The end of a decade: The most unmissable albums of the past 10 years

By Punktastic

Every decade has its defining sound. In the 90s, you had Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’, while the 2000s brought us Blink 182’s ‘Enema Of The State’, Slipknot’s ‘Iowa’ and My Chemical Romance’s ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ – so it’s only fitting that the current decade has plenty of albums of its own carrying equal weight and influence.

With the rise of streaming, the 2010s have seen the subtle merging of genres, making what might be the most interesting decade for alternative music yet. With that in mind – and with a lot of difficulty narrowing down the potential candidates – the Punktastic team have taken a look back over the past decade and picked our favourite albums of the era.

Check it out. The most unmissable albums of the decade according to Punktastic.

Don’t forget to read our Bands Of The Decade and Bands Of The Next Decade articles.

Oathbreaker – ‘Rheia’ (2016)

Oathbreaker’s 2016 opus ‘Rheia’ would turn out to be the last thing they released before an as-yet unfinished hiatus, but good lord did they leave us on a high point. The Belgian quartet, headed up by the captivating and enigmatic Caro Tanghe, served up a bewildering and gut-wrenching slab of post-black metal delivered with all the fury and indignation associated with the hardcore and punk scenes in which they cut their teeth. The one-two punch of ’10:56′ into ‘Second Son of R’ is one of the most impactful openers in alternative music history, soaring from sombre serenity into unbridled panic with very little warning, and the rest of the album that follows is stellar right up to the last gasp. The band recently teased a comeback with a single released through Adult Swim, so hopefully it won’t be long before we see a proper follow up to this breathtaking album. LIAM KNOWLES [LK]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Second Son of R, Needles In Your Skin, Immortals

Rolo Tomassi – ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’ (2018)

To say that Rolo Tomassi have undergone a transformation over the years is somewhat of an understatement. From their beginnings as mathcore synth-heavy makers of noise, they’ve slowly but surely refined their craft into what it is today, creating moody and flowing sonic soundscapes that have the power to both summon demons and slay them. Their 2018 record ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’ is a masterpiece, not just setting a career high bar for their own discography but hugely raising it for all of their peers, too. It’s one of those albums that begs to be listened to from beginning to end in order to fully appreciate the sheer beauty of the ebb and flow of the album. From the black metal-tinged onslaught of ‘Rituals’ to the soaring epic walls of tone in ‘A Flood Of Light’, the record masterfully drifts in and out of the aggression and the serenity like child’s play, taking you on an intense and often magical journey through musical genius. This isn’t just one of the best records of 2018 – it’s one of the best of the entire decade. Simply extraordinary. DAVE STEWART [DS]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: The Hollow Hour, Rituals, A Flood Of Light

The Dillinger Escape Plan – ‘Dissociation’ (2016)

The influence that The Dillinger Escape Plan has had on extreme music is entirely undeniable. They established themselves as rule breakers and equipment breakers from a very early stage, stunning audiences and panicking venue owners all over the world with their unmistakable brand of chaotic, raw and mind-bending noise. They started out as a band doing things differently and became legends over time, every album release further cementing their legacy. ‘Dissociation’ was their final record, marking 20 years of the bands existence and putting a heavy and definitive bookmark at the end of their phenomenal career. From the white knuckle rollercoaster of ‘Limerent Death’ and the shrilled stabs of ‘Honeysuckle’ to the subtle and serene title track, and the bipolar mind bender ‘Surrogate’, it rounds off their career in the best way possible. It not only shows how much they grew as musicians over the course of their career, but it also effortlessly showcases that they’re still very much in touch with their roots and haven’t lost a shred of the unpredictability that brought them to everyone’s attention in the first place. A frenzied, intense and poignant final note for one of the most unique bands of this generation. [DS]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Limerent Death, Symptom Of Terminal Illness, Honeysuckle

The Heavy – ‘The Glorious Dead’ (2012)

