Saturday, December 26, 2015

Gingy's Year in Music, 2015!

This is only the first entry in what will be many about my year in music. After being spoiled last year by many spectacular alums (Nothing More, Starset, In This Moment, Poets of The Fall, etc), this year was a down year overall. However, that doesn't mean there weren't albums that caught my attention, or songs that I really enjoyed. Today's entry will cover one song apiece on 20 albums that didn't make the cut for my final Top 20... In backwards order from my least favorite to my favorite song.

Those that aren't interested in my music or my music addiction, turn back now (why are you even here?)

#20 "Breaking The Silence", off 'Dark Before Dawn' - Breaking Benjamin

I'll go ahead at give this album some recognition. It's not a bad album by any means, but, dammit, even with an entirely new cast in the group, the album sounds exactly like every other album this band has ever released.

#19 "Pretty Little Thing", off 'Nerve Endings' - Too Close To Touch

A decent song from a band in the vein of Sleeping With Sirens and Pierce The Veil, worth listening to and certainly catchy.

#18 "Insomnia", off 'Skydancer' - In Hearts Wake

#17 "From Birth To Burial", off 'From Birth to Burial' - 10 Years

#16 "Heavy Heart", off 'Juggernaut Alpha' - Periphery

A very good song off a very unique and incredibly progressive double album containing a few other great songs. Almost saw these guys in concert twice this year. Would suggest this album if you've the time to properly digest it.

#15 "Self/Less", off 'ASD' - A Skylit Drive

There's actually a couple very good songs here; "Falling Apart In A (Crow)ded Room" and "Bring Me A War" are definitely worth checking out along with this song

#14 "Beautiful Now", off 'True Colors' - Zedd

#13 "Not Over Til We Say So", off 'The Devil' - Blue Stahli

One of the better electronic albums released this year, " You'll Get What's Coming" is also a spectacular song. The whole album is a fantastic blend of electronica and metal elements.

#12 "For You", off 'The Order of Things' - All That Remains

While I'm left here wondering what happened to the ATR of old (Two Weeks, This Calling, etc), I have to give them credit for putting together this amazing song, truly great.

 #11 "Baby (T.U.M.H.)", off 'Crystals' - Eskimo Callboy

Definitely... unique. Just, listen, that's all I can say.

#10 "Didn't I Get The Message?", off 'Perfect Enemy' - Tilian

#9 "The Red and The Black", off 'Book of Souls" - Iron Maiden

An amazing, incredibly long, and grand album by the kings of rock and roll, I'll admit to not having had the time to properly digest this behemoth of an album, but I can tell this much... Iron Maiden has still got it. 
#8 "Shameless", off 'Beauty Behind The Madness' - The Weekend

If you know me, the fact that this album is even something I listened to this year should be a surprise. Honestly, there are about three other songs off this album that I could put here, and I'll also be honest in saying that I'm glad I gave the album a chance, it is a good listen. "The Hills" and "In The Night" are also fantastic songs...and of course "Can't Feel My Face", but everyone knows that song so putting it here is pointless.

#7 "Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)", off 'Haven' - Kamelot

A spectacular song off an otherwise strong album, it features the lead singer from Arch Enemy and is very well done. Also worth mentioning from this album is the song "Under Grey Skies".

#6 "Breaking Me Down", off 'Hate Me' - Escape The Fate

Featuring a few of my absolute lyrics of the year (if not ever), this a truly special song off an otherwise down album for an artist that landed at #10 with their last album in my 2013 countdown. "Just A Memory" is the only song on this album that truly sounds like it belongs on an Escape The Fate record. That said, this song is absolutely amazing. Seriously go listen to it.

 #5 "Irresistable", off 'American Beauty/American Psycho' - Fall Out Boy

#4 "Wolves and Doors", off 'Five Crooked Lines' - Finger Eleven

Arguably the best song ever released by Finger Eleven, I had the privilege of seeing this when it was performed live for one of the first times ever in Portland, Maine. The entire album is good, and almost made my Top 20.

#3 "Looking Down From The Edge", off 'To Those Left Behind' - blessthefall

The absolute best song not including Maria Brink on this list, I'd highly suggest that you go and listen to this album. I really wish the rest of this album was as amazing as this song.

#2 "Gravity", off 'F.E.A.R.' - Papa Roach, featuring Maria Brink

Released waaaaay back in early February, and featuring one of my all-time favorite singers on guest duties, this song is spectacular. Another mediocre album, but this song almost makes up for it.

#1 "Criminal Conversations", off 'The Awakening' - P.O.D., featuring Maria Brink

Not only the number one song on this list, but arguably one of the very best songs released all year long. All I can say is go listen to it. It's highly accessible, and one of the best tracks of the year.

Up next... Albums #20-17(maybe eventually?)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Album #10; 'Love. Death. Immortality.' - The Glitch Mob

Joining our list at #10 this year is 'Love Death Immortality' by The Glitch Mob; the only electronic album to make my final Top 20. Released in February of this year, 'LDI' is The Glitch Mob's second album release, and debuted at #13 on the Billboard 200, selling 40,000 copies as of July of this year. It's garnered rave reviews, from critics, myself, and friends.

