Over the next ten days, we’re going to count down the best tracks of the year, right until the point where 2015 expires in a shower of fireworks and cleverly becomes another year altogether. One rule: only one track is featured per artist. We start at number 100.
100: Vennart – Retaliate
Ex-Oceansize frontman Mike Vennart returned from three years touring as part of Biffy Clyro’s entourage with an overstuffed suitcase full of ideas and a opening anthem that was part NIN electronic punch, part Foos hookiness and 100 per cent alt-prog brilliance.
99: Ash – Cocoon
With sugarbomb guitars and a sun-kissed falsetto hook,_ Cocoon_ found the evergreen Irishmen as vital as ever. Drummer Rick McMurray noted that “having this much fun crammed into two-and-a-half minutes is probably illegal”…
98: Dead Sara – Suicidal
Never did ‘suicidal’ sound so upbeat. Still, in the hands of these garagey hard rock reprobates, Suicidal became one of our underdog favourites of 2016. Sassy and slightly punky, with a pleasing dash of the 90s.
97: Revolution Saints – In The Name Of The Father
Ignoring Deen Castronovo’s much-publicised disgrace for a minute, the AOR supergroup did a rather good job with this exuberant piece of full-throttle pomp.
96: The Vintage Caravan – Crazy Horses
A chest-thumping, Audioslave-tinged career highlight from the Icelandic trio, Crazy Horses is definitely a little bit unhinged – in the grooviest, most satisfying way possible.
95: Rock Candy Funk Party – Groove is King
2015 saw JoBo and pals resume their mission of rescuing funk rock from the cultural dustbin. Certainly, their second album’s title track sounded dirtier and well, groovier than anything this side of… ooh go on then, 80s Prince.
94: New Order – Superheated
The brightest jewel on New Order’s mighty, synth-heavy comeback album Music Complete is this sparkling champagne supernova of transatlantic electro-pop melancholy, featuring Killers singer Brandon Flowers as guest vocalist.
93: Raven – Destroy All Monsters
“ATTACK! ATTACK! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!” None have mastered ‘athletic rock’ as triumphantly, or as shrilly, as these NWOBHM gents. Unsurprising, given that they coined the term, but that doesn’t stop this being great. Completely stark raven’ mad (harhar…), but great.
92: Joe Satriani – San Francisco Blue
Probably the bluesiest, easiest-on-the-ear highlight from Satch’s latest album. Beautiful Albert King-rooted licks merge seamlessly with other-worldly tones in the virtuoso’s fret-conquering hands.
91:** RavenEye** – Breaking Out
The sound of a one-time blues cub sprouting chest hair, Breaking Out saw Brown shatter the “personal confinements of what I thought was wrong and right to write” – and channel his inner Audioslave.