Combining hard-rock and soul, on paper, sounds awful and it would be, had the quartet from Somerset not spent the past five years perfecting it. Despite not being a metal album, The Heavy deliver just that with their third album – a weighty fusion of genres that is as unpredictable as it is enjoyable. Samples from old grindhouse horror in ‘Can’t Play Dead’, wailing backup vocals mixed with teeth-chattering percussion in ‘Same Ol’’, and the kind of riffs that reverberate in your chest on ‘What Makes a Good Man’ make for the kind of album that feels all over the place, but whose core ideas connect ten energetic tracks into something truly pulse-pounding. It’s bluesy, it’s pompous, but somehow also wonderfully self-reflective and introspective when it wants to be. It’s a style no band has been able to replicate, and it remains The Heavy’s magnum opus seven years on, an unmissable sound of the decade. FIACHRA JOHNSTON [FJ]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: What Makes A Good Man?, Same Ol’, Curse Me Good

Idles – ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ (2018)

This doesn’t need explaining. It’s not often a punk album gets nominated for a Mercury Award but that’s exactly what happened with Idles sophomore album ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’. Politically charged from the outset, it contains all the cynicism from their debut ‘Brutalism’ and even more societal observations. What it adds in spade is singsong choruses. The likes of ‘Danny Nedelko’ and ‘Samaritans’ offer stunningly visceral social observations but contain choruses you can picture arena sized crowds screaming, while ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’ has the perfect combination of wit and venom, not to mention some feet stomping rhythms. It wasn’t really considered for our Album Of The Year in 2018 but it should have been. And it should have won. ANDY JOICE [AJ]

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

Gojira – ‘Magma’ (2016)

Nobody, not even the most determined of metalheads, could make a case for technical progressive metal being the most accessible of genres. Although popular in its own way, it has always felt like something that will remain more of a niche sound – that is, until Gojira came along. The band have been masters of their craft since their beginnings nearly 20 years ago, but 2016’s ‘Magma’ is their true piece de resistance. Brimming with gut churning heaviness and an introspective darkness, there is tremendous pain reflected in many places – driven by brothers Mario and Joe DuPlantier losing their mother – building in phenomenally powerful layers, topped by Joe DuPlantier’s haunting vocal performance. It offers a more ‘radio-friendly’ version of their progressive metal, if radio-friendly could ever be the right word for such a crushing sound; with beautifully constructed riffs and melodies, it’s only right that this was the album to elevate this magnificent band to festival headliners. Quite frankly, we don’t deserve metal this good – but boy are we glad we’ve got it. GEM ROGERS [GR]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Silvera, Stranded

The Hotelier – ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’ (2014)

Unrelenting in its voice of despair, tragedy, reminiscence, pain and its desperate attempts to heal, ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’ is framed by the frantic, yet poetic, lyricism of Christian Holden, begging you to sit up and listen. The anguish of their cries throughout the record, from the “So if I call / Should I beg? / Because I’m desperate here” in ‘An Introduction To The Album’ to the “I felt weaker when I bent, beaten to the end / Folding on myself, too damaged to mend” in ‘Discomfort Revisited’, are almost too uncomfortably raw to intrude upon, yet leave listeners unable to look away from what is about to unfold.

From the one-two punch of scrappy punk in ’The Scope Of All This Rebuilding’ to the almost-ethereal ‘Housebroken’, ‘Home..’ is masterfully paced from start to finish, always knowing when to pause when it seems like everything is about to implode. Whilst conveying various mental health crises masked in upsettingly close to the bone metaphors, the Hotelier also succeed in making a record that broaches topics such as gender dysphoria, the systemic failures of the state, and police brutality. ‘Home…’ also nods to long-term fans of the band with subtle references to their earlier material in ‘An Introduction’ (“we are all alone” / “Grab a hold, I know I said to not”) and in particular in ‘Discomfort Revisited’, borrowing the first verse and melodies of ‘Southern Discomfort’. The Hotelier’s growth as artists and the evolution of their songwriting on ‘Home…’ is never more apparent than on these two songs. The infinite looping of the traumas of life are alluded to in the album’s final moments as a guitar reprises the beginning notes of ‘An Introduction…’; the album beginning exactly as it started. ‘Home…’ offers listeners no salvation, but serves as a reminder that you too can weather the extreme storms life can sometimes bring and make it through to tell your story. ROMY GREGORY [RG]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: An Introduction To The Album, Your Deep Rest, Dendron