I'll admit, I'm not as easily impressed with electronic albums as I am rock and metal albums, and that's why the fact that 'LDI' has stuck at #10 on the final list even though it came out in the second month of the year is even more of an accomplishment. Honestly, however, there isn't another album released this year that pumps me up as much when I listen to it as this album does.

'Mind of a Beast' is an incredibly killer opening song, and the amazing tracks don't stop there; 'Skullclub', 'Carry The Sun', and 'Skytoucher' are fantastic songs that get me up and moving with ease. Most of the other songs feature guest singers, and are great compliments to the album; 'Fly By Night Only' is a wonderful example of this. However, the best track on the album, and another track that competes for Top 10 songs of the year is 'Our Demons', which features Aja Volkman, the lead singer of a small band called Nico Vega. It's an incredible song, and you should really listen.

Tracklist (favorites in orange, shocking, right?):

Mind of a Beast - 4:17
Our Demons - 5:16
Skullclub - 5:48
Becoming Harmonious - 4:40
Can't Kill Us - 4:55
I Need My Memory Back - 5:48
Skytoucher - 6:08
Fly By Night Only - 4:47
Carry the Sun - 4:56
Beauty of the Unhidden Heart - 4:30

Onto #9! Single digits now! This is where it gets rough...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Album #11 'The Turn' - Live

Coming into the countdown at #11 is one of my most anticipated releases of the year; 'The Turn' by Live. Live hadn't released an album since 2006, and has gone through a nasty 'hiatus' and break up with former singer, Ed since then. Given the incredible lasting effect their old releases have had on me, I was hesitant but hopeful for this release when it was announced. Officially released on October 28th, the album debuted at #133 on the Billboard 200, but has been meant with warm reviews, most of them praising the return to Live's old sounds, and how seamlessly new singer Chris Shinn is integrated into the album.

While this album didn't blow me away, it's definitely a solid release and wonderful beginning for the band with the new singer. Featuring the usual soaring guitar sounds and heartfelt spiritual lyrics, this album is a step forward, while still acknowledging where the band came from. While Chris isn't Ed (who's voice is almost unrivaled in my opinion), he does a great job making the music his own and has a wonderful range himself. I look forward to future releases featuring Chris, as I think there is a fair amount of untapped potential and they've only scratched the surface with this release. The best tracks are 'Siren's Call', 'Natural Born Killers', and 'The Way Around Is Through', the last being the most catchy and most like the Live of old.

Traclist (favorites, as always, are in orange):

Siren's Call - 4:11
Don't Run To Wait - 3:47
Natural Born Killers - 4:37
6310 Rodgerton Dr. - 4:09
By Design - 4:21
The Way Around Is Through - 4:52
Need Tonight - 4:12
The Strength To Hold On - 5:32
We Open The Door - 4:53
He Could Teach The Devil Tricks - 4:10
Till You Came Around - 4:42

Up next, #10! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Album #12; 'Reincarnate' - Motionless in White

Coming into the countdown at #12 is 'Reincarnate' by Motionless in White; yet another new band I discovered this year, and only through a certain song, 'Contemptress'. MiW has evolved in every single one of their releases, and this one is a wonderful choice of direction.

Featuring some really hard shredding guitars and pummeling drums, the lead singers screams are gorgeously backed up in every single song. 'Death March' is a great anthem song to kick off the album, and 'Reincarnate' is arguably one of the best hard rock songs of the year; 'Break The Cycle', 'Unstoppable', and 'Carry The Torch' are also incredible in your face tracks. Near the back half of the album, MiW seems to deviate from the norm of the rest of the album and go for more of an electro-rock sound, with songs like 'Wasp', and 'Final Dictvm', and while both are pretty solid songs, they take away form the overall power this album has throughout the first half.

'Contemptress' is far and beyond the best song on this album; featuring Maria Brink from In This Moment on vocals, it is an absolutely killer song that is easily in my Top 10 on the year. Give it a listen, trust me, they kill it on this track.

Tracklist (favorites in orange, still, even 4 days later):

Death March - 4:43
Reincarnate - 3:40
Puppets 3 (The Grand Finale) - 4:16
Unstoppable - 3:28
Everybody Sells Cocaine - 3:55
Contemptress - 4:03
Break The Cycle - 4:03
Generation Lost - 2:59
Dark Passenger - 3:49
Wasp - 7:02
Dead as F**k - 2:57
Final Dictvm - 5:06
Carry The Torch - 5:57

And onto #11! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Album #13; 'How We Both Wondrously Perish' - Being As An Ocean

Lucky #13 on this countdown is another new band I discovered this year, Being As An Ocean, with their album 'How We Both Wondrously Perish'. An emotionally charged release that I was lucky enough to find during the middle of the year, it's a very solid album overall.

