2005 In Retrospect

author PP date 29/12/05

Looking back at 2005, one can only be astounded and run out of breath, for what a year it has been for both our magazine and the bands of the year. At the showdown, some of the most known bands revealed their hands that turned out to be winning hands, while some others thought they had a great hand but lost nearly everything during the course of the year. And then there were those unknown ones who surprised everyone on the table with absolutely monster hands who took the pot away without anyone expecting it to happen. Yes, 2005 was a year that gave us so much musically. Read on for a full recap of 2005.

Some of our oldest readers can remember the day when the current design was revealed to the general public on April 4th this year. Not only was the new design lightyears better than the old one, but it also shifted the focus of the site radically. Previously, the magazine had focused on the recommendations and essential albums section, in attempt to get the readers to discover new music just by trial and error. Once the current design was introduced, the focus switched from these sections straight into reviewing newest releases, writing gig reviews of the hottest bands around, and of course, scene news coverage from all around the rock spectrum. During the summer almost all of our staff were onsite Roskilde Festival delivering spot on coverage of one of the best, if not THE best, rock festivals on the continent. The summer also saw a change in the news coverage. In the first couple of months the news coverage didn't really have focus. Tour dates were flying in from both sides of the pond, album release information was flowing in from all genres and many readers found themselves lost over the 20+ news items submitted by the undersigned each and every day. Currently, we focus on punk, emo, hardcore and metal with our news coverage, and the only tour dates you'll ever see on our site are the European ones, with Danish dates on focus.

The biggest breakthrough for the magazine came in late August, when a promotional deal was negotiated with Target Distributions ApS. Those of you who have been wondering what the "Provided by Target ApS" means in some of our reviews, it's simply albums that have been provided to us by the number one distribution firm for hardcore, metal and emo in Denmark. Target also supplies us press releases directly from the bands, meaning that we will be among the very first to publicize new information available on the bands.

As the number of staff grew, the number of reviews grew as well. And as a direct consequence of the latter, the readership grew exponentially every month. With the exception of December, due to the long holiday sessions, the amount of readers has been growing every month. But now, enough about the magazine, and into the full event recap of 2005.

The year kicked off slowly with next to no notable releases in the first two months, but that was just the calm before the storm, for shortly after we saw Fall Out Boy start their world conquest campaign with the release of their critically acclaimed album "From Under The Cork Tree". The band had fine tuned their already near-perfect pop punk sound to fit to the needs of the mainstream media and the masses, most clearly illustrated by the seven million Purevolume.com plays this year. Around the same time of the year, Millencolin released their new album "Kingwood", a massive improvement from their previous release "Home From Home". Only if they could get their liveshow tuned up to the level of a band like Fastlane, who released "New Start" in March, the best pop punk album ever that nobody knows about, they would be getting close to the dream that Fall Out Boy is currently living.

Gatsby's American Dream's "Volcano" proved to be worth all the hype in April and received one of the few 9'ers on the site this year. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Limp Bizkit's "The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1)" turned out to be even worse than anyone could have expected, which was seen in the sales which finished to around 30,000 albums for the year. However, not all giants were destined for a failure, for Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails released their album "With Teeth", which is one of the best progressive albums this year, only falling short to The Mars Volta's "Frances The Mute" that has a good chance of winning the best, most progressive album ever composed.

As we approached the summer, we had an incredible run of awesome bands releasing records ahead of us. Finch, Dredg, Funeral For A Friend, Foo Fighters, No Use For A Name all failed, some worse than others *cough* Funeral For A Friend, Foo Fighters *cough*, and at the same time some smaller ones like Motion City Soundtrack, A Wilhelm Scream, As I Lay Dying, and The Hurt Process delivered exactly what their small but loyal fanbase expected from them: pure excellence. Get a hand on these bands' albums as they are golden.

The summer also saw the release of Darkest Hour's "Undoing Ruin", which is an album that everyone should own within one week of reading this article. This melodic hardcore band incorporated hardcore and the gothenburg metal together perfectly, and ten years down the line this album will still be influencing countless bands in this genre. And I quote from our review: "every song is a fucking masterpiece to put it mildly". Only two new albums received a full rating this year, and "Undoing Ruin" is the best one of the two. I'm willing to go as far as saying that it's the best album so far on this decade, and I know that most people who have listened to it will only agree with me.

