Many would agree that 2015 has been a great year for the alternative rock scene; with a number of face-melting new releases from well-known artists, paired with the rise of smaller bands whose recent work has captured our attention. I’ve compiled my Top 10 alternative rock releases of 2015 for you and with so many good ones to choose from, it hasn’t been an easy task! Let’s hope that next year lives up to the standard already set.
10 – Public Image Ltd – What The World Needs Now… (4 September)
For those that are not already aware, PiL emerged following the break up of the Sex Pistols and are led by the legend that is John Lydon. This album has moments that echo back to the days of the Sex Pistols – with
controversial lyrics angrily commenting on society. However, despite this similarity, PiL still manage to portray a uniqueness that is rarely achieved. First track: ‘Double Trouble’ exemplifies this perfectly – with Lydon’s characteristic anarchistic delivery mixed with a catchy rhythm and unconventional subject matter. If you want to hear something completely out of the ordinary then give them a listen!
9. The Prodigy – The Day Is My Enemy (30 March)
Having left fans waiting over 5 years since the release of last album: ‘Invaders Must Die’, The Prodigy did not disappoint. ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ seems like a step in a completely new direction for the band, incorporating elements of nearly every style that they have previously experimented with. The resulting creation is something that is made to be played loud, with tracks such as ‘Wall of Death’ guaranteed to get a crowd jumping when played live.
8. Halestorm – Into The Wild Life (13 April)
This is the third album by Halestorm and here they have truly built upon their strengths to create some of their best work so far. Lzzy Hale’s raw vocals add a powerful edge to tracks such as ‘Amen’ and ‘Mayhem’ whilst still complementing the emotional ballad: ‘Dear Daughter’. It is clear that this is a step away from their previous albums but veering slightly from their original formula has certainly paid off and I look forward to hearing how their sound will continue to change.
7. Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor (19 January)
A contrast to previous work, here Manson proves that he doesn’t need to shock to create a diverse and somewhat addictive album to listen to. ‘The Pale Emperor’ suggests an evolved maturity – particularly shown during ‘Third Day of a Seven Day Binge’ – yet without losing the dark, infectious quality that has enthralled fans for years. It’s impossible to ignore the talent behind this album, it is true that Manson never ceases to amaze.
6. Escape The Fate – Hate Me (30 October)
With yet another change to their line-up since the last record, it was hard to know what to expect when this album was announced in mid 2015. Luckily, Escape The Fate have managed to pull the cat out of the bag, producing an album that speaks far louder than the drama surrounding the band themselves. Every track has a different style, some of which being particularly surprising – for instance: ‘Remember Every Scar’ which almost resembles pop punk! The sheer variety on display provides a song for every mood, giving ‘Hate Me’ a deserved spot in the Top 10.
5. Aiden – Aiden (30 October)
Featuring performances by artists such as Ash Costello and Craig Mabbitt, this is the explosive finale that Aiden never had and marks the end of an era. It was released as a free download (funded by the auctioning of old Aiden memorabilia) and includes all the punk and goth rock elements that fans have always loved. Particularly notable tracks are ‘Crawling Up From Hell’ and ‘New Grave’, each reminiscent of the classic Aiden sound. If you want to catch them before they disappear forever then there are still tickets available for their Last Sunrise Tour which hits the UK in 2016 and I sincerely recommend that you go to see them!
4. The Dead XIII – Catacombs (10 August)
The debut from Manchester’s rising horror metal band: The Dead XIII grips the listener from the very beginning; sending them on a dark journey to where the ghosts are waiting… Don’t let that scare you away from having a listen though! ‘Frostbite’ and ‘XIII’ are my personal favourites, with their catchy choruses and heavy riffs making them a favourite at live shows. The use of growling vocals gives an aggressive tone that really adds to the anthemic quality of each song. I warn you, their music will get stuck in your head but I honestly don’t think that’s a bad thing.
3. Papa Roach – F.E.A.R. (27 January)
Described by frontman Jacoby Shaddix as being “all over the place”, it was a tough job to predict how this album would turn out – but having sat down and listened to it in it’s entirety, I was taken aback by the diversity of musical styles explored. ‘Gravity’, with it’s guest performance from Maria Brink, brings back memories of where they began – with it’s rap verses brought together with melodic choruses. Paired with ‘Face Everything And Rise’ – with it’s heavy rhythm and occasionally electronic elements, we can see the contrast between the Papa Roach of old and new. It seems like the band are trying to prove that they are capable of even more than they’ve already exhibited throughout their musical career and it is safe to say that they’ve succeeded.
2. Fightstar – Behind The Devil’s Back (16 October)
I had the pleasure of reviewing this before release and it was far better than I could ever have imagined – even leading to me buying it as soon as it was officially released! The power of the emotion behind it is astounding, with songs such as ‘More Human Than Human’ commanding ears to listen. This has been one of few albums with the capability of initially rendering me utterly speechless after hearing it. Having waited six years for ‘Behind The Devil’s Back’, expectations were high but the band have delivered. Arguably their heaviest album to date, this seems to suggest that Fightstar are following a new path, one that I believe will lead to great things in the future.
1. FVK – Bruises (23 October)
It seems we’ve arrived at the top of the list! With a journey back to reality from the fictional world of Grandomina (created by vocalist and rhythm guitarist Laurence Beveridge in his books and explored in the band’s previous musical endeavours); Bruises marks a new chapter for FVK and has placed them at pole position in my Top 10. The easily relatable lyrics to tracks such as ‘Keep Smiling’ allow listeners to connect more to their music than ever before yet without losing the unique sound that has always appealed to their fanbase – The Lost Hearts. I can foresee this being the start of bigger things for FVK and only hope that they continue to be recognised for the amount of work they put into their music.
So there it is, my Top 10 – however, there are a few albums that didn’t make it up there that I feel need to be mentioned. Bullet For My Valentine released Venom this year which proved to be a massive hit with a number of sold out shows on the following tour. Also Muse released Drones – given rave reviews by the press, the accompanying tour is due to occur worldwide in 2016. In complete contrast, I have to mention Squeeze – ‘From The Cradle To The Grave’ may stand out as being a little different to those records I’ve already spoken of, but I assure you that it’s classic sound has the ability to lift any mood.
I guess all I have left to say now is… Happy new year!