Jacs Top 10 Albums of 2016

Its been one of those years that every band of interest to me have released new music. This is a good thing but makes for a difficult decision process when it comes to making this list. Before we begin here are a few honourable mentions for some albums that really have stuck out this year.

First up Panic! At The Disco's arguably best album to date. It hasn't been until now that Panic! AKA Brendon Urie has made an album so infectiously catchy from start to finish. It feels the most Panic! album he has released to date and has moved comfortably into a blend of feel-good, stage-show influenced pop rock. Local South Welsh boys Casey have had one hell of a year and dropped a debut album that has propelled them to new heights. As for the album itself, it is a beautifully melancholic 33 minutes with melodic brilliance throughout. 2017 will be a big year for these guys. This Wild Life are the last mention before we delve in to our top 10 and what a mention it is. The band rose to success with 2014s Clouded and there was a difficult bar to hit with second album Low Tides but in many respect they made a modest effort of it with highlights in single 'Falling Down' showing a move away from the solely acoustic style tracks. Okay so let's begin!

10. Blink 182 - California

A comeback album isn't usually very good, cmon lets face it, it is rare. That is why Blinks massive release California completely blew me away. Finding its way straight onto the driving playlist this has been an album that is easily jammable year on out.

On the oe hand they give us that iconic Blink sound in the likes of "Bored To Death" and "No Future" and give us that nostalgic feel too with the dick joke dudes being who they always have been (Check out "Built This Pool"). On the other hand they really have made this a mature and well-written album with the likes of "Home Is Such A Lonely Place" standing as a genuine and passionate song that can 100% be taken seriously. Oh and Matt Skiba is an incredible all-rounder, great vocalist and a better fit for Blink than Tom. Fight me.

Check out: Shes Out Of Her Mind

9. Fire From The Gods - Narrative

New blood Rise Records signing Fire From The Gods are America's answer to our Hacktivist or maybe even Enter Shikari. A political discontent drives their debut release Narrative and in fantastic nu-metal style they deliver the message heavily. From the reggae style vocals in "Excuse Me" to the absolute screamer "Into The Blue" that rounds off the album. FFTG really have dropped an album on us that is impressive and personal. Check this one out!

Check out: Excuse Me

8. Bury Tomorrow - Earthbound

Bury Tomorrow have never quite pierced that film lid draping above them. That lid that just keeps them from completely blowing up to that next level. However they are releasing banger after banger. Previous album Runes combined heavy with melodic in a way that shit all over Killswitch's release and Earthbound does the same.

You know when a breakdown or drumbeat or riff hits you so hard you have to put your hands on your knees and take a minute or two to regain your normal self. Bury Tomorrow seem to have a skill at making this reviewer do that a lot. Truly mind-blowing mastery in their musicianship and hugely underrated. But what a great album.

Check out: Last Light

7. Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

What a year of events it has been for hard hitters Architects. First the release of their seventh stormer of an album All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us followed by the death of lead guitarist Tom Searle who was also the bands primary songwriter and founding member. Absolute devastation swept across the music scene but the support and remembrance in his name was truly touching. Not only was Tom a massive dude but he was an absolute genius too.

The latter event only strengthened an already blistering album from start to finish with massive hooks throughout. "A Match Made In Heaven" is one of the head-bangiest songs the band have released to date and the album as a whole oozes atmosphere and ambiance. Groundbreaking.

Check out: A Match Made In Heaven

6. Black Stone Cherry - Kentucky

Hard hitting rockers Black Stone Cherry were back this year with a slightly darker and albeit a little heavier album in the form of Kentucky. In some respects it ventured back to that sound that old-school fans loved when they released "Lonely Train" but it also contained a little bit of an uplifting gospel feel at times and they even managed to pull in the singalongs too.

With one of the most heart-breaking and beautiful songs they have released to date in "The Rambler" accompanied by their simple but powerful cover of the classic "War" and everything in between BSC have clearly proved that they stand on a pedestal for Southern Style Hard Rock and they aren't budging for a while.

