocketed towards more and more recognition and success.  To be fair, any band that’s ever opened for Muse has to be pretty special.  Nothing But Thieves released the first single for Broken Machine back in May; you can watch the video for Amsterdam below:

And now, on to the album.  Broken Machine begins with the incredible grungy drum and bass-led intro to I Was Just A Kid, which helps to set the tone for the rest of the album: this band are unpredictable, and I love their experimental sound.

Second single Sorry is one of the slower tracks on the record, but fans of Nothing But Thieves’s debut will know that this band like to keep their listeners guessing.  The chant of “I’ve waited for this, I’m ready for it” contrasts with the apologetic nature of the song, suggesting feelings of redemption.  It’s followed by the album title track, with electronic-sounding drums and a looping backing vocal which then explodes into an unexpected riff at around the 1:10 mark.

Potentially one of the most experimental tracks on the album, Live Like Animals, is also one of my favourites.  Vocalist Conor Mason experiments with more spoken lyrical delivery, and the crunching riffs are matched by buzzing synths.  By the second chorus, I was ready to get up and start dancing – I can see this track going down well at gigs and festivals.

Hell, Yeah is a change of pace, bringing down the mood slightly with it’s chilled, acoustic instrumentals and Mason’s high, wailing voice and silky delivery on the chorus.  This is followed by the equally down-beat Afterlife; Philip Blake’s bass is undulating and adds a slightly creepy, supernatural vibe to the track.

I reviewed the deluxe version of the album over on Spotify, which features an extra four tracks, including an acoustic version of Sorry and a piano version of Particles.  I really enjoyed the two new tracks, and I’m always a sucker for an acoustic version of a heavier song, so if you are too, I’d definitely recommend picking up the deluxe version of Broken Machine.

I know I already mentioned this, but I thought it was worth reiterating that Nothing But Thieves are probably one of the best British bands currently putting out music.  Their combination of electrifying riffs, dreamy synths and strings, complex and emotional lyrics, and Mason’s bewitching voice is unlike any other band out there at the moment.  If you enjoyed their debut effort – and let it be noted that I don’t trust you if you didn’t enjoy it – then you will definitely also enjoy Broken Machine.  

Highlights: Live Like Animals, Particles, Get Better, Particles – Piano Version

Review: Hydrograd

Afternoon altrocklifers! I’m currently away enjoying myself at Bourne Free pride festival, but luckily for you I took some time out on Friday to review the latest record by five piece Iowa band Stone Sour.  Excitement for the band’s sixth studio album, Hydrograd, started to build back in April with the release of lead single, Fabuless.  You can watch the music video here:

The album itself opens with a cheeky “hello, you bastards” at the beginning of introductory instrumental track YSIF, which summarises Stone Sour’s alternative rock style in a two minute package.  Great riffs, churning bass and inventive drum fills form the meat of the track, with electronic samples, distorted backing vocals and gentle piano adding something a bit special.  Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Corey Taylor is front and centre throughout the record, and that makes sense: Stone Sour is very much his baby, the long-running side project to keep the Slipknot vocalist occupied.

I can understand why Stone Sour decided to release Song #3 as the second single for the album.  It’s easily one of the best – and most radio friendly – on the record, with fantastic lyrics, great drums, and a fantastic guitar solo wrapped up in a fairly punchy four minute package.

Speaking of Taylor, his vocals are just as strong as ever throughout this album.  He switches between melodic verses, occasional crooning, and jarring shouts with ease that betrays his experience.  Since the departure of Taylor’s Slipknot co-member Jim Root back in 2014, this is the first full length record with new lead guitarist Christian Martucci, and he fits into the line-up extremely well.

Hydrograd features fifteen tracks and clocks in at around an hour long, which more than makes up for the four year wait since the second half of House Of Gold & Bones Part Two was released.  Honestly, there are a couple of more generic tracks which could have been shaved off the track list without negatively effecting the album, such as Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I) and the country inspired St. Marie.

Overall, if you consider yourself a fan of Stone Sour, then I think you’ll be pleased with their latest musical offering.  Is Hydrograd as ambitious as their two part concept albums?  Maybe not. But the fact remains that this album is a solid alternative rock offering, full of strong single-worthy tracks accompanied by a number of more chilled ballads.  So whilst their latest record doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of House Of Gold & Bones Part 1 & 2, it’s still a great offering in its own right.  I mean, let’s be real, is Corey Taylor capable of producing anything other than fantastic?  I think not.

