Albums of 2011: 10-1

It’s time to complete the countdown of DoesItRock.nets favourite albums of 2011…

10) Mastodon – The Hunter

Prog metal kings Mastodon’s latest LP is by far their most accessible, weaving a path of destruction though chunky heavy metal grooves, gorgeously powerful backdrops and infectious melodies. The mix of super smooth clean lyrics and snarling tongue lashings are superb as each track flips from lightning fast metal riffs to thunderous hard rock in an instant. Mixing up their sound with meandering prog-outs, straight laced rockers and metal assaults this album has much to offer all music lovers. Simply put, there was no better metal in 2011.

9) The Treatment – This Might Hurt

Ok, so technically this is a re-issue. But it is very rare that you get a chance to make amends for overlooking an album within its release year. Bolstered with a handful of brilliant bonus tracks, This Might Hurt screams like Aerosmith, drinks with Gun’s n’ Roses and parties like Motley Cru. Good old fashioned rock and roll is safe in their hands as they combine huge Marshall backed riffs with classic rock solo’s and catchy ass vocals. If you’re looking for a big time rock and roll album of head banging, balls to the wall and drunken debauched anthems. The Treatment are all the medicine you need!

8) Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones

Frank’s Turner esquire, punk poet laureate extraordinaire has focused his lyrical eye towards his homeland, producing a fine folk album with stadium ambitions. Slightly faded are his everyman tales, replaced with beautiful compositions and ever growing confidence to write bigger and better than the last. This album has shown his adept ability to write lyrics close to his heart, retaining his honest Englishness while his musical arrangements reach for the skies. There are no better melody maker alive, and no better man to lead a sing-a-long with his utterly impassioned delivery. England Keep My Bones signals a significant step up.

7) The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing

A hugely underrated album which I keep on coming back to. Its graceful and beautiful in its soothing softness backed with folky nasal vocals which are oddly fitting to their sound. This is not a happy album by any imagination stretch, feelings of isolation, despair and mellowness are present throughout. Yet when they crank up the dials and start to unleash some energy with crashing percussion and thrusting guitars their outstanding melodies take centre stage. A delightful album of perfectly staged catchy tunes that are emotionally fraught and honest.

6) Maybeshewill – I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone

Strings and Guitars gleefully unite on the most stunningly beautiful album on this year’s countdown. This collection of instrumentals send soaring violins crashing into waves of guitar noise and sends fizzing electro keys flying into epic cymbal smashes. When these elements all collide in one huge melodic crescendo, there is simply no better sound of 2011. Sit back and bask in it’s magnificence!

5) …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Tao of The Dead

This year,… AYWKUBBTOTD have never ventured far from the play button. With repeat listens this album just gets better, revealing new melodies each time or a new favourite track dependent on my mood. Their ability to retain their melodic groove throughout some apocalyptically massive prog-outs of guitar noise is hugely enviable. Tao of the Dead, once you give it a fair shot, will mesmerize you too.

4) Black Spiders – Sons Of The North

UK’s new rock heroes finally dropped their debut album in february, and my word…it ROCKS! Tongue in cheek lyrics and a huge sense of fun only increase my love for this album, one that’s already steeped in humungous melodies and no-nonsense all out attack guitars. Every song is a winner, from bluesy swaggers, recklessly energetic romps to foot stomping plunderers. Black Spiders wear the Hard Rock crown of 2011!

3) Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

After a couple of rather dull albums of run of the mill pop rock, this years return from the Foo’s billed as a return to roots was a welcome addition to their catalogue. True to word, from the very first tune the guitars are cranked up, the vocals are in attack mode and the amps are set to 11. Taking the best of the Foo’s arsenal of pop rock melodies, memorable choruses and high octane rock power, Wasting Light sees the return to form we’d been dreaming of.

