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Valentino Petrarca’s Top 60 Releases of the Year

Date: January 3, 2022

Valentino Petrarca’s Top 60 Releases of the Year

 

2021 had some of the coolest surprise album drops. With the return of touring, so many bands finally put out records they were sitting on for years. This year will go down as one of the busiest and best years in the music industry. 

 

Disclaimer: This is just my personal list, and music is subjective. Different opinions are welcome! Live albums are not included in the list, neither are re-mastered records or singles. Albums that are re-recorded from scratch are also not counted. This list focuses on original full-length albums and EPs, no cover records. 


 

Honorable mentions 

Happier? By Volumes

Bronx VI by the Bronx

V EP by Halflives 

You’re Welcome by A Day To Remember

Death by Rock and Roll by The Pretty Reckless

This Place Will Become Your Tomb by Sleep Token

9th and Walnut by The Descendents 

If The Problems Persist by Rationale

Blood In the Water by Flotsam and Jetsam

In Transmission by Capra 

Bless My Psyche by Sincere Engineer

Alias by Sleep Waker

The Greatest Mistake of my Life by Holding Absence

 

60.) A Dream About Love by Circa Surive (Alt, Post-Hardcore)

 

Circa Survive is back with their first new music in years. This EP creates such an atmosphere and takes time with every moment. Nothing is rushed for the sake of getting to a chorus. It builds such a scenery with sounds and lyrics, truly placing you inside their minds. This release is deeply mysterious while also engaging the entire run-time. I had a great time listening to this, and cannot wait to see what else the band has in store.

 

59.) Change of Plans by Can’t Swim (Alt Rock)

 

Jersey boys Can’t Swim have returned with what feels like a sequel to their sophomore record, This Too Won’t Pass. Change of Plans has all the darkness from that record with more of the heaviness from their EP Foreign Language. There is a reason this album is on my best records of the year list. It has so much spirit and vitality to every moment. This is a record that never gets boring once, and keeps you engaged its entire run time. Vocalist Chris is so charismatic and the band is giving it their all. I enjoyed this record a great deal and am excited to see what the band does next. 

 

58.) The Work by Rivers of Nihil (Progressive Metal)

 

Rivers of Nihil showed the world what it means to make an album. This is not a bunch of songs barely glued together. The themes weaved throughout this entire record are consistent. The music is a journey from start to finish. It is an enthralling ride of emotions from the first song to the last. The Work is my favorite record by the band thus far, and rightfully deserves it’s spot as one of my favorite albums of the year. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

57.) What Is It//Kill It by Vended (Death Metal)

 

Vended is new on the metal scene but is already making a name for themselves. They are slowly becoming one of the biggest and best metal bands on the planet. If this new EP is any indication of their potential, then I am very excited. This collection of 5 songs is ferocious, both in tone and lyrics. This entire EP sounds like an auditory emotional breakdown and I love every second of it.

 

56.) SURVIVOR’S GUILT: THE MIXTAPE// by KennyHoopla (Pop-Punk)

 

There have been a lot of rap/pop-punk sounds that MGK has cultivated, but no one has perfected the sound quite like KennyHoopla has. This is definitely the most aggressive style from this form of pop-punk has been, while also still being a great time. This record is what I imagined the potential of the genre reaching. I hope Kenny continues down this past and continues to write music with this level of emotion and aggression. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

55.) Echo by Of Mice & Men (Metalcore)

 

Echo is Of Mice & Men’s best album since Aaron became the vocalist. Every track on this album is heavy and beautiful. The choruses on this album have so much soul and passion, while the verses and breakdowns are some of the heaviest in the band’s career. It hits everything I want from an album and more. I definitely recommend listening to this record immediately.

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

54.) Songs of Loss and Separation by Times of Grace (Alt Metal, Hard Rock)

 

Times of Grace have been gone for ten years now. A full decade without music can definitely do a lot to a band. However, they returned just as good as when they left, if not better. The music is very slow and brooding as well as dynamic and angry. They wrote a cohesive album that feels like a full record experience, not just a collection of songs. If you're a fan of Killswitch Engage, or just plain metal, definitely check them out.

 

53.) The Architect by Eidola (Swancore, Mathcore)

 

Eidola has returned with their best record to date. I’ve loved their previous work, but this album shows them being masters of their craft. It is so technical but also so enjoyable. Every moment of this album is original and uniquely them. They capture a sense of atmosphere with energy in every track. I enjoyed this record so much when it arrived, and it’s done nothing but age like fine wine. 

