An Ode to 2005: Part 3

Part 3 of 4: Looking back at the year which defined rock and metal

We’re already at the penultimate part of our Ode to 2005. The first two parts included an array of genres and bands and Part 3 is no different! Glen Bushell once again features more of his 2005 faves as my guest writer and he’s uncovered some beautiful gems in this one. Read on for more of our favourite 2005 albums!

CARTELChroma. Label: The Militia Group.

In the sea of pop-rock albums from the 2000’s, something like Chroma got lost in the shuffle when stacked up against some of the bigger names that reached commercial altitudes. That makes the album all that more special, particularly when you revisit it. The opening trifecta of Say Anything (Else), Honestly, and Runaway are as captivating as they are catchy, providing the perfect backdrop to Will Pugh’s coming of age lyrics.  It holds up remarkably well in 2020, and is a hidden gem of the genre. GB

ARSISA Celebration of Guilt. Label: Earache Records.

Death metal also had a successful year in 2005, with the likes of NILE, DARK TRANQUILITY and ARCH ENEMY releasing career defining records. However, one debut album has achieved cult status in the death metal circles in the form of A Celebration of Guilt, by ARSIS. This little slice of brutality perfectly mixed technical death metal with thrash and melodic death metal into something so bold and fast, the band achieved something so rare – they had found their unique sound with their debut album. MM

CIRCA SURVIVEJuturna. Label: Equal Vision Records.

Following his departure from SAOSIN, the underground eagerly awaited what Anthony Green would do next. Hooking up with members of THIS DAY FORWARD and TAKEN, CIRCA SURVIVE was born. The album was named Juturna after the Roman Goddess of Fountains, symbolising a new beginning for the members of the band, while lyrically peppered with references to the wonderful movie, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. Green’s impeccable vocal range soars over intricate layers of guitars and a driving rhythm section, skirting the edges of both alternative rock and post-hardcore.  A striking debut from a band who would become a scene staple to this day. GB

BLOC PARTYSilent Alarm. Label: Wichita Recordings.

When BLOC PARTY emerged with the sublime single Banquet, it was so fresh and exciting it turned indie rock on its head. The band released one of the most innovative and refreshing debut albums of the year with Silent Alarm and it still holds legendary status. Tracks like Helicopter were so fun and different, it was hard not to be swept up in the BLOC PARTY frenzy. Front man Kele Okereke stole the show with his signature voice, and he still does today. A superb example of British indie at its best. MM

THE STARTING LINEBased On A True Story. Label: Geffen Records.

Major labels were circling the pop punk and emo scene like a pack of wolves in the mid 2000’s. Some made it work, but THE STARTING LINE being picked up by Geffen after the Drive-Thru/MCA merger being absorbed by UMG was a less than pleasant experience. It did result in a more musically intricate, lyrically aggressive, and often bitter album. While there were still nods towards the idea of love and relationships in Kenny Vasoli’s song writing, he used this chance to take shots at the label they desperately fought against to create the album they wanted. GB

IDIOT PILOTStrange We Should Meet Here. Label: Reprise Records.

Electronic music had a big push in 2005 thanks to the likes of GORILLAZ and THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, but one album ended up being a gem of the underground – IDIOT PILOT’s Strange We Should Meet Here. The duo had huge crossover appeal with the metal scene, especially with tracks The Violent Tango and the euphoric Spark Plug. The charisma of main vocalist Michael Harris and the screams and riotous instrumentation of Daniel Anderson attracted a fair few metalheads to their brand of thoughtful and ballsy electronic rock. And many remained loyal to the band. MM

VALENCIAThis Could Be A Possibility. Label: I Surrender.

VALENCIA’s debut album was another one of those records that got lost in the 2005 shuffle, at least on a broader scale. As is much the case in these situations, it generated underground buzz and was the talk of Myspace while doing the rounds on the file sharing sites of the time. It was 30 minutes of pop punk majesty, which was as emotional as it was catchy. Tracks like The Closest I Am To Living On The Edge, and Will We Ever Know never outstayed their welcome, and sound as fresh now as they did all those years ago. GB

NAPALM DEATHThe Code Is Red…Long Live The Code. Label: Century Media Records.

The grindcore band who need no introduction, NAPALM DEATH dropped some of their best work with The Code Is Red…Long Live The Code. The fathers of innovative, extreme metal changed the game completely by introducing more ‘mainstream’ guest vocalists in the form of Jello Biafra (The Great and the Good), Jamey Jasta (Instruments of Persuasion and Sold Short) and Jeffrey Walker (Pledge Yourself To You) with striking effect. The brutality is relentless, but the riffs and structure continued to shake up the grindcore formula…and they still do today. MM

I AM THE AVALANCHE S/T. Label: Drive-Thru Records.

Expectations were high for I AM THE AVALANCHE based on Vinnie Caruana’s former band, THE MOVIELIFE. They were one of the most beloved bands of the early ‘00s NY punk scene, so all eyes were on what he was going to do next. Their debut album was pure power-pop that refused to shy away from nagging hooks and melody while keeping that punk edge that was a clear influence. It showed growth in Caruana’s songwriting, too, bringing sarcasm and sincerity in equal measure. 15 years later I AM THE AVALANCHE are still here, with a lot of credit owed to such a strong debut album. GB

THE AUDITIONControversy Loves Company. Label: Victory Records.

