The end of a decade: The most important bands of the past 10 years

By Punktastic

2019 is rapidly drawing to a close, which means – somehow – the end of a decade is upon us.

The alternative scene has provided us with so much value over the past 10 years, so much so that the Punktastic team couldn’t help but take a moment to reflect on the bands that have had the greatest impact on us as we’ve grown from teens to young adults, or young adults to like, real, adults (yeah right).

These are the bands we think have had their most formative years in the 2010s, and that we believe have made a difference not only to us, but to the wider industry, too.

So here they are. The most important bands of the decade according to Punktastic.



Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari are one of those experimental, electronic rock outfits born out of Myspace Music’s glory days, quenching our 2007 desires for music that we could both screech and rave to in our bedrooms. But, by creating and continuing to develop their niche and genre-bending sound, Enter Shikari have managed to secure a broad-ranging appeal with momentum that has stormed through this decade with new albums every couple of years. They’re politically charged and socially conscious, taking to the stage with messages about mental health awareness and stigma, Brexit, Donald Trump, capitalism, nuclear weapons, privatization of the NHS and, more recently, the global climate crisis.

The 10th anniversary tour of Enter Shikari’s first album ‘Take To The Skies’ in 2017 included a headline spot at Slam Dunk Festival, which closely preceded the UK general election. Thousands of guests were gleefully captivated by vocalist Rou Reynolds through a performance that was so nostalgic, yet proved how relevant and loved they still were. It was only fitting that one of the first singles released later that year from album ‘The Spark’ was ‘Rabble Rouser’ as Enter Shikari’s lyrics are intentional and deeply poignant, often spurring some sort of action (whether physical or a change in perception) – speak openly about your emotions, be kind to each other, don’t give up on what you believe in, use your voice to vote and make change.

In 2019, Enter Shikari broke the record for the highest number of performances at Reading and Leeds Festival, demonstrating their versatility across the Main Stage, The Pit/The Lock Up tent, and a surprise acoustic performance to flaunt their more delicate side. After releasing the single ‘Stop The Clocks’ this year, work is underway for Enter Shikari’s sixth studio album which will firmly secure their place in the industry for another decade, where they will undoubtedly continue to challenge our society in the way only Enter Shikari know how. CATIE ALLWRIGHT [CA]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Sorry You’re Not A Winner, We Can Breathe In Space, ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’, The Last Garrison, Rabble Rouser, Shinrin-Yoku

 


Highly Suspect

Just three albums into their career, Highly Suspect have had a lot to say over the past 10 years. The beauty of this band, though, is that they’re not trying to prove a point or please anyone in particular; their stance is that they make the music they love and they appreciate those with whom it resonates, and somehow by entering the creative process with this mindset, they’ve picked up one of the most authentic fan bases a band can muster.

Whether it’s the political statement of 2016’s ‘Viper Strike’, or the painful mourning that’s expressed in ‘For Billy’, there’s a great fearless vulnerability in all of Highly Suspect’s music. We listen to songs about drug abuse and sexual endeavours and cheating, and in doing so we’re allowed an insight into the lives of people who want to share a little piece of themselves without every censoring it to make themselves sound like anything other than normal people.

As a result, fans allow themselves some slack when it comes to self-assessment. If our favourite bands can fuck up and act in ways that are morally questionable and still be worth loving, then why can’t our actions be forgivable? Aren’t we worth loving through our flaws too?

And more than that, aside from the thematic content of this band’s discography, there’s the cacophony of genres that Highly Suspect have pulled from, often not even making an attempt to blend them together. The way we consume music has changed so much this decade, from the decline in CDs to the resurgence of vinyl and – most importantly – the takeover of streaming platforms that allow consumers to venture beyond one particular genre, and musicians to experiment. The stark hip-hop, rock, synth, electronic music that Highly Suspect create means they unknowingly have the potential to become an inspiration to others, as well as reaching new fans that may have been entirely disinterested at the start of the decade. Their fearlessness crosses from controversial themes to chaotic sonic choices and all of it has the potential to impact the wider industry, as well as inspire fans as they’ve been doing since day one. YASMIN BROWN [YB]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Viper Strike, For Billy, My Name Is Human, Lydia, Mom

