Was 2011 really that long ago? Yes, dear reader, it was. That year was the last time the Cardinals won the World Series, and some of the most important albums of the last decade were released that year as well – especially in the pop-punk and metal genres. If you’re a bit lost as to some of that year’s best records, look no further than our handy list of 18 of 2011’s best records. Listen and thank us later if you haven’t heard some of these gems.
Deaf Havana (Fools And Worthless Liars
Deaf Havana may have changed stylistically several times over the years, but few of DH’s shifts were as abrupt as the one the alt-rock band underwent from their debut full-length to Fools And Worthless Liars. Going from an almost Alexisonfire-style post-hardcore sound to alt-rock certainly was a brave transition, and with huge songs like “I’m A Bore, Mostly” and “Youth In Retrospect”, Deaf Havana cemented themselves as one of Britrock’s most exciting names.
Leprous are one of prog metal’s biggest innovators right now, going from strength to strength over the course of their 6 full-lengths to date. Bilateral splits the difference between their more aggressive material and the somewhat softer path they’d tread on Malina and Pitfalls, with the title track especially providing a snapshot into where the band was headed.
The Dear Hunter (The Color Spectrum)
36 songs. 9 colors. Varying genres of music. The Color Spectrum is the rare example of a concept album that pretty much nails everything it tries to do – from theatrical indie rock to acoustic passages, to even hints of alt-country. Brilliant, really.
o’brother (Garden Window)
o’brother defies easy categorization, especially on 2011’s debut full-length Garden Window. Elements of indie, post-metal, sludge, and post-hardcore abound, but rest assured o’brother is a unique experience that warrants plenty of repeat listens.
Thursday (No Devolucion)
What Thursday accomplished on No Devolucion is nothing short of striking. Thursday reinvented their post-hardcore framework in a way that makes No Devolucion arguably their greatest work, with post-rock and ambient influences littered everywhere.
The Story So Far (Under Soil & Dirt)
The Story So Far helped to kick off a new era of pop-punk with the extremely catchy Under Soil & Dirt. Standouts like “High Regard” and “Roam” offer more than just catchy choruses – there’s a hardcore edge to the band that no doubt helps The Story So Far’s consistency.
La Dispute (Wildlife)
Oh, Sleeper (Children Of Fire)
Showing a fiery maturity in both the band’s musicality and lyricism, Oh, Sleeper’s Children Of Fire will go down in history as one of modern metalcore’s most heartrending moments. Need proof? “Hush Yael” will leave you breathless until the end.
The Human Abstract (Digital Veil)
Does classically-influenced progressive tech-metal sound good to you? Digital Veil will be right up your alley.
Born Of Osiris (The Discovery)
The Discovery is full of exciting progressive metal that oscillates into the band’s previously stated deathcore influences. A huge evolution in Born Of Osiris’s creative and writing process, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into here. Album highlight “Recreate” contains an intriguingly effective melodic lead, and is also one of the more accessible tracks here, too. “Regenerate” is a total pit rager, with a thick and meaty guitar tone and heavy bottom end that really gives the song a big boost.
There’s hardly a dull moment on Erra‘s debut full-length, Impulse. Impulse shows off many of the best aspects of the band’s technical skill right away. What Erra tends to do very well is blend the soaring melodies of many post-hardcore and rock bands with the technicality of your favorite progressive and metalcore bands. While it’s worked well on all of their albums to date, the synergy that former vocalist Garrison Lee and current guitarist/vocalist Jesse Cash had on tracks like the amazing closer “Render The Void” had are honestly sometimes jawdropping. It definitely helps to have musical talent, but the songs are well-written as well.
Discoveries almost immediately become a copied style, with its emphatic progressive metalcore rhythms fast becoming a phenomenon. Australia caught on fast, and soon the rest of the world did as well. “Transcending Dimensions” is a definite highlight.
Breakdown Of Sanity (Mirrors)
Breakdowns and breakdowns and breakdowns and riffs and breakdowns. Also some pretty sick album art from one of Europe’s more exciting metalcore bands.
The Air I Breathe (Great Faith In Fools)
An overlooked, solid metalcore gem, Great Faith In Fools was sadly The Air I Breathe’s only full-length – but it’s a doozy. Almost black-metal influenced vocals and plenty of breakdowns abound, but the more technical aspects of the band’s sound proved they weren’t a one-trick pony.
Volumes’ debut full-length VIA was a veritable phenomenon upon its 2011 release, with the band’s dual vocalist progressive metalcore approach providing more than just breakdowns. Volumes know how to groove and when to invoke serious emotion into their music (see: “Intake” and “Edge Of The Earth”). RIP Diego Farias.
The Wonder Years (Suburbia…)
A landmark in what pop-punk can do on the storytelling side of things, Suburbia is pop-punk that’s relatable for just about anyone in their twenties and thirties – navigating the trials and tribulations that life has to offer.
Transit (Listen And Forgive)
Transit really improved on Listen And Forgive, which showed the pop-punk band evolving with improved Joe Boynton vocals and newfound emo inflections that made Transit a fan favorite. Tim Landers forever.
A Hope For Home (In Abstraction)
Underrated post-metal crew A Hope For Home showed off some serious ambition with their mixture of sludge metal, post-metal, and post-hardcore. Believe it or not, there’s actually a track called “Calm” on here. And it’s anything but.