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The 15 Best Albums You’ve Never Heard – Picked By Your Favourite Bands

Fancy something new to listen to? We asked a bunch of bands to pick the best and most underrated albums in their collections

Right now, we all have a lot more time on our hands. But look on the upside: it’s the perfect chance to dig deep and discover a few lost classics from the comfort of your sofa. So, we got Beartooth, Trivium, Neck Deep, Venom Prison and more to tip us off on their favourite albums an algorithm won’t find for you. Happy listening!

The Living End – Roll On

Chosen by All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth…

“This band were pretty big in Australia where they were from, but looking back I don’t know how big their reach actually was in America or the UK. People who are fans of All Time Low now probably missed out on this band at the time. They were around just before a lot of that late-‘90s pop-rock stuff, and they were really influential without maybe getting the credit for it. It was punky pop-rock, but they had a folk-punk aesthetic as well – they had an upright bass and some piano in there.

“I found them kind of randomly back in the days of Napster when I was illegally downloading music. I was looking for any kind of punk or rock, and I thought they were rad. Looking back, it’s so clear to me now that they were really ahead of the curve. They came after grunge, and there was some of that, but also an influence of hair metal like Def Leppard in there as well. And Songs like Roll On and Pictures In The Mirror really sound like Green Day’s American Idiot, which came out a few years later. Obviously American Idiot became such a massive, influential record, and it’s interesting that this band were doing it earlier and maybe had an impact on what Green Day went on to do.

“To pick a favourite track, I’d say Pictures In The Mirror. It’s very rock‘n’roll, and it’s got a vibe to it that you can hear in Green Day, Sum 41, American Hi-Fi – it really opened doors, and influenced me as well.”

Capharnaum – Fractured

Chosen by Trivium’s Matt Heafy…

“I was actually on this in the early days of Trivium! It’s insane, technical death metal, and I scream on it. I didn’t write or play any of the music, and for perspective I don’t know if I can play any of it because it’s so damn tech. It’s written by Jason Suecof who produced Trivium’s early records, and he said he wanted my scream because it’s ‘high without being annoying’! He didn’t want a normal death metal screamer, so he had me instead. What’s really crazy is that I didn’t know people were into it, but people like the guys in The Black Dahlia Murder have been like, ‘Dude! Capharnaum!’ It blows my mind that there are actually bands who are into this record.”

Anberlin – Never Take Friendship Personal

Chosen by Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo…

Anberlin were extremely important to me, and I’ve based a lot of my songwriting and the way I make music on this record. This album summed up the essential mid-2000’s pop-rock vibe for me – really good songs, classic two-guitar line-up, no synths or anything, just really well-written pop-rock songs. I got into them just before this album came out, I think my brother showed them to me, and they changed my life. They were one of the first bands of that type of music I ever heard. I grew up on classic rock, but they changed everything for me. I remember seeing them in Columbus at a place called the Newport, and to this day it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. They were ridiculous that night!”

The Early November – The Room's Too Cold

Chosen by You Me At Six’s Josh Franceschi…

“If you weren’t into that early-2000’s Drive-Thru Records scene you’d have had no idea who they were, but to me they were like a religion. I first heard this album when I was in year seven at school. I remember this girl who was the older sister of one of my classmates saw me wearing a Linkin Park hoodie, and came over and said, ‘I think you’ll like this label, Drive-Thru Records. I’ve just started working for their street team.’ She gave me a burnt CD with them on it, and I really got into it. But they weren’t even a big band within their scene – I remember seeing them at [old London venue] The Mean Fiddler, and they were opening for The Starting Line. Me and Matt [Barnes] went, and we saw [singer] Ace Enders walking through the crowd and lost our shit! He was the first rock star I’d ever met. They meant so much to me, and it set this tone for the rest of the night. It was the best night ever.”

Aconite Thrill – The Recliner

Chosen by Don Broco’s Rob Damiani…

“I found this in school via word of mouth. A friend had seen them supporting SikTh, who I knew and liked, so I checked them out. I was so excited to have a band that only a couple of people at my school knew about. It was one of the first records I got that was really technical and progressive and didn’t spoon-feed you hooks, and made you work for it a bit more. It’s techy, heavy, mathy, a little bit shouty, really twiddly, but something about them that I liked was that they felt very British. Their singer had this distinctive Home Counties accent, being from not far from where I was, and I was like, ‘They just sound like normal people who I talk to every day!’ They also played the first gig I ever went to by myself when they played in Bedford. I was just rocking out by myself and absolutely loving every minute!“

Dr Acula – S.L.O.B.