2) And So I Watch You From Afar – Gangs

For the second year in a row, a debut album reaches #2 on the countdown with this offering from Northern Ireland’s Post-Rock saviors ASIWYFA. This album full of super tight instrumentals takes slices of metal, rock, prog, pop and post-rock and amalgamates them into a glorious storm of musical storytelling. Astounding guitar harmonies range from super technical metal to the ambient melodies, driving each and every tune. The lack of vocals doesn’t seem to matter as intricate instrumental interplay feeds this addiction. All that’s left is to sit back, be blown away by the often brutal, often beautiful but ever-infectious grooves of Gangs.

1) Fucked Up – David Comes To Life

David Comes To Life is such a brilliant rock record that it most definitely deserves it place at number 1 this year. Looking through a critical eye, it’s hard to fault this inventive concept album on its epic 80 min scope, unbridled energetic outbursts and for bringing hardcore punk back into fashion. For me this was an album which has some of the most infectious guitar melodies, choc a block with wall to wall riffs, thunderbolt drumming and angst tongued lyrics (matched beautifully by female clean vocals). Without lifting their foot off the pedal for David Comes To Life’s duration, who cares about the storyline when the soundtrack is this good! A rock and roll ride of stratospheric proportions.

Roll on 2012!

Honourable Mentions: Fair To Midland – Arrows And Anchors, You Animals – Crimes Creeps & Thrills, Turbowolf – Turbowolf,

Click here for the top 25 as a Spotify Paylist

>> DoesItRock Albums of 2011 <<

Albums of 2011: 25-11

Here begins the start of’s annual roundup of the greatest albums which have been stuck on our stereos in 2011.

Let the countdown commence!

25) Chickenfoot – III

If you have Joe Satriani as your Guitarist, Marc Anthony on bass and Sammy Hagar as your vocalist, you are bound to produce something special. Vast improvement on their debut, this is about as classic rock as classic rock gets. Big bluesy melodies, Satch wonder solos and this time around, tunes to back them up.

24) Johnny Foreigner – Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything

These brummy indie punks have varied up their tempo’s more willingly on their latest. Rawkus punk rockers mingle with sweet lullaby balladry all with the honest everyman JoFo songwriting that’s so alluring. Everything that’s great about the band on one disc!

23) Amaranthe – Amaranthe

Really…European Power Metal?? That’s was my initial reaction upon compiling this list, but it did not feel right placing it in the Honourable mentions section. This is probably the most addictive metal record of 2011, twin male growls and powerful female vocals line the mammoth avenues of electro-metal. Surprisingly brilliant!

22) Times of Grace – The Hymn Of A Broken Man

Guitarist of metal-core legends Killswitch Engage steps out into the spotlight and into moody melodic territory. This is a superb work of dark sweeping soundscapes, masterful metal riffing and equally beautiful emotive vocals.

21) Rise Against – Endgame

US Political punk torch bearers have yet again created a solid album packed with pop slanted rockers. Soaring chorus lines backed by flaring guitars light up the track list, which never loses its momentum.

20) The Computers – This Is The Computers

The Computers debut album comes hurtling at you like a Punked up Blues-mobile, making one hell of a racket in the process. Snarling, teeth baring punk rock vocals lash against the age old cliffs of blues rock, bringing life and aggression to an age old sound. Each song kicks and screams as it hurtles along with reckless abandon, providing catchy licks at every turn. These riffs and melodies have all been played before mind you, but never quite like this.

19) Twin Atlantic – Free

After their cracking mini album Vivarium, Twin Atlantic unleashed Free, and it’s even better than its predecessors. They write the kind of songs destined to be sung at stadiums across the globe. Their vocalist’s broad Scottish accent only enhances their signature sound, packed with impassioned rock, streaming with melody and kick ass guitars. Song after song of huge hooks and epic chorus lines proved impossible to overlook this year. Free is one of the best Greatest British albums of 2011.

18) Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

Taking a vast sidestep from their heritage as leaders of the late 80’s early 90’s punk revolution, Social Distortion creates a cracking straight up American rock album that’s both full of drive and ambition, whilst being true to its roots. Their knack for addictive riffs hasn’t deserted them as this album delivers corking sing-a-longs and rock and roll rippers at every turn!

