The end of 2013 is here – another year packed with great releases. To celebrate, our contributors listed their personal top 5 of releases that were put our this year. Happy holidays and enjoy the read!
Tim van Reyswoud / Editor-in-chief
1. Downpresser – Don’t Need A Reason
From the moment Terrorizer was streaming Downpresser‘s Don’t Need A Reason in its entirety, I was hooked. It was my introduction to the Santa Barbara hardcore outfit who, after three long years, were longing to put out their full length album which they worked so hard on. The result was, and still is, mind blowing. It’s fast, heavy, filthy, and has that metallic twist to it. Don’t Need A Reason is loaded with groove by bassist Taylor Parker and drummer Cayle Sain and sleazy riffing by guitarist Sean Lamb. Vocalist Dan Weinraub tops if off with his angry vocals that give me goosebumps each time I turn on the record and hear ‘Twist of Fate’. Their European tour in May 2014 is the most anticipated tour of the year yet.
2. The Story So Far – What You Don’t See
3. Redemption Denied – Nothing Remains
4. Citizen – Youth
5. Brutality Will Prevail – Scatter the Ashes
Nigel / Editor
1. Freedom – Pay The Price
I’m always terrible at these kind of things because there are so many good releases to choose from. Therefor I chose to focus on full lengths only, just to make it a bit easier. Anyways, here’s my end of the year list for 2013. The best record that was released this year for me was Pay The Price by Freedom. Freedom is a straight edge hardcore band with members from Face Reality. Raw hardcore as it was intended with a high punk energy and no bullshit whatsoever. For me this record has every aspect I love in hardcore combined into a perfect mix that make me nod my head, point my finger angrily and do stage dives off the side of my bed. Other full lengths I’ve really enjoyed this year are
2. The Rival Mob – Mob Justice
3. Power Trip – Manifest Decimation
4. Hounds Of Hate – Self Titled
5. Hoax – Hoax
Ruben Middelweerd / Editor
1. Downpresser – Don’t Need A Reason
In my opinion 2013 was the year that a lot of bands took things to the next level. The things bands were known for in 2012 made them evolve and so the bands made great progress in the live aspect, but also gave us some great albums.
The album of my choice, I would have to say is Don’t Need A Reason by Downpresser. I remember the day I first heard it. I had never given Downpresser too much attention; the older releases were good, but they missed something and so they didn’t do it for me. The day I first heard their 2013 release I was sitting with my friends in our practice room and someone started playing it on his phone. We were all really excited and that is strange as we have very different tastes in music.
Downpresser is one of those bands that took things from their older releases, things that made them stand out, and simply put more energy in that. It is definitely one of the most solid albums I have heard in a while. It has great variety and an amazing energy flow. The drums on this record are sick, the riffs are sick and the vocal lines are killer. Ten out of ten for this band; I listen to it almost every day.
2. Brutality Will Prevail – Scatter the Ashes
3. Turnstile – Step 2 Rhythm
4. Rotting Out – The Wrong Way
5. Swamps – Heavy Work
Niels Koster / Writer
1. Full Of Hell – Rudiments Of Mutilation
My last years end of the year list for Legends Arising included some amazing work by the likes of Converge, Title Fight and Xibalba, albums that I still listen to everyday. 2013 was a year with a lot of great releases too, but for me most weren’t hardcore related.
If we take a look at the more hardcore related stuff, my 2013 list is very dark. With the crushing grind of Nails and All Pigs Must Die and the sludge-infected post-hardcore of Belgium’s Oathbreaker. Number 1 however is Rudiments Of Mutilation by Full Of Hell, an amazing noisey hardcore trip that is even more dynamic than their 2011 debut. I’m looking forward to 2014 and the releases that 2014 will bring.
