Lately, there’s been a legion of bands who are reviving the traditional New York hardcore/metalcore sound in some way. Bands like Madball, E Town Concrete, Hatebreed, Life Of Agony, and Leeway obviously loom large, but so do elements of hip-hop, nu-metal, and more traditional modern metalcore. Enter France’s Rise Of The Northstar.
Cycle back to the early 2000’s, and you’ll find a completely different music scene thriving. With Myspace being a brand new thing, Facebook being a pipe dream, and album sales still going (somewhat) strong, the burgeoning metalcore scene wasn’t as saturated as it is today. Trustkill, Ferret, and other record labels were putting out some of the freshest metalcore and post-hardcore albums you could imagine, and what’s interesting is most of them are incredibly important today. Without Eighteen Visions, there’s likely no Motionless In White or Asking Alexandria, etc.
Bands like Underoath and As I Lay Dying hadn’t come close to reaching their peak yet, Demon Hunter was starting to see success, and Zao was, well, being Zao (2004’s The Funeral Of God is a stone cold classic). Then you have a band like Haste The Day, who always made quality, diverse albums – 2015’s epitaph Coward can be argued as their best, but there’s also 2005’s When Everything Falls, 2007’s Pressure The Hinges, and then there’s their 2004 debut record Burning Bridges. Career-defining tracks like “Blue 42” and “American Love” made this a killer debut album, as their self-described “rock and roll with breakdowns” caught on rather quickly. A definite fan favorite album, it was part of the “wave” of mid-2000’s bands that truly defined the genre. And though their later albums would expand on their core sound, experiment with more melody and other genres, and even change vocalists, it all came full circle on 2015’s Coward, featuring an array of sounds that essentially covered their entire decade plus career. If you like breakdowns and shredding riffs that never go out of style, this album is the place to be.
Everyone has to start somewhere, though. Haste The Day’s core sound on Burning Bridges surely inspired many of the wave of current bands, like August Burns Red, The Word Alive, The Devil Wears Prada, and many more. It also encouraged similar bands to up their game – or get left behind. It remains a highly influential album, and for a debut, it’s very strong. Listen to it below, and rediscover Burning Bridges
Somewhere between the 2015 release of their EP SKRWD and their upcoming full-length Red, Green Or Inbetween, the pop-punk outfit WSTR established themselves as one of Britain’s brightest pop-punk acts, and since we’re upon the pending release of their aforementioned debut album, it’s pretty clear that WSTR will be your new favorite pop-punk band. Comparisons will probably abound to Neck Deep, The Story So Far, and/or Trash Boat, and it’s true that WSTR isn’t necessarily reinventing the wheel here. But what they are doing is creating catchy pop-punk music with plenty of energy to spare.
Their debut full-length drops in January, and you can stream their new track “Lonely Smiles” below. Rest assured, WSTR won’t get lost in a sea of similar, mediocre acts – they’re here to stay. 11 tracks of pop-punk that will likely be one of the best releases of 2017. Watch out, and listen up.
Somewhere between the recording of All Our Kings Are Dead and sophomore album Bones, UK rock outfit Young Guns started gaining a head of steam. It’s easy to see why they’re successful – they have a sharp, anthemic sound that’s really easy to sing along to. They make solid albums, and there’s always a few standout tracks on each. Their arena-sized hooks aren’t phoned in, either – it’s a trait that comes naturally to them. And though their last 2 albums (moreso this year’s Echoes, which made it on our Top 100 Albums Of 2016 list) have boosted their status, it’s 2012’s Bones that remains the most interesting of their 4 full-lengths – taking the more aggressive sound they pursued on their debut, with more of the melodic, anthemic qualities they later developed.
When Bones hits, it really hits. The title track is obviously phenomenal, but the album opener “I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die” is a raucous way to start things out, and it really sets the tone for the rest of the album. Tracks like “Dearly Departed” are more of a mid-tempo speed, but continually roll into soaring, anthemic choruses. Track #7, “Brothers In Arms”, is possibly the best track here, and it meshes well with the single “Learn My Lesson”. In fact, the overall track sequencing is one of the best things about Bones. Instead of just sounding like a collection of singles, it’s clear that here, great care was taken to promote the ebb and flow of the album – which is why it succeeds on all fronts.
Bones is a must-listen if you’re into anthemic rock of any sort – and the band has a distinctly British flair to match, as well. Stream the whole album below, and revisit what could be considered a modern classic, if not at least a good representation of fist-pumping rock that could fill arenas easily.