MUSIC FEATURE: Bring The Noise UK – Our Favourite Records Of 2019
2019 has been an exciting year for Bring The Noise UK. We’ve expanded our team and have been working hard behind the scenes for our relaunch, which we’re excited to announce is happening in early 2020! Keep your eyes peeled for more information on that in the New Year. As the year draws to a close we’ve taken some time out of the relaunch to reflect on the amazing year it’s been for music. With so many of our favourite bands and artists releasing great music it was a tough decision to make, but read on to find out which records we have loved this year!
Hannah Gillicker – Editor
1. BMTH – amo
I remember how blown away I was when I first heard this record. It’s rare for me to love an album from start to finish and I knew that despite being one of the first releases of the year, amo would make it into my Top 10 list. The songwriting is flawless and I love discovering more and more with each listen. amo really shows how far Bring Me The Horizon have come, and it’s safe to say this record will continue to be played in 2020 and beyond.
2. Solence – Brothers
Solence are a band that have really excited me this year. The Swedish rockers have been teasing their debut album Brothers over the course of the year and it finally came to light at the end of November. If one thing’s for sure, Solence really know how to write a song. They effortlessly blend genres and in doing so create music that will leave your spine tingling – you only have to listen to the likes of Empire Of The Sun and Heaven and you’ll be gripped. Trust me when I say this band are set for big things!
3. Holding Absence – Holding Absence
Holding Absence‘s self-titled debut album has seen them go from strength to strength this year and it’s easy to see why. The Welsh post-hardcore outfit deliver a fresh take on a nostalgic sound – I particularly love the way they experiment with light and dark within their songs. If that wasn’t enough, Holding Absence have provided me with many shout-from-the-top-of-my-lungs moments over the past year and their headline show at London’s Underworld was one of my favourites of the year.
4. Gender Roles – PRANG
5. Employed To Serve – Eternal Forward Motion
6. Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
7. Phoxjaw – A Playground For Sad Adults (EP)
8. Gideon – Out Of Control
9. Fever 333 – STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS
10. Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders – Get The Money
Nicola Craig – Head Of Live
1. The Xcerts – Wildheart Dreaming
Bridging the gap between their successful Hold On To Your Heart album and 2020’s release plans, The Xcerts released an EP made up of tracks that hadn’t previously found their home on an album. Standout You Mean Everything is a heartfelt ballad which contains a bit of everything that makes The Xcerts great: vocal sincerity; driving drumlines; the chance for a singalong; and slick guitar lines. It’s complimented by Fight or Run which strikes the balance between emotive and pop-rock goodness; we can only imagine how great this would sound in a full-band live setting. Going into 2020, The Xcerts have already promised fans new material and we’ll eagerly keep our eyes and ears peeled. Wildheart Dreaming might be short but it definitely is a sweet package of musicianship which the world deserved to hear and for that, we thank The Xcerts for giving it to us in 2019.
2. ROAM – Smile Wide
With the release of their third album ROAM entered new territories with a heavier rockier sound coming in to play. Hand Grenade is an example of the all killer no filler material on offer which is sharp, slick and in your face, AKA absolutely everything we’ve been looking for in an album this year. Toy Box deserves a mention for being one of the cleverest tracks we’ve been graced with in 2019 – a track around Toy Story? Sign us up. With Smile Wide you never really know where the release is going to take you next, and that’s what makes it such a special and, quite frankly, exciting album.
3. Harry Styles – Fine Line
Yes, this might be a late release and a late entry to the list, but it’s one that needs no introduction. We all need a little bit of pop in our life and Harry Styles has packaged it up perfectly with Fine Line. This funky, dance-pop-meets-rock album features highlights such as my single of the year, Adore You, and the heartbreakingly beautiful Falling. Treat People With Kindness has become a motto within Harry’s fanbase and something we should all be doing, making this an even more important track, especially with the uplifting, warming crowd vocal. Fine Line offers something for everyone and dismisses the difficult second album idea often spoken about, as this polished effort shows Harry at his finest.
4. Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles
5. The LaFontaines – Junior
6. Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2
7. Jon Floreani – sin
8. Bring Me The Horizon – amo
9. Yonaka – Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow
10. CULTDREAMS – Things That Hurt
Mark Johnson – Head Of Content
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
The longer you wait in anticipation for something, that more your sense of excitement gives way to niggling doubt and severe dread that when it finally happens, it’s not going to live up to your expectations. I’ll admit I’d strayed to this end of the spectrum in the run-up to Fear Inoculum, but when Tool confidently strolled out to close this year’s Download Festival, all thoughts of an imminent disappointment were blasted away: this was no half-baked return, this was a band at the very top of their game. Fear Inoculum answers the question: “If I’ve never listened to Tool before, where should I start?” as it weaves together the finest elements of the band’s sound to date and adds a layer of heaviness and intensity, to produce one of their greatest achievements in an already mesmerising catalogue. It also answers the question: “Danny Carey can’t possibly get any better on the drums, can he?”
2. Sleep Token – Sundowning
As we close out the second decade of the 21st century, you could be forgiven for looking at another masked band and thinking “really, people are still doing that?” Yes it’s been done many times before and yes, during middle-of-the-day slots at festivals it can look a little silly, but with Sleep Token the band’s intriguing persona actually works, as it pairs perfectly with the mystery of their music. The band chose to unveil their debut record Sundowning over a six month period, releasing a new track every two weeks, and with each passing song the discussion switched from “who are these guys?” to “what will they do next?” as more and more influences from metalcore to pop, EDM and shoegaze crept into the formula. Sundowning is a bold, innovative new voice in alternative music that’s as accomplished and impressive as it is inventive.
3. Dermot Kennedy – Without Fear
For a record to make its way into my affections, it has to make me feel something, and nothing has achieved that this year more than Without Fear. Dermot Kennedy is not only a fantastic musician and lyricist, he’s a enchanting storyteller, painting vivid pictures of humanity in your mind with his intensely emotive voice. His rise to success has been a joy to behold, going from busking on the streets of Dublin to selling out arena shows across the world, and thanks to his honest, humble persona, you can’t help but wish him much more of the same in the future.
4. Dayseeker – Sleeptalk
5. The Jon Hill Project – Rebirth
6. Thornhill – The Dark Pool
7. As Cities Burn – Scream Through the Walls
8. Emarosa – Peach Club
9. Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
10. Sigrid – Sucker Punch
Ben Adsett – Writer
1. Fresh – Withdraw
On first listen this plays as one of the most joyous releases of the year, as you listen again (and you will) the poignancy of the song writing becomes more and more apparent. There are moments of honest emotion intricately combined with moments of pure empowerment. This release is far from just a selection of great lyrics, Fresh have an incredible sense of composition with complex instrumentation that combines to create hook-laden powerful pop punk. Withdraw is an album that will make you think, inspire you and most of all leave you smiling.
2. CULTDREAMS – Things That Hurt
CULTDREAMS have pushed their song-writing to an entirely new level with Things That Hurt, everything about this release hits harder than the excellent previous release Seafoam. The musicianship and complex arrangement create walls of sound which are equal in beauty and brutality as musicians this is an example of a band who are pushing themselves hard. The balance within the lyrics shows maturity and balanced thought processes and when combined with Lucinda’s ever emotive vocal delivery there are emotions you will share. This is an album that plays through effortlessly and will leave you breathless as it finishes.
3. Craig Finn – I Need a New War
Craig Finn is one of the best story tellers of his generation, his credentials in the DIY and punk scenes are unquestionable and with the tales in this semi concept album he shares so much emotion. The musicianship within this release creates a backing that allows Craig’s effortless vocal to share the focus on a knife edge. This is an album that feels like spending a night cathartically helping a friend through a bad time, this is song-writing of the highest quality.
