Flashback to 2006; A year of angst, the reign of the scenester, and the year that further kindled the post-hardcore, metalcore and emo craze. It was during this time that these three genres, in particular, truly flourished with bands like My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, Every Time I Die, He Is Legend beginning to peak, and others like Parkway Drive releasing their first full-length album. Things also got political with bands like Anti-Flag and Rise Against releasing albums that not only sounded good but also took a stand. Maturation is big this year as many bands evolve from their earlier days and come into their own.

2006 may have been a year many of us want to block out of our memories due to style, but it’s definitely a year we’ll never forget musically. In no particular order (besides the definitive top 3), here are the top 10 most notable and nostalgic albums of 2006.

Top 10 Albums of 2006

Still Searching

Senses Fail Still SearchingStill hanging on tightly to the sound of 2005, Senses Fail‘s Still Searching kept the angst alive within us all. But it’s something we never fully let go of anyways–even to this day–no matter how hard we try. “Calling All Cars” was an anthem for emo kids everywhere, and even though we’re grown up now and more “mature”, it’s one that you’ll still belt out. Still Searching may be a grief-stricken album, but it made you feel so alive when listening to it, and that makes it undeniably special. Many of us hold Still Searching near and dear to our heart; Maybe for nostalgic reasons, but many of us are already 90’s kids and nostalgia is like 95% of our existence anyways. Either way, it’s a killer record that never fails to pull on your heartstrings.

Essential Tracks: “Still Searching,” “Calling All Cars,” “Lost And Found”

Suck Out The Poison

He Is Legend Suck Out The PoisonThere’s the infamous 2004 He Is Legend release, I Am Hollywood, and then there’s Suck Out The Poison, which is where we really start hearing the down-and-dirty HIL of today. He Is Legend were–and still are–one of the best at being heavy, but they do it with Southern charm. It’s that slight twang and those funky riffs that draw you in, especially in Suck Out The Poison. They hang with the likes of Every Time I Die and Norma Jean, but manage to stand out with Croom’s rough around the edges, yet undeniably smooth, vocals and their unconventional sound. With Suck Out The Poison, He Is Legend became a staple in metalcore with their saucy persona and music that seems like it should be forbidden to the ear. They are either the band you somehow and sadly missed out on growing up or the band that got you really excited about music. Either way, Suck Out The Poison, was a heavy-hitter in 2006 and it still is now.

Essential Tracks: “China White II,” “Dixie Wolf (The Seduction Of…),” “Suck Out The Poison”

Gutter Phenomenon

Every Time I Die Gutter Phenomenon*Can opening* “Baby you got me all wrong, And maybe I’m not at all down and out” was one of the most recognizable openings of any song in 2006. They have to be one of the only bands during that time that could effectively pull off the cowbell. Actually, one of the only bands to make you say, “More cowbell.” Gutter Phenomenon is one of those albums that holds nothing back and puts it all out there. Matter of fact, it’s one of those records that runs up drunk and naked and puts it all up in your face. It’s such a heavy, grungy record that’s anything but polite, making for one crazy good time. When it’s all said and done, Gutter Phenomenon is unapologetically in-your-face and it will forever be the life of the party. 

Essential Tracks: “The New Black,” “Kill The Music,” “Apocalypse Now And Then”

Louder Now

Taking Back Sunday Louder NowThere’s no 2006 without Taking Back Sunday’s Louder Now. Maturation is a huge theme throughout this post, but it’s something that made this year of music truly special. Taking Back Sunday, like many bands during this time, matured their sound from their early angsty days, which though were great, just didn’t hold up as well as Louder Now. Their music still has that extremely energetic quality to it that makes their songs punch, but it’s a more polished and cohesive effort from TBS. Across the board, Louder Now has just the right amount of drama. Something about listening to songs like “MakeDamnSure” just made you feel so cool in a time when you definitely were not that cool, making it a nostalgic and essential album that will live on forever. It’s one you just can’t picture your life without.

Essential Tracks: “MakeDamnSure,” “Liar [It Takes One To Know One],” “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?”

The Sufferer & The Witness

Rise Against The Sufferer & the Witness

Rise Against created one of the most memorable albums to come of the 2006 era, and it’s one of the few that managed to surpass that “nostalgic factor.” Though it brings back memories, it withstands the test of time incredibly with songs that are just as potent today as they were when they first released. Rise Against have always taken a stand with their music, but this album, in particular, really screams from the rooftops with songs like “Prayer Of The Refugee,” that are both relentless in attitude and eye-opening in concept. To this day, this record has the ability to light a fire within you like no other. A lot of music back in the late 2000’s were full of angst and heartache, but Rise Against’s The Suffer & The Witness, much like Anti-Flag’s For Blood And Empire, had a different cause to sing, play, and write about. That not only makes them stand apart in a year of extremely notable records, but also makes them one of the top punk bands of our generation.

