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Top 10 2017 by Yannick

Another year comes to an end and while it has, arguably, had the lowest of lows in the history of mankind in some areas, it has also stood for acceptance and social evolution in many other areas. However, what is truly relevant at least on this platform is the music…and it has definitely been another strong year with many brilliant releases. I’m here to give you my personal top 10, which will, again, include a majority of records that I didn’t get to review.

#10 While She Sleeps – You Are We

I’ve seen WSS live twice over the past few years and while I was always impressed by their energetic and spot-on performance, their albums never really convinced me. However, with You Are We the quintet have definitely hit a new level and managed to put themselves not only on my radar but gained my deep appreciation.

#9 Paramore – After Laughter

What started out as a crush on the lead singer all those years ago when Misery Business was released, developed into a real fascination with their music by the time they released their self-titled record five years ago. Naturally when they announced a new record, I was fairly excited and looking forward to their evolution; and After Laughter did not disappoint: not only was the music fresh, but the songs were also lyrically very honest, at times even too much.

#8 Taylor Swift – Reputation

Well. How do I put this? After buying the previous record when Shake It Off was released, I realized that it’s actually great pop! When the first single off the new one was released I felt a bit disappointed but I decided to give the record a chance anyways…and I was rewarded. It’s debatable, but I would say that this is her best record to that. Give it a shot, seriously!

#7 Adventurer – Sacred Grove (review)

When I first discovered Adventurer, around three years ago, I was immediately enamored with their chaotic yet highly melodic sound, reminiscent of The Fall Of Troy. Naturally, I was super hyped for their, at the time already announced, full-length album…but it took until fairly recently to be released. And the wait was definitely worth the while! You can read more thoughts on it in my review.

#6 Andrés – Strange Memories On This Nervous Night

By far my biggest surprise-discovery this year was Andrés! His tongue-in-cheek lyrics, his charismatic performances and his pure talent simply shine in every corner of his debut solo album! I had the chance to meet him earlier this year in London and I’m confident in saying that the future will hold some big things for this dude. Get on the hype train before it’s too late!

#5 Wolf & Bear – Everything Is Going Grey

Let’s not kid ourselves…pretty much every Blue Swan release will usually make it on my top 10. The second one on the list, so far, is the debut album of Wolf & Bear, a band that is fairly similar to Dance Gavin Dance in terms of their setup (they even share the same bassist), but are different altogether in their song structures and sound. This one has been on heavy rotation for quite a while on my playlist.

#4 Asking Alexandria – Asking Alexandria

Another, so to speak, surprise entry: the fifth full-length by Asking Alexandria was just released five days ago, but I can safely say that the return of their original singer was the best thing that could happen to the band. A re-vitalized sound, a very open-minded songwriting and a lot of weird, but good, stylistic choices make the self-titled album a force to be reckoned with and put the quintet back on the map.

#3 Trivium – The Sin And The Sentence

When Trivium released their screamless Silence In The Snow, I accepted their change of direction and was ready to follow them down that path. But when the first teaser for their eighth studio album was released, I knew that I might have lied to myself at the time. Because THIS is what I first loved about the band: a perfect blend of heavy and melodic with loads and loads of details to be discovered with every subsequent listen. TSATS is the epitome of what this band is about and I can only recommend it to everyone!

#2 Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

This one is a bit weird for me…since I haven’t even listened to it more than ten times. But I feel like it deserves a spot this far up simply for what it did to me on every single listen. Julien Baker‘s debut album already affected me deeply, but Turn Out The Lights is one a whole new level. It is not for everyone, but for me it was a very cathartic experience that I believe should be had by everyone.

EP-Special
Eternity Forever – Fantasy
Hail The Sun – Secret Wars
Happy Hour – What’s Your Poison
Push Over – Demo

I know, I know, I’m kind of bending my own fictitious rules here…but this year saw the release of quite a few really solid EPs, that I think deserve a quick shout-out! Two of those feature one of my favorite vocalists, Kurt Travis, and they are both very different. The, sadly, already defunct Eternity Forever is one of the dreamiest things I’ve gotten to hear all year and Push Over is a fun project with Thomas Erak, of TFOT. Happy Hour is another very DGD-y band, but they managed to stand out to me because of some very unusual elements like a reggae part in one song. Another band that I have fairly high hopes for. And last, but certainly not least, is Hail The Sun‘s new release Secret Wars, which has them going back to their roots, so to speak and just delivers on every single level. What a treat!

#1 A Lot Like Birds – Divisi (review)
Sufferer – Sufferer
Eidola – To Speak, To Listen (review)

While last year had a clear winner, this year I will have to settle for a three-way tie. I’ve written reviews about two of these, so I will just say a few words about the one that eluded me. In the past I’ve dealt with anxiety quite a bit and, while I never dove into real depression, it has definitely made many aspects of my life fairly difficult and it was a real struggle to overcome the hard times. While I have managed to rid myself of the majority of those things on my own, Sufferer is a record that, I feel, can serve as a form of self-therapy to some people out there. (note: of course it does not replace actual therapy) It certainly put a lot of things into perspective for me and, besides, it is just a phenomenal work of musical art.

