altrocklife’s top 5 albums of 2016

Hello altrocklifers! Today marks the last blog post I will be writing in 2016, and I thought the best way to conclude the year would be to round up the best albums released over the past twelve months.  Going back over my posts written throughout this year, as well as trawling my iTunes library to keep track of all the albums I’ve purchased, gave me a real nostalgia trip.  This year has been brilliant for rock and alternative music, and with new music from You Me At Six, Mallory Knox, Lower Than Atlantis, Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes and more planned for release next year, I can’t wait to see how 2017 will be even better.  Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the best albums of 2016.

The Stage – Avenged Sevenfold

Without doubt, The Stage is the album that had the biggest impact of 2016.  It was released as a surprise with very little promotion or marketing, and it did a great job of shaking up the world of rock and metal music.  As I said in my review of the album, anyone who was expecting a sequel to Hail To The King was proven wrong, as Avenged Sevenfold’s latest record harked back to their City Of Evil days and showed that the Californian band are anything but predictable.  Hopefully this record influences other bands to produce the music they love, without pandering to the mainstream audience and without giving a thought to what their fans or critics might think.

Bad Vibrations – A Day To Remember

When I originally reviewed this album back in September, I wrote that Bad Vibrations was going to be a competitor for my favourite album of the year.  Three months later, that assertion still stands true.  It’s not often that I can write an album review without any negative feedback, but A Day To Remember’s sixth full length album was one of the minority I listen to that get a 100% approval rating.  I’m constantly listening to this record: whether I’m doing my hair and make-up, or if I’m chilling in my bedroom, or I’m in my car head banging on the go.  I genuinely think this is one of the best records released all year, and I really hope I can see the band perform some of these tracks live next year.

Take Control – Slaves

When Slaves found mainstream success with the release of their first album, I was worried that the band would fade into obscurity or change their sound.  Thankfully their second record, Take Control, is just as fun and aggressively punk as its predecessor.  You can tell from the band’s music videos, such as the one above, that the Kent duo are having a brilliant time making music, and I’m having just as much fun listening to them.

If I’m The Devil… – Letlive.

I was the first to admit when reviewing this record that I’ve not listened to a lot of music by letlive.  I’d heard a few singles, sure but I had no idea what it would be like listening to one of their records from beginning to end.  If I’m The Devil… is an album bursting at the seams with anger and passion, but with a sound evolved enough from previous releases to demonstrate their progression as a band.  In my opinion, letlive. are one of the most underrated bands out there at the moment, and if you’ve not listened to their music extensively, then I’m sure that their latest album will have you hooked from first listen.

Death Of A Bachelor – Panic! At The Disco

This record was released in January 2016, and to me it seems like it’s managed to stick around and remain popular and in the public eye all year.  Even though Panic! At The Disco have abandoned their emo roots and become a one man pop band, I think Death Of A Bachelor‘s jazzy sound and vintage 1950s aesthetic has a mass appeal which seems to have won over even old school fans.

What were your favourite albums released this year? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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altrocklife album haul: 06/06/16

Hey altrocklifers and welcome to my blog’s triumphant return! Over the past nine months I’ve essentially been a hermit due to the final year of my university course keeping me extremely busy, so unfortunately updating this blog had fallen by the wayside. But fear not! Now I’ve finished university I’ve got a lot more free time, so altrocklife is being revived.  From now on the blog will focus much more on music news and reviews rather than fashion and lifestyle posts, and after today I’ll be changing my upload schedule, from Mondays and Thursdays to Wednesdays and Sundays.

So, what better way to kick things off than with a review of my recent musical purchases?

Gallows – Desolation Sounds

Ever since Frank Carter of The Rattlesnakes fame left the band in 2011, Gallows seem to have dropped off the radar a bit; their 2012 self-titled album as well as Desolation Sounds didn’t get much attention. However, I think the album is dark and raw, and I absolutely love it. I bought it a couple of months ago and I’ve been listening to it pretty regularly since then.

Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool

If I’m ever in the mood for more indie guitar-led tracks, Wolf Alice’s first LP is my album of choice. My Love Is Cool has a great mix of chilled, acoustic tracks and more upbeat ones.