Highlights: Knievel Has Landed, Song #3, The Witness Trees, Thank God It’s Over, Mercy, Somebody Stole My Eyes

Review: How Did We Get So Dark?

Today I’m extremely excited to review How Did We Get So Dark?, the second full length album by Brighton rock duo Royal Blood.  This band burst onto the scene in late 2014 with the release of their eponymous first album, and their latest record is its highly anticipated follow-up.  The band released its first single, Lights Out, back in April, and you can watch the brilliant music video here:

Now on to the record.  The album opens with the title track, a strong opener with undulating bass throughout the verses and grungy riffs adding depth to the chorus.  It features a great outro, with fantastic drum fills and staccato backing vocals repeating the album name over and over again, which adds a creepy vibe to the song.

Then follows the lead single, Lights Out, arguably one of Royal Blood’s best tracks yet, with a catchy chorus easy to sing – or shout – along to, and a fantastic bass solo.  Next is the album’s second single, I Only Lie When I Love You, a grungy track positively dripping with swagger and attitude.  The lyrics discuss relationships and break-ups, which are a consistent lyrical theme throughout the record.  But then, isn’t love and loss present regularly in everyone’s lives?  Vocalist Mike Kerr’s voice remains as strong as ever, switching between sounding soft and emotive and louder, on the verge of shouting, with ease.  Plus, the drumming throughout the record, provided by Ben Thatcher, is masterful.

Hook, Line & Sinker is this album’s Ten Tonne Skeleton: it’s hands down the best song on the record, with fantastic catchy lyrics and imaginative instrumentals unmatched by anything else the band have put out.  It was pretty difficult for me to list my highlights of this 10-song album, because the entire record is fantastic, but Hook, Line & Sinker is truly on another level.

To me, How Did We Get So Dark? is reminiscent of Biffy Clyro’s work: the drums layered with additional percussion and higher pitched backing vocals draw parallels to their Opposites and Ellipsis albums.  Plus, the bass towards the end of Lights Out has a distinct Black Chandelier vibe.

Recently Royal Blood explained to NME that they took inspiration from David Bowie to create this album, but to me it seems clear that their influences are many and varied.  This band have been compared to Queens Of The Stone Age and Muse amongst others, and their latest album sounds like they’re trying to live up to those massive comparisons.

Overall, this record is dark and moody, and a fantastic follow-up to their first album.  My only criticism is that, at 35 minutes long, there isn’t nearly enough of How Did We Get So Dark? to keep me occupied until Royal Blood release their next album.  This band are a fantastic example of home-grown UK talent, and I’ll be following their future success very closely.

Highlights: I Only Lie When I Love You, She’s Creeping, Look Like You Know, Hook, Line & Sinker

Review: The Haze

Pulled Apart By Horses are an indie/alternative rock four-piece from Leeds.  Formed in 2008, the band have put out three full length albums over the years.  On Friday, the band released their fourth record, The Haze.  Hype for this record started building in November with the release of the lead single, The Big What If.  You can watch the video for the track here:

The record opens with its title trackmade up of grungy riffs and raw shouty vocals which demonstrates the band’s gritty rock ‘n’ roll sound perfectly.  The Big What If follows, and its fun tongue-in-cheek lyrics such as “I pray to my own toilet bowl that I won’t be swallowed whole” demonstrate that Pulled  Apart By Horses aren’t the type to take themselves too seriously.

One of the running themes of the record is the band’s up tempo, high intensity style which makes The Haze’s listening experience endlessly exciting.  You never quite know whether an awesome drum fill, wailing guitar riff or snarled vocal hook is coming next, and that’s what makes the album so interesting.  There are also plenty of catchy shout-along choruses to be found as well, demonstrated perfectly by Flash Lads and My Evil Twin.

There are a couple of slower tracks to be found on The Haze as well, such as the meandering Lamping which is full of la-la-las and starts out with a cool, trippy intro of birdsong and synths.  It’s the longest song on the record clocking in at just under four and a half minutes long, but I reckon the track needed that amount of breathing room, and the rest of the album is punchy enough that Lamping is a welcome change of pace.