4. Speilbergs – This is Not the End
5. Wet Dreams – Wet Dreams
6. Press Club – Wasted Energy
7. Woahnows – Young and Cool
8. Slingshot Dakota – Heavy Branding
9. Slaughter Beach Dog – Safe and Also No Fear
10. Lande Hekt – Gigantic Disapointment
Richard Webb – Writer
1. Green Lung – Woodland Rites
The debut album from these London-based doom rockers has been on repeat since the moment I stumbled across it. The Iommi-influenced, psychedelic riffs and water tight rhythmic sections lay the perfect base for the creative vocals to soar over. Sprinkle some occult subject matter on top and you’ve got yourself one barnstormer of an album. A modern day classic.
2. Gatecreeper – Deserted
This album is a superb nod to the old school death metal titans of the 90s with a modern day twist. The riffs are ferocious, the drumming resembles heavy artillery and the hooks from both the vocals and lead guitar work are undeniable. Not bad, considering a majority of the band members are part of the side project Spirit Adrift who also put out a stellar effort this year.
3. Norma Jean – All Hail
Eight albums in and Norma Jean are showing no sign of slowing up or running out of ideas. This is the band at it’s heaviest and most zoned in and it is glorious. Tracks such as Safety Last and Landslide Defeater show that they still know their way around off kilter, awkward ragers (the breakdown in the later is devestating on its own) whereas Full Circle In Under A Minute and Translational show that they have plenty of alternative rock/metalcore hybrid tracks in their arsenal. All Hail indeed.
4. Puppy – The Goat
5. After The Burial – Evergreen
6. Whitechapel – The Valley
7. Shadow Of Intent – Melancholy
8. Stray From The Path – Internal Atomics
9. Baroness – Gold & Grey
10. Fit For An Autopsy – The Sea Of Tragic Beasts
Rosie Solomon – Writer
1. Little Simz – Grey Area
This offering from the queen of the rap world takes a more simplistic approach to the full-length release, forgoing the concept-album approach of her previous effort, Stillness in Wonderland. This is a good move though, as we are left with tracks like Venom, with some of the slickest free-flow of the genre, period. I was truly blown away by this record, particularly since I’m not an avid rap fan – but this record may just have converted me.
2. Baroness – Gold & Grey
Hotly anticipated follow up to Purple is this absolutely stunning record from the sludge-prog metal band from Savannah. I think this is their best release to date, a more cohesive effort than Purple (which, following their life-changing bus crash accident, sounded like the auditory equivalent of an open wound – emotive and chaotic) which tackles massive topics such as fear and grief through the beauty found in changing seasons and various musical experiments in the studio. A truly compelling record which requires multiple listens to fully appreciate.
3. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Infest The Rat’s Nest
“Only” the second record of the year from the lunatics from down-under who brought us no less than five albums in 2016. This band is an absolute chameleon, forgoing the skiffle boards and harmonica solos which characterised previous release, Fishing for Fishies, with pure and unadulterated thrash metal. It’s one of the strongest of their fifteen albums, a brilliantly crafted concept album about environmental destruction and the colonisation of space. Mars for the Rich is lyrically one of the best songs of their very large back catalogue, and album closer Hell is a strong contender for metal song of the year.
4. Amyl and the Sniffers – Amyl and the Sniffers
5. Stonefield – Bent
6. Brutus – Nest
7. Cult of Luna – A Dawn To Fear
8. FKA Twigs – Magdalene
9. Queen Zee – Queen Zee
10. Jinjer – Macro
Florin Petrut – Writer
1. Devin Townsend – Empath
After disbanding the Devin Townsend Project in January of 2018, the Canadian mastermind promised an album that would encapsulate and summarise his career of more than 20 years – and boy, did the man deliver. Genesis, the first single off Empath, instantly became a standout track of the album and gave listeners a taste of things to come. The beautifully poignant Spirits Will Collide encourages us to get through life, telling us that “We’re strong enough”, while also sporting a music video replete with a gorilla playing bass and elephants playing drums – because of course it does. Why? sounds like it was ripped straight out of a Disney Musical, but in the best way possible, and the 23-minute long Singularity finishes the album in the best, most Devin way possible: throwing absolutely everything at the wall, and seeing all of it stick.
2. Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
From the moment you hear the opening notes of the anthemic Unsainted, you know you’re going to be amazed by what follows. We Are Not Your Kind, named after a line in their stand-alone single All Out Life, features Slipknot at their best. Songs such as Nero Forte or Orphan deliver the heaviness we all want from a Slipknot song, while also exploring new ground with the infectious groove of Spiders. Closing with the massive banger of Solway Firth, this album was definitely worth the five-year wait.
3. Alcest – Spiritual Instinct
French blackgaze band Alcest‘s Spiritual Instinct follows in their previous album’s footsteps, 2016’s Kodama, blending their light and dark sides into one cohesive package, despite being a little short. Protection, the first single released for Spiritual Instinct, perfectly sums up the essence of Alcest and its ‘post-black’/blackgaze sound, with frontman Neige’s soft vocals offset by his harsh black metal screams. Sapphire shines through with its post rock-esque opening riff and steady drums courtesy of drummer Winterhalter, and Le Miroir starts with pounding drums before turning into one of the most soothing moments of the whole album.
4. Rammstein – Rammstein
5. Dream Theater – Distance over Time
6. Leprous – Pitfalls
7. Sabaton – The Great War
8. Lacuna Coil – Black Anima
9. Alter Bridge – Walk the Sky
10. Avantasia – Moonglow
Henry McCaughtrie – Writer
1. Knocked Loose – A Different Shade of Blue
The second album from hardcore’s rising starts is heavy. It’s so heavy that you can feel it on your shoulders, weighing you down with it’s ferocity, venom and undeniable power. There’s chunky riffs, brutal breakdowns and devastatingly honest lyrics. This album has been on non-stop since its release.
2. The Twilight Sad – It Won’t Be Like This All The Time
Robert Smith‘s favourite band have released perhaps their best album yet. Whilst mixing elements of 80s inspired synth and bass, post-punk and a gothic vibe throughout, the band also sees them fill each song with massive hooks that are just as likely to make you cry as they are to make you sing along for days after listening.
3. Lost Dog Street Band – Weight of a Trigger
Released in March, Weight of a Trigger is outlaw country at its finest. Filled with songs about lost love, the American South and moonshine, Lost Dog Street Band have managed to release a record that is vital in 2019 yet entirely timeless. The punk sensibility of the band is on full display on an album that’s both heartbreaking and life affirming. A real gem that even non-country fans will find something to love!
4. PUP – Morbid Stuff
5. Pijn & Conjurer – Curse These Metal Hands
6. Slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
7. Martha – Love Keeps Kicking
8. Pkew Pkew Pkew – Optimal Lifestyles
9. Prince Daddy and The Hyena – Cosmic Thrill Seekers
10. Employed to Serve – Eternal Forward Motion
Katie Conway-Flood – Writer
1. Blink-182 – NINE
Blink-182 came through with a new-found sound and sense of maturity on latest effort NINE, balancing and blending a high octane instrumental drive on singles Darkside and Generational Divide, while taking on deeply personable lyrical themes in Heaven and No Heart To Speak Of. For Matt Skiba, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, new album NINE gave off a sense that Blink-182 boldly returned, bigger and better than ever.
2. Bring Me The Horizon – amo
Bring Me The Horizon have broken out of their genre box these days, given the sound of sixth studio album amo, bending and blurring genres for a record of a fitting sonic evolution since debut full-length Count Your Blessings. amo offers up an array of influences, from hard rock on leads Mantra and Wonderful Life to elements of electropop, prevalent on In The Dark alongside Nihlist Blues. The band’s boldest record, amo is unapologetically experimental and also an exciting sneak-peak into the musical future for BMTH.
3. Sleeping With Sirens – How It Feels To Be Lost
Sleeping With Sirens hailed back to their heavier roots for recent record How It Feels To Be Lost. Having been put through the ringer of a major record label for previous release Gossip, what followed next was a notable departure. Sirens signed to Sumerian Records to reinstate their post-hardcore aggression for their strongest album to date. Singles Leave It All Behind, Agree To Disagree and deeper listed tracks Another Nightmare and Medicine are at the forefront of the relentlessness and rage on display on How It Feels To Be Lost.
