The new year is almost here. It’s time to say goodbye to 2015 and welcome in 2016. With that comes the excellently pointless tradition of ‘top ten’ lists and the like. I thought I’d throw my name into the ring and give you my favourite albums of the year. However just like with my top films list I’m only giving you my favourite three. Why? Because just like in the Olympics, if you aren’t Gold, Silver or Bronze. You lost baby!
Honourable Mention: Matt Skiba & The Sekrets – Babylon
Breaking all of the rules that I just laid out I couldn’t help but mention this album. The only reason I’m not putting it as my favourite album for this year is because technically it came out in 2012. It’s just that I only discovered it this year. I know, I know I’m behind the times. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I just had to mention it though!
Matt Skiba & The Sekrets is the side project of Alkaline Trio and now Blink 182 frontman Matt Skiba. It’s very much in the same vein as the more recent Alkaline Trio albums. In fact if you played them in one playlist I think most people would assume they were the same band. This does beg the question why not just release with your main band? Whatever, it’s another fantastic album.
I’m really looking forward to seeing his input on the new Blink 182 scheduled for next year. As well as hopefully, another Alkaline Trio album too.
Bronze: Four Year Strong – Four Year Strong
Four Year Strong are an American pop punk/melodic hardcore band from Worcester, Massachusetts, formed in 2001. Since the release of 2011’s In Some Way, Shape or Form I had been eagerly awaiting Four Years Strong’s next full LP offering. The band got my taste buds going with their 2014 EP Go Down In History but this was the main event and they did not disappoint!
The new album is hard hitting and frantically paced monster crafted by some truly talented musicians. It’s a great listen and I think this album is awesome. The guitar rifts, the vocal melodies, the drumming. I love it. I’ve been signing the guitar solo in ‘I Hold Myself In Contempt‘ [3:30 onwards] for months now!
Silver: Breaking Benjamin – Dark Before Dawn
Dark Before Dawn is the fifth album by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was the groups first album since the four year hiatus and features an entirely new lineup alongside founder and frontman Benjamin Burnley. The album was both a critical and commercial success. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the group’s first in their catalog, selling 141,000 units in its first week.
This is album is exactly what I wanted it to be and what I wanted was another Breaking Benjamin album. An album in the same vein as their previous efforts. I didn’t want a new direction, I didn’t wanted a new vibe. I wanted another album, just like their others, from an amazing band.
Gold: Shinedown – Threat To Survival
Threat To Survival moves Shinedown in a new direction after Amaryllis (2012) and Sound of Madness (2008). They still have their vintage Shinedown sound, led by Brent Smith’s distinctive vocals, but have moved towards a more pop-influenced songs. This isn’t to say that they’ve turned into Katy Perry or Taylor Swift. It’s just a softer and incredibly catchy vibe for most of the album. The albums lead single, Cut The Cord, however is a hard rock classic that I guarantee will get stuck in your head.
I think a lot of fans have been a bit harsh on the band with them ‘changing’ their sound. I can’t judge after all I didn’t want Breaking Benjamin to change their sound either. I’ll admit I had some concerns of my own when I heard the follow ups to Cut The Cord. It didn’t seem quite right and after all new is scary right? It wasn’t until I listened to the album in full that everything clicked for me and I realised that new for Shinedown isn’t scary. New is good. No, new is great! I have listened to this album daily since it same out in September and I don’t think that will stop anytime soon either.
Threat To Survival is very much still Shinedown and still Shinedown rock!
So there you have it, my three favourite albums from this year. What were yours? Do we agree on any? Let me know!