While thinking back on the records I’ve most enjoyed this year, it became obvious that I listen to rather a lot of rock. No shit! Not exactly a shock I know, given that I write for an alternative rock website and run one which, while embracing all kinds of music, has a heavy indie/rock slant. However, a lot of the hard rock/metal that I’ve been getting into as a result has not always been mainstream. Obviously, some things are unavoidably so, but having reviewed, shouted out and interviewed some very small bands I have inevitably played their records over and over, and, would you believe, their music stands up and has made a fan of me. So here goes the hard rocking releases I’ve most enjoyed this year.
Romans – – = + (Less is More)
Despite not being the best production wise, due to the cost of studio time and needing to record live, I really got into Romans’ hook laden riff heavy tunes. For a part-time band confined to the pub circuit they have made a very likeable record with a good positive vibe.
Halestorm – Into The Wild Life
I fell in love with this album quite recently and have had it on heavy rotation ever since. This is what hard rock should be about, badass riffing, wailing solos and immaculate full on vocals from the superb Lzzy Hale.
Iron Maiden – Book of Souls
OK, so Iron Maiden took Iron Maiden to the nth degree with the epic scale of this album, but its the best thing they’ve done since Seventh Son. They certainly sound reinvigorated and ‘Souls’ makes for an enjoyable listen with some really fresh and exciting moments.
Of Allies – Fragments EP
I have played their EP to death since I first reviewed it back in May and will readily admit to having a bit of a soft spot for the band, but that’s only because they are really rather good. Coolly delivered, hard edged and just radio-friendly enough, ‘Fragments’ ticks all the boxes.
Luna Sol – Blood Moon
This was another pleasant surprise that I got to review a few months back. These sinister tales of Rocky Mountain life are given hard stoner rock treatment at the hands of David Angstrom – heavy ass bass lines, blistering guitar breaks and hard driving riffage. Good record. Fucked up video.
Blind Wives – Recovery Positions EP
This was another EP that got a lot of extra plays when I came to interview the band, which is also part-time, but no less accomplished. Recovery Positions has some interesting well constructed tracks; there’s a strong indie/punk influence to their sound, but there are some good heavy riffs, and in Luke Pickering they have a versatile front man who plays some cool guitar and can sure carry a tune.
Part One of my favourite records this year can be seen right here: https://hardpresseded.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/the-best-records-of-2015-imho/
And if you search through the interviews section down in the categories you can find out more about Of Allies, Romans and Blind Wives.