17) The Answer – Revival

What a fantastic return to form Revival proved for the hard rocking Irishmen. Crammed full of bluesy heritage riffing, stunning vocals and memorable melodies. This rollicking romp of a record became and instant  hit and has remained that way ever since. The Answer are still on the course walked by the rock greats!

16) Black Stone Cherry – Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea

Yes, its ballad heavy, yes they haven’t progressed much…but boy they know how to write a monstrous rock anthem. BTDATDBS shows this in force with wah-wah led White Trash Millionaire, deeply detuned chugger Killing Floor and the debauched party times of Blame It On The Boom Boom. Their softer side has fallen closer to the surface on this record. But through all the mid-tempo’ness there are heartfelt lyrics and brilliant banging choruses prevalent throughout. BSC are back and hitting harder than ever!

15) Bomb The Music Industry – Vacation

These ramshackle punks have finally put all what’s great about their DIY ethos, eclecticism, energy, passion and attitude together into one seamless collection of corking tunes. Flitting from noise rock, to reckless punk outrages, to surf-pop and sweet acoustic tales proves this album has so much to love. Although never ones to truly conform, their slightly poppier vocals this time out have eased their accessibility, thus hiking them up this list with double quick speed.

14) British India – Avalanche

With the UK’s current rock crop going off in all manner of directions (Arctic Monkeys-Snoozeland, Kasabian-Ambience, Kaiser Chiefs-Just Odd!) it was left to these Aussie boys to produce the best pop rocker of 11. This album fizzes and sparks with fuzzed up riffs, soaring chorus lines, thumping drums and ass kicking melodic anthems. A triumph of back to basics skuzzy rock with a true pop heart.

13) The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar

After impressing us early in the year, it was no surprise to see it firmly planted within this years round-up. Their swirling walls of guitar noise offset by the sugary sweet vocals of firecracker front woman Ritzy Bryan provide many beautifully riotous crescendos. With track after track of these huge melodies it’s easy to overlook to fact that there are so many hit singles effortlessly sprawled throughout the track list. Epic Indie Rock!

12) Karma To Burn – V

Although taking Karma To Burn away from their trademark Stoner rock instrumentals large enough to sedate a woolly mammoth, the arrival of Daniel Davies (Son of The Kinks, Dave Davies) has sparked new life into the formula. The addition of vocals, no matter how hazy and spectral have added that extra oomph the band needed to grab attention and never relent its torrid grip. Enormous melodies and some of the most powerful rock this side of ‘Disaster Area’. Prepared to be blown away!

11) Danananaykroyd – There Is A Way

A sad year for these fight poppers as they said farewell to music and parted each their seperate ways. But that doesn’t mean their final album doesn’t live up to the our expectations. Packed with pinging melodies, na na na na’s, intricate guitars and their exhilerating duelling vocal delivery resulted in a fine legacy to one of Britain’s finest live bands.

Stay tuned for the top 10!

Album Reviews: The Answer – Revival

After almost two years on tour with Ac/Dc it was only inevitable the return of The Answer was going to be special!

The Answer – Revival

Unbreakable Cover

RockOSaurus Says:

Revival. It’s a pretty accurate title as it’s sparked life back into the stalled rise of Northern Irelands classic rock sons, The Answer! Right from the word go this LP has the blues flooding through it’s veins, showing it’s vinyl crackled charms and quickly baring it’s snarling teeth! The simple blues riff is totally revitalised here with brilliant production effortlessly toeing the line between old school style and new school power!

Song writing is incredibly tight with fuller and more dynamic layered sounds from staple blues weapons, the harmonica and psychedelic organs on top of their Les Paul Standard attack . The overly Americanised lyrics grate somewhat if you want to be pedantic,, but the booming chorus melodies are catchy enough to wash away these critiques.