Deafheaven

If there’s one genre that’s more impenetrable to most people than any other, it’s got to be black metal. That was, until Deafheaven came along. Whilst they may not be the originators of ‘blackgaze’, or whatever you want to call it, they’re certainly the popularisers of it, and their blend of cinematic post-rock, white-hot blastbeats and harrowing vocals has opened the floodgates for the wider alternative world to embrace what used to be a very insular scene. 2013’s ‘Sunbather’ was the best-reviewed album on Metacritic that year, the artwork for that album was featured on Apple adverts, and in 2018 the band received a Grammy nomination for their track ‘Honeycomb’. The black metal gatekeepers may not like it, but Deafheaven are the reason their precious scene is no longer solely the domain of genre purists and those guys are THE WORST, so that can only be a good thing. LIAM KNOWLES [LK]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Dream House, Honeycomb, You Without End


Paramore

It’s easy to box Paramore into pre-2010 with ‘Riot’ or ‘All We Know Is Falling’, and these may well be their more widely known albums, but it’s really been the past five years during which they’ve made their real impact.

Despite lineup changes – founding members leaving and old members returning – this decade has seen Paramore achieve more than ever on a huge scale across the industry. With self-titled and ‘After Laughter’ especially, Paramore took the expectations that were set on them, and threw them completely out the window. When they returned after ‘Brand New Eyes’ with leading self-titled single, ‘Now’, it wasn’t exactly met with positive reactions, but it’s this album that led to the band’s first ever Grammy win for ‘Ain’t It Fun’.

The band pushed themselves and refused to be confined to any one genre, and this wasn’t only an incredible comment on the potential of ‘emo’ bands, but it also highlighted that women not only belong in this genre, but that they can achieve great things for it, too.

The lyrics across the self-titled record are angry and honest, and it showed that it’s possible to combine these themes with a more accessible sound that will end up plastered across radio stations worldwide. That’s not to say that this necessarily needs to be the goal of every band, but the fact that it is possible, means that those who have that dream can push themselves to achieve it. Particularly for women who – as festival lineups prove over and over again – continue to take the back seat when it comes to media exposure.

‘After Laughter’ took this even further. Arguably Paramore’s best album, I don’t think anyone expected ‘Hard Times’, or indeed anything that followed. The blatant addressing of depression, bitterness and total dismay that this album conveys was again combined with bubblegum pop beats. It continued to appeal to pre-2010 Paramore fans, yet it brought on a whole new fanbase too – people that were now open to talking about mental health. Because if Hayley Williams can be brave enough to talk about this stuff, so can we.

Paramore have been one of the catalysts for acceptance of the alternative genre and for the women within it and while they’re taking a break at the moment, their impact continues every time someone listens to any of these tracks and feels just that little better because of it. [YB]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Hate to See Your Heart Break, Ain’t It Fun, 26, Hard Times, Last Hope, Fake Happy, 26


Fever 333

Jason Aalon Butler has time and time again ripped apart the boundaries of performance. Whether in his former outfit letlive or now in Fever 333, the singer creates art onstage with a live show that is unrivaled. Most importantly is that Butler’s art carries weight. Fever 333 are a collective more than a band. They don’t perform just concerts, they hold demonstrations. In a time of uncertainty around the world, Fever 333 offer messages of hope and unity within the confines of some the most incredible music that explores beyond the confines of what is considered alternative. Something that hasn’t been done with such a heavy political stance since Refused’s ‘Shape of Punk To Come’. They are the sound of a new, angry generation tired of injustices and Fever 333 deserve to be listened to. LOUIS KERRY [LK]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Made An America, Hunting Season, We’re Coming In, The Innocent, One of Us


Parkway Drive

Starting out back in 2003 as a hardcore band, it wouldn’t be fair or true to say that none could’ve predicted where Byron Bay quartet Parkway Drive would end up. This is a band who’ve had star power from the outset, and as they gradually evolved their sound over the years, everything else about them leveled up, too – by the time this decade came around, Parkway were making genre leading metalcore in the form of ‘Deep Blue’ (2010) and ‘Atlas’ (2012). It’s the sound that propelled them to the forefront of heavy music – and yes, they were already well on their way to stardom (their top slot on the Never Say Die! tour in 2008 and 2010, along with 2000+ cap venues on headline tours, can attest to that), but what they’ve done with that success since is truly staggering.

As the decade rolled on, we began to hear something new from Parkway. A turn away from the metalcore that had made them famous led to a broader heavy metal sound, with every last drop of aggression driven into earth-shattering breakdowns and unforgettably melodic riffs – 2015’s ‘Ire’ and 2018 masterpiece ‘Reverence’ do not know the meaning of holding back. Still, ‘Reverence’ displayed a depth that we had not yet seen the like of; great sorrow and beauty lies within, and it marked the change from a band at the top of their genre, to a band who sit far above any such labels. And then, of course there are the live shows. Oh, the live shows.

