So we thought we may as well deliver you our top 5 guitar based albums from our main 3 music writers on this site. But what were yours? If you would like to share your Top 5, then click here and post them in our forums.
Ryan Bird’s Top 5
With a schizophrenic blend of death metal ferocity, jazz-core unpredictability and a relentless desire to produce the unexpected, Between The Buried And Me remain one of metal’s most vastly undiscovered gems. The Jamie King produced follow-up to 2003’s underground classic ‘The Silent Circus’; ‘Alaska‘ succeeded in pushing both metal and music in general into brave new territories.
Go to www.betweentheburiedandme.com for more info.
For more than a decade, bearded rock heroes Clutch have been firmly at the forefront of America’s underground scene. Bursting with tongue-in-cheek political commentary and hilarious sociological observations, ‘Robot Hive / Exodus’ is resounding proof that the greater things in life nearly always improve with age. Visit www.pro-rock.com for the spiel.
It’s no surprise that a band like High On Fire and indeed an album such as ‘Blessed Black Wings’ would be brought to the masses courtesy of Relapse Records. Planting its feet firmly outside of the box, this tantalising Slayer-meets-Motorhead mindfuck is a slice of pure rock fury capable of satisfying even the most hard to please 30-something elitist. Go to www.highonfire.net for the chaos.
There are few bands on the planet more devoted to melting the minds of all who they meet than Scandinavian metal-mentalists Meshuggah. Packed full of the type of complex patterns usually only found in your grannies knitting, ‘Catch 33′ is a benchmark release in the history of one of the world’s most innovative acts. Visit www.meshuggah.net for hell.
He may have the attitude and appearance of the crazy old man across the street, but Devin Townsend and co. kicked off the spring season in 2005 with what would go on to be one of the year’s stellar efforts. With its throbbing electro-industrial pulse, ‘Alien‘ is a gloriously innovative chunk of revolutionary metal. Go surf over to www.strappingyounglad.com for all the trimmings.
Dee Massey’s Top 5’s
HELL IS FOR HEROES – TRANSMIT DISRUPT
Captains of Industry
‘TRANSMIT DISRUPT’ silenced all the cynics who questioned whether- having parted ways with EMI – Hell is For Heroes could produce an album of the same quality as their debut ‘The Neon Handshake’ on a small indy label. Well the results speak for themselves.
Unhindered by the ‘well trained golden handshake’ of EMI, the band returned to producers Pelle Henricsson and Eskil Lovstrom in Sweden, and the result was every bit as exciting as we hoped. Aggressive at times, sometimes experimental, spiraling, dropping and dragging you up by the scruff of your neck, Schlosburg and Co rip through the album, mixing post hardcore sensibilities with moments of quiet reflection before storming upwards with the air of a kamikaze pilot who hasn’t quite where to crash. A welcome return to form from a band who’ve proved being dropped by a major label can actually be the best thing to ever happen to a band.
THE ARCADE FIRE – FUNERAL
With generic indie guitar music flooding the airwaves relief this year came courtesy of 15 musicians going by the name ‘THE ARCADE FIRE’. Recorded in Montreal in the depths of winter and feeding off raw emotion as close friends died and marriages collapsed during their time in the studio – ‘FUNERAL’ is a truly eclectic, rewardingly beautiful record. Siblings Win Butler and Regine Chassagne lead the way through a winding tale of neighborhoods, f! antasies, tales of love and woe with harps, accordions, xylophones and a symphony of other instruments moulding an album that constantly has you guessing,. From the hymn like downers to thumping disco beats in Rebellion (Lies) – this is theatrical, stunning and wonderfully quirky album.
JACK’S MANNEQUIN ”EVERYTHING IN TRANSMIT’
‘JACK’S MANNEQUIN’, the side project of Something Corporate’s Andrew McMahon, springs to life in an album bursting with piano based California pop punk. ‘Everything in Transmit’ combines the catchy hooks, effervescent guitars, soaring piano melodies and beautifully narrative lyrics with a dose of attitude that SC sometimes lacks. With Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee on drums, pop-punk guru Chris Lord Alge mixing and Andrew McMahon at the top of his writing game – every track stands it’s ground, every lyric hits home. What makes it especially poignant is McMahon’s diagnosis with Acute Lymphatic Leukaemia shortly after recording wrapped up; lines like ‘ She thinks I’m much too thin, she asks me if I sick..” suddenly have new meaning. ‘Everything in Transmit’ is a ray of California sunshine for 2005, and shows McMahon, who is currently undergoing treatment, for who he is – one of the best young songwriters of his generation.