Check out: Soul Machine - Find out about the track via the Behind The Scenes clip below...

5. A Day To Remember - Bad Vibrations

Okay I will get it out of the way, Bad Vibrations isn't quite 2013's Common Courtesy BUT there is more symbolic meaning to this album that got it onto this list. The release of this album finally shows that ADTR have broken free of the shackles of Victory Records thanks to them winning a long-running lawsuit over their contract as a band. They have released this album on their own label and they have eased into writing as a band rather than individuals.

It is still an amazing album that really continues the bands iconic sound but doesn't really bring anything new to the table. A Day To Remember are still one of the biggest bands of our generation though.

Check out: Paranoia

4. Beartooth - Aggressive

Beartooth owned 2014 With their debut album Disgusting. It was a moment in music history where we saw a fresh take on a new style and Caleb Shomo and gang emerged as titans. This year the band had some serious work to do and had a lot to live up to with their second album Aggressive. In short, they did not disappoint. With some amazing stand-out tracks in "Hated", "Loser" and "Aggressive" they easily proved they weren't a one album band.

What puts this album at number 4 is the fact that they have maintained their angst and raw energy and inputted that into this album. It isn't 2014's Disgusting but it never needed to be. It is a damn good album.

Check out: Hated

3. Nahko + The Medicine People - Hoka

Meeting Nahko Bear is a huge personal highlight of 2016. Interviews can often be tedious and uneventful when the interviewer is asking the same questions the band/artist have heard before and they have lost all enthusiasm to answer them. Every so often you will speak to someone truly inspirational and Nahko is one of those people. An activist, a poet, an incredible musician, lyricist and singer and his main goal in life is to help those around him.

As for the album itself it reflects the mindset and traits that Nahko showed me as a person. Hoka is a work of art that comfortably blends culture with a plethora of musical influences and styles. Whether it is Folk, Rock, Pop, Rap, Indie or even Tribal/Native then there is a bit of everything for you here. What a talent.

Check out: It Is Written

2. Issues - Headspace

Its not an easy feat to nail the balance of a catchy/heavy song but Issues have tapped into a sound that is whole-heartedly their own unique music and it rocks. Their second album 'Headspace', which is always a crucial release for any band, shows them experimenting comfortably. With a bit of something for everyone the album flourishes with plenty of melodies that will get stuck in your head.

The biggest difference on this sophomore release is that it feels solidified. Where their self-titled debut release felt like a collection of songs strewn together, 'Headspace' feels like it flows well and the music is connected. A must-listen for those that love soaring vocals and fast-paced Post-Hardcore.

Check out: Slow Me Down

1. Of Mice & Men - Cold World

Last week I wrote the statement below for this top 10 albums list and yesterday found out the news that Austin Carlile had announced his departure from the band: "Of Mice & Men, and in particular Austin Carlile, have been on a long ol' path of ups and downs (they have already come quite a way already). It is heartbreaking how much more the band may have achieved if Austins health wasn't an issue. At the same time his illness highlights all the amazing things the band have done to get to where they are today."

This years release Cold World was an album that wasn't expected to find its way into this top 10 album list let alone at number 1 and it is there for two reasons. On a personal level it is reminiscent of all the great nu-metal that came out of the early 2000's. Their tour with Linkin Park has definitely had its influence in such a good way. It also contains big anthemic songs and showcases the amazing talent of Aaron Pauley. OM&M have changed a lot since their inception as most bands naturally do but where Restoring Force felt a little generic the band seem to have found their feet on Cold World and pushed an album out that feels personal and relevant.

This album stands at No.1 in it's own right but the news of it being their final release with Austin makes it bittersweet. A wholly heartbreaking situation but one can only hope he stays well. We would rather you healthy than toured to death bro <3

Check out: Away


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