More surprises were waiting in August and September when Beecher released their sophomore effort "This Elegy. His Autopsy". This album wins the hardcore album of the year award in my books, as long as you keep hardcore separate from melohardcore where Darkest Hour is reigning at the moment. Children Of Bodom delivered the goods on the melodich death metal side in mid-September, and Opeth released yet another brilliant masterpiece, contending for the best metal album of the year award together with Nevermore. In relation to this, Between The Buried And Me released the most complex album of the year. You can't get much more technical than on "Alaska", and it's also one of the best albums of 2005 without a doubt. The same goes for The Fall Of Troy's sophomore album "Doppelg?nger", technical progressive screamo (or whatever you can call it), completely unique and blew most people away including myself.

Coheed & Cambria further mixed up the progressive rock mixture by releasing "Good Apollo....", which is the culmination of their career to date. But they weren't the only one to peak, Bullet For My Valentine's debut album blew everyone away despite the greatness foreshadowed by "Hand Of Blood" EP late last year. On the political punk side, Propagandhi released their best album to date with "Potemkin City Limits", with anti-regime lyrics more relevant than ever considering the current political climate in the states. Pennywise did a "Millencolin" and restored our faith in the band by releasing "The Fuse", following in the political punk footsteps of Propagandhi, heavily criticizing the current American government and the media (Fox TV anyone?).

By this time of the year, it wasn't long before Thrice would first confuse everyone, then make them understand and finally make everyone bow below their brilliance. Just like Coheed & Cambria one month before them, Thrice released their best album to date with "Vheissu", one that took so long to understand that most fans didn't have enough patience to learn to like the new, different Thrice.

Now we're reaching almost November, and it's finally time to note System Of A Down. Their double album "Mezmerize/Hypnotize" is a masterpiece, and the bands best work to date. Together with Fall Out Boy, Bullet For My Valentine, My Chemical Romance and Green Day they dominated the modern rock charts everywhere and for a reason. If you still haven't given them a chance, now is the perfect time to do so. And speaking of chances, Lagwagon's old drummer Derrick Plourde took his chance and blew himself away with a gun earlier in the year. Consequently, Lagwagon released a tribute album to him that turns out to be the best Lagwagon release ever. Deep, meaningful lyrics combined with their usual skatepunk sound equalled brilliance, at least in my personal opinion. One of the candidates for the best punk album of the year.

Towards the end of the year we were also given some of the worst news of the year; Blink 182 goes on an indefinite hiatus, meaning the end of biggest band in the second wave of pop punk bands. Earlier in the year we also learned that koRn's guitarist Brian "Head" Welch leaves the band for God, and that Nick Oliveri and Mark Lanegan leave Queens Of The Stone age, leaving Josh Homme all alone. Result? A mediocre album "Lullabies To Paralyze", though highly rated at the time here at the site.

I could go on and on about the great releases of 2005, and I'm sure I forgot/left out some of your (and my) favorites, but my memory simply isn't good enough for all that. Therefore, you can find the staff's favorite albums of 2005 below (except mine, they became imminent on the article; Darkest Hour & Fastlane), followed by a full list of all albums that received an [8] or higher during the year.

MS's Favorites

Avenged Sevenfold - City Of Evil

What we said then: "They are certainly still the kings of the genre which combines punk with hardcore and metal."

What we say now: Admittedly I have not listened much to A7X's prior albums, but lately I have not listened to anything but "City Of Evil" and Bullet For My Valentine. In my opinion this is probably the best album of 2005. It is so much my taste it's unbelievable. The fast and extremely precise guitar riffs riddled with melodic leads all over the place are just to die for. I know people have been complaining about the lack of quality in the vocals compared to their earlier work, but I find them to my liking. The occasional roar in the intro of some songs are awesome, and I totally dig the strained "too-many-cigarettes voice" in songs like "Trashed And Scattered" and the last part of "Seize The Day". Another thing is the incredible guitar solos in songs like "Bat Country" and "Beast And The Harlot". This album just has it all if you ask me. My favourites off the album are probably "Trashed And Scattered" and "Bat Country". They're both very well written and extremely catchy.

