What a year this has been - 2016 has been the year that rock music has been yearning for since the turn of the decade.
Just from bands that didn't make the final ten, we've seen stunning new British bands break through in the likes of Milk Teeth and Zoax, while the Dillinger Escape Plan signed off with a record that eclipses even their own impeccable standards.
Never before has a list changed shape and order so often, and had so many records conspicuous for their absence. These ones, however, have made the cut...
Continue reading: David Straw's Top Ten Albums Of 2016
2016 has been an eventful year for sure
A number of historic moments happened with Brexit, the US election and the absurd amount of tragic deaths of some of the most significant figures in the arts. However, what 2016 will also one day be looked back on is an incredible year for music.
This list wasn't easy to compile, and is just a glance at the amount of excellent music 2016 has had to offer. There's been fascinating hip-hop, highly oddball experimental music, refreshing pop music, plenty of punishing hardcore/metal/noise and inspiring passion from DIY scenes. There's also been a great number of emerging artists, displaying much potential with singles, EP's and captivating performances, where hopefully we'll see them put out records soon which will make 2017 a rich year for music. Shout outs in particular to Iglooghost, Yonaka, Mssingno, Miles Mosley and Kai Whiston, be sure to keep an eye on them.
Here we are though, 2016's 10 finest records in my opinion, that display endless possibilities in this thing we call music.
Continue reading: Max Cussons’ Top Ten Albums Of 2016
Hardcore n roll kings Every Time I Die have been one of the most constantly thrilling and fun bands in heavy music since the start of the century. Across milestones such as 2003's 'Hot Damn!', 2007's 'The Big Dirty' and 2012's 'Ex Lives', Every Time I Die have crafted a wholly unique sound that balances brutal metallic hardcore with party-atmosphere rock n roll. Not only have they never put out a bad record, but they've never put a record which is less than excellent, and newest release 'Low Teens' continues the trend.
'Fear and Trembling' kicks this thing off with crushing guitar stabs tied with southern licks that make it sound like the soundtrack to an R-rated cowboy shootout, and Keith Buckley's menacing shrieks truly makes the song apocalyptic.
'Glitches' is more cutthroat with all-over-the-place, but groove heavy riffs. This is classic Every Time I Die with the perfect middle ground between anarchy and party spirit. 'C++ (Love Will Get You Killed)'on the other hand is more on Every Time I Die's breezy rock n roll side, with little of this song trying to bludgeon your ears, but rather going for a motorcycle ride with riffs cool enough to be ice in your whiskey as well as Buckley taking on a smooth croon. That being said there's still room for some muscle to get people flailing into each other at shows.
Continue reading: Every Time I Die - Low Teens Album Review
2016 looks set to be a sink or soar year for festivals. While the losses of Hevy Fest & Temples (RIP) and Hit The Deck - ducking quietly into the aether without ever being announced for this summer - are keenly felt, Slam Dunk has gone from strength to strength.
Relocating the Midlands setup to Birmingham's NEC complex (the best transport links in the midlands, don't you know) seemed a statement of intent, and proved a masterstroke. Snaking queues for the wristband exchange aside, it's a well-thought out setup, and there are plenty in for Moose Blood to open the main stage. They sound great too, which helps.
Hellions fare just as well, the Kerrang! Fresh Blood stage bathed in sunshine for the Australians to open proceedings. There are plenty of eyes on Cane Hill, thanks in no small part to their statement self-titled EP. There's smattering's of KING 810 in their low end rumble and intensity, just enough Jonathan Davis in frontman Elijah Witt's erratic nature, paired with the occasional Corey Taylor-referencing roar. They're basically Slipknot's 2015 UK arena tour, but Gemini, Sunday School and Timebomb hit hard, while new addition The New Jesus looks to be a strong hint of what's to come.
Continue reading: Slam Dunk 2016 - Live Review
Few festivals nail their demographic quite as well as Slam Dunk. Not needing to be concerned with catering for every taste, Slam Dunk have generated a reputation for providing their audience with the perfect lineup.
This year appears to be no different. Panic! At The Disco, whose early output helped soundtrack the Slam Dunk generation, as well as an infectious early 2016 release in Death of a Bachelor, and New Found Glory encapsulate the festival's ethos like no other, while Of Mice & Men - headlining the Atlas Stage - have their sights set on the stratosphere. But who goes to a festival just to see the headliners? Here are five bands you won't want to miss.
Every Time I Die
Every Time I Die aren't just one of the best bands playing this festival, they're one of the best bands playing any festival. Southern-tinged rip-roaring hardcore laced with rock & roll flair? Yes please.
While they've never been mainstream media darlings, they've cultivated a fiercely loyal fanbase and their hour-long set crowning the Impericon Stage has show-stealer written all over it.
Continue reading: Slam Dunk 2016 Preview
Age is something that doesn't seem to have affected Every Time I Die as the band have spent more than a decade unleashing records that combine hellish technical hardcore with catchy southern rock. On some albums, the rock outweighs the hardcore ('The Big Dirty', 'New Junk Aesthetic') and some are more hardcore than rock ('Hot Damn!', 'Ex Lives'). 2012's 'Ex Lives' saw the band on excellent form being their most aggressive release to date, while still maintaining plenty of hooks and grooves to add a thrill to the brutality. 'From Parts Unknown' sees the band go even further into abrasive territory, but sacrificing some of their accessibility along the way.
'The Great Secret' introduces this album perfectly thanks to in-your-face technical fretwork and jilted riffs that makes you feel as if you're being slapped with bricks, while vocalist Keith Buckley barks madman lines like 'Blow your fu**ing brains out'. The song reflects the essence of much of the album; here's a band pushing themselves to be as punishing with their sound as they can be, leaving behind catchy choruses and the like in order to do so. 'Decaying With The Boys' injects some of the southern rock melody that can be expected with Every Time I Die as Buckley's vocals display sassy and cool characteristics and the guitars deliver some fun licks, which are still speedy and hard.
'Moor' throws a massive curveball as the first half of the song is just vocals and pianos. It's a little reminiscent of Queen, but more melancholy as Buckley murmurs lines like, 'I'll skin the man alive and sell the meat'. The second half of the song explodes into screaming and riffs, beating the rhythm into your head; certainly one of the highlights of the album. 'Thirst' has the strongest hook due to the low driving bass and pounding drums that accompanies, 'They don't love you, like I do, but I don't know you like them. They don't love you like I do, they love you better, I KNOW YOU BEST'. The lyrics sound ludicrous while still providing a relatable mind-set, showing there's bit of a nutter in all of us.
Continue reading: Every Time I Die - From Parts Unknown Album Review