Easily one of the most overlooked emo/pop bands of the era, THE AUDITION were deceptively genius songwriters, but for some reason the band didn’t gain the recognition they deserved. Tracks such as Dance Halls Turn To Ghost Towns and It’s Too Late should have put them on par with PANIC! AT THE DISCO, but alas THE AUDITION didn’t have the gimmicks to make them superstars. Each song on Controversy Loves Co could have been a single, the body of work is that strong. This is one album you absolutely need to rediscover. MM

BANEThe Note. Label: Equal Vision Records.

Coming nearly 4 years after their breakthrough album, Give Blood, the landscape was a little different when BANE released The Note. Hardcore wasn’t as underground as it once was, and more people were catching on. BANE needed to roll with the punches and adapt, yet maintain the essence of the band that made them so special. They added more melody to their songs, while vocalist Aaron Bedard focused his lyrics on personal introspection. It led to tracks like Pot Committed, and the authentic Swan Song being staples of their sets until they called it a day in 2016. GB

THE HURT PROCESSA Heartbeat Behind. Label: Golf Records.

This year should have seen British metallers THE HURT PROCESS play their comeback show, but for obvious reasons that hasn’t gone ahead. Instead, fans can return to their last album A Heartbeat Behind and listen to the band’s heaviest work. Tracks like Anchor and My Scandinavian Ride push the band into heavy, metalcore territory but the beating heart of post-hardcore remains with the emotive melodies and ballads, including the powerful finale Reading Into It. MM

AS CITIES BURNSon, I Loved You At Your Darkest. Label: Solid State Records.

While their initial run may have only lasted a few years, AS CITIES BURN released one of best debut albums of 2005. It sits on the heavier side of the post-hardcore fence, with a darker tone than some of the contemporaries. Brothers TJ and Cody Burnette trade off melodic and screamed vocals, with lyrics built around personal experience, poetic references and influences from their Christian background. Perhaps not as big as they should be on this side of the Atlantic at the time, AS CITIES BURN soon became a firm favourite of those who scoured the underground for new music. GB

Honourable Mentions – Rock/Indie

  • REUBEN – Very Fast, Very Dangerous
  • NINE BLACK ALPS – Everything Is
  • CAVE IN – Perfect Pitch Black
  • EDITORS – The Back Room
  • THE JULIANA THEORY – Deadbeat Sweetheart
  • BRIGHT EYES – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
  • HARD-FI – Stars of CCTV
  • THE RASMUS – Hide From The Sun

An Ode to 2005: Part 2

Part 2 of 4: Looking back at the year which defined rock and metal

Welcome to Part 2 of An Ode to 2005! In Part 1 me and Glen Bushell shared the likes of FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND, THRICE, BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and more, as well as our Honourable Mentions for the metal genre. Part 2 sees more of our favourite albums of 2005 as well as our Honourable Mentions for hardcore and metalcore. Read on to rediscover some 2005 gems!

ALKALINE TRIOCrimson. Label: Vagrant.

ALKALINE TRIO had never sounded so mature when they released Crimson back in 2005. That’s not to say the band hadn’t retained their dark edge, because songs like Sadie and Prevent This Tragedy still catered for murderous tastes. The punk rockers also flirted with mainstream success, with their singles Time To Waste, Mercy Me and Burn getting plenty of radio play. Spending more time in the studio certainly paid of as ALKALINE TRIO achieved their most solid body of work with this beauty of an album. No track is forgettable, and no album they made after hit that spot again. MM

BAYSIDES/T. Label: Victory Records.

BAYSIDE’s debut album, Sirens and Condolences, was a solid debut, but they really hit their stride on their 2005 self-titled album. Their melodic punk style was in the tradition of the New York style popularised by THE MOVIELIFE, TAKING BACK SUNDAY and BRAND NEW before them, but Anthony Raneri’s dark and twisted lyrical narrative gave them a bitter and relatable edge. Sadly, it would be the final album to feature drummer John ‘Beatz’ Holohan, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident less than four months after its release, but his memory lives on in this timeless record. GB

TRIVIUMAscendancy. Label: Roadrunner Records.

TRIVIUM were by far, metal’s biggest success story in 2005. From underground nobodies, to the hottest metal act around, the rise of TRIVIUM was truly something to behold. Lead single Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr literally catapulted the young band to stardom and it’s not hard to see why. They channelled their thrash and extreme metal influences into something so bold, confident and accessible, every metal fan from every genre had a look-in at some point. TRIVIUM are still going strong today but they never matched the success of this masterpiece. MM

COPELAND In Motion. Label: The Militia Group.

There’s no other way to describe COPELAND’s second album, In Motion, as nothing short of beautiful. Carried by lead vocalist/songwriter Aaron Marsh’s heart wrenching lyrics, each narrative played out over a backdrop of glorious guitar passages and piano led melodies. Choose The One Who Loves You More, Pin Your Wings, Don’t Slow Down, and Love Is A Fast Song are just some of the highlights, but it’s hard to pick those from an album that is as close to flawless as they come. GB

OPEN HANDYou and Me. Label: Trustkill.

You either love this album or you don’t know it exists. OPEN HAND’s You & Me never got the praise it deserved. Moving from hardcore to rock, while remaining on a predominantly hardcore/metalcore label probably didn’t give the record the boost it needed. You & Me also frequently got shelved under desert rock which severely undersold the radio rock and dream-like soundscapes OPEN HAND boasted on this album. The tracks which shine the most are Tough Girl and Tough Guy which feature the ‘guy and girl’ dynamic with magnificent effect. You & Me ended up being a cult classic and not an international success, but perhaps this is why the album is still so loved amongst its fans. MM

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND MEAlaska. Label: Victory Records.

