Wednesday, December 4, 2019

the Top 10 Punk / Hardcore albums of 2019

It's that time of year again, to sort through the top 10 albums of all the respective genres, then use compile the top 10 albums of the year. Later in the month I am making  the top 10 lists for the decade, to be blunt  this is the decade's weakest year for music.  Especially when it comes to new artists, however punk is one of the few genres that proved an exception to this as only 4 of the 10 bands are veterans.  You had to search much harder to find ten albums that rose above, yet that is what I did. As in  past years I am  giving a brief explanation as to why these albums stand over the peers in lower positions on the list. The very fact these bands made it on the list speaks to how great these albums are so it's not a slight that the number 8 album is above the 9th album, there is something that just gives it an edge that makes me want to listen to it more. After all we can try to look cool and pick the hippest bands for a list, but at the end of the day what makes an album the best is that it makes you want more, you look forward to listening to it again. Sure you can bitch and complain about your favorite band not being on the list. However  I listen to five new albums a day so yes I heard your favorite album and was not impressed. No, I do not care what you think about. it  I do hope you can find your next favorite on this list and included links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top 10 Punk/ Hardcore albums of 2019 .

10- A Pregnant Light - "Broken Play"

 This project used to be black metal. I think Damian Master's has always been a hardcore kid at heart and now that black metal is waning with the cool kids we are going back to seeing his true colors which are more in a shade of gray. With that said this is obviously not a bad thing as it earned it's place on this list. Thrashy metallic hard core, but hardcore nonetheless.

9 Portrayal of Guilt- "Suffering is a Gift"

 Here is an album that grew on me with each listen. It is a very metallic hardcore with elements of grindcore and screamo mixed in. It is obviously the darkness they tap into which is what I like. I like darkness. It feeds my personal sense of evil. The world needs more evil. The more experimental touches are also what elevated this over A Pregnant Light.

8- the Refused -"War Music"

This feels like a much closer return to the band who once showed the shape of punk to come. More rooted in hardcore while retaining the melodic hooks of the last albums. Was most impressed by the renewed sense of aggression. It might not change the game like "the Shape of Punk to Come" , but how many albums can do that. The more melodic touches and mature songwriting are what lands them the number 8 spot over the darker grind core


7-Lightning Bolt -"Sonic Citadel"

 For a band that is commonly in your face and a challenging listen , this album takes those things up to 11. angular math rock explosions collide with methed out thrashing. Much more punk than their last album, yet more melodic as well. The highly organized focus of chaos is what gives them an edge over the Refused.

6-Brutus- "Nest" 
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<- br="" est=""> It is impressive that as a trio they are kicking up this amount of noise and their singer Stefanie is also playing the drums. She has a pretty good voice that at times makes me imagine that this is how Bjork might sound if she decided to play punk. This might not be the most original sound in the world , it does have enough of their own spin on it to  feel like it is not as derived from the 90s . The atmosphere and emotion sets it over Lightning Bolt. 
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5- Phobia - "Generation Coward" 

 The California kings of grindcore return to take on the Millennial internet culture. Punk should trigger you. Most of the vocals sound like old school death metal. it grows on me the more I listen to it. I like their attitude and punk is all about the attitude.  These guys use their 30 years of experience to own their sound. They succeed at what the set out to do and taught the younger bands a lesson. The confrontational aggression is what gives this album the edge over Brutus.

4-Wristmeetrazor - "Misery Never Forgets" 

 There is a mix of various styles on this album. All of them are dark and tormented, so it works for me.They throw the break downs of hard core in the right places and do not bring them in a tough guy manner. They can switch things up with more frenetic screamo type riffs that are given new life through not sticking to the conventions of the sub genre. They beat out Phobia, due to the fact their songs have more room for a larger range of dynamics.

3 the Menzingers - "Hello Exile"

This album takes you back to the days when punk and rock where not as distant of cousins. They do this without feeling like they are trying too hard to be retro. The focus is on the songs. Not the nastiest punk records in fact it is the most soothing this year. It is the strong song writing that compensates for the lack of raw power, but still puts them over Wristmeetrazor.

2- Bats- "Alter Nature"

 With frenetic punk angry at this Irish bands finger tips, sometimes darker than others. The lyrics a grim, leaning into sci-fi and horror. The drummer is pretty adventurous and they are prepared to bash into everything with the power of an Amp Rep band. Yes, they are all over the place, but If you consider Fugazi punk then this could very well be punk too. They prove themselves superior to the Menzingers, but the complex yet catchy nature of their punchy songwriting. 


1- Low Dose -'s/t" 

 The guys from Fight Amp have formed a new band with singer , guitarist Itarya Rosenberg, that owes more to 90s alternative than pumped up noise rock. Not that some of the more pounding angular bit are not there, along with punk influences, but they have more in common with rawer more punk influenced moments of 90s grunge. The reason this album is in the number one spot, is due to the range of their song writing and how dynamic it is.

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