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Nine for 2009

In no particular order/rank here are seven albums that came out this year that are worth checking out, and two that just aren’t.

The Good:

1. Emery – …In Shallow Seas We Sail

This band has really matured since the days of The Question and The Weak’s End back in ’05 and ’04.  Shedding the generic screamo feel they once had and lyrically this is exponentially better than their older stuff. They’ve fixed problems with the staleness they had with I’m Only a Man and revived (at least for me) the entire rock-emo/screamo genre.

2. Every Time I Die – New Junk Aesthetic

As if Every Time I Die couldn’t get any better, well, they did. New Junk Aesthetic is a great fusion of hardcore and southern rock by the heroes of Buffalo. This really is a must-get.

3. August Burns Red – Constellations

I don’t think this is better than Messengers, but it still is great and a perfect album to start listening to ABR if you haven’t yet.  Even if metalcore isn’t your thing, this album (and every ABR album) is worth listening to solely for Matt Greiner’s drumming.  He is a madman, and that’s good.

4. Lions Lions – From What We Believe

The first full length from Boston natives Lions Lions and they don’t disappoint. Ex-members from Thefore I Am, Vanna, and A Loss for Words came together to form this Boston superteam.  I have yet to find someone who has listened to this album and not enjoyed it.   Only gripe is that they should’ve kept “Waves” the way it was in the EP.

5. Thrice – Beggars

Warning: I am a Thrice fanboy.  This is another band that has just kees progressing album to album (except for The Artist In The Ambulance, but we can just forget that 90% of those songs ever existed) and they did it again here.  They have stripped their music down and really showcase Dustin Kensrue’s pipes.  If you like this album, make sure to check out Dustin’s solo project which is a bit more folky but a good listen in its own right.

6. Coheed and Cambria – Neverender

Technically only 12% of this has been released, but it is all out there.  These are live recordings of Coheed playing in NYC 4 nights in a row.  Each night was a different album, played through in its entirety. An amazing feat considering many bands probably don’t remember half their stuff from their debut full lengths. Anyways, it’s great quality for a live recording and reminds me why In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 is one of my favorite albums of all time.

7. Holding Onto Hope – Of The Sea…

Finally, a return to the late ’90’s and early 2000’s of post-hardcore, the way it was meant to be.  Raw, passionate, and very unique.  They are definitely heavy but can also bring some really nice clean guitar parts to lighten the mood which is needed.  Sometimes it feels like you’re trudging through mud while listening to this album which, to me at least, is appealing but i can understand why some people don’t love this.

The Unfortunate:

8. Emmure – Felony

When you entitle a song “R2Deepthroat” do you actually expect to get any respect? The sirens are old, the singing is poor, and the lyrics are so “brutal” that you can only laugh at them.  I was excited for this but I guess I’ll just listen to their old stuff and The Acacia Strain from now on.  If anyone is looking for an album to listen to so they can make fun of heavy music, this is your gem.

9. Killswitch Engage – Killswitch Engage

Obvious problem here Killswitch, you have already released a self-titled album, like eight years ago and it was way better than this piece.  I’ve put my neck out there defending these guys from haters for awhile now because they were the undisputed kings of metalcore.  This album has nothing new, nothing impressive, and is just an average (at best) attempt.  If this wasn’t a band as popular or porlific as Killswitch I don’t think I would be this hard on them, but this album is pathetic when put against The End of Hearthache or even As Daylight Dies. On a side note: If any metal/death-core band makes another song entitled “Never Again” I’m going to abandon ship and go listen to indie-pop for the rest of time.

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