For me personally, the way my music taste evolved over time was a strange concept to everyone around me. Whilst many in the hardcore and metal scenes believed their roots firmly remained here and here alone, with the exception of darker hip-hop and rap, the transition into techno seemed natural for me.
Although I’ve never strictly been into one particular genre my teenage years were spent at metal and hardcore shows, with noses turned up at the mention of anything electronic. Whilst I began my journey into this incredible wealth of dance music through mainly dubstep, it’s only now as an adult that I appreciate how my passion for techno came through. Dark, powerful and emotive have always been what I am drawn to and look to discover in music. Be this through guitar riffs and lyrics, pads and samples or chord progression – I’ve come to realise these genres aren’t as many worlds apart as I first believed in terms of their power on feelings.
With this in mind, here are six of the albums I believe truly contributed to, and still continue to contribute to, my selections in music I make today through their impact on my emotions as a fairly angsty teenager.
Give Up The Ghost – 'We’re Down Til We’re Underground' (2003)
I credit Give Up The Ghost (formerly American Nightmare) with really igniting my passion for emotionally charged lyrics and sound with this album that’s now coming up to it’s 15th anniversary. “The Last Supper After Party” still remains one of my favourite songs to this day. The opening & closing tracks of the album are ambient rock at it’s finest and the rest of the record is a journey through beautiful lyric and hardcore punk chaos.
Misery Signals – 'Of Malice And The Magnum Heart' (2004)
Through their ups and downs, Misery Signals would definitely be a finalist in my all time favourite bands – with ‘Of Malice And The Magnum Heart’ amongst a scatter of albums which I can’t pick a favourite from. Original Vocalist Jesse Zaraska’s emotionally charged performance throughout the album is a masterpiece. Jesse and the band reunited in recent years after various spats and rumours to perform the album as the original line up for a one off tour which featured on Yesterday Was Everything, the incredible documentary of the bands journey.
Emmure – 'Goodbye To The Gallows' (2007)
Although Emmure are like marmite in the metal world, ‘Goodbye To The Gallows’ was another album which structured my listening into my adult years. The American bands thirty minute debut was on repeat on my iPod U2 special edition (for the black and red casing, of course) and “You Got A Henna Tattoo That Said Forever” is a song which still stirs something inside of me every time I hear it.
Dead Swans – 'Sleepwalkers' (2009)
Firstly, there’s nothing better than feeling a little bit of pride when you know the band aren’t too far from home. Years of watching Dead Swans in sweaty basements or back rooms means this album has, and always will have, a solid place in my heart. The despondent and melodic opening of “Thinking Of You” became and remains iconic, whilst “20.07.07” still takes me back to the very first time I heard it.
Trapped Under Ice – 'Big Kiss Goodnight' (2011)
Although Trapped Under Ice had tracks dotted around other albums which still remain in my playlists today, ‘Big Kiss Goodnight’ is an album which grabs my attention start to finish. In an argument with TUI fans this release may be considered the least favourable, however the more relatable feel of the album added another dimension which wasn’t found in some of the prior releases and solidified my place as a lover not a hater – with “Pleased To Meet You” remaining top of my hardcore playlist.
Departures – 'Death Touches Us, from the Moment We Begin to Love' (2016)
Despite finding myself constantly drawn back to the older sound and not discovering as much new “band” music as I should or would like to, Glasgow based Departures 2016 studio album is a treasure in a scene which struggles to stay in the spotlight. The poignant lyrics and emotional subject matter from vocalist James Mckean teamed with impassioned melodies make for something that's rare in the current musical climate - but clearly not extinct.