In 2020, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME are a very different beast to what they were 15 years earlier, and while Alaska may have been rooted in metalcore they still showed burgeoning signs of the prog-metal masters they would become. It was a wild, cacophonic trip of ferocious metal and mind-melting jazz breakdowns. It’s unrelenting from start to finish, and served as one of the building blocks for a long and revered career for the North Carolina band whose influence can be heard in many of today’s technical metal bands. GB

FINCHSay Hello To Sunshine. Label: Drive-Thru Records.

A.K.A How to upset a whole scene with one album. FINCH’s beloved fans were gagging for a What It Is To Burn Part 2, but the band instead dropped this slab of post-hardcore genius. Listening back to Say Hello To Sunshine 15 years later, it was so underappreciated as FINCH tapped into metal brilliance with this album, but it was overshadowed by emos butthurt that they weren’t getting another Letters To You. Tracks such as Insomniatic Meat and Revelation Song ventured down the wacky HE IS LEGEND-end-of-hardcore route and it is stunning how progressive the album still sounds today. MM

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIEPlans. Label: Atlantic Records.

Historical reviews of DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE’s major label debut were average to scathing. Someone even had the audacity to call it ‘Non-thinking man’s COLDPLAY’… please. Plans is filled with some of Ben Gibbard’s most personal, heart-on-sleeve lyrics from lost love and romance, to dealing with grief and sorrow. Yes, it was their most slick and well-produced effort to that point, but it served the record well. It soared in the right places and was sullen when required. Maybe the rags didn’t like it, but it’s still precious to the band’s faithful fans. GB

A LIFE ONCE LOSTHunter. Label: Ferret Music.

A LIFE ONCE LOST mastered the art of mixing metalcore with technical elements for the beast which was Hunter. Even after 15 years, this album hasn’t lost an ounce of its intensity or savagery and still outshines a lot of contemporary metal. Listening to tracks such as Needleman, you can hear subtle elements which nowadays are the main feature for techier metalcore riffage. Hunter was certainly ahead of its time, but the band were already on their way out when deathcore and tech metal started to gain real traction. The riffs certainly stole the show on Hunter, but the colossal sound and brutality still remain untouchable. MM

MAEThe Everglow. Label: Tooth & Nail.

MAE’s second album wasn’t just a concept album. It played like a storybook. It has a prologue and an epilogue, with each song acting as a chapter in a tale of a love that isn’t black and white, but filled with shades of grey. Piano led melodies and glorious hooks weave their way through power-pop majesty, drawing you inside the book Dave Elkins narrates with his lyrics. Heart-wrenching tracks such as Suspension, and Mistakes We Knew We Were Making should have made MAE a bigger deal than they were, but their cult status kept them alive among those who were there. GB

FALL OUT BOYFrom Under The Cork Tree. Label: Island Records.

FALL OUT BOY went from emo sweethearts to international pop rock starlets overnight with From Under The Cork Tree. This didn’t come as a surprise to anyone as tracks such as Dance, Dance and Sugar We’re Going Down were just too good to stay tucked in the clutches of underground rock fans. Underneath the bubblegum melodies and catchy choruses, the lyrics remain a strong point to return to, with the dark poetics of Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued and Champagne For My Real Friends, Real Pain For My Sham Friends proving why they became the new emo kings. MM

BOYS NIGHT OUT Trainwreck. Label: Ferret Music.

While some bands were breaking through in 2005, others were trying to reinvent themselves. Following up from the pop punk meets hardcore classic, Make Yourself Sick, BOYS NIGHT OUT made the decision to take a gamble and dive into a concept album. Based around a story of a man who loses sanity after dreaming the murder of his wife, Trainwreck weaves its way though complex prog-hardcore riffs and time signatures. They didn’t abandon melody, though, and few bands could write a hook like BOYS NIGHT OUT. This album was released about 5 years too early, but remains a cult classic. GB

FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES – Abandon Your Friends. Label: Vagrant.

New Yorkers FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES often get overlooked, considering they were a consistently good post-hardcore act. However, Abandon Your Friends was aptly titled considering the rumours of inner conflict in the band. Whether this was true or not, it doesn’t take anything away from the music, although some noted the shift in focus to Francis Mark’s clean vocals. Abandon Your Friends is a very solid effort with tracks such as Streamline and Vicious Cockfight showing both the melodic and heavy edge of the band. MM

Honourable Mentions – Hardcore/Metalcore

  • DARKEST HOUR – Undoing Ruin
  • THE RED CHORD – Clients
  • THROWDOWN – Vendetta
  • CURSED – Two
  • EVERY TIME I DIE – Gutter Phenomenon
  • HASTE THE DAY – When Everything Falls
  • THE BLED – Found In The Flood
  • PARKWAY DRIVE – Killing With A Smile
  • NORMA JEAN – O’ God, The Aftermath

An Ode to 2005: Part 1

Part 1 of 4: Looking back at the pivotal year for rock and metal.

Ah, 2005. The year emo exploded into the mainstream. When ‘townies’ popped to their local Claire’s Accessories to stock up on new wristbands and chokers. When you found your new favourite band on Myspace and magazine cover mount CDs. When people still went to shows and your local venue actually put on decent bands. 2005 is often held in high esteem with metal and rock fans, but when you look back at the plethora of influential albums released that year, it’s not hard to see why! It really was a simpler time for music, when bands didn’t need to judge their popularity by Spotify streams or Facebook follows.

