10. Crowder – Neon Steeple
9. The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There
8. Beartooth – Disgusting
7. From Indian Lakes – Absent Sounds
6. Silent Planet – The Night God Slept
Lots of albums caught me off guard this year, but none did so like Pianos Become The Teeth’s Keep You. Where are the screams? The speedy melodies? Gone is most of that, and in its place is a meshing of earthy guitar riffs and cathartic clean vocals. With all of the post-rock influence in music lately, I find myself hooked on every winding song structure and last breath of emotion. And there’s so much of it bleeding out from Keep You.
At first, I didn’t really give Sleepwave much of a chance. I was still heartbroken over Underoath’s break-up, and didn’t expect much out of Spencer Chamberlain. But man, was I wrong. Broken Compass may feel out of place for old-school metalcore fans, but it’s a great rock record in its own right. Combining the mystical crunch of bands like Nine Inch Nails and Alice In Chains and the songwriting ability I’ve always adored from the vocalist, Sleepwave’s debut flat-out slays.
Everyone raves about La Dispute’s Wildlife all the time and I get it. It’s an incredible, dense record. But my problem with it is that it’s just that: too incredibly dense. The band’s follow-up, Rooms Of The House, feels like the record I wanted out of these guys. It has a chilling flow to it that I enjoy more than its predecessor, even if the individual songs themselves don’t have the same power. Rooms is full of a range of vibes that bring out a range of emotions, and I can’t get enough of it.
Anberlin had one of the best careers any band could ever hope for, and with dedicated listeners like myself, I made sure to be a part of the ending. And what a memorable final year it was for them. I remember listening to “Dissenter” for the first time at 3 a.m., wondering what the heck I was even hearing. I remember hearing the record in full in the car with my brother for the first time. I remember getting Lowborn on vinyl and playing it in my room with the lights off. Oh, the bittersweet feelings.
I had a good feeling Being As An Ocean’s How We Both Wondrously Perish would take the crown ever since it came out in May — and this record gets even better the more I listen to it. Whether it’s the sonic landscape, incredibly heartfelt lyrics, or just the overall elated mood it puts me in, I can’t get enough of Perish. The addition of new clean vocalist Michael McGough adds a greater dynamic to the band and the album, and it’s pure poetry bliss.
Biggest Surprise: Linkin Park – The Hunting Party
Biggest Disappointment: Thousand Foot Krutch – Oxygen:Inhale
Best Live Show: Project 86 at Summer Park In Burlingame, KS
Most Anticipated: Brand New