25 of the best things I may never have heard…

Posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2009 @ 3:36pm » permalink

25 of the best things I may never have heard...

[DOWNLOAD] 25 of the best things I may never have heard… (@ MediaFire)

On January 1, 2010, I'll have been doing this website in one form or another for 10 years. One of the only (arbitrary) goals I set for myself when I launched the original site on January 1, 2000 was that I wanted to stick with it for "at least" a decade, so I guess I succeeded! Looking back, it's kind of crazy, especially considering the workload I maintained for the first four years of the site – writing up to 100 full-length reviews a month (covering every single item that showed up in the mail for at least two or three years) on top of various interviews, etc. I have no fucking clue how I was able to do that for so long, especially since I can barely pull together four or five write-ups a week these days. Life really can change quite a bit in a decade.

As such, Aversionline has stripped down and changed a hell of a lot over the years. I don't write about nearly as much as I used to, I've gotten bad at responding to emails (My apologies if you never heard back from me!), it can be tough to find the time to update the site regularly… but I still truly appreciate everyone that has ever taken the time to send me a CD, send me an email, post a comment, or simply check out the bands that I've been babbling about all this time. I can't imagine I'll be able to keep it up for another 10 years, but I love discovering new music and (hopefully) helping others do the same, so… we'll see!

To "celebrate" all this, I've looked back through my archives and tried to pick 25 of the best bands I've been exposed to as a direct result of doing Aversionline over the past decade. This is not a "Best Albums of the Decade" list. These are just 25 bands I've been introduced to in the last 10 years that I may never have had the chance to appreciate otherwise. Could I have selected more? Sure. Am I forgetting some mandatory selections that probably should've made the cut? More than likely (my memory's not so hot). But regardless, these 25 artists/songs have made enough of an impression on me to warrant more attention here, and I hope you'll enjoy 'em.

If you just want the tunes, the complete list of tracks and a single download link for the entire set is below. Under that I've provided links for the bands/labels/purchasing (where possible) and written quick little blurbs about each track if you want to explore further.

  1. 357 Justice "Triumphant Pills"
  2. Agalloch "As Embers Dress the Sky"
  3. All Else Failed "In Our Defense"
  4. Allegiance "Just Let Go"
  5. Analena "In Theory and Practice"
  6. As Friends Rust "Where the Wild Things Were"
  7. By a Thread "Walkway"
  8. Elements DEC "The Game Ain't the Same"
  9. Dead City "Goddamned"
  10. Disillusion "Fall"
  11. Down My Throat "Burn"
  12. Fall of the Leafe "A Waiting Room Snap"
  13. Full Court Press "All That Remains"
  14. Garrison "After the Fight"
  15. Hiretsukan "Barrel Roll"
  16. The Joy Formidable "The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade"
  17. Koma "Like Coming Home"
  18. Make Do and Mend "Insomniac Jams"
  19. Maudlin of the Well "Undine and Underwater Flowers" (excerpt)
  20. Misery Signals "Five Years"
  21. The Movielife "Pinky Swear"
  22. Parallax "Momentum"
  23. Solid Ground "Get Used to It"
  24. This et Al "Wardens"
  25. Whiskey Rebels "Create or Die"
  1. 357 Justice "Triumphant Pills"

    From the "s/t" CD (2001), released by Hater of God.
    Purchase: @ Interpunk

    I think this one was released before I was really familiar with the Hater of God label, but I saw it in a used bin after I had gotten a few packages from 'em and picked it up immediately, since I knew the Hater of God stamp was a mark of true quality. Sure enough, this disc is jam packed with super meaty rhythms, burly vocals, and sick dissonant riffs that make for a killer listen. Very underrated.

  2. Agalloch "As Embers Dress the Sky"

    From the "Pale Folklore" CD (1999), released by The End Records.
    Purchase: @ CM Distro

    What I said about it then: "I am in a certain state of disbelief, as this is one of the most moving things I have ever heard…"

    This was actually one of the first CD's I ever received in the mail for review, and it made an enormous impact on me right away. That impact has remained firmly intact ever since, as "Pale Folklore" is still one of my favorite metal albums of all time. I've praised this record on numerous occasions here over the last decade, but I still encourage anyone unfamiliar with its greatness to seek it out immediately!