Arcane Roots – ‘Left Fire’ (2012)

Realistically, any one of Arcane Roots’ three albums could easily have made this list. Picking one is like choosing your favourite puppy from the litter of labradors next door, but this time, it falls to the trio’s 2012 debut ‘Left Fire’. Clocking in at just 33 minutes, it was nevertheless a fearsome display of their capabilities; the intense technicality, the irresistible frenetic energy, the harmonies that swell like the ocean on a stormy day… It’s the perfect album to lose yourself in completely and utterly, and despite its musical complexity never feels inaccessible or overdone. Such was the genius of Arcane Roots, who sadly called it a day in 2018 – but not, at least, before leaving us with this slice of perfection to enjoy forever. [GR]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: You Are, Habibty – Extended, Rouen

Twin Atlantic – ‘Free’ (2011)

It’s so rare to find an album where every single track hits home in some way. This might not be the case for everyone when they listen to ‘Free’, in fact, for many it’s probably not – the harsh Scottish accent I understand might be too much for some – but for me, since the very first time I listened through, I knew this record would be with me for a long time. Now it’s the end of the decade and ‘Wonder Sleeps Here’, ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’ and ‘Serious Underground Dance Vibes’ are still three of my top favourite songs… pretty much ever.

With this record there are memories of dark winter nights, first loves, and a feeling of belonging. ‘Free’ has a song for falling both in and out of love, offering a warm hug through the latter. It has a song for when you’re angry and need to shout it from the rooftops. It has a song for when you’ve never felt happily and a song for when you finally learn to love yourself. As the album title suggests, it takes you on a journey following which you will undoubtedly come out the other side feeling a sense of liberation.

Free’ is not just one of the best rock albums of this decade, but to me, at least, it’s one of the best rock albums of all time. To create something that builds memories for your fans is a powerful thing, and Twin Atlantic have proven on more than one occasion that they have the ability to do this, though never more so than with ‘Free’. YASMIN BROWN [ YB]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Wonder Sleeps Here, Yes, I Was Drunk, Serious Underground Dance Vibes

twenty one pilots – ‘Vessel’ (2013)

“The sun will rise and we will try again”, sings frontman Tyler Joseph at the start of closing track ‘Truce’. It’s a simple yet powerful phrase that six years later still holds as much weight as it did upon the release of the band’s third album ‘Vessel’ back in 2013. This line alone encompasses everything that this record stands to achieve. It’s comforting and supportive. It acknowledges pain but equally it acknowledges our ability to push through it without belittling the stark reality of depression that many of us have faced over the course of our lives.

The reason so many of us can relate to twenty one pilots – and to ‘Vessel’ in particular – is their uninhibited approach to topics that were, upon its release, still massively stigmatised in mainstream music. To talk so openly (albeit through the use of metaphors) about self-harm and suicidal ideation was, and still is to an extent, brave. It’s something so many of us experience on a daily basis and yet we feel alone in that because so few of our idols have addressed it. That’s why when ‘Vessel’ was released, those who experienced these thoughts, feelings and urges finally felt a little more understood, and through that, many could hope to heal, too.

‘Vessel’ came before tøp hit arenas; they had little expectation in terms of who this record might reach, and yet the lives of those it did reach were made so significantly better for the songs that live within its confines. Whatever you may think of twenty one pilots now, ‘Vessel’ has been one of the most important records of this decade for the band’s fans, and that’s something no one can deny. [YB]

NOTABLE TRACKS: Holding Onto You, Guns for Hands, Truce, Screen

Boston Manor – ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’ (2018)

As twenty-something year olds living through the turn of another decade, there’s a lot we’ve experienced in our lives. Society has changed monumentally since we were kids, and politics are more polarising than ever. Millennials are so riled up about some things, yet so apathetic about others, and it’s hard to articulate how we feel and why we feel it.

Boston Manor have somehow perfectly tapped into this total confusion with their sophomore album, Welcome to the Neighbourhood, building on a fictional world that’s based on our stark, painful reality, and telling a story from within it. This album is a message from peer to peer, highlighting issues to the point that makes you want to do something about it. It’s angry and passionate because we are angry and passionate, and it’s impactful for the exact reason that there’s no bullshit here. It’s an album that tells it like it is, and as you make your way through each flawless track, you find yourself wanting to make a difference.

