It is now the best time of the year; the part of the year that I can look back on all of the great music that came out this year. In a lot of aspects, this has been a year that I think a lot of people might just want to forget. However, the one good thing is that great music just keeps coming out and making the bad times a little more bearable. Since this post will be long enough as it is I’ll keep this intro short. Let’s talk about some of my favorite music of 2016.
The Color Morale – Desolate Divine
Anyone who knows me well obviously knows that this album would be at the top of my list. The Color Morale has been my favorite band ever since 2013’s Know Hope and with each album they just keep growing and improving as musicians. On this album, vocalist Garret Rapp decided to stray away from screaming on the album (except for one small part) and leave those vocals to guitarist Aaron Saunders. This left Rapp to focus much more time on his melodies, and let me tell you, he has written some of the most amazing choruses in the alternative scene.
Along with the extraordinary vocals on this album, it also includes earth-shattering breakdowns, stellar guitar work reminiscent of Know Hope, and the famous uplifting and hopeful lyrics that TCM is famous for. If you listen to any of these albums on this list, this is the one I urge you to listen to.
Favorite Track: Keep Me In My Body
Touché Amoré – Stage Four
If I could describe this album in one word it would be this: honesty. Sometimes when people lose loved ones to death, it’s hard to know how we are going to cope with a loss and how we channel all of the complicated feelings about it. Jeremy Bolm decided to write the best record of Touché Amoré’s career after the death of his mother to stage four cancer two years ago. The lyrics of this album cover all of the mixed up feelings that one experiences when dealing with the loss of a loved one, and really pulls at your heart strings when listening to this album.
Mix that with the fast-paced punk/post-hardcore style that embodies Touché Amoré, some finely-crafted guitar tones, and Bolm’s passionate vocals, again, this is the best Touché Amoré album that has ever been made.
Favorite Track: Displacement
Capsize – A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me
With this album, Capsize is throwing it back to the wonderful times of the 2006/2007 era of post-hardcore that we all know and love. You know, the good ol’ days of Underoath, The Used, From First To Last, etc. This album really shows Capsize moving away from melodic hardcore to a more post-hardcore sound with vocalist Daniel Wand experimenting with clean vocals now, but Capsize hasn’t completely abandoned their sound from their earlier work either.
Capsize have explored a new sound and I have to tell you that it’s really working for them and I’m really excited to hear them perfect it from here on out. Plus if you’ve never seen this band live before, I strongly urge you. Their stage presence perfectly complements the intensity of their music and it’s definitely something you should experience.
Favorite Track: The Same Pain
Emarosa – 131
Let’s talk about Bradley Walden’s vocals for a second. When I had first heard that Emarosa was releasing a new album with a new vocalist, I was very hesitant, especially since I had never listened to Walden’s old band Squid The Whale before. But that guy has got some great vocal melodies and they come out to shine on this new Emarosa record. I would also describe this record as a very honest and real record. Walden explores some very real and sometimes dark topics as a lyricist.
This record also showed the band moving in a different direction than what they have done in the past, with the band determined to create their own sound, believing that “the past should stay dead” (if you’ve listened to old Emarosa, you should get that joke). The band have cultivated their own alternative-rock style of music, making a great addition to Hopeless Records and making me excited for their future.
Favorite Track: Blue
Saosin – Along The Shadow
And last but not least, I wanted to end this top 5 list with one of the best reunion records that I’ve ever listened to. This is coming from someone who completely missed the first-round of the Anthony Green-era Saosin. This is the heaviest that Saosin has ever sounded and Green brings a whole new level of intensity to their sound.
Green sometimes reminds me of Craig Owens; one minute the band can create these very soft moments where Green’s vocals transcend the spacey guitar riffs, only to come back in two seconds later and bring the rest of the band back in with such force and passion that really helps make this record stand out to me. Hopefully there is more Saosin records to enjoy in the future, and hopefully I can catch them on tour because I had no idea what I was missing the first time they came around.
Favorite Track: The Secret Meaning of Freedom
6. Knocked Loose – Laugh Tracks
7. The Devil Wears Prada – Transit Blues
8. Every Time I Die – Low Teens
9. Balance & Composure – Light We Made
10. badXchannels – WHYDFML
SHAMELESS PLUG: My band, Mocklove, is going on our first ever tour in early January. If you happen to be reading this and are from one of said areas, be sure to come and check us out!
Thanks to everyone for reading this!