It’s that time of the year again where I reflect upon my favorite albums of the year! This one has been quite phenomenal, especially in terms of live performances that I got to witness! I finally completed the scene kid trifecta by seeing Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy after seeing My Chemical Romance last year. I also got to see Pantera perform some of their biggest hits, and I finally saw Silent Planet, twice in a row in fact, after missing them three times in the past. But live music is only one component…without a daily dose of music it would have been hard(er) to get through the year. So here’s the ten albums that I either listened to the most or stood out to me the most!
#10 Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust
While FOB were never gone, I have to admit that I never gave their more recent albums a proper listen but their most recent one changed that for me and while the entirety is good, the title track alone is worth the price of admission and a reason why it deserves a spot in this list! What a chorus!
#9 Emarosa – Sting
I was pumped last year when it became clear that Emarosa were going to release a new record, and when they then announced that they were going to tour in Germany, my joy turned into ecstasy! A brilliant pop record and a charismatic live performance cements this one as an immediate classic for me.
#8 Beartooth – The Surface
I finally got to see Beartooth live for the first, and certainly not last, time this year and their new record just scratches that itch that I feel only they can reach! Aggressively catchy songs coupled with a truly energetic performance on stage make this band a member in my “bangers only” club!
#7 Periphery – Periphery V: Djent Is Not A Genre
Periphery were always just a name for me and I never really paid close attention to them, but this year I decided to change that and gave their new record a shot and it blew me away! The vocal performance, the songwriting, the riff fest…it’s all just too good! The closing track is an absolute masterpiece that has all the elements I need to be happy! Can’t wait to see them live in about a month!
#6 Hail The Sun – Divine Inner Tension
Hail The Sun have, and always will be, a band I enjoy very much, and when Divine Inner Tension shaped up to be the closest to my favorite record of them, Wake, they’ve been in ten years, I was sold!
#5 Silent Planet – Superbloom
As I mentioned in the intro, I finally got to see Silent Planet this year, in their original line-up, before they amicably parted ways with their bassist who also took care of clean vocals. At first I was a bit worried because the dynamic between both singers was always something that fascinated me, but I should have known that the band knew what they were doing. Superbloom is a very different record but it handles the transition perfectly!
#4 Sleep Token – Take Me Back To Eden
Honestly, at this point it feels redundant to even write about Sleep Token because rarely has one band made such huge leaps in terms of popularity in a span of only twelve months. I was also a latecomer to them and only discovered all three of their records this year…and I think that this year’s Take Me Back To Eden might be my favorite, simply for its sheer diversity.
#3 Off Road Minivan – May This Keep You Safe From Harm
This one almost completely missed my list because it was nowhere near my radar. But as fate would have it, I bumped into just two weeks ago and it’s been on repeat ever since. Off Road Minivan hits the exact spot between catchy and meaningful, dare I say deep? It’s very accessible alternative rock yet it isn’t bland in any way. This is the one record I would recommend you check out the most, even though it’s only my number three.
#2 Dwellings – Little Garden
My top two picks really won’t come as a surprise, yet again, to those who know me. Dwellings already held the number one spot five years ago, because their fresh take on post-hardcore was so addictive to me that I couldn’t stop listening to it. Their sophomore is on the same level, with a slightly more refined sound. So clearly a keeper!
Spiritbox – The Fear Of Fear
Bugsy – Now I Spend All Of My Time Alone
Jamie’s Elsewhere – Paradise
Fusion Bomb – Fusion Bomb
Quick intermission for the EP special!
This year Spiritbox delivered a full-sized EP and they perfectly evolved both aspects of their sound, making The Fear Of Fear a 10/10 EP.
A very different type of music comes from Bugsy, whose second EP has that perfect blend of indie rock and a touch of grunge.
Probably the most unexpected comeback in metalcore, Jamie’s Elsewhere delivered a five track EP almost out of nowhere…and it caught every aspect of what made them great back in the day. More of this please.
Last but not least, despite not writing a proper review for it (sorry, guys!), the new EP by the local skinny jeans thrashers, Fusion Bomb, is a beautiful showcase of what the band may or may not sound like in the future! Either way, these four tracks are definitely worth checking out!
#1 Wolf & Bear – Bloodletter
I was a big of the band’s debut record six years ago, but this one easily blows it out of the water. Wolf & Bear just have that extra groove that makes every song a bop. The R&B elements in their music gel so well with the heavier parts that I can’t imagine how they could further improve their sound…but I’ll be here for it either way.
2023 was a really good year in terms of music and concerts for me, and I hope you all had at least a similar experience! Personally, I am already looking forward to a couple of very promising international and local live acts next year and it looks like both Dance Gavin Dance and Eidola will release new records…so I’m already a happy camper. I hope you can enjoy the coming days in whichever fashion you like and read you next year!