In no particular order, here are the HXC Magazine staff’s favorite records from 2015!
Hundredth – Free
If “Unravel” and “Break Free” don’t stand out to you as two of the best hardcore songs of the year, then you’re wrong. Free is a moving and hard-hitting combination of sentimental and brash. Hundredth‘s brand of melodic hardcore goes a long way on this record, which is why we gave it five stars when we reviewed it earlier this year. It’s one of those albums that you can not only lose yourself to in the pit, but also maybe find a little bit of yourself in when you’re feeling a little lost.
Miss May I – Deathless
Miss May I’s Deathless was one of very few metalcore releases this year to not follow one of that genre’s biggest trends. While many bands were busy softening their sounds and cleaning up their vocals, Miss May I came in heavy with an album harder, angrier, and yet more polished than previous material. The emotions are palpable in your speakers. You can feel this record and not simply listen to it, and that’s why it makes our Top 10. – David Marulanda
Stick To Your Guns – Disobedient
This is another record that earned five stars from HXC earlier this year. Politically and socially motivated, Disobedient possesses unconquerable spirit. It’s an album that, as the band themselves proclaim in “RMA,” is about more than just a message. “I take a stand/To do what I can/And if I can’t I find out/How I can” are just some of the motivating lyrics from Disobedient that speak to turning words into action with real world consequences. (Psst. Remember the Fuck The Message Tour?) But we gave this album a top-notch review not just for it’s meaning but also for it’s sound. Each song has it’s own attitude and contributes something new. It truly deserves to be on this list.
Haste The Day – Coward
(Solid State Records)
When it comes to picking an album of the year, I believe that a sense of overall surprise comes into play. With the Christian metalcore band Haste The Day, that requirement was fulfilled. After their 2010 release of Attack of the Wolf King and a few re-releases, the band dropped off the face of the earth by 2011. But surprise, surprise, they came back to release their final album which also happened to be crowd funded on IndieGoGo. Combining a variety of band members throughout Haste the Day’s life cycle made this unique from the rest. Featuring both of their vocalists, Jimmy Ryan (2002-2005) and Stephen Keech (2006-2011), the announcement made fans eager to hear how the album would sound. Would it sound like their old school days with Ryan and his high-pitched screaming or their more modern metalcore vibe with Keech? Well, when the album dropped, it had both scenarios and more. It became a whole new experience. Their final farewell went out with a bang, for Coward is nothing less than amazing. – Justin LaMot
The Plot In You – Happiness in Self Destruction
(Stay Sick Recordings)
My longest wait was for The Plot In You’s Happiness in Self Destruction. As I mentioned in my own personal review of the album, this is the perfect example of how a band should evolve. It is an album that combines past releases while also adopting a new sound to separate themselves from the other metalcore acts in the scene. Each of the 15 tracks are versatile and they each have their own identity while maintaining to fit perfectly together. This is something that older fans will love and something that will gain the attention of new fans. The three year wait for this album was totally worth it and the work put into it was clearly shown. Plus, having 15 tracks not only makes it easy to find songs to love, but also makes it an album that won’t tire out. – Justin LaMot
The Devil Wears Prada – Space EP
Okay, so you might think we’re a little rating happy, but seriously, this one also deserved the five stars we gave it. The band’s first EP since the infamous Zombie EP, Space is conceptual from beginning to end and accomplishes more than most full-length records do in just six songs. It’s a work of art, and though brief, contains emotions and aesthetics from all over the universe.
Get Scared – Demons
Get Scared‘s second full-length with Fearless Records sees them adding a heavier edge to their sound. However, this band is still as catchy as ever and evolves without doing a complete and total turn around, making Demons not only cohesive with their previous works but addicting as hell.
Like Moths To Flames – The Dying Things We Live For
After two long years, Like Moths To Flames finally released their much anticipated third album, and its hard hitting impact has proved it well worth the wait. In a time where other metalcore bands are trailing towards softer routes, LMTF have done the exact opposite and not only have stayed true to their beloved sound, but improved on it and made it even heavier. The Dying Things We Live For takes the bands signature style of mind thrashing instrumentals, crushing vocal techniques and deadly breakdowns and created something even more vicious and defined. The record comes in scalding hot and never lets up. – Alex Chan
Defeater – Abandoned
It’s kind of easy to promote standout works such as Defeater’s Abandoned to the top. It’s on this list for its lyricism, creativity, and haunting melodic quality. As I delve into in my record review, It’s another well-formed and moving chapter in a story that began several years and records ago. – David Marulanda
Aiden – Self Titled
The last installment in Aiden history wraps up everything fans grew to love about the horror punk band out of Seattle, Washington for the past 13 years. Entirely funded independently and without the restraints of a record label, it makes for some of the most raw and unfiltered material the band has ever written, and all released for free on their website. Aiden features an impressive line up of guest vocalists including Ashley Costello (New Years Day), Adam Crilly (Ashestoangels), Chris Motionless (Motionless in White) and Craig Mabbitt (Escape The Fate). With fast, face-melting riffs, catchy-as-all-hell melodies and the blasphemous lyrics they’re known for, Aiden sums up their legacy in the most satisfying way possible. – Alex Chan