For me personally, 2005 was the year I really threw myself into finding new bands and discovering heavier metal genres. A lot of the albums I bought this year stayed with me for life, and helped to develop the ‘metal palette’ I have today. Now they’re all turning 15 years old I thought now is a good time to make a list of my top albums of 2005. However, it was a HUGE year so I’ve got my first ever collaborator on board for this series of 2005 posts. Glen Bushell is the former editor of Punktastic and lived and breathed rock and metal during that year (he still does), so it was a no brainer to get Glen on board for another perspective on 2005.

Without further ado – and in no particular order – here is Part 1 of our Ode to 2005.

FUNERAL FOR A FRIENDHours. Label: Atlantic Records.

Welsh post-hardcore sweethearts FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND relied heavily on American influences for their breakthrough album Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation, but 2005’s album Hours saw the band take stock of their British roots to write something bold and influential for new bands of the era to look towards. Hours is certainly worthy of the mainstream attention it gained. Leading single Streetcar still retains every ounce of its raw, emotional power, but The End of Nothing is still capable of sending every floppy fringe in a mile radius into a headbanging frenzy. MM

MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACKCommit This To Memory. Label: Epitaph Records.

Love or hate pop punk, the importance of it in 2005 can’t be understated. While some bands were shooting for the mainstream and nipping at the heels of BLINK-182, NEW FOUND GLORY, and FALL OUT BOY, there was something special about a band like MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK. Commit This To Memory was the sound of a band firmly making their mark on the scene, appealing to pop punk, emo, and hardcore kids alike with sincerity and integrity. Justin Pierre’s dark and pessimistic lyrics were coated in sugary-sweet, synth-driven pop rock that has often been replicated, but never bettered. GB

AVENGED SEVENFOLDCity of Evil. Label: Warner Records.

No album in 2005 was as controversial as AVENGED SEVENFOLD’s City of Evil. This was when the band dropped the ‘core’ from their metal and a left a lot of their fans sobbing into their Atticus tshirts. Instead of making a Waking the Fallen pt.2, AVENGED SEVENFOLD embraced their inner GUNS N ROSES to create an ambitious and theatrical record. The band always had a penchant for the epic, so it was not wholly shocking they released the likes of Bat Country and Beast and the Harlot to the masses. It proved to be the album where the band received their first taste of international stardom, but they remain untouchable to this day. MM

ARMOR FOR SLEEPWhat To Do When You Are Dead. Label: Equal Vision.

New Jersey has produced some special bands throughout the years from arena rock giants, to cult favourite hardcore bands. One of the most beloved albums to come from the Garden State in 2005 was ARMOR FOR SLEEP’s second album, What To Do When You Are Dead. A concept album based around someone’s journey through the afterlife, told through a blend of perfectly crafted post-hardcore and indie rock. For 15 years it has been a fan favourite thanks to the emotionally driven tracks like Car Underwater, and The Truth About Heaven, and it sounds just as relevant today. GB

SOILWORKStabbing the Drama. Label: Nuclear Blast.

If you’re a SOILWORK fan, the band’s sixth album Stabbing The Drama is either your favourite album, or the one that divided you. Stabbing The Drama switched the melodic death metal formula by adding metalcore elements and leaning heavily on the melodic end of things. Seeing how the SOILWORK’s career moved from strength to strength, this album eventually became a success story. With groove-tastic tracks such as The Crestfallen and Observation Slave, is it a surprise? Love it or hate it, Stabbing The Drama is a melo-death classic. MM

THRICE Vheissu. Label: Island Records.

THRICE were one of the hottest commodities going into 2005. Two years earlier they had released the post-hardcore classic, The Artist In The Ambulance, and were revered among many. Rather than try to replicate that album, they unveiled what would become their magnum opus, Vheissu. A sprawling mass of towering riffs, minimalist beats, experimental compositions, and eastern folk. It was a world away from the soaring hooks of the two records that preceded it, but it set THRICE on the path to become one of the most creative bands of the genre. GB

THE AGONY SCENE The Darkest Red. Label: Roadrunner Records.

The mid noughties was the epitome of classic metalcore; heavy verses sprinkled with chrouses of clean vocals. THE AGONY SCENE mastered this perfectly with The Darkest Red, with tracks such as Prey and Screams Turn To Silence. The remainder of the album is crushingly heavy and dark. 15 years later, some contemporary metalcore fans may scoff at the bare bones of it all, but the riffs still hold their own. Scapegoat will forever be one of the heaviest metalcore songs of all time, with a colossal breakdown which matches the likes of EIGHTEEN VISIONS’ Tower of Snakes. Oh, and vocalist Michael Williams still sounds like a demon. MM

THE SPILL CANVASOne Fell Swoop. Label: One Eleven.

You could probably call THE SPILL CANVAS ‘The Little Engine that Could’.  They had all the talent and ability to be everything that was expected of them, but just never quite became superstars. While they often played second fiddle to lesser bands, One Fell Swoop showcased just how great they were. It was the first time they collectively wrote an album, drawing from indie rock and Americana, adding a modern emo twist, powered Nick Thomas’ sincere coming of age lyrics. It remains a very special, time capsule of an album that still gets discovered and adored 15 years later. GB

SPITALFIELD Stop Doing Bad Things. Label: Victory Records.