PVRIS – White Noise

I know I’m super behind the times here: White Noise has been out since 2014 and I only picked it up last month. Of course I already knew and loved the singles St. Patrick, My House and Fire so buying this album was definitely a safe bet.  If you’re after strong female vocals and synthy rock, this is the album for you.

Band Of Skulls – By Default

Band Of Skulls are one of my favourite bands, and to be honest I didn’t even realise they had a new album coming out until I spotted it on the shelves of HMV the other week.  It’s absolutely fantastic and definitely their best album yet.

Foals – What Went Down

Foals’ latest album is heavier than their previous efforts, and I’m a big fan of the slight shift.  Singles What Went Down and Mountain At My Gates are brilliant tracks, and two of my favourites on the album.

Pierce The Veil – Misadventures

Following the success of Collide With The Sky, Pierce The Veil had big boots to fill with the follow-up album. Misadventures is pretty fantastic, but I’m not sure if it tops their previous 2012 album yet.  I’ll be giving it a few more listens before I make my decision.

Now on to a couple of albums I picked up today and haven’t had the chance to listen to yet.

Nothing But Thieves – Nothing But Thieves

If you followed my blog last year and kept up with my ‘incredible tracks you need in your life’ series, you’ll remember that I featured Nothing But Thieves multiple times throughout those posts.  I’m a massive fan of this band, especially vocalist Conor’s fantastic voice, so I’m certain I’ll love the album. Itch was one of my favourite songs of 2015, which definitely bodes well.

Panic! At The Disco – Death Of A Bachelor

Whilst I was a big fan of Panic’s first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, I stopped actively following the band not long after its release and the rest of their albums seemed to pass me by. However, The Emperor’s New Clothes and Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time caught my attention and I decided I needed to hear the rest of the album.

Lonely The Brave – Things Will Matter

I saw Lonely The Brave supporting Deaf Havana in December 2014, and they absolutely blew me away.  I haven’t got round to listening to their previous album yet, but I heard Rattlesnakes and Black Mire from the new LP and I really enjoyed both tracks. I can’t wait to get my teeth into Things Will Matter.

So that’s my summary of my recent album purchases. Are you a fan of any of these albums? What records are you looking forward to this year? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

#tbt: The first albums I ever bought

Today I want to step back into the past, rummage through my CD collection, and blow the dust off the first albums I ever bought with my own hard-earned pocket money.  These albums are truly brilliant, and the main reason I ended up getting into rock and alternative music, so you have them to thank that this blog exists.

Honestly, I cannot see myself ever getting rid of these albums.  Over the years I have thrown away numerous albums; whether they were an ill-informed purchase or they became age damaged over the years.  These ones, however, will never leave my ever-growing CD collection.

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Fall Out Boy – From Under The Cork Tree

This album is truly magical, and the singles Dance, Dance and Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down still evoke memories of school discos in the assembly hall.  Plus, Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene And Stop Going To Shows) is one of my favourite ever Fall Out Boy songs.

Panic! At The Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out

A lot of albums released in the early to mid 2000s aged pretty badly, but not this one.  Its lyrics form an interesting social commentary about mental illness and the sanctity of marriage, which are still relevant today.  This album is truly a cornerstone of the emo movement from the early noughties – all you have to do is watch the music videos for I Write Sins Not Tragedies for evidence of that.

Linkin Park – Minutes to Midnight

Minutes to Midnight was a turning point for Linkin Park, and a change of direction from their earlier albums Hybrid Theory and Meteora.  Their use of electronic elements reduced considerably, making the album all about the instruments, booming drums and guitar-shredding riffs.  This is probably one of Linkin Park’s heaviest albums – the 18 second long scream before the final chorus of Given Up makes that hard to deny.  Add that to the gritty lyrics of Bleed It Out and Hands Held High and you end up with a truly anthemic alternative rock album that still sounds fresh seven years on.

That’s all from me for now, but I want to know what the first album you ever bought was!  Let me know in the comments below, or send me a tweet.

Currently listening to: Fool’s GoldPure Love