Optic Oppression — “Big Boys Don’t Cry”
I don’t use Spotify that often, so I can’t get my stats from them. But I know who I obsessed over the most this year and I just felt like sharing.
(Note: This list is not strictly limited to bands that released new music in 2019, it is simply comprised of who I had on repeat over the last twelve months.)
1. Alter Bridge
I know, I know. Duh, right? When do I not have AB on repeat? They are my favorite band, after all.
Alter Bridge released Walk the Sky in October and made me fall in love all over again. I also saw them for the sixth time this year and met lead guitarist Mark Tremonti for the fifth time. There is nothing better than a talented band who are also humble and kind.
I promise, I’m not late to the party. I have been listening to Rammstein for years. However, for some reason, they skyrocketed to the top of my list in 2019. Perhaps it was due to my absolute adoration of “Puppe,” from their untitled May release. Whatever the cause, I now have a legit Rammstein collection and have spent too much time and money on them. Ha!
I didn’t discover Tim Sköld as a solo artist until 2017, but he has been a major music crush ever since. When he released Never Is Now back in April, I preordered it without question. I love every track.
2019 brought me the opportunity to see — and meet! — Tim. It was a great experience, made even better by the fact that his touring keyboardist was Nero Bellum (of Psyclon Nine fame). I have been a fan of Nero’s even longer than Tim, so meeting him was truly the cherry on top of an amazing day.
4. Echo Black
It all started with Instagram. I did a tiny little blurb about this band back in…2017?…and added them to my playlists and a wishlist of those I’d love to see in concert. Coincidentally, they were opening for Sköld on his Never Is Now tour.
I wrote an entire post about them after the show. You can read it here. The short version is this: they were great live, their music kicks ass, and the band members are absolute dolls.
Okay. I’ll admit, I didn’t know Rammstein’s lead guitarist — Richard Kruspe — had another band until last year. My enjoyment of them reached full-blown obsession in 2019. They are just so unbelievably good! Honestly, I think I like them more than Rammstein…
Another Rammstein side project, this time from Till Lindemann. I once described Lindemann’s first album as “Till being Till, just in English,” and I stand by it. A friend of mine told me that their 2019 release, F & M, is basically Rammstein lite (as the album is entirely in German).
Whatever comparisons I or others have made, I still love Lindemann.
One of my newer discoveries, Skynd has an interesting approach to writing songs: they focus entirely on stories of true crime. I was hooked from the instant I heard their first single, “Gary Heidnik,” and the tracks “Jim Jones” and “Katherine Knight” have put Skynd on my Favorites list. Even my mom enjoys them.
8. Optic Oppression
I discovered Optic Oppression thanks to the Sköld tour, and now I can’t go a day without listening to them. They just released a new record, Halfway to Hell, and it is fire!
For a more detailed reaction to Optic, read the Bands You Should Know I wrote about them.
9. Third Realm
I have been a fan of Third Realm for several years, starting back when I was in college. I simply stumbled across them on YouTube one day.
Recently, The Art of Despair came out and I bought it for myself for Christmas. There’s not a single song I need to skip while listening to it, though my favorites are the title track, “Garden of Lust,” and “Medusa.”
10. Asking Alexandria
I hated AA the first time I saw them in 2011. I thought they were just…terrible. Then I heard the self-titled album and saw them touring for it, and I am now a certified fan.
They seem to be trying a new direction (again), based on this year’s single “The Violence,” and I’m 100% behind that. I want band’s to explore their creativity rather than sticking to the same mundane sound, so I applaud Asking Alexandria for trying to grow.
And that’s it. These are the ten bands/artists who got me through 2019. I am looking forward to what they will do in the future, and I hope to discover new music to get excited about in 2020.
Happy New Year!
Optic Oppression, the electro-industrial-synth rock band I’ve been raving about since July, is releasing their first full-length LP on November 29th. The album, entitled Halfway to Hell, is available for pre-save on Spotify. (If you choose to do this, you will receive the digital rewards package, which includes behind-the-scenes videos and high resolution artwork.)
This morning, Side-Line offered readers the premiere of the first single from Halfway to Hell, a song called “Revolution.” Check it out here.
Optic Oppression — “Never Look Into Their Eyes”
I went to see Sköld in Atlanta last Sunday. Their opening acts were Optic Oppression and Echo Black. Both bands deserve to be gushed over, but this post is for Optic Oppression.
I didn’t have the chance to check out Optic Oppression prior to the show (because I fail at life). However, one song into their set, I was already sold. The band was highly energetic and as interactive as possible. Front man Kendall Cage was an absolutely mesmerizing performer. My mom was with me and as far as she was concerned, Kendall stole the show. I had the chance to speak to all three of the members throughout the night and they were very gracious, which is always a plus.
Pairing mostly clean vocals with a mix of electronic rock, synth rock, and industrial rock/metal, Optic Oppression has a sound reminiscent of Godhead, Orgy, and the earlier incarnations of Finger Eleven and Marilyn Manson. There is also a hint of Deftones and Crosses in some cases, the music having that moody, dark, slightly surreal vibe that I adore.
I am still familiarizing myself with Optic Oppression, but I can say with certainty that they are one of my new favorite bands. My fingers are crossed that they will play relatively close by again. If you ever find them listed on a bill, get your ass to that show! Don’t be like me, though: go ahead and listen to them right now.
Below, I am sharing three of the tracks that have stood out to me (so far). Be sure to head over to their official site, where you can score a free download of their Find a Way EP, and like/follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Apple Music, etc.
“Big Boys Don’t Cry”