Bullet For My Valentine - The Poison

What we said then: "Not even in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that Bullet For My Valentine would exceed themselves as much as they do with 'The Poison'"

What we say now: Yes, Bullet For My Valentine have lately occupied a great space in my heart. I only really got into them just before seing them live and doing the interview with them in december, but since then they've been on repeat for quite a while. When I first heard "Hand Of Blood" earlier this year, I must say it did not quite catch my attention. This however has changed, and it's now one of my current favourite songs. I have a great deal of respect for the band as well, since I think their perspective on the music industry and the evolution of it is very inspiring. It's just not as much about the music anymore. The combination of the harmonized riffs, the awesome drumming, and the great vocals are what make this CD. Songs like "Suffocating Under Words Of Sorrow", "Tears Don't Fall" and "10 Years Today" are probably my favourites.

AP's Favorites

As I Lay Dying - Shadows Are Security

What we said then: "Awesome album from an awesome band"

What we say now: I wasn?t impressed at all by As I Lay Dying?s previous work, "Beneath the Encasing of Ashes", so my expectations for this album were little short of non-existent. But after persuasion by MS, I decided to overthrow my cynicism and give it a try. "Shadows Are Security" is possibly the best metalcore album released this year, and one of my favourites of the genre overall. It is, as MS described it, fast as hell from start to finish; relentless, brutal and heavy, whilst still maintaining the subtlety of being cunningly melodic. In contrast to many other metalcore bands today, As I Lay Dying?s usage of clean vocals is minimal and contributes an underlining mood of melancholy and existentialism ? both well depicted in the second track, Confined, which is also my favourite track from the album. Who could forget the emotional screams of ?How quickly I forget that this is meaningless?? "Shadows Are Security" is certainly not meaningless, but a jewel amongst the many failed attempts at metalcore today, ? la It Dies Today. It simply has all the core aspects of metalcore; heavy riffage, brutal screams, melodic choruses and breakdowns, and merciless drumming. It is an album that I can be sure to continue to listen to, an album that will reveal a new aspect on every listen.

Opeth ? Ghost Reveries

What we said then: "The outcome is extremely complex - pure genius progressive music to be frank."

What we say now: I reward Ghost Reveries the second nomination for album of the year, simply because it is so inspiring to listen to. You hear Opeth, and you think to yourself: ?How do they come up with this shit?? It is impossible to not be impressed by Opeth?s beautiful melodies, and ?kerfeldt?s insightful lyrics. "Ghost Reveries" is an excellent realization of the idea that is Opeth: eight painfully long, doomy progressive black metal masterpieces that never seize to unveil new hidden aspects. Opeth, for me, holds the throne for one of the most instrumentally capable bands around. There's something utterly mesmerizing about the constantly diverging melodies, because frankly, they do not conform to any kind of norm. The Swedish quintet couldn't have decided on a better title for the album - ghastly, inspiring and progressive songs all the way through that cannot be the result of anything but an abstracted state of musing.

ASH's Favorites

Rammstein - Rosenrot

What we said then: "these songs are truly fantastic"

What we say now: If we begin with "Rosenrot", it is in my opinion one of the better releases this year. Rammstein has created a good mixture between wild mechanical furiosity and manmade lyrics, which blooms with emotion and deeper meaning beneath the context. I'd recommend it to everyone but then again, fans would appreciate it the most because of past experience with Rammstein's music styles.

Coldplay - X&Y

What we said then: "for those that prefer a more chilled/mellow rock they continue to hit the spot"

What we say now: As for Coldplay's X&Y I'd like to conclude that once again, the band has managed to create a masterpiece of both soothing and energetic tracks. They've reached even deeper inside of themselves and thrown even greater lyrical craftmanship out, towards us all. If this album didn't lay underneath your christmas tree this year, then do yourself a favor and purchase it. You won't regret it.

PH's Favorites

Queens Of The Stone Age - Lullabies To Paralyze

What we said then: "some phenomenal songs like "Little Sister" or "In My Head""

What we say now: Incredible work by Homme & Co. The absence of Nick Oliveri & Mark Lanegan is not important to me, since i find it the best QOTSA album. It really grows on you, every time you listen to it. The QOTSA sound is so awesome..

Nervous Nellie - Don't Think Feel

What we said then: "A promising band!"