Featuring two lead vocalists and a very full sound, this band knows what it is doing and does it well. One vocalist handles most of the soaring choruses, and the other vocalist handles the screamed verses; though the screamer also has a tendency to have a 'talking' voice, so to speak that, personally, I think absolutely highlights most tracks on this album.

Housing one of my favorite songs of the year in 'The Poets Cry For More', this album is an emotional roller coaster of an album. 'The Poets' is an incredibly emotionally powerful song with lyrics that really grab at me. "We have all made mistakes, and God I've made mistakes, but my mistakes haven't made me" is a wonderful lyric that ends a haunting opening monologue of sorts; add in the fact that the title track comes before it and leads into it perfectly, and you've got the recipe for an amazing part of this album. Other highlight songs of this album include 'We Drag The Dead On Leashes', 'Mothers', and 'Grace, Teach Us What We Lack', all of which tug emotionally and really make the listener think.

When I first picked up this album, it had a place inside my Top 6, but has since fallen; mostly due to the fact that I believe the screaming on the album doesn't really add much; the album is at its best during is melodic choruses and during clean vocals from the verses. Given that and the short runtime (39 minutes), it was knocked down a couple pegs. I'd still suggest giving it a listen, however, because overall it's quite strong.

Tracklist (favorites in orange again, right?):

Mediocre Shakespeare - 3:40
Death's Great Black Wing Scrapes The Air - 4:18
L'exquisite douleur - 3:55
How We Both Wondrously Perish - 1:10
The Poets Cry For More - 3:29
We Drag The Dead On Leashes - 4:55
Even The Dead Have Their Tasks - 3:26
Grace, Teach Us What We Lack - 4:24
Mothers - 5:06
Natures - 4:46

That's all for #13! #12 is next! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Album #14; 'Black Veil Brides' - Black Veil Brides

Arriving at the countdown at #14 is the self titled release by Black Veil Brides, their fourth full length studio album. Personally, I was really excited and had high expectations for the album after the release of 'Wretched and Divine' last year (which slotted at #2 on my end of year list last year), and while I'm sad to say it's nowhere near the expectations, and nowhere near the caliber of W&D from last year, it's a solid rock album nonetheless, and manages to slot in at #14 this year.

'Heart of Fire' is the first track, and is so far the biggest hit off this album on the radio, and rightfully so, it's a great demonstration of what BVB is good at and has done for a long time. 'Faithless' is my personal favorite off this album; with a haunting intro that truly has an Avenged Sevenfold-esque aura to it, and then a wonderfully hard guitar riff to follow it up, it's truly the strongest offering on this release.

One thing I will commend on this release is that it seems that Andy is willing to return the screams of old and exemplifies that quite well on a couple tracks on this album, 'Stolen Omen' being the best example of this. Overall, however, this album feels almost rushed to me, like it could've been given a couple more tweaks before it was released. It seems that they had too many songs written for W&D, and decided to take the extras and expand them into a second album.

They've had two straight years of releases now, and I've seen both the supporting tours for each album. The first year, they played almost the entirety of W&D; this year, the only played 3 songs off this album, and I think that's a very good indicator that the album isn't nearly as strong, whether it's live or in studio.

Tracklist (favorites in orange, just like everytime):

Heart of Fire - 3:21
Faithless - 4:48
Devil in the Mirror -3:30
Goodbye Agony - 4:09
World of Sacrifice - 3:30
Last Rites - 3:33
Stolen Omen - 3:47
Walk Away - 5:57
Drag Me to the Grave - 3:45
The Shattered God - 4:03
Crown of Thorns - 3:39

That's #14! Seems #13 is next, eh?

Album #15; 'The Black Market' - Rise Against

After a couple days off due to crazy work schedules, we pick the countdown back up at #15 with 'The Black Market' by Rise Against. I've been a big fan of Rise Against since 'The Sufferer and the Witness' was released, and it's hard to believe this is four albums down the road. Always known for their hard rock and punk sound, they've grown and matured with every album and it really shows on 'The Black Market'.

'The Great Die-Off' is a great opening song with fast paced guitar shredding and drum support, and it's followed by perhaps the catchiest song on the album 'I Don't Wanna Be Here Anymore'; a fantastic anthem that speaks to the horrors that plague most walks of life. 'People Live Here' is the always wonderful foray into the acoustic side of Rise Against, and really hits home emotionally. My personal favorite song 'Tragedy + Time' is a wonderful look at how loss can change and shape you into the person you're meant to be, and how even when things look bleak, you "hold on to laugh again someday".

Tracklist (favorites are still in orange):

The Great Die-Off - 3:40
I Don't Wanna Be Here Anymore - 4:00
Tragedy + Time - 4:17
The Black Market - 4:16
The Eco-Terrorist in Me - 2:45
Sudden Life - 4:08
A Beautiful Indifference - 3:25
Methadone - 3:49 
Zero Visibility - 4:38
Awake Too Long - 3:12
People Live Here - 4:09
Bridges - 4:07

#14 is up next!