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It’s that time of year again.  Lists, lists, lists.  I had a difficult time compiling my more general lists, but choosing my top 5 metalcore releases this year was fairly easy.  Mind you once more that I excluded things like mathcore and therefore obvious choices in Dillinger Escape Plan or Zao.  This list is focused on the purer forms of the genre.  But enough stalling.  These were the metalcore releases I considered to be the best of the year:

ARCHITECTS – ALL OUR GODS HAVE ABANDONED US

On Epitaph Records, UK band Architects has already seen some success, particularly since 2014’s glorious ‘Lost Forever//Lost Together.”  The group has a mathy side to their sound, with impressively technical drumming and guitarwork if you take the time to notice.  This alone is enough for me to support their cause, but frontman Sam Carter is a force to be reckoned with.  He somehow boils down all of that angsty, post-hardcore delivery down to its most primal core to spit some of the most delightful bile you’ve had the pleasure to hit you right in the ears.  I can’t get enough of those “BLECHS!”  Very sad that founding guitarist Tom Searle passed away not long after this release.  His battle with the disease is documented in some of the lyrics.  Buy it HERE.

I AM NOAH – THE VERDICT

Grounded deeply in the sounds of August Burns Red and early As I Lay Dying, this German band possesses the riffs, catchy breaks, and overall energy to get a big crowd moving.  ‘The Verdict’ is a total classic metalcore banger.  I had this album on repeat for quite a while as I did my driving, and let me tell you I had a hard time sticking to the speed limit with these tunes blaring.  Their progressive edge makes for some interesting songwriting that isn’t exactly unique, but is always entertaining.  Take a moment to check out Rise of Mankind or Drowned.  This is that good shit.  Full album on BANDCAMP.

HOLLOW BONES – LIONHEART

Hollow Bones were a band I really felt the need to champion this year.  Having shared the stage with bands such as Periphery, Whitechapel, Born of Osiris, and After the Burial to name just a few, these up and comers have a lot of potential.  It is clear from this self-release, ‘Lionheart,’ that this is a band with passion and commitment, with plenty of talent to carry a very personal message.  The guitars and drums are an excellent mix of heavy technical arrangments, soaring post-rock, and a little punk for good measure.  But the real pleasure here is the interplay of vocalists Patrick and Sharon.  Patrick screams his heart while Sharon engages in gorgeous, catchy melodies reminiscent of A Day to Remember or perhaps Paramour with a lot more substance behind it.  Drytooth is an excellent starting point, but I also highly recommend Altruistic Lung or I Watched the Snow Fall and Bury Your Bones.  Full album on BANDCAMP.

AFTER THE BURIAL – DIG DEEP

If you don’t know After The Burial by now, I don’t know what to do with you.  These guys have been consistently turning out some of the best riffs since ‘Rareform’ in 2008.  Their new album may very well be their best since the label debut, and Mire is arguably the heaviest song that they have ever written.  Once again, this solid release comes with the tragic loss of a very talented guitar player, Justin Lowe after the culmination of growing mental health issues.  When this record dropped, I had a really hard time clearing time for other reviews I needed to work on.  It’s addictive.  Buy it HERE.

PERIPHERY – PERIPHERY III

There is going to be a split for readers when it comes to this choice for number one.  For about half of you, this is no surprise at all.  For the other half, it’s a travesty.  Say what you will about Periphery, but they have the whole package: fantastic hooks, technical foundations, catchy vocals, crushing breakdowns, and overall strong songwriting skills.  I have been following them since I first heard Icarus Lives! off of the first album, and I think that they have only gotten better over the years.  Again, I have heard a lot of arguments on that topic, but my own opinion is that ‘Periphery III” is the apex of everything they have been working on so far across their previous discography.  Buy it HERE.

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Flight of Icarus FlightofIcarus is a father, licensed counselor, and full time metalhead. When he is not working and spending time with family, he is writing furiously to promote underground bands on his own site, Metal Trenches. He believes staunchly in writing only constructive reviews, and his favorite bands include Dark Tranquillity, Enslaved, Poison the Well, and Deftones. You can also buy his ebook, The ABC’s of Black Metal.