 

52.) Skeptic EP by Driveways (Pop-Punk)

Driveways is a new band I discovered in 2021 but a band that has remained on my playlist ever since. They incorporate the tech and pop side of pop-punk into the rock music so seamlessly, it’s hard not to be impressed. If you need an EP to immediately put you in a good mood, this is the one.

 

51.) Manic By Wage War (Metalcore)

 

Metalcore is experiencing a strong resurrangence, and leading the charge is Wage War. They are taking a stale genre and putting new life into it. Manic reminded me why I love metal music. It has everything a fan of the genre could want and more. This is the heaviest and most profound release from the band yet. Everyone needs to check this record out immediately. 

 

50.) Trauma Factory by nothing,nowhere. (Emo-Rap)

 

As someone who is not a fan of the rap genre at all, this record really had me changing my mind. This is emotional, raw, beautiful, and powerful. It’s rap with an edge and with a deep sadness. This is a perfect record that I would recommend to anyone with a heart. Regardless of what genres of music you like, you can connect to the human experience with Trauma Factor. 

 

49.) Single Album by NOFX (Punk, Classic Punk)

 

NOFX have always been extremely consistent with their career, and this album is no exception. The opening track alone is a slow grinding punk sound we’ve never heard from the band before. This is simply fun classic punk. It’s a great time for any fan of guitar driven music. 

 

48.) Armageddon by Between You And Me (Pop-Punk)

 

Between You and Me’s second album is leagues above their first. Their first record is good pop-punk, but did not push the bar of the genre like this record does. This album is pop-punk perfection. It has some of the smoothest melodies while also being the right amount of aggressive. It captures everything I love about the genre while adding new sounds. This is honestly the best album to skateboard to on a sunny day. 

 

47.) This Is How The World Ends by Badflower (Rock)

 

Badflower’s 2nd studio album is everything their first album had and more. There are energetic fun rock tracks, sad emotional dark tracks, and totally new sounds and tones we’ve never heard from the band. She Knows is hands down in my top ten songs of the year. This record is beautiful and energetic. I had a great time with this release and am so excited to hear these songs live.

 

46.) Wallflowers by Jinjer (Metal)

 

Jinjer’s Wallflowers is an absolute journey. Start to finish, this record delivers. The heavy moments are jaw dropping, the singing softer moments are empowering, and everything in between is phenomenal. This is an album that has such a high relistening factor. The very second the record finished, I needed to put it on again immediately.

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

45.) Call of the Wild by Powerwolf (Power Metal)

 

Powerwolf has returned with their new album Call Of The Wild. This is one of the most fun albums I’ve heard from the genre in decades. A lot of power-metal can sometimes feel cheesy or forced. Such is not the case with this masterpiece. When listening to this record for the first time, I truly felt like I could jump into the sky and fly. This is a great time for everyone who enjoys metal of any kind. Definitely check this release out.

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

44.) The Nightmare of Being by At The Gates (Deathcore)

 

At The Gates has been around for decades, and the fact that their new album is my favorite they’ve ever done speaks volumes of their discography. It’s heavy and it’s melodic. There are so many cool elements incorporated within the typical sounds a fan expects. Garden of Cyrus may be one of my favorite metal tracks released all year. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

43.) Debut Album by Latewaves (Pop-Punk)

 

Latewaves are a new band on the pop-punk scene, but not one you should take lightly. They have all the infectious hooks and fantastic choruses one expects from the genre. Their sound is if The Menzingers and Tigers Jaw were combined with a new flair I’ve never before heard. This is not an album you want to miss.

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

42.) Typhoons by Royal Blood (Alternative)

 

This album is a vast departure from anything Royal Blood has done in the past. It’s visually and sonically colorful. The whole album has an aesthetic and neon color palette that is displayed in the music as well. Tracks like Limbo and Boilermaker feel like post-pop with an alternative rock tinge to it.This album floored me, and I’m so excited to see what the band does next. 

 

41.) See What’s On The Inside by Asking Alexandria (Rock)

 

Most critics and fans are very polarized by Asking Alexandria. Some fans love their new hard rock work, others love their old metalcore days. It sometimes feels like you HAVE to pick a side and it’s frowned upon if you don’t. I’m here to say I love almost everything the band has put out. Their older records are flawless and heavy and their new albums are incredible and fun. Both are great in their own way. In my opinion, this is hands down the best hard rock record they have put out. All of the ideas they had on Self Titled and Like A House on Fire are perfected and finished. They capture the rock emotion and energy with every track. I will definitely be coming back to this release repeatedly and you should too. 