This is a start to finish classic rock bruiser with hook heavy melodies, traditional blues riffs, blistering guitar solos and superb vocals from Cormac Neeson’s stunning set of pipes. Trouble drips with retro flair, Use Me cranks the amps, female backing vocals bring a new slant on Nowhere Freeway, while Caught In The Riverbed fires fretboard flares at will and New Day Rising‘s driven by of the best tremolo picked riffs this side of Thunderstruck!

Their time on tour with Ac/Dc has obviously rubbed off in abundance, almost matching the biggest rockers in the world for both raw power and total addictiveness! Revival is a fantastic return to form, one no rock lover should be without!

DoesItRock Overall Score: 9/10

Listen to The Answer – Revival now on Spotify!

Does It Rock? September Round-up

Summers over, time to put out this bumper Spotify Mix

Listen now on Spotify>>> – Sep 11 Mix

1) Maybeshewill – Critical Distance … An Epic classically backed instrumental rock that sparks ultimate euphoria!
2) Banquets – Forever Bender … Pop Punk leading lights have new rivals to contend with, energetic and massively enjoyable.
3) Fucked Up – Ship Of Fools … Punk has never sounded this good!
4) Blood Command – Summon The Arsonist … Scandenavian alt rockers mix up electronica, metal and punk with this frenzied, in your face track.
5) Bomb the Music Industry! – Can’t Complain … Sweet and melodic, a refreshing song from ever changing DIY punks
6) Dananananaykroyd – Muscle Memory … Fight Poppers return with this corking tune
7) Alkaline Trio – Calling All Skeltons … This classic punk track gets the acoustic makeover, still brilliant!
8) The Trews – Hope & Ruin … Canada’s unsung rock hero’s return with a brilliant new album, this is the corking title track.
9) Thrice – Yellow Belly … Epically brooding rock from the heavyweights of the US alternative rock community.
10) Arctic Monkeys – Library Pictures … The highest the fuzz counter gets on the latest Monkeys offering.
11) The Subways – Like I Love You … Chirpy and infectious pop rock tune from this british rock trio.
12) Laura Marling – The Beast … Superbly talented and so powerful with her beautiful vocals, the nu-folk superstar returns.
13) Black Tide – That Fire … The highlight of a disappointing foray into BFMV country, steering away from their trad heavy metal clout.
14) Hawthorne Heights – Is This What You Wanted? … Emotionally charged post-hardcore which demands attention.
15) Icon For Hire – Make A Move … The new Paramore perhaps? More focused on the rock but the pop sheen clear to see.
16) Opeth – Häxprocess … Steeped in the 70’s, prog rock hero’s are back (in time).
17) Bombay Bicycle Club – Shuffle … Delightfully different, BBC throw their latest curveball.
18) No Americana – Wax Poetic … Startlingly accomplished track from this brilliant new Brummy band.
19) Chickenfoot – Big Foot … Satch and Hagar are back to kick out asses with their hard hitting classic rock!
20) The Treatment – D***k, F**K,F***T … Rock and Roll chaos driven by baddass guitars, awesome vocals and a thumping melody.
21) Rose Hill Drive – Baby Doncha Know Your Man? … One of the best hard rock acts return with fuzz pedal workout.
22) The Brew – Immogen Molly … Dripping in retro style, the Brew’s latest album is a must for all blues fans.
23) The Kooks – Rosie … Jolly little pop ditty marks the return of the seaside boys latest dreamier album Junk of The Heart.
24) Zebrahead – Blackout … Rap and Punk Rock combine with finesse with this highly contagious tune.
25) Every Avenue – Whatever Happened To You … Pop Punk Anthem of the Month.Spotify Playlist

Spotify Playlist – Sep 11 Mix May Round-Up

After a months absence, the new music round-up is back and available for your listenign pleasure on Spotify!