If ever anyone had been concerned about the future of main stage headliners, Parkway Drive smash all of those fears to pieces. From drummer Ben Gordon’s ‘cage of death’ to some seriously eyebrow-singing fire antics, everything about their performance is a perfectly orchestrated spectacle – work in some powerful moments from ‘Reverence’, and you find yourself with one of the most jaw-dropping, moving shows you could encounter. It’s no wonder that this is a band now finding themselves topping bills to huge crowds, and their ascension is clearly set to continue into the next decade. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next. GEM ROGERS [GR]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Bottom Feeder, Shadow Boxing, The Colour Of Leaving, Karma


IDLES

It’s not often there’s a sound so bespoke that it reinvigorates the genre but IDLES have managed to do just that. While they may not see themselves as a punk band, the truth is they have inspired a spate of up and coming bands who focus on similarly heavy rhythm sections and angry, passionate vocals. It’s a sound that makes you sit up straight.

Thunderous rhythms and frenetic, screeching guitars cushion vocalist Joe Talbot, who spits lyrics with such animosity and venom, it should be off putting. But the combination works so entirely well, it’s almost impossible not to appreciate it, not to be moved by it, both physically and spiritually.

Lyrically, they represent a subsection of society that hasn’t had a voice. Heavy advocates of the NHS and mental health support, as well as fighting against political discord and shrewd observations of the country, it’s no surprise they’ve been nominated for numerous awards, released two standout albums and played a Glastonbury set that will go down in infamy. They’re the new voice of a jilted generation, long may they reign. ANDY JOICE [AJ]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Never Fight A Man With A Perm, Television, Danny Nedelko, I’m Scum, Mother


twenty one pilots

What could possibly be more important than a band that brings together millions of fans to tell them that everything is going to be okay? And more than that, a band that helps these fans believe that this is true?

For years, twenty one pilots wrote their truth only for a handful of people to hear it. Back in 2014, outside of America, the name ‘twenty one pilots’ was largely met with a blank face whenever uttered. But to those who knew this band, knew they were something special. Playing to rooms of 800 people, fans were encouraged to repeat “we’re broken people”, “our brains are sick but that’s okay”, and – most importantly – “the sun will rise and we will try again”.

For fans going through a period of great distress – depression, anxiety, personality disorders, PTSD – it was this unwavering acceptance that drew them to twenty one pilots. What kept us here were the theatrics of the live show, the social media interactions, and the record that was to follow in 2015 – ‘Blurryface’ – that was made just for us.

What’s interesting about twenty one pilots’ impact is that it came entirely organically. The success that followed ‘Blurryface’ was by no means anticipated, and so the inside jokes and comments weren’t explained or generalised for the greater public, and yet somehow, enough people understood the messaging for this record to lead to multiple international arena tours.

They had, unintentionally, opened up a discourse around severe mental health issues that simply doesn’t exist in the mainstream world of music. We’re surrounded by stigma and it keeps us quiet, but by creating music with almost no expectation, twenty one pilots removed so much of this stigma and created a community (or ‘clique’) that extends worldwide. People became proud to talk about the issues they were battling or overcoming because their favourite band was telling them to do so.

In just 18 months, twenty one pilots went from singing along with 800 people to 13,000 and by the end of 2019 they’ve headlined most alternative or pop festival you can think of (Glastonbury won’t be far behind). We’ve spent so much time pretending to be okay, but thanks to twenty one pilots, and bands like them, this wall is breaking down and we’re really starting to believe that there’s no shame in our mental illnesses.

As long as our expectations don’t affect the band’s ability to be raw and vulnerable with us, this impact is sure to extend well into the next decade, too. [YB]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Neon Gravestones, Goner, My Blood, Fairly Local, Holding onto You, Truce, Screen, Guns for Hands

PUP

Forming in 2010, PUP really are a band that’s come to prominence this decade. From the release of their debut, self-titled album in 2013, their brand of garage inspired pop punk has helped them sell out multiple tours, both in their native Canada and across the globe. Of course, three critically acclaimed albums helps too.

