Who should win the APMA for Album Of The Year? - Features - Alternative Press




Who should win the APMA for Album Of The Year?

July 09 2014, 4:17 PM EDT By Scott Heisel Matt Crane Jason Pettigrew Cassie Whitt Brittany Moseley

With the inaugural AP Music Awards taking place July 21, 2014, at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum at North Coast Harbor, we thought we would use the weeks leading up to the historic event to give you a category-by-category breakdown of the nominees so you can be an informed voter. Read on to learn about the Album Of The Year nominees, and cast your vote at altpress.com/apmas!

A DAY TO REMEMBERCommon Courtesy

If any band fought to be on this list, it’s A Day To Remember. Lesser bands would’ve simply rolled over, backed down from a potentially career-ending lawsuit and maybe even called it quits. But these gentlemen from Ocala, Florida, are right back at it again with Common Courtesy, blasting out their signature quake of pop-punk and happy hardcore. The album has it all: sludgy metalcore (“Dead & Buried,” “Life Lessons Learned The Hard Way”), delicate acoustic moments (“End Of Me,” “I’m Already Gone”) and even F.U.s to their old record label (“The Document Speaks For Itself”). Despite all the band have been through, Common Courtesy still somehow feels like an overwhelmingly positive record. Jeremy McKinnon sings, “Remember way back when? They said this life was a dream/Well it still is/I never wanna wake.” —Matt Crane



Avenged Sevenfold are 15 years into their career, and have experienced their fair share of setbacks and tragedies (most notably being the sudden death of drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan at the tail end of 2009), as well as the constant pressure of being one of the only American heavy metal bands that still matter. But where some bands might fold from those stresses, A7X use that as fuel to continue to shred their way into thousands of fans’ hearts with Hail To The King, their sixth album. It’s consistently heavy and classically metal, with no ill-advised turns into dubstep or unnecessary breakdowns. It’s easy to take A7X for granted, considering they’re one of the most consistent bands in rock ’n’ roll.  But one play of Hail To The King will remind you just why you got that deathbat tattoo in the first place. Scott Heisel


BLACK VEIL BRIDES - Wretched And Devine: The Story Of The Wild Ones

Black Veil Brides’ third album found the quintet stripping down the glam-bang nostalgia of Set The World On Fire to construct an audio movie that feels like Iron Maiden headlining a post-apocalyptic festival show. Sure, there's desolation and barren expanses, but frontman Andy Biersack imbues the proceedings with a humanity and fighting spirit ("New Year's Day") that certainly works as a personal empowerment mantra away from the narrative context of the record, as guitarists Jake Pitts and Jinxx supply the necessary crunch and shredding to further hammer BVB's flag into the veneer of modern metal. BVB have more character than Nickelback, a greater creative vision than your typical butt-rock radio-rock band ("We Don't Belong") and the ability to tap into the essence of contemporary rock music that transcends generations. Jason Pettigrew



Less in-your-face heaviness substituted with more melodic, electronic ambience is a bold move for a traditionally heavy metalcore band, but it was a risk that paid off for Bring Me The Horizon. The end result, Sempiternal, has a near-meditative, poignant feeling that sounds closer to their predecessors than to their ’core contemporaries, putting them leagues ahead of the pack for the nü-metal sound’s recent resurgence in popularity. —Cassie Whitt


FALL OUT BOY - Save Rock And Roll

Saving rock and roll is no easy feat, but with the help of everyone from legendary Sir Elton John to Kanye West protégé Big Sean, Fall Out Boy seem to have done it—or at least redefined what “rock and roll” can mean in a modern context. With their punk-rooted ethos and ever-poetic lyrics, FOB span several genres on their epic comeback album, which thrust them into arena tours and onto the pump-up mixes played at countless sports events. If you need any convincing that this album has dominated the past couple years, think of it this way: What other bands have pulled off an 11-part video series accompanying their album lately? —Cassie Whitt


PARAMORE - Paramore

Much has been said and written about the making of Paramore’s fourth album—how long it took to complete, the absence of original members Josh and Zac Farro. But now, more than a year after its release, the only thing being said about Paramore is how great it is. As cliché as it may be to talk about a band’s growth and maturity, it’s impossible to discuss Paramore without mentioning the band’s evolution, from frontwoman Hayley Williams’ powerful vocal range to the risks the band took musically. Paramore is the sound of a band not content to rest on their laurels (or Gold and Platinum records), choosing instead to challenge themselves as artists. In the end, the payoff was worth it. —Brittany Moseley



Give Sleeping With Sirens credit: They don’t need a major label behind them to sell as many records as some of the other titans on this list. The hype surrounding Feel was enough to drive it to No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and rightfully so: It’s an explosive rock album that makes no effort to hide the band’s ambition. “Congratulations, they say you’re the man now,” Kellin Quinn cockily sings over bouncy thrash guitars. At times, SWS stay true to the their post-hardcore roots (“Déjà Vu,” “Low”), but Feel is full surprises: The title track is a modern take on a Slaughter power ballad, while album highlight “Alone,” which features Cleveland MC Machine Gun Kelly, is a rap-rock mixer that rockets Quinn sky-high in an awe-inspiring chorus. —Matt Crane



Touché Amoré were already a respected band in the hardcore community before they released their third album. But when Is Survived By came out, the Los Angeles quintet became the hardcore band. The album is a candid look inside the minds of Touché Amoré and how they’re dealing with their growing popularity and the pressure that brings. It’s no easy subject matter, but they face the burden head on, crafting songs addressing all their fears and worries: their musical legacy (“Just Exist”); the emotional burden that comes with songwriting (“To Write Content”); and crippling anxiety (“Social Caterpillar”). The hardcore band: Touché Amoré could have ran from that label. Instead, they took it and created their strongest album yet. —Brittany Moseley



Vocalist/synth op Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun came out of Columbus, Ohio, with a twisted pop vision and the psychic and physical stamina to see it through. Since its 2013 release, Vessel has been picking up momentum with audiences weary of arena-pop histrionics and the tired tropes of indie-rock. The duo have uncanny gifts of power (Dun beats his drums like they were Capitol Hill lobbyists), pop mutation (Joseph's genre-splicing of techno-pop and rapping) and a wicked subversive streak that couches dark uncertain lyrics in the bounciest melodies ever. Theoretically, Twenty One Pilots shouldn't be playing to more than 22 people at an open-mic night in some college town. In real life, however, the world is lining up to see the light and feel the heat of their true sonic adventures. Jason Pettigrew


THE WONDER YEARSThe Greatest Generation

To dismiss the Wonder Years simply as a “pop-punk band” is, frankly, an insult: What this Pennsylvania sextet have accomplished artistically throughout the past handful of years is a progression unmatched by any other band in AP’s scene in the past half-decade, and The Greatest Generation is the culmination of that creative bloom. Dan Campbell’s lyrics keep getting more and more poetic without resorting on flowery language, striking a variety of emotions beyond the typical tropes of love and loss. His bandmates are to be commended for their always-improving musical abilities, with these 13 songs being the most elaborately arranged in the band’s catalog. Look no further than album-closer “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral” to see the band at the absolute peak of their abilities—until the next album, of course. Scott Heisel