Chosen by Waterparks’ Awsten Knight…

“This band were super-fun, heavy grindcore-type stuff. It was kind of unlistenable at times, but in a fun way. But after this they got a new singer who was all whiny. He went up at the end of each line and it was so annoying. But S.L.O.B. was awesome. When I was, like, 16 I saw them play at this venue in Houston called Java Junction where I’d go see shows about once a week as a kid. I bought one of their shirts, even though it was way too small, just because I needed one and it was all they had left! I discovered them on MySpace, and what I really liked was that all their songtitles, like Say Cheese And Die, were Goosebumps titles, like the books. I thought that was so tight! And, yeah, they were really fun as well. They’d throw in weird noises and stuff, which was kind of annoying, but that just made it more fun! A lot of heavy stuff back then was over the top, and that’s what made it fun, but these guys were way more over the top than anyone else.”

Phantom Planet – The Guest

Chosen by New Years Day’s Ash Costello…

“If you hung out with the metal, or goth or punk kids at school, you’d go out to shows together in Orange County. That’s how I found out about Phantom Planet, and I became obsessed with them. They blew up because of their song California [from The OC soundtrack], and this album was on repeat for me and my friends for the whole of 2002. The track that stands out most to me is Turn, Smile, Shift, Repeat, about workers on Wall Street committing suicide when they lost money. It’s really emo, before emo was emo, and I feel like if the band had come through a little later, they might have fallen in with the The Used, Fall Out Boy-type explosion. But they were maybe just a little bit too soon.”

Aereogramme – My Heart Has A Wish That You Would Not Go

Chosen by Twin Atlantic’s Sam McTrusty…

“Aerogramme were kind of the band who invented what became known as ‘Scot-rock’. They were pretty pioneering – they had seven-minute songs and were pretty left-leaning in their approach. I was 20 when this came out, and I was working in a bar in Glasgow with the main guy, Craig B. He worked in the kitchen. It was around the time we started Twin Atlantic as well. He’d talk me through being in a band and the music industry and what he wished he had or hadn’t done, as well as songwriting. So this album influenced me musically, and from a guidance point of view. It’s really emotional, but it’s light and cinematic, musically. I took a lot of inspiration from that. I’d say to check out the song A Life Worth Living, as it’s really representative of the album as a whole and it’s got a lot of emotion.”

Incoherence – A World Without Heroes

Chosen by Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds…

“I think they were mainly from Watford, and for us they were part of this scene around there that was hugely inspirational and motivational for Enter Shikari. In that area there was them, Aconite Thrill, SikTh, and all were sort of post-hardcore, but with something else that was a little more refined. We’d go and see them week in week out locally in the early days. It was really exciting seeing bands who had this kind of musicality and virtuosity, but doing hardcore. It wasn’t like metal, where talent came out as guitar solos and just fucking wanking, basically – it was like the band was one thing and it was virtuoso together. It was in how the guitar and drums interacted, and the clever rhythmic tricks they were doing, like key changes and tempo changes. And that’s hard to do, changing a tempo mid song, and this band did it really, really well. That’s the sort of thing that drew me in to this album. Also, as an influence on us, this was the first album I’d heard that starts and finishes with the same riff. It’s like in classical music, where you have a leitmotif that repeats, and I’d never heard anyone do that with rock music before.”

Jawbox – For Your Own Special Sweetheart

Chosen by Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano…

“To me, Jawbox were a gigantic band in the ’90s, but now when I mention them, people say, ‘Don’t you mean Jawbreaker?’ This is one of the records that shaped me, and it’s also one of the first records that Matt [Skiba, frontman] and I used to listen to together when I joined Alkaline Trio. We listened to Jawbox all the time! Thinking back, the ’90s were a weird time, in the sense that when Nirvana, Green Day, Pearl Jam and all those bands happened, there was this massive wave of major labels signing indie bands. Jawbox were this post-hardcore band on Dischord Records, and they signed to a major label, but were maybe lost in the shadow of a lot of big bands. And maybe there will be fans out there like, ‘What do you mean? They’re huge!’ but to me, there are a lot of people out there who don’t know them – and they should!”

7 Angels 7 Plagues – Jhazmyne's Lullaby

“If you’re into metalcore, this is a real Easter egg of an album. They had some of the guys from what would become Misery Signals, and it’s brilliant, classic heaviness. It’s almost nostalgic for that period around 2000. One of the things I really like about them is that they’ve got quite a heavy jazz influence, and even the sleeve is modelled on the old Blue Note Records style. I found them through the guys in Renounced, who started about the same time as ETS did. They were referencing them a lot so I listened to them and fell in love. Check out the opener, A Farewell To A Perfect Score, and there’s also an awesome outro which is a beautiful piano piece. It’s like something from Zelda!”