Essential Tracks: “Prayer Of The Refugee,”  “The Good Left Undone,” “Under The Knife”

Crisis

Alexisonfire CrisisFor its time, Crisis was far ahead of its time, surpassing bands with their attention to detail and flawless production. Much like Underoath, who also released an album in the same year, Alexisonfire featured a sound that though heavy was still refined. Songs like “This Could Be Anywhere In The World,” “Boiled Frogs,” and “Crisis” display this all too well, showing off both poise and power. There is an immense staying power to this record that refuses to leave our minds due to its unique ability to progress throughout the years, giving it massive pull, almost as if it has a death grip on all who grew up during the budding days of 2000’s post-hardcore. It’s not more of the same, allowing it to skyrocket to the top as one of the most profound records to come out in all of 2006.

Essential Tracks: “This Could Be Anywhere In The World,” “Boiled Frogs,” “Rough Hands”

DECEMBERUNDERGROUND

AFI DecemberundergroundI specifically remember watching AFI‘s music video for “Miss Murder” on MTV. Back then MTV was hanging on for dear life following it’s 1990’s high, but AFI were just getting started, further ramping up their already successful career. Though Sing The Sorrow is where that switch really occurred, DECEMBERUNDERGROUND is just as iconic of a record, full of just as much drama and macabre. It was an album you couldn’t help but desire, and you’ll eat your heart out as each song rings in. Davey Havok‘s vocals, in particular, are as vulnerable as they are powerful, and that is mirrored also in the music that accompanies him. Plus, who can forget that legendary opening, “Prelude 12/21”, perhaps one of the best intros to an album ever. Dark and unapologetic, DECEMBERUNDERGROUND is an album that proved to be not only one of the most haunting releases in 2006, but also one of the most unique.

Essential Tracks: “Miss Murder,” “Kill Caustic,” “Love Like Winter”

Top 3 Albums of 2006

Define the Great Line

Underoath Define The Great LineDefine the Great Line was an album that further solidified Underoath‘s career. It’s well-known that their first full-length with Spencer on board, They’re Only Chasing Safety is considered to be THE Underoath album by most fans, but it’s not the only album that should be recognized in Underoath’s discography. Arguably, Define the Great Line is on par with if not just a hair under They’re Only Chasing Safety as it follows in the footsteps of its predecessor while at the same time maturing their sound. Not to mention, it’s heavier. As always, the duality between Aaron Gillespie‘s haunting, angelic vocals and Spencer Chamberlain‘s gritty, powerful growls still to this day send chills down the spine, especially in tracks like “Writing on the Walls,” but it’s the immersive atmosphere of this record that makes it really stand apart. Underoath further jumpstarted something with Define the Great Line, creating a domino effect with band after band following in their footsteps. The sheer influence of this record alone is enough to shoot it towards the top of this list.

Essential Tracks: “Writing on the Walls,” “You’re Ever So Inviting,” “In Regards to Myself”

The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance The Black ParadeThe Black Parade is the album that really shot My Chemical Romance into the spotlight, but that is not why it made the list. With it’s wildness and theatrical appeal, The Black Parade is the epitome of everything that makes MCR who they are; in addition, it’s stocked full of anthems that make you want to sing at the top of your lungs. It also took My Chemical Romance out of the dark and into the light with it’s uncharacteristically positive vibe. Pair that optimistic viewpoint with Gerard Way‘s fantastically versatile vocal range and MCR’s signature sound, and you have something that’s pure gold. Plus, it’s an album that withstands the test of time with it’s unique take on the genre.

Essential Tracks: “Famous Last Words,” “Welcome to the Black Parade,” “Cancer”

The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me

Brand New The Devil and God Are Raging Inside MeComing off the curtails of their critically-acclaimed album Deja Entendu, Brand New released their sophomore album, The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Mea raging emotional roller coaster that bordered on the brink of insanity. That vulnerability is what made Brand New so appealing. They bared all musically and emotionally, making The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me one of the most relatable records of the decade. From the hectic breakdown to Lacey’s expressive vocals, Brand New flourished and celebrated the beauty in imperfection from their emotional, passioned playing to Jesse Lacey‘s expressive vocals that crack and break from time to time. From start to finish, The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me, adds immense evidence as to why Brand New are held so sacred.

Essential Tracks: “Sowing Season (Yeah),” “Jesus Christ,” “Degausser”

Other Notable Albums

Killing With A Smile by Parkway Drive, We Don’t Need To Whisper by Angels & Airwaves, Saosin by Saosin, Redeemer by Norma Jean, A Deathgrip On Yesterday by Atreyu, For Blood And Empire by Anti-Flag, Dying Is Your Latest Fashion by Escape the Fate, In Vogue by Drop Dead, Gorgeous, Dusk and Summer by Dashboard Confessional, Don’t You Fake It by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Put Up or Shut Up by All Time Low, III: In The Eyes Of Fire by Unearth.