As someone in my late-twenties – someone that, along with others my age, often gets reduced to “Ugh, millennials” – this record leaves me feeling empowered enough to go out there and do something. Anything at all. Released in 2018 it’s a late arrival in the running for most important album of the decade, but there’s no doubt that it absolutely deserves a spot on this list. [YB]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Halo, The Day I Ruined Your Life, Flowers in Your Dustbin, If I Can’t Have it No One Can

Fucked Up – ‘Glass Boys’ (2014)

‘David Comes to Life’ (2011) may have fared better commercially and ‘Dose Your Dreams’ (2018) may have been more critically acclaimed, but for Fucked Up fans missing the tightness of the band’s early singles, ‘Glass Boys’ (2014) was the band’s best album of the 2010s. Whilst the Toronto sextet said they wanted to do away with the concept album and rock opera tendencies of their second and third albums, what they delivered was an autobiographical concept record about their own anxieties over having potentially become thirty-something sellouts. The guitars lost the overly radio-friendly sheen that producer Shane Stoneback brought to them on ‘David…’ and each song featured four (count them!) drum tracks. Highlights included ‘Sun Glass’, ‘Paper the House’, and the poignant title track. ‘Glass Boys’ was a moving meditation on the tension between youthful ideals and adulthood’s commercial imperatives, whose songs are now sadly eschewed from Fucked Up’s live sets. GREG HYDE [GH]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Sun Glass, Paper the House, Glass Boys

The Rocket Summer – Zoetic (2016)

On his sixth studio full length, The Rocket Summer – aka multi-instrumentalist Bryce Avary – changed the formula. Injecting these eleven tracks with a more electric, dark vibe resulted in something completely unexpected from the man more known for his gentle, acoustic sound, but one thing is key – the heartfelt familiarity and beauty of his lyrics remains, and ultimately, it all comes together for some of the greatest work of his career so far. Avary’s words are at times the most comforting of embraces, or at others, a steady hand of support, dancing through this often energetic and always vibrant release; from the echoing harmonies of ‘Help Me Out’ to the truly gorgeous pop chorus of ‘FL, CA’, this is an album that quickly finds itself embedded in the heart and soul, offering a boost of life to anyone in need. Avary is an artist who has continued to grow and shine through the last decade, and we can’t wait to see what the next one has in store. [GR]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: You Are, You Are, Help Me Out, FL, CA

La Dispute – ”Rooms Of The House’ (2014)

La Dispute released three albums in the 2010s and although ‘Wildlife’ (2011) remains the one most well-liked by die-hard fans, the band’s most accomplished storytelling and musicianship featured in ‘Rooms of the House’ (2014). The album portrayed the downward trajectory of a young, blue-collar, Midwestern couple’s relationship from the viewpoint of their household objects. It cut between various points before, during, and after their break-up across a timeline spanning 1956 to 2009. Frontman Jordan Dreyer’s delivery made you really want things to work out for the couple, but there was a constant sense of doom underpinning a narrative played out across an unforgiving economic landscape where job opportunities were few and alcohol addictions were cheaper alternatives to cocaine habits. Despite the epic timeline, the domestic setting leant a feeling of intimacy to the songs that was lacking from the almost as great ‘Panorama’ (2019). [GH]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice, Scenes From Highways 1981 – 2009, For Mayor in Splitsville, Extraordinary Dinner Party

Oxbow – ‘Thin Black Duke’ (2017)

The only album of this decade from the veteran San Francisco avant-gardists comprised eight songs depicting the inner torment and external confrontations faced by the titular duke (possibly an alter ego of preceding Oxbow album ‘The Narcotic Story’ (2007)’s protagonist Frank Johnson). Inaccurate comparisons to Faith No More were made in reviews that discussed the album’s sound upon its release, with one far more shrewd online comment saying it sounded like The Jesus Lizard playing Bond themes. Either way, the album took listeners on a disturbing narrative journey from catchy single ‘Cold & Well-Lit Place’ (which gained the band BBC airplay) through to the Jean-Paul Sartre-alluding ‘Other People’ and devastating closer ‘The Finished Line’. It may be less abrasive than albums like ‘Fuckfest’ (1989) and ‘King of the Jews’ (1991) but the songwriting displays a maturity and world-weariness that those works lacked. ‘Thin Black Duke’ remains Oxbow’s most profound, satisfying, and multi-layered album yet. [GH]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Cold & Well-Lit Place, Other People, The Finished Line

