-Folk- Coming Soon
-Doom Metal- Coming Soon
-Experimental- Coming Soon
This section is comprised of the best hardcore punk, post-hardcore, metalcore, deathcore, and screamo albums of 2011. For those who aren’t familiar with those terms, just know the following 10 albums have lots and lots of screaming.
Powerful, beautiful, and emotionally devastating, Ära Krâ’s debut is one of the year’s best albums in any genre of music. This is an incredible first album, and it’s hard to imagine what Ära Krâ may be capable of in the future. Stylistically, the music is very unique with elements of hardcore punk, atmospheric black metal, and post-rock. All of it comes together perfectly and with a great deal of emotion. There are certain albums that just seep passion, and Ferne Tage is one of them. The content is dark, yet still beautiful, and it manages to create a distinct and absorbing atmosphere. Most of the vocals are screamed, and the instrumentation can build from ambience to extreme metal, but does so at a leisurely pace. By its end it’s hard not be exhausted listening to Ferne Tage, and that’s a good thing. It’s an emotionally draining album, and as a result it’s definitely not for everyone. However, anyone who likes to sit and truly listen to their heavy music will find a one of a kind experience, and again, one of the absolute best albums of 2011.
Born of Osiris
I’ve heard solid deathcore before, even a few great EP’s. However, Born of Osiris’ The Discovery is the single best pure deathcore album I’ve ever listened to. This is proof that mixing death metal with hardcore can work, and screams and breakdowns aren’t completely incompatible with death metal. The vocals vary between high and low screams and death growls, although not all are well done. It’s good that none of the specific styles stay for too long, and the constant changing only adds to the intensity. The Discovery is likely an album that will be enjoyed more by hardcore/metalcore fans than death metal purists, and that’s fine. This is really a metalcore album with legitimate death metal influences and some well implemented progressive and atmospheric sounds. Born of Osiris have crafted a chaotic mess of an album, and I mean that in the best way possible. If you’re an open-minded death metal fan I would recommend giving this one a chance, but more than anything it’s an essential release for fans of heavier hardcore music.
Empty Days & Sleepless Nights
Empty Days & Sleepless Nights shows two very different sides of Defeater. Some of the songs are heavy hardcore tracks complete with heavy riffs and punk screaming. Those are solid for the most part, and Defeater do a good job of building the songs and giving them some variety. The other half of Empty Days & Sleepless Nights is much softer. There are four acoustic ballads, all of which are surprisingly good. Even without the screaming, Defeater still put a punk edge into the softer tracks. The lyrical themes are similar throughout the album, namely a loose story about a family dealing with their life post-war. The acoustic tracks all come at the end, after 35 minutes of hardcore punk. This makes the theme of the record all the more powerful, hearing anger followed by grief. Empty Days & Sleepless Nights is a complete album, and a great sophomore release from a band quickly gaining the attention of punk fans everywhere.
Jesus & Paka
The first time I listened to Duality, the debut album from Jesus & Paka, it took only about a minute for me to realize that this duo has come up with one of the most unique sounds imaginable. With that being said, it took quite a bit longer for me to realize that this album was more than just a unique experiment. Jesus & Paka play acoustic screamo. Yes, you read that right. This album has powerful punk screams being delivered over borderline-flamenco acoustic guitar parts. It’s hard to believe that this style works, but it does, and quite brilliantly at that. This whole thing would fall apart if the vocals were lackluster, but thankfully the screams are forceful, and they are only intensified by the acoustic instrumentals. The guitars are fast enough to work with the music, but they put a powerful emphasis on the vocals that makes Duality an incredibly emotional record. This is one of the most unique albums of 2011, and it’s also one of the best.
Wildlife is not an album that be critiqued at a technical level, and that’s what makes punk music so great. This is an album of pure emotion. Every word that comes from the vocalist’s mouth is said, screamed, and sung with passion, and the same can be said for every note of the guitar. Wildlife is just intense and beautiful in the most heartbreaking of ways, and it’s the kind of album that’s exactly what emo could be if you removed all of the stigma and commercialism. That is to say, this is a punk album with real emotion, and it makes for a powerful and at times difficult listen.