Listen now >>> – May 11 Mix

1) Black Stone Cherry – White Trash Millionaire … The vocal wah makes a welcome return on BSC’s latest single, hard rock greatness!
2) Halestorm – Bad Romance … GaGa just got an ass kickin from Lzzy Hale’s amazing vocals. Rocked up this pop tune sounds amazing!
3) Art Brut – Axl Rose … Art Brut gets the Frank Black make-over, jury’s out on whether it suits.
4) The Computers – Music Is Dead … The Blues has gone punk in the hands of The Computers. A Rockin’ Riot!
5) And So I Watch You from Afar – Search:Party:Animal … Epic instrumental from this excilleratingly talented band.
6) Twin Atlantic – Crash Land … Softer moment from impressive debut album, Free.
7) Frank Turner – Shut The Chicken … A DIY ethos on this joyous smiley ditty, couldn’t fail to brighten your day.
8) Eureka Machines – These Are The People Who Live In My House … UK Band’s latest poppy rock single is a euphoric singalong affair.
9) You Animals – Halfway To Heartbreak … British indie rock upstarts play a great breed of infections riff fuelled pop punk.
10) Panic! At The Disco – The Ballad Of Mona Lisa … Less urgency in their progressing years, but still have an ear for a soaring chorus anthem.
11) Manchester Orchestra – Pensacola … Calculated and brilliantly writen indie rock, catchy and intelligent.
12) Young Legionnaire – Twin Victory … Fuzzier than a bear in a washing machine, taken from their muscular placebo-esque debut!
13) Amaranthe – Hunger … Cliched electro fused heavy metal, female vocals amd insistant vocals keep it fresh.
14) Clutch – Mercury … Riffmeisters re-release this utter corker.
15) Skindred – Warning … Reggae Heavy Metal, say no more.
16) Protest The Hero – C’est la Vie … Super technical metal. Fret blazing madness!
17) Okkervil River – Rider … US folkie’s return with this nice little tune.
18) Silverstein – Sacrifice … US Post-hardcore mainstays mix up breezy melodies and clean vocals with throaty howls and chugging guitars.
19) Unwritten Law – Superbad … Blues riff driven tune from this power pop bands latest LP Swans
20) Yellowcard – The Sound Of You And Me … A welcome return to form from this violin wielding pop punk band

Spotify Playlist – May 11 Mix

Album Review: PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Polly Jean Harvey is thrust back into the limelight upon the release of her latest LP.

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

RockOSaurus Says:

Enjoyment from PJ Harvey’s latest album relies on how full/empty your glass is…

…not to be put off by the seemingly insurmountable about of indie credibility and critical infatuation with this album I honestly tried to enjoy Let England Shake, really I did! Yet on my way to work I had this sudden realisation. Slogging through a decimated London Underground network of crippling delays, engineering works within deep and dark places. The solemn faces, the burning frustration on the passengers faces and the unerring sense of calm provided the perfect backdrop to this record.

There is very little light to counter the darkness of the potent political lyrics and bleak chiming guitars. PJ’s vocals are so extremely shrill and high octave that they take on this ghostly quality of a spectral bird in flight. These range from the outstandingly beautiful, to a rather annoying incessant yelp.

It is incredibly difficult to really “get” Let England Shake without carefully following through the lyric sleeve. The listening experience suffers because of this. Few tracks break above a plod and even fewer showcase bright enjoyable melodies. With time and patience though, the true essence of this record can be found within it’s stark war poetry. The posing of those questions critics so love to dwell over shows her substantial intellectual clout and songwriting prowess.

It takes a special talent to produce such subdued record within the Age of Austerity. For PJ Harvey, this has proved a success story of which I don’t much like the blurb. An album for the thinkers, not for the casual listener of which I tend to fall…

…I’m more of a Glass Half Full guy.

Mr Flowers Says:

The return of Polly Jean brings one of her most accomplished records of her already acclaimed career. Yet from the off it’s clear Let England Shake isn’t a normal PJ Harvey record. The title track starts proceedings with a dream-pop Kate Bush feel about it, a step away from the sombre A Woman A Man Walked By of a couple of years ago and many more steps away from the more guitar heavy entries from her early output.