Sophomore album ‘The Dream Is Over’ is particularly poignant – not necessarily in content but in context. After extensive touring, vocalist Stefan Babcock found a cyst on his vocal chords, one that was haemorrhaged and had the potential to not only affect the band but affect Babcock’s voice. Permanently. Babcock was advised to give up the dream of being the bands frontman, for the sake of his life. But as the battle weary champions that they are, they came back stronger and better than ever, using the title as a middle finger to the doctor who wrote him off.

One of the selling points, aside from their excellently written songs, is their sense of humour. Dry wit and cynical snark sits in almost every track, coupled by Babcock’s gravelly vocals, they’re a band we desperately want to spend a night in the pub with, talking about shit stories and a love of music over a cold beer. It’s been a great decade for PUP – here’s to the next decade. [AJ]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: DVP, Sleep In The Heat, Kids, Reservoir, Morbid Stuff


Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice’s decade is defined not just through their unique and powerful sound and style, although that is to be noted, but through the rare trait of being able to capture the spirit of an entire generation. Their 2015 debut ‘My Love Is Cool’ is a solid and enjoyable indie rock outing, but its their Mercury prize-winning effort of 2017’s ‘Visions Of A Life’ that sets them apart from other efforts. As Drowned in Sound’s Luke Beardsworth wrote in his review: “It has captured on record the thrill, angst, sadness and uncertainty of being in your twenties and not really knowing what’s going to happen or should happen.”

This chaotic aimlessness is what fuels Wolf Alice at their best: their quest to use music to understand and come to terms with a kind of secondary coming of age that inspires so much dread in their peers. The latter half of this decade has been defined by this emotional turmoil, and Wolf Alice has encapsulated it perfectly and used it to create the sound of the decade. FIACHRA JOHNSTON [FJ]

NOTABLE TRACKS: Moaning Lisa Smile, Don’t Delete Those Kisses, Beautifully Unconventional, Bros, Visions of A Life, Silk

Pissed Jeans

In the unlikely event that humankind was asked to place one album in a time capsule as a representation to future generations of where noise punk was at in the 2010s, either Pissed Jeans’ ‘Honeys’ (2013) or ‘Why Love Now’ (2017) would make an ideal submission.

Plenty of explicitly political punk rock has been made this decade and rightly so, but more than anyone, Pissed Jeans have documented the everyday frustrations of the salary slave such as wishing food poisoning upon an obnoxious co-worker on ‘Cafeteria Food’ or the awkwardness of being the oldest person at a house party on ‘Bathroom Laughter’. That’s not to say Pissed Jeans’ music isn’t political though; Matt Korvette rails against the objectification of women on ‘Male Gaze’ and ‘It’s Your Knees’, as well as the mistreatment of service sector workers on ‘Have You Ever Been Furniture’. The band put out three albums in the 00s but it’s been their work this decade that’s made Pissed Jeans a (sub)culturally significant band, as they’ve gone from playing pubs to selling out packed concert halls, all the while maintaining day jobs in the insurance and retail industries. This could be due to Bradley Fry’s guitars meshing better with Randall Huth’s bass on their work this decade or the band’s overall songwriting turning out more memorable choruses (‘The Bar Is Low’ being a notable example). Either way, the combined strengths of their fourth and fifth albums represent a distillation of everything great about the noise punk scene that’s blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic these past ten years. The sub-genre has swelled with new entrants in that time, but none of these bands have demonstrated the overwhelming sonic power and fun of Pissed Jeans. GREG HYDE [GH]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Bathroom Laughter, The Bar Is Low

State Champs
State Champs

It was the genre that seemed unstoppable back in 2007, but over the years, pop punk has… well, it’s fizzled out a little. Many bands that find themselves under the label these days tend to take more influence from other genres, and true ‘pop punk’ feels almost impossible to find sometimes. It’s not too surprising, in a way – it’s a genre that can too frequently rely on clichés and cookie-cutter riffs, making finding something new and interesting tricky. And that’s where State Champs come in.

After forming in 2010 and releasing a couple of (maybe slightly questionable) EPs, State Champs perfected their identity on 2013’s ‘The Finer Things’, and proved in an instant that pop punk can still be truly great. Never falling back on identikit power chords or tired lyrics, there’s a life and energy in this Albany five piece that is unrivaled – taking the classic sound and complimenting it with the kind of outstanding musicianship naysayers would never expect to find (the basslines on ‘Prepare To Be Noticed’ and ‘Something About You’ – enough said). Not only that, but they know how to deliver live, too, with the slickest and most captivating of performances that induce a never ending sea of crowd surfers.