All in all, I really enjoyed the dynamic this year. I was a bit more active, writing fifteen reviews, and I managed to cover all the local releases that were relevant, to me. However, looking into the future at the moment is a bit weird since, aside from a new Dance Gavin Dance record, I have very few albums I’m actively looking forward to…maybe 2018 will be the year of surprises!

Top 10 2016 by Yannick

It’s that time of the year again, where people recap everything and in the case of 2016, I think we can all agree that it’s been one of the shittiest ones in recent memory. Countless deaths of famous people, a plethora of social and ethical injustices and numerous acts of terrorism that shook the world. But at least 2016 has granted music lovers like myself a wide array of safe places to disappear to, which is why I’ve decided to make sure to share my top 10 with you in order to maybe get you away from the shitfest that has been 2016.

#10 Serpentine Dominion – Serpentine Dominion
Serpentine Dominion - Serpentine Dominion
Let’s start this off with a little nugget that surprised me toward the end of the year: Serpentine Dominion is a side-project with Killswitch Engage‘s Adam D on guitar, Cannibal Corpse‘s George Fisher on vocals and ex-The Black Dahlia Murder‘s Shannon Lucas on drums. It’s a really interesting take on classical death metal with a somewhat modern feel to it. So much fun to listen to!

#9 Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”
Childish Gambino - Awaken My Love
Gambino is without a doubt my favorite rapper, and I spent hours on end listening to Because The Internet. When it was announced that his next record would be drastically different I was both worried and excited to hear what he had come up with. At first I felt that he had strayed too far from the path with this funk-groove-soul sauce that is AML, but it turns out that the record is quite the grower!

#8 The Majestic Unicorns From Hell – A Matter Of Less In More (review)
The Majestic Unicorns From Hell - A Matter Of Less In More
Since 2015 didn’t have a local spot, I figured I’d honor my favorite instruMENTALists, The Majestic Unicorns From Hell, with a spot on my list. Not out of courtesy or pity, but simply because their latest release rocked the socks of me every time I listened to it. Feel free to read my review for more infos.

#7 Emarosa – 131
Emarosa - 131
I’m a huge Jonny Craig fan, and have ended up seeing him twice this year, so naturally I love the two records he did with Emarosa. Which is why the first record with the new singer in 2014 was so-so for me, but with 131 the band has proven that they’re far from being dead!

#6 Every Time I Die – Low Teens
Every Time I Die - Low Teens
Does this band need a reason for being in this list? I sure hope not. ETID continuously improves and delivers ferocious quality time and time again. Low Teens is no exception and could even be considered the band’s strongest record. Listen to it!

#5 Artifex Pereo – Passengers
Artifex Pereo - Passengers
A band that I checked out a couple of yours ago, enjoyed, but quickly forgot about, Artifex Pereo caught my attention again this year with the release of their second full-length. The record is pure genius in terms of pretty much everything there is when it comes to complex post-hardcore.

#4 A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations
A Day To Remember - Bad Vibrations
Can’t have a new ADTR record and not include it in my top 10. While some people didn’t enjoy this one very much, in my humble opinion Bad Vibrations is the band’s most solid record, with barely any weak songs. Without a doubt it includes the catchiest song of their career in the form of Justified.

#3 The Fall Of Troy – OK
The Fall Of Troy - OK
Aside from the reunion gigs of At The Drive-In, the release of a new The Fall Of Troy album and a subsequent world tour (where I got to see them absolutely kill it!) was probably the biggest musical surprise of the year for me! OK is a record that I’ve listened to way too often and still enjoy every bit as much as the first time.

#2 Hail The Sun – Culture Scars
Issues – Headspace
Pierce The Veil – Misadventures
Sianvar – Stay Lost
Top 5 2016 - Top 2
What is this? A four-way tie and it’s not for the first place?! Well, what can I say? This year simply had a clear winner for me, but more on that in just a second. These four records have been on heavy repeat when they were released and should be checked out by everyone. Ironically, both Hail The Sun and Sianvar feature the same singer and are (or were) Blue Swan Records bands, while Pierce The Veil has managed to build on the success of its previous record (not quite surpassing it though) and Issues simply putting their debut record to shame with their newest masterpiece.

#1 Dance Gavin Dance – Mothership
Dance Gavin Dance - Mothership
There is nothing as clear as the fact that 2016 has been the year of Dance Gavin Dance for me. First the release of their live record Tree City Sessions, which blew me away; then the release of the milestone Mothership, and last but definitely not least: getting to see them live! I’m still baffled how a band can manage to release such a strong record barely a year after a nearly perfect record, but the guys did it and deserve to be heard by more people, so get on it!

Despite 2016 was a truly lazy year on my behalf, with only eleven reviews written, I’ve decided to continue El Gore, with my focus remaining on the local metal and rock releases. 2017 can come!