Touché Amoré – ‘Stage Four’ (2016)

‘Stage Four’ (2016) is the most moving album of Touché Amoré’s career and was one the best albums of 2016, dealing as it did with the death of front man Jeremy Bolm’s mother from cancer. The songs dealt with the various stages of grief in an admirably honest way, from the regret over various things left unsaid to a deceased loved one in ‘Flowers and You’ and ‘Palm Dreams’, to a bereaved atheist’s acceptance that while there may be no afterlife, there may instead be a spirit world on ‘Skyscraper’. The elegiac sounds made by Nick Steinhardt’s and Clayton Stevens’s guitars bolstered the lyrical content considerably, with the Godspeed You! Black Emperor influences on the latter’s playing style in evidence here far more than ever before. ‘Stage Four’ remains one of the most touching albums ever made about grief, released in a year when its songs’ sadness seemed to reflect many accompanying political upheavals. [GH]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Flowers and You, New Halloween, Palm Dreams, Water Damage

My Chemical Romance – ‘Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’ (2010)

My Chemical Romance becoming the posterboys for modern emo came as little surprise to anyone – they wore their eye liner thick, clothes black, and wrote lyrics that dripped venom and sorrow in equal parts. With ‘Danger Days’, however, they took all the grandeur of glam rock – vocalist Gerard Way having previously cited Bowie as a massive influence in his life – and rolled it in the dirt of that first basement show they ever played. The result? Gritty punk rock with soaring choruses, glittery melodies and synthy accents that shattered the hinges of the broken and damned box they were put into to showcase a band capable of achieving a more uplifting sound. Not to say their lyrics became less introspective, but it shifted the spotlight to more positive aspects and wrapped it in storytelling and concept – all delivered in Gerard’s Billy Corgan-esque vocal. This album is fun, danceable and a true testament of what this band is capable of. RENETTE VAN DER MERWE [RVDM]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Vampire Money, Party Poison, Planetary (GO!), Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)

Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Sempiternal’ (2013)

Regardless of how you might feel about Bring Me The Horizon post ‘That’s The Spirit’, it’s impossible to deny the impact of their 2013 album, ‘Sempiternal’. Not only was is released to critical acclaim, but it also won ‘Best Album’ at Alternative Press’s 2014 Awards and placed at no.11 on the Billboard charts – not bad for a band who had been ridiculed since their inception back in 2004. Regardless of its acolytes, ‘Sempiternal’ is a sonic masterpiece. It felt bigger than everything they’d done prior, hell, it felt bigger than what any other metalcore band was doing and it definitely felt like they’d gotten rid of the chip on their shoulder and fully embraced a sound that was their own. With the addition of electronic elements and more variety in Oliver Sykes’ vocals, the album felt ambient, cohesive, refreshing and, most importantly, accessible. ‘Sempiternal’ will no doubt go down in history alongside the best metal albums of our time. [RVDM]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Sleepwalking, Shadow Moses, Can You Feel My Heart, And the Snakes Start to Sing

Microwave – ‘Death Is A Warm Blanket’ (2019)

Isn’t it something when a band transitions from one genre to another and does it really well? When Microwave left the uplifting melodies of ‘Stovall’ and ‘Much Love’ behind to dive into the brooding sound of their third album, ‘Death Is A Warm Blanket’, it resulted in what seemed like a totally different band. Yet, despite having embraced the dark side, it is still the same four guys from Atlanta who tell stories through their music, write clever lyrics and melodies with heart. Nathan Hardy’s vocal range remains impressive and his voice acts like a firefly, bright and illuminating against the moodiness and urgency of the instruments. ‘Death Is A Warm Blanket’ is not only sonically impressive and diverse – the intro to ‘Float to the Top’, as an example, has all the jazzy makings of a lounge song while they lean further into post-hardcore or grunge on other tracks – but it’s the album we need right now. The anger and hopelessness of an entire generation encapsulated in 10 tracks. [RVDM]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Leather Daddy, Mirrors, Float to the Top, Part of It