  3. All Else Failed "In Our Defense"

    From the "This Never Happened" CD (2004), released by Abacus Recordings.
    Purchase: @ CM Distro

    I was familiar with All Else Failed from their earlier years, but wasn't an enormous fan of that work, so had this disc not showed up in the mail one day, it's unlikely that I would've checked it out on my own. What a shame that would've been, as the material herein was such a gigantic step forward for the band. More ferocious yet more melodic, and shockingly catchy at times, I listened to this thing almost nonstop for a bit there. Some of the lyrics really hit me at that point in my life as well. And I still love it, too. Such a great record…

  4. Allegiance "Just Let Go"

    From the "Overlooked" CD (2005), released by Rivalry Records.
    Purchase: @ Rivalry Records

    Possibly the single best hardcore release of the decade. It's that good. I'm not a huge fan of the band's other work, but somehow the planets aligned for "Overlooked" and everything fell into place perfectly. This is the kind of shit that makes you get butterflies in your stomach with every listen. Excellent songwriting and completely raging energy that makes you want to knock motherfuckers' heads off. Perfect.

  5. Analena "In Theory and Practice"

    From the "Carbon Based" CD (2004), released by Moonlee Records.
    Purchase: This one's harder to come by these days, so contact Moonlee Records for potential ordering information.

    And this one's possibly the single best screamo release ever! I don't know what it is, but something about this style makes it really hard to balance acerbity with a truly moving sense of feeling, but Analena totally nailed it here. Several of the songs on this album (especially this track) achieve that perfect mix of urgency and emotion. I was completely blown away by this album, and can't recommend it highly enough.

  6. As Friends Rust "Where the Wild Things Were"

    From "A Young Trophy Band in the Parlance of Our Times" CD (2002), released by Equal Vision Records.
    Purchase: @ Equal Vision Records

    What I said about it then: "This is awesome stuff. If their other records are this good then my dumb ass has been missing out…"

    My dumb ass was definitely missing out. This is still the best thing the band ever released, though. Creative lyrics, ridiculous catchiness… I'm all over it. Sure, the recording could've used a little help, but the best songs on this release are so god damn infectious! You can't argue with that level of songwriting quality. This is another one that didn't leave my rotation for a good bit.

  7. By a Thread "Walkway"

    From "The Last of the Daydreams" CD (1999), released by Revelation Records.
    Purchase: @ RevHQ

    I think this was the first CD I ever received in the mail for review… and I never even reviewed it! A friend hooked me up during the three or four months of preparation before the site launched, but I just wasn't that into it at the time, and didn't revisit it until a few years later when the band blew me away on a compilation. I don't know what the hell my problem was in late-1999 when I first checked this shit out, but… this is one of the most underrated emo/indie bands ever. Period.

  8. Elements DEC "The Game Ain't the Same"

    From the "Win or Lose" demo (1996), self-released.

    Best unsigned band ever? Very possible. As an enormous fan of Agents of Man, I was extremely curious to hear some of the members' prior band, Elements DEC. When the band's vocalist hooked me up with their two demos, my jaw was on the fucking floor. It still causes me physical pain to recognize the fact that such incredible music was never given the chance to be properly heard by as many listeners as I know would appreciate this shit. I must have listened to those demos hundreds of times in the years that followed.

  9. Dead City "Goddamned"

    From the "Goddamn the 21st Century" CD (2009), released by Thrashed! Records.
    Purchase: @ Thrashed! Records

    This is one of the albums from this list that would absolutely be among my "Best Albums of the Decade". No doubt. Hopefully anyone taking the time to read this is already well aware of my love for Dead City, as I've raved about them a number of times in the last few years. Seriously, any fan of hardcore that can listen to a song this vicious and not be into it… I just can't hang with that at all. This is one of those elite tracks that makes me want to just put my fist through the wall and start wrecking everything in sight. Fucking masterpiece.

  10. Disillusion "Fall"

    From the "Back to Times of Splendor" CD (2004), released by Metal Blade Records.
    Purchase: @ Metal Blade Records

    Another severely underrated one. Crazy album, too. Take a base of killer melodic Swedish death metal and toss in all kinds of crazy progressive influences and a little bit of unexpected weirdness and you've got yourself a monster. I had no reason to think I was gonna like this disc but I was completely floored. Too bad the band changed quite a bit afterwards. I tried repeatedly to get into the follow-up, "Gloria", but just couldn't do it. Oh well!