Chicago rockers SPITALFIELD never quite hit the heights of their peers SILVERSTEIN or BAYSIDE, but they followed a more pop-punk route rather than emo which was the tag they often got lumped with. Their album Stop Doing Bad Things is full of twinkly riffs and optimistic lyrics, but lack “emo anthems” which might have led to the album often being overlooked. However, tracks such as Gold Dust vs. State of Illinois and Texa$ With a Dollar Sign prove to be firm fan favourites and beautifully project the type of charming tunes which still make SPITALFIELD so endearing. This is one album to definitely revisit. MM

THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDERMiasma. Label: Metal Blade.

Metalcore might have been riding high in the early ‘00s, but by 2005 deathcore had started to rear its ugly head and a whole new scene was born. Then, somewhere in the middle you had a band like THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER who were flying the flag for traditional melodic death metal. Masterfully produced by Andreas Magnuson, their second album, Miasma, was a brutal assault of blast beats and frantic riffs, while Trevor Strnad growled and shrieked through modern classics Built For Sin, I’m Charming, and Dave Goes to Hollywood. When others fell by the wayside, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER are still a powerhouse in modern metal to this day, largely after the success of this album. GB

MAXIMO PARKA Certain Trigger. Label: Warp Records.

2005 was also a huge year for indie, with many notable debuts being released (i.e. KAISER CHIEFS, FRANZ FERDINAND, EDITORS, BLOC PARTY etc.) but one album in particular proved to be one of the most charming. This was A Certain Trigger by Newcastle rockers MAXIMO PARK, which remains to be one of the quirkiest albums of the year. Full to the brim with catchy hooks, electric organ and heartfelt lyrics, MAXIMO PARK had a strong flair for the retro and arty approaches (see any of their music videos, but especially Apply Some Pressure or the lyrics of the song Acrobat) and that’s what helped them set themselves apart from fierce competition. To this day you probably still declare “That’s enough!” in a Geordie accent, thanks to their hit single Graffiti. MM

MINUS THE BEARMenos El Oso. Label: Suicide Squeeze Records.

Forming from the ashes of SHARKS KEEP MOVING and BOTCH several years earlier, MINUS THE BEAR created an intriguing, unique band of technical pop music. They reached their apex on Menos El Oso, which saw the Seattle band weave intricate, duelling lead guitar lines over dance-driven beats and off-kilter time signatures. Vocalist Jake Snider’s smooth vocals added an extra layer of cool to the summer breeze that spills from your speakers over the course of the album. It would go to influence an entire scene of bands trying their hand at this style, but no one did it quite as well as MINUS THE BEAR. GB

Honourable Mentions – Metal

  • AKERCOCKE – Words Go Unspoken
  • GOJIRA – From Mars To Sirius
  • ARCH ENEMY – Doomsday Machine
  • OPETH – Ghost Reveries
  • NILE – Annihilation of the Wicked
  • MESHUGGAH – Catch Thirty-Three

An Ode to 2005: Part 4

Part 4 of 4: Looking back at the year which defined rock and metal

Here it is! The final part of mine and Glen Bushell’s Ode to 2005. We’ve featured 50 of our favourite albums from this pivotal year for metal and rock. Continue reading below for the remaining albums, as well as our honourable mentions for emo and post-hardcore.

NINE INCH NAILSWith Teeth. Label: Interscope Records.

2005 marked the comeback of Trent Reznor and NINE INCH NAILS after the release of The Fragile back in 1999. With Teeth saw the new era of a sober Reznor and a new fire in his belly to make sure he remained the King of industrial rock. The album features modern NIN classics such as Only and The Hand That Feeds which now sit alongside older anthems such as Head Like a Hole and March of the Pigs. There’s no doubt With Teeth smashed expectations and brought NINE INCH NAILS to the attention of a new generation of fans. MT

MODERN LIFE IS WARWitness. Label: Deathwish Inc.

Certain hardcore records are considered tent poles of the genre, and it would be criminal not to include MODERN LIFE IS WAR’s 2005 classic, Witness, in that conversation. It was an album that thrived on raw emotion and anger through vocalist Jeffery Eaton’s story-telling delivery, taking as much influence from literature and history as he did the band’s hometown of Marshalltown, Iowa. While the music was firmly rooted in the past with justified comparisons to BLACK FLAG or RIGHT BRIGADE, MODERN LIFE IS WAR changed up the structure and instrumentation to create a unique sound. In no uncertain terms, Witness was a masterpiece of the hardcore scene. GB

EMANUELSoundtrack To A Headrush. Label: Vagrant Records.

One of the ballsiest debuts of 2005, EMANUEL’s Soundtrack to a Headrush perfectly straddled post-hardcore and emo and provided some of the most infectious tunes of the year. Some of the lyrics haven’t aged well where the themes of drugs and sex are concerned, but the youthful anthems like Hey Man! and Breathe Underwater are still as catchy today as they were 15 years ago. They would have been huge if they didn’t kill the momentum with their dreadful second album Black Earth Tiger, but this almost makes Soundtrack to a Headrush that little bit more legendary. MT

SILVERSTEINDiscovering The Waterfront. Label: Victory Records.

