There’s a constant groaning among anyone who listens to a lot of music that the artists of today aren’t nearly as good as those of whatever time we grew up with. Fans of every age have said similar things, from the beginnings of rock and roll straight through today. I understand the psychology of it, because the music from the time when we fell in love with the art will of course remain more firmly entrenched in our hearts and minds.
I have found myself not necessarily saying the same thing, but feeling it. While I have never given up on new music, and while there are still albums every year that amaze me and make me remember why I love music, there seem to be fewer and fewer artists that are able to make their mark. They may produce one album I love, but they cannot consistently prove themselves to be the next big thing.
But in the spirit of optimism about today’s music, I present my top five debut albums of the last five years.
Trillium – Alloy
There aren’t many female fronted metal bands I enjoy, because far too many of them rely on ethereal, operatic vocals, which are not something I enjoy. Amanda Somerville, who should be familiar to anyone who listens to any amount of melodic metal, due to her guest appearances on many records, put together this project to satisfy those fans who wanted to hear her do a full-on metal album. “Alloy” was a terrific debut, one that showcased Amanda as a star who had been waiting for her big break. “Alloy”, I think, was that break.
Trail Of Murder – Shades Of Art
Trail Of Murder is another band featuring a known commodity, former Tad Morose and Bloodbound singer Urban breed. This record continued Urban’s winning streak, coming on the heels of the criminally under-appreciated genius of “Tabula Rasa” he put out with Bloodbound. “Shades Of Art” is a chunky melodic metal album with Urban’s powerful voice singing some fantastic melodies.
Bad Salad – Uncivilized
Bad Salad started out as an offshoot of a Dream Theater cover project, and quickly established themselves as one of the best progressive metal bands going. This album is able to sound a lot like Dream Theater, but does so with a unique spin that allows Bad Salad to project their own identity. It’s still epic, technically challenging progressive metal, but with a singer and a sound that is able to more fully utilize vocal melodies, which is a trait that makes all the difference. The fact that they followed up this record with the even better “Puzzled” EP tells me that Bad Salad’s potential is just being realized.
Incura – Incura
Released earlier this year, Incura’s debut album is one of those things that caught me completely off-guard. They deftly blend hard rock, metal, and theatrical rock into a mix that is highly addictive. It won’t be for everyone, but there is a fearless abandon that lets these songs do whatever it takes to become unforgettable.
Blues Pills – Blues Pills
The most recent of these releases, Blues Pills’ debut album is one that floored me. I am not the biggest fan of bluesy rock music, and I’ve found most of the retro revolution to be seriously lacking in the songwriting department, but Blues Pills hit a home run. The write music that is simple and soulful, and Elin Larsson’s voice is the siren luring me in. Graveyard is still the leader of the retro pack, but “Blues Pills” is neck and neck with their best material.