5. The Damned Things – High Crimes
What a decade it has been for The Damned Things as they bookend the years with Ironiclast in 2010 and now, High Crimes. Thank them for risking an unlikely but effective alliance in the members of Fall Out Boy, Anthrax, Every Time I Die, and Alkaline Trio.
Pure energetic and creative fun spill from the odd mix, who have brought their respective talents yet replicated little from their respective bands. For any genre elitists who are still mad about the union of pop punk and thrash metal, be madder still at how good the result is.
4. Alter Bridge – Walk the Sky
Myles Kennedy has not slowed down one bit since the start of the 2010s, which spells great news for rock fans. Just one year following his inspired solo record and Living the Dream with Slash, he has now rejoined Alter Bridge for the brilliant Walk the Sky.
His versatile voice is not the only might on display. Legend Mark Tremonti marks a return to lead in the explosive anthem, Forever Falling. Never overshadowed, the rest of the band rocks just as hard on the remainder of the killer album, delivering a hell of a listening experience.
3. Bayside – Interrobang
Bayside has birthed something special for pop punk fans with Interrobang. Their latest collection reverts to the heavy aggression that defined their early years and blows it up, amping up on their lyrical angst and throwing in some metal-inspired guitar work to boot.
Of distinctive riffs and hooks, the fun they had with making the record shows, and is doubtlessly infectious. The title is incidentally the perfect punctuation to describe the band that defined my teenagehood; just how do they keep getting better after all of two decades‽
2. The Darkness – Easter is Cancelled
Permission to Land is a hard album to top, but The Darkness may have just done it. Paying well-deserved respect to the axe and flaunting Hawkins’ unmatched vocal range, Easter is Cancelled marks a strong return to form in both musical and lyrical terms.
It is hard to find fault in this brilliant tribute to rock n’ roll, embracing the genre’s wilder side and attitude, with echoes of Queen. Deck Chair and Heavy Metal Lover also bring back their playful silliness, dearly missed and always welcome.
1. Rival Sons – Feral Roots
Feral Roots is the most versatile record of Rival Sons thus far. The incendiary passion of Do Your Worst leads into their sixth and opens with a fulfilled promise of fervour to follow. From the explosive Look Away to the hypnotising Too Bad, it is anthem after anthem before gospel choirs close the show with the soulful Shooting Stars.
A year of endless touring then delivered their best-of in acoustic form in Live from Haybale Studio, though warning signs are a-sounding in Jay’s voice. The band deserves more than a break, even if we do want more. It is a travesty that they have earned but Grammy nominations, when they should be sweeping all the awards.
Volume 2 of heavier records is in the works. Thanks for reading, and happy 2020 to everyone out there! x