3) Mutoid Man, Bleeder (Sargent House)The first time I heard Mutoid Man, they were opening for Dillinger Escape Plan in New York. I stood on the balcony at Webster Hall and as they ripped into “Reptilian Soul” a little bit of me wanted to jump from the scaffolding into the pit. I absolutely cannot get enough of this band, and every time I hear that song from that moment on, it reminds me of the time the party started harder than it’s maybe ever started before.
Key track: “Reptilian Soul”
2) Byzantine, To Release Is To Resolve (Snakepit)I started playing guitar when I saw a Byzantine video at 13 and said “those guys make this look really cool,” so I’ll always have a soft spot, but their post-comeback releases have been every bit as good as their time as a signed act. Every single riff on this record is gold, hitting the primal groove urge and the kind of technicality that makes me nod my head with my hand over my mouth and go “mhmmm. Dude, did you hear that? MMMMMMMMM,” which is kind of a vague sensation that’s one of the most important parts of music in my mind. Nobody beats the Byz. nobody.
Key track: “The Agonies”
1) Periphery, Juggernaut (Sumerian)
Periphery is a pretty polarizing band overall, but you’d have to be a really heavy-duty battle vest type to deny the band’s progression over the years. It’s not a gradual one, either; each record they put out is exponentially better than the last. The vocals here are an acquired taste, but I have absolutely acquired the taste (it’s more to do with Spencer Sotelo’s ability to sing so high with such force, rather than these gentle, sickly sweet cleans you’ll usually hear from bands in this style) and the instrumental performances here are world-class across the board. Most importantly is that this is the first Periphery record where the very disparate styles of all six members of the band really start to mesh together into one cohesive whole, and repeat listens really peel back the onion. Their next one is going to be something really incredible. It might not be very trve, but it’s by far the album I’ve listened to the most this year.
Key track: “Graveless”