THE CRIMEA ‘ TRAGEDY ROCKS’
Its been a long time in the making but rising from the ashes of The Crocketts ‘THE CRIMEA’ step up to the breach with this intelligent, bright, sometime infectiously poppy (Lottery Winners on Acid’), sometimes dark ‘ (Someone’s Crying) and sometimes uptempo (‘White Russian Galaxy’) album. Davey MacManus’s writing veers towards fervent, and the passion of his live performance is captured on the album. Lyrics are spun with sometimes disturbing undertones, yet balanced with every present catchy hooks, and a bright round sound, the album and soaring melodies – it’s a tidy little package bursting with promise that leaves you buzzing – it’s no wonder John Peel was such an ardent supporter of the band.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS – THE MAGIC NUMBERS
Hailing from Chiswick, THE MAGIC NUMBERS were the band who took the festival season by storm this year. Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, their eponymous album is a collection of harmonies, stunning vocal arrangements, engaging melodies and a sincerity that so many cheesy generic manufactured pop lacks. The brother/sister combination adds to the feeling of genuine warmth throughout the album, stunning musical arrangements, an alt-country vibe crossed with The Mamas and the Papas – this is an honest and uplifting album, a dynamic mix of melancholy and love, california pop and folk. They seem to be the marmite of the music world, but taken at face value, this album is a beautifully produced memento of the summer.
Alex Gosman’s Top 5
TURBONEGRO – ‘Party Animals’
Arguably more popular than ever since they reformed three years ago, Hank Von Helvete and co. delivered another fine chapter in the deathpunk saga with ‘Party Animals’.
The band’s warped (and often camp) sense of humour remains intact – check ‘Blow Me Like The Wind’ for proof – but the real attraction lies in tunes like the explosive opener ‘All My Friends Are Dead’ and ‘City Of Satan’, which went down a storm live.
DARKEST HOUR ‘Undoing Ruin’
2005 saw the continuing invasion of metalcore territory by the emo hordes; resulting in far too many bands peddling whiny vocals over recycled Iron Maiden riffs. So thank goodness for Darkest Hour, who brought some
much-needed balls and inventiveness back to the scene.
Combining raging hardcore fury with some jaw-dropping guitar acrobatics, ‘Undoing Ruin’ was a rough diamond in a sea of over-polished turds.
THE FAT CATS ‘Deadbeat’
(10 Past 12)
Sounding like a 1950’s rockabilly bar’s house band, the Fat Cats came swaggering out of Stoke-On-Trent to deliver one of the most infectious debuts of the year; a hybrid of ska, swing, punk, and traditional R&B – all topped off with a suitably dark sense of humour.
If the likes of ‘Bored To Death’ and ‘Waiting For A Call’ don’t make you want to dance, then check your pulse; as you may well be dead.
NINE INCH NAILS ‘With Teeth’
Having got over the worst of his personal demons, Trent Reznor abandoned the over-elaborate style of previous NIN album ‘The Fragile’, in favour of the back-to-basics approach that made ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ such a success. The result was arguably his finest album in a decade, with songs like ‘The Hand That Feeds’, ‘Only’ and the melancholy ‘Right Where It Belongs’ sure to remain fan favourites.
GOGOL BORDELLO ‘Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike’
(Side One Dummy)
An eight-piece folk-punk band with a bizarre stage show is hardly your typical Warped Tour band, as several thousand Americans recently discovered. But hey, isn’t great punk music meant to be original and provocative? ‘Gypsy Punks.’ is both of these and more, combining traditional folk and gypsy sounds with the urgency and rebellious attitude of punk. It’s a brilliant record, but more importantly, you’ll have heard nothing quite like it before.