Against Me! – ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ (2014)

There are albums out there, occupying shelves in record stores or bytes on streaming platforms, that are all about lyrical content, and ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ is one of those albums. It touches on vocalist Laura Jane Grace’s journey to where she is today, and the brutal honesty about her pain becomes a thing of beauty through her powerful storytelling. It’s wrapped in the punk rock beats, jangly guitars and anthemic structures we’ve come to adore from Against Me!, but ultimately ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ is a stellar record because of the anger, the sorrow and the bravery of someone living with gender identity disorder. Laura Jane Grace, as one of the first transgender musicians in punk rock, is a bastion of light for anyone in the LGBTQ+ community and this album is her reaching hand to pick you up off the floor when you’ve fallen down – what the hell is more punk rock than that? [RVDM]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Drinking With the Jocks, Paralytic States, Black Me Out

SWMRS – ‘Drive North’ (2016)

The first studio album under the new name from Californian rockers, SWMRS, but most certainly not the last. To me this album signifies the passion the band have to make a change. To most this was the first they heard of SWMRS and I believe it was a stand out album that is still being name dropped 3 years on. Each song on this album links well with the next which makes for easy listening every time. This album is a pinpoint within the bands’ career and is a testament to what they are capable of. KIRSTY FOX [KF]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Harry Dean, Drive North, BRB, Palm Trees

Deaf Havana – ‘Old Souls’ (2013)

In perhaps one of the most surprising evolutions of the decade, Deaf Havana emerged in 2013 with their magnum opus (in this writers’ eyes) and unashamed tribute to the one and only Bruce Springsteen with ’Old Souls’. A far cry from their preceding album ‘Fools and Worthless Liars’, Deaf Havana embraced the expanded musicianship in their arsenal head on, creating an album resonant with dense orchestration, rich harmonies and expertly-crafted choruses. From the get-go with the barn-storming Americana of ‘Boston Square’, ‘Old Souls’ drips with tenderness throughout, due in no small part to James Veck-Gilodi’s heart-on-sleeve lyricism. With such poetically crafted lines such as “because I view my life through a telescope / that I built from a bottle and a slippery slope” in ‘Speeding Cars’, Veck-Gilodi’s self-deprecation woven throughout ‘Old Souls’ speaks directly to anyone who has tendencies to doubt themselves. Whilst not the most warmly received of Deaf Havana’s releases, particularly after the success of ‘Fools and Worthless Liars’, ‘Old Souls’ is perhaps the best, yet most criminally underrated, straight-up rock record from a British band in the decade. [RG]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Everybody’s Dancing and I Want To Die, Speeding Cars, Kings Road Ghosts

Four Year Strong – ‘Enemy Of The World’ (2010)

If any album could possibly define summer, it’s surely this one. Coming in early in the decade to start things strong, Four Year Strong’s ‘Enemy Of The World’ was one hell of a sophomore release (covers album ‘Explains It All’ doesn’t count… sorry) for the band who blasted onto the pop punk ‘easycore’ scene three years earlier, and there’s not a single low point to be found on this lively and joyous 40 minute tour through the world of FYS. Within seconds of hitting play, it feels like being transported back to a happier time, when the only thing that mattered was friends and happiness – whether that time ever actually existed or not, the memories evoked are clear as day. Four Year Strong weren’t just about bright riffs and a punchy attitude, though, and their emotive lyrical strength shines on tracks like ‘One Step At A Time’. Then, of course, there’s the album artwork. The words you’re looking for to describe it are ‘majestic’ and ‘breathtaking’, just FYI. Made to be played loud and sung along to even louder, ‘Enemy Of The World’ defined an era of music, and it only takes a quick glance at the size of the jubilant crowds bellowing the words to ‘Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)’ at any festival to realise just how well loved this album is – and it deserves every scrap of it. [GR]

MOST NOTABLE TRACKS: Wasting Time (Eternal Summer), ‘One Step At A Time’, It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now