What we say now: The promo I got in october. I felt it was "okay" at first. A lot of people won't agree in this being one of the best records in 2005, but it will never get tiring for me. It's so simple but still so nice.

KS's Favorites

Between The Buried and Me ? Alaska

What we said then: "Once they'll come anywhere near me to play, I'll buy a ticket just to see if it's even remotely possible to pull this off live"

What we say now: This was probably one of the most anticipated releases in the metal world this year. Great expectations often lead to great disappointments but BTBAM managed to release this awesome album showing off just what they?re capable of creating. Monstrous guitars and thunderous drumming along with furious screaming vocals is what this album consist and it?s done incredibly well. The title track ?Alaska? and ?Selkies: The Endless Obsession? are just awesome tracks everybody who likes metal should give a listen. I?ve been listening a lot to this album when riding the bus to work and just when walking around the town and the little twists and turns here and there are just amazing in a pair of headphones.

Panic! At The Disco ? A Fewer You Can?t Sweat Out.

What we said then: "So funky it makes you want to dance on the spot."

What we say now: Is it disco? Is it Fall Out Boy? No, it?s Panic! At The Disco!

Sounding almost like Fall Out Boy but with more keyboards and electronic stuff, P!ATD has made a very dance-able pop-punkish album with some very catchy songs and you'll find yourself singing or humming along in no time.

10's, or Perfect Albums:

Darkest Hour - Undoing Ruin

Fastlane - New Start

Susperia - Devil May Care EP

9s, or Great Albums:

Acceptance - Phantoms

Alexisonfire & Moneen - The Switcheroo Series EP

As I Lay Dying - Shadows Are Security

At The Drive-In - This Station Is Non-Operational

Beecher - This Elegy. His Autopsy

Between The Buried And Me - Alaska

Bullet For My Valentine - The Poison

Circa Survive - Juturna

Coldplay - X&Y

Death By Stereo - Death For Life

Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better

Gatsby's American Dream - Volcano

HORSE The Band - The Mechanical Hand

Jimmy Eat World - Stay On My Side Tonight EP

Megadeth - Greatest Hits: Back To The Start

Mew - And The Glasshanded Kites

Mxpx - Panic

Nine Inch Nails - With Teet

Opeth - Ghost Reveries

Pennywise - The Fuse

System Of A Down - Mezmerize

The Fall Of Troy - Doppelg?nger

The Hurt Process - A Heartbeat Behind

8s, or Good Albums:

8thSin - Angelseed & Demonmilk

Akercocke - Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone

Alkaline Trio - Crimson

Audioslave - Out Of Exile

Bear Vs Shark - Terrorhawk

Blink 182 - Greatest Hits

Boys Night Out - Trainwreck

Cartel - Chroma

Children Of Bodom - Are You Dead Yet?

Coheed & Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV...

Copeland - In Motion

D-A-D - Scare Yourself

Dave Matthews Band - Stand Up

Days Away - Mapping An Invisible World

Evergreen Terrace - Sincerity Is An Easy Disguise In This Business

Face Down - The Will To Power

Funeral For A Friend - Hours

God Forbid - IV: Constitution Of Treason

Halifax - A Writer's Reference

Hatesphere - The Sickness Within

Houston Calls - A Collection Of Short Stories

Kashmir - No Balance Palace

Knut - Terraformer

Lagawagon - Resolve

Life Of Agony - Broken Valley

LoveHateHero - Just Breathe

Mae - The Everglow

Millencolin - Kingwood

Motion City Soundtrack - Commit This To Memory

Our Last Night - Building Cities From Scratch

Queens Of The Stone Age - Lullabies To Paralyze

Rammstein - Rosenrot

Santana - All That I Am

Shora - Malval

Since By Man - Pictures From The Hotel Apocalypse

Snuff - Six Of One, Half A Dozen Of The Other 1986-2002

Still Remains - Of Love And Lunacy

System Of A Down - Hypnotize

Taproot - Blue-Sky Research

The Dropkick Murphys - The Warrior's Code

The Mars Volta - Scab Dates

Thrice - Vheissu

But if you thought 2005 was an exciting year for music, or the magazine for that matter, just wait until 2006. The year is already looking out to be the best year of the decade and we don't even know half of the upcoming releases yet. Stay tuned for an article next week that will give you some insight on who's releasing what and when next year!

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