SILVERSTEIN’s debut, When Broken Is Easily Fixed, had some memorable moments, but in hindsight was a cliché-ridden miss. You can’t help but feel the Canadian post-hardcore band knew it, too, as they delivered a career-defining album with Discovering The Waterfront. They focused on what they did best, pushing catchy pop-driven hooks and Shane Told’s brutally honest lyrics of heartbreak and revenge to the front, using heavier breakdowns at just the right time when needed. Even if it didn’t catapult them to the same heights as some of their peers, it set them up to have a long career of solid releases time and time again. GB

GOD FORBIDIV: Constitution of Treason. Label: Century Media Records.

GOD FORBID never quite reached the heights they deserved. Their brand of thrashy metalcore often got overshadowed by the likes of ALL THAT REMAINS and SHADOWS FALL, but GOD FORBID often had more hooks and beefier riffs. IV: Constitution of Treason features some of the band’s most memorable songs, including Chains of Humanity, Crucify Your Beliefs and the goosebump-inducing To the Fallen Hero. The songs have retained their impact which is testament to GOD FORBID’s uncelebrated songwriting. MT

HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEWLife In Dreaming. Label: Drive-Thru Records.

Originally slated for a 2004 release, the album was put back to the first quarter of 2005. Given the now historical significance of this year in music – particularly emo and post-hardcore – the New Jersey bands debut came out at the perfect time. Musically, It had a grittier edge to some of their peers, while Joe Reo’s vocals soared over staccato rhythms and powerful choruses. You could argue that they peaked too soon as they never really replicated the popularity of this album, but there’s no denying that Life In Dreaming is a classic of the time. GB

INMEWhite Butterfly. Label: V2 Records.

Essex lads INME became local heroes when they burst onto the scene with Overgrown Eden back in 2003, but they won our hearts with their second album White Butterfly. This album saw the band drop their American grunge sound and embrace alternative rock; the result is a collection of genuine and heartfelt songs with a hard edge. So You Know, Faster the Chase and Safe in a Room all became firm fan favourites and INME fans are some of the most loyal rock and metal fans around. White Butterfly never became a classic album, but anyone who bought a copy back in the day still remembers the album fondly now. MT

CHIODOSAll’s Well That Ends Well. Label: Equal Visions Records.

Given how rich 2005 was in landmark releases, any band that put out their debut record in those 12 months needed to make a statement, and few made one as bold as CHIODOS. Seamlessly combining hardcore, metal, emo, pop-punk, and prog rock might sound like throwing things at a wall and seeing what sticks, but not for the Ohio sextet. Add to that the poetic lyrics and Shakespearean quotes from Craig Owens, who could switch from beautiful melody to larynx-shredding screams in an instant. It was a rocky road for CHIODOS after this, but it remains a stand out record. GB

COMEBACK KIDWake The Dead. Label: Victory Records.

You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard the title track from COMEBACK KID’s second album Wake The Dead. It’s not even the best song on the album (which is clearly Talk Is Cheap) but it does give a sense of the fast-paced hardcore punk the band churn out. Each song is straight from the heart and embodies the energy of classic hardcore with a metallic thread which gives the tracks more staying power. Wake The Dead has aged incredibly well and still packs a punch today. MT

JACK’S MANNEQUINEverything In Transit. Label: Maverick Records.

While SOMETHING CORPORATE were on hiatus, Andrew McMahon still felt the need to scratch that creative itch and set about starting a new project, JACK’S MANNEQUIN. The result was a saccharine power pop album, Everything In Transit, which was as perfect and glistening as the California sun it was written under. Drawing influence from THE BEACH BOYS’ iconic album, Pet Sounds, McMahon refused to hold back with his brutally honest lyrics detailing the breakdown of a relationship. It is regarded as classic, with Holiday in Real, Mixed Tape, and Dark Blue holding a special place in a romantic heart. GB

CHIMAIRAS/T. Label: Roadrunner Records.

CHIMAIRA’s self-titled album featured some of the biggest riffs of the year and the songs still have the ability to scalp the unsuspecting listener today. Nothing Remains has to go down in history as one of the most ballsy album openers of all time, just for the main riff alone. The self-titled perfectly encompassed CHIMAIRA’s penchant for groove metal-infused metalcore and today’s bands still struggle to reach this glorious feat. 15 years later it’s still amazing to listen back and remember just how fiendishly heavy this album could get. Absolutely superb. MT

COHEED AND CAMBRIAGood Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. Label: Columbia Records.

The grandiose prog-rock vision of Claudio Sanchez was finally realised on COHEED’s major label debut. While the album still stayed within the concept of The Amory Wars, the band employed the classic rock style of LED ZEPPELIN and RUSH, with gargantuan, powerful riffs and radio-friendly hooks. However, COHEED always had a flair for the dramatic and flecks of the angular, post-hardcore sound that gained them such adoration crept in throughout the album. 15 years on, Good Apollo, Volume I remains their magnum opus and is often considered the best album of their career. GB

Honourable Mentions – Emo/Post-Hardcore

  • PANIC AT THE DISCO – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
  • PARAMORE – All We Know Is Falling
  • THE ACADEMY IS… – Almost Here
  • FALL OF TROY – Doppelgänger
  • AMBER PACIFIC – The Possibility and The Promise
  • EMERY – The Question
  • ANBERLIN – Never Take Friendship Personal
  • CITY AND COLOUR – Sometimes
  • JUNE – If You Speak Any Faster

VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Dave Klussmann – Decay (ft. Rich O’Donnell)

The tech metal guitarist gives insight into his solo venture and the music video for his first single.

