We may be just days into 2018 but we here at Distorted Sound are still thinking about how much we enjoyed 2017. And with that, we have another end of year list for you all to enjoy! Now it is the turn of Assistant Introducing Editor, Dean Martin, who alongside Elliot Leaver and Dan McHugh, report to Introducing Editor Laura McCarthy in breaking new bands here at Distorted Sound. So, over to you Dean!
10. Ritual – IN THIS MOMENT
Theatrics, symbolism, and blood are a few of the themes IN THIS MOMENT are known for, and Ritual delivers with every note. Packed with ritualistic chanting, sirens, and are all put together to unnerve and disturb anyone unfamiliar with their themes. Religious aspects, Black Wedding a conversation between a priest and a nun, and Witching Hour relating to the Salem witch trials are just some of the subjects covered. Guest vocalist Rob Halford and a cover of Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight acknowledge their own musical inspirations. Whilst less brutal than previous work, Ritual is still an intense, macabre experience.
9. Paranormal – ALICE COOPER
Veteran of the rock world, ALICE COOPER’s theatrical escapades continue in the new album Paranormal. There is no question of his influence on the musical world for over 50 years, and steadily producing new music throughout. Alice Cooper’s unnerving themes, steady melodies, and strong personality are a winning combination that it seems will never die. Original ALICE COOPER band members Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith guest on The Song Of A creating a throwback to their origins.
8. No Grave But The Sea – ALESTORM
The pirates are back, singing once again about wenches, mead, and all things pirate. Highlights include the profanity packed Fucked With An Anchor and retro game themed Mexico. Bursting full of energy, chants, and chances to sing along, No Grave But The Sea is exactly what you’d expect from the Scottish pirates who have successfully written more crowd pleasers. Catchy lyrics and memorable melodies make them a great live band, especially when coupled with the cheerful themes. After all, ‘Rum, beer, quests and mead, these are the things a pirate needs’.
7. Wake Up Call – THEORY OF A DEADMAN
THEORY OF A DEADMAN have produced a very relaxed album with Wake Up Call, with more ballads and piano and less distorted guitars than in their previous albums. Known for their reliable new album schedule of one every three years, they’ve once again delivered, but their musical theme has changed, moving away from the hard rock. Title track Wake Up Call really shows off the instrumental talents of THEORY OF A DEADMAN with piano and guitars complementing each other in the dejected love ballad.
6. Five – HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD
Five is a very reflective album, more about looking at the world and its changes than some of their earlier material; the name is also reflective of their five members and it being their fifth album. A strong mix of guttural raps, aggression, gentler riffs that combined create the recognisable HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD sound. Five is not a repetition of previous albums though, Ghost Beach is the first ever HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD song with entirely clean vocals, and We Own The Night includes an organ. They are growing and developing their sound alongside being more reflective in the lyrics. But it is definitely HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD through and through with their recognisable rapping and bolshie attitude.
5. Crooked Teeth – PAPA ROACH
Now in their third decade, PAPA ROACH have released Crooked Teeth, an album dedicated to anxiety, drugs, and suicide. It is very honest with songs like Help which includes the repeated refrain ‘I think I need help’, all to catchy guitar riffs and memorable lyrics that stick in your head. MACHINE GUN KELLY supplies guest vocals on Sunrise Trailer Park which complements Jacoby Shaddix’s vocals. Overall, their sound has taken on some more pop elements than found in their earlier stuff, but Jacoby’s iconic vocals leading the way through desperation and despair create a great album.
4. The Spark – ENTER SHIKARI
A slight change of musical direction for politically charged British-bred ENTER SHIKARI who have gone for a more radio-friendly sound in The Spark. There is no shortage of inspiration with all the political changes happening, and it’s clearly a personal album for ENTER SHIKARI to express their despair and frustrations. Rou Reynolds distinctive vocals lead listeners through their turmoil, panic, and existential crisis of political outrage. As an ultimate aim of changing things by challenging them, they have once again delivered.
3. 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory – DROPKICK MURPHYS
You can always rely on DROPKICK MURPHYS to put out a quality album that ticks all the boxes, they’re not changing the world, but you know what you’re getting. 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory is no exception, bagpipes, songs of brotherhood and camaraderie are all well represented. Highlight include the fast-paced Rebels with a Cause and comical First Class Loser which describes that friend you don’t want. Also included is 4-15-13, a heart-warming tribute to the Boston bombings. For many younger fans, it seems like DROPKICK MURPHYS have always been around; they’re a familiar and reliable presence in a constantly changing world.
2. Wolves – RISE AGAINST
Chicago born RISE AGAINST continued their tackling of world issues in Wolves, their seventh studio album continues to challenge hate and violence, in a catchy, melodic manner – a combination that has seen them rise to fame and play all over the world. The album is true to their sound, without becoming repetitive, and the passion for their cause really shines through, giving the album an honest feel which seems to be appreciated by fans.
1. Eternity, In Your Arms – CREEPER
After an incredible build up, shrouded in mystery and intrigue, CREEPER have released their debut album ETERNITY, IN YOUR ARMS. To say it is an incredibly strong first album would be an understatement, they have quickly established themselves a very dedicated fan base and have the potential to go very far. James Sycthe’s disappearance has captivated fans, with more information and clues revealed in each new song, and now a book as well, the story continues. A whole community has emerged keen to analyse every word and clue towards solving the mystery. A throwback to youth, mixed with a little self-deprecation and angst are a winning combination for the Southampton group who have really stormed into the forefront this year. This may be their first album, but they’ve proved themselves to be talented musicians.
And there we have it! What did you think of Dean’s choices? Let us know in the comments below!