  11. Down My Throat "Burn"

    From the "Real Heroes Die" CD (2001), released by Full House Records.
    Purchase: @ Interpunk

    I think this is the disc that kicked off my infatuation with the Finnish metallic hardcore scene. Powerful songwriting, great production, loads of chugging riffs, those ultra burly Euro-style vocals… how could any fan of this style not be all over this!?

  12. Fall of the Leafe "A Waiting Room Snap"

    From the "Volvere" CD (2004), released by Rage of Achilles Records.
    Purchase: Amazon.com

    What I said about it then: "This record totally boils down to songwriting, though. Even the few lackluster moments are brought back to fine form by amazing choruses…"

    That's still true, and this song perfectly exemplifies such a statement. I'm not gonna lie, I have at least four other albums by these Finns, but this is the only one I ever listen to these days. That's not to say the other albums don't hold up, it's just that "Volvere" is hard to compete with since its best songs are so fucking good. Tell me this song isn't incredible. You can't!

  13. Full Court Press "All That Remains"

    From the "Live Life Large" CD (2002), released by Gangstyle Records.
    Purchase: @ Goodlife Recordings

    Belgium's "European E.Town Concrete". Not a completely accurate representation of the band, but fair enough, and there's not a god damn thing wrong with that. Amongst a number of very solid releases from Gangstyle Records, this is probably the label's finest hour. I really wish these cats had stuck around for another full-length…

  14. Garrison "After the Fight"

    From "A Mile in Cold Water" CD (2000), released by Revelation Records.
    Purchase: @ RevHQ

    What I said about it then: "My main gripe with this CD is that I often find myself waiting for the choruses to repeat again, but as Garrison continues to further their songwriting techniques I expect great things from them…"

    That was just me being a dumbass again. Another Revelation Records release that didn't hit me until a few years later. And then one day, it just clicked. For the longest time I thought there was only one killer song on this CD, and now I have over half the album rated four or five stars in iTunes. What the hell was wrong with me!?

  15. Hiretsukan "Barrel Roll"

    From the "Invasive//Exotic" CD (2002), released by G7 Welcoming Committee Records.
    Purchase: @ G7 Welcoming Committee Records

    Like Analena above, this band hits that perfect balance of intense, caustic aggression and off the charts feeling and emotion. I don't even know what more to say. Amazing.

  16. The Joy Formidable "The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade"

    From "A Balloon Called Moaning" CD (2009), self-released.
    Purchase: @ The Joy Formidable

    Another of the more recent bands to make the list, this style falls outside of my normal listening spectrum, but the band is so excellent that I was hooked instantly. They tend to give away their material for free quite a bit, and have yet to write a bad song. I was so excited to get exposed to this work, and am always looking forward to hearing more.

  17. Koma "Like Coming Home"

    From the "Tsunami" CD (2004), released by Fullsteam Records.
    Purchase: @ It's a Trap!

    What I said about it then: "…I'm not kidding, it's a crime that I'm not hearing more about this band. What gives?"

    I was introduced to Koma (now Khoma) through a compilation and knew I had to hear more. Their sophomore full-length wasn't nearly as spectacular, but "Tsunami" is still a superb slab of moody, atmospheric "metal". This song in particular just crushes my life to bits…

  18. Make Do and Mend "Insomniac Jams"

    From the "We're All Just Living" CD (2007), released by Restless Minds Records.
    Purchase: This one might be out of print, but if you contact the band on MySpace I'm pretty sure they'd be willing to work something out with you (downloads, etc.).

    Love. This. Band. I wasn't 100% sold at first, but, again, I was being an idiot. I now fully worship everything they've recorded to date, and can't wait to hear more. This is one of the greatest songs ever written in the history of all living things, and has already become the most played song in my iTunes library. So, so good.

  19. Maudlin of the Well "Undine and Underwater Flowers" (excerpt)

    From the "My Fruit Psychobells… a Seed Combustible" CD (1999), released by Dark Symphonies.
    Purchase: @ CM Distro

    What I said about it then: "From total doom/death metal to convincing 70's prog rock and authentic jazz passages this band can and will pull off nearly anything they wish…"

    Another selection that has stuck with me from way back in the first year of the site. Admittedly I haven't listened to the band's other work very often since those days, but the core of this song is such a mesmerizing representation of the band at their peculiar finest that I had to include it. These five minutes are another rare passage that instantly hit me in that all-too-rare manner.