 

40.) Baptize by Atreyu (Hard Rock)

 

Atreyu is back, this being their first record with front-man Brandon Saller taking 100% of the vocal duties, there was a lot of hype to live up to. I’m beyond happy to say all of the hype was worth it. The choruses on this album are the most bombastic I’ve heard in decades. Everything sounds so full and enormous. This feels like an album that was written to play in an arena. I can hear thousands of fans screaming these lyrics when I listen to this record studio. It’s an amazing release and one of my favorites from the band.

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

39.) Witness by VOLA (Prog Metal)

 

Witness is probably the band’s best album to date. This record checks all the boxes a fan wants from a Prog Metal album and more. It’s atmospheric, heavy, cerebral, and overall very engaging. I had a great time with this record, and I know you will too. There really isn’t a skip song on this album. Every track has a consistent level of quality and staying power. I am excited to be a fan of this band during one of their most exciting chapters yet.

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

38.) …And I Return To Nothingness EP by Lorna Shore (Deathcore)

 

Lorna Shore released the heaviest album I’ve heard in years, but also the catchiest album. This thing is absolutely brutal in every possible way. It is 3 tracks but has so many twists and turns, making it one of the greatest deathcore experiences I’ve ever heard. 

 

37.) GLOW ON by Turnstile (Punk, Dream-Punk)

 

Turnstile invented a new genre with this album, GLOW ON. This is the most dreamy and airy a punk album has sounded, and it works so well. This band is not afraid to subvert expectations, and surpass them in the process. They are pushing the bar of not only what their sound is, but also what punk should sound like. This record is the epitome of what the future of punk rock should be.

 

36.) Vengeance by Twelve Foot Ninja (Alt Metal, Progressive Metal)

 

Definitely the weirdest release on this list, Twelve Foot Ninja drop one of the most intense, spontaneous, confusing and mesmerizing albums this year. Nothing can be predicted with this band. This record is pure chaos in the most fun way possible. There were visible moments of shock on my face hearing this thing for the first time. If you like metal, rock, or anything heavy and think you’ve heard it all, think again. Twelve Foot Ninja is here to prove that not only are they unpredictable, but also catchy and profound at the same time. 

 

35.) Pulling Focus by Action/Adventure (Pop-Punk)

 

Pop-Punk is back and better than ever! This is everything fans of the genre want. It has rhythmic guitars, groovy bass lines, fun vocals, and intense drum beats. This band has more potential in the genre than most other new-comers. I am so thrilled and excited to see what the band has in store for future releases. 

 

34.) Other People’s Lives by Dan Campbell (Indie, Emo)

 

Soupy from The Wonder Years and AAron West and the Roaring 20’s is back with his new solo project. Those that know me best, know the amount of hype I’ve had for this release. Routine Maintenance was my album of the year for 2019, and The Wonder Years are one of my all time favorite bands. What’s crazy is he manages to tackle new sounds and styles while all staying genuinely true to himself. This album is a masterpiece and must be listened to by any fan of music. 

 

33.) Arrows by Red Fang (Post-Punk)

 

This is easily my favorite Red Fang album. Every one of these tracks is the perfect representation of fun aggressive post-punk. The lyrics are a blast, the music is a wonderful time, and the performances of every band member is memorable. Red Fang captured everything I love about rock music in this record.

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

32.) You Will Be The Death of Me by Light The Torch

 

Howard Jones has been through over 5 separate projects throughout his career, and he’s far from being done. I think it’s incredible how a songwriter who's been around for over two decades can still write his best material to date. The music bridges the gap between soulfulness and furiosity. This sounds like his signature style of metal with new ideas and influences. This record deserves it’s spot on this list and is one of my favorite projects by Howard to date. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

31.) Darko by Darko (US) (Deathcore)

 

This might be the heaviest album I’ve heard all year. It is absolutely insane the technicality it takes to craft something this precisely heavy. The guitars are firing with every ounce of intensity possible, the drums are vicious, and the synths that layer over the music enhance the metal. Nothing on this album feels wasted or underutilized. This is the kind of album that could easily have taken a decade to write, and it shows in the quality of the music . 