If you frequent the UK Tech Fest scene, then you might be familiar with the blond bombshell that is DAVE KLUSSMANN. The talented guitarist from Suffolk is the mastermind behind tech bruisers DEITIES and also plays bass for doom metal band NERVEWRECKER. When he’s not djent-ing and doom-ing on stage, he is programming for the likes of OCEANO and ENTERPRISE EARTH and producing bands such as CHIASMATA, FRAKTIONS, ENENRA and more. This year however, sees the KLUSSMANN venturing into solo territory, with Decay being his debut single, featuring Rich O’Donnell of KARYBDIS.

With his fingers in many different musical pies, why is KLUSSMANN now gracing us with solo material? He explains: “Over the past few years I’ve been writing material for a DEITIES album, as various issues have stopped us from releasing music I’ve continued to write and ended up with more material than we need for an album and some of it kinda fell to the wayside.” 2020 was meant to be the year DEITIES made a comeback, but lockdown soon put a stop to that. “I was still determined to release something, as I’ve got all this material stacking up and I thought it would be a shame if it never saw the light of day, so I came up with the idea to release some of the tracks that didn’t make the cut for DEITIES and ask my friends to sing on them. Decay is one of those tracks.”

Decay features classic KLUSSMANN riffage; djent which absolutely bops and grooves its way into your affection. The strength of his writing is proven by how the instrumental version (which you can hear at the bottom of this post) completely holds its own and keeps you in its clutches. When speaking about Decay, it’s clear how passionate KLUSSMANN is about his craft: “I started writing this one in 2016, the first part I wrote was the riff at the end and I was so excited about it, I posted a clip of myself playing it on social media. Rich [O’Donnell] actually commented on the clip saying he liked it so much he started coming up with vocal patterns in his head while listening to it.”

KLUSSMANN has been friends with O’Donnell and the KARYBDIS guys for a long time. He has also filled in on guitar for them for shows, so he always had O’Donnell in mind for vocals; “I was always intent on him doing a guest spot on the song, so naturally he was the first person I came to when I needed someone to do vocals for the whole track.” It ended up being a match made in heaven; “Once Rich started working on the song everything came together so smoothly. I was prepared for a whole process of going back and forth chopping and changing ideas, but Rich just went into the studio to record his ideas and that’s what you hear on the record, he just totally nailed it.”

O’Donnell also nailed his part in the music video for Decay, providing the light show for the best tech metal disco of lockdown. If you follow KLUSSMANN on YouTube, you’ll be familiar with his joyous manner as he drops the hottest riffs. The music video for Decay is much the same, but the riffs are so infectious, you can’t help but grin like a maniac with him. Let Decay rouse your soul by watching the video below. Bandcamp links can be found underneath.

Q&A: Lastelle

Bassist Freddie Whatmore tells all about the start of the band’s new chapter.

Post-hardcore group LASTELLE recently dropped their new single Coping Without a Cure, and things are looking like they’re on the up for this talented band from Oxford. Bassist Freddie Whatmore gives Metalmance the lowdown about the new single and the post-hardcore scene.

Q. It’s been a week since you released the video for Coping Without a Cure, how has the response been so far?

Whatmore: The response has been overwhelming. 27,000 people have checked out the music video and every day we get really kind messages from people who are connecting with it in different ways. It’s beautiful and humbling for Coping Without a Cure to be able to resonate with so many people from all over the world, and honestly I still can’t my head round it to be honest!

Q. Have there been any changes in the LASTELLE camp between the release of Harrow EP and the writing of your new material?

Whatmore: I joined the band on bass halfway through the release process of Harrow, so there’s been a change in the line-up. We’ve also just partnered up with Year of the Rat Records, who are helping us grow LASTELLE moving forward, which is working really well for us.

Q. What can fans expect from your new material? Will it be another EP or an album?

Whatmore: Chapter I is the beginning of new things for LASTELLE.

Q. On Coping Without a Cure the emotions and melodies were really ramped up for a very moving song, what is the story behind the single?

Whatmore: Thank you! For melodies, it is the first song we’ve had with Adam taking a clean vocal approach, so we owe the dynamics in melody to him, in part! I’ll also quote Jonjo on this one – he wrote the lyrics for this song and he sums it up better than any of us “The subject of the song is very personal; the lyrics personify someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, how they’re starting to forget the people they love. If you’ve dealt with this yourself, you’ll know how sad it is to witness.”

Q. The music video ends as Chapter One, can you tell us more about the concept?

Whatmore: Adam and Rich are both very visual in their creative process, and they create and direct our videos. I think the fact the videography is intentionally cinematic, is setting the scene for future Chapters and the direction we’re hoping to move in!

Q. The British post-hardcore scene seems to be having a welcome resurgence, what is it about the genre do you think keeps drawing listeners in?

Whatmore: Personally, I feel there’s a lot of stunning bands doing incredible things for the post-hardcore resurgence in the UK. One of the best things about the genre is how it translates live, so the fact these shows were happening all around the country has breathed some life into the genre. Also, because there’s a lot of flexibility in the genre, fans are really receptive to trying something new, and that has really helped these shows feel welcoming and friendly to anyone. The community aspect is one of the biggest reasons people keep coming back to it.

Q. The dual vocals are particularly effective on the new single. Having a metal drummer providing the clean vocals will naturally lead to being likened to bands like UNDERØATH and ATREYU. How do you feel about such comparisons?