  20. Misery Signals "Five Years"

    From the "Of Malice and the Magnum Heart" CD (2004), released by Ferret Music.
    Purchase: @ Ferret Music

    Easily one of the best "metalcore" releases of the decade, where crazy diversity and technicality are helped along by badass riffs and solid songwriting.

  21. The Movielife "Pinky Swear"

    From the "This Time Next Year" CD (2000), released by Revelation Records.
    Purchase: @ RevHQ

    What I said about it then: "…I was singing along to some of these tracks before they ended on the first listen! Unheard of! It's just that catchy!"

    Pretty much everything this band released was great. If you dig absurdly catchy pop-punk type stuff and have never really checked this band out: Do it now!

  22. Parallax "Momentum"

    From the "Mediums & Messages" CD (2006), released by Counterintelligence Recordings.
    Purchase: @ Interpunk

    Another band that I've continued to express amazing feelings for in recent years, and another album from this list that would undoubtedly make it to my "Best Albums of the Decade". If you've still never heard Parallax, absolutely check 'em out immediately, and buy the fuckin' CD while you still can.

  23. Solid Ground "Get Used to It"

    From the "Get Used to It" CD (2005), released by Dead Serious Recordings.
    Purchase: @ Dead Serious Recordings

    Right up there with Allegiance as possibly the single best hardcore release of the decade, I don't care what anyone else says. This kind of no frills, in your face attack is what really hits home for me. I've raved about this band/release/song before, and I always will. How can you not love this? I'm seriously having to restrain myself from smashing my computer into a million pieces right now!

  24. This et Al "Wardens"

    From the "Baby Machine" CD (2006), self-released.
    Purchase: @ Amazon.com

    Another completely out of nowhere submission that I didn't expect to like at all, and ended up fuckin' loving it. It's a cryin' shame that this band called it quits already, as just like their UK countrymates The Joy Formidable, they never wrote a bad song.

  25. Whiskey Rebels "Create or Die"

    From the "Create or Die" CD (2004), released by GMM Records.
    Purchase: @ Whiskey Rebels

    One of the best songs I've heard in the last 10 years, from a highly underrated band that has sadly not released anything new since. At the end of the day, I don't give a shit what anyone else thinks is cool, what gets all the hype, etc. I only care about whether or not it's actually good music, and this track is such a fitting example of that. The chorus is so insanely heartfelt, and I just feel like everyone should be able to appreciate that type of thing!

22 Comments...

  1. Matt Vogt says:

    Wow, what a post!

    Thanks for putting these together. The bands I already know, I may well have discovered from your blog; the ones I don't know are from my inability to keep up…
    Thanks!

  2. madis says:

    there are dozens of bands/artists that i've discovered through you. (starkweather is one that right off the bat, i'm particularly grateful of!) this site has and will remain among my top destinations for new tunes, even though you no longer make frequent updates. great post.
    oh, and happy new year!

  3. Andy says:

    andrew, thanks for having invested so much time and energy in aversionline. a lot of people appreciate this. hopefully you can keep it going for a long time to come.
    this one is a great post to begin 2010! wish you a happy new year!

  4. Birkir says:

    Wat Andy said!
    Your sites have been my go-to places for so many years now. It was fundemental or a lone guy in Iceland, where no band toured, no zines appeared, no records wee to be found etc. I cannot fo the life think of how many good artists I´ve discovered through you and for that I'm grateful.

  5. inhalexhale says:

    Great post, a true new year's present. I personally prefer less frequent posts about records you really like than reviews of everything because you have to do them, good or not.

    For historical reasons, why not have a link to the old site's review archive visible somewhere?

  6. AVERSIONLINE says:

    Many thanks for the kind words everyone, I really appreciate it.

    I used to have a link to the 2003 – 2005 archives up, but I must have removed it for one reason or another. Those can be found at:

    http://www.aversionline.com/archive.php

    The (often not very good) reviews from 2000 – 2002 were never entered into the database, so I only have them on old backup CD-R's. I may post a few here in the coming weeks for laughs, ha, ha…

  7. Carlos says:

    Great post. Most of the bands you posted here were unknown to me before… I really wonder why there is no song from Starkweather on the list, haha ;) I really need to buy some albums of the 25 bands you've listed hear. Was looking for Elements DEC but can't find anything on the Google (I even don't remember if they released CD).
    Your site is one of the best in this "genre". The critics are constructive and you try not to repeat yourself which most of the other reviewing sites are missing…

    Happy new year! To another 10 years! ;)

  8. AVERSIONLINE says:

    Starkweather's not on the list because I was familiar with their work long before I started doing Aversionline, heh. I'll hook you up with the Elements DEC demos soon.