 

30.) Frontal Lobe Submission EP by Landon Tewers (Alt, Indie)

 

Landon Tewers of The Plot In You continues to defy expectations and bend genres. As a songwriter, he is leagues above everyone else in his scene. He is able to write tunes that stir profound emotions inside you all to a catchy beat. There is nothing he isn’t afraid of. All of the genre bending and unconventional songwriting shows how talented he is and how great this collection of songs are.

 

29.) Angel or Alien by Born of Osiris (Progressive Metalcore)

 

Born of Osiris created one of the most enjoyable and fun metalcore albums I’ve heard in years. This record doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. It feels like a modern classic in the genre. These are perfect songs to mosh to and scream every lyric. It has heart and emotion while also being absolutely brutal and heavy. I enjoyed this release just as much this month as I did when it first dropped. Any fan of heavy music needs to listen to this album immediately. 

 

28.) OK Human by Weezer (Acoustic, Orchestral)

 

Weezer making my top albums of the year surprised everyone, especially me. However, they dropped an orchestral powerhouse of a record. Piano is heard on every song and there is such a level of charisma with every track. This is a very calm and soft album, but it never feels hollow. Every track finds a way to subvert my expectations and deliver a very cohesive and engaging experience. 

 

27.) I Won’t Reach Out To You EP by Hot Mulligan (Pop-Punk, Emo)

 

What can be said about Hot Mulligan that I haven’t already said. They’re a perfect band. The only reason this release is so far down on my list and not in the top 5 is due to the fact that it’s just 11 minutes. The songwriting on this EP surpasses what most bands will ever achieve. It’s fun, it's emotional, it's incredible, it's powerful, it's everything you want to get from music and more. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

26.) Umbra by Grayscale (Alt, Pop-Punk)

 

The alt sounds Grayscale played with on their previous album Nella Vita are enhanced and doubled down on with their new record Umbra. This is the kind of music that only Grayscale can pull off. They bring the pop sensibilities into the rock genre so seamlessly. This is not an album that feels like a cash grab to gain more mainstream fans. Rather, this is an art piece incorporating new sounds into the genre for the sake of evolution and progressing the pop-punk scene as a whole.

 

25.) Radical by Every Time I Die (Hardcore, Metalcore, Metal)

 

Every Time I Die returned with their first album in 6 years, and the wait was worth every second. This has some of the most chaotic songwriting and performances I’ve ever heard. There is no way to expect or anticipate what will come next. This record has so many twists and turns, and all of them pay off beautifully. It’s the kind of album that reminds me why I love this genre so much. Everything about this release makes for a perfect metal record. 

 

24.) DESPERATE TIMES DESPERATE PLEASURES by Boston Manor (Industrial, Alt-Emo)

 

Boston Manor returned with an incredible EP release this year. This release sounds like a mix between Welcome To The Neighborhood and GLUE. It has all the industrial synths fans have come to expect, with all the bombastic rock choruses they’re also known for. This collection of songs was born for the live setting, and truly stands the test of time. Ever since it came out, I’ve listened to it at least once a day. Truly a fantastic release from a stellar band. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

23.) Self Titled By Bullet For My Valentine (Heavy Metal)

 

Bullet For My Valentine returned to their roots with this new release. Self Titled is the heaviest the band has been in years. Everything about this record is absolutely insane. This entire album sounds like the edge of an emotional breakdown. There is such a level of continuous intensity that never lets up. This may be the band’s best work to date. 

 

22.) Fortitude by Gojira (Death Metal)

 

Gojira dropped one of their best albums they’ve ever written and definitely one of the best metal albums this year. The choruses are always strong, the verses are brutal, and it's surpassing everything other bands are currently doing. Something about this music sounds so deeply primal, it unleashes a new level of adrenaline with every track. For any fans of rock and metal, this is a perfect release to check out. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

21.) Ollie Ollie Oxen Free by Authority Youth (Punk)

 

Authority Zero is making punk music fun again. This new album, Ollie Ollie Oxen Free, is an auditory circle-pit. Every track has all the energy of a live performance fused into the studio. It is an absolute blast and one of the most punk experiences a fan of the genre can have. It deserves it’s number 21 slot on this list more than any album I’ve heard. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

20.) Between the Richness by Fiddlehead (Punk)

 

Fiddlehead is a punk band I had never heard of until 2021, but have become a part of my daily listening routine. They offer a slight post-grunge vibe to their punk making it feel nostalgic but also fresh at the same time. They have incredible lyrical depth and emotions while also delivering fun hooks that will get stuck in your head for weeks. This is a stand-out album that cannot be missed. 