Top 10 2014 by Yannick, Part 2

#5 Secret Band – Secret Band

Starting part two off with another major surprise album. The band basically features all the members of Dance Gavin Dance, except the clean vocals, and holy shit does it rock! Utter craziness from start to finish…just the way I like it.

#4 Stolas – Allomaternal (review)

Continuing in the same spirit: Stolas managed to convince me as soon as I heard the first single of their new album. And the end product is just as amazing. A must for post-hardcore fans!

#3 Miss Fortune – A Spark To Believe (review)

Hands down my newcomer of the year, Miss Fortune have released an absolutely fascinating debut record. Here’s hoping that the band will go on, despite recent band-internal drama.

#2 Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter (review)

Must I say anything? How could this not be very high up on the list? However, it didn’t take the cake for me this year, despite awaiting this moment for six years.

#1 Issues – Issues (review)
Chiodos – Devil (review)
Slaves – Through Art We Are All Equals (review)
Hail The Sun – Wake (review)

Déjà-vu? I couldn’t decide last year, and it’s no different this year either…that’s why I don’t add scores or percentages to my reviews. I would consider all four of these records to be masterpieces in their own way. And I can strongly recommend them to anyone who might have some spare cash, each one of these is well worth your money. Trust me. If I did have to pick an absolute winner, it would probably be Slaves though; I can’t even count the number of times I’ve gone through that one.

That’s all I’m going to bore you with for this year. I hope to welcome back many of you, dear readers, next year! Until then: get drunk, stay safe and get laid! My personal highlights on the horizon are new albums by Lamb Of God, Devildriver, Pierce The Veil, Jonny Craig and Bring Me The Horizon! On the local level, the year starts with Lost In Pain‘s second album, for which I have high hopes as well! Well, read you soon!

Hail The Sun – Wake


Holy shit! I don’t know what kind of drugs most post-hardcore bands took this year, but they seem to work wonders. So far almost every single release of bigger bands has been a pure blast and I’ve discovered so many new quality bands that it’s hard for me to catch a break…and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Today’s record of choice is the new release of Hail The Sun, called Wake which saw the light of day on September 23rd!

I first stumbled upon HTS on the very first day of the year, when I listened to Sianvar, a superband composed of members of bands that are signed to Blue Swan Records. Both bands share the same singer and therefore some similarities in their sound. However, the three other members of the California-based quartet are such proficient musicians with a fascinating range of ideas that both bands could not be any more different in their approach.

The twelve songs are a perfect mixture of calm, melancholic goodness and balls to the walls insanity, often borrowing elements, such as ultra-complex guitar parts and drum patterns, from mathcore. Their songwriting in general is rivaled by few, but their feel for going over the top is so phenomenal that Wake could well be a stand-alone instrumental record and still hold a high rank in the top ten of the genre. Seldom has a band managed to make transitions from neck-breaking mosh to totally idyllic parts in such a genuine way.

But, luckily, the musicians are fronted by an extremely diverse and talented singer who, seemingly effortlessly, covers every range of singing techniques that are common in post-hardcore. His, quite high-pitched, clean vocals are flawless and are always employed in the right moments during the fifty-two minutes, whereas his screams are energetic and I’m convinced that if they fail to animate you, there is something seriously wrong with your ears and you should consult an otologist. Extra kudos for the guy since he’s also responsible for the drumming, a feat that is quite remarkable to perform live. An extra touch are the screams by the guitarist on the song Cosmic Narcissism, which I would have loved to hear more often…but then again, their rarity makes them extra delicious to my ears.

As if all of the above was not enough to make it a super strong contender in my album of the year category, the lyrics are captivating and intelligently written with way more than a few memorable lines. There is simply no downside I can find to Wake, and I strongly urge you to click on the Bandcamp below, listen to the entire record and ideally buy it because these dudes deserve every cent that you throw at them. You can find out more about them on their Facebook page and keep your eyes peeled for the next possibly big release from their label mates Stolas, another band that is part of the above-mentioned superband.

Sianvar – Sianvar EP


Initially, my plan was to review the handful of albums that I didn’t get to do last year, either because they came out too late or due to me simply missing their release. However, I did stumble over this little gem which marks a great start into 2014, since it was released on January 5th! As you might have guessed from the artwork, I’m talking about Sianvar and their self-titled EP.

This quintet is somewhat of a supergroup, with members from Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, Stolas and Hail The Sun. Unsurprisingly, the band plays super catchy post-hardcore which will immediately please every fan of the genre.

The five tracks actually have a remarkable variation to them; jumping from fast-paced scream-filled passages to melodic dreaminess without missing a beat or breaking the flow…but I could not have expected anything else, if you consider the above-mentioned roster.

Every single instrument is pushed to its limits with the intricate guitar riffs and complex drumming, which prevents these twenty-two minutes from getting boring even after the fifteenth play. The same goes for the vocals, which almost constantly switch between clean singing and screaming, thus giving enough variation to avoid repetition.

All in all, the Sianvar EP totally deserves to be checked out by everyone and sets the bar for this year’s future releases at a considerable height! Be sure to check the band’s Facebook page and listen to the tracks below! Enjoy!