  9. paul says:

    Congratulations. I'm glad to see that you've held it together so long, despite a couple times when it looked like it was all going to end. This feat is even more significant when considering the sheer number of bands/webzines that have formed and failed throughout this reign. I've been following Aversionline since August 2001. In that time I've been introduced to hundreds, maybe thousands of releases. For that fact alone I am truly greatful.

  10. Chris says:

    The number of bands I would've never heard of or bothered to check out were it not for Aversionline is enormous and probably accounts for 1/3 of the shit I own, as I've been following it since 2002. It's grown into the only music blog I check out on the regular, as I got pampered by the quality of writing and have ever less time to rummage for new shit/lost gems on my own. Not to get sappy, but there's really no way to express my gratitude. If I had to listen to only five bands for the rest of my life (or whatever stupid lists people make), Starkweather and Koma/Khoma would be among them, and it was precisely through Aversionline that I've discovered them. But really, there's just so much great shit that I've learned about here that I probably would've been in the dark about otherwise, that it's pointless to even begin listing it. And This Army, Bee and Flower, By a Thread, The Big Collapse… I could go on forever. And it's all bands I love.

    I'm already familiar with most from the list, thanks to you, Andrew. Analena is actually from my hometown and I've only bothered to check 'em out once I've read about them here, in a review by some dude from Richmond, thousands of fucking miles away. Nuff said. (I am somewhat of a hermit, though.)

    Andrew, I really hope you find the will to keep on truckin' for at least another tenner. I rarely comment, as usually I've got no inside info and stories to tell, and all I can say is "awesome" and "thanks" (I'm sure a lot of other readers are the same way, besides, there's really not much one can add after your review). So don't let the lack of comments deter you. We're still here.

  11. Cleaver says:

    Listening now. Is rule!

  12. Cleaver says:

    Analena came up in the playlist: the mp3 album was purchased from amazon and downloading before the track was over. Can't tell you how many times these magic moments have happened as a result of your fine work here.

  13. Carlos says:

    I agree Analena is one of the best bands from this "genre". Considering it is coming from Slovenia/Croatia which is far far away from US. There are just soooooo many bands out there you don't know. Aversionline is the light in the darkness. And this darkness is huuuuge :)

  14. Nick M says:

    Awesome post. Appreciate the time taken to write it all up.
    I still listen to Solid Ground – Get Used To It a lot. Would never have found it if not for this blog!

  15. Birkir says:

    I just tweeted this post. Bring on the children of Twitter!

  16. gordeth says:

    Keep up the good work, Andrew. I've enjoyed your reviews for several years now. I can't remember exactly when I started visiting but I think it was around 8 years ago. I always appreciated how you review the packaging along with the music. I don't know of any other reviewers who do that.

    By the way, it's interesting that the only FotL album you listen to is Volvere because that's the one I listen to the least. I'll have to give it a good listen soon to see if I'm forgetting something. Fermina is probably the one I listen to the most, but all of their albums amaze me. I'm still bummed that they split up.

  17. Samuli says:

    Knew lots of music from this post but these two I have totally left unchecked: Make Do and Mend,Garrison.

  18. DdeJ says:

    When I started coming here (when it was still part of HolyTerror) I was listening almost exclusivly to fast death/grind. Who would have thought that I would someday listen to stuff like Bee and Flower, Gruntsplatter or the great works of Justin Broadrick in general? So in that regard: thank you for broadening my musical horizon, even though my wallet strongly disagrees…

  19. Well, you DID get pretty bad at answering emails! But hey, we forgive you :) Thanks for all the great work you've done.

  20. johnnyex says:

    I just saw Dead City a week ago and I don't think I've been that blown away by a band in I don't know how long… super heavy and evil and they really got the crowd goin. good job on 10 years, definitely helped my old jaded ass find new stuff that is good…

  21. Andre Pires says:

    Discovering new music and helping others do the same is exactly what I like to do too. Your blog is one of my favorites.

  22. Jon says:

    I remember reading reviews on http://www.holyterror.com/aversionline

    I found out about Andrew because he did Integrity's website.

    Thanks a ton for the site and sticking it out for so long, and thanks for all the great bands you have introduced me to.

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