 

19.) A Tear In The Fabric of Life by Knocked Loose (Hardcore)

 

Knocked Loose have done what little to no hardcore bands have ever dared to do. Make music that is not just aggressive, but follows a narrative and plot as dark as the music sounds. This album is an experience of grief and suffering. It truly takes the listener through all emotions of the agony when a loved one passes. It is hard hitting, brutally heavy, and deeply powerful. If you have not heard of this record, or this band, do yourself a favor and check them out immediately. 

 

Check out WSOU’s Interview with the artist here

 

18.) Hushed and Grim by Mastodon 

 

Mastodon did the impossible for their new record, Hushed and Grim. They made a double album that never got stale once. It’s truly amazing how this record clocks in at 1 hour and 26 minutes and is fresh the entire way through. This is most certainly some of the best songs written by the band in their career. It has a deep darkness weaved throughout the lyricism and tone. This album is also a journey through all 5 stages of grief, and that feeling is palpable. This is a record that deserves all the praise it gets. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

17.) Let This Love Lie Dead EP by First and Forever (Pop-Punk)

 

Pop-Punk has not been this fun in over a decade. First and Forever infuse a new level of enthusiasm in a genre that thrives on it. If the band continues down this route, in 20 years they will certainly be revered like bands such as Taking Back Sunday and New Found Glory. This is the strongest debut release I’ve seen from a pop-punk band since Brand New. The emotion and energy built into every second of this EP is nothing short of astounding. If you’re reading this now, check out this band immediately. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here (From 2020)

 

16.) Colors II by Between The Buried and Me (Prog Metalcore)

 

To make a sequel to your most popular album well over a decade takes some serious guts. The expectations were so high and Between The Buried And Me delivered. They create one of the most incredible album journeys I’ve seen from the band. This record never ceases in quality or slows down in pacing. It is just as enthralling from the first note as it is to the last. Which by the way, with it’s 1 hour and 18 minute run-time, is no easy task. This album transcends the metal genre and stands, as simply put, a perfect album. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

15.) Swan Song by The Plot In You (Metal-Core, Post-Hardcore)

 

The Plot In You have topped their previous album DISPOSE, an already perfect release. This record is one of the most unique metal/post-hardcore albums I’ve ever heard. The synthesizers and audio bites weaved throughout the music create an atmospheric lens from which everything previously done before has a new light. This is a perfect example of how to evolve your sound. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here (From 2019)

 

14.) Ever Blossom by This Wild Life (Acoustic, Emo)

 

Two Piece acoustic band This Wild Life crafts one of their most immersive albums yet. This has all of the slow heartbreaking tunes fans have come to expect, with a sense of optimism weaved throughout. The band has some of the most deeply profound and interesting lyrics I’ve ever heard from the band. This is not a record you can hear once and then “get it”. I’ve listened to this album over 20 times and am still discovering new musical elements, tones, and lyrics. The guys have made arguably their best album to date. 

 

13.) Gone Are the Good Days by Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! (Easycore)

 

Easycore legends are back and they mean business. I would not be surprised if this album single handedly resurrects the genre. Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! put their best foot forward on their first album in 6 years. This has everything you have come to love from the band, and so much more. With acoustic guitars and saxophone incorporated throughout the music, the listener is in for a ride. This is hands down one of the best records of the year.

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

12.) Another Kill For The Highlight Reel by Save Face (Emo)

 

This record is the prime example of how Emo is still very much alive. These tracks are a modern day classic. Everything on this album has so much emotion, passion, and energy. This has to be the album that breaks Save Face into the mainstream of Emo, and for good reason. It has some of the catchiest and saddest moments I’ve heard on an album all year. This is an album where every time I hear it, I imagine every single person in the pit all bouncing up and down to the music.

 

11.) Don’t You Feel Amazing? by Trash Boat (Hard Rock, Pop-Punk)

 

Trash Boat is a band that exemplifies the perfect evolution of a pop-punk band. They went from angsty pop-punk to aggressive pop-punk, to their new album which is an entirely hard rock album. This record has moments that absolutely floored me. Most bands always get softer with every record, but Trash Boat breaks this tread. They also incorporate tech elements and grunge elements. Something I never realized was needed in the Trash Boat catalog. This is the band's most cohesive and engaging record to date. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here (From 2019)

 

10.) Salem II EP by Salem (Punk)

Cracking into the top 10, Will Gould creates a theatrical punk EP that has some of the most soaring choruses and bridges I’ve ever heard in my life. There are so many moments on this musical journey where the listener will be visibly shocked and hooked. The bridge to William,, It was Really Something is my favorite bridge in all of 2021. The way the band uses their instruments to build momentum is completely original. This is an EP that has to be experienced to be believed. 