4. Simple Creatures – Everything Opposite
5. Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – End of Suffering
6. Circa Waves – What’s It Like Over There?
7. Andy Black – The Ghost Of Ohio
8. Frank Iero and the Future Violents – Barriers
9. Yungblud – Hope For The Underrated Youth
10. Waterparks – Fandom
Louis Tsangarides – Writer
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
Like a village bus we had to wait a long time for it, but just like when that bus arrives, it was all worth it in the end. Tool returned to bless us with an expansive, more post-rock influenced take on their unique brand of prog-metal. This is a band who are aging so very gracefully and yet still have Danny Carey just clowning on every other drummer in the game for nearly an hour and a half. Maynard James Keenan’s older, slighty more introspective incarnation is captivating whenever he appears on this album, and Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor weave tapestries of intricate riffing mixed with devastatingly powerful crescendo’s every single time. In the confusingly named 7empest, the band produces the best song this year. Utterly flawless, and yes, that does include the interludes. Chocolate Chip Trip is the business.
2. Devin Townsend – Empath
After nearly thirty years of making music, be it with Steve Vai or the much-missed Strapping Young Lad or with one of his many solo incarnations, Canada’s mad professor somehow synthesises pretty much all of it into this behmoth of an album. From the joyous, hopeful Spirits Will Collide to the constantly swirling chaos of Hear Me through the best Disney song not belonging to the house of mouse in Why? Townsend has created quite possibly the best album of his career. The closing twenty-three minute epic Singularity even has the gall to have the lovliest message of the year in “I’ll shine for you, if you shine for me”. How lovely.
3. Lingua Ignota – Caligula
The most emotionally devastating album of the entire decade. The unrefined, unfiltered and uncensored pain Kristin Hayter brings is the kind of thing that may leave you so hollowed out, so broken that you might never listen to this album again. The recounting of an abusive relationship uses a sonic canvass that absolutely pins you to your seat and doesn’t even attempt to let you go. This album will burn itself onto your brain and stay with you forever. A staggering achievement, and an essential listen.
4. Astronoid – Astronoid
5. Drab Majesty – Modern Mirror
6. Employed To Serve – Eternal Forward Motion
7. Knocked Loose – A Different Shade Of Blue
8. Nervus – Tough Crowd
9. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno
10. Blood Incantation – Hidden History Of The Human Race
Oliver Butler – Writer
1. Lowkey – Soundtrack To The Struggle 2
Arguably one of the best rappers in the UK, Lowkey is back with his first album since 2011, with Soundtrack To The Struggle 2 throwing the spotlight on topics like Grenfell, climate change and conflict in the Middle East. An important and relevant body of work, the production is incredible and the bars flow effortlessly, bringing up otherwise prickly and awkward topics and turning them into easily listenable tracks. Standout tracks are Ghosts Of Grenfell, McDonald Trump and Lords Of War.
2. Doll Skin – Love Is Dead And We Killed Her
Easily one of, if not the best rock album of 2019, Love Is Dead And We Killed Her is the excellent followup to 2017’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The amount of talent that is contained within four people is ridiculous, with Alex Snowden staking a very bold claim for the next guitar maestro. Standout tracks include Empty House, Love Is Dead And We Killed Her and Homesick.
3. Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Billie Eilish is a funny one! You either love her music, or you’re completely wrong. WWAFAWDWG? is a scintillating debut album from pop music’s next biggest superstar. A mix of bops, bangers and the melancholy, this is without doubt one of the best albums of 2019, seeing her absolutely explode into the public consciousness. Standout tracks are Bad Guy, You Should See Me In A Crown and When The Party’s Over.
4. Dave – Psychodrama
5. Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Pt. 2
6. Kano – Hoodies All Summer
7. FKA Twigs – Magdalene
8. Biffy Clyro – Balance, Not Symmetry
9. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
10. Krept & Konan – Revenge Is Sweet