This is a band who continue to go from strength to strength without ever abandoning their roots, and 2018’s ‘Living Proof’ isn’t just one of the best pop punk albums of the decade – it’s one of the best ever. This is pop punk as it should be, and State Champs are leading the way for an entire subculture. [GR]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Criminal, Mine Is Gold, Secrets, Elevated


The Menzingers

There are not many questions that resonate more with millennial punks than “Where are we gonna go now that our twenties are over?”, and not many bands could document this coming of age better than The Menzingers. Starting this decade in very much the mid-card role of the punk scene, playing bars and small clubs, the Pennsylvania natives enter 2020 headlining packed shows on both sides of the pond.

We are used to Greg Barnett and Tom May spinning beautiful tales of their beloved hometown and young love in diners and gas stations, but 2017’s ‘After The Party’ broke the mould. It tugged on the heartstrings and tapped into the worries of anyone hitting the big ‘three-oh’, and was, in their own words, “a love letter to our twenties”. The Menzingers just know how to hit us right in the feels. Whether crafting delicate lullabies of drinking “forties” with pals down at the Stone Pony or creating the ultimate party anthem which has us screaming “everybody wants to get famous, but you just want to dance in a basement”, they will be there to document every relatable aspect of growing old. As 2019’s ‘Hello Exile’ already looks to be an album of the year contender and sold out shows planned for the next 12 months, there seems to be no slowing The Menzingers. And if there’s one thing we can thank them for is that it’s really taken the edge off being 30. TOM WALSH [TW]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: After The Party, I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore, In Remission, Tellin’ Lie, Strangers Forever, Sun Hotel


Every Time I Die

If the past decade has taught us anything, it’s that Every Time I Die are the undisputed kings of hardcore. When you have the combination of the poetry of Keith Buckley, the shredding, intricate riffs of Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams, and the earth-shattering bass lines of Stephen Micciche, you have the perfect storm of hardcore.

With each record they’ve produced over the past ten years they’ve fine tuned the edges and culminated in 2016’s ‘Low Teens’. Even by Buffalo five-piece’s high standard this album was something else. Fuelled by loss, torment and delved from the darkest of places, it’s their most intense album to date with ‘The Coin Has A Say’, ‘Map Change’ and ‘It Remembers’ instant all-time classics.

Their songwriting continues to push boundaries where their contemporaries would not tread. Collaborating with everyone – from Panic! At The Disco’s Brendan Urie and The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon – it demonstrates a desire to think outside the box and not confine themselves to an accepted sound. And then, there are their live shows.

Every Time I Die have played everywhere. They’ve played in your mate’s back garden, they’ve played your city’s most iconic venue, they’ve played on a boat that sails around New York’s East River and they’re still playing the huge Christmas show in Buffalo every year. Each performance is as raucous and chaotic as they like it and for those that haven’t experienced it, go and experience it.

Now with a new album penned for 2020, we can safely crown Every Time I Die the goddamn kings of hardcore. [TW]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Map Change, Underwater Bimbos for Outer Space, Decayin’ with the Boys, The Coin Has A Say

 


The Hotelier

At the start of the decade, few were even aware of the genre-evading Worcester band The Hotelier, let alone able to fathom the impact their stunning second album ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’ would come to have on the slowly emerging so-called emo revival. The devastation that unfolded on ‘Home…’ was only briefly alluded to in their exuberant and youthful pop-punk tinged debut record ‘It Never Goes Out’. But if ‘Home…’ was the despairing feeling of crushing dark autumn nights slowly giving in to winter, their third album ‘Goodness’ transcended the clutches of the emo genre and emerged like the first leaves on a spring tree, bringing with it a newfound hopefulness in the admiration of natural beauty.

Both ‘Home…’ and ‘Goodness’ demonstrated The Hotelier’s remarkable ability to progress their songwriting skills on each release. Their blistering, cathartic live shows, defined by a chorus of voices screaming back the words of ‘Your Deep Rest’ (and of course the infamous “fuck” in ‘An Introduction To The Album’) cemented their place in the upper echelons of the ‘scene’, and Holden’s profound and poetic lyricism on both ‘Goodness’ and ‘Home…’ set a bar few of their peers could hope to live up to. ROMY GREGORY [RG]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: An Ode To The Nite Ratz Club, Your Deep Rest, Dendron, Soft Animal, Two Deliverances

 