2. Nails – Abandon All Life
3. Oathbreaker – Eros|Anteros
4. This Routine Is Hell – Howl
5. All Pigs Must Die – Nothing Violates This Nature
Alex Tabankia / Writer
1. This Routine Is Hell – Howl
This is the record that followed me everywhere this year. Dutch quartet This Routine Is Hell managed to deliver one of the most pissed off and direct album of the year. It’s just so good and sadly so short, I just want to hear more from these guys. Howl offers 21 minutes of pure energy and blood-pumping music, it’s almost impossible to stay indifferent. When I reviewed the album earlier this year, I wrote “Howl is an album that features the best of the European hardcore sound with a certain will of going forward (…) It is one of those records that can catapult This Routine Is Hell in another dimension”. I still think it’s pretty accurate considering how good this record is. Not much left to say beside the fact we’re dealing with hardcore punk at its finest here. Stunning work.
2. Touche Amore – Is Survived By
3. Deafheaven – Sunbather
4. Baptists – Bushcraft
5. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
Alfie Nobes – Writer
1. Counterparts – The Difference Between Hell and Home
It’s always hard picking your favourite record, especially seeing as 2013 has been such an impressive year for alternative music. However after a vast amount of thinking I have managed to pick five albums which in my opinion absolutely smashed it this year. It’s easy to think of some other 2013 highlights – Letters Home, Spring Songs, Is Survived By and Disarm the Decent to name a few, but sadly I had to pick five. All this said Counterparts’ The Difference Between Hell and Home claims the top-spot for me. These guys are the kind of band which are never content to sit on the side-lines; they constantly push the boundaries of their sound, as well as their technical ability. The Difference Between Hell and Home is a perfect balance of melody and relentless rage, exactly what a melodic hardcore record should be. This album will sit very comfortably on my shelf – and iTunes library, as a prime example of how hardcore has evolved. The Difference Between Hell and Home stands as a testament to Counterpart’s musicianship and offers a vivid clarification of the skill found on previous records. The album creates a feeling of raw and merciless aggression conveyed through some crystal-clear musical talent. If you haven’t already, give this Canadian 5-pieces’ album a spin.
2. The Story so Far – What You Don’t See
3. Stray from the Path – Anonymous
4. Balance and Composure – The Things We Think We’re Missing
5. Malevolence – Reign Of Suffering
Patrick Batenburg / Writer
1. Turnstile – Step 2 Rhythm
This year’s top 5 is very difficult for me. Usually I have tons of new music I listen to throughout the year, but this year was different. A lot of releases couldn’t match with those from 2012. Of course there are a few records that I still listen to on a daily basis. My absolute number one is Turnstile‘s Step 2 Rythm. Which is kinda odd for me as it took a while before I digged this record, and still don’t know why. After some months something happened and it all turned around. Now it’s my number 1 record for this year. Turnstile is different then most hardcore bands, mixing old school influences with some rad grooves is just amazing. The other ones in the list are all bands and artists that inspired me a lot during the year. It’s a very diverse list but I think everyone should try and listen to some other genres once in a while, you might be surprised about what you like.
2. Doomriders – Grand Blood
3. Cult of Luna – Vertikal I & II
4. Nas – Before Lost Tape 2
5. Rotting Out – The wrong Way
Laurens Kleine / Writer
1. Self Defense Family – Try Me
Self Defense Family’s Try Me is the definite record of the year for me. Try Me, just over eighty minutes in length, gives you nine exceptionally well written songs and two interviews with Angelique Gauthier, an adult film actress vocalist Patrick Kindlon was enamoured with as a young man. An interesting person beyond any reasonable level, her narrative in a lot of ways became the running theme of the record. Try Me features a hard to describe, but more or less perfect blend of superb lyrics, bummed-out, rhythmic guitar work and heavier ‘punk’ segments. I guess it’s best compared to the sound of bands like Lungfish, Snapcase or Fugazi.
Get your hands on Try Me if you hadn’t already: buy it here, a stream is available on Spotify. Listen to this record in its entirety. Enjoy it or don’t.
2. Drug Church – Paul Walker
3. Listener – Time is a Machine
4. Down to Nothing – Life on the James
5. This Routine is Hell – Howl