Protest the Hero
Protest the Hero is a band that makes incredibly complicated music sound simple. Parts of Scurrilous are nothing short of ridiculous and borderline overwhelming. You’ll hear the vocalist screaming over guitar shredding, chaotic drum beats, and melodic backing vocals. Other times high singing will occur over chugging hardcore riffs and breakdowns, and instruments will sometimes transition to new parts seemingly without regard for what the other parts are playing. What sounds like a guitar solo will start in the middle of a verse, and the instruments will slow down in the middle of another. It shouldn’t work, but somehow Protest the Hero manage to pull it off, and the moments where everything does come together bring a much needed rest to chaos. All things considered, Scurrilous is really pretty accessible. It’s a testament to the band’s songwriting that such crazy compositions can work, especially at a level where the music can appeal similarly to fans of hardcore and progressive metal.
Pulling Teeth’s Funerary feels like two different hardcore albums packaged into one. Both are great, but in different ways. The first half is a loud, fast, and chaotic collection of straightforward hardcore punk songs. The latter half is slower and basically sludge metal with punk screams. Again, both work, and they show a tremendous amount of variety. The instrumentation ranges from slow and heavy sludge to fast and sloppy punk to technical metal and even melodic in the solos. It’s an interesting mix, especially in the latter half, and it makes for an incredibly strange and rewarding listen. The vocals won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, even amongst hardcore fans, and the screaming isn’t as powerful as it could have been. The sloppy screams work well with some parts of the music, but occasionally it stands out too much. For the most part though, Funerary is a unique hardcore album that works, and it’s a great album for punk fans and metalheads alike.
Sulla linea d'orizzonte tra questa mia vita e quella di tutti
Makers of some of the most creative and emotionally-charged screamo out there, Raein have returned with an album funded by fan donations. In a lot of ways, this is a return to Raein’s roots, as the music is simpler and closer to their influences than any of their albums before it. The vocals are a mostly powerful screaming, with a few spoken sections, and the instrumentals are similar to influential modern screamo bands like Saetia and pageninetynine. There’s a lot of variation in the instrumentals, both in style and mood, and the music stays interesting throughout as a result. Unlike the aforementioned bands, Raein refrain from moments of pure chaos. The music is certainly emotional, angry, and devastating, but it all stays pretty steady and even accessible as far as screamo albums go. Sulla linea d'orizzonte tra questa mia vita e quella di tutti isn’t anything new for hardcore punk, but it’s a very solid album nonetheless. It’s certainly recommendable for those with interest in screamo, but even newcomers to the genre might want to give this one a try. It’s available as a free download on Raein’s website, and it’s definitely worth any music fan’s time.
While many hardcore bands keep their songs short and to the point, Todos Caerán take the opposite approach. After Dark is cinematic album with long tracks, instrumentals that sound like post-rock at times, and spoken storytelling that eventually turns into screams. It’s definitely for a different type of listener than those who prefer short and intense music, but those who are more patient will find an ever changing album that is successful at building the quiet into the loud. It’s no surprise to learn that Funeral Diner are a primary influence, as that style of hardcore screaming over part-post-rock part-punk instrumentals is in full effect here and done very well. After Dark is a very impressive album, especially for it being the band’s first full-length release. If this is any indication, Todos Caerán have a bright future ahead of them.
Fast, loud, and heavy, Trap Them’s Darker Handcraft is everything a crust punk album should be. That’s not to say that Darker Handcraft is just a crust punk album though. There are straight up rock ‘n roll riffs, used in a way similar to that of Kvelertak last year. Many of the songs are short, and are just brutal segments without intros or outros. That structure is common in punk music, but hearing something as heavy and brutal as the music here makes it all the more powerful. The longer (3+ minutes) tracks are also straight to the point, although the “death ‘n roll” parts are more prominent on those. Trap Them are a crust band that do things a little different and a lot better than most of their contemporaries. If you buy one crust punk album in 2011, you can’t go wrong with Darker Handcraft.