 

9.) Kin by Whitechapel (Deathcore)

 

Whitechapel did the unimaginable with their new album Kin. They created a perfect sequel to their already revered album The Valley. They increased the steaks, intensities, and tones. This album feels like an evolution of sound for the band. Every member knows exactly what they want this to be and in the process created one of the most energetic, powerful, enjoyable, and moving experiences a fan of deathcore can have. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

8.) In The Court of the Dragon by Trivium (Metalcore)

 

It’s only been 1 year since Trivium’s last album, What The Dead Men Say. For most bands, writing, recording, and releasing an album in that brief time would not be a good idea. Trivium however, is not like most bands. I will never forget the first time I heard The Phalanx, and the emotions that stirred in me. It’s a heavy record with some of the longest most intense solos in the band’s career. Furthermore, it has some of the most powerful depth I’ve heard from a metalcore album in a long time. In The Court Of The Dragon deserves it’s spot on the top 10. 

 

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

7.) Horizons/East by Thrice (Post-Hardcore)

 

Thrice has become a stapel band for the post-hardcore scene. This new record is a refreshing taste into the genre. The band is not playing it safe on this one. The melodies are very energetic and groovy. The vocals alternate between dreamy and brutal. The band is really giving it their all on this album. It also has the best replayability of a Thrice album in the last 10 years. After hearing this record once, you want to put it on again and again. It starts out strong and closes just as strong. Definitely check it out if you can.

 

Check out our More detailed review of the album here

Check Out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here (From 2020)

 

6.) Below by Beartooth (Metal, Metalcore)

 

Beartooth is one of the most consistent bands in the metal industry. They have never dropped an album that isn’t cohesive or isn’t heavy. All of their records have their sound with new twists along the way. Below might be one of their greatest achievements as a band. The heavy parts are the heaviest they’ve ever been. The melodic parts are the catchiest they’ve ever been. And the vocals and instruments sound more crisp than they’ve ever been. This is an album from a band that not only found their sound, but also perfected it. 

 

5.) Life in Your Glass World by Citizen (Emo)

 

This is a genre switch no one saw coming. The slow, post-hardcore, emo band Citizen dropping a dance-pop record that is still just as Emo as before? A welcome surprise. If other bands were to try this extreme tone shift, it might not work as well. Citizen however knows how to write a song and make it feel as genuine as it can possibly be. This is a deeply personal album that is surprisingly fun. This record surpassed all my expectations and might actually be my favorite from the band. 

 

Check our WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

4.) American Noir EP by Creeper (Pop-Punk, Emo)

 

Creeper has already done multiple genre shifts in their career. However, with their new EP, American Noir, they take all the sounds of their last album and amplify them. This is the closing chapter to the Row and Annabelle saga. The storyline fans have experienced for 3 years now comes to an epic conclusion. As expected, the band takes on new song structures, rhythms, and tones, and it all pays off. Everything this band does, they do with their soul, and the music reflects that. 

 

Check out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

3.) Nowhere Generation by Rise Against (Punk)

 

It is crazy to me that a band can drop one of their best albums ever made on their 9th album. Rise Against take on their signature sound but with a new level of energy and charisma. These are extremely punching tracks with soaring hooks. It is a shining example of how an almost perfect punk record can grab the listener, and not let them go.

 

Check out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

2.) For Those Who Wish To Exist by Architects (Heavy Metal, Rock)

 

Architects went into a very bold direction for their new record, and I’m thrilled to say it paid off. Sitting comfortably at number 2 on my album of the year list, it’s safe to say this band is truly astonishing. They weave new tech elements and violins into their music, making it feel more full than ever. This is an album that commands your attention. From the first song to the last, it is an experience that any metal or rock fan must hear for themselves. 

 

Check out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here

 

1.) Welcome to Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2 by Ice Nine Kills (Metalcore)

 

Ice Nine Kills has never failed to make my year-end list. They continually fuse heavy metal, crazy solos, brutal screams, with new sounds and ideas. The band has a theatricality to them unlike anyone else in their scene. Their songs are born for the live settings, and this is some of the band’s best material to date. They continually push metal forward and push the bar of what can be done. This album captures everything amazing about horror and metal, into a 14 track masterpiece. 

 

Check out WSOU’s Interview with this artist here


 

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