Back in 2015 Pulled Apart By Horses’ original drummer, Lee Vincent, left the band and was replaced with Tommy Davidson, and I honestly feel like the new drums have injected a new lease of life into the band.  From an outsider’s perspective it seems to me that the line-up change forced the band to approach writing for The Haze in a new, fresh way.  Frontman Tom Hudson explained in interviews that the band recorded the album back on an isolated farm in Wales, and it seems like this helped them to focus solely on creating a kick ass record.

Highlights: The Big What If, Neighbourhood Witch, Lamping, My Evil Twin

Review: All These Countless Nights

Deaf Havana are an English five piece alternative rock band who have been performing and producing punchy rock tracks since their formation in 2005.  All These Countless Nights was announced last August during the band’s performances at Reading & Leeds Festival, and the excitement for the album has built gradually over the past five months.  The single Trigger was featured as Daniel P Carter’s Rockest Record on his BBC Radio 1 show, and you can hear the track here:

All These Countless Nights is the fourth full length album to be released by Deaf Havana, and I’m very excited to hear how the band has progressed over the past 12 years.  Their sound has shifted over the years, from hardcore guitars and harsh screamed vocals, to a more lighthearted rock vibe with 100% clean vocals and big stadium-filling choruses.

The album opens with Ashes, Ashes: it begins with a deceptive acoustic introduction before singer James Veck-Gilodi’s vocals pick up passionately and the drums and lead guitar kick in.  The “whoa-oh”ing backing vocals help to build layers of atmosphere, as does the delicate piano playing within the verses.  The record then leads into Trigger, easily one of the strongest songs on the record with a chorus full of emotion and drums more complex than you might expect from a song of this genre.

One of my highlights of the record is L.O.V.E, a moody ballad discussing the darker side of love with an electric guitar solo from Matthew Veck-Gilodi and a great instrumental running from about the three and a half minute mark onwards.  It’s the longest song on All These Countless Nights, clocking in at almost five minutes in length, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been dragged out; more that the instrumentals and vocals have been given the breathing room they need to create the biggest impact.

Each track contains features which help them to stand out from the rest, from Fever’s grungy guitars, to the fantastic guitar solo in Pretty Low, to the acoustic-led Seattle.  But what does stand out to me as a whole is the band’s ambitions and desire to succeed, grow and reach more fans than ever before.  Whereas previous records sung about regrets and sadness fuelled by booze, songwriter James takes these feelings and looks forward more optimistically than ever before. If Deaf Havana continue to produce cracking records like this one, they’ll surely reach the success they deserve.

Having listened back to some of Deaf Havana’s older tracks to refresh my memory, I’ve found that vocalist James’s voice has improved and strengthened massively over the last 12 years.  He wasn’t the band’s original front man, but he’s definitely settled into that role now.  His tone is great, and I’d argue that he’s much better at conveying his feelings through the sound of his voice than ever before.  Some older Deaf Havana fans much prefer the band’s earlier music, but to disregard their more recent records is to disregard how much these guys have grown and improved as musicians.  If that also includes changing their sound, then so be it.  I certainly think the band have changed for the better, resulting in All These Countless Nights, their strongest album yet and another contender for one of the best records of 2017.

Highlights: Happiness, Fever, Pretty Low, Seattle, Pensacola, 2013

Review: Night People

After three years of silence, on Friday the Surrey five piece You Me At Six returned with their fifth full length album, Night People.  Their previous record, Cavalier Youth, was definitely a mixed bag for me: it contained excellent rock tracks such as Room To Breathe and Fresh Start Fever, but also contained soft pop fillers like Be Who You Are and Carpe Diem.  However, after hearing the upcoming record’s lead single, also titled Night People, my faith in You Me At Six was restored.  You can listen to the track and see the music video below:

The album begins with its title track, which certainly does the job of setting the tone for the rest of the record.  Its bass-y groove and simple yet effective chorus sounds like Night People is set to be a stadium or festival main stage pleaser.  The pace is picked up with the short but punchy Plus One, then slowed down again for the ballad Heavy Soul, with its trademark emo lyrics and yet another powerful chorus.  I’m only three tracks into the album, and I can already tell that vocalist Josh Franceschi has pushed his voice on this record, which has definitely paid off.