Jellyfish – Spilt Milk

Chosen by Neck Deep’s Ben Barlow…

“This is on Spotify, but I’ve never, ever seen it pop up in recommendations or anything. They were set to be massive in the ‘90s, but it just never took off. This record is fucking sick from start to finish, though. It’s this kind of experimental opera-rock, but also very alt.rock and punky as well. They blended sounds from the ‘70s and ‘90s well – big, showy flamboyance with cool, big ‘90s guitar breaks. There’s a few very, very weird songs on there, and weird vocal bits that sound like fucking Oliver Twist at points, but it all works!

“I discovered the band through our producer Matt Squire a couple of years ago. When I mentioned them to my older brother who was a child of the ‘90s, he was like, ‘Oh, fucking hell – I forgot about them! They were hot for about a minute.’

“My favourite track is probably The Glutton Of Sympathy, but Sebrina, Paste And Plato is super weird, with lines like, ‘Lunch is on the table,’ and this kid’s voice going ‘Kool-Aid, sandwiches and chips for all shoulders.’ That’s the Oliver Twist bit! And then after that, the chorus is really melodic and catchy following this mad verse. The album intro is basically a massive Queen rip-off as well. There’s crazy layers of harmony and vocal swooshes and stuff, then there’s this huge riff out of nowhere. It all works, but you can see why they didn’t do too well! In Neck Deep we’ve listened to this record a lot in the run up to All Distortions Are Intentional, along with a lot of other risky records, but we just couldn’t go this far! Coming out swinging with all these crazy, Queen-inspired parts might freak people out!”

Trophy Scars – Holy Vacants

Chosen by Conjurer’s Brady Deeprose…

“Back when me and Dan [Nightingale, guitar] were first starting Conjurer, we were hanging out, playing music, listening to records, eating junk food. Dan got really into this and brought it to me, like, ‘Check this out, it’s a hardcore band playing blues.’ I thought, ‘That sounds awful,’ and I didn’t get it for a while, but over time it really clicked. I adore it now. It’s produced like a metal record, and it’s quite jarring, because it’s a bit weird hearing that on blues, but it works. It’s got a concept as well: a couple find the secret to eternal life through the blood of an angel. It seems well pretentious, but I think it’s really cool! We went to see them once at the Academy 3 in Birmingham, and they played to about 25 people, but they were great! It’s a shame that more people don’t know them.”

Dead Swans – Sleepwalkers

Chosen by While She Sleeps’ Loz Taylor…

“I think Dead Swans are underrated and a were a key part of heavy music in the UK over the past couple of decades. They certainly mean a lot to While She Sleeps. This album is an absolute beast from its opener Thinking Of You, through to its super-urgent closer Tent City. If you want an album to vent all frustration to, get this on your speakers and rage at the world. We need music as an outlet right now, and Sleepwalkers can be that vessel. I can feel every impassioned lyric, every crushing riff and every sound made on this record right in my bones. It’s crafted with such care and attention without losing its raw feel and emotion. Maybe you can FaceTime your friends and get a virtual mosh pit on the go to it!”

Life Long Tragedy – Destined For Anything

Chosen by Venom Prison’s Larissa Stupar…

“As we grow up, we go through different phases in our lives; good and bad ones, phases we like to remember, or would rather forget and never think about them again. When I sit back and reflect on my life I often connect music with those moments. I get a lot of different feelings when I think about this album, and if I’m honest, I completely forgot about its existence until recently. I grew up listening to hardcore, and going to shows with X’s on my hands, singing along, moshing and hanging out with my friends was basically all I lived for. Every time I remember what it was like back then, I have a huge smile on my face. It was generally just a wholesome period of my life.

“I discovered the band by browsing through the artist page on Deathwish Inc, checked it out on MySpace and ordered the vinyl straight away. When I listen to the song Live Forever now, the first image that jumps into my head is me sitting on the back seat of my friend’s car, driving to a show somewhere in Belgium with my friends. We used to go on road trips to see our favourite bands all the time, as I lived in a town in Germany, an hour away from the Netherlands. Late nights, long trips, good times – that’s what this album is about for me. It ends with the song Time Stands Still, and it really makes me feel that way. Life was so easy back then. While right now everyone is trapped inside and tours are getting cancelled, it’s good to remember the good days.”

Posted on April 2nd 2020, 1:09pm
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