The pace of the album is to a steady slow beat, but supported throughout by effortlessly beautiful melodies such as those found on the Last Living Rose, the blue room of All & Everyone that crawls and builds into powerful vocal melodies, and the climbing horns and sumptuous verses of In The Dark Places. It’s telling that the muted guitars in the pounding Bitter Branches is the probably closest Polly gets to that raw rock sound of old.

Thrown in the mix are the traditional ye olde English folk influenced (as in the type that Frank Turner crows on about) The Glorious Land and The Colour Of The Earth. The Words That Maketh Murder sounds a bit like a TV On The Radio song – a chanty, sea shant describing the horrors of war – and, having come to the fore on her previous record, PJ gets to display her talent of being able to play characters with her singing voice again on the hauntingly patriotic England where, presumably, she plays Joanna Newsom (having put in a performance as Kate Bush on the opener).

For an album whose overall theme is war and death, it’s good fortune that Let England Shake is simply full of amazing melodies. They come at such an unerring consistency and backed by an always interesting tapestry of music and lyrics, it’s just the sort of unshakeable combination that elevates a good album to being great.

RockOSaurus: 5/10

MrFlowers: 9/10

DoesItRock Overall Score: 7/10

Listen to PJ Harvey – Let England Shake now on Spotify! January Round-up

As with each and every January, I spend most of my time checking out what I missed last year, which in fact is quite alot. here are the some of the gems I’ve found and some belters from month one of 2011.

Listen now >>> – Jan 11 Mix

1) The Joy Formidable – Whirring … Beautiful mammoth of indie whirrings, noise rock feedback and pop vocals with greater rise and falls than the Peak district.
2)  British Sea Power – Who’s In Control … BSP have gone massive and this chirpy stadium sized indie is testament to its success,
3) Dive Dive – Liar … Speedy little punk inflected number with a super catchy chorus from these oxford lads.
4) Gang Of Four – Who Am I? … Legends of the post-punk party are back to show how its done! Razor edged guitar riffing and social politics galore.
5) Glamour Of The Kill – Lost Souls … GoTK have gone the pop route to fame producing an “accessible” metal record which spawned this nify tune.
6) Cold War Kids – Flying Upside Down … Beautifully uplifting and infectious indie rock which knows its place. An honest and ace tune.
7) Social Distortion – California … Punk old boys still prove they can mix it up with some hard rocking Americana
8) PM Today – Progress Is A Lemon … Prog rock never sounded quite as angry as when its being played by PM Today, superb instrumentation and cracking guitar work.
9) Hardcore Superstar – Moonshine … Scandenavian sleaze rockers returned with even bigger hard rock riffs…barely seems possible1
10) Motörhead – I Know How To Die … Lemmy and Co are back to kick your ass! You better believe it!!
11) Fake Problems – ADT … Jangly American inde rock from these ever consistant pop rockers
12) Kylesa – Crowded Road … Metal rumblings and overdrive plunged into sublimly euphoic depths.
13) Six Gallery – Bermuda Triangles … Minus The Bear are not the only band who can pull off massively skilled indie rock musicanship.
14) White Lies – Bigger Than Us … Swirling indie radio rock from the ever depressed white lies
15) Maps & Atlases – Living Decorations … Math Pop with one of those nagging riffs which get lodged in your head all day!
16) Tides Of Man – Echoes … Indie Rock gets a Prog overhaul and guitars beefed up to bring a packed tune full of eclectic guitar licks
17)  Trophy Scars – Nausea … Classic rock and blues reign on this Prog bands latest Album Darkness Oh Hell
18) The Flatliners – Carry The Banner … Angry punk rock which never relents its passionate onslaught of vocals, drums and guitars.
19) Off With Their Heads – Trying To Breathe … Pop Punk Anthem for January. Just so damn catchy!

Spotify Playlist – Jan 10 Mix