To me, Night People is a defiant album, telling You Me At Six’s naysayers that the band has no interest in anything doubters have to say.  One of my highlights is Take On The World, the title of which gives away its message, and the lyrics are a love letter to the band’s fans who have stuck with them through thick and thin.  I would also argue, however, that this record shows that the five-piece have found their niche.  They’ve managed to perfect the formula for creating crowd pleasing, arena-filling singles, as well as making a name for themselves on mainstream radio which of course brings them more success.

Another highlight is the moody Spell It Out: the gentle undulating guitars and emphasis on Matt Barnes’ bass give the track a dark atmosphere, before building up to a huge crescendo of chugging riffs and an understated yet effective guitar solo.  The record closes with another emo ballad, Give, which I’m certain will become a fan favourite.

After listening to this record in full, I found that I didn’t struggle to pick my stand-out tracks: each song has its own punchy chorus, catchy guitar riffs and inventive drum fills which demonstrate the band’s musical talent and ability. I don’t think Night People shatters any preconceptions, or really surprised anyone with its content, because I don’t think You Me At Six have done anything particularly inventive across these ten tracks.  But as I said before, the band have definitely perfected their formula for success, and as long as they continue to create solid rock tracks like they did within this record, I think there’ll be plenty more success to come.

Highlights: Heavy Soul, Brand New, Swear, Make Your Move

Review: Battles

In Flames are a Swedish group who were formed back in 1990.  Their sound started off as metal, but the group was one of a few who pioneered and developed melodic death metal as a genre in its own right.  Over the years the band have released twelve full length studio albums, the first five of which came under the banner of melodic death metal.  However their sixth record, Reroute To Remain released in 2002, marks the band’s shift towards more alternative metal.  Its clear listening to the band’s latest album, Battles, that the band has stuck to that more alternative sound, and gained more mainstream success in the process.  You can hear the first single from their latest record, titled The End, below:

Battles opens with Drained, a great track with awesome riffs throughout and a really catchy chorus.  I had no idea what to expect listening to this record, as I’ve never followed In Flames as a band, so this was a great initiation for a newcomer to the band’s sound.  This is followed by above single The End, which features a cracking guitar solo and female choir-style backing vocals which give the track a real atmosphere.

Lyrically the tracks switch between more introspective lyrics surrounding the songwriter’s personal life and his place in the universe.  In the same vein, I like how some tracks are very melodic with great clean vocals and electronic elements, and others, like Through My Eyes, have chugging riffs and harsh vocals which hark back to In Flames’ melodic death metal past.  Each track has a catchy chorus which helps to tie the album together.

For me, the highlight of the record is the epic seven-minute long Wallflower, a complex track with prog metal influences and lyrics discussing the challenges which come with growing older and reflecting on past mistakes.  This song is absolutely massive and it honestly ended too soon for me.

Battles is a 14 track record, which is a pretty hefty offering that demonstrates that the band still has a lot to offer, even after multiple line-up changes and a massive change of sound.  After listening to some of In Flames’ older music, I can understand why their fanbase is so conflicted: their sound is very different now to how it was back in the ’90s and early 2000s.

Overall, considering I went into reviewing this album completely blind, I’ve really enjoyed listening to Battles.  I’m much less into more classic metal than I used to be in my younger teenage years, so that explains why I liked this record more than I liked what I heard of In Flames’ older music.  I’ve always been a sucker for a monster chorus with catchy repetitive lyrics, and this album has those in droves.  There are also plenty of electronic elements, interesting backing vocals, creative drum fills and guitar solos to keep me interested and listening intently.

So if you’re into In Flames’ older, pre-2002 music, this album probably won’t be for you.  However if you liked the band’s newer releases, Battles is the logical follow-up to their 2014 record Siren Charms.  Now that I’ve been introduced to In Flames, I’ll be following them much more closely in future.

Highlights: Drained, The Truth, Here Until Forever, Wallflower, Greatest Greed

Review: The Stage

Following the surprise release of a new track earlier this month, Avenged Sevenfold decided to pull a Beyoncé and drop a new full length album with no announcement.  The Stage is the band’s seventh full length album, and the first with drummer Brooks Wackerman.  You can see the music video for the album’s title track here:

Going into reviewing The Stage, I was unsure how I’d feel about the record.  Musically it seems like the album will have a similar sound to City Of Evil, which could be a good or bad thing.  I’m hoping that Avenged Sevenfold will have taken those vibes and given them a more modern twist.