The Ghost Inside

The Ghost Inside may have been mostly inactive for half the decade, but the influence they’ve had on the scene as a whole is impossible to ignore. Their music surging with positive energy, their live shows are unrelenting and intense, and they’re some of the nicest guys that you’ll find in the hardcore scene. Album after album saw them reach new heights on a seemingly endless upwards trajectory, and then tragedy struck in the form of a devastating accident involving their tour bus in 2015. The collision resulted in serious physical injuries for the entire band, bringing their thriving career to what most would consider an immediate halt. But it simply didn’t stop them. Their hunger to return to music grew larger with each passing day, their strength to pull through and get back to the things they loved getting closer and closer with every tiny shred of improvement. The music industry rallied behind them, peers surrounded them with love and support and fans did the exact same, sending them well wishes and positivity continuously for years.

Then, in 2019, they returned to the stage. Despite everything, after an accident that would’ve ended most bands careers, they performed a headlining set in their hometown and performed like they’d never been injured at all. They are the embodiment of hardcore and continue to be a shining light for the entire alternative scene. Long live The Ghost Inside. DAVE STEWART [DS]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Engine 45, White Light, Unspoken, Shiner, Avalanche, Dear Youth (Day 52)

 


Conjurer

There’s something about a band like Conjurer where the music is just as good on stage as it is on record. In the past decade, the band went from playing shows in the UK, to touring in America, to playing festivals like Bloodstock and Download. These achievements have not gone unnoticed and for that, Conjurer have gained fans and caused a bigger love for the heavier side of metal. Albums like ‘I’ and ‘Mire’ showcase who they are as a band, especially the ferocity and the power of the music which leaves fans just wanting more.

The band recently teamed up with label mates from Holy Roar Records, Pijn and formed Curse These Metal hands, an album that shows the diversity of each band and how it works so well together. Check out Conjurer at any show, whether as a support band or the main act, and you’re guaranteed to have a very lovely time because they play every set like it’s their last show. For me, Conjurer were that band that brought me back to metal after a long break of moving away from rock and metal, and only listening to the same five bands on rotation. Metal always has a way of bringing back that passion that once was felt. SARAH TSANG [ST]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Frail, A Chasm Forged in Dread and Disarray, High Spirits, Choke

 


While She Sleeps

Born out of Sheffield in 2006, While She Sleeps have proven in the years since their inception that they’ve got the steel their city’s known for running through their veins. However, as hard – and unapologetic for it – as they are, this band has truly made metal accessible to the masses. More melodic than your run of the mill metalcore band, While She Sleeps have become celebrated for their anthemic choruses and innovation when it comes to presenting political issues in a way that can more easily resonate with listeners. Probably why all four of their studio albums made it into the Top 40 on the UK Official Chart, their 2017 album, ‘You Are We’ cracking the Top 10.

But their music isn’t their only attractive quality. While She Sleeps have also become synonymous for their great community and DIY spirit. This year’s album, ‘SO WHAT?’ was completely crowdfunded, allowing fans the opportunity to really become part of the Sleeps family and even offering fans the chance to come along and record gang vocals before the album was released on their independent label, Sleeps Brothers, in collaboration with Spinefarm and UNFD.

Despite singer, Loz Taylor’s previous vocal surgery and a brief personal absence this year, this band is stronger than ever, continuously pushing boundaries and challenging conceptions of what rockstardom is. RENETTE VAN DE MERWE [RVDM]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Seven Hills, This is the Six, Dead Behind the Eyes, New World Torture, Silence Speaks, Anti-Social, The Guilty Party

 


Architects

Architects influence on today’s metal scene is impossible to ignore. There’s an addictive air that continuously surrounds them, endlessly drawing more and more people in to breathe it in deeply. From their raw mathcore beginnings with their ‘Nightmares’ record, the early evolution of their sound on ‘Hollow Crown’ and their genre defining record ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’, they’ve grown from little local noise makers into global metal heroes.

Their fans were already in large numbers before the tragic loss of founder and guitarist Tom Searle, but they way they dealt with it was far beyond admirable. Every single show became a dedication to his talent, choosing to share Tom’s gift with the world rather than shut down and keep it hidden. Their enormous heart and undying passion for what they do is hard to ignore, and has earned them a horde of loyal fans as well as an extended network of loving and supportive peers. There’s no one else like them, and there never will be.

They’re true pioneers of British metalcore, and will proudly fly the flag high for years to come. For Tom, always. [DS]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Gone With The Wind, Momento Mori, These Colour Don’t Run, Holy Hell, Doomsday, Follow The Water