Before we start this run-down, please remember that this is a personal list and will likely not reflect your own top 5 British albums of 2012. I’m not here to tell you my opinion is better than yours; I just want to recommend 5 albums that I thought were brilliant. We good? Okay, let’s get this thing a-rolling:
5) Gallows’ Gallows
First and foremost, if you think Gallows with Frank Carter is the only Gallows there will ever be then you are seriously mistaken.
Gallows’ self-titled album and the first with Wade McNeil (formerly of Alexisonfire) is everything you wanted from this band and more. The hooks are there, the aggression is there and the riffs are massive. More importantly, Mr McNeil brings something special to the table; vitality.
Gallows have never sounded so crucial; McNeil sounds like he’s about to burst from your stereo at any moment and punch you in the face. This is why this Gallows album is self-titled; it’s a statement of intent. This is who they are now and who they’ve always been, but this time they’ll knock seven shades of shit out of you if you second guess them.
4) Enter Shikari’s A Flash Flood of Colour
Me and Enter Shikari don’t usually get on very well. Their special blend of electronica, nu-metal and post hardcore with oiky “I’m Mike Skinner” vocals make for a very different listening experience. You can imagine I was pretty reluctant to give this album a chance at all. It was only through reviews and a recommendation from Raz over at Thrash Hits that I decided to give it a chance.
My first playthrough was certainly one of learning; A Flash Flood of Colour didn’t strike me as something I’d be listening to repeatedly this year. But learnt I did and I soon realised after a few more plays that I was really beginning to appreciate what Enter Shikari are doing.
Yes this band are certainly very weird, but weird should be celebrated. Nothing new comes out of playing it safe and Enter Shikari do everything but play it safe. Give Enter Shikari’s rather mental brand of Prodigy-core a go; you’ll learn to love it.
3) Hold Your Horse Is’ Frimley
I have been a firm believer that Hold Your Horse Is are a very special band. Not only are they my favourite UK band on the live circuit, they achieve something many bands manage to miss; a sound of their own.
Nobody sounds like Hold Your Horse Is. Sure you can hear their influences (stuff like Refused and Reuben) very clearly, but thanks to Robin Pearson’s unique half-sung/half-spoken vocals, James Penny’s loud, twangy bass-lines and Chris Rouse’s furious drumming you have a sound that is clearly Hold Your Horse Is and their debut album does everything in its’ power to prove this to you.
This is alt-rock at its’ finest; not only do the songs twist and turn at every available opportunity but most importantly, they’re hugely memorable. Songs like The Exit and Acting Suspiciously are going to be some of my favourite for years to come.
2) Crocus’ Our Memories Dress Me in a Dead Lust
I feel terrible for not making Crocus’ stunning debut (and unfortunately only album) my number one British album of 2012 because I’ve played Our Memories Dress Me in a Dead Lust countless times. It is undeniably a special album but another band just managed to squeeze ahead. But more on that later; let me tell you why Our Memories… is such an amazing album.
Crocus make some of the smartest, bravest screamo you can hear. Guitarist Zac Birchley has a way with that instrument that is unparalleled; the riffs never stand still for a second and they’re some of the most memorable put to record.
This 9 track, 23 minute album might be over quickly but I challenge you to find another album with as much going on in this space of time. Crocus are brilliantly technical musicians but their song writing is just as fantastic and keeps this album sounding cohesive. It’s this cohesion that makes Our Memories… such an amazing listen. Without this Crocus could’ve made a record that was so wild and unruly it would probably be unlistenable.
I’m going to miss Crocus a lot especially as Birchley’s playing is so fresh. I hope to hear it again in another form some day but I’m so glad that he and the rest of Crocus left this masterpiece behind.
1) Battle for Paris’ Superstar
Remember how I challenged you to find me another album with as much going on as Crocus’ and its’ 23 minute run time? There isn’t one. There is however a little bit more going on in Battle for Paris’ Superstar, but that runs for 28 minutes so it’s an unfair comparison.
Enough babble; I need to tell you how important this album is to me. It’s very important to me. It’s so important I made it my number one British album of 2012.
Battle for Paris make a wonderful, mathy, screamo, alt-rock racket with jangly guitars, yelping vocals and an attitude that really doesn’t give a shit if you like it or not. I mean look at the cover art; does this strike you as a band who care what you think? No. This is why I love them.
There will never be another mathcore album that starts with someone walking up a garden path with the slow rumble of drums in the distance before exploding into the most twitchy, bonkers riff imaginable. Superstar then continues to throw some of the most creative song writing in your direction; the melodies go from one extreme to the next. Battle for Paris couldn’t have put any more strange into this record.
Please go and buy this album and give it a chance. Battle for Paris are one of the most exciting bands in the UK and they need your support. I also really want them to make more music because I’m wearing the CD out.