Adaje/Shark Bait Split
I remember listening to Shark Bait's stuff when I first started this thing a year ago. I wasn't too impressed to be honest with you. Then this came out, and I was pleasantly surprised with their material. Especially the first of their two songs, "High Horse", I still listen to that song on the regular. This split was a good deal of progress from their previous work. This was an introduction to Adaje, their two songs that combined modern screamo with elements and post-rock I found intriguing. Although they also do the violent stuff too which is exhibited on their split with Lizards Have Personalities. Oh, hey, that can be bought here. Overall, I think this split was a good look at a couple bands that probably will have a big year ahead of them in 2012.
Judges- "Lonely Kids in Dead End Homes"
People were flipping out on Touche Amore's new album, and I thought it was pretty decent, but the only song I still listen to off of that is "Home Away From Here". If you are looking for more music like that you could check out this band, which I probably listened to a bit more than Touche's latest album. It was just a little bit more memorable for me, but still in the same niche. Then there are also songs like "Fleeting Thoughts" that are a little different and really catchy.
Raein- "Sulla Linea D'Orizzonte Tra Questa Mia Vita E Quella Di Tutti"
La Quiete and italian screamo was how I first really started falling for modern screamo music. So, anything associated with them is bound to kill. Raein features members of La Quiete, and sounds pretty similar to them. This is the new album by them and it is gritty and great. They actually came out with two albums this year, but the other was mainly a compilation of older/hard to find songs. Still, it was another great addition to their 10+ year history.
von Wolfe- "Life's A Beach"
Don't let the plain looking text fool you, this album is intricate and fast as fuck. I still flip my shit pretending I can play drums while listening to this debut EP. Another great look at a band that I hope has a great year next year. Their riffs are catchy and hard as all get out, and hopefully they will be touring soon and releasing more material. After Everytime I Die turned into shit, it's great to see bands like this in that "Hot Damn" vein still doing it right.
Kerouac/The Long Haul Split
I got this cutie on gray vinyl. This is a split that features two of the better mathcore/hardcore bands out of the United Kingdom right now. They each have three songs and both bands put on extremely strong performances. After listening to it a bunch of times, it's hard to say which bands half I like more, so I'm just going to say I like both of them equally for different reasons. Easy way out.
Ed Gein- "Bad Luck"
Ed Gein is back and they are still angry as hell. Kenny introduced me to this band awhile back, and he actually featured this new album by them a few months ago. These guys are somewhat pioneers in their genre, and they show why on this thrash-fest. They are a mix of thrash, sludge, metal, grind, and punk. The result is something that sounds like something that would be racing through the mind of a serial killer. In a good way.
No Omega- "No Omega"
Who said the Swedes were pansies? Besides Don Cherry anyways. This debut EP by these Stockholm kids is a tour de force. I reviewed this a good whiles back in the year, and I still love it. It starts off hectic and fast, but after it's broken down it chugs along in great fashion. These guys put up a couple new demos on their bandcamp, and I am really excited for whatever album they put out next year. Fingers crossed for an eventual states invasion. Seems like all the American bands have the balls to go overseas, come on European bands. What are ya, chicken? Buck-buck-bugaahhhhh. Reverse psychology.
The Armed- "Young and Beautiful"
In a scene filled with cliches and regurgitation, the Armed continue to evolve. Their initial releases were a thrashy blend of mathcore that were still great in their own right, but this new EP released in October showed a change of pace in a great way. There were still throwbacks to their previous work, but there was also a lot of influence of noise rock and garage rock that melded perfectly with their roots. Detroit has a ton of shitty hardcore bands, it's nice to see a smart one that still looks to push the envelope instead of dwelling in the been-there-done-thats.
Everytime I listen to this self-titled release, I find something else I really enjoy about it. This female-fronted band from Edmonton was my from-out-of-left-field pleasant surprise this year. It seems like most of the releases on this list are up and comers, and this is no exception. But I think that also makes this list a little more interesting, and I hope that you guys welcome these new faces. It would be nice to see them continue on instead of fizzle out like so many bands do.
Speaking of up and comers, this is not one at all. These guys have already solidified themselves in the screamo/post-hardcore ranks. Talk about a magical year for them as well. After releasing this EP, they started a kickstart thing to raise money for a computer to record their next full-length. They met their $2500 mark in what? Less than 48 hours? They were even getting donations of hundreds of dollars from people asking for nothing in return. Now that is special. They are currently just over $4000, so hopefully the full length for them will be out next year. As far as this EP goes, I am always impressed with their releases each time they come out. Not only is the music great, and tweaked with each release, the artwork is also really cool in my eyes. I always love getting their records in the mail and exploring them on the outside as I listen to them.