The record opens with the title track, which is a great way to begin the band’s concept album about artificial intelligence and the breakdown of society.  If you didn’t get the meaning behind the lyrics immediately, watching the video for the track above will clear things up for you.  This is followed by Paradigm: the chorus, guitar solos and complex drum fills of which make it obvious that this record has moved on from the more classic metal stylings of Hail To The King. 

Even though the record is pulled together by M. Shadow’s signature vocals, Johnny Christ’s undulating bass and Zacky Vengeance’s backbone of guitar riffs, each track has its own influences from all sorts of musical areas.  These additional touches are demonstrated by the addition of brass during Sunny Disposition, to the chugging opening riffs of God Damn, to the choral backing vocals during Higher. 

There are a couple of ballads on this album, as is to be expected from Avenged Sevenfold.  Angels is a grade A ballad, but the guitar solos starting at around two and a half minutes and again at around the four minute mark managed to sneak in and completely blow me away.  The layering of vocals towards the end of the track give it an incredible, almost cinematic atmosphere.

The feel of The Stage is absolutely massive and theatrical, and in my opinion it’s 100 per cent what the band needed to put out following Hail To The King.  If you’d asked me to guess what this album would sound like, I would not have come up with this in a million years.   Another reason for this is that the drumming on Hail To The King was very classic and more simplistic to reflect the style of the album, however Brooks Wackerman’s drumming is much closer to The Rev’s than Arin Ilejay’s is, which makes the album fit much better into their discography than their previous album.

Avenged Sevenfold managed to keep details of the album under wraps very well, and that air of mystery really boosted the hype for this record when it dropped on Friday.  Another reason for the hype is that The Stage is the band’s longest record to date, and includes their longest ever song, the epic Exist which runs for almost 16 minutes.  You definitely get a lot of bang for your buck with this record.

To be honest, I don’t think Avenged Sevenfold will be making many new fans with this record.  I think half of its charm is that it hails back so beautifully to City Of Evil, and even their self titled album and Waking The Fallen in some tracks, which shows that even though the band have grown massively over the years, they haven’t forgotten their past.  This charm will be totally lost on new listeners.  Plus, I think the band’s attitude, theatrical style and love for putting on a big performance definitely comes through much more on this record than they did on Hail To The King.  I do think that existing fans will enjoy this record as much as I do, and I absolutely cannot wait to see some of these tracks performed live when I see Avenged Sevenfold play in Nottingham in January.

P.S. I didn’t mean for this review to sound so negative about Hail To The King: I do love that record, but I’m so much more excited about The Stage as I was for their previous album, and it’s difficult not to draw comparisons.

Highlights: Sunny Disposition, Creating God, Roman Sky

Essential albums you need in your car

Hi altrocklifers! In massive life news, I officially got my first car this week, and I feel like I’m one step closer to becoming a responsible adult.  It’s a cute little navy blue Ford Ka, 11 years old, and named Lzzy after one of my favourite vocalists, Lzzy Hale (cringey, I know).

Katie sat in her new car on her driveway
Isn’t she cute??

Naturally, as a music lover the part I was most excited about when I got the car home was filling the glove box with CDs.  I haven’t driven it much, which isn’t surprising considering I haven’t passed my test yet, but here are the albums I’m looking forward to listening to on the road.

Slaves – Take Control

I love this record, and the aggressive riffs and lyrics means shouting along is a great way to channel any road rage without crashing the car or giving other drivers the middle finger.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Blossom

I always think it sounds badass when a car blasting punk music drives past you: that’s what I’m aiming for when I play this record.

We Are The Ocean – Ark

This record is great for long drives, especially at night: plenty of big choruses to keep you awake, and some more mellow numbers for stretches of empty road.

A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations

This is, so far, my favourite album released this year, so of course I had to put it in my car to maximise the amount of time I spend listening to it.

Pure Love – Anthems

Frank Carter’s discarded project produced one of my favourite all-time records.  You can’t beat a car sing-a-long to tracks like Handsome Devils Club or Bury My Bones.

Bastille – Other People’s Heartache Part 3

If I fancy listening to electronic music, this EP by Bastille is always one of my top choices.  My favourite track on the EP is Remains, featuring the beautiful voices of both Rag N Bone Man and Skunk Anansie.

Foals – What Went Down

This album always manages to keep me occupied and entertained during boring, stop-start town driving.

What are some essential albums or tracks on your car playlist?  Let me know your on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.