Musically, I think UNDERØATH is a flattering comparison, as we are all fans of theirs. From a vocal point of view, I think Brandon Saller (ATREYU) has a similar vocal range and style to Mike, so even though we’re not instrumentally close, it’s still a kind comparison! At the end of the day, if people find familiarity in music by likening us to acts they are fans of, we are always going to be happy about the comparison. ATREYU and UNDERØATH and both great bands, so I’m definitely okay with that!

Q. Do you have any particular goals in mind for the new material?

Whatmore: I personally love playing live so that’s part of the goal for me. I’m always excited to share music with people, and I’m waiting for the time we can play live for people again!

Q. Have you been drawing from any particular influences or experiences while writing new songs?

I think there’s a lot of external comparison of us, to bands like CASPIAN, DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL, CASEY, UNDERØATH, BEING AS AN OCEAN, and THE ELIJAH. From a songwriting perspective, SIGUR RÓS, ALEXISONFIRE and MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA, have influenced what I’ve personally put into the record, but I know that every member of the band would answer this question differently.

Q. How would you describe LASTELLE to a new listener?

Whatmore: We’ve been described as a wall of noise. We also try and put as much emotion into our songwriting as we can manage. We’re not a band that embodies positive emotions, but instead we try and tackle interpret and tackle them head-on; processing subjects like grief, failure and frustration are a big part of what we create.

Withdrones – Clarity (single)

Release date: 13 August 2020. Self-release.

Glaswegian alternative metallers WITHDRONES have been finding their feet since their formation in 2018, but 2020 seems to be the year we finally see what potential the band have been packing. Lockdown saw the band able to concentrate on song writing and working on their diverse sound, and new single Clarity is certainly proof of the band’s new focus. WITHDRONES showed some promise with their debut EP Catharsis, but it’s safe to say Clarity signals the start of the band’s strongest material to date.

Channelling the melodies of ANNISOKAY and the metallic soundscapes of NORTHLANE, Clarity packs a punch with its soaring chorus and atmospheric depth. Where before WITHDRONES had gaps in their sound, they’ve now filled it with layers of glorious riffs, electronics and more engaging vocals. The polished production makes Clarity sound top-notch and will leave you thirsty for more! Watch this space.

Lastelle – Coping Without a Cure (single)

Label: Year of the Rat Records. Release date: 7 August 2020.

Wow. Just…wow. Post-hardcore darlings LASTELLE are back with their new single Coping Without a Cure and it absolutely outshines the band’s previous material. LASTELLE’s debut EP Harrow was a passionate affair and showed oodles of promise, but with this new track it sounds like the Oxford group have truly unlocked their potential. Coping Without a Cure begins with a lush post-hardcore atmosphere, layered with a stunning post-rock riff. It’s definitely the most melodic we’ve heard LASTELLE so far, but the dual vocals offer a beautiful contrast to proceedings (fans of UNDERØATH and ATREYU take note as it is the drummer who provides the heart-wrenching vocals). Add some moving orchestration into the mix and you’ve got yourself one of the best post-hardcore songs of the year. You will feel every single note and word of this one! Coping Without a Cure could easily be a rousing finale for a record, but it is only the beginning. Watch this space.

Misery Signals – Ultraviolet

Label: Basick Records. Release date: 7 August 2020.

It’s been seven long years for MISERY SIGNALS fans, but now the wait has ended in spectacular fashion, with new album Ultraviolet. If you’re pining for the glory days of metalcore, then Ultraviolet will be right up your street, even if you missed the band first time round. There is a glorious, nostalgic shine to proceedings which some might deem as uninspired, but it makes for hugely enjoyable listening for us living in the past. Opening track The Tempest gets the album off to a raging start, with founding vocalist Jesse Zaraska sounding monstrous for his first album with MISERY SIGNALS since their debut back in 2004.

The band continue to push the genre to its progressive edges, with songs such as River King and Redemption Key demonstrating how diverse MISERY SIGNALS remain to be. The riffs are absolutely stellar on Ultraviolet, with Old Ghosts and Sunlifter especially going down a storm. Ultraviolet does take a few listens before the songs really start to click, but this is usually a sign of an album’s potential for longevity. You can hear every note is executed with passion and honesty. The most sincere metalcore record of 2020? Quite possibly.


Orbit Culture – Nija

Label: Seek & Strike. Release date: 7 August 2020.

Swedish dark metallers ORBIT CULTURE are definitely hitting their stride with new album Nija. They still run the risk of sounding a tad ‘metal-by-numbers’ at times, but their brand of metal resembles a melodic death metal-infused TRIVIUM which means they have oodles of mainstream appeal too. Opening track At The Front is heavy enough to scare off the curious onlooker, but groovy enough to keep the death metal fans intrigued. It is the menacing, harsh vocals which steal the show however, so much so when the clean vocals appear in true METALLICA fashion, the band lose a bit of their momentum (see: Mirrorslave and Open Eye).

ORBIT CULTURE have lots exciting stuff happening on Nija though; from industrial elements, groove-tastic drums that their label mates KILL THE KONG would be proud of, and even a death metal, power ballad to boot in the form of Behold. The band channel their inner GOJIRA with Nensha, but it is album finale The Shadowing which brings together all the best bits for one hell of a storming track. Nija dips in and out of greatness, but if ORBIT CULTURE continue to work on what makes them tick, then